Friday, April 27, 2007

On Friday Random Ten

Okay, so we've all had those weeks, right? Those weeks? Weeks like those?

Well, while this week wasn't quite like being lured to a land of sweets and joy by a pair of annoying unicorns, only to have your kidneys stolen when you get there, it was definitely... Well, this chick knows:

Confidential to 57326: Just pick one. Please. It really doesn't matter; any of them would work. Just choose one, and then stick with the one you choose. Please.

Confidential to the one who wants to edit: Just pick one. Please. I realize that at this point, we aren't even working with your money anymore, but you set the deadline and going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth isn't getting us there. You practically wrote the damn thing yourself, so just pick the one you like. Please.

Confidential to the tall one: Just pick one. Please. I've come to realize that my opinion in this matter is negligible at best, will probably be discarded entirely, and I accept that. But that leaves it up to you to pick one. Which I wish you would do quickly, because I really have to pee. Please.

Sigh. The Ten:

1. Jump, Little Children, "Come Out Clean"
2. Kay Starr, "I Cry By Night"
3. Diana Krall, "Popsicle Toes"
4. Furslide, "Over My Head"
5. Lenny Kravitz, "Yesterday Is Gone (My Dear Kay)"
6. The Original Broadway Cast of Avenue Q, "There's a Fine, Fine Line"
7. Ice Cube (featuring Das EFX), "Check Yo Self"
8. 311, "Mindspin"
9. Michael Bublé, "I've Got You Under My Skin"
10. Lunatic Calm, "Leave You Far Behind"

That looks... Yeah, that looks just about right, all told. What about you? How was your week? What's on your Ten?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

On four more of 'em

Okay, so back before President Bush's approval rating tanked so drastically and even some Republicans started trying to distance themselves from him, I used to joke (morbid humor, that) that the Republicans were going to try to amend the Constitution to give us four more years of Bush.

Now, of course, such a suspicion, even joking, is ridiculous. Even President Bush himself is gazing with wistful anticipation toward the end of his time in office. But Republican candidates are coming up fast, and some of the frontrunners are looking like they might just revive Bush's legacy of bipartisanship.

Before you click on that link, let's play a game. It's called "Hey, Who Said That?" and the answers are below.

1. "[I]f you believe the way to win this war is to stay on the offense and use every element of national power to protect you, and lay the foundation of peace for a generation, vote Republican."

2. “If any Republican is elected president ... we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it."

3. “I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense. We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”

4. "When it came time to vote on whether the National Security Agency should continue to monitor terrorist communications, almost 90 percent of the House Democrats voted against it. In all these vital measures for fighting the war on terror, the Democrats just follow a simple philosophy: Just say no."

5. "[The terrorists] hate us and not because of anything bad we have done; it has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. They hate us for the freedoms we have and the freedoms we want to share with the world."

6. "We do not create terrorism by fighting terrorism. The terrorists are at war against us because they hate everything America stands for, and because they know we stand in the way of their ambitions to take over the Middle East."

7. "[I]f you want this country to do everything we can to protect you from further attack and lay the foundations for peace, you vote Republican."

8. "[T]he question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have? If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer."

9. "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

10. “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”

1. President Bush
2. Rudy Giuliani
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. President Bush
5. Rudy Giuliani
6. President Bush
7. President Bush
8. Rudy Giuliani
9. President Bush
10. Rudy Giuliani

If you thought you might just miss Bush's fiery rhetoric, annihilationist politics, and fearmongering, fear not. It looks like we've got plenty more coming down the line - for the next year and a half at least.

I, for one, can't wait. Can't. Wait.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On cruelty and humanity

Okay, so Jill, usually of Feministe, has a post up at Huffington Post outlining the true consequences of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban. She points out, and rightly so, that the ban isn't about preserving life or protecting families. In fact, the women and families most frequently affected by this legislation (and by an incredibly wide margin) and those who want their pregnancies, who want children, who are faced with unimaginable pain and sorrow when those pregnancies go wrong - and who are subjected to further pain and sorrow as they are victimized and demonized by the court.

And I do want to mark this with a TRIGGER WARNING, because the descriptions of the things that can go wrong with a pregnancy may be understandably difficult for some women to read. I publish them not out of any sense of gratuitous voyeurism or shock value but to illustrate the need for basic human compassion in situations like that, and I'm grateful to the women who have shared such personal stories

The ruling against intact D&E, the ruling that allows the Supreme Court to overrule the best judgment of a physician and a pregnant woman, makes reference to the fact that the procedure in question is "gruesome." It's true. Most significant medical procedures are. But although an honest examination of the procedure is enough to squick a person out, so is an honest examination of the consequences, both physical and emotional, when a necessary medical procedure is made unavailable and politics are played with a woman's life, physical and emotional health, and future fertility.

Gretchen Voss shared her story with Marie Claire magazine.
When I was 18 weeks pregnant at my doctor's office in Lexington, Massachusetts, I remember eagerly anticipating the ultrasound that would tell my husband and me whether our baby was a boy or a girl. We were so excited, oohing and aahing like the giddy, expectant parents that we were.

The technician, however, was quiet, and I started to panic. We learned that the ultrasound indicated that the fetus had an open neural-tube defect, meaning that the spinal column had not closed properly. We had to go to Boston immediately, where a new, high-tech machine could tell us more.

In Boston, the doctor spoke using words no pregnant woman wants to hear - clinical terms like hydrocephalus and spina bifida. The spine, she said, had not closed properly, and because of the location of the opening, it was as bad as it could get.

What the doctors knew was awful: the baby would be paralyzed and incontinent, its brain smushed against the base of the skull and the cranium full of fluid. What they didn't know was devastating: would the baby live at all, and if so, with what sort of mental and developmental defects? Countless surgeries would be required if the baby did live, and none of them could repair the damage.

