Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Hard Bigotry of Apologizing for Hard Bigotry

The woman who vouched for Mel Gibson's feminist bona fides shows that her ability to judge character hasn't changed:

Andrew Breitbart is a wonderful man and an American patriot, and both of those qualities are on display in this Newsweek interview. "If I could do it all over again," he says, "I should have waited for the full video to get to me."

Admitting that you purposefully published something false without knowing all the facts isn't the best defense to a defamation action, but it's better than using a dimwit as a character witness.

Dick Van Dyke Is In Charge of the Death Panels, And Angela Lansbury Will Run the FEMA Camps

1965 was the year the Andy Griffith Show was first broadcast in color, although Mayberry wasn't integrated until 1967.

(Via Washington Monthly)

Sharia Law - Bad; Special Treatment for Fundies Who Kill Their Kids - Good

Newt Gingrich's most recent bedwetting about Sharia law provides a nice background to this ugly story:
OREGON CITY – An Oregon City couple will face charges of second-degree manslaughter in the faith-healing death of their newborn son, the third such fatality involving the Followers of Christ church in the past two years.

...

Their infant son was born in September, 2009, about six weeks premature. He weighed 3 pounds, 5 ounces and lived nine hours.

No one with medical training attended the birth, and no one called a doctor or ambulance. An autopsy determined the infant died of staph pneumonia and complications from a premature birth, including underdeveloped lungs.

The medical examiner noted the presence of a bacterial infection, which could have caused the amniotic sac to rupture, or the water to break as the event is commonly called.

...

"Mr. and Mrs. Hickman are presumed innocent," defense attorney Mark Cogan said. "The government has the burden of proving the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. We have not seen the evidence yet."

...

In 1999, the Legislature passed a law that eliminated religious protections in cases of second-degree manslaughter and first- and second-degree criminal mistreatment. The law left religious immunity in place for some other crimes but gave prosecutors more options for charging parents in such cases.
Here's the law:
Friday, July 23, 1999 ... House Bill 2494 passed 24-2 and heads to the desk of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign it.

HB2494 eliminates the spiritual healing defense against charges of second-degree manslaughter, first- and second-degree criminal mistreatment and nonpayment of child support.

In a key compromise, the bill eliminates the mandatory minimum 75-month prison sentence for second-degree manslaughter in faith-healing cases. The bill largely leaves the sentence up to the judge.

"We have a constitutional right to die for our religious convictions," said Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who carried the bill on the Senate floor. "We don't have a constitutional right to make our children do so."
As the parents' attorney states, these are just charges, and have yet to be proven. The parents may argue that their child would have died with medical treatment, that the ME's observations were wrong, etc. However, if they're convicted, and claim that they've already suffered enough, 75 months shouldn't be the half of it.

The point of this post is that this law gives preferential treatment to Christian fundamentalists(*), and it was enacted with overwhelming support in the state Legislature. While Newt blathers about the non-existent threat of Sharia law, he and his ilk aren't bothered by existing laws which have real consequences.

* Obviously, most fundies don't rely on faith healing, particularly when it's their own asses on line, or even for their children. But the exception to the law was written for a particular brand of Christian fundies.
This surprises me not at all.

What would surprise me is honest wingnuts linking to the story, and admitting they knew it was all bullshit from the beginning.

Grand Old Police Blotter: Swift Boat Veterans For Life Sentences Edition

Couldn't happen to a bigger pair of pricks:

Sam and Charles Wyly, billionaire Texas brothers who gained prominence spending millions of dollars on conservative political causes, committed fraud by using secret overseas accounts to generate more than $550 million in profit through illegal stock trades, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Thursday.

...

According to the SEC, the brothers, who live in Dallas, created an elaborate and clandestine network of accounts and companies on the Isle of Man and in the Cayman Islands. The brothers then used these accounts and companies to trade more than $750 million of stock in four public companies on whose boards they served, not filing the disclosures required for corporate insiders, the SEC said.

...

The SEC says that by using offshore accounts to trade shares of these public companies, the Wylys were able to escape filing the regulatory disclosures required of board members when they buy or sell shares.

