Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I swear to God this is just too easy . . .

Here are two more letters to the Star Tribune; these are in the June 1st edition.

More Bush bashing

I am done reading your editorial page. On a Memorial Day, when one could focus an editorial on all of the good things being done by our forces in the Middle East, the Star Tribune chose to beat the drum for the Bush bashers. It doesn't matter whether any of the sources or facts supporting your editorial are true or not.

The editorial reads as if it were written by a liberal wacko completely out of touch with America.

/signed/, Champlin.

Let's see, Iraq is a seething cauldron of ethnic hatred on the brink of civil war, or at least we suspect it is, because it is too dangerous for reporters to actually leave their hotel rooms. The Iraqi economy is a shambles. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict hums right along and is not a day closer to resolution - and may be farther away - than the day George Bush took office. George Bush's bluster and swagger in lieu of actually negotiating have accomplished nothing regarding Iran's developing nuclear capability (the same is true regarding North Korea, but at least it's not in the Middle East.) The Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan. We have no idea where Osama Bin Laden is. Has Spottie left anything out?

Spot is having a very difficult time thinking of all the good things that the US is responsible for in the Middle East. What color is the sky in Champlin, my friend? Sending the flower of the nation off to bleed and die for "pack of lies" in the words of George Galloway is the outrage. Saying so is the act of the genuine patriot.

And since when does it not matter whether the foundations of an editorial opinion are true or not? That statement is too absurd to require any further response.

If the Star Tribune editorial is out of touch with America, then the writer is this letter is out of touch with reality, or he makes his own, like the Bush administration. Or (Paul) Joseph Goebbels.

A fortuitous decision

That the Star Tribune would use Memorial Day to push its antiwar agenda made me so happy ... that I cancelled my subscription last month.

/signed/, Chaska.

And yet, he reads the editorials. A handsome feat.

Spottie promised to take on politicians and op-ed writers in this blog, and he will. These recent moonball letters to the editor were just too hard to lay off.

Be sure to hold your breath, Dick . . .

Chris Floyd over Empire Burlesque dissects Dick Cheney's bluster over "the flood of reports" on torture, abuse, and degradation in the GWOT gulag. Cheney is offended not by the torture, abuse, and degradation, but by the reports! You really do have to hand it to Cheney and crew; they are tough to shame.

Catch 22 . . . redeaux

Please excuse Spottie (I think I like the old English spelling for this blog) for picking some low-hanging fruit by reprinting a post from his other blog:

This is the text of a letter in the Star Tribune on May 19th:
Don't take rights

I am a handgun permit holder, and I believe if the man accused of killing Billy Walsh is found guilty of murder, he should be executed.

The alleged killer violated his permit to carry by drinking. But we shouldn't quit issuing permits because of him or a few criminals. Americans have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Our Constitution must be protected -- all of it, even the portions we do not agree with.

If we listen to groups like Citizens for a Safer Minnesota, we would lose that freedom.


Spotty thinks this guy is a constitutional idiot, and probably a paranoid sociopath as well. First of all, the law doesn't say you can't drink while packing heat; it just requires a more moderate level of drunkenness than for driving. I guess Billy Walsh's killer just didn't have his pocket breathalyzer on him!

It's also nice to know that if we need somebody executed, our correspondent will be around to gun him down on the spot!

Now on to the US Constitution. The Second Amendment, the Holy Writ for nut jobs like our friend above, reads as follows:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The introducing clause "A well regulated militia . . ." has been held by the Supreme Court of the United States since the dawn of the Republic to mean state militias, like the National Guard, not the laughable pot-bellied vigilante knuckle draggers in lawn chairs hoping to take target practice on Mexicans crossing into Arizona. It must be remembered that the Bill of Rights was adopted at a time that the states were inching away from the loosie-goosie Articles of Confederation toward a more Perfect Union. The Bill of Rights was written as a limitation on the powers of the federal government against the states and their citizens. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution changed that for parts of the Bill of Rights, but not the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment was never intended to prevent gun control measures by states regulating their own citizens. So when the Personal Protection Act adopted by the Minnesota Legislature refers in the preamble to an individual right to bear arms, it's pistol-packin' Pat Pariseau's delusion. Incidentally, you note how the Minnesota Constitution doesn't get mentioned in these impassioned rants about gun rights? The Minnesota Constitution is silent on the subject. (The Minnesota Constitution does direct the Legislature to establish a uniform system of public education throughout the state, but that's a subject for another day.) (If you ae interested in the education post go to Vouchers Smouchers . . .)

Entire forests, oceans of ink, and tons of coal have been consumed in trying to argue that the Second Amendment establishes the right of an individual to tote a gun. They're all pretty silly arguments, although some of them pretend to be cloaked in constitutional scholarship. Spotty's favorite is the argument that earlier drafts of the constitution contained an individual right to pack heat. If that is true, what are we to conclude from the fact the framers took it out of the final draft?

Which brings us to Catch 22. Remember the book and the movie? Bomber pilot Yossarian didn't want to go out on bombing runs, and tried to get out because he claimed to be insane. The psychiatrist said nope, if you don't want to go you're clearly sane. It's only if you want to go on bombing runs that you are too insane to go. That was Catch 22.

Spotty thinks shall issue conceal and carry is very similar. If you really want to carry a gun around all the time, you are too dog shit crazy to be permitted to do it. (Please excuse the vulgarity; in Spotty's case specifically, it is a term of art.)

If any Minutemen out there read this, please send Spotty a nasty and hysterical comment. You will prove Spot's point better than any words he could write.