It sounds naive now, but I never considered pregnancy a gamble. Sitting in the doctor's windowless office, I tried to read between the lines of complicated medical jargon, searching for answers that weren't there. But I already knew what I had to do. Even if our baby had a remote chance of surviving, it was not a life we would choose for our child.

I asked over and over, "Are we doing the right thing?" Our family - even my Catholic father and Republican father-in-law, neither of whom was ever pro-choice - assured us that we were. Politics suddenly became personal - their daughter's heartbreak, their son's pain, their grandchild's suffering - and that changed everything.

Martha Mendoza, too, certainly wasn't hoping that her pregnancy would end in abortion.
I could see my baby's amazing and perfect spine, a precise, pebbled curl of vertebrae. His little round skull. The curve of his nose. I could even see his small leg floating slowly through my uterus.

My doctor came in a moment later, slid the ultrasound sensor around my growing, round belly and put her hand on my shoulder. “It’s not alive,” she said.

She turned her back to me and started taking notes. I looked at the wall, breathing deeply, trying not to cry.

I can make it through this, I thought. I can handle this.

I didn’t know I was about to become a pariah.

I was 19 weeks pregnant, strong, fit and happy, imagining our fourth child, the newest member of our family. He would have dark hair and bright eyes. He’d be intelligent and strong — really strong, judging by his early kicks.

And now this. Not alive?


My doctor turned around and faced me. She told me that because dilation and evacuation is rarely offered in my community, I could opt instead to chemically induce labor over several days and then deliver the little body at my local maternity ward. “It’s up to you,” she said.

I’d been through labor and delivery three times before, with great joy as well as pain, and the notion of going through that profound experience only to deliver a dead fetus (whose skin was already starting to slough off, whose skull might be collapsing) was horrifying.

I also did some research, spoke with friends who were obstetricians and gynecologists, and quickly learned this: Study after study shows D&Es are safer than labor and delivery. Women who had D&Es were far less likely to have bleeding requiring transfusion, infection requiring intravenous antibiotics, organ injuries requiring additional surgery or cervical laceration requiring repair and hospital readmission.


There was this fact, too: The intact D&E surgery makes less use of “grasping instruments,” which could damage the body of the fetus. If the body were intact, doctors might be able to more easily figure out why my baby died in the womb.


We told our doctor we had chosen a dilation and evacuation.

“I can’t do these myself,” said my doctor. “I trained at a Catholic hospital.”

My doctor recommended a specialist in a neighboring county, but when I called for an appointment, they said they couldn’t see me for almost a week.

I could feel my baby’s dead body inside of mine. This baby had thrilled me with kicks and flutters, those first soft tickles of life bringing a smile to my face and my hand to my rounding belly. Now this baby floated, limp and heavy, from one side to the other, as I rolled in my bed.

And within a day, I started to bleed. My body, with or without a doctor’s help, was starting to expel the fetus. Technically, I was threatening a spontaneous abortion, the least safe of the available options.

I did what any pregnant patient would do. I called my doctor. And she advised me to wait.


On my fourth morning, with the bleeding and cramping increasing, I couldn’t wait any more. I called my doctor and was told that since I wasn’t hemorrhaging, I should not come in. Her partner, on call, pedantically explained that women can safely lose a lot of blood, even during a routine period.

I began calling labor and delivery units at the top five medical centers in my area. I told them I had been 19 weeks along. The baby is dead. I’m bleeding, I said. I’m scheduled for a D&E in a few days. If I come in right now, what could you do for me, I asked.

Don’t come in, they told me again and again. “Go to your emergency room if you are hemorrhaging to avoid bleeding to death. No one here can do a D&E today, and unless you’re really in active labor you’re safer to wait.”


At last I found one university teaching hospital that, at least over the telephone, was willing to take me.

“We do have one doctor who can do a D&E,” they said. “Come in to our emergency room if you want.”

But when I arrived at the university’s emergency room, the source of the tension was clear. After examining me and confirming I was bleeding but not hemorrhaging, the attending obstetrician, obviously pregnant herself, defensively explained that only one of their dozens of obstetricians and gynecologists still does D&Es, and he was simply not available.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not the next day.

No, I couldn’t have his name.


They inserted sticks of seaweed into my cervix and told me to go home for the night. A few hours later — when the contractions were regular, strong and frequent — I knew we needed to get to the hospital. “The patient appeared to be in active labor,” say my charts, “and I explained this to the patient and offered her pain medication for vaginal delivery.”

According to the charts, I was “adamant” in demanding a D&E. I remember that I definitely wanted the surgical procedure that was the safest option. One hour later, just as an anesthesiologist was slipping me into unconsciousness, I had the D&E and a little body, my little boy, slipped out.

Around his neck, three times and very tight, was the umbilical cord, source of his life, cause of his death.

This unnamed mother chose to spare her child the constant pain of a rare and unexplained disorder.
In November, when I was 22 weeks pregnant, we received news that would forever change our lives. A sonogram at the perinatologist’s office revealed that our son, Thomas, had a condition known as arthrogryposis. The doctor’s face spoke volumes when he returned from fetching a medical book to confirm the rare diagnosis. He explained that arthrogryposis was a condition that causes permanent flexation of the muscle tissue. The condition could be caused by over 200 different diseases and syndromes, with a wide array of severity.

He asked for permission to do an immediate amniocentesis, and for the first time he used the word “termination. It was then that I first realized the gravity of our situation.

My husband and I were shocked and struggled to comprehend what we were being told.. It would take two weeks to receive the results of the amniocentesis, which might reveal the cause of the arthrogryposis, but we already knew that the prognosis was not good.

The ultrasound showed that Thomas had clubbed hands and feet. His legs were fixed in a bent position and his arms were permanently flexed straight. He had a cleft palate and swelling on his skull - a condition that would likely kill him in and of itself. Due to his inability to move, Thomas’s muscles had deteriorated to 25% or their usual size, and his bones to 25% of their usual density.

My husband and I were sent home to grapple with the news and face an unwelcome decision: whether or not to continue with the pregnancy.

