Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's all Blogger's fault

Due entirely to some Blogger glitch, last night I first thought I had lost the religion-sells post below, so I recreated it and posted. And then I saw that the first one had posted after all. I tried to delete one of them; it's now gone from my control panel but the (almost) duplicate post is still showing up.

I'm just sayin' . . . don't blame me! At least not totally.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Marketing religion

Via NTodd, a New York Times article about the marketing of religious-themed T-shirts and and jewelry and other consumer crap:

"There is no question, religion is becoming the new brand," said Jane Buckingham, the president of Youth Intelligence, a trend-forecasting company. "To a generation of young people eager to have something to belong to, wearing a 'Jesus Saves' T-shirt, a skullcap or a cabala bracelet is a way of feeling both unique, a member of a specific culture or clan, and at the same time part of something much bigger."

There was a time when such symbols were worn discreetly and were purchased mostly at gift shops or Bible stores. Now, emboldened perhaps by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton, who are photographed brandishing spiritual messages on shirts and caps, aspiring hipsters and fashion groupies as well as the devout are flaunting similar items, which are widely available at mass-market chains and online.

A casual survey of the Internet last week, including mainstream marketers like Amazon.com, turned up T-shirts, bowling bags, belt buckles and dog tags by the hundreds bearing messages like "Inspired by Christ," "Give All the Glory to God," "I {sheart} Hashem" (a Hebrew term for God), "Moses Is My Homeboy" and "Buddha Rocks."

Hmm. I wonder if perhaps there's an untapped market for t-shirts adorned with some of my own favorite uplifting Old Testament verses, such as Leviticus 20:16?

Update: Speaking of, well, you know: Over at The American Street, Kevin Hayden wonders about the origins of right-wingers' bestiality fantasies . . .

South Carolina legislature encourages drinking and driving

Liquor plan would help bars, hurt stores


Staff Writer

Customers would pay more for spirits at South Carolina’s liquor stores — but less at bars and restaurants — under a plan approved by lawmakers Tuesday.

The tax shift is a result of changes that would allow bars and restaurants to use free-pour instead of minibottles.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Leave it to a libertarian to describe a human body as a "resource"

Steven E. Landsburg:

Now on to the preferences of [Terri Schiavo's] husband and parents. This is essentially a fight about what to do with her body: He wants to dispose of it; they want to feed it. And the question arises: Once someone has decided to dispose of a resource, why would we want to stop someone else from retrieving it? If I throw out a toaster, and you want to retrieve it from my trash, there's a net economic gain. If Michael Schiavo essentially throws out his wife's body and her parents want to retrieve it, it seems pointless to prevent them.

Well, that's one way of looking at it. So if, after Landsburg dies and is buried, I want to dig up his corpse and use his head as a soccer ball, does it not seem pointless to prevent me? Who are YOU to say that that would not be the highest and best use for his lifeless skull?

Via Mark A. R. Kleiman

If I ever completely disappear

from this blog, it could mean I've been arrested:

By Jim Davenport

The Associated Press

COLUMBIA - People who maliciously slander political candidates would face up to five years in prison if a North Myrtle Beach senator's proposal becomes law.
It might be a long shot in a state that did away with criminal libel years ago, but Sen. Dick Elliott says something needs to be done to end over-the-top campaign tactics.

When people become candidates, they should expect to be "fair game for all kinds of questions," the coastal Democrat said. "But that doesn't make them unfair game."
A "lifetime of family reputation can fall by the wayside," he said, and that could make people less willing to seek public office. "People will not expose themselves to the often unkind, unfair abuse they would face," he said.

Lawsuits are an option for people who feel slandered or libeled, but the standards for proving that are higher for public officials. But, Elliott said, if the person making the false charges has no assets, the slandered candidate would get nothing. His proposed criminal penalty would target those offenders.

He said people who demonstrate actual malice, knowing a statement is false or having reckless disregard for it being false, would face a criminal charge that could bring a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. A candidate still could pursue a civil lawsuit.

Elliott said publishers and broadcasters would not be targets for the penalties.

"I understand his frustration, but it's a slippery slope you're starting down here," said Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association.
Courts have always protected political speech, he said. A criminal penalty could discourage people from raising issues that are true.

"We're not in favor of malicious lies being spread about anybody," he said, but the bill raises constitutional concerns.

