June 29, 2006
Back on the 5th.
Editor's Note: Even though I'll be out of the country on July 4th, I will be here in spirit, celebrating all that is great about our God-Blessed-America. And just to prove my commitment to you and my country, I'm leaving you this wonderfully appropriate holiday gift (Pssst: don't "open it" until the 4th):
Be seeing you...
June 27, 2006
June 26, 2006
By BOB HERBERT
If hell didn't exist, we'd have to invent it. We'd need a place to send the public officials who are playing politics with the lives of the men and women sent off to fight George W. Bush's calamitous war in Iraq.
The administration and its allies have been mercilessly bashing Democrats who argued that the U.S. should begin developing a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces. Republicans stood up on the Senate floor last week, one after another, to chant like cultists from the Karl Rove playbook: We're tough. You're not. Cut-and-run. Nyah-nyah-nyah!
"Withdrawal is not an option," declared the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, who sounded like an actor trying on personas that ranged from Barry Goldwater to General Patton. "Surrender," said the bellicose Mr. Frist, "is not a solution."
Any talk about bringing home the troops, in the Senate majority leader's view, was "dangerous, reckless and shameless."
But then on Sunday we learned that the president's own point man in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, had fashioned the very thing that ol' blood-and-guts Frist and his C-Span brigade had ranted against: a withdrawal plan.
Are Karl Rove and his liege lord, the bait-and-switch king, trying to have it both ways? You bet. And that ought to be a crime, because there are real lives at stake.
The first significant cut under General Casey's plan, according to an article by Michael Gordon in yesterday's Times, would occur in September. That, of course, would be perfect timing for Republicans campaigning for re-election in November. How's that for a coincidence?
As Mr. Gordon wrote:
"If executed, the plan could have considerable political significance. The first reductions would take place before this fall's Congressional elections, while even bigger cuts might come before the 2008 presidential election."
The general's proposal does not call for a complete withdrawal of American troops, and it makes clear that any withdrawals are contingent on progress in the war (which is going horribly at the moment) and improvements in the quality of the fledgling Iraqi government and its security forces.
The one thing you can be sure of is that the administration will milk as much political advantage as it can from this vague and open-ended proposal. If the election is looking ugly for the G.O.P., a certain number of troops will find themselves waking up stateside instead of in the desert in September and October.
I wonder whether Americans will ever become fed up with the loathsome politicking, the fear-mongering, the dissembling and the gruesome incompetence of this crowd. From the Bush-Rove perspective, General Casey's plan is not a serious strategic proposal. It's a straw in the political wind.
How many casualties will be enough? More than 2,500 American troops who dutifully answered President Bush's call to wage war in Iraq have already perished, and thousands more are struggling in agony with bodies that have been torn or blown apart and psyches that have been permanently wounded.
Has the war been worth their sacrifice?
How many still have to die before we reach a consensus that we've overpaid for Mr. Bush's mad adventure? Will 5,000 American deaths be enough? Ten thousand?
The killing continued unabated last week. Iraq is a sinkhole of destruction, and if Americans could see it close up, the way we saw New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, they would be stupefied.
Americans need to understand that Mr. Bush's invasion of Iraq was a strategic blunder of the highest magnitude. It has resulted in mind-boggling levels of bloodshed, chaos and misery in Iraq, and it certainly hasn't made the U.S. any safer.
We've had enough clownish debates on the Senate floor and elsewhere. We've had enough muscle-flexing in the White House and on Capitol Hill by guys who ran and hid when they were young and their country was at war. And it's time to stop using generals and their forces under fire in the field for cheap partisan political purposes.
The question that needs to be answered, honestly and urgently (and without regard to partisan politics), is how best to extricate overstretched American troops — some of them serving their third or fourth tours — from the flaming quicksand of an unwinnable war.
June 23, 2006
"Fort Lewis, Washington (June 22, 2006) - U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada reported to duty at 2:00 a.m. early this morning, Thursday, June 22nd and refused orders to move to the adjacent McChord Air Force Base to prepare to fly to Iraq. Lt. Watada believes that the war and occupation in Iraq are illegal, and thus participation in the war is also illegal. At this time he has been restricted to base and has been ordered to have no communication with non-military personnel."Click the poster for more information.
June 22, 2006
Tony Franciosa (loved your work in The Name of the Game) thought our Mystery Celeb was Sly Stallone. Tony obviously is suffering from a strange, nostalgic Stallone time warp: Sly hasn't had this much hair since his Rambo days:
(Stallone: with hair extensions & with hair plugs)
However, "Anonymous" correctly guessed that our Mystery Celeb was Naveen Andrews from Lost (I'll let Anonymous' misspelling of Naveen slide). Tell him/her what he/she's won, Don!
