Just a brief question…

I realize that these last few weeks, a whole raft of Intelligent Design advocates have pretty much been handed their hats and coats by the courts and then been pointed towards the door. There’s probably not much point in kicking the blind watchmaker on his way out, but something occurred to me as I was shaving this morning…

Look, if there were no dinosaurs, and the earth is 5000 years old, what’s that goo they’re putting in their cars? I mean, if it’s not dinosaur juice, what is it?

Deus poop?

I anxiously await your response, Jesus freaks.

Look, don’t monkey with the Constitution, ‘k?

Look, I don’t know about anyone else, but to me modifying the 4th Amendment for kicks seems like a really stupid idea.

DeWine’s proposal would have lowered the standard for obtaining a warrant for surveillance of foreigners within the United States from “probable cause” to “reasonable suspicion.” The administration (and Congress) rejected DeWine’s proposal as unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional.

(fortunately, at the time, everyone else seemed to be NOMINALLY on board with the Good Ol’ Fourth A-to-the-Men to the D-E-N-T….)

Why are these Right Wing bedwetters so gung-ho to heave the whole “probable cause” clause over the rail in favor of “suspicion of being suspicious”?

What’s wrong with probable cause? It’s worked so well for so long, hasn’t it?

The Quality of Mercy

I have been telling Francophobes for years that they misunderstand the French. There are plenty of racist assholes in France, too. Today comes news of a charity that would make Hugh Hewitt proud:

Small groups linked to the extreme right are ladling pork soup to France’s homeless. Critics and some officials denounce the charity as discriminatory: because it contains pork, the soup is off-limits for Muslims.

Critics view the stew – dubbed “identity soup” by its cooks – as a cynical far-right ploy to penetrate the most vulnerable level of society while masking their intentions as humanitarian.

The associations offering the soup are satellites of Bloc Identitaire, a small, extreme-right movement that defends the European identity and, as its leader Fabrice Robert said, “the rights of the little whites.”

See? Shit stinks no matter what side of the Atlantic it’s on!

Bill O’Reilly would be right at home at a Front National meeting….

Any snake handler will tell you

Mess around with snakes long enough, eventually you’ll get bitten.

Why would someone approach two different news magazines with pictures and then not let them publish them? It appears that someone is shopping photos of Abramoff and Bush to different news outlets, looking for a payoff. (TIME reports “they are likely to see the light of day eventually because celebrity tabloids are on the prowl for them.”) Who would do this? The available evidence points to Jack Abramoff himself.

As my grandfather always used to tell me when we’d walk up on a cottonmouth- “Remember, he’s just as scared of you as you are of him… and that’s why he wants to bite you.”

Bob Harris read something in the paper

And he’s still swirling it around in his head, like a nice beaujolais:

From today’s LAT, in an article headlined Unscripted Moment Over “Brokeback”:

The audience applauded, even though it was not clear what Bush meant.

That’s the sort of thing you do for a baby making its first words, not the President of the United States.

Then again, things are pretty far gone if the Chimpalissimo even having one unscripted public moment is itself a headline.

UPDATE: Ten minutes later, still enjoying it. Man, what a revealing sentence, about pretty much everything in the last few years.

The audience applauded, even though it was not clear what Bush meant.

yeah. Wow. So much is revealed in that one sentence.

Damnedest thing

I woke up at 4:30 this morning to the howling of my bird dog. I mean, a long, loud, bone-chilling howl. It was not preceded by any barking or whining that woke me up, but when I called him, he was up and over to the bedside in a flash. I let him crawl up into the bed, where he lay shivering for about fifteen minutes before he fell asleep.

The bird dog did not have an easy life before he came to live with us. He spent a lot of time locked up or boarded in kennels or overnight in an empty woodworking shop. It’s not that his previous owner was consciously or intentionally cruel, I just don’t think some folks really understand what dogs actually need. A stable home life and enough room to run are good for working breeds, and Houston hasn’t ever really had that.

