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For all of you who have thrown a d20

This stuff is great!

The order of the Stick

The Maximum Leader Is Right (For Once)

The Maximum Leader recently explained why he is opposed to “pix” on the web.

I wish he had posted that before I posted my picture.

grizzly-adams.jpg

Ladies, please. Please. Please stop with the love letters, okay? I’m happily married.

Protesting In Uniform

There are two stories in today’s Washington Post about some Individual Ready Reserve Marines who are in trouble for taking part in anti-war protests while wearing a uniform.

For the non-vets out there, IRR is a status where you can be recalled to service, but do not have to do anything other than call personnel command if you move and keep your uniform in the closet.

The reservists argue that being in IRR means they are civilians and the military may not censor their speech or political activity.

Setting aside the political activity they are engaged in, I find this argument disingenuous.  The military has very clear rules about not wearing the uniform to political events.   A fully discharged veteran can wear his uniform - the UCMJ no longer has any jursidiction.  But being in the IRR means you are not yet fully a civilian.

That said,  I’m not sure if it is in the military’s interest to go after these guys.  The normal response would be to tell them to stop it and it would end there.  One wonders if in Kokesh’s case the military is holding a hearing because he was rude to an officer via e-mail.  Kokesh may be dishonorably discharged from the IRR, which would mean that he would have to repay $10,800 in G.I. Bill benefits.   While this punishment will have a punitive impact on Kokesh, it will draw additional media attention and simply serve to call attention to the fact that there are veterans out there who say the war is wrong.   How can that help the military?

 I’m interested to hear what other folks think, especially fellow graduates of IRR, the Director and Polymath.

Lemmings off a cliff

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader’s dear friend (and overall spelling/grammar resource) the Big Hominid notes that in the previous post the word “capitol” was used when the correct word ought to have been “capital.”

You know, your Maximum Leader knew the difference, but like a lemming following his bretheren off a cliff; your Maximum Leader saw the incorrect spelling on the quiz and just continued to use it. He now wonders just how much (or little as the case may be) smarter than the average American he might be.

Ugh.

Carry on.

State Capital distress

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw the Gary and Robbo’s results on their state capital quiz. (18/20 and 20/20 respectively.)

Your Maximum Leader clicked the link fully prepared to get a 20/20 on his quiz. His results…

You Really Know Your State Capitols

You Got 19 State Capitols Correct

You’re either a geography buff… or you have an excellent memory.

Your Maximum Leader seriously considered not posting his results after getting them. Then he thought about checking his answers against a master list then retaking the test to assure he got a perfect score. In the end he just decided to admit that he didn’t correctly select the state capital of Missouri. He’s not sure how he missed that one, because he does actually know the correct answer. He saw the “right looking” answer and didn’t think further. He just clicked and was done. (And in case you were wondering, he didn’t select St. Louis - the obvious wrong answer.)

Anyhow… 19/20 isn’t all that bad… It makes your Maximum Leader feel badly about his memory, but it is likely better than most Americans would score… Then again… That isn’t saying much either…

Carry on.

No Pix on Interwebs

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been accused by some of his fellow parents in the area of being something of a spoilsport. You see, your Maximum Leader steadfastly refuses to sign a permission slip requested by his children’s elementary school that gives permission for his children’s photos to be posted on the school web site, or in a newspaper that might republish the photo on their web site. Basically, your Maximum Leader categorically refuses to give his permission for his children’s photos to be republished on the web (although they can be printed in a yearbook or the school newsletter). This has meant that on one occasion some photos of Villainette #1’s class - a year or two back - were not used to support a newspaper article published about the school. The photos couldn’t be used because Villainette #1 appeared promenently in them. (They eventually used photos of another class.)

Your Maximum Leader just doesn’t want photos of his kids floating around the interwebs right now. There may come a time where his children post photos of themselves out there, but that time is a long time off. People have sometimes asked why he doesn’t want his kids photos on the web.

Well… Ask Allison Stokke why she doesn’t want her photo on the interwebs… There was a lengthy Washington Post piece about Miss Stokke’s photo yesterday. From the article:

In her high school track and field career, Stokke had won a 2004 California state pole vaulting title, broken five national records and earned a scholarship to the University of California, yet only track devotees had noticed. Then, in early May, she received e-mails from friends who warned that a year-old picture of Stokke idly adjusting her hair at a track meet in New York had been plastered across the Internet. She had more than 1,000 new messages on her MySpace page. A three-minute video of Stokke standing against a wall and analyzing her performance at another meet had been posted on YouTube and viewed 150,000 times.

