Saturday, November 27, 2004

Slow news day

So Chapter Two of Empires is up over at creativity . . .

Don't expect 'em to keep coming this fast. I've had some time to prepare. Figure one chapter a week, give or take.

Wounds That Don't Bleed

This article in the Nov. 29 Time magazine describes the stress our servicemen in Iraq are under and how they cope. Read it.
How severe stress is taking a toll on U.S. troops in Iraq — and what Washington is doing about it

Following deployment to Iraq, 17% of Army respondents and 19% of Marines reported a "perceived moderate or severe problem," according to a psychiatric study released last July by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The study termed those estimates "conservative," and most cases, says Nash, will not be apparent until the troops are back home. The Marine who served in al-Anbar for seven months says that when he drives past potholes in his hometown, he wonders if they will explode. If the refrigerator door closes, he says, "I ask myself if that was incoming fire. A bomb?" And he's older than most grunts. "The younger guys--18, 19 years old — they're definitely going to have some challenges ahead," he adds. "God help somebody who pushes the wrong button on a kid who's been through these things."

Troops who don't use official services must find their own coping mechanisms, often within their unit. Leaders try to find downtime for their men, and memorial services for the fallen can help with grieving. But clinically speaking, Nash says, most soldiers and Marines engage in denial and dissociation to get through (my emphasis). "Everybody out here is putting all this stuff in a closet and storing it up," he says, "because you just can't deal with it right now."

Perhaps if we learned anything from Vietnam, it is that we can't pretend any longer that PTSD doesn't exist. There are very old men who still have bad dreams about WWI but they thought it it was their own problem, some kind of character flaw, and didn't know to seek help or thought that would show some kind of 'weakness'. Men who served in WWII, Korea, or any war, are also troubled. It took years for the government to acknowledge that PTSD is very real and to do something about it. Probably not enough.

Our troops in Iraq were sent to fight in a war that didn't have to happen. Whatever baggage these guys bring home with them, it will be with our society for sixty or seventy years and we owe them whatever help they need. Thanks, Georgie.

Saturday Cattle Dog Blogging

The Princess, doing what she does best.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Voted for Bush?

This New Yorker Blames You For the Next Attack. Not me, but one of my fellow citizens of this great city. Doug McDaniel has an email from a New Yorker to the Jesuslanders.

Day off? Bored?

Chapter 1 is up.

Black Friday

[. . .]

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me
The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across
I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name

-Steely Dan

It's 4 a.m. and I'm on my 2nd cup of coffee. Kohl's is having an after Thanksgiving sale and the doors open at 5:30. Didn't I tell ya the Mrs. was a professional shopper? Hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving, even the Jesuslanders. Hey, it's early and I'm being charitable. Leave me alone.

So, go out and shop today. After what (p)resident Nut Sack has done to the economy, it's up to us to keep it going.

Update: 07:15:

Well, I'm home and back in bed, 'blogsturbating' (© 2004 The Fixer) while the Mrs. is watching a cooking show. How she can look at food after all we ate yesterday is amazing. My point is that we got out early and we're back early, and I have a whole bunch of presents for my relatives in Germany. The Mrs. did all her research online and we went and got exactly what we needed and got out. No fucking around. Professional shopper.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

In My Next Life

Tom Friedman's Op-Ed in today's NYTimes. This one says it all, so no commentary. In its entirety. Happy Thanksgiving, folks.
In my next life, I want to be Tom DeLay, the House majority leader.

Yes, I want to get almost the entire Republican side of the House of Representatives to bend its ethics rules just for me. I want to be able to twist the arms of House Republicans to repeal a rule that automatically requires party leaders to step down if they are indicted on a felony charge - something a Texas prosecutor is considering doing to DeLay because of corruption allegations.

But most of all, I want to have the gall to sully American democracy at a time when young American soldiers are fighting in Iraq so we can enjoy a law-based society here and, maybe, extend it to others. Yes, I want to be Tom DeLay. I want to wear a little American flag on my lapel in solidarity with the troops, while I besmirch every value they are dying for.

