March 23, 2004

The Perils of Nonadaptation

Then, on the other side of the evolutionary coin (opposite the Wandering Elk of Wyoming), we have SF Giants second baseman Ray Durham: '"All through high school, Little League, I've slid the same way," said Durham, 32. "And that's the first time that has ever happened to me. But, you know, that's behind me now. I'll continue to slide the same way; I just won't run as fast."'

Ray need not fear dying from ingesting tainted acidic lichen; no, he'll be smashed flat by a semi delivering 8 tons of Handi-Wipes and chicken tenders to the Western Colorado Wal-Mart.

Hatchet Men

Jibbenainosay is quite right to link this with human institutional adaptability, and the risks pertaining thereunto.

For, after all, isn't it precisely -- and the Confidence Man does mean precisely -- this kind of adaptability that led to the Enron meltdown?

Food supply running low, the scavengers and foragers decided to evolve themselves into a veritable Adaptability Machine -- and thereby abstracted themselves into transactors of adaptability, rather than the "natural" foragers that their environment had shaped them to be.

As a sidebar, note also in the CNN article the curiously placed invocation of the Colorado State Line, which connotes it almost as an environmental function.

Which, if Jibbenainosay is correct in his assumption that this elk migration was driven by human interlopers, is in fact true. However, editing the story in such a way as to disguise this fact also elides what is no doubt a heated political debate amongst Coloradans and Wyomingians over human migratory patterns ...

... in fact, now that the Confidence Man gets to thinking about it ... Wyoming is ranch country, right? OK, not that the conditions conducive to ranching stop at the state line, but ... anyway: we have elk crossing over into potential cattle-grazing territory, right? Driven by herds of yuppieus americanis establishing nesting territory ("subdivisions," the natives call them) that encroaches on the elk feeding grounds.

Dollars to donuts that acidic lichen ain't natcherly so -- and you'll find a cattleman's bootprints leading away from it ...

Second-Best Job Title Ever

Now, granted, this is no "Assistant Breeder - Carrot," but it's evocative nonetheless: "Vulnerability Detector."

Speaking of Verdoppelung und Spaltung ...

What an odd sentiment to express: "Since Riske has never been able to hit against himself, it's not surprising that he was unaware of this skill."

This is, indeed, a fascinating twist on the scientific method: propose an impossible and therefore untestable hypothesis to explain away what we already know we don't know. (Hm. I think perhaps the Cheney Cabal has some experience in this mode of explanation.)

Ahhhhhhh, I see now -- it's Jibbenainosay's old pal Doc Ock! Sheldon Ocker strikes again ...

Mysterious Disappearances and Reapparances Redux, or On the Theme of Verdoppelung und Spaltung

Courtesy of the Rittenhouse Review, we see that there are strange things afoot in the City of Brotherly Love.

We hope for her sake that little Delimar/Aaliyah does not have to "pay the price for her own adaptability" ...

Then, of course, there was this: '"I could never make contact because there was always a machine or something," he said.'

Remember, boys and girls, that in the symbolic exchange there is always a machine or something interceding.

And, furthermore, that this intercession is precisely what makes us "us."

And that Encounters With the Machine should most certainly not be reported to the Proper Authorities. For this Interceding Machine is the N*********r, and must not be invoked, 'pon pain of tongue-splitting.

I Thank the Hatchet Man Who Split My Tongue

To show that the Jibbenainosay isn't interested in the mysterious deaths of humans only: he's been folllowing this story from the start.

Just at the point at which it might be worth at least suggesting how even when we don't just kill them outright, human habitation affects the movement of animals and hence, often, their viability, we get this instead:

"'Elk are incredibly adaptable, tough animals. They'll get by on thin rations and they'll make do somehow. But this year, nearly 300 of them paid the price for that adaptability,' Reed said." (Emphasis added.)

Remember that when you read your Darwin, kids, when you're thinking of your own "management options in the future": you're doomed.