“I just want to find some way to get this all under control,” Stokke told her coach.

Three weeks later, Stokke has decided that control is essentially beyond her grasp. Instead, she said, she has learned a distressing lesson in the unruly momentum of the Internet. A fan on a Cal football message board posted a picture of the attractive, athletic pole vaulter. A popular sports blogger in New York found the picture and posted it on his site. Dozens of other bloggers picked up the same image and spread it. Within days, hundreds of thousands of Internet users had searched for Stokke’s picture and leered.

The story gets worse from there.

Your Maximum Leader has no fear that his own photos (of which you will find there are blessedly few) will become the object of leering admiration by young horny women. But the thought of something happening to his children like what is happening to this poor girl in California is a bitter thing to contemplate.

So, that is why your Maximum Leader will not give permission for his children’s photos to be posted on the internet, nor does he post his children’s photos on the internet.

Carry on.

Farm Livin’

Robbo over at Llama Butchers doesn’t live on a farm.

While perusing a nature book with his child, they came across a picture of a pair of elephants propagating the species. His wee one gleefully pointed out that the elephants were playing leapfrog.

This reminded me of a farm tour we gave a year ago. We had a preschool over to the farm and the ids and their parents were walking between the paddocks learning about farm animals when my Tunis ram George Washington* began doing his duty to God and country. A preschooler piped up: “What are they doing?”

My wife, horribly embarassed blurted out “They’re playing!”

Only to be corrected by our three-year old. “No they’re not, Mommy, George is breeding her!”

Ah, the farm life.

My daughter also helps with the lambs when they are born and there is much rejoicing when we get a female. She understands how to tell them apart. At preschool this year, she was playing with a stuffed animal and identifying it as a female. One of her classmates was upset because he wanted it to be a male. The teacher, attempting to mediate, told them that it could be whatever they wanted it to be. Emilie, unconvinced, asserted that she knew it was a female, turned the toy over, and triumphantly declared: “Look, no penis!”

At our recent small town celebration, one of my ewes gave birth in front of a large crowd (Polymath has a pic).

Emilie was dissapointed that it was a male lamb. She mournfully reported this to her friends: “Daddy says we only need one ram.”

But then she brightened: “Maybe we can cut his testicles off and keep him for wool!”

I’m waiting for social services to show up at the door.

* Tunis sheep were popularized by our first President so I followed a historical naming pattern until my daughter began naming them after her friends and assorted Disney princesses. I wondered if I was tempting fate when I named the ram - our first president was sterile and that would be a major problem in the herd sire. I shouldn’t have worried. Old George is dedicated to his job and breeds everybody on the first heat. I loaned him to another shepherd who was preserving the Tunis breed and he went above and beyond the call of duty. My friend has several different types of sheep and she carefully calibrates which ewes go in which paddock with which ram. While George was there, he bred the Tunis girls and then battered down the division fence, assered his dominance over the Rambouillet ram, and bred those girls too. My friend locked him in the barn and called me to pick him up. He destroyed the gate and bred a third set of ewes before I could get there. Father of his country, indeed.

Smallholder Says Amen To Robert Novak

The Chicken Littles of America who worry about the sky falling don’t seem to be aware that we used to worry about those dary I-Tals, Poles, Mics, and Jooooooos were going to destroy the very fabric of our society. Did that happen?

American assimiliation is powerfully erosive of ethnic identity.

At least one icon of the right has his head screwed on correctly:

The GOP’s Battle on the Border

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, May 24, 2007; A31

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia were booed at their respective state party conventions Sunday for supporting a compromise immigration bill. Their specific sin was collaborating with the liberal lion of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy. But behind the catcalls was Republican rage over undocumented foreigners, a sentiment GOP lawmakers must appease if they want to avoid dire consequences.

Why are the party faithful throughout the country so incensed by immigration? When I asked Graham, he quoted from a federal government report on the new arrivals to this country, “largely unskilled laborers” and heavily illiterate: “The new immigration has provoked a widespread feeling of apprehension as to its effect on the economic and social welfare of the country.” The report, by the U.S. Immigration Commission, was dated 1911.

When Graham returned to Washington on Monday as the immigration debate began, he read the 96-year-old quote into the Senate record to demonstrate that fear of foreigners is not new for Americans. This nation of immigrants has greeted successive waves of newcomers with apprehension stoked by demagogues. It has overcome such past xenophobic impulses. But that will be more difficult in an era of Internet bloggers and radio talkers, with the Republican Party in trouble and seeking a unifying issue at the grass roots and with the Democratic Party sensing its adversary’s weakness and moving in for the kill.

