Ashcroft Taking Fire From GOP Stalwarts

Of course the Republican most quoted is Otter, who was one of three Republicans who voted against the Patriot Act. His recent amendment to the act passed 309-118 in the House.

One Republican who has discussed the matter with White House officials said that, at the very least, Ashcroft is taking the heat instead of Bush. "This gives Bush some distance, because this is an issue with liabilities," he said. The White House may be "sending [Ashcroft] out to see if it works, to test the waters, to see how mad people are," he added.
And if enough antipathy attaches itself to Ashcroft, can we expect his resignation letter some Friday afternoon?

Ashcroft Taking Fire From GOP Stalwarts (


Looks like Bush found his non-American soldiers...

U.S. and the Iraqis Discuss Creating Big Militia Force

Is there anyone else who feels like this might be a bad idea?

I, Robot: Interview with cast members at

Movie News on

I was just saying the other day that I wish someone would film I, Robot. I've seen an Ellison script, but from the description on this page, they seem to be revising one of the Elijah-Daneel stories to include Susan Calvin. Will Smith is playing a Del Spooner, whom I'm unfamiliar with in Asimov's work.

According to Yahoo! Movies, the script is based on a story not by Asimov, but written in the Robot universe. It alludes to the nine stories that make up the original I, Robot collection. The Caves of Steel is also in development for Universal - I, Robot is slated for distribution through Fox, which also has Shekhar Kapur attached to direct some Foundation novels as well.

Asimov is breaking hard in the movie world, and it's about time.

Notify OJ - DNA gets thumbs down from prosecutors

Prosecutors Fight DNA Use for Exoneration

This may hurt the "momma's baby's daddy" industry as well...

Talk to Your Kids, and Use Big, Encouraging Words

Reaching Parents Early

A study shows that schools can impart knowledge but cannot change the developmental trajectory of a child; if the family life is poverty stricken, the family culture is famished as well. To save the children of poor families, we have to save the parents.

Can the Republicans Do Anything Right?

Ineptitude Redefined. by Michael Tomasky. August 27, 2003.

Yesterday, Aug. 26, was a day that should live in political infamy for this administration. On that date a U.S. soldier was killed in a roadside bombing, becoming the 139th GI death since May 1. More soldiers have now been killed since the "end" of the war than during it. And, by the way, this soldier's death was the 71st since our fearless leader taunted the Iraqis with his now-famous phrase, "Bring 'em on."

I could make this into another column about this administration's mendacity; Lord knows there's fodder aplenty. But that point has been made. People are used to hearing liberals talk about how evil the administration is, and those who agree already agree while those who don't probably won't be persuaded.

But there's another argument about this administration, and about the Republican Party in general, that needs to be made, because this argument can alter presumptions about the two parties that have existed for at least a generation and can change the way the parties are seen well into the future. And it is this: The Republicans are total incompetents.
As a very good friend of mine says, "The Republicans are unfit to govern."

Goldman Interview at

Nobody knows anything.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You say screenplays are structured, but you don't define what you mean by structure.

GOLDMAN: I'm not going to do it now. Look, I taught creative writing for one year at Princeton. It was the year I wrote Butch Cassidy. I remember I had a bunch of writing students, and the first thing I did was I had them read The Little Engine That Could. Some of them were pissed about it and felt degraded. We all know that book, and I use it all the time as an example. Somehow, in that dopey story, we want the toys to get over the mountain. I think that's all we do. I think all we're trying to do is get the fucking toys over the mountain. I mean that. I don't know what a good story is. I know when a story happens, and I love it. I know when I get moved. I don't know how you do it.

There's a great line of Billie Jean King's, the tennis star, who said, "If it was easy everyone would do it." And I think that's the truth about what we do. When you've got the story going and you feel confident, and you can go to work the next day and think, Boy this is going to be neat, I'm going to knock their socks off, when you have those wonderful few moments of elation that God allows us, sometimes it works, and you don't feel failed. I mean, I don't know if the rest of you feel as failed as I do, but I'm very depressed about that. Stop it. Ask something else.

