Trying To Maintain Rationality

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Just Heard Paul Hackett Go Berserk On Jack Murtha, On AAR

Majority Report Radio had Paul Hackett on the phone.

Major Hackett, a man who I respect greatly, just... *absolutely* went off on PA Congressman Jack Murtha for speakling out about the Haditha Massacre. Hackett presented a completely different story from what has been widely reported (regarding newly-uncovered information and the military's official position on the purported events, that is) -- his alternative account included insurgents methodically attacking the 4-vehicle convoy, after detonating the IED.. which is completely contrary to everything that's been presented...

The only indicator that made me think twice about the Major's motive was that he, er, kinda sounded like he was taking a completely ideological position, saying stuff to the effect of (not a quote) 'don't bash the marines' and 'you're disparaging good men'...

I'm just. I don't know what to think, to be honest. Murtha has long had the ears of the highest-ranked military officers; Hackett's always seemed anything but disingenuous.

Guess we'll have to see...

[edited for misspelling, grammar and general retardation]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Seven Questions: Supporting the Veterans"

Foreign Policy magazine sat down for a conversation with Jon Soltz of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America PAC, where they caught up on both the progress in Iraq/Afghanistan and veterans' issues.

The VA stuff is what always gets *my* attention.

Here's a few blurbs from the article:

FP: What are you hearing from soldiers in Iraq?

JS: The best data are a recent Zogby poll, which showed that 75 percent of soldiers in Iraq don’t know of a clear strategy for victory there.


FP: How would you rate the administration’s policies relating to veterans?

JS: The veteran who walks into the Department for Veterans Affairs
(VA) today is drastically worse off than he or she was four or five years ago.


FP: Why are so many Iraq war veterans in debt?

JS: If you’re making $80,000 a year in the civilian world and then you get called up and make $25,000 or $30,000 fighting in Iraq, you take a tremendous hit... (* this next one really irks the fuck out of me -- EconAtheist) There’s also the problem of insurance scams on military bases. [Insurance salespeople] try to get 19- or 20-year-old kids—who don’t know a lot about finance—to buy life insurance and mutual funds that charge high fees. When soldiers come home, many of them have a lot of money from their deployment because they had nothing to spend it on, and they end up being targeted by loan sharks.


But perhaps most importantly, and most disgustingly:

FP: When we think of homeless veterans, we often think of Vietnam veterans. But there are reports of a large homelessness problem among Iraq veterans. Why is that?

JS: When a soldier goes to the VA and his arm is broken, you can fix it. You can give him disability for a broken arm, a busted leg, or a messed-up back. But when you go to the VA after being off active duty for six months and you realize that you’re depressed—you’ve got anxiety, you can’t sleep at night, and your marriage is falling apart—they cannot give you a blood test to see if you have PTSD. Right now there are hundreds and hundreds of Iraq war veterans who have gone to Department of Defense psychiatrists and been coded with “adjustment disorder.” So they do not get disability. If they did get disability, they would get enough money to help them through their depression.

There are hundreds of Iraq veterans who have gone to private psychiatrists who have diagnosed them with PTSD, yet the VA says they have “adjustment disorder.” And that’s because the VA has not been fully funded by the Bush administration to address this new demand for PTSD treatment. It equates to turning their backs on the same people they sent to war. And that’s why we have homeless veterans. Homelessness is a symptom of a larger issue. Whether it’s beating your wife, suicide, or homelessness, it all comes back to this nasty word called PTSD.

"Adjustment Disorder." Yeah.

Time for this country to make some similar political "adjustments."

Monday, May 15, 2006

Palm Treo 700p FINALLY Officially Announced


Your's truly seen running around the house, spazmodically. It's not the perfect all-in-one device, but it's a helluva lot closer to the device I've been waiting for - the Treo 650 just didn't do it for me.

I hope to have one in hand before I head off to the YearlyKos festivities in LAS VEGAS, baby... coming up in June! Be there or... be relatively square... not a square as a Republican dullard, but still... you'll be square.

If I can't get hold of one by then, well, I'll have to shoot someone in the face while I'm drunk.

What? With a camera.

Suck It, Irrational Ones

Here's a nice and lengthy little list of Things Creationists Hate.

The site's disclaimer:

The following is not intended as an attack upon the Bible as inspirational, divinely inspired, or of literary merit. Nor is it in any way an attack upon Christianity or any other religion, or upon the moral fabric of American society (although, inevitably, many creationists will see it as such, since any questioning of their own views is seen as an attack upon God Himself, and all that's holy). Neither is it an attack upon those who see divine purpose in evolution, or view evolution as the handiwork of a divine Hand. It most emphatically is intended as a verbal pie-in-the-face to those who insist that the Bible is to be read as an accurate science book and description of the natural world. I hope it is an affront to those who demand that Genesis, in particular, be taken as literal, historical fact. And most particularly, I wish to be downright offensive to those who would remove evolution from our public schools or insert into schools sectarian religious teachings under the guise of "scientific creationism."

