September 30, 2004

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges...

or specifics, or laws or whatever you call them. We have God on our side.

(from Reuters)
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Thursday the Bush administration was likely to appeal against a U.S. District Court ruling that part of the Patriot Act was unconstitutional.

"Without knowing the specifics, I wouldn't be able to assure you that the case would be appealed, but it is almost a certainty that it would be appealed," Ashcroft told reporters after meeting European Union justice and interior ministers. We believe the act to be completely consistent with the United States' Constitution," he added.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero ruled that surveillance powers granted to the FBI under the Patriot Act, a cornerstone of the U.S. war on terror, were unconstitutional.

Isn't Ashcroft the Attorney General? You'd think he'd know "the specifics." As Atrios would say, "Jeebus."

September 29, 2004

Don't Let This Man Do Your Homework

waitsLetterman and his staff were smart enough to book Tom Waits last night -- not just to sing and plug his new albumtombut also to sit and chat about his kids, homework and horses. Great television. Click on the links to watch it.

September 28, 2004

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt. 3

Besides the cheerful fact that we'll be electing a new president in November, there's a lot of great pop culture in the air -- and that's making me extremely cheerful.

I've already told you about the new Elvis Costello album, The Delivery If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a wee bit obsessed with the man. But, hey, name one other musician, other than Dylan, who has consistently made original and often quite good music for more than 2 decades (and Elvis will reach the 3 decade mark in a couple of years). C'mon, name one.

And I've also mentioned Brian Wilson's Smilewilson , an album that was originally scheduled to be released 37 years ago. Was it worth the wait? I'm still on the fence about this one. I would have preferred the original Beach Boys recordings to be augmented rather than having Brian and The Wondermints recreate everything (The Wondermints can truly sing and Brian sounds better than he has in years...but he and the Boys sounded a lot better back in '67). At the very least, thanks to this new version, true obsessives can now probably piece together their bootleg snippets of Smile and come up with a close approximation of how the album would have been if it had been released back in the day.

Here's what else will be making me happy soon:


heart (Oct. 1)
heart (Coming Soon)
(even if these 2 films suck, we'll always have these wondeful trailers)


Tanner on Tannerjack(Tuesdays in October, Sundance Channel) Loved the original series; don't see why this one won't be just as brilliant.
The Office Christmas Partyxmas(Oct.21, BBCAmerica, but I'm not sure if it's new or just a "special")

Lost abc(Wednesdays @ 8, ABC) Actually, I haven't seen this yet but thanks to TIVO I hope to soon. Hear it's more than decent.


Tom Waits: Real Gone tom (Oct. 5th)

Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus DVD stones (Oct. 12)

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus nick (Double Disc out Oct. 26)

Marianne Faithfull: Before the Poison marianne (collaboration with PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and others; import currently available)
Lucinda Williams williams (2 Disc Live set; no release date -- she's still tinkering, as usual)
Stealers Wheel: Ferguslie Park ferg (reissue of neglected follow-up to the eponymous debut which brought us "Stuck in the Middle with You"; import only)
The Kinks: Are The Village Green Preservation Society village (reissue of their masterpiece on 3 discs; import only) Finally, the great, lost "Misty Water" is available on CD. Now if only "When I Turn Out The Living Room Light" could see the light of day...

Finally, I was going to include the 25th Anniversary edition of The Clash's clash London Calling, but I honestly cannot recommended it unless you have a lot of extra cash to burn (or if you never "upgraded" your original vinyl pressing). The 2nd CD, the legendary "Vanilla Tapes", is just that: Vanilla. I was expecting alternative versions (much like the excellent 2nd CD of Elvis Costello's recently re-reissued "Get Happy", but these are just pretty much bad rehearsals (with a couple of exceptions). The extra DVD documentary almost makes this reissue worth it (especially the footage of insane producer Guy Stevens), but it's ultimately a lot less essential than the previously released "Westway to the World" doc by Don Letts.dvd But then again, if you're an obsessive completist...

September 25, 2004

Funny-Sad or Sad-Funny?

from :

Body of missing Sara Lee executive found frozen

Friday, September 24, 2004 Posted: 1:05 AM EDT (0505 GMT)

SEVIERVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- A retired Sara Lee executive missing since he met with a couple about buying his sport utility vehicle was found dead Thursday, frozen in a rented storage unit. The couple was arrested in what federal authorities believe was a bungled carjacking.
In a statement to authorities, Holloway said she and Edens met Cockman, forced him into the Suburban, placed duct tape over his mouth and drove directly to their home.

"When they got here they realized their victim was dead," Clark said in Sevierville. "Mr. Edens put him in a deep freeze and took the (body) to a storage facility and left it there. Why, I don't know."

I guess it's just sad. I wonder what Alanis Morissette thinks...

(apologies to Mr. Cockman's surviving family and friends)

September 24, 2004

The Cowboy

(with apologies to Paul Simon)

Listen here.

(Music parody courtesy of Portland, Maine's "It Is To Laugh" which can be heard on the web every Friday night at 10 pm on; Picture stolen from some ridiculous "I'm so glad Bush is a cowboy" website.)

10 Questions for Jon Stewart

(courtesy Time Magazine)

Question #5:
SO YOU DON'T THINK THE DAILY SHOW IS INFLUENTIAL? "I would recommend that you look at the state of the world and you look at the state it would seem that we would like it to be in. And then you tell me if we have any influence."