FEENEY: It struck me that in your accounts, although you speak of structure, it was implied that a lot of times you're sitting there trying to solve the particular problems of a story. For example, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. You have two guys that are on the run, but how are people going to get interested in a couple of guys who are fleeing? It seems like an un-heroic thing.

GOLDMAN: The reason the middle third is there, is the idea of running away did not happen in Westerns. Westerns are based on confrontations. Gary Cooper doesn't run away, John Wayne would rather die than run away. I had to get my guys to South America because they went there. It's the great moment. It was an odd thing. I wrote it and nobody wanted it. I rewrote it, changing almost nothing at all, and every studio wanted it but MGM. They said they would buy it if I would have them not go to South America and stay and fight the Super Posse. And I said, "But they didn't do that." The guy at Metro said, "I don't give a shit, John Wayne don't run away." I think that was a great line, and it's true. John Wayne didn't run away. So I mean, the whole problem I had in that movie--a lot of problems--was I had to make it okay for the audience to see heroes do what was, in essence, something that wasn't done.

Taco Bell: Vote for CA recall candidates by buying food products!

Here's a food-related item!

Click on "Who says you can't buy votes?" Now you see the current totals in an on-going promotion from Taco Bell. The field is heavily slanted towards Taco Bell stockholder Arnold Schwartzenegger (R-Reagan, Not).

By buying a eighty cent beef taco, their most popular item, you can vote for Arnold. Voting for Grey Davis (no recall) calls for a Chicken Soft Taco (they make Chicken Soft Tacos?) The Grilled Stufft Burrito purchase, another top seller, is a vote for any of the other candidates for governor.

By popular demand, they will be adding a slot for Bustamante - a Chalupa purchase. Ad watchers will remember the campaign for introducing the Chalupa, "Drop the Chalupa."

Another good reason to check out Slow Food.

Another busy day - enjoy some links

I'm slowly getting the page together, so I'm skeezing on the food topic. The sidebar has some interesting links like the food timeline - when were potato chips invented? Cook's Illustrated is great for a subscription service. And then there's Slow Food. What a beautiful concept...

See ya tomorrow.

Dangerous Religion

Found it at Smirking Chimp.

As of 11:34 pm today, the server for this site can't be found from my computer. But this is a great article, and I'm going to comment on my own experience with dangerous religion next week.

Dangerous Religion

President Bush uses religious language more than any president in U.S. history, and some of his key speechwriters come right out of the evangelical community. Sometimes he draws on biblical language, other times old gospel hymns that cause deep resonance among the faithful in his own electoral base. The problem is that the quotes from the Bible and hymnals are too often either taken out of context or, worse yet, employed in ways quite different from their original meaning. For example, in the 2003 State of the Union, the president evoked an easily recognized and quite famous line from an old gospel hymn. Speaking of America's deepest problems, Bush said, "The need is great. Yet there's power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people." But that's not what the song is about. The hymn says there is "power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb" (emphasis added). The hymn is about the power of Christ in salvation, not the power of "the American people," or any people, or any country. Bush's citation was a complete misuse.

On the first anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush said at Ellis Island, "This ideal of America is the hope of all mankind…. That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it." Those last two sentences are straight out of John's gospel. But in the gospel the light shining in the darkness is the Word of God, and the light is the light of Christ. It's not about America and its values. Even his favorite hymn, "A Charge to Keep," speaks of that charge as "a God to glorify"—not to "do everything we can to protect the American homeland," as Bush has named our charge to keep.

Bush seems to make this mistake over and over again—confusing nation, church, and God. The resulting theology is more American civil religion than Christian faith.

Three Crimes Involving Religion - Which Is The Greatest?

In the past week:

  • A congregation of worshippers smothered an autistic boy while trying to rid his soul of demons.

  • A homophobic killer brutally murdered a fellow inmate, a priest convicted of child molestation.

