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what the heck happened in gaza?

i just don't get this. why would palestinian militants blow up an american convoy? i'm not asking why they would want to, mind you: their reasons for hating us are pretty well known. but why would any sane person actually go through with it? all this is going to do is generate sympathy for israel among the american populace, which is the one thing the palestinians can't afford to do.

"because, locdog," says you "terrorists aren't sane."

granted, but arafat is. perhaps you don't share my belief that he's controlling hamas and co., but whoever is calling the shots has got to know that this is the most counter-productive move they could have made.

my only guess is that this was a rogue cell of some kind, not under any sort of central control. the fanatics they created really believe that God is on their side, and therefore cannot comprehend the damage they've done to their cause. but their bosses can.

based on that, i'm going to predict that we don't see this happen again. arafat will kill these guys himself.

one thing that really bugs me, though, is that the bomb was reportedly remote-controlled. is this normal for palestinian terrorist groups? my impression is that there's never been any shortage of maniacs eager to fly into the arms of allah and the 72 eternal virgins. can anyone more knowledgeable than i tell me how often this sort of non-suicide attack is used?

locdog thanks you in advance


free speech, do-not-call, and a question

maybe one of you legal eagles can help me out with this.

perhaps the strongest argument advanced in the anti-do-not-call-list case was the first amendment one: creating a federal DNCL is a violation of free speech. the federal government does not have the right to tell private individuals or firms who they may or may not call.

the nice thing about this argument is that it's something that pretty much everyone can agree with, regardless of how desperately they want the DNCL to go through. all but the least libertarian conservatives and most totalitarian liberals could agree that, in principle, the government does not and should not have the right to set parameters on people's telephone usage.

the problem, as i see it, is that it's not the federal government setting the parameters. it's individual americans who don't like having their dinners and weekends interrupted with inane, unsolicited salesmanship. the government is simply enforcing the will of the people, and by "the people" i don't mean a democratic, tyranny-of-the-majority will, but the individual will of each american. the right to privacy the supreme court once found floating around in the emanations of the penumbra of their ass is a powerful enough force to allow for the arbitrary extinction of one's unborn child, but it can't be used to bounce chattering tele-hucksters?

when slate's dahlia lithwick visited this topic, she brushed it aside with a harried comparison to that great liberal bugaboo, vouchers:

It's simply not enough to say that individuals have privately chosen to sign up for the government registry—that's the sleight-of-hand the court has used to uphold school vouchers. Here you have a state-administered program in which the state has made determinations about what kinds of speech are permissible and what types may be blocked.

i don't disagree with her comparison of the legal framework undergirding both vouchers and do-not-call, but i think i missed the sleight-of-hand. in neither case is the government, on its own authority, determining anything. in both cases, it serves to increase the freedom of individuals by empowering them to make their own choices. that isn't sleight-of-hand, it's fundamental to the whole DNC debate, and to the role of government in general. that the federal government recognized a demand for things like vouchers or a DNCL and created the possibility of their enactment is meaningless: so long as participation is completely voluntary, they haven't deprived anyone of anything. it goes without saying that all americans have the right to determine whether or not someone gets to call them in the privacy of their own home.

in my opinion, the "it's voluntary" argument should hold for any state program where the end is not intrinsically unconstitutional. at best, opponents of the DNCL can say that its means are unconstitutional, a problem which evaporates once one realizes that the means in this case only affect those who want to be affected. some have sought to defend the do-not-call list by pointing out that "the first amendment exists to protect unpopular forms of speech," meaning that the end of the list is grossly unconstitutional. it has an impressive, principled-sounding ring to it, but it's really just a red herring: as everyone knows, my right to unpopular speech ends the moment i set foot on your property.

so here's my question, and it's actually one of those sneaky sleight-of-hand two-parters:

will the do-not-call list pass constitutional muster (and, if you care to share your views, should it) and if not, what about a federal law which would require all telemarketers to use technology which would allow customers to filter out unwanted calls?

locdog thinks that if the "it's voluntary" argument fails, this might be a useful work-around



let's say you're having back pain...

you have surgery but it's a failure and you're left with more pain than before--severe pain that is ruining your life. the doctor prescribes powerful drugs, opiates, to help you cope.

a week or so later, you're doing laundry and you come across a small baggie stashed in one of your teenage son's drawers. inside it are some familiar-looking pills. you go to your medicine cabinet and do a careful count. sure enough, he's lifted some of the pills.

when he arrives home from school that day, you confront him with the findings. he denies it at first, but finally confesses that one of his friends told him that you could get a buzz from that sort of medication, and that they had been experimenting with the pills for a couple days now.

