Saturday, November 30, 2002

Larry King Live

Distinguished scholar of Middle East studies, Bill Maher, doffs his cap to the Naderites and proceeds with his attempt to sell moonshine to the American people:

Larry King: “We [Americans] try to do good, don’t we? I mean, we’re basically good.”
Bill Maher: “No. Not for the rest of the world....Iraqis, I think, feel that if we drove smaller cars, maybe we wouldn’t have to kill them for their oil.”

[November 1, 2002]

Friday, November 29, 2002

Quote of the day:

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover that materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door." - Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," New York Review of Books, January 9, 1996

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Dipping into the interview archive I found this oldie but a goodie with biochemist Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box.

The Evolution of a Skeptic
Peter Kreeft, lightning logician and criminally undervalued philosopher, in a rare interview shows once again why he's a top-flight thinker. As Dallas Willard says "... look at the evidence and breathe the fresh intellectual air that nourishes genuinely opened minds." Seek out Dr. Kreeft's work and like it, love it, learn it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

The Dubliner

Dr. Richard Dawkins, in a fit of intellectual autism, adjudges something foul in the Catholic Church, and, to wit, it isn't pederast priests:

...if the Catholic Church does die in Ireland - and I devoutly hope it will - I hope that it will not be replaced by some other idiotic superstition like New Age-ism or some other kind of religion. The Roman Catholic Church is one of the forces for evil in the world, mainly because of the powerful influence it has over the minds of children. The Catholic Church has developed, over the centuries, brilliant techniques in brain washing children; even intelligent people who have had a proper, full cradle-Catholic upbringing find it hard to shake it off when they reach adulthood. Obviously many of them do - and congratulations to them for it - but even some really quite intelligent people fail to shake it off, powerful evidence of the skill in brainwashing that the Catholic Church exercises. It's far more skilled than, for instance, the Anglican Church, mere amateurs in the game. Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place.

[October 2002]

Monday, November 25, 2002

All Music Guide

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, dope-fetcher columnist, confers sainthood on comedian David Cross's first album, Shut Up You F**king Baby!:

It would be hyperbole to say that it revitalizes the genre -- one album can't do that...but it is no stretch to say that it's one of the greatest albums in recorded comedy history...When everybody else treats George W. Bush with kid gloves, Cross tears into him with savage humor and logic, dissecting everything from the war on terrorism and Bush's reaction to 9-11...The Catholic Church and John Ashcroft are subject to similar rants, but the key isn't that Cross is preaching to the converted or just reciting "liberal" lines -- he offers biting, informed criticism that only a comedian could possibly deliver. It's not all religion and politics, though: just as funny are Cross' reading of a story from the Promise Keepers handbook, recounting a night of debauchery with Harlow, and exposing the absurdities in Cosi's marketing plan for Squaggels, their square bagel.

[November 5, 2002]
Terry Teachout's new biography The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken of Henry Louis Mencken has gotten a rave recent review at Atlantic Monthly. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I have been thinking about the esoteric twaddle a Marxist/socialist acquaintance of mine have spewed since I've known him and I thought I'd chronicle some of his greatest hits here. Pearls of wisdom, thrown before capitalist swine, from a progressive crank:

"No offense, but I believe ultimately that Dubya will spend many years in jail."

"The Impeachment train [for George W. Bush] is starting to move again. All the hate, ill-will and bad karma that fuels the GOP will come back to them and bite them on their ruby red rumps many times over."

"What failed system? Show me where there has been a true Socialist or Communist system on earth. Oh! I see you have been brought up to think that the former Soviet Union was a Communist nation. And what? China and Cuba too? No ‘fraid not! All these are aberrations of some twisted Capitalistic theory."

"Then we get Shrubby, first he STEALS the election (he was NOT elected by the people of this country)...In less than a year from that sad event, the economy sucks, massive unemployment throughout the land, people are being screwed left and right, corporate crime is at an all time high, we are in what is euphemistically called a “war” Wall Street is about to collapse, the dollar ain’t worth didums, the surplus is gone, the Government no longer satisfied on spying on our every move now wants my neighbor to become a rat, The Bill of Rights is being held hostage, our civil liberties are being threatened, the FBI/CIA has carte blanche in gathering information about you, book stores and libraries are under siege, people are being held in prison without due process, torture is allowed and recommended. We have pissed on our neighbors, spit on our allies and rewarded our enemies."

" should be able to understand that the Soviet Union collapsed all by itself for a myriad of reasons, the basic being that it was not a Communist nation but a Totalitarian one that was choking the intellectual freedom of it's people. What killed The Soviet Union was the computer."