By keeping their trading activity secret, the Wylys deprived outside investors of information they could use "to gauge the sentiment of public companies' insiders and large shareholders about the financial condition and prospects of those companies," the SEC said.

Wyly? Because we can get away with it when the Republicans are in charge.

The article mentions another fraud for which the Wylys were never prosecuted:

In 2004, the Wylys helped fund Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, another third-party organization that ran controversial television ads attacking the military record of Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Bush's Democratic opponent.

And the Wylys have a teabag connection:

Their biggest beneficiaries include three Texas Republicans, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions and former House Republican leader Richard K. Armey, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis. The Wylys also have given to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and many other members of the GOP.

The fake grassroots will be thinner than Dick Armey's real hair if the Wylys do time.

The Wylys deny all charges, saying they relied on the advice of attorneys. One of their attorneys is also charged in the scheme.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Refreshing

An admission against interest from Meegan McArdle:

I'm not a fan of tampering with large, complex systems that I don't really understand, which is why I tend not to support much direct government intervention in the economy....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grand Old Police Blotter: BoBos in Solitary Confinement Edition

David Brooks used to wear a green Army jacket festooned with FDR buttons, albeit nowhere near an actual Army or war. He's since graduated to American flag finery.

DHB, which specialized in making body armor used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for more than $6 million in personal expenses on behalf of Mr. [David] Brooks, covering items as expensive as luxury cars and as prosaic as party invitations, Ms. Schlegel testified.

Also included were university textbooks for his daughter, pornographic videos for his son, plastic surgery for his wife, a burial plot for his mother, prostitutes for his employees, and, for him, a $100,000 American-flag belt buckle encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.

The expense-account abuse, the prosecution has said, represented a pittance compared with the $190 million that Mr. Brooks and another top employee are accused of making through a stock fraud scheme in which he falsified information about his company’s performance — including significantly overstating the inventory of bulletproof vests — to inflate the price of the stock before selling his shares in 2004.

Okay, that's not really our BoBo. His interns have to pay for their own whores.

It's another neo-con man named David Brooks. And that David Brooks is a big supporter of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. And that David Brooks isn't just a fraudulent scumbag and proud Republican, he's also an alleged war profiteer:

There have been questions about the vests produced by the company, similar to questions faced by others in the industry, regarding both the use of a material now known to become more permeable in high heat and the lack of protection provided to some vital areas. Those issues, however, are not related to the current case.

The good news?

Mr. Brooks, who his lawyers have said is in a "tenuous emotional state," has watched much of the proceedings with glassy eyes and a nervous demeanor.

Let's hope they confiscated that fancy belt.

Stuck in the 1980s

Slate's hiring of David Weigel demonstrates the e-zine's willingness to move into the present century. It's about time. Here's Hanna Rosin writing on Slate earlier this week, recalling some ancient history:

The abortion plot is another way in which this show [Friday Night Lights] is stuck in the 1980s or maybe the early 1990s. Those were the days when Christian conservatives used the school board bureaucracies to push their agenda, and Texas was ground zero.
Because nothing like that ever happens in the 2000s. Those Hollyweird screenwriters must be smoking crack.

Washington Post Co. Hires Fired Washington Post Co. Employee

A month ago, I wrote that

Now that WaPoCo has fired Wiegel, they can afford to pay Kaus again. Not that they should, but they surely will.

WaPoCo has now rehired Dave Weigel. Does this mean there's no money left for Kaus?

Meanwhile, we await with great anticipation the disclosure of Kaus' e-mail exchanges with Andrew Dimbart, Lucianne Goldberg and Matt Drudge. Democracy! Transparency! Skeezy!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kaus On Hand

Perhaps Mickey Kaus hasn't returned triumphantly to Slate because he's trying to pay off his campaign debt. On his blog, Kaus claims that, as of July 20, "the campaign still has a small (approx. $5,000) debt." And then nods his head in the direction of his begging bowl.

I'm sure those donations are rolling in.

According to the FEC website, the campaign reported on 6/30/10 a debt of $4,997, but cash on hand of $5,050. That was enough -- three weeks after the election -- for Kaus to retire his campaign debt and have two pizza parties with Meegan McArdle. Was the accounting incomplete, or did Kaus run up additional expenses after the primary? And what exactly were the $3,970 in office supplies that Kaus fronted the campaign? More transparency, please!

