Pound the brown hall

Today in the dingbat factory: Brent "Walter Peck" Bozell foams at the mouth over Hollywood's insufficiently grovelling treatment of Christians; David "I Wish My Brother Rush Was Here" Limbaugh pens the world's dumbest column on Iraq and Iran; and Rich "Smirkalot" Lowry pens a 'shut up bitch' column about diversity at the Washington Post. (In fairness, professional crazy old coot Burt Prelusky provides a rare dissenting voice, trashing The Pursuit of Happyness for being sappy and predictable and for glossing over the ugly aspects of investment brokerage. Go figure.)

My favorite bit, though, is from Mary Katherine Ham's squealy celebration of the vindication of the Duke LaCrosse players, who it turns out are guilty not of rape, but merely of being drunken whoremongers. In attacking the "media image" of these fine white athletes, she attempts to claim that, far from privileged toffs, the boys are in fact the product of working-class north Jersey and other humble settings:

Many of the players are indeed well-off and attended prep schools, but they’re not, for the most part, the Martha’s Vineyard-dwelling elitists the media makes them out to be. Here’s how the AP describes their homes:

"Finnerty hails from Garden City, N.Y., and lived in a Dutch colonial house on a cul-de-sac. A lacrosse net and equipment were visible in the yard,which abuts a golf course. The Seligmanns’ home — a two-story red-brick house with twin white columns — sits about 17 miles west of Manhattan and within 1½ miles of three golf courses.

A Dutch colonial and a two-story brick home on cul-de-sacs, near golf courses? They’re not destitute, but I know plenty of folks whose homes would fit those descriptions, who aren’t the country’s elite by any stretch of the imagination.

Delightful! In an attempt to prove that these are just regular ol' ordinary boys whose parents are, I guess, garbage collectors and court clerks, Mary Kate uses an AP report that they live in stylish suburban homes bordered by golf courses, but THAT doesn't mean they're rich, because she knows lots of people like that and they're totally not rich! And, of course, if she was really part of the nation's elite, her ear for her own tone would be diamond-crusted platinum instead of tin.


Look! Down at the mall! It's a shitbird! It's a limp-dick! It's...GOD-MAN!

I wasn't gonna post any Town Hall bullshit this week, but this conclave of impotent Christian numbnuts is just too good to pass up. Let's take a look!

In recent years, most of the Church’s efforts to reach out to the male markets in America have proven only marginally effective.

Much like the males themselves.

Today, most of the male population does not attend church, and those who do often find themselves simply going through the motions.

Much like their wives.

GodMen is an organization that takes a different, more aggressive approach motivating average guys.

In other words, finally! A church that caters to the sports talk radio moron demographic!

"America’s comedian," Brad Stine, who will host the event

Apparently America doesn't require its comedian to be funny, because man, Brad Stine? His jokes don't even have the strength to lay there and die. They're shipped in already dead, like sardines from Thailand.

describes it thus: “GodMen aims to connect men with their spiritual masculinity — making them dangerous in a righteous way.

As innumerable ads and books targeted at salesmen, sports-watching couch potatoes and dudes who think it makes them the equivalent of the warriors of Sparta that they can build a drywall prove, there's always money to be made in this country by telling fat, pasty, soft, weak, pussy-ass white-collar American men that they're "warriors". If these guys really WERE dangerous, they'd be terrifying -- Christian jihadists working themselves into a war fever with the help of God. But they're about as dangerous as a wet sock.

The guys who attend this conference will find themselves stirred and inspired, but they won’t be required to cry or hold another man’s hand. We promise.

Don't worry, you won't have to do anything faggy!

Coughlin will provide a corrective portrait of Christian manhood.

This is, conversely, the gayest sentence ever written.

Philosopher and master illusionist Ken Sands of Mars Hill will illustrate how easily believers can be seduced from the simplicity of the gospel.

When you read "philosopher and master illusionist", didn't you immediately think of G.O.B. Bluth?

“Our belief in the Christian God is not a blind faith relegated to a fairy tale,” Ken says. “In fact, it's irrational to deny God, because the nature of rationality confirms Him."


Other speakers include Nate Larkin, author of the forthcoming “Samson and the Pirate Monks,”

Failed children's author trying to cash in on the megachurch demographic...

and cultural analyst Dave Bunker

Recipient of Scaife money...

They will describe their experience with the Samson Society, a fellowship of Christian men devoted to collaborative living.

A gaggle of barely repressed homos terrified of their own libidos.

“In the final analysis,” Larkin says, “Christianity is a team sport, not an individual event.” Bunker agrees. “God’s design and plan is that every believer should be a functioning part of the Body of Christ. There is no place in the church for either spectators or superstars.”

Hey, a sports analogy! GUYS LOVE THOSE.

Mike Smith, whose management company is organizing the event

Mike Smith, a shameless, hustling opportunist who would be organizing the "SatanMen" event if it would pay more...

says that the aim of GodMen is to help men recapture the dignity of masculinity from cultural forces that have diminished it for decades.


Smith emphasizes that the goal of GodMen is not to create one more "nice" and “safe” Christian man, a passive male whose only response to adversity is to fold his hands in prayer.

Because Jesus hates it when you pray.

Rather, the purpose of the movement is to equip an army of men who embody the spirit of the faithful and rugged Jesus.

Who was just kidding with that "love your neighbor" and "turn the other cheek" stuff.

Smith has also drawn from his musical background and has The "Right Brothers"

Whose latest album, No Apologies, contains a song called "I'm in Love with Ann Coulter" and whose commitment to rebellious, dangerous, cutting-edge defiant rockin' can be found on the six hundred exhortations on their website not to file-share their awesome tunes.

“Words cannot adequately describe this event,” says Brad Stine.

Probably the truest statement in the press release.

This event is for men who are ready to be fearless and dangerous!

Pssssh, whatever, Godmen. Tell it to ya Wal-Mart checkout clerk. You wanna be fearless and dangerous? Volunteer for minesweeping duty in Afghanistan, or start a Christian ministry in Pakistan. You ain't fearless and dangerous 'cause you paid $200 to hang out in a convention center in downtown Nashville all day. Call me when you blow up a skyscraper or kill some Saracens or something, and you know what? I'll still laugh at you.

You go to war with the zombies you've got

You know what occurred to me recently? The image of Muslims propagated by the war blogs is pretty much exactly like that of zombies in bad sci-fi movies.

They’re forever comparing the threat of Islamism to that of Nazis, but aside from some fairly gaping chasms between the fantasy and the reality (foremost of which is that Islamic terrorists do not have their own army, government, or even unifying ethos), there’s even a basic difference in the cultural portrayal. While the public certainly engaged in plenty of racial stereotyping and cartoonish othering of our national enemies in the Second World War, the people up top – war planners, journalists, politicians, generals and commentators – seemed to possess a general sense of realism. They believe that the Germans and Japanese were capable of being civilized, that their battle tactics and strategies were the product of thought and planning and could be understood, that their motivations were recognizable and human, that given the proper circumstances their threat could be contained and their leaders could be neutralized.

With the devil-worshippers of the great deserts to the east, though, it is a different matter. Despite the efforts of modern propagandists to paint them as the second coming of the last really good villains the America At War series had, their portrayal is much more like that of robots or vampires than any Evil Empire you can name:

- They have no motivation but destruction. Their only aim is to kill and destroy, for no reason than that they are evil.

- Even though our liberals and intellectuals are always are trying to appease them, they cannot be appeased. If we negotiate with them it will be seen only as weakness and will spur them to more violence.

- Like the Terminator, they cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be bargained with, and they will never stop killing until every westerner lies dead. You can no more appeal to their reason than you can that of a tornado.

- The inhumanity of their motivation extends to their techniques and behaviors. They do not love their children or their fellows, because the only thing they can love is death. They behead with knives and destroy with bombs, which should be seen not as evidence of their lack of access to modern weapons and tactics, but rather of their savagery. Satan does not use a pitchfork because he does not own a gun.

- As zombies and vampires are united in their thirst for blood and flesh, Muslims are united in their lust for death. There are no innocents among them, for whatever their good intentions, they must obey the lustmord of their faith. It is good to demand from them constant affirmations of their loyalty to our value system – absence of these merely shows how evil they truly are – but such affirmations should never be taken as evidence of true goodness, of which they are not capable.

This realization hit me when I was thumbing through Hugh Hewitt’s blog this weekend and I encountered two posts about the hijacking of a Turkish airliner. The first was presented as yet another example of the vile behavior of the so-called Religion of Peace, yet another horror inflicted on innocents by the bloodthirsty Mahometan, yet another proof that none of them can be trusted. It turned out, unfortunately, that the hijacker was in fact a Christian; the second blog post made a correction, shame-faced in its terseness, stating that the man was not a Muslim, but a “crazy Christian”. Odd, that: a Christian who would do such a thing must be crazy, because the default condition of the Christian mind is peace, sanity, and reason. You never hear these people say that an atrocity has been committed by a “crazy Muslim”, however; the default condition of the Islamic mind is that of violence, lunacy, and murder. Indeed, stating that violent behavior by a Muslim is the result of insanity is the sort of thing a weak, cowardly, politically correct liberal – the kind of person who cannot recognize them all for the monsters they really are – would say.

That’s when it occurred to me that most of the things that right-wingers, from the shitheels at Little Green Footballs all the way up to the President, say about Muslims makes a lot more sense if you imagine that they are actually talking about zombies. I think that’s who they’d rather be fighting, anyway.


Our country: beacon of hope

Some people ask me why I read the right-wing sites, since they alternate between moronic and offensive. Usually, my answer is "because they're funny", but on occasion -- like during the days following Rachel Corrie's death -- they get so grim and awful that I take a couple of weeks off.

