Monday, June 27, 2005

Protecting our fragile flag

The United States House of Representatives has endorsed a proposed Constitutional amendment that would permit Congress to make it a crime to desecrate an American flag.

About time. Only with such an amendment in place can we put an end to abominations such as this:


(Graphic courtesy of the handsome and talented MD)


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Work is the curse of the drinking class *

Roy at Alicublog says, "I would like to know what your truest quotes are." By "truest quotes" he means quotes that "stick with you because they really reflect your beliefs, and have done so through whatever life experiences you've had."

Two sprang immediately to mind for me:

"The awful thing about life is that everyone has his reasons." - Jean Renoir


"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." - Patti Smith

Later, I remembered this one: "I don't hate people. I just seem to feel better when they're not around." - Mickey Rourke in "Barfly." I don't know why I love that, but I do.

And then, not to brag of course, but I'm rather fond of my own: "White people suck."

Taken together, those all look kind of gloomy, don't they? Pessimistic. Misanthropic, even. I'm not a misanthrope, really. I LOVE mankind. No, wait: "Principally I hate and detest that animal called man; although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth." - Jonathan Swift

So, to lighten things up: "Go! And never darken our towels again!" - Groucho Marx.

*Oscar Wilde


Friday, June 24, 2005

Deflect. Distract. Demonize.

White House spokesman Dan Bartlett just gave, on the Today Show, a textbook demonstration of Republican technique: Questioned by Matt Lauer about Rove's disgraceful comments, Bartlett kept turning the conversation back to Moveon.org. It was CLEAR, Matt, that Mr. Rove was talking about MOVEON.ORG, which OPPOSED the use of military force. Why these fine Democrats who supported the president then are now rallying behind MOVEON.ORG, these EXTREMIST LIBERAlS, is beyond me. etc. Bartlett threw Michael Moore in there, too.

See how they do it? Deflect. Distract. Demonize.

I hope we don't let'em get away with it this time.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rep. Joe Wilson, (R) Grover Norquist's Anus

Via Greg Beato at Wonkette, I see that Rep. Joe Wilson of, I'm sorry to say, South Carolina, has accused Democrats of conducting "guerrilla warfare on our troops." I've always thought of Rep. Wilson as being inconsequential, a nullity, a cypher, just another of Grover Norquist's Congressional toadies, but this is exceptionally loathesome.

I wonder if Karl gave Wilson a Milk Bone for his performance . . .

Update: More on Wilson from Kos diarist socratic

With bin Laden still at large, Rove declares war on Americans

More here, from Josh Marshall:

I GUESS WE needed more evidence that Karl Rove is the most despicable man on the American political scene today.

I remember talking last year to a guy who'd been on shows a few times with Rove. And he told me how when you talk to the guy, there's nothing in his eyes, no soul. Just a machine, an animal.

And here, from Peter Daou:

I spent my youth in Beirut during the height of Lebanon's civil war, and I fought the Syrian presence in Lebanon long before the "Cedar Revolution." I watched young boys give their lives and mothers cradle their dying children in blood-soaked arms. I've seen more bloodshed, war, and violence, and shot more guns than most of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists combined. I wouldn't presume to question the strength or dignity of a stranger, and I pity those who blithely push the right=strong, left=weak rhetoric. It says far more about their inadequacies than it does about the target of their scorn. Today, Karl Rove took that rhetoric to a new, filthy low.

and more here, from mahablog:

You Weren't There, Karl. I Was.

Words cannot express the contempt I feel for Karl Rove and for the chorus of brainless little yappers applauding his recent remarks on liberal reactions to 9/11.

I'd like to ask Karl and his puppies to stand anywhere in the vincinity of Ground Zero and repeat Karl's fatuous, lying remarks to a crowd of New Yorkers.

Whole lotta liberals in New York. Whole lotta those liberal New Yorkers lost someone in the towers. Whole lotta liberal New Yorkers who lost someone in the towers might want to break Karl's jaw today. Karl would be well advised to keep his sorry ass out of New York from now on.

Here it is, the face of the modern GOP:


You might want to lay off on the vehicular imagery, Mr. President

I mean, what with your administration's driving record, do you really think it's a good idea to depict the Democrats as adhering to the "philosophy of the stop sign" and the "agenda of the roadblock?" What does that make the GOP, the party of drunken traffic violators?

And, uh . . . did you run that "philosophy of the stop sign" bit by Laura before you trotted it out in public? Just wondering.

