Hell, I coulda done that

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday, regarding the bailout amount of $700B . “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Article at Forbes.com, highlighted at Political Wire.


Unintelligently De-lined

I promise the title’s pun is the unfunniest thing about this story. 

There is a rich, deep kind of irony that must be shared. I’m blogging this from the Apple store in the Mall of America, because I’m too amused to want to wait until I get back to my hotel room.

I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird — I was standing in line, hadn’t even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in.

I’m still laughing though. You don’t know how hilarious this is. Not only is it the extreme hypocrisy of being expelled from their Expelled movie, but there’s another layer of amusement. Deep, belly laugh funny. Yeah, I’d be rolling around on the floor right now, if I weren’t so dang dignified.

The real surprise is in the full posting: Expelled! at Pharyngula.

Read more: here and here and even here.

Political Junkies Unite!

Most of us get very tired of the constant campaigning, ads, and news stories in a presidential year while junkies like me can’t seem to stay away.

For those of you scoring from home, the Votemaster at http://www.electoral-vote.com/ is beginning to track the primary delegates state by state in preparation for tracking the electoral college polling.  My other favorite political news spot is http://www.politicalwire.com/.

If you just care to see that President Bush finally leaves office, here are a couple of clocks to help you plan your party:
(I presume the clocks differ because of time zones, I’ll let you all decide)

May the best American win (at least out of those willing to spend millions of dollars, subject themselves to constant media scrutiny and death threats, and clean up the mess from the last 7 years)!

Whoa.  Dude, that’s trippy.

Is this dancer going clockwise or counter-clockwise?

Check out Dan Harlow’s blog to interpret what you see.  Found via Stumble.

And he never has to go to Kmart again….

Though I’m sure his wife had a couple of words for him…

What a great list of ideas.

Found on Digg.

Hope for the future.

The South Carolina representative in the Miss Teen USA pageant, the winner from her state, shares her thoughts on American education.

Shamelessly stolen from BobHarris.com.


NAACP GOP Presidential Candidate Forum

Republicans can’t find the courage to face the NAACP, then they’ll never be able to face and defeat Al Qaeda.

Found on Digg.com


When “I Love You” just won’t fit.

Image is clickable.

Thanks to the friends at harikari.

Checklist of Fascism

You just never know what you might find on StumbleUpon:  there’s a website titled the 14 Characteristics of Fascism.  I don’t subscribe to Free Inquiry, so I can’t assess if this article has any academic merit; it may even have been written to be a sensational editorial on Bush’s America.  Nonetheless, it is startling to walk through the checklist:

Powerful and Continuing Nationalism:  Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights:  Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.  [I’d argue that we don’t have this since Pres. Bush doesn’t actually listen to their counsel.]
Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
Controlled Mass Media:  Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
Obsession with National Security:  Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
Labor Power is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .
Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Anyone enough of a PoliSci major to comment on whether this is a fair characterization of fascist governments?  If it is, I can count at least 10 of the above that I could argue are present in 2007’s USA.


Gay hate church to picket gun rampage funerals

Link at PinkNews.co.uk:

The Westboro Baptist Church has announced they will picket the funerals of the 32 victims of the shooting spree at Virginia Tech. The church are notorious for their anti-gay views, and often protest at the funerals of American military personnel killed in Iraq.

I especially appreciated the advice by grolaw (#10) under Richard Dawkin’s posting of the article:

Whatever else they may be, I have found one easy way to make them go away – engage any of them (though the younger women are easier targets) and discuss how difficult it mist be to have to travel so far to give their message. That hotels are expensive – how do they afford to come to XXX place and tell us the truth. Invariably you will hear how they travel together and how the women and men are segregated in different hotel rooms.

Ask if it isn’t difficult to be separated from spouse and the response is always “no” not when doing “god’s work” – ask if spouse is in the other hotel room and spouse always is (these people are all extended family of Fred Phelps).

Then point out that it seems very gay to segregate married couples into “boys and girls” at the hotel. Act shocked as you realize that this is a gay hate group masquerading as straight and tell them that they should read their own signs!

I’ve had several of them run away from me – and I never raised my voice or gave them any reason to believe that I wasn’t on their side until I point out the implications of their strange lifestyle. They are so homophobic that they simply can’t take any analysis that suggests they might be gay!