Guess how many comments into the articles at Free Republic and Little Green Footballs it took for someone to hope that Tim Johnson dies so the GOP can regain political power?

If your answer is "less than two", you'll understand why I've decided to give these guys a rest until next year.


May your merry Giles keep ringing

In his latest column, Doug reveals that the battle for the soul of humanity will be won by whoever makes the best use of fag and dick jokes. (Unfortunately, this is kind of a dull column, but I only said your Christmas wishes would be granted, not granted to your satisfaction.)

We won’t even draw cartoons regarding this enemy, lest we offend our killers. Wow!

Because, you see, all Muslims are our enemies. Reluctance to offend them all is the same as unwillingness to offend a few.

Murderous Muslims all over the world must be making girlie man, wussy, limp wrist jokes about the West

You know what? I bet this isn’t happening. I don’t think the average al-Q’aeda terrorist is as immature as Doug Giles is.

The failure to define what is “evil” is causing us to capitulate to the apex (or nadir, I guess) of political correctness in a “No %$@&” time of crisis.

Was he trying to say “shit” here? What stopped him, political correctness?

Go ahead; ask someone at the next Winter Solstice office party to define “evil.”

Boy, that’ll be some fine party conversation there. “Say, Jennifer, how are things? Having a good time? What’s up over in Marketing? You look mighty fine in that dress. Say, would you mind defining evil for me?”

You’ll get the typical “it’s all relative” slop, or “there is no objective standard of right or wrong”, or “all absolute truth claims are nothing more than powerplays, man.”

Note that these dudes love to mock the ideas that evil is relative and there are no absolutes, but they never actually refute it or say why it’s wrong.

Y’know, the same emblematic drivel your pot smoking, liberal prof taught you at the University of You-Just-Wasted-A-Ton-Of-Your-Parent’s- Cash-And-Got-Brain-Washed-In-The-Process.

(a) Emblematic of what? I’m not sure if Doug is using this word correctly.

(b) Ha ha, hippies! Go ahead and waste your money at your fancy pot schools! When has a Harvard degree ever paid off?

(c) Nice copy-editing there.

We couldn’t care less. We don’t want to be bothered with what’s going on with the war on Iraq or with other mean people.

Yep. America sure doesn’t care about Iraq.

We want to believe the spin coming from CAIR [The Council on American-Islamic Relations] because the truth about Muslim mayhem is too brutal.

Ain’t it the truth? America is just lining up to swallow CAIR’s evil lies.

As far as I’m concerned, CAIR is to prevarication what Carrot Top is to red hair coloring, tie dyed T-Shirts, over exercising and unfunniness.


We think we can talk our way out of this mess. We believe we can Eddie Haskell militant Islam and bebop and scat our way out of their ill will.

Seriously, Doug, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? Your words are so crazy to me.

Yes, the PoMo wannabe placaters of the implacable would like to sit down with Islamofascists

I hear the Placaters of the Implacable are teaming up with the Challengers of the Unknown to defeat the Islamofascists once and for all. Also, are we taking about pomo-wannabes or wannabe-placaters who are postmodernists? A hyphen sometimes helps so much, Doug.

and tell them that “You’re not evil; you simply have a hole in your soul that we would like to help you fill. We should not be fighting. Can’t we all get a long? We should talk more often . . . maybe get together play some checkers . . . and we’d love to have you over for dessert to eat a piece of strawberry pie.”

Now THAT’S sarcasm!

I believe we can be united and that we will eventually wake up and deal with radical Islam; however, I also believe (and fear) that the cohesion, readiness and resolve we need now to truly hammer these death dealers will only come about after we get hammered once again. I’m talking 911-style or worse.

Not worse! That would be even worse and more scarier!

And I’m thinking this will probably occur in the next one to three years.

Way to hedge your bets, there, Doug.

And I hope I’m wrong.



Oh, Fuddles, you complete me

The Second World War, as has often been noted in this space, is the last war that everyone in America felt more or less morally comfortable about. This is why conservatives are constantly invoking it in order to tart up whatever bullshit war they want us to fight at the moment: if they say "Well, we want to knock off this third-world country in Southeast Asia so they don't go commie and rob us of a cheap labor pool", people are likely to wince a bit, but if they manage to find a way to compare it to WWII in terms of halting a monstrous evil before it eats our babies, well, then, boys, we can all rally 'round the flag. Hence the currently popular, albeit totally absurd, notion that our invasion of Iraq is exactly like WWII, except America has gone weak in the knees from decades of soft living and the creeping, womanly influence of liberalism. Today, our boy Jim-Jim, in the course of spelling out why the Baker Plan is a non-starter, regurgitates this notion in a particularly facile way:

It’s as if we invaded France and spent three years getting their government back on their feet before proceeding to Berlin.

Uh. Well, no, James, actually, it's not like that at all. First and most obviously, we are the occupiers of Iraq. We're really more like the Germans than the Americans in this scenario, because...well, remember all those movies you like to crow about, those moral-clarity pictures from the '40s and '50s about the Big One? Remember the French Resistance? That's the Iraqi insurgency. They're fighting to kick us out. When we showed up, the French were happy to see us and universally aided us throughout the rest of the war and beyond. That, to put it mildly, has not taken place in Iraq. For another thing, it was not difficult to reinstall a democratic government after we liberated France, because they already had one lying around that they'd been using up until the Nazis came sniffing around. Likewise with Germany: they had a pretty democratic system pre-Hitler. Neither of them were recently made-up countries invented by an imperial power with an aggregation of ethnic and religious entities unwillingly thrown together by their occupiers; neither had been built up militarily by the countries that would later invade them; and neither -- and here is the most important part -- was a fascist dictatorship for many, many decades prior to the initiation of hostilities. Additionally, we had plans -- extremely detailed plans, down to the minutest issue -- on how to rebuild Europe after the invasion, something sadly lacking in the American effort in Iraq; we had a country on wartime footing rather than one being constantly urged to rack up more debt; and we had the assistance of the entire continent of Europe in the rebuilding phase, an aspect missing now because Europe pretty uniformly thought that invading Iraq was a stupid idea. Moving on, I know you and yours like to pretend these days that Iraq or Syria or whatever are the real killers who murdered Ron and Nicole, and that Iraq was just a warmup for taking out Tehran, where all the 9/11 terrorists came from, but that begs a number of questions, such as why you never include Pakistan on that list or why we didn't just invade Iran and (especially) Syria to begin with. I had been led to believe that Saddam Hussein was the real villain here; and while I guess I can accept your ludicrously morphing rationales for why we invaded Iraq, there is no way in hell you can make me believe that this is exactly like when we invaded France in WWII.

He goes on to mock and deride the Baker Plan's suggestion of diplomatic efforts to democratize Iran and Syria, apparently forgetting that Iran and Syria were both democratizing and liberalizing pretty well with the aid of American diplomacy until we decided to stick them in the Axis of Evil and invade their region, thus galvanizing every radical for a thousand miles, putting their governments and citizens in a paranoid war mentality, and giving their worst leaders an excuse to roll back progressive legislation. Then there's a bunch of vapor about his old man, which ends with a photo of Lileks the Senior reading a newspaper from around the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Which, like another, more contemporary, adventure, is often referred to as a "fiasco".) Lileks conludes thus:

Ah. Yes. Well. The Bay of Pigs. Well, at least we learned our lesson. Talk strong and act irresolute , and the situation will resolve itself. Neatly and quickly. It's not like Cuba ever troubled us again.

Again: Uh...

It seems like Lileks is actually defending the Bay of Pigs invasion, which is so crazy I'm not even going to discuss it, but..."it's not like Cuba ever troubled us again"? He's clearly being sarcastic here, but I can't for the life of me figure out why. For one thing, Cuba never bothered us in the first place; Castro only went hardcore red to piss us off because we told him to get bent, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was much less about Castro than it was about the US and Russia playing big-dick with each other. But more to the point, did Cuba ever bother us again? Are they bothering us now? When, since 1963, has Cuba bothered us? Was there some big invasion that I didn't read about? Did Cuba launch a wave of terrorist attacks against us in the 1980s? Was Cuba sending arms to Hezbollah? I can't even imagine what this 'trouble' he's referring to, exacerbated by our limp-dicked 'diplomacy' and easily solvable by a nice robust invasion and occupation, might be. Does he mean simply that Cuba has had a dictator since then? Because I gotta tell you, there are a lot worse people than Castro. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were dictators only a few hundred miles away, in Central and South America, who made Castro look like Jerry Brown in terms of slaughtering and imprisoning their own people, and we not only didn't invade them, we put them in power. Does he mean that Castro was a commie, and no commies can ever be tolerated, no matter what the cost in human lives of not tolerating them might be? Because (a) that's nuts, and (b) that's the thinking that put dozens of bloodthirsty dictators (including Saddam Hussein) in power for so many years. I mean, help me out here. When did Cuba ever trouble us, except in 1980 when Castro got sick of us bugging him to release his political prisoners and said "Okay, you take them"? Am I missing something, or is it that in the world of Lileks, tiny hapless Cuba has constantly menaced American freedom for the last 50 years?


Now what's the BAD news?

Town Hall has become even more annoying to read than you might expect, due to the presence of multiple pop-up ads (that seem immune even to my robust pop-up blocker) and float-over ads. Frankly, I don't wanna read this stuff that bad. But you might want to check out Dennis Prager's hilariously sophistic defense of his vituperative column about Keith Ellison's decision to swear his oath of office on the Q'uran.