"It's a New Car...
(Directed by Steve Ayson of The Sweet Shop, New Zealand)
June 21, 2006
As we all (sort of) know, Americans underwhelmingly reelected George W. Bush because he seemed like the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with (John Kerry, of course, being the kind of guy you'd want to have wine and cheese with -- and that would be bad 'cause wine and cheese come from France).
Recently, Digby and James Wolcott tried to explain the even more puzzling phenomenom of the "Man-Dude Love" Bush elicits from grown men. Digby:
"Perhaps someone can explain to me the strange male attraction to George W. Bush. I have never encountered anything quite like it. From day one, DC nerds like (Joe) Klein have had massive man-crushes on Junior, describing him as "loose-hipped" and "swaggering" and showing all manner of strange obsession with his masculine body language. Klein seems to barely be able to contain his squeal as he writes about Bush’s "strut" and his "full jaunty" (which sounds suspiciously like "full monty" — giving full rise, as it were, to speculation about what Klein was thinking about when he came up with it.) But, can someone please tell me what in the hell he’s talking about when says that Bush was "downright frothy?" What in god’s name was Klein doing while he wrote this column? (Don’t go there…)"Wolcott:
It occurred to me reading Digby's post that when it comes to Bush, Joe Klein has a hammy bit of George Costanza in him. You may recall the episode where George got a guy crush on Tony, Elaine's hunky dude of a boyfriend (played by Dan Cortese). George was so enthused that he began modeling himself on Tony, turning his baseball cap around and repeating Tony's catchphrases...The obvious problem is that Bush is also the country's Tony and 50% of the people back in 2004 neglected to think through the consequences of allowing Tony to continue running things. One person who beautifully understands the consquences is comedian Mike Birbiglia:
George Bush is Joe Klein's Tony. He's Chris Matthews' Tony too, depending on the lunar phases. He's the Tony for a lot of the Beltway pundits, which is why they're so relieved when Bush regains his swivel hips and starts handing out nicknames like gold stars to the press corps. He's what they would be if only they weren't cursed with so much intellect.
Click on his photo and listen to Mike wax comically about Pizza, Bush (a.k.a. Whiffle Ball Tony) and why "we're all gonna die" (and click on the Birbiglia link up above to find out more about Mike).
June 20, 2006
June 19, 2006
Ava Lowery is 15 years old. She is passionately against the war in Iraq. She has an excellent blog and has created a number of compelling videos/animations. She's also received death threats from war supporters.
At 15, Ava is smarter than most of us. Watch her field questions from some CNN bobblehead who, among other things, asks this whopper: How could a 15 year "know about the war or study the war?" Well, certainly not by watching CNN.
My wife, friends & I spotted this celeb all by his lonesome at a NY downtown/westside eatery last night and one of us shamelessly took this picture on the sly. Can you guess who it is? And can you tell if he tipped well?
Update: Yes, a 23% tip is not too shabby, and no, it's not the former lead singer of Rage Against the Machine, but that was a decent guess considering the generous amount of kinky hair shared by both gentlemen:
Here's a gigantic hint: If you know this celeb at all, you probably know him from his television work (although he did appear in an Academy Award-Winning film for Best Picture).
Update 2: What a fantastic guess. But, no, it's not Hurley.
June 16, 2006
I'm not sure I get the incredible World Cup Fever Americans are suddenly having after years of staggering indifference but I have to admit this little gif, courtesy of WFMU, is mesmerizing:
If you like this gif, you might also dig WFMU's World Cup Death Watch updates. Good times...
(surprisingly, this is courtesy of a website billing itself as "conservative" -- I guess Bush has truly lost his base)
For years I've maintained that TV, not marijuana (pot, grass, weed, herb, cannibis, ganja, reefer, Mary Jane, boom, chronic, skunk), was the ultimate gateway drug, with the irresistible power to send all of us mere mortals on the cruel path of addiction (in all it's many forms: drugs, alcohol, candy, toys, cars, clothes, money, Kool-Aid, etc.). And now, there's proof (thanks Spike!):
The Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has embraced the internets and has started her very own YouTube page. She includes this video of shameless Republican hack Louie Gohmert attacking war hero (and Democrat) John Murtha:
Rep. Gohmert: Let me close by saying some have not had nice things to say about our colleague Mr. Murtha, and others wanting to pull out of Iraq quickly. I understand the faithful visitation that he does routinely. So i say thank god for his big heart. I say thank god for his compassion. Thank god for his visits to the wounded. Thank god for his ministering to grieving families. But thank god he was not here and prevailed after the bloodbaths at Normandy and in the Pacific or we would be here speaking Japanese or German. Thank you.Meanwhile, Ann Coulter thinks Murtha should be fragged. Can we officially lock her away now?
