Apparently, my citation of facts was too much for Stan Huskey, and he had refused to approve my comment.  I guess it just didn’t fit into the mold of his echo chamber.

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Sometimes, when Mrs. Còmhradh and I are sitting on the couch, I’ll start getting one of our dogs riled up. She (the dog) is pretty easy to get going, and she’ll do the whole snappy-barky “knock it off!” thing that dogs do when you’re playfully annoying them. Then, when I’ve got her really good and miffed at me, she’ll turn and nip at Mrs. Còmhradh, presumably because I’m avoiding the gnashy-toothed snapping she’s attempting to lay on me.

Stan Huskey’s latest column reminds me of that. He gets himself all in a tizzy over our Congressman, Jim Gerlach (who defended his seat by 1000 and 3000 vote margins in the last two elections and is not polling well), layers in some froth about Obama and the IRS, and then, with no apparent connection, takes a swing at teachers.

Can I say no to this bait? Of course not. Here’s my response:

You really do have it out for teachers, don’t you? Right in the middle of a mish-mashed rant about Gerlach (which I actually can’t tell if you’re criticizing or defending him), the IRS and Obama, you wander off to take a swing at your teacher piñata before heading off in yet another direction. I don’t believe that I’ve ever agreed with you, Stan, but typically I can understand what your point is. The only thing I got out of this was “teachers aren’t accountable to anyone, therefore they are probably doing a bad job!”

I know I’ve given teachers a hard time in the past, but I really have no beef with a teacher who does an outstanding job.

But we all know there are teachers, just like there are people in every profession, journalism included, who simply don’t pull their weight.

My ears always perk up at this dog-whistle language. You attempt to come across as generous to teachers, but what you’re really doing is insinuating that since there’s no review process, it’s likely that most teachers are substandard. I’m sure you’ll raise a defense against that, but you’ve been nothing but critical of uppity teachers having the gall to demand 2% raises to offset the 4% increase in cost of living, the amount of money you personally have to pay in order to support them, and the teaching profession in general, so I’m in no way inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt here. You’re insinuating that since you don’t see a review process, the chances are good that any given teacher is probably “pulling their weight.”

I’m not going to argue that there is no review process after the first three years of a teacher’s career, and I fully support one, just like the NEA and AFT do. However, studies show that if you want better education, you don’t look at the teachers – you look at the average income of the people in the school district. The more wealth in the district, the better the test scores get.

So, Stan, if you want more to show for your tax bill, the solution is simple. Stop looking out for your own economic interest, and start looking out for the economic interests of your neighbors. The more money they make, the higher NASD students will score.

This exchange between myself, two of my friends, my sister-in-law, and her husband, happened on my Facebook a few weeks ago. Submitted as-is with only names changed to protect my anonymity.

Còmhradh thinks that if we’re going to demand that Muslims can’t build a shrine in Manhattan (never mind the one that’s already been there for 40 years), then we should demand that there be no Lutheran churches in Jersey City because of the Black Tom incident in World War I that killed 7 Americans, because Wilhelm II was a Luth…eran, and therefore all Lutherans are enemies of America, right?

Friend 1 – On the other hand, America’s been building ‘Ground Zero’ within a couple blocks of mosques all over Iraq and Afghanistan for years now.

BiL – It’s not the fact that they are building it in Manhattan itself. It’s the fact they are building it practically right on ‘Ground Zero’. It’s not about politcs or who is wrong and right with this one. It’s about the 3000 people who died there by Muslim extremist. And being a firemen I wouldn’t want it there to begin with. It’s a slap in the face and not to mention it will cause TONS of issues in the long run that will make it a very bad idea. Our ignorant moron Governor even offered free state land for them to build it on but they won’t do it (the only good thing hes done.) So… yeah… Its a BAD idea and its a slap in the face… Take it down the block away from ‘Ground Zero’

Còmhradh – @BiL – so, you’d feel that strongly if there was a proposal to build a church right a few blocks from Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta or near the site of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City?

