McCain was for it at the same time he was against it!

This is just too good to be true - except it is, and it's coming straight from John's mouth.


FOX Pundit Wishes for Obama Assassination, Laughs

The incident happen[ed] in an exchange with the FOX News anchor. When asked her opinion of the recent scandal surrounding some comments made by Sen. Hillary Clinton, which [Liz] Trotta described by saying that, "some are reading [it] as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama" [,] Hemmer quickly corrected Trotta, having noticed that she had said "Osama" when she meant "Obama." At this point, Trotta said, "Obama. Well...both if we could!" Trotta then laughed gleefully.

The U.S. Constitution even protects slime like Fox News and Liz Trotta.


Going to the Gone

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
May 23, 2008

Go look in on your children still asleep
within their bed.
Remind yourself they're safe and warm
because of some long dead.

Go for a walk through cemeteries
lined with little flags.
Take time to ponder homebound heroes
flown in body bags.

Go stand between those granite stones
engraved with names and dates.
Imagine all who died defending
our United States.

Go on and kneel beside a marker
offering a prayer
with gratitude for those who gave their lives
defeating terror.

Go home and count your blessings
from the hands of those now gone.
Then vow to the Almighty that their
mem'ry will live on.


Which Sports Car are You?

I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!

You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

That's funny - I don't feel like a Lamborghini Murcielago.

Wm. Shakespeare on Torture

I fear you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak anything.

William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 3, sc. 2, l. 32-3. She fears Bassanio may not be honest in his protestations of love.

For Cassandra, a lover of the Bard, who needs to be reminded that torture causes the tortured to say what they think their torturers want to hear.


We won't call this hypocrisy ...

... we'll call it irony:

"Firearms WILL NOT be allowed in Hall A during the Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum."

At the National Rifle Association's annual convention yesterday in Louisville, KY, convention-goers could not get in if they were packing heat or blades. We understand, because the scheduled speakers included presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, and the Secret Service sets the rules in such circumstances. Even NRA big shots had to go through the screening. Thousands found themselves standing in a long, slow, feeder line before they even reached one of the lines that stretched in front of each metal detector.


Hypocrite of the Day: John McCain

McCain was for talking to Hamas before he was against it.

Plus Ça Change … No Surprise - Government Adopts Policy To Screw Vets

Official Urged Fewer Diagnoses of PTSD
A psychologist who helps lead the post-traumatic stress disorder program at a medical facility for veterans in Texas told staff members to refrain from diagnosing PTSD because so many veterans were seeking government disability payments for the condition.

"Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out," Norma Perez wrote in a March 20 e-mail to mental-health specialists and social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center in Temple, Tex. Instead, she recommended that they "consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder."

Why do we put up with this shabby treatment of our Vets?


Appeal to Probability

The appeal to probability is a logical fallacy. It assumes that because something could happen, it is inevitable that it will happen. This is flawed logic, regardless of the likelihood of the event in question. The fallacy is often used to exploit paranoia. While not considered a "true" fallacy by some (because it is rarely used by itself), the appeal to probability is a common trend in arguments, enough for many to consider it a fallacy of itself.

This has the argument form:

Possibly P.
Therefore, P.

Equivalently, using modal logic and logical connective notation:

\Diamond P → P

Some examples are:

* "There are many hackers that use the internet. Therefore, if you use the internet without a firewall, it is inevitable that you will be hacked sooner or later."
o While using a firewall is a prudent and sensible measure, it is not "inevitable" that a hacker will attack an unprotected computer. The argument does have some backing logic, but overstates the worst case scenario.
* "It doesn't matter if I get myself into debt. If I play the lottery enough, some day I'll win the jackpot, and then I can pay off all my debts."
o A reversal of the previous argument, as it is dependent on the best case scenario coming true. This is a dangerous argument, hinged on the relatively small (usually in the thousands or millions to one) odds of winning the jackpot, or at least enough to make a large enough difference to someone's debts, and then using these small odds to justify excessive amounts of debt.
* "When soccer becomes popular in a town, hooliganism will become a major problem. Thus, if we allow a soccer team in our town, we will be overrun by hooligans."
o This is another argument that assumes a worst-case scenario, without any other backing logic. In a addition, it also falsely implies that correlation means causation, as it assumes that soccer is the direct cause of hooliganism, without taking into account other socio-economic factors.

The logical idea behind this fallacy is usually that, if the probability of P occurring is approaching 1, it is best to assume that P will occur, since it will (almost) almost surely happen. The fallacy incorrectly applies a common tenet of probability: given a sufficiently large sample space, an event X of nonzero probability P(X) will occur at least once, regardless of the magnitude of P(X). This is derived from the definition of probability. The operative term is "given a sufficiently large sample space". Virtually all events are considered for probability within a finite number of samples, and the chance that X will occur in a given finite space S is directly proportional to S. Given a finite number of events S, each of which is X or not X, a sample space Y = 2PrS exists where one possibility is that all events in S are not X. Therefore, P(X in Y) = (Y-1)/Y. Because Y-1/Y < 1 for all finite Y, P(X in Y) < 1 regardless of P(X) or Y. There is thus always a chance that X will not occur, and therefore, no proof that X will occur given its probability.


