April 30, 2005
Journalism is Dead; Long Live Journalism
Steve Gilliard brilliantly discusses the White House Press Corps ("The modern Casablanca of journalism"), Jon Stewart ("the most respected newsman in America, and he does fake news"), the "mentally unbalanced" (Nancy Grace, Fox News) and the "partisan nightmare" that we currently refer to as "Commentary." Our country is in deep doo-doo.
"Every picture tells a story, don't it?"
As my friend Jesse told me last night, even I would have had a 90% approval rating after 9/11.
Who ordered the duck?
(image courtesy of Mr. Oliver Willis, American, Democrat and Redskins fan)
April 29, 2005
Dumb & Dumber
Former CIA Director George Tenet said he regretted assuring President Bush in 2002 that he had "slam dunk" evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.Dumber:
"Those were the two dumbest words I ever said," Tenet told about 1,300 people at a Kutztown University forum Wednesday.
Anyone who actually believed him.
April 28, 2005
The Real "43"
Tonight, The Great Pretender
is all set to give his first prime-time press conference in a year (in a year!!!). Meanwhile, the man we elected President in 2000 spoke yesterday and asked the big question in regard to what the fundamentalist Republicans are doing to OUR country:
"How Dare They?"To read and/or watch Al Gore's entire speech, "An American Heresy," click the pic...
April 27, 2005
I guess she didn't like the roses I sent her...
Ann Coulter is moving from New York to Palm Beach, Fla., and it may be permanent, her agent told the Palm Beach Post. "She is moving because she is terrified of stalkers," said Joani Evans. "These are scary men, creeps. There was a guy sending her a bouquet every day for six months."I'm sure there are no creepy men in Palm Beach, right Rush?
April 26, 2005
Compare and Contrast
The Hammer was responsible for the first nail:
"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," said Tom DeLay, the Republican leader who moved the (Terri Schiavo) Florida case to the federal arena.Then came fellow Texan John Cornyn:
"It causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions," (Senator John Cornyn, R-TX) said. Sometimes, "the Supreme Court has taken on this role as a policymaker rather than an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people...I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country...And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence. Certainly without any justification, but a concern that I have."Not to be outdone was this "lawyer-author":
Conservative leaders meeting in Washington yesterday for a discussion of "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny" decided that (Supreme Court Justice Anthony M.) Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, should be impeached, or worse.And, most recently, during the Justice Bloody Sunday television extravanganza, Tony Perkins gave us the sanitized-for-the-religious-flock version:
...lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."
Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.
The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."
"We have had an amazing response because people of faith are realizing that actions in Washington have a direct impact on their lives in the heartland," said Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council Action.Ah, but what was Tony really thinking? Could it have been something more along the lines of what this lovely American family might have watched on their TV set almost 40 years ago?
Editor's Note: I had prepared the majority of this post last night. At the time, I was merely observing the stunning (and frightening) similarity of the current wrapped-in-religion-rhetoric with that of four decades ago. And, then this morning as I was about to finish up the post, I came across this via AMERICAblog:
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.Any questions?
The New Bruce
April 24, 2005
The "Wit" and "Wisdom" of Tom Delay, the soon-to-be Former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives:
"I blame Congress over the last fifty to a hundred years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that’s nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn’t stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn’t stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn’t stop them."(from The New Yorker's The Talk of the Town)
April 21, 2005
Miracle or Hooligans? You Decide...
April 20, 2005
Fan Mail From Some Flounder
Someone (Alec Rawls) read my post about America: We Stand As One, got himself a Thesaurus and went to town on me:
Cynicism is the stupidest of all cognitive styles. The pretense of sophistication, looking for every pusillanimous opportunity NOT to understand. If you can't understand the song, fuck you, it just makes you a moron. The pretense that you can seriously quibble with a soldier's spirit saying "its all-right" on the grounds that, well, no its not really alright, is beyond asinine. He's ALREADY DEAD. There is nothing else for an ALREADY DEAD person to say to his widow but "its all-right." But you REFUSE to understand the obvious because it is expressed by the "other side."To justify this intentional stupidity, you link more stupidity. The war was "unnecessary." Hey, look at this straw we can grasp at over here, fellow leftists! We didn't have to go to war! There was still a way we could have accommodated the mass murderer in power and forestalled the advance of liberty in the Islamic world, maybe forever! How corrupt of us to have turned down such a sterling offer. You leftists are so sick and so stupid it just boggles the mind, and all justified by what? Anti-religious bigotry? And you aren't even one of the bad ones! You are obviously putting effort in. Why don't you put it into trying to think straight, instead of trying to misunderstand everything that doesn’t justify your presumptions. If you think backwards like that, if instead of following reason and evidence you pick and choose what supports your presumptions, there is not a chance in Hell that your presumptions will ever be right, because they are divorced from reality. Blue state bigots. What a pestilence.Thank you Alec. I don't believe I've ever read anything so unintentionally ironic in my life.
