November 2006

…a.k.a. the F.U., a.ka., the “next six months (in Iraq) are critical.”

God, what an ass.  Will the F.U.’s ever stop coming?  Apparently not.

The F.U. has become so ingrained in the blogosphere’s lexicon that it is no longer linked to the evidence it represents.

Just trust me.  Thomas Friedman is a very smart man, and a very good writer, just not so smart about invading Iraq.

…since a tribute to beautiful women seems appropriate.

Thanks to Joan Severance, Danielle Llyod, Tea Leoni, Scarlett Johansson, Demi Moore, Halle Barry, Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Barbara Boxer, Jane Hamsher, Amanda Marcotte, Selma Hayak, Nicole Voss, Tina Fey, Taylor Marsh, Christy Faller, Laura Shrout, Maureen Kalas, Lori Dell, Lisa Bulger, Angelina Jolie, Annette Bening, and so many others it makes my brain hurt for reminding me how many absolutely fabulous women there are in the world.

Some of them are even smart and sensible; all are beautiful to me in one way or another.  Many would make me want to kill myself after two weeks.  Still.

Sincere apologies to those whose names do not appear.  There are thousands left out, because I’m tired and ready to go to bed for Sat. Thanksgiving.

My Mom’s family, for whom I am fantastically thankful for, has always let the kids and adults do their in-law thing on Thursday, so we could all still get together on Saturday.  God bless my parents and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews, for understanding that it isn’t the day that matters.

I am thankful for my friends, even those I have lost for one reason or another.  Many go by the wayside due to simple passage of time; others go for petty arguments and even simply geography.  Even the ones who are distant now fill my heart with joy, for they are still a patch in the quilt I call my life.

I am thankful for my boss, his children, his wife, and his extended family, for the joy and love they have showed me over the years, damn near 20 of ’em.  And my boss is one of the world’s great human beings, long before he became my boss.  Would that all the world be as loving and smart and strong and sensible as my friend Mike.

I am thankful for my colleagues, who represent all the wonderful differences that we all share.  But each and every one of them is adding a little slice of positive to the world.  My two immediate teammates are joys.  They are filled with love and respect and good humor and tolerance and there is no question in my mind how much better the planet is because of them.

God bless my best friends, who make me laugh, make me feel at home whenever I am with them, and are people I would gladly share an organ with if they needed it.  Being an old bachelor is at baseline tough, and they make it easy.  Themselves and their children and grandchildren bring joy to my life, and warmth to my soul.

I am thankful for my home, my pets, and my health.  I am a rich, rich man, and it is only barely that I am rich in any kind of material way. 

I am thankful to all the women who have loved me, even though I chose not to marry a single one.  Each of them taught me something, even many things, and each of them occupy a special place in my heart. 

I have so much to be thankful for.  I have golf buddies who make me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt, I have friends in all areas of the country whom I love with all my heart.  I have atheist friends, Catholic friends, Republican and Democrat and Independent friends.  I have friends who couldn’t care less about politics.  But not a one ignores the important things in the end.

I have blog-friends that I’ve never met.  TBogg, Jane, Digby, Atrios, Amanda, Kos, Glenn, John, and whoever the hell the Rude Pundit is and on and on (there are many, many more) give me hope that I’m not alone.  When one reads enough of another’s thoughts, one gets a good feeling for whom someone else is.  Your heart seeps out when you write for public distribution.  These are people I can count on, despite their anonymity.

I am thankful we have a leash on our nutty and incomptent and messianac President.

I am thankful for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and anyone else who sees Media Man for who He is.

I am thankful for all those that fight The Man.

I am thankful for all the lovely women in my life, who make me forget that I am old and should no longer be enticed.

I am thankful that few people on the entire planet can call their own lives as “perfect” as I can.  I am blessed, and I am grateful, and I am loved and I love and that’s just the goddamn most important thing.

Happy Holidays to all.

John O

…but of course I am colored by my admitted crush on Amanda, with whom I disagree once in a while.  Doesn’t matter…I love strong women, probably because I was raised by a whole bunch of them.

Read and think.  Please.  This post, like most of her others, is terrific.

How do these people write such lyrical, smart, and funny things almost every day?  I wish I knew.

Meet the new boss, indeed.  Same as the old boss.

I hate these fucks.  And these are Democrats.  “Personal responsibility” is the political domain of the rich, i.e., the “What’s the matter with these medical-bill challenged poor people?” set.

I can’t wait to start pounding on Democrats, personally.  I hope some of my fellow bloggers, those particularly in the first tier, join in the fun.

Dubya is the mean one, Mom’s boy.  So add Momma’s boy to his long list of completely dysfunctional credentials.

Atta J. does it best, at least that I’ve found so far.  41 takes a beating on behalf of his son, and it pains him to think but not say he agrees.  I’ve said it before:  I’ll bet anything 41 and 42 have huge laughs about what a moron 43 is.

What a drag it must be to be reminded of what an asshole your son is, when you knew it all along, but hoped for the best.

On behalf of about 2/3 of the American public, I say to 41, “We’re sorry.  We blew it.”

But you could have told us if you weren’t so interested in your family legacy.

Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?  You knew he was a loser before he was elected in 2000.  You just couldn’t come clean with us.

So, as much as I respect you as a man and politician, you have blood on your hands, too.  Probably for the rest of my god damn life.  So, fuck you.

