2003: Yet Another Year in Review











Sauron: Offer and Acceptance

From Letters of Marque:

“As a small token of your friendship Sauron asks this,” he said: “that you should find this thief,” such was his word, “and get from him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of your good will. Find it, and three rings that the Dwarf-sires possessed of old shall be returned to you, and the realm of Moria shall be yours for ever. Find only news of the thief, whether he still lives and where, and you shall have great reward and lasting friendship from the Lord. Refuse, and things will not seem so well. Do you refuse?”

The Fellowship of the Ring, in “The Council of Elrond”

It seems to me that’s really two, maybe three separate offers. The first seems to be unambiguously an offer for a unilateral contract (to find the supposedly piddling ring for three of the Dwarf rings of power plus the estate of Moria), to be completed by performance. D�in wouldn’t want to bind himself to produce a ring; it’s too risky. This seems like the straight-forward reward scenario envisioned as a prototypical offer for a unilateral contract.

Kids, just say NO to law school… 🙂

H. R. 3687

WARNING: The text of H. R. 3687 will infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war.


1st Session

H. R. 3687

To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.


December 8, 2003

Mr. OSE (for himself and Mr. SMITH of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended–

    (1) by inserting `(a)’ before `Whoever’; and

    (2) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane’, used with respect to language, includes the words `shit’, `piss’, `fuck’, `cunt’, `asshole’, and the phrases `cock sucker’, `mother fucker’, and `ass hole’, compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).’.

It’s a good thing that this `mother fucker‘ and this `cock sucker‘ are making sure the United States Congress is taking time to address the really important issues.

You Might Be A Republican If…

From Tina’s Shark Tank:

You Might Be A Republican If…
(Author unknown)

  • You think “proletariat” is a type of cheese.
  • You’ve named your kids “Deduction one” and Deduction two”
  • You’ve tried to argue that poverty could be abolished if people were just allowed to keep more of their minimum wage.
  • You’ve ever referred to someone as “my (insert racial or ethnic minority here) friend”
  • You’ve ever tried to prove Jesus was a capitalist and opposed to welfare.
  • You’re a pro-lifer, but support the death penalty.
  • You think Huey Newton is a cookie.
  • The only union you support is the Baseball Players, because heck, they’re richer than you.
  • You think you might remember laughing once as a kid.
  • You once broke loose at a party and removed your neck tie.
  • You call mall rent-a-cops “jack-booted thugs.”
  • You’ve ever referred to the moral fiber of something.
  • You’ve ever uttered the phrase, “Why don’t we just bomb the sons of bitches.”
  • You’ve ever said, “I can’t wait to get into business school.”
  • You’ve ever called a secretary or waitress “Tootsie.”
  • You answer to “The Man.”
  • You don’t think “The Simpsons” is all that funny, but you watch it because that Flanders fellow makes a lot of sense.
  • You fax the FBI a list of “Commies in my Neighborhood.”
  • You don’t let your kids watch Sesame Street because you accuse Bert and Ernie of “sexual deviance.”
  • You use any of these terms to describe your wife: Old ball and chain, little woman, old lady, tax credit…
  • You scream “Dit-dit-ditto” while making love.
  • You’ve argued that art has a “moral foundation set in Western values.”
  • When people say “Marx,” you think “Groucho.”
  • You’ve ever yelled, “Hey hippie, get a haircut.”
  • You think Birkenstock was that radical rock concert in 1969.
  • You argue that you need 300 handguns, in case a bear ever attacks your home.
  • Vietnam makes a lot of sense to you.
  • You point to Hootie and the Blowfish as evidence of the end of racism in America.
  • You’ve ever said civil liberties, schmivil schmiberties.
  • You’ve ever said “Clean air? Looks clean to me.”
  • You spent MLK Day reading The Bell Curve.
  • You’ve ever called education a luxury.
  • You look down through a glass ceiling and chuckle.
  • You wonder if donations to the Pentagon are tax-deductable.
  • You came of age in the ’60s and don’t remember Bob Dylan.
  • You own a vehicle with an “Ollie North: American Hero” sticker.
  • You’re afraid of the “liberal media.”
  • You ever based an argument on the phrase, “Well, tradition dictates….”
  • You’ve ever called the National Endowment for the Arts a bunch of pornographers.
  • You think all artists are gay.
  • You ever told a child that Oscar the Grouch “lives in a trash can because he is lazy and doesn’t want to contribute to society.”
  • You’ve ever urged someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, when they don’t even have shoes.
  • You confuse Lenin with Lennon.