So, yeah, the bird dog has become a bit of a special needs child. And now, apparently, he has nightmares.

He’s skinny, too, and gets cold at the faintest hint of a draft. He and my wife share this trait, so she often wraps him up in a blanket. To whit:

houstonblankie.jpg

This is news

I have not seen this spelled out so plainly before today:

The Bush administration is bracing for impeachment hearings in Congress.

“A coalition in Congress is being formed to support impeachment,” an administration source said.

Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Insight is, as reported by my twin brother, a conservative magazine, so this is an interesting bit of buzz.

This does raise the question in my mind of whether or not this would be a good thing for the country. There’s a part of me that thinks “We gotta get this guy out of office, by any means necessary.” Full stop.

There’s another part of me that thinks that beginning impeachment proceedings against two Presidents in a row sets a really, really, really bad precedent. Of course, I think that part of the reason that this is possible has nothing to do with the current culpability level of George Bush, but with the way that the political process and the discourse of the country was perverted during the Clinton Administration. This is, inevitably, the payback for letting the Right Wing Noise Machine run amok- first we get the demonization of the Clinton Presidency, then the Imperial Presidency that results from the breakdown of checks and balances on the Executive Branch.

So, yes, the system is broken, and we know exactly who broke it. However, my concern (and I hate to be the one throwing cold water on this, since I personally would not lose any sleep seeing Bush and his cronies in leg irons at the next Nuremberg Trials) is that once we break the system fully, what will rush in to take its place? Will it be good for the country or not?

We have the wolf by the ears now, don’t we?

Holy cow, I made the first cut

Well, I may have finally landed on the blogosphere’s radar. I have made the first cut in the Koufax ‘Most Deserving of Wider Recognition’ category.

This makes me very happy. Very Happy.

Of course, as I scroll through, I see some serious heavy hitters… people who I read every day- Driftglass, The All Spin Zone, Pam’s House Blend, Simian Brain…. Oh, the Talent Show… he’s very good….

Still, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

The voting isn’t open yet- they’re in the prelims, hoping you’ll all go read a bunch of other blogs and check them out before voting. I encourage you to do so. Just remember to come back here later.

::UPDATE:: Aw, shit. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Mau-Mauing the Flackcatchers, giant illegal database edition

right on cue-

William Arkin says that maybe warrantless wiretapping and enemies lists were a bad idea, and that there may be some other programs that the Bush Administration doesn’t want Newsweek or anyone else digging into.

Well, guess who comes snapping at his heels in the wake of that seemingly innocuous statement?

That’s right, the frost-covered brownshirts at Powerline.

This is, to put it mildly, a tendentious description. Arkin is a vitriolic critic of the Bush administration, and an alumnus of such far-left organizations as Greenpeace. Hugh Hewitt researched Arkin two years ago, and wrote an article in the Daily Standard titled “Who Is William Arkin?”. Hugh describes a speech that Arkin gave in 2002:

In his lengthy and vitriolic attack on the Bush administration, Arkin admitted to feeling “cynical about the fact that we are going to war to enhance the economic interests of the Enron class,” and declared that “the war against terrorism is overstated.” Arkin believed, in fact, that the war “is not the core United States national security interest today.” He rhetorically asked the audience: “Aren’t I just another leftist, self-hating American?” and condemned the administration for taking “enormous liberties with American freedoms.”

So William Arkin is a bitter anti-Bush partisan; yet Newsweek takes his words at face value and describes him only as “a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who writes widely about military affairs.”

Working the refs, once again. Fortunately, Arkin is not taking it lying down. In response to Powerline’s assertion that the government should be keeping lists of anti-war protesters for our own good, Arkin says

Power Line says that there is “nothing illegal or improper about writing reports on anti-military demonstrations.”

There is certainly something improper. If indeed there is a war on terrorism and Power Line is enlisted as some citizen reporter from the front lines, I would hope that it would be incensed that the military and intelligence community could still be wasting so much time and effort.