Warning: S.A.T. Words Ahead

I'm not a fan of everything Ted Rall draws and writes, but he has a certain shit-disturbing je ne sais quois that I truly admire. In Rall's latest editorial he (almost persuasively) argues that not everyone should have the right to vote:

Demonstrating that stupefying ignorance can be bipartisan, another Ohioan interviewed for the same article said she is against the war in Iraq because, like 42 percent of her fellow Americans, she thinks Iraq was behind 9/11: "We shouldn't be over there building them back up because they didn't build our towers back up." She is wrong on so many levels that it makes my brain hurt.


All men are created equal, declared the Founders. But as Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in "Democracy in America," universal suffrage counts upon the existence of a responsible, well-educated citizenry in order to result in political equality. If you give the vote to morons, you get the "tyranny of the masses"--a lumpen proletariat prone to manipulation by demagogues and fools--such as that which created chaos and bloodshed in post-revolutionary France. We're all equal at birth, but what we do later determines whether or not our opinions are worthwhile.

At this writing, the world's greatest nation flails under the rule of buffoons and madmen, bogged down in two optional wars we're actually losing. The world's richest economy is shedding jobs, running up debts and building nothing for the future. Voters, offered an election year alternative to the subliterate idiot who single-handedly created this mess, spurn him for a leader even dumber than they are. America has become a stultocracy: government by morons, for morons.


In the Old South, literacy tests were used to disenfranchise blacks. Alternatively, a basic political literacy test should be used to ensure that anyone who picks ESPN over CNN--regardless of race or creed--stays home on Election Day.

I think it's the last bit that'll get young Ted in trouble...

10,000 Visits!

Thanks to links from Eschaton, World O'Crap, Bloggy and, most recently, AMERICAblog, we've had over 10,000 visitors in less than a month of operation. Seeing as there are over 4 to 8.8 million blogs to choose from out there/here in cyberspace, I'm gushing with pride. Thanks to all...

September 23, 2004

Do Not Listen To Rummy

In reference to the upcoming elections in Iraq, Donald actually said this today:
"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," he said.

So, what with the hurricanes and all, do you think we could have our election without Florida this year? After all, nothing's perfect...

Listen to the Beast

More artists weigh in on the election in the new Rolling Stone, including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz:
"I don't understand the George Bush argument. If you wanna argue Republican or Democrat, that's one thing, but Bush - I haven't seen the argument as to why this guy should get four more years. I don't see why he should be running a baseball team, let alone be president. At one of the Democratic debates, Al Sharpton said, 'I can guarantee that any one of us on the stage right now in his sleep would make a better president than George Bush.'

What's at stake in this election? War. People's freedoms around the world and here at home. Women's right to choose, prayer in school, my grandmother getting medicine - the list could keep on going. This election really does seem crucial. If Bush gets re-elected, he will feel like the possibilities are limitless, that he can really do whatever he wants."

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco:
"When people ask why this election is so close, I can't explain it. It's like trying to figure out how Billy Ray Cyrus sold 10 million records...I will vote for John Kerry, and I'll do it with a good conscience. I believe that he's our only shot at steering this ship back to some calmer waters. I agree that Kerry has flip-flopped on some ideas, but I take that as a sign of intelligence. I trust someone more if he re-examines his positions and has the ability to be introspective. There's no end to the horrific things you can do when you believe you're always right."

Steve Earle:
"You can't cut taxes and conquer the world at the same time. Nobody's ever tried to do that, and the reason is because it's stupid. What part of world history did Bush miss? The way you build an empire is you tax the fuck out of your citizens and draft the fuck outta them, 'cause you have to have an army and you have to feed them. The thing that scares me more than anything else is that if Bush is re-elected, he's gonna have to institute a draft next year. They're gonna need some fresh bodies out there, and they can't do that without a draft. I've got a son who's twenty-two and a son who's seventeen, so I've got a dog in this fight. That's why I support John Kerry."

Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead:
"Ralph Nader is the most arrogant and narcissistic guy I've ever met. I had a meeting with him in the early Nineties. I was jazzed going into the meeting, and I was disgusted leaving. I don't think I've ever met a bigger asshole. If he hadn't run in the last election, we wouldn't be in Iraq and thousands of people wouldn't have died needlessly. And still he's well pleased to go in and be the spoiler again!

Harry Truman said that the one crime more heinous than treason is war profiteering, and yet we have the company that our vice president is still on retainer to - which is illegal - making a huge fortune. Every time the terrorists blow up another pipeline over there, Halliburton makes millions of dollars pasting it back together. They don't even have to be pumping oil to be making money. This is who owns our government now.

Though I've never really endorsed a political candidate before, I'm going to have to this time. I liked the look in Kerry's eye when I met him. He looks like an aware human being and a guy with a sense of humor. So we're just going to have to hope and pray that the debates go well."

and Mike Mills of R.E.M.:
"The vote for change tour is a wake-up call. We may alienate some fans over this. I don't like that - I prefer to have music stand apart from political feelings. But this is so important, it's worth it. If I piss a few people off, good. Because, frankly, I'm scared. Unlike a lot of political issues, this is literally life or death. Kerry understands how the world works, in a way that Bush does not. When Bush ran the first time, I realized something: I want my president to be smarter than I am. I don't ask much, but I want him to be smarter than me.

Now go to the link and read the rest. And support all of these artists. Even Bob Weir.

Listen to the Boss

"We've Been Misled"
-Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stone Interview:
"I knew after we invaded Iraq that I was going to be involved in the election. It made me angry. We started to talk about it onstage. I take my three minutes a night for what I call my public-service announcement. We talked about it almost every night on our summer tour.

I felt we had been misled. I felt they had been fundamentally dishonest and had frightened and manipulated the American people into war. And as the saying goes, "The first casualty of war is truth." I felt that the Bush doctrine of pre-emption was dangerous foreign policy. I don't think it has made America safer.

