Monday, February 2, 2009

Jefferson Quips...

A few political quotes I happen to think should grow some legs and wander the blogosphere...

"The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking." – A. A. Milne

"Ignorant free speech often works against the speaker. That is one of several reasons why it must be given rein instead of suppressed." - Anna Quindlen

"The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth." - Rutherford Birchard Hayes (Yes, THAT Rutherford B. Hayes)

"The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy." - H. L. Mencken, 1936

And finally:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." - James A. Garfield

I'm open to further suggestions...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Open note to A NeoCon...

I hate that everything in the freaking world is turning into American Idol.

The court ruled... Bush ignored them - but he's gone and thankfully we have now got someone who is a Constitutional Scholar in that office.

The cowboy nonsense won't happen again, if for no other reason than that President Obama UNDERSTANDS the law and what is within the constraints of the Constitution.

Hands down, the weirdest part of the debate is that Progressives like me are arguing FOR the Constitution and the Rule of Law, while NeoCons are arguing that the marginally definable idea of 'safety' trumps the law - and is worthy of finding new and interesting interpretations of the law to arrange.

Extraordinary Rendition? Kidnapping? Black Sites?
That's what we ALL knew the Commies did during the cold war. What the hell happened to make that OK with you guys????

America is NOT a semantic argument.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today's Executive Orders....

1) "The individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus."

>> The writ of habeas corpus is restored. We return, as a people and as a country, to the rule of law.

2) "The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future."

>>Not only does this begin the process of closing Gitmo, but it SPECIFICALLY enjoins the CIA from running any other site of this type - including Black Sites. Excellent!

3) "All departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with notification of, and timely access to, any individual detained in any armed conflict in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States Government, consistent with Department of Defense regulations and policies."

>>The red cross can visit prisoners. No 'Ghost' prisoners. No 'hidden' prisoners. No more families not knowing where their loved one is. No one can simply be 'disappeared'.

Hooray for freedom.
Hooray for the rule of law.
Hooray for America.

The cynics were wrong. Sometimes government DOES fix what it broke.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The rules... For Bloggers

A lengthy browse of the verbal expectorations know as Internet Blogs reveals that the multiverse of computer-savvy (or at least keyboard-capable) humans, is simply replete with…Nothing.

The world of blogs – if random clickage on ‘Blogger’ is any evidence – is populated with the most mindless, self-centered, boring yutzes since God decided that it was his/her universe and we were just visitors in it.

So, comes the time for a set of commandments. The Seven (so far) Commandments for Bloggers. Unfortunately, as I do not have the alleged powers of the alleged almighty, this list will have to be accepted as an advisory, and my recommended response to infractions against this list (drawing and quartering, followed by incineration and use of the ashes as fertilizer) will go, sadly, unenforced…

1) The word ‘My’ SHALL NOT appear in blog titles and/or subtitles.
We know it’s yours, genius. There has never been a immaculately conceived blog. They are writ by humans (or guys like Ann Coulter) and if this is the extent of your ability to present yourself, you might want to go back to composing grocery lists and greeting cards.

2) The word ‘Blog’ SHALL NOT appear in the title unless said blog is a parody.
Think parody movie titles… ‘Scary Movie’ or ‘Kentucky Fried Movie’… As with the first commandment, we already know it’s a blog. Sheesh.

3) We will NOT be having this whine with dinner.
The litany of misery and suffering you have experienced is yours to carry for the duration. Deal. There are bartenders and friends who will gladly share said suffering, and therapists who will gladly decrease the size of your wallet while responding pretty much like those bartenders and/or friends. Thus, unless you are paying me, I do not give a tinker’s damn who took your candy when you were a child.

4) Pictures of babies or pets are a sure cure for being read.
Whoever made the leap from blogging as a way to communicate to blogging as a replacement for vacation-picture-torture or child/grandchild gloat-overing was a terrorist of a magnitude that leaves groups like Al Queida, Hamas or Jehovah’s Witnesses green with envy. The internet, that bastion of freedom and truth, is mired in prattle about how cutesy wiw bay-bees look on the way to Wal-Mart with mommy… or the nanny… or funny Uncle Mervyn. New ways to toilet train are things to discuss in an goddamn email, please.

5) Just say no to exotic background art and zero contrast type.
The definition of communication is simple: Message sent… same message received. If your page looks like Ralph Steadman designed it may get a “first in show’ from the local Art forum, but ain’t nobody going to hurt theyself trying to decipher your brand of hieroglyphics… same-same for silver-type-on-gray-backgrounds… If your page isn’t easy to read it won’t get read at all. Why would a total stranger work that hard for your thoughts when thoughts on the web are retailing for .0000000000000000001 cents a pound.

6) If you allow comments, some perfectly reasonable people will disagree with you. Unless those disagreements are provably dishonest, obscene, or exceedingly uncivil, you don’t delete their account.

Blogs are opinions and everybody has one – the marketplace of ideas is NOT consistent with “if you wanna talk, get yer own blog.” Allowing for comments is a tacit acceptance of the possibility that you’ll learn something from others. If you cancel every though that isn’t yours, you may revel in the gloriously unanimous accolades of those who agree, but you won’t be engaged in educating yourself, nor will you be the one who collects enough divergent viewpoints to synthesize an informed, original opinion. Any parrot can repeat what they heard, just listen to the Political Sci Fi Channel (Fox).

7) On the other hand…

Dogma, jingoism and irrational nonsense, as well as circular logic (“I believe in the Bible because the Bible tells me to.”) is just cause for redirecting your energies toward some useful form of therapy. Or an increase in the quality and quantity of your meds. It is not a reason for your comments to be tolerated by fully functional industrial hominids. Write in your journal and leave bandwidth for those who are not wearing tin-foil hats, looking under the bed for aliens, or exclusively acquiring their “ knowledge” on the Political Sci Fi Channel (Fox).

8) Give everybody a bit of time.

It took a little while for this rule to make sense (ironic, no?). Some folks will arrive, full to bursting with wind and flail, yelling from (or at) the yardarm and saying ill-conceived things. Speak to them is if they were humans. In some cases, a couple, three posts into the dialogue an amazing thing will happen – They’ll calm down and start actually talking to you. The blogosphere is so full of rick-rolling-ranters that many folks start with the volume cranked up to eleven and it takes a calm response to get them back to ground - but back to ground they will go. Not all, not even many, but enough to be worth the few incidental wasted words.