Tuesday, January 4
Haiku Of The Year 2004
Thanks go, yet again, to Rude Pundit for this masterpiece of brevity:
All rotting corpses
Smell the same, in Fallujah,
Darfur, or Aceh.
This Should Be Interesting...
US Election rules demand that the electoral college votes be counted in front of Congress. Democratic Representative John Conyers, ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to object to the counting of Ohio electoral votes and has sent the following to every Senator:
"As you know," writes Rep. Conyers in his letter, "on January 6, 2005, at 1:00 P.M, the electoral votes for the election of the president are to be opened and counted in a joint session of Congress. I and a number of House Members are planning to object to the counting of the Ohio votes, due to numerous unexplained irregularities in the Ohio presidential vote, many of which appear to violate both federal and state law."The letter goes on to ask the Senators who receive this letter to join Conyers in objecting to the Ohio Electors.
"I am hoping that you will consider joining us in this important effort," writes Conyers, "to debate and highlight the problems in Ohio which disenfranchised innumerable voters. I will shortly forward you a draft report itemizing and analyzing the many irregularities we have come across as part of our hearings and investigation into the Ohio presidential election."I look forward to it: if only we could get C-SPAN in NL.
Support The Refuseniks.
The Guardian reports that Israeli soldiers are starting to mutiny:
The Israeli army says a soldier has been arrested for calling on his comrades to refuse to evacuate a West Bank settlement outpost. It is the first case of its kind.
Unfortunately they're not mutinying because of the treatment of Palestinians, oh no. The reason for the refusal is that they don't want to evacuate settlers, despite the fact they are occupying internationally agreed Palestinian territory, an issue that was decided under the Oslo agreement. However there are Israelis who refuse:
Declaration of Israeli Reservists
Whether you agree with Zionism or not, you cannot but admire the refuseniks for their humanity and refusal to become mere tools of an oppressive state. The refuseniks remain true to the original socialist and humanistic ideals of the nascent Israel. They deserve our support; if only we could see the US occupation forces in Iraq remain true to the ideals of the US constitution, and just refuse to serve. If only.
Indeed, and heh.
It didn't take them long did it? The fundies are already using the tsunami as a rationale for their insane theories about god and intelligent design, and Panda's Thumb elegantly rips them a new one (if such a thing can be done elegantly).
Tuesday Ceph Blogging.
Via cephnews and the fascinating Pharyngula, these lovely pictures of the Indo-Malaysian mimic octopus, well, mimicking things.
Here it is mimicking a sea snake:
Look Mum, I'm a lionfish!
Did I say how much I adore cephalopods?
Governor Of Baghdad Assassinated
Well, this about wraps it up for the ''elections'' then. And so much for the safety of the Green Zone, such as it was.
They're At it Again.
FFS, where's the humane killer when you need it? If this is christianity, thank providence I'm an atheist. I wonder how many devout baptists were on paedophile sex tours in Thailand when the tsunami hit?
Note: Readers, such as they are, may have noticed the lack of capitalisation in this blog of any word to do with religion, eg christianity, baptist, jesus and the like. I've taken a decision not to dignify any of this superstitious claptrap with a proper noun. A superstition is a superstition , not a real thing with a real name.
Monday, January 3
Conspicuous By Their Absence -Where Are the Pharisees?
Well there's a surprise. As this Working For Change article neatly summarises, the so-called religious right in the US has done diddly squat to help the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. (and it is the Indian Ocean tsunami, not the Asian tsunami: not just SE Asia and the Indian subcontinent were hit, so was Africa):
"But, as of December 30, some of the president's major family-values constituents have yet to be heard from: It's business as usual at the web sites of the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries.
