Saturday, April 28, 2007

Up There with Snorks

Saturday morning cartoons, better than ever...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Just a Man Talkin'

Bush today:
I invite the leaders of the House and Senate, both parties, to come down, you know, soon after my veto, so we can discuss a way forward.


“It’s good beef, it’s healthy beef,” Mr. Bush said of the American-grown product. “As a matter of fact, I’m going to feed the prime minister and his delegation a good hamburger today for lunch."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm giddy today cuz i just discovered that the first Cocteau Twins album was released on my birthday.

Who Is America?

Inspired by Sifu Tweety's own post on Automan at The Poor Man Institute, a little fodder for the endless question: Who or What Is America?

There is truly no end to the madness. It will continue to get worse until as a country we purge those who are misleading us and determine how they lasted unchallenged for so long.
WASHINGTON - U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.

Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

President Bush explained why in a television interview on Tuesday. "If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory," he told TV interviewer Charlie Rose.
Emphasis Mine.

(Via ThinkProgres)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I've often written about and linked to David Kuo, an evangelical who worked in the Bush Administration but became disillusioned with their hypocrisy and left. Despite our differences in religious viewpoints, I generally respect the man and his honesty and convictions. David continues to focus more on his "personal relationship with Jesus" (his blog's called J-Walking) and the idea that Christianity is primarily about Helping the Poor than the political power-grab and petty cultural war that the religious right tends to focus on.

That said, I could not disagree with a post more than this one he just posted. Denial of the reality of death is to me the source of terrible delusional motives, not a goal worth raising to a pedestal.
My two-year-old daughter Livvy lives in a world without death. Nothing around her - save for the ants we regularly annihilate - has ever died. And even if something did die she wouldn't understand it. Death is completely foreign to her life. Life is all she knows.

Her life is, I believe, how life was meant to be. We aren't meant to be surrounded by death. It is entirely unnatural. We are born to life and oriented to life and know in our souls that we are designed to live - far beyond what we see or smell or understand. Death is the enemy, death is the stalker and even for those who wrap their lives in Jesus and know that death isn't the end, it is still the enemy.

My hope is that I can keep Livvy in her world of life for as long as possible - it is the innocence that matters most.
I suppose this is where I will always diverge from devout Christians. The difference is the Bible.

For me, all my experience of the world around me makes me think that death is quite natural, and quite a given about existence. However, if you toss in one extra element into your "experience" (say, a book that you treat as a user-manual for life, the ol' Message from the Creator) and that book tells you that death is not the end and death is not natural, but in fact is the result of sin - well, given that axiom ("death is not the end"), you must conclude that Death is not the End.

If I had a book I trusted completely that said, say, "Time Runs In Reverse, and Any Sense of Vice Versa is Result of Human Fault," I would dream of maintaining my "innocent" young child in believing that Time Ran in Reverse.

(Remember the root of Darth Vader's transformation into evil? What the Emperor dangles in front of him? Yes, that's right. I've responded to the Christian worldview by reference to a scene in the sixth Star Wars movie.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Historical Gallup Poll:

(via ThinkProgress)

New York Times: Pentagon Challenged on Lynch and Tillman

Jessica Lynch testifies to Congress
The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideas of heroes, and they don't need to be told elaborate tales.

Monday, April 23, 2007

No, This Doesn't Help

Blogs for Bush offers this definition:
Victory in the War on Terrorism: When no State dares to shelter or support any group which uses terror as a means of attaining political goals.
How can Mark Noonan write this and not realize that this is nonsense? That it is could be no more clearly a statement that the "war on terror" will never end?
This the last time we'll define it - and that means you never need to ask us to define it again.

Therefor, all comments which ask for a definition of victory from this point on will be deleted and people who annoy us by continually asking for definitions of victory will be banned or made severe fun of, whichever we feel like doing at the moment in a very arbitrary and dictatorial manner.

Friday, April 20, 2007

No More Limbo

Roman Catholic Church:
Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered ... give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision (of God).
Note how they use language that suggests this were a rational, evidence-based conclusion.

(via Atrios)
A good roundup of the terrible things that some rightwingers have been saying about the V Tech shooting. I just don't know what to say.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

McCain Thinks It's Funny

John McCain decides it's funny to sing, to the theme of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann":
Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran
(via ThinkProgress)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No Place In The Myths

Roger Ailes
What Reason Do You Need To Be Shown
Those searching for an explanation for the shootings at Virgina Tech are out of luck. The young man who killed his classmates was mentally ill and there are mental illnesses we cannot cure, control or understand. Human understanding, in its present state, cannot supply an answer to why such assaults occur.