Graham and Chambliss, both up for reelection next year, were unprepared for the hostility they encountered at their state party conventions. In Columbia, S.C., delegates erupted in boos when Graham mentioned Teddy Kennedy’s name. Chambliss’s apparent proximity to Kennedy in a photograph evoked booing in Duluth, Ga. Unaccustomed to such treatment, Chambliss expressed his resentment to Senate colleagues back in Washington. Graham was not happy with his junior South Carolina colleague, Sen. Jim DeMint, for playing to the convention crowd with anti-immigration oratory.

Nor was Graham happy with the performance in Columbia by DeMint’s candidate for president, Mitt Romney. The former governor of Massachusetts won cheers by claiming the Senate compromise constitutes “amnesty” — the word guaranteed to rouse Republican audiences. Only two years ago, Romney supported a less restrictive bill passed by the Senate on the grounds that it did not constitute “amnesty.” Sen. John McCain, who supports the Senate compromise and is Graham’s choice for president, said Monday: “Maybe I should wait a few weeks and see if [Romney’s position] changes.”

Nobody can testify better than Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), a nationally renowned conservative, about how dangerous this issue is for a Republican. In 2006, Pence brought a cascade of abuse on himself for proposing an immigration compromise. He held his ground, recalling his Irish immigrant grandfather. But last week, he rejected the new Senate compromise as “amnesty,” although it resembles his own plan.

Many Republicans reach for an anti-immigration lifeline because of the party’s plight. Burdened with an unpopular president and an unpopular war, the GOP cannot claim to be the party of limited government and controlled spending. But immigrant-bashing divides rather than unites Republicans, as the South Carolina and Georgia conventions showed. In a recent closed-door meeting of the House’s conservative Republican Study Committee, Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.) raised the danger of resembling South Africa’s National Party advocating apartheid.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, while probing for the compromise’s weak spots in Senate debate Tuesday, warned of “cultural” change resulting from a flood of low-income immigrants. That recalls the 1911 report of the U.S. Immigration Commission (headed by an old-fashioned Republican conservative, Sen. William P. Dillingham of Vermont) asserting that the “proportion of the more serious crimes of homicide, blackmail and robbery . . . is greater among the foreign born,” who also refuse to learn the English language.

In reading part of Dillingham’s report into the Senate record, Graham declared that these immigrants who were “ruining America” fathered the “greatest generation.” That immigrant wave included my grandfather, a Russian Imperial Army veteran working on the John Deere tractor assembly line in Moline, Ill., as an unskilled, undocumented alien who could not speak English. Refuting Dillingham, he was an American patriot proud of a son who fought with the U.S. infantry through Africa and Italy in World War II.

GOP Suicide?

Mcheal Gerson is obviously ignorant of history. The Know-Nothing Party did very well! Why, they elected… a whole bunch of presidents… including… um… well, this is different!

Letting Fear Rule
Nativism Is a Recipe for Long-Term GOP Losses

By Michael Gerson
Friday, May 25, 2007; A19

In 1882, Congress passed and President Chester Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Today we don’t name laws as bluntly as we used to. But anti-immigrant sentiments are very much alive, this time expressed in opposition to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

For a certain kind of conservative, any attempt to grant a legal status to illegal immigrants is as welcome as salsa on their apple pie. One conservative commentator claims that the law is “going to erase America” — an ambition even beyond Ted Kennedy’s considerable powers. Another laments that “white America is in flight” — and presumably not just to Jackson Hole or Nantucket for the summer.

At one level, any immigration debate concerns a raw political calculation: Who ends up with more voters? Conservative critics of the Senate bill argue that because most Latinos identify themselves as Democrats, a larger pool of American Latinos will mean that Republicans are voted into irrelevance. Most Republican political strategists respond: That is closer than you think. Given current demographic realities, Republicans cannot rely on their white base alone. If a Republican presidential candidate doesn’t get about 40 percent of the Latino vote nationwide, he or she doesn’t stand much of a chance on an electoral map where Florida and the Southwest figure prominently. A nativist party will cease to be a national party.

Breaking 40 percent is possible for Republicans. President Bush did it in 2004. Republican momentum among Hispanic voters has been strong in the past decade — until Rep. Tom Tancredo and his allies began their conflict with the fastest-growing segment of the electorate.

