December 29, 2004
Powering Down (for now)
I had planned a number of "special" year-end posts, but everything seems silly or insignificant in light of what's happening in Asia.
(skip to the end of this post to see how you can help out and if you want to avoid my angry political views)
Unless anything incredible happens regarding voting irregularities in Ohio (slim chance), or someone in the Bush Adminstration does or says something incredibly stupid (much better chance) or anyone in our government does something incredibly brave and unselfish (we're back to slim, folks), I doubt I'll be posting anything new until sometime after the new year.
I would like to say I'm glad to see the U.S. has sent 15,000 sailors and marines to help out in Asia -- it's too bad we couldn't send more but I understand most of our troops are bogged down in Bush's fantasy war, otherwise known as Operation Enduring Quagmire.
I'd also like to ask: Where is America's supposedly great moral and inspiring leadership? It took Bush three (3!!!) days to talk about what is going on in Asia (the same amount of time it took him to come to Ground Zero after 9/11):
Skeptics said the initial aid sums -- as well as Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.I'm sorry, but "our" President is a buffoon.
After a day of repeated inquiries from reporters about his public absence, Bush late yesterday afternoon announced plans to hold a National Security Council meeting by teleconference to discuss several issues, including the tsunami, followed by a short public statement.
A lazy, fat...
Q: Any plans for New Year's Eve?inconsiderate...
THE PRESIDENT: Early to bed.
Q: New Year's resolutions?
THE PRESIDENT: I'll let you know. Already gave you a hint on one, which is my waistline. I'm trying to set an example.
The White House is blasting former President Clinton for trying to upstage President Bush with a "we feel your pain" condolence message to the victims of the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami that struck Christmas weekend....B.U.F.F.O.O.N.
Reacting to complaints that Bush was missing in action in the wake of the disaster, White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters Tuesday, "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts [before speaking out]. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.'" Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to "hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy," the Post added.
"Actions speak louder than words," an annoyed Bush aide told the paper.
So, on those two (or three or four) snarky notes, I bid you adieu until '05.
Have a safe and healthy New Year...
Peace to the World...
There is No "God"
P.S. If you can, please donate to the International Rescue Committee's "efforts to bring relief to tsunami victims in Aceh, Indonesia -- the closest land mass to the epicenter of the recent earthquake -- and to war-torn Darfur, Sudan, neighboring Chad, and to 25 countries around the world." Or go here for other donation options (personally, I wouldn't recommend the Red Cross option; I wasn't too pleased with how they initially handled their 9/11 donations. I'm just sayin'...)
Update: Rob over at AMERICAblog has an excellent essay about how this tragedy can become a turning point for our hurting world. Here's a good chunk of it:
This crisis presents an opportunity for the world to stand up and say that this moment - this disaster of such immense proportions - is time for us all to join and work together to show our humanity and help. Really help. It's an opportunity for leadership both from nations, but also for grassroots on an international level.
It's not all that hard to imagine actually. It's a question of what kind of view of the world we want to have.
What the UN can do -- and repair it's tarnished reputation at the same time -- is to take a true leadership role. It can get its administrative act together and ensure that all nations in the world contribute. To bring the nations of the world together to do good even in the face of all of our disagreements, would be a step in a positive direction for all of us.
The media can end the salacious coverage of bodies and corpses and start talking about what can be done. If ever there were a time for activist journalism, now is the time. The media can show us how good we can be as a people when we try. They can tell the story of the America that is kind and generous. They can show the story of the UN working effectively to solve problems, bringing warring and distant peoples together in what binds us all as humans.
What can America do? It can step up both on the federal level, with an appropriate level of financial aid, and it can step up on a grassroots level, as we've done in the past. We can send our rescue teams abroad, raise money of travel and send our police and fire units that train in rescue abroad...
Imagine what the peoples of South East Asia would think of the US if it brought to bear the riches of our nation in this time of such crisis? Sent our "little fire departments" from around the country to help these nations rebuild? Not just the federal government's response, but our grassroots response as well. Show this region of the world, a hotbed and breeding ground of terrorism, the America we all know is here.
What can you do? You can turn your New Year's Celebrations into fundraisers for relief and rebuilding efforts. There are over five million people who have been left homeless by this disaster. Take this time to do something on your own level other than just sitting by the TV and watching it all unfold.
December 28, 2004
I Guess Bill Maher Is Next
Susan Sontag, the author, activist and self-defined "zealot of seriousness" whose voracious mind and provocative prose made her a leading intellectual of the past half century, died today. She was 71...Hmmn. And I thought we were attacked because of "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" - The Rev. Jerry Falwell
Sontag did not practice the art of restrained discourse. Writing in the 1960s about the Vietnam War she declared "the white race is the cancer of human history." Days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, she criticized U.S. foreign policy and offered backhanded praise for the hijackers.
"Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?" she wrote in The New Yorker.
"In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards."
Thank Heavens She's Okay
Over 44,000 people have been reported dead in Asia, a third of which are children, and some chucklehead from the Associated Press thinks this is a story worth reporting?
Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova, who appeared on the cover of 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, was injured and her photographer boyfriend is missing after the pair were caught up in the Asian tsunami disaster, a spokeswoman for the boyfriend said Tuesday.Seriously, I'm sorry for her and her boyfriend, but, sheesh, doesn't this perfectly demonstrate that our obsession with celebrity has reached the point of insanity?
And on a similar note, am I the only one offended by this?
"The latest numbers we have are 11 Americans have lost their lives, a number have been wounded, and hundreds are yet unaccounted for," Powell told CNN's "American Morning" television program.I understand that people who have relatives in Asia are extremely concerned and worried but why do politicians and the media always have to make these stories appear to be about us (as in the U.S.)? Whenever there's a plane crash, no matter where in the world, we're always told if there was an American on board. Or, less serious, but more obvious: When you watch NBC's version of the Olympics, you'd think all the events come down to a U.S. athlete with an engrossing personal story vs. The Generic Rest of the World. And we wonder why so many people across the globe think we're a bunch of jerks -- not to mention stingy*):
The United States had previously reported eight U.S. citizens dead.
The Bush administration yesterday pledged $15 million to Asian nations hit by a tsunami that has killed more than 22,500 people, although the United Nations' humanitarian-aid chief called the donation "stingy."Since we're not all stingy jerks, Bob Harris points us to a few places we can go to help out the victims in Asia (including how to donate to Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam).
"The United States, at the president's direction, will be a leading partner in one of the most significant relief, rescue and recovery challenges that the world has ever known," said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy.
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
*I admit the stingy-thing is a bit of a cheap shot, even for me. If Colin Powell can be believed (and, admittedly, it's a little difficult for me):
"We also have to see this not just as a one-time thing. Some 20-plus thousand lives have been lost in a few moments, but the lingering effects will be there for years.Still, even if we chip in some more, Rising Hegemon (by way of Atrios) helps us with a little perspective:
"The damage that was caused, the rebuilding of schools and other facilities will take time," (Powell) added. "So you need a quick infusion to stabilize the situation, take care of those who have been injured, get immediate relief supplies in, and then you begin planning for the longer haul."
Over at Eschaton, Atrios has made some hay over the stingy amount of aid offered ($15m) for the recovery after the earthquake and tidal waves and is comparing that amount with the cost of the inaugural festivities. The gala, not including beefed up security, will cost $40m. That is a lot of party, people...Update: Looks like the U.S. has already upped its relief package:
And we spend something like $5.8 billion per month in Iraq. Read it again, and compare. $15 million total for disaster aid and something on the order of $200 million per day in Iraq.
A smart politician would turn this to an advantage. Really, what the f*ck is he doing have (sic) big inaugural galas with 140,000 soldiers' asses on the line in Iraq alone? The prospects for meaningful peace look less likely with every passing day. There are tens of thousands dead in Asia and countless more devastated by homelessness, disease, and without the barest essentials for living. And he wants to have a party.
Really it fits this guy's pattern. He has earned political capital and is going to spend some of it on a little shindig in HIS honor. Is it any wonder he is so loathed by so many?
The U.S. Agency for International Development prepared Tuesday to add $20 million to an initial $15 million contribution for Asian earthquake relief as Secretary of State Colin Powell bristled at a United Nations official's suggestion that the United States has been "stingy."Steve Gilliard responds with a wee bit of snark:
I guess the Holy Christian Emperor realized that $15m was about what Usher spent for his cars and Atlanta home. That millions of destitute people might need a bit more than his Napoleonic coronation.Steve said it, not me...
It's Not The Crime, It's The Cover-Up
What is Ohio's secretary of state hiding?
The secretary of state, who declared President Bush the official winner in Ohio, is seeking a court order to keep himself from being interviewed as part of a court challenge of the Nov. 2 vote.Yes, Mr. Blackwell: Democracy certainly is frivolous. Bitch.
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell claims his deposition is not required, and accused 37 voters challenging the election of "frivolous conduct."
The court challenge cites irregularities including long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.
December 24, 2004
Hey, It's Christmas! (more or less)
Now, get the hell off your computer and enjoy the holiday before THEY destroy Christmas forever...
And one more thing: War Is Over (If You Want It). Happy Xmas.
See you all next week,
December 23, 2004
The Holy Grail of Crap
A long time ago (1978), in a galaxy far, far away (Hollywood), there actually was a conspiracy led by a cabal of Jews -- including Chewbacca (known to his friends as "Jewie"), Carrie Fisher (1/2 Jewish), Harrison Ford (1/4 Jew) and the biggest Jew of all, George Lucas -- to destroy Christmas as we know it. Yes, I'm talking about what is affectionately known among geeks everywhere as "The Holy Grail of Crap": The Star Wars Holiday Special:
I was "fortunate" enough to receive a bootleg DVD copy of this special as an early Christmas gift. The reason it's a bootleg and a "Holy Grail" of sorts is because Lucas has forbid this special to ever officially see the light of day again. After watching it, I can see why: I have never screamed "Make It Stop! Make It Stop! Make It Stop!" more in my life. The experience was not too dissimilar to this:
So, because I love you, I've decided to share some "highlights" from this one of a kind holiday experience. I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting Chewbacca's family, Mala, Itchy and Lumpy, as well as special guests Art Carney, Harvey Korman, Diahann Carroll, The Jefferson Starship and Bea Arthur. Happy Life Day Everyone!!!
The thought of Hillary running for president is almost (almost) as disturbing as four more years of The Big Turd Sandwich. Click the pic (if you have a strong stomach):
December 22, 2004
Thank Oden for TV Funhouse
Robert Smigel just may be the funniest/smartest man working in television. To see why, click the claymation map:
You see, this is what happens when you take a perfectly good pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice, mix in some typically weird German shit about some scary god named Oden and then have the Roman church arbitrarily slap on the birth of the baby Jesus (who really was born in the Spring) in order to trick people into thinking religion is fun.
For 39 more Santa disasters, click here.
(thanks to freakgirl for both links)
December 21, 2004
It's Just Not as Titillating as a Blowjob in the Oval Office
From Bill O'Reilly's favorite organization:
A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.Raise your hand if you think the "Person of the Year" should have his ass impeached -- after all, it's not as if very many people actually like him:
Unless there's a dramatic turnaround in public sentiment between now and Jan. 20, Bush will be sworn in to office with the lowest job-approval rating -- barely 50 percent -- of any president in the last 80 years, or since modern-day presidential polling began.Weak, cocky and more than a little repellent...
"It's striking how weak he is right now," says presidential historian Richard Shenkman, editor of George Mason University's History News Network. "You'd have to go back to Woodrow Wilson to find a president who was reelected in a position as weak as this one."
December 20, 2004
"Cocky and a Little Repellent"
Actually, that's what Kyra Sedgwick thought of her husband Kevin Bacon when she first met him...but I think it's a pretty apt description of The Big Turd Sandwich.
(thanks to Digby for discovering this repellent picture)
December 19, 2004
The Bar is Officially as Low as it Can Go
Time chose Bush "for sticking to his guns (literally and figuratively), for reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style and for persuading a majority of voters this time around that he deserved to be in the White House for another four years," (managing editor) Jim Kelly wrote in the magazine.I'm ill and I feel worse. I bet the Big Turd Sandwich thinks he's riding pretty tall in the saddle today...but how will History judge our nation's Cowboy in Chief? Take it away, Mr. Trudeau:
The winner must be "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse," he said.
It's O.K. to Say Merry Festivus
Bill O'Reilly is freaked-out, FREAKED-OUT I tell you, that people (ie: Jews) are trying to destroy Christmas:
Once again, Christmas is under siege by the growing forces of secularism in America...Surveys show that more than 90% of Americans celebrate the Federal holiday of Christmas, signed into law by President Grant in 1870. Despite that overwhelming number, the tradition of Christmas in America continues to get hammered.Poor Christmas! And, apparently, Christmas has been taking a beating for years. Here's Bill in '02:
It's time we all found out just who is being naughty this Christmas season, and I am here to tell you. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has put the fear of Heaven, uh, pardon me, the fear of "a higher power that may or may not exist" into schools and towns all across America. If you get involved with this Christmas thing, the ACLU might sue you. At the South Orange Middle School in New Jersey, a sixth-grade class was all set to see the play "A Christmas Carol," written by that well-known religious zealot Charles Dickens. But according to the Associated Press (AP), school officials canceled an outing to see the play and replaced it with a show called "The Great Railroad Race."Yes Bill, I give: It's insane. And thankfully we have the Alliance Defense Fund to take care of that mean old ACLU:
The school's principal, Kirk Smith, told the AP "there is a great sensitivity to putting students in awkward situations." Apparently, some parents complained about "A Christmas Carol" because they thought it had something to do with Christmas, and we can't have that in a public school, can we? Even though Christmas is a federal holiday, we can't really be discussing the meaning of the day because of sensitivity concerns. Is this insane or what?
The ADF is here to let us know that, despite the ACLU, "It's O.K. to Say Merry Christmas" (even though the ACLU never said it wasn't).
But O'Reilly and the ADF may have a bigger problem then the anti-Christmas freaks: The Festivus worshippers:
Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had -- but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.According to today's New York Times, Festivus is gaining in popularity:
Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank: It was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born : A Festivus for the rest of us!
Infused as Festivus is with so much potential meaning, it is not far-fetched to imagine it as a permanent part of the American holiday firmament, said Anthony F. Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate and the author of "The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays" (Oxford University Press, 2002). After all, Halloween used to be an obscure festival observed by few, Kwanzaa was invented by an academic in California in the 1960's, and Hanukkah has been reinvented in modern times to include gift-giving. "Even Christmas comes out of a pagan holiday that happened around the solstice," Professor Aveni said.I did a Google search of "Festivus" and found 116,000 results, including a Fesitvus blog and a site where you can send your very own Festivus e-cards to O'Reilly and your loved ones:
I'm telling you, it's a Festivus Miracle!
December 17, 2004
"Not That There's Anything Wrong With That"
Well, actually this is pretty wrong. Wrong on so many levels...
December 16, 2004
Is anyone besides Keith Olbermann paying any f*c#ing attention to this?
The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee told us tonight on Countdown that he and others in Congress are considering formally challenging the slate of electors who cast Ohio’s votes, when those votes are opened and counted before a joint session of Congress on January 6th.
“We’re prepared to do that,” Conyers said. “And we understand the law as well as you.”
December 15, 2004
Crickets...Nothing but Crickets
Is it me or have we not heard diddly about possible terrorist attacks since the election? Oh, right...I forgot: Big B.A.D.* Bernie Kerik assured us we'd be safe as long as we didn't vote for John Kerry:
Ex-police commissioner and President Bush loyalist Bernard Kerik took a huge swipe at Sen. John Kerry yesterday, suggesting another 9/11 attack is more likely if the Democrat wins the White House.*Bigamist. Adulterer. Douchebag
Calling his biggest fear "another terrorist attack," Kerik told the Daily News, "If you put Sen. Kerry in the White House, I think you are going to see that happen ... and I don't want to see another Sept. 11."
December 14, 2004
Please Let This A-Hole Also Have A "Nanny" Problem
Here's what Michael Leavitt, the man President Bush called "a man of great compassion ...an ideal choice to lead one of the largest departments of the United States government," plans to do if confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services:
(Leavitt) may have to cut billions of dollars from the government's mammoth health programs for the elderly, poor and disabled to pare the budget deficit.Doncha just love "Compassionate Conservatism?"
The Medicare and Medicaid programs, consuming nearly $500 billion a year and growing quickly, could be vulnerable in the context of last year's $413 billion budget deficit, the ongoing war in Iraq, costly domestic security commitments and administration plans to revamp Social Security without raising taxes.
Clubbing Kerik: The Press (for once) Does the Democrats' Job
James Wolcott has great piece on the Kerik affair which includes this priceless paragraph:
I'm glad the press is having a dance party with this, because God knows the Democrats are frozen at the steering wheel. I just saw a segment on MSNBC (which has been all over the Kerik story today, bless Rick Kaplan's cyborg heart) pitting a Republican strategist against a Democratic one, and the Democratic spokesman--who goes by the name of Michael Brown--seemed to have washed down his weeny pills with warm Ovaltine. Instead of kicking Kerik and Giuliani between the uprights for three points, Brown fretted that vetting process for cabinet candidates was "going to far," and that we were in danger of discouraging people from public service. Oh no, we wouldn't want to discourage philandering, pocket-lining, deadbeat no-show bully-boys like Bernard Kerik from having the opportunity to muck around with our civil liberties in the name of "national security" and hold bigshot press conferences. I mean, if that sort of thing were to continue happening, people might start mistaking the Democrats for an opposition party and thinking that the press has an adversarial role to play, and we don't want that to happen, it might actually lead to signs of life in that mausoleum we call the nation's capital.
Zero, Zip, Zilch, Nada, Nunca
John "Steroids Are Bad" McCain has "no confidence" in Rummy according to the AP:
"I said no. My answer is still no. No confidence," McCain said.The press obviously can't get enough of McCain. He certainly speaks his mind - but, unfortunately, through both sides of his mouth. Clearly, he's going to hell for this:
He estimated an additional 80,000 Army personnel and 20,000 to 30,000 more Marines would be needed to secure Iraq.
"I have strenuously argued for larger troop numbers in Iraq, including the right kind of troops — linguists, special forces, civil affairs, etc.," said McCain, R-Ariz. "There are very strong differences of opinion between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld on that issue."
When asked if Rumsfeld was a liability to the Bush administration, McCain responded: "The president can decide that, not me."
December 13, 2004
Stolen Nest vs. Stolen Votes
If you don't live in the NYC area, you might not have heard about Pale Male and his mate Lola, two red tail hawks who were evicted from their 12-year-old nest on the 12th story of some fanch-schmancy Central Park co-op. It's truly a sad story with lots of juicy ingredients perfect for the daily rags and evening news: Two beautiful birds of prey; greedy rich co-op owners who couldn't take anymore unsightly bird droppings; one outraged celebrity who lives in the building (Mary Tyler Moore).
Yesterday, 300 people gathered outside 927 Fifth Avenue "in solidarity" with Pale Male and Lola. Not an earth-shattering number of people, but still, 300 ain't too shabby (a local free paper called "Metro" said there were 2,000 protestors but, no, I think not).
So, how many people showed up in Columbus yesterday to protest Ohio's delegation to the Electoral College, urging them to wait until the recount is properly completed? A whopping 100.
Where the hell are our priorities? Don't get me wrong: I hope Pale & Lola get their nest back. But I'd like to get my country back first.
Update: If you think I'm a nutter to still think something stink, stank, stunk in Ohio, check out William Rivers Pitt's latest report over at truthout. Apparently, I have company:
There are people out there who think we are crazy, who think we are bitter-enders, sore losermen, conspiracy theorists and tinfoil hatters. We just cannot accept the outcome of a truly legitimate American election, and we are flailing about like pathetic boated fish trying to change what cannot be changed. But the Ohio Secretary of State is brazenly breaking the law by denying public access to public records. The terrorism bugaboo was thrown in the way of those who wished to observe the counting process in Warren County, though nobody seems to know who tossed out the warning nor why terrorists would want to blow something up in southwestern Ohio. And now, legitimate hearings on these issues are being thwarted.
If demanding answers to these questions, along with all the other questions that have arisen - more than 30,000 reports of voting irregularities and fraud all across the country, including thousands of reports of malfunctioning electronic touch-screen voting machines, plus the disenfranchisement of as many as a million minority voters, and the startling reality that virtually every single 'malfunction' or error favored George W. Bush - if demanding answers to these questions makes me crazy, then damn it, bring on the boys with the butterfly nets, because I am completely out of my mind.
December 11, 2004
Are you using Firefox to read me right now? No? You should. Click on the icon below and download Mozilla's Firefox now. You won't be disappointed...
A Nanny Problem
Oops, sorry. Wrong Problem...
That's better. Bernard (or "Droopy" as he's known to his friends) doesn't look too happy, does he? Maybe it's because he's upset that Fran Drescher destroyed the purity of Spinal Tap's "Bobbi Flekman" by reprising her character on The Nanny. Or maybe it's because of all of this shit:
• In reviewing his personal finances this week as he prepared for (secretary of homeland security) confirmation hearings, Mr. Kerik...determined that a housekeeper and nanny he had once employed was not clearly a legal immigrant and that he had not properly paid taxes on her behalf.George sure knows how to pick 'em...
•Financial questions were raised after it was revealed the former cop, who declared bankruptcy in 1988, sold $6.2 million worth of stock in Taser International, which manufactures stun devices for police and military use — and is pitching its wares to the Department of Homeland Security for use by border agents.
Other embarrassing or questionable incidents involving Kerik were re-examined:
• The assignment of several NYPD homicide detectives to retrieve a cellphone lost by his book publisher, Judith Regan.
• Questions about $1 million in tobacco rebates for cigarettes sold to prisoners while Kerik was correction commissioner.
• His hasty and early exit from Iraq after a huge explosion in Baghdad.
• Kerik also used NYPD investigators to research the murder of his mother, a former prostitute killed when he was 4, for his book. He had to pay the city $2,500 under a settlement with the Conflict of Interest Board.
• In the 1980s, while working as chief of investigations for a Saudi Arabian hospital complex, Kerik allegedly abused his authority to delve into the private lives of women with whom his boss was romantically involved.
(Thanks to Fran Drescher On Line) for the Fabulous Fran Collage)
December 10, 2004
Tim Burton's "Charley and the Chocolate Factory" is either going to be the creepiest/coolest kids movie ever made or a disaster of "Planet and the Apes"-like proportions. Click on the pic of 21 Jump Street's "Tom Hanson" to watch the trailer and form your own snarky opinions...
"It's Not Siegfried & Roy Kind of Magic"
If you missed Dylan's first interview in 19 years, click on the pencil-thin mustache and watch the, um, magic...
(video courtesy Crooks and Liars)
"We Bought It, We Own It"
Eli Pariser kicks Ass:
Liberal powerhouse MoveOn has a message for the "professional election losers" who run the Democratic Party: "We bought it, we own it, we're going to take it back."Heh, heh: The Associated Press said "tool."
A scathing e-mail from the head of MoveOn's political action committee to the group's supporters on Thursday targets outgoing Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe as a tool of corporate donors who alienated both traditional and progressive Democrats.
"For years, the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base," said the e-mail from MoveOn PAC's Eli Pariser. "But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers."
December 09, 2004
'Tis The Season...
...to Celebrate Miracles:
Visitors pose for photographs in front of a new celebrity wax work nativity scene unveiled at Madame Tussauds London, featuring (L-R) American actor Samuel L. Jackson, British actor Hugh Grant and Irish comedian Graham Norton as the shepherds, with English soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria as Joseph and Mary, with Australian singer Kylie Minogue as the angel and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Duke of Edinburgh and President Bush as the three wise men.
The Pope is apparently pissed (evidently he was always partial to Baby Spice).
Surprisingly, the Vatican has yet to weigh in on this:
President Bush: Stand-Up Comedian
Venue: The Oval Office
Audience: The American People
Topic: Equipment for Troops
"If I were a soldier overseas wanting to defend my country, I'd want to ask the secretary of defense the same question, and that is, 'Are we getting the best we can get us?'"I believe the last time the President told a joke like this was while he was in the Texas Air National Guard, avoiding being a soldier overseas.
While Donald Rumsfeld was busy sticking his foot in his mouth and disrespecting our soldiers yesterday, Democratic Representative John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan led a forum on election "irregularities" in Ohio. Other true patriots who were scheduled to participate in the hearings included Rep. Melvin Watt; Rep. Robert Scott; Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder Rainbow Push Coalition; Ralph Neas, President, People For the American Way; Jon Greenbaum, Director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights Under Law; Ellie Smeal, Executive Director, The Feminist Majority; Prof. Robert Fitrakis, Editor, The Free Press; Cliff Arnebeck, Arnebeck Associates; John Bonifaz, General Counsel, National Voting Institute; and Steve Rosenfeld, Producer, Air America Radio.
Truthout has the details and Crooks and Liars has the video highlights.
Plus: Brad Blog has been hit with so much traffic he's started Brad Blog Too. The reason for all the rumpus: Brad may have found a smoking gun concerning the Florida vote. In a nutshell:
(Clint Curtis, a programmer for Yang Enterprises, Inc., a software design and engineering company) claims that he designed and built a "vote rigging" software program at the behest of then Florida Congressman, now U.S. Congressman, Republican Tom Feeney of Florida's 24th Congressional District.For the full story so far, go here.
This is What Jesus Would Do
The United Church of Christ believes that "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome" at one of their churches. In fact, they believe this so much that they produced an ad that very effectively communicates their philosophy. The ad has been accepted by a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land.
CBS and NBC, however, felt the UCC's all-inclusive message was "too controversial."
So, the UCC has decided to "challenge TV licenses for stations that refuse to provide equal access." They, of course, want money to help with legal and media fees. And, there's - you guessed it - a petition. If Jesus had had access to the internets, I bet he'd sign it...
December 08, 2004
Playing Dress Up is Fun!!!
Supporting Our Troops
"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" (Army Spc. Thomas) Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.Jeebus! And he still gets to keep his job:
"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said.
Employers posted 104,530 cuts in November, up 2.6 percent from the previous month, according to a survey sponsored by international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
Government workers were hardest hit, with 21,971 cuts, followed by telecommunications workers, with 21,158 job losses.
"Not only are more companies announcing job cuts, there are more jobs being eliminated in each announcement," said the outplacement firm's chief executive, John Challenger.
1,000th U.S. Soldier Killed in Action
Who gives a crap about the other 275 U.S. soldiers who have been killed and the 9,765 U.S. troops who have been wounded since we invaded Iraq? They're just a bunch of meaningless numbers; a distraction from the terrific job we're doing over there.
And whatever you do, don't talk about the torture...
Two Defense Department intelligence officials reported observing brutal treatment of Iraqi insurgents captured in Baghdad last June, several weeks after disclosures of abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison there created a worldwide uproar, according to a memorandum disclosed today.
The memorandum, written by the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to a senior Pentagon official, said that when the two members of his agency objected to the treatment, they were threatened and told to keep quiet by other military interrogators.
The Adventures of Ned Land (from today's unsolicited e-mail for "cheaper drugs"):
Little by little, Ned Land acquired a taste for chatting, and I loved to hear the recital of his adventures in the polar seas!! I myself, for whom money had no charms, was not the least attentive on board.
December 07, 2004
Hot Flash from the CDC!!!
(from an anonymous e-mail):
The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a virulent new strain of sexually transmitted disease. This STD is contracted through irresponsible, high risk behavior.And kids, don't forget these important sex education tips, courtesy of our federally-funded abstinence programs:
The disease is Gonorrhea lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him").
Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4 years, having taken inadequate measures to protect themselves from this especially virulent disease. Cognitive sequellae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea lectim include, but are not limited to: anti-social personality disorder traits; delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor; chronic mangling of the English language; extreme cognitive dissonance; inability to incorporate new information; pronounced xenophobia; inability to accept responsibility for actions; exceptional cowardice marked by acts of misplaced bravado; ignorance of geography and history; tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or-nothing behavior.
This deadly affliction is known to be pandemic in red states. It is 100% preventable through education and abstinence, but, unfortunately, there is little hope for a cure at this time.
• A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person."(source: The Washington Post)
• HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.
• Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.
• Women who have an abortion "are more prone to suicide" and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile.
December 06, 2004
(from Yahoo! Launch)
(Robert) Downey stole the (Kennedy Center Honors) show with his rambling tribute to (Elton) John. The actor said he — like losing presidential candidate John Kerry — was suffering "from acute symptoms of another dual-diagnosis disease of mine: the ADD, of course, the altruistic Democrat disorder."
That drew nervous laughter from the audience, which included Sen. Kerry as well as President and Mrs. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, Secretary of State Colin Powell and the woman nominated to replace him, Condoleezza Rice.
Okay, perhaps we can now forgive Robert for this piece of career suicide...
And speaking of junkies...
Salon has a great interview with ex-drug addict and ALF scribe Jerry Stahl, author of "Permanent Midnight" and "I, Fatty":
Salon: I saw (Ann) Coulter on TV recently, and she looked exhausted or strung out.
Stahl: Do you think it's drugs or anorexia?
I don't think it's either. I just think she's just tired, or maybe she just looks that way.
I heard that vicious rumor that she was Rush Limbaugh's drug buddy.
Sort of the Courtney Love to his Kurt Cobain. I mean, not a lot of people are talking about it, but I'm just saying, that could be. That's an image you might want to put in your brain. But I don't even want to speculate what she's up to. That's the thing, I don't judge. If she needs a little recreational crack, God bless her.
I thought you were serious for a second.
Yeah, the Kurt and Courtney of the conservatives and neocons. I'm just saying that could be. I'm not saying that's my next book, I'm not saying it isn't. But it's something to think about. She is skinny and it doesn't look natural.
Yeah, but Rush didn't exactly lose any weight as a junkie. He's still a pig.
Well, some people go up and some people go down. I mean, Charlie Parker was a fat junkie because of all the candy bars and shit, so Rush obviously wasn't on an exercise regimen. I'm just thinking that Ann has more discipline, you know?
December 05, 2004
What are the Odds?!?!
Michael A. Livingston of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania wrote to the New York Times to complain about Frank Rich's "Monday Night Football/Indecency Hoax" article. At first it seemed as if Mr. Livingston was trying to portray himself as a left-leaning feminist...
"Having recently been host to a party for 9-year-old boys, who alternated between pretending to be Janet Jackson baring her nipple and the desperate housewife baring her bottom - punctuated in each case with fits of uproarious laughter - I cannot take quite as cavalier an attitude toward the 'Monday Night Football' episode as does Frank Rich. The issue is not obscenity but rather the trivializing, hostile view of sex and women that now passes for free expression even on programs aimed at younger audiences. Whether Mr. Rich accepts it or not, this is a major issue for many otherwise tolerant people, and plainly expressed itself in the recent election."...although it is obvious that in reality Livingston is a homophobe (the boys were imitating naked women!) and a Christian follower of Rush "Shocked" Limbaugh:
"I must also take issue with Mr. Rich's increasingly mean-spirited comments regarding the personal behavior of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators. The point of a religious philosophy is not that people are perfect, but that they can be forgiven for their sins through repentance and charitable behavior."So can we forgive Livingston for completely making his story up? Seriously, what are the odds that the boys were actually acting out the two biggest Religious Right-American Family Association censorship flashpoints? The story would have been more believable if they had said the F-word 21 times and pretended to kill each other while redecorating Livinston's house.
Our "Catastrophic Success" Continues
Gunmen ambushed a bus full of Iraqis working for the U.S. military, killing 17 civilians and wounding 13 in Tikrit on Sunday, while a car bomb and a gun attack killed four members of the Iraqi security forces elsewhere in northern Iraq.Don't worry. Everything will be just fine on January 31st...and if you can't handle any bad news until then, just do as Jerry Falwell does:
The violence was the latest in a string of deadly attacks targeting Iraqi forces and others allied with the U.S. military that have killed at least 68 Iraqis since Friday. The surge in bloodshed has come despite major U.S. offensives last month to suppress guerrillas ahead of elections set for Jan. 30. (AP)
"I think [the war] is going well. CNN doesn't always get it right, but it goes pretty well if you watch it on FOX."(Media Matters)
Shop Right, er, Left
If you're too lazy to use Choose The Blue (see earlier post), here's a handy list, courtesy of Donkey Rising, to help you with your shopping decisions:
WITH US:Dang! I was planning to check into a Holiday Inn for a few weeks to get drunk on Coors, Jack and Bushmills while writing Hallmark Christmas Cards to all of my Republican friends who are probably buying me gifts from WalMart...
* Price Club/Costco donated $225K, of which 99% went to democrats;
* Rite Aid, $517K, 60% to democrats;
* Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean), $22K, 100% to democrats;
* Warnaco (undergarments), $55K, 73% to democrats;
* Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, $153K, 99% to democrats;
* Estee Lauder, $448K, 95% to democrats;
* Guess ? Inc., $145K, 98% to democrats;
* Calvin Klein, $78K, 100% to democrats;
* Liz Claiborne, Inc., $34K, 97% to democrats;
* Levi Straus, $26K, 97% to democrats;
* Olan Mills, $175K, 99% to democrats.
* Gallo Winery, $337K, 95% to democrats;
* Southern Wine & Spirits, $213K, 73% to democrats;
* Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons (includes beverage business, plus considerable media interests), $2M+, 67% democrats.
* Sonic Corporation, $83K, 98% democrat;
* Triarc Companies (Arby's, T.J. Cinnamon's, Pasta Connections), $112K, 96% Democrats;
* Hyatt Corporation, $187K, 80% to democrats;
WalMart, $467K, 97% to republicans;
K-Mart, $524K, 86% to republicans;
Home Depot, $298K, 89% to republicans;
Target, $226K, 70% to republicans;
Circuit City Stores, $261K, 95% to republicans;
3M Co., $281K, 87% to republicans;
Hallmark Cards, $319K, 92% to republicans;
Amway, $391K, 100% republican;
Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures), $283K, 100% republicans;
B.F. Goodrich (tires), $215K, 97% to republicans;
Proctor & Gamble, $243K, 79% to republicans;
Coors, $174K, 92% to republicans; (also Budweiser - sd)
Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel wines - as well as Lennox China, Dansk, Gorham Silver), $644, 80% to republicans;
Pilgrim's Pride Corp. (chicken), $366K, 100% republican;
Outback Steakhouse, $641K, 95% republican;
Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), $133K, 87% republican;
Brinker International (Maggiano's, Brinker Cafe, Chili's, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Crazymel's, Corner Baker, EatZis), $242K, 83% republican;
Waffle House, $279K, 100% republican;
McDonald's Corp., $197K, 86% republican;
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze), $121K, 89% republican;
Mariott International, $323K, 81% to republicans;
Holiday Inns, $38K, 71% to republicans
December 04, 2004
I received this e-mail today:
Learn long sound be i. Should could been old kind let him only. First large such toward called time she used began.Can you guess what they were trying to sell me?
Left second or almost again. All far today were like her white being. About you about house. Today great line many said.
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Things to do Before the Inauguration
(courtesy of The Perfidy Report)
1. Get that abortion you've always wanted.
2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.
3. Cash your Social Security check.
4. See a doctor of your own choosing.
5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.
6. Visit Syria, or any foreign country, for that matter.
7. Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.
8. Hoard gasoline.
10. Borrow from library, before they're banned: Constitutional law books, Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, Tropic of Cancer, etc.
11. If you have an idea for an art piece involving a crucifix - do it now.
12. Come out - then go back in the closet. HURRY!
13. Jam in all the stem cell research you can.
14. Stay out late before the curfews start.
16. Go see Bruce Springsteen before he has his "accident."
17. Go see Mount Rushmore before the Reagan addition.
18. Use the phrase "You can't do that...This is America."
19. If you're white, marry a black person; if you're black, marry a white person.
21. Take a walk in Yosemite without being hit by a snowmobile or a base-jumper.
22. Enroll your kid in an accelerated art or music class.
23. Start your school day without a prayer.
24. Pass on the secrets of evolution to future generations.
26. Learn French.
28. Attend a commitment ceremony with your gay friends.
29. Take a factory tour anywhere in the US.
30. Take photographs of animals on the endangered species list.
31. Visit Florida before the polar ice caps melt.
32. Visit Nevada before it becomes radioactive.
33. Visit Alaska before "The Big Spill."
34. Visit Massachusetts while it is still a state.
December 03, 2004
High in the Middle?
Bloggermann's got an interesting update on the Ohio recount:
(The Alliance for Democracy) will be asking one high court justice to set the election results aside, pending a full investigation and hearing. (The Alliance's lawyer, Cliff) Arnebeck said today he believes that if all ballots were counted in what he calls a "traditional context,” the outcome would not just swing from President Bush’s 130,000 vote election night lead — it would swing all the way in the opposite direction, and give Kerry a 130,000 vote lead.Why is Ukraine's election on our front pages and evening and cable news shows practically everyday but our own election story is M.I.A.? It can't be about circulation and ratings. I thought this made for riveting TV four years ago:
Arnebeck sounded a little like a protestor in Kiev: "Our presidential election affects not just this country but all the citizens of the world. And therefore it's absolutely essential that the person who assumes the mantle of that office has the full confidence of our public and the world community that it was an honest election.” Amen.
December 02, 2004
Help Your Senators Develop Spines
Human Rights First is none to happy that our next attorney general could be the man who thinks the Geneva Convention is quaint. Go here to get our Senators to question Alberto Gonzales about how his actions "set the stage for the abuse that happened at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. military prisons around the world."
Know Where Your $$ Go
Ever wonder which companies donate to your favorite party and which donate to the evil bastards? Check out this cool site and choose where you buy: Choose The Blue
December 01, 2004
Daily Kos has posted a rather lengthy diary entry from "Major Tom" in which Tom argues that "actionable fraud" did indeed occur in our recent presidential election. Here's an excerpt:
What is the Legal Concept of "Reasonable Suspicion"?So where are all of those liberal lawyers we keep hearing about? I'm in the mood for a juicy, "frivolous" lawsuit. Paging David Boies...
...In brief, it's a standard that law enforcement authorities need to meet in order to stop and search a citizen, a car and so on; and it can be the valid basis of an eventual arrest. Indeed, it is less than a "probable cause" or "more likely than not" legal standard. Thus, a twenty or thirty percent likelihood of a given event or fact would meet the "reasonable suspicion standard."
Furthermore, hearsay can be the basis of a "reasonable suspicion" threshold finding, while an actual warrant issued by a judge or magistrate is not necessarily required. Certainly, it is a much less stringent minimal bench mark than "actual proof." Unquestionably, if actual proof were always required, there would be very few legitimate searches conducted across the country on the part of law enforcement authorities.
The point that should be garnered from the brief recital of law set forth in the previous paragraph is that absolute guarantees of proof are never required in the law before a search of anything can be conducted. Furthermore, under our legal system, this basal or minimum standard of "reasonable suspicion" is quite sufficient in the criminal law arena where rights are more greatly coveted and protected than in the civil law arena in which considerations of recounts would more generally apply. Therefore, a suspicion legitimately based upon any facts and inferences, including hearsay, are enough to base a civil or quasi-civil case (which a recount case is), even if those facts represent only a small percent of actual likelihood or probability, so long and on the condition that it is made in good faith.
Do We Have Sufficient Grounds?
So to all those who are screaming "where is the indisputable facts or truth, because I haven't heard any yet," I say to them, "that at this point in the proceedings, indisputable proof is not required whatsoever."
In fact, because we are not suggesting that a criminal action be brought, the standard of proof is even less than "a reasonable suspicion." Don't we at least have some of that from what we have thus far heard? OF COURSE, WE DO. Just think about what we now know to have occurred in Volusia County, Florida; or what has occurred in South Carolina; or what has occurred in Ohio, and so on and so on. Even the enormous improbabilities regarding the discrepancies between the exit polls and the actual poll results should raise within all reasonable people a "reasonable suspicion" that something is definitely awry concerning many of the 2004 poll results. Wasn't the odds 250,000,000 to 1?
Actually, with regard to some of the reports we have been hearing from here and there, I would respectfully suggest that the criminal law, "reasonable suspicion standard" has also been met concerning some of the activities that we have been informed about - destroying original polling tapes. At least, that is my view. Again, however, we are not suggesting that someone bring a criminal action at this point in the continuing controversy. We're talking about a "quasi-civil action" here.