Referencing the spambots who are the last surviving visitors to kausfiles.com, one commentator quips, "Mickey, are you getting a cut of all knock-off Gucci bags sold via your site? That $5k debt will be finished in no time!"

Repair and Deduct

It seems like only yesterday tenants had all the rights, and landlords were only allowed to breathe air at their tenants' sufferance.

But yesterday's gone. Landlords now hold all the cards, and tenants can do nothing but twitter ineffectually about the unfairness of it all.

One would have thought that two economically savvy libertarians would have negotiated a lease that would have placed the risk of uninhabitability on the landlord. Maybe a nice liquidated damages clause, or a provision for payment of alternative living expenses in the event an indoor swimming pool is added without the tenants' consent. Something like that. I'd bet the landowner doesn't even have an MBA.

Except for the feelings of nostaligia, coming from family of intellectually intimidating academics doesn't help much when you're wading in sewage.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tea Bag Trilogy

Over at Dan Abrams' pathetic Gawker knockoff, Mediaitie, Frances Martel writes that the filming of part one of a proposed Atlas Shrugged trilogy is bigger news than the firing of Shirley Sherrod following slanderous attacks on her by racist Andrew Dimbart. Martel implicitly posits that the fact that AS I is in production is more important than the production of any other movie, since the production of movies is never headline news.

Dig:

Whatever way we define Atlas Shrugged's place in the greater scheme of classic literature, its philosophy is at the cornerstone of the Tea Party movement, intentionally or not. Many of the ideas presented by the movement that seem a bit haphazard and arbitrary —- the initial calls for the return to the gold standard, the belief that extreme socialism could actually overtake the nation in ways similar to how it has previously abroad, the abhorrence of any government aid to the underprivileged -- align more coherently in the context of the book and the greater themes of Rand's philosophy.

Whatever that paragraph means, its incoherence is the cornerstone of Martel's shitty writing, intentionally or not.

But it gets worse:

Many who follow hard news were disillusioned with the fact that the media chose the Sherrod story over bigger national security and economic concerns, and while there is an argument to be made there, it is also unfair to ask the media not to cover, for lack of a better word, propaganda. Of more palpable, more specific concern here is that the media chose Breitbart's Sherrod propaganda story -- because race is a sexy thing to cover -- over Breitbart's story on the development of a sophisticated series of political films that can have a significant impact on the American right. Their eager participation in the Sherrod case does not fully exonerate Breitbart for his part in this fiasco, but it does emphasize how much the media and thus, the public, chooses to pass on interesting and potentially big stories to harp on issues that don't really matter.

As far as I can tell, Martel's beef is that the media covered something that did happen instead of something that might happen -- a film based on a right-wing novel might get made, it might be sophisticated, and if those things happen, the film could have a significant impact on teabaggers. Or maybe Martel is paying tribute to Ayn Rand by writing a long, incoherent and delusional fantasy.

More on Martel's background here, including an unconfirmed rumor that she attended college.

Guerra de los Mundos

The pants of some rightwing bloggers have passed the piss saturation point, as their prayers for a race war go unanswered:

Local law enforcement was bombarded with calls from across the country Saturday asking about a report that the Zetas had taken over two ranches off Mines Road.

But officials with the Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Department and Border Patrol said they knew nothing about such an incident, while Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, said the agency does not comment on rumors.

The report, which spread like wildfire among blogs Saturday afternoon, appears to have initially been posted on a blog called Diggers Realm.

The blogger wrote that he got a tip from a San Diego, Calif., minuteman named Jeff Schwilk, who said that the Zetas, former enforcers of the Gulf Cartel, had crossed into the United States and taken over two ranches off Mines Road, about 10 miles northwest of Interstate 35.

...


But Investigator Jose E. Baeza, LPD spokesman, said he had not heard anything about the incident. Also, an LPD sergeant, who was on duty as a watch commander Saturday afternoon, said she had not heard anything about it either.

It should be interesting to see which wingnut blogger makes the biggest ass of him or herself swallowing this rumor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A good reason to hate some of the media.

Has the Daily News always been such a cesspool?