Class Warfare!

From Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right:

Anytime a liberal points out that the wealthy are disproportionately benefiting from Bush’s tax policies, Republicans shout, “class warfare!”

In her book, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with his children watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.

That is class warfare.

Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not.

Religion vs. Science

From the SKEPTIC mailing list:

First, the Christian:

  • How do you know your god exists?
  • The Bible says so.
  • How do you know the Bible tells the truth?
  • I have faith.
  • What if the Bible is wrong and your god doesn’t exist?
  • That’s impossible.

Now the physicist:

  • How do you know charge comes in discrete packets?
  • When you do this thing with an oil drop and an electric field, it shows
    the discrete nature of charge.
  • How do you know that?
  • Here’s the protocol. Try it out yourself if you wish.
  • What if the experiment is wrong, and charge is continuous?
  • That would be a great discovery.

Miserable Failure Project: Fallout

  • First of all, it wasn’t my idea – I learned about it from blah3. Looks like Old Fashioned Patriot was the one who started this. (I did play a roll in making it work, though)

  • Traffic to this site has increased by at least an order of magnitude (WOO-HOO!)

  • I’ve had to temporarily disable comments on this site – Some winguts were actually trying to crash my web server by entering comments (It wouldn’t have worked, but I didn’t want to provide a forum for their inane babblings)

  • From this site’s access log, I see there’s a lot of forums and web logs linking to this site regarding the Miserable Failure project. Most people, especially the more technically savvy people, recognize this as a prank that makes a point. Not surprisingly, conservatives are demonstrating that they are a bunch of humorless wankers.

The Republican Catechism

(via Musings of a Philosophical Scrivener…)

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

  • Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

  • The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

  • Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

  • “Standing Tall for America” means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

  • A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

  • Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

  • The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.

  • Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a Republican.

  • If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.

  • A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

  • HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.

  • Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

  • Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

  • Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.

  • A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

  • Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

  • The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s driving record is none of our business.

  • You support states’ rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.

  • What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.

  • Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

Yet Another Example of Bill Frist’s Hypocrisy

While reading Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, I came across this bit about our favorite cat killing senator, Dr. Evil Bill Frist:

But mainly it was Coleman’s proxies who played it dirty. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) ran an ad called “Pork” that hit the hypocrisy jackpot. It savaged Wellstone for voting “to spend thousands of dollars to control seaweed in Maui,” claiming that he prioritized seaweed control over national defense. In fact, Wellstone did vote for S.1216, as did Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott and 84 other senators. That bill did appropriate the seaweed control spending–but it also provided $21 billion for veterans’ health care, $27 billion for veterans’ compensation and pensions, and block grants to assist New York City’s recovery from 9/11. The NRSC was chaired that year by Bill Frist, who later replaced Lott as Senate majority leader. Before the memorial, Frist spoke with the Wellstones’ older son, David, who later recounted the conversation to me.

“I’m sorry about your parents and your sister,” Frist told David.

“Did you authorize the seaweed ad against my dad?” David asked.

“Yes,” said Frist.

“And did you vote for the seaweed bill?”

There was a pause. They both knew that the answer was yes. Finally, Frist said, “It wasn’t personal.”

“My dad took it personal,” David said. “Thanks for coming to my family’s memorial.”