Look at what is going on now: We are quickly closing in on what looks an awful lot like the Vietnamization of the Iraq war. John McCain is saying we could be there for ten or twenty years, and John Kerry says four years. How many of our best young people are going to die between now and that time, and what exactly for? Initially I thought I was going to take my acoustic guitar and play in some theaters, find some organizations to work for and do what I could. I was going to lend my voice for a change in the administration and a change in the direction of the country.

Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time."

Visual Aid

For those of you who were confused by The Rude Pundit's Teeny-Tiny President post yesterday, we've provided a helpful visual.

Is there a single world leader out there (including interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi) who takes this guy seriously? I mean his feet barely reach the ground, for crying out loud...

Kerry on Letterman (so to speak)

In case you missed it, here's John Kerry's complete "performance" on The Late Show. Ratings update (courtesy Reuters):
The Democratic presidential challenger's guest spot gave the show its biggest autumn season opener since Letterman's first year on CBS in 1993, registering a 5.4 "metered-market" rating, or 5.4 percent of all households with TV sets in more than 50 major cities, Nielsen Media reported on Tuesday. The Letterman show also led its arch-rival "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC by a full ratings point.

Part 1 (includes "A Message From John Kerry", "George W. Bush: Show-Off" and Interview, Segment 1*)
Part 2 (Interview, Segment 2)
Part 3 (Interview, Segment 3 and Top 10)
Bonus (Green Day: "American Idiot"**)
Bonus Bonus (Elvis Costello/Regis & Kelly***)

*Apologies in advance for some glitches toward the end of Segment 1

**Disclaimer: Okay...I'm not really a big fan of Green Day. But you've got to admit they have the chops and they've got the heart (plus they've got a verse, inexplicably censored by CBS, that goes "Maybe I Am The Faggot America/I'm Not A Part Of A Redneck Agenda/Now Everybody Do The Propaganda/And Sing Along To The Age Of Paranoia"****). Plus, they're not "Good-41" or "Sum-Charlotte"...

For more on the Kerry-Green Day show, Salon's got a nice little War Room piece entitled A wakeup call for "idiot America".

***We watch Regis & Kelly so you don't have to. Check out how huge E.C. looks next to R & K. Hard to believe he used to be the scrawny guy with the knock-knees and glasses. Also check out Kelly sniffing vinyl (it's priceless). What does all of this have to do with John Kerry and the future of our country? It's all about Evolution, Revolution, Peace, Love & Understanding...and there's nothing funny about that.

****As good as those lyrics are, they've got nothing on E.C.'s lyrics to the song "Bedlam" off E.C. & The Imposters' new disc The Delivery Man:

I’ve got this phosphorescent portrait of gentle Jesus meek and mild
I’ve got this harlot that I’m stuck with carrying another man’s child
The solitary star announcing vacancy burnt out as we arrived
They’d throw us back across the border if they knew that we survived
And they were surprised to see us
So they greeted us with palms
They asked for ammunition, acts of contrition and small alms

I might recite a small prayer
If I ever said them
I lay down on an iron frame
Found myself in bedlam
I wish that I could take something for drowning out the noise
Wailing echoes down the corridors

I’ve got this imaginary radio, and I‘m punching up the dial
I’ve got the A.C. trained on the T.V. so it won’t blow up in my eye
And everything that I thought fanciful and mocked as too extreme
Must be family entertainment here in the strange land of my dreams
Now I’m practicing my likeness of St. Francis of Assisi
For if I hold my hand outstretched
A little bird comes to me

I might recite a small prayer
If I ever said them
I lay down on an iron frame
Found myself in bedlam
Escaping from the fingers that were stretching through the bars
Wailing echoes down the corridors

The player piano picks out “Life Goes On”
Ring tone rang out “Jerusalem”
And in this pit of sadness
Where the rank of wretched plunge
We’ve buried all the innocents
Now we must bury revenge

They’ve got this scared and decorated girl strapped to the steel trunk of a mustang
And then they drove her down a cypress grove where traitors hang and stars still spangle
They dangled flags and other rags along a coloured thread of twine
And then they dragged that bruised and purple heart along the road to Palestine

Someone went off muttering, he mentioned thirty pieces
Easter saw a slaughtering, each wrapped in bloodstained fleeces

Then my thoughts returned to vengeance, and I put no resistance
Though I seemed a long way from my home
It really was no distance

And I might recite a small prayer
If I ever said them
I lay down on an iron frame
Found myself in bedlam
Bowing like an actor acknowledging applause
Playing the Crusader who was conquering the Moors
When he knew the consequences, but he won’t admit the cause
Wailing echoes down the corridors

If you like the words, wait'll you hear the music. It's killer.

September 21, 2004

Reality Check

Michael Moore's got a new message up on his website and it's an important one. In essence, all of us naysayers, doubting-Thomases and, yes, whiners need to shut the "f" up now. Bush is going down. Do not believe the polls. Do not get distracted by memos. Why? How? Take it away Michael:
"The polls are wrong. They are all over the map like diarrhea. On Friday, one poll had Bush 13 points ahead -- and another poll had them both tied. There are three reasons why the polls are b.s.: One, they are polling "likely voters." "Likely" means those who have consistently voted in the past few elections. So that cuts out young people who are voting for the first time and a ton of non-voters who are definitely going to vote in THIS election. Second, they are not polling people who use their cell phone as their primary phone. Again, that means they are not talking to young people. Finally, most of the polls are weighted with too many Republicans, as pollster John Zogby revealed last week. You are being snookered if you believe any of these polls.


