Dumbfuckery du Jour

Apologies for missing yesterday, my darlings.  I’ve been waylaid by gawdawful PMS hormones.  Between the constant hunger, hot flashes, supreme irritation and terminal exhaustion, it’s been an interesting week.  Last night, it seemed rather more sensible just to watch a Nova episode on bonobos and go to bed with Richard Dawkins.

Hormones haven’t improved, and neither has the Con mentality.  I’d say “mind,” only there’s really nothing one could call a mind in what passes for their thinking.  The endless parade of dumbshittery has been, well, endless.  It gets numbing at times.  But then one dumbfuck rises above the background hum of abject stupidity and comes up with a really outrageous – well, one could hardly call something so idiotic an idea – and outrage trumps ovaries.  Besides, Mythbusters just proved women can tolerate more pain than men, and so I feel empowered to take up the Smack-o-Matic and give it a good workout.

The reason for my burst of energy: Rep. Duncan Hunter has decided the answer to all our immigration woes is to axe the Fourteenth Amendment and deport the kiddies:

The Los Angeles Times reports that, at a tea party rally in the San Diego County city of Ramona , Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) stated that U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants should get deported along with their parents to save the state of California money:

QUESTION: Would you support deportation of natural-born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens?

HUNTER: I would have to, yes. […] We simply cannot afford what we’re doing right now. California is going under. How much in debt are we? Twenty billion dollars? […] And we’re not being mean, we’re just saying it takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen. It’s what’s in our souls.

Apparently, what’s in Duncan Hunter’s soul is small-minded, loathsome, xenophobic, merciless and extreme assholery combined with a stunning contempt for the Constitution.  Oh, and if one plans to sift him for human decency, don’t bother – I don’t think even a HEPA filter’s fine enough to find it.

Now, most politicians would be wise enough to walk such an outrageous statement right back, given the chance.  But, like Sue “Chickens for Checkups” Lowden, he has decided to go for broke:

I just had long and spirited interview with GOP Rep Duncan Hunter of California, and in it, he strongly defended his controversial suggestion earlier this week that children born in the U.S. should be deported if their parents are illegal immigrants.
[snip]
In an interview, he clarified, amplified and strongly defended the claim — and said he stuck by it even though the 14th Amendment stipulates that people born here are American citizens.
Hunter clarified his original claim by saying he only supported deporting kids if their illegal parents were deported. “The policy should be, the kids follow the parents,” Hunter said. “You’re not gonna break up the family. If you have illegal parents, who are deported, what do you do with the kids?”

Oh, I dunno, Duncan… mebbe talk to the parents about it?  Hand them off to legal relatives, or afford them some other chance at a decent American life rather than sending them back to the shithole their parents were desperate enough to become undocumented American residents to escape?  Put it like this: while family’s important, so is the chance at growing up happy, healthy, and not terrorized by poverty, political repression, or religious violence.  And, y’know, there’s always the humane option of giving parents a path to legalizing their immigration status. 

But that’s a bridge too far for a man who thinks the Constitution is a mere inconvenience:

Asked to comment on the fact that the 14th Amendment affords those born here the rights of citizens, Hunter allowed that this was the case. But he said that it was trumped by the need to avoid breaking up families in the event of the deportation of parents.
Hunter’s staff has tried to clarify his comments by pointing out that he’s supporting legislation that would solve this problem by making citizenship no longer automatic for children of illegal immigrants born here.
But, asked directly whether he still would advocate for deporting under-aged citizens even if this bill never sees the light of day, he confirmed he would. I asked whether this meant he supported empowering the government to deport those whose rights are enshrined by the 14th Amendment.
“We should empower the government to forcibly maintain that family unit, and send them with the parents back home,” Hunter said.

So, Dunky thinks mere legislation can amend the Constitution so that pesky 14th Amendment no longer applies.  Failing that, he thinks we should simply ignore it since he doesn’t like what it says.  And a man who is ostensibly for small government thinks the government should be very large indeed when it comes to forcing kiddies to leave the country. 

As Digby pointed out, the tune Cons carried was rather different when a gun was getting shoved in Elian Gonzalez’s case.  But nevermind.  Apparently, the situation’s different when the kiddies are born in the US and thus actual American citizens rather than simply landing here carried by Flipper.