(Disclosure: I myself have the worst driving record of anyone I personally know, though, if I may be permitted to use a version of the "we're not as bad as Saddam!" defense so dear to Republicans, my driving record is not as bad as Dick Cheney's or SC Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer's (R). )

(Link via Digby)


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

LIKES: Reagan, Doritos DISLIKES: Froot Loops, Bushes

Via NTodd, GQ is publishing Saddam Hussein's Playmate Data Sheet, which reveals he likes Reagan, is a neat freak, a traditional kinda guy when it comes to marriage, and dislikes Froot Loops.

I guess by Brad Warthen logic, Saddam's affinity for Reagan makes him the ally of almost every modern conservative in America.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Shorter Brad Warthen

"Sure, America has a tradition of patriotic dissent but if you exercise your right to dissent, you're not a patriot."

(Mr. Warthen is the editorial page editor of The State newspaper of Columbia, SC)

Isn't turning Iraq into a terrorist battlefield

just a teeny bit inconsistent with our stated goal of liberating Iraqis?

From Bush's radio address yesterday: "Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home."

Huh. I thought we were fighting mostly Iraqi insurgents, who had no history of attacking the United States prior to our invading Iraq, but whatever. To the extent we're fighting foreign terrorists over there, isn't that because we failed to secure the borders? So was that failure part of that "flypaper" strategy some conservatives kept touting? And if so, how is that consistent with liberating the Iraqi people?

"Hi, we're America and we're here to liberate you, but first you'll have to deal with many many many months of explosions and shootings because we need to use your country as a terrorist shooting gallery. Surely y'all won't mind. Just stay in your houses. Especially you ladies. And DO try to cooperate when we raid your houses. Oh, and about the electricity - we'll try to have that back on in a couple of years, 'K?"

Lake o'fire for them

A recent Gallup survey shows that just about three in four Americans hold some paranormal belief -- in at least one of the following: extra sensory perception (ESP), haunted houses, ghosts, mental telepathy, clairvoyance, astrology, communicating with the dead, witches, reincarnation, and channeling. There are no significant differences in belief by age, gender, education, or region of the country.

Via Digby


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lynching, it's such a laugh riot

When I saw this cartoon on The State newspaper'sonline editorial page, I was dumbfounded. The tone of The State's written editorials is notably high-minded and lofty, to the point of being holier-than-thou even, but Robert Ariail consistently hits a much lower tone. It's not that I expect a political cartoonist to be stuffy and dignified. It's just that the sheer crassness of Ariail's recent work is such a bizarre contrast to the harrumphing quality of so many of The State's written editorials.

Mr. Ariail's cartoons usually run the gamut from merely unfunny to offensive. Today he sinks to a new low.

Yes indeed, Mr. Arial comparing the filibustering of judicial nominees to this:


A few days ago The State's editorial page editor, Brad Warthen, confessed on his blog that he hesitated before running a recent Ariail cartoon with a lame Deep Throat-Monica Lewinsky reference - he wasn't sure the cartoon, with its (dopey) sexual double entendre, was suitable for The State's editorial page. I wonder if he entertained any doubts before running a cartoon that trivializes incidents such as this:


Aww, what a mensch . . .

NTodd saves a life.

Hell's ice cream truck
(AP) - WAUKESHA, Wis.-The driver of an ice cream truck was charged with drunken driving after a woman called police saying she saw a man throw a can of malt liquor onto her lawn.

Police stopped David A. Blundell, 43, in his ice cream truck a short time after the homeowner complained last Thursday, according to the criminal complaint. Blundell first denied drinking but then admitted that he had a beer for breakfast, the complaint said.

Blundell, who authorities said is also a registered sex offender, was charged Tuesday with repeat drunken driving. Tests showed his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the level considered evidence of intoxication, which in Wisconsin is .08 percent.

Blundell was previously convicted of drunken driving in 2001.

Rodney Jensen, whose Jensen Vending company in Milwaukee owns the ice cream truck, said he did not know Blundell was a registered sex offender. Blundell has been fired.

What it is is, the end stages of the last days of the final throes of the last gasp of the death rattle of a few desperate hard-liners

Andy with excerpts from the morning gaggle as a reporter doggedly tries to find out what the administration means when it says "final throes"

"I did not diagnose . . . that woman . . . Ms. Schiavo."

Bill Frist is a llliiiiiiiaaaarrrrr.

(Via Atrios)


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Oh, please let it be so . . .

If I were religious, I'd pray for this to happen: Fanatics Randall Terry and Roy Moore are both thinking of running for office.

