Those zany neo-conservative death-cult zealots sure have a hard time playing nice with the other kids in the sandbox, don't they?
Needing a target for their truculence now that both Terri Schiavo and Pope John Paul II are dead, House majority leader Tom DeLay and his blind band of bilious automatons are angling their antennae towards two opponents: judges and gay people. If you so happen to be a gay judge, do yourself a favor -- log off and get the hell out of the country immediately. I hear Amsterdam is nice.
Crazy Tom the Bug-Killing King, who has recently drawn the ire of Republican party elders Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich for his divisive and borderline psychopathic behavior, is now angry with Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, for -- get this -- using the Internet to perform his own legal research, which DeLay said was "incredibly outrageous."
So, just to keep score, the neo-con zombie cult now has the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war in Iraq, the war on gays, the war on working families, the war in Afghanistan, the war against the media, the war against progressives and liberals, the war against the separation of church and state, the war on the middle class, the war on human rights, the war on social security, the war on judges, the war on free speech, the war on environmentalism, the war on religious freedom, the war against the United Nations (more on that one later), and now the war on Internet usage to keep themselves occupied when they aren't at church or home watching professional wrestling and car races.
Later this year, perhaps we can look forward to the war on puppies. It's high time we put a stop to all their cuteness and their unconditional love, or what some of us prefer to call "radical canine activism."
During his anti-Kennedy, anti-Supreme Court rant, DeLay referred to all of our country's federal courts as "the left's last legislative body" and threatened that the House may soon interpret judicial freedoms as a violation of the good behavior proviso to which all judges are sworn.
While DeLay continues his rage against the judicial machine, let's hope he remembers to include radical judicial activist -- and Dick Cheney hunting buddy -- Justice Antonin Scalia in his criticisms. As Adam Cohen writes in a recent New York Times editorial:
The idea that liberal judges are advocates and partisans while judges like Scalia are not is being touted everywhere these days, and it is pure myth. Scalia has been more than willing to ignore the Constitution's plain language, and he has a knack for coming out on the conservative side in cases with an ideological bent. The conservative partisans leading the war on activist judges are just as inconsistent: They like judicial activism just fine when it advances their own agendas.
Scalia's views on federalism -- which now generally command a majority on the Supreme Court -- are perhaps the clearest example of the problem with the conservative attack on judicial activism. When conservatives complain about activist judges, they talk about gay marriage and defendants' rights. But they do not mention the 11th Amendment, which has been twisted beyond its own plain words into a states' rights weapon to throw minorities, women and the disabled out of federal court.
The 11th Amendment says federal courts cannot hear lawsuits against a state brought by "Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." But it's been interpreted to block suits by a state's own citizens -- something it clearly does not say. How to get around the Constitution's express words? In a 1991 decision, Scalia wrote that "despite the narrowness of its terms," the 11th Amendment has been understood by the court "to stand not so much for what it says, but for the presupposition of our constitutional structure which it confirms."
So while the House's most powerful crackpot continues on his quest to make sure that justice Delay'd is justice denied, let's all hope he remembers to include Antonin Scalia on his list of those who aren't worthy of being saved -- right between Hillary Clinton and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Meanwhile, since Rush Limbaugh wasn't selected as the next pope, his confirmation hearings for chief justice are scheduled to begin next week.
IN THE MEANTIME, special kudos go out to the Texas state house for discovering one last right that gay people had -- and taking it away from them.
Legislators from the land of Dubya Bush and The Bug Killer have agreed to revise the policies followed by the state's Child Protective Services agency so that homosexuals and bisexuals will be prohibited from becoming foster parents. The bill is now on the way to the state senate.
"It is our responsibility to make sure that we protect our most vulnerable children, and I don't think we are doing that if we allow a foster parent that is homosexual or bisexual," said ignorant homophobe Robert Talton, the (wait for it ...) Republican who introduced the revision, presumably from a pew somewhere.
In a world where a cardinal forced to resign in shame because of his role in a conspiracy to cover up the pedophilic actions of many of his priests is allowed to say a memorial mass for a dead pope in St. Peter's Basilica, thank goodness Texas has its priorities straight. Keeping our kids away from those dangerous gays is the most important agenda item in our society today. Not because gays are necessarily dangerous to our children, but because I can't think of a single gay group that has $130 million to give to victims of sexual abuse.
Fortunately for the Catholic Church, it has that sort of money and can continue to compensate victims financially for its vile and sexually deviant crimes.
SOMEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, Michael Bolton is happy because he's no longer America's most hated Bolton. That honor now belongs to John Bolton, Dubya's hand-picked choice to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
During his confirmation hearings, Bolton has been characterized as a serial abuser with a history of "genuinely behaving like a madman," according to a former worker with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Also working against Bolton's candidacy are the words of former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, who told the New York Times that Bolton "is incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views. He would be an abysmal ambassador."
Because of its own experience working with individuals who are incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views, the White House continues in its whole-hog support of Revoltin' Bolton, blaming the Democrats for their own candidate's shortcomings, which seems strange considering Republicans outnumber Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 10-8.
"I think what you have are some Democratic members of the committee who continue to bring up unsubstantiated accusations," said White House spokesman and chief Bush stooge Scott McClellan. "They are unfounded."
A vote on Bolton's nomination has been delayed not by Democrats but by three Republicans -- Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio), Sen. Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island), and Sen. Chuck Hagel (Nebraska) -- who have reservations about Bolton because of his lengthy history of misconduct. "I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," Voinovich told the other members of the committee.
I bet this wouldn't be a problem if we got rid of some of those activist judges and pesky gays.
FINALLY TONIGHT, most of the readers here know that I gleefully quit my thankless job at BEA Systems back in February. I'd been there for three years, and the first two were quite good. The third year, however ... not so much.
Some of my friends have asked that I post the story of my departure here in this space. A couple of them were there with me at BEA during much of my tenure there, and they're fully aware at how badly we all were treated. It's something I've thought long and hard about (and I've even written a long entry about the whole ordeal), but I've decided to refrain from airing these soiled undergarments in this space. All it really does is hurt a couple of people who, in all honesty, probably deserve to be hurt for the way they treat others. But since I don't much care about either of them, sharing stories of their unethical conduct and of how they've cost BEA dozens of good employees while generating about a million bucks or so of damage in bad publicity seems pointless.
There is one story I feel needs to be told, however. Shortly before I left the company, I was informed by Scott Regan, who apparently was my manager (it was unclear at the very end who actually was my boss, which underscores the absolute lack of communication that goes on at BEA), that he was not happy with the blog I wrote for BEA dev2dev. This was really nothing new, since Scott -- unlike the actual dev2dev audience -- liked very little of what I did. Fair enough. His lack of editorial expertise does not prevent him from having his own opinion of my writing, and the fact that he didn't like my writing never really bothered me; I simply considered the source.
However, I visited the dev2dev blog after my resignation and noticed that he went in there, removed my name from each of the somewhere around 100 postings I'd written over the past nine months or so, and replaced my name with his on each one of them! Not liking my work is one thing. Saying you don't like my work and then stealing it and calling it your own is quite another. In fact, the whole stealing-my-work thing is plagiarism.
While I don't doubt the fact that BEA legally owns the work I produced while I was employed there, I'm rather certain that Scott Regan is not the rightful owner. He could have just as easily deleted the blog, or he could have just as easily changed the name of the author of each post from "Jason Jackson" to "dev2dev" or something along those lines. But not our pal, Scott Regan. He has to take the time to go in there entry by entry and take credit for work that is not his. To Scott, the ideal solution was simply to pester me until I'd leave and then steal credit for my work once I was gone.
What a dick.
I've been writing professionally now for 16 years, and I've never seen anything as deceitful, as flagrant, as vile, as dishonest, and as unpalatable as this. If nothing else, I suppose it does a great job of underscoring why BEA is such a terrible place to work. These are the people they hire to manage others.
They apparently caught wind that I was pretty pissed off about it -- I mentioned it at a party a couple of weeks ago that was attended by some people who are still at BEA. I guess someone at that company finally decided it might be a good idea to remove Scott's name from my work after letting him take credit for it for a couple of months. (I'll post some screencaps of his taking credit for my work a little later today, just to prove that I'm not delusional -- at least regarding this issue.) I guess displaying professional ethics two months late is better than never displaying professional ethics at all. Way to go, BEA.
In case you're concerned, I'm beyond fine. If I had to make a list of the 20 happiest days of my life, the day I quit that company would either be on there somewhere or would be hanging out in honorable mention. I've had no problem finding work; I'm back at Genentech for my second stint contracting there (I was hired on the spot as soon as they learned I was available again), I'm doing some fun freelance work for a former BEA colleague's startup in addition to a couple of ongoing projects that I've been working on for the past several months, and I have a couple of additional job leads about which I'm relatively excited. Not surprisingly, Tiersa has noted that my mood has improved dramatically since getting away from that horrible environment, and I can't say I'm surprised. As much as you like to think you're not impacted by all the politics and all the crap, you're only fooling yourself. It impacts you in ways you can't even comprehend.
To the friends I still have at BEA, I know what you're going through. Hang in there. There are better days ahead. I just wouldn't expect those better days to include working at that company. You all deserve much better.
UPDATE [04-21-2005 12:16 AM]: Here's a PDF screen shot of the dev2dev blog on March 4, which was roughly two weeks after I left BEA. Notice who has suddenly given himself credit for the work I'd done. See for yourself (requires Adobe Acrobat).What a team player, eh?