Saturday, September 25, 2010

Religious Right on the War Path

Things aren't looking good for those of us who believe in old-fashioned secular society. The Republican candidate for a Nevada Senate seat is on record as saying separation of church and state is unconstitutional, and instead of being ridiculed into oblivion, she's actually tied in the polls with Harry Reid. In Delaware another Senate candidate has views that could have come straight from Archbishop James Ussher.

And in recent months growing numbers of mouth-breathing morons--um, I mean, Americans--are concerned about the President's religion.

Meanwhile the board that writes high school textbook standards in one of the country's largest markets has determined that high school history classes will downplay Thomas Jefferson, play up Phyllis Schlafly and emphasize the Christian values of the Founding Fathers.

So the Christian Taliban has declared jihad on Congress and on textbooks. What's next? I've heard that Christian right-wingers are going to follow the Texas Board of Education lead in regard to movies: popular and classic films are going to be re-written so they'll provide Biblical messages.

The scripts for the following films have already been written and shooting is about to begin:

Twelve Angry Disciples
The Silence of the Sacrificial Lambs
It's A Sinful, Sinful, Sinful, Sinful World
Francis Ford Coppola's God the Father
The Third Wise Man
Citizen Cain
Apocalypse Soon
I Know What You Did Last Supper

I have also heard that earnest fundamentalist scriptwriters have just begun work on a bio pic about the Virgin Mary (Knocked Up).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Cheaper Just to Keep Them on Leashes?

...or even just take roll the old-fashioned way?

But that would be so low-tech....Instead, the Head Start Program in Richmond, CA has used federal stimulus money to put RFID chips (the sort usually used by ranchers to keep track of cattle) in jerseys worn by participating preschoolers.

Head Start administrators are shocked that some people have a problem with this.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Politics of Change

Twenty months into the 44th presidentiad (as Walt Whitman would have called it), the American people are torn between rage and despair. The rage is mostly on the part of people who think Obama is a socialist, which is bizarre, considering that his policies are essentially those of an Eisenhower Republican, and that many of those same people who suspect he's a socialist are on public assistance. Make up your minds, people: if you truly believe in the free market, give your unemployment checks back to the Fed.

The despair is that of the people who voted for Obama, and who believed his promises to close Gitmo, end a policy that kicks soldiers with essential skills out of the military, and end the information blackout of the Bush era.

But in spite of all the anti-Obama sentiment on the left and right, his supporters shouldn't feel too glum. According to the New York Times, while most voters despise the Democrats, they hate Republicans even more. In other words, Democrat Congressional losses in the mid-terms might not be as bad as some pundits project, and Obama will probably win a second term.

This is the change Obama--and really all American politicians have brought: we've gone from the wild popularity Reagan and Clinton enjoyed, and the toxic combination of paranoia + adoration of the Fuehrer of the time of Bush the Younger, to a collective sigh of "we could do worse."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Niche-Market Print Journalism

It's a commonplace among the talking heads that dead-tree publications are going the way of the mastodon, but that's not quite true. General interest publications are having a hard time. Specialized interest mags are where the staying power is, with the dedicated subscribers willing to pay for what they can't get anywhere else. Woman & Guns is doing pretty well, so is Civil War Times. And Reptiles Magazine is chugging along just fine (I know what you're thinking so I'll spare you the soul-crushing disappointment I suffered when I clicked on the link and looked at the site: this is not a magazine with a reptilian readership;* it's for the humans who keep them as pets).

This actually encourages me to pursue an idea I've been toying with for some time. It's based on two simple facts: sleaze sells and a lot of smart people enjoy sleaze. The magazine I've got in mind would basically be something like The National Enquirer or People, but written for the sorts of readers who enjoy The Economist and Foreign Policy. I've already got some articles in the works:

"Is Paul Krugman Dating Timothy Geithner's Ex?"

"From Shirtless to Chic: Vladimir Putin's Ever-Changing Look."

"Capital Requirements and Casual Sex: The Crazy World of Random Hookups at the European Central Bank."

I'm looking for financial backers.....

*I was expecting articles with headlines like, "Sunning Yourself on Rocks: Which are More Comfy, Sedimentary or Igneous?" "Irrational Embarrassment about Tail Breakage."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Way We Live Now

Heard on the intercom at my local supermarket:

"Attention shoppers. Please look down at the items in your shopping cart to make sure they are the items you wish to purchase. If you decide that you have someone else's shopping cart please bring it to the customer service desk."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Week in Food

Homer Simpsons everywhere, rejoice: a Texas cook has figured out how to deep-fry beer. Video here.

In other beer-related news, not only did the Ancient Nubians take antibiotics, they took them the fun way (hat tip to Wired Science).

Pay attention, this is important: eating jellied pork is not a good idea. And eating jellied pork that's been recalled is a really bad idea.

Loathe lactose? Need to get away from gluten? Consider kosher.

Forget about terrorists among us and nuclear programs in Iran. What you should really be afraid of is....your groceries.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

News Roundup

Foreigners visiting the U.S. need to remember one important rule: brown people shouldn't talk to each in public (it makes the natives get weird).

Our government may add to the $1.6 billion dollars it has already given Mexico to fight drug cartels--because everyone knows if there's anything that can stamp out drug trafficking, it's money.

I know I've ranted about Sharon Angle's nuttiness and her bizarre role as Harry Reid's political savior. But a certain nobody might stage an even more unlikely political comeback.

Unemployment is up. And Time tries to explain why that's a good thing, proving in the process that the economic statistics talking heads throw around have little relation to reality (but you already knew that, didn't you?).

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