… By the time the amnio results came back, we had two days left to make a decision before hitting the 24 week mark – after which, no doctor in Texas would terminate a pregnancy. The results were devastating. Our son had no chromosomal disorder. There was no explanation at all for his condition, and as such, no way to predict the scope of his suffering. We would have to make our decision based strictly on what the ultrasound had revealed.

My husband and I decided that we would have to use the golden rule. We would do for Thomas what we would want done for us in the same situation.

We tried to look at the evidence as honestly as we could. Even the best case scenario was abominable.. Thomas would lead a very short life of only a few years at the very most. During those years he would be in constant pain from the ceaseless, charley-horse-type cramps that would rack his body. He would undergo numerous, largely ineffective surgeries, just to stay alive. He would never be able to walk or stand; never grasp anything, never be able to hold himself upright. He wouldn’t even be able to suck his own thumb for comfort. And this was only if we were lucky. The more likely scenarios tended toward fetal death and serious health complications for me.

We made our decision with one day to go and left for Houston where we would end Thomas’s suffering in one quick and painless moment. Though we wanted to stay at home, _______ was no longer an option, as all of the hospitals were religiously-backed and there was no time to convene an ethics committee hearing.

In Houston, God graced us with some of the most compassionate people we’d ever met. The first was our maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who confirmed that the prognosis was even direr than originally thought. In a procedure very similar to an amniocentesis, Thomas’s heart was stopped with a simple injection. In that moment, as I held my husband’s hand, I met God and handed him my precious boy to care for, for all eternity.

Over the next 17 hours I labored to deliver Thomas’s body. It was a painful experience, but the only option given to a woman at 24 weeks gestation. Thomas Stephen _______ was born into this world just after 6:00 a.m. on November 27, 2002 – the day before Thanksgiving.

The loving nurse who’d helped us through labor cleaned his fragile body and brought him to us. We held our boy for the next hour as we said goodbye. Our own eyes confirmed what our hearts had already come to know: that Thomas was not meant for this world. The hospital’s pastor joined us and we christened Thomas in the baptism bonnet I’d worn as an infant.

On that same page, follow the link to "Loving Zeke" for a reminder that the freedom to choose includes the freedom to carry a fetus to term, regardless of the circumstances.

It's easy to look at a healthy baby sleeping peacefully or a healthy toddler running around in the park in the sunshine and imagine a perfect world where every fetus grows into one of those healthy kids. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect, and problems arise in pregnancies every day - serious, life-threatening problems that happen to much-wanted and already-loved children. To pass a universal law on a subject that concerns only unique individual cases is ridiculous. To legislate with some imaginary, perfect world in mind is not going to make that world come into being.

It will, however, hurt people. It hurts women. Forcing a woman to carry around the body of a fetus that will never see toddlerhood, that will live a short, miserable life (if it lives at all) while she waits for the court to rule from on high as to whether she's worthy of the medical procedure her doctor recommends is gruesome and inhumane. Forcing a woman to endure the pain of labor and vaginal delivery of a dead body or of a fetus that will live a brief, miserable life is gruesome and inhumane. Forcing a woman to undergo a D&E, dismembering the fetus and leaving her without so much as a body to hold and grieve over because a Supreme Court justice finds the alternative unpalatable, is gruesome and inhumane.

What isn't gruesome and inhumane? Understanding. Sympathy. Compassion.
[A]mong the audience members was a Los Angeles physician named James McMahon, who had made a specialty of performing late intacts and then bringing the fetuses to women who had asked to see them. “Having it intact was a goal, so they could do that, and have this closure,” recalls McMahon's widow, Gale McMahon, a nurse who helped run McMahon's practice until he died of complications from a brain tumor in 1995. “I knew what it meant to these women, to be able to hold them, and be able to coo over them and say goodbye. It was profound. I got material, and sewed little tiny sheaths, and we got tiny hats we could dress them in. I would put them on a clean cloth, and I would swathe them. Many women spent hours in there, and showed them to their other children. It was always treating the babies with the respect the parents would want them to.”

Friday, April 20, 2007

On ch-ch-changes

Okay, so WTF?!

Yeah, that. Here's what Doug says:
No, you're not on PCP -- this blog's color scheme has changed for the next few days so as to participate in the "Maroon and Orange Effect." The entire country has been invited to join this and pay tribute in a symbolic way to the kids at Virginia Tech, both those who were killed on Monday and those who survived and are soldiering on.

And I'm - what's the term? Doing that.

So-la-rex, so-la-rah.

On Friday Random Ten

Okay, so only one thought came to mind a the sight of the headline, Britney Spears flashes her panties.

Britney wore panties!

There's hope for the world after all. Here's the Ten:

1. Hector Berlioz, "Le Spectre de la Rose" from Les Nuits d’été
2. Korn, "Falling Away From Me"
3. Fountains of Wayne, "The Girl I Can't Forget"
4. Kula Shaker, "Magic Theatre"
5. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, "Prologue" from The Sleeping Beauty
6. Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone"
7. Johnny Cash, "Ragged Old Flag"
8. Billy Stewart, "Summertime"
9. Athenaeum, "Anyone"
10. Sarah McLachlan, "Fallen"

In other news, I will be spending my Saturday in Tuscaloosa, tailgating for the A-Day game and keeping an eye on Doug's dog. This will mark the first time I've a) tailgated for a game in which fight I have no dog, b) and it's a spring scrimmage, c) and I won't actually be attending the game.

Realizing that I have a problem is, I'm told, the first step to healing. Your Saturday plans and Friday tens go in comments.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On the government and your health care

Okay, so the Supreme Court know more about your obstetric and gynecologic needs than your doctor does.


On the lighter side of the news

Okay, so I did want to take a moment to officially and categorically deny all allegations that I was involved in the breakup of Prince William and Kate Middleton. What Wills and I had was very special, but we both knew that it could never work out for a variety of reasons, and the subsequent breakup was mutual and amicable. When, after a considerable recovery period, Wills decided to step back into the dating pool, I was happy for his happiness. I thought Kate was a lovely girl and had great hopes for their future happiness. It is my further hope that they will both be able to find the support they need in this difficult time and that they may even, one day, come back together.

