June 30, 2008

Lawyer eschews double negative

From Chief Justice John Roberts's dissenting opinion in Sprint Communications Co. v. APCC Services, Inc., decided June 23:
The absence of any right to the substantive recovery means that respondents cannot benefit from the judgment they seek and thus lack Article III standing. "When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose." Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone, on Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia Records 1965).
When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose.

Nice try. Best stick to the light operetta, C.J.

Kazakhstan is not in Russia

But who cares when you're more interested in running video footage of a bloodied, suicided corpse laying on a Manhattan street accompanied by breathless "legal" speculation,* eh Geraldo?

* Several orders of magnitude more offensive than any corpse.

Judith Faulkner, corporate heroine

Epic has not run a press release for 18 years. In fact, the only advertising the company has sponsored was a billboard with the slogan, "Marketing Sucks ... Epic Systems."
The notoriously publicity-averse Judith R. Faulkner made very positive news last week with her principled stand against a business association, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, and its opprobrious conduct during last winter's State election campaign.

Ms. Faulkner is a remarkable entrepreneur. She founded Epic Systems, a developer of healthcare information software, in 1979 with $6,000 and last year its sales topped $500 million. She remains in firm control of the privately held operation, which employs more than 3,000 and is looking for many more.

Judith Faulkner, much like a lot of us, didn't take kindly to the numerous and varied deceits that WMC produced attacking a sitting Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Louis Butler.

Last Wednesday, Epic published a statement referring to the campaign as a "travesty of ethics" and suggesting that WMC was largely responsible.

On Friday, Epic further clarified, “We believe that what we tolerate is what we stand for, and as corporate citizens, we stand for the preservation of the foundation of the judicial system.”

To that end Epic will "try to work only with vendors that do not support WMC with its current management."

Good for Judith Faulkner, and good for Epic Systems.
Epic management said that they could not support WMC's role in the Supreme Court race, which saw WMC pour approximately $1.8 million dollars into an ad campaign on behalf of Judge Michael Gableman.
Whether that money was spent on behalf of Gableman or purely on egregiously deceitful attacks against Justice Butler is a close question.

WMC barely mentioned Gableman, likely because there was little to say on behalf of him to begin with, and especially while Gableman's own campaign descended to previously untrolled depths of patently false and disgraceful innuendo, a campaign Gableman actually claimed to have been proud of.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of political science hints darkly at illegal activity:
Epic's threat not to work with another company based on an election campaign appears to be the first of its kind nationwide, said Howard Schweber.

"We should be uncomfortable when private businesses have enough power to coerce businesses or other organizations to change their political views or affiliations or keep them secret," Schweber said.
Why? Epic Systems isn't colluding with its competitors to freeze out or favor a vendor. It's acting independently. Vendor selection and purchasing policy isn't limited to commercial considerations of price and delivery.

In fact Epic may only injure its own bottom line if avoiding WMC-affiliated suppliers results in higher priced or longer delivery items. A WMC spokesguy is defiant, or something, saying he won't be "intimidated." Bully for him.

Placing principle above lucre is nothing to be sneered at, especially in this case, where the principle at issue is central to the continuing success of the republic: the integrity of the courts.

In addition to the irony of the apparently unwitting reference to coercive corporate power — the abuse of which is Judith Faulkner's concern, not partisan politics — Prof. Schweber misses the point.

Epic's approach has nothing to do with partisan views or affiliations, it has to do with ethics, plain and simple. WMC waged a mendacious campaign of deliberate misinformation against a State Supreme Court Justice. Epic would prefer at the least not to mingle its lucre with that which is trading in sleaze.

Just as Epic can choose not to cut purchase orders to suppliers that engage in shady business practices so can it rebuff those connected to WMC's unseemly tactics. Selecting against WMC-affiliated suppliers is little different than purchasing only recycled toilet paper or only company bowling team shirts not manufactured in Bangladesh sweatshops.

It seems to me Epic's policy is laudable. Corporations may choose to express civic responsibility in a variety of ways, and this is one of them, based on a particularly admirable principle.

And WMC, having spent nearly $2 million on effectively attempted character assassination, certainly understands the coercive — and corrosive — power of lucre. If some WMC-affiliate suffers financially as a result of Epic's policy somehow, it will be a small price to pay for the sins committed earlier this year and beyond. Free market, the invisible hand and all that, coming back to slap you.

Prof. Schweber's discomfort would be far more accurately directed at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and not Epic Systems.

eta: Without providing a lick of evidence for either assertion and indeed in the face of evidence suggesting otherwise, Rick Esenberg describes Epic's statement as a "threat" and one of Epic's building contractors' withdrawal from WMC as a "submission" to that "threat."

But he does admit he only "imagines" it.

June 29, 2008

No prayer for you

It's "not possible" to mention lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered humans as the object of prayers on church property, sez the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis.

Not possible? To simply say those words is "really inimical to the teachings of the Catholic church." Which themselves are really inimical to the teachings of Jesus, apparently.

On the other hand:
Hundreds of dogs, many dressed as babies or clowns, were taken to celebrate mass in this Nicaraguan town on Sunday, an annual ritual where the owners pray for their pets to be cured or avoid falling ill.
Dogs dressed as clowns entitled to entire Mass.

Not the logical successor to Randy Travis

Eric Englund is his name

h/t the Recess Supervisor.

See also: Big Bad John Cornyn

Doin' the Lord's Work and enjoyin' a Good Brew.

The synth line in the intro has a suspiciously Middle Eastern quality.

June 28, 2008

Best of the Right-Wing Reactionaries

It just wouldn't be Saturday night without yet another howler courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's "Best of the Wisconsin Blogs."

This week's "best blogger" claims that D.C. v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court's big gun case, was decided "5-4 in favor of the individual right to bear arms."

One wonders how a best blogger could make such a rookie mistake, since the four dissenting Justices also agreed that
The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a "collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right.
In fact that is the opening paragraph of the lead dissent and is reiterated even more clearly in Justice Breyer's dissent:
The Amendment protects an “individual” right—i.e., one that is separately possessed, and may be separately enforced, by each person on whom it is conferred.
So, first of all, collective vs. individual right was not at issue and secondly, had it been, the result was 9-0. And even then, only within federal jurisdiction. And then only in your home.

In hopes of overcoming his initial gaffe, the best blogger continues:
My favorite quote so far:

"In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority 'would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.'"

Except, of course, the part where they passed the 2nd Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights.
Nope, just more gaffes. And that is the entire "Best of the Wisconsin Blogs" blog entry, by the way.

No self-respecting, self-described political blogger would ever rely on the Associated Press for the substance of court opinions, so is it any wonder that a newspaper editor would find professional and maybe even personal vindication that some clown in the "new media" had so relied, and wished to congratulate him on suitably irrational grounds. These days, the opinion appears online before the news report, so there's not even any need to rely on the latter.

