November 16, 2006

Voodoo dude curses Bush, frogurt; reports of magic missiles unconfirmed.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:45 PM

Via Josh Marshall:

Voodoo Practitioner Tries to Jinx Bush
BOGOR, Indonesia (AP) - A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, stirred their blood with spice and broccoli before drank the "potion" and smeared some on his face.

"I don't hate Americans, but I don't like Bush," said Pamungkas, who believed the ritual would succeed as, "the devil is with me today."


Not that I know anything about potion brewing, but wouldn't broccoli be more appropriate for jinxing Bush's father? But just to be sure, perhaps Bush should appoint a Secretary of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Anyway, this seems redundant, since the outcomes of Bush's policies in places like Iraq and New Orleans are already indistinguishable from cursed.

August 18, 2006

Bush discovers existentialism

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:10 PM

George W. Bush reading Albert Camus has been the source of a lot of humor lately: this piece in The American Prospect is especially good.

July 19, 2006

Bush vetoes stem-cell bill

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:37 PM

What an asshole. He finally locates his veto stamp halfway through his second term—I'm guessing he was carrying it around in his ass like the watch in Pulp Fiction—and he uses it to crush the hopes of people suffering from illness, all in the name of a completely incoherent claim about morality. (Not to mention the damage to scientific research in the U.S., but in that area it's just the latest in a long line of offenses.) The description of the event makes me physically ill. From the CNN article:

Attending the White House event were a group of families with children who were born from "adopted" frozen embryos that had been left unused at fertility clinics.

"These boys and girls are not spare parts," he said of the children in the audience. "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research. They remind us that we all begin our lives as a small collection of cells."


All this does is emphasize the total incoherence of Bush's position. Unused embryos are destroyed all the time at fertility clinics. If Bush really believed what he claims to believe here, he'd close all these clinics down. It's certainly good that he's not doing that, but it means that this veto isn't a principled moral stand but a crass sell-out. Fuck you, Bush.

Democrats should make sure no one forgets about this veto. Stem-cell research is very popular and any Republican who opposed this bill should never hear the end of it. I can't say I'll be surprised if the Dems don't take advantage of this opportunity, but I can always hope.

Permalink | Tags: Bush Administration, George W. Bush, Politics, Science

July 18, 2006

Has Bush completely lost it?

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:25 PM

Seriously, there's no way I can keep up with the President's ridiculousness over the last few days. Besides telling Putin that Russia should emulate the flourishing democracy in Iraq, there was the bizarre press conference about the pig, and then talking to Blair with the mike on, and now he's groping the German chancellor.

WTF? Is he drunk? Is this some extension of the madman theory of international relations? Or is it some deep strategy in the War on Terror: if representatives of the U.S. act like total clowns at international summits, the terrorists will decide we aren't worth attacking?

Even his dad had more dignity when he was vomiting on the Japanese prime minister.

Permalink | Tags: George W. Bush, Politics, World

July 17, 2006

Putin wonders how we won the Cold War

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:24 PM

This has been mentioned everywhere already, but since I posted a series of dumb quotes by public figures last week, I would be remiss if I left out the champion:

During a joint news conference Saturday in St. Petersburg, Bush said he raised concerns about democracy in Russia during a frank discussion with the Russian leader.

"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same," Bush said.

To that, Putin replied, "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly."


I used to imagine, when Bush talks about how well things are going in Iraq, that he's just lying. But it's clear that he really thinks democracy is flourishing in Iraq.

Is unbelievable cluelessness considered grounds for impeachment?

Permalink | Tags: Bush Administration, George W. Bush, Iraq

January 31, 2006

SOTU Liveblogging, 2006

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 6:21 PM

Ok, the Dem response was better than last year's, but still boring. I'm going back to physics. You can just wire that money directly over here, George.

He's revised the Democratic slogan to "There's a better way". A little punchier, I guess.

The Pentagon is "sacred ground"?

Kaine's going for a "nice reasonable bipartisan" thing.

Tim Kaine has the raised eyebrow thing going big-time.

On to the Democratic response, because I am a glutton for punishment.

C-SPAN commentator: "Well, the president's certainly taking his time leaving the chamber..."

It's over, cue music: "America.... America.... America! Fuck yeah!"

Ok, I just missed a few minutes so I could talk to my advisor. What's he talking about now? I caught something about embryos or something, was that stem cells? Grr. Ok, he's on to corruption--wait, now it's something else. Is he randomly jumping between topics or am I just confused?

