Sunday, May 29, 2005

And On That Bombshell

Tonight BBC America begins to air I'm Alan Partridge, a hilarious sitcom featuring Steve Coogan's most famous creation, the failed chat-show host Alan Partridge.

In the sitcom he's working as an overnight DJ on Radio Norwich and attempting to get the BBC to renew his chat show (Knowing Me, Knowing You) for a second season. The first words of the first episode of the series are as follows, which Alan announces over the fadeout of a Joni Mitchell song:

"That was "big yellow taxi" by Joni Mitchell, a song in which joni complains that they paved Paradise to put up a parking lot, a measure which actually would have alleviated traffic congestion on the outskirts of Paradise, something which Joni singularly fails to point out, perhaps because it doesn't quite fit in with her blinkered view of the world."
Watch and enjoy, and thank the BBC.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

By Design

H. Allen Orr in the New Yorker writes a good piece on Intelligent Design, including this bit:
In 1999, a document from the Discovery Institute was posted, anonymously, on the Internet. This Wedge Document, as it came to be called, described not only the institute’s long-term goals but its strategies for accomplishing them. The document begins by labelling the idea that human beings are created in the image of God “one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.” It goes on to decry the catastrophic legacy of Darwin, Marx, and Freud—the alleged fathers of a “materialistic conception of reality” that eventually “infected virtually every area of our culture.” The mission of the Discovery Institute’s scientific wing is then spelled out: “nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.” It seems fair to conclude that the Discovery Institute has set its sights a bit higher than, say, reconstructing the origins of the bacterial flagellum.

On so many fronts, this is the type of things we're up against. People with extreme agendas who are relentless in continuing to push for any crack they can to advance their cause. We think a stake was driven through the heart of an issue years or decades ago, but the retrograde groups take a new form, adopt new language and tactics, and keep pushing at every chink they can find. They're relentless and largely immune to reason. And they win a lot of battles, and may likely win some wars.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Jesusland's Air Force

You may recall that at the Air Force Academy, evangelical students and instructors are apparently harassing non-evangelicals. The Air Force ordered an investigation and a report.

Two prominent crtitics -- a Yale professor who documented harassment previously and a Academy alum who is Jewish, has a child currently attending, and who has reported harassment as well -- were not contacted during the investigation.

They really are intent on keeping the Air Force just for the red states it seems.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Crocodile Tears

Ken Layne on the Newsweek non-scandal:
"Beautiful: The White House just announced the total retraction was a “good first step.”

Ah, and Rumsfeld says “People need to be careful what they say, as well as careful what they do.” Thanks, you sociopathic bag of shit! I’ll keep that in mind!"
If the Pentagon had bothered to dispute the story when it was run by them before publication I'd have a harder time scoffing at this deplorable spectacle.

Layne nails quite a few aspects of this story, including the "crocodile tears shed by the Bush-apologist crowd."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Unpopularity Contest

Actually, it's no contest. From Editor & Publisher
Gallup: Bush Approval Rating Lowest Ever for 2nd-Term Prez at this Point: "It's not uncommon to hear or read pundits referring to President George W. Bush as a 'popular' leader or even a 'very popular' one. Even some of his critics in the press refer to him this way. Perhaps they need to check the latest polls.

President Bush's approval rating has plunged to the lowest level of any president since World War II at this point in his second term, the Gallup Organization reported today.

All other presidents who served a second term had approval ratings well above 50% in the March following their election, Gallup reported.

Presidents Truman and Johnson had finished out the terms of their predecessors, and then won election on their own for a second term.

Bush's current rating is 45%. The next lowest was Reagan with 56% in March 1985.

More bad signs for the president: Gallup's survey now finds only 38% expressing satisfaction with the 'state of the country' while 59% are 'dissatisfied.' One in three Americans feel the economy is excellent or good, while the rest find it 'only fair' or poor. "
There's more at that page.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Santorum's Mind Gutters Again

A New York Times article about the upcoming nuclear showdown in the Senate includes the following paragraph, with the creepy Santorum quote emphasized by me:
At Center of Senate Showdown, a Boxer Takes On a Surgeon - New York Times: "Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, said Senate minorities had previously restrained themselves from using the filibuster to block nominees with majority support. 'Senator Reid has refused to do that,' Mr. Santorum said. 'Now we are forced to do something that societies often do when people can't control their desires. We have to pass laws to stop their desires.'"

Report Due

I was under the impression that the Theresa Schiavo autopsy would be completed by early May.

This interesting profile of the pathologist performing the autopsy says his report will be ready in two to three more weeks. Of course, it's difficult to assess the competency of the pathologist from a news story, but I suppose it's good that he's depicted as being independent.

For those of you who missed the news in mid-April, there's this story: "State investigators found no evidence that Terri Schiavo had been abused or exploited by either side of her family, according to documents released by Florida's Department of Children and Families."

Those who were accusing the husband of abuse should apologize. Likelihood: minimal.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mullah as Pimp

Pleasure marriages' regain popularity in Iraq

One thing freedom has re-introduced to Iraq: "Pleasure marriages," which can last from an hour to ten years. The Mullah gets a cut when he approves the contract.

Contracts for pleasure marriage strongly favor men.

Married women can't enter a muta'a, although a married man can. Men can void the contract at any time; women don't have that option unless it's negotiated at the outset. The couple agrees not to have children. A woman who unintentionally gets pregnant can have an abortion but must then pay a fine to a cleric

One thing many "kill the Arabs" idiots didn't realize was that Saddam, while a horrid scumbag, was also secular: he'd outlawed this practice.

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