Monday, June 29, 2009

Who stole my cartoon?

Someone was kind enough to put this up on a certain whiny website and ask for it to be "texted," so I obliged. : )

We're still in mourning over Billy Mays. More inciteful... I mean, insightful commentary later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You've been hit by - You've been struck by -

The Alien thing that has been impersonating Michael Jackson for the last however many years has been terminally recalled.

Hopefully now the real Michael Jackson (not a reptoid, chimp-bothering, child-fiddling, baby-dangling weirdo) will return!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran: Revolution Number None

mahmoud ahmedinejad
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My heart is with my Iranian students, many of whom may be caught up in the whirlwinds of violent change at this moment. At the very least they're probably glued to the television or internet, waiting for news from home and hoping their friends and families are okay.

I'm not their teacher anymore. I cannot help them now. I cannot show them the way to go, or the right way to do something. I can't tell them where to find what they need, or suggest alternatives if they can't find it.

All I can do is keep my fingers crossed on their behalf, and hope that, in the days ahead, the decisions they make are the right ones for them.

A lot of people outside of Iran have notions about what should happen next. Democracy, say some. A return to the royal family, say others.

Some, focused on the notion that the CIA and/or Mossad have engineered this whole thing, seem to be brushing its importance off, or at least having a worrying antipathy to it all. "How dare the people rise up? Don't they know they're being played by spooks?"

And maybe they are. It wouldn't be the first time either country got involved with Iranian politics for their own ends.

And it would make the neo-con crowd ever so happy if they didn't have some smirking chimp with nuclear ambitions threatening his neighbors, and didn't have to suffer another Iraq war to get him out.

(The fact that they backed a different smirking chimp for eight years is clearly another matter.)

But what if the CIA and/or Mossad is NOT involved? Or what if they're there, on the street, but the matter is no longer in their control, if indeed it ever was?

What if this is a genuine moment of Iranian anger? What if this is a genuine movement that has burst out into existence?

What if, after years of being told they can't have what they want, the Iranian people are finally saying "yes, we can" and running out to take it?

I think we would be damned silly to pooh-pooh this moment in time because of what the Neo-cons want, or what the CIA may or may not have done, or what Israel thinks.

I think we should be keeping our fingers crossed on the behalf of the Iranian people, tonight and for all nights, until this matter has been settled by them.

I think we should hope that, when the dust is settled, the people either have the government that they want, or that they have put the government that remains on notice that there ARE limits to their patience, and change had better be forthcoming.

That's the thing with revolutions: even the failed ones are successes, because they reveal that the people, once angered into motion, are not some abstract threat to be laughed at like a mythical boogeyman, but a concrete force that can rise up like an earthquake, and shatter the foundations the empire rests upon.

From these days forward, things are never going to be the same for the Iran that I grew up knowing. And we would be wise to wish that country well, rather than spitting at their efforts from our own high towers.

Our own towers aren't indestructible, either.

Kids, you're not my kids anymore. You're men and women. You're the heart and soul of Iran. You are its future. If I have one wish for you, it's that you think about what you want before you get it, and make sure it's something that will work for you.

Don't worry about our ideas and our desires. That's us. That's why we have negotiations and diplomats.

You are not a satellite. You are a body unto yourselves. Find a new orbit and fly.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scientology: The Truth Rundown

The leader of the Church of Scientology strode into the room with a boom box and an announcement: Time for a game of musical chairs.

David Miscavige had kept more than 30 members of his church's executive staff cooped up for weeks in a small office building outside Los Angeles, not letting them leave except to grab a shower. They slept on the floor, their food carted in.

Their assignment was to develop strategic plans for the church. But the leader trashed their every idea and berated them as incompetents and enemies, of him and the church.

Prove your devotion, Miscavige told them, by winning at musical chairs. Everyone else — losers, all of you — will be banished to Scientology outposts around the world. If families are split up, too bad.