(Moore story via Kevin Drum)

Shorter Pandagon and Gilliard and Atrios

"Rich liberals owe us a living!"

Echoing a complaint that's been reverberating around some lefty blogs for a couple of weeks (if not longer). Who the hell are these rich liberals? Besides Soros and Turner, I can't think of any. I could be wrong, but I suspect most bazillionaires are likely to be conservatives.

Atrios et al have a point: The right wing has been quietly building its machine for DECADES. They've got their Cato, their Heritage, their legions of eager young Federalist Society lawyers. But the left isn't going to catch up with them by complaining that somebody oughta be paying us a nice salary and benefits to be progressive.

If I had a few million dollars I'd happily toss some of it at Media Matters and some at the ACLU and some at People for the American Way and some at a handful of leftie bloggers who do original, invaluable work (Bob Somerby, Josh Marshall). If I were a jillionaire, I'd start my own foundation, give it some bullshit lofty-sounding name, put Paul Krugman in charge, and give him plenty of money to hire well-qualified highly educated people to crank out progressive-policy-advocating editorials for newspapers all over the country (think Cato) or for some kick-ass website. But I think I'd be unmoved by the complaints of people who think they deserve a job, with a good salary and benefits, doing some unspecified liberal work. "Bejus!" I'd growl. "Back in my day, nobody paid us to blog! We worked 18 hours a day digging ditches and then came home and blogged for FREE! And we LIKED it!"

"Our long national nightmare is over"

quipped Kevin Drum about the end of the Michael Jackson trial. I won't comment on the verdict, 'cause I don't really care, but I DO have one question: What the hell is wrong with California? Why does it take that state 8, 9, more months to try a relatively simple case that should take no more than two weeks - two months TOPS? Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, and of course OJ . . . are these ludicrously lengthy trials standard in California? Or does the state just spend more time trying to put famous people behind bars?

I just flat don't understand how the judges let this happen. The waste of resources is just mind-boggling. And to ask citizens to give up that much of their lives to sit on a jury is just too much. Few average people could afford to do that, which may explain why so many of the jurors seem to be unemployed oddballs (NTTAWWT) who relish their few minutes in the spotlight.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Blog of the Year


Iraq decision timeline

See the timeline created by Quiddity at the under-appreciated Uggabugga.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Vigilante cow enforces public decency, gets arrested for its pains

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigerian police have arrested a cow that killed a bus driver who was urinating on a highway, a police spokesman said Thursday.

Oh, go *&#@ yourself, Cheney

WASHINGTON - Howard Dean is "over the top," Vice President Dick Cheney says, calling the Democrats' chairman "not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party."

The Bush administration doesn't trust Americans enough to ask them to sacrifice anything

Prompted by today's Meet the Press, Atrios asks us to imagine the reaction to a presidential speech calling on Americans to enlist in the military. We Americans have willingly surrendered some of our freedom via the Patriot Act for the illusion of safety from terrorist attacks. We've been told to watch what we say, eat freedom fries, boycott French wine, and "support our troops." But we haven't been called upon to do anything that would affect us materially or impinge upon our blessed way of life - we haven't been asked to voluntarily give up our gas-sucking SUV's, to build and buy smaller houses. We haven't been asked to give up our tax cuts so that our troops might have armored equipment.* We haven't been asked to enlist.

Why is that? Could it be that the Bush administration really doesn't have any faith in us?

(*John McCain was harping on this theme a year ago and Dennis Hastert had the gall to lecture him on sacrifice)

Shorter Iraq Interior Ministry

on American contractors operating in Iraq: "Screw them."

Via Kos.

("Shorter" concept stolen from busybusybusy)

Free advertising for talentless filthmongers HERE!

Idontbelievethestate.com takes The State to task for its article on some provocative productions at the Spoleto Festival. Idontbelievethestate.com thinks that makes The State sort of a pornographer by proxy. I guess that makes Idontbelievethestate.com and me pornographers by proxy twice removed . . .

Anyway, one of the controversial productions discussed in The State article is Mabou Mines Doll House, an adaption of Ibsen's A Doll's House. The adaptation features "little men and tall women, a simulated sex scene, bare breasts and a heart-wrenching ending." Sounds like one of Tom DeLay's parties for lobbyists, doesn't it?


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Are these just theoretical questions?

Or does Mark Kleiman know of some religious group that actually means to remove sculptures from a historical landmark on the grounds that the sculptures are forbidden graven images? Sort of a la this

Of course I know the scenario in his hypothetical is hardly on the same scale as the Taliban Buddha destruction, and the two situations aren't perfectly analogous (theocratic government destroying landmark, versus nominally non-theocratic government declining to prevent private religious group from destroying landmark because the group is religious, though the landmark would be protected from destruction by any non-religious entity). Interesting questions, either way.