Còmhradh – @Friend 1 – but that’s their fault for living in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friend 1 – ‎”Yeah, I have a delivery here for Iraq. Can Iraq sign for it? It’s a large box of freedom. …Oh, I’m sorry, I meant explosions. The freedom’s on back order.”

SiL – they just HAVE to build near the world trade center? no sense of remorse for these people that died and those that died to save our those in need. no wonder most of america is against….per CNN

SiL – babbling facts does nothing to justify why they are doing it….thats just senseless facts

Còmhradh – So, the 62 Muslim victims of 9/11 don’t count? Were they also responsible for the attacks simply because they were Muslim? Does that mean every Christian is responsible for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996?

BiL – I honestly don’t care what most of America is against. Most of America has been against some crazy shit in the past, like women’s suffrage, alcohol, interracial marriage, Catholics…

SiL – neither do i….but thank god most of america has their head on right about it

Friend 1 – There just isn’t enough manufactured controversy out there. It’s a real shame America’s so focused on educating its young people, caring for its veterans and elderly, keeping the work force employed and providing medical care for its citizens. We really need more mosque arguments and video game outrage, because wouldn’t it be terrifying if this privileged, rich, powerful and obnoxiously vocal country actually did something beneficial and useful for its citizens for a change?

Còmhradh – I don’t think anyone’s actually addressing my point here – If we’re going to rage about a “mosque” near Ground Zero, why should we not get up in arms about churches near sites of Christian-based terrorism?

Friend 2http://daryllang.com/blog/4421 stuff that’s also “right on top of ground zero”

BiL – You want to know why? Because this is the United States of America. You are American before anything else and the freedom you have is what the Muslim Extremist are trying to take away. Ground Zero is a American spot where we lost over 3000 people in an attack that was senseless. Unless of course you agree with that. And putting the Mosque right on top of that heartbreaking spot is ARROGANT and full of IGNORANCE.

BiL – @Friend 2 that stuff was there this is ‘aftermath’ of them building this… ITS A INSULT and as a New Yorker and a Fireman its PATHETIC and I don’t give a shit who I offend with this but if you are for it…. you… are Pathetic

Friend 2 i’m sorry. Iv’e actually read and believe in the constitution and the bill of rights.

Còmhradh@BiL – Yes, and in the United States of America, we have the freedom to place any manner of religious shrine on private property we own, regardless of what other people think. Unless of course you don’t agree that we should have freedom of religion.

BiL – What is arrogant and full of ignorance is this perpetuation that this is a mosque (it is not), lumping all Muslims in this country together with the extremists who attacked us (they are not), and thinking that it’s OK to strip certain groups of people of fundamental rights simply because you don’t like them (it’s not).

Còmhradh@BiL – calm down, sparky. We’re having a rational discussion here.

Friend 2 – way to make my point there sparky.

BiL – First. Fuck Muslims. I don’t give a shit about them after what happened. Second. Believe it or not, this is not about you, this is about the people who died and their families. Its a slap in the face and the Muslim community is trying to make a point……..

Còmhradh – @BiL – if you can’t behave, you don’t get to chime in.

BiL – I am not calm about this @Còmhradh. Its full of liberal idiocy and its a insult to me. So I won’t stop being pissed about this until the subject is closed and the Mosque is elsewhere.

Friend 2 – hey @BiL, it’s not about you. its about freedom and what it means to defend freedom. _THIS_ is what it means to defend freedom. not blowing up some third world country.

BiL – How about not calling me Sparky @Friend 2 since you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. And @Còmhradh…. Don’t post something ridiculous if you don’t want comments and thoughts.”

Còmhradh – I want comments and thoughts, not racist bigotry. We were having a nice discussion before you jumped in and started throwing elbows.

Friend 2 – oh, and freedom and non government interference with private property and religion is ridiculous now is it? Wow. just wow. Do I get to use the “America love it or leave it” line yet?