William's new single status does not mean that I have regained or intend to regain what we once had, and I appreciate the discretion of the press on this matter.

That is all.

On heroism and other shameful things

Okay, so if I'd been in one of those classrooms at Virginia Tech, you know what I'd have done? I'd have waited until the guy got down the hallway and was turning into the classroom across from mine, and then I'd have jumped him from behind and gotten on his back so he couldn't shoot me, and he'd have probably slammed me into a doorjamb like they always do in movies, and I'd have held on, and then I would have grabbed his head and snapped his neck like Rambo, and it would have been awesome, and I'd totally be a hero.

Well, okay, not so much. More likely, I would have been hiding, crying, trembling, under a desk as soon as I heard the first gunshot. On a good day, I would have had the presence of mind to make it out the window. On a very good day, I would have had the fortitude to help my classmates barricade the door. I've never been (thank God) in a situation even remotely similar to that one, and I certainly can't predict my reaction, but I'm fairly sure that it would have been less than worthy of a Die Hard cameo.

Thank goodness, then, that we have such manly men as John Derbyshire to look after us.
As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren't very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can't hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren't bad.

Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It's true—none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.

Only a .22! What's a guy gonna do, take out 32 people with a piddly little .22? Just count the shots (from his semiautomatic), yell, "Let's roll," and go after him. "Your chances aren't bad." Pussies.

Nathaniel Blake is another manly man we want with us during a shooting spree.
College classrooms have scads of young men who are at their physical peak, and none of them seems to have done anything beyond ducking, running, and holding doors shut. Meanwhile, an old man hurled his body at the shooter to save others.

Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that. …

Like Derb, I don’t know if I would live up to this myself, but I know that I should be heartily ashamed of myself if I didn’t. Am I noble, courageous and self-sacrificing? I don’t know; but I should hope to be so when necessary.

He would be ashamed of himself. Do you hear that, Virginia Tech shooting victims? You have no one but yourselves to blame. The failure is all yours and only yours. Be ashamed.

Be ashamed, Zach Petkewicz.
Zach Petkewicz was in class when the shooting at Norris began and “everyone went into a frenzy, a panic.” Petkewicz was hiding behind a podium when he realized there was nothing preventing the shooter from entering the classroom and barked to his classmates, “We need to barricade this door.” (Watch how Petkewicz’s quick thinking may have saved lives Video)
Two students joined him in throwing tables against the door and wedging their weight behind them, just as the gunman cracked open the door.

When the students slammed the door in his face, “he backed up and shot twice into the middle of the door thinking we were up against it,” Petkewicz said.

“I was up against the side holding this desk up against there and I just heard his clip drop to the ground and he reloaded, and I thought he was coming back for a second round, to try and get his way in there,” he said. “He didn’t say a word, and he just turned and kept firing down the hall and didn’t try to get back in.”

Be ashamed, Trey Perkins.
In Room 207, the gunman burst in, killed German instructor Christopher Bishop and several students, wounding several others, then left. As other students wept and one vomited, Trey Perkins, Derek O’Dell and a female student lay down at the door and held it shut with their feet. Two minutes later the killer came back.

“After he couldn’t get the door open he tried shooting it open . . . but the gunshots were blunted by the door,” O’Dell said. The killer left again. Perkins, an Eagle Scout, told the other two to stay at the door, and got up to tend to wounded students. He wrapped his sweater and a tank top around one student’s wounded legs. Another student was shot in the mouth. Perkins grabbed a sweatshirt from a desk to stop her bleeding.

Be ashamed, Liviu Librescu.
Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, “but all the students lived – because of him,” Virginia Tech student Asael Arad – also an Israeli – told Army Radio. ...

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv.

We should all take note of this shameful, shameful behavior. We should all hope that, God forbid, we should be in such a situation, we'd be able to find inspiration in such shameful people. We can count ourselves blessed if we have such shameful people in our lives. And above all, we should strive to put others before ourselves and try to be that kind of shameful.

Monday, April 16, 2007

On radio silence

Okay, so Doug at Hey Jenny Slater has a stunningly well-written and thoughtful post about the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech and, more specifically, our reaction to it and, still more specifically, our terrifically selfish automatic reaction to it, to twist to our own purposes a huge event that isn't about us.

I'm joining Doug in 24 hours of blog silence, and I invite y'all to do the same. Take the time to pray, to think, to consider all of the times when our first reaction is to ask how does this apply to me or how can I use this, to consider all of the times we've hurt someone else through our thoughtless or malicious acts of selfishness, to really examine all of the times in our lives that we could put someone else's pain or dreams or feelings above our own and fail to do it. And then hold onto it, never forget it, but tuck it into the back of your mind, because again, that's all about you, and right now, this isn't about you. This is about a lot of other people, and if there is one person you can touch and comfort in the wake of this tragedy, that is what we should be doing right now.

On victims and accusers

Okay, so a passionate debate is raging over at Feministe over the recent developments in the Duke rape-accusation case. For those who have been avoiding any headlines not including the words "Anna Nicole Smith," the North Carolina Attorney General, on Wednesday, dropped all charges against the three Duke lacrosse players accused of rape by a stripper at one of their parties. Mike Nifong, the Durham County District Attorney who, arguably, railroaded the young men, faces ethics charges for his prosecution of the case.

A few thoughts, in no particular order:

1. These guys have been dragged through the mud. I can't say I like them any, just from what I've seen. They're the types of guys who book strippers for their keggers and then throw racist slurs at them (which accusations have been substantiated by witnesses), and I just plain don't like people like that. I think they're scum. But being scum isn't the same as being a rapist, and these guys have been treated like rapists for quite some time while evidence is unable to support that accusation. No one deserves that.