Decidedly not me

Wait until my team of lawyers finds about this. You'll pay, Mr. "rogueplanet," oh, yes, you'll pay!

Why is this blog called "Rogue Planet?" It's a long story; the short version is that a rogue planet is, as I understand it, a mass of flaming hot air and gasses. Much like this blog. Actually I started the blog as a joke. If I'd thought I'd still be fooling around with it over a year later I probably would have given the name a bit more thought rather than calling it something that sound like a "Star Trek" fan site (nothing against "Star Trek").


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Why does Jim DeMint hate America?

South Carolina Senator Junior DeMint prefers Latvian values to American values:

In fact, DeMint said, Latvia's government adheres to some values from which he said America has been straying away.

"So much about what they're passionate about -- about democracy and freedom and free markets and free enterprise -- are things that we appear to be forgetting about in our own country," DeMint said.

I for one am getting a little tired of Republican politicians and judicial candidates trashing Americans.

Saturday catblogging


And here:


GOP hypocrisy illustrated

Quiddity at Uggabugga performs an invaluable service, creating a table to illustrate the fate of a number of Clinton judicial nominees whom the Republicans denied, one way or another, the "up or down vote" to which Mr. Bush thinks his nominees are entitled


Friday, June 03, 2005

This just in: Republican consultant impugns Bill Frist's honesty!!

Read Bob McAlister's comment here.

Mr. McAlister was chief of staff for former South Carolina governor, Republican Carroll Campbell.

Shorter Bob McAlister: Let's us extreme conservatives stop picking on Lindsey Graham and go back to demonizing judges!

Update: Here's an excerpt from Mr. McAlister's column which will soon be available only for pay on The State's website:

Complete disclosure here: I was a consultant to Lindsey Graham when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002. And some of his harshest critics in recent days are friends with whom I have worked as well.

Their zeal for wanting strict constructionists on the bench is on target. Thomas Jefferson warned that an unbridled judiciary would ultimately lead to a “judicial oligarchy” that would trample the Constitution and threaten liberty.

He was prophetic. Today, Congress and the president are allowed to do only that which black-robed tyrants permit. Five justices, appointed for life and accountable to no one, have the power to remake this country in their own godless image.

Which brings us back to Lindsey Graham.

The ultimate irony: By helping avert a vote on ending judicial filibusters, he may have rescued President Bush from the ultimate humiliation of losing the Senate vote on banning filibusters, dooming his chance of getting conservatives on the Supreme Court.

If Senate Republicans have to vote on the nuclear option to get the president’s Supreme Court nominees approved, the betting is that Graham will pull the trigger, and his credibility might even influence the vote that makes the difference between winning and losing.

Two eternal political truths withstood another test in last week’s chaos in the U.S. Senate.

One truth: In things political, most reality is below the surface. Lindsey Graham did his colleagues’ dirty work and never complained. Some were praised; he was criticized unfairly.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

I love the Web

Where else can you go to see videos of people weeping inconsolably while eating potatoes with ketchup? I don't why this cracked me up, but it did. Check out Rowdy and Robert, my faves.

(Via Jude Nagurney Camwell at American Street)

Just read



This link may contain more adorableness than you can stand . . .


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yeah, but would a just God allow the Designated Hitter Rule?

Pitcher Andy Pettitt says God wants him to play baseball, and specifically wants him to play for Houston:

By Andy Pettitte and Bob Reccord with Mark Tabb

My ultimate goal as a ballplayer is to win the World Series. Period. When I played for the Yankees we didn't just hope to make it to the series at the end of the season. We expected to play in it and win it every season. Nothing changed when I left New York. I signed with the Astros after the 2003 season because I wanted to help bring a championship to my hometown. That's why I play the game.As a Christian I also have one goal. I want to fulfill God's purpose for my life. I constantly ask myself "What does God want me to do?" and "Where does He want me to go?" Those may sound like odd questions to ask in a book about purity. After all, doesn't purity just mean sexual purity? Hardly. As I said in the last chapter, living a pure life means trying to please God in everything I do. And the best way to please God is living in a way He can work through me and use me in other people's lives.

