The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, December 25, 2004

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

War is over
If you want it
War is over


This is for the "no 'happy holidays'" crowd. Take it away, Mister Garrison!

I heard there is no Christmas,
In the silly Middle East..
No Trees, no Snow, no Santa Claus,
They have Different Religious beliefs..
They Believe in Muhammad,
And not in our Holiday..
And so every December,
I go to the Middle East and say..

Hey there Mr Muslim, Merry Fucking Christmas
Put down that book 'The Koran'
and hear some holiday wishes
Incase you haven't noticed,
it's Jesus's Birthday
So get off you heathen Muslim Ass
And fucking celebrate.

There is no holiday season in india,
i've heard..
They don't hang up their stockings,
and that is just absurd..
They've never read a Christmas Story,
They Don't know what Rudolph is about..
And that's why in December,
I'll go to india and shout..

Hey there Mr Hinduist, Merry Fucking Christmas
Dring some 'nog, and eat some Beef
and pass it to the Missus
Incase you haven't noticed,
It's Jesus's Birthday
So get off your heathen hindu ass,
And fucking celebrate.

Now I heard that in Japan,
Everyone just lives in sin..
They pray to several gods,
And put needles in their skin..
On December twenty-fifth,
all they do is eat a cake..
and that is why i'll go to Japan,
and walk around and say..

Hey there Mr Shintoist, Merry Fucking Christmas
God is gonna kick your ass You infidelic pagan scum.
Incase you haven't noticed,
There's festive things to do
So lets all rejoice for Jesus
and Merry Fucking Christmas to you.

On Christmas Day, I travel round the world and say..
Taoists, Krishnas, Buddists
and all you atheists too..
Merry Fucking Christmas to you.

Thank you, Mr Hat..
But seriously folks, have a good one. And go Shaq!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Media Matters compiles their list of the ten most outrageous statements made by the conservative punditocracy in 2004.

If for some odd reason you don't have anything to do on Christmas Eve, the History Channel is running a variety of interesting Jesus-related documentary shows all day. This is coming from a non-Christian who is fascinated by both the Bible and the life of Jesus.

I really enjoyed the doc on the 1914 "Christmas Truce" during WWI. It will run again at 6pm Pacific. (I'll be doing the family tree-decoration thing by then . . . fyi my dad's side of the family is Jewish, and my mom's side is Lutheran, I think)

From the Chron:
The future of same-sex marriage in California was left in the hands of a San Francisco Superior Court judge Thursday after a conservative group closed two days of hearings by arguing that gays and lesbians were inherently unfit for marriage.

"They can't perform the basic functions of marriage," said Rena Lindevaldsen, an attorney for the Campaign for California Families. "There is a basic difference between opposite-sex and same-sex couples ... the ability to procreate and, therefore, insure the existence and survival of our species."
Wow! I had no idea that our species was in such dire straits! This suggests that anti-gay conservatives have even less faith in Bush's foreign policy than I have!

Of course, there are plenty of non-humorous things wrong with this argument...

--It's a slap in the face to any hetero couple who has ever adopted. It's a slap in the face to any married couple who cared enough about the plight of children born into unfortunate circumstances that they took them in as their own. It's funny how whenever opponents of gay marriage open their mouths, they say things that neglect to address hetero adoption.

--It makes the hilarous assertion that the legal status of gay marriage is somehow a determining factor in the number of total children born. That is, if gay marriage were legal, the number of childbirths would go down. Soooo does this mean hetero couples are going to stop having children or something? If not, how does this affect "the existence and survival of the human species"?

The flip-side is that if gay marriage is banned, the number of childbirths would rise. Gah? Would the statewide preservation of the "sanctity of marriage" encourage otherwise-reluctant married couples to procreate like jackrabbits? Or -- and this is really problematic -- are we to believe that should gay marriage remain illegal, homosexuals would find their way into heterosexual relationships that produce children? Do opponents of gay marriage want that?

