February 28, 2006
Our Dear Leader (aka Pouty McShitfaced) feels the love:
President George W. Bush's job rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, amid strong opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal and increasing pessimism over the war in Iraq, according to a CBS News poll released on Monday.Gotta love the "one surprising bright spot." Lamest...duck...ever.
Bush's overall job approval fell eight points from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush's performance on the job, the poll found...
Long among his strongest suits, ratings for Bush's handling of Iraq fell to a new low of 30 percent, down from 37 percent in January, the poll found.
In addition, 62 percent of Americans said they think U.S. efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq were going badly compared with 36 percent who said things were going well...
According to the poll, 70 percent believe the Dubai Ports World transaction should not be allowed to go through while only 21 percent did not see the ports deal as a problem.
One surprising bright spot for the administration in the polls was that Americans appeared ready to move on after Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident. Seventy-six percent said it was understandable that the accident could happen.
However media coverage of the accident may have made the public's generally negative view of Cheney a bit more so, CBS said. The poll found that 46 percent hold a negative view of Cheney and 18 percent hold a favorable view, down from a 23 percent favorable rating in January.
February 27, 2006
"I'm Rick James," ad nauseam
Click the pic and drive your friends, family and co-workers* crazy with these (hilarious? annoying?) Dave Chapelle/Rick James audio outtakes courtesy of our friends at WFMU (they're in the middle of their on-air marathon; you can donate over at their blog).
*Warning: The word "bitch" may not be very work safe.
"People Should Not Be Afraid Of Their Governments. Governments Should Be Afraid Of Their People."
Lucky James Wolcott has seen V For Vendetta and liked what he saw:
V for Vendetta may be--why hedge? is--the most subversive cinematic deed of the Bush-Blair era, a dagger poised in midair. Unlike the other movies dubbed “controversial” (Fahrenheit 9-11, The Passion, Munich, Syriana), it doesn’t play to a particular constituency or polarized culture bloc, it’s working on a deeper, Edger Allen Poe-ish witch’s brew substrata of pop myth. Cultural conservatives will loathe it without seeing it (they love not having to leave their houses to lament the latest installment of civilization’s decline and fall) once they hear of and read about the movie’s disturbing political parallels (a fascistic TV host with a witty resemblance to Berlusconi, fertilizer explosives a la Timothy McVeigh; torture, renditions, and subway bombings; black hoods that will be forever associated with Abu Ghraib). Yet lots of cultural liberals with educated tastes will find it anxiety-producing and irresponsible too, not only because they’re more comfortable with humanistic stories and documentary techniques than with pop spectacle (as Kael discovered whenever she praised upstart movies like DePalma’s Carrie or The Warriors and received letters from profs and Ph.D couples complaining about her soiling the New Yorker’s space on trash), but because V for Vendetta doesn’t just depict a 1984’s dystopia--it advocates radical remedy, and illustrates what it advocates with rhapsodic, operatic, orgasmic flourish.I am SO there...
(Click the link to read the whole review.)
Well, Isn't That What They're Best At?
William F. Buckley, the conservative's conservative, declares Game Over:
"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed...Unfortunately Bill, that's a no-can-do for President John Wayne:
Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans...
And the administration has, now, to cope with failure...
Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.
He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.
Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat."
"The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon the mission. For the safety and security of the American people, that's not going to happen on my watch."So, unless someone gives Pouty McShitfaced some anti-arrogance pills, it's gonna me more maiming (16,653 U.S. soldiers wounded, so far) and more killing (2,294 dead as of today) for months and years to come.
(Photo by Nubar Alexanian. Coalition casualties courtesy of George W. Bush.)
The Baby on the Left is Gonna Be Trouble
Long before he became a yearly holiday tradition for reciting these lines:
Mr. Parker: It's a Major Award!
Swede: Shucks I wouldn't know that. It looks like a lamp.
Mr. Parker: What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It's a Major Award. I won it!
Swede: Damn, hell, you say won it?
Mr. Parker: Yeah, mind power, Swede; mind power.
...Darren McGavin cemented his place in the pop culture pantheon with his portrayal of grizzled reporter and monster-chaser Carl Kolchak, The Night Stalker...
...a show which has been cited as a huge influence on Chris Carter, creator of the X-Files.
R.I.P. Darren. Life is, indeed, "Fra-Gee-Lay"...
February 26, 2006
"Hotter Than A Pistol"
Click the pic to watch the amazing story of Jason McElwain, the 17-year-old team manager for the Athena High School basketball team in Greece, NY. Last week, Jason got his first and only chance to actually play in a game -- unusual for a team manager and even more unusual given the fact that Jason is autistic. But that's not the most incredible part of this story...
(Thanks to Crooks & Liars for the video)
February 25, 2006
Growing up, I was always partial to Don's performance in The Incredible Mr. Limpet...