Conceding Latinos to the Democrats in perpetuity is a stunning failure of political confidence. If the Republican Party cannot find ways to appeal to natural entrepreneurs, with strong family values, who are focused on education and social mobility, then the GOP is already dead.

But the real passion in this debate is not political, it is cultural — a fear that American identity is being diluted by Latino migration. Tancredo is the lowbrow expression of this fear. Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University, whom Tancredo calls an intellectual mentor, presents the highbrow version. Huntington argues that Mexican migration is a threat to American unity and to the “core” of our cultural identity. “America,” he says, “was created as a Protestant society just as and for some of the same reasons Pakistan and Israel were created as Muslim and Jewish societies in the 20th century.”

There are many problems with this argument, not least of which is that about a fifth of Hispanics in America are Protestants, mostly evangelical Pentecostals and Baptists. Almost all of Bush’s political gains among Hispanics have come from this group, which gave him 44 percent of their vote in 2000 and 56 percent in 2004. Hispanic Protestants tend to be conservative on social policy. And many conservatives, I’d be willing to bet, would feel more cultural affinity with Hispanic Baptists in their church pews than they would with Huntington’s colleagues in the Harvard faculty lounge.

Yet these are precisely the people that Tancredo Republicans are alienating. Not all Hispanics view immigration favorably, but 100 percent resent being targets of suspicion. When I talked this week with the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., a prominent Hispanic evangelical, he said of congressional Republicans: “This is a party closing its door to us, hijacked by extremists.”

“All I hear,” he told me, “from conservative leaders I work with, very socially conservative people, is, ‘I can’t continue to vote for a party that is exposing threads of bigotry and racism.’ ” Conservatives need to be reminded that Latinos — Protestant and Catholic — are, in some ways, different from the mainstream culture. Higher percentages attend church regularly. Higher percentages of Latino immigrants are married; lower percentages are divorced. “The elephant in the room,” says Rodriguez, “is the Latinoization of America. What are the results? America will be a more religious nation. America will continue to be a nation that promotes family values. Wow, that really turns American culture upside down.”

For Rodriguez and others, religion adds an element beyond politics and culture to the immigration debate. The Christian faith teaches that our common humanity is more important than our nationality. That all of us, ultimately, are strangers in this world and brothers to the bone; and all in need of amnesty. This belief does not dictate certain policies in a piece of legislation, but it does forbid rage and national chauvinism. And this is worth a reminder as well.

Even More Geekiness
You scored as Ash, You are Ash from the cult classic “Evil Dead” series.

While you do have a sense of charm and arrogance, you are not a good listener. You mostly run from fights with everyone except yourself. When you are backed in a corner however, you will come out swinging. Swinging indeed! Swinging a chainsaw!

Ash

58%

Retirement Home Elvis

46%

Evil Ash

42%

Brisco County Jr.

42%

Which Bruce Campbell?
created with QuizFarm.com

Outgeek This!
You scored as Druid, The fury of the storm, the gentle strength of the morning sun, the cunning of the fox, the power of the bear-all these and more are at the druid’s command. The druid however, claims no mastery over nature. That claim, she says, is the empty boast of the city dweller. The druid gains her power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. To trespassers in a druid’s sacred grove, to those who feel the druid’s power the distinction is overly fine.

Druid

60%

Monk

60%

Wizard

60%

Bard

50%

Paladin

50%

Fighter

40%

Ranger

40%

Cleric

40%

Sorcerer

40%

Rogue

30%

Barbarian

20%

Which D&D Class Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Piggyback Smallholder

Having nothing of note to contribute, I follow my esteemed (Maximum) leader and post my “atheist” quiz results.

You scored as Scientific Atheist, These guys rule. I’m not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Scientific Atheist

92%

Agnostic

75%

Theist

58%

Militant Atheist

50%

Apathetic Atheist

50%

Spiritual Atheist

42%

Angry Atheist

0%

What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Atheist Quiz

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been too busy trying to do Maximum Leaderly things (and fatherly things, and reading the draft of the immigration bill) to write a cogent post. So, when intellectual rigour (which hasn’t been seen too much around here for the past few months anyway) in posting isn’t possible - there is always the inane.