Deep Thoughts From A Dick

Yesterday I asserted that Andrew had made a mistake and owed Shirley Sherrod an apology. Whether I am right or wrong about that, I also think he is right to withhold it under the circumstances.

...

With the hounds baying, Andrew deserves the support of conservatives in his struggle with the Democrat-Media complex.

Imagine having to deal with the author of these simperings in "real life." The author of these words has no moral conviction and no concept of integrity. And no spine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Your Conservative Media

From the man that Howard Kurtz bragged about bringing to television:

When it seemed that Sherrod was a racist who abused her power, exposing her and the NAACP's hypocrisy was perfectly fair game. But now that we have the benefit of knowing the facts, the equation is completely different.

(No link to the scumbag.)

Glenn Beck Fakes Eye Problems

Doctor, my eyes have seen for years
And they've faked a lot of tears
I was lying
Now you have to understand
I have done all that I can
To be pure evil
Smear the good
My fat face smiling
You must help me
I can pay

Doctor, my eyes
I realize I was wrong
It was unwise
To blow smoke assward for so long

'Cause I polluted this whole world
As each slander I unfurled
And I pimped some gold fraud schemes
People swallowing my swill
I never gave a shit until
I started squinting
Karma sucks
Or so it seems

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
"Not a blind man on teevee"

Doctor, my eyes
I cannot see
Or spell
Is this my prize
Or just ironic as all hell

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Instacracker's Heroes

Here's a right-wing activist that Glenn Reynolds might hehndorse -- one who was "armed, both intellectually and especially with guns."

OAKLAND, Calif. – A California man known for his anger over left-leaning politics said after a freeway shootout with CHP officers that he had been planning an attack on the ACLU and another nonprofit group, police said Tuesday.

Byron Williams, 45, a parolee with two previous bank robbery convictions, wanted to "start a revolution" by killing people at the American Civil Liberties Union and Tides Foundation, both in San Francisco, Oakland police Sgt. Michael Weisenberg said in court documents.

The FBI joined the case after a binder entitled "California" was discovered in the truck driven by Williams and removed by a bomb squad robot, CHP spokesman Sam Morgan said.

...

Officer Jeff Thomason, an Oakland police spokesman, said the two nonprofit groups were targeted because of their political ideologies. The ACLU is a civil rights group, while the Tides Foundation says on its website that it works to advance progressive social change.

"It's an unbelievable incident," Thomason said, adding that authorities believe Williams was acting alone. "We're very fortunate in the Bay Area that the CHP was able to stop him."

...

Williams was wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with three guns, including a rifle, as he traveled to San Francisco late Saturday night in his mother's Toyota Tundra, police said. He is accused of opening fire on California Highway Patrol officers who approached his truck after pulling him over for speeding and weaving in traffic.

Williams surrendered and was arrested after a 12-minute gunbattle with 12 officers, most of whom responded as Williams reloaded several times, police said. Morgan said about 150 rounds were fired during shootout.

Williams had "made a decision that he would not be arrested and that he was willing to shoot and kill the officers," according to the probable cause statement filed in court.

Another website reports that "[i]n addition to his job woes, Byron was extremely upset over the U.S. political climate, often ranting at the TV about how his rights were being taken away by the government." I hate to inform you, By, but Fox and Friends aren't really your friends. It's just a marketing ploy.

Sack Vilsack

Monday, July 19, 2010

NAACP calls on Teabaggers to expel racists from their ranks; Teabaggers expel a racist from their ranks.

That's what I call success.

Now why is there a debate, again?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Listen to Reason

Ever wonder how Reason magazine keeps Nick Gillespie and his ilk in the lap of luxury? Follow the Fountainhead:

In December 2007, Bradley—using a fictitious name, credit card number, and address–ordered copies of Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice from the website EvilAngel.com to a location inside the District of Columbia. John "Buttman" Stagliano, accused of filling Bradley’s order, now stands trial for obscenity charges in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

...