But I suppose the young kids today will always know him for his searing portrayal of the 43rd President of the United States:
Toy Story 2: Requiem
Brilliant video mash-up of Toy Story 2 & Requiem for a Dream, created by Mike at Alien Panic.
"No High Road Out of Hell"
Wolcott & Dreyfuss on Iraq (click the links for the complete posts):
Robert Dreyfuss, one of the keenest analysts of the unfolding debacle, writes:Bush played for a fool? What a surprise. I cannot, however, feel sorry for Pouty McShitfaced. No one as arrogant as our president could ever elicit sympathy from me. I do feel sorry for the people of Iraq. And I feel sorry for the stupid Americans who believed in our president's fantasy world. But I'm not sure I can forgive them..."With Iraq perched at the very precipice of an ethnic and sectarian holocaust, the utter failure of the Bush administration’s policy is revealed with starkest clarity. Iraq may or may not fall into the abyss in the next few days and weeks, but what is no longer in doubt is who is to blame: If Iraq is engulfed in civil war then Americans, Iraqis and the international community must hold President Bush and Vice President Cheney responsible for the destruction of Iraq."Poor President Bush, prince of fools. He let the neoconservative creative destructors play upon his religiosity (and Cheney's power hunger) and persuade him that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would be a transformative moment that would set democracy and freedom in motion across the region, and crown him in history with Churchillian honor. I believe Bush wanted democracy in Iraq, or convinced himself that he believed it after the Chalabi-as-chess-king scheme fell through, because such belief flatters his pride in his own idealism. But the intellectual architects of the policy didn't care. If there was peace and stability in the new Iraq that would strength America's power in the region and bolster Israeli security, fine; if Iraq fissured into factional strife, fire, and chaos, better still.
Hope the Movie's as Good as the Print Campaign
For more, go here.
Mardi Gras: 2006
Sense a theme?
Sex Pistols to Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame: "Piss Off"
February 24, 2006
Watch This Show
Why? Here's the show's creator, David E. Kelley:
Here is his sleeve:
And here's what he wears on it:
(Click to watch)
In this compilation of clips from a recent episode, Kelley gracefully (and liberally) tells the story of a young rape victim who is refused the morning-after pill* by the Catholic hospital that admitted her, as well as the story of a little girl who, due to a car accident and a subsequent operation, can no longer smile. All of this is surrounded by the sometimes biting, sometimes poignant humor of the team of Denny Crane & Alan Shore (William Shatner & James Spader). I've spared you the nonsense of the sub-plot about the cat on a respirator (Kelley's main problem is his unrestrained, often indulgent, silliness).
* The morning-after pill should not be confused with mifepristone (also called Mifeprex, and formerly known as RU-486), an abortifacient which is taken to end a pregnancy after implantation has occurred. The morning-after pill must be taken before implantation, or it will have no effect.
The morning-after pill may, however, prevent the implantation of an embryo in cases where it fails to prevent fertilization in the first place. Although the United States Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other health agencies define pregnancy as beginning with implantation, some pro-life medical professionals, embryology texts, and activists argue that preventing implantation is unethical, as the blastocyst (early-stage embryo) then dies instead of growing into a fetus and, ultimately, being carried to term.
Recent medical studies in animals (the rat and the monkey) were inconclusive as to how often or whether the morning-after pill prevents implantation; however, this mechanism of action cannot be ruled out in all cases, as it is impossible to prove a negative. Therefore, women who believe it is immoral to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting may wish to avoid use of this drug.
"I feel very strongly that this shouldn’t be about abortion politics. This is a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and thereby prevent abortion. This should be something we all agree on." – Dr. Susan F. Wood (former director of the FDA Office of Women's Health who resigned in protest after the FDA denied over-the-counter status to EC).
February 23, 2006
"People don't need to worry about security"
Our president has spoken. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain. Bush has told the American people, again and again, that his numero uno job is to protect them so they have no reason to worry their pretty little heads over who's in charge of our major ports of entry.
Ah, yes, but who are those men behind the curtain? Shouldn't the American people have a right to know what's going on behind the scenes of the George W. Bush presidency? Well, it turns out:
The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.Fascinating. Tell me more about this "Carlyle Group." Are you sure you want to know? You may not like what you hear:
Another family connection, the president's brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned.
Then there is the cabinet connection. Treasury Secretary John Snow was chairman of railroad company CSX/. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars.
...since the start of the "war on terrorism", the firm - unofficially valued at $3.5bn - has taken on an added significance. Carlyle has become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president's father. And, until earlier this month, Carlyle provided another curious link to the Afghan crisis: among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden...Think you can handle more? Just remember to breathe:
Carlyle partners, who include (Former Secretary of State and Sec. of Treasury James) Baker and the firm's chairman, Frank Carlucci - Ronald Reagan's defence secretary and a former deputy director of the CIA - own stakes that would be worth $180m each if each partner owned an equal slice. As in many areas of its work, though, Carlyle is not obliged to reveal the details, and chooses not to.