you have always been clean and sober, and you've taken a strong anti-drug stand in the past. you're outraged--and hurt--by your son's behavior because you know that you've taught him better than this. you ask him what he was thinking. you ask if he had considered the dangers of addiction. you ask how he could risk his life on such foolishness. you tell him that he's betrayed your trust, and that, though you love him, he's going to have to earn it back in the coming weeks.

the weeks go by, and your son does his part. he's home every night by curfew. he's letting you know where he'll be and who he'll be with. he's carrying the cell phone that you gave him so you could keep tabs. he's even distanced himself from the friends who put him up to it in the first place. he's clean. but your back hasn't gotten any better, and you find that you still can't make it through a day without the pain-killers.

you explain your situation to the doctor, and after a thorough examination, he agrees that more pain pills are in order. more time passes. the prescription runs out, and you find that the back pain has faded to tolerable levels. but now you've got another problem. you can't sleep. you aren't hungry. you get shakes and cold-sweats. you're nervous. you're hurting--but not in your back. you're hooked.

are you a hypocrite?

folks, rush limbaugh lived a lie for a long, long time. he hid a dark secret for what he describes as "five or six years." hid it from everybody--millions of fans, the eyes of the nation, and worst of all, his own wife. i'm not going to argue that limbaugh's integrity hasn't been compromised, and he's a hypocrite by definition for living one life in public, and a very opposite life in private.

but his hypocrisy is mitigated by the fact that he, unlike the people he spoke out against, didn't knowingly set out on the path of drug abuse. as local conservative radio host jim quinn put it

From the moment a recreational drug user puts the first straw to his nose, the first joint to his lips or the first needle in his arm he KNOWS that what he is doing is illegal.

For whatever reason, he has made a moral choice that his "normal" state is insufficient and needs to be augmented – so much so that he is willing to assume the risk of arrest and/or incarceration. And his resulting addiction should come as no surprise. He knowingly operates outside the law from the get-go. This is vastly different from Limbaugh's scenario.

In Rush's case the drugs were legal and prescribed for the management of pain. He had no reason to question his doctor about the propriety of their use. There was no need for him to wrestle with any moral question in the beginning. By the time morality became an issue, the drugs had pinned him to the mat.

the simple fact is that those of you raking limbaugh over the coals for his "hypocrisy" hated him from day one. now that we find out that he's addicted to prescription pain-killers through no fault of his own, your response is to lump him in with the darryl strawberrys he so vigorously criticized and ship him off to the tenth level of hell. but the calculus needed to reach such a conclusion is as morally bankrupt as those employing it--what happened to rush could happen to any one of you, perhaps someday will, and has certainly happened to millions of otherwise decent people already.

rush broke the law. getting hooked wasn't his fault, but he knew that it was wrong and he tried to get help--twice. that demonstrates, if nothing else, that he is indeed morally culpable for his actions. but to drown out the mitigating pleas of his circumstance with torrents of spite is the truest hypocrisy, coming, as it does, from people who pride themselves on their compassionate way. what it reveals is what everyone of you know to be true, whether you'll admit it or not: you hate rush limbaugh, are thrilled with the opportunity to kick him while he's down, and are using hypocrisy as a convenient excuse.

locdog's story was inspired by quinn's "granny test" which you can read about by following the link



sexy sadie

Sexy Sadie what have you done?
You made a fool of everyone.
You made a fool of everyone.
Sexy Sadie ooh! what have you done?

Sexy Sadie you broke the rules.
You layed it down for all to see.
You layed it down for all to see.
Sexy Sadie ooh! you broke the rules.

One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover.
She came along and turned on everyone.
Sexy Sadie, the greatest of them all.

Sexy Sadie how did you know?
The world was waiting just for you.
The world was waiting just for you.
Sexy Sadie ooh! how did you know?

Sexy Sadie you'll get yours yet.
However big you think you are.
However big you think you are.
Sexy Sadie ooh! you'll get yours yet.

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table.
Just a smile would lighten everything.
Sexy Sadie she's the latest and the greatest of them all.

She made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie.

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie.


the left's real problem with rush limbaugh (it ain't hypocrisy)

on friday of last week, the grand old bull of talk radio, rush limbaugh, concluded his broadcast week by admitting that he is addicted to prescription pain-killers and will be taking a month off to rehabilitate. it didn't take long for the jackals to close in. in a display of rank schadenfreude that made the bill bennet affair look like a playful roast, newsweek snarled and snapped with a story that portrayed limbaugh as a misogynistic tyrant who privately bullied the maid into feeding the monkey on his back while spewing mercilessly moralistic hate-speech in public. and after that, they get nasty.

