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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Death has close call with Nighthorse Campbell, vows "to change" 

An exclusive interview for the Bite by Vulf

Today, it was revealed that former Democrat Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Jewelry, Judo and Jumping Affiliations!) has been fighting prostate cancer for the past month (And fighting rumors he may not run again?).

The rumors about his prostate cancer, though, have worried folks in Purgatory, Colorado (It's like no place on earth!), where Death sometimes takes a Holiday. Due to the proximity of Purgatory to both the Bite's on-the-spot reporter and indeed to ol' Nighthorse, we were able to secure an interview with the Grim one himself.

Vulf: "So, Death, any truth to the rumors you are worried Ben might get your job when he goes?"

Death: "Vulf, I'd like you to keep this secret (technically, I did--it's only on the Bite after all!), but yes, I am a bit concerned."

Vulf: "Concerned? Why? It should be easy to know where to take his immortal sold soul!"

Death: "Vulf, you're so naive, that's not how it works. Remember the special place hypocrites occupied in Dante's Inferno?"

Vulf: "Um, yeah, something about that, I think I read Dante in the original Italian. I understood the word 'bene' but that was about it."

Death: "Well, Dante apparently had some insider information, because hypocrites not only occupy a special spot, but they get to compete for our jobs."

Vulf: "Your job? What does that mean?"

Death: "Oh, you know, taker of souls, dragger into purgatory, welcome mat to Hell, the whole schtick."

Vulf: "But you were MADE for that schtick."

Death: "Hear me out, o ranting one."

Vulf: "Ranting one?"

Death: "What we call you down here."

Vulf: "But I don't like hot places."

Death: "No problem. You're a limbo bimbo. We don't get to hurt you."

Vulf: "Cool. Anyway, about Ben..."

Death: "You're dying after a life of greed, a life of vacillation, a life of really never standing for anything."

Vulf: "Rhetorically speaking, of course."

Death: "Of course, you clarifying that for your American audience?"

Vulf: "You read my mind."

Death: "Actually, I did."

Vulf: "Well, then, I'm dying and someone comes to drag me to my afterlife..."

Death: "Historically, this has been me."

Vulf: "Thus, the name."

Death: "Exactly. Now take Ben. He was a Democrat, but now he's a Republican. So which do we make him in Hell?"

Vulf: "Lieberman?"

Death: "Damn, you're quick. Yes, we could make him Lieberman, but he's also a Native American."

Vulf: "He's Portuguese."

Death: "No, he's an American Indian."

Vulf: "Was his Mom Portuguese?"

Death: "Yes, but..."

Vulf: " So, his larger X chromosome came from Mom, along with his mitochondrial DNA, and just that flaccid little Y chromosome from Dad, so he's more Portuguese than Native American."

Death: "I wish there was a special ring for you [expletive deleted] scientists! He's a Tribal Leader, for Christ's sake!"

Vulf: "Are you allowed to say 'For Christ's sake'?"

Death: "Sure, I'm not evil per se. I also take the good folks to Heaven."

Vulf: "And us bimbos to limbo."

Death: "Yep, looking forward to that day."

Vulf: "OK, I see your point. Ben is Democratic, but he's not. He's Republican but he's not. He's Portuguese but he's not. He's Native American but he's not. He's an effective legislator, but he's not."

Death: "I see you can live with ambiguity."

Vulf: "We've all lived with ambiguity for 17 years now."

Death: "Right, when Ben entered Congress as a Democrat."

Vulf: "He's a judo expert. He might give you a good chop when you try to drag him off."

Death: "Yea, you read the article on his 2004 campaign--'Sen. Campbell is running very aggressively and, according to the latest poll we have, will trounce any of the Democrats (thinking about) running against him,' Allen said."

Vulf: "Trounce...as in judo."

Death: "Why not?"

Vulf: "OK, back to the topic: so he's a hypocrite, big deal, there's plenty of those around."

Death: "Not competing for my job."

Vulf: "What does your management chain say?"

Death: "Well, right now I dotted line into Beelzebub and report directly to Mammon. Beelzebub says I'm running a commodity product line right now, and it's tough to differentiate in a commoditized market."

Vulf: "Makes sense, our Administration and its Mommy (Barbara Bush' beautiful mind) seem pretty inured to the whole concept of death."

Death: "You're ranting again."

Vulf: "Am not."

Death: "I saw the URL in your head. "

Vulf: "Damn, stay out of my beautiful mind! Besides, no one reads carefully anything I write, so move on."