"If my wife and I decided to have an abortion that would be a decision that we would not only make, but one that WE would have to live with. It is no more your right to interfere with this process than it would be for me to poke my nose into your personal affairs. It doesn’t matter if I think it suffers or not, whether it is murder or not, that this decision is really a very personal and intimate one and should be left entirely to the couple to decide. I believe that it is not within the jurisdiction of any government, church or outside agency to interfere in this very private decision. But I believe in the inherent right to have this choice."

"Israel [should] cease its inhuman occupation of this land. The death ratio among civilians is something like 4 to 1 in favor of the Israeli. Israel is hell bent on genocide and the Palestinians are fighting back with the only weapons they possess. This is how far Israel has pushed these unfortunate people. Stop aid to Israel. NOW"

"When they told Hunter S. Thompson that Nixon was dead, he shouted “Sick pins in it! Make sure IT is dead!” That’s about how I feel. One less monstrous member of the GOP on earth."

"Conservatives mistrust the “intellectual” the most"

"I am a firm believer that ART is essentially Marxist by its very nature."

"While idiots like you wax on about debates and proving to their own addled brains how bright they are, real people suffer. I hope Christ kicks your ass real good one day for your supposed “Christian” ways."

"Sure I believe in absolute truth, it's just that your absolute truth and my absolute truth aren't necessarily the same."

"'Everytime a Republican dies a gay angel gets his wings!'"

Monday, November 18, 2002


I'll approach it practically first. In this age of medical advancements it is unfathomable to imagine a scenario where the mother's life was clearly in danger because of her fetus. In fact, many folks in the medical field believe it is never necessary to save a mother's life. C. Everett Koop - a pediatric surgeon for thirty-six years - said he never encountered even one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother's life. The distinction is made between potentially life-saving surgery to the mother - such as the removal of a cancerous uterus or an ectopic pregnancy that poses the threat of imminent death - and the direct act of intentional destruction of the unborn child. "Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal disease such as cancer or leukemia, and if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save the life of the mother." Alan Guttmacher, former President of Planned Parenthood, said that.

If complications arise nearer the end of the pregnancy the doctor will often induce labor or perform a C-section, keeping in mind both their lives to save. The Hippocratic Oath states "Nor will I give a woman a pessary [a vaginal suppository] to procure abortion" and the doctor's duty is to protect and treat both child and mother as his patients.

The mother's health is something else to consider. In the 1970s Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton legalized abortion nationwide for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Although the court said states have a compelling reason to regulate abortion in late pregnancy, it made the exception allowing abortion even in the third trimester if it was necessary for the mother's health. It then defined health reasons for legal abortion as much broader than protesting the mother's life, but said that "all factors" of her health including physical, emotional an even the woman's age could provide reason for legal late-term abortion. In effect, any reason for legal abortion became acceptable. Medical opinions can often prove wrong but to include such ephemeral criteria as "emotional health" to a pregnant woman is to needlessly widen that door further.

Litigiousness is rampant and defensive medicine is sometimes practiced in order to avoid malpractice lawsuits but abortion is never necessary to secure the life of the mother.

Secondly, I'll engage the question theologically and philosophically. I know of no teaching in Scripture that would oblige a mother's conscience to value her own life over her child's. In fact, most every mother I've known, valued her children's lives above her own. One of God's general revelations to mankind is that we are made in His image ("Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God made man like his Maker." Gen. 1:26, 27) and, through His nature, life is sacred. Man is born with a sense of eternity and destiny and it is through Him that we understand our true raison d'ĂȘtre. Aquinas termed the purpose "to love God and to worship him forever."

The above example of distinction is justified under the ethical concept called the "principle of double effect." Under this principle, the death of the child is an unintended effect of an operation independently justified by the necessity of saving the mother's life. We are never permitted to commit any sin no matter how worthy the motive or outcome.

Morally, theologically, medically, philosophically and practically, I see no reason to cordon off "life of the mother" as an acceptable abortion argument.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

by Steve Turner

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.
We believe in sex before, during and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same -
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.


There is a postscript to this poem called Chance:

If chance be
the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

The Birmingham News

Melinda Maddox, theological dunce, fails to hoodwink the good people of Alabama:

Maddox said she is Catholic but was "outraged and shocked" by the [Ten Commandments] monument because it not only was legally inappropriate, it also used a Protestant version of the Ten Commandments. Under questioning by Moore's lawyers, Maddox was unable to enumerate the differences in the two versions.

A homespun pantomime of Ignatius Reilly, brazenly shaped from Toole's brilliant comedic novel A Confederacy Of Dunces:

[insert name here], Mongoloid, Esq.:

Fortuna's wheel continues to spin and my valve reacts by violently closing, and at inopportune times. The Minkoff minx still continues her effrontery with vulgar and oversexed missives to me (as if I care). She remains ever the proletariat in a pack of bovine radicals, bent on degrading the public morality while massaging their own insipid egos. The theology and geometry of the rack would be too kind for a doxy like Myrna.