Rep. Murtha: Was the gentleman at any of those locations? Either at normandy or any of those locations?
Rep. Gohmert: You want to know which locations?
Rep. Murtha: Yeah. Normandy?
Rep. Murtha: I say were you there?
Rep. Gohmert: No, sir. I wasn't.
Rep. Murtha: Were you in Vietnam?
Rep. Gohmert: No, sir.
Rep. Murtha: Iraq?
Rep. Gohmert: No. I have been over there. I haven't been fighting.
Rep. Murtha: Boots on the ground?
Rep. Gohmert: I do admire the gentleman's compassion and all he has done for our wounded. He has done a great service that would be you, Mr. Murtha.
June 14, 2006
Our Compassionate Conservative-in-Chief inappropiately (as usual) kids around with the guy who has Stargardt's Disease (click the link to read what it is and then be amazed that we still let this idiot run our country):
(via ThinkProgress, Crooks and Liars and reader Sal who declares that Bush will be the hands down winner of The Joey Nichols Club)
Kay Hanley, Jill Sobule and Michelle Lewis, a.k.a. The Broadband ("We're like the Dixie Chicks, only less well-known and more Jewish..."), have a free little ditty for you, all about protecting net neutrality. Click their banner to listen and/or download.
"While this song is tongue-in-cheek, it's scary... 'cause it's true! The telecommuncations industry is really trying to destroy our Internet! Take action now while you still can and visit SavetheInternet.com."—Jill Sobule
June 13, 2006
June 12, 2006
(If You Love Your Uncle Sam)
(Click to listen)
"Penned by Pete Seeger during the Vietnam War, 'Bring Them Home' quickly acquired anthemic power in the anti-war movement. Springsteen first recorded the song in January 2006 and added a final lead vocal during his European tour, at a studio in Oslo, Norway. His poignant rendition, performed frequently on the Seeger Sessions tour, adds several new verses and connects the song to a much earlier topical song, 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home.' 'Bring Them Home' was written in 1965 and originally released on Pete's 1971 Columbia album, 'Young vs. Old.' "For more Bruce, go here.
June 11, 2006
June 07, 2006
Elvis Costello and the legendary Allen Toussaint tear it up on Letterman with a little song about a big hurricane. Click the pic above to watch.
How long does a promise last?You can buy their new, full-length collaboration by clicking the cover below:
How long can a lie be told?
What would I take in exchange for my soul?
Would I notice when it was sold?
Wake me up
Wake me up
Wake me up with a slap or a kiss
There must be something better than this
'Cos I don't see how it can get much worse
What do we have to do to send
The river in reverse
(more lyrics here)
June 06, 2006
a.k.a. "The Return of The Joey Nichols Club.
Let's join Ann Coulter, already in progress of being one of the biggest assholes in the universe:
Did you watch the clip? Okay then, say it with me folks:
June 05, 2006
via Attaturk at Rising Hegemon who found it via Atrios at Eschaton...not that there's anything wrong with that. After all, we're all Homosapiens:
The lucky graduates of Knox College were treated to a commencement address by Stephen Colbert. Hilarity ensued...
"...But I guess the question is, why have a two-time commencement loser like me speak to you today? Well, one of the reasons they already mentioned...I recovered from that slow start. And I was recently named by Time magazine one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World! Yeah! Give it up for me! Basic cable...THE WORLD! I guess I have more fans in Sub-Saharan Africa than I thought. I’m right here on the cover between Katie Couric and Bono. That’s my little picture—a sexy little sandwich between those two.(Full address here.)
But if you do the math, there are 100 Most Influential People in the World. There are 6.5 billion people in the world. That means that today I am here representing 65 million people. That’s as big as some countries. What country has about 65 million people? Iran? Iran has 65 million people. So, for all intents and purposes, I’m here representing Iran today. Don’t shoot.
And the history, you don’t have to tell me the history of Knox College. No, your Web site is very thorough. The college itself has long been known for its diversity. I am myself a supporter of diversity. I myself have an interracial marriage. I am Irish and my wife is Scottish. But we work it out. And it is fitting, most fitting, that I should speak at Knox College today because it was founded by abolitionists. And I gotta say—I’m going to go out on the limb here—I believe slavery was wrong. No, I don’t care who that upsets. I just hope the mainstream media give me the credit for the courage it took to say that today. I know the blogosphere is just going to explode tomorrow. But enough about me.... if there can be enough about me.
Today is about you—you who have worked so hard to pack your heads with learning until your skulls are all