WAKE UP! The majority are with us! More than half of all Americans are pro-choice, want stronger environmental laws, are appalled that assault weapons are back on the street -- and 54% now believe the war is wrong. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF ANY OF THIS -- YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE THEM A RAY OF HOPE AND A RIDE TO THE POLLS. CAN YOU DO THAT? WILL YOU DO THAT?

Just for me, please? Buck up. The country is almost back in our hands. Not another negative word until Nov. 3rd! Then you can bitch all you want about how you wish Kerry was still that long-haired kid who once had the courage to stand up for something. Personally, I think that kid is still inside him. Instead of the wailing and gnashing of your teeth, why not hold out a hand to him and help the inner soldier/protester come out and defeat the forces of evil we now so desperately face. Do we have any other choice?"

And one more note on polls: Did you know that the polls had Gore trailing Bush in the popular vote by 5% on the day before the election? I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone who won the popular vote.

So, stay focused and positive. And make sure you spread this around to every single person you know: Democrats, Republicans, Independents. But skip the "Undecideds". If you are still undecided at this point in the process, you are obviously a fucking idiot.

EC x 2

Two new albums from Elvis Costello, in stores now:


and Old Fartsy

We will all be wishing we're still this cool at 50.

President Kerry, Cliff Notes Version

For those of you who are too lazy to read the entire Kerry speech below (we wouldn't want to cut into your Snood time now, would we?), William Saletan breaks it down quite nicely over at Slate.

And if you're too lazy to read Saletan, here are the highlights:
1. "Iraq was a profound diversion from" the war on terror.

2. Kerry voted for war authority to scare Saddam Hussein into allowing inspections.

3. The United States shouldn't have invaded Iraq.

4. We should have "tightened the noose" instead.

5. Bush's unilateral conduct of the war has cost us lives and money.

6. The war has impaired our ability to confront graver threats. Specifically:

a) The war diverted us from pursuing Osama Bin Laden.
b) It diverted us from the two worst members of the "Axis of Evil."
c) Bush's false statements about Iraq squander the credibility we need to confront these graver threats.

7. We're worse off than we were before the war.

8. Bush's pre-emption doctrine is running amok.

9. Bush keeps saying things that aren't true.

10. Bush fires aides who tell the truth.

11. Kerry changes his mind when the evidence requires it.

12. Iraq is now part of the war on terror.

13. Use money, programs, and financial favors to get more done in Iraq.

September 20, 2004

President Kerry

TalkLeft has a link to the complete text of Kerry's NYU speech (see post above).

Such Class

Republican Head-on-a-Stick Ann Coulter defended Dick Cheney's comment that the U.S. would be risking another terrorist attack if voters made "the wrong choice" in November by telling Sean Hannity:
"I think it's unquestionable that Republicans are more likely to prevent the next attack. However, I will grant that John Kerry will improve the economy in the emergency services and body bag industry."

Why does Ann hate our troops?
Go ahead, ask her: (e-mail)

Memogate: Our Lazy Media

Can anyone tell me why this story has barely been reported?
It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service — a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.
MacDougald helped draft the foundation's petition in 1998 that led to the five-year suspension of Clinton's Arkansas law license for giving misleading testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

And MacDougald assisted in the group's legal challenge to the campaign finance law sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). The challenge, ultimately presented to the U.S. Supreme Court, was funded largely by the Southeastern Legal Foundation in conjunction with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the law's chief critic, and handled by former Clinton investigator Kenneth W. Starr.

The Supreme Court upheld the law, which banned unlimited contributions from corporations to federal candidates and political parties.

The foundation was joined in its challenge by a cadre of groups that spanned the ideological spectrum, including the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

MacDougald is also a Republican appointee to the Fulton County Board of Registration and Election.

Last week, MacDougald once again plunged into a politically charged controversy — but this time his participation was anonymous.

Operating as "Buckhead," which is also the name of an upscale Atlanta neighborhood, MacDougald wrote that the memos that CBS' "60 Minutes" presented on Sept. 8 as being written in the early 1970s by the late Lt. Col Jerry B. Killian were "in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman."

"The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers," MacDougald wrote on the freerepublic website. "They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts.

"I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old. This should be pursued aggressively."

The Sept. 8 late-night posting — written less than four hours after the CBS report was aired — resulted in a flurry of sympathetic testimonials from fellow bloggers, spreading within hours to other sites. The next day, major newspapers such as The Times and the Washington Post began consulting forensic experts and reporting stories that raised similar questions.

I'm not sayin' the documents aren't fakes...I'm just sayin' that something sure is fishy about how they came to be tagged as fakes.

And then there's this thought from The Rude Pundit:
Bottom line on this sideshow: Would those who say that Dan Rather should not be trusted, now that he seems to have used forged memos in a portion of a single report, ever say the same thing about George Bush when he led us to war based on "misleading" information about WMDs, including, well, forged documents? Howzabout a trade? We won't trust Rather anymore if you don't trust Bush. Deal? No? Then go f*ck yourself with your memos.

P.S. Where was George in the Spring of '72 anyway?

September 15, 2004

Long Live The Sloganator


O.J., all over again...

We all know O.J. did it (killed his wife); we all know Bush didn't (fulfill his Guard duty). So, it looks like Memogate is turning out to be a lot like Mark Furman and the bloody gloves -- once again, a guilty man has been framed.

The secretary who supposedly would have written the memos is claiming that they are fake. However (and this is a huge however), she says, "The information in them is correct."
"But I doubt,'' she said, pausing, "it's not anything that I wrote because there are terms in there that are not used by Guards, the format wasn't the way we did it. It looks like someone may have read the originals and put that together. We did discuss Bush's conduct and it was a problem Killian was concerned about," Mrs. Knox said. "I think he was writing the memos so there would be some record that he was aware of what was going on and what he had done." But, she said, words like "billets," which appear in the memorandums, were not standard Guard terms.