Among the defence firms which benefit from Carlyle's success is United Defense, a Virginia-based contractor which makes vertical missile launch systems currently on board US Navy ships in the Arabian sea, as well as a range of other weapons delivery systems and combat vehicles. Carlyle's other holdings span an improbable range, taking in the French newspaper Le Figaro and the company which bottles Dr Pepper...
The Carlyle Group does not employ anyone at its Washington headquarters to deal with the press. Inquiries about the links with the Binladins (as most of the family choose to spell their name) are instead referred to someone outside the company, on condition he is referred to only as "a source familiar with the relationship". This source says: "I can confirm the fact that any Binladin Group investment in Carlyle has been terminated or is being terminated. It amounted to a $2m investment in the Carlyle II Fund, which was anyway a very small portion of a $1.3bn fund. In the scheme of the investments and in the scheme of the business of either party it was very small. We have to get this into perspective. But I think there was a sense that there were questions being raised and some controversy, and for such a small amount of money it was something that we wanted to put behind us. It was just a business decision."
But if the Binladins' connection to the Carlyle Group lasted no more than six years, the current President Bush's own links to the firm go far deeper. In 1990, he was appointed to the board of one of Carlyle's first purchases, an airline food business called Caterair, which they eventually sold at a loss. He left the board in 1992, later to become Governor of Texas. Shortly thereafter, he was responsible for appointing several members of the board which controlled the investment of Texas teachers' pension funds. A few years later, the board decided to invest $100m of public money in the Carlyle Group. The firm's magic touch was already bringing results. Today, it is proving as fruitful as ever.
BUZZFLASH: I recall that reading in the British papers that Tony Blair was considering privatizing a portion of the intelligence apparatus in Britain, and that the Carlyle Group was going to be subcontracted to do some of that.No, nothing like that would ever happen...
DAN BRIODY (author of "The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group"): He did, in fact. The new company is called Qinetiq. It’s spelled Q-I-N-E-T-I-Q. It’s the research arm of the ministry of defense in the U.K., which is essentially equivalent to DARPA [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] here in the U.S. And the Carlyle Group was part of that transaction, so they own part of Qinetiq. It was a very controversial transaction in the U.K., obviously. I mean, if you could try to imagine a foreign company coming in and buying DARPA from the United States. It’s unimaginable. And particularly a company that’s so stockpiled with very powerful former politicians.
BUZZFLASH: So Tony Blair essentially condoned the privatization of a large section of the British defense intelligence apparatus to the Carlyle Group. It would be comparable for us to subcontract that to a foreign company.
BRIODY: Yes, which I don’t think would ever happen.
We're all doomed.
(by M.e. Cohen, member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists)
The amazing Criswell predicts "Your Incredible Future, Where You & I Will Spend the Rest of Our Lives." Among his predictions:
- There will be two political parties: The Conservative Party and the Liberal Party
- The shy and modest will wear body stockings
- Women will decorate their breasts with startling colors while men will decorate their genitals
- Women will legally be able to sell their husbands to other women
- Full medical attention will be available through vending machines
- The coming years will be known as "The Three R's": Riot, Rape & Revelry (which will be replaced by Crisis, Carnage & Chaos)
- LSD, Marijuana and Speed can change your sex
- 95% of your shoes will be made of plastic
February 22, 2006
Since We're Giving Out Prizes Today...
I hearby award the video below to Attaturk over at Rising Hegemon for coining the best term yet for Our Dear Leader. Ladies and Genlemen, I give you...
Here ya go Attaturk. You deserve it:
|Farting Preacher IV|
Watch it now on StupidVideos!
Other guests of our show receive this video of something that smells a lot like misguided teen spirit:
Tell Her What She's Won, Jim!
The ever-astute freakgirl has guessed the answer to "Who Said It?" -
"It (Brokeback Mountain) is an incredibly moving movie. I wish that they would take this movie and force these assholes from the religious right [to watch] -- these perverts, these Taliban motherfuckers -- who want to sit there and tell gay people they can't get married ... It shows you how, when gays have to be closeted, they ruin the lives of women and families. Everyone goes through hell. ... It is just outrageous. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, they were both terrific in it."The correct answer: Howard Stern. Tell her what she's won, Jim:
"A video of Japanese kids with pork chops attached to their heads, being tormented by a giant lizard!"Click the pic to watch your fabulous prize!