Fascinating articles from the St. Petersburg Times website,, giving the stories of high-ranking defectors from the Church of Scientology concerning their leader, David Miscavige, the physical and verbal intimidation he doles out, the church's totalitarian "ecclesiastical justice," how the Church crookedly strong-armed the IRS to get its tax-exempt status back, and details into the cover-up of Lisa McPherson's death.

Of course, the Church is denying what they're saying, in their usually creepy manner. But be sure to see the "dirt" they dug up on the defectors for the reporters: aren't you glad to know that bungling a business deal is "treason"?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama blocks access to visitors log?

Well so much for transparency.

The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.

Despite President Barack Obama's pledge to introduce a new era of transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied's request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present. It also denied a narrower request by the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sought logs of visits by executives of coal companies.

I can understand the need for occasional secrecy in case of emergencies or secret negotiations, but it's the people's house and we should know who the President is seeing. The Federal Bench agrees with this reasoning, and no amount of hokey-pokey between the President's office and the Secret Service is going to change the fact that this looks like a LACK of transparency, which is something we've suffered for too long to take lightly, now.

Barry, come on. Tell us who you're meeting with. We have the right to know. And if you have to do something secret, meet them at a Parliament Funkadelic concert.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The BNP Goes to Brussels

Once again, the anti-immigrant British National Party (BNP) has scored a political victory. In spite of a massive advertising campaign set against them, they have gained two seats in the European Parliament, giving BNP head Nick Griffin a place at the 785-member body.

Which means that the man who claimed, as late as 2007, that the only reason he doesn't deny the Holocaust anymore is because European law "requires" him to acknowledge its existence may have a chance – however slim – to see that law changed.

Full story up at Op Ed News, here.

I'm sure I'll get pilloried by boneheads at Stormfront over this one, too.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Total Bollocks

I'll have more to say about it soon, but if I lived in Northern England, I'd be wearing one of these now.

This is truly shameful.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

America - Surrounded by Icky Pagans! (if only)

Yes, it's true. At least according to Newt Gingrich.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged Christians to get involved in politics to preserve the presence of religion in American life.

"I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history," Gingrich said. "We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

Now, speaking as a political realist, I have to say that this is the usual Gingrichian hyperbole, carefully aimed at his Rock Church audience. Gingrich has said worse things in the past (such as how Democrats were responsible for Susan Smith) and will probably say even worse things in the future. That's our Newty!

And this is largely par for the course: the P-word is often used by the Christian Right to denounce things they don't like, and placed hand-in-hand with social issues like pornography, abortion and the like. Lest we forget how Rev. Falwell kindly informed us, on September 11th, that Pagans had a hand in bringing the attacks on America. (And how Pat Robertson agreed with him)

But as an eclectic Pagan, I can only say "if only." If only we were a mostly Pagan nation, in a world made up of mostly Pagan people!

If only people saw each other as brothers and sisters of one large family.

If only people saw the Earth as a sacred object, and not a massive combination refrigerator and toilet.

If only we could see the Divine in all things and all people.

If only we could recognize magic for what it is, and accept its role in our lives.

If only people weren't hung up on sex roles and sexuality.

If only we loved and honored our children and our parents.

If only we sought not to convert or proselytize, but to lead, and follow, by example.

If only we both preached and practiced not tolerance, but acceptance, of that which was of no harm to ourselves.

If only we could say "and it harm none, do what ye will," and meant it, and lived by it.

Would the world be totally perfect? No. Would the world be totally peaceful? No. Would the world be free from all ills, manmade or otherwise? No.

But there's no denying it would be much, much better than it is today.

So sorry, Newt - you are not surrounded by Pagans. And that really just is too bad.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cheney whoopsies and tells TRUTH about Iraq and 9/11

Steven Leser has the goods at op ed news, complete with visual aids:

In this interview, Cheney shows several of the reasons why he is one of the most unpopular politicians in America. He knowingly lied three times regarding some of the biggest national security issues in the last 20 years, he attempted to blame others for the failures of administrations to which he belonged, and takes no responsibility for anything. Not only does that sentence sum up Dick Cheney well, it does a good job summing up the Republicans in power for the last eight years, lying, blaming others and no responsibility. I hope the American people never forget it.