If I can't be Tom DeLay, then I want to be one of the gutless Republican House members who voted to twist the rules for DeLay out of fear that "the Hammer," as they call him, might retaliate by taking away a coveted committee position or maybe a parking place.

Yes, I want to be a Republican House member. At a time when 180 of the 211 members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Iraq who have been wounded in combat have insisted on returning to duty, I want to look my constituents and my kids in the eye and tell them that I voted to empty the House ethics rules because I was afraid of Tom DeLay.

If I can't be a Republican House member, I want to be Latrell Sprewell, the guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I want to say with a straight face that if my owner will only give me a three-year contract extension for a meager $21 million, then he's not worth working for, because "I've got my family to feed."

Yes, I want to be Latrell Sprewell. At a time when N.B.A. games are priced beyond the reach of most American families, when half the country can't afford health care, when some reservists in Iraq are separated from their families for a year, including this Thanksgiving, I want to be like Latrell. I want to make sure everyone knows that I'm looking out for my family - and no one else's.

If I can't be Latrell Sprewell, I want to be any American college or professional athlete. For a mere dunk of the basketball or first-down run, I want to be able to dance a jig, as if I'd just broken every record by Michael Jordan or Johnny Unitas. For the smallest, most routine bit of success in my sport, I want to be able to get in your face - I want to know who's your daddy, I want to be able to high-five, low-five, thump my chest and dance on your grave. You talkin' to me?

I want to be able to fight on the court, off the court, in the stands and on the sidelines. I want to respect no boundaries and no norms. And when I make your kids cry, I want to be able to tell you to just "chill" - that my coach says "stuff happens" and that my union rep is appealing my punishment in the name of the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta. Yes, in my next life, I want to be The Man.

If I can't be The Man, then I at least want to be the owner of a Hummer - with American flag decals all over the back bumper, because Hummer owners are, on average, a little more patriotic than you and me.

Yes, I want to drive the mother of all gas-guzzlers that gets so little mileage you have to drive from gas station to gas station. Yes, I want to drive my Hummer and never have to think that by consuming so much oil, I am making transfer payments to the worst Arab regimes that transfer money to Islamic charities that transfer money to madrassas that teach children intolerance, antipluralism and how to hate the infidels.

And when one day one of those madrassa graduates goes off and joins the jihad in Falluja and kills my neighbor's son, who is in the U.S. Army Rangers, I want to drive to his funeral in my Hummer. Yes, I want to curse his killers in front of his mother and wail aloud, "If there was only something I could do ..." And then I want to drive home in my Hummer, stopping at two gas stations along the way.

If I can't be any of these, then I want to be just a simple blue-state red-state American. I want to take time on this Thanksgiving to thank God I live in a country where, despite so much rampant selfishness, the public schools still manage to produce young men and women ready to voluntarily risk their lives in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to spread the opportunity of freedom and to protect my own. And I want to thank them for doing this, even though on so many days in so many ways we really don't deserve them.

Hiding Breast Bombs

Since the Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel time in our nation, I thought Maureen Dowd's Op-Ed in today's NYTimes might be appropriate to the day.
It always makes me feel slimy and humiliated, as though I'm in one of those cheesy women-in-prison movies, with titles like "Caged," "Slammer Girls" or "Reform School Girls."

In two articles in The Times, Joe Sharkey has chronicled the plaints of women angry about new procedures in airport security that have increased both the number and intensity of the airport pat-down, or "breast exam," as one woman put it.

Even a stripper complained in an e-mail message to Mr. Sharkey that she found her experiences degrading: "On one occasion a screener flat out asked if they were fake."

I know it's not just women who are uncomfortable; a guy I know said a male screener at the Miami airport recently stuck a hand down the front of his pants, making him feel "totally manhandled." And I heard the sad tale of a red-faced Washington businessman who took off his shoes, only to show the room the red painted toenails he had forgotten to wipe off.

I've never wanted to complain because I assume there are inconveniences that go along with greater security. But I would feel less creepy if I thought this were part of an effective overall strategy of protecting the country. I don't.