Death: "OK, well, Mammon thinks Ben can move the whole product line forward and represent it on BOTH sides better than I can."

Vulf: "Meaning, he can be both evil and good with equal credibility."

Death: "Exactly."

Vulf: "What about your manager's manager?"

Death: "Satan? Oh, he's ecstatic. Ben's near-demise is the happiest he's been since that apologist for Cromwell, Milton, made him the hero of 'Paradise Lost' (End of Milton's craps game?). He even thinks Ben can be used in a variety of new soul-searching products."

Vulf: "How has this affected you?"

Death: "Well, imagine having done something for 100,000 years..."

Vulf: "Er, don't you mean 6,000? Isn't that how old the earth is for you guys?"

Death: "Who told you that [expletive deleted]? (Many places--here's one)"

Vulf: "Never mind, go ahead."

Death: "OK, well, I don't have any other marketable skills. I don't want to heat up boiling oil, braid straps for the rack, any of that stuff. Talk about a dead-end job."

Vulf: "Um, isn't that what your current job is?"

Death: "Thanks for trying to cheer me up. But, I have some real angst on this. I need to change my ways. I need to put more energy in my job. This whole close call has really shaken me up."

Vulf: "I don't like the sound of this, what are you going to do?"

Death: "Not telling."

Vulf: "Can't we have more taxes instead?"

Death: "You're too much, Vulf, have a nice life."
____________________________________________________________________

Both are evil... 

processes and people. Firing evil people is part of a non-evil process. Are there other parts to a healthy process? Absolutely, and clearly the processes failed the Denver Police. But come tell me if the officer cited below gets fired.

(Another blind mouse thought the elephant was a fan, another a rope, another a snake...I assume you meant the GOP elephant...I think it's a snake, or a rope to hang us all)

-Vulf

Changing Processes 

My reason for distinguishing between evil processes and evil people (see posting below on Childs's murder) was to better focus on the issue of responsibility. The police officer in charge should be fired but that would only accomplish so much. The goal is to better train the police force and to transform it into an agency that is working for all people.

This brings to mind the story of the elephant and the three blind men. The three blind men are trying to identify a beast (actually an elephant) and the first blind man touches the elephant's leg and says that the elephant is a large pillar. The second blind man goes to the trunk and declares the elephant to be a large tube of some sort. Well, the third blind man sticks his hand in the elephant's ass and all he knows is that it's full of sh**. The police department system is "the beast" and it is up to the police along with the community to determine what it should be and how it should function.

Another reason for looking at evil processes instead of evil people is that firing the police officer is actually the easy way out. I say the entire police force has to change and part of this change is becoming more community centric. After the civil insurgence (some people call them riots) in Los Angeles after the Rodney King beating, the police force had to make some changes and part of it did. In parts of South Central Los Angeles, the police has been restructured so that police officers are assigned to particular areas of town and trained on how to function as a community friend, not an enemy to be feared. When I saw this with my own two eyes, I was shocked. The people of Denver need such a change and should demand it.

-LOBO

Friday, October 24, 2003

Polish Nationalism 

In my copious free time, a good friend of mine and I have been discussing how nationalism may well be the greatest single engine for evil ever engineered (sorry, it's hard to alliterate with "e"). From the Bureaucracy of le Ancient Regime to the Evil Empire in the East to the National Socialists to the US of today, big strong nations have become streamlined engines for bullying. Nationalism, like many religions, creates an abstract that cannot be refuted. You can hate the US government, the smug materialism of all your neighbors, and all of its policies, but still I love my Uncle Sam. Ugh. As Gertrude Stein (not Dorothy Parker!) said of Oakland, but could have said about the whole US, There is no there there! The U.S. is no abstraction, no entity, no "nation". It is a quilt, or--on better days when pieces fit--a jigsaw puzzle. Opinions differ on every topic, and this is good...it leads to an organic whole when the parts are allowed to express themselves.

So, when Wilk tells you about the malaise of post-Communist Poland, we must wonder what nationalism might bring. Polish nationalism asserted itself for me when I visited Auschwitz, and was told at great length about the several hundred Polish patriots who were killed there. Hey, those folks are to be mourned, missed, acknowledged and remembered, but 1 MILLION Jews were also killed there. I think that is the real focus, because that is not war, that is extermination. The fact that there are many brave Poles on the list of the Just is at least partly because there were so many Jews in Poland during (most of) World War II. People are people, and pogroms are pogroms. The Holocaust was allowed to happen in Eastern Europe because the model for it, the pogrom, had already been "perfected" by Stalin and others prior to the ignominy of the Nazi wave. The Nazis plugged into a "model" already formed and took it to its illogical conclusions. If you were a non-Jew, you may simply have been relieved it was a different target this time. After all, there was that other nasty bit about a WAR going on...