Just consider the book title:  “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.”

You see, 9-11 was your fault.

The idea that this gets published in USA Today makes me want to puke, or, if I can hold it off, makes me laugh about how bad USA Today must need money.

Ah, where to begin?  I wish Digby or Billmon had tackled this one, so it would be better.

The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.

It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.”

The Salem Witch Trials?  Hey, it was only 25.  The principle doesn’t matter, especially when one considers these women were likely not possessed by “witches.”  Jesus.  No pun intended.

“These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time.”  Like those little points, the ones about the tragedy and the relative significance of the slaughter in God’s name shouldn’t really count.  It was also tragic that the Titanic had a relatively small hole, and too few lifeboats. 

The same is true today. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not, at its core, a religious one.”

Right.  If they all shared the same religion, this dispute about land would clearly be as big a deal as it was today.  I’m not saying that land is not a component, indeed, I am sympathetic to the anger many Palestinians feel about having their homes arbitrarily taken from them as a global apology for the nightmare of fascism.  I’m saying that if everyone involved was the same religion, they would find a way to work it out peacefully.

Which segues nicely into this.  What Dinesh seems too smart to understand is that Nazi-ism WAS a religion, granted not one of the traditional ones, but a religion nevertheless.  An idea given more importance than the human beings it killed.

Dinesh goes on to add:

How can a self-proclaimed atheist ideology, advanced by Hitler as a repudiation of Christianity, be a “culmination” of 2,000 years of Christianity?”

I’ll tell you how.  By taking one religion and substituting it with another.  One that has a similar less-than-charitable attitude towards Jews, and expands on it a bit.  A nationalistic, racist religion, no doubt, but again an idea, an ideology that differs not a whit from fundamentalist, literalist readings of any religious text through all of history.  An idea that is more important than the single human being that it slaughters.

Lots of recovering alcoholics smoke.

And then he goes on to Stalin, who to me transcends religion by the authoritarian cultist mindset, the one that takes advantage of (some) people’s natural inclination for the need of “leaders,” of quasi-religious figures who have more power than they can exercise with any degree of discretion and/or justice.  The same goes for Mao and communism, in general.  Political affiliations are far more similar to religion than they are of independent thought and reason, if I may, Dinesh, you academic fool.

Religion and politics are about POWER, and it is realpolitik, The Man, Dinesh, that they all want to emulate and be.  Control is the end-game for both religion and politics.  Our Founding Fathers had this figured out.

Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades.”

“In the name of atheism.”  What utter shit.  Nobody remembers Mao, Stalin, or Hitler in terms of their religious beliefs…they remember their relatives and friends and the wars and the death and suffering these people caused.  Just like all religious crusaders, including the Muslim terrorists of today, only our most contemporary example of the phenomenon Dinesh is trying to dispute.

I refer once again to the vampire Maharet, who says it better than I could, though through Anne Rice:

It is you who are arrogant,” she answered.  “It is you who have learned nothing.  It is you who have not changed in six thousand years.  It is your soul which remains unperfected, while mortals move to realms you will never grasp.  In your isolation you dreamed dreams as thousands of mortals have done, protected from all scrutiny or challenge (Ed:  Again, sound familiar?); and you emerge from your silence, ready to make these dreams real for the world?  You bring them here to this table (Ed:  Lots of very wise vampires, who’ve been around since thousands of years BC, and have pretty much seen it all, around the table.), among a handful of your fellow creatures and they crumble.  You cannot defend them.  How could anyone defend them?  And you tell us we deny what we see!”


Well, I’ll tell you what I see,” she (Maharet) went on.  “Six thousand years ago, when men believed in spirits, an ugly and irreversible accident occurred; it was as awful in its own way as the monsters born now and then to mortals which nature does not suffer to live.  But you, clinging to life, and clinging to your will, and clinging to your royal prerogative, refused to take that awful mistake with you to an early grave.  To sanctify it, that was your purpose.  To spin a great and glorious new religion; and that is still your purpose now.  But it was an accident finally, a distortion, and nothing more.”

And look now at the ages since that dark and evil moment; look at the other religions founded upon magic; founded upon some apparition or voice from the clouds!  Founded upon intervention of the supernatural in one guise or another–miracles, revelations, a mortal man rising from the dead!”

Look on the effect of your religions, those movements that have swept up millions with their fantastical claims.  Look at what they have done to human history.  Look at the wars fought on account of them; look at the persecutions, the massacres.  Look at the pure enslavement of reason; look at the price of faith and zeal.”

And you tell us of children dying in the Eastern countries, in the name of Allah as the guns crackle and the bombs fall!”

And the war of which you speak in which one tiny European nation sought to exterminate a people…In the name of what grand spiritual design for a new world was that done?  And what does the world remember of it?  The death camps, the ovens in which bodies were burnt by the thousands!  The ideas are gone!  (Ed:  Except for the war-monkeys.)

I tell you, we would be hard put to determine what is more evil–religion or the pure idea.  The intervention of the supernatural or the elegant simple abstract solution!  Both have bathed this earth in suffering; both have brought the human race literally and figuratively to its knees.”

Don’t you see?  It is not man who is the enemy of of the human species.  It is the irrational; it is the spiritual when it is divorced from the material; from the lesson of one beating heart or one bleeding vein.”

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