Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Trust Democrats

Here's a story (link) titled Kerry hints he'd review "don't ask, don't tell" if elected, which says:
If he is elected president, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry hinted he might review the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. Kerry commented on the thorny issue in an article published in Monday's edition of the Army Times and its sister publications Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Times. "It seems to me we are losing a lot of talent for our nation in interpreters, in intelligence, in a lot of different things," Kerry said in the interview. "There must be a way for those people to serve somehow."

Don't you believe it.

Clinton came into office with great promises of allowing gays to serve in the military. Just like every other politician, he broke those promises at the first hint of difficulty. And Kerry will be the same way. Gays have been burned by this pattern often enough to know. Besides, Kerry (who publicly opposes marriage rights for gays) is not a friend of the gay community. In fact, like most Democrats, he is anxious for gays to support him, without having to give back anything of substance in return.

Now, don't get me wrong. Gays, along with everyone else of any pretension to intelligence, should vote for Kerry in November. Not because of any Kerry promises, not because of anything Kerry says or does, but for one simple reason: Kerry is not Bush.

The Ivory Madonna finds herself singularly unimpressed by John Kerry. But Bush and his cronies horrify her.

Once Bush and his administration are out of office, and the Republicans no longer control Congress...then there will be time to attempt to re-make the Democrats, or find some viable alternative. For now, as Arianna Huffington says, the house is on fire, and it's no time to worry about redecorating.

The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Answering the Non-Fanatic

In an article titled "The non-fanatic case against gay marriage" (link), Geov Parrish says: "...as gay unions, in whatever form, draw closer to being a legal and cultural reality, a more nuanced, moderate opposition is gathering force. Secular opponents have raised questions that advocates must answer."

The Ivory Madonna applauds Mr. Parrish for attempting to discuss marriage for gays on a secular and non-fanatic basis. He says, "For better or worse, proponents of gay marriage need to understand and be able to respond to those concerns," and he deserves an answer.

So the Ivory Madonna, in the spirit of secular non-fanaticism, will now go through Mr. Parrish's article and address the points he raises.

First, Mr. Parrish wisely discounts the "slippery slope" argument that marriage for gays will inevitably lead to polygamy, bestiality, and marriages between people and household appliances. Like most "slippery slope" and "domino theory" arguments, this one is absurd.

However, says Mr. Parrish:
...the underlying point is worth examining. What does it mean if marriage is taken out of the church, taken out of its traditional limits, and derives its legal basis instead solely from contract law? It has implications for alimony and custody of children in divorces; for the finances and real property of common-law marriage; for the tax code; and much more. All must fundamentally change if the logic of gay marriage is followed. Imagine, for example, common property statutes -- or child custody -- if a half dozen pairs of people have various interlocking relationships.

Ahem. Marriage has been "out of the church" since the first Justice of the Peace married the first couple in a civil ceremony...at least a few centuries. Marriage has been a matter of "contract law" longer than the United States has been a country -- for as long as civil marriage laws have existed, in fact. At a guess, at least since Ancient Rome.

As for the specter of the legal chaos that would result from "a half dozen people [with] various interlocking relationships"...Mr. Parrish, have you looked at the current state of marriage and parenthood in the United States? Are you aware of how many children have multiple sets of parents, step-parents, custodial parents, birth parents, and ex-parents? Heterosexual marriage and divorce has already created the situation you seem to dread. It's hard to see how throwing a few homosexual marriages and divorces into the mix could "fundamentally change" the system of serial monogamy that now exists.

So...point number one is that marriage for gays will produce a situation almost exactly the same as what now exists. Sorry, Mr. Parrish, that's just not a very scary possibility.

Second, there's the "Promoting homosexuality" argument:
The most obvious objection, and hardly limited to avowed homophobes. The concern is simply that with the rearrangement of so much law to accommodate it, and stamp of “normality” attached, more and more people will try gay sex, or (gasp!) “become” gay. Reasons why this is seen as a bad thing, without considering any biblical sanctions, range from the traditional (yuck!) to issues of procreating for the species and public health with unsafe sex and multiple partners.