Can we move on now and simply acknowledge the fact that Bush failed to maintain "satisfactory participation" with his Guard unit which should have led to his "being transferred to active duty, and the possibility of being sent to Vietnam"?

...according to the Bush records released by the White House, he failed to meet the required "48 scheduled inactive duty training period days" in both 1972 and 1973. Bush showed up for duty so infrequently during those two years that his commanders couldn't complete mandatory annual ratings of his service. Yet the son of a prominent political father faced no disciplinary action.

This, of course, is all denied by the White House. Good thing they're not lying about blowjobs...

We Have Lost

"Not the war. Ourselves."

The erudite Bob Harris explains...

"Strong But Wrong"

Has The Rude Pundit finally figured out how to destroy Bush?

Warning: The Rude Pundit is rude with a capital "R".

American Splendor

My wife and I finally got around to screening American Splendor last night. There are now two things you should do:
1) Buy or Rent This:
2) Buy This:
Who knew a movie about a misanthropic comic book writer could be so creative, inspiring and moving?

September 14, 2004

The Funniest Man on TV and in Print

Jon Stewart, in the 9/17 Entertainment Weekly:

Then is your real target the media, not politicians?
Politicians are doing what politicians do. I liken it to when you go to the zoo, and the monkeys are sitting in there jerking off and throwing their shit. And you just gotta go, "Well, they're monkeys." But you can yell at the media and go, "You know, your job is to tell them when they're being bad monkeys."

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction will be released 9/20/04. You probably know where and how to buy it.


AMERICA Blog not only reports this story of a woman who had a John Kerry sticker on her car and got fired for it, they're raising money for her.

Apparently, a very keen cookie in the Kerry camp spotted the story about this woman. As a result, she has a new job.
Kerry called Lynne Gobbell on Tuesday after reading a newspaper story describing how she had been fired last Thursday from her job packing cellulose insulation at a Moulton, Ala., plant. Gobbell said her former employer had told her she could either work for him or Kerry. She said Kerry told her, "Let him know that as of today, you're working for John Kerry.

(by the way, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog raised $2,000 for Lynne)


Granted, this article is an analysis, but it's pretty darned hard to argue with:

Virtually without fanfare, the Bush administration has reprogrammed some $3.5 billion in aid funds to Iraq in ways that mark a fundamental shift in its strategy in Iraq, and a recognition that much of the U.S. effort during the first year of occupation was a failure.

Tell me again why anyone would want this administration back in office for another four years.

Update: This, however, is not an analysis:
A huge car bomb ripped through a crowded market near a Baghdad police headquarters Tuesday, killing 47 people and wounding more than 110 in the deadliest single attack in Iraq's capital in six months.

Neither is this:

Fierce guerrilla attacks in Iraq and U.S. assaults on rebel bastions have unleashed a new wave of bloodshed that threatens to discredit the interim government and undermine prospects for fair elections in January.

Analysts said the U.S. military drive might simply alienate more Iraqis, without eliminating insurgents who this month pushed the American death toll in the Iraq war beyond 1,000.

"Mere force is not enough to calm the situation. You need wisdom and vision, not just muscles," said Ghassan al-Attiyah, director of the Iraq Foundation for Democracy and Development.

With elections for a national parliament only four months away, there is no calm in sight. Instead guerrillas have stepped up attacks. Kidnappings have driven most foreigners out of Iraq.

So much for our "War" President.

Heroes and Villians

In honor of "Heroes and Villians", Brian Wilson's epic pop song featured on the September 28th release of
(37 years after it's scheduled release date), here's a link to a must-read Slate article on the heroism of George Walker Bush.


Two days ago at an Ellis Island rally, Dick Cheney described Bush's 9/11 leadership this way: "In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took great comfort and pride in the conduct and the character of our president. They saw a man calm in a crisis, comfortable with responsibility, and determined to do everything necessary to protect our people."

Calm and comfortable. I appreciate that. This was a major selling point of Bush's 2000 campaign: He would allow us to "look at the White House with pride." But isn't a president supposed to, um, do things? Isn't it a bit strange to praise a man's leadership not for doing something, but for maintaining a certain appearance?

(3 Days after 9/11) did Bush put himself in any peril? He certainly did. As Giuliani explained to the convention audience:

When President Bush came here on September 14, 2001, the Secret Service was not really happy about his remaining in the area so long. With buildings still unstable, with fires raging below ground of 2,000 degrees or more, there was good reason for their concern. Well, the president remained there. And talked to everyone. ... [A construction worker] grabbed the president of the United States in this massive bear hug, and he started squeezing him. And the Secret Service agent standing next to me, who wasn't happy about any of this, instead of running over and getting the president out of this grip, puts his finger in my face and he says to me, "If this guy hurts the president, Giuliani, you're finished."

This is Bush's heroism? Showing up three days later, "remaining in the area," and enduring a hug?

Of course, he did not remain there long enough to get sick:

While there has been a growing consensus since the attack that thousands of people may have grown ill because of the toxic mix of dust, debris, smoke and chemicals that were released when the towers collapsed, there is still no definitive answer to what exactly was in the dust or to how many people suffered because of their exposure.

Dr. Levin and others worry that some health consequences, like cancer, may take years to develop.