It can happen again, and in fact it will happen again. One nation, one world is enough. It will help reduce the odds.

-Vulf

Tolerance Tests 

Wilk, good question on the tolerance testing: My reponse is that tests are only as effective as their utility. If enough tolerance tests are given, then people will internalize the need to be tolerant. As Faolin (my partner) says, "What we repeatedly do we become". It takes training, because apparently tolerance does not come naturally.

-Vulf

Kevorkian 

Okami, the fact that the US govt feels it can tell wimmin when they may not abort babies does not (logically) mean they can tell them when they must abort them. Remember Kevorkian (Also available in a new convenient Metal Band package)...the govt feels free to throw this well-meaning and humane civil rights leader in prison, but they still don't tell us when we MUST kill people...do they? Er, sorry, forgot about those Texecutions!

From a set theory standpoint, the two aren't linked. But given the current administration's--or is it just the American populace's--inability to logically separate facts (2/3 of Americans still think Saddam was linked to 9/11), your point is both well-taken and ominous. Logan's Run (Life should just BEGIN at 30!), anyone?

Let's use really simple words that even "W" (if sober) can understand:

The only body you have a right to control is your own.
-Vulf

Anti-Spam 

Lupus, it makes more sense when you interpret your email as extortion...i.e. "How much will you pay us to stop sending you these?".

-Vulf

Sports 

What the heck. It is almost Friday where I am. Friday's picks.

Wilk

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I am still trying to get my head around this one.

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I am speechless.

- Lupus


Mr. Nader, I presume: Redux 

Robert Sheer in the LA Times echoes many of my thoughts regarding the recent actions of California's Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

Explaining his refusal to vote for Bustamante, Lockyer told reporters, "You know people in your profession really well. You know who works hard and who doesn't. You know who's honest and who isn't. And that's all I'm going to say." Without providing any backing for his remarks, which stop just short of accusing the state's No. 2 official of crimes. . .. But his shot is not risk free.

Bustamante, however, has his own political firepower with which to retaliate, probably including the large Latino caucus in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

But he fails further appreciate how these remarks could be more damningly interpreted as a code-phrase for "Lazy Mexican" with even more dire repercussions.

In addition ticking off the the Latino base, the AG didn't do himself any favors with women. Sheer reflects how the AG's actions insulted women:

Not so the 16 women who went public with complaints of having been abused by Schwarzenegger and whom California's attorney general has now chosen to denigrate. Oddly, Lockyer accepts that their stories are true but implies that serial molestation by one of the wealthiest and best-connected men in the country is not to be taken seriously. That is an incredible signal of disrespect to send to women.

The reasons behind the AG's action?

But in the wake of Schwarzenegger's convincing victory, Lockyer apparently decided that the bodybuilder's coattails were too long to ignore for a politician trying to capture the hearts of those fickle swing voters.

When he tries to run for Governor in 2006, I am sure his primary opponents will hammer this message home:

But we don't need the state's attorney general to become another groupie of the Terminator, looking the other way instead of making sure that women and the "public interest" don't get molested.

-Lupus

Thoughts on the abortion debate …. 

Let’s say for a moment that we all agree it IS okay for the government to have legislative authority over the human reproductive process. In which case no big deal for a government ban on partial birth abortions. Government knows best right? However, do we all realize that once we give government the authority to say when one CANNOT choose to terminate a pregnancy we’ve also given them jurisdiction over when one MUST terminate a pregnancy?

Land of Po 

The sad story Vulf gives of Poland is true. It is a lack of a notion of customer service. The ticket agent also probably makes about 200 USD a month no matter how empty or full the place is. It is a lack of pride in work. It is due also to a weak civil society in which people are not motivated to (and/or do not know how to) participate in or contribute to the betterment of the society in which they live. (Incidentally, this, the civil society aspect is the most important to success in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere democracy is attempted or installed. You can set up a nice democracy, but until citizens understand that they contribute and have a role in improving the system, it will never really be strong democracy. This is a big reason why Ukraine sucks the holy hand grenade and the US less so. In the States, there is a general belief that things are going to improve. In Ukraine - and most of eastern europe - the general belief is that it sucks, it will get worse so we need to pilfer and cheat while the getting is good.)