March 22, 2004

Best Job Title EVER

"Assistant Breeder - Carrot."

Oh, mercy me. That's the sort of thing that just brightens up the Confidence Man's day.

There's a whole host of good jokes/quips to be made off of that, but I still have milk coming out my nose, so I'll pass for the moment ...

March 20, 2004

The New World

"In the capital, Iraqis took to the streets to protest the U.S.-led occupation, expressing outrage over poor security and unemployment."

Reading this, Jibbenainosay is embarrassed that he has been hinting that the War in Iraq has not been a "success" by anyone's definition. It sounds more like the U.S. every day, except that people protest.

March 19, 2004

"Gist" Is a Verb?

Hoboy. This is, as they say, sumpfin'.

Nice to see the US military is at long last ramping up their linguistic recruiting.

Priceless: "Ability to deal unobtrusively with the local populace."

March 18, 2004

Countdown to Mendacity

So, the WHO has announced their findings that legal drugs pose a much greater worldwide health risk than do illegal drugs.

The Confidence Man is accepting predictions for the first "debunking" of this report by the Cheney Cabal as part of their unSound Science campaign.

Won't be tomorrow, as they reserve Fridays for dumping bad news into the Weekend Trench of Dissipated Coverage.

Our guess ... Wednesday of next week, timed to follow a late joint press release Tuesday afternoon by either the Hoover or the AEI in conjunction with some Salty Fatty Snax Industry lobby group (the latter disguised as a "consumer choice" astroturf organization).

Perhaps -- just perhaps -- there will also be a tie-in by some non-AMA group of anti-trial-lawyer MDs decrying the "slipshod methodology" of the WHO study.

Remember, you read it here first.

March 17, 2004

A Rheabours

Of course, being more or less a local, I don't feel like I should have to respond to this, but when the Confidence Man calls, nature answers.

Knowing what I do about the family dynamics of rural Tennessee and Kentucky, and having learned from Louis Althusser that these kinds of legal maneuvers tend to be a veil for some other ideological imperative, I'd call attention to the specificity of the dictum: only homosexual acts are to be declared against nature. Reproducing with immediate family members (it's what separates us from the monkeys!) is not to be declared such.

I'd love to see a new border-drama-comedy, Dukes of Hazzard-style, staged in Rhea Co. Daisy's the lipstick lesbian, protected by Bo and Luke (gay brothers in love: that's Rhea-style queer) who provide her with high-tension chase scenes out to the county line whenever Boss Fugate thinks his humorously incompetent deputies have got photographic evidence of her non-breeder sexual activity.

Pack Journalism Exposed

Well this certainly is a fascinating little glimpse from this morning's SF Chron inside of the scandal-mongering pack journos.

And, as a bonus, a very nice little snarkdown of Greta von Susteren: "(One can only speculate what Greta Van Susteren would be doing in a crime-free world. Digging ditches? Teaching second grade?)"

Ah, yes, readers, another patent-pending portmanteau from the Confidence Man: "snark" + "smackdown" = "snarkdown."

Darwin's Rhea, or the American Ostrich

In the words of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Great Googly Moogly!

The board of commissioners of Rhea County, TN have voted unanimously (8-0) to declare homosexual acts "against nature" and are seeking to ban gays from the county.

Yes, Rhea County, the seat of which is Dayton -- home to the Scopes Trial. The local Fundamentalist Christian Madrassah, in conjunction with the county, holds an annual festival featuring a reenactment of the trial.

The Confidence Man urges his readers to wander on over to the local Chattanooga news story and register their opinions in the online poll -- currently running at a strong 65% voting for shock/outrage/disgust over the Rhea County Commissioners' actions.

"American ostrich" does seem most apposite. These damn crackers are sticking their heads in the sand.

Of course, assuming such a posture leaves their hindquarters exposed ...

Perhaps Mr. Jibbenainosay would like to weigh in on this matter, as he has some, shall we say, intimacy with the locals therabouts ...