Meanwhile, what's the most depressing article about the grotesque abuses of power in the Bush administration? This New York Times piece about the nightmarish treatment of alleged terror plotter Jose Padilla, an American-born citizen charged with no crime but held for almost four years without any contact with the outside? This Observer piece about a government snitch who was kept on the INS payroll to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars even as he participated in the murder of a dozen people? Or this Washington Post piece about how the Bush administration's response to the outrageous fraud and misconduct by US contractors in Iraq is to try and limit the government's ability to detect and prevent it? YOU BE THE JUDGE!


Lileks Watch, Day Eternity

From the last two days of the Bleat, two excerpts that explain Lileks' character pretty well.

#1 (the Short Form, presented without comment): “I stopped at a Zippo kiosk to reaffirm that they had a lousy selection.”

#2 (the Long Form, presented with comments): “I was going to ignore the Keith Ellison/swearing on the Qu’ran [sic] issue, because I think Dennis Prager is wrong.”

Also because he was lying, and congressmen never swear on the Bible. But that’s not important right now.

“Note to potential emailers on the subject: I’ve heard the issue debated at great length, and am unlikely to be swayed by a reiteration of the points.”

I can’t hear you LA LA LA LA.

“But I did want to note how our papers [sic] editorial page characterized the matter: Prager was appealing to ‘wingnuts’, according to the editorial’s headline.”

I am outraged that an editorial took an editorial position.

“A little jarring in a supposedly sober paper; it’s like seeing ‘libtards’ on the Wall Stret [sic] Journal editorial page.”

I did not read the WSJ’s editorial page at all during the 1990s, when they repeatedly called Bill Clinton a serial rapist and murderer, or in the early 2000s, when Paul Craig Roberts used it several times as a platform to advance his theory that taxation of the rich is worse than slavery.

“In any case, Prager is generally calm and reasonable; he’s not given to blasts of intemperate ranting.”

Like, say, when he said how his son having a black friend was a miracle of God. Or when he wrote a 24-part series about how Christian and Jews are inherently better and morally superior to people of other religions, or of no religion. Or how he said that the chaos in Iraq was totally unforeseeable and we have never ever seen its like before. Or when he said that Christians have no history of forcing their beliefs on others. Or when he said that suicide bombing is the fault of western liberals. Or when he wrote that liberals attacking Bill Bennett for his gambling was like the blood-libel of anti-Semites that Jews eat Christian babies. Or how he thinks that the Q’uran is like Mein Kampf. Or when he wrote that failing to support the war in Iraq is like condoning lynching of black people. Or how he thinks women are for the most part incapable of rational thought. Or how he thinks there aren’t really poor people in America because our so-called poor people own microwave ovens. Or how he thinks Muslims are worse than communists and Nazis put together. Or how he thinks our universities are just big training camps to turn our daughters into lesbians. Or how…you know what? Just go see for yourself.

Yeah, calm, reasonable, and not given to blasts of intemperate reasoning, that’s our Dennis. He’s just quietly, rationally and politely totally fucking batshit crazy.



Lileks is still pissed that his local paper hasn't responded to his second-hand snitching on the imams who got kicked off the plane. He is sure that, given the association of one of them with a suspicious charity, they are murderous devil-dogs, and yet, the paper will not investigate. Possibly because they were released without charges, suggesting that no crime was committed and therefore there is no story, but the mighty squeaker of Minnesota will not be swayed by such logic. He knows terror is afoot, and what's more, Keith Ellison is probably involved somehow, because Keith Ellison is a Muslim, and they're all the same, those Muslims. Best of all, Lileks promises more of his impotent flailing about over this non-issue tomorrow! Watch this space for a boring response.

Speaking of Keith Ellison, the fellow has, by virtue of being America's first Muslim elected official, thrown the right wing for a loop. For you see, those people are terrorists! Terrorist terror terrors of a terror faith that believes in terror with a side helping of terror multicultural woman-hating war jihad destruction circumcision slavery contempt western-hating force their values down our terror! Clearly they mean us harm, as evidenced by Ellison's desire to take his vow of office using a Q'uran, instead of the book we like! Dennis Prager lays it right on the line:

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

That's right! If Keith gets his way, he will undermine American civilization. Prager, whose son has a black friend but it's okay because he's a Christian, goes on to compare the Q'uran to Mein Kampf and make the claim that Ellison taking his oath on the Q'uran will do more damage to America than the 9/11 attacks. Then a cuckoo-bird springs out of his forehead and flies away.

Elsewhere on Town Hall, some creature named Don Kroah kick-starts the War on Christmas season with a bang, Bill Murchison claims the existence of the Religious Right is entirely due to crazy liberals trying to ban God from public life, and Frank Gaffney says the Iraq Study Group is doomed to fail because it is headed up by a cabal of Jew-haters.

It's morning in America!


Lileks Watch, Day X

So apparently, six Muslim men were removed from a flight and detained for questioning in Minneapolis following a conference. And what is the man from Fuddles, MN pissed about? Is he pissed that six people missed their flight and were humiliated by the cops for no reason? (You know he would be if it had been him.) Is he pissed that American citizens were racially profiled by a busybody passenger who flipped out at the very existence of scary Musselmen? Of course not. He's pissed that the initial version of the story on his local news failed to mention that the men were Arabs, even though wire reports did mention it, and the local story has since been changed.

Adding "police snitch" to his c.v. alongside "pathetic, impotent mother hen", Lileks goes on to report, and I swear that I am not making this up, a friend of his was at a sales meeting, possibly (!) at the same hotel as the Muslim conference, and one of the speakers was praying really loudly! And, to add to the sheer soul-chilling horror of this terrorist enclave, the next speaker had the gall to claim that Muslims suffer persecution in America! Could THIS, wonders the scarediest cat in the Midwest, be the reason that the six imams were so peeved at being dragged off a flight they'd paid for against their will and questioned by the police even though they hadn't done anything wrong? COULD BE! So, of course, he (Lileks) phoned the newspaper, to tell them what his friend had said.

No, really.

"I phoned the info in to the paper, as a good citizen. Wonder if there’s anything to it." He really did this. He called up, I dunno, the city desk, and told them what his friend had said happened at a hotel that was maybe the same as the one where these guys were, maybe. I haven't checked the Strib's website yet, but I'm sure there'll be a banner headline: "LOCAL GUY SAYS FRIEND SAYS MAYBE MUSLIMS BECAME AGITATED DUE TO LOUD PRAYERS AT CONFERENCE". He's a journalist, folks!

However, in the interest of saving him some fact-checking time:

1. "My friend who was maybe at the same hotel as a conference these guys maybe were also at" is not a particularly good source, even as background.

2. Praying loudly is not a crime.

3. Claiming that your group is persecuted, likewise, is not a crime.

4. Therefore, becoming agitated by the claim that your group is persecuted is not a crime, and is likely only going to be reinforced by encountering persecution immediately after hearing that your group is persecuted.

5. Last on our list of things that are not crimes is being pissed at getting hauled off your flight and detained by the police for no reason. If that were a crime, being a pissy middle-aged crank who constantly complains about bad customer service would probably also be a crime, and James Lileks would be in prison.

6. Possibly the only crimes committed were by the airline and the police.

7. Since none of the things done by the speakers or the imams were crimes, reporting extremely nebulous connections between them are not newsworthy. In any way.



Internet tube dump

- Lileks today has a delusional, semi-cranky and very boring spiel about the improvement vectors of downtown Minneapolis and how he has no choice but to use Netflix. He concludes by scoffing at the concept of greenspace, claiming that you could raze every downtown and replace them with trees and it would make no difference to the environment, a claim that would be well-served by some sort of evidence, but which he seems to regard as self-evident. He concludes that "climate change" is the secular equivalent of "peace be upon you" (that's "sala'am aliechem" -- act like ya know), by which he seems to mean "meaningless, possibly contradictory and at any rate affiliated with something sinister and evil."

- Speaking of sinister and evil, over at Town Hall, Rick McCullough is up in arms at someone he says is filled with "wickedness in worldview", who "contradicts nearly every tenant* of the Christian faith", "inhumane, sick and sinister", "who represents the views of Satan", who is "anti-God", who "has a long history of defying the intended morality of scripture", an advocate of "the unfruitful works of darkness" and a fulminator of an "evil worldview". No, not Hitler! Barack Obama.

- For some reason, NetFlix seems to think I would be interested in this. It's called "Hip Hop Homeroom", and it purports to teach math to kids with a funky flavor. I note that it stars the lead actress from the deeply disturbing Lazytown show, and does not seem to have any black people in it.

*: It's TENET, you assholes, seriously, enough already.


Have I mentioned that his son has a black friend?

In another lovely example of deliberate stupidity or utter ignorance, Dennis Prager, in the course of an otherwise tedious column about the Iraq War, lets drop this pile of offal:

We have not won the war in Iraq because of something completely unforeseeable: widespread massacres of Iraqi civilians by other Iraqis and Muslims. We have never seen mass murder of fellow citizens in order to remove an outside occupier. No Japanese blew up Japanese temples in order to rid Japan of the American occupier. No Germans mass murdered German schoolchildren and teachers to rid Germany of the American, British, French and Soviet occupiers.

Yeah, that was TOTALLY UNFORESEEABLE! Who could possibly have foreseen that? I mean, other than dozens of middle east experts? And think tank members? And college professors, political commentators, diplomats, and even a handful of members of George H.W. Bush's cabinet, who argued against an invasion of Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War for, among other things, precisely that reason? I mean, who, other than anybody who had bothered to study the history and sociology of Iraq since its modern inception, could have possibly imagined that its distinct ethnic and religious sects, having been kept in place during a volatile period by outside interference and a succession of dictatorial strongmen, could possibly have erupted into sectarian violence if the government and military suddenly vanished overnight, mass unemployment occurred, and a disorganized occupying power failed to secure the borders and address the power vaccum? You'd have to be some kind of Amazing Kreskin to predict that, unless you'd read the dozens of papers, studies, editorials, speeches and even books that said it would happen! And who has time to read stuff when you're planning a major war?