Before starting the porn, court officials examined the IDs of everyone in attendance to verify that they were over the age of 18. Prosecutors briefly fumbled with the DVD system—the jury caught an extra scene of two women making out in cat costumes—before arriving at the main event. Milk Nymphos was screened on two large televisions, one on each side of the jury box. While it was certainly possible to catch the on-screen action from many angles in the public viewing area, it was clear that the material was intended for inspection by the jury, not the audience. This point was reinforced by Leon’s decision to play audio through Court-issued headsets, which members of the public were not provided. (Leon made a slight exception for the press, issuing two headsets to be shared among the several reporters present).

Without headsets, the public missed one of the most interesting aspects of the scene that the prosecution decided to show—the repeated use of racial slurs.

The 50-minute-long Milk Nymphos scene involves two white female performers, one black male performer, and a whole lot of milk entering and exiting various orifices. One of the female performers repeatedly refers to her male co-star as a “nigger,” declaring, for example, “Come on you nigger, fuck me in the ass,” and imploring the other female performer to “look in his eyes when you suck his nigger cock.”

Stagliano was acquitted. He should be free to make his movies -- "award winning movies," Reason constantly assures us -- without fear of prosecution. Gillespie should be free to watch them. Reason and Gillespie should be free to suck from Stagliano's teat, as they say.

You'll pardon me if I don't shake hands with them.

The All-Star Game

If CPAC or the Tea Party Express or the RedState FurriesFest could find just one blogger with the abilities of any member this panel, they'd still suck. These people are geniuses.

And Roy's Cher is pitch-perfect.

Shorter Barney Frank

"I knew prostitutes. Prostitutes were my friends. Senator, these women don't look like any prostutites I knew."

I'm Sure You Haven't, Mickey

Mickey the K is back from a well-deserved 10 day vacation, and he's stating the obvious:

I haven't heard of a lot of sympathy for low-wage illegals among lower-skilled or unemployed black workers. ...

I haven't heard much enthusiasm among Slate's editors for giving Kaus his old job back. Surely that means that Kaus' base isn't interested in publishing Kaus' insipid musings on Dick Morris' drippings, and not that I don't know any of Slate's editors, or how they think.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Goats Go To Hell

What happened to Mickey Kaus? He's still blogging at his fake campaign website blog, or he was nine days ago. His comments section infested with spammers and teabaggers.

Has the Washington Post Company made an economically and journalistically sound decision in deciding not to rehire Kaus? Is Kaus living off the largesse of his campaign supporters? If all else fails, I'm sure Andy Dimbart can find some sort of position for Mickey.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shorter Nick Pistoff

"Let's you and him fight, by which I mean let's you let him beat your ass senseless."

And, in the Great White Tourist's fantasy, the "you" are all women.

MoDoin' Is Easy

His decision came after he consulted with his mom and formed a hoops cartel with his pals Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. It's usually women who get accused of needing to go places (restaurant bathrooms) together.

And before she passed out, she started to type:

The next thing you know, the three LeBronte sisters will have their periods together, even though a basketball game is divided into quarters and a hockey match has periods.

Markos Twain

Wingnuts have a new old reason to hate Mark Twain, beyond the unfairness of the fact that he can say nigger and they can't:

Whether anguishing over American military interventions abroad or delivering jabs at Wall Street tycoons, this Twain is strikingly contemporary. Though the autobiography also contains its share of homespun tales, some of its observations about American life are so acerbic — at one point Twain refers to American soldiers as “uniformed assassins” — that his heirs and editors, as well as the writer himself, feared they would damage his reputation if not withheld.

“From the first, second, third and fourth editions all sound and sane expressions of opinion must be left out,” Twain instructed them in 1906. “There may be a market for that kind of wares a century from now. There is no hurry. Wait and see.”

...

Twain’s opposition to incipient imperialism and American military intervention in Cuba and the Philippines, for example, were well known even in his own time. But the uncensored autobiography makes it clear that those feelings ran very deep and includes remarks that, if made today in the context of Iraq or Afghanistan, would probably lead the right wing to question the patriotism of this most American of American writers.

In a passage removed by Paine, Twain excoriates “the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War” and Gen. Leonard Wood’s “mephitic record” as governor general in Havana. In writing about an attack on a tribal group in the Philippines, Twain refers to American troops as “our uniformed assassins” and describes their killing of “six hundred helpless and weaponless savages” as “a long and happy picnic with nothing to do but sit in comfort and fire the Golden Rule into those people down there and imagine letters to write home to the admiring families, and pile glory upon glory.”