limbaugh is portrayed as a pathetic ex-high school nerd who grew up to over-compensate with a zeppelin-sized ego and a string of neglected trophy wives. he's a modern-day pharisee with a fan base of 20 million paint chip eaters who can't stop drooling on themselves long enough to figure out that limbaugh is an actor, not a prophet. his on-air bombast is more than offset by his pathetic private life: a cold, isolated existence brightened only by sundays on the couch with football, and the odd visit from one of his only true friends, that other uber-hypocrite, bill bennet.

i've paraphrased a bit, but if anything my description is less loathsome than the skin-crawlingly icky rush you get from the article itself. it's a gleeful hodge-podge of slanderous anecdotes and age-old charges that wash over you like a hurricane tide. you can practically smell the sweat beading on the writer's body as his hands try to keep pace with the damburst wrath pouring from his mind. it's so unabashedly giddy that a charge of media bias here would seem entirely beside the point.

but kicking limbaugh's ribs in as he crawls through the gutter isn't the shameful delight it would seem to be. it's actually patriotic duty, one that newsweek owes us as americans:

The fall of a moralist is always a great American spectacle. The Elmer Gantry story—the righteous preacher who turns out to be a letch and a boozer—has a special resonance in a nation that postures as morally superior but enjoys sin. Nothing entertains (or instructs in the essentials of human nature) like hypocrisy on a grand scale. When Bill Bennett, best-selling author of “The Book of Virtues,” was outed as a compulsive gambler, and evangelist Jim Bakker was caught embezzling from his Praise the Lord empire, the lamentations of the true believers were drowned out by the snickers of the knowing.

so if you're tempted to feel any pity for this chubby, self-absorbed schlub (all slurs lifted directly from the copy, by the way), don't. because you can learn about human nature by reveling in his misery. or something.

you will not be surprised to learn that the rest of the pack wasn't far behind. jack-al franken, who is to rush limbaugh what the dave clark five were to the beatles, wasted no time in digging up every drug-related proclamation the maharushi had ever issued. jackal f. kerry slobbered to the masochists who'd turned out for the last democratic debate that their prescription drug costs would be lower when he was elected president, or when they hired "Rush Limbaugh's housekeeper." few left-leaning pundits or politicos will even attempt to resist tearing a nice, juicy steak from limbaugh's hide. but, joy of joys, they can have their steak and eat it too, for as newsweek has shown us, wallowing in a hated foe's filth is the american way. that's bad news for limbaugh's supporters. the "knowing snickers" will be served up extra-smug.

that's how jackals are, i guess. there's not a-one of em big enough to bring down the bull on their own, but should he ever falter, he'll die the death of a thousand nibbles. and he'll have to listen to them laugh while they do it. maybe "hyenas" is more like it.

but i'm on to you guys in the media, and i'm here to testify: it's not about hypocrisy. it never was. not with limbaugh, not with bennet, not with gingrich. not with any of them. hypocrisy is just what you tell us it's about. it's how you keep us from feeling bad while you rip the slowest member of the herd limb from limb--hey, even Jesus tore into the hypocrites, right? truth be told, you've got two problems with limbaugh, and hypocrisy is neither of them:

1. not one of you could have brought him down on your own. even your moment of triumph is tainted with the knowledge that you couldn't beat him, he had to beat himself for you. and even in defeat, the man remains a giant whose impact on american political discourse outweighs the combined contributions of the rest of you runts tenfold.

2. and more importantly, nobody should preach conventional morals at all, be they saint or sinner. it's not so much that limbaugh said one thing then did another: jesse jackson is a reverend (or so he says) and clinton promised us "the most ethical administration in the history of the republic." no, the real problem here is that someone dared preach an ethic that was not their own. someone dared proclaim sin--first, its existence, then its nature as that which liberals like those now skinning rush alive have been trying to publicly indulge in since the sixties. he said they were wrong, and in so doing, he violated the one universal moral law of the otherwise totally relativistic liberal cosmos: you can do whatever you want as long as you don't criticize the next guy. rush limbaugh, bill bennet, newt gingrich...they've all flouted the fundamental theorem of 21st century american liberalism--the only one its got, really--and for that, no amount of suffering or degradation is enough.

i am angered and saddened by rush limbaugh's failure, but i understand that he's human, and that if only perfect people stood up for right and wrong then no one could ever take a stand again--another reason why "hypocrisy!" will be shouted from the highest mountains in the coming weeks. examples must be made. i personally hope that justice will be done, whatever that may be, and that rush will not be afforded any special treatment because of his celebrity. i hope that he meets his fate with character, and shows something of his greatness even now. i hope that none of those throwing stones at the adulterous woman slept with her the night before, or love anyone who has, because she's a very cruel mistress indeed. only liberals, i suppose, are alcoholics or addicts: bush is a "drunk," and limbaugh will be a "junkie." finally, i hope that rush makes it back again, better than ever.

locdog will be pulling for him