Pharisees, every one of them:
Jesus H Christ On Toast
Digby at Hullabaloo takes down Dr.James Dobson, the guiding hand of the GOP (Doctor? Of what, exactly? Well, as it turns out, Dr. Dobson holds a Ph.D. in Child Development from the University of Southern California. However he has no theological training whatsoever, is not a medical doctor or pediatrician, and his religious views are personal.) Digby reprints this interview with the good doctor on the subject of corporal punishment of children:
"Q:There is some controversy over whether a parent should spank with his or her hand or with some other object, such as a belt or paddle. What do you recommend?
A:I recommend a neutral object of some type. To those who disagree on this point, I'd encourage them to do what seems right. It is not a critical issue to me. The reason I suggest a switch or paddle is because the hand should be seen as an object of love -- to hold, hug, pat, and caress. However, if you're used to suddenly disciplining with the hand, your child may not know when she's about to be swatted and can develop a pattern of flinching when you make an unexpected move. This is not a problem if you take the time to use a neutral object.
Q:On what part of the body would you administer a spanking?
A:It should be confined to the buttocks area, where permanent damage is very unlikely.
Q:It just seems barbaric to cause pain to a defenseless child. Tell me why you think it is healthy to spank him or her.
A:Corporal punishment, when used lovingly and properly, is beneficial to a child because it is in harmony with nature itself.Consider the purpose of minor pain in a child's life and how he learns from it. Suppose 2-year-old Peter pulls on a tablecloth and with it comes a vase of roses that cracks him between the eyes. From this pain, he learns that it is dangerous to pull on the tablecloth unless he knows what sits on it. When he touches a hot stove, he quickly learns that heat must be respected. The same lesson is learned when he pulls the doggy's tail and promptly gets a neat row of teeth marks across the back of his hand, or when he climbs out of his high chair when Mom isn't looking and discovers all about gravity.
During the childhood years, he typically accumulates minor bumps, bruises, scratches, and burns, each one teaching him about life's boundaries. Do these experiences make him a violent person? No! The pain associated with these events teaches him to avoid making the same mistakes again. God created this mechanism as a valuable vehicle for instruction.
When a parent administers a reasonable spanking in response to willful disobedience, a similar nonverbal message is being given to the child...I recall my good friends Art and Ginger Shingler, who had four beautiful children whom I loved. One of them went through a testy period where he was just "asking for it." The conflict came to a head in a restaurant, when the boy continued doing everything he could to be bratty. Finally, Art took him to the parking lot for an overdue spanking. A woman passerby observed the event and became irate. She chided the father for "abusing" his son and said she intended to call the police. With that, the child stopped crying and said to his father, "What's wrong with that woman, Dad?" He understood the discipline even if his rescuer did not.
Q:How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being spanked? Is there a limit?
A:Yes, I believe there should be a limit. As long as the tears represent a genuine release of emotion, they should be permitted to fall. But crying quickly changes from inner sobbing to an expression of protest aimed at punishing the enemy. Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining, and the change can be recognized in the tone and intensity of his voice. I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears."
What humanity, what christian virtue, what a complete and utter hypocritical bastard. "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." (The Beatitudes,Verse 7). I guess that's not in his Bible.
And this is the nutter that George Bush, Chimperor of All Amurika, meets regularly with in the White House and chooses to give him advice on child, education and reproductive rights issues. His hold on the GOP has now gone so far that he feeels strong enough to issue threats to those who oppose his ideas and those of his buddy George;
"Dobson, a child psychologist and the founder of the evangelical organization Focus on the Family, promises "a battle of enormous proportions from sea to shining sea" if President Bush fails to appoint "strict constructionist" jurists or if Democrats filibuster to block conservative nominees. Dobson recalled the conservative efforts that helped in the November defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D., S.D.), who led Democrats in using the filibuster to block 10 of Bush's judicial nominees. "Let his colleagues beware," Dobson warned, "especially those representing 'red' states. Many of them will be in the bull's-eye the next time they seek reelection."
No wonder the US is fucked.
UPDATE: via the commenters at americablog:
Time to challenge Dobson?