Not only that, but despite the AP editor's period within the quotation marks, it's only half a sentence, which is one of the myriad reasons for not relying on Associated Press reports of court opinions. Here, the AP actually cut an entire sentence, and thereby its meaning, in half. That's bad enough, but to see a blogger enshrined — by newspaper editors, no less — to "Wisconsin Best" status simply for mindlessly duplicating deliberately negligent journalism and attaching an allegedly droll yet ultimately irrelevant one-line quip is ludicrous.
The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy. Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Court’s opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.
As it turns out, Justice Stevens was talking about something quite different than Wisconsin's best blogger understands. And, like many conservatives, he seeks to ignore what the Court calls the Second Amendment's prefatory clause, the one that refers to a well regulated militia, never mind even the majority's acknowledgment that militia use of arms is different than civilian use, whereas the Second Amendment describes only regulation of the militia.

The choice to which Justice Stevens refers is not whether elected officials may regulate civilian use of arms — they certainly may — but whether the Framers meant to leave it to the courts to define the policy contours of the contemplated regulations. Even the majority recognizes that the right to keep and bear arms is not absolute, and is therefore subject to some regulation.

Normally, conservatives would side with Justice Stevens's admonishment of the majority for interfering unwarrantedly in the political process, but apparently this principle may itself be quickly abandoned for expedient political purposes. Or even just dimwitted ones.

Justice Stevens offers as illustration in a footnote a comparison between the Court's active involvement in federal election districting cases, another area one might imagine to be the exclusive preserve of the political branches of federal government. But whereas the political branches were "manifestly unable" to solve the districting problem, "no one has suggested that the political process is not working exactly as it should in mediating the debate between the advocates and opponents of gun control."

Indeed, Heller was entirely a controversy of judicial manufacture in the first place. The Cato Institute hand selected six potential plaintiffs and threw them into federal court. One, Richard Heller, stuck. And only on appeal, at that, having been initially dismissed along with the other five for failing to successfully argue standing.

But ultimately, and most importantly, Justice Stevens at the conclusion of his dissent is expressly addressing two specific and related claims alleged by the majority, that
“the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home” is “elevate[d] above all other interests” by the Second Amendment.
and that
a [legislative] policy choice that denies a “law-abiding, responsible citize[n]” the right to keep and use weapons in the home for self-defense is “off the table.”
To be sure, Stevens isn't talking about whether the individual right to keep and bear arms is "off the table," he is criticizing the majority for defining the contours of acceptable legislative policy, and declaring as if by fiat the limits of those contours, despite no indication of the Court's constitutional power to make such determinations.

These are sentiments occasionally guaranteed to warm the so-called judicial conservative's heart. In fact they are the precise lines of argument conservatives adopt to criticize judicial results they don't personally care for, whether they understand — or have even read — the decisions themselves. All of which is simply more evidence that accusations of "judicial activism" emanating from political conservatives are essentially a hollow partisan farce.

Seriously, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, this is hardly the best Wisconsin bloggers have to offer. At least spend five minutes investigating the context of what you're memorializing.

Peter Wehner reads this blog

If Christian conservatives want to be taken seriously, they need to make serious arguments and speak with intellectual integrity. In this instance, James Dobson didn't. He has set back his cause and made some of us who are evangelicals and conservatives wince. — Peter Wehner
Except for the wincing part; James Dobson doesn't make me wince so much as wonder why anybody takes him seriously.

June 25, 2008

Scalia & Co. affirm Louis Butler

Hot off the press:
We decline to approve an exception to the Confrontation Clause unheard of at the time of the founding or for 200
years thereafter.
Giles v. California (.pdf; 58 pgs.).

Mark D. Jensen's defense motions should be hitting the Kenosha County clerk of courts' counter right about ... now.

It wasn't hard to predict.* Congratulations to Justice Butler on an impressive and impressively affirmed exercise in constitutional law.

* Maybe for some.

Why is James Dobson famous?

James Dobson is "making stuff up," says Barack Obama.

Not that that's news, of course, since for people like Dobson, making stuff up is a base function of the medulla oblongata. As Obama reportedly put it, "Somebody would be pretty hard-pressed to make that argument" — that he was distorting the Bible.

"Argument" is a generous courtesy on Obama's part, since Dobson didn't "argue" so much as whine noisily. I know this because the national press deems his wailings and gnashings practically lead-in material on the evening news.

Why this is is an interesting question on its own. In a more perfect world, Dobson would be wearing a sandwich board and ringing a bell on a street corner somewhere. People would pass him by, maybe give him a dollar or a cigarette or a half a bagel, but otherwise ignore his fevered gesticulations. He might even get arrested.

But Dobson apparently has "influence" over a considerable number of people including — it is rumored — the ear of the current president himself and all that entails.

Last evening CNN devoted an extended segment to Dobson's unwittingly doltish performance during which, it must be gratefully acknowledged, the laughably inept Tony Perkins was definitively flogged by Al Sharpton, Roland Martin, and Anderson Cooper in turn (even though both Perkins and Sharpton shared a round of guffaws about Cooper, who is gay, burning in Hell. Which would be funny if not for Perkins and Sharpton actually believing it).

And Perkins needed to start making more stuff up when he was shown portions of the speech featuring Obama criticizing hardliner secularists and acknowledging not only the existence of Judeo-Christian moral principles in the American system of law, but also the fact that many are appropriately enforceable. Perkins then tried to make it about Obama's personal faith, which it wasn't at all.

Dobson, who is incompetent even as a conservative radio host, a position created for incompetents, commits the same clear error.

It's obvious why Dobson dug up Obama's 2006 speech to a Christian group. Because he doesn't want his own little farce exposed. And because of Obama's emerging strategy to woo some of the Christian "values voters" over and from whom Dobson demands exclusive preserve, allegiance and, ultimately, control.

Dobson hasn't a clue what Obama was talking about and when Dobson weeps about being prevented from pushing "partial birth abortion" legislation he's flatly lying. He can push it wherever he likes.

Obama's speech was informed by political theory, not aversion to "orthodox Christian" dogma, as Tony Perkins calls his own personal, subjective version of objective morality.

What Obama is saying is that there are a number of approaches a rational political society may take in order to arrange a widely applicable system of ethics. Because it's impossible for everyone to agree on everything, Obama is initiating a dialogue to determine whether there are some things that almost everyone agrees are destructive to the polity's ethic, theft of property or child sexual assault for example.

When more subtle ethical questions arise, religion presents itself into the calculus and because religion wouldn't be religion without dogma, Dobson's dogma ultimately faces off against one of the other televangelists' dogmas.

The Bible that James Dobson is whacking is a very complicated assembly of disparate and highly derivative texts whose influence in many, many ways shaped Western civilization itself, not to mention civilizations elsewhere, still in existence or otherwise.

It accreted over centuries and various bits and pieces of it have been adhered to — or not — by hundreds of separate and distinct societies over a few thousand years.

Obama is not saying that only his interpretation of the Bible is inherently correct; it's Dobson and his ilk that are making that baseless insistence. Obama is simply pointing out that sectarian dogmatism in the false guise of absolute morality is a stumbling block to constructing the political ethic, by definition.

Dobson needs to understand that he's not going to convert all the people of America to his particular flavor of so-called Christianity. And obviously he can continue to insist on his own special divine insight.

The point is, if you are going to use the Bible as a source of ethical guidance, that's perfectly appropriate. Even I would use it. Selectively, of course, as I'm not about to give up calamari or cotton/rayon blends.

And it's also perfectly appropriate to attempt to codify that Biblical guidance in legislation and turn its enforcement over to the D.A.