Which might explain why so many wingnuts are desparately seeking (non-existent) connections between the shootings and Islam or race or co-ed dorms or depraved secular culture and the decline of 'The West.' (You've already seen those links.) Anything but mental illness. Because mental illness can't be blamed on godlessness (and, more specifically, Biblical-godlessness). In fact, in the logic of the wingnut view, mental illness, because it exists, must be part of God's plan. And because it is an involuntary infliction, it can't be explained away as a deliberate rejection of godly principles.

Of course, it's more fun to bitch about foreigners or violence in the media than to rationally address the need for more and better mental health research and treatment. Or to wallow 'inside the mind of a killer' for fun and profit (oh, if only there was a way to lure potential serial killers to the DatelineNBC house for some sexy talk with Chris Hansen!) But don't imagine you'll accomplish anything with such exercises, and don't pretend you're even trying.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shorter Everyone On the Internet:
The senseless massacre at Virginia Tech basically confirms everything I’ve been saying all along.

And if you don't know the "Shorter" writing concept already, follow the explanative links at the bottom.

David Kuo wrote this morning:
Turn it off today. Turn off CNN and Fox and MSNBC. Don't go surfing for more information. Don't listen to all the people talking. Don't let the media do it for you.
Oh, BibliOdyssey, how i love thee so...

Bush to NRA: Don't Worry

Associated Press:
A White House spokesman said President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia. "The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Glenn Reynolds illustrates one kind of reaction to the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech this morning - the sense that it somehow results from there being not enough guns!
Sitting on a bench in a subway station this morning, waiting for my train. I notice that the young woman next to me is eating a Snicker's bar. "Hmmm, " I say to myself, "Strange how people have some wildly varying views of what's To Eat in the morning." I close my eyes and focus on the music.

A few minutes later, I open them and notice that the woman is...opening another Snicker's bar to, apparently, continue her breakfast.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

USA Today
"This thing just exploded in a full-on, frontal attack," family friend Chris Thomas told the newspaper. "It jumped out of the water at her and hit her head on."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Home from Portland

Mountpanther-12, originally uploaded by The Only Ronster.

Jill and I just got back from Portland. We had a great time.

What Year Is It?

Saw a sign in the window of a laundromat last night. It read: "Dachshunds available. All immunized and microchipped."

Um, wha?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

As a Biologist...

Tom DeLay pipes up:
Firstly, as a biologist I have always felt that the science behind ‘global warming’ and man-made climate change was absolute hokum, and it distresses me to see a majority of justices on our Supreme Court embrace it.

Update: I must confess that I first posted this because it cracked me up to watch Tom assume the authority of a "scientist" - like the classic Frist offering his medical opinion by watching the Terri Schiavo videotape - but staring me right in the face was his choice of branch of science! As a "biologist," he offers his view on climate change? I guess, maybe, as a stretch a biologist could consider the response that biological beings could have to climate change, but when we're talking about the evidence for the human-influence in the runaway climate changes occuring right now..? This is not the domain of a biologist.

I think he got his nonsense mixed up. What he meant to say was" I have always felt that the science behind ‘evolution’ and monkeys changing into human beings was absolute hokum..."

Monday, April 02, 2007


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sometimes it feels like there just need to be separate countries.

This excerpt is from an interview with Sam Harris ("The End of Faith") and Rick Warren ("The Purpose-Driven Life") in Newsweek this week. I applaud Sam for his patience in the interview. But MY, sometimes it just feels like it's not worth trying to explain this stuff to someone who's not listening.
HARRIS:I am terrified of what seems to me to be a bottleneck that civilization is passing through. On the one hand we have 21st-century disruptive technology proliferating, and on the other we have first-century superstition. A civilization is going to either pass through this bottleneck more or less intact or it won't. And perhaps that fear sounds grandiose, but civilizations end. On any number of occasions, some generation has witnessed the ruination of everything they and their ancestors had built. What especially terrifies me about religious thinking is the expectation on the part of many that civilization is bound to end based on prophecy and its ending is going to be glorious.

WARREN: I believe that history split into A.D. and B.C. because of the Resurrection. And the Resurrection is not only the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is the hope of the world: it says there's more to this life than just here and now. That doesn't mean that I do less, it means that this life is a test, it's a trust and it's a temporary assignment. If death is the end, shoot, I'm not going to waste another minute being altruistic.

HARRIS: How do you account for my altruism?

WARREN: You have common grace. Even in people who don't believe in God, there is a spark God has put in you that says, "There's got to be more to life than just make money and die." I think that that spark does not come from evolution.
It's like in a science fiction movie when you discover that your friend has been "assimilated" or turned into an android. I would die of despair to be continuously confronted with this viewpoint.

That all said, I am incredibly grateful to Rich and Sam both for agreeing to sit down and discuss this, and for giving each other (at least as it was transcribed) and opportunity to respond. I recommend you read the whole thing.