Well, yes. There's a reason for it: They believe that nobody is born gay. Here in this statement made by a lawyer at a San Francisco courthouse, we find yet another example of the fact that the issues of gay marriage and the legitimacy of alternative sexuality in general are inextricably linked. I'd love it if the "you can oppose gay marriage and not be homophobic" crowd would think about this for a while. (And yes, that includes hedgers like Boxer and Kerry)

You know what you get with their idea? More Jim McGreevey-type scenarios.

Anyway, I'll make it my special gift to the baby Jesus tomorrow to impregnate someone or something. You know, if it'll help our species and all. Reeeepoooorrrrrtttiiiinnnggg fooooorrrrr duuuuuuuuuuttyyyyyy!

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Tommaso asks the relevant incredulous questions pertaining to the Republicans' intent to destroy Social Security. Namely, "why?"

The answer is simple: Decapitation.

Social Security is the most successful and consistent government program in the history of the United States. It was conceived and implemented thanks to Franklin Delano Roosevelt... and Republicans have been fuming about it ever since.

They aren't fuming because Social Security is an inefficient, finite program that will break down and leave America's retirees with nothing in the ol' piggy bank. They are fuming, and have been since the 30's, because it has kept the piggy banks of retirees full.

It's a program -- tax every worker a little and transfer the revenue to retirees -- that runs directly against economic conservatism, and it has been highly successful for a long time, and would be fine for decades even if we did nothing at all to help it. That is a combination the Bushatarians and Norquistians cannot bear. Of course, those are groups who wouldn't mind seeing the end of the IRS and the Departments of Education and Energy, for starters.

Their solution? Call for the head of the most successful Democratic-inspired federal program, Social Security. The thinking is that if they can convince enough people to "reform" Social Security, then they can probably do just as much, if not more to a variety of programs whose track records are less consistent, or at least more subject to tactical framing (say, Medicare and the public school system). Hence "decapitation".

Of course, doing so requires manufacturing a "crisis", ginning up some creative Wall Street projections, and pretending that certain sums of money (the trust fund, for example) "don't count" because they are "just promises". There's a lot to say on this matter, but here's a good place to start.

They're going to "starve the beast", and Social Security is its dinner.

Why is this such a high priority for them? Once again, it's a matter of framing. In general, conservatives have the best chance of winning a national-scale policy debate over liberals on a given issue when the liberals don't have objective results to which they can point. When both sides are in the "convincing" stage of a policy debate, conservatives have a better shot because 1) their stated positions are often more concise and easier for "heartland" Americans to understand, and 2) they can more easily frame the liberal position as fitting like a glove into the stereotype. ("They're taking your money! And there's no way to know if you'll get anything for it!")

This is why the 2000 election was more important than many people realized at the time: The "result" put the Democrats back into a position where they were in the "convincing" stage on their issues, instead of building upon whatever progress was made during the Clinton administration. By contrast, the Republicans got their chance to shove the "results" of Clinton's domestic policy as far down the ol' memory hole as they could manage.

This dynamic has given Bush and his cohorts on the right the opportunity to decapitate mainstream liberal policy by gutting Social Security. It's up to the Dems not to let this happen. *shudder*

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and fictional folksinger Mitch of the duo Mitch and Mickey bear a striking resemblance:


Here's my contribution to the denigration of Christmas:

Who's had the bigger post-life career: Jesus? or Tupac?

Goodnight, and merry everybody!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas and the Culture Wars

Let's make this absolutely clear.

Political correctness can neither kill, nor even dent Christmas.

The evil PC-thugs who are so audacious that they say "happy holidays", or worse, "season's greetings" (run, children!), cannot harm Christmas. Besides it isn't even their intent to do so.

This goes straight to the heart of the "culture war". It's roughly the same battles, fought on roughly the same parameters, over a variety of social issues.

When you look at "Christmas UNDER SIEGE!!!" and "the institution of marriage UNDER SIEGE!!!", you find that the arguments made (particularly the ways they are made) are virtually identical.