And it's not like this had ever happened before, at least not in WWII, which is the only war right-wing conservatives ever talk about! The Germans and Japanese didn't do it! Of course, they were generally more religiously and culturally unified than Iraq, and were occupied by much stronger, more organized forces with a well-thought-out victory plan and a clear exit strategy, but still! And, okay, the Russians did exactly this sort of thing -- killing their own people and destroying their own infrastructure -- but that was against German occupiers, not Americans! So how could we have possibly known about it? Asked a German or a Russian? PLEASE. They didn't even support the Iraq War!

If only it had happened in some other war, then we could have planned for it. Like, I don't know, if only there had been some major war, say in southeast Asia, one that took place maybe 30, 35 years ago, where a bunch of insurgents carried out a covert war against their own people, massacreing civilians, destroying buildings, launching terror attacks, and fighting an unconventional guerrilla conflict, in order to demoralize and destabilize an outside occupier. If only that had happened! But it didn't, of course, because Dennis Prager says we have never seen that, and he has an honorary law degree from Pepperdine University, people!

Town Hall vs. Gown Hall

So, apparently, Elton John said something about how if he could, he would ban organized religion, because he has somehow gotten the crazy idea that it frequently has a deleterious effect on society. Luckily, Town Hall has it employ dozens of people whose job it is to be outraged over this sort of thing, and I guess Brent Bozell had the day off, because the task fell to Michael Medved.

Now, this is pretty typical boilerplate stuff -- "it's liberals who are the real intolerant ones" -- but there's one paragraph that's noteworthy in its titanic sense of deception or cluelessness, depending on whether you think, when conservatives say stuff like this, they are liars or simply ignoramuses. Take a look:

Imagine the indignation if a religious leader suggested that we need to “ban homosexuality completely” --- or urged an outright prohibition on atheism? It’s true that many believing Christians want to persuade gays to overcome their same-sex urges, or try to get non-believers to replace their doubt with faith, but no factions in the varied array of conservative religious groups has called for “banning” ideas with which they disagree.

HA HA HA HA, yeah! Just imagine if, in some crazy fantasy world, a religious leader suggested banning homosexuality! IMAGINE THAT HAPPENING, and then, I dunno, imagine flying cars and space robots, because there's no way that would ever happen! A religious leader who suggests banning homosexuality? Come on! That can't have happened more than, what, six or seven hundred thousand times in the 200+ years of American history during which homosexual acts were actually against the fucking law, until a Supreme Court decision struck down anti-sodomy laws in 2003. I mean, shit, as long as we're living in Cloud Cuckoo Land, why don't we just imagine that there are religious leaders who regularly picket the funerals of people who have been beaten to death for being gay? Why don't we pretend, in this imaginary land of make-believe, that it is the official position of every major religion in the country that homosexuality is a sin for which you can spend eternity writhing in tortured agony in the pits of Hell? Why don't we just go complete wig-out here on Fantasy Island and imagine that homosexuals routinely encounter discrimination, prejudice, physical and verbal abuse, and the possible loss of their livelihood if they admit to their sexual preference? I bet in Super Freak Out Made-Up World, the military is so skittish about homosexuality that they're not even allowed to talk about it, and gays can't get married, largely due to lobbying by religious leaders! I'M SURE GLAD I DON'T LIVE IN THAT WORLD, HO HO!

And of course, Michael is right -- conservative groups never try to ban things they don't agree with. That's why pornography is legal and accepted everywhere, just like drugs. That's why abortion is such an uncontroversial topic. That's why voluntary euthanasia is legal and practiced in every state of the union. That's why suicide isn't a crime. That's why there are no bans on the sale of sex aids or drug paraphernalia. That's why you can turn on network TV anytime day or night and see nudity, and hear the use of curse words. (I bet in the imaginary kingdom where religious people call for banning homosexuality, the government has a special committee whose job it is to levy fines against networks who broadcast things that religious people find morally unacceptable!) That's why there have never been laws on the books in America against homosexuality, polygamy, pornography, substance abuse, miscegeny, or women voting. That's why you can buy liquor 24 hours a day, and why you can buy anything on Sunday anywhere in the United States. And certainly, no one would ever think of banning atheism outright, as long as we never, ever elect an atheist to public office and don't interfere with the tradition of forcing schoolchildren to say a loyalty pledge every morning that includes an affirmation that our country is ruled by God.

Medved goes on to make the equally hooty claims that Christian conservatives never advocate censorship, that they rarely if ever attempt to impose religious symbols in public places, and they "make no attempt to block the teaching of Darwinism or random natural selection". Man, I hope he can send postcards from wherever he's at.


It's late afternoon in America

Over at Town Hall, they're so demoralized by the G.O.P.'s election losses that they can't be bothered to copy-edit anymore, as evidenced by the headline of Michael Medved's latest blog post:


Elsewhere, Doug Giles visits Texas, from where, to my lack of surprise, he originally hails. He makes an exciting list of why Texas is so great, which, coincidentally, is similar to my reasons why it is not so great:

1. Texans are proud of the U.S.A., and aren't constantly cheering that "the US sucks" like liberals do.

2. Texans work hard and aren't into government handouts, unlike Floridians. Shockingly, this is not true, as Doug could have discovered in five minutes of Googling; Florida has a lower unemployment rate (3.8% to Texas' 5.3%) and receives less government aid ($18b to Texas' $25b). But if he'd found that out, he wouldn't have gotten to complain about all the people loitering and "trying to suck off the entitlement tit".

3. Texans go to church. I'm pretty sure that people go to church in big numbers in Florida too, but my guess is that for Doug, Catholics don't count.

4. Texans love guns. There's a lot of Floridians who do too, Doug; they're called cocaine dealers.

5. Texans are nice and don't curse. Unless they're the President.

6. Texans have "an utter disdain for all Islamic miscreants who wish us ill" and don't "sterilize their contempt and their wishes for death to all those who would try to derail the American dream for them, their children and their children’s children". You know, really, this is what I love about Texas too, how they don't try and hide how much they want other people to die. And they're so nice!


Annti-Christ Superstar

Town Hall finally catches up to the elections, and despite the claims of a certain oblivious Minnesota shopper, there's a lotta rancor. Most of them (like Rich Galen) are pushing the "Democrats didn't win, Republicans lost" angle, and there's also plenty of denial that this had anything to do with the Iraq War, despite bountiful evidence that it did. Herman Cain* claims that "compassionate conservativism" -- defined as a government that thinks the less fortunate should be helped, as long as it's someone other than the government who helps them -- was the big loser in this election. I failed to see much compassion or conservativism from the 109th, but Herman is all bitter that now Bush will probably push through his amnesty for illegal aliens. Failing to lock up and deport impoverished immigrants, he says, is neither compassionate nor conservative. (Marvin Olasky, who coined the term 'compassionate conservative', agrees, lamenting the loss of Rick Santorum, a.k.a. Our Churchill, whose clear-eyed vision of unrelenting war against Eurasia has now been muddled by a foolishly short-sighted electorate.)

Big Bill Buckley likewise pushes the "Democrats have no ideas, they just won because they aren't Republicans" schtick while misusing the word 'categorical'; no less august a personage than Tony Blankley provides Lileks with a little of that rancor he couldn't seem to find by bitching about the "liberal, anti-war, activist, Internet-driven anti-Bush voters" who will now force "highly aggressive oversight hearings (and perhaps radical health care reform and tax-the-rich legislation)" down our throats. Cal Thomas has lots of rancor to spare, deciding that the best tactic is to start preemptively bashing the Democrats before they're even in office about all the ways he knows they're going to fuck up, and Lileks' best friend forever Hugh Hewitt blames the whole fiasco on John McCain.

On an ordinary day, the Most Batshit Column Award would go to Larry Elder*, who is still flogging the John Kerry Iraq thing. But today is not an ordinary day. No, today is a special day. Today is the first day in a long time that the harridan from New Canaan has woken up to a Democratic majority in Congress.

History was made this week! For the first time in four election cycles, Democrats are not attacking the Diebold Corp. the day after the election, accusing it of rigging its voting machines. I guess Diebold has finally been vindicated.

Yeah, Democrats do only tend to complain about voting irregularities when they lose by a tiny margin, rather than when they win by a decisive majority. They're funny that way.

So the left won the House and also Nicaragua.

Democrats are commies, check...

At least they don't have their finger on the atom bomb yet.

The "atom bomb"? What is this, 1952?

Democrats support surrender in Iraq, higher taxes and the impeachment of President Bush. They just won an election by pretending to be against all three.

Democrats are cowardly appeasers, wastrels and anti-authoritarian rebels, check...I dunno, somewhere I missed the whole "let's surrender to whoever it is we're fighting in Iraq" position statements from Howard Dean, but I guess Ann Coulter knows best.

Jon Tester, Bob Casey Jr., Heath Shuler, possibly Jim Webb -- I've never seen so much raw testosterone in my life. The smell of sweaty jockstraps from the "new Democrats" is overwhelming.

Having spent the last five years complaining that we can't trust Democrats because they are insufficiently macho and war-crazy, Ann is now complaining that the Democrats we have just elected are too macho and war-crazy.

Having predicted this paltry Democrat win, my next prediction is how long it will take all these new "gun totin' Democrats" to be fitted for leotards.

Democrats are effeminate sissies, check...

Now that they've won their elections and don't have to deal with the hicks anymore

Democrats hate "real Americans" from the flyover states, even when they themselves are from those states, check...