BiL – The war is needed and I stand by that. Bush did the right thing. All the liberals can’t eat a bull of crap. And the Mosque don’t belong where it is going… Period.

Còmhradh – @BiL – what exactly has either war accomplished?
We’ve been in Afghanistan for almost 9 years and have succeeded only in killing civilians and further destabilizing a nuclear-armed Pakistan.
We’ve been in Iraq for 6 1/2 years and only succeeded in making Iran the dominant power in the region.
If that’s your definition of “necessary,” then it is absolutely necessary that I’m given a giant robot to stomp around downtown Sheboygan.

BiL – And your saying the Muslims who killed 3000 people in NYC arnt racist? Yes they are. Prove to me they arnt. This is America and a Mosque don’t belong on hollowed ground. Move it away from the spot and make people happy

Friend 2 – Liberals and Liberty have the same root. sorry don’t believe in living in an authoritarian theocracy. going into afganistan was the rightmove, the facts have been quite clear about who’s been eating the bull for Iraq.

Còmhradh – @BiL – The Muslims who killed 3015 people on 9/11 are dead. They also killed (besides themselves) 62 Muslims. Are you spitting in the faces of their relatives by calling them racists for getting themselves killed?

BiL – My definintition of Necessary is I support what Bush did. I support being in war. I support our troops. And I support defending this homeland.

Friend 2 – defending the homeland by making us piles more enemies? how about defending the homeland by not dismantling it from the inside out?

Còmhradh – @BiL – that doesn’t really answer the question. You support the war, which has only served to create dead troops, but you support the troops. These two things are completely contradictory.
I support the troops by opposing continually useless wars that only get them killed and create more enemies for us, which will only ensure that even more troops get killed.

Friend 2 – Re muslems: so do lots of christians and jews.

BiL – The Muslim extremist are racist and most Muslims have this idea that they are the higher power and they are living the right life. All thought that is there opinion look what it did on 9/11. All i am saying is move the Mosque away from Ground Zero. And @Còmhradh… 62 Muslims killed is nothing compared to over 2,500 that weren’t Muslims.

Còmhradh – ‎@BiL – so… Muslims lives aren’t as important as non-Muslim lives?
“The American extremists are racist and most Americans have this idea that they are the higher power and are living the right life.

BiL – LOL @Friend 2…. dismantling it? Wow…. You are obviously blind to what is really going on.

Friend 2 – I don’t know @BiL, revoking personal and religious freedoms for he sake of mob rule seems pretty contradictory to what this country’s about.

CòmhradhBiL – @Friend 2 isn’t the one advocating a repeal of the First Amendment here.

BiL – I support the troops because its the right thing to do. They are over there fighting for our freedom. If you don’t support them how would that make them feel? Protesting is not a good thing for them to see.

CòmhradhBiL – America hasn’t fought a war for American freedoms since 1865. The troops are over there fighting for our economic interests. They’re not even fighting for *someone else’s* freedoms.

Supporting troops is in no way the same as supporting the insane mission they’ve been tasked with.

BiL – LOL OK… enough…. seriously…. You guys have no argument. You believe in OBAMA when he is the worst President in US HISTORY! And will be a 1 term guy. But you follow him EVEN THOUGH HE IS TRYING TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY A SOCIALIST SOCIETY! YOU ARE RIDICULOUS! —-MOVE THE MOSQUE—- ITS A INSULT

Friend 2 – wow, way to bring up random unrelated topics. we have an argument obviously or you wouldn’t be backing out.

Friend 1 – Re: the war: “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” – Sun-Tzu
Re: the mosque: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, demanding that the free exercise of a religion be impeded by any sort of decree is unconstitutional. PERIOD.

BiL – Backing out? Not going anywhere!

Còmhradh@BiL – a) I don’t “believe” in Obama, b) You need to look at James Buchanan and Warren G. Harding before you start judging Obama, c) you have no idea what socialism is, and everything I’ve ever heard you say about socialism just sounds like a good idea that Obama has consistently *not* done. This is America. You don’t have the right to not be insulted. I find the fact that there are people who would surrender our rights at the drop of a hat to be an insult, but I’ve still got to live here.

