Occasional light verse, mostly political. If you're looking for a certain cold medicine, try here. But we can put you to sleep cheaper.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

sometimes a couplet says it all

Ahmed Chalabi's the new oil minister.
Does anyone else find this mildly sinister?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Peter Ferrara, or recovering our faith in human nature

See, this is more like it. When we start to realize that the world and our government are just too unrelievedly depressing to be funny about, we find a case of someone being corrupt in such a petty, amusing way that our satirical flame is rekindled.

Such is the case of Peter Ferrara, a frequent writer of economically conservative op-ed pieces and mastermind of the movement to privatize social security (excuse me -- personalize). To quote from the article in the Washington Post, "Peter Ferrara of the Institute for Policy Innovation has acknowledged taking payments years ago from a half-dozen lobbyists, including [Jack] Abramoff. Two of his papers, the Washington Times and Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, have now dropped him. But Ferrara is unapologetic, saying: "There is nothing unethical about taking money from someone and writing an article."

The think tank where he currently works, the Institute for Policy Innovation (motto: "Why not rob from the poor and give to the rich for a change?") has done a delightful job of strenuously distancing themselves from Ferrara while praising his work with them, in the mode of loving the sinner and hating the sin (the link is in the upper right-hand corner of their home page at the moment).

Ferrara also deserves an award for Shortest Attention Span in the Blogosphere; his blog consisted of nine whole posts. Perhaps he figured out that no one was paying him.

Without further ado:

Peter Ferrara sure Innovates Policy --
Innovates ethics completely away.
His journalist's pose is the "anti-Mike-Wallace"; he
Writes what you like if you offer to pay.

When someone's opinions come wrapped in a bank's note,
They'll want more than taking them "under advisement".
A journalist ought to just write a "no-thanks" note,
Or else start the column with "Paid Advertisement".

Peter Ferrara, the Times would've sued ya,
For staining their rep., if, in fact, they had had one.
Perhaps you could write for some rag in Fallujah;
Your briber would then be the Feds -- not a bad one!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

traipsing into controversy

Recommended reading: the full ruling of U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District. It's an extraordinary lesson in legal reasoning, US history, and the critical parsing of propaganda.

On page 63, about to embark upon the question of whether Intelligent Design is science, Judge Jones states, "after a six week trial that spanned 21 days and included countless hours of detailed expert witness presentations, the Court is confident that no other tribunal in the United States is in a better position than we are to traipse into this controversial area."

Judge Jones is my new hero, despite being a Republican and a Bush (II) appointee. Who knew Republicans could traipse?

Note: yes, we will write a poem again someday. The nightquill publishing empire has been succumbing to an epidemic of Lehrer's Disease ("it's easier to be funny when you're not bitter and angry" -- Tom Lehrer, on why he gave up political satire).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

et tu, statcounter?

The FBI AND the Pentagon are spying on legitimate political groups. One member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is making anonymous noises about disbanding in protest over the President's ignoring it and illegally wiretapping US citizens, while one member has already resigned.

Now seems like a particularly good time to let you know that nightquill is watching you, too; through the
Statcounter tool, we can see what computers are accessing the site, and also what browser and operating system they use (Hi, Mom).

We may not see you when you're sleeping, but we know when you're awake.

Statcounter is, like many things these days, a free service which would like to persuade you to become a paying customer anyway. Their come-on, displayed at the top of the page every time the nightquill marketing department logs in, reads

Increase your log size today!

Don't I get enough of that in my daily spam?

Friday, December 09, 2005

a disadvantage of the tour de force

This quatrain, dedicated to the Kansas Board of Edukation, contains only the letters in the name "Charles Darwin". This is supposed to make up for its not being funny. We have mentioned before that the Science Affairs desk has lost its sense of humor.


His new ideas had earned a wide reliance
E're hidden DNA was learned as well.
"ID" tells lies; denies a child science;
And cries, when riled, "Here is sin and Hell!"

Sunday, December 04, 2005

overlook my overlook, please

As you may know, New Hampshire recently augmented its property tax with an additional valuation based on the view from one's property.

The tax New Hampshire overlooked
Is overlooked no more.
And if your yard is hilled and brooked,
Don't take it hard; your goose is cooked.
And, lest you be hauled in and booked,
You'll pay, and not get sore.
If, in your view, this ain't too great,
Then please don't tell the Granite State,
'Cause I can guess just what they'll do:
They'll slap a tax on that view, too.