Tester can cut lose the infernal buzz cut, Casey can start taking "Emily's List" money, and Webb can go back to writing more incestuously homoerotic fiction ... and just in time for Christmas!

Democrats are phony, degenerate baby-killers, check...hey, Ann, what did you think of Bill O'Reilly's smutty fiction? How about Newt Gingrich's? How about David Horowitz's? How about Dick Armey's? Bill Buckley's?

But according to the media, this week's election results are a mandate for pulling out of Iraq (except in Connecticut where pro-war Joe Lieberman walloped anti-war "Ned the Red" Lamont)

Okay, Ann, that's great, but I think we've already covered that Democrats are commies. Couldn't you blue-pencil this and call them homos?

Only for half-brights with absolutely no concept of yesterday is this a "tsunami" -- as MSNBC calls it -- rather than the death throes of a dying party.

Yes, it's true: for historically astute people like Ann Coulter, nothing marks the final death-rattle of a party on its way out than gaining majority control of the House and Senate. Remember when the Anti-Masonic Party swept into power in 1832, just before forever disappearing from American life? Or 1856, when the Know-Nothings stocked the Supreme Court and won 16 governorships during their final days? How about 1932, when the Communist League of America won majority control of the House just before being absorbed into the U.S. Workers' Party, or the shocking Senate gains by the New Alliance Party in 1992?

So however you cut it, this midterm proves that the Iraq war is at least more popular than Bill Clinton was.

Clinton's highest disapproval rating: 49.6%. His lowest approval rating: 42.0%. Bush's highest disapproval rating: 59.9% His lowest approval rating: 32.4%. Highest degree of public dissatisfaction with the Iraq War: 67%. Lowest degree of satisfaction: 29%.

In a choice between Republicans' "Stay until we win" Iraq policy or the Democrats' "Stay, leave ... stay for a while then leave ... redeploy and then come back ... leave and stay ... cut and run ... win, lose or draw policy," I guess Americans prefer the Republican policy.

They have a funny way of showing it.

The Democrats say we need a "new direction" in Iraq. Yeah, it's called "reverse." Democrats keep talking about a new military strategy in Iraq. How exactly is cut-and-run a new strategy? The French have been doing it for years.


*: I think there are 250 black Republicans in America, and every one of them is employed writing columns for Town Hall.

Awl politics

It'll be heavy today, folks, because today's the day that the conservative keyboard goons catch up with the election results. Remember, I am Right-Wing Jesus: thus I die, so that you may live. Let's start with Lileks.

First of all, I happened to look at something I've never actually looked at before: his bio, which I'd bet the deed t Jasperwood is self-penned, over at Newhouse News Service. It's got one big laugh line:

He is not reliably ideological, much to the dismay of his e-mailers

HA HA HA! "Not reliably ideological", you say? Okay, look, I'm willing to admit that Lileks isn't Ann Coulter, but for corn's sake a-jumpin' mighty, he's as ideologically reliable as an atomic clock powered by electrodes hooked up to the brains of every senior fellow at the Eagle Forum. I can't recall him ever saying anything even remotely liberal in the last five years. He's an economic conservative, a political conservative, and a social conservative -- he likes to deny this last because he's anti-censorship, but he hates smut, he hates cursing, he hates sexualization, he hates liberal perspectives, he's anti-abortion, he's anti-gay marriage (see below!), he's anti-multiculturalism, and he's against every other form of social liberalization I can think of. He's not even left enough to qualify as a libertarian. The fact that he self-identifies as non-ideological is proof of how totally clueless he is.

More from his bio:

James Lileks was born in Fargo, N.D., and educated at the University of Minnesota. He used his English major to secure a lucrative position as a convenience store clerk, but eventually made his way into respectable journalism.

The charming self-deprecation is quickly undercut by the ludicrous self-flattery. The man from Fuddles, MN isn't a respectable journalist, any more than I am. He's a humorist and an editorialist and occasionally a critic. He's not a reporter. If he's a journalist, Gene Shalit is a journalist.

he writes from a center-right perspective that worries more about terrorism, Iran and Hamas than gay marriage or cussing on "The Sopranos."

See, this is funny, because he writes CONSTANTLY -- including today's column -- about how he's opposed to gay marriage. He think's he's at least quasi-liberal because he supports civil unions, but he only supports them in the sense that he doesn't think they should be banned, the way gay marriage should be banned. And I could find half-a-dozen columns by him without even trying hard where he complains about filth on the teevee.

(But that Janet Jackson flashing on the Super Bowl? Not a good sign.)

Case in point.

Lileks is television critic for the American Enterprise Institute magazine

Oh, man, I did not know this. I almost want to pick up a copy of this conservative think-tank's rag just to read what passes for TV criticism in their view. I'm sure it features lots of complaining by Lileks about Battlestar Galactica's leftward turn.

Anyway, his column today at the Bleat: he starts out by saying he's sad to see Rumsfeld go, although he doesn't say why. He also says "people whose opinion I respect" called for Rummy's resignation long ago, which is akin to his constant claims that "there are legitimate arguments" for ending the war with Iraq or abandoning the Patriot Act, even though he never says what those arguments are or who is advancing them or why he doesn't accept them. He goes on to pout that we probably aren't going to invade Syria now (which means, I guess, that the constant lethal attacks America suffers at the hands of Syrians will continue unabated) and yammers about his new adventures in consumerism before getting right to the meat.

Trolled around some radio and websites today, and noted something interesting: no rancor.

Oh ho ho, you lying sack of shit, Lileks.

Well, you say, this reflects the circles in which you choose to move, and I suppose it does

In other words, you deliberately avoided all the places you usually go, so that you didn't have to hear them bitching and moaning.

but the places I haunt were not brimming with outrage and fury and tales of Diebold deviltry or voter suppression.

Obviously, as my next post will make clear, he wasn't reading Town Hall.

If anything, mixed among the rue and worry, there was something unexpected: Relief. I’m serious: no one said as much, but I have the feeling that many on the right & center-right are relieved to have this Congress repudiated, as much as they dislike the potential effect of the alternative. Two more years of the same would have been two more years of tentative dithering, culminating in another appeal to hit the polls lest the Republic crumble. But we haven’t seen an innovation in policy or rhetoric since the last election.

As Lileks' guru, Hugh Hewitt, has made abundantly clear, this is going to be the official stance of the right after their complete drubbing at the polls. Even Rush Limbaugh is jumping on this train. Despite the fact that the voters handed a resounding defeat to the G.O.P., sparing some of their fiercest outrage for solid war boosters and social conservatives, the absurd position of these Thursday morning quarterbacks is that the Republicans were defeated because they weren't effective enough -- that is, because they weren't pro-war enough, that they didn't pass enough socially conservative legislation, that they didn't do more to slap down Democrats at ever turn. As this must-read column by Matt Taibbi makes stupefyingly clear, that's nonsense; this Congress was unprecedented in their slavish devotion to the president, their unilateralism, their determination to shut out the opposition. Sure, they were lazy, incompetent and ineffective, but in terms of giving the man at the top what he wanted and freezing out the Democrats, they were top-notch. Arguing that what the voters wanted was MORE conservative action is ridiculous; if that's the case, they might as well give up, because barring a complete transfer of power to the executive branch, they're not getting any better than they got. What the voters wanted was LESS of the conservative cronyism, corruption and kowtowing they got from the 109th, and to spin this as a case of voters wanting a purer form of right-wing ideology is delusional in the extreme.

It is the adult thing to expect you will get half of what you want in politics

Oh, really? That's not what your colleagues think, James. They've spent the last 20 years bitching that any time the GOP loses a vote, it's because liberals are a bunch of traitors who want to destroy America.

As everyone is fond of saying, we need two parties

Oh, really? That's not what your pal Hugh Hewitt thinks, James. He wrote a whole book about how the GOP should make it so they never lose an election again.

I was surprised to learn that the gay marriage amendment in Wisconsin included a ban on civil unions – that strikes me as overkill, to be polite.

"My homophobia being affiliated with the more flagrant homophobia of others makes me uncomfortable."

As I’ve said before, my qualms about redefining marriage have nothing to do with anyone’s sexual preference

Word? So you wouldn't mind, then, if we just made a law stating that from now on, whenever heterosexuals get married, it gets called a civil union? Or are you, heaven forfend, trying to protect a special right that others can't have, which is what the right always accuses the gays of trying to do?

it strikes me as unwise to undo a long-standing institution NOW, PERIOD

Yeah, that's what they said in 1860.

and there’s the issue of child-raising and adoption and whether the state should favor one arrangement over another


or, inevitably, whether the state should permit a private institution to favor one arrangement over the other.

I think they kinda made that decision a while back, when they said that a private institution can't favor one race over another, yeah?

Surely we are still able to say that a male-female dynamic, all other things being equal, have an advantage.

Why in the world would we be able to say that? By what measure? Especially with "all other things being equal", which, as we know, they never are.

You inevitably get sidetracked on a discussion of bad hetero couples and great gay couples, which is interesting but irrelevant

So, in other words, the question of whether or not gays are capable of being good parents is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not gays should be allowed to be parents.

we're talking about state policy here, and if you wish the law to regard the absence of a mother or father as irrelevant, tell me why that's a good thing.

This is the biggest piece of bullshit sophistry since his last column. The question of gay parentage and gay marriage has nothing to do with a mother and father being irrelevant; it has to do with whether or not a parenting arrangement, with the needs of the child being met, can be successful without both a biologically male and biologically female parent. Which means the presence of successful parents where both are male or both are female is supremeley relevant, and this dodge about "regarding the absence of a mother or father as irrelevant" is supremely irrelevant. What needs to be asked in any parenting situation is simply this: is the child being adequately cared for? Giving a shit whether there's a male and a female partner, or if they are legally married, or if they are of the same race, or if one is tall and the other is short, that's all bullshit cosmetics. The important factors are whether the child is loved, whether it feels safe, whether it is well-fed and well-raised, whether it gets a decent education and a stable home life, whether it is economically provided for. Where exactly does the question of 'traditional marriage' or 'male and female' enter into these questions?