  • A state Supreme Court chief justice defied court orders to remove a sculpture of the Ten Commandments from his courthouse rotunda.

Which of these three was the greatest crime?

There's no question which is the most shocking crime. A young boy's death during a misguided effort to exorcise his demons is a horrifying crime, and I'm glad to hear that it's going to be treated as a homicide. The death of John Geoghan is simply disgusting, because of the nature of his crimes. And Roy Moore's Ten Commandment stand induces eye rolls at best. On this basis, the death of the child is the greatest crime.

Yet there are other aspects of these crimes to consider. Malice and forethought determines how serious the crime is viewed. The lasting effects of each crime should be weighed, along with any unusual aspects to the crime. How does each event fare in these catagories?

The congregation is reported to have hit the child in previous exorcisms, and held him down forcibly. But was their malice directed at the child? We might say yes, but in their minds, they were fighting against a demon within the child. They loved the child, and hated the demon within him. And since they did not wish the child's death, forethought and planning of the death is eliminated. Only malice remains, and it's blunted by their mindset. They should have known better, God knows they should have. But they did not, and they will answer for the death their ignorance caused.

Joseph Druce had a life sentence for beating a gay man to death 15 years ago. The pedophilic priest John Geoghan was therefore a natural target for his wrath. Evidence shows that Druce planned this attack for a month. He jammed the lock mechanism to allow more time for his crime, he bound, gagged, and then strangled Geoghan into unconciousness, and then jumped from the bed on his supine form, beating him with his fists while officers struggled to open the door. His malice and forethought are palpable. (In the eyes of many, including myself, this crime is blunted by the crimes of the priest. I could wish a fairer end for the man, but the deed being done, I shed no tears for him.)

Roy Moore has been posting the Ten Commandments in his courtroom for years. When he was elected the chief justice, he secretly moved this sculpture into the rotunda the night before he was sworn in. It's a blatent endorsement of the Christian religion, and violated state law, federal law, and the law of God as written on the monument itself. Furthermore, Roy Moore has the sculpture copyrighted (the notice is on the lower left of the monument's back). The event reminds us of an earlier Alabama masterpiece of policy, Wallace's stand in the university door. Comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr. are not to be believed. His forethought is in evidence, and his malice? It's comparable to the ignorance of the congregation, but Moore is a more calculating perpetrator than they were - he knew full well what he was doing. His malice is greater than theirs.

And finally, lets consider the lasting effect of each crime. The autistic boy's death ends with his death. The death of Geoghan ends with his death. The defiance of Roy Moore will not end - though he has lost his office, his actions are being hailed by televangelists as those of a Daniel. He has gained from his crime, and is unrepentant. I expect replicas of his monument to be hawked as tithing gifts any day now. On this front, Roy Moore's crime is the greater.

Autistic MurderGeoghan MurderMoore's Defiance

The unusual deduction of points from Druce's total was due to the nature of Geoghan's crimes. Without that deduction, Druce's brutal act would just edge former MisChief Justice Moore's cynical ploy for attention. I agree with Jesus that it's better for defilers of children to have a millstone tied around their necks and be cast into the ocean. If Moore's monument could be substituted for the millstone, society would be a lot better off.


CNN: Autistic boy's death at church ruled homicide
Boston Globe: Monthlong plot to kill Geoghan
Anthony Sebok: The Controversy Over Alabama's Ten Commandment Statue
Democratic Underground Poll // Smirking Chimp Thread

Going to try and get a day ahead here, so this update I'm skipping.

Here's some interesting links that go together, or not - you decide.

Rush Slams Republicans, Irresponsible Corporations Over Drug Plan

Rush Limbaugh is 76% the man he used to be. Al Franken did him a world of good by publishing Rush Limbaugh is A Big Fat Liar. Since Al had him on the lying part, the only way Rush could counter the title was to lose weight. It's to his credit that he did - he's gained years onto his life, and he's got Al Franken to thank for the strong motivation to do so.