More evidence against the dunkees from Bloomington . . .

Here's another story in the Washington Post of the 27th of May concerning another series of episodes of Koran and prisoner abuse.

Katherine Kersten's first trip to the drink . . .

The Star Tribune began running Katherine Kersten's column last Thursday (May 26th); you can find it on page B1. Kersten is likely to get continuing trips to The Cucking Stool, since she was principally in mind when Spotty conceived the whole cucking stool/common scold metaphor. This post is actually from the initial post on a blog that turned out to be the first draft.

Kersten earns a dunking for her first column.

Right out of the box, Kersten criticizes Archbishop Harry Flynn, a guy who makes about $24,000 a year plus room and board, for suggesting that the governor and the rest of the Republicans who took the No New Taxes Ever, I Really Mean It, Cross My Heart and Hope to Die pledge ought to rethink their position. She goes on to say that all these layabouts we have in Minnesota really need a bracing dose of privation to become Better People.

Spotty really wonders who has put more energy into thinking about the poor, Harry Flynn who has been a Catholic clergyman all of his adult life, or Katherine Kersten who, according to an introducing article by a Star Tribune editor, can't seem to do that same thing for three years in a row.

In her column, Kersten says she is a Catholic, but she would make a heckuva Calvinist.

After setting us all straight on the immorality of taxes (someday Kersten will get Spotty's essay on the difference between morality and mere moralism, but that's for another day), she goes on to spout some numbers, and even make mere references to numbers, to support her position. In doing so, Kersten reveals to us why she is a writer, not an accountant, economist, or statistician.

She makes several references to the recently raptured Ronald Reagan and attributes many Miracles to Him. Of course, she makes no references to her sources, but then I suppose politics are a matter of faith for some. If there are sources, they are probably the right wing basket weavers at the Heritage Foundation (whose spawn did such a good job in bringing the Iraqi economy around) or the American Enterprise Institute.

Kersten was also apparently absent the day that causation and proof of it were discussed in law school.

Kersten's references to luxury boat taxes, West Virginia, western Europe, New York City, and Minnesota in the same breath are laughable. Spot is a little busy, so rather than taking her on directly, he suggests that you read these posts from his companion blog:

Yapping little dogs . . .

Oh and another thing . . .

Wow that saved spotty some work . . .

You really would think . . .

You will see from these posts and the statistics referred to in them (don't forget to follow the link to MN Politics in one of the posts), that Minnesota does quite well in national income and job growth. Spotty says this is not in spite of taxes in Minnesota, but in part because of them.

Spot also recommeds this blogger's take on the Kersten debut.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Cucking Stool . . .

This is a woodcut of a cucking stool.

The inaugural dunking . . .

The Cucking Stool's first dunking is awarded to the husband and wife team from Bloomington who wrote a letter that appeared in the Memorial Day Star Tribune. With a man and a woman, we have communis rixa and a communis rixatrix - a twofer - the first time out!

Traitors and heroes

Does Newsweek magazine understand the damage it has done to our sons and daughters serving in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does it even give a thought to the harm it has inflicted on our troops and on our country? In our view, Newsweek and other news media outlets lack honesty and integrity in their reporting to the point of treason.

We do find great strength and confidence in the young people serving in the military. They are the heroes of our time.


Spotty has a box of kibble that says these folks are at least two out of three of these things: 1) fundamentalist Christians, 2) Republicans, and 3) listeners to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Fox News.

First of all, Newsweek didn't retract the story because it no longer believed it to be true, but rather because one of their confidential sources in the military backed away from what he had told Newsweek. Spot is in such a lather (dogs can't lather, but never mind, you know what he means) to get his first dunking out, that he doesn't have a source for this, but they are all over the internet. Just put Koran, Newsweek, abuse in Google, wade through all the wing nut hot air (hot air is a compressible gas, but you still have to wade through this) and find a story from an actual news source. This was simply sound journalism, not a confession that the story was untrue.

Second, and more important, is that the military interrogators and guards did mess with the Koran, obviously to diss the detainees, and the military admits it. Here is just one little story among many, this one is from the New York Times. Spot is unsure how long this link will be active, but again Google can help you out if you want to find other stories. Try General Jay Hood, Guantanamo Bay, Koran, abuse just to get you started.

The people who are really responsible for the "damage to our sons and daughters" don't work at Newsweek; they are the military interrogators and military and civilian administrators who created the conditions at Guantanamo Bay and the other internment camps. They are the ones who helped the United States yield the moral high ground.

And despite the Administration's best efforts, some of the detainees are going free. They are telling their stories of abuse, including abuse of a book holy to the Muslims, to the foreign press, and the world is listening.

Spotty can well understand why our friends from Bloomington don't want to hear anything that is contrary to their poisoned and xenophobic world view. Drink deep the right winger Kool Aid my friends, and sleep . . . sleep . . . sleep.

What is a Cucking Stool, Anyway?

The cucking stool was a was an old English "engine of correction" and public entertainment device. It was used to dunk a common scold, or communis rixatrix in water as punishment. A common scold was a harridan who upset the public order and quiet with her nagging. And it could only be a woman adjudged guilty of this offence, communis rixatrix. However, this blog will be more modern and egalitarian, dunking both communis rixatrix and communis rix.

The principal objects of dunking on The Cucking Stool will be politicians and op-ed contributors, who by there their pronouncements offend the public order and quiet, but there will be the occasional opinion page letter writer, too.

In coming days, Spottie (old English spelling) will give you a little more history of the cucking stool.