Anyway. Point is, I think the majority of Americans wouldn’t balk at civil unions, and I think the same majority would accept laws that afford gay couples the right to have the same benefits as unmarried hetero couples via medical visitation, insurance plans, etc.

You do, huh? Strange those laws aren't already in effect, then.

Unlike 50 years ago, most people know someone who’s out. That tends to soften hearts.

Unless the heart-softening takes the form of allowing gay marriage, in which case it's right out.

But when the matter of civil unions gets twinned with redefining marriage, it appears people will vote against the redefinition regardless of the secondary consequences. Preserving the traditional definition trumps any vague sympathetic acquiescence to some flavor of statutory equality.

So, in other words, people are kind and warm-hearted and giving, unless you actually ask them for equal rights, in which case they will make the obvious choice and favor reactionary conservativism over actual legal equality. You're a pip, Jimbo. And clearly not reliably ideological!


The President is a demmy-craaaat!

Well, no, he isn't. But, as cynical as I am about the prospect of any major change coming about as a result of the elections (the real damage has already been done with the spineless behavior of the Congress we've had the last six years), ain't nothin' bad about the results of yesterday's elections.

And, of course, that means: whiny conservative columnists! Let's watch.

Some of the comments at Free Republic (via Wonkette):

This is a truly disgusting night. Outside of 9-11, I cannot think of a worse day. I really want to hurt somebody.


The Jihadi’s have won. They have proven they have a stronger will than America. They are now emboldened.


OBL has won, who would have imagined that the MSM/DNC would succeed in giving Saddam and Sons, OBL, Bill Maher, Keith Olberman, and John Kerry a victory. We have no choice now, the commie vampire media must be destroyed.

Lileks, possibly joking but it's hard to tell with him anymore, on why he's not blinded by partisanship:

For those of you who sent...peppery email about what a shill/hack/tool I am, I would have voted for Lieberman if I lived in Connecticut.

Over at Town Hall, we haven't gotten the really juicy columns yet, because most of this stuff was written yesterday before the elections were decided, but the mood is still pretty negative all around, ranging from pouty (Paul Weyrich) to delusional (David Keene) to rabid (Michelle Malkin) to surprisingly reasonable (Michael Medved, of all people). I'm sure tomorrow will bring some pretty hilarious columns (Ann Coulter should be coming to bat this inning), but for now, I have to amuse myself with Phyllis-Schlafly-in-training Carrie Lukas telling the women of America, who she apparently believes have never voted before, that having elected Democrats, they are going to learn a hard lesson about how putting the left in power only leads to disempowering women, in the form of repealed upper-class tax cuts, a higher capital gains tax, federal assistance with daycare, guaranteed health care, and an increase on the minimum wage, "none of which benefit women". HA HA HA

Anyway, congratulations, Nancy Pelosi! Don't fuck it up, god damn it.


I'm voting for PUSSY!

It wouldn't be an election without James Lileks being an asshole! Let's watch.

First, our man in Fuddles makes it clear he's against negative campaigning, as long it's against something he supports:

One ad has the seniors worrying that the politicians who “wrecked the economy” (seriously, that’s what they say)

Seriously! Can you believe these jerks? With unions dead, pensions non-existent, individual business ownership plummeting, savings rates at a national negative, a record number of people uninsured, a growing number of permanent unemployed, the budget deficit nearly unmeasurable, the trade deficit getting worse, real-dollar income stagnant, the manufacturing base vanished, the income gap higher than anywhere in the world, and the whole country, from the government to corporations to indviduals, living on borrowed money, a couple of gloom-and-doomers have the gall to say that there's something wrong with the economy!

are “talking about privatizing Social Security again.” Gah! Issues are being discussed! Alternatives proposed!

You bet! That's why people get so upset at the notion of privatizing social security: we just can't stand alternatives being discussed. We are filled with rage at the very idea of having options. It's not that privatization is a stupid, wasteful option that will totally screw low-income people and enrich corporations, NO! It's that we won't abide issues being discussed.

we cannot even bring up the matter of letting younger workers voluntarily exert private control over the property they are required by government to relinquish

Hi! My name is Paul Craig Roberts. Won't you join me for a discussion of how taxation is slavery, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the devil? That sentence has to be the most chickenshit, deceptive description of taxation I've ever read.

Like many, I’m resigned to losing most everything I’ve put into Social Security, or seeing the promised returns whittled away to farthings and ha’pennies.

Like many, I mistakenly believe that Social Security is in crisis. Or possibly I am lying.

So I save for my family, and invest.

Luckily for me, I am a famous nationally syndicated columnist and writer, and my wife is a corporate lawyer. But I assume that EVERYONE can afford to save and invest. Right? Right?

Well, I’m also told we don’t save enough; should I now save less? No, you say. Save more. Invest less. Okay, well, everyone invest less, and let’s see how that works.

Fun fact: The periods in American history marked by record highs in investment -- the early 1890s, the mid-1920s, and the late 1990s -- were immediately followed by crashes, recessions and/or depressions. And while they were prosperous eras, other periods of prosperity NOT followed by crashes and recessions -- specifically, the 1910s, the late 1950s, and the early 1970s -- featured only moderate or low investment levels. Of course, not being an economist, I draw no conclusions from that; I'll leave it to experts like James Lileks.

Likewise, the ascension of Keith Ellison will thrill the good and decent folk, because he is a Muslim, the first in Congress, a stately rebuke to George Bush, who hates Muslims and wants Jesus to come tomorrow waving the Danish cartoons and shouting BOOYA.

Ha ha! I have used an absurd exaggeration to make it seem like there is no such thing as prejudice in America, and the fact that there are almost five million Muslims in America and there has never been a single one elected to national office of any kind is JUST FINE AND NOTHING TO EVEN TALK ABOUT, no more than the fact that there are almost forty million blacks, represented in the Senate by Barack Obama. I bet if Keith Ellison was an astronaut, Jimbo would be happy for him.

Mr. Ellison’s past as a member of the Nation of Islam and his associations with CAIR are irrelevant

James is being sarcastic here, because he states later that these are "racial-supremacist organizations". CAIR is basically the Muslim version of the NAACP, and the Nation of Islam, while nutty to devoted atheist God-scoffers like me, is no more so than, say, the southern Baptists or the Mormons, and presumably Mr. Lileks would get pretty sniffy if anyone dared go around questioning the desirability of a white candidate based on nothing more than his membership in the LDS church.

his opponent is a Republican, which means he got this far by using the power of Satan to send crows to pick out the eyes of his opponent’s children

This is a hilarious bit of hyperbole, considering that in the exact same column he goes out of his way to imply that if we elect a Muslim to congress Palestinian suicide bombers will come over and spatter our childrens' brains all over the side of a bus. But can he top this with a gargantuan, whopping irrelevancy? You bet he can!

Mr. Ellison has stated that he is for gay marriage, and I kept waiting for someone to poll the people at his mosque about that. I see many churches in my neighborhoods with rainbow flags, for example, and I’m truly curious how many mosques are gay-friendly. You’d think it would be a story, but it just sort of...doesn’t exist. It’s not that hard: go to the mosques or the coffee shops, say “Keith Ellison is for gay marriage; do you approve?” and print the reaction.

Let's look in some depth at why this is stupid.

1. It is possibly the most irrelevant thing I have ever heard. What possible difference to Keith Ellison's suitability as an elected official does it make whether or not Muslims approve of gay marriage?

2. Why would it be a story how many mosques are gay-friendly? Is it a story how many temples are gay-friendly? (The answer: not that many.) Is it a story how many Catholic churches are gay-friendly? (The anwer: even less.) Is it a story how many Baptist churches are gay-friendly? (The answer: none.)

3. Assuming that this apparent media cover-up of the Muslim gay marriage stance issue were unveiled, and reporters scoured every one of the mosques in St. Paul and reported on the evening news that indeed, the majority of Muslims in Minnesota did not support gay marriage, Lileks would smile smugly and make a 'voila!' gesture with his hands, having proven...what, exactly? That Muslims, like a majority of Americans of all kinds and a vast majority of all religious people everywhere, oppose gay marriage? Who doesn't know that? Or that Keith Ellison, a Muslim, holds opinions at variance with other Muslims? Who cares?

4. In fact, isn't that a GOOD thing? Lileks cowers in fear behind his basement water-sculpture because he's afraid the Islamists will come and impose their vile, backwards religion on America, so shouldn't he support a Muslim candidate who doesn't toe the party line on these matters? Surely he's not admitting that he'd be happier if his own stereotypes where fulfilled and Ellison was up there shouting "Death to America" next to his veiled wife and daughters and his handless ex-shoplifter brother-in-law.

5. Can he possibly be suggesting that Ellison is a hypocrite for holding views at variance to that of most people of his faith? That he's some kind of phony Muslim because he supports gay marriage? Because, man, I got news for you, Jimbo: this sort of thing, it's actually pretty common. Why not do a poll of all the elected southern Baptists in America who are willing to admit that, according to the explicit teachings of their faith, all Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and agnostics -- and possibly even Catholics and Mormons -- are going to go to Hell where they will burn in fiery torment forever and ever. NOT MANY I BET! Or, here's a fun thing for you to do, with your outrage against the media cover-up of how Muslims don't like gay marriage: go conduct a poll about how many mainstream Catholic churches are officially in favor, thus defying the teachings of their faith and the infallible judgment of the Pope. (I'll save you some time: the answer is "zero".) And yet -- AND YET -- there are a large number of Catholics, some of whom are elected officials, who are in favor of the death penalty! It's a scandal! Someone call the National Review!