More money for physics? Hey, thanks! Maybe this means our grant will get funded.

"Nukular" again. Well, at least he's making reference to alternative energy. But ethanol costs more energy to produce than it ultimately provides. I'll wait until I see how much money actually gets allocated to realistic projects.

"Congress did not act on my proposal to save Social Security" MASSIVE applause. Awesome.

Line item veto? He's never even used the regular veto.

Yeah, better make the tax cuts permanent, otherwise those American families in the top 1% of income might get an unwelcome increase. Oh wait, he left out part of that too.

Hmm, I don't think he's going to mention that the job increases can be accounted for by public sector jobs. Especially just before he criticizes "the government taking a larger role".

Seriously, has he even read the Constitution? I do not think it says what he thinks it says.

"RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH." If there are people inside our country talking to Al Qaeda, get a fucking warrant.

Mixed reaction from Congress in response to "PATRIOT Act". Seem to recall that happened previously.

"Nukular"! Twice! (I was at a seminar last week where a physicist was saying this... it's spreading.)

"Rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong accountable institutions" Hey, can we get some of that here?

"A duty to speak with candor" I think he takes that about as seriously as his Texas Air National Guard duty.

Here's the part where criticism of the war is undermining the troops, or something.

Bush just gave a rousing argument against isolationism, delivering a stunning rebuttal to... the crazy guy on Telegraph Avenue. Seriously, who's arguing for isolationism that it needed to be addressed? Keep kicking that straw man...

"Enemies of freedom"... there's one! Oh, wait...

Permalink | Tags: Bush Administration, Democrats, George W. Bush, Politics

Alternate Plan

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:32 PM

Of course there's always the SOTU drinking game, which looks particularly dangerous this year. I would add "unitary executive" and "culture of life" to the phrase list, now that Alito's confirmed.

Permalink | Tags: Games, George W. Bush, Politics

State of the Union: Unlimited Power edition

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:25 PM

I usually watch the State of the Union address, and have liveblogged it in the past. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it this year, without throwing things at the screen in a fit of rage. If the members of Congress had any respect for their offices, George W. Bush would be in prison, not standing at that podium.

Ok, I realize that I sound like the crazed anti-Clinton ranters of the '90s. But the difference is that Clinton got a blowjob, while Bush has violated the law, the Fourth Amendment, and his oath of office, and has freely admitted to doing so while claiming that the president is above the law. In effect, he is claiming dictatorial powers for himself, which should by itself be reason for impeachment. Didn't we fight a revolution over this?

Instead the Senate has confirmed to the Supreme Court a judge who agrees with Bush's view of unconstrained executive power. I think Bush actually needs a couple more Alitos on the court before he can put on the crown, but in terms of dramatic timing he should totally go for the Emperor Palapatine acceptance speech tonight.

I'm guessing, however, that we'll get really boring rhetoric about Health Savings Accounts, and probably some saber-rattling at Iran. Hence, I am thinking that I should keep my blood pressure down and just spend the hour reading Cute Overload or something. I can catch the highlights on the Daily Show later.

And while writing this I have learned that apparently Bush will try to position himself as pro-science, maybe even while keeping a straight face. Given Daniel Davies' insight about the success of Bush administration policy initiatives, I think we'd prefer that he stay the hell away from science, thanks.

Permalink | Tags: Bush Administration, George W. Bush, Politics, Senate

January 5, 2006

More Bush Cronyism, Absolutism

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:47 PM

Apparently one of the lessons George W. Bush took away from the Harriet Miers fiasco was that if he wants to appoint unqualified cronies, he should bypass that pesky Senate. Yesterday evening he made seventeen recess appointments, including at least one egregiously unsuited candidate.

It's hard not to see this in the present context of the administration asserting its right to ignore the law in order to torture detainees and spy on US citizens. Bush really does believe that Congress is irrelevant as far as the executive is concerned.

A lot of people are suggesting that Bush is acting like a king. Well, yeah. He's been acting like a king ever since he decided he was qualified to be president solely because his father had held the office. When we elect presidents on a hereditary basis, it should be no surprise that they start thinking they're monarchs...

Permalink | Tags: Bush Administration, George W. Bush, Politics, Republicans

November 3, 2005

This explains so much

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:48 AM

I hadn't been keeping up with David Brin's blog, but fortunately Brad Delong has, and linked to Brin's latest insight: we are living in a simulation, and the simulation is a certain person's Mary Sue fantasy:

How about this one? That we are all living inside someone else's Start Trek Holodeck dream. Is there any way we could test this hypothesis? A method that goes even deeper than cybernetics, neurophysiology or even physics?

