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The world loses Elizabeth Edwards, and is then forced to sit through pundits droning on and on about the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the impending anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

What I don't understand is the obsession with which conservatives dwell on both the resolve of Roosevelt in entering World War II and the influence of John Lennon. They by and large detest the politics of both these people but manage to trot them out to besmirch others when it suits them. Sort of how the Left blindly dwells on the Cult of JFK, blithely ignoring how incredibly conservative his economic philosophy was by today's standards.

Okay I'll shut up.

Am I the only one admiring the President for his compromise on the tax cuts? Not in a smug way, either.

In an era in which the Right is waging an "all or nothing" scorched earth campaign against the Left, and the Left is jamming their fingers in their ears and hoping the Right just goes away, it's impressive to see the President 1) be a realist and face the fact that this was the best of a bad situation, 2) keep his commitment to the less-paid among us, and 3) put his money where his mouth is when it comes to compromise.

Yes, he let Congress run roughshod over Republicans when he had the majority in both houses, but now that he doesn't at least he knows when digging in his heels serves no purpose and hurts everyone. I wish I could say that for the party I belong to.

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WOW. Open mouth, insert gavel.


An American judge has been accused of advocating corrective rape for lesbians.

Joe Rehyansky, a part-time magistrate and Vietnam veteran, wrote on conservative news site The Daily Caller that lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military because straight male soldiers could “convert” them.

The Daily Caller swiftly removed some of his remarks but not before they were picked up by other websites.

Mr Rehyansky, of Hamilton County, Tennessee, argued that men were naturally more promiscuous than women and “it fell to men to swing through the trees and scour the caves in search of as many women as possible to subdue and impregnate – a tough job but someone had to do it”.

Then, he claimed that the “promiscuity” of gay men, coupled with HIV, would have “the potential for disastrous health consequences” if gay men were allowed to serve openly in the military.

“Gays spread disease at a rate out of all proportion to their numbers in our population and should be excluded from the military,” he argued.

He continued: “Shouldn’t the overwhelmingly straight warriors who answer their county’s call be spared the indignity of showering with other men who achieve lascivious enjoyment from the sight of those lithe naked bodies, and who may be tempted to seek more than the view?”

Lesbian military personnel, who Mr Rehyansky praised for their “medical and administrative specialties”, should be allowed to serve because they apparently have low sex drives.

His final argument, which has now been removed by The Daily Caller, was as follows: “My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective ‘Broke Back,’ thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.”

Mr Rehyansky was accused of advocating corrective rape for lesbians by some commentators.

Blogger Amanda Hess sardonically noted: “Once all the lesbians are easily accessible in one place, an army of straight dudes will turn them all straight, presumably through that time-tested tactic of subduing and impregnating women against their will.”


Without delving into a whole lot of arcana and subtext it's difficult to explain why that speech is just ... ballsy.

You must welcome dissent; you must welcome serious, systematic, proselytizing dissent—not only the playful, the fitful, or the eclectic; you must value it enough, not merely to refrain from expelling it yourselves, but to refuse to have it torn from you by outsiders.

You must welcome dissent not in a whisper when alone, but publicly so potential dissenters can hear you. What potential dissenters see now is that you accept an academic world from which we are excluded for our thoughts. This is a manifest signpost over all your arches, telling them: Think at your peril. You must not let it stand. You must (defying outside power; gritting your teeth as we grit ours) take us back.
Blacklisted mathematics instructor Chandler Davis, in 1959 after serving six months in the Danbury federal penitentiary for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Bosnia and Albania are in the visa-free EU Schengen zone starting mid-December. Germany rued the day it dispensed with the Deutsch Mark and embraced the EU when Greece collapsed and had to be revived via mouth-to-bank. Now the EU is letting two of the most impoverished, unstable, organize-crime-riddled countries in its neighborhood in to play. This is going to be fun.

Diaperdodger is a maniac

The killings in Visegrad were so frequent and so numerous that the management of the hydroelectric plant across the border in Serbia appealed in 1992 over the radio for whoever in Bosnia was responsible to stop throwing bodies into the lake because they were clogging up the dam's culverts.

Perućac (PEH-roo-chotz) lake is a placid, impossibly blue lake nestled in the lush foothills that flank the meandering Drina river in Bosnia. The dam that created the lake powers the crucial Bajina Bašta (BYE-ee-nah BOSH-tah) hydroelectric power station just over the border in Serbia, which provides power to countless homes. The entire area hosts hundreds of quaint cinder block and plaster villages, dotted here and there with charred shells of houses neglected after the wars, and punctuated with early Roman and Neolithic ruins ambivalently looking on throughout the millenia.

And every thirty years, the lake is drained for maintenance, and the ghosts of the past are revealed in all their gruesome reality, but it's no surprise; everyone knows that they've been lurking just under the surface of the calm lake all along.

I've probably said this before, but Eclipse FTW. Like seriously.

Comments by Barak Obama at a Democratic reception following the White House Science Fair:

The last person I spoke to [at the Science Fair] was a young woman, looked like she was of Chinese heritage; lived in Dallas; 16 years old. When she was a freshman in high school, she studied biology and became interested in life sciences and became interested in cancer research. So she decided during the summer to teach herself chemistry -- (laughter) -- taught herself chemistry, and designed as a science project exploration of the development of a new cancer drug, based on some experimental cancer drugs that are currently being put together that involve injecting the drug and then it's activated by light. And it allows a more localized treatment that isolates the cancer cells -- kills the cancer cells but leaves the healthy cells untouched.

And the problem is clinical trials and treatments have shown that it's okay for skin cancer and other diseases where they're close to the surface, but it's harder to penetrate. Bottom line is she decided she was going to design a new drug that would work better for harder-to-reach cancers -- having taught herself chemistry -- (laughter) -- at 16 years old.

She went on to win the international science competition. And now she and her teacher, her high school science teacher, are being approached by laboratories all across the country who want to collaborate with them in thinking about this new potential breakthrough cancer drug.

So I'm talking to her, pretending like I understand everything that she's saying. (Laughter.) And I'm thinking to myself, think about what this means. You've got the portrait of Lincoln in the State Dining Room looking down over us. You've got an African American President named Barack Obama. You've got a young Chinese American girl, 16 years old, who is designing cancer drugs, having taught herself chemistry in high school. That idea of America is alive and well. But we have to nurture it, and we have to sustain it.

And for all the meanness of our political season and the yelling and nonsense that we see day in and day out on television, that is something that is worth remembering --
Very well said.

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