Something else seems to have changed about Rush: he's more open about his commitment to his core memes. They take precedent even over groups that Rush has always supported lockstep. Consider this recent transcript from his site:

76% of Seniors have Prescription Drug Coverage

...76% of seasoned citizens today already have [b]some form of prescription drug coverage[/b]. Did you know that? No, you didn't. And why didn't you? Because it's being suppressed. Well, it has leaked out. I ran into it on National Review Online. 76% of American seniors already have some form of prescription drug coverage. All this you've heard about this being a pressing entitlement, it's either dog food or medicine, or it's starvation or medicine, have you heard this? It's BS.
Rush refers to Deroy Murdock's August 19 article, Great Society II?, for this statistic. Regretably, Deroy offers no support of the statistic, so there it stands. However, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has a PDF position paper on prescription drug coverage, which states, (a)pproximately 30 percent of seniors currently have no outpatient prescription drug coverage, and those with coverage are at risk of losing it. Since neither Rush nor Deroy make the distinction of outpatient coverage, this must be where the 76% figure comes from. If a person is in the hospital and the insurance pays for aspirin, they've got prescription drug coverage according to Rush.

No mention is made of the serious limits, copayments, or deductibles present in most plans.

How important is this meme to Rush? He actually implicates the Republicans in this "pandering" to seniors, not as long and loud as the Democrats, mind you, but it's there. Why is this being done? says Rush: Votes. We're creating an entitlement. Both parties are guilty of this- I hate to say it - for the express purpose of convincing the largest voting bloc in this country, American seasoned citizens, that they care about them. Has Rush missed the memo? Republicans control the Congress. They must work with the Democrats because they don't have a 2/3rd majority, but it's the Republicans in charge who bear the major responsiblity for this proposed legislation, and Rush tacitly acknowledges this in his rush to defeat it.

Rush goes on to knock the companies that are threatening to dump their retirees into the federal system.
(C)orporations have many retirees that they are still funding on their health care programs. Part of those programs include prescription drugs. These companies are going to tell these retirees, hey, we've enjoyed having you, you were great, but now that Medicare is handling this, we're not going to fund this anymore, and that's going to drive people that are very happy with their retired health care programs right into Medicare, against their wishes. But Ford Motor Company, for example, will save $50 million a year by shuffling people out of their health program and onto this Medicare entitlement. So, you know, there's an equal amount of, I don't want to say blame, but responsibility for who's driving this.
Why doesn't he want to say Blame? Isn't that what Responsibility means? If something good happens, the person with responsibility gets the credit, and if something bad, the blame. Corporations with no sense of responsiblity to their former employees are seeking the bottom line, and helping craft a re-election bill for Republicans. The only surprising thing is that Rush is the one passing on the information!

A group Rush doesn't knock are the pharmecuetical companies. Come on, Rush! These guys must be salivating over the huge federal teat that's teeming with tax dollars for their stockholders. But the pharms escape Rush's newfound moderation. Maybe that's because the 30% of seniors with no outpatient coverage pay substantially more for outpatient prescription drugs as do individuals with coverage (from the NCTPSSM position paper). Does Rush have any ties to the pharmecuetical companies that I don't know about?

Then there's also President Bush. Rush won't say it, but Deroy jumps right in: To prevent Bush from using this surgical-strength legislation to convert compassionate conservatism into Great Society II, pro-market congressmen should pull the plug on this measure and start anew. Whoa! "To prevent Bush?" No wonder Bush needs $200 million to get re-elected, if the National Review is hammering him for trying to get votes! They've got Rush Limbaugh laying down rails for a backtrack on Bush, because if this passes, it has Bush written all over it. It's the epitome of big government, and this is something that isn't on Rush's agenda. Bush is reaching for a centerpiece of his 2004 campaign, and Rush is getting as close as he can today to condemning the move, using language fit for a progressive pundit!

As much as he can stomach of it. That was ear surgery he had last year, right?