March 16, 2004

Errorism Redux

Boy, the Confidence Man has been enjoying Timothy Noah's "Chatterbox" column at Slate for some time now, but his latest column is en fuego.

In fact, Chatterbox provides us with a concise definition for our neologism of Errorism: "the war against empiricism."

Though we should point out that Chatterbox is remiss in not linking this up with the whole "The Cheney Cabal Drives Up in a '76 Chevy and Abducts Science From a Playground and Takes Science to a Secure, Undisclosed Location and Does Unspeakable Things to Science, Leaving Science With Tragic Psychic Scarring" storyline.

The one benefit, we suppose, from that particular storyline, is that Tim Robbins will eventually play the role of Science in an award-winning perf ...

The Impact of Global Warming on the Medicare Crisis

When the polar ice caps start to melt, we will have fewer ice floes on which to push our elderly and infirm out to sea ...

Seriously, this theme of "too much cost for benefit to too few patients" is getting out of hand. Gina Kolata of the NYT has been pushing this, in conjunction with the reptilian Tom Scully, for several years.

Yes, genuine cost-benefit analysis can serve to improve the efficacy and efficiency of healthcare.

Yes, there is fraud and waste in Medicare and other state-sponsored healthcare finance schemes.

Yes, a Benthamite public-health analysis schema could improve overall benefits.

But when the punks in charge of all this are in the pocket of the Legalized Mandatory Ponzi Scheme Industry and the Medicinal Space Pork Industry ...


Jibbenainosay offers his condolences. He grew up in the woods of Kentucky, which teem with Baptists, and he hates to see them led into unhealthy places by their government's encouragement of faith-based initiatives.

Still: "Four U.S. Baptist missionaries have died after a drive-by shooting in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the U.S. military said today. A fifth missionary was wounded. The missionaries were working on a water-purification project, church officials and friends said."

A "water-purification project"? Baptists? Surely this is a euphemism.

An Unusual Preoccupation

Now, the Confidence Man does not doubt that certain demons may indeed stalk areas of this land.

However, he has severe doubts that they work for Domino's.

"An unusual preoccupation," indeed -- as opposed, we suppose, to the usual preoccupation born-agains have with The War On Demonism.


The Confidence Man is often described by others as "paranoid."

Now, we're not going to engage in the old dodge of "justified paranoia."

No, we prefer to think of it as a case of our Having Confidence -- Confidence, that is, in others more venal and, shall we say, successful than us.

Nonetheless, we understand how this comes off to others at times: as if the Confidence Man were busy night and day in a sweatshop of his own devising, hand-crafting tinfoil hats to ward off the Bad Mana.

Musing on this subject, we realized that there should be a word for such a person, who believes not only in the existence of extra-social end-times conspiracies but also in the viability of individual discipliniary craft to dispell the mental effects of said end-times conspiracies.

Bingo: "millinerism."

March 12, 2004


The Confidence Man doesn't really know quite what to say about this.

Aside from, y'know, "weird."

The Cheney Cabal Is Holding Ed Neumeier Hostage

Now, the Confidence Man either forget about or simply never heard this particular rumor:

"After Sept. 11, U.S. government officials reportedly sought out sundry Hollywood screenwriters to help them brainstorm potential terrorist scenarios."

But this would make a lot of sense.

The Confidence Man for the last 30 months or so has been convinced that Kreepy Unka Dick has Ed Neumeier tied to a chair somewhere in a small room in the Secure Undisclosed Location, with electrodes tapping into poor Ed's cerebellum.

"I for one find the concept of a bug that thinks to be offensive!"

March 11, 2004

Hey! We Resemble That Remark!

Alright, generally speaking the Confidence Man is a huge fan of the particular brand of snark employed by the brilliant young men at Baseball Prospectus. They have a wonderful ability to integrate qualitative snark with quantitative snark.

But this young whippersnapper Nate Silver has simply gone too far with the apposite in his assertion: "Political pundits--you know, the guys in the bowties--are ranked somewhere between child molester and petty thief on the social hierarchy."