Let's see...allowing gay people to marry would produce more unprotected sex and multiple partners than exist now? Er...exactly how is that going to happen? Does marriage make heterosexual people engage in more unsafe sex and multiple partners?

As if heterosexuals don't engage in unsafe sex with multiple partners. Mr. Parrish, have you been to any high schools or colleges recently?

And are you aware that our world is seriously overpopulated? That today, with all the "permissiveness" and toleration for gays, there are more people alive than at any time in history? Believe me, "procreating for the species" is not a problem.

And, of course, there's the traditional "yuck" factor. Hate to tell you, Mr. Parrish, but a lot of people think that what heterosexuals do in bed is "yucky." If the "yuck" factor were a legitimate reason for legislation, then brussels sprouts would be illegal.

The Ivory Madonna can't quite take seriously the claim that once people try gay sex, they will instantly convert to homosexuality. Huh? The Ivory Madonna can tell you, it's not like nicotine or heroin. One sample does not get you "hooked for life." Science tells us, in unequivocal terms, that homosexuality in humans is a trait present from birth or very early infancy. One doesn't suddenly "convert" to homosexuality the way one suddenly converts to born-again Christianism.

And besides -- if we're postulating a world in which there is little social stigma to being gay...in which gays are seen as "normal" or "just like straights" -- then where's the harm if people do "decide to turn gay"?

Third, Mr. Parrish raises what he calls Undermining "family values":
Conservatives worry about the social impacts of removing the norms that have traditionally accompanied marriage, particularly gender and monogamy. If marriage is seen as simply a legal contract, such vows might be easier to dishonor, or ultimately break, than when it is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime union under God. Society has already been moving in this direction for decades, with rising divorce rates and the dissolution of the traditional two-parent family as the prevalent model in America. Gay marriage, opponents fret, is more dirt on marriage’s coffin.

Again, Mr. Parrish seems to be under the delusion that we live in the 1950s. No, because the real 1950s weren't such great shakes...rather, let's say that Mr. Parrish seems to be under the delusion that we all live in the world of "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Donna Reed Show."

Someone is going to have to explain slowly, in very small words, exactly how the bonds of marriage could possibly be easier to "dishonor, or ultimately break" than they are now. Let's try a thought experiment. If gays really are 10% of the population (a generous estimate), and if every gay couple in the nation got married tomorrow, and if every one of those couples got divorced right away...then the divorce rate would go up by a maximum of 10%.

Mr. Parrish, this particular horse escaped from this particular barn a couple decades ago.

If conservatives were truly worried about "the dissolution of the traditional two-parent family as the prevalent model in America," then they would be working to prohibit divorce and make adultery illegal. Mr. Parrish, the sad fact is that keeping gay couples from marrying has no effect on heterosexual divorce rates. (As a matter of fact, divorce rates have risen during all the time that gay marriage has been illegal. Obviously, not allowing gay marriage makes more heterosexuals divorce. The sensible thing would be to try legalizing gay marriage and see what happens.)

And what's with this "dirt on the coffin" analogy? Is Mr. Parrish suggesting that it makes any sense to say, "Out of respect for the deceased, we cannot allow you to throw dirt on the coffin?" Mr. Parrish, have you ever been to a graveside funeral service? Throwing a handful of dirt on the coffin is the traditional thing to do. I thought conservatives loved "traditional" ways?

Mr. Parrish's last argument goes like this:
Finally, opposition to gay marriage also comes from more radical gays who worry about the opposite influence, and reject what they consider a fundamentally straight institution. While a more popular criticism a decade ago, it’s still out there: why should people who’ve spent a lifetime rebelling against society’s sexual norms suddenly aspire to embracing its most fundamental institution?

To which the Ivory Madonna can only whip her head around with a bemused expression and cry out, "What?!"

Mr. Parrish, no one is suggesting that marriage should be compulsory for gays (or straights). Any radical gays who want to reject marriage as a straight insitution, are perfectly free to do so.

One might just as well propose that, since some people don't care for peach ice cream, then peach ice cream should be illegal.

...Oh. In the final analysis, that's what all Mr. Parrish's secular, non-fanatic arguments boil down to: Gays should not be allowed to marry, because some people don't like the idea. Call it waht you want, it still boils down to the "yuck" factor.