You may wonder how Cons could be so damned inconsistent on their own fucking principles (small guvmint!  Protect the Constitution!), but that’s ably explained by this post, which explores How To Believe Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  It’s an education.  Alas, it won’t learn Cons nuthin’, cuz of the fact they’ve shut off their brains entirely.

And before the few remaining Conservative intellectuals start handwringing and asking why oh why it came to this, they may want to read John Cole’s post, in which he explains just how the Cons came to be the way they are:

I see via DougJ that the epistemic closure wankfest is still in full effect, and while I’m really enjoying laughing at the shock the “conservative intellectuals” are having, part of me just wants to tell them to choke on a hamburger. Who do they think came up with all the bullshit that is coming back to haunt them?

These concerns about the “closing of the conservative mind” are humorous until you realize that it was the conservative intellectuals and elites who spoon-fed the masses bullshit for decades in order win elections.

Do read the whole thing.  It’s more than worth the time.

At least all of this has answered a niggling question for me.  Y’see, I was starting to wonder if I was being too hard on these idjits.  I mean, really, could people be this fucking stupid?  Was I missing something?  Was I, perhaps, not giving credit where due?  And the answer is, nope.  It’s not just my librul tendencies seeking out the worst.  It’s really that bad.  Just ask the former conservatives who have fled screaming from the Cons.

This is why, when November comes, I’ll be happy to vote Republican.  I’d much prefer to vote for progressive Dems across the board, but given the choice between a Republican in Democrat’s clothing and a frothing insane Con, I’ll go Republican (D).  At least that way, a somewhat sane person will end up in Washington.  I know that some of my more progressive friends find that anathema, given their strong desire to punish Dems for not being progressive enough, but I’m not willing to fuck this country over further to prove a point.  Look, if there were actual moderate Republicans running, I might consider switching votes to explain my displeasure to Dems, or at least drum out the ones who fall for the “they’d love me if I were more center-right!” fallacy.  But, alas, their opponents are batshit fucking insane, and I’m not willing to give Cons the idea that such insanity is the ticket to political power.  Other ways will have to be found to push reluctant Dems (and Republicans who can only get elected if they plunk a D after their names) further left.

Anyways.  It only took a week for Sue “Chickens for Checkups” a week to get ridiculed into a lame walk-back.  We’ll see if good ol’ Duncan “Fuck the Fourteenth, Deport ’em All!” Hunter is forced to do the same.  If not, I’m afraid we’ll have just seen the last vestige of sanity trickle down the leg of the Teabagger movement, and should the Cons sweep to power on a wave of short-sighted anti-incumbent fervor, Arizona’s draconian immigration law will seem the very model of modest restraint compared to what comes next.

Science Quote o’ the Day

“They’re the Snickers bar of the desert.”

Michael Nachman, U of A, ladies and gentlemen, on the rock pocket mouse and the fact nearly everybody in the desert eats them.

Available in both milk and dark chocolate, no less.

I’m sure these poor little buggers would have a different take on ye old Snickers slogan: “Don’t let hunger happen to you.”

And yeah, I’m only just now getting round to watching “What Darwin Never Knew.”

Dumbfuckery du Jour

So much stupidity… so little time.

Lessee… we have my old home state acting the complete wingnut fools.  A lot has been written, but Jon Stewart covered it all:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Law & Border
www.thedailyshow.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:307926
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Arizona is beautiful, it overflows with natural wonders, and it has some great people in it, many of whom now will have to carry around proof of citizenship because their skin isn’t Day-Glo white.  I’m boycotting my own damned state.  Won’t be going to see my parents, won’t be buying anything from it, won’t be praising it as a fine tourist destination, until the fucktards in the State House come to their senses and repeal their little Gestapo-fantasy bill.  And I’m going to laugh as the state bankrupts itself trying to fend off lawsuit after lawsuit while bleeding tourists.  I mean, seriously.  Do you know how many foreign people go through there every year to eyeball the Grand Canyon and other assorted wonders?  Millions of ’em.  And do you know how many are likely to come through now that they know they could be snatched off the street and thrown in jail because they’ve been caught displaying a foreign accent in public?  Yeah.

Way to fucking go, AZ.  Good fucking move.  Very impressive.  I knew the state had a lot of stupid people in it, but I didn’t realize just how extreme the dumbfuckery had gotten.  I mean, you’ve almost made Virginia look sensible, and they’re currently trying to make sure people can get roaring drunk in public while carrying firearms.

Holy shit.