Still, many of the effects were recognized immediately. Within 48 hours of the attack, the study says, the Fire Department found that about 90 percent of its 10,116 firefighters and other emergency workers reported an acute cough. "Almost all F.D.N.Y. firefighters, 9,914, who had responded to the attack developed respiratory effects, and hundreds, about 380, had to end their firefighting careers due to W.T.C.-related respiratory illness," the study reports.

Lovely. I'm so glad we were all told by the Bush administration that it was safe down there.

September 13, 2004

If Only...

pillow fight

courtesy Jest Magazine

Dick Cheney: He's Mean and He's a Moron

Check out this gem from The Mercury News:

Cheney: Economic Numbers Ignore eBay Trading

Indicators measure the nation's unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says they miss the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.

"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago,'' Cheney told an audience in Cincinnati on Thursday. "Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay.'"

Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards responded that Cheney's comments show how "out of touch"' he and President Bush are with the economy.

"If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking,"' Edwards said in a statement.

(Proof that we need to be seeing more of John Edwards on TV)

Thanks GOP!


Now I can legally get my hands on one of these babies. Can't wait to bag a few thousand deer this weekend...

President Al Gore

from The New Yorker:

“I’m not of the school that questions (Bush's) intelligence,” Gore went on. “There are different kinds of intelligence, and it’s arrogant for a person with one kind of intelligence to question someone with another kind. He certainly is a master at some things, and he has a following. He seeks strength in simplicity. But, in today’s world, that’s often a problem. I don’t think that he’s weak intellectually. I think that he is incurious. It’s astonishing to me that he’d spend an hour with his incoming Secretary of the Treasury and not ask him a single question. But I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he’s a coward when confronted with a force that he’s fearful of. His reaction to the extravagant and unbelievably selfish wish list of the wealthy interest groups that put him in the White House is obsequious. The degree of obsequiousness that is involved in saying ‘yes, yes, yes, yes, yes’ to whatever these people want, no matter the damage and harm done to the nation as a whole—that can come only from genuine moral cowardice. I don’t see any other explanation for it, because it’s not a question of principle. The only common denominator is each of the groups has a lot of money that they’re willing to put in service to his political fortunes and their ferocious and unyielding pursuit of public policies that benefit them at the expense of the nation.”


“I think Bush put forward a counterfeit large vision,” Gore said. “The war in Iraq was postured as a big idea. Well, it was a big dumb idea. And, again, I don’t think he’s dumb, but I think that idea is dumb.”

If Jimmy Carter is our best ex-President, then Al Gore is our best ex-shoulda-been-President.

September 10, 2004

Exclusive Video!

As a public service to those of you who weren't able to sit through all 62 excruciating minutes of Bush's RNC acceptance speech, our friends at Loop TV & Film have whittled the whole darn thing down to the "essential" 2:54. Enjoy?

September 09, 2004

This Modern Parallel World

Brilliant new cartoon by Tom Tomorrow, courtesy of Working for Change.

W=Wrong Week

This was supposed to be the week that the Bush Campaign went into cruise control, not spin control. After months of lies, character assassination and over 500,000 utterances of the words “terror”, “terrorists” and “terrorism”, Bush and his minions were primed for a slam-dunk convention. And, as expected, the media went gaga over the RNC festival of love and hate (“We love ourselves; we hate Democrats, Terrorists and Mary Cheney): Arnold! Guiliani! Ron Silver! Zell! Pataki (Pataki???)! The talking heads lapped it all up like the good little poodles they are.

Never mind that all of these men, even Pataki, would make a better president than W. Never mind that, not only is Osama bin Laden missing, his name was missing from the convention (it was mentioned once). Never mind that 9/11 happened on W’s watch – it’s Kerry, not W who is “unfit for command.” As we were told in the stirring tribute to George II, it was 9/11 that defined W and his presidency (or was it a “bullhorn” and a “baseball”?). So, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 it was…all week long. Thank god the Republicans didn’t exploit our national tragedy.

Feeling confident and cocky, Bush and his fellow Republicans swaggered out of our beloved city and waited for their expected bounce. And what a bounce they got! Thanks to the well-thought out answers of 962 dedicated Americans, a Time poll released at the end of the week showed W with an 11-point lead over Kerry. But then, almost overnight, Karl Roves dreams of world dominance began to crumble.

Let’s summarize what’s happened since the “bounce”, shall we?

01) The media becomes obsessed with Hurricane Frances and the Russian school siege. The Bush Bounce is no longer a top story.

02) Bill Clinton has heart surgery.

03) Snippets of Kitty Kelly’s book on the Bush Dynasty are released: A former student is quoted as saying, “Poor Georgie. He couldn’t relate to women unless he was loaded.” Former sister-in-law Sharon Bush claims “Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was
President, and not just once either.” Laura tried pot in her “youth”.

04) The “Texans for Truth” releases a new ad which asks why no one saw Bush in his National Guard unit in Alabama.

05) The Boston Globe publishes a lengthy synopsis of the Bush-AWOL controversy: “He broke his contract with the U.S. government, without any adverse consequences. And the Texas Air National Guard was complicit.”

06) Ben Barnes, former Texas House speaker and Lt. Governor, appears on 60 Minutes II; regrets his decision to help Bush and other privileged children get into the National Guard.

Barnes: “I would describe it as preferential treatment. There were hundreds of names on the list of people wanting to get into the Air National Guard. I think that would have been a preference to anybody that didn’t want to go to Vietnam or didn’t want to leave.”

The 60 Minutes piece also revealed that Bush disobeyed a direct order to get a physical. As a result of the story, the White House has released two previously unreleased military memos after claiming to have released all known documents earlier this year. For all of you Watergate fans out there: It's not the crime, it's the cover-up...

07) The U.S. federal deficit swells to a record $422 billion.

08) It is announced that Medicare premiums are expected to rise by 17% next year.

09) Healthcare costs are already up 11.2%.

10) The Government Accountability Office declares that the Bush administration illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law.

11) There are currently 5 million fewer jobs providing health insurance than in 2001.

12) Bush backs out of the middle (Town Hall-style) presidential debate. A presidential adviser said that Bush campaign officials were concerned that partisans could pose as undecided voters.

13) An obviously desperate Dick Cheney (James Wolcott describes him as a looking like a "broken-down sidekick") tells a group of partisans at a Des Moines’ Town Hall meeting, “It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.”

John Edwards, campaigning in West Virginia responded, "This statement by the vice president of the United States was intended to divide us. It was calculated to divide us on an issue of safety and security for the American people. It's wrong and it's un-American."

Looking forward to their debate.

14) Log Cabin Republicans vote NOT to endorse Bush (okay, maybe this one helps shore up Bush’s fundamentalist base).

Oh, and did I mention the mission we accomplished in Iraq a year ago? This week, we surpassed 1,000 casualties. 148 since the transfer of sovereignty.

So, let’s take a look at that 11-point lead: According to the (heavily favored by Republicans) Rasmussen Report, the 11-point lead has dwindled to 2 points. And, according to Zogby, “It’s almost as if there were no conventions at all. The latest numbers in the Zogby Interactive Presidential Battleground Poll shows the race almost exactly where it was in late July.” The Zogby story goes on to say, “This latest collection of polls shows that Mr. Kerry would win the White House by a margin of 264 electoral votes, to 231 for Mr. Bush.”

I’m guessing that somewhere on the campaign trail, a certain swagger and a certain smirk have morphed into a stagger and a scowl.

A personal note: Over the weekend, I talked to a lot of concerned Democratic friends and relatives. At this point in the game, pessimism is our worst enemy. Every one of us who wants to see W take a long, extended vacation has to remain positive. So, spread the word. Stay focused. All of your concerns on Saturday now appear to be Karl Rove’s concerns. Let him worry and be pessimistic. I’m positive and confident that sanity will reign on November 2nd.

For a more lucid version of these thoughts, check out this entry from Michael Moore's USA Today coverage of the RNC.

September 07, 2004

W=Wrong War, Wrong Time

U.S. casualties have reached 1033. Total coalition casualties = 1168. ("Editor's" Note, 09.20.04: It looks like I'm going to have to keep updating these figures, almost daily. 32 more U.S. casualties since my original post two weeks ago. This is not good. Not good at all.)

"Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

-John Kerry, 1971

"Of all the wrong choices that President Bush has made, the most catastrophic choice is the mess that he has made in Iraq. This was his choice. He chose the date of the start of this war. He chose the moment and he chose for America to go it alone -- and today all of America is paying the price."

-John Kerry, 2004

September 06, 2004

Mano a Mano

Frank Rich returned from vacation Sunday with a very strong column (registration required).

Here's his main point:

"Only in an election year ruled by fiction could a sissy who used Daddy's connections to escape Vietnam turn an actual war hero into a girlie-man.
Don't believe anyone who says that this will soon fade, and that the election will henceforth turn on health-care policy or other wonkish debate. Any voter who's undecided by now in this polarized election isn't sitting around studying the fine points. In a time of fear, the only battle that matters is the broad-stroked cultural mano a mano over who's most macho. And so both parties built their weeklong infotainments on militarism and masculinity, from Mr. Kerry's toy-soldier "reporting for duty" salute in Boston to the special Madison Square Garden runway for Mr. Bush's acceptance speech, a giant phallus thrusting him into the nation's lap, or whatever. ("To me that says strength" is how his media adviser, Mark McKinnon, forecast the set's metaphorical impact to The Times.)"


Unfortunately, I have to agree with Rich. We will not be getting serious discussions of the issues over the next two months. The polls are starting to tilt toward Bush and although the Time poll which showed Bush with an 11-point lead was based on interviews with a grand total of 962 people (!?!?!), the media is running with it and perception is everything. So Kerry, who until now has allowed the Bush camp (with the media's complicity) to completely define him ("He's a French Flip-Flopper"), must come out fighting and start defining Bush. Apparently emboldened by his chat with a pre-surgical Bubba, Kerry came out today with a strong broadside against W:

(from AP)

"Kerry Slams 'Wrong War in the Wrong Place'
Democrat John Kerry accused President Bush on Monday of sending U.S. troops to the 'wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time' and said he'd try to bring them all home in four years.


'It all comes down to one letter — W," Kerry said, meaning the initial in George W. Bush. "And the W stands for wrong,' he said. 'The W stands for wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country.'"


Predictably, Bush hit back by accusing Kerry of taking "yet another new position" on the war. It's a solid comeback because it utilizes the Bush camp's definition of Kerry (flip-flops, anyone?).

So, is all of this "flip-flop" and the letter "W" talk silly? Yes, of course it is. It's like watching The Electric Company and Sesame Street. But both of those shows proved that kids "learn" from silly repetition. Apparently then, the only way to reach undecided voters is to treat them like children. And, to be honest, if you can't tell the difference between Kerry and Bush at this point in the election then perhaps you need to be treated like a child.

My wife doesn't think "The Letter 'W' stands for Wrong" strategy will work. She correctly thinks it trivializes some very serious issues. But I personally think if Kerry, Edwards and his spokespeople, every single day, repeat the phrase "The Letter 'W' stands for Wrong", like a mantra, and supports it with short- worded issues such as "The Letter 'W' stands for Wrong -- Wrong on War, Wrong on Healthcare, Wrong on Tax Breaks for the Wealthy, Wrong on the Environment, then, with the media's help (okay, I know, I'm being naive), perhaps the perception that, "hey, duh, W is W.R.O.N.G." will finally sink into the fragile brains of the undecided "kids" across our great nation. People bought "Where's The Beef", "Read My Lips", "There You Go Again" and "Saddam Has WMD." Hey, you never know...there's a sucker born minute.

I'm just sayin'...

September 03, 2004

A Thing of Beauty

With humble apologies to The Daily Show, here it is, your Republican Convention Moment of Zen.


I love how Republicans like to portray Democrats as traitors who don't support our armed forces. Well, here's how the Republicans treat our soldiers.

These people scare me.

September 02, 2004

Rally Update

Update: Caught the local ABC affiliate's piece on the rally last night. Out of all the Gandolfini soundbites they had to choose from, they used "Hey, how ya doin'?" I guess Tony Soprano dissing the President is too hot for the 11:00 news.

Also: Apparently the Union firefighters I saw yesterday were from other parts of the country. It seems the New York chapter has broken away from the AFL-CIO and endorsed their hero George Bush. Yes, that's right -- we're talking about the hero who read "My Pet Goat" for 15 minutes and then hid away in a bunker while these brave men and women were risking their lives. Meanwhile, NY firefighters rightly complain daily about firehouse closings and cutbacks in personnel. But they convenietly blame Bloomberg -- it, of course, has nothing to do with Bush's policies...right?

Oh, and one other thing: I know that 100s of protesters were arrested on Tuesday but why would this prompt one local NYC newspaper to declare it a "melee"? According to our friend Webster, melee is defined as "a confused struggle; especially a hand-to-hand fight among several people." Okay, so some of the protesters are confused (we're here to protest Bush and the Republicans, not to "Free Mumia"). But the "melee" article didn't site any hand-to-hand fighting -- just a couple of chumps who threw fake blood at Chris Matthews (really, can you blame them?), protesters yelling "Shut Up" outside FoxNews (bring out the billy clubs) and some practitioners of civil disobedience who linked arms and layed down in the middle of a street (oh my, they're disrupting New York City! This is worse than being stuck behind a garbage truck making its rounds).

I'm just sayin'...

September 01, 2004

Taking Back America Rally

Just crashed the AFL-CIO's "We're Taking Back America" rally (I'm self-employed). Admittedly, I went to see Steve Earle perform, but I was completely blown away by everything else I saw and heard. 8th Avenue, from 23rd to 30th, was stuffed with Union workers of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors. We're talking firefighters, electricians, sheet metal workers, cops, garment workers, plumbers, hotel/motel workers, etc. -- in other words, the very people must of us take for granted everyday.

The stage featured a number of eloquent speakers, from Union leaders to victims of out-sourcing, all discussing the loss of jobs, healthcare, retirement benefits and overtime under the Bush administration. Special guest star James Gandolfini told the crowd that he's "mad that these people" (the Republicans) are here; mad that he has to "walk around like a rat in a maze in order to protect these people"; and "mad at President Bush who didn't come to New York until four days after 9/11."

Earle played two very Union-centric songs on acoustic guitar. And, although he didn't wow the crowd, he went over a helluva lot better than Dexter Freebish did at the Republican Con on Monday (who/what the hell is Dexter Freebish anyway?). Fortunately, Earle wasn't crass enough to plug his new album but I am and will: It's called "The Revolution Starts Now" and it's available on Artemis Records. If you're cheap, you can download the entire album at Emusic* currently has a free trial offer which includes 50 free MP3s. It's a great site and worth actual money if you have any spare cash and your job hasn't been out-sourced.

*Note: I am in no way affiliated with emusic nor do I get any kickbacks from them. It's just a cool MP3 site.

We Have a Winner

courtesy of sonicboom:

Final winning bid for the girlyman for arnold poster was (are you ready?): $152.50.

i love this country

Must See TV

If you missed the Republican version of Last Comic Standing last night, you can go here.

You need to click on "OPEN MORE VIDEO" on the right side of the screen. Click on "GOP in NYC" Video Archive. On the left you will see a Video Archive "thingy" -- click on it and go to Day Two. There you'll find "Bush Twins Address Delegates". If you have the stomach, you can even watch their Stepford Mom Laura and their Austrian Uncle Arnie.

I particularly enjoyed the twins' joke toward the end about "focus, discipline, honesty and integrity".


So, I was reading in some fine, reputable publication (I think it was the Wall St. Journal or My Weekly Reader) about some new craze that has been taking the country by storm. It's a little thing called Blogging. Apparently, all the kids are doing it. And I thought, hey, anything that's "you know...for kids" is something that I have to check out. And check it out I did. I believe I've visited and read at least 250 Blogs and, as a result, probably reversed the effects of my Lasik surgery.

Now, I in no way think I could even begin to compete with some of my favorite blogs and websites (see the links* to the left which also include three very cool MP3 sites) but I thought I could highlight the postings I thought were the best out there in cyberspace and perhaps even add a few, naive opinions of my own. Hey, and if I figure out how to work this thing, I might even be able to provide some multimedia extravaganzas for you.

One note on tone and content: I am a Liberal Democrat (note the capital letters). I'm all for an open discourse but ultimately this is my site and I hope you respect that. I have only one other requirement for those who wish to share their comments: You must be a registered voter if you are a U.S. citizen -- no excuses. It won't be your country anymore if you don't participate. I'm just sayin'...

OK, with that out of the way, welcome readers and fellow bloggers. Hope you like what you see and read.


*WARNING: The Rude Pundit is exactly that. Adults only.