But you have to support it with some argument other than, "Because I speak personally on behalf of the Almighty True God and you must Obey." Legislation formulated on such grounds are the mustard seeds of theocracy, a form of polity favored by America's enemies.

Obama's speech is simply a reminder of a few glaringly obvious historical facts of which Dobson evidently insists on remaining ignorant, which proves Obama's point precisely, hence the self-defeating, humiliatingly ironic quality of Dobson's reaction.

Rational people probably need to start ignoring anachronistic cranks like Dobson and Hagee and Swaggart and the rest or else consign them back to their bells and their sandwich boards.

While I'm suspicious of "leaders" on general principle — Al Gore's repeated invocation of the term to describe Obama during his endorsement was downright Orwellian creepy — Obama is demonstrating leadership by laying out the terms of a national discussion, as he did for the Christian group in 2006.

And it's a welcome initiative, given religious dogmatism's often fractious and deleterious effects in this society, something even the Framers of the Constitution were well acquainted with.

Incidentally, Dobson's most recent fit of the vapors did serve at least one useful purpose, apart from their usual entertainment value. It unearthed a speech of Obama's comparing the admonitions of the New Testament with the policies of the Department of Defense.

It's not something you hear from a candidate for the U.S. presidency very often and it's refreshing as hell. That sort of talk is guaranteed to inflame the Dobsonian followers of the Prince of Peace but politically moderate Christians are guaranteed to respond well.

And if they are disillusioned Republicans or otherwise undecided, then hopefully Dobson's hysterics cement the deal for Obama.

June 24, 2008

Book of Armani 4:1-12

This deserves its own post.

h/t the mysterious scribe Heraldblog, whose portfolio includes a brief stint working for homeschooled copy editors.

On the local yokels

Some classic Plaisted here.

What I find amazing is how anybody in his right mind* could assert matter of factly and presumably with a straight face that "about 2,500 people rioted."

Although, I reckon even on a clear day it's tough to see all the way to 12th and Vliet from a basement in West Bend. Interesting!

Even better, though, is a contributor to the comments thread deriding Plaisted for raising issues of "racism," and then declaring, "Blacks en masse are always a recipe for trouble."

And I did learn that people who are a bit on the heavy side are not allowed to be hungry or get their hair done.

Good times.

* I take that back. It's precisely a "right mind" that would deliberately fabricate such an outlandish distortion. I also take back finding it amazing. I find it depressing.

Women wearing pants

A thoughtful essay from the folks at Conservapedia:

The woman who pioneered women wearing pants was the actress Katharine Hepburn. She became rich and famous but never experienced a happy marriage and never knew the joy of having children. Her philosophy of life of being unfeminine resulted in her not fulfilling her purpose of life. We reap what we sow. There are consequences for actions. Women wearing pants is cross-dressing. It should be looked down on as much as men wearing dresses. The social experiment of feminism to destroy any sense of difference between male and female in the twentieth century has resulted in women wearing military camouflage fatigue pants and boots. The Bible says cross-dressing is an "abomination of God."

And yes, that's the whole essay.

h/t Submitted to a Candid World.

(Richard Lenski's second reply to Andy Schlafly is priceless.)

Dead-on deadpannery

Republican operatives, in their drive to politicize court contests, may want to target [Chief Justice Shirley] Abrahamson for being too independent and too committed to the rule of law as opposed to the service of special interests.

Presidency hinges on correct exegesis

James Dobson* is always good for a laugh.

Mind you, Obama is asking for it. Full points on the shellfish/abomination number, though.

* Focus On Your Own Effin' Family.

Legitimizing pseudoscience in the NYT

In lieu of ever getting back to my friend Thomas Joseph on the larger question of famed blogger PZ Myers' contributions to the so-called culture wars, I'm able to note in the meantime that Prof. Myers' criticism of the New York Times here is very much misplaced.

Or, more to the point, his reasons are sound, but the Times' item about Philadelphia's Darwin Year commemorations is not the most appropriate place to proffer them. Myers complains that where only science is at issue, reporters needn't solicit the observations of some random creationist fruitcake, in this case, the high wanking Antipodean jackanapes Ken Ham of "Creation Museum" fame.

Myers is certainly correct about that, and the example he gives of Jerry Coyne's inquiry of the NYT's science editor is much more suited to its object, which was an otherwise straight news report on a fossil discovery.

For the Times to ask the notorious Duane Gish what he thought of Tiktallik is irresponsible. Gish is a young earth creationist so adept at comically dissembling evasion he even has his own "debating" move named after him: the Gish Gallop. If credibility may be expressed in negative numbers, Gish's is in the triple digits.

I also agree with Myers that the Times science editor's reply to Prof. Coyne was unsatisfying. Because when it comes to reporting science, creationists like Gish and Ken Ham are the functional equivalents of mentally unbalanced panhandlers muttering gibberish on street corners.

That the Times sees fit to memorialize the alleged insights of these deliberate ignoramuses confers a patina of legitimacy where absolutely none is warranted.

And that effect is compounded when their statements are placed alongside those of professional credentialed scientists in the interest of supposedly presenting "both sides" to the story. Sometimes, there aren't "both sides" to a story and the goal of trying to invent one of them is not well served by soliciting the opinion of a thoroughly discredited crankpot who harbors borderline psychotic delusions.

As a general press criticism, that much is fair. Newspapers do assume some measure of responsibility simply by presenting themselves as newspapers.

But as for the Philadelphia Darwin exhibits, it was their own spokeswoman who opened the door:
The intent of the citywide event, said Janet M. Monge, one of the organizers, is to increase public understanding of evolution and science in general at a time when polls show that a majority of Americans believe God created man in his present form and that the number of people who accept the evolutionary model of human origins is declining.

She said the Philadelphia events were also intended to encourage people to consider the evolutionary alternative to the biblical account of the origins of man, as represented by the new Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., a $35 million institution that has attracted more than 400,000 visitors since it opened in May 2007.
Enter Ken Ham necessarily who, despite his undeniable grasping idiocy, is the chief minister of the said "museum."

Thus the question is whether Ms. Monge should have adopted the defensive pose, and not whether Ken Ham should be invited to disgorge yet more absurdist effluvia.

If the foregoing implied statistics from polls are any indication, proponents of sound science will likely find them alarming. I have little doubt that PZ Myers would — and does — and so Ms. Monge's declaration of intent is at least well intentioned.

What's troubling to me about the Times piece is that evolution is depicted as an "alternative" to the "biblical account," as if the latter was the reigning scientific paradigm, which it hasn't been for several centuries, if it ever was.

But if a majority of Americans really do believe that about the "biblical account" and whereas sound, valid science is merely an "alternative" to ancient Mesopotamian folktales, then I submit we have bigger problems than the occasional New York Times reporter offering an undeserved megaphone to a jumped up street preacher.

June 23, 2008

Scalia to come out guns a-blazin'

According to SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein, who hazards that Justice Antonin Scalia will be the author of the U.S. Supreme Court's much anticipated Second Amendment ruling, D.C. v. Heller.

Sheriff Scalia is expected to come barreling through the swingin' doors this week, with Deputy Anthony Kennedy riding shotgun.

Keep an eye on the dissent(s) to see who blames Scalia for "almost certainly caus[ing] more Americans to be killed."