2. With that in mind, wouldn't we all be better off if we had shield laws for the accused like we do for the accuser? I think it's perfectly right that a rape victim shouldn't be exposed to media scrutiny and all of the negative attention associated with being a victim and/or accuser. But I also don't think that a person should have to carry around the label "rapist" if there exists a chance that he might not, in fact, be a rapist. There's plenty of time to demonize a criminal after s/he has been found guilty; a trial-by-media serves no one but the media.

3. With that in mind, I'd like to point out the difference between "these men aren't guilty" and "this woman is a liar." The accuser has had her name and picture plastered all over North Carolina and the Internet with the designation "liar," and it may or may not be the case. A couple of alternatives:

- She was raped that night, but not by the men accused.
- She's mentally ill and sincerely thought she had been raped.

After all, the nurse who did her rape exam reported trauma consistent with rape, and the accuser left not just her wallet, her cell phone, and her payment for services rendered but her fingernails in the house. Something happened there, although the nature of that something is debatable. And until that something is determined, until she's charged with making a false accusation, calling her a liar is as premature as calling them rapists.

4. Mike Nifong is a shit. I'm sorry, he is. Heinlein's Law warns us never to attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity, but it's hard to believe that, even in this world, someone that sincerely incompetent would be able to reach that level of prominence. Every Law & Order-watching yokel knows the proper procedure for a police lineup, and one suspect's appearance on a Wachovia security video at precisely the time the crime was allegedly occuring should have at least cast some doubt on a solid prosecution. But Nifong was so determined to push the case through that nothing as piddly as evidence was going to stand between him and his ultimate goal, whatever it was. And that's shitty, and his ethics investigation will certainly reveal that and, possibly, more.

5. This is not good for rape victims. They're taken seriously rarely enough as it is - conviction rates for rape are in the lowest tier among all crimes - and this'll only make it easier for people to dimiss them. "Hell, she's probably just making it up! Look at the Duke case!"

6. Nobody won here. Not the young men, who will be carrying the label "accused Duke rapist" for the rest of their lives; Google doesn't forget. Not the accuser, who either a) was seriously traumatized, continues to suffer that trauma and more, and will, likely, never see justice, b) is mentally unwell and needs help, or c) has been lying the entire time and will soon face prosecution. Not the state of North Carolina, which will be digging through the rubble of this case for years to come. Certainly not Mike Nifong, who, whatever his motives were, will be feeling no benefit from this case. And not us, the society who got to watch the entire debacle and got just a little bit stupid every time someone stood up on camera to make a self-serving speech.

On tragedy

Okay, so I had some snark ready to go for today, but in light of recent events, I think it can keep until tomorrow.

At Virginia Tech today, a gunman killed 21 people and injured 28 before he himself was killed, although as yet the police don't know or can't say how he died. The shootings took place in a residence hall and the engineering building.

A good number of family members and friends are Virginia Tech alums, and some are actually there and have reason to spend time in the engineering building (although I'm assured that all are okay). I'm sure this is hard on all of them, and my prayers go out to the families of the victims, to those who weren't hit but are shaken up nonetheless, and for the immortal soul of the gunman.

Friday, April 13, 2007

On Friday Random Ten: Land of Sweets and Joy and Joyness Edition

Okay, so it's Friday the 13th.

Here's some surreality for ya. Why not?

And a Random Ten:

1. Sarah Brightman, "Any Time, Anywhere"
2. The Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"
3. Guster, "California Dreamin'"
4. The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now?"
5. Save Ferris, "Come On Eileen"
6. Harry Connick, Jr., "It Had to Be You"
7. Kay Starr, "What Do You See in Her?"
8. The Smiths, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
9. The Isely Brothers, "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)"
10. Carl Orff, "Floret Silva Nobilis" from Carmina Burana

Wow. Okay, yeah, that was really random. Your randomness goes in comments.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On free speech and the thought police

Free Speech and the Thought Police would be a great name for an 80s glam-rock cover band. Must credit Practically Harmless.

Okay, so Don Imus is a turd, and I still can't stand him, but even I can admit that this entire controversy has become more protracted and impassioned than it absolutely needed to. I do think, though, that it's provided a grand opportunity to really, honestly reexamine racism and sexism and the way we address them. Those two issues take different forms these days than they did in the 1860s or the 1960s, and it could be really beneficial to look at the newest incarnations and figure out what to do with them.

A commenter suggested yesterday that the best thing we can do in this situation is ignore punks like Don Imus and tell the Rutgers players, "Girls, don't listen to that nonsense. Pay it no mind, because you're better than that." And that approach does sometimes work. When I was in elementary school and getting teased as elementary-schoolers tend to (was a dork then, still am a dork now, I'm afraid), the easiest thing was just to ignore it and imagine a future when my tormentors were pumping gas into my glossy new Jaguar. It worked, to some extent, and eventually said tormentors shut up about my eyebrows or my pant cuffs or my advanced math class or whatever the taunt of the day was and moved on to another victim.

But we're not dealing with institutionalized Algebra-teasing. People haven't been killed for having unruly eyebrows. People don't get paid 25 percent less than their peers for wearing high-waters. Racism and sexism, as much as many people would like to deny that this is the case, are still significant problems that can't be banished by simply ignoring them and "being better than that."

I would even go so far as to argue that ignoring them would make them worse, because the things we ignore are the things we accept. To ignore Don Imus's remarks would have been to say, "It's okay to marginalize people based on their race and gender. You can really say anything you want about them, and no one will defend them, because they're not worthy of respect." For that matter, to ignore, as has been pointed out, the racism and misogyny in the rap music industry sends the same message. Inaction speaks louder than words.

Words are a major point of contention in race and gender. A lot of discussion has been had about the concept of reclamation, of taking back slurs and redefining them to sap their power. People have argued about the use of the n-word (which, obviously, I won't myself use), debating whether its common usage makes is less powerful or just spreads the racism a little wider (and welcome back to the "but black people do it all the time!!!1!!one!" argument). Queer, once a serious insult, has now been largely embraced by the gay community. Bitch magazine is a similar example of reclamation.