Mother remains ill-humored and often delinquent with her bowling duo; the yellow-lunged, low-brow Santa and her retarded nephew, patrolman Mancuso. The latter lost the finely bound copy of Boethius I graciously imparted to him while staking out the perverts and pederasts of the bus station. My valve revolts at the very thought of the place, housing the evil wheeled monster Scenicruisers that do permanently affected my usually steeled psyche. That trip to Baton Rouge is often lamented in this Big Chief tablet and the wisdom imparted a part of the lore of Your Boy the Working Class Narrator.

Clyde, my mad and possibly dangerous employer, continues to berate me daily. If not for the free weenies I'd pine for the days at Levy Pants when I incited the Negroes to brain that awful dolt Mr. Gonzalez, only to have them retreat at the last minute into their bourgeois values and jazz music. You can lead the horse to water, as the folk story goes, but you can't make him drink. Regardless, Clyde's disregard for my general safety (as I was accosted and almost raped by a Mau Mau recently) shows his disregard for the embodiment of refinery, culture and iconoclasm housed in my ample temple of flesh. He should be hung by his underdeveloped testicles and bled until he assumes room temperature.

I.J. Reilly
From an actual complaint letter, edit to your liking or purpose:

Dear Cretins,
I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions.

Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative and seek to rectify these difficulties - or, more likely I suspect, so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office:

My initial installation was cancelled without warning or notice, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive at all, I spent a further 57 minutes on my mobile phone listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website.... er, how exactly when my modem has been disconnected?

I alleviated the boredom to some small degree by playing with my testicles for a few minutes - an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept. The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools - such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum.

Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After several further telephone calls (actually 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks) my modem arrived... a total of six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it. I estimate that the downtime of your internet servers is roughly 35%...these are usually the hours between about 6pm and midnight, Monday to Friday, and most of the useful periods over the weekend.

I am still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 telephone calls on my mobile to your no-help line this week, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly skilled bollock juggler. I have been informed:
* that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back);
* that no telephone line is available (and someone will call me back);
* that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off);
* that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed);
* that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been redirected to the irritating Scottish robot woman) ... and
* several other variations on this theme.

Doubtless you are no-longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of those crucially important testicle-moments to attend to. Frankly I don't care, it's far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustrations in print than to shout them at your unending hold music. Forgive me, therefore, if I continue. I thought BT were shit, that they had attained the holy piss-pot of god-awful customer relations, that no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to their customers. That's why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn't anyone else is there?

How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless shower of bastards you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of distended rectum - incompetents of the highest order. British Telecom - wankers though they are - shine like brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless inadequacy. Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you do likewise, and cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief although these feelings will quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps a small measure of bemused rage.

I enclose two small deposits, selected with great care from my cats litter tray, as an expression of my utter and complete contempt for both you and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that they have not become desiccated during transit - they were satisfyingly moist at the time of posting, and I would feel considerable disappointment if you did not experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture. Consider them the very embodiment of my feelings towards NTL, and it's worthless employees. Have a nice day - may it be the last in your miserable short life, you irritatingly incompetent and infuriatingly unhelpful bunch of twats.


Sophisticated cerebrations from the humble conscience of our nation, apparently just before a bracing colonic. Bill Moyers extrudes:

Way back in the 1950's when I first tasted politics and journalism, Republicans briefly controlled the White House and Congress. With the exception of Joseph McCarthy and his vicious ilk, they were a reasonable lot, presided over by that giant war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, who was conservative by temperament and moderate in the use of power.

That brand of Republican is gone. And for the first time in the memory of anyone alive, the entire federal government — the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary — is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate.

That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives.

It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich.

It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable.

And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine. Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you liked the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what's coming.

And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don't even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader say that the Almighty is using him to promote 'a Biblical worldview' in American politics?

So it is a heady time in Washington — a heady time for piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money.

Don't forget the money. It came pouring into this election, to both parties, from corporate America and others who expect the payback. Republicans outraised Democrats by $184 million dollars. And came up with the big prize — monopoly control of the American government, and the power of the state to turn their ideology into the law of the land. Quite a bargain at any price.
Is CounterPunch magazine the best thought that radicals have to offer? The ideologue jackanapes writing for these folks rarely disappoint with their crank theories and feverish police state mirages. Aided by the constipated editing of the sonorous pontificator of the Left, Mr. Alexander Cockburn, it heaves a bi-weekly belch of idiocy into the already stifling ether of the Kultursmog.

Don't discount the fact that men are often drawn to women of dubious virtue. In the late '60s many a gent was wooed by a tripped out, braless hippie chick whose knees has not rubbed in some time. Whether such women still staff the watering holes of the lunatic left is for a reporter of strong constitution, and even stronger antibiotics.

As Chris Rock says (paraphrasing): "I look for dates at the nearest N.O.W. pro-choice rally. You know they f**kin'"