Jeff Beck

Because sometimes people forget what a great guitarist is
Jeff Beck, who turns 64 tomorrow.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Blue Wind

(Since for some reason user CloudFROST doesn't tell you, that's Fernando Saunders on bass.)

Evil Atheist Cabal expels 20% of members

Seventy percent of the [religiously] unaffiliated said they believed in God, including one of every five people who identified themselves as atheist.
What the.

In the lapse of the gods

Milwaukee's Catholics are abandoning the Mass in droves, reports the Journal-Sentinel's Tom Heinen, who covers the religion beat.

Only 24% of the Archdiocese's 680,000 registered Catholics performed the mandated series of deep knee bends and abracadabras last season, according to its Archstatistics.

The Quesosphere's in-house papal bullshitter Dad29 tries to gin the figure up to 30% but finds even that less than inspiring.

The question is, where are they going instead?

If it occurred to them that they can demonstrate to their neighbors the old "peace be with you" routine sans the medieval death cult rituals, then I say that's a step in the right direction, maybe even an inspiring one.

But if they're opting instead for one of the continually splintering Protestant rackets, as Archbaptist Al Mohler gleefully suggests, then, not much of an improvement.*

* That's a joke, as Al Mohler is a poor substitute for a Jesuit.

George Carlin in Milwaukee

In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.

Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

But He loves you.

He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow ... just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!
Sun worshipper.

Tonight's forecast, dark.

June 22, 2008

Certifiable, not certified

Other findings show that Freshwater taught that carbon dating was unreliable to argue against evolution.
That's not the clearest sentence right there. What the reporter meant to say is that John Freshwater "argued" against evolution by attempting to point at the unreliability of carbon dating.

But, that's true enough. Radiocarbon dating is useful only to determine the age of organic materials within the last few thousand years so it is an unreliable method of attacking evolution, which has been going on for much longer than the half life of carbon-14.

Of course that doesn't stop creationist nuts from using it anyways.

Here's the worst bit: science is all this guy knows:
A former superintendent said he tried to find another position for Freshwater but couldn't because he was certified only in science [sic].
Much more.

Coach Dave "Teach the Controversy" Daubenmire sez:
Minutemen United are individuals committed to furthering the cause of Christ through non-violent means.
Thanks for clearing that up, Coach.

Grand Old Piety

Seems Grumps found a lapel button for sale at a GOP clambake in Texas implying the spectral incongruity of a Barack Obama living in a White House. Courtesy of, says the Dallas Morning News, RepublicanMarket.com.

Here are a few other of their "Patriotic Products."

They really don't like Hillary Clinton:

This one's a bit dodgy, but definitely a common sentiment 'round the internets tubes (and elsewhere):

These are my favorites, naturally:

What do you call those ... hubris? Or something less kind.

Middle age sucks


Get the hell well soon, Counselor.

June 19, 2008

Demons, they're everywhere

Including the State Capitol:
Addressing his colleagues in the Assembly chamber, Rep. Terry Moulton pleaded to Jesus.

"In your name, and by the power of your spirit, I come against the Evil One. And I ask that he be cast from this place, this day," he said as the Assembly opened a floor session last July.
A visiting State senator, Glenn Grothman, was immediately removed from the Assembly chamber.

h/t Emily Mills.

Skepticism has been expressed

Andy Schlafly, spawn of Phyllis and founder of the hilarious homeschoolers' website Conservapedia, is demanding data from Richard Lenski, a professor of microbial ecology at Michigan State University who studies evolution in E. coli bacteria.

PZ Myers has Lenski's reply to Schlafly here. As is typical of creationist numbskulls, Schlafly is asking for information that is already contained in the research paper in question, and is demanding an explanation for a claim that Lenski never made.

Presumably Schlafly, in classic creationist fashion, is after something he can misinterpret and garble for his credulous audience of conservative Republicans and other assorted homeschooled dupes.

Here is an excerpt from the Conservapedia entry on kangaroos:
According to the origins theory model used by young earth creation scientists [sic], modern kangaroos are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined by baraminologists whether kangaroos form a holobaramin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic.

After the Flood, these kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia.
Nobody cares enough to demand from Schlafly the data underlying these claims, or else they already have it.

June 18, 2008

Beatle B-Day

Dr. McIlheran's advice for rape victims

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's "generally right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran thinks it's wonderful that a Washington, D.C. pharmacy has stopped dispensing contraceptives altogether.

That's because if the pharmacy bans all birth control pills (which have other than contraceptive purposes), then that would necessarily include the so-called "morning after pill," Plan B, since, McIlheran claims, it's been shown to prevent implantation of fertilized eggs.

As evidence for the foregoing proposition, McIlheran links to a spec sheet that suggests in passing that Plan B "may inhibit implantation" of a fertilized egg despite the drug's explicit formulation for preventing pregnancy and the spec sheet's bold, underlined warning that Plan B "is not effective in terminating an existing pregnancy."

But that remote, merely alluded to possibility is good enough for McIlheran. And more than sufficient for Patrick McIlheran M.D. to describe Plan B as an "abortifacient."

Then McIlheran goes on to compare being pregnant with having the flu. Well, it's not exactly the same: "You generally don’t just unknowingly catch it" (pregnancy), observes Mr. Dr. McIlheran.

Doc Mac admits (albeit parenthetically) that some women do "catch it," for example, you know, victims of rape. But according to Dr. McIlheran's professional colleagues at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "this is a comparative handful."

So to blazes with them, because the alleged comparative handful of inhibited implantations of two haploid cells clearly trumps the documented comparative handful of rape victims.

Zygotes FTW!

And anyway, advises Herr Doktor Patrick McHippocrates, y'all rape victims can just up and locate another pharmacy, because you have all of 72 hours before Plan B doesn't work at all anymore.

So go catch a bus along with your flu/pregnancy by rape.

Of course if one pharmacy refusing to dispense contraceptives according to so-called "moral objections" is wonderful, then more pharmacies similarly refusing must be even more wonderful and the next thing you know, your 72 hours starts running down in a hurry.

Thus proceeds the logic of the male "pro-life" aficionados, and woe betide those women who "unknowingly catch" a pregnancy.

June 17, 2008

More demons in the news

What an absolutely horrific tale.
A witness said Aguiar "wasn't acting like a crazy person, running around or screaming. He said, 'I've just got to get the demons out of him.' He was very calm."
I wonder where he got that idea.

Advice from the Chronicle story's comment thread:
If your baby has demons, for goodness sake, please call a priest. Don't take the exorcism into your own hands. Exorcisms are best left to professionals.
Whether that's serious, who knows.

June 16, 2008

Bob Barr's marriage now legally worthless

Partners of 50 years wed in San Francisco.

Oh well, Bob can probably still procure a table dance.

Coming soon: The Dog Rogerer.

h/t Rick Santorum.

Gudbuy T'Jane

SladeGudbuy T'Jane

h/t Tim Cuprisin.

A bill for Bobby Jindal

Louisiana's SB 733 (.pdf; 3 pgs.).
If the bill passes the Senate, it is uncertain how Governor Jindal will respond.
I think we have a pretty good idea how.