I used to say when I first arrived: "In the US, the customer is always right. In Germany, the customer is annoying. In Poland, such a person does not exist." Americans complain about the syrupy "have a nice day" dictatorship. But watching unsmiling people do the Eastern-european trudge all day is a poor alternative. Although since living here, I have noticed things like the espn webpage where all of the football experts' pictures have such cloyingly smiles ... Makes we want to chunder.

Vulf is correct, evil processes need enablers. The true fall of man is the need to find enemies and create conflict where constructive debate should suffice. This is why Germans were willing executioners (I suspect Goldhagen touches on this but I have not read the book) and also why Poles often participated (although I must say that Poles have the 2nd most number of persons recognised as the Just in Israel so there were plenty of people willing to risk their lives and families to help). Germans could blame someone for their problems. Poles could feel comforted that while they were being persecuted at least someone else was (far) worse off. Lush Fartbag screams of liberal conspiracies. And so on.

How easy would it be to pass a tolerance screening test? (I remember Lupus getting grilled for telling the CIA that lie detectors could be fooled).

wilk

Evil Processes...or Evil People? 

Actually, US Police go on mandatory suspension when they shoot someone, as well. Nevertheless, the process is evil, but that means it taps into the underlying evilness in the people promulgating the process and making it law. You can't have evil processes without evil people to support them.

First, a small case in point. Wilk's land, Poland. Went there and wanted to go to a museum. Had a 50 (?) zloty bill and the entrance fee was only 5 zloty/person (3 of us were there, one free on account of age). The ticket agent would not let us in, because then she would have to give back 40 zloty and lose most of her smaller bills. Lost a 10 zloty sale, and there was no queue milling to get in. Could she have gone elsewhere to get change? Probably. But the process must have been not to run out of change. Having change was thus more important than making money. Insane? No. Priorities messed up? Oh yeah. We might also blame that one on the lack of a Free Market mentality, but Wilk's comments on E. Europe sum it up nicely.

A larger case--the Denver police and the latest in a series of slayings of the innocent. What process crosses the officer's mind? I doubt there is a process on the books for "kill[ing the] defenseless and people of color", by the way, but there is certainly a bias toward favoring the latter, which is my point. It still takes some evil under the hood to follow the "process". I won't let the officer off for the sake of the process, Deming notwithstanding.

Two more examples. (1) Lupus' DWB incident of a few years ago. There was no process in place to pull over a mellow, non-threatening driver of color for driving too close to a truck outmassing his vehicle by 100X, but there sure was a person willing to do it. (2) This one is very compelling, and it is one of the past decade's most important books...Daniel Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (Yours for a pittance on AMAZON). The review alone says plenty:

"This...lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of "eliminationist anti-Semitism" that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion."

In other words, there was a process there, set by Hitler, but the ordinary Germans could easily refuse to participate. Hauntingly, more refused out of queasiness than any moral angst. Evil processes tap into evil prejudices, and no process lasts without support.

So, Lobo, your point, your pity and your pathos are poignant, what can I suggest to help prevent such events in the future? A screening test for biases of any sort before even allowing the person to test for police work would be a starting point. Here's a place they should start (www.tolerance.org).

-Vulf

Shooting 

The evil processes thing is spot on. (And speaking of - I am going to Ukraine tomorrow where evil processes led to the utter collapse of morals, the economy and just about everything else. Russia seemed that way to me as well. It honestly was an "evil empire.")

Did you know that in the UK after a policeman shoots someone (even a sniper on orders from a superior), he (most probably he) is required to place his gun down and wait for his colleagues to arrest him? Standard procedure. The cop then goes on suspension (albiet paid) and a mandatory investigation ensues. Every time. This might cut down on such shooting with impunity that Lobo describes. Seems a bit cumbersome perhaps but then again the English don't have a thing like the Second Amendment to the Constitution to misinterpret. So there are not so many guns in homes and on the streets. I personally am for a literal interpretation of that Amendment - which would preclude ownership of most of the guns out there right now.

- Wilk

Tired of Police Taking Target Practice 

Reflecting on the Childs shooting...

How many times can members of a police force shoot innocent victims and get away with it? The decision not to punish the police officer who gunned down Childs is proof that the Denver police force is out of control.

"He was just doing his job," you may say, and that is exactly the point. Police officers in Denver are trained to use lethal force in cases where it is not needed. This is a lack of training and a lack of leadership. Someone once said (probably E. Deming) that there are no evil people, only evil processes. If that is true then the entire police force is to blame because it is systematically producing poorly trained officers and innocent people are dying.