Hell, I'm a bitch. I'm proud of it. And when one of my likeminded friends addresses me as a bitch, I know where she's coming from, and I can enjoy it. But when the guy by the fountain calls me a bitch for not lobbing him a quarter, it's not the same at all. It's the same word, and I'm the same person. But I know for sure the guy isn't saying, "You're a strong and capable woman, and I celebrate your independence and determination." He's denigrating me in a gender-specific way, and that's a bad thing. That his word choice has become value-neutral, that I've used that word myself, doesn't change that.

And that's what's so bad about Don Imus, and about the aforementioned rappers. The words that they say don't matter, because they're all coming from the same place: Objectification. Sexualization. Marginalization. They're indicative of a pervasive racist and sexist thought process that is harmful to women and people of color specifically and to society in general. Ignoring them with "sticks and stones" might neutralize the words, but it doesn't do a thing about the underlying thought process. And it sends a message: It's okay to think that way. It's okay to share and cultivate that mindset in others. We'll just be over here ignoring you.

Some argue that there are more important problems within the black community to be addressed. That will be as may be, and I'm all for fixing every problem we can identify. But the inherent, societally accepted racism and sexism implicit in the "comedy" of Imus, Snoop, and so many others is a problem that affects us all. When we ignore it in the hope that it'll go away, these are the attitudes we're implicitly endorsing from Imus and others:

- That all women are sexually promiscuous
- That a black woman with a "natural" hairstyle is inferior to someone with "white" hair
- That black men can be disregarded as children and/or servants
- That a woman in a position of authority is, by definition, ill-tempered, stubborn, and uncooperative
- That black women are good for nothing more than minimum-wage domestic work
- That a black man can only get a good job through affirmative action
- That women are only looking for rich men to take care of them
- That women are only good for sex
- That all Jewish people are greedy and unprincipled
- That a woman's only value lies in her physical appearance
- Etc., etc.

We definitely do need to send the "sticks and stones" message to the young women Don Imus insulted, and other women who end up on the business end of similar slurs. They should know, and probably do know, that the opinion of some creepy old cowboy-hatted radio punk (whose hair is no showpiece himself) has no bearing on their actual value as people. Just as my elementary-school tormentors' opinion of my eyebrows has neither scarred nor shaped me, those young women will probably be able to shrug this off.

But we also need to send a message to Don Imus, to Bernard McGuirk, to Diddy (or whatever the hell he's calling himself now), to R. Kelly, and to everyone else who shares their opinions on the matter that not only are overt racism and sexism not okay, racist and sexist thought are not okay. Don Imus is a putz not just for what he said but for the fact that he thought it in the first place (and has, obviously, thought it a great many times before). The consequences of his actions have to be a message to him, and to everyone who listens to him, that thinking that way is not okay, and that if you do still think that way, you'd damn well better be smart enough to keep it to yourself. It has to stop within the brain, before it progresses from racist and sexist thought to racist and sexist words and, ultimately, actions. Anyone who shares the sentiments of an Imus or a Kelly and feels encouraged by their boldness in expressing them has to hear the message that it is not, in fact, okay.

It's true that the words we say are frequently incidental, and if words were the only problem, we'd be fine. But the thoughts behind the words have destructive power. And letting the power behind racism and sexism go unquestioned will only make it grow. It has to be addressed consistently, every time it's expressed, because that's where the actual sticks and stones start.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On why Don Imus is not good or decent or even okay

Okay, so a lot has been said lately about Don Imus's racist and sexist slurs against the Rutgers women's basketball team. And yeah, his comments were racist, and yeah, they were sexist, too, whether or not you want it to be. And yeah, he deserves to face consequences for it, because what he did was wrong. Why? I'll tell you why.

1. Because yeah, it was racist. "Blah, blah, blah, rappers say that stuff all the time," says Michelle Malkin (and is that someone you really want to be associated with, Josh?). Yes, rappers do say racist, misogynistic things all the time. And people complain about the racism and misogyny in rap music all the time. As a matter of fact, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have both spoken out against the racism and misogyny in rap music.
Sharpton expressed special concern about white perceptions of African Americans. Rappers and their corporate supporters "make it easy for b culture to be dismissed by the majority," he said, and the large white fan base "has learned through rap images to identify black male culture with a culture of violence."

But even if everyone really was giving R. Kelly a pass and piling on Don Imus just a-'cause he's white, one important lesson I learned 'round about the second grade was that just because I wasn't the only doing something wrong, that didn't mean I was any less culpable. "But Casey and Karlie did it too!" didn't reduce my own guilt a bit, and simply making that argument was usually enough to make my own punishment all the worse.

2. Because yeah, it was sexist. Not that a racist slur alone would have been that much better, but Imus was criticizing them in a way he'd never criticize the men's team. The Rutgers women were "nappy-headed hos," while "the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute." Because that's the most important thing when you're engaged in an athletic event at the championship level - looking cute. Would the Tennessee men's team have been identified as "looking sharp"? Would they have been a "handsome bunch of fellas," with some corresponding criticism of their Rutgers opponents? No, because Imus wouldn't expect a men's team to meet some arbitrary physical standard for his viewing pleasure. But the women, beyond being outstanding athletes in superb physical shape, also have to be feminine and girly and "cute" enough to satisfy some old white guy on the radio.

3. Because this wasn't the first time. Imus has, in fact, quite the history of racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks. He's the one who said, in reference to Gwen Ifill, then of the New York Times, “Isn’t The Times wonderful? It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House,” and who referred to sports columnist Bill Rhoden as a "New York Times quota hire." He's the one who referred to the "Jewish management" of CBS radio as "money-grubbing bastards." His producer is the one who referred to Barack Obama as a"young colored fella" (and to Hillary Clinton as an "old bag from New York," noting later that "bitch is gonna be wearing cornrows"). That pretty much does it for any arguments that such comments are completely unlike him and unlikely to ever happen again.