Now, insofar as these two blithering idiots are concerned, Young Nathaniel is right on the money.

But to unfairly tar bowtie wearers in general with that particular feather is a grievous insult, indeed. The Confidence Man is not so concerned with his own tattered image; no, it is the honor of this great man which the Confidence Man wishes to uphold.

We must observe, however, that Young Nathaniel does exhibit both a puckish, self-deprecating sense of humor and a willingness to be corrected of his missteps: "Now, where did I put my bowtie?"

Nate, the Confidence Man procures his bowties here.

Heretical? Clandestinely?

... or, Why Much of Mainstream Science Journalism Is Still so Shoddy ...

An article this morning in the WaPo describes the findings at Harvard that female mice produce new egg cells throughout their adult life.

This is surprising enough in its own right, overturning a certain tenet of mammal biology, but the writer and/or editor have to spice the discussion up by describing "the heretical possibility that women, too, clandestinely produce fresh eggs for at least the first half of life."

Now, the Confidence Man is all for "lively" and engaging science writing.

But -- "heretical"? "Clandestinely"?

"Heresy" is a loaded charge to toss around, especially in scientific circles, and trebly so in the current atmosphere of ultra-politicized science "policy" at the federal level being dictated by a bunch of Christian mullahs. Science, contra those further than the Confidence Man down the spectrum toward cultural and ontological relativism, doesn't really trade in heresy or orthodoxy in the sense that the writer uses, and he should know better.

"Clandestinely," though, is a whole 'nother kettle of fish entirely.

First of all, it imputes intent to not only the possible adult production of egg cells in humans, but intent as well to the occultation of this fact from the general public and/or [male?] scientists.

Secondly, it implies almost a sort of female conspiracy in the putative occultation. [Can one person act "clandestinely"? Only as an agent in the service of some other individual or group of individuals. Otherwise, the activity would be merely "private."]

Thirdly, it's unnecessarily colorful, evoking either a Mata Hari-esque dance of seduction and subterfuge, or a rear-guard burqa-clad plot for subversion. [OK, now the Confidence Man himself is engaging in unnecessarily colorful connotation: "rear-guard" actions would more properly be used by sodomites against or within the Taliban, eh? Not that there's anything wrong with that ...]

Fourthly, and this is what really gets the Confidence Man's proverbial goat, the adverbial form of "clandestine" is simply too damn clunky. It's an awkward word, both visually and verbally.

Ahhhhhhhhh, but wait -- we see, now, the writer is being clever [or, perhaps, just lucky]: "[Latin clandestnus, probably blend of *clam-de, secretly (from clam. See kel-1 in Indo-European Roots), and intestnus, internal; see intestine.]"

Ah, yes, "see intestine," indeed. Well, if the writer was indeed going for a genuinely abstruse Latin pun playing on the antiquated/infantile notion of women bearing children in their digestive tract -- bra-vo! Well done! Otherwise, um ... see our notes above ...

All the News That's Fit ...

Alright, someone in the Daily Press Gaggle needs to push Scott McClellan on this further desecration and denigration of science by the Cheney Cabal in the name of increased profits.

Really, this should be a slam-dunk personalized attack on Bush: he has repeatedly cast himself as a fitness zealot, and especially prior to 09/11/01, there were multiple anecdotes about Bush being excessively snarky to any of his aides who were somewhere north of svelte.

Someone in the Gaggle should directly ask McClellan whether Bush eats fast food, whether he thinks Americans should eat healthy diets, and why he supports poor American dietary and exercise habits. I mean, come on, Helen! Get on it!

(By the way, that "AEI" in the Helen Thomas link is not this AEI, thank Zoroaster.)

Spearmint Rhino?

The Confidence Man does not understand these perverted Limeys.

I mean, really: "Spearmint Rhino"? What is that about?

Although we must say, we wholeheartedly embrace the concept of "models of good practice" ...