Well, I'll tell you what, Mr. Parrish. The Ivory Madonna doesn't much care for the idea of other people having sex at all. It's one big "yuck" factor for her. Therefore, let her propose a Constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage for those who have sex...straight sex, gay sex, any kind of sex. Yuck!

...unless it involves the Ivory Madonna herself. Of course.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I Say Patata, You Say Potatl

The Ivory Madonna has always been an advocate of multilingualism. Educated adults, she has always believed, know more than one language. (It has often been said that one doesn't truly know one's own language, until one learns another.) One of the Ivory Madonna's biggest regrets is that she went to school during the unfortunate period when Latin was not taught, even as an elective. And now, here is a BBC article (link) offering evidence that being bilngual has positive benefits: "...those who were fluent in two languages rather than just one were sharper mentally." Researchers suggest that bilingualism, by keeping the brain active, can actually protect against senile dementia.

The Ivory Madonna has never supported the "English-only" or "Official English" movements that seek to define English as the sole language of the United States. If nothing else, it is supremely ill-mannered to deliberately make things difficult for visitors and immigrants who do not speak English. Besides, the whole thing will become moot within a decade or so...on-the-fly computer translation will be commonplace, so people will be free to use whatever languages they wish and still understand & be understood by their neighbors.

HOWever...all that being said, the Ivory Madonna wishes to take to task those parts of the Hispanic community that strongly agitate for increased use of Spanish in government and society.

Now, the Ivory Madonna, being part of the dominant culture, suffers from her own share of cultural guilt for offenses in the past, as well as those that continue in the present. She agrees with these parts of the Hispanic community, that minority populations should not be forced to give up their own culture and use the dominant culture, whether it's language or anything else. She agrees that there should be no discrimination against those who do not speak the dominant culture's language. She agrees that minority cultures should be respected and honored, not eliminated.

...Which undoubtedly explains why there are so many speakers of Mayan languages in Latin America. Why Mayan is taught in schools, and there is no discrimination against Mayan speakers.

The Ivory Madonna is as susceptible as the next person to White Guilt. However, she finds it odd for Hispanics to be claiming the moral high ground on this particular issue. All those native cultures in Latin America did not just fade away into nothing by themselves. The Spanish-speaking descendants of Spanish settlers in Latin America, in the Ivory Madonna's opinon, bear just as much guilt as the English-speaking descendants of Northern European settlers in North America.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ashcroft Named "Worst Attorney General in History"

If you don't read Paul Krugman's editorials in The New York Times, you're really missing a treat. (His book The Great Unraveling, which is a compilation of past columns, is wonderful.) In today's column (link), he states:
No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.

To which the Ivory Madonna can only say: Right On!

Back in 2001, when Bush nominated Ashcroft for the post of Attorney General, the Ivory Madonna wrote to her Congressfolk predicting that if Ashcroft became Attorney General, the nation would regret the day. Instead of voting against him, most Democrats rolled over and did what Massa George wanted them to. And now the nation rues the day.

Sigh. As a wise person once said, "There are very few problems in this world that could not be solved if people would do as I say."

Note to Congress: Next time, listen.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Friday, June 11, 2004

US Intelligence

Everyone, from the 9/11 Commission on down, seems surprised and astonished at the way the various US intelligence agencies dropped the ball on terrorism and Al Queada.

The Ivory Madonna wonders why.

US intelligence missed the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

Sputnik was a completely surprise to US intelligence in 1957.

In 1961, due to CIA failures, the Bay of Pigs invasion was a total failure and an embarrassment to the US.

Forty years afterwards, unanswered questions still surround the JFK assassination. Intelligence agencies missed the other spectacular assassinations of the period, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

In 1975, faulty intelligence sent the would-be rescuers of the U.S.S. Mayaguez to the wrong island. 41 US combat deaths resulted.

The 1978-79 revolution in Iran, which overthrew the Shah and began the Hostage Crisis, came as a surprise as far as US intelligence was concerned.

