Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Friday, April 29, 2005

Raise your hand if you thought this WASN'T going to happen

I can't believe its happening already, but you knew it was coming. You might have held your breath and thought...nah. You might have said, 'they seem to be getting along really well.' You might have said, 'he's a changed man.' But there is no way, no how this man will ever change.
What man you ask?
That arm flapping, egotistical, self-loving Eagle himself, Terrell Owens.

All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens
skipped the
' first minicamp practice on Friday, presumably because he
wants a new contract.
Owens said several times this month he wants to
renegotiate the seven-year deal he signed last March. The Eagles have refused to
redo the contract worth nearly $49 million.
Read Monday Morning Quarterback for expert analysis of this situation and of why T.O. doesn't deserve a new contract. With T.O. the Eagles went a grand total of one game further in the playoffs--granted, an important one game, but still, they didn't win it all. Speaking of fools, what are Simon, Mitchell and Westbrook thinking. They have a direct line of sight to next years Super Bowl too...get with it guys!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Justice Sunday-aka The Politics of Divide & Conquer

I'm a little late on this topic, but I had to let my disbelief and anger mellow some before I posted.
As most are aware, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist attended a large convention type thing this weekend, dubbed Justice Sunday, to speak on behalf of the ever-threatened filibuster. Most people have quoted the tag line, but I'll place it here for those who haven't seen it (its time to get out of that cave!)
Justice Sunday - Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith

I personally don't care what Bill Frist said. I don't care that he backed away from our buddy Tom Delay's 'judges will be held responsible'. I don't care if he got up there and with his taped speech and gave everyone his recipe for meatloaf. Participating in this debacle is a disgrace for a public servant. If this event isn't meant to pander to the religious right and divide people by scaring them, I don't know what is.

You see, Bill Frist doesn't think 'its radical to ask senators to vote. I don't think its radical to expect senators to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities,".

You know whats funny? The Family Research Council, co-sponsor of the event, does think its a bit radical apparently (hat tip Media Matters):

Seven years ago, it was in favor of them. That's when Clinton and a then-Democratic plurality in the Senate wanted a man named James Hormel to become the ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel, of the Spam-and-other-meats Hormels, was gay, as the Senate minority bottled up Hormel's nomination with filibusters and threats of filibusters, minority relative to cloture, to breaking up a filibuster.
They did that for a year and a half. The Family Research Council's senior writer, Steven Schwalm, appeared on National Public Radio at the time and explained the value, even the necessity, of the filibuster.
"The Senate," he said, "is not a majoritarian institution, like the House of Representatives is. It is a deliberative body, and it's got a number of checks and balances built into our government. The filibuster is one of those checks in which a majority cannot just sheerly force its will, even if they have a majority of votes in some cases. That's why there are things like filibusters, and other things that give minorities in the Senate some power to slow things up, to hold things up, and let things be aired properly."

But of course, in the 'nuclear option', filibusters will be allowed for gays, because they are going to hell.
But you know what else is funny? Frist doesn't know the hell he thinks either because (hat tip Center for American Progress):

In 1996 Clinton nominated Judge Richard Paez to the 9th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. Conservatives in Congress held up Paez's nomination for more than four years, culminating in an attempted filibuster on March 8, 2000. Bill Frist was among those who voted to filibuster Paez.
Frist was directly confronted with this vote by Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation (11/21/04). Schieffer said "Senator, a group called The American Progress Action Fund sent me a question to ask you. And here's what it says: 'Senator Frist, if you oppose the use of the filibuster for judicial nominations, why did you vote to filibuster Judge Richard Paez when President Clinton nominated him to the 9th Circuit?'" Frist replied "Filibuster, cloture, it gets confusing--as a scheduling or to get more information is legitimate. But no to kill nominees."

Oh well, then he's not a hypocrite right? Wrong!

But American Progress has obtained a document that proves Frist was not, as he suggested, voting to filibuster Paez for scheduling purposes or to get more information. He voted to filibuster Paez for the very reason he said was illegitimate – to block Paez's nomination indefinitely.
On March 9, 2000, Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) issued a press release describing the intent of the Paez filibuster vote the day before. The release says Senator Smith "built a coalition of several moderate and conservative Senators in an effort to block" Paez's nomination.
Frist was a part of that coalition. Smith did not organize the filibuster to get more information on Paez (after all his nomination had been pending for four years). He organized the filibuster because he had already decided Paez was "out of the mainstream of political though and...should [not] be on the court"

I can't believe more Republicans (besides the moderates that are speaking out against Justice Sunday and the end of the filibuster, i.e. McCain, Graham, etc) aren't blasting Frist. No only is this wrong for America and not in any way what American need right now, we are divided enough as it is, but it is wrong politically. Frist seems to be the front runner for President in 2008, he's laying the ground work for the heard it here first...FLIP FLOP.
Painting people who oppose nominations as against people of faith. We have 3 1/2 years to go people, this religious labeling is only going to get worse.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bill twin?