We're not stupid, we know what is going on. The people who were killed were defenseless and people of color. There, I said it. The police officers killed them because they could. Because their minds allowed them to constuct an image of individuals who were dangerous.

I know the Childs case was presented as a "tough call" because the victim was holding a knife but I'm sure the police department gets calls like that often. I've made a call like that before with a mentally ill family member and the last thing you ever think is that someone is going to come in and gun down your loved one. You call the police or the fire department because you need help and you feel that you can't do it on your own. That's why the mother made the call and that is what she expected, help.

The people of Denver need to make the police force accountable for this atrocity. It must stand up and make it's voice heard so that no other innocent people are killed.

-LOBO

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Vulf's Weekend Quotes of the Day 

Saturday:
One of the easiest ways to blow a day is to travel across the International Date Line. It's not a day well-spent, though.

Sunday:
My anal-retentive neighbor recently put furniture protectors on his children. Said he finally got to the root of the problem.

Vulf's Friday Quote of the Day 

Don't give me any of your lip! I'm a vegetarian.

Sperm 

Interesting idea with the abortion-inducing sperm. Dragonflies also have an interesting technique - now see if you can spot this behavior. (I swear I am not making this up). One male couples with a female and, his "work" being done, flies off. Another males comes along, mounts the female (of course all in-flight) and does a loop with her and pulls out at the end of the loop. But behold, he has extracted the load from the previous male and proceeds to couple with the female again (this time depositing his own genes). If you watch this in slo-mo, you can actually see the wad flying out. Maybe women could get a sperm extractor?

-wilk

Divisive or Dismissive? 

Wilk, good points. Not to defend Loopie, but I think he meant the baby and the mother were both at risk, since he is both pro-life and pro-choice (these terms are not internecine, and in fact I don't know any anti-life, pro-choice people...remember names mean a lot, we must always be careful how terminology is geared to bias us :) ).

First, a quick check here...
Terminology:
Female = far-exceeding male? Think of it this way instead of a male-derivative, OK? Can I use this instead of/consistent with wimmin? :) I know names are important


Regardless, is it really that the topic is dismissive or even detouring because it moves the line of discussion into the "she side" of the fence? Here's an example of a 50:50 division (that is not divisive, then?):

Male
-Should medical science look at ways for men to carry babies (ironically, Schwarzenegger's movie Junior?)
-Should men be allowed to induce abortion through RU-486 enhanced sperm?
Female
-Should a woman have an abortion?
-Should a woman have a baby (attempt birth)?

Is this a fair division? LIFE ISN'T FAIR, get over it. The fact is, the two genders are different. The [current, at least, notwithstanding Schwarzenegger's wish to carry to full term--he'll need a real election to do that!--I digress...] reality is, until a man's body undergoes the changes that are consistent with pregnancy and/or abortion, it's logically bound to be more the female's choice (oh, and by the way, the female's psychological onus, as well). The degree of influence the man has (and let's be fair here, this is often well over 50% of the decision) will depend on the relationship they have, but legally, morally, and naturally [that is, based on nature's dictates], the choice is ultimately the female's. Should the she in a hemale-female relationship be able to tell the man not to use Viagra when his abilities are disappointing?

-Vulf

that "divissssive" topic 

Hang on a sec Lupus; fling outrage more effectively: "or even more tragically do nothing which then puts both lives at risk." (from an earlier blog of yours) What two lives are those? The abortionist and the woman? Must be because the fetus has already been written off. But you are correct that abortions will not go away by legislation. And I don't think real doctors perform "partial birth abortions" the way they are described because my hunch is that sticking scissors into the base of a baby's skull while the head is still in the cervix would be grounds for malpractice. Seems like a risky procedure for the woman.

The statement about "clouding the abortion debate" is also not quite right. It is much more than that. What you really mean is that politicians have described a procedure so abhorrent that eveyone would say that it is barbaric and doctors can claim that they would not perform it (at least not on a live fetus or electively in the third trimester). So what you have is a "procedure" that doctors rarely perform. The ban really is a shoehorn to eliminate all abortion. So it isn't really clouding the issue, it attempts to close the debate once and for all.

On another note - I also have often wondered as Vulf does why women scientists are not researching parthenogenesis. For example, bees make males only for the purpose of making a queen but otherwise males have no purpose. And you guys should try living in a really misogynistic society like all of eastern Europe (and throw most of the rest of Europe in that as well. Then you would really have something to complain about.