Iraq is draining money we should be spending protecting ourselves. Only 3 to 5 percent of containers coming into ports are checked, and only a tiny percentage of air, rail and truck cargo is inspected. Congress is turning homeland security money into another avenue of pork. Tom Ridge is still making fuzzy ads telling people to have a plan of action and referring them to his Web site, which hasn't gotten much beyond duct tape.

If we were buttoning up the borders and making the airlines safer, unbuttoning in public would be more bearable.

I've only flown once since all this shit got started and I got checked very thoroughly because (I guess) I had a one-way ticket. They didn't find my toenail polish. This whole deal is a crock and now the inspectors are likely to be minimum-wage private employees with not even as much accountability as there is now.

And if you're really bored . . .

The first installment of Empires is up over at creativity. . . Happy reading.

War is Hell

I know I said I wasn't gonna post today, but I ran across this via Kos. Unfortunately, mere words cannot convey the horror of war, probably a good thing. But, for all you folks who speak in such a cavalier manner about killing, even though most of you wouldn't have the balls or nerve to squeeze the trigger if you saw a human head in your sights, think about our folks having to do the job 51% of you thought was the right thing to do. Happy Thanksgiving, you fucking assholes.

From the Village Voice:

[. . .]

The Marines constantly debated the morality of what they were engaged in. A sergeant in the platoon told me he had consulted with his priest about killing. The priest had told him it was all right to kill for his government so long as he didn't enjoy it. By the time the unit reached the outskirts of Baghdad, this sergeant was certain he had already killed at least four men. When his battalion commander praised the unit for "slaying dragons" on the way to Baghdad, the sergeant later told his men, "If we did half the shit back home we've done here, we'd be in prison." By then, the sergeant told me, he'd reconsidered what his priest had told him about killing. "Where the fuck did Jesus say it's OK to kill people for your government? Any priest who tells me that has got no credibility."

He and several other Marines recently returned from Iraq (many from their second tours) whom I've talked to about the Falluja shooting say they are not sure they would have dead-checked the wounded man in the mosque had they been in the same position. Most say they probably would have, even though the mosque had already been cleared once. "What does the American public think happens when they tell us to assault a city?" one of them said. "Marines don't shoot rainbows out of our asses. We fucking kill people."

Another Marine in the unit I followed—a Democrat's dream, he returned home from fighting in Falluja in time to vote for Kerry—added, "Americans celebrate war in their movies. We like to see visions of evil being defeated by good. When the people at home glimpse the reality of war, that it's a bloodbath, they freak out. We are a subculture they created and programmed to fight their wars. You have to become a psycho to kill like we do. To most Marines that guy in the mosque was just someone who didn't get hit in the right place the first time we shot him. I probably would have put a bullet in his brain if I'd been there. If the American public doesn't like the violence of war, maybe before they start the next war they shouldn't rush so much." [my emphasis]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Turkey

From the Mrs. and me to all of you. Hope Gord and KR are having a good one out west. It's my anniversary, tomorrow's a holiday, and the Mrs. is done working for the day. Unless some shit hits the fan, I probably won't be posting until Friday. I'll be checking the 'comments' so have a nut if you're bored tonight and tomorrow. And remember, be thankful you live in the United States, regardless of the idiots who run the place. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Fascism anyone?

From the Council for Secular Humanism via Skippy:

[. . .]

For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. To be sure, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

[. . .]

I know I harp on this. Maybe because I recognize it so readily from the stories of my German-born mother and my family there. Maybe because I've been to the camps and seen the depths to which people will sink in service of their 'leader'. I don't know, but I see it happening here and so do others who are a little more sane and level-headed than I am.

Economic Armageddon

Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, has a public reputation for being bearish.

But you should hear what he's saying in private.

Roach met select groups of fund managers downtown last week, including a group at Fidelity.

His prediction: America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic ``armageddon.''

Press were not allowed into the meetings. But the Herald has obtained a copy of Roach's presentation. A stunned source who was at one meeting said, ``it struck me how extreme he was - much more, it seemed to me, than in public.''

Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that ``we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual armageddon.''

The chance we'll get through OK: one in 10. Maybe.

[. . .]


I've been saying this for months. There are too many economic variables (interest rates, fuel prices and availability, wars) that are balanced on a razor's edge. The money folks in the Bush Maladministration are far too stupid to keep 'em all balanced for long. Even Greenspan, whom I thought was mostly apolitical, is clearly in Bush's pocket. We've been living on cheap, and borrowed, money for too long and the notes are gonna come due. It's gonna get ugly when they do. Might not be as bad as Roach says, but it'll suck out loud regardless.

The "I" word

BBC via corrente:

A Commons motion to impeach Tony Blair for "gross misconduct" over the Iraq war is being published next week.

Parliamentary officials have approved the motion's wording and will allow it to be tabled on Wednesday - the day after the Queen's Speech.

MPs will have the chance to sign the order paper. The Speaker will then decide whether to allow a debate on it.

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price said 30 MPs have agreed to sign the motion which charges Mr Blair with improper conduct.

The allegation against the prime minister would be that in making the case against Iraq he was guilty of a serious breach of constitutional principles.

Mr Price said that the impeachment process had now been established as part of British Parliamentary practice. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

At least the Brits can still tell the difference between right and wrong. What are the chances of it happening here? Yeah, thought so.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It's about race

At least in the South. Publius at Legal Fiction via Lean Left:

[. . .]

Whatever the reason one might offer, any plausible explanation of these numbers must account for why 85% of whites in once-solidly Democratic Mississippi supported Bush, while 90% of blacks supported Kerry. It must also account for why Republican support increases as the African-American population increases. In my opinion, the simplest answer is the probably the correct answer - it has to be race . . .

[. . .]

It's an interesting post and reinforces the idea of the GOP becoming the Angry White Christian Bigot Party. A good blog too, politics with a legal slant.

Get a job, kid

Oh, that's right, there ain't none. NYT via Doug McDaniel:

[. . .]

The government moved to change its formula for college aid last year, but was blocked by Congress. Now, however, no such language appears in the appropriations bill lawmakers are considering, clearing the way for the government to scale back college grants for hundreds of thousands of low-income students.

Nearly 100,000 more students may lose their federal grants entirely, as Congress considers legislation that could place more of the financial burden for college on students and their families.

[. . .]

What was that about No Child Left Behind, President Dickhead?

Max has more.

Disclaimer Stickers For Science Textbooks

The folks at have come up with some disclaimers that you can print on stickers or just about anything. At least one of them is really used by the Cobb Co. (GA) school district. They also have some ideas on what to do about this shit.
If your children don't come home saying, "Evolution is totally cool!" then they are probably receiving science instruction from a teacher who doesn't think evolution is totally cool. Even if their teacher believes (as almost half of Americans do) that humans were created by a god within the last 10,000 years, his or her job is to teach evolution enthusiastically and without even a hint of tentativeness. Talk to your kids, and encourage them to ask questions during class. You might even ask your kid to record a few lectures on the iPod you foolishly bought for them. And at parent-teacher conferences, ask your kid's teacher to show you the lesson plans that specifically teach evolution (modules on descent with modification, natural selection, speciation, origin of life, human origins, etc.). All teachers will have a copy of the state science standards on or near their desks, and you can certainly ask to look at the "Life Sciences" section to see what material might show up on state achievement tests. Lesson plans teaching evolution can be found easily on the internet.

If you don't have time for any of the above, but are not opposed to being horrified and entertained at the same time (for free!), go get yourself a really stiff drink and check out some of the slick web sites where anti-evolution school board members, teachers, and fellow parents get their strategies, lesson plans, and Darwin jokes.

This page's URL is Please send it to any parents you know who might be concerned that their children are receiving weak or religion-infused science instruction.

If you have questions, comments, or non-exploding hate mail, please feel free to contact me: Colin Purrington.