The Discovery Institute creationists to the rescue:
Critics have smeared the bill by falsely claiming the law would allow the teaching of creationism or other religious beliefs, when doing so is in fact forbidden by the act.
Well of course it allows the teaching of creationism. That's the whole point. The danger, however, is that a course in critical thinking, which SB 733 purports to foster, would have its graduates collapsing in mirth at just about every press release the mealymouthed Discovery Institute "fellows"* ever issued.

But at least they admit their version of creationism is a religious belief also. How about a terrorist fist jab for the DI.

* Even the women are fellows, which doesn't say much for their expertise in biology.

June 15, 2008

Bobby Jindal: Creationist buffoon

I think local school boards should be in a position of deciding the curricula and also deciding what students should be learning.
Especially when they're loaded with creationists.
Secondly, I don’t think students learn by us withholding information from them.
Then why do you support "abstinence only" sex ed.
Some want only to teach intelligent design, some only want to teach evolution. I think both views are wrong, as a parent.
You want to make a politician look foolish, ask him about science. John McCain should do a whole Town Hall meeting on population genetics and another on astrophysics.
I personally think that the life, human life and the world we live in wasn’t created accidentally.
Who said it was, Mr. Strawman.
I do think that there’s a creator.
Bully for you. Prove it.
I’m a Christian.
So what.
I do think that God played a role in creating not only earth, but mankind.
Prove it.
Now, the way that he did it, I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science.
So much for creationism, then.
I don’t want them to be — I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness.
No, let's teach them stuff Bobby Jindal dreamed up.

h/t Crooks and Liars.

Bobby Jindal is also an exorcist and a magickal oncologist. And, naturally, a conservative Republican.

See also: Bobby Jindal, ignorant genius.

June 14, 2008

Caption contest

Photo source.

McAdams red-lines the spin tachometer

This is hilarious.

Some time ago, a reporter asked Barack Obama whether, if he is elected president, his administration would investigate alleged criminal acts by the Bushies related to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In response to the hypothetical question, Obama was careful to distinguish between disagreeable policy and actual, substantive crimes. This was clear to competent readers of English.

Several months later, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran completely ignored Obama's own response and fantasized that the Bush administration would be criminally prosecuted simply for poor policy decisions, and even desperately suggested that Obama's Department of Justice will prosecute "things" that were not even crimes, a truly remarkable feat.

We all had a good laugh about it here and here.

Yesterday, the comically oblivious John C. McAdams, an actual professor of political science at Marquette University who routinely demeans the intellectual competence of his academic colleagues — a textbook case of a pot calling the kettle black — repeated McIlheran's nonsense pretty much verbatim.

Challenged by a number of commenters at his blog to address Obama's clear statements, McAdams instead derided them for suffering from "Bush Derangement Syndrome," a phony diagnosis fabricated by the irascible Faux News "expert" Charles Krauthammer to assist conservatives in avoiding responding to legitimate criticisms of the current Republican administration.

Now, challenged by several more, McAdams still resists engaging plain English and posits that Obama (whose name McAdams can't even spell correctly) be investigated for "possible connections with terrorists" and calls the commenters "Bush bashers," even though all any of them did was ask McAdams to actually read what Obama said.

"If [Obama] broke the law, he definitely should be punished, don't you think?" says McAdams, despite that being not only essentially what Obama had said in response to the Philly.com reporter's original question, but precisely what McAdams's own interlocutors are asking of him and which he refuses to answer.

Does Allen-Bradley make an explosion-proof irony meter? If so, Professor John C. McAdams is in dire need of one.

Lest anyone finds it damn nigh impossible, as I do, to believe that John McAdams is really a university professor of political science, here is evidence.

It's a good thing for McAdams that Marquette maintains that webpage, because there certainly isn't any such evidence at McAdams's personal blog but rather much to mitigate against it.

He does, however, perform a hell of a job in demonstrating the expression "political science" to be a contradiction in terms.


Faux & Friends's Steve Idioocy makes $5M+ a year.

Also, Ben Stein lied, but that's not news.

June 13, 2008

And he's read every single one of them

"[Boumediene is] one of the worst decisions in history," said McCain.

George Bush's reaction was the McSame.

American Presents! John McAdams

John "Perfesser" McAdams's appearance is part of a yearlong series of comedy blog posts which American TV co-sponsors with Marquette University and 620 AM WTMJ.
Obama May Prosecute Bush Administration For War Crimes

And don't you dare attempt to question McAdams's delusions, lest he personally diagnoses you with "Bush Derangement Syndrome," always a compelling rebuttal. This guy is an actual university professor.

Hard to believe.

Who. Cares.

Hey white boy,
What you doing uptown?
Hey white boy,
You chasing our women around?

— Lou Reed, I'm Waiting For The Man

— actual Chicago Sun-Times headline

June 12, 2008

Young GOP Drama Queen

Lust Claims Another Career

Good grief. I understand that there are a lot of Republican perverts out there, but surely one who has a ridiculous video of a pantsless man getting chased around by a donkey with a boner* can't be said to be motivated by lust. And Alex Kozinski isn't going anywhere.

* Search term guaranteed to produce a dozen Google hits tomorrow.

Remembering Pogo

A "respected" conservative WI-blogger reacts to Boumediene:
If I had any advice for the military, it would be to just start shooting the enemy no matter what and don’t even bother trying to take prisoners.
More effective than Congress' failed habeas substitute, granted.

Speaking as an outraged liberal

I know I've been saying this, like, forever:

Stop picking on Obama's baby mama!

And for Faux News apologizing, they get a terrorist fist jab.

For the first time in my life, I'm proud of Faux News.

Attack of the Killer Constitution

"[T]oday’s opinion ... will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." — Justice Antonin Scalia
So it would appear that John McCain isn't the only prominent Republican taking guidance from the Gableman campaign.

Civil plaintiffs' attorneys need more Scalias on the courts, because arguing causation in front of this guy must be a piece of cake.

One more Kozinski

Somebody got a hold of a few files from Judge Alex Kozinski's website. Tacky, irreverent stuff, and sure to offend many, in particular those whose primary role in life is being offended.

Bill Donohue, for example, will enjoy the stained glass window.

Okay, that's enough Kozinski. But there will be plenty to come from everybody else, especially since it turns out that Kozinski had uploaded a bunch of .mp3s to his website, meaning anybody could come along and grab them, which is a big no-no copyright-wise.

And I was wrong to suggest that any of these files had anything to do with Kozinski's obscenity trial, which seemed to me like the most sensible explanation at the time.

More like, Judge Kozinski is just a hoarder of juvenile crap. I would like to see/hear hard.days.night.yiddish.wmv, however.

Send me a copy if you have it.

eta: Never mind, here it is. Haha.

Linsk Minyk, eat your heart out.

A bucket of warm exorcism

No way am I forking over a dollar-fitty to read about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's wacky hobgoblin-chasing escapades.

There's enough of that about for free.

Fortunately, TPM has a few madcap excerpts here. Why otherwise intelligent people buy into these creepy fairy tales, I have no idea.

I did see Charlie Louvin at the Pabst Theater last year, though.

Still, Bobby Jindal would be an improvement on the current president of the Senate (which isn't saying much) with the added ability of casting out liberal Demoncrats from the chamber of sober second thought. Dick Cheney can only tell them to go fuck themselves.

h/t Pundit Nation.