Friend 2 – well then bring some substance other than hurt feelings and baseless opinions.

Friend 2 – clearly you don’t because there’s nothing even remotely socialist going on in the obama administration.

Friend 1 – @BiL – You’re not going anywhere? Or I’m not going anywhere? The lack of subject in that sentence fragment has me confused. Could you please try to make your thoughts more coherent and well-formatted? The last time I heard rhetoric this vocal and broken it was coming from a podium in Nuremberg in the early 1940s.

BiL – LOL @Còmhradh… you are so blind…. And I do know what Socialism is

CòmhradhBiL – Please, describe socialism, and how letting tax cuts expire while expanding programs implemented by Republican presidents is in any way akin to it.

BiL – Hurt feelings? LOL @Friend 2 you are pathetic and obviously don’t know how to read. Everything I am saying has substance and NOT everyone agrees with you believe it or not. And it’s funny how over 60% of America is for what I am saying.

Friend 2– wind and crying isn’t substance and that all you can come back with is “pathetic” tells me more about your argument than it says about mine. sparky.

BiL – Ok… be a bitch… or are lesbians not Bitches? Not sure how this works. And @Friend 1…. Big words don’t make you “right”… And @Còmhradh… Socialism………. look at Obama’s presidency and thats my definitions/ . If you don’t like my views/Thoughts/views… DONT RESPOND….

Còmhradh – @BiL – we really can’t parse out what you’re saying other than “I hate Muslims and Obama,” and I need to see the polling that suggests that 60% of America agrees with that.
Interestingly, 62% of Americans think we should get out of Afghanistan, so I guess you’re not with the majority there.

Còmhradh – @BiL – We’ll take that as an admission that you’ve got nothing left to say, have admitted defeat, and want to no longer participate in this or any further discussions. Thanks for stopping by.

And then my brother-in-law and I unfriended each other, my sister-in-law unfriended me (because I was being “hypocritical,” which I still don’t understand), my brother-in-law unfriended Mrs. Còmhradh, and Mrs. Còmhradh’s sister didn’t speak to her for a week.

Nettles

Posted: 7 September 2010 in civil rights, human rights, religion

Facebook is a hell of a drug. There are four categories of people I am connected with on Facebook:

1) People that I see on a regular basis that I often communicate with,
2) People that I don’t see on a regular basis that I often communicate with,
3) People that I know casually that I rarely communicate with,
4) People that I was friends with/worked with ages ago that I almost never communicate with.

(Interestingly, even though I have a relatively small extended family, I can place a family member into each of these categories.)

Recently, on my Facebook updates feed, there have been a number of people in the bottom three categories who have posted updates like “Let’s see how many true Christians are on FB! Press Like if Jesus is your Savior!!” and “JESUS IS LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you know this is true press like. :)” and so forth. For the record, those are copied exactly. If you don’t capitalize “Jesus is Lord” and follow it with 27 exclamation points, it’s apparently not official.

This sort of thing rankles me for a few reasons. Firstly, because it’s the most inane sort of religious jingoism. “Look at how much I love my deity! I’m mangling my native tongue and speaking like a twelve-year-old about him!” Secondly, it gets under my skin because this is acceptable behavior, whereas if I were to post “THERE IS NO GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you know this is true press like. :),” sparks would fly (see next post for an example of this). Sparks would fly, because two of the people posting this dreck are my aunt and my mother. Like I said, Facebook is a hell of a drug.

So, last night, I got fed up with the recent splattering of OMGJEBUS on my Facebook updates, and decided to nettle back. Of course, I did it on the sly – I changed my religious views to Agnostic Atheist and “liked” Agnostic Atheism. So far the fur hasn’t begun flying, but I can imagine that someone is going to take notice. Chances are, my sister is going to tell me all about how my mother went on and on about the horrible thing I said on Facebook (again).

