Teacher punished for reading Declaration of Independence!

Oh my God, what are we coming to? Drudge, Rush Limbaugh and the entire wingnut community is pointing to this awful story of a poor school teacher, harrassed by liberal goons for having his students read the Declaration of Independence and other historical documents that mention “God”! What next? It’s proof positive of the insanity of liberals and the pathetic decline of education in America, thanks to the ACLU.

Oh, and it’s also a complete and total lie, an incredible distortion of reality and in no way related to reality. You really have to read it to believe it.

Update: Digby comments,

[T]his is one of those tiresome bogus lawsuits brought forth by the Alliance Defense Fund whose founders are:

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ

Larry Burkett, founder of Christian Financial Concepts

Rev. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family

Rev. D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries

Marlin Maddoux, President of International Christian Media

Don Wildmon, founder of American Family Association
(And 25+ other ministries)

That’s the best case for lawsuit reform I’ve ever heard, right there.

….These precious little stories are becoming commonplace these days. I remember the one about the teacher who was allegedly discriminated against because she put a picture of Bush on the bulletin board. It turned out that she had a fucking shrine up there and was insulting 12 year old kids whose parents were voting for Kerry. All the wingnuts keened and wailed about the unfairness of it all, always being the first to claim victimhood. As each tale is debunked they just move to the next.

These little personal stories are a very effective way to spread propaganda. We need to figure out a way to deal with this stuff.


New comments on an older post

A reader in Shenzhen who tells me he’s been reading my blog for some time has finally commented at considerable length on my John Pomfret post and we’re having a pretty spirited discussion. I know he’s hoping to see if others agree with him, so please consider revisiting the comments there and letting him know what you think.


Airplane security idiocy

I am amazed at the audacious stupidity of our muy macho airline security procedures, which have now gotten totally out of control. Everyone knows we need to be vigilant and diligent, doing what we can within reason to keep people from carrying weapons onto planes. But, as Maureen Dowd sensibly explains, what we’re now doing is not within reason — it is humiliating, extreme, and mainly pointless.

I’ve been searched more than Martha Stewart. I watched a Transportation Security Administration screener brusquely insist that my friend take off her blazer even though she had on only lingerie underneath – a see-through camisole – and the man behind her was leering.

Airport screening procedures are more reactive than imaginative. There’s an attempted shoe bombing, so all passengers must shed their shoes. Two female Chechens may or may not have sneaked explosives onto Russian planes, so now some T.S.A. genius decides all women are subject to strips and body searches.

I get flagged for extra security every time I buy a one-way ticket, which seems particularly lame. Doesn’t the T.S.A. realize that a careful terrorist plotter like Mohammed Atta could figure this out and use his Saudi charity money to pop for round trips even if the return portion gets wasted?

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.

He described the experience of Patti LuPone, the singer and actress, at the Fort Lauderdale airport, who resisted taking off her shirt and got barred from her flight, and of 71-year-old Jenepher Field, who walks with the aid of a cane, being subjected to a breast pat-down at the airport outside Kansas City, Mo. (Do we have intelligence telling us that grandmothers are part of Al Qaeda now?)

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.”

Somebody tell me what quantity of explosive material they have found through these strip searches, because I’ve got a hunch it’s zero. How many billions are they wasting on this?

After the first three highjacked jets succeeded in their evil objectives on September 11th, passengers on the fourth airliner heard from relatives on their cell phones what had happened, and since they had absolutely nothing to lose, they stormed the highjackers and the jet crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

If any passenger today were to try to highjack a plane, they would be similarly stormed. No one would just sit back and continue eating their peanuts knowing what these highjackers are capable of. Box cutters, knives, nail clippers — none of these things would stop us from fighting for our lives. We need to do all we can to stop them from getting on board to avoid being put to the test — but there also have to be limits. It’s gotten to the point of plain insanity and irrationality, and I hope the world’s travellers make it clear this is a stupid and unacceptable tactic in the fight against terror.


Beijing U. and Tsinghua U. halt free condoms handout

After all the fanfare I’ve been hearing about giving out condoms in China to fight AIDS, this is surprising.

China’s top two universities have suspended a free handout of condoms, describing the plan as inappropriate.

China is grappling with AIDS but the country’s top two universities do not want their students touching condoms.

Beijing University and Tsinghua University yesterday stopped a disease prevention centre handing out 2,500 free condoms.

Administrators said it was not acceptable and that organisers had not obtained approval.

Despite the urgent need to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, conservative attitudes about sex in China often keep the prevention message from being broadly publicised.

I wonder what brought on this change of heart…? Recent stories like this had given me hope this would become a nationwide movement. I should learn by now never to get my hopes up about China becoming more liberal about sex. (Anyone remember the Vagina Monologues fiasco last winter?)


“China’s Lost Generation”

That’s the title of an intriguing article in today’s WaPo on how today’s parents in China, many of them victims of the Cultural Revolution, have reacted to the nightmare of their youth by spoiling their kids rotten.

Teenagers, particularly those from wealthy or intellectual families, were forced to leave cities and live with farmers, sharing their hard lives and, it was hoped, gaining new insight into the Maoist revolution. Red Guards, meanwhile, took over schools and universities, substituting political criteria for academic achievement.