-Wilk

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Vulf's Thursday Quote of the Day 

Dogs love it when you put your plate on the floor and eat just like them.
One thing they don't like, however, is when you tie and gag their masters and put their belongings in your car.

Cannes of Worms... 

Yes, I've literally opened two small European cities on the latest attack on Roe vs. Wade. Now, the flood of right-winged attempts to chip away at wimmin's rights will force us to either "row" or "wade" through it. I choose "wade", 'cuz riding the tide on this one doesn't feel right. What's next? We assign "ownership" to each woman's body?

I have a good friend who's pregnant now. She also has a life partner who just happens to be non-male. What's next? Their child becomes a ward of the state? Who has claims on her body--certainly no male. And she'll KICK ASS as a parent!

I got news for you freaky little men who think you run the world...we don't need the "Y" chromosome, it's a shriveled up little joke that leads to all kinds of genetic weaknesses we didn't even touch on in our revelations about the stronger sex the past few days. Can you say Parthenogenesis? (human conception without fertilization by a man). It's gonna happen.

Hell, I forgot, all you sanctimonious yet sententious freaks have taken your Bible classes--"W" wears it on his sleeve (along with several vodka stains, but I digress...)--remember Virgin Mary had Christ via parthenogenesis. And Christ was the best man...ever. Hmmm, seems the only way we SHOULD have men is via parthenogenesis.

Just kidding. But think on it...if men don't evolve better, wimmin ain't gonna need them soon. I for one hope they choose to keep a few around, but certainly hope we get rid of the TJ's (testosterone jockeys).

-Vulf

Will the Republicans follow up? 

Will the Republicans continue with their sudden concern with the less fortunate? Michael D. Schattman points out life does not begin with conception and end at birth as most Republicans like to believe:

Once the unaborted are born, will Hatch and his gang support unemployed teen-age mothers, milk for poor schoolchildren, Head Start, jobs programs or housing assistance? In a pig's eye. But that would be the Catholic position

Republicans resort to easy victories. Pro-child, Pro-choice, Pro-life Catholics, like myself, argue for policies to reduce unwanted pregnancies and for more thoughtful family planning. Responsibility for bringing children into the world means more attention to their needs than to Enron, Bechtel and Halliburton.

-Lupus

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Partial Birth Abortion Ban 

The Senate just passed a bill to outlaw "partial birth abortion" as Vulf earliear related. The phrase "partial birth abortion" has no medical meaning, but exists as rheatorical device to cloud the abortion debate.

The tragic consequence of the ban on "partial birth abortions" is that it might criminalize several safe and common procedures. Abortions do not decrease simply by banning them. Women either resort to foriegn countries if they have the money, the back alleys if they don't or even more tragically do nothing which then puts both lives at risk.

As President Bush stated, but does not really believe, "Instead of arguing over Roe v. Wade, what we ought to do is promote policies that reduce abortions." Right! Under Clinton, who pushed family planning and contraceptive policies, abortions decreased. The logic was simple: no pregnancy, no abortion.

Do we want to decrease abortions or score rhetorical points? Sadly, feeding the consciences of the right wing with political cotton candy seems to be the point.

-Lupus

The Stronger Sex. . . more 

Guess who can tolerate higher G values? Right again!
It's the female sex.

If the military truly cared about matching persons to the mission, top guns would be Annie Oakleys.

In addition, as Vulf alluded to, the female persuasion also has a higher tolerance for pain. Ask my wife, she puts up with me.

-Lupus

Stronger Sex, except of course for the freaky male Senators.. 

Is there anyone out there who'd like to have partial-birth abortion performed on a fetus they were carrying?

No, I didn't think so. Imagine how tortuous, traumatic and depressing it must be to have to decide to abort an incredibly premature fetus to prevent its possibly sickeningly slow atrophy (with a ~14% chance you have no health insurance, anyway 19% of young women uninsured, 14% of child-bearing women). So, when the senate outlaws it by a 2-1 margin, notice it's all the Freaky White Men who have an opinion. Nice righteous indignation, for people who will never know what it's like to have a uterus.

Guess what? Abortion is a COVER-UP...it gets women and the lady-men out there to fight for the right for the woman to either have an abortion or give birth. In either case (abortion or pregnancy), guess who has to take it? Guess who runs the risk of complication, or death? Guess what stress does to them in this situation? Thanks a lot.