6. Besides, even if this did somehow make Ellison a hypocrite, James Lileks wrote a column recently, during the Mark Foley scandal, in which he said that hypocrisy was no big deal, and that there was absolutely nothing surprising or wicked about the fact that some people exhibit behaviors that are at odds with the official teachings of the organizations to which they profess allegiance. So, surely he is not turning right around and making the exact opposite of that argument against a political opponent, because that would make him a giant asshole.

7. Or...or...and I don't even like to think of this, because it's so fucking dumb, but honestly, it's the only possible alternative explanation to this batshit paragraph I can think of...does Lileks think that Ellison is some sort of Muslim mole, who's just SAYING he supports gay marriage to get elected but once he's in, he'll peel off a rubber mask to reveal Osama bin-Laden underneath, and say "HA HA HA, American fools! In fact, I, like 99% of the other members of Congress, actually oppose gay marriage! But now that you've elected me, I will force my hardcore jihadist beliefs into law, with the help of the other 434 members of the House, who, I'm assuming, will vote with me on stuff like gas chambers for Jews and mandatory Ramadan fasting, since we're together on the whole gay marriage thing."

This has gone on way too long, and it kinda makes me think I need to leave the guy alone for a while, but let's let him finish with a delightful bit about how electing Democrats will lead us down the road to national extinction ONE GODDAMN DAY after he wrote that it probably won't even matter who wins:

I expect the next two years to go poorly, I’m afraid. Then again, I’m often wrong; perhaps it’s possible for a country to win a war with apologies and investigations. Perhaps we’re not at war at all; perhaps Iran and the jihadists are merely an illusion conjured up by the puppetmasters, just as they turned Iraq – the veritable Monaco of Mesopotamia – into a Threat, and just as they defended Israel against the brave Defenders of the Apartment Buildings in Lebanon. I really should relax. I mean, if you’re driving down the road and you see a car coming towards you head on in your lane, there’s no reason to worry. You’re in the right. What else matters?


Happy What's One More Dead Iraqi? Day!

What else do James Lileks and I have in common, other than being big windy blowhards oblivious to how much we annoy people with our clueless pop-culture vaporings and gasbag politics? We have both worked with Miss Minnesota.


If Town Hall can be used as a bellweather of the GOP mood with elections on the way, things look bleak for the Republican Party. The whole website has the stink of desperation to it, with barely an issue to call their own; nobody even dares to mention the Iraq mess, and the best they can do is lonely Donald "Who?" Lambro saying that if the Democrats win you can kiss off your upper-class tax cuts. OH NOES, says America, as they reach for the (D) button. Well, there's always John-Kerry-bashing, as a full six columns (Thomas Sowell, Nathan Tabor, Michael Barone, Suzanne Fields, Ruben Navarrette and Kevin McCullough) devoted to his stuck-in-Iraq speech just as if Kerry was running for something. (Barone helpfully points out his failure to grasp metaphor by saying "the statement is literally untrue: No one is 'stuck in Iraq' unless he or she volunteers".) But as usual, the prize peach is Doug Giles, who is always willing to go one step beyond and become a total right-wing cartoon, as he does when he rewrites John Lennon's 'Imagine' as an anti-Muslim ditty. Good on you, Doug! Others talk, you deliver.


When Town Hall lets you down, of course, there's always WENN entertainment news at imdb.com to get you through the day:

Hollywood hardman Russell Crowe has blasted the US legal system for making a big deal of his phone assault in a New York City hotel last year...he says, "Where I come from, a confrontation like that, as basic and simple as that, would have been satisfied with a handshake and an apology... Your (US) legal system is very open to be misused."

Yes, that's the problem with the American legal system, all right: it's open to flagrant abuses, to the point that if a famous celebrity beats a hotel employee with a phone, the celebrity could actually be arrested.

There's also this delightful headline, which proves that sometimes a guy can actually come around to the same opinion everyone else in the country has already held for the past 20 years:

George Lucas: "I Don't Want To Make Movies Anymore"


Town Hall schtuppdate

As amazing as the regular columnists at Town Hall are, even better are the posters. Earlier this year, Town Hall added a comments section, which has really let the shitheads out of the box; it's usually the usual veiled racism, Islamaphobia and gay-bashing you would expect, but sometimes there's more.

I've written before about how the Town Hall crowd is surprisingly reluctant to discuss economics, possibly because their economic ideas all revolve around ideas without much mass appeal. Today, Town Hall second-stringer Matt Towery wrote a sky-is-falling piece about the state of the world; in it, he made grim predictions about foreign policy, domestic stability, and, surprisingly, the economy. He made the extremely noncontroversial observation that America's destiny is linked economically with China's, and that the Asian goliath stands poised to rival or surpass us as a global superpower due to their monetary policy and massive manufacturing base.

Well, this really brought out the squeakers, man. If you thought these people were dumb about politics and policy, wait until you hear them talk about the economy. Their tiny, mommy-protect-me little minds, which operate on no principle more sophisticated than "America is always right no matter what and it's not what we do, it's that we're Americans when we do it" (hence the defense of stuff like torture and theocracy), were totally blown by the outrageous suggestion that another country might be developing a more powerful economy than ours. So they offered up some brilliant suggestions. Let's watch!

Free Trade: Don't care. In my view, no matter what China does with our debt and currency, there will only be positive long term benefit for us. If they hold our notes and funds, we can import more goods for less (acting as a tax cut), and the price of oil drops for us, acting like a tax cut.

Which is great, because this pseudo-tax cut will more than make up for wage stagnation and the loss of real-dollar value that has been steadily increasing since all of our manufacturing jobs disappeared! Apparently, the reason that no one can save money anymore isn't a lack of job stability, flat wages, or a lack of real-dollar growth, but high taxes.

If they release our notes and funds, we start manufacturing and exporting more goods (acting as an economic stimulant)

Just like that! We'll start manufacturing and exporting more goods! Easy! We'll just somehow rebuild all the factories that have closed over the last 35 years, and retrain the whole workforce, and convince all the CEOs who shipped the jobs overseas to hire American workers at the same price. And we will start exporting more goods, because our stuff will be just as good and cheap as Chinese products! Somehow!

Thank God we aren't an Asian country that must always manufacture or perish.

Yes, thank God! We can run on a service industry, which Asian countries can never do, because, uh, because they don't believe in Jesus, I guess.

We can play any part of this game better than they can.

It may appear that they're beating us in terms of manufacturing and monetary policy, but in reality, we are letting them win. We can never be defeated, because we are Americans.

If it makes you feel better, we could add a term to our notes, "FORFEIT in, from, or to China", at any time, and our embargo of Cuba proves we have the stones for it.*

If things get TOO bad, we can just make special money that says "no good if you're a Chinaman", and it will totally work and won't in any way make us a global laughingstock whose economy will collapse overnight! And if we could successfully embargo a tiny Caribbean nation from whom we got virtually no imports, that proves we could totally do the same thing to a country with a billion people who provides the majority of the world's dry goods manufaturing!

Individuals can protect themselves from currency instability by keeping some fraction of their savings in gold and silver coins.

And gasoline! And, uh, dried noodles and firearms! And then we can live forever in the mountains, and forget that we're part of a global economy!

I'm tired of the endless whining. Straighten up and get back to work.

If we just worked hard enough, that would fix the economy. Shut up, all you economist eggheads who study the incredibly complex interplay of global monetary policy and production trends! All we have to do is work harder! IT'S JUST THAT SIMPLE.

This article can be summed up in one sentence. We need another Ronald Reagan.

Boy, I tell you what! Because all the problems the article mentions -- Islamic terrorism, the loss of our manufacting base, the growing shift in global power to Asia, the energy crisis, and spiralling debt -- Ronald Reagan totally solved all those problems when he was president!

*: Seriously, this is perhaps the dumbest thing ever written. This is substantially dumber than people who say we can fix economic slumps by just printing more money.


Everything is fine! Get back to work!

Neo-conservatives don't like to talk much about money. Privately, of course, they love it; it's the raison d'etre behind all their public sentiment about security and culture. Get in office behind fags and immigrants and terror, and once you're there, lower the capital gains tax and repeal business regulations. But they're oddly averse to it in their everyday pronouncements, except for the occasional slag on Democrats who will raise your taxes. The real economic goals they follow -- enrich the rich and ignore the poor -- aren't going to get them enough votes. So they hardly ever talk about economics, which is odd, because they're supposed to be the economically conservative, rational, market-savvy, sensible party.

Town Hall columnists are especially egregious in this regard. The libertarian wing talks about money all the time, because they don't really care about winning votes; and the Wall Street Journal (aside from their editorial page) is pretty open about where their interests like. But the biggest talking heads know where the votes are: in culture war, security scares, and trashing the opposition. Hence, aside from Roger Schlesinger's downmarket mortgage talk, real discission of the economy is pretty scarce. Even Rich Lowry doesn't write about it as much as he used to, because he found himself in near-constant disagreement with the Bush administration's grotesque deficit spending. Today, though, the lights come out to shine!

First of all, Walter Williams (who tops himself by using the "Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying 'Williams!'" line not once, but twice) shows how easy it is to be a professor emeritus of economics: just use one incredibly facile analogy to make a completely unsupportable generalization about the economy.