From the IRS website:
Political Campaign Activity
Colorado Springs Office
Internal Revenue Service2864 S. Circle Dr.Colorado Springs, CO 80906 Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.(719) 579-5227
Mike in Texas Email Homepage 01.01.05 - 12:04 pm #
I run a local non-profit501(c)3 and we avoid any political involvement - and living is San Francisco that's a task easier said than done. The IRS allows a a certain amount of grass roots 'voter education' involvement, but it can't involve more than 10% of your income, and MUST be declared on your tax return.
Upon written or oral request, a non-profit must submit copies of the exempt organization's exemption application and its three most recently filed annual information returns to anyone who asks for them.
An exemption application includes the Form 1023 (for organizations recognized exempt under § 501(c)(3)), Form 1024 (for organizations recognized exempt under most other paragraphs of § 501(c)), or the letter submitted under the paragraphs for which no form is prescribed, together with supporting documents and any letter or document issued by the IRS concerning the application.
So everyone should bombard the questionable non-profits with requests for these documents. It's legal and they can get into serious trouble if they don't cooperate. Plus they can only charge 'reasonable' rates for copying the information. Currently, that amount is $1.00 for the first page and .15 for each subsequent page. An organization may require payment before it provides copies, but must advise requesters of the total cost of the copies requested if adequate payment is not included with the request.
Josh Norton Email Homepage 01.01.05 - 12:20 pm #
Now That's What I Call A Judge.
Via Jeralyn at TalkLeft, this excellent interview in the NYT with Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan. Judge Rakoff has bravely challenged the constitutionality of the death penalty. If only there were more like him.
Compare and contrast with Bush's judicial nominees; for instance Janice Rogers Brown:
Why Do Cephalopods Hate America?
I am politically and personally conflictedover this report: should I support a] the anticapitalists, or b] the octopus? Hmmm, how to choose?
"Armed with a high-pressure hose and a bucket of octopi, hundreds of protestors in this Mediterranean town pelted a McDonalds restaurant due to open this week with the slimy seafood.
Between 300 and 500 people gathered on the banks of the Sete canal, across from the fast-food outlet, playing music and yelling anti-junk-food slogans across the water, as police barred them from reaching the restaurant itself.
Aiming the hose across the water, they catapulted fresh octopi -- a local delicacy, known here as the "pouffre" -- towards the town's first McDonalds, which had been set to open on Saturday." Tsk, tsk. Octopus aren't slimy, for a start.
If they wanted slime, they shoulda used hagfish. Also I have no warm feelings towards hagfish, unlike cephalopods, who are quietly taking over the world. And the galaxy, and the universe. Just ask Ken McLeod.
Shirley Chisholm Had Guts.
Another wonderful woman dead.
Yahoo News: "MIAMI - Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during seven terms in the House, died near Daytona Beach, friends said Sunday. She was 80.
What a woman. She did indeed have guts and I salute her memory.
Little Helpers for First Ladies
No, not Xanax this time: thanks to Michele Hanson in today's Grauniad for this - as a short aside in an article about the vicissitudes of divorce, she notes Saint Wilgerfort, the patron saint of abused wives. Apparently you may gain her aid (always supposing you believe that shit) by giving her a peck of oats. I did a little digging and Lo! there are lots of saints that supposed to be of aid to women in difficult marriages, and here they are:
Castora Gabrielli, Catherine of Genoa, Dorothy of Montau, Edward the Confessor,Elizabeth of Portugal, Fabiola, Gengulphus, Godelieve, Gummarus, Hedwig, Helena,Louis IX, Margaret the Barefooted, Marguerite d'Youville, Monica, Nicholas of Flue, Olaf II, Pharaildis, Philip, Howard, Radegunde, Rita of Cascia, Theodore of Sykeon,Thomas More, Wilgefortis, Zedislava Berka
Yup: she's supposed to aid abuse victims, alcoholics, alcoholism, difficult marriages, disappointing children, homemakers, housewives, married women, mothers, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, widows, wives. The word irony is too weak for this.
That dress doesn't look very blue though.
11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004