Kozinski pr0n update

The tireless Howard Bashman has some more scoopage on Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski's alleged porn stash here.

Bashman divulges the contents of e-mails he received early this morning from Cyrus Sanai, a Los Angeles attorney who's apparently got a (donkey) bone or three to pick with Judge Kozinski. Sanai downloaded material from Kozinski's site last Christmas Eve(!) and sent copies of a CD loaded with it to several newspapers in February.

But the story just "broke" yesterday, on the second day of an obscenity trial that Kozinski is conducting in LA. Mr. Sanai reveals:
The naked guy cavorting with the donkey is something I do not have and I don't think was on the web site on December 24, 2007.
The cavorting donkey, according to other reports, is depicted in a state of tumescent sexual arousal.

June 11, 2008

More conservative WI-blog funnies

Laugh-out-loud of the day:

Alex Kozinski is "an extremely liberal judge."

Actually Judge Kozinski is a former counsel to the Reagan administration, appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by St. Ronnie himself, and was considered by the present administration to replace either William Rehnquist or Sandra Day O'Connor.

That's how "extremely liberal" Judge Kozinski is.

Apparently the right-nut contingent's perpetual paroxysms are having paroxysms of their own because Judge Kozinski — or somebody — uploaded to his personal web domain what sounds suspiciously like evidence from an obscenity trial over which Kozinski is currently presiding (and has since been suspended).

Howard Bashman, as usual, is on the case.

City officials immune to magickal power

MacPebbles said he painted the symbols on the outside of the fence to protect the family's home and to ward off evil energy.
However, the talismans have effectively thwarted attempts by lawyers from the ACLU to physically approach MacPebbles's house.

h/t Prof. Friedman.

Wisconsin Supreme Court 110% Pro-Criminal

State v. Plude (.pdf; 63 pgs.)
"Accordingly, we vacate Plude's conviction [for first-degree intentional homicide]." — Justice Patience Drake Roggensack, arrogant liberal activist.

A conservative blogger writes

"I understand that our liberal readers have no sense of humor."

The very act of reading a conservative blog is prima facie evidence of a liberal's sense of humor. It's just that the humor is unintentional.

Penis located (or not)

State Senator Glynn Grothman (R-West Bent) blasted the University of Wisconsin for spending precious tax and tuition dollars on creating transgender restrooms on at least sex campuses.

"It appears as though transgender people are Grothmen who want to dress like Grothwomen and Grothwomen who want to dress like Grothmen," said Miss Grothperson.

"Restrooms are very expansive," s/he added.
h/t James Rowen.

June 10, 2008

WI-ngnut blog watch

"Headlines" noted on the Wisconsin blog feeds:
B. Hussein is NOT a Christian
Huh. Er ... stop the presses?
The State Supreme Court made a great ruling here
But there's only a link to a brief news report of the decision, which contains all of one sentence merely (and barely) alluding to the court's reasoning.* How the heck do you know it's a great ruling from this?

Same way you call tell Obama isn't a Christian: Fantasize.

* The unanimous court determined that oral communications were not "oral communication." How great is that?

Terrorist fist jab

Pat Boochanan recalls Ali G.

"Is you mashed or somefing?"

Faux News dumps Edith Ann Tarbox. Again.

Reuters Photoshop tips

Columnist's Obamanoia may be incurable

A couple of other sentient beings also noticed Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran's sleight of torso yesterday. But, McIlheran protests, the article was "really good"!

And a blogger at Bill Kristol's magazine said so also.

So how does McIlheran try to moonwalk away from his bogus misrepresentation of his linked interview with Barack Obama?

Easy, he just makes a bunch of shit up:
Obama can say all he wants that it's not about policy, simply crimes, but the left's trick is to say that legal things are illegal. Thus policy differences are rendered criminal matters.
Bwahahaha. I'd say McIlheran's truly remarkable omniscience better qualifies him for the Messiahship than Obama. And everybody knows what a simple matter it is to prosecute "things" that are not illegal.

See also: One of the aforementioned sentient beings.

June 9, 2008

Columnist suffers from debilitating Obamanoia

Maybe the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran can write okay, but he can't read too good:
This kind of change -- putting your predecessors on trial for their conduct of policy -- may not be what most Americans really want or expect from someone with Obama's gauzy rhetoric of unity.
What Barack Obama said, from McIlheran's own link:
I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General ... are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important -- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity.
Emphases added. Yet McIlheran just mindlessly repeats his source's fantasy of trials over policy. Either that or war crimes are simply policy choices for your average 22-percenter. And, natch, the "Messiah" trope for added effect. No "Chocolate Jesus," at least.

Or maybe this is what really frightens McIlheran:
I think a basic principle of our Constitution is [that] nobody is above the law.
That held true for the Clinton administration as well, IIRC.

Too sick to die

Governor Timothy Kaine of Virginia commuted a death sentence to life without parole today, on the grounds that the inmate is too mentally ill to understand the punishment. Kaine's statement is here.

This is the appropriate measure. Elsewhere, U.S. courts have determined that those similarly situated to Percy Levar Walton may be medicated by a State to bring their mental state to within constitutional parameters, a disposition that seems not that much less morally reprehensible than the initial crimes committed, if at all.

Flip Flop and Fly

'My faith is better than yours' — McCain

"The Constitution established the U.S. as a Christian Nation."
Candidate for President John McCain
"[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
U.S. Constitution, Art. VI Sec. 1 Cl. 3

Best of the Wisconsin Bogs

The incestuous farce known as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's "Best of the Wisconsin Blogs" is usually good for a laugh, and this past weekend's offerings are no exception.

The J-S editorial board apparently found themselves a tough choice between professional Republican "critical thinker" Brian Fraley complaining about too many children in strollers at a Milwaukee street festival and a petulant ramble by their fellow Journal Communications employee Jeff Wagner, so they included them both.

Former federal prosecutor Wagner, as if to prove up H.L. Mencken's observation that all lawyers spend their entire careers trying to be something other than lawyers, shares a 620 AM WTMJ microphone with those other profound medium wave cogitators, Charlie Sykes and James T. "Hip Musings" Harris.

"Best of the Wisconsin Blogs" finds Wagner depicting anybody with a continued interest in the rise of State Supreme Court Justice-elect Mike Gableman as "completely unhinged."

Wagner spins furiously, fallaciously conflating the escapades of Gableman with those of Justice Annette Ziegler, whose colleagues on the court last month issued a public reprimand for ethical breaches committed while a circuit judge in Washington County.

Justice Ziegler's travails have nothing to do with Gableman, obviously, while Wagner's attempt to connect the two is pure rhetoric, and failed rhetoric at that.

Rather, the Gableman issue raised last week has to do with the refusal of a number of State officials to investigate at least 52 telephone calls Gableman made to a number of Republican apparatchiks and financial backers in April and May of 2002, while he was the District Attorney for Ashland County.

On June 12, 2002, a fundraiser was held in Cable, WI for then-Governor Scott McCallum (R), who had inherited the executive department of Wisconsin the year before, when George W. Bush selected Tommy Thompson to go to Washington and sidestep Congressional questioning into stem cell research as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Gableman "escorted" McCallum to the event and introduced the Governor just prior to sitting down at the head table with a gaggle of other Republican hotshots for a $625 dinner and photo op.

