Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, March 13, 2015 8:14 pm

Odds and ends for March 13

Charlie Pierce at Esquire has written the best big-picture analysis of what the GOP is up to that I’ve seen anywhere. They really don’t want a United States as you and I think of it. Dana Milbank at The Washington Post also addressed this issue, but largely in silly fashion.

For the record, after re-reading the Logan Act, I have changed my mind: I now think the 47 senators who signed that letter to Iran violated it. No, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Assad doesn’t count because a bunch of Republican congresscritters also visited Assad just days before and after she did. No, the Democrats’ 1984 letter to the Nicaraguan government doesn’t count because basically all they did was ask for free elections, which the Reagan administration also wanted, or said it did. I realize nothing will happen to the 47 (and that Obama would be impeached immediately if his Justice Department made any moves in that direction), but this is worth documenting as another case in which Republicans broke the law and got away with it.

Did Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor and likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016, totally pull a story out of his rear end about having been anointed by Nancy Reagan to carry on in the spirit of the Gipper? Signs point to yes.

North Carolina is going to start issuing fracking permits on Tuesday. Not only do we not have, as promised, the best air-quality regulations in the nation regarding fracking, we don’t have any air-quality regulations regarding fracking at all. Your Republican state government at work, folks. And if they don’t care about the air, what makes you think they give a damn about your water?

The N.C. Senate officially doesn’t give a damn about at-risk kids in the state’s public schools. Ending the requirement for an individual education plan means nothing specific will be required to happen for any particular student and no one will be held accountable when it doesn’t. This doesn’t end the federally-required Individual Education Plans for special-needs students, but I’m sure Richard Burr, Thom Tillis and Mark Walker are working on that.

The N.C. GOP says it’s gonna start listening to people. That’s a laugh. If they wanted to listen to people, they could start by killing SB36 and SB181, the unsolicited, unnecessary, not-at-all-an-attempt-to-dilute-Democratic-voting-strength efforts to redistrict the Greensboro City Council and the Wake County commissioners, respectively.

So Florida has banned the use of the phrases “global warming” and “climate change” in state documents? Pikers. North Carolina did that years ago.

You can’t make this up: Indiana State Rep. Justin Moed, a Democrat, got caught sexting … with the same woman Anthony Weiner got caught sexting with.

This is cool, and I did not know about it before: In March 1944, in blatant violation of Jim Crow laws in force at the time, Duke University’s (white) basketball team played the team from N.C. College for Negroes (now N.C. Central University). And the Eagles gave the Blue Devils a righteous ass-whipping.

Tomorrow, 3/14/15, is Pi Day, so at 9:26:54 a.m. and p.m., you should eat pie. Just because. Also, no doubt to your vast relief, you can stop trying to square the circle; pi says it’s impossible.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013 6:50 pm


So in an attempt to figure out why we’re in this government-shutdown mess, I went to the Magic 8-Ball and posed a question. The following dialogue ensued:

Q: Is John Boehner’s head in his descending colon, his transverse colon or his ascending colon?

A: Very doubtful.

Q: So is it up in his small bowel?

A: Very doubtful.

Q: So is it, um, up in his stomach?

A: No.

Q: Oh, wow. So it’s all the way up in his esophagus, you mean?

A: Yes.

Well, that would explain a lot.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:41 pm

Simple answers to simple questions, News”Busters”/Nico Pitney edition

Q (from Tim Graham): “Isn’t Obama Planting a Huffington Post Question Worse Than Bush’s ‘Gannongate’?”

A: No.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Friday, April 10, 2009 4:49 pm

Simple answers to simple questions (special zombie edition)

Q: What kind of bank can pass the feds’ “stress test” yet still need more taxpayer money?

A: Zombie banks that should be nationalized.

Q: What kind of stress test is a test that all 19 of the nation’s biggest banks can pass even though some of them obviously are in a world of hurt?

A: A zombie test.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Friday, February 27, 2009 10:48 pm

Simple answers to simple questions

Filed under: Simple answers to simple questions — Lex @ 10:48 pm

Q: (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaking to the CPAC convention:)  “Who wants to hang out with guys like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich when you can be with Rush Limbaugh?”