Simply look around and see who has been impossibly fortunate, vastly out of all proportion to personal talent and competence, or even family privilege, or even any possible intervention by anomalous good luck!


You can probably guess the punchline at this point, but the whole post is entertaining.

Permalink | Tags: Culture, George W. Bush, Philosophy

October 4, 2005

I need to watch the Daily Show this week.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:34 PM

I've been giving careful consideration to Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and it is my considered legal opinion that this is hilarious. Mere weeks after he gets in trouble for putting a laughably unqualified crony in charge of FEMA, and his nominee is someone distinguished for being the Texas Lottery Commissioner and for saying that Bush is the most brilliant man she had ever met? (That last part should be enough to disqualify her from any public office, ever.) And if this weren't boneheaded enough, he's got the social conservatives frothing with rage because they were expecting the Spanish Inquisition. I think the best advice for Democrats is to grab some popcorn and watch the fireworks.

Wait, there's more! Here's an AP photo of Miers briefing President Bush... on August 6, 2001! Anyone remember the title of that briefing? You may recall something like "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Clearly her job performance merits a promotion to the Supreme Court of the United States.

We all knew that Bush was going to fuck up the Court, but he is to be commended for attempting to fuck it up in the funniest way possible. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bush Administration has descended into self-parody.

Permalink | Tags: Bush Administration, George W. Bush, Politics, Supreme Court

September 2, 2005

Blogging by proxy

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:42 PM

I had this collection of things I was going to post today, and then I realized that Making Light already had them all. So just go there and read down the page. In particular, the map of disaster-prone areas in the US, and George W. Bush's impossibly tasteless jokes about Trent Lott's house. (Will people finally realize that he's neither a "good Christian" or a "guy you'd like to have a beer with", but a fucking aristocrat in the grand Louis XVI style?)

Permalink | Tags: George W. Bush, Internet, Politics

August 3, 2005

More Bush vs. Darwin

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:06 AM

Kevin Drum makes some of the same points I did on Bush and evolution, but actually looks up the old Bush quotes that I was too lazy to find. That's why they pay him the big bucks, I guess.

Permalink | Tags: Creationism, Evolution, George W. Bush, Politics

August 2, 2005

Bush, ID, and Republican scientists

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:58 PM

There's a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Bush's statement that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. Now, naturally I agree with the many commenters who have remarked that ID is not a scientific theory, and teaching it will only degrade the state of US science education.

On the other hand, my reaction is less outrage than a sigh of resignation. What, Bush rejected science in favor of an ideological and religious position? The same Bush who opposes stem-cell research, promotes abstinence-only sex education, ignores climate change, and suppresses inconvenient scientific findings by government agencies? We knew we were getting this back in November when Bush won the election. Certainly anyone who voted for Bush should have been prepared to accept this kind of dumbassery as a consequence. And didn't Bush say that "the jury is still out" on evolution back in, like, 2000?

Of course, we should vigorously oppose attempts to insert ID into actual curricula, but the mere fact that Bush supports it doesn't exactly seem new.

Matt Yglesias points out that Bush's view is very widespread among the American public. Some of you may recall a poll result that I blogged last November showing 45% support for young Earth creationism.

Meanwhile, Brad DeLong remarks,

I believe I can now safely say without fear of contradiction that any scientist or academic (outside of fundamentalist seminaries, of course) who is a Republican is in serious need of help: professional help.

I think this is overstating things. I know a number of Republican scientists (in Berkeley, even!) and they are sane and intelligent people—they just vote based on factors other than science and education policy. Specifically, many of them are quite vocally anti-tax, anti-union, etc. and seem to vote predominantly on economic issues. I certainly don't agree with their economic views, but I can't blame them for prioritizing those issues over scientific ones.

I'm appalled by Republican science policy, but if the Republicans were a lot better on other issues and the Democrats a lot worse, I could concievably be convinced to vote Republican anyway. But science policy isn't the only problem—in fact it's a nice synecdoche for the way the GOP sticks to ideology in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence on nearly every issue. This frightening disconnection from reality is a deal-breaker for me. The Republican scientists that I know, whatever they may think about science policy, disagree about whether there's a larger pattern of ignoring evidence. I think they're wrong, but I don't think they need professional help.

Permalink | Tags: Academia, Creationism, Evolution, George W. Bush, Politics, Science