4. Because he's a bully. This is who he insulted:

They're not politicians. They're not celebrities. They're not public figures. They didn't come to him asking for approval or recognition or publicity or commentary on their appearance. They didn't come to him at all. He's a rich white guy with a radio show; they're a bunch of college students. They weren't a threat to him. He didn't even know them. So why the cheap shot? To get a laugh at someone else's expense. They worked and practiced and fought to accomplish something significant, something I'm sure he himself would be hard-pressed to do, and he had no problem soiling that by calling them ugly whores from the safety of his soundproof booth. For a laugh.

Imus has since apologized several times, acknowledging that the young women he insulted probably feel worse than he does but still arguing that it was just "comedy." "I am a good and decent person," Imus said.

No, Don, you're not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On blogrolling and blogwhoring (which, I suppose, could be combined into "blogrollwhoring"? Yes?)

Okay, so I tweaked my blogroll a bit over the weekend, adding some new blogs I frequent, removing a few defunct ones, adding a mausoleum for the dead but glorious blogs of my blog-youth, updating links, and whatnot (especially whatnot). And now I have this deep-seated paranoia that I accidentally omitted someone important or dropped an old favorite or failed to link someone who's been kind enough to link me.

So we're going to call this Blogroll Amnesty Day Redux, except with the far more populist, small-blogger-friendly twist that I'll be adding blogs instead of dropping them for the mortal sin of not being a top-100 blog. If you've been on my blogroll but now aren't, or haven't been but want to be, or link me and haven't gotten a link in return, or just aren't feeling the reciprocal blog lovin', drop me a line in comments or shoot me an e-mail to let me know. Everyone not trying to sell me Cia!i$ and Vi@gr@ at below-pharmacy costs will get sincere consideration.

'Cause I'm cool like that.

Monday, April 09, 2007

On why religious fundamentalism makes the baby Jesus cry

Okay, so I thought it best to save my condemnation of the political power of fundamentalist religion until after Easter Sunday, but really, these thoughts have been brewing since Good Friday, and a long brew makes for a strong cup. Which really has nothing to do with religion. But whatever.

Good Friday in a Catholic church is observed by a reading of the Passion, which, largely unrelated to the famous Mel Gibson religious snuff film of the same name, follows the last hours of Jesus as he prays in the garden at Gethsemane, is handed over to the Romans, and is ultimately beaten and crucified. Heavy stuff.

But here's what got me as I listened to the Passion this past Friday:
So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?”

They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

At this, Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”

The Jews answered him, “We do not have the right to execute anyone,“ in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.

And this:
Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.”

The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

Pilate: What's he done?
The people: He offended our religious sensibilities.
Pilate: Well, that's not exactly a crime.
The people: But we want him dead.
Pilate: And?
The people: We hardly have the authority to do it ourselves.
Pilate: Maybe that should tell you something.

Pilate even went so far as to have Jesus scourged and given over to the Roman soldiers to beat and taunt, which seems like an awful lot of liberty to take with a man you're not even sure is guilty. But he also talked to Jesus and asked him if he was guilty of the offense of which the people accused him.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”

Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Pilate: So, what, did you piss off the Jews?
Jesus: What do you think?
Pilate: I think it's not my place to be pissed off. But they want you put to death. What did you do?
Jesus: I pissed them off. And these days, that's enough.

And then Pilate went back out to the people and said, "I find no guilt in him."
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, “If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

Pilate: Folks, I really don't feel comfortable doing this. This man hasn't done anything wrong beyond offending your religious sensibilities.
The people: If you don't put him to death, we're telling Caesar.
Pilate: But -
The people: Causar isn't going to be happy to hear that you wouldn't crucify this guy for us.
Pilate: But -
The people: You do not want to get on Caesar's bad side.

And, because he was a pussy, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified, in fulfillment of the scripture.

Obviously, from the perspective of an observant Catholic, the crucifixion and resurrection were a good thing. They represent salvation, and they were a prophesied occurrence that Jesus saw coming from the beginning and welcomed as his responsibility to bear, albeit reluctantly.

But if Pilate hadn't pussied out and bowed to the will of the religious fundamentalists, Jesus wouldn't have died.

Pilate himself, as a representative of the government, recognized that Jesus was guilty of no crime or offense against the state. In terms of him being a threat to the government, public health, or public safety, he'd done nothing wrong. He'd broken no laws. He'd caused harm to no one. The worst complaint that could be leveled against him was that his teachings opposed those of the high priests of the time - he preached charity, kindness, forgiveness. He healed the sick. He offered sympathy to prostitutes and tax collectors. He pissed off the fundies hard core because he lived a better and and more full and more virtuous life than they did, and he encouraged others to follow his way instead of theirs, and they had him killed because of it. They demanded the power to dictate law based solely on their religious beliefs, and the state gave it up out of fear.

The fundies rallied, the government folded, and an innocent man died in the most horrible way imaginable.

Way to go, Pilate.

Friday, April 06, 2007

On John "The Duke" McCain: This Is Your Soundtrack

Okay, so on Sunday, we got to watch as John McCain boldly walked, barefoot, uphill both ways, through the marketplace in Baghdad and came out without a scratch, proving that Iraq is perfectly safe and peaceful and the surge is working and the insurgents are on the run and democracy is on the march and if anything at all is going wrong in Iraq it's because people back home AREN'T CLAPPING HARD ENOUGH and why do you hate America, pessimists?

Here's a picture of John McCain on his afternoon stroll:

Note the 100 American troops, three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships that have joined him for companionship on his walk, and also note the jaunty flak vest that is sure to become a staple of every man's working wardrobe.

Incidentally, two days later 21 Shia workers from that same market were ambushed, bound, and shot dead, but that one isolated incident doesn't make the place any less safe than, say, any open-air market in Indiana where similar kidnappings and murders might take place.