The question of God's purpose for my life both today and for the rest of my life makes everything else secondary, even baseball. Don't get me wrong. I know the Lord wants me to play baseball. After all, a man needs to have a job. But my career won't last forever. Eventually my life will take another turn. When that time comes, God's plan for me and my family will come first. With every decision I make I have to think about what the longterm effects will be. Being able to discern this requires a pure and holy heart before God.

While God has me playing baseball, even where I play comes down to a question of His plan for my life. When my last contract with the Yankees expired I could sign with any major league team I wanted. But I knew that wasn't really my decision. I prayed and sought God's will throughout the 2003 baseball season because I wanted to know where God wanted me to play next. Honestly I could never imagine playing anywhere but New York. But God could. He wanted me in Houston. I thought I knew why when I signed, but I only saw the tip of the iceberg. One month before the start of Spring Training, one of my best friends found out he had cancer. The Lord planted me in Houston to be there for him and his family.

I suppose I shouldn't be snarky. That bit about the friend with cancer is touching. But still. Do you suppose God is such a micromanager? Does He really give a crap about baseball and who plays it and what team they play for? Does He care what positions everyone plays? Who does He like in the Belmont? Did God want Danica Patrick to race in the Indianopolis 500 and finish fourth? Do you suppose God weighed whether to have Ms. Patrick race Nascar or Indy cars, and after much divine consideration, selected the latter? If God is that much of an activist, does that mean He specifically wanted that high school kid in Ohio to shoot all those people? Why doesn't God pay off my student loans? Does He just want me to spend the rest of my life in DEBT? What have I ever done to HIM? Why can't I have a pony, God? I WANT A PONY!

Mr. Pettitte's story made me remember that SNL skit where Sally Field plays a housewife who's constantly praying about every little thing. "Dear sweet Jesus, please protect my husband as he goes to work." "Dear Jesus, please guide me while I make this sandwich." "Precious, SWEET Jesus, please watch over me while I vacuum the stairs." That kind of thing. An exasperated Jesus finally appears to Sally Field and tells her, in essence, to cut it the hell out. He's BUSY.

New to the illustrious Rogue Planet blogroll

Steve Gilliard. He wasn't on there before because I think he's a thoroughgoing jerk - self-righteous, judgmental, preachy - he reminds me of Dr. Laura. If Dr. Laura were black, male, and an angry left-wing blogger. Yet I read his blog a couple of times a week, comment on it frequently, and rudely, and find it to be wildly entertaining precisely because of his jerkiness. So why not add him to the blogroll? I mean, heck, if I can blogroll Acidman . . . Plus, I feel sorry for Steve G. His blog doesn't get anywhere NEAR the traffic mine does. Maybe this will give the dude a boost. Go give him some money, he needs it.

Also, Brad Warthen, editor of my hometown (Columbia, South Carolina) newspaper, The State . His blog is brand new. Yes, when I learned that The State's editor had a blog, I emitted low, mordant chuckles, to steal a phrase from the incomparable Daily Howler. The Internet has given yet another marginalized citizen a voice, I thought. At last, Brad Warthen will no longer be limited to broadcasting his opinions on the editorial pages of a statewide newspaper!

To The State's credit, Mr. Warthen's blog actually has open, unmoderated comments. I wonder how long that will last. Especially now that idontbelievethestate has found the blog. For now, I find it immensely amusing to be able to sass him in person. The State's editorial page has a preachy, schoolmarmy, finger-wagging quality that I find irritating even when I agree with The State, and maddening when I don't. This is particularly true of the columns written by Mr. Warthen and Cindi Ross Scoppe. Moreover, The State is all too quick to fall for phony-ass politicians who pretend to be something other than politicians (Bush, Sanford). You know, the kind of politician whose campaign ads say that he's a "leader," not a politician like all those other politicians running for the same office. Many times have I composed long cranky letters to The State in my head, only to be too lazy to actually write them down. Now I can just go to Mr. Warthen's blog and ask questions I've always wanted to ask, like - when Mr. Warthen started complaining about Sanford's utterly predictable libertarian agenda - "what the hell did you expect when you endorsed him?"
Mr. Warthen even answered that last question in comments (addressing another commentor). He favored Sanford, he says, because during Sanford's campaign he thought Sanford shared his pet priorities, such as restructuring state government. To which I say SUCKA! It's painfully obvious now that Sanford's actual priority is eliminating most of state government (except for the Sanford aide who recently got a whopping pay raise). To speculate wildly (a la Steve Gilliard) about The State's true motives for endorsing Sanford: Frankly, I think The State was just seduced by Sanford's nice tan, lean good looks, and crisp white shirts. The State can be so shallow sometimes.


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