Friday, December 14, 2007

How to tell your ideological spectrum is a little out of whack

There's a story online about how some GOP folk want another debate in Iowa, because the one this week with the Des Moines Register left a bad taste in their mouths - they were forced to talk about education and domestic issues, and didn't get enough time talking about fear and hate with the war in Iraq and the war on brown people with immigration.

In the comments to the story, someone going by the moniker "Mr. Law" wrote:
With FoxNews' blatant pro-liberal bias (as in open support for Rudy Giuliani), it's not surprising Governor Romney didn't want to have yet another FoxNews debate which catered to, and was probably organized in cooperation with, Rudolph Giuliani's campaign. That said, after Governor Romney's masterful performance at the "last" Republican debate prior to the Iowa caucus, I can see how the Huckster would want a do-over.

Mr. Law thinks that Fox has a blatant pro-liberal bias because they support Giuliani (which they do). Well, Mr. Law, I've got some questions for you. If your idea of a liberal is Rudy Giuliani, what's your idea of a moderate? Pat Buchanan? A conservative? Mussolini? Where does Hillary (a moderate in most ways) fit? Socialism? I can't even imagine where you'd put Kucinich.

Let me suggest that when America's Mare is the left end of your ideological spectrum, you might need to do some adjusting. There are therapists all over who can help you with that problem.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Karma's a Bitch

I've been saving this one. Back in 2005, pitcher Andy Pettite decided to get preachy on Pat Robertson's website:
“Every time I took the mound, in any of those games and every game, I just ask the Lord to give me the strength to go out there, protect me and just to help me to compete. I don’t want to ever do anything to jeopardize my testimony for Him, and I ask him to be with me in that...if you’re praying to the Lord, like you need to be, spending time with Him, you’re going to stay in the game a lot longer and you’re going be a lot stronger than other people that aren’t...
Well, he was asking someone for strength, and getting help from someone to stay in the game, but as today's Mitchell Report shows, it wasn't the Lord--it was someone with a hypodermic. Karma is indeed a bitch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Please, please, please, can we run against Mike Huckabee???

Unfortunately for the Huckster, a rise in the polls means a rise in press attention, and it doesn't take long to find out that 1) he really is a miserable bastard of a human being and 2) he's a great big freak.

I would LOVE to see him as the GOP nominee. In a presidential debate not geared to the mouthbreathers, he can't talk like this
we stalked antelope all morning long and never got really close to one to get a shot. And finally, at about 12:30 in the afternoon, there was one across a ridge-I'm not making this up-the trajectory was upward, it is across, up on a hill. And it looked pretty decent, but it was about 250 yards away. Now, that's just, on my best day, within my range, maybe. But with a stiff wind, snow-and one of the rules of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt is that you cannot use any artificial devices; you can't lean on, you know, a car or the hood of a truck or anything other your own body. And so that kind of complicates the process and makes it a little more challenging. But it was one of those moments where I finally decided: "You know, we only get one shot. If you miss, your hunt is over. If you hit, and you take the animal, then your hunt your is over as well." And I decided that one way or the other, this hunt is about to be over, because I can't stand any more of this cold. And somehow, by the
grace of God, when I squeezed the trigger, my Weatherby .300 Mag, which has got to be the greatest gun, I think, ever made in the form of a rifle-for my sake in hunting, I've never squeezed the trigger and not gotten something-did its work, and somehow the angels took that bullet and went right to the antelope, and my hunt was over in a wonderful way...

Education and Elections

Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes. We need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense. That is my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet. - Sam, The West Wing

So, I was channel surfing today, and ran across the GOP debate (sadly, on Fox). The topic that came up was education (getting sadly little attention in this election).

Some thoughts came to my mind whilst watching the crazy (Of course, no one mentions the option of taking the money they'd throw into "choice" and vouchers and actually improving inner city schools):

There was a suggestion (by grandpa Fred) that we get rid of qualifications for teachers and bring people from various jobs into the classroom. Not that there aren't people all over the country who have valuable experience that should be shared with students, but this was one of the many points that was made that shows an utter ignorance of education. These candidates talk about removing standards for teachers, increasing home schooling, "returning" oversight of education to parents, and how education is not a federal issue, but a state issue (this last one I don't understand at all). As a teacher (although not at the K-12 level they were talking about), I can say with some level of expertise that these people are full of it.