As many people who know me know (??), I have a wierd fascination with Bill Maher and the fact that 95% of our views are almost identical (except for his fascination with the Playboy mansion). In fact, two weeks in a row, I said something to my family, only to watch Real Time and hear Bill say the same thing, in almost the exact same words. So, for a little comic relief, some "New Rules" from one of my favorite shows.
Sorry for the slow posting, more updates to come on 'Justice Sunday', my buddy Tom Delay and the filibuster!!

New Rule: Stop taking stupid polls. Every news program on every cable news network has their own dumb-ass, online poll, and it's always some ridiculous question like, "We want to know what you think. Is John Bolton too much of an asshole, not enough of an asshole, or just the right amount of asshole? Hey, this is America. Knowing nothing and choosing one of two options isn't a poll. It's an election.

And finally, New Rule: Because it's Earth Day, I get to ask this question: How come we have cars with global positioning systems, satellite radio and voice-activated web access, and we still power them with the black goop you have to suck out of the ground? Well, I hate to tell you this, folks, but gas doesn't cost too much; it costs too little. Ooh, I know, I know. I know you hear about gas prices over two dollars a gallon and it makes you nearly choke on your four-dollar latte.
We bitch about gas, but adjusted for inflation, it's the same price it was back when the Pope was a Nazi. And that's not the fault of ExxonMobil, either. That's like Kirstie Alley saying her problem is that Arabs control all the fudge. Anyone who's been to Europe knows that the price of gas over there is just a picture of an arm and a leg. And that's because they tax it heavily and we don't. How come we Americans accepted that you could do that to cigarettes - overtax them because they were bad - but burning oil into the atmosphere is okay?
You can't smoke in a bar, but you can drive through a restaurant? A little smoke from a cigar is intolerable, but a lot from a Hummer is no problem? Of course, the Hummer is made by General Motors, the owner of other gas-guzzling F***-You-mobiles - like the Escalade and the Suburban. And they just lost a billion dollars in one quarter. Because it suddenly got a lot less sexy to drive one of these fake macho vehicles now that it costs a hundred bucks to fill it up. Yeah, nobody's dick is that small.
Plus, does anybody remember the '70s? GM did this before. They got filthy rich selling giant cars that suddenly people didn't want because gas went up. Cut to the Japanese gloating, as they are again. Because they own the patent for the hybrid car. GM could have had a piece of it, but they said it didn't make economic sense. Hey, you just lost a billion dollars in three months. You don't have any economic sense.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Oh the humanity!!

First Brad & Jen, and now this. How much more can we take??

Paris Hilton apparently has one simple rule for being her best friend: Don't cross her.
That's the message the Simple Life star seems to be sending via a statement released Wednesday regarding her old pal and soon-to-be former Life sidekick, Nicole Richie.
"It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends," Hilton said.
"I will not go into the details of what happened. All I will say is that Nicole knows what she did and that's all I am ever going to say about it."

What? No more Simple Life with Paris and Nicole? Just as I was really starting to enjoy skipping over Fox on Wednesday nights to Lost (great show). But apparently, the show will go on--with Kimberly Stewart no less. I give it two episodes before they are set up to sing 'if you want my body and you think I'm sexy...'.

What a waste of space on the planet that these people take up.

More on pharmacists

I've been taken to task by Z and Environmental Republican for my pharmacy posting, and somewhat rightly so. I understand their comments about private business and a capitalistic society, and even though I believe capitalism is the root of some of the major problems in this country, I understand it is the reason we are the country we are. In this situation though, I think the private business rationale doesn't hold water. In any other type of business, I would agree, you have the right to refuse service to anyone. But pharmacists refusing to sell certain drugs will be come a public health issue. I ask you to imagine the first person from some rural area, any rural area, who becomes seriously ill from some treatable STD. In cases of rural areas, where maybe there is only one pharmacy and many people who don't have the means to go elsewhere, it won't be long before this happens. Its hard for us to imagine a situation like that because we would just go to the next corner where there will be either a Walgreens, Eckerd or CVS. But for many people, life isn't like this.
I don't know the answer to this because I can see the constitutional problems with trying to force someone to sell something they don't want to, BUT it will become a public health issue sooner or later.
Environmental Republican also thinks I have an unnatural prediliction towards the morning after pill. I don't, I was just continuing on with his example. However, I am pro-choice so I do believe it should be available. I don't find a pill that prevents implantation of the fertilized egg as distateful as I find the idea of waiting 4 months (or possibly longer) to go and get an abortion. One is certainly more preferable than the other. Once again, some things that I may or may not find immoral should NOT be illegal.