Elsewhere, the RNC is wagging its bare buttocks at the federal law against fake-census materials and continuing to send out the fake-census mailers which inspired said law, all the while whining that it’s the Dems’ fault they’re doing it.  Really.  And if the Dems wrote a law against everyone at the RNC committing mass suicide, but forgot to specify that includes holding guns to each others’ heads and pulling the trigger simultaneously, I suppose they’d be compelled to do that, too. 

Meanwhile, Ben Nelson is throwing a screaming fit because Chris Dodd won’t give him everything he’s ever wanted in the financial reform bill.  Neither Dodd nor Harry Reid are impressed.  And Harry’s on a tear, gleefully scheduling vote after vote to ensure the Cons end up on the record repeatedly opposing Wall Street reform.  Somebody’s learned to play hardball.  Too bad he didn’t do it on health care reform, but hey, better late than never.  Cons are cracking.  And while Dems (all except Bawling Ben Nelson) enjoy themselves immensely on both this win-win situation and the imminent battle over immigration reform, Lindsey Graham joins Bawling Ben by sniveling that he won’t play with his very own climate change bill ever again unless those mean nasty Dems promise not to do immigration reform at all.  Something tells me he won’t get what he wants any more than Bawling Ben just did.

It’s nice to see Dems show a bit of spunk and spine.  Let’s hope this happy state of affairs continues.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go lay in a supply of popcorn and soda for the upcoming beatdown Arizona’s about to get from the courts.  Should be quite the fucking show.

My Night

My darlings, I promise, a nice bit o’ political yawping soon, complete with the spanking of assorted deserving bottoms and plenty to titter at, but tonight I’m trying to finish a bit o’ a scene that’s got me stuck.

So far, in order to avoid accomplish this, I have stared at the scene, twiddled a couple of words in it, moved some research notes from one place to another, and then took a walk in the rain, in the dark, to fondle leaves.  And that was delightful.  Things smelled pretty, and it’s just a little bit of magic, going outside in the rainy dark to walk in a character’s shoes.  I touched a great many leaves on trees, brought some home with me, and then promptly got to work… tracking down the classical music piece that was very briefly played in Mr. Holland’s Opus and was filched for Angelzoom for the song “Lights.”  It’s “Sleepers Awake” by Bach, if you’re curious.  Many thanks to All Experts.

But really, seriously, I’m going to work on this scene any moment now.  Just that little bit, touching an alien leaf, and then I must get on with the really hard work of sketching out the rest in its entirety, complete with long windy background pieces on art and architecture and so forth, because damn it, I want to get it right.  It’s the first trip offworld for Dusty.  It’s important – no, not just that, essential.

And so kicking pollyticians in the arse shall have to wait for tomorrow.  In the meantime, if you haven’t seen Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet, I do recommend it.  And Mr. Holland’s Opus, for that matter.

Now it’s off for some more avoidance before I write the bits that need to be written…

First Outing

Spring is here, spring is here!  Life is skittles and life is ginormous rhododendrons blooming all over the place.  My intrepid companion dragged me away from the Muse for an afternoon to go to the Rhododendron Species Garden in Federal Way.  I spent most of the week not wanting to go.  Rhodies don’t charm me.  They’ve got ugly leaves and all they do is hang around looking virulently green.  At least, that’s how the ones at work always seem.  I have about as much interest in seeing a garden full of them as I have in picking up hairballs: it’s not pleasant, but I sometimes do things I dislike for people I love.

Astoundingly, I ended up liking the rhodies quite a bit.  The buggers put on one hell of a show in the spring.  And the garden’s very nicely done – there’s much more than rhodies there, and lots of little paths go to interesting spots.  I killed two sets of batteries when I barely expected to snap any pics at all.  And I think you’ll agree the trip was worth it.  I mean, just look at this:

It’s very purple!  We loves purple!  And in true Northwest fashion, it’s got moss growing on it.  I wish I could tell you what species it is, but my snap of the nameplate turned out too blurry to read. 

There’s far more where that comes from.  Do follow me after the jump, or you’ll miss out on the most spectacular shots.

See?  Aren’t you glad you followed me now?  If I’ve matched the right name plate to the right plant, that’s an R. argyophyllum ssp. nankingese, or a “Chinese Silver.”  I just think it looks like a plant that’s been attacked by a mad wedding planner.  O’ course, most of them do look like that.

