Friday, January 28, 2005

Dispatch from Normalville

Following the Podunk County school board meeting Tuesday evening, it appears that the American education system's long dalliance with Newtonianism is coming to an end. For close to ninety minutes, board members saw and heard a procession of concerned parents line up to demand equal time in science classes for alternative theories of what they call "things falling down."

"Anyone who's as big a basketball fan as me can tell that no coincidence could ever bring about the wonderful balance between the bounciness properties of a basketball and the falling-down properties. And don't even get me started on golf!" This from Seth Straitlace, the father of three pupils in the county schools and an advocate of a theory called Intelligent Attraction. "Clearly, somebody smarter than me had to design the properties of the world so that things work the way they do." He moved on to Astronomy, "Also, did you ever consider that if the earth was alot farther from the sun or alot closer, life as we know it would be impossible! It hadda be designed. QED."

After forty-five minutes of discussion, the board voted 7-3 to require that earth science and physics textbooks used in the district have stickers placed in them to read:
"This text includes discussion of gravitation, which is only a theory, not a fact. There are other theories that attempt to explain these phenomena. You should study this material critically and make your own decisions. "
After the meeting, Straitlace said he was pleased, all in all. "This just leaves our campaign against Copernicanism. But that'll wait till next month's meeting."

Monday, January 24, 2005

What Planet Yew From, Boy?

Regarding the second inaugural address of GWB, from the one-of-a-kind David Brooks:
Two years from now, no one will remember the spending or the ostrich-skin cowboy boots. But Bush's speech, which is being derided for its vagueness and its supposed detachment from the concrete realities, will still be practical and present in the world, yielding consequences every day.

Words fail me, but maybe somewhere else in the world...

Rest of the world: OK. Here we have, ...hypocrisy. From America. Specifically, her President. More specifically, this President. [yawn]

Alright, DB. I'll grant you four words, "yielding consequences every day." Just not exactly in the way you meant them.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

TJ for President!

Courtesy of Paul Glastris, some very apt words from the author of the Declaration and erector of the wall of separation between church and state:

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles..."

Go check it out.

Cream Rises to the Tippy Top

EXTRA!!!: Jerk of the Week, Jerk of the Quadrennium, and Leading Jerk of the Free World Edition

The Post: In Iraq, there's been a steady stream of surprises. We weren't welcomed as liberators, as Vice President Cheney had talked about. We haven't found the weapons of mass destruction as predicted. The postwar process hasn't gone as well as some had hoped. Why hasn't anyone been held accountable, either through firings or demotions, for what some people see as mistakes or misjudgments?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election. And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me, for which I'm grateful.
One definition I found for 'accountable' is, "obliged to accept responsibility." I honestly can't think of any word less applicable to GWB and his entire administration.

Scenario 2007

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, but... Has it occurred to anyone else that in about two years, Cheney could retire for health reasons and let GWB appoint his hand-picked successor? Like maybe Frist, who could then run in 2008 as semi-incumbent and semi-anointed, obviating the whole messy primary process. I'm not sure how the Republican electorate would take to being told, in effect, what to do, but I don't see any big risk in this strategery. Am I missing something?

Hey, I Lied.

In comments at Washington Note, I promised my two cents' worth re Imminent vs. Incipient. And you know what happened. I got sidetracked into trenchant commentary, but never really delivered the goods. Well, here it is:

To me, disregarding OED and other dictionary denotations, imminent connotes an event that will burst forth suddenly, e.g., imminent collapse of Russian Communism, imminent military action in Iran. Incipient, on the other hand, sounds like a process that has a creeping gradualism to it, incipient erosion of civil liberties, that sort of thing.

Getting back to Scowcroft, then, I'd say that part of his point is that civil war in Iraq is not to be viewed as a possible event that will burst forth with shock and awe, but as an evolution that has its beginnings in today's insurgency. (Hope I'm not putting words in your mouth, Brent.) If I'm close to correct, it does make a difference which word is used. I'm not sure about the relative urgencies conveyed by these terms. Perhaps the point is that it's too late to head off an incipient civil war; we should bow to the inevitable. And perhaps I'm FOS.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Listen to this 39-year-old Man

Oddly prophetic words:

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

(on the eve of his assassination.)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Confession Time

(I fully realize that I'm the only one reading here, but just for a moment, humor me, you nonexistent readers...)

Just when you were worried we might drop the ball...