But then again, these pharmacists want to stop selling normal birth control also. I think we should find a little town in Texas with one pharmacy that refuses to sell birth control or the morning after pill. Lets see all the unwanted pregnancies that arise from that situation and the we can watch it neatly coincide with Texas' great new law that outlaws gay foster parents. A study of their child protective service should be a real hoot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pharmacists and their morality

I have been reading a bit about the new trend in pharmacy--refusing to fill some prescriptions based on their moral values and what they believe. I can't tell you how disgusting I think this is. Environmental Republican supports the right of pharmacists to sell whatever they want, or to not sell whatever they want. The problem is, his parallel doesn't hold up to scrutiny. A 'handful of pharmacies' refusing to sell the 'morning after' pill in NYC or other suburbs doesn't mean limited access, but in rural Alabama, where this is more likely to happen, it does. As a typical conservative, he feels that this problem is only attached to things like birth control and abortion. What about when these pharmacists start feeling their oats and denying customers access to medication for STDs or AIDS medications because they feel that people shouldn't be having sex outside of marriage and that AIDS is a plague from God to punish homosexuals. Limited access in areas where there aren't that many pharmacies is a real problem. I have an idea, if you don't like selling medication that you believe is morally wrong, DON'T BECOME A PHARMACIST. Comparing medication to cigarettes is just silly. This is about people's health and well being. If you cut out the 'morning after' pill, its just a hop, skip and jump away from cutting off other medication that could be interpreted to be morally wrong. I bet none of these pharmacies have any problem with selling Viagra though, because that is important medication.

New Pope

I'm holding off commenting on this for a while as I'm not that knowledgable about the subject. However, if some fellow Catholics comments are to be believed, we are in for more of the same and maybe worse.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Must Read...

An issue my friend Z has been talking about for some time now--peak oil. This article is a must read in Rolling Stone. Actually, when I went to school last night, classmates were already discussing this. I should mention I'm in a Masters program for environmental science, so the article is somewhat topical for our classes.
The article is a bit inflammatory and the author obviously has some serious BushCo and cynicism issues, but the point of the article is not lost. We are reaching peak oil and our society WILL change dramatically once we do. This is something that can not be disputed. Whether you disagree on how society will change, some universal truths are hard to deny. Suburbia will suffer the most and our normal lives of cheap WalMart goods and cheap food and cheap gasoline (already a thing of the past, but still cheap by world standards) will disappear.
Read the article, spend some time, try and take the inflammatory comments with a grain of salt and get down to the deeper truths. It is an important issue, probably, the most important.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Attention Ladies!

I realize now that I've given Ann Coulter way too much credit. Let me start off by saying that I think that Ann Coulter is a disgrace to any form of journalism and a complete and utter self-hating woman--and apparently, that was too much credit! Lets take a look at her latest contribution to the world (emphasis all mine):

The liberal take on Catholicism is that it's a controversial religion because of its positions on abortion, sodomy and various other crucial planks of the Democratic platform (curiously, positions that are shared by all three of the world's major religions).

This despite the millions of liberals who are Catholic, including myself. I have to say, I dont find Catholicism controversial, but don't let a little thing like reality get in the way of Ann's broad generalizations!

I'll leave it to the Catholics to explain the theological details, but we have a beautiful pair of bookmarks to the exact same incident illustrating women's special skills and deficits. The escape and capture of Brian Nichols shows women playing roles they should not (escorting dangerous criminals) and women playing roles they do best (making men better people).

Hhmmm. The role I do best--making men better people. If only I'd known before now, I could have travelled the earth proclaiming my special brand of wisdom and making the world a better place. Following logic, any failures of the world could be attributed to women not doing their jobs of making men better. Damn us woman, we're so lazy when it comes to fulfilling the 'roles we do best'!

In short order, Smith was reading aloud to Nichols from the Christian book "The Purpose Driven Life" -- in direct violation of his constitutional right to never hear any reference to God, in public or private, for any purpose, ever, ever, ever! For more on this right, go to the "People for the American Way" Web site.

Poor Ann, it IS really hard to distinguish between a private residence and the Congress, courts and public schools. I understand, but Ann, here is a simple way to help you figure out which ones are supposed to represent everyone in this country, not just God loving Christians. Ask yourself this: Is it financed by tax-payer money? I know its hard to figure out, but give all that higher education you have a challenge!

Smith knew all about Nichols' violent depredations from TV. Yet she saw him not as a monster, but as one of God's creatures. Most Christians -- most people -- have trouble seeing the humanity of people who take our parking spots. Smith could see God's hand in a multiple murderer holding her hostage. By showing him genuine Christian love, Smith turned Nichols from a beast to a brother in Christ. This phenomenon, utterly unknown to liberals, is what's known as a "miracle."