Rhodies are diverse little buggers, and you’ll see quite the variety here.  For more information on them, you can click here, and find out all kinds of nifty rhodie facts with which to amaze your friends.

Here is R. orbiculare, which as you’ll notice has differently-shaped leaves from the previous rhodie.  I’ve been on about leaves lately, so that intrigued me a bit.  There are some whose leaves are rather prettier than the usual run.  I like the shapes of these.

Three-for-one shot!  Look at all the color!  I wish I knew all the species!

Here’s another shot from that same area, which gives you a bit of an idea how enormous that group of rhodies is.  It’s tall, wide, and let’s just say your whole world fills with rhodie when you see them.  They smell nice, too.

Here’s a close-up.

And a shot through the boughs with the pines in the background.

I like this shot – not only for the pretty yellow rhodies, but the paper-barked tree in the background.  I got to pick up a bit of its bark from the ground.  It falls off in little rolls like tiny scrolls and makes a thin-parchment crinkly sound when it’s unrolled.  I was charmed.  I get charmed by odd things.  It’s a Betula jacquemontii, otherwise known at the White-Barked Himalayan Birch, and I wants one.  I would hold it and squeeze it and pet it and love it, and I would name it Betty, because what else should you name a Betula?  I’d get another one and name it Jacques.  And we’d live happily ever after…

Ahem.

Sorry, got carried away there.  I’m about to get more carried away, because here’s a close-up of a Betula jacquemontii trunk:

I just find that astonishingly beautiful.

Another great love of mine – bamboo!  They had whole entire stands of bamboo!  I got to go stand up right by it and touch it and listen to the wind rustle through it, and it’s a gorgeous, serene sound.  If you’ve ever watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, they caught the sound very well in the scene where everybody’s battling in the bamboo forest.  It’s hard to stand next to this stuff and think it’s really just glorified grass – it’s enormous.

The leaves have got an interesting texture, sort of sharp and dry, and they’re a much darker green than you might expect.  The stems were such a dark green they were almost black.

Bamboo, pines, and rhodies.  Oh, yeah, that’s right – we were here for rhodies, weren’t we?  Heh heh heh whoops.

Here’s a nice set – R. rex, ssp. rex, otherwise known as “Quartz.”  Look at that purple stipling!  Almost like orchids, really.

And a pretty cluster of something-or-other.  I like those blade-like leaves.  Remind me a bit of bamboo, they do.

Here we have the pond.  The green sheen on the water is a very tiny little fern that gets very excited about still water up here.  I should have snapped a picture of the sign warning people not to step on a seemingly-solid surface, because it was amusing, and then I’d know what the name of the fern is… ah, well.

Young ferns!  Interesting how they grow, innit?  These are Cinnamon Ferns, Osmunda cinnamomea

More pretty pond.  Peaceful and lovely, just the way we likes it.

R. augustinii, ssp. augustinii.  I like the way the petals are scattered round it on the ground.

Gazebo!  Every garden needs one!  And in the Pacific Northwest, the moss on the roof is absolutely required.

And at the end, a nice, friendly, interesting boulder.  If you click to embiggen, you might be able to see the streak of conglomerate running through its granitey-goodness.  I’m not sure what this boulder’s story is, but I’d very much like to know it.

Now, from the pictures depicted here, you may have got the impression the garden’s mostly shades of pink and purple and green, but ’tis not so!  Alas, it appears my camera was not in the mood for bright colors, because all the crimsons and salmons and so forths came out blurry.  They looked all right as thumbnails.  We’ll just have a wee collage, then, shall we?

If you click to embiggen that one, I’m not responsible for the outrage your poor photographer’s soul might feel.

So there you have it.  Ye first outing o’ the year.  Twas fun, and I hoped you enjoyed the results, my darlings.

Leaves

That’s what I’m having to research just now.  Fucking leaves.  No shit.  And yes, it’s bloody well important, or I wouldn’t be doing it, now, would I?

And in honor of that….

I love you, Century Media. Thank you for not only posting the official video, but allowing us to embed. That means I get to introduce readers to the awesomeness of The Gathering. Now please tell the other record companies that this is an intelligent thing to do…
Oh, hell, while we’re at it, here’s another:
This is why, if a little girl’s unfortunate enough to end up with me as a mother, she shall be named Eleanor.  

And while the sound quality’s crap on this version, the intro’s utterly enchanting, so click here if you want to have some science-geek with your progressive metal.