Check it out. Your blood will boil.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Right Wing Rhetoric Fail - Tiller was a "Nazi"

One thing that has come out of Dr. Tiller's assassination is yet another reminder of how willing people are to co-opt history without fully understanding it.

In this case, we are being told that Tiller got what he deserved because he was guilty of "Nazi stuff," as Bill O'Reilly professed on June 8, 2005.

The person who is accused of killing Tiller purportedly referred to him as "the concentration camp Mengele of our day."

And a cursory examination of pro-life speakers and materials finds several parallels drawn between Nazi Germany and abortion in America. The millions killed in the Concentration Camps are endlessly compared to the number of fetuses aborted since Roe v. Wade.

But there's just one problem: the Nazis were pro-life, too. And pro-abortion (NOT "pro-choice") when their twisted, racial supremacist-motivated Eugenics programs called for it.

Indeed, Hitler's regime serves as a reminder of what happens when a government decides to control all aspects of life. They decided who could not have children and who should be forced to have children. They mandated abortions and sterilizations in some, while forbidding abortions and contraception to others, all to serve their ultimate goal of an Aryan nation.

To compare the modern pro-life movement to Nazi Germany is to seriously miss the point of what that government was all about - the total control of a nation and its people.

It is true that the American Eugenics movement of the early 20th century acted in a shameful manner that has since been discredited (and, unfortunately, swept under the rug). But while pro-life proponents are quick to point out the connections between Planned Parenthood and that movement, they fail to point out that what exists today is a far cry from what was then.

At no time in recent history has a the pro-choice movement ever spoken of forcing any person to do anything in terms of their own biological choices. Dr. Tiller never went door to door with guards and guns to force "unfit" women to have abortions. Dr. Tiller didn't forcibly sterilize women or outlaw contraception.

Instead, he provided a politically unpopular service to women in need of late term abortions. People went to him, not the other way around. And he was one of the few doctors in America they could go to, no doubt due to those who vilified him as a "Nazi."

So using the term "Nazi" to describe a an abortion doctor is to mishandle the term, and act to cover up the full horror of the Third Reich's attempts to control its nation's biological destiny, and sanitize the world of "lesser" races.

Whether we believe abortion should be legal or illegal, it would behoove us to remember that history is much more complex and nuanced than we might like to admit. While we should remember the past, and continue to draw parallels between it and the present to find the future, we should also remember ALL of it, and not just the bits that seem to uphold our own viewpoints.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Randal Terry on Tiller Assassination: Not my fault, pass the chicken wings

Randal Terry is a slimy, camera-mugging sleazebag. Can we just get that out of the way before we go any further with this?

What's his comment on the assassination of George Tiller, while sitting in a church? Terry had the following to say: "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.

"I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

"Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."

The next day he appeared before the National Press Club:

The point that must be emphasized over, and over, and over again: pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement are not responsible for George Tiller's death. George Tiller was a mass-murder and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.

Q: So who is responsible ...

Terry: The man who shot him is responsible ...

Q: "... because that makes it sound like you were saying that he [Tiller] is responsible.

Terry: The man who shot him is responsible.

Q: What did you mean by "he reaped what he sowed"?

Terry: He was a mass-murder. He sowed death. And then he reaped death in a horrifying way.

But just in case you were worried that he wasn't taking the matter seriously, after informing us that this murder could be a "teaching moment for what child-killing is really all about," he was kind enough to put in what sounded like a request for lunch: Guinness and chicken wings - really hot and a little crispy.

I think one of the off-camera voices at 0:29 says it best: "I guess that wraps it up." I don't know whether to laugh, cry or throw heavy objects at a steel pole.