It's a smokescreen to keep people fighting over symptoms, faux issues, and the like. It keeps them from addressing real issues, like the fact that 493 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by men, and so is the Congress. And when women are in these positions of power, from Carly Fiorina (HP = High Profile) to Marilyn Musgrave (I'll thank you to NOT serve me, chica!), it's because they're JUST LIKE the men.

Get over yourselves, Senaturds, and smug old "W". Remember, just because you can reverse Roe v. Wade, you can't keep the French from showing smut on their TVs. Why not try to think happy thoughts, get a little Zen, and pretend everything's just fine, instead of trying to control other people's lives? Besides, the French, like any woman who matters, will never like you anyway.

You should like the French, though, especially the French of 1788. Stay tuned.

-Vulf

The Stronger Sex... 

We would all agree (a) lives longer, (b) has a better immune system, (c) is able to withstand the hellacious [though wonderful] nine months of pregnancy, (d) is able to withstand the unbelievable pain [though wonderful] of childbirth, (e) has more subcutaneous fat to survive better in cold weather and water, (f) suffers from a mind-altering concentration of sex hormones only 5 days a month instead of 30, (g) matures faster, physically and especially mentally [coupled with a longer lifespan, this exacerbates the difference in "adult" lifespan], and (h) prefers words to potentially life-threatening violence.

The stronger sex, in most ways that matter, is the feminine one.

-Vulf

Lupus the Greek God 

If I were a Greek God, I'd choose to be Pan. I could then challenge Zamfir for the title of Pan flute master.

Re: Fiscal conservative and social liberal = mutual exclusion. 

Unfortunately, I think some fiscal conservatives may confuse one's personal ability to liberally socialize with being a social liberal.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Vulf the Greek God 

If I were a Greek God, the one I'd choose to be is Hermes.
Then I'd run down the highways, passing cars just to jostle the drivers.
And of course rip off a lot of convenience stores.

Vulf's Wednesday Quote of the Day 

US Geography woes have reached an all-time low.
Apparently only 1 in 10 students can name the capital of San Francisco.

Vulf's Tuesday Quote of the Day 

The ties that bind...
Are sort of frowned on in most states

Yes, Rep=Conservative, but Dem = everything else? 

Well said, Wilk. One problem is that the GOP has pulled so far right that the Dems occupy the rest of the ground--which is essentially the ground covered by EVERY party in other countries--that there is no unity. The Dem party could easily be three right now...Moderate, Liberal/Socialist and Green for starters. What chance would they have in an election? None, they'd be too busy fighting each other to defeat the GOP. Names mean everything, and moderate implies reason, so both sides try to portray themselves as Moderate. The fact is, the GOP is not moderate at all except in some rare cases with respect to social issues. Now, as for fiscal issues...as my life partner says, "You can't be a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Being a social liberal means giving up some of your cash for others..."

-Vulf

Economist 

View from Europe. Confirmed - the Economist is considered a conservative mag. It did support Clinton in his election to a second term but it is still conservative. Not far-right. Vulf's acquaintance and Vulf himself bring up an interesting point - the world liked Clinton more. Too bad the world does not have a game reset button. I have a strong feeling that Clinton could have pursued virtually the same Iraq/war-on-terror policy as Bush but would have benefitted from much broader support. I think there is really something to the contention that France and Germany (and others) have opposed US action because Bush is such a poor salesman and is so arrogant and unlikeable. Only Albanians get offended when I make fun of Bush.

-Wilk

AG or ADD? 

Perhaps the real problem is not with the Democrats' strategy or the Republicans' apparent skill in using the Dems' lack of strategy against them, but the fact that the two parties are so entrenched that no other view is heard at all (Lupus's example of Green candidate Camejo Camejo - unknown to me but then again that is meaningless because I am not even in the US - but worse, probably unknown to many of you) or one aspect of such a party later gets co-opted and it vanishes. Why in the f*** should Dem = liberal or Rep = conservative? All you write herein argues for the view that the world is far too complex to be divided into just two groups. So what if the democratic party behaves as though it has been eaten by a dog and shit off a cliff - good riddance! Now, if we could just do something about the GOP ...

- Wilk

Sunday, October 19, 2003

A response to Lupus 

An excellent analogy, Lupus...Nader to Lockyer. Is it possible that Nader may have been co-opted by the right? Currently, with the exception of Dean and maybe 1-2 other candidates running for the Dems, there are two arms of the Republican party...the religious right and the conservatives. The Democrats for the most part are simply an extension of the latter. Gephardt. Kerry. And especially Lieberman. You sold old. You have no backbones. You voted for force in Iraq. You helped squander the goodwill and decision-making power brought to us by 9/11. With no viable options for change, the pressure is mounting. It's 1788 France. Stick around.