Wagner casually refers to "several" calls, which means "consisting of an indefinite number but yet not very many." Fifty-two is a pretty definite number, and it's also quite a few more than not very many. The objects of the calls are pretty definite as well:

11 to Mary Stitt
— McCallum campaign contact
10 to Laura Gralton
— McCallum contact for the June 12 event
5 to McCallum campaign HQ
2 to Wisconsin GOP HQ
5 to Johnson Timber
— CEO and president were on the June 12 committee
4 to Johnson Bank
— Regional president was on the June 12 committee
3 to Chuck Johansen
— Member of the June 12 committee
4 to Kurt Carlson
— June 12 head table grandee
9 to Vince Biskupic for State AG campaign HQ

Effective June 3, Gableman resigned as Ashland County DA and was cooling his heels in Appleton, thanks to his appointment to an administrative position by Scott McCallum, which Gableman held for about ten weeks while waiting for his next job.

Then, in August, 2002, Scott McCallum appointed Gableman circuit court judge in Burnett County, even though Gableman hadn't officially applied for the position nor was he vetted by the committee McCallum had appointed to review applicants.

But civil servant/public employee Gableman did contribute $2,500 to McCallum's campaign, half of it on June 18, 2002.

Gableman brought this scrutiny on himself and it's entirely appropriate for the people of Wisconsin to wonder — and continue to wonder — about the circumstances of Gableman's ascent to the State Supreme Court. There's nothing unhinged about such inquiries.

When questioned about the telephone calls earlier this year, Gableman said he couldn't recall the topics of conversation, but he was sure none of them were for political purposes. However, he "may have called to find out details about a visit McCallum was making to the area," according to reporter Patrick Marley.

Fifty-two times, just to make sure he didn't miss it.

What's unhinged here is credulity, which is strained well beyond the breaking point. And it sure is sad for "Best of the Wisconsin Blogs" Jeff Wagner that Gableman isn't quite out of the woods yet.

Document archive at One Wisconsin Now.

June 6, 2008

Lay pastor takes title literally

Speaking of arousing himself, consider the case of Mario Antonio Bautista, a California Pentecostal "leader" in gross abuse of his elevated pastoral status who attempted a defense to sexual assault charges on the grounds that he wasn't paid for his preaching:

People v. Bautista (.pdf, 29 pgs.)

He lost. A reminder that clerical honorifics confer zero credibility and, in many cases, should actually arouse suspicion.

h/t Prof. Friedman.

Fun with ellipses

Rep. Rohrabacher: Panties ... panties ... panties ... panties ... panties ... panties ... panties ... panties ...


"He seemed to be arousing himself." — Paul Slansky

h/t TJ.

Ashland County key to McCain victory

MADISON (AP) — A little-known country judge's road to the Wisconsin Supreme Court is being eyed by John McCain backers as a map for him to win the state.
Gableman campaign an inspiration to Republicans everywhere.

Behold, I come as a thief. — Rev. 16:15

Want to notify your insufficiently godly friends in the event of Rapture? For 40 bucks a year, You've Been Left Behind Services will archive your personal messages of joy and regret and when Jesus suddenly snaps you up, automatically send them via e-nail to the remaining heathens, just before they're consumed by the river of blood and/or the lake of fire. Praise!
This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system.
While the five team members are currently certified Raptureable, the website's marketers have considerately factored in a 40% Raptureability reversal quotient, just in case two team members are disqualified for the sin of, oh I don't know, duping impressionable suckers into paying 40 bucks a year for 250MB of disk space.

h/t Brazen Maverick.

Class war in Brookfield

Some town commissioners in suburban Brookfield, WI don't want a discount food store setting up shop there. You can get a flavor of the general outrage in this here comments thread, complete with sarcastic comparisons of Bluemound Road, Brookfield's main shopping drag, with Rodeo Drive.

I think that may be the first time I've seen Whitefish Bay referred to as "White Folks Bay" in print. "North Shore Nancies"* turns up a few times too.

Most of the outrage and sarcasm comes from non-Brookfield residents, however. If Brookfield doesn't want an Aldi then they don't need to have one, I suppose.

They've already got enough problems with mom and dad smoking crack and shooting up in the bathroom at Chuck E. Cheese.

What I want to know is, if the good burghers of Brookfield want to keep out the indigent, how did they ever allow Second Swing in there?

Second Swing is a "previously-enjoyed" golf club store where poor people can go and buy used Callaway drivers and Scotty Cameron putters for only a few hundred dollars each.

* "Mequon is a suburb of Milwaukee. It has no discernable character, no downtown, few areas to walk around. It is often thought of as the 'elite' of Milwaukee's elite suburbs. Very wealthy community. The derogatory term 'North Shore Nancy' refers to the bored wives of rich doctors, lawyers and businessmen who live in Mequon and other North Shore communities. These 'North Shore Nancies' are known for collecting art, dabbling in self indulgent and expensive hobbies, impeccably groomed toy dogs and fine fur coats."
Milwaukee Ronnie

If you live in Mequon, it's only ten minutes by Cadillac Escalade from the North Shore Country Club to the Aldi in Brown Deer. And if you remove the second and third bench seats from an Escalade, there's 108.9 cubic feet of luggage space, which is a lot of Kraft Dinner.

h/t McIlheran.

June 5, 2008

Guantanamo overwhelmed by volunteers

Khalid "Shaikh" Mohammed asks to be martyred.

What's up with this

The unprecedented judicial discipline of Justice Ziegler will soon be followed by another investigation and disciplinary proceedings of soon-to-be Justice Gableman.
* I'm an AFP blogging graduate.

June 4, 2008


Dick Cheney: Comedic Genius

Tabernak, comment embarrassant

My friend Jay Bullock a.k.a. folkbum just took me to the constitutional woodshed in the course of lamenting the ineligibility of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm for the office of the vice presidency, pending the annexation of Vancouver, British Columbia as a U.S. military base, like John McCain's Panamanian birthplace.

For some reason this reminded my of my other friend and facile Francophone — he speaks better French than I do — capper, who kindly sent me a link to some screed by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "right-wing guy" columnist Patrick McIlheran the other day.

Apparently McIlheran is concerned that a lot of people in Miami speak Spanish. But, not to worry, because:
This is, I reiterate, plainly not the advent of the kind of social fracturing suffered by Canada because of its efforts to accommodate French-speaking Quebec.
It seems every time McIlheran mentions Canada, some manner of utter nonsense ensues. Last time, he was claiming that Canadians have no access to health care without a dedicated family doctor to make referrals. Before that he was expressing surprise at French traffic signs in Ontario, evidently unaware that many communities there are almost entirely French.

(Ask me about the month I spent in Hearst one weekend.)

Speaking as an inhabitant of Canada for nearly 40 years before taking up permanent legal residence in the U.S., I have no idea what McIlheran is talking about by "social fracturing" and "suffering" or, for that matter, "French-speaking Quebec."

Quebec is one of Canada's ten provinces, the (very) rough equivalent of U.S. States. Its own federalist relationship with Ottawa, the seat of Canada's national government, is long and complex.

While it's true that there was some trouble in 1970 when a handful of extreme Québécois radicals kidnapped and strangled a liberal journalist and provincial politician named Pierre Laporte, what McIlheran terms "social fracturing" and "suffering" I recall as healthy debate and democratic initiatives.