Somebody is at least trying to do something to stop the schools' slide into the Dark Ages. Go read this. The stickers wouldn't copy, but are worth a look. Lotsa links, too.

But Will They Have A Catalog?

I couldn't pass this one up. From Steve Harvey of the LATimes:
The world of low finance: On Don Barrett's site, Jerry Clark wrote: "Kmart, which had been in bankruptcy, just bought Sears. I have a suggestion for the name of the new company: Sears and No-bucks."

Life Imitates Art...Again

Last night, I caught the last half of the movie "The American President," which was released in 1995. While a romantic comedy, it offers some great perspectives on what the presidency should be and what, as American citizens, we should expect from a president or anyone serving in office.

I remember watching it for the first time in 1995 and thinking that the "real life" Republicans could never get as crazy and vicious as the Republicans in the movie, especially the character Bob Rumson, portrayed by Richard Dreyfus. Was I wrong or what?

This following quote, spoken by the movie's president, Andrew Shepard, is almost prescient; it's exactly how the Republicans ran their campaign, minus the part about the president's girlfriend (just substitute "liberal" or "elite" or "homosexual" or "trial lawyers"):


"And whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: Making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and personal character. Then you have an old photo of the President's girlfriend. You scream about patriotism and you tell them she's to blame for their lot in life, you go on television and you call her a whore."


I would like to think that when the American public watches this film, they pause to think "Hmmm. Maybe the Republicans played us like a well-tuned piano." But I don't give the American public that much credit anymore.

As an aside, I'll be out of town from Wednesday to Saturday. I'll leave you in the good hands of The Fixer and Gordon.

The 'redemption' of NPS

Or, the beginning of The Interregnum. From ABC News:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2004 — In the aftermath of the November presidential election and talk of a Bush administration mandate, some people on the right of the political spectrum believe the government has a greater responsibility to heed their views. In some cases, that means changes in the images that define the nation — including those at some of the nation's most popular parks and monuments.

The film shows a number of marches with liberal themes like gay rights and abortion rights, intercut with older clips of historical figures like former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Marian Anderson.

Then, one day the Rev. Lou Sheldon saw it.

"It showed only those liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marches," said Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.

Sheldon's influential Christian conservative group took their complaint to the government's top levels — "so they could reach down and work their system and cleanse in a proper manner and make it fair and balanced," he said.

Sheldon would like film of some conservative marches intercut in as well, though it is unclear that any major conservative marches have taken place at the Lincoln Memorial itself, which is the film's focus.

[. . .]

Read about Jesus-freak dickhead Lou Sheldon.

The Jesus-freaks have also badgered the government (Park Service) into offering a different explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon:

[. . .]

Park bookstores at the Grand Canyon now sell the book "Grand Canyon: A Different View," which contradicts science, saying the Grand Canyon was formed by the great flood from the Bible story of Noah.

The book was written by a "born again" river guide who writes his view of the canyon's being millions of years old changed after he "met the Lord. Now, I have 'a different view' of the Canyon, which, according to a biblical time scale, can't possibly be more than about a few thousand years old."

My partner KR says it well:

[. . .]

I remember reading an interview with [author of The Handmaid's Tale Margaret] Atwood about that book, oh, say 10 years ago. She said that Canadians thought it was a nice story. Americans said, "How long do we have?" Well, folks, now we know how long. It's here. Welcome back to the Middle Ages.

Everyone should read the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. This was predicted 50 years ago. He called it 'The Interregnum'.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Kill me

From Gallup via Pandagon:

Only about a third of Americans believe that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a scientific theory that has been well supported by the evidence, while just as many say that it is just one of many theories and has not been supported by the evidence. The rest say they don't know enough to say. Forty-five percent of Americans also believe that God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago. A third of Americans are biblical literalists who believe that the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word. [my emphasis]

I'm speechless.

End deliberate childlessness

From Jesus' General. He tells us about Bryce Christiansen of Southern Utah State University whose views on how we must "address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness". Another Winger wacko. The General gives some advice:

[. . .]