-Vulf

p.s. Don't be surprised if Lockyer pulls a "Ben Knighthorse-Campbell" and finds himself eating the Republican grass shortly.

Faux Liberals... 

I had a long chat with a guy last night who claims to be a liberal. He says only 10% of global warming is due to human presence on the planet. He said that Clinton relied too much on the U.N. (Guess where his 10% global warming figure came from...yes, the U.N. Report). He said that anyone who questioned the tactics of the GOP in Florida in '00 was a "sore loser" or an "angry liberal". He said that Clinton was "lucky", but "morally bankrupt" (He did admit Clinton's I.Q. must be 2X "W"'s and that the rest of the world liked him a lot more). He said that Bush handled 9/11 very well (until I pointed out to him that he could have solved the Palestine issue, but chose not to--he actually had to give me credit on that one). Then, he started arguing that the U.S. is not far right compared to the rest of the world. I told him later that the "Economist" is considered a "conservative" magazine by Europe and most of the world. He, forgetting the topic at hand, said "I think the Economist is VERY LIBERAL". The Economist. I said, "thanks, you've just argued for my point." Game. Set. Match.

Does Rush Limbaugh consider himself a liberal now that he's admitted his drug addiction? It drives me crazy, "liberals" who behind the privacy of the polling booth pull down "Straight GOP" on their choices. If you're a GOP person, admit it. Are you ashamed?

-Vulf

Mr. Nader, I presume 

Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer lauded Schwarzenegger. That's right the "liberal?" attorney general revealed he voted for the Arnis because of the ``hope and optimism'' that the actor generated in his winning campaign. In the spirit of the Arnis, the AG failed to specify the basis for the "hope and optimism." Even more incredible the AG, excused the possibly criminal sexual behavior of the Arnis by dismissing his actions as those of a ignorant frat boy. One would think an AG would know the elements of sexual assualt. In short, he voted for an alleged ignorant sexual batterer because of a vague feeling of "hope and optimism."

Was it smart politics or a cynical move? Kevin Drum doesn't know. Ezra Klein says smart. Kevin Thurman says stupid. I'm with stupid. He used the recall to preemptively take out two of his strongest rivals. He first told the Sacramento Bee that Democrats might desert Davis if he sought to trash his opponents and employed ``puke politics.'' He latter referred to Bustamante when he said as a politician he knows who works hard in his business and who doesn't. He trashed the two most powerful state Democrats. Why?

The AG very possibly plans to run for Governor in 2006. Of course, one has to wonder? Any good primary opponent will paint the AG as a self-serving, opportunistic traitor. This points will probably be raised in the primary:

How can you run for Governor against a man whom you voted for? How can you vote for a man so politically stupid as to admit it? First the "puke politics" comment prior to the election, now this.

Furthermore, the AG may have left himself exposed to charges of racial insensitivity. His remarks, unfortunately, invoke the "Lazy Mexican" stereotype. This will not further endear him to Latinos.

Adding to this surreal farce, he claimed he followed his heart and not his head. He described the upbeat Schwarzenegger as the only replacement candidate ``who made sense.'' One would think his heart would belong to those progressive ideals that one has to compromise as Democrat. What about the Green candidate Camejo Camejo's positions represented the dreams of many progressives. If the AG is as Liberal as his past indicates, the best match apart from any Democrat would have been Camejo. Furthermore, Camejo is a successful businessman in his own right who thoughtfully articulated his positions during the campaing. So unfortunately "made sense" should be interpreted as "made sense" for the AG's future political career.

So once again a so-called liberal trades short term advantage, if any, for long term progress. What is it with Democrats? It's hard enough with the short-sighted strategy from the Democratic Hierarchy, but to have fellow Democrats desert and praise the opposition. Jeez!

One last item, Mr. Nader meet Mr. Lockyer.


-Lupus

Vulf's Monday Quote of the Day 

The path divided in the woods and I chose the path least taken.
I got mugged about two miles later.

Vulf's Sunday Quote of the Day 

People lacking self-confidence should really be ashamed of themselves.

Vulf's Saturday Quote of the Day 

My Dad always warned me about the monsters downstairs, but I think that was just so I wouldn’t talk to the two escaped convicts he was hiding down there.

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