Those initiatives included a number of provincial referendums on separating from the federal scheme, one of which came within less than a percentage point of succeeding.

And, certainly, there are the elements of stereotypical Gallic arrogance. For example, Lucien Bouchard, the former chief of the Bloc Québécois who ended up Leader of the Opposition by dint of Canada's multi-party parliamentary system despite only running candidates in Quebec, notoriously refused to move into his official residence.

But with very few exceptions, English Canadians value Quebec's distinctive culture as much as Quebeckers themselves do.* Culture and its preservation in fact is the raison d'être underlying Quebec's separatist sentiments, unlike McIlheran's beloved Albertans, whose ludicrous and abortive attempt at separation was based entirely on greed.

Rather, what annoys many Canadians about the separatist initiatives are some of the proposed mechanics of Quebec sovereignty, which seek to establish complete political autonomy while retaining all the benefits of its association with the rest of Canada.

The attitude of the opponents of Quebec separatism was essentially, "Don't leave, but if you do leave, make a clean break and don't count on any further support from us. À bientôt, mes amis."

Years ago when I was working on a construction project in Iroquois Falls (another predominantly Francophone Ontario community), my old buddy Robert Lapointe and I hooked up with an engineer from Montreal, who was visiting the site to supervise the installation of his company's pulp grinding machinery.

A more virulent and provocative Quebec separatist you could not imagine. Also a very intelligent and articulate one, and he almost had even me convinced to assist in rescinding his citizenship and help boot him out of the country, or at least facilitate his exile to St. Pierre et Miquelon.

But that didn't prevent any of us from enjoying a riotously entertaining and extremely late evening carousing about Timmins,** beginning at the engineer's temporary digs, where he generously treated us to dinner. (How I miss those expense accounts.)

Who knows where in the world Patrick McIlheran gets his weird fantasies of "suffering" and "social fracturing," but I'm here to tell you they certainly don't originate with Canadians.

* Québécois heavy metal we could do without, but at least we all managed the consolation of ridding ourselves of Celine Dion. You're welcome.

** Ms. Chubak Kapel does not say "oot."

How much of an idiot is Charlie Sykes?

He calls Michael Pfleger a "racist." That would be the Michael Pfleger, a white Catholic priest, who set up shop 27 years ago deep in the South Side of Chicago and who has adopted three black kids.

That's how much of an idiot is Charlie Sykes, who "adopts" about three blocks worth of Capitol Drive on his way to and from Mequon.

June 3, 2008

Isn't remote jurisdiction still jurisdiction?

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
[Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice-elect Mike] Gableman has acknowledged he used his government phone to call the fund-raising staff of Republican Gov. Scott McCallum and others but has insisted the calls were not for political work.
I just called, to say, 'I love you.'
Records show dozens of calls were made to McCallum's fund-raisers, his campaign headquarters, the state Republican Party headquarters and McCallum donors in the weeks before Gableman hosted a June 12, 2002, fund-raiser for McCallum.

McCallum appointed Gableman to be Burnett County circuit judge two months later.
"Even though Gableman had not applied for the job or been reviewed by an advisory council McCallum set up to review judicial candidates."

But nobody in the entire State of Wisconsin has had the authority to investigate any further, or so they all say. Best of all, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had to step aside from any potential inquiry because Mrs. Van Hollen once worked for Gableman.
"We're not going to grasp for jurisdiction that is at best remote," [Deputy AG Ray Taffora] said.
Nope, never heard of a lawyer making a case for jurisdiction, no matter how "remote" (whatever that's supposed to mean).

Nice. Enjoy your banana, peons.

Additionally, it's disingenuous of the Journal-Sentinel to be referring to One Wisconsin Now, which initiated the investigative request, as an "anti-Gableman group." First of all, OWN advocates for a wide array of other issues and concerns apart from Mike Gableman.

Second, "anti-Gableman" fails to capture the most significant reason why many of us opposed Gableman's candidacy: the unseemly — if not downright reprehensible — nature of his political tactics.

Had Gableman not so deliberately and flagrantly abused the electoral privilege but rather engaged in a level of debate that respected the office to which he aspired, I'm certain he would have at least earned the professional respect of his political adversaries despite any disagreements over so-called judicial philosophy.

He may even have still won the election.

But that was too much to ask for. And if that was what we get in opposition to a moderate like Justice Louis Butler, who knows what Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson — who is marginally closer in terms of judicial disposition to the phony caricature Gableman and his supporters painted of Justice Butler — will face next spring.

Hold your noses, Wisconsin.

More: Van Hollen helps run out the clock.

9:30 in Newfoundland

Praise be to Gordie Howe I wasn't stuck in the Shorewood Legion last night, or else I would have missed possibly the best hockey I've seen since Game 2 of the 1987 Canada Cup Final between Canada and Russia.

I was at that contest in Hamilton, Ontario, and when Wayne Gretzky fed a pass to Mario Lemieux, who then beat goaltender Sergei Mylnikov ten minutes into the second overtime period for the 6-5 win, I thought the roof was going to come off of Copps Coliseum. It was Lemieux's third goal of the game, and Gretzky's fifth assist.

(I missed Game 3, another 6-5 Canada win, because Alex Chilton was playing at the El Mocambo in Toronto.)

There was no such ovation last night in Detroit when the Pittsburgh Penguins' Petr Sykora fired one in on the short side against Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood halfway through the third overtime, but Lemieux, who now owns the Penguins, was considerably pleased.

Lemieux's team was facing elimination but now the Stanley Cup Final Series returns to Pittsburgh for a sixth game tomorrow night. The Penguins still face elimination but with the momentum and the home ice advantage, it's more likely they'll force a seventh and deciding game back in Detroit on Saturday.

Prior to last night's tenacious win, Pittsburgh was down three games to one in the best of seven series, and nobody has returned from that deficit in a Final Series to win the Stanley Cup since the Toronto Maple Leafs did it in 1942 — against the Detroit Red Wings.

Pittsburgh jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period, the second goal being a bit of luck when Detroit's Niklas Kronwall bounced the puck into his own net off a Penguin skate.

But the Red Wings battled back, scoring once in the second period and twice in the third, and they were polishing up the Cup* backstage when the Pens' Maxime Talbot banged one on a second effort past Osgood with just 34 seconds left in regulation time.

The first overtime period was all Red Wings, and Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury had to turn away 13 shots, many in a spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, the Penguins only managed two shots on Osgood (shots on goal were 58-32 in favor of Detroit overall).

Finally at 9:21 of the third overtime, Detroit's Jiri Hudler took a highsticking penalty that drew blood from the Pens' Rob Scuderi, giving Pittsburgh a four-minute man advantage. Thirty-six seconds later, Sykora, who earlier had promised to score the winning goal, did exactly that, after passes from Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar.

The assists were especially significant as Malkin has been struggling the entire series, constantly handing the puck over to Detroit, and Gonchar had spent all of the overtime on the bench after taking a scary headfirst tumble into the boards during the third period.

Game six goes tomorrow at 7 p.m. Milwaukee time. Hockey doesn't get much more compelling to watch than it was last night but it probably will before this series is over.

* I've been told repeatedly that "Lord Stanley's mug" is the worst cliché in sportswriting.