And that's why this Friday Not-Even-Random Ten is dedicated to John McCain, for his fearlessness in venturing into what's totally not a war zone, even a little, and for his bold contribution to men's fashion. May God help me if the streets of Birmingham ever become as safe as the market square in Baghdad.

The Ten:

1. Remy Zero, "I'm Not Afraid"
2. Lou Reed, "Walk on the Wild Side"
3. Men Without Hats, "Safety Dance"
4. Aerosmith with Run-D.M.C., "Walk This Way"
5. Massive Attack, "Safe From Harm"
6. Johnny Cash, "Don't Take Your Guns to Town"
7. Beastie Boys, "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun"
8. The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army"
9. U2, "Walk On"
10. The Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"

And one bonus track, just because it's Good Friday:

11. Pietro Mascagni, "Easter Hymn" from Cavalleria Rusticana

Your Ten goes in comments.

On things that are okay if you're a Republican

Okay, so a lot has been made about Nancy Pelosi's recent trip to Syria and the things that she did there. But it's important to remember one thing: What she did was wrong, wrong, wrong, because she did it while she was a Democrat. This, we all know, is the ultimate sin. Just about everything you could want to do, however, IOKIYAR.

What could she have gotten away with, had she only been clever enough to change her party affiliation first?

Well, the scarf thing, to begin with. IOK when Laura Bush wears one to the Vatican, or to the Dome of the Rock, or when Condoleezza Rice wears one to a mosque in Tajikistan. Why? Because they're Republicans.

She also could have gotten away with talking smack about the President. When Denny Hastert visited Colombia in 1997, he told Colombian military officers to "bypass" President Clinton and "communicate directly with Congress." Now, Pelosi didn't actually bash Bush or his policy regarding Syria, according to a Republican Representative who joined her on her bipartisan trip; she just passed on a message from Prime Minister Olmert of Israel. But had she wanted to bash the president, IOK... if she'd been a Republican.

She also could have gotten White House approval for her trip if she'd been a Republican. After all, three Republican Congressmen went just days before, and it was understood that they did so "in cooperation with the administration." They even got to criticize the president's foreign policy regarding diplomacy with Syria while they were there. IOK to do stuff like that, if you're a Republican.

I hate it for her, and I hate it for the Democrats, because a Democratic Speaker of the House is quite the coup. But it's obvious that if you want to accomplish anything - and actually get away with it - if you want to do stuff that's treasonous and underhanded and wrong and bad and naughty and dangerous and felonious and detrimental to foreign policy, it's perfectly fine and excusable and okay... IYAR.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

On your own edible Jesus

Okay, so Bill Donahue has appointed himself official shit-fitter of the Catholic church. First it was his campaign against Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan for, apparently, hating Catholics. Well, no, first it was the whole "War on Christmas" and on Easter and on every other vaguely religious holiday, and then it was the War on the Edwards Bloggers, and now it's... Well, we'll let him tell you.
Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.

“It’s not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing — to choose Holy Week is astounding,” he said.

“As I’ve said many times before, Lent is the season for non-believers to sow seeds of doubt about Jesus. What’s scheduled to go on ... is of a different genre: this is hate speech. And choosing Holy Week—the display opens on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday—makes it a direct in-your-face assault on Christians.

All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don’t react the way extremist Muslims do when they’re offended—otherwise they may have more than their heads cut off. James Knowles, President and CEO of the Roger Smith Hotel (interestingly, he also calls himself Artist-in-Residence), should be especially grateful. And if he tries to spin this as reverential, then he should substitute Muhammad for Jesus and display him during Ramadan.

I am contacting hundreds of organizations about this assault. Our allied list contains scores of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations, as well as secular groups, that share our concerns about religious hate speech and the degradation of our culture..."
(emphasis mine; spittle-flecked rage all his)

And what has Donohue so completely enraged that he'll go so far as to make oblique death threats to hotel CEOs?


Anger-inducing, I suppose, because our confectionary Lord and Savior is depicted with his Kit Kats hanging out, although we did read the Passion in church on Sunday and I don't remember following "they divided his clothing by casting lots" with "except for his underoos, which were thoughtfully left to preserve his dignity during the process of scourging him, stabbing him, and nailing him to a cross." Or maybe Donohue's not a fan of the Black Jesus. But whatever's got his loincloth in a knot, what's important to remember is that this is the worst assault on Christian sensibilities EVAR.

Worse, one may assume, than the Crusades.
Worse than the Spanish Inquisition.
Worse than the sale of indulgences.
Worse than South Park's "Jesus and Pals".
Worse than the Church's criminal negligence in ignoring the Holocaust.
Worse than the history of institutional misogyny that has arisen from the Church's teachings.
Worse than the relentless twisting of Christian doctrine to suit decidedly secular political motives.
Worse than Precious Moments figurines.
Worse than world poverty, worse than war, worse than man's inhumanity to man.
Worse than, apparently, the crucifixion itself.

Chocolate Jesus.

Anyway, Bill Donohue stamped his foot and got his way; the My Sweet Lord display came down before its opening, sparing the Christian world the sight of Jesus crucified with his bits showing. And proving what anyone who's ever dealt with a toddler already knows: Giving in to a temper tantrum only encourages them in the future.

Anyone know what to do with a 200-pound milk chocolate statue of the son of God?

Monday, April 02, 2007

On Monday Quickies: You know what this country needs more of? Less freedom.

Okay, so _discussing the need to close down Guantanamo Bay, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
said it may require a new law to “address the concerns about some of these people who really need to be incarcerated forever but that doesn’t get them involved in a judicial system where there is the potential of them being released,” Gates told the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee.

Yeah, because the sucky part about the old laws is that they require a fair trial before the government puts you away for life.

Gotta get that fixed.

On Monday Quickies: Ceci n'est pas un photo-op

Okay, so Veterans for America's Bobby Muller said, in reference to President Bush's Friday visit to Walter Reed, "Walter Reed is not a photo op."