No intelligence agency gave any warnings of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

Throughout the Cold War, US intelligence consistently overestimated the size and capabilities of the Soviet Union, to the point of showing the population of Moscow twice as large as it really was. Endless documentation that came to light after the USSR dissolved, shows that US intelligence about the USSR and the Eastern Bloc was mistaken on a spectacular scale.

In 1993, the FBI screwed up massively and famously in Waco, Texas. The same year, Ramzi Yousef and his people bombed the World Trade Center...with no advance warning from US intelligence.

No intelligence agency was able to predict the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

US intelligence missed Pakistan's surprise nuclear-bomb detonations in 1998.

The Ivory Madonna could go on and on, but she's not going to waste her time or yours. Suffice it to say that US intelligence failures regarding 9/11, or Afghanistan, or Iraq come as no surprise to her.

What does astonish her, is how the government (any government) keeps trusting what these jokers say.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Making the World Safer...er...More Dangerous (oops)

This Associated Press story (link) says:
The State Department acknowledged Thursday it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding used to boost one of President Bush's chief foreign policy claims — success in countering terror. Instead, both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said.


The original (incorrect) report was released on April 29. At that time, various Bush Administration officials waxed enthusiastic about how it proved that their policies were working to win the "war on terror." Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State, said, "Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight."

The Ivory Madonna wonders if the same officals will now acknowledge that, according to the exact same logic, these new (correct) figures show that they are losing the fight, and making the world a more dangerous place?

Of course, the Ivory Madonna also wonders if little piggies will sprout wings and take to the air.

She doesn't hold out much hope for either....


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Islamists and Islamism

In the New York Times (link), Thomas L. Friedman uses an interesting verbal formation in his discussion of the current situation in Iraq.
We are up against some really evil, cynical forces: die-hard Baathists, Qaeda-inspired Islamists and criminals. They continue to kill large numbers of innocent Iraqis without ever spelling out a political demand. That's because their only interest is that America fail. They have no coherent vision for Iraq. Their only vision is that America must fail. Because if the U.S. succeeds in tilting Iraq onto a more progressive track, Baathism and Islamism will be diminished everywhere.

"Islamists." "Islamism." How is "Islamist" different from "Islamic"? How is "Islamism" different from "Islam"?

Alhtough Friedman doesn't say, one assumes that "Islamists" are those super-crazy, ultra-fundamentalist Muslims who want to see Islam supplant all other belief systems. "Islamists," the Ivory Madonna guesses, are Islam supremicists. The ones who want to impose their own religious beliefs on the rest of the world.

What a useful formation! Particularly when it is extended to other areas of the world.

In India, we see Sikhists and Hinduists. In Israel, there are Hebrewists.

And here at home, Christianists.

Sure, they call themselves "Christians." And I'm sure that Friedman's Islamicists call themselves Muslim. But now, we have a real name for them.

Thanks, Thomas L. Friedman.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Reagan on Currency

And another thing about Reagan...

The Ivory Madonna is seeing all these proposals to put his picture on various denominations of currency. The quarter, the ten-dollar bill, the twenty-dollar bill, probably the American Eagle gold piece.

Here's an idea. Put Ronnie on the thousand-dollar bill. Then, all the rich conservatives and highly-paid lobbyists (who were the only people he cared about, anyway) will be able to see him whenever they want. And the rest of the country won't have to put up with him...because when are any of us ever going to have a thousand-dollar bill?

That's the way Ronnie himself would have wanted it....


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Stem Cells

The Washington Post says (link) that scores of Senators, including 14 Republicans and several die-hard anti-abortion Democrats, have asked the Bush Administration to change its rules on embryonic stem cell research. This surprising turnaround is a result of Nancy Reagan's appeal on behalf of her late husband.

Interesting. Up until now, these Senators have opposed stem cell research out of moral conviction that abortion is murder, and that destroying any embryo to obtain stem cells (evan an embryo that would be destroyed anyway) is morally repugnant, if not downright stinking evil.

No matter that the research might ultimately help millions -- destroying embryos is abortion, and abortion is evil, and once we start down that slippery slope there is no stopping until we see polygamous unions between men, goats, and assorted household appliances. (No, wait, that's the other slippery slope.)