Obama didn’t say “mission accomplished,” but he did say that our troops completed every task asked of them in Iraq, which would indicate that they accomplished the mission that they were sent there to do.

Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. He was a murderous thug who repressed political opponents and other people he didn’t like using methods that get you sent to The Hague if you don’t happen to have a nuclear arsenal at your disposal. That being said, Saddam Hussein got the trains to run on time, if by “the trains” you mean “relative stability in the region” and by “run on time” you mean “not degenerate into an Iranian wonderland.”

Baathist Iraq was a functional country. Despite embargoes and sanctions, it was relatively westernized, had infrastructure reminiscent of a first-world country, had relative religious and personal freedom, was not a haven for terrorists, and was actually not being aggressive to its neighbors, at least in the last decade.

Of course, that was so 2003. Since then, Iraq has lost about 3% of its population to violence or the complete eradication of most of its infrastructure. Just because Arabs live in the Middle East does not mean that they can survive without food, potable water, or with no air conditioning in 120° heat. Additionally, around 15% of the population has been displaced, either over the border into Syria or scattered internally to where it is “safer.” The country is a virtual playground for terrorists or those looking to settle age-old scores. Religious and personal freedom is at an all-time low. Additionally, what government exists is a laughable collection of squabbling enemies that make Congress look like a bunch of well-socialized kindergartners who’ve been told they’ll get cake if they share and play nice. It is by no means a threat to Iranian influence in the region (or even to the lack of indoor plumbing, for that matter). At best, it’s headed by an unelected puppet, at worst, large elements of it are actually working against internal stability.

And now, having gone after the Pottery Barn with a nine-iron, we’re tossing a few dollars at them and striding off through the mall, intent on getting a new rug from that neat little shop that sells hand-made stuff and smells of patchouli. Of course, our rug is backordered because we set fire to that place about 9 years ago and haven’t bothered to put it out yet.

So, to reiterate:

If the mission was destroying a relatively modern country and reducing it to a nightmarish death-hole that now has more ties to terrorism than it ever did in the past, then Mission Accomplished. If, however, the mission was to remove one tyrant from power, then Mission Way Not Accomplished, considering we could have done that 7 years ago for less than .01% of what we’ve spent so far.

Candidacies I’d Support

Posted: 26 August 2010 in politics

Given the idea by PersonalFailure over at Forever In Hell, I’m suggesting the Slacktivist / Gin and Tacos ticket.

FRED/ED 2012 – Because, seriously, America, we need actual ideas for once.

I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what’s on my mind, and in my heart, what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent, and attack affiliates and attack sponsors.
-Laura Schlessinger

“Doctor Laura” is ending her long-running radio cesspool after repeated and pointedly repeating “nigger” on the air by way of defending the fact that she is not racist. Seriously, there wasn’t a laugh track.

When she explained why she was ending her radio show to Larry King, it wasn’t because her distributor had very nicely agreed to let her not renew her contract, it was because she wanted to regain her First Amendment rights.

I’m guessing she didn’t mean freedom of religion. She’s probably talking about freedom of speech and freedom of press. Which is really interesting, because at no point in this diatribe was she either censored or subject to any sort of criminal prosecution.

So, what she really means is “I want to be a raging bigot without ever hearing people call me a raging bigot.”

Anyone who professionally comments on politics of this nation should have, at the very least, a solid grasp of the Constitution. There may be fundamental differences in opinion, but someone who styles themselves a doctor should know that the First Amendment guarantees you the freedom to spew whatever hateful rock-dumb bigotry you choose, but it does not mean that people are then restricted from calling you a hateful rock-dumb bigot.

Freedom of Speech is not Freedom of Social Consequences of Speech. Carrie Prejean isn’t in jail for her incoherent anti-marriage verbal hemorrhage, and Laura Schlessinger isn’t going be be paying a hefty fine for being a screaming racist. Neither of these rot-brained lunatics has been denied their First Amendment rights, which is in itself ironic, considering both of them are in favor of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights being denied to other people.