March 10, 2004

Godless Americans

Oh, boy. This is a really, really dumb idea.

Maybe not quite as dumb as the whole "brights" kerfuffle, but ...

So dumb, however, that, when considered in conjunction with the fact that it appeared in the Moonie Times, it smacks of a bit of dirty-tricks-ism.

Like, say, the continuing candidacy of a certain gadfly "Democrat" ...

Genre Studies

Well, this is a little bit country, and a little bit rock-'n'-roll, isn't it?

Although, to make this a "genre" issue is something strange, indeed: "Some experts believe the sweeping surveillance of a genre of musicians is unprecedented."

March 08, 2004

The Confidence Man Watches CNN

While the Confidence Man sees many things, with this ding-danged head- and chest cold, his hearing is somewhat dodgy.

But nonetheless, he straps on the headphones and attends the evening news on CNN whilst he performs his calisthenics and ablutions, and notes certain minor details.

1. Parsdint Flightsuit is being mighty cute with this impugn-Kerry's-sexuality line: '"Once again, Senator Kerry is trying to have it both ways," Bush said.'

2. Kerry doesn't help matters any with his invocation of either the site of the origin of the contemporary gay rights movement or the nickname of a Confederate hero: '"Why is this administration stonewalling and resisting the investigation into what happened and why we had the greatest security failure in the history of our country?" Kerry said at a hastily arranged news conference.'

3. The Confidence Man caught about 3 minutes of this with the sound off, and honest-to-god, thought he was actually watching this. The empty offices, the strange sense of "is this staged/recreated, and if so for whom," the socially inept insider-outsider dynamic, the stagey "emotional confrontations" ...

The Greatest Ticket

Hm. Brokaw? Yeah, that would be thinking outside the box.

I don't dislike the idea ... but I'm not sold.

The Confidence Man still thinks that Kerry's best "outside the box" candidate for No. 2 would be ... Oprah!

Forced Perspective

Yes, another reason to be simultaneously respectful and resentful of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is his bodacious wifey-wife, Court TV talking head, ex-prosecutor, and, yes, ex-lingerie model, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom.

However, as this photo makes clear, lil' Kim apparently has ... man hands!

As a side note, she also presents copy editors with a significant challenge keeping track of the appropriate placement or elision of "E"s in her name: none before the Y in her first name, one at the end of her maiden name, and none at the end of her married name (CNN in particular was having trouble adding a vestigial "E" to the end of "Newsom" for the first 2 weeks following the SF gay marriage story breaking).

Hard-Drinkin' Homophobes

Well, this is certainly more evidence of Fat Tony Scalia's unfitness for the SCOTUS.

However, the priceless detail is this:

'According to Devlin, the event made no money. He said he didn't recall how much was collected. If all 125 attendees bought tickets, it would have brought in $18,750.

"It was a wash," he said, adding that the bill for the open bar was higher than expected.

Lawdy, lawdy. Those defend-The-Family-from-the-Sodomites types do enjoy their firewater, apparently ...

March 07, 2004

The Eternal Cloudiness of the Piebald Mind

... or, How The Confidence Man Killed Michel Gondry ...

'"Human Nature" was poorly received. "I was really depressed," Mr. Gondry said, but he decided to do something constructive. "I took a notebook and I wrote all my problems and my ideas about the film — why I was upset by certain critics, what I thought was maybe true, and how I could change it." He ended up with 40 pages.'

Michel Gondry does not have Confidence.

March 05, 2004

Cause and Affect

(Now, before y'all start in on the Confidence Man's spelling with this-here header, please hold on, keep reading, and your patience shall be rewarded. Have Confidence. This shall all make sense in good time.)

Hm. This is an odd and intriguing article in the LAT. Apparently, nicotine is the new Magick Redemptive Patent Liniment, Salve and Cure-All. Brought to you, of course, by Big Terbacky. Which, in turn, means -- more Space Pork for Nawth Cahwlayna and Kaintuck!