The funny part of this passage is that Ann Coulter doesn't see the humanity in anyone--gay's, liberals, women--but apparently a rapist and murderer is given the benefit of the doubt. Ann's next column will be about whiny bleeding heart liberals that don't want to put Nichols to death for his crimes because they see his 'humanity'. When a liberal sees humanity, its weak, but when a conservative sees it, its a miracle from (Christian's) God.

After describing Smith cooking Nichols breakfast, Ann had this to say:

It's also another example of how our universities are failing students. Today's college coeds would be dead: They know nothing about Jesus Christ and can't cook a good meal.

Attention coeds: stop all that learnin'..get into prayer and Home-Ec class right now. You MUST be prepared for the day a rapist and murderer comes to your house and decides not to rape and murder you based on your wonderful recipe for meatloaf---Christ and cooking SAVES!

Smith saved the soul of a man on a killing spree by talking to him about Christianity. But liberals think this won't work with the Muslims? We ought to fly this Ashley Smith to Saudi Arabia. We could just make her a box lunch every day and send her on her way.

Its the Crusades for the modern era. You dirty Muslims, you have no humanity until we convert you to Christianity...and teach you how to cook some damn fine pancakes!

Ann manages to take a beautiful story about redemption and caring for your fellow man into a tirade on feminism, godless liberals and as always, manages to get her digs in at the gay community. Ann manages to say 'Christian' eight times in one Op-Ed piece...thank God Ashley Smith wasn't a dirty Jew or worse yet, an agnostic! The only humanity I can't see at this moment is Ann's. Its covered up by all of her bigotry, hatred and and not just lack of compassion, but actually making a conscious effort to NOT be compassionate. You know, for all her 'Christ' talk, you think Ann would know what His life and teachings were about.

A Great Cause

Hello All (that encompasses all five of you who read my blog!).
In June I am participating in an overnight walk for the American Cancer Society. Most of us know someone who has battled this disease--whether a family member, loved one, friend or co-worker. It is a devastating disease and my team is trying to do something about it. Go here to support our team "Lasses for Life" or to make a general donation for a worthy cause. Together, we can do something about it! Thanks for your support and feel free to email this around so that we can raise as much money as possible!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Iraq war, thought police and more...

Environmental Republican is all over me about my postings. I mean jeez, I only got the email edition of the Equinox late last week for crying out loud! Give a girl time to contemplate! Having said that, my contemplation hasn't yielded any results. While I understand the fireing of this professor due to his disgusting after school activities (the school says it's because of missed classes), most of the students at FDU were in shock. Why? Because apparently they couldn't believe he actually felt this way. Apparently, none of his views entered the classroom and he was known to have helped students, who apparently he hated because of their skin color and/or religious affiliation. The reason I say I'm still a bit torn is because who is it that decides what is unacceptable after school activities and what is unacceptable beliefs. It just gets into a scary territory where things like anti-semitism and bigotry are obviously offensive, but maybe next a pro-choice teacher from Kansas gets fired...or a gay professor gets fired in Georgia. Just who is the thought police and who decides what is and isn't acceptable. Its a slippery slope. I agree with his fireing, but I just wonder what consequences actions like this will bring.

Additionally, I think I've explained myself about not posting to news about the Iraq War. Not only do you not see 'good news' pieces linked to here, you also don't see 'bad news' pieces. Unless Environmental Republican thinks everything since the beginning of this war has been peachy keen, he's not being very balanced--an no 'the mainstream media does enough reporting of bad news stories' excuses. Its your blog and if you don't count on the 'MSM' for your reporting, why should others. Cover both sides. That being said, besides Andrew Sullivan, show me one right wing blogger who covers anything remotely bad about the war, including torture.

Also, I've been reading his comments on Terri Schiavo and for once we agreed on a subject. But his last post got to me a bit. I haven't seen any Democrats or liberals saying her death is a victory. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but the only person I see claiming victory or defeat is Tom Delays and his Christian right cronies. Disgusting. Also, be careful who you call a 'scumbag'. You don't know the Schiavo's or the Schindlers and no one certainly knows what went on in the hospice during Terri Shiavo's final moments. By calling Schiavo a scumbag, you are inserting yourself right into a place where you don't belong. I wonder if the Schindlers demanded Schiavo leave when they visited their daughter. I wouldn't have left either. I wonder if Schiavo would have been vilified as a bad husband if Terri really had died 15 years ago and he fell in love and began a family with someone else. For all intents and purposes, for him, she did die. While someone staying by his/her spouses side for all those years could be commended, I dont think someone who began a new life should be vilified. He was young too and had plans for his life. I don't have an opinion on him or the Schindlers, I'm just offering some 'what-ifs'. Of course, the only person not using the media to push their agenda was...Michael Schiavo. No interviews, no press conferences.
More updates to come, I just needed to respond.

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