Education is not an enterprise that should taken lightly, and too many do so. Recall the old, and frightful, adage "Those who can't do, teach." This suggests the idea that just about anybody (even, or perhaps especially, the incompetent) can walk into a classroom and be an effective teacher. That anyone can develop a curriculum which prepares students for all of the challenges they will face educationally and professionally. That teaching, unlike so many other professions in this country, is not based on skill and training and passion and experience, but rather something anyone can do.

Anyone who has tried to teach knows that is patently absurd. Not that there aren't bad teachers, or teachers who don't care, or teachers who are more concerned about their paycheck than whether their students learn a darned thing - of course, there are those people in every profession. But turning education over to people without training, without an understanding of learning, without true depth of expertise in specific disciplines as well as in the practice of teaching, to pretend that heck, anyone can do this, so let's get government out of it, is insulting, dangerous, and destructive.

Oh, and Alan Keyes is still a fucking nutball.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Now, if you changed "lion of" to "lyin' bastard of", we could develop an understanding

A letter to the editor in the Daily Herald:

A tribute to Hyde, a lion of a man

In this high political season, we will do well to remember a lion of a man -- unashamed of his deep faith, unequivocal in his convictions and unparalleled in leadership guided by both.

Rest in peace, Congressman Henry Hyde. You've not only been a dear friend to the seniors of Hanover Township, but also to our great nation.

The Lord has called home a true soldier.

Michael E. Kelly
Republican Committeeman
Hanover Township

Yes, I think we should, as always, honor those who are as willing to overlook their own faults in order to point out the same faults in others. They say that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but Henry Hyde wasn't worried about the cold getting in, so he threw everything he could get his hands on through the windows. He was always special that way.


Last night the Atlanta Falcons played their first game since Michael Vick got sentenced to 23 months in federal court for his part in running a dogfighting operation and cruelly and deliberately torturing and murdering animals. Michael Vick confessed to these crimes, and thus is not just a convicted felon, but an admitted violent criminal.

I'm sure there are people out there who were close to Vick throughout his life, and that crimes, no matter how heinous, do not always remove the bonds of love or friendship between people. He will one day be released from prison, and may have many years yet on this planet to share with those who choose.

None of that, however, excuses the ignorance I saw during the game last night. In amongst the myriad fans wearing jerseys with Vick's name and number on them was his teammate, Roddy White, who chose to send this message to the world after scoring a TD:

Yep, "Free Mike Vick." Once again, Vick wasn't convicted on circumstantial evidence, and he's not a political prisoner, and this isn't some weird racial bias - he stood up in court and said "I did it." He provided the money, ran the operation, trained dogs to be killers for his entertainment and profit, and killed those who didn't please him.

Of course, if you share this sentiment, you can go here, and check out their countdown clock until Vick gets out of prison, and gets handed another NFL job where he'll make truckloads of cash, all his sins forgotten.

There are bigger criminals in the world, but this is just dumb.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mr. President

According to's tracking of presidential approval polls, it was exactly one year ago this week that a poll had you at a 40% overall job rating, in the LA Times/Bloomberg poll of 12/8-11, 2006. If we go back to the first week of September, 2005 (right after Katrina), there is only one poll which had you at either 50% or at a positive approval-disapproval, the 12/12-13, 2005 Diageo/Hotline poll, which had you at 50% (whoever they are). In fact, in the 140 polls that have been taken in 2007, your average approval rating is 33%, and your average disapproval rating is 61.4%. Statistically, if we were to assume that these polls were part of some sort of normal distribution, there would be a roughly 0.000000015% chance that you'd get a 50% approval rating on the next poll, so you've got that going for you.

This is a big week for you. Celebrate!