But, the Confidence Man doth digress. The topic here that interests him is Science! or the lack of principled thought therein.

Note in the article the innocuous discussion in the second nut graf of certain scientists' belief that "nicotine holds promise as a powerful treatment for a variety of illnesses, from Alzheimer's disease to depression to schizophrenia."

Now, reading further, we find the reasoning for studying the effects of nicotine on schizophrenics:

Why do almost 90% of schizophrenics smoke — three times the rate of the general population? Why do teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, smoke at higher rates than their peers?


Doctors have long suspected that people with schizophrenia and ADHD are self-medicating — that is, they try to alleviate their symptoms by smoking.

So, ok, sure, perhaps there is potentially something to this discussion of acetylcholine receptors.

The Confidence Man, however, has grave reservations.

Schizophrenia research from the days of Bleuler and Krapelin has been plagued by confusion between affect and effect, and between behavioral symptoms and molecular/chemical/biologic symptoms and pharmacokinetic symptoms.

Not to mention the fact that schizophrenia presents with "symptoms" that are impossibly bound up with linguistic and social structures to be merely biologic in nature. The altered affect so notable in schizophrenia is very likely as much a sociological phenomenon as it is a biological phenomenon.

(A-ha! And now the cute "mis"-spelling in our header becomes apparent as a clever little pun. Aren't we adorable?)

So, back to the nic-fit issue at hand. Apparently, "scientists" have determined that persons with schizophrenia and ADHD -- which are both characterized by altered affect, twitches, mood swings, and nervous, restless energy -- are "self-medicating" with cigarettes.


Well, first of all, ANYone who smokes is "self-medicating" per se.

But, more importantly, smoking gives you something to do with your hands and mouth. To calm you down and keep you from tweaking out in other less socially acceptable ways. It's an oral-digital affect and a behavioral/attitudinal affect and a peer-induced behavioral gesture, especially when first adopted and reinforced as a habit.

This "self-medicating" stuff is utter nonsense.

But understandable: research physicians are not trained in sociology or anthropology or linguistics. As evidenced further by this priceless nonsense.

Now, don't get the Confidence Man wrong: he is not saying that nicotine has no effect or no potential as a treatment for these conditions; nor is he denying the molecular/biological evidence of nicotine's effect on the acetylcholine receptors.

No, our point here is that these researchers have Confidence. That is, though they claim to toe the line of Science!, they tread the path of the True Believers.

March 04, 2004

Utter Nonsense on Science and Technology

Alright, fine, we've already demonstrated our anti-Kerry bias.

But this is just ... maddening.

Yes, Kerry does criticize "this President" for acting "like a modern-day luddite presiding over an anti-science Administration," but this speech has zero grounding in any understanding of the history of technology, and lays out no clear vision for the role of science in society or the role of government in science and technology research.

What the speech does is give some vague generalities, and a hint that Stanford graduates may receive some Space Pork of their own.

Kerry needs to fire whomever wrote this load of crap.

I Yield the Floor to the Honorable Golden Retriever from Missouri

OK, so the WaPo comes up with an even more ridiculous argument than the Confidence Man for Kerry's VP nom: "A few Kerry advisers said Gephardt could be the right choice because he is squeaky clean, loyal, tireless and as disciplined as any politician in the game."

Could Be ...

... still ain't "is." 'Course, that depends on what your definition of "is" is.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday in Iraq:

'"Even if you don't have health insurance," said Thompson, who toured medical facilities in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Tikrit on Saturday and Sunday, "you are still taken care of in America. That certainly could be defined as universal coverage. Every American's health care is far superior to what the health care is in Iraq."'

Jesus. Well, I guess I'm glad to know that my QoL baseline is now "Was I suicide-bombed today?" Someone should probably alert Julie Gerberding.

Your Silly Peace Pipe Is no Match for my Axe, Savage!

Well, this seems to be something more in Mr. Jibbenainosay's purview.

