The Question is…

Which 20th Century Novel is American life going to emulate more in the 21st Century? Are we going to live in 1984 or Catch-22?

Or… both? Via Boing-Boing:

The DHS says that it’s against the law to photograph “sensitive” government buildings, but they won’t publish a list of these buildings, so it’s impossible to comply with the law. The rub is that if you get caught breaking the law, you’ll get shaken down, have your name and personal information taken, and go into a file, presumably forever.

The bottom line is that McCammon was caught in a classic logical trap. If he had only known the building was off-limits to photographers, he would have avoided it. But he was not allowed to know that fact. “Reasonable, law-abiding people tend to avoid these types of things when it can be helped,” McCammon wrote. “Thus, my request for a list of locations within Arlington County that are unmarked, but at which photography is either prohibited or discouraged according to some (public or private) policy. Of course, such a list does not exist. Catch-22.”

This week’s white trash piñata

I am developing a theory about a certain kind of news story.

I think that the 24 hour news stations cultivate a kind of news coverage of crimes and/or incidents that serve no other purpose than to give a certain segment of the audience something to feel superior about.

Case in point, this week: this whole “Was it the pit bull or the ferret?” thing. Last week it was some woman who carried her purse dog into the store instead of her toddler. Before that, it was something else.

Why is this national news? I think because it gives a certain kind of person (and a lot of these people I have noticed, are right wingers) the ability to stand in the breakroom at work and cluck their tongues and say “Now, those sorts of people shouldn’t be allowed to breed….” or the like.

I got to see this written in a grand scale in Bill O’Reilly’s coverage of the Katrina aftermath. The first line of this kind of thinking reads, “Those people are so much worse than *I* am…” and proceeds from there.

Sure, some of these people have serious problems. Some of them are just poor and victims of circumstance. (As if that’s not a serious problem…) But I think the sole reason we hear about them on a 24 hour global news cast is because it drives a certain demographic to watch Nancy Grace every day.

“Sure, I may be fat, lazy and feel sorry for myself, but at least I’m not THAT tragic SOB.”

Roll that around in your head a bit…

bogus

Amber sent me a link so some more Masculinist chest-beating over at someone named Jace’s weblog.

It’s the “Retrosexual Code”!  Oh, my! Instructions on how to “Act Like a Man!”

I responded in his comments, but let me reiterate here for good measure:

Odd that for all of the chestbeating, guns and killing people (or hunting) are mentioned three times each, along with personal appearance (clothes, grooming accessories, etc) mentioned a couple of times each…

In the meantime, there are zero mentions of 1. Going to work and holding a job, 2. raising one’s own children, 3. paying down all of your debts until there are none.

The two jobs of a man:  protection and providence.  Do it and shut up about it.

Methinks you ladies protest too much.  All of this shit is windowdressing to men who actually act like men.  This sounds like a bunch of office drones beating their chests and posturing.

Get over it.  You’re half the man your grandfather was, and a third the man his father was.  Publishing a list of Manly Man characteristics on your website is about three percent more effective at establishing masculine bonafides than wearing a “No Fear” t-shirt.

Color me unimpressed.

Drool, really.

Stupid fucking dipshit. Really. I mean…. hello? Someone got paid to write this…

I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.

Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation. But as I have discovered in recent days, many otherwise rational people can’t think straight when the names Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet come up.

Who could be that stupid? Oh, I think you know… you do. Close your eyes and guess.

Bingo. Jonah Goldberg.

Of course. That sort of stupidity has a special odor, sort of like the way one knows skunk spray when one smells it. This kind of stupid is the smell of a rotten tooth that’s metastasized into the brain.

OK, someone help little Jonah back into his chair so we can administer the medicine.

As TBogg so aptly points out, Iraq HAD a Pinochet. His name is Saddam Hussein. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. The current SecDef took cash from Contra cocaine sales and bought weapons for him in the ’80s.

Gates also was implicated in a secret operation to funnel military assistance to Iraq in the 1980s, as the Reagan administration played off the two countries battling each other in the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War.

Middle Eastern witnesses alleged that Gates worked on the secret Iraqi initiative, which included Saddam Hussein’s procurement of cluster bombs and chemicals used to produce chemical weapons for the war against Iran.

Gates denied those Iran-Iraq accusations in 1991 and the Senate Intelligence Committee – then headed by Gates’s personal friend, Sen. David Boren, D-Oklahoma – failed to fully check out the claims before recommending Gates for confirmation.

Small fucking world, huh?

You say “Democrat Party,” and I am gonna call your boy “John Boner”

I can act like a third grader, too… and my joke is funnier.

I was reading back through Steve Audio’s blog because I haven’t lately and it’s a shame to miss such good stuff, and I found his link to Ezra and August‘s latest outburst of frustration with the whole “Democrat Party” catachresis. I do wish, some days, that I was one of those teevee pundits who they call to debate the wingnut welfare ninnies on cable news.

Every time they said “Democrat party” I would have to slip in a reference to The Big Boner. A million laughs, I tell ya…

If you really want to know what’s actually happening in Iraq

It might help to turn off the US news and watch this.

There are Shi’ite death squads roaming the streets of Baghdad and if you want to know how they got there, you should google “Salvador Option Iraq” and see what you discover.

Especially this article.

What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called “the Salvador option”—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is.

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported “nationalist” forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras. There is no evidence, however, that Negroponte knew anything about the Salvadoran death squads or the Iran-Contra scandal at the time. The Iraq ambassador, in a phone call to NEWSWEEK on Jan. 10, said he was not involved in military strategy in Iraq. He called the insertion of his name into this report “utterly gratuitous.”)

Um. Yeah. As if Negroponte had any reputation left to protect.

great goshamighty

I can’t wait to get back to the US, where the 13 ft. pythons roam… and die trying to eat gators

An unusual clash between a 6-foot (1.8m) alligator and a 13-foot (3.9m) python has left two of the deadliest predators dead in Florida’s swamps.
The Burmese python tried to swallow its fearsome rival whole but then exploded.

The remains of the two giant reptiles were found by astonished rangers in the Everglades National Park.

Heavy-handed metaphor alert!!!

Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Simpson… you’re going to have to work this one out before one of you busts open…

Meanwhile, in the other London

Dateline London, KY:

A woman who was bitten by a snake at a church that neighbors say practices serpent handling died of her wounds hours later, a newspaper reported.

Linda Long, 48, was bitten Sunday at East London Holiness Church, where neighbors said the reptiles are handled as part of religious services, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Tuesday.

Long died at University of Kentucky Medical Center about four hours after being bitten, authorities told the newspaper.

“She said she was bitten by a snake at her church,” said Lt. Ed Sizemore of the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.

I don’t know what I can add to that.