The third, ending deliberate childlessness, will be much harder to accomplish. Sure, we can pass laws to outlaw contraceptive devices, but the Godless masses will just employ natural contraception like the rhythm method and deviant practices involving the application of one's mouth to a little soldier, or in the case of the ladies, the elusive little sailor in the boat.

I say we test all newly married couples. If the wife is barren, we should require the couple to take on a handmaid. If she is able to conceive, then we give the couple a year to accomplish it, and if she fails to conceive in that time, we require the couple to adopt a frozen embryo-American.

But we can't stop there. Every womb is capable of at least a good ten years of nearly constant occupancy. "Ten years, ten kids" should be our goal.

I can imagine what Mrs. F would do if they told her she had to keep her womb occupied for 10 years, let alone telling her she'd have 10 rugrats running around forever. Somebody would have a foot in their ass.

I don't get these folks. I mean, I got nothing against a woman who wants to have 10 kids; have 20, more power to ya' but don't make me do the same thing. What in Hell ever happened to live and let live, as long as it's with consenting adults?

The End Of Innocence

On Nov. 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. Texas Gov. John B. Connally was seriously wounded. A suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States.

This was when we started to realize the government and media didn't tell the truth.


By now you've all seen the video of the basketball melee. I wasn't gonna comment, but since it's been drummed into my consciousness over the past few days, I gotta say something.

Everybody's all surprised. 'Ooh, basketball isn't supposed to be violent', everybody says. To steal a phrase from one of my favorite blogs, 'are you effin' kidding me'? 80% of the players are street thugs whose only redeeming value is that they can put a ball through a hoop most of the time. If the NCAA weren't the money-grubbing organization it is, this riff raff would have been culled before they made it to their sophomore year.

Hello! Dickheads! College is supposed to teach maturity and respect, along with giving you an education. It's a time of growing for young people, not a minor league for football and basketball.

Instead, they promote these morons because they have a talent for a game. Money talks, ethics and values be damned. And who gives a fuck if any of these guys actually gets an EDUCATION? And then the NBA gives these guys millions. Incredible. It also doesn't help that half the fans are thugs too. My solution, install boards and glass, a la hockey. Cage the animals on the court and keep the fans in the stands. End of problem. I'm done now.

I should add that at least David Stern (NBA Commissioner) is handing out stiff suspensions. The problem is in the appeal. Let's hope he stands his ground against the players union.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Guess Who's Coming for Dinner?

The Chimperor once again makes us proud overseas.

In'N'Out Urge

This isn't political, but it is regional. Bruce Van Dyke describes his longing for, quest, and ultimate satisfaction with a West Coast favorite that has just opened its first outlet in the Reno area. From the Reno News & Review.
I’d been putting it off now for a while. In fact, for too long. There is a time to procrastinate, certainly, but there is also a time to un-crastinate. I figured I’d better crastinate on down the road and go get me a god-dang In’N’Out burger.

Oh, I had heard the stories, fast becoming legend in this neck of the sagebrush pygmy forest. Stories of people waiting in line for two, three, even six hours to get their first taste of In’N’Out sin. People running out of gas while idling in the drive-thru, waiting overnight in motorhomes, and riding in on mopeds from Winnemucca, all for the chance to sample a good, cheap cheeseburger. Many things have changed in 21st century America. Fanatical burger love, though, holds on with effortless ease

Meanwhile, the walk-in option wasn’t much of an alternative for those in a hurry. Hungry carnivores were already spilling out that door and into the day. Back in drive-thru, I reached the second member of the crack In’N’Out drill team, who asked for my order. I stuck with the basics: burger, fries, lemonade. I remembered the instructions of an In’N’Out fanatic, who advised me to go with the “4 by 4,” classic INO insider lingo referring to a burger with four patties and four slices of cheese. Maybe some midnight after my next beer and bong poker party, I would dare to go with the 4 X 4. Perhaps the 5 X 5! But not today. I did forget, though, to order “animal style,” which means you want grilled onions on that burg. Damn. (Don’t look for these options on the menu. They aren’t there. It’s all part of the In’N’Out mystique, y’understand).