The only comment that the Confidence Man has at the moment is to observe that this fellow seems to have at least spent his time productively between shoulder surgeries (note the signature detail on the blow-up of the re-design).

Well, alright, we do have one other comment: why is there nothing about the French on this?

The Confidence Man Needs a Lexis-Nexis Account

... in order to chart the usage of the term "Baghdad by the Bay" to describe San Francisco (thanks, Mr. Caen; I'm hoisting a glass of vitamin V for ya), broken out by time (specifically, 1991-92 and 2002-04) and by right, left and centrist press outlet.

Yes, it's a fully cooked proposition, but it would be entertaining to see nonetheless.

March 03, 2004

Tempus Fuckit (con apologia por Jibbenainosay)

Ah, yes, Mr. Jibbenainosay phase-shifts into the realm of the temporal.

(My goodness, the Confidence Man should know better than to be typing after 10:00 with a snootful of patent cough medicine in him: he initially typed that above phrase as "phase-shits," which wouldn't be at all pleasant for anyone involved.)

Tell us, Jibb, what the fuck is up with that stock Corbis image accompanying the CNN article? Pencils and pencil sharpeners? Jesus H. Gibson. I guess that following the logic of the article, we would hazard a guess that "pencils" educated in "pencil-only" classes would remain dull and undifferentiated; "pencil sharpeners," on the other hand, would not suffer demonstrably, unless one were to subscribe to the narrow viewpoint that it was the natural destiny and obligation of a pencil sharpener to be filled with pencil lead and to shave it off in narrow increments.

To pursue Jibb's line of questioning, as to what kind of shavers this sort of school system will turn out: well, we, among others, have bandied about with the term "American Taliban" since yon these long years since Mullah Ashcroft's confirmation by the dismal solons.

And speaking of "our" current "born-again oil baron administration," I believe that the titular head and lieu-tenant of same have some firsthand experience with "alcohol-powered cars."

With Apologies to Publius

Who are the kids who go to these schools going to marry? Our historical memory is so short that the Republicans can't remember the Walter Jenkins affair (1964), much less the nancy culture produced by centuries of single-sex education in "jolly" old England.

Jibbenainosay customarily doesn't talk about politics. It's temporal. But his Representatives In Government keep using the word "marriage," which, like "phlebotomy," is a word they should never, ever use in their official capacity -- so it's time to carve my sign in the flesh of the internet.

Reader, if you are confused about this same-sex marriage affair, as I suspect you are, do what you should always do when you are confused by political culture: read the U.S. Constitution. In the case of confusion, this is usually the most important moment: Amendments, Article 10: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Think about this: it's very, very important. If the Constitution doesn't mention something -- for example, the word "marriage" doesn't appear in it at this point -- then the issue is in the hands of the States or in the hands of the people. In the current debate, both "parties" tell you that decisions about marriage should rest in the hands either of the federal government or in the hands of the States. Right now, because neither is specifically designated as a regulator (this debate itself has for the moment deprecated the offensive "Defense of Marriage Act"), this power is still, effectively, in the hands of "the people."

Better to have no reference to things like marriage. Worst case, there is only one amendment to the Constitution that an individual with any sense of self-preservation or human sympathy could approve: "The right of citizens of the United States to marry shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

All you buckrahs I grew up with in Kentucky out there, having trouble tolerating this post, just remember this: Article [XVIII], Section 1: "After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited." Your born-again oil baron administration can't wait to re-up that one -- with minor modifications, it's their last line of defense against alcohol-powered cars.

Also, please notice that my proposed Amendment will allow you to marry your sisters.

Kerry's No. 2

Sigh. Well, we're still not enthused about Kerry as No. 1, but so be it.

In any event, the new parlor game sweeping the land is the guessing game to scry who shall be the No. 2.

