Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #102: Dancing Limbaughs

“What they really want to see is, they want you to chop your fucking arm off, hold up your arm, wave it around spewing blood, and believe me, if you did that, the crowd would go fucking ballistic. You only get four good shows like that, though. Four good shows, and then you’re just a torso and a head, trying to get one of your band mates to give you one last hurrah and chop your head off. Which they probably wouldn’t do, which would really be hell.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #91: No Joke

Well I figured I’d give you all a break Continue reading

The Summer of Hate provides a watershed moment for "reasonable Republicans"

I’m not a Republican, but I know many people who are. I have GOP friends, co-workers and family members, and for that matter I used to be a Republican myself. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, to be sure. But it’s true.

It’s no secret that I don’t agree with the GOP on much of anything these days, but there’s kind of an odd element to my conversations with Republican acquaintances lately: a lot of them profess significant disagreement with the platform and policies of their party, too.

Taken in a vacuum, this is hardly surprising. Continue reading

Meet Satan's towel boy, Ralph Nader, and other famous rabblerousers in a call for open debates

He’s the man who caused Sep. 11, war in the Gulf, a million Iraqi deaths and probably mad cow disease too, as you’ve no doubt heard from disgruntled Democrats. Of course I’m talking about Evil Incarnate, consumer advocate and political gadfly Ralph Nader.

As evidenced by the comments to my piece on him way back when, he’s still roundly feared and loathed by countless Dems for supposedly helping George W. Bush, no matter how indirectly, steal the 2000 election from Al Gore and allowing everything that followed to pass. Well, he’s running for president again, and his anti-bigwig rhetoric has grown more pointed and caustic, just as the general lefty revulsion for him and his supporters has. Continue reading

The House trumpets earmark reform – through a tuba

Yesterday, the House of Representative passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007(S.1EAH), trumpeting the bill as “landmark legislation” (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as quoted in the Washington Post) that will “drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C., to let sunshine disinfect the Congress” (from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s press release). Even critics are calling this bill “‘big-time’ fundamental reforms” (Democracy21 president Fred Wertheimer) and saying that the legislation “should go a long way toward changing the way business is done in Congress” (Common Cause). And if the Act were just about lobbying reform, I’d agree. But the Act also includes earmark reform, and these reforms leave a great deal to be desired. Continue reading

A proposal for a progressive agenda

Over the course of the last several years, we have experienced the results of failed Republican policies. The subjugation of all other foreign policy objectives to national defense has created a situation where we are literally less safe for having our soldiers fighting abroad1. Lower taxes are bankrupting the government, leading to a wholesale crumbling of our roads and public buildings, public education, public health and safety, and even our national security2 due to lack of maintenance. Smaller government, originally intended to improve efficiencies by moving supposedly bloated government programs to private industry, has created a government that is unable to perform its most basic duties, such as protecting its citizens and enforcing its laws. Freeing markets from strict federal regulation has resulted in the corruption of Enron and Adelphia Communications3 as well as a massive increase in real poverty. And the focus on family values has produced a cultural environment that is singularly unfriendly to non-traditional families, scientific and medical research, and even immigration.

There are many, many reasons that the Republican agenda has failed. Continue reading

What comes after Capitalism?

Burn all the air! Be Free!The panel debated long and loud. Much argument both for and against. Civil society groups protested outside, each outdoing the next in plaintive cries and outlandish dress. Eventually the chairman spoke:

“Ladies and gentlemen, a decision has been reached. The system is beyond reform. We need something new that represents all. We have decided. Air will be replaced.”

Outlandish? Perhaps. But so is the argument against Capitalism.

Continue reading