Sen. Elliott was the target of some nasty allegations in his last campaign, but this lousy, backwards law is no solution.

The law would apply only to false statements, so, sure, I could still call, say, Thad Viers a wanker or a pusillanimous bully and be acquitted. But it'd be nice not to have to worry about being prosecuted in the first place.

Yes, I KNOW I'm lame

Let's face it: Some people, namely me, are just too damn lazy to blog

If I were any lazier I'd have to get a job as a mainstream journalist. Or as president of the United States.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Joe Scarborough doesn't like being called a murderer

As you may know, when MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was a Congressman, a young female intern died in his office under mysterious circumstances. Joe is apparently kind of sensitive about that - according to the Daily Kos, he once threatened to sic his lawyers on Michael Moore for some comments Moore made about the incident. From Kos, this exchange occurred on Scarborough's show:

SCARBOROUGH: You going to talk to Michael?
GOLDBERG: When he has time for me.
SCARBOROUGH: When he has time for you, just tell him to stop going around calling me a murderer or I`m going to have to call my lawyers. Will you do that for me?

So Joe knows that it sucks to be falsely accused of a crime of violence. But that didn't stop him from permitting a guest on his show to level sleazy, totally unfounded accusations against Michael Schiavo. Via the incomparable Daily Howler:

HAMMESFAHR: Well, we don`t really know. What we do know is that she was—she apparently told her family she was going to leave Michael. And they asked that she not return to him that night. And the next morning, she is found face down on the floor unresponsive. The ambulance—
SCARBOROUGH: I have got to stop you there. Who told you that?
HAMMESFAHR: That`s in the record, the medical and legal record. So, we know that for a fact. And then she was taken into—
SCARBOROUGH: Are you suggesting foul play here?
HAMMESFAHR: I`m suggesting that an investigation needs to be done of this case.
SCARBOROUGH: Doctor, thanks for being with us. Explosive allegations.

At least when Joe was accused of foul play (allegedly - I don't know what Michael Moore actually said), he could fight back from his nationally televised show. Michael Schiavo can't do that.

I'm gonna suggest now that another investigation needs to be done into the circumstances of the death of that intern in Scarborough's office. Who knows what explosive allegations might turn up?

Say it isn't so!

Publius of Legal Fiction has announced that he's ceasing blogging, at least for now - his work isn't leaving him enough time to blog. Since I started reading Legal Fiction Publius has gone from being a judicial law clerk to studying for and taking the bar examination to private law practice - frankly, I always wondered how he managed to do all that and still find the time to write such long, thoughtful, excellent posts. I mean, I'm just a Waffle House waitress and I can barely muster enough energy to post a couple of snarky one-liners a week.

Anyway, evidently now he doesn't feel he can keep it up, so he's taking a break. I hope it's not permanent.

Pro-lifers threaten judge

Scores of protesters have gathered at the hospice where [Terri Schiavo]is being kept to strategize on ways to get the state legislature to intervene in the case.

Police have reinforced security around the hospice, blocking all entry points and registering everyone who enters the site. They handcuffed and arrested a woman protester who tried to enter the hospital with bottled water.
"The arrogance of Judge Whittemore is extraordinary," said Patrick Mahoney, a priest with the Christian Defense Coalition, one of the lead groups opposed to letting Terri Schiavo die. "How dare he waits 24 hours to take this ruling?"


People outside the hospice were visibly angry.

"I'm honing my skills as a terrorist to tyrants," warned Wayne Maxwell, 65, who said he came from Texas to support the cause. "Too many people in high offices have betrayed their people," he said.
(emphasis supplied)

Rumsfeld: The buck stops elsewhere

Specifically, in Turkey:

WASHINGTON, March 20 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Sunday used the second anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq to answer the most tenacious criticism of the war effort - that the Pentagon did not commit sufficient troops to the major offensive or to stability efforts after Baghdad fell.

The fault, Mr. Rumsfeld contended in two appearances on television talk shows, rested with Turkey, a NATO ally, which would not give permission for the Fourth Infantry Division to cross its territory and open a northern front at the start of the war in March 2003.

That's right. It's TURKEY'S fault.

It's all about YOU, isn't it?

Odious ghoul Tom DeLay on Terri Schiavo:

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," Mr. DeLay told a conference organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. A recording of the event was provided by the advocacy organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," Mr. DeLay said.