The Next Winner: Jerk of the Week™ : [hmm..should I give them Roman numerals, ala SuperBowls?]
David Frum, from his blog entitled David Frum's Diary on National Review Online.

Allow me to set the stage. This week a report in the New York Times quotes Brent Scowcroft, an admitted Republican, as saying, "We may be seeing incipient civil war [in Iraq] at this time." This situation, he said, raised the fundamental question of "whether we get out now."

The notion of getting out now, to Mr. Frum, is scuttling.
The result of such a policy would be chaos - but chaos in Iraq, the sources for the story seem to think [thinly-veiled reference to Mr. Scowcroft, methinks], is well worth it if they can get in return a political defeat for President Bush.

My interpretation: Those vile would-be scuttlers are so craven as to be willing to trade chaos in Iraq for some fleeting political advantage over Dear Leader.

Well, Projection, thy name is David! It seems to me that this (i.e., trading chaos in Iraq for political advantage) is precisely what said Dear Leader did himself less than two years ago, to devastating effect, both from the standpoint of Iraqis, the US military and Reserve communities, and the domestic political landscape, as well. Also note DF's use of the prime Neocon debate tactic: when no sentient being could argue with the substance of a statement, impugn the speaker's (or, in this case, imputed speaker's) motivation.

Amazingly, Mr. Frum goes on to win the first double-header in JOTW™ history, with a clever use of Mark Twain to tweak Steve Clemons (get it?). Describing a frustrating argument the Connecticut Yankee had with a slow-witted king, Frum says:
Eventually the Yankee has to shoot him.

Yesterday I found myself the target of a similar kind of obdurate lunk-headedness.

I think this tells us all we need to know about Mr. Frum's approach to discussions across a chasm of differing world-views (and no, I'm not defending the three-coin king, imaginary people, please pay attention!).

Extra credit: Think of a king endowed with obdurate lunk-headedness, quick! Ooh, that really wasn't so difficult, was it?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Blinding Flash of the Obvious

It's just become clear to me that there's a common thread which ties together many, many aspects of current conservative thought. It goes deeper than whatever is the opposite of reality-based. It's like in-your-face, not-reality-based on steroids, with a side of wishful thinking.

  • WMD in Iraq
  • Iraq War in general
  • Dear Leader = God's Annointed
  • Intelligent Design
  • Biblical Inerrancy
  • Homosexuality in general
  • Race relations
  • Theocracy
  • Need to lock up all pinkos and America-haters
  • Abortion
  • Social safety-net
  • Social Security
  • Basic economics
  • Evil university professorial scum
  • Global Warming
  • Environment in General

In each case, the response is beyond, "Please don't confuse me with the facts." It's more like, "My opinion is perfectly as valid as yours on this technical and detailed topic, despite the fact that I'm in college and you've made this area your life's work for umpteen years."

As we say, developing...

Oath of Purity

In conjunction with our professed basis in Reality here at Imbecilities©™, we do hereby solemnly swear:

I swear that I have never taken money -- either directly or indirectly -- from any political campaign or government agency -- whether federal, state, or local -- in exchange for any service performed in my job as a journalist (or commentator, or blogger, or whatever you think I should be called).

Shorter: We are not now, nor have we ever been, Bush's ho.

There. That wasn't so bad now, was it? [Oath edited to sound gooder]

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I had a revelation, nay, an Epiphany, regarding an earlier quest:

[Attention tone]

This is a test of the moioci blogging system. This is only a test. In the event of an actual blog, you would feel inclined to stay tuned for insightful, yes, timely and insightful commentary regarding current things.

[Attention tone again]

Hey, it's a practice blog, OK?

Newest Winner: Jerk of the Week™

Yes, it's Scotty!

In the [White House] e-mail, [Rove's deputy Peter] Wehner, director of White House Strategic Initiatives, . . . criticized Democrats as "the party of obstruction and opposition. It is the Party of the Past."

Asked if it was improper for the government to send a partisan e-mail discussing political strategy, McClellan said he disagreed with that characterization.[emphasis mine]

Uhh, which characterization, exactly, Scotty? E-mail? Strategery? 'Cause I don't see any way a sentient being could disagree with "partisan" or "political." If said sentient being were being honest, that is.

The Poor Man: Poker With Dick Cheney

This is old but special:

The Poor Man: Poker With Dick Cheney: "Colin Powell: Ladies and gentlemen. We have accumulated overwhelming evidence that Mr. Cheney's poker hand is far, far better than two pair."

Skip the miles of spam in the comments, though.