In Shocking Deference to Law, Republican Activist Judges Uphold Supremacy of California Constitution Over Tyranny of Majority Rule

Gay People In California are Now Free To Be as Happy or Miserable as the Rest Of Us

The Court's Opinion
The Court's Press Release

Washington Post Coverage
New York Times Coverage

Advocate Coverage
National Review Coverage
Jim Manzi at National Review
Eugene Volokh courtesy of Andrew Sullivan
Just a Girl in Short Shorts Coverage
Los Angeles Times Coverage
CNN Coverage
MSNBC Coverage
Log Cabin Republicans' Commentary
James Dobson Shits Himself


We can’t decide if we’re surprised or not …

Today’s New York Times has a story today about a decision by a military judge to disqualify a top Pentagon official from any further role in a Guantánamo war crimes case. The story characterizes the decision as “a formal ruling that [gives] new force to critics’ accusations of improper political influence over this country’s first use of military commissions since World War II”:
Guantánamo Ruling Bodes Ill for System

At issue is the role of a Pentagon office called the “convening authority,” which oversees the military prosecutors and has extensive power over the defense lawyers and judges in the cases against Guantánamo detainees. One role of that office is to be a neutral arbiter, deciding such matters as allocation of resources for both the defense and prosecution and which charges brought by prosecutors should go to trial.

But military defense lawyers and other critics have said officials running that office have overstepped the bounds of impartiality by pushing prosecutors to charge more detainees and to use evidence obtained under coercive interrogations.
Lawyers said the ruling set the stage for new challenges that could slow even the administration’s highest priority Guantánamo prosecution, against six detainees for the 2001 terrorist attacks. One of the six is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-professed planner of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

“The military judge has said that, at the very least, there are grave appearance problems with this system,” said Michael J. Berrigan, the deputy chief defense counsel for the Guantánamo cases.

The judge, … Navy captain [Keith J. Allred], provided the critics with pages of new material to underscore their attacks on the system. He said he accepted accusations by a former Guantánamo chief prosecutor, Col. Morris D. Davis, that a military official with broad powers over the tribunal system, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, had exerted improper influence over the prosecutors.

“Telling the chief prosecutor (and other prosecutors),” the decision said, “that certain types of cases would be tried and that others would not be tried, because of political factors such as whether they would capture the imagination of the American people, be sexy, or involve blood on the hands of the accused, suggests that factors other than those pertaining to the merits of the case were at play.”

Why are we undecided about whether to be surprised? We’re not surprised, because as anyone who has read about these Guantanamo tribunal cases (and has even the slightest sense of fairness) knows, the administration’s military commissions system is fundamentally unfair to the accused. We’re surprised, because it seems that the administration’s stone-wall against fairness in these commissions is starting to crack. But we’re not surprised, because we have faith in the American legal system and that competent, conscientious lawyers trained in it will be unable to continue the fraudulent manipulation of public opinion, and these commissions, for its own political purposes.

Congratulations to Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred, a stand-up guy who has had enough and has the courage of his convictions.


Republicans Officially Condemn Motherhood

Wednesday, May 7, 2008, 178 Republicans in the House of Representatives cast their votes against H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day." Our sources inform us that the Grouchy Old Poofters plan next to take up efforts to challenge apple pie, baseball and fireworks on the 4th of July.

I guess the world really is coming to an end. It's about time, too!


Republican Effort To Stem Voter Fraud Pays Off

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow sister because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow members of Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.

"One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, 'I don't want to go do that,'" Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

They weren't given provisional ballots because it would be impossible to get them to a motor vehicle branch and back within the 10 days allotted by the law, Sister McGuire said. "You have to remember that some of these ladies don't walk well. They're in wheelchairs or on walkers or electric carts."

Those pesky Catholic nuns just won't be deterred, however:

Nonetheless, she said, the convent will make a "very concerted effort" to get proper identification for the nuns in time for the general election. "We're going to take from now until November to get them out and get this done. You can't do this like school kids on a bus," she said. "I wish we could."

A wall between the USA and Mexico is fine and dandy, but it's clear we need a wall between church and state!!

Go to Original

Reminder: Logical Fallacies

Appeal to Authority or Argument by Authority

An appeal to authority or argument by authority is a type of argument in logic consisting on basing the truth value of an assertion on the authority, knowledge, expertise, or position of the person asserting it. It is also known as argument from authority, argumentum ad verecundiam (Latin: argument to respect) or ipse dixit (Latin: he himself said it). It is one method of obtaining propositional knowledge, but a fallacy in regard to logic, because the validity of a claim does not follow from the credibility of the source. The corresponding reverse case would be an ad hominem attack: to imply that the claim is false because the asserter lacks authority or is otherwise objectionable in some way.