Millions of lives were smashed in the resulting chaos. Now that they are parents, those who were caught up in the turmoil have displayed unshakeable determination to see their children live more enjoyable lives by using the opportunities available since China opened to the world and adopted market reforms under Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s.

Tian Shi, 50, the son of a doctor and grandson of a landowner, was sent to a military camp just below the Russian border, where he spent his entire adolescence. Although far from rich, he recently forked over nearly $400 for a cell phone for his 14-year-old daughter, who spent her last vacation in Australia perfecting her English.

Tian’s older sister, Lu Jiang, 53, spent seven years on a flea-ridden farm planting crops and slopping pigs. Her son Ha Li, who graduated from Shandong University, all expenses paid, has gone on to graduate studies in computer science at the University of Paris, where he receives regular cash infusions from his parents.

I would have only one question for the writer, and that’s whether this is truly a result of the Cultural Revolution’s effect on the parents’ psyches, or whether it’s not just a fact that Chinese parents tend to spoil their kids. I saw a lot of this in Hong Kong and Singapore — parents treating their kids like princelings and making them feel the earth revolved around them. I’d love to know what readers think about this.


Fafblog writes Dan Rather’s obituary

Sinfully funny.

Rather first came to prominence covering the Nixon White House, where he would routinely set American flags on fire and hold them aloft in the press room. Within a month after taking over for Walter Cronkite in 1981, he turned heads for his coverage of the Reagan assassination attempt, in which he described John Hinckley as “the bravest man alive.” Despite massive Republican hunger strikes, Rather would not only remain anchor but be awarded six Emmys and a Golden Globe for that comment alone by the Association of Gay Communist Media Jews.

In 1988 Rather was beaten raw by a trim, well-oiled George H. W. Bush after he shamefully attacked Mr. Bush’s policy of funding heroic Nicaraguan freedom-fighters – freedom-fighters who protected American interests by raping and killing anti-American nuns.

Rather was known for his improvisational, folksy mannerisms, such during the 1989 Tienamen Square massacre, when he turned to the camera, saluted a portrait of Deng Xiaoping, and said “Let the fuckers burn, Mr. Chairman. Let the fuckers burn.”

Ah, the lost art of parody. Of course, over at LGF they’d see it as a faithful rendition of the truth.


It’s beginning to look a bit like North Korea


Isn’t this the type of billboard you’d expect to see in Pyongyang, glorifying Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il? I never imagined we’d see such a monstrosity in Tampa, Florida. But we have. And it’s sponsored by Clear Channel, a company that has a history of going far out of its way to kiss Our Leader’s ass.

Update: Thanks to a commenter, I see I got the wrong image. Here’s what the billboard really says:




Lots is happening at work, at home, with my family, with the holiday, with my life. I’ll try to post again soon, but I doubt I can focus on blogging much for the rest of the week. I appreciate your forebearance.


Comment headaches

The scourge of bloggers, comment spam, has been absolutely crushing lately. I get literally thousands of spam comments every day and it’s getting much worse. Luckily, MT Blacklist has made it relatively easy to block spam commentrs after their first strike, but spammers are very creative and aggressive, and they always come up with new URLs, and lately they’ve been demonstrating a scary ability to subvert MT Blacklist.

Blacklist makes it easy to delete the comment from my site, but if I get 600 spam comments, that still means I need to delete 600 email notifications, and that can be an agonizingly slow process, since Yahoo only lets you see 25 comments at a time.

So in my frustration I got a lot more aggressive with my Blacklist entries this weekend, and unfortunately this caused some big headaches. Several people’s comments were deleted, and I’m really sorry about that. It shouldn’t happen again.

You may also find that when you type a comment, Blacklist stops it from going through. It will always show you what you typed that isn’t permitted; please try to work around it — or send me an email and I’ll be sure to fix the problem. (Example: I tried to type the word “socialism” in a comment and it wouldn’t let me because I had added the word “c-i-a-l-i-s” to Blacklist; I since removed it.) If that sort of thing happens, please let me know. Also, you don’t need to add an email address to your comments anymore; if your comment won’t go through, try taking out your email address.

I’m also thinking of installing a “kapcha” device, where you have to type in a specific word that appears, distorted to confuse the bots. I hate to add another step, but if you knew the misery of having to go through literally thousands of spam comment emails every day….


Joseph Bosco sheds new light on the OJ Simpson murder case

Joseph Bosco knows more about this topic than practically anyone else alive, and he has put up a great post on the subject, a must-read for anyone who’s followed ‘the trial of the century.” So much information — it’s hard for an amateur like me, who knows the melodrama mainly from watching the trial on TV and listening to Geraldo Rivera’s old cable show, to process all these details. But it’s obvious there a lot about this trial and its aftermath that the general public little knows or understands.

Meanwhile, the post on my own site that unintentionally set off some of the current noise, shows no signs of slowing down, with comments now well over 100. Some of these commenters like Bill and Mario and Jasper — I feel like I know them. Each has such an intense and distinct personality, and I’d like to know more about their story. (Maybe Joseph will consider setting up a glossary or a chart explaining who each of them is and what role they played in the saga.) Anyway, go to the Longbow Papers and enjoy what a lot of us have been hoping for and waiting for — Joseph Bosco “spilling the beans” on OJ.