So… Your Maximum Leader saw a quiz over on Big Stupid Tommy’s site. It is an quiz to determine what type of an atheist you are. Your Maximum Leader took the quiz… Here are the results…

You scored as Scientific Atheist, These guys rule. I’m not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Scientific Atheist

75%

Theist

67%

Agnostic

50%

Militant Atheist

50%

Spiritual Atheist

50%

Apathetic Atheist

17%

Angry Atheist

0%

What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

The results actually surprised him. For you see… Your Maximum Leader is not now, nor has he ever been an atheist. He took the quiz with the full intention of scoring as a theist. Of course, when you start taking a quiz who’s purpose is to classify you as something you’re not; you ought to expect to take issue with the results. But your Maximum Leader was surprised nonetheless by the outcome.

Your Maximum Leader knows he has “issues” when it comes to his religious life. But his issues are all grounded in doubt, he still falls easily into the larger judeo-christian-western tradition. He’s thought about blogging more about religion and his own beliefs, but it is hard for him to open up about it. Rest assured however that your Maximum Leader is no atheist or even agnostic. Regardless of the quiz results.

Carry on.

Too bad really…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is growing more and more scatterbrained. He is now forgetting where he first saw articles about which he is going to blog. You know… So you can attribute your sources so to speak.

Anyhoo… From the world’s greatest tabloid comes this lovely gem: We only date ugly men. Excerpt:

Slicking on another layer of lipgloss, Selena Maria slings her bag over her shoulder and struts into the bar.

A sea of dark, handsome heads turn to ogle her. Jaws drop and good-looking men raise their eyebrows or move in to offer her a drink.

But Selena walks on by. She only has eyes for one man. He’s waiting for her in a dark corner. He’s not one of the handsome guys in sharp suits. He’s not even ‘average’.

He’s bald and podgy, with a pock-marked face, and is easily the ugliest man in the room. She sidles into the chair next to him.

‘Hi, gorgeous,’ she purrs. The man’s gargoyle face breaks into a toothless smile.

The good-looking men know they don’t stand a chance.

Selena has dated her fair share of hunks, but has given up on gorgeous guys because they’re dull – both in and out of bed.

Ah… Lucky for these ladies that your Maximum Leader (and Smallholder) are both off the market. If we were not both happily married there would likely be a queue of young (hot) British chics just lining up to get their manicured paws all over us. Your Maximum Leader would probably have to beat them off with a stick…

Your Maximum Leader would like to attribute his reading of this peice to someone, but he can’t remember who… So sorry… Whoever you are out there.

And before your Maximum Leader ends this post…

Allow him to doff his bejeweled floppy (mylan) cap towards Mr Atoz over on Agent Bedhead’s site. The “tuber of doom” had your Maximum Leader rolling. He doesn’t actually follow much “news” concerning Britney Spears’ ongoing meltdown… But he will keep his eyes peeled for more from Mr Atoz on this front…

Carry on.

Save Shambo.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders if you had read the latest out of Llanpumsaint, Wales? No? Imagine that.

It seems that Llanpumsaint has a particularly devout Hindu community. The Llanpumsaint Hindu community is favored with owning their own sacred cow. Yes… A real sacred cow.

The cow’s name is “Shambo.” Shambo means (if you trust the news wires) giver of joy… It seems as though Shambo is not only a giver of joy, but a carrier of bovine turberculosis. As a carrier of bovine TB, Shambo ought to be “culled” - which is a polite way of saying “killed.”

The believers at the Community of the Many Names of God, think that Shambo should be given a repreive since he lives, not on a farm, but in a religious compound. The wire story implies that Shambo would not come into contact with other cows in the area and pass along his infection.

Frankly, this story works on a whole bunch of levels… Your Maximum Leader, generally a law and order type, is all for culling the beast if it poses a contamination risk to other livestock. That is the law afterall and you just can’t allow known carriers of infectious diseases to go around infecting other cattle. Then there is the sanctuary element of the story. Now your Maximum Leader knows that no secular democracy recognizes the ancient privledge of “sanctuary” as we have all learned it from novels and film. But deep in your Maximum Leader’s little autocratic heart, there is a soft spot for “sanctuary” in churches.

(Excursus: It seems as though the US military does offer, to some extent, sanctuary to terrorists in mosques. This is one type of sanctuary with which he does not agree. Of course, militarizing a mosque (or church) generally would void any claim of protection the holy space should offer.)

So, should Shambo receive sanctuary? Should Shambo be allowed to live out his (reduced - presumably) days in the Community of the Many Names of God?

Well… No… Shambo should be culled his community should find a new sacred cow.

(NB: This post was hard to type. If one wasn’t careful in typing “Shambo” one might wind up with another name that could cause one to be unfairly accused of being a racist.)

Carry on.

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