Next up, Janice Crouse, PhD. (of the highly prestigious Beverly LaHaye Institute) has a doctoral degree, but oddly, none of her online biographies say where it's from or what it's in. I'm guessing from this column it's not economics:

Funny how CNN picks the weeks just before the election to feature Lou Dobbs leading official-looking town hall meetings somberly lamenting the “war on the middle class.” Of course, he is pushing his book by that title! No one seems to question such a far-fetched idea even though the Dow is at record highs

Which would be relevant if the majority of middle- and working-class people were invested in the Dow, but they aren't...

unemployment is near all-time lows

Which would be relevant if "more employment" was the same thing as "good jobs with decent salaries", but it doesn't...

gas prices are down about a dollar per gallon

Which would be relevant if the price of gas was what kept the middle class solvent, but it isn't...

and the time you have to wait to get a table at Outback Steak House seems longer every time you go there.

Which would be relevant if this wasn't the stupidest fucking thing I'd ever heard in my life, but it is. (Apparently, this isn't the first time Dr. Crouse has betrayed a slightly imperfect understanding of economics.)

Finally, professional asshole John Stossel tells us that getting health insurance from your employer is stupid.

Having my health care tied to my boss invites him to snoop into my private health issues

Or it would if that wasn't illegal. Also, do you know why John doesn't get his medical care from FOX? Because they pay him so much that he can afford a much better one than they offer. Maybe he should ask the people in the mailroom if they think getting health care through their employers is a dumb idea.

and if I change jobs, I lose coverage.

That's a bummer, all right. Obviously the solution is just to get your own health care, and then if you change jobs, your coverage won't be interrupted, assuming you're one of the small percentage of Americans well-off enough to afford health care when you're not working.

Employer-paid health insurance isn't free. It just means we get insurance instead of higher salaries.

Ha ha, RIGHT! Because if employers didn't have to pay health insurance, they would just raise everyone's salaries right away instead of just keeping the extra money! That's why jobs that don't offer health insurance always have such good salaries.

I'd rather have the cash and buy my own insurance.

Hey, John, try this: find out how much FOX pays per employee for their standard health care package. Then see if that amount will cover the monthly premium you pay on your private health care. If not, I invite you to eat a big turd.


These people need some ERACE bumper stickers

Town Hall really pulls out the stops today in the Racial Sensitivity department. Check it:

Walter "Williams!" Williams says black people are capable of being taught; just look at how good they are at basketball!

LaShawn Barber says that we shouldn't let Deval Patrick get away with treating homos like human beings just because he's black.

And Harry R. Jackson, Jr. says it's time for black Americans to stop being raped by baby-killing Democratic slave-masters.

The great thing is, ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE BLACK! I think Uncle Ruckus is taking over Cal Thomas' old spot next week.


You know that thing about motes and beams? It's in the BIBLE.

Dennis "My Son Has a Black Muslim Friend" Prager has written a new column in which he jumps all over the "Muslim cab drivers won't take passengers with alcohol" story as 'proof' that there is no such thing as moderate Islam and that Muslims are all dangerous religious fanatics who want to impose their values on the rest of us.

In case you haven't been following this ridiculous non-story, it seems that a few Muslim cabbies in the Twin Cities are getting lots of heat because they don't want to allow people in their taxis wits booze. Now, of course it's been grotesquely exaggerated in the telling -- to hear the Town Hall crowd tell it, it's next to impossible to get a cab in the whole Midwest if you've ever had a glass of wine with dinner. But despited the fact that the actual story focused on a small number of Muslim cabdrivers who don't want people who are openly intoxicated (not an unusual restriction, even for non-Muslim cabbies) or with open containers (which is, after all, illegal) in their rides. But the conservative talking heads have taken it as flagrant evidence of the intolerance of the entire Islamic faith, and a clear sign that they want to impose their moral and religious standards on the rest of the world.

Now, I have no truck with Islam. I hate religion, and as restrictive, intolerant faiths go, Islam is in, oh, say, the top three. But what, exactly, is the problem here? Most of this fretting and fuming comes from people who are, after all, devoted religious conservatives who, when they're not derying the evils of intolerant Muslims, are railing against our permissive, decadent society. You'd think these jackoffs, who spend half their time bitching about feminism, slutty clothes on girls, and how our culture is swamped in filth and drugs, would find common cause with the madrass types, but since these guys care about names for sides more than they care about obeying the tenets of their own faith, it's all about the evils-of-Islam rap.

Anyway, here's the problem with the "Muslim cabbies won't allow booze/dogs in their taxis, therefore Islam is an intolerant religion" analogy: as anyone from L.A. to Chicago to New York will tell you, another thing, besides dog ownership or alcohol possession, that makes it hard for you to get a cab is having black skin. Does this, therefore, 'prove' that Americans are racist? I bet the cultural conservatives would say no!

The great thing about Prager's take on the issue, though, is that, taking self-ignorance to breathy new heights, he claims that Muslims want to force their beliefs on others...while denying that Christians do, or have ever done, such a thing. Let's take a look!

And in Minneapolis, Minn., Muslim taxi drivers, who make up a significant percentage of taxi drivers in that city, refuse to pick up passengers who have a bottle of wine or other alcoholic beverage with them.

He starts out with a flagrant distortion of the case. Not all Muslim cabbies refuse such passengers -- indeed, it's a very small number, because most cabbies care more about making money than they do following their religion to the dot and tittle. And it's not ones who have a bottle, but an open bottle; a pretty important disctinction, that. But that's not the fun part! Here's the fun part:

We are not talking here about Muslim fanatics or Muslim terrorists, but about decent every day Muslims. And what these practices reveal is something virtually unknown in Judeo-Christian societies -- the imposing of one's religious practices on others.


The imposing of one's religious practices on others? In Jewish or Christian societies? VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN!


First of all, let's look at a couple of minor, slight, barely noticable examples of where Christians and Jews have attempted to impose their religious views on others:

1. The ethnic cleansing of the Holy Land in the Old Testament.
2. The Crusades.
3. The Inquisition.

What's that you say? That was hundreds or thousands of years ago, and Christians and Jews don't do that sort of thing any more? Okay, let's think of a few more recent examples.

1. The Puritans.
2. Witch trials.
3. Forcible conversion of Native Americans, Asians and Africans.

Still too far back in the past, you say? Surely I can't think of any examples from the last century or two, you say? Let's see:

1. Hundreds, even thousands, of prohibitive laws based only on Judeo-Christian morality.
2. Systemic disenfranchisement of Muslims by Jews in Israel.
3. Widespread religious discrimination against Jews by Christians in Europe and the US.

But there's nothing going on NOW, right? In the 21st century, are you saying that Jews and/or Christians attempt to impose their value system on others? Maaaaaybe...

1. The attempt to remove the teaching of evolution from public schools.
2. The evangelical Christian movement, whose expressly stated goal is to remake the laws to more adequately reflect those of the Bible.
3. Innumerable restrictions on alcohol, drug use, pornography, prostitution, and homosexuality.

Now, next, Prager tries to weasel out of it by saying that a lot of people will claim that the fight to outlaw abortion is an example of Jews and Christians trying to impose their religious practices on others, but that's different! How?

There is no comparing ritual prohibitions with moral prohibitions. Christians argue that taking the life of a human fetus where the mother's life is not endangered is immoral. And so do religious Jews (and Muslims) and many secular individuals -- because the issue of abortion is a moral issue. Contact with dogs, on the other hand, is a ritual issue, not a moral issue. Which is why non-Muslims do not consider it immoral -- unlike the many non-Christians who consider most abortions immoral.

Uh huh. Nice try, Dennis. Despite trying to weasel out of it with this "moral vs. ritual" bullshit (and, I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, but what difference does it make to a person who's being discriminated against whether the reason behind his oppression is moral or ritual? and do the true believers themselves make a distinction between morality and ritual, or do they believe that their rituals are informed by their morality?), it's still not true that Christians don't impose their beliefs on other based simply on ritual. Here's an example:

Blue laws.

In thousands of places all over the country, you can't buy liquor on Sunday -- and not just liquor, but in some locations, other things, like automobiles, pharmaceuticals and even dry goods -- because of laws passed to restrict commerce on the Christian day of rest. Although many blue laws have been repealed, many more have been upheld, and here in Texas there's been a major challenge to a proposed repeal on the blue law that requires car dealerships to close on Sundays. Since he spends a lot of time there smoking cigars with James Lileks, Dennis Prager surely knows that Minnesota, the very place where evil Muslim cabbies won't give you a ride if you're toting a bottle of Cabo Wabo, forbids the sale of liquor on Sundays. And there's no way this is a moral issue; if you were morally opposed to alcohol, you'd seek its complete prohibition. It's just a ritual, an observance of the Christian day of rest.

Here's another: public holidays. In the United States, employers are required by law to give full-time employees a set amount of days off, which coincide with the major Christian days of worship. Is it a moral issue that people not work on Christmas? Nope. It's nothing but a ritual, and due to public pressure from the dominant religion, it has been codified in law. Of course, I have no problem with it; but you'd be hard pressed to define this as anything more than Christians imposing their ritual observations on the society in which they live. Anyone who tried hard could think of dozens of examples of successful attempts or at least concerted efforts to impose Christian ritual belief (and thousands of examples of imposing Christian moral belief) on society.

Dennis concludes:

But such Jewish or Mormon examples [of the imposition of ritual religious observation] don't exist (and if they did, religious Jews and Mormons would regard such persons as crackpots). They do not exist because Jews and Mormons do not believe that non-Jews are required to change their behavior owing to Judaism's or Mormonism's distinctive laws. Religious Muslims, on the other hand, do believe that wherever applicable, non-Muslims should change their behavior in the light of Islam's distinctive laws.

HA HA HA. 100% pure, unadulterated, premium-grade bullshit. Dennis, my man, before you remove the mote from your neighbor's eye...