See now? All in good fun. I'm sure the Biblical Literalists won't be appalled/outraged. =)

p.s. spirituality ≠ religion or belief in a supernatural being

Michael Weiner "So Racist That It Hurts To Even Listen To Him Talk" Savage

Seriously. Can Michael Savage be any more disgusting?

From this past Wednesday's Weiner Show, posted at

SAVAGE: What will it take to wake you up to the fact that you are being erased from the future of America? And why are you being erased? If you're a person of European descent, why do they want your child to be a minority in America? And when your little girl is a minority in America, what will happen to her? Tell me what will happen to her? Do you think that the minorities, when they take over the country, will be quite as benevolent and as enlightened as the European-Americans are today? Or do you sense that just perhaps, just maybe, they will not bring the learnings of the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, to their new power?

What the hell does... "your little girl"..."what will happen to her"... ?? Do I even have to begin to break this down?

Von Weinerschnitzel has more:

SAVAGE: Now, then, the question becomes in 20 years, what will America look like? And, what is the social landscape like? And what happens to white people? That's the real question here. Will our brown brethren, who are so nationalistic and so anti-gringo and anti-Anglo, be as enlightened as the European-American is? I don't think so. Do you?

Okay, so... again, do I need to break this down?

Aaaaaaaaand crazyguy with the fake name takes another faceplant. People actually listen to this shit and... agree. Sad.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Boston College Faculty Object To Honorary Degree For Rice"

From this morning's AP wires, posted at news:

May 3, 2006

BOSTON --Nearly 100 faculty members at Boston College have signed a letter objecting to the college's decision to award Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice an honorary degree.


Rice was announced Monday as commencement speaker for the May 22 ceremonies. Hollenbach said he has no objection to Rice being a speaker, but said she does not deserve an honorary degree.

"On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter said.


I tell ya -- good on the Jesuits of Boston College.

Chick's a shifty, lying, duplicitous, creepy ho-bag...

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Money = Speech" Doctrine; ACLU Being Asshats

- - this entry is cross-posted here, over at - -

* NOTE: I am a member of the ACLU *

Every once in a while, the American Civil Liberties Union finds itself defending some form of speech that's so repulsive (think: KKK, etc.) that I'm forced to pinch myself and repeat the "I wholeheartedly reject your stupid argument, but I'll continue to defend your right to present your stupid argument" mantra.

This is not one of those times.

In an April 29th, 2006 article, writer Jeffrey Kaplan notes that the ACLU is cockpunching [my description, not Kaplan's] Vermont's right to govern itself by:

"... attacking a Vermont law that limits contributions to political candidates and candidate spending in state elections. In a case now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, (Randall v. Sorrell) the ACLU argued the law conflicts with the infamous "money equals speech" doctrine first promulgated by the Court in its 1975 Buckley v. Valeo ruling."

(Those totally unfamiliar with the Buckley ruling (which actually upheld federal limits on campaign contributions, but gave us the "money equals speech" doctrine) can head over to this Wiki entry for a quick primer.)

As Kaplan notes, the "money equals speech" doctrine is completely silly - and fundamentally flawed - because it ignores:

"... the fact that there is a profound difference between who we are (human beings with an inalienable right to self-expression) and what we may possess (money or other forms of property)."

Ok... Lemme jump back to my gripe:

The ACLU, by supporting this doctrine, is in fact contradicting its own declaration which states that "If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled." It's very simple -- money influences the election process, so... people with less money have less influence. Until citizens become, essentially, incredibly wise, there's no getting around that bugaboo -- voters are swayed by the candidates that get the most coverage, and the most money buys the most coverage. The net result is that those with the most money can drown out those who are best at governing.

Kaplan best summarizes the situation here:

"In view of its ongoing denial of political reality, the ACLU's position that the "power, even of a democratic majority, must be limited to ensure individual rights" is replete with irony. In this instance, what the ACLU is ensuring is the "right" of the moneyed minority to exercise political power commensurate with its wealth."


I could go on, but I don't want to spoil the read. Well, that plus and reprinting everything gives me a migraine. Oh - I didn't really proofread this... cut me some slack... it's Sunday nite and I'm really only concentrating on eating a gigantic handful of delicious "real fruit pectin" jellybeans.

Check out the entire article!

... psst! check out the rest of the site, too... Restoring Citizen Authority Over Corporations

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