And you know what? The burger was good. Very good. The fries were decent, but nothing to inspire a rock opera. But the burger was cool. If only I had gone with the grilled onions

These are the best fast-food style burgers out West, bar none. The menu is limited, no chicken or salads here. Nothing frozen, everything fresh. Cheap 'n' good. Get some.

Oh, the title of this post? That's the way folks modify the In 'N' Out Burger bumper sticker before affixing it to their bumper. Be sure to visit their website.

Damn, I just made myself hungry! Maybe if I order a sack o'burgers from their website they'll come out the exit slot of my printer.....

Black Republicans


Everytime I see a conservative blog praising a Black Republican, I laugh . . . and then I feel sick. Then I laugh some more. It's as if those conservatives are saying, "See! Even the niggahs get it!"

[. . .]

Intelligence reform

Crash and burn. From NYT.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a defeat for President Bush, rebellious House Republicans on Saturday derailed legislation to overhaul the nation's intelligence agencies along lines recommended by the Sept. 11 commission.

[. . .]

``The commander in chief in the middle of a war says he needs this bill to protect the American people,'' said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., who led Democratic negotiators.

``Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House, and the blame for this failure is theirs alone,'' said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

[. . .]

I guess Joe Lieberman finally realizes which party he belongs to. The defeat of this bill was engineered by Rummy and his ilk over at DOD, and the new crowd at Langley, both of whom don't want to suborn their intelligence operations to a central authority. While there are some parts of the legislation that I don't like, we need some sort of reform. The Repubs had months to work on the language of the bill, why the objections as it's about to go to the floor for a vote? Did something change suddenly? You can't tell me it's just because of the provision to give driver licenses to illegal immigrants.

Speaking of shady deals yesterday, the Lame Ducks finally got the appropriations bill finished and the Repubs were hard at work:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 - Congress approved a $388 billion spending measure and left town on Saturday without completing a reorganization of the nation's intelligence agencies as a postelection session drew to a ragged close.

[. . .]

Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, said he discovered a provision that would allow leaders of the House and Senate spending panels to designate people who would be given access to tax returns.

"Are we really going to pass legislation here that says an Appropriations Committee staffer can look at the individual tax returns of any American?" Mr. Conrad asked.

Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that the provision had been added erroneously and that it would not become law even though the bill had already been passed by the House.

"It is absolutely a mistake, and I apologize to the Senate," Mr. Stevens said.

[. . .]

Yeah right, a mistake, that's it. Dickhead.

[. . .]

"Have you read this bill well enough to have confidence you know what is in it?" Representative Brian Baird, Democrat of Washington, asked his colleagues on the House floor.

House Democrats raised objections to language that would expand the rights of health care providers to refuse to perform abortions and abortion-related services. The Democratic minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, called it an "extraordinary sneak attack on women's rights and a disgraceful display of ideology over health."

But its Republican authors said the action was warranted to prevent government agencies from forcing health care providers who oppose abortion to perform the procedure or counsel women seeking abortions.

[. . .]

The Repubs never quit. They try and attach some sort of 'anti-legislation' on everything and try to slide it through under the radar. And while we're speaking of Ted Stevens:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 - Toward the bottom of the 16-inch stack of paper called the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 is a list of grants for communities in Alaska: $950,000 for a recreation center and $150,000 for a botanical garden in Anchorage, $300,000 for a senior center in Fairbanks, $1 million for housing upgrades in the Kenai Peninsula, $900,000 for an aquarium in Ketchikan, $525,000 for a quarry upgrade in Nome and many more.

No one on the outside knows for sure how grants for special projects like these - called earmarks in the Congressional lexicon and pork barrel by critics - got into the $388 billion spending bill that cleared Congress on Saturday. But it is a safe bet that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, in his final year as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, was responsible for most of these. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

This is the same guy who 'mistakenly' added the provision in the appropriations bill that would allow the opening of people's tax returns. Think all this pork for his home state was a mistake too? Neither do I.