Unless...unless it's a matter involving the health of Saint Ronnie. Then, of course, all moral imperatives vanish. If stem cells could save a poor single mother with Parkinson's, no no no! But if stem cells might possibly have extended Saint Ronnie's crotchety life for another few months -- then hell, yes, what are we waiting for!?

Pfah! The Ivory Madonna is glad to see such a clear example of exactly how much these Senators' heartfelt moral convictions are worth.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Education Mess

Just finished reading Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs (link). The author makes many excellent points, and the book is well worth reading, and a lot of fun besides.

One of the things Jacobs talks about is the rise of credentialing in place of education. She says:
Credentialing, not education, has become the primary business of North American universities. This is not in the interest of employers in the long run. But in the short run, it is beneficial for corporations' departments of human resources, the current name for personnel departments. People with the task of selecting successful job applicants want them to have desirable qualities such as persistence, ambition, and ability to cooperate and conform, to be a "team player." At a minimum, achieving a four-year university or college degree, no matter in what subject, seems to promise these traits. From the viewpoint of a government agency's or corporation's department of human resources, the institution of higher learning has done the tedious first winnowing or screening of applicants. For the applicant, this means that a resume without one or more degrees from a respected institution will not be taken seriously enough even to be considered, no matter how able or informed the applicant may be. The credential is not a passport to a job, as naive graduates sometimes suppose. It is more basic and necessary: a passport to consideration for a job.

Jacobs talks of college or university education; in elementary and high-school education, the situation is similar. A high-school diploma, which is a basic qualification for even low-end menial jobs, is a sign to the prospective employer that here is an applicant who has demonstrated a minimum level of obedience and conformity. Someone who will follow orders, no matter how ridiculous they seem. Someone who will show up and leave at whatever hours are demanded.

The Ivory Madonna is aware that there are, in every school system, devoted teachers who genuinely strive to give their students the best education possible, often against overwhelming odds. She is also aware, from many friends (both current and former members of the education system) that schools are increasingly populated by "educators" (both administrators and soi-disant "teachers") who are themselves the drone-like products of mere credentialing factories. People with little imagination, native intelligence, or spark of passion. People who chose the education profession because "everything else was too hard." These are the villains of the current education system. And if what the Ivory Madonna's friends tell her is remotely true, these "educators" are driving good teachers out of the system in droves.

Even in the Ivory Madonna's time, high school and middle school seemed ideally designed for credentialism, in curriculum and in both official and unofficial social atmosphere. And today, things are worse. Those who do not follow orders and rules, those who do not conform, are disciplined, ground down into submission or discarded, forced to drop out. Independent thought is discouraged, independent imagination punished, independent creativity stunted. The goal is to produce obedient employees, unquestioning consumers, and pliant cannon fodder for the military.

[Once again, not every school, not every teacher. But, sadly, most.]

At the worst extremes, in the poorest schools serving minority populations that the corporate world considers disposable, schools become mere warehouses where children learn, from each other, destructive behaviors and cannibalistic social codes. These, too, serve the needs of the corporate Establishment: since dirt-poor people can't participate in the sonsumer economy, better that they eliminate one another (through death or by going into prison) rather than become a drag on the economy.

One must not hold the school system or the educational establishment to blame for this situation. The schools are only doing what we ask of them. The "educators," the ultimate products of their own system, are only doing as they are told, only following orders.

And yet we in the larger society refuse to recognize that education has taken a back seat to credentialing. We demand that schools do a better job of educating children, then we continue to elect pro-corporate, pro-consumerism government "leaders" who encourage schools to do more credentialing at the expense of education.

The Ivory Madonna has sat through hours and hours of debates between experts on how to improve education, and never has she heard anyone mention the problem of credentialing...or even acknowledge that it exists. Instead, they propose new testing regimes, new teaching methods, new textbooks, new computer programs, a million schemes to educate better. And all of these schemes fail, because education is no longer the first mission of our schools. The first mission of our schools is credentialing, discipline, preparing kids "to get a job."

Until we start attacking the assumption that credentialing comes first, we will never improve the process and results education.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Sexual Assaults in Army on the Rise

The Washington Post reports (link) that:
Allegations of sexual assault in the U.S. Army have climbed steadily over the past five years, and the problem has been abetted by weak prevention efforts, slow investigations, inadequate field reporting and poor managerial oversight, according to internal Army data and a new report from an Army task force.