A: I do.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 12:35 pm

Helping Scott Lively out

In today’s edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions, we address a question raised by one Scott Lively of the ostensibly Christian group Americans for Truth.

Scott asks, “Is there any way to openly disapprove of homosexuality without being a homophobe?”

A: No.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

UPDATE: I was so bugged by the Lively piece that I went to the Americans for Truth Web site and left a note about it. I didn’t expect a response, so I didn’t keep a copy, but basically, I stressed the second great commandment and so forth. I also pointed out in passing that their claim that anything they get through their Web site is theirs under copyright law wasn’t accurate.

I got the following response from the head of the group, Peter LaBarbera:

Your definition of “homophobe” is meaningless to me, Lex. It’s flexible anyway. And you copyright law note is goofy (and not accurate). Repent. Jesus condemned sexual sin. – Peter LaBarbera

So I wrote back:

Well, Peter, claiming that a definition is meaningless to you doesn’t make it any less accurate. Moreover, as a professional writer, editor and Web-site manager for more than 25 years, someone who has had frequent occasion to consult with attorneys regarding copyright issues, I can assure you that my description of copyright law is quite accurate. (I could also suggest a wording change in your notice, but 1) I don’t want to be accused of practicing law without a license, and 2) frankly, I see no reason to try to make easier the lives of those who try to make the lives of others harder.)

Finally, if you’ll recall Jesus’ recounting of the two great commandments, you’ll note that he insisted that all the law and the prophets should be understood in the context of those two commandments — in sum, that you love God by loving that part of God which is in everyone by treating everyone else as you would wish to be treated. Moreover, the question was about homosexuality, the inherent trait, not homosexual acts, so don’t change the subject.

Again: Repent.



And he wrote back:

Lex, I treat you as I would wish to be treated when I warn you of the consequences of embracing sin. That’s the Gospel, given in love. And God has no part of sin. You may be a writer, but you are no theologian, my friend.

So I wrote back:

Peter, I give you the same warning, with even more of a basis. Christ was quite clear. He made the commandments easy to understand because he knew that abiding by them would require going against every bit of prejudice, ill will and willful ignorance that humanity has been capable of inculcating in itself, to say nothing of the seductive sense of superiority we derive from Satan’s temptation to mistreat others.

In more than 40 years of studying Scripture, I have found absolutely no basis for using Christ as an excuse to inflict unearned suffering upon others. So in the unlikely event you ever become qualified to judge my qualifications as a theologian, I’ll let you know. My friend.



He responded by linking to some academic who appears to share his prejudices. I pointed out that Martin Luther didn’t do what he did just so this guy and his professor friend could go around telling people what to believe, and I pointed out that it appeared unlikely that either of us was going to change the other’s mind.

I also took a look at the AFT Web site, which combines a few kernels of biblical truth with a tidal wave of hysteria and an utter absence of perspective. Consensual adult sex outside of marriage is their chosen fast, and they have a right to it, but aren’t there more important and harmful sins to which to attend?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 7:51 pm

Simple answers to simple questions

Filed under: Simple answers to simple questions — Lex @ 7:51 pm

Q: Is calling out the intolerant for their intolerance intolerant?

A: No.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Monday, December 22, 2008 7:15 pm

Wiesenthal v. McCarthy

Time once again for another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Today’s contestant, Mark Goldblatt at The Corner (run by the National Review, and boy howdy, has the level of common sense there dropped off since Buckley died) asks, “Why does an obsessive Nazi-hunter like Simon Wiesenthal get positive press while an obssessive Communist-hunter like Joe McCarthy is vilified?”

Wiesenthal hunted Nazis known to be guilty of crimes. McCarthy smeared a lot of innocent people as part of his quest.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 9:58 pm

Simple answers to simple questions: Social Security

How do we ease Social Security’s problems? Cracking down on employers who don’t pay Social Security and Medicare taxes to the government would help.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

(h/t: Mom)

Thursday, July 31, 2003 8:06 pm

Cops on hippos

StereoLabRat is not impressed with New York City cops’ new mode of transportation, the Segway. But instead of bitching about it — well, OK, she bitches about it, but in addition to bitching about it, she also offers up some alternatives.

Possibly NSFW (language).

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