February 21, 2006
He Left Out Arrogance & Recklessness
The Trifecta, via Digby:
If there are three hallmarks of this failed Bush administration, it is hubris, incompetence and cronyism. This port deal features all three.Our arrogant and reckless President, who has never vetoed anything, is now threatening to veto any legislation that blocks the port deal:
The hubris is illustrated by the fact that they actually thought after years of fear mongering and beating of Islamic terrorist war drums, they wouldn't be questioned about a United Arab Emirates contract for port security. The king shall not be questioned. The incompetence feature is that they believe it is smart to outsource security, of all things, to another country. If there is one thing all sides can agree upon, it's that the US should control its own borders and ports. It's common sense.
And finally, as we should have known, via FDL, it turns out this is also another crony cock-up:The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.Bush Buddies: Doing a heckuva job, as usual.
One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.
Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.
The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.
(The President, aboard Air Force One, said) he would veto any legislation to hold up this deal and warned that the United States was sending mixed signals by going after a company from the middle east when they said nothing when a British company was in charge. He goes on to say that it is the lawmakers - members of Congress - that have to step up and explain why a middle eastern company is held to a different standard. He also took issue with a reporter's question aboard the plane saying what is the - kind of the politics of all of this - and he says that this is not a political issue.However, there appears to be trouble in Republican lock-step land:
CNN has also just learned that the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, a key Republican ally of the President, of course, has just fired off a letter to the President saying he should halt the port deal. He's saying he should also "conduct a more thorough review of the matter before it goes forward." Hastert is also warning that he might introduce legislation if the President does not follow through on that.Please tell me this is the official end of this shifty-eyed, arrogant, lying pissant and his entire corrupt administration. Jack Cafferty thinks "this may be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back":
This letter almost directly mirrors... what Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sent to the President earlier today. A prepared statement - not a letter - a prepared statement telling the President - complaining - that there had been very little Congressional consultation in this whole process.
Who Said It?
"It (Brokeback Mountain) is an incredibly moving movie. I wish that they would take this movie and force these assholes from the religious right [to watch] -- these perverts, these Taliban motherfuckers -- who want to sit there and tell gay people they can't get married ... It shows you how, when gays have to be closeted, they ruin the lives of women and families. Everyone goes through hell. ... It is just outrageous. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, they were both terrific in it."
And Now, Your Moment of Zen
(You deserve it if you made it through "The Bottom Line")
The Marimba Ponies, aged four through twelve, performing Sabre Dance (all that's missing are the spinning plates).
(Video by way of, once again, WFMU's Beware of the Blog.)
And, if you liked Sabre Dance, you're gonna love Comedian's Gallop
February 20, 2006
See How We Are
WARNING: The following video might be the most disturbing thing you'll ever see. Our government NEEDS to be tried for war crimes, it's as simple as that. Anybody who disagrees is un-American.
William Cowsill, lead singer of US family group The Cowsills, has died in Canada at the age of 58.For a history of The Cowsills, go here. Susan Cowsill ("and Spaghetti!") went on to indie fame with the group Continental Drifters, which also featured Peter Holsapple (the dBs) and Vicki Peterson (The Bangles). To hear The Cowsills performing their classic cover of Hair ("...don't ever have to cut it 'cause it stops by itself"), go here. And go here for a Cowsills shoutout courtesy of Hank from The Larry Sanders Show.
Cowsill, whose group inspired TV series The Partridge Family, had been ill for several months but no cause of death was given.
The singer, whose hits in the 60s and 70s included Hair, died in Calgary, Alberta, on Friday.
His brother and fellow band member Barry Cowsill drowned during Hurricane Katrina last year.
The news of William "Billy" Cowsill's death came during a memorial service for Barry.
Photography Dos & Don'ts (for Celebrities)
Do allow yourself to be liberally covered in face and body paint, real and/or photoshopped, especially if the photographers are Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin (they seem to know what they are doing):
Don't allow yourself to be photographed while uncomfortably reclining topless, especially while holding a lit cigarette, even if the photographer is Annie Liebowitz (contrary to popular belief, she is not the God of Photography):
The only people who ever looked sexier with a cigarette were Humphrey Bogart and Jean Paul Belmondo imitating Bogart in Breathless:
(Notice how sexy Jean Seberg looks with a shirt on, sans cigarette)
For my readers: Do check out The New York Times Magazine's Great Performers portfolio.
Don't waste your money on this month's Vanity Fair (the more copies they sell, the more it will encourage guest editor and Keira Knightley sniffer Tom Ford):
President's Day Funny
From a friend in England:
After numerous rounds of "We don't know if Osama is still alive", Osama himself decided to send George Bush a letter in his own handwriting to let him know he was still in the game.
Bush opened the letter and it appeared to contain a single line of coded message:370HSSV-0773HBush was baffled, so he emailed it to Condi Rice. Condi and her aides had no clue either, so they sent it to the FBI. No one could solve it at the FBI so it went to the CIA, then to the NSA. With no clue as to its meaning they eventually asked Britain's MI-6 for help.
Within a minute MI-6 cabled the White House with this reply:
"Tell the President he's holding the message upside down."