Well, what do they expect? That's what happens when you keep kicking gay people out. What more proof do we need, that gay people serve as a necessary stabilizing influence in society? A straights-only society quickly becomes a playground for sexual predators.

The answer? Obviously, stop throwing gay people out of the Army. Welcome them with open arms.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Why We Have a Constitution

Dahlia Lithwick has a great article in Slate (link) which comments on the Bush Administration's handling of the Jose Padilla case.

After mentioning several of the justice-related provisions of the Constitution (the right to face one's accuser, no self-incrimination, speedy trial, habeus corpus), Dahlia says:
We sometimes forget that the purpose of these and other constitutional protections is not only to let guilty guys roam free (attractive though that prospect may seem), the purpose is also to protect the quality of the evidence used in criminal trials. A conviction based on a tortured confession isn't justice. It's theater.

It's hard to see what the Administration wants to gain from the revelation that their case against Padilla is based on illegally-acquired evidence. Apparently, they think that we are all pathetically stupid enough to believe that whatever they say is true, without even the appearance of proof. (I remind you of the Ivory Madonna's rule-of-thumb: Absolutely everything the Bush Administration says is a lie.)

Maybe they think that the Supreme Court will agree with them. And maybe it will. Having severed its connection with truth and reality in December, 2000, the Supreme Court may still be off in La-la Land.

I hear the weather is awfully nice in Toronto this time of year. Perhaps it's time to think about moving....

Manwhile, Dahlia Lithwick's article is well worth reading.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

One Down...

CIA Director George Tenet has resigned (link).

That's one down, dozens to go....


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Microsoft Double-Click (TM)

Here's an article (link) saying that the US Patent Office has granted Microsoft a patent (#6,727,830) on the double-click.


Excuse me, but didn't Xerox develop the double-click with the original Alto? If not, it was Apple with the Lisa/Macintosh.

The Ivory Madonna usually admires arrogance and shameless chutzpah, but she admires the truth more. Microsoft always goes too far...


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

To Hell with Pennies

In the New York Times (link), William Safire argues persuasively for a long-overdue bit of currency reform: discontinuing the penny.

I couldn't agree more. Pennies are a bother and an absurdity in today's world. They pile up, filling jars and tins and gathering dust. They are useless in commerce; just about every store has one of those "leave-a-penny, take-a-penny" dishes by the cash register.

Unfortunately, as Safire points out, pennies are made of zinc, and there's a very powerful zinc lobby. The Ivory Madonna doubts that Congress will abolish the penny soon (if ever).

If Congress won't act, we must take the situation into our own hands. The Ivory Madonna has taken to telling clerks to keep pennies in the till; if her change is, say, $2.67, she'll hand back the two pennies with a distasteful-but-ladylike frown. She is contemplating taking the next step: handing the clerk extra pennies to exchange on a nickel. For example, if her change is $2.98, she may hand the clerk 2 additional pennies and say, "May I please have a nickel?"

If we all do this, then pennies will pile up in bank vaults until there is a crisis. And then, Congress will act.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Bush Administration Rule-of-Thumb

A Washington Post article titled "From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity" (link) says:
Scholars and political strategists say the ferocious Bush assault on Kerry this spring has been extraordinary, both for the volume of attacks and for the liberties the president and his campaign have taken with the facts. Though stretching the truth is hardly new in a political campaign, they say the volume of negative charges is unprecedented -- both in speeches and in advertising.

The Bush Administration taking liberties with the facts? The Post is shocked, shocked. Say it isn't so!

Here's a simple rule-of-thumb for evaluating pronoucements from the Buch Adminsitration, a rule that the Ivory Madonna learned long ago and has applied since, to her great benefit and vast amusement:

Absolutely everything that the Bush Administration says is a lie.

You may recognize this as a paraphrase of Dave Barry's rule about evaluating the veracity of the electronic media: "Absolutely everything you see on television is wrong." That particular rule is still as valid as ever.

I post this law in order to help poor innocents like the Washington Post to avoid being taken by surprise in the future.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.