Proponents of, let's say, "December pluralism" are seeking not to diminish or denigrate Christmas, but to promote the inclusion of non-Christians into the season, the reality being that America is neither composed of 100% Christians (the numbers are something like 76 percent) nor a state that sponsors one religion over another. This has no effect on your tree-lighting, present-wrapping, carol-singing, or your big family dinner.

What's the culture-war-right's response to this? They flail about, saying that December pluralists are out to destroy Christmas. O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity and of course the 700 Club types are all on this kick right now.

Now consider gay marriage. Proponents of equal marriage rights for all have no intent to do a thing to heterosexual marriages, but rather to extend marriage rights to include others. Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that leaving marriage rights to hetero couples preserves the sanctity of marriage, just as many of them aregue that December nonpluralism preserves the meaning and importance of Christmas.

The culture-war-right are the absolutists on every issue of the culture war. By contrast, the culture-war-left are the inclusivists. One side wants to preserve a woman's right to choose, while the other wants to outlaw abortion altogether. The left wants same-sex couples to have the same rights allocated to hetero couples, while the right wants to maintain the legal illegitimacy of committed same-sex relationships. The left looks out for the substantial American minority that doesn't celebrate Christmas, and the right wants no other observance to be recognized in any substantial manner in the public square, on TV or otherwise.

Why don't we see this dynamic play out exactly as shown above? Because of some clever Orwellianism by the right: Wherever possible, they have cast the left as the exclusivists. The want to "destroy Christmas", "destroy the sanctity of marriage", and so on.

In order to preserve this charade, the right sometimes has to bend over backwards a bit. Case in point, the manipulation of the recent incident at a Cupertino school into a "banning of the Declaration of Independence".

This was my long way of saying, in effect, "don't believe the hype!" Christmas isn't going anywhere! Go read the friggin Grinch again, Christmas can survive a lot more than anything the dreaded PC Police can conjure.

By the way, you know what's a good way to celebrate Christmas? Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men. That's how.

Until next time, my dear Chicken Littles of the right . . . SEASON'S GREETINGS!

From page 22 of this week's Time, there's a feature called "The Year in Buzzwords". It includes some of the phrases we've come to know and be annoyed by in 2004 -- "security moms", "wardrobe malfunction" -- but then there's the very last one:
Tivo (verb) Only 2.3 million subscribe to this digital recording device--but everyone, it seems, is "TiVoing" favorite shows. And probably still Xeroxing too.
Oops. When not referring to the corporate entity, the word "Tivo", being a trademark, can only be used as an adjective.

Disclaimer: My brother yadda yadda.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Sorry, it's not all that great.

There's a lot to look at, sure, and I can definitely see the expertise that went into its creation, but it simply didn't grab me.

People have talked about the supposed Rand-ian polemic buried within it, but frankly I'd care more if the movie were, you know, more entertaining. Whatever "message" there was, it doesn't really matter after the first 30 minutes, from which point it's non-stop anim-action. And even in that opening half-hour, you're probably consumed by thoughts like "is that... Wallace Shawn?"

That said, the X-Men comics and movies explore the themes of mutants' ("supers") rights relative to those of the general population better than this movie does. And it's hard to argue that The Incredibles is conservative, for it it is, then it gets its narratives crossed. The superheroes are forced out of work due to excessive litigation (cute), yet just a couple minutes later we find Elastigirl placing family values over super-dom. Thus, the institution of the superhero is assailed from both the "left" and the "right".

Frankly, Shrek 2 was a lot funnier. Hell, so was Finding Nemo. And I really wanted to like it. Also, director Brad Bird's The Iron Giant is a much, much better film, and deals with real issues (the Cold War) in a much more profound manner.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


"The death of one is a tragedy. The death of 1,304 and counting is a statistic."

Hmm, I suppose this is revenge for the Rushmore thing and the Jesus-halo thing.

Exactly 30 seconds ago, during the CBS broadcast of the Packers-Jaguars game, CBS play-by-play man Dick Enberg referred to it as "Lambeau Stadium".

But of course, this is CBS we're talking about! Those damn Kerry-whores! (: