Help Me Reach 12 on the Manly Scale of Absolute Gender

If you like the patriotic work we're doing, please consider donating a few dollars. We could use it. (if asked for my email, use "gen.jc.christian@gmail.com.")
Thanks!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Simcox's potential Twitter followers replaced by Mexicans

Chris Simcox
Candidate for US Senate

Dear Mr. Simcox,

I've been following your career as a Minuteman leader since the beginning. It's been a glorious career thus far--you'll certainly go down as one of the greatest commanders in the Eternal War to Resubjugate the Brown (Southwest Theater). But with your entry as the teabagger candidate in Arizona's GOP senate primary, I have no doubt your best work is yet to come.

Your campaign has been a joy to watch. Your gutsy, non-traditional campaigning style is something I hope all teabagger-Americans will study and try to emulate. It's a winning strategy for sure.

I'm particularly impressed with your use of social media. Most candidates use Twitter to enlist their supporters to help them grow their base. You've inverted that. Rather than asking your supporters to join twitter to help spread the word, you signed up for a service that promises to get you "tons of followers" who care nothing about your politics, and who are probably not even eligible to vote in Arizona. And by God it worked. You're up to a 244 followers now.

Of course there will be those who are skeptical of such a bold new approach. They'll say it's crazy or call it "batshit insane." They'll argue that "it makes you look desperate and incapable of drawing any support for your candidacy." But what they don't understand is that you have to do it that way. You have no other choice because Mexicans are taking all the follower slots from real, patriotic teabagger-Americans. I think Lou Dobbs has even done a show on it.

I also see you're taking the next step and asking all those new followers to donate to your campaign. That's another gutsy move, but one that is unlikely to yield many contributions. You see, they have no freaking idea who you are. They only followed you because you promised to follow them back. You're not going to see a dime from them.

I have a better fundraising idea. I recently received an email from a Mr. Nicholas Adams who is the son of a cocoa merchant in the Ivory Coast. His father recently died, leaving him $7.5 million, but unfortunately, he's having problems accessing it. He's willing to pay an American partner 15% to help him get it. All he needs is your bank info and a few hundred thousand dollars to facilitate the transfer. I'm thinking you might have that kind of cash on hand from your fence building project. I mean you collected millions to build a border fence and didn't. That money has to be somewhere. It'd just be a temporary loan to Mr. Adams. You'd get the fence money back, plus that extra 15% you could pour into your campaign.

That's a much better idea than relying on your 244 new twitter followers, isn't it.

Well, that's about all the help I can give you today. Good luck.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pepsi: the choice of the sodomy generation

Young Baptist preacher rebukes Pepsi.

The Dickwhisperer Gets His Own Trading Card


Baron Dana Von Dickwhisperer calls Nico Pitney "such a dick."
The Baron's in-depth investigation of Obama's speedo--does he stuff?
Al Gore gets the Von Dickwhisperer sanction.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jesus "aint no long-haired hippy queer"

I blame love desegregation

Young Baptist Preacher Takes Bold Stand

He'll kick the ass of any false prophet who tries to preach from the pulpit he built in his living room.

Health Care as Health Justice


Health Care as Health Justice
Image © Austin Cline
Click for full-sized Image

Now that the government is looking seriously — or half-way seriously — at some sort of health care reform, maybe people will have their eyes opened about the state of health care and health insurance in America. Perhaps they will figure out just how bad the health care system has become and how extensively they have been exploited by the health insurance industry — not to mention the degree of complicity of the politicians who have been the paid servants of the insurance industry rather than the representatives of the people.

Then again, maybe not; but people will only wake up when they're faced with all the problems and stop believing the lies and propaganda which the insurance industry and their political servants keep putting out. If the current hearings and debates aren't sufficient to reveal enough of the truth to enough people, what would it take?



Buying Politicians with Blood Money

The insurance industry of course opposes any reform, and that's why they've tried to offer token concessions. They don't want to be forced by law to treat people justly; instead, they want to continue extracting every last dollar possible out of customers while avoiding paying claims. Their primary concern is maximizing profits for shareholders, not maximizing the health of the people they insure.

This is incompatible with both public health and public justice, but it's also exactly how any other corporation is supposed to be run. This is important to keep firmly in mind because regardless of how unjust or immoral the outcome of such decisions may appear to us from our lowly human perspective, those decisions consistently follow the capitalist, corporate logic which you can find in other industries. It's just that this logic doesn't usually cause quite so much obvious and immediate suffering or death in other contexts.

Some of the profits they make can then be paid to politicians to ensure that this practice can survive. It's the insurance industry's business model of demanding increasing insurance premiums while denying medical claims that must be kept alive at all costs, not the human beings whom the politicians are supposed to be serving.

To accept the insignificant concessions of the insurance industry would be like accepting promises from factory owners to implement voluntary coffee breaks once a day in exchange for not passing laws imposing a minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, basic safety standards, and so forth. Hey, didn't the Republican Party and businesses oppose all of them as well? Accepting such concessions wouldn't have been just and wouldn't have protected or advanced the interests of the workers, so why accept a similarly bad deal for the entire public?



The Best Arguments They Have

When businesses and corporations oppose the imposition of just standards on their practices, they usually manage to offer plausible-sounding arguments — they might be bad arguments, but they can sound plausible if you don't think too much about their implications. In this case, however, the arguments being offered by the insurance industry are outstandingly bad. They are among the worst I've ever seen, and I've seen some really bad arguments. This may be a sign of just how bad the position of the insurance companies really is.

For so long, health insurance companies and their Republican fluffers have insisted that any sort of public health insurance plan would be horrible because the government just can't do anything right. Everything which the government tries to manage turns out worse than it started, while everything run by private businesses is always better (sooner or later) because the profit motive ensures the best possible outcome (which sounds an awful lot like the "Best of All Possible Worlds" theodicy offered by Christian apologists, doesn't it?).

That's why the American health care system is the "envy" of the world — we have the "best" health care system because it's full of innovation and efficiency created by the free market. Apparently, the free market is so wonderful that it produces improved health care by people who are only seeking to improve their profits regardless of the quality of health care produced. Everyone else in the world envies us so much that they know they can't achieve the same thing, which must explain why no one is wasting their time trying to emulate us.

Now, however, the insurance industry is also claiming that if a public health insurance option exists, then so many people will flock to the public option that the private insurance companies will be run out of business. Oh, how sad for the insurance companies! They fear being driven out of business by a public insurance plan which would be hopelessly incompetent and provide significantly worse health care than what the private insurance companies currently do. Huh? The only way awful health insurance from government would attract large numbers of people is if private health insurance is worse. What a way to defend one's industry and business model!



Injustice as a Business Model

It is, of course, their business model which they are worried about. There are lots of possible problems which may accompany government-run health insurance. Few if any of them do not or could not also accompany private health insurance — except of course for those wealthy enough to afford the best possible health insurance. They, however, will always be able to buy supplemental health insurance because if there is a demand, someone will try to create a supply.

The one thing that a government-run health insurance system can avoid which private health insurance cannot is exploitation of the people being insured. Private health insurance companies will put profits for shareholders above the lives and health of the insured unless forced by law not to, but that would difficult to implement and regulate. Government-run health insurance has no incentive to put profits above lives; on the contrary, it has incentives to put lives above profit because that's what the people will vote for.

Taking people's money then refusing to provide the health care customers thought they were paying for is clearly unjust, but doing so successfully is how the private health insurance companies continue making a profit. They think they have a right to make money by helping their own customers into early graves (or at least early disability), but the system needs to be changed to eliminate both this false "right" and the attitudes which have generated the belief by so many that they are entitled to such a "right" in the first place.


New Propaganda Poster Site: Whenever I've been asked about the images I create here, I've had trouble directing people to them — never mind the best ones — because they've all been buried in the General's archives. I've long wanted a place where they could all be gathered together for easy search and reference and, finally, I've created one. I'm not satisfied with everything yet, but it's far enough along to tell people about.

This does not change anything about my posting here. This is still the primary site for publication of my sermons and posters. Reposting on the other site will lag publication here by several days (so just about everyone who's going to read a new sermon will have done so by the time I repost it on my site).


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Department of Book Reports: Dark Paradise

Faithful readers will know, when I recommend crime fiction, it's the good stuff. Dark Paradise by Lono Waiwaiole (Dennis McMillan, $35) is one of the best of the season. I've been a fan of Lono's since the Wiley series, that were set in Portland, OR. The ending of Wiley's Refrain says "you got to get back to the islands brah". Lono took that to heart and this fast-paced novel is the result of his moving to the big island just as a major meth ring was busted. This dark view of vacation paradise won't be welcomed by the tourist board, but fans of crime noir should rejoice.

Mexican distributors from California have decided to take over the meth trade from the established Japanese, and this has brought the attention of the FBI.

We meet Geronimo Souza, dedicated cop, unfaithful husband and over eager gambler. He knows and is related to many of the local drug dealers. Geronimo wants to minimize collateral damage he knows will come to pass.

Nanali has had to navigate dangerous waters all her life. When her mother was killed by her father, Dominic Rosario, she became the woman of the house at 13. Nanali watches the events and players and believes she is strong enough to step up and take her father's place. Buddy Kai and Sonnyboy Akaka want to keep their share of the action.

Chapters switch between the viewpoints of the characters giving different shifting angles as the battle and retaliations stack up. The Big Island isn't that big where everyone has known each other since grade school.

Lono has a fine ear for the local pidgen and uses it effectively throughout the novel. He has been a high school basketball coach during his teaching years and depicts the teenage scene well here. Well-drawn characters make this a satisfying read, with an ending as sad as the Hawaiian Hymn that closes the book.

Dark Paradise is available from Jackson Street Books and fine indie bookstores everywhere. This beautifully produced volume is a joy to hold.

The perfect gift

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Opinuary Column



The Opinion
You can live forever and ever
In Neverland
Nothing will ever harm you
No one will raise a hand
A magical place that can't be erased
No, no it can't
You can live forever and ever
In Neverland
has died of cardiac arrest at the age of fifty. The Opinion is survived by everyone who has ever wanted to turn their back on the insistent call of time and stay a child forever and ever, an ill-advised and impossible feat if ever there was one.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Opinion's family and friends, many of whom will surely act as pallbearers, and truly many of them are known to us: Puff the Magic Dragon, Winnie the Pooh & the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood Gang, the Velveteen Rabbit, Mother Goose, Rat & Mole & Badger & Toad & The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and Company, The Little Prince, Pinocchio & Geppetto & Jiminy Cricket & The Blue Fairy, Goodnight Moon, The Red Balloon, Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Engine That Could, Peter Piper, Chicken Little, The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Wizard of Oz, Fernando the Bull, Babar, Dumbo, Bilbo Baggins, Gulliver (who asked that he not be listed for he is a Very Grown Up Man), The Cat in the Hat, Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka, Br'er Rabbit--the list just goes on and on. Perhaps Neverland is a place that you best carry inside your imagination and not try to actually live in: like many things in life, a day could come when it will surely break your heart.

In lieu of flowers many of the characters listed above suggested you construct a ladder out of moonbeams and climb up to the stars, whispering nonsense and nursery rhymes to the Northern Lights, or better yet wade into the harbor, and tie together all the boats! But beware the Castles of Childhood should they beckon for too long, for they can be turned into prisons!



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The Opinuary Column appears Friday afternoons at Jesus' General.

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Bad Photos

Dear Mom,

Helen and I love the comforter you sent. Thanks.

Love,

Bob

It's not sinning if you hold onto her ears

Dick Bott
Bott Radio Network

Dear Mr. Bott,

I understand why you banned Mars Hill's Pastor Mark Driscoll from your Christian radio network. His sermons on the need for wives to take their husbands little soldiers into their mouths are a little jarring to Christian ears at first. Heck, when I first learned of the practice, ten years ago, I'd have agreed with you. It was the kind of thing that only libislamunistfascists like Bill Klinton did. Worse than that, it was a corruption of one of our most cherished and manly cultural warrior traditions, "the sharing of the spunk." It's an ancient and sacred, and, above all else, heterosexual, rite shared by history's purest warriors from Elric Wildtongue to Larry Craig.

But take another look at that sermon. Driscoll states very clearly that it's not a loving act, but an act of submission and subjugation. And perhaps just as importantly, it isn't supposed to be reciprocal. So you see, it's really very Baptist if you think about it.

Still, Driscoll could suggest adding a few elements to ensure that thingy gobbling is more easily identified with submission and subjugation than with tenderness and love. Ear grabbing would be a good start. Nothing says ownership better than a little ear grabbing.

I bet if Jesus had married Mary Magdalene, he'd have been an ear grabber. Yeah, sure. He'd whip his little redeemer out while she was doing that very kinky submissive feet washing thing with her hair, and yeah, you know. Picture it. Our Lord, Jesus standing there, holding onto Mary's ears, moving her head back and forth. Angels singing Barry White songs. White doves fluttering around the greatest O-face ever seen, until....wow! Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!

OK. I'm sorry. I got a little carried away with the spirit there, but surely, you understand. You just gotta grab some ears and go with it.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

A helmet tip to mirele

The Next Governor of South Carolina

Update: URL fixed. Sorry

Sen. Dale Lee Agsby: The GOP's next superstar.

A tip of the ol' helmet to Mr. Bartholomew

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the Seventh Day, He Repented

Some of you may recall that awhile back, God appeared to me in the form of a watermelon and commanded me to write An Even Newer Testament of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Well today, the holy ghost came upon me and instructed me to write the following.

Acts of The Governor

Chapter 1 in which the Governor of All the More Pallid Peoples of South Carolina explores and enjoys many orifices for six days and repents on the seventh.

1. On the first day, the Governor of All the More Pallid Peoples of South Carolina created an excuse. "Behold," he declared to his most cherished staff, "I shall tarry unto the Appalachian Trail to hiketh naked in the manner of our fathers; do not telleth my wife."

2. But the Governor hath made other plans, and he drove his ass unto the City of Atlanta, yea, even unto the great city's airport, and caughtethed a flight to Buena Aires to meet with the one he called She.

3. And She met the Governor at the airport and before departing to the inn, she kissed him with the tounge and grabbathed his unit and gaveth it a mighty honk. And the Governor spilt his seed inside his jeans and was well pleased.

4. On the second day, the Governor was awakened by She's mouth upon his manhood, sucking it as a lamb at it's mothers udder whilst humming various songs by the Village People.

5. And behold, the Governor made great and noisy grunting sounds and poundethed the wall with his left hand, loudly singing out our Lord Jesus' holy name three times before his cock crew.

6. On the third day, the Governor anointed "Mr Howdy," for that was what they had named his manly staff, with sacred lubricants and put it inside She's "Dark Hole of Jubilant Winds" over and over and over again.

7. And it was good.

8. On the fourth day, they covered each other with anchovy paste and herring and let loose a pair of penguins to roam about their connubial bed.

9. And on the fifth day, The Governor was the naughty school girl and She was the stern headmaster with the large collection of spatulas and power tools.

10. And on the sixth day, the Governor was exhausted, but very very happy, as She had povidethed him one last mighty and powerful honk upon his Mr. Howdy at the airport.

11. And on the seventh day, the Governor of All the More Pallid Peoples of South Carolina repented tearfully and apologized profusely as he remembered She and spilt his seed inside his slacks.

12. And he was well pleased.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dobbs's America

I don't know about you, but I'm proud to be a Lou Dobbs American where at least I know I'm free:
WTOP reports that the family of Ana Fernandez, one of the victims of Monday's fatal Metro crash, has been getting hate-filled phone calls from people questioning whether she and her family are legal immigrants.

The absolute true tale of the adventures of Gov. Mark Stanford, double-naught spy

By the time you read this, you may "know" where Governor Mark Sanford's been for the last week. I put the word, "know," in quotation marks because all you'll really have is the official explanation. It'll probably be something like he wandered off into the woods or he ran off to blow some guys in a restroom to prove his heterosexuality or he hung himself in some kind of compassionate act of Spermatazoan-American liberation--you know, the kind of thing we conservatives are apt to do in our free time.

But any such explanation would only be a cover story to hide the truth about what he's been up to. You see, Gov. Sanford has been on a secret mission.

It's rather obvious if you think about it? Why else would a good family man leave town for a week without telling his wife or kids where he was going, or even that he was gone. Indeed, his mission was so secret, he couldn't risk calling them, not even on Father's Day.

So what was he really doing? My sources say he was in a secret Twitter war room along with some of our greatest Keyboard Kommandos--people like Allahpundit, Erik Erikson, and Pete Hoekstra--demonstrating solidarity with the people of Iran as we eagerly await the order from America's greatest conservative leader, Benjamin Nethayahu, to bomb the shit out of them.

Godspeed, Gov. Sanford.

Photo Credit

Too Deviously Smart For Alberto

Jennifer Rubin
Pajamas Media

Dear Mrs Rubin,

Kudos for writing about Obama's ties to the ultra-dangerous Islamic Society of North America. We knew the Obamaslamunistofascists were treacherous, but who could have dreamed they'd stoop so low as to sponsor a booth at a convention held by a group so devious, Alberto Gonzales couldn't find a reason to indict them.

We're all going to die!

Heterosexually yours in a chaste, Christian, and biblically appropriate kind of way,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Joe the Plumber brings the gift of matches to gun and alcohol bash


Joe the Plumber
Real American

Dear Mr. Plumber,

It's great to read that you're still in the average guy business. I was getting a bit worried we'd never hear from you again after you dumped the GOP, but thankfully, you're still a big draw with the "get liquored up and shoot things" crowd.

Gosh, I wish I could have been there. I hear those Independence Institute alcohol, tobacco, and firearms parties are a lot of fun. What more could a real American man want beyond a big ol' shotgun with a long full-choke barrel, a humongous cigar, and all the booze you can drink.

I imagine a lot of lesser Americans might look at such an event and make snide little remarks about compensation and feelings of inadequacy. Screw them. They just don't understand the joy of sucking on a long thick cigar or the power one feels when a hot load explodes from the tip of your Mossberg.

Sounds like your speech was a big hit too, but I think you could have added a little clarity to your statement that America had been a "great nation for over 180 years." That confused a lot of people and opened you up to a little mockery.

You could have avoided all that by simply explaining that the United states did not become a great nation until after the first friction "strike anywhere" matches became available here, sometime in the late 1820s. I mean, gosh, how would we spend our free time if we didn't have those little flames to look at--so pretty, so hot, so dangerous.

And sure, sometimes the matches speak to us, and tell us to do bad things, and maybe sometimes we do them, but it's all worth the trouble isn't it--the excitement of the firetrucks, the thrill that comes from thinking about the lacy thong you're secretly wearing as you talk to the fireman; you know what I mean.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Monday, June 22, 2009

From the Sublime to Something Else

Sublime


Something Else

Saving Fetus Americans

Jill Stanek
Pro Life Pulse

Dear Nurse Stanek,

First, I want to thank you for asking the FBI to interview me for "threatening your life." I can't wait for them to contact me. It'll be a great opportunity for me to show actual representatives of the United States government all the good work we're doing--me, with my spermatazoan-American liberation and housing project (I'm hoping the agent will help me fill up the rest of this mason jar), and you, with your tacit encouragement of those who would assassinate our nation's doctors.

I've been thinking a lot about the work you're doing lately, and all the success the Coerced Childbirth Movement has had in reducing the number of doctors willing to perform late-term abortions. I'm not sure how many there were ten years ago, but after a decade of pro-life assassinations, there appear to be only two (and maybe only one, soon, if an assassin for Jesus puts the photos and addresses to which you linked to use.

That means there are a lot more babies being born to suffer in extreme pain for a few hours before they pass into Jesus' compassionate hands. Now, that might be what Jesus wants. We know he loves his pain and suffering--why else would he command she-bears to tear 40 children apart simple because the kids made fun of a bald guy--but then again, maybe He wants us to do a little more to help those children after they're born.

No, I'm not suggesting something immoral like providing them with welfare or education or anything like that. I mean, maybe we could make it easier for doctors to find adult stem cells to inject into these tiny fetus-Americans while they're still snuggled up in their flesh incubators.

As it is, it's hard to find good, adult stem cells. There just aren't a lot of them in an adult; they are impossible to grow in cultures; and, with the exception of those found in brains, they're not very good at transforming into the proper cells. So what we need is a bigger supply of brains, so we can increase our supply of stem cells from those brains. Does that make sense?

But where can we get these brains? They'd have to be fresh, and they'd have to be obtained in a way life-loving Christians like ourselves would deem to be ethical.

Well, I've given it a bit of thought and come up with a number of potential sources.

1. People who are legally executed. They could come from any place execution is legal like the US, China, Iran, etc.

2. People who are accidental killed while being tortured to defend freedom. We've killed dozens so far. Might as well put their brains to use.

3. The fetus-American's own flesh incubator. A lot more of those will be dying now, and hey, let's admit it, we don't give a damn about them anyway.

4. The greedy bastards who wanted a public option for healthcare and ain't getting it now. They'll be dying; let's grab their brains for the fetuses.

5. Oh, and the OB/GYN's who are assassinated by those who take your rhetoric seriously.

Heterosexually yours in a chaste and biblically acceptable kind of way,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stay with me Neda

The father is saying to his 16 yr old daughter: "Neda, don't be afraid. Neda, don't be afraid. Neda, stay with me. Neda stay with me!"



The Jivester has more:
Neda, Don't Be Afraid

hold my hand
stay with me
hold my hand
stay with me
neda
neda

don't be afraid
stay with me
don't be afraid
stay with me
neda
neda

we are all the children of god
we are all the heart of this life
we are all a miracle
we are all the end of a dream
You must read the rest of it.

Pro-Life?

Google Patriotism

It's come to my attention that there are libislamunistofascists who fail to appreciate my Google ads for people like Our Adam's Appled Lady of the Most Holy Shriek, Ann Coulter. And while my inner-Frenchman, secretly giggles like a Toulouse schoolgirl at the thought that she might be paying him for clicks from people who would never buy her wares, he realizes how offensive such ads might be to people who possess intelligence, taste, and consciences.

We have no control over what ads Google places, but once they are placed, we can remove them if we know the url to which they are directed (I think). So please click on any offending ad you'd like me to remove and send me the url (I may not see the ad--I haven't seen Coulter's yet.)

Thank you. I appreciate and value you all. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that people like what I do. I don't tell you how grateful I am for you all, near enough. Thanks again.

Update: Got it. Humanevents.com. That should take care of a bunch of them.

hmmmm. still there. Maybe it takes awhile. I'll keep working on it.

Now scroll down and read Austin's traitorous post, and then after that, go see the Jivester's moving commentary about a woman named Neda.

Secrecy vs. Transparency: Fighting Obama's Closed, Secretive Government


Secrecy vs. Transparency: Fighting Obama's Closed, Secretive Government
Image © Austin Cline
Click for full-sized Image

One principle criticism of the Bush administration was the extensive secrecy brought to government dealings. Bush and Cheney worked hard to prevent the public from learning many things the government was doing in our name. It's no wonder that Barack Obama ran on a platform which emphasized the need for open government and that he would proclaim a personal commitment to letting more light into government affairs. How has that been working out, do you think?

Some were skeptical about Obama's promises and wondered whether his commitment to open government would survive once Obama transitioned from a candidate seeking power and making promises to acquire power to a person wielding power. Not many people voluntarily give up power once they have it and that's why it's such a problem when presidents appropriate new power for their office — once established, it's difficult to remove. It's far better to keep people from getting unjust, inappropriate power than to try to wrest it from them once they've gotten a taste for using it.

Well, it looks like Barack Obama has gotten a real taste for all the power his predecessor asserted for the Office of President of the United States, and he isn't willing to give it all up. He has repeatedly asserted that he and his administration just aren't obligated to turn over information about what the government has been doing and his excuses have been getting ever worse in a short period of time. I thought they hit a low point with "we want to keep secret stuff that will embarrass us," but they managed to do worse with "we don't want to release stuff that might end up on late-night comedy shows."

Maybe it's time to review some of the reasons why an open government is important and why strengthening, not weakening, the Freedom of Information Act is so vital.


Accountability & Responsibility

Open government is important because if we don't know what our government is doing in our name, we can't hold the government generally or any government officials in particular accountable for their actions. We experienced this under Bush and Cheney because we didn't know who was involved and how when it came to the justification and creation of torture policies — so only a few people at the bottom of the chain of command were held responsible.

Those higher up have thus far avoided accountability and were allowed to continue with what they were doing. Barack Obama has been making this situation even worse by trying to shield everyone involved from any sort of accountability despite our international treaty obligations which require it. He has also persisted in keeping secret documents and evidence of all the wrongdoing, evidence which is necessary for the public to know who did what to whom and why.

When government officials commit crimes and are able to avoid accountability, they are given a license to behave irresponsibly — the only ones who know about their wrongdoing are friends and colleagues who can cover it up, just as they cover up for others. A secretive government is, in the long run, a more corrupt government.


The Burden is on Those who would Govern

In a free society, the burden of proof or argument must be placed on those who would govern, not on those who are being governed. This is an obligation on those who would create and impose new laws to justify them as necessary, not on those who object to those laws. Government secrecy turns this upside down because it allows those who would govern to avoid every justifying any actions they are taking — if we don't know what they are doing, we can't demand that they explain why those actions are necessary or just.

The Freedom of Information Act, in contrast, reinforces this principle because when a request is made for information from the government, the burden is on government officials and agencies to prove that continued secrecy is necessary for some vital national interest. The burden is not on the citizen to prove that they need it because the presumption is that all information should be available to any citizen no matter why they want it. Efforts to expand government secrecy are thus also an effort to undermine this basic principle of liberal democracy, which mans making society less free.


Independent Review

Another important feature of modern, free democracies is the distribution of power. More power concentrated into fewer hands leads to more authoritarianism and less freedom. More power distributed into more hands tends to produce more freedom while decreasing the chances for abuse of power and corruption. Indeed, democracy itself is a means for distributing power — specifically, distributing political sovereignty throughout the largest number of people subjected to the laws rather than just an aristocracy of some sort.

One means by which political power can be distributed more widely in government is through the independent judicial review of government actions: judges rule on whether people can be held by the police, whether prosecutors are acting according to the law, whether government actions are infringing on anyone's rights, etc. Some conservatives may whine about "activist judges," but judges who take action against improper laws or other improper government action are critical to preserving a free society.

The Freedom of Information Act continues with this tradition by providing for independent, judicial review whenever the government refuses to grant a request for information. There are legitimate reasons for why the government might need to keep information secret and this judicial review is a means to ensure that the government's arguments are indeed legitimate rather than just poor excuses to conceal behavior which is illegal, unjust, or embarrassing.

This is precisely what the Obama administration, many Republicans, and even some Democrats have been trying to get around. They apparently know that the government is in possession of material which reveals illegal and embarrassing government behavior which they don't want made widely known, but they don't have any legitimate excuses for covering it up. Some of it involves actions of the Bush administration, like the torture of prisoners, and some of it involves more recent activity like the bombing of Afghan civilians. Efforts to get around independent judicial review of such government decisions is ultimately an effort to further concentrate more and more unaccountable power into fewer and fewer hands.


Although it's true none of these actions have their origins entirely with in the Obama administration, the fact that he's simply continuing his predecessor's unethical, unjust, and even illegal behavior doesn't suddenly make it all OK. He was elected in part because of promises to bring change, and these are some of the issues where change was most strongly desired. Treating these policies as legitimate is thus a betrayal of his promises to the people as well as his oath of office.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Department of Book Reports: The Invention of Air

Steven Johnson's The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and The Birth of America (Riverhead Books $25.95) centers upon the figure of 18th century intellectual luminary, Joseph Priestley. In an era that included such figures as Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Antoine Lavosier, as well as the French Philosophes, Priestley still remains an intellectual giant. Not only was he the man who discovered oxygen (although he did not get the chemistry of his discovery and Lavosier was the scientist who named the element), he was a political thinker who supported both the American and French revolutions, and minister as well, who founded with Theophilus Lindsey the first official Unitarian denomination in England.

Johnson explores the milieu in which Priestley made his discoveries. He examines both Thomas Kuhn's notion of Scientific revolution, as well as Karl Marx's notion of dialectics, in order to explain how this unlikely man (who also discovered the idea of soda water) could make the discoveries he did, and finds both models incomplete. Johnson examines the London Coffee Club which provided a culture where Priestley could share his ideas with his friends, including Franklin. The group Priestly belonged to was the Honest Whigs; in the 18th century, the notion that one could separate science from religion and politics did not occur to them, and many lively discussions were had. (Johnson rightly notes that science is not ever far removed from politics, reminding us of the issues of global warming and stem cell research.) Johnson also discusses the changing social landscape of England and its contributions to Priestley's thought, with the coal rich and indutrializing northern England, as opposed to the agrarian south.

Priestley suffered for his radical political positions. In the end of his time in England's green and pleasant lands, rioters burned down his home in England, which prompted him to become the first of many men of science who would someday emigrate to the fledgling American republic. Even in the last decade of his life, Priestley could not avoid politics. Only the intervention of his one-time friend, President John Adams, kept him from being prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In his lifetime, he also published a work taking on what he considered the corruptions of the English church, a work that much influenced his other great American friend, Thomas Jefferson's version of the Bible. Whatever the stereotypes of the Church now, to be a Unitarian in the 18th century was to be a heretic. Unitarians denied the concept of the Trinity (hence Unitarian and not Trinitarians) as well as the divinity of Jesus. Unitarians could not hold public office in England. In America, there was no such prohibition.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Steven Johnson
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Johnson has written a superior and fascinating intellectual history, one that will reward any reader. Now, one of these days, I need to read another novel. But as long as books like this get published, it may be a while.

And if I may be indulged a couple of asides. First, my friends over at The Political Carnival, GottaLaff and Paddy, have done some great work on the detainees at Gitmo, which was discussed on David Shuster's show on Friday. Go please take a look.

I also want to reiterate the General's invitation to join us Second Life progressives at tonight's showing of A Soldier's Peace. After the show and the interview, we will have some live music, courtesy of the author of the piece, Zathras Afarensis, and then I will spin some tunes. Please feel free to join us. We have many people who would be happy to mentor new SLers, including my wife, the lovely BookemJackson Streeter.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Opinuary Column



The Opinion Politicians can receive millions of dollars from health insurance and pharmaceutical company lobbyists and still do the right thing for their constituents has died after its request for a medical review was denied by its health provider. The Opinion was never seriously believed by anyone anyway, and so its passing was not viewed as a surprise.

Doctors for the deceased Opinion released a statement that read as follows:
"Denying treatment was the humane thing to do in this case. Had the Opinion lived it would have been subjected to ridicule and derision for the rest of its born days. As healers, we just couldn't support that."
The funeral for The Opinion will be attended by the roughly forty-seven million Americans who do not have health insurance, as well as an additional sixty million or so citizens who are one major illness away from abject poverty. Of the eighteen thousand or so Americans who die yearly as a result of being sick without medical insurance the family notes that the dead will not be allowed to attend the funeral.

The Opinion is survived by the rest of us who happen to still be alive, but don't feel too smug: we'll be gone some day as well, so there's that. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider not blowing up government or insurance buildings, and that if you do get sick and die to please have the decency to not clutter up valet parking zones--very important people need to get in and out of commercial zones with all due haste!

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The Opinuary Column appears on Friday afternoons at Jesus' General.

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False Accusations of Death Threats Arising From The Tubesock Holocaust

Jill Stanek
Pro Life Pulse

Dear Nurse Stanek,

I have to admit I was very surprised to learn that you are telling people I had threatened your life. Certainly, there was nothing in my email that could even remotely be taken as a threat against you--unless, of course, a sentence fragment was taken completely out of context. And that's what happened.

But why? Why would a fellow warrior in the compelled childbirth movement do that? Well, I don't think you did it intentionally. I'm guessing you never received the email I copied you. Instead, it was intercepted by someone, the same person who passed the sentence fragment onto you, Pastor Tim.

Obviously, if that's the case, he must hate the pre-born. That'd explain why he's trying to cause a rift between us, two of the nations greatest forced pregnancy activists. But again, why?

Perhaps it is because he participates in the greatest slaughter of them all, the Tube Sock Holocaust. It makes sense if you think about it. He looks like a masturbator. He looks like the kind of man who'd leave billions of our tiniest citizens, the Spermatazoan-Americans to die of dehydration in a cotton desert.

And it's not just him. I've said it before. His associate pastors look kind of "funny" too.

We've got to do something about it. We've got to stop him, and I think you know how to do it.

In my last email--the one that was intercepted before you could receive it--I congratulated you for responding to Dr. Tiller's assassination by linking to a targeting site that posted pictures of another OB/GYN, his wife, and his daughter along with their work and home addresses.

You should consider doing the same for Pastor Tim and his assistants. Here's a graphic you can use:


All you need to add are their names and addresses along with some very strong, hate-inspiring rhetoric and you'll be set. Just think of how many Spermatazoan-Americans we could be saving here!

Heterosexually yours in a chaste, biblical, and little-Spermy-protecting kind of way,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Republican Jesus Rebukes Public Option

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Soldier's Peace, A Documentary Premiere in Second Life

From my inner Frenchman's freind, Zath:

A Soldier's Peace, A Documentary Premiere in Second Life

For many of us, the ever-increasing count of American and Iraqi dead has been a central fact driving our political lives since it became clear that Bush was intent against all reason on pursuing a preemptive misadventure in Iraq. It is what drove us to the blogs, to march and to protest, to speak out.

For those in Red States, where opportunities to voice opposition with any real effect have seemed too few and far between, few examples of principled dissent have been more inspiring than that of Sgt. Marshall Thompson, who--on his return to Utah from a year in Iraq as an Army journalist--undertook to walk the state's length to talk with everyday Utahns about war and peace. The award-winning 2007 documentary A Soldier's Peace by Kristen and Marshall Thompson chronicles his remarkable 500-mile journey into activism.

Netroots Nation in Second Life and Virtually Speaking are very proud to announce the Second Life premiere of this simple yet powerful film.

The image above is of the Iraq War Memorial the NNSL team have built on Netroots Island in Second Life, with one simple, unadorned marker for each fallen son or daughter. Although the virtual land, the markers, and the Arena exist only as binary digits in a database and pixels in phosphor, the effect of "walking" through the memorial display is powerful and sobering.

The memorial is right next to Netroots Nation Arena, where we will be showing A Soldier's Peace at 5:00 pm PDT on Saturday, June 20. So we invite you not only to see the film, but also to arrive early and walk through our memorial, a labor of love in its own right. Following the film, Daily Kos's own CS Kendrick (known to some of us CS Kappler, one of the hosts of the Second Life interview series Virtually Speaking), will interview Marshall Thompson, after which, in our usual Second Life style, we will retire to one of our favorite SL hangouts, the Lonely Yak, for live music and a DJ.

Yes, this is another Netroots Nation in Second Life diary, but not like the ones we've posted so far across Left Blogistan. We won't be gushing about all the cool things you can see and do in our favorite 3D virtual world. No joyous, exuberant cheerleading here--not, mind you, that we have any problem with joyous cheerleading. But these images, these thoughts, these themes, call for a more measured respect towards the silence of the grave. If you want to know more about our strange little world and how to join and navigate it, follow the links given in one ofthese terrific diaries.

Tonight, we're here to talk about Thompson's own solitary labor of love, which was met with official resistance before it even began. From Atkinson on Film's review of A Soldier's Peace:

Upon learning of Thompson’s plan, state officials initially insisted that he must obtain a permit for his walk, then not only did these same officials deny his application, but also told him that if he started on his roadside walk, he would be arrested "because his walk would have no purpose" (i.e., akin to a vagrancy charge). His attorney father-in-law, collaborating with ACLU lawyers, persuaded the Utah Attorney General to permit Thompson’s peace walk rather than face litigation on violation of his First Amendment rights. The AG capitulated, and Thompson set out, with one friend, early on a rainy morning, October 2, 2006, with his backpack and rain slicker.

For more information about the film, visit its official website at http://www.soldierspeace.com, and to find out more about the hosts, visit http://www.nninsl.org and http://virtuallyspeaking.ning.com.

If you hope for an end to this war, if you pray for peace, we hope you will join us in Second Life atNetroots Nation Arena.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

John Ensign Loves the Sting of a Good Promisekeepers' Spatula

Maggie Gallagher
Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
National Organization For Marriage

Dear Mrs. Gallagher,

Sen. Ensign's excuse for his adultery points to a threat against marriage that may be even more dire than that posed by marriage equality advocates. According to the senator, it was the closeness of the two couples that led to his infidelity. Apparently, Sen. and Mrs. Ensign spent a lot of time hanging out with his concubine and her husband, and all that face time whipped them up into a kind of wild frenzy of fluid-flinging carnality.

Makes sense to me. Lord knows, best friend's wives are irresistible, even for a committed Promisekeeper like Sen. Ensign. And, of course, using the same logic, one might assume that the same held true for the husband and Mrs. Ensign. Who knows what all went on there. I can almost imagine the four of them pairing off after a nice backyard barbecue and having some kind of weird orgasm race right there on the lawn--might have even worn NASCAR jackets with advertising patches for Viagra, condoms, and spatulas sewn onto them.

That'd be kind of hot--all naked except for NASCAR jackets, sticky BBQ sauce smeared all over, the sound of spatula against flesh keeping cadence like a riding crop on a thoroughbred as you compete man to man to be the quickest to to release your essence...mmmmmmmm...watching your opponent's muscles grow taut with each stroke...sinewy, sweaty, masculine flesh doing God's procreative will. Oh God that is hot.

Oh, but wrong, very wrong and sinful. Not hot, just wrong. Yes. Immoral. And I was thinking about women when I wrote that, and when I stopped writing for a few minutes there too.

Anyway, that's something you should be working on, isn't it? It wouldn't be all that hard to fight the twin threats of friendly couples and marriage equality at the time. You just need another spokesman for that, and i think I'm the guy to do it.

Ofjoshua and I have resisted the temptation of having couple friends. All our Friends are single. Well, hers are. I don't really have any friends unless you count my inflatable Limbaugh buddy. I guess I'm pretty close to him. I gave him a nickname. That's friendly. I call him "Lips," "Lips Limbaugh."

Ofjoshua's best friend is our neighbor, Mr. Garcia. She spends a lot of time at his place listening to Barry White albums. He's sick a lot. She says the music is good for him. I used to worry that she'd catch whatever he has, but now she wears this very tight latex outfit when she goes over there. It's like a surgical glove for the body, but it's shiny and black.

So anyway, I think I'm your spokesman for this. I'd like to talk to you more about it. Please get back to me soon.

Heterosexually yours in a chaste, biblical, and a non-Ensign-kind-of-Promisekeeper kind way,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Teabagger Terrorists

This 911 call is hard to hear.

John McCain, Iran, and a rat named Sheila

[Sen. McCain told me he wanted to post again, and frankly, I'm afraid to say no, so here he is. Please be kind in your comments or I will hear about it.]

OK, goddammit I'm back. Thank you, General, for allowing me to use your electrical typing intertubes pamphlet machine yet once again. But I have to tell you it's goddamned tough being a goddamned loser. Goddamned Lieberman won't even type for me anymore. I have to use this goddamned Joe the Plumber bastard now.

Yes, Joe, you have to write that you son of a bitch. You have to write every word I say, goddammit. I created you, and I'm the only game in town since you quit the Republican party--speaking fees dried up real fast then didn't they, you stupid fucker.

Goddammit, yes. Write that. Write. every word I say.


OK, I've been following this whole Iran thing on the Twitter. My daughter Meghan told me about it. She twittered this to me: "Jesus H fucking Christ, dad, are you watching these fucking Iran tweets."

So I looked, and it was all these pre-bombed fucking Iranistanians complaining about the election, and I saw that and I thought, "Jesus H. Cornhole Christ, this will give me some fucking camera time." So I started telling all the press that Obama should do something--I didn't say what, because Meagan said, "Don't fucking say 'bomb the fuckers, Dad,' even though that's what I want to do.

And it's been God damned hard because I'll be doing a TV interview saying Obama should do something, and my closest friend from my days in Hanoi, Sheila, a flattened, dessicated rat I keep in my wallet, will start screaming at me, "John, you cowardly fuck, tell them you want to rip out some fucking Iranian hearts and eat them while they're still beating!"

What?

What the fuck, Plumberboy? You think you know shit about politics? You think you know better than me and Sheila what I should be saying?

Yes, Sheila, I'm going to cut him. I'm going to cut the fucking dillwad.

Keep typing dammit! Keep typing while I stick you you fucking fuckity fu

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Confederate Values From the Volunteer State

Rep. Stacy "Stacy X" Campfield sent an email alerting me to another example of a conservative Tennessee legislator standing tall for Confederate values. Here's what Rep. Mike Turner had to say.

We do have a problem with public schools. They were not performing adequately. The problem that we created was because of the political correctness we did in the sixties. We started busing and closing neighborhood schools. Now our Schools were inadequate and we needed to do something to address that inefficiency and inequality in schools. I just think we chose the wrong thing. And now we’re trying to dig out of that.

Now this guy is a demislamunistofascist, but, like Ben Nelson, he's the good kind of demislamunistofascist.

If an email is racist and only racists receive it, is it still racist?

Rep. Stacey Campfield
Tennessee House of Representatives

Dear Rep. Campfield,

It looks like all hell is breaking out at the statehouse. The equilitofascists are all in an uproar over this graphic a senate staffer named Sherri Goforth sent out in an email:


Lord knows she's apologized for sending the graphic to the wrong people, but decentpeoplocialists continue to demand that she be fired.

And she's not the only good #GOP staffer who's catching heat for sending stuff down the internets tubes today. South Carolina GOP operative Mike Green is under attack for this thing they call a tweet:

JUST HEARD OBAMA IS GOING TO IMPOSE A 40% TAX ON ASPIRIN BECAUSE IT'S WHITE AND IT WORKS.
And yet another SC Republican activist, Rusty DePass, is reaping the whirlwind for posting this Facebook comment in response to news that a gorilla had escaped from a zoo:
I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's [Obama] ancestors - probably harmless.
As the chair, vice chair, and member of the Tennessee House Republican Whites-Only Black Caucus, you're in a unique position to defend these folks. All you need to do is send out a press release castigating those who just can't laugh at a good Negro joke. They'll listen to you; you're Stacy X, the blackest white Confederate man since Don Black donned his Imperial Wizard hood.

Now, if that doesn't do the trick, you might consider taking the same approach Michelle "Our Lady of the Concentration Camps" Malkin and others employed to expose the Holocaust Museum shooter for the gun rights advocating, anti-government, minority-hating Obama-despising, anti-Bilderberger, birther liberal he is. You can do the same for Goforth, Green, and DePass. Sure, they all worked for the GOP, but that just shows you how devious these liberals are.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Join us for Netroots Nation in Second Life

From the commiofascists at Netroots Nation in Second Life (Look me, GenJCChristian Homewood, up if you log on):

This week our friends at Democracy For America are announcing another round of winners for their Netroots Nation scholarship contest. If you weren't on the list of winners and you can't find the money/time/energy to get to Pittsburgh August 13 to 16 for the convention, don't despair...there is another way!

For the third year in a row we'll be taking advantage of the rich multimedia capabilities of Second Life to bring you live streaming audio and video from Netroots Nation right to your own computer monitor. Through Second Life we're able to bring you not only streaming video, but also real time discussion and participation in the panels from the comfort of your own home, exclusive online panels and information displays from nonprofit organizations, online retailers and great progressive companies. Oh, and did we mention it's free?

Join us over the fold and we'll walk you through the particulars of how to participate and how to support our work with sponsorships.
I know, I know, you have questions. We'll get through some basic stuff in this diary, and if you have other questions please feel free to drop them in a comment and one of our volunteers will respond.

What is Second Life?

Second Life is all kinds of things for all kinds of people. In short, Second Life is Web 2.0 on steroids. Second Life is an online virtual world made up of "residents" from all over the world. Through our internet connections we can come together to chat, discuss issues, share streaming media content, share information, sell products, and best of all, party. You interact with the Second Life universe through an online version of yourself known as an "avatar." Your avatar will walk, run, and fly through Second Life and interact with other avatars through the software's built-in chat software. While in-world you can watch online videos and listen to music, too, and we'll be taking advantage of this technology to stream panels live from the convention in Pittsburgh.

How does it work?

The free, multi-platform Second Life software connects you to the virtual world. To get started, simply go to SecondLife.comand click on "Get Started." You'll be prompted to give a little bit of information about yourself, choose a basic look for your avatar, and download the software.

Once you've successfully done that, we've set up a Welcome Center where you can learn how to move around, how to watch videos and hear audio, and how to customize your Second Life avatar with free clothing and accessories. From there you'll join us either in the Netroots Nation Arena or the Netroots Nation Ballroom where you'll be able to watch the action on huge video monitors while interacting with other Second Life residents.

Second Life is *not* a light-weight application: You will want a relatively recent computer with a nice graphics card and a good broadband connection for the highest-quality SL experience. The good news is that Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux OSes are all quite well supported. You can find the official requirements at the SL website.

We hope to be able to stream large portions of the real life Netroots Nation into NNinSL, so you can watch and, in several cases, interact with real sessions even if you cannot make it to Pittsburgh. More information will be forthcoming as we get closer to August, but we strongly recommend that you try it out in advance to get your bearings so that you can get the most out of the conference and not be overly distracted by the mechanics of how to get around, talk, and find events.

Why is this better than watching the videos on UStream?

So if you join us "in-world," what can you expect to see, hear, and experience at NNSL? While the agendas for neither NN nor NNSL are finalized yet, during last year's convention, many events in Austin were streamed into Second Life including six keynote events, another half-dozen panel discussions, a multi-faith service conducted by Street Prophets founder Pastor Dan, and a both-worlds meet-up that brought together Second Life users and attendees in Austin. We also provided unique SL-only content, including an additional four panels, several social gatherings including dances, and a documentary film screening.

Therein lies the difference. Beyond offering you live, streaming video, we're also offering you the opportunity to connect with other convention-goers through online discussions. We will have NNinSL staff on both sides of the convention and we'll be offering you the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the discussion panels in real time, as the panels unfold.

This year, we are expanding our focus to include content and events year-round rather than just during NN, beginning with live music events last winter and our own Inaugural Ball, continuing June 20 at 5:00 PDT with another documentary, the Second Life premiere of Kristen and Marshall Thompson's moving A Soldier's Peace, their chronicle of his walk for peace that covered the length of Utah, followed by an in-world interview with Marshall. After the interview we'll be having live music and a wonderfully eclectic DJ. If you want to get a sense of what NNSL is all about ahead of the conference, join us at the Netroots Nation Arena this Saturday at 5:00 PDT.

Sounds great! Anything else?

YES! In addition to the events we're bringing you from the Netroots Nation Arena and Netroots Nation Ballroom, you'll be able to stroll through Exhibitors' Row and check out wares and informational displays from all sorts of great progressive organizations and companies. If you or your organization are interested in being a part of Exhibitors' Row,email us and we'll get you set up. Our staff of expert Second Life builders will even help you with getting your booth set up.

Here's the hard part of our pitch, so we'll make it as quick and painless as possible: while we're pleased to offer Netroots Nation in Second Life absolutely free for participants, the truth of the matter is that we do incur substantial costs in doing so. For starters, the folks at Linden Labs (the company that runs Second Life) do charge for the privilege of owning the land on which the NNinSL setup sits, to the tune of a couple thousand dollars a year. We are authorized to raise funds through the Netroots Nation organization (which raises money through its parent organization BloggerPower.org), so if you're so inclined we'd love to have your support.

Awesome! I'm in!

Great! First and foremost, go to SecondLife.com and sign up for a Second Life account. Download the software, then log in! Click on this link and Second Life will "teleport" your avatar to the Netroots Nation area. The first thing you'll encounter is our greeter, which will get you signed up for our in-world mailing list. Then follow the black arrows to the Orientation Area and go through the steps. By the time you're finished you'll be ready to join us August 13-16 for Netroots Nation in Second Life!

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter for updates, join our Facebook group (Netroots Nation in Second Life) and check out our website.

That's it from us. What questions do you have?