Of course, Twain's views on war and imperialism, if not these particular passages, were and are well known. And wingnuts happily and freely criticize wars they don't like, and American soliders who don't toe the wingnut line. (See, e.g., Northern Aggression, War of (1861-2010) and Kerry, John, war crimes of.) So the author of the article quoted above is giving wingnuts undeserved credit for intellectual consistency. They'll hate Twain because he's not the wordsmith Glenn Beck and Orson S. Card are.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Citizens United Meets McDonald v. Chicago

Headline from the msnbc.com front page:

Should BP nuke the leaking well?

Everybody Smokes In Hell

The wingnuts are pretending to wrestle with the moral dilemma of whether to pray for Chris Hitchens, their ally in conspicuous hatred of Islamic fundamentalists and Bill Clinton's dong. The 'nuts aren't specific as to whether they are praying for Chris' recovery from esophageal cancer or his willingness to accept the Lord Jesus as his personal saviour before he snuffs it.
Of course, Chris would say these people are fools.
Hitchens's next book, he says, will be about the Ten Commandments.

"There's a loophole in everything," Hitchens says. "You can always fool God. Many is the Muslim who says, 'We can't have wine. Would you like a glass of ]?' I think religion is theology with the questions left out."
Meanwhile, Hitch appears to be fooling himself on the question of whether he actually quit smoking. If only he had listened to Nanny Bloomberg.

Hitchens has managed to pack a lot of living into his time so far, as well he should, since he knows there's no pie in the sky by and by. And his diagnosis may allow him the opportunity to come out of his shell and tell us what he really thinks.

(Title stolen from John Ridley)

Howard Kurtz, Patient Zero

In the course of beating off charges by a Politico writer that Reliable Sources is the Hair Club for Beltway hacks, Howad Kurtz sing-songed that the greatest proof of his show's diversity is that

"No one else was putting Jonah Goldberg on the air when we started booking him years ago."

(See clip at 42 seconds in)

And now, years later, Fox News and the Fox Business Channel will point a camera at the 'Load when the bottom of the barrel has been sucked dry and inspected with a microscope to make sure no one else has been overlooked.

Kurtz is correct that Reliable Sources isn't limited to Beltway insiders -- it features hacks from both coasts of the United States who will suck up to Howad. The club is open to anyone willing to ignore Kurtz's glaring conflicts and pretend he is an honest broker. The fact that Kurtz thinks his crowning accomplishment is infecting the airwaves with a dissembling wingnut who owes his career to Beltway incest is only further proof that Kurtz isn't fit to line a birdcage.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Will Glenn Reynolds be the first American to apply for an Iranian sex tourist visa?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Moonie Times Prepares To Sack Hacks as Calls to Fire Illiterate Headline Writers Grow

EXCLUSIVE: GOP prepares as calls for Steele's resignation grows

More remedial English, less tossing off into the holy handkerchief, guys.

Know who would make a good RNC Chairman?

Erick Erickson.

B.U. Hoo

The main problem with Beck University is its zero tolerance alcohol policy.

The founder of B.U. is a drunk who can tolerate zero alcohol, and suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome because of his drinking.

And what's a university without drinking? Surely no one goes to Beck U. to get laid.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tourist Season

K-Lo's pen pal takes a two-week tour of Old Europe, and runs into a bunch of his fellow Americans:

My friend and I went all over the place, exploring the greatest cities of Western Civilization, and while inspiring, I was also troubled by what I saw. The cathedrals, some of the most magnificent buildings I have ever seen and that I would be in awe to worship in every day, were largely empty, while the sex shops and government bureaucracy buildings were teeming with people.

You'd've thought sharia law had taken care of all that.

The Fourth of July

The world's most famous illiterate editor writes:

Independence Day [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

What is everyone doing (besides reading Rich's column)? Please e-mail — especially if you're in the military or otherwise serving, someone.

I hope you get to enjoy the weekend.

K-Lo is, of course, watching the 24-hour The Patriot marathon on TNT and FedEXing cans of lighter fluid to Mel Gibson.