So in addition to twisting Ms. Schiavo's plight to focus on "attacks" on him, personally, what Tom DeLay is claiming is that God liquified Terri Schiavo's brain so that Tom DeLay could advance his political agenda. Truly Tom's God is an awesome God!

A pair of historic firsts for Dubya

1) He cuts short a vacation; and

2) He elects to "err on the side of life."


Monday, March 21, 2005

I'm a proctologist

and it's medically obvious to me that Bill Frist is talking out of his ass.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Eugene Volokh is a monster.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Like, omigod! Being married is, like, hard!

Britney Spears:

"Before we got married we were on tour, and we were just like kids, ordering room service, saying, 'Let’s go out tonight.' Then, all of a sudden, you have this home, you have the kids [Federline's two children from a previous relationship], you have to get the diapers, get the dog to the vet. It's this reality. Like omigod, I have to tell the maid to buy diapers and get the pool boy to walk the dog? Can't I just make out with Kevin all the time? Being married sucks."

Via Salon. Emphasis, like, supplied.

And they call themselves "South Carolinians for Responsible Government"

The group agitating for taking money out of public education in South Carolina and shoveling it to upper-middle-class parents made the news last week when its executive director stepped down after being revealed as the author of several phony letters to the editor of local papers. From The Sun News:

COLUMBIA - The man who wrote bogus letters promoting Gov. Mark Sanford's tuition tax credit proposal has been demoted from his position as executive director of the lead group behind the effort.

Todd McCauley, executive director of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, was replaced Monday as the day-to-day manager of the group after revelations that he had mailed three phony letters to The State newspaper's editorial board.

The bogus letters, written under the pseudonym "Dennis Sinned," railed against the news media and urged passage of the bill, dubbed "Put Parents in Charge" by its supporters.

On Monday, the group named Randy Page, a veteran of S.C. Republican politics, as its president. He will take over the day-to-day management of the group.
Denver Merrill, spokesman for the group, said McCauley was waiting to see what his new duties will be. It was clear he would not be fired for his actions.

Mmm, "Dennis Sinned?" Whatever. It's cool that he's keeping a job with the group. Maybe they can put him in charge of their blog.

I'm back!

Did you miss me? No? Well, fine. FINE. I never needed you anyway! I have no need for friendship, friendship causes pain. Its laughter and its loving I disdain! I am a rock! I am an iiiiisland!

Yes, I finally finished Music for Torching and I regret to report that it never stopped sucking. It sucked from start to finish, and the finish was especially brutal, senseless, and stupid. I sincerely hated it.

I need to go read another A.M. Homes to see if this is just an aberration . . .


Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Would you like to hear about what I'm reading? No? Too bad.

I'm reading "Music for Torching," by A.M. Homes. I'm only 20 or so pages into it and already I HATE it. Yet another dreary book about suburban anomie. Affectless, soulless, drab. Books like this make me think Tom Wolfe has a point about the state of modern American fiction, though they don't make me want to go read any Tom Wolfe.

The main characters so far are a husband and wife who detest one another, and why shouldn't they? They're detestable. I detest them too.

Here's a sample:

"You're ruining my life," he hisses. He tears at her clothing. He bites her. He does to Elaine what he'd like to do to Henry's date.

"I hate you," Elaine says when Paul is on top of her. "I used to like you, I thought you were cute. But look at you now," she says.

He fucks her, his feet pressing against the armrest, using the sofa for leverage.

She begins to cry. "I'm bored," she says. "I'm so bored, it's not even funny." She digs her fingers into his back; her nails sink into his flesh and stay there.

"I'm unhappy," he says, still humping her. His few remaining strands of hair come unglued and fall forward, hanging in his face. He stops humping her for a moment, flips them back, then starts humping her again. "I'm unbelievably unhappy," he says loudly and begins to cry.

Bejus H. Christ! I HATE these fucking people.

I'm going to finish the book, though. I'll let you know what I think of the whole thing.


Once upon a time, I was driving to Maryland with my ex-fiance. We hit Washington, DC about 5-ish in the afternoon. Terrible timing. The interstate was clogged. For a long time, we were behind a car with a personalized plate that read "IHTFP."

We tried to figure out what on earth "IHTFP" could mean. "I heart tasty flambed pork," etc. We couldn't come up with anything plausible.

Then suddenly J exclaimed, "I hate this fucking place!"


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