Who Vetted This Guy?
April 18, 2005
Another Man of the Year Issue Already?
April 17, 2005
"Hey...you wanna see something really scary?"
This is from the latest issue of Rolling Stone:
*(and, yes, I also read the "Desperate Housewives" article - and I don't even watch the show. I'm just another victim of our Pop Culture hype machine. However, I did learn that one of the actresses on the show (the one who pulled a hissy fit on the set of VF's photo shoot) is adamantly not a lesbian and that Teri Hatcher wants to use her newly-regained celebrity for "good" (as opposed to evil, I assume).
...RECLAIMING AMERICA FOR CHRIST. These are the evangelical activists behind the nation's most effective political machine -- one that brought more than 4 million new Christian voters to the polls last November, sending George W. Bush back to the White House and thirty-two new pro-lifers to Congress. But despite their unprecedented power, fundamentalists still see themselves as a persecuted minority, waging a holy war against the godless forces of secularism. To rouse themselves, they kick off the festivities with "Soldiers of the Cross, Arise," the bloodthirstiest tune in all of Christendom: "Seize your armor, gird it on/Now the battle will be won/Soon, your enemies all slain/Crowns of glory you shall gain."...I read this nightmare shortly after reading Robert Kennedy Jr's "The Disinformation Society" in Vanity Fair* and I have to admit I felt as if the bastards have already won.
"Most people hear them talk about a 'Christian nation' and think, 'Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,' says the Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell's autobiography before breaking with the evangelical movement. "What they don't know -- what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don't know -- is that 'Christian nation' means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This movement is no more about following the example of Christ than Bush's Clean Water Act is about clean water."
The godfather of the Dominionists is D. James Kennedy, the most influential evangelical you've never heard of. A former Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy Graham's gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving. Kennedy built Coral Ridge Ministries into a $37-million-a-year empire, with a TV-and-radio audience of 3 million, by preaching that it was time to save America -- not soul by soul but election by election. After helping found the Moral Majority in 1979, Kennedy became a five-star general in the Christian army. Bush sought his blessing before running for president -- and continues to consult top Dominionists on matters of federal policy.
"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."...
"The other side knows we've got strongholds in the executive and legislative branches," (Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America) tells the troops. "If we start winning the judiciary, their power base is going to be eroded."...
While the dominionists rely on grass-roots activists to fight their battles, they are backed by some of America's richest entrepreneurs. Amway founder Rich DeVos, a Kennedy ally who's the leading Republican contender for governor of Michigan, has tossed more than $5 million into the collection plate. Jean Case, wife of former AOL chief Steve Case -- whose fortune was made largely on sex-chat rooms -- has donated $8 million. And Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, is a major source of cash for Focus on the Family, a megaministry working with Kennedy to eliminate all public schools...
The most vivid proof of the Christianizing of Capitol Hill comes at the final session of (the) Reclaiming America (conference). Rep. Walter Jones, a lanky congressman from North Carolina, gives a fire-and-brimstone speech that would have gotten him laughed out of Washington thirty years ago. In today's climate, however, he's got a chance of passing his pet project, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would permit ministers to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, effectively converting their tax-exempt churches into Republican campaign headquarters.
"America is under assault!" Jones thunders as his aides dash around the sanctuary snapping PR photos. "Everyone in America has the right to speak freely, except for those standing in the pulpits of our churches!" The amen chorus reaches a fever pitch. Hands fly heavenward. It's one thing to hear such words from Dominionist leaders -- but to this crowd, there's nothing more thrilling than getting the gospel from a U.S. congressman. "You cannot have a strong nation that does not follow God," Jones preaches, working up to a climactic, passionate plea for a biblical republic. "God, please -- God, please -- God, please -- save America!"
*(and, yes, I also read the "Desperate Housewives" article - and I don't even watch the show. I'm just another victim of our Pop Culture hype machine. However, I did learn that one of the actresses on the show (the one who pulled a hissy fit on the set of VF's photo shoot) is adamantly not a lesbian and that Teri Hatcher wants to use her newly-regained celebrity for "good" (as opposed to evil, I assume).
Attention Bush Voters, Pt. 1,556*
How does it feel to be lied to by your President? (and I'm not talking about lying about a private activity that poor Rush Limbaugh can only dream about.) Check this out from Australia's Daily Telegraph (the other side of world reports this story but of course our "liberal" media is too timid to even touch it with a stick):
A top Democratic senator has released formerly classified documents that he says undercut top US officials' pre-Iraq war claims of a link between Saddam Hussein's regime and the al-Qaeda terrorist network.Add that to this:
"These documents are additional compelling evidence that the intelligence community did not believe there was a cooperative relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda, despite public comments by the highest ranking officials in our government to the contrary," Senator Carl Levin said today.
The declassified documents undermine the Bush administration's claims regarding Iraq's involvement in training al-Qaeda operatives and the likelihood of a meeting between September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001, Senator Levin said in a statement.
In October 2002, Mr Bush said: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."
But a June 2002 CIA report, titled Iraq and al-Qa'ida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship, said "the level and extent of this is assistance is not clear".
The report said that there were "many critical gaps" in the knowledge of Iraq-al-Qaeda links due to "limited reporting" and the "questionable reliability of many of our sources", according to excerpts cited by Senator Levin.
The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons programs said much of the information on Iraqi training and support for al-Qaeda was "second-hand" or from sources of "varying reliability".
And a January 2003 CIA report indicates some of the reports of training were based on "hearsay" while others were "simple declarative accusations of Iraqi-al-Qaeda complicity with no substantiating detail or other information that might help us corroborate them".
In December 2001, Vice-President Dick Cheney said Atta's meeting with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague was "pretty well confirmed".
But, according to Senator Levin, a June 2002 CIA report says: "Reporting is contradictory on hijacker Mohammed Atta's alleged trip to Prague and meeting with an Iraqi intelligence officer, and we have not verified his travels."
And a January 2003 CIA report says "the most reliable reporting to date casts doubt on this possibility".
The State Department (i.e. Condi) decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered......and I would imagine that even those of you who have been slow on the take in the past can now detect a pattern that has been all-too obvious for those of us who voted against The Big Turd Sandwich: He and his entire administration have a little bit of difficulty with THE TRUTH. And if you still deny this, after everything that has been exposed about these frauds, then I guess that makes you a big, fat liar too. I wonder if there'll be enough soap to wash all of the blood off your hands...
"Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," charged Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who first disclosed the decision to eliminate the report in The Counterterrorism Blog, an online journal.
(*Number of U.S. Military Fatalities as of today)
Mo' Mashup Madness
David Byrne Was Born In Dumbarton (Talking Heads vs Franz Ferdinand) by IDC and
MIA - Galang vs Super Mario Theme Tune by Josh Console
(Thanks to my fellow music "Traveler" and former college roommate for the "Dumbarton" tip)
From My Other Nephew:
The ONE Campaign is a new effort to rally Americans to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. Each ONE of us can make a difference. Together as ONE we can change the world.Sounds pretty good to me. Go here to sign this petition:
“WE BELIEVE that in the best American tradition of helping others help themselves, now is the time to join with other countries in a historic pact for compassion and justice to help the poorest people of the world overcome AIDS and extreme poverty. WE RECOGNIZE that a pact including such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and directing additional resources for basic needs – education, health, clean water, food, and care for orphans – would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost equal to just one percent more of the US budget. WE COMMIT ourselves - one person, one voice, one vote at a time - to make a better, safer world for all.”
I'll probably jinx them, but I have to say that, after a ridiculously sad 0-5 start, "my" Mets are looking pretty good.
April 16, 2005
Are They Finally Making a Movie Version of Geek Love*?
Looks like they've already begun preliminary casting:
*Katherine Dunn's "...wild, often horrifying, novel about freaks, geeks and other aberrancies of the human condition who travel together...as a circus."
My wife and I currently have a pile of newspapers and magazines large enough to line every birdcage in the tri-state area. I'm trying to catch up, but I'm, to say the least, a little overwhelmed - plus there's the guilt of an unopened book staring me in the face. But I did have a chance to make a little dent. Here are two articles that got my dander up:
• From the March Vanity Fair, perhaps the most schizo magazine in the world (What should I read this month: "The Real-Life Soap Opera Behind" Desperate Housewives or "Absent Hearts": The story of a small Colorado High School where a third of the students have parents in the military?; "Billionaire Boys' Toys: Riviera-hopping Aboard the World's Biggest Yachts!" or Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on "How Washington Poisoned TV News?"...I need a drink. Or a very large pill...):
Christopher Hitchens, who lost my respect (like he cares) when he fervently supported the war in Iraq, has (temporarily, at least) regained my respect with Ohio's Odd Numbers, a sober (for Hitchens) examination of what went down in Ohio before, during and after the November election. Here are some excerpts:• Last week's Sunday New York Times:Reporters and eyewitnesses told of voters who had given up after humiliating or frustrating waits, and who often cited the unwillingness of their employers to accept voting as an excuse for lateness or absence. In some way or another, these bottlenecks had a tendency to occur in working-class and, shall we just say, nonwhite precincts. So did many disputes about "provisional" ballots, the sort that are handed out when a voter can prove his or her identity but not his or her registration at that polling place. These glitches might all be attributable to inefficiency or incompetence (though Gambier had higher turnouts and much shorter lines in 1992 and 1996). Inefficiency and incompetence could also explain the other oddities of the Ohio process—from machines that redirected votes from one column to the other to machines that recorded amazing tallies for unknown fringe candidates, to machines that apparently showed that voters who waited for a long time still somehow failed to register a vote at the top of the ticket for any candidate for the presidency of these United States.In the current, "Desperate Absent Billionaire TV News Boy Toy" issue of VF, reader Elisabeth Ham from Tulsa, Oklahoma, responding to Hitchens' article, hit the nail right on the head:
However, for any of that last category of anomaly to be explained, one would need either a voter-verified paper trail of ballots that could be tested against the performance of the machines or a court order that would allow inspection of the machines themselves. The first of these does not exist, and the second has not yet been granted...
I do know a lot of people who are convinced that there was dirty work at the crossroads in the Ohio vote. Some of these people are known to me as nutbags and paranoids of the first water, people whose grassy-knoll minds can simply cancel or deny any objective reasons for a high Republican turnout...But here are some of the non-wacko reasons to revisit the Ohio election...
In Montgomery County, two precincts recorded a combined undervote of almost 6,000. This is to say that that many people waited to vote but, when their turn came, had no opinion on who should be the president, voting only for lesser offices. In these two precincts alone, that number represents an undervote of 25 percent, in a county where undervoting averages out at just 2 percent. Democratic precincts had 75 percent more undervotes than Republican ones.
In Precinct 1B of Gahanna, in Franklin County, a computerized voting machine recorded a total of 4,258 votes for Bush and 260 votes for Kerry. In that precinct, however, there are only 800 registered voters, of whom 638 showed up. Once the "glitch" had been identified, the president had to be content with 3,893 fewer votes than the computer had awarded him.
In Miami County, a Saddam Hussein–type turnout was recorded in the Concord Southwest and Concord South precincts, which boasted 98.5 percent and 94.27 percent turnouts, respectively, both of them registering overwhelming majorities for Bush. Miami County also managed to report 19,000 additional votes for Bush after 100 percent of the precincts had reported on Election Day.
In Mahoning County, Washington Post reporters found that many people had been victims of "vote hopping," which is to say that voting machines highlighted a choice of one candidate after the voter had recorded a preference for another. Some specialists in election software diagnose this as a "calibration issue."
Machines are fallible and so are humans, and shit happens, to be sure, and no doubt many Ohio voters were able to record their choices promptly and without grotesque anomalies. But what strikes my eye is this: in practically every case where lines were too long or machines too few the foul-up was in a Democratic county or precinct, and in practically every case where machines produced impossible or improbable outcomes it was the challenger who suffered and the actual or potential Democratic voters who were shortchanged, discouraged, or held up to ridicule as chronic undervoters or as sudden converts to fringe-party losers...
It was often said, in reply to charges of vote tampering, that it would have had to be "a conspiracy so immense" as to involve a dangerously large number of people. Indeed, some Ohio Democrats themselves laughed off some of the charges, saying that they too would have had to have been part of the plan. The stakes here are very high: one defector or turncoat with hard evidence could send the principals to jail forever and permanently discredit the party that had engaged in fraud.
I had the chance to spend quality time with someone who came to me well recommended, who did not believe that fraud had yet actually been demonstrated, whose background was in the manufacture of the machines, and who wanted to be anonymous. It certainly could be done, she said, and only a very, very few people would have to be "in on it." This is because of the small number of firms engaged in the manufacturing and the even smaller number of people, subject as they are to the hiring practices of these firms, who understand the technology. "Machines were put in place with no sampling to make sure they were 'in control' and no comparison studies," she explained. "The code of the machines is not public knowledge, and none of these machines has since been impounded." In these circumstances, she continued, it's possible to manipulate both the count and the proportions of votes...
...had there been a biased "setting" on the new machines it could be uncovered—if a few of them could be impounded. The Ohio courts are currently refusing all motions to put the state's voting machines, punch-card or touch-screen, in the public domain. It's not clear to me, or to anyone else, who is tending the machines in the meanwhile…
...I asked, "What if all the anomalies and malfunctions, to give them a neutral name, were distributed along one axis of consistency: in other words, that they kept on disadvantaging only one candidate?" My question was hypothetical, as she had made no particular study of Ohio, but she replied at once: "Then that would be quite serious."
I am not any sort of statistician or technologist, and (like many Democrats in private) I did not think that John Kerry should have been president of any country at any time. But I have been reviewing books on history and politics all my life, making notes in the margin when I come across a wrong date, or any other factual blunder, or a missing point in the evidence. No book is ever free from this. But if all the mistakes and omissions occur in such a way as to be consistent, to support or attack only one position, then you give the author a lousy review. The Federal Election Commission, which has been a risible body for far too long, ought to make Ohio its business. The Diebold company, which also manufactures A.T.M.s, should not receive another dime until it can produce a voting system that is similarly reliable. And Americans should cease to be treated like serfs or extras when they present themselves to exercise their franchise.The mystery is why the media are not more interested in investigating the possible voter fraud. If any of the allegations are true, it calls into question our very idea of democracy. I find it mind-boggling that the press can follow stories of election fraud in other countries with major headlines and commentary, but simply turn a blind eye to our own country.
The always reliable Frank Rich takes on A Culture of Death, Not Life surrounding the Pope and Terry Schiavo. Here's all you need (but you should read the whole article):Nobody said catching up would make us feel any better...What's disturbing about this spectacle is not so much its tastelessness; America will always have a fatal attraction to sideshows. What's unsettling is the nastier agenda that lies far less than six feet under the surface. Once the culture of death at its most virulent intersects with politicians in power, it starts to inflict damage on the living.
When those leaders, led by the Bush brothers, wallow in this culture, they do a bait-and-switch and claim to be upholding John Paul's vision of a "culture of life." This has to be one of the biggest shams of all time. Yes, these politicians oppose abortion, but the number of abortions has in fact been going down steadily in America under both Republican and Democratic presidents since 1990 - some 40 percent in all. The same cannot be said of American infant fatalities, AIDS cases and war casualties - all up in the George W. Bush years. Meanwhile, potentially lifesaving phenomena like condom-conscious sex education and federally run stem-cell research are in shackles.
April 15, 2005
I'm Just Wild About Harry
U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid called on his Republican counterpart, Bill Frist, to withdraw from a telecast organized by a Christian group that implies Democrats are blocking judicial nominees on religious grounds.Here's more of Reid's statement, via Atrios:
The Kentucky church event April 24, called ``Justice Sunday,'' seeks to stop ``the filibuster against people of faith,'' referring to judicial nominations made by President George W. Bush that have been blocked by Democrats since 2003.
``To say he's going to participate in this event in Kentucky is really beyond the pale,'' Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters today. ``I really am upset at anyone suggesting that we are against people of faith. I would hope that Senator Frist would rise above this and not participate."
"I am disappointed that in an attempt to hide what the debate is really about, Senator Frist would exploit religion like this. Religion to me is a very personal thing. I have been a religious man all my adult life. My wife and I have lived our lives and raised our children according to the morals and values taught by the faith to which we prescribe. No one has the right to judge mine or anyone else’s personal commitment to faith and religion.
God isn’t partisan.
As His children, he does ask us to do our very best and treat each other with kindness. Republicans have crossed a line today. America is better than this and Republicans need to remember that. This is a democracy, not a theocracy. We are people of faith, and in many ways are doing God’s work. But we represent all Americans, regardless of religion. Our founding fathers had the superior vision to separate Church and State in our democracy. It is a fundamental principle that has allowed our great, diverse nation to grow and flourish peacefully. Blurring the line between Church and State erodes our Constitution, and our democracy. It is a blatant abuse of power. Participating in something designed to incite divisiveness and encourage contention is unacceptable. I would hope that Sen. Frist will rise above something so beyond the pale."
And Speaking of Blowing Bubbles...
TBogg has a must-read post on Rush Limbaugh's recent rant about Al Gore's new TV network and, I kid you not, blow jobs. Here's an excerpt:
And speaking of our coarse culture, which is all of our fault (not Rush's, not Kenneth Starr's, not Clarence Thomas'), Digby brilliantly weighs in on a "Democrats should bash Hollywood" post by Amy Sullivan that seems to have gotten the entire leftie blogosphere's collective panties bunched up in a tight little wad:LIMBAUGH: When does he start up this stupid little network? August? Yip yip yip yahoo. You know what Gore said about this? It's going to be liberal. It's going to reflect the point of view of young people. What the hell is that, Al? What the hell is the point of view of young people? Blow jobs, that's what they're doing out there. They're out there getting oral sex all day long, that's what they're talking about. That's the point of view they can't wait that your boss, Al made sure that's become the number one sport in high school today. So, I guess you're going to have a BJ network out there, Al, is that what you're going to do? You're going to call your network the oral sex channel out there, start competing with MTV? (audio)It would be easy to say that Rush has been injecting Hillbilly Heroin into his scrotum again, but that would be so unfair and, besides, who really wants to check him for track marks. Anyone? Anyone? (Sit down Guckert). So what really brought this on...
...there is the Ben Shapiro defense that states that "although you've heard of one, you've never actually seen or experienced one". (I should note that this defense is often employed by men when confronted with the concept of the "clitoris", or as it is referred to at Liberty University's Med School: "anatomy's unicorn"). But it's hard to believe that Rush, and The Virgin Ben, could be so unfamiliar with the blow job when there is so much data available on the Internets. No. Really. Just go type "blow jobs" in Google. Go ahead. I'll wait.....okay, you big weenie, I'll do it for you. Hmmm it seems that there are 4,830,000 links to blow jobs available (which Google found in just 0.20 seconds...good for you Google!). Add to that there are another 1,460,000 links for "blowjob" for those too lazy, or too busy masturbating, to hit the space bar, meaning that there is what I believe mathematicians would describe as a "shitload" of blow job informational links available to those with the time and inclination of, say, Justice Thomas, for example. So we'll chock this one up to laziness and lack of curiosity.
Yes, the public does wonder what we stand for. And in this debate it seems we can either stand for better V chips and Terri Schiavo's mother-in-law, or we can stand for this:Instead of magic, how 'bout EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION? Read Digby's entire post. It's worth it.Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.I don't know about you, but that sounds like it actually means something. Even has a bit of a ring to it.
Look, I don't care if we legislate for "better" V-chips. (From what I have read people aren't using the one we have available, not because it's too hard, but because they just don't want to be bothered. But whatever.) We can express our empathy for how difficult it is to parent in this environment. We can bemoan the coarsening of the culture and try shame people to stop selling useless consumer items to children. None of those things are particularly dangerous in themselves. But neither are they going to be politically advantageous.
Everytime we try to move in this "moderate" cultural direction that we think people will choose over the GOP vision, the more we appear to be a large puddle of lukewarm water. Because, let's face it. If you really think that the government should do something about popular culture because it's harmful then you really should step up to the plate and admit that you think censorship in some form or another would be a good thing. Because that's the only thing that government can really do to make a difference --- compel people to stop saying and selling and watching and buying.
And that's what the conservatives have to offer. Clear, simple, straightforward. They believe that this swill is harming society and they want it taken care of. They don't play around with studies and "oh I understand what you are going through." They offer a real solution. Censor the garbage. Impeach the judges. Fix the damn problem. The bully in their pulpit sounds a hell of a lot more competent than ours.
And, conversely, they have won the gun issue by being rigid absolutists about the second amendment and giving no quarter. In fact, I think that their rhetoric has been so widespread and so successful that we would benefit from making our argument explicitly about the first amendment in much the same way. Some people may just wonder why, if the second is sacred, the first shouldn't be also.
Now, I don't think that any Democrats really want censorship. They want magic. They want people to stop wanting what they want. And if that doesn't work, they want the manufacturers and producers to feel bad about what they are doing and stop providing what the people want. This is an unrealistic political goal. (It seems much more suited to religion than government and it makes me wonder, if religion is sweeping the nation in a new Great Awakening, why it is having so little effect?)
This Is Pretty "James"*
Salon, which I'm currently having a love-hate relationship with (for example: love this; hate this), reminds us (via the highly opinionated but excellent source for free MP3s, Audiofile) why the '80s sucked but in an amusingly sucky way:
(Click to Watch. Warning: Features an elderly woman blowing bubbles and sharing a hot tub and schvitz with Carl Lewis)
*Things we learn from our nephew: Declaring someone or something "Gay" is nothing new. But it seems that some New Jersey teens, "enlightened" by a fairly recent political event in their state, have switched from using the word "Gay" to the proper noun "James" -- as in James McGreevey. Politically insensitive and incorrect? Of course it is. It's also pretty hilarious.
An Oldie But Goodie:
“Taxes equally detrimental to the Commercial interests of the Parent Country and her Colonies, are imposed upon the People, without their Consent…”
In other words: "No taxation without representation."
Circular Letter Signed “John Hancock,” also signed “Joseph Jackson,” “John Ruddock,” “John Rowe,” and “Samuel Pemberton” as Selectmen of Boston, to the Selectmen of Petersham, one page; Boston, September 14, 1768. Source: virtualology.com
Happy Tax Day!
April 14, 2005
(or Another Day, Another Photo Op)
"Boy, presidenting sure is hard..."
The Rude Pundit artfully tears apart Tom DeLay's "apology" for threatening retribution against federal judges:
Delay: "I said something in an inartful way, and I shouldn't have said it that way, and I apologize for saying it that way . . . It was taken wrong. I didn't explain it or clarify my remarks, as I'm clarifying them here. I am sorry that I said it that way, and I shouldn't have." Oh, how Tom DeLay whooped with joy, coming all over the back of the apology, as the Washington Post headline read, "DeLay Apologizes For Comments," as did the headlines at the Boston Globe, ABC News, CNN, and just about every other fuckin' place.
If that's what passes for an apology, then if Osama Bin Laden said, "I apologize for using United Airlines on 9/11. I should have used Delta because they lost my bags once," the Washington Post would say, "Bin Laden Apologizes for 9/11."
Anybody Hear from Mr. "I'm a Uniter not a Divider" Lately?
Bob Dole certainly hasn't:
NPR: Your former colleagues in the Senate are... maneuvering to do away with the filibuster.Do more? He hasn't done diddly to bring anybody together, let alone the "Rs" and "Ds" - and there's no way I'm gonna count standing with a bullhorn on top of the buried dead at Ground Zero "bringing people together." No, all this president has done is rip people apart, literally and figuratively. He is, quite simply (in addition to being quite simple), the number one reason why this country is so divided. Even Bob Dole can see that.
DOLE: I think you have to be very careful, that's my advice, before you start tinkering with the rules. I mean the rules have been changed before. You want to think down the road. The Senate's going to change. It's not always going to be Republican. It changes back and forth. History shows that.
NPR: If you were giving advice, and somehow I imagine someone might ask you once in awhile, what would you suggest that Congress do to work in a more bipartisan fashion of the kind that you're talking about?
DOLE: I think it's up to the President to sort of wrap his arms around the leadership in both the House and the Senate and really not have photo-ops and things of that kind which -- and I'm certain the president does this - but I cant emphasize how productive it might be to have this very close relationship with the leaders in the Congress.
Take away the Rs and the Ds and treat them as legislators.
And I always thought if I were elected president, I'd have those guys down for breakfast lunch and dinner- y'know every day of the week. Because I know how it works.
I'd just say the President, whatever he's doing, he'd ought to do more.
America: We Stand As One (The Remix)
Anonymous, a shy reader of ours (see comments of the post below), was kind enough to let us know about this special remix. It's really quite sweet and beautiful (and extremely office unfriendly at the same time). Thanks Anonymous!
April 11, 2005
I Dare You To Sit Through The Whole Thing
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dennis Madalone:
(Click at your own peril)
Atrios warns: "if you watch this music video you will be begging people to put a bullet in your head" - but at least there's a 50/50 chance that you'd die laughing. I say this because when I watched it, I alternated between laughing my head off and wanting to throw my computer out the window. What made me laugh? Oh, I don't know...how 'bout for starters Madalone's Jersey hair and distressed jeans. His Christ poses mixed with the cheesey effects were also good for a couple of guffaws. And the song? Funniest fucking thing I've ever heard.
But then came the scene with the young woman, holding a baby and kneeling at the grave of her dead husband who was killed in, one has to assume, the Iraq war. Dennis, in the background, warbles to the grieving widow:
A tree grows high, a leaf will fall.Thanks Dennis, that's comforting. I was wondering how Dennis knew all this about a complete stranger's husband. Did Dennis serve in the war? Or does he have some sort of divine connection? All I could find out about him is that he's a true renaissance man: A high school pole vault champion from South Plainfield, New Jersey ("remembered by his classmates as the 'class clown'"), who moved out to L.A. where he became a stunt man and eventually a stunt coordinator, most notably for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager (according to his website "Madalone is also featured on the Star Trek Trading Card, which in the trading card world is a high honor, and a valuable collectable"). Oh, and he's sometimes credited as:
Whispers of love, I hear his call:
"You must be strong, your chin up high.
Yes I still live, I did not die.
I had to go but it's okay,
You see I'm with you in a different way."
'Dangerous' Dennis MadaloneCouldn't find anything about his abilitiy to communicate with the dead. Nor did he ever use his fearless stunt man skills to serve his country. Apparently, he prefers "pretend" danger.
Dennis "Danger" Madalone
Dennis 'Danger' Madalone
Dennis Danger Madalone
And now he wants us all to feel better about Americans dying (1547 in the Iraq war, so far!) for an unjustified, unnecessary war. And, if we don't "Stand As One" and support our country's terrible decisions, I guess that means that Dennis thinks we hate that poor widow's dead (but still alive "in a different way") husband.
Bite me, Dennis.
April 09, 2005
Stamp Out Breast Cancer
from reader "La":
ALRIGHT EVERYONE, lets do this!!!!!! We need those of you who are great at forwarding information to your e-mail network. Please read and pass this on. It would be wonderful if 2005 were the year a cure for breast cancer was found!!!! This is one e-mail you should be glad to pass on. The notion that we could raise $35 million by buying a book of stamps is powerful!You can also buy them online. Just click on the stamp above.
As you may be aware, the US Postal Service recently released its new "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our mothers, sisters and friends.
Instead of the routine 37 cents for a stamp, this one costs 40 cents. The additional 3 cents will go to breast cancer research. A "normal" book costs $7.40. This one is only $8.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. If all stamps are sold, it will raise an additional $35,000,000 for this vital research.
Just as important as the money is our support. What a statement it would make if the stamp outsold the lottery this week. What a statement it would make that we care. I would urge you to do two things TODAY:
1. Go out and purchase some of these stamps.
2. E-mail your friends to do the same. We all know women and their families whose lives are turned upside-down by breast cancer. It takes so little to do so much in this drive. I think we can all afford the additional 60 cents the new book costs.
Please help & pass this on.
April 08, 2005
For A Guaranteed Laugh
go here. The longer you watch, the funnier it gets...
All Work and No Blogging Makes Krup a Dull Boy
Apologies for the lack of blogging. Trust me: It hurts me more than it hurts you. I'll be getting back in the groove soon. In the meantime, here's a couple of great time wasters courtesy of reader Michelle:
April 04, 2005
Pope John Paul II
April 02, 2005
My TV was off when I wrote the last post. Turns out John Paul II died as I was writing it. He also died only a few weeks after Sinead O'Connor announced she was making a comeback and three days after a news report that said she was recording in Jamaica. Coincidence?
Pope Death Watch 2005
Watching the endless cable news coverage of the Pope's "I'm Not Dead Yet" moment in the spotlight, I was reminded of the time I was dating an Irish Catholic girl in high school. The year was 1978: Pope Paul VI had recently died and was replaced by Pope John Paul 1. My girlfriend and I went back to her house one day after school and her Mom told us the Pope had died. And my girlfriend responded, "Again?" (insert rimshot here) Mom was none too pleased.
I also remember being thankful that John Paul was replaced by another John Paul, allowing me to continue telling a joke based on the, then, feverish rumors of a Beatles' reunion. The joke went something like this:
Ever since Lorne Michaels failed to get The Beatles to re-unite on Saturday Night Live for $3,000 the world has been hoping for someone more powerful to step forward and forge this long-awaited reunion. Well, our prayers have been answered: In a bid for world peace, the Pope has announced that he has successfully convinced The Beatles to re-unite and, in an even bigger surprise, the Pope himself would be joining them. Henceforth, The Beatles will be known as John Paul, John, Paul, George & Ringo. (insert second rimshot here)Now some of you may think I'm being disrespectful of the Pope. After all, he is a dying man. But answer me this: How many people died of AIDs because of the Pope's condemnation of condoms? I say screw him. But then again, I'm just sayin'...
April 01, 2005
An Appropriate Day To Die, I guess...
if you were Mitch Hedberg. I'm sure he would have come up with a great joke.
R.I.P. Mitch: We were just gettin' to know ya...
(Click Mitch for some comic relief)
Not an April Fool's Joke
Rumor has it that ABC wants Jon Stewart and The Daily Show to take over the 11:30pm slot now that Ted Koppel is stepping down from Nightline. Atriois thinks this is a bad idea (Disney, blah, blah, blah). But think of the millions of new viewers Stewart could reach. Comedy Central should make a deal that allows ABC to air the show at 11:30 and then Comedy Central can air "uncensored" versions "13 times a day" as usual. Currently CC's policy is to allow certain things on the 11p and 1 a.m. showings and censor the daytime repeats. Case in point:
(Not safe for ears that can't handle the word "bullshit" during daytime hours)
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
This one's been making the rounds but in case you haven't been surfing:
Napoleon Dynamite couldn't have said it any better...
"We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," (a presidential commission reported yesterday.)Here's the president, acting presidentable, more or less shrugging off the findings of the commission, saying:
"Our collection and analysis of intelligence will never be perfect, but in an age where our margin for error is getting smaller, in an age in which we are at war, the consequences of underestimating a threat could be tens of thousands of innocent lives."So, if our intelligence was DEAD WRONG, that means Hans Blix was DEAD RIGHT. Scott Ritter was DEAD RIGHT. The "focus groups" comprised of millions of people protesting the war across the globe were DEAD RIGHT.
And the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and 1,710 coalition soldiers? DEAD.