There's a vibrant multiplayer discussion here, and in it the Confidence Man discerns the following ideal traits for Kerry's No. 2 to boast:

- a Southerner or Midwesterner, to geographically balance the ticket and to try to appeal to the swing and "Red" states

- a person with a military title

- a "distinguished" (i.e., elderly) figure with gravitas

- a "character" to balance Kerry's woodenness

- someone with fiduciary expertise

- a supporter of Social Security

- someone with solid "domestic" skills and expertise, to balance Kerry's foreign-policy bona fides

- an innovator capable of thinking "outside the box"

- someone with a working-class background, to balance Kerry's blueblooded wealth

- an "outsider" with leadership qualities but no "inside the Beltway" taint

The Confidence Man has the solution.


We Have Confidence!

Jesus. That was fast.

Just a week ago, the Confidence Man wrote that,

"[I]n the event of a Bush-Cheney win this fall, about halfway through their second term we will see a genuinely ugly private military/commando debacle, along the lines of Iran-Contra."

So ... this week, we get the overthrow (again) of Aristide in Haiti.

What does that have to do with our post, you ask?

Note that Kreepy Unka Dick went on the campaign offensive yesterday, granting interviews to FOX, MSNBC, and CNN.

In response to Wolf Blitzer's query regarding the ouster of Aristide, Cheney replied that Aristide "left with his security detail on an aircraft we provided, not a military aircraft but civilian charter."

As we said, Exfrastructure. Outsource the military operation, and it's not, strictly speaking, a US enterprise.

March 02, 2004

Preemptive Unilateral Moratorium

The Confidence Man hereby declares Gone to Croatan to be a textual zone that shall remain free of the foodie-copy phrase "[blank]ed to perfection," as it is an abomination.

March 01, 2004

On the Theme of Mysterious Reappearances, Revisited

Things are burbling to the surface all over the place in San Francisco.

This is actually quite priceless: "It is presumed that they were taken by medical
students, or ghouls."

Ghouls, indeed. Hm. Should I be worried enough by this to call in Dr. Quatermass for a consultation?

"Crossing Over"?

Now, this is either a fairly sophisticated punning header, or ...

Well, or what? I'm at a loss -- probably just the politics editor being cute, since there's no real follow-up of the metaphor (the phrase, yes, but not the full-on mechaphor) in the text.

As in, yes, I see dead Democrats voting.

A Bee in my Bonnet

OK, this thing that is really bugging me seems to be official: the NYT pluralizes "millennium" as "millenniums."

For a publication that is otherwise so fusty and procrustean in its stylebook, this sort of usage seems to me to be awfully ... casual.

I mean, what's next: using APOSTROPHES to pluralize? Jesus. I suppose if you're going to Hell in a handbasket, Greengrocer's English would be the metaphorically appropriate instigator, eh?


Speaking of dropping the Bush quote, this morning's SF Chron Oscar wrapup very strangely elides Sean Penn's WMD quip:

'"If there's one thing that actors know, it's that there's no such thing as best in acting," Penn said[.]'

That first comma in the Chron's quote is a clear elision. Anyone who watched the damn show couldn't miss it. Here's a Reuter's quote just in case you missed it:

'"If there's one thing that actors know, other than that there weren't any WMDs (weapons of mass destruction)," he said, to cheers and scattered applause, "it's that there is no such thing as best in acting[.]'

Why in the name of Zoroaster would the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, of all local newspapers, cut that WMD bit out? Does Judith Miller have some sort of dirt on Ruthe Stein and Carla Meyer?

Match Play

Shorter Davis Love III: Gay marriage is destroying the ability of white citizens to putt effectively in match play against chimerized liberal mongrels.

"I don't think it's just golf, I think it's our whole society," Love said. "They don't respect what other people do, don't respect your elders, don't respect other people's space, don't respect traditions or etiquette or customs. You see it in every sport, you see it walking down the street, not holding the door open for a lady when you're supposed to."

Then, in a curious allusion, Love cited the occupant of the White House.

"It's what President Bush is fighting for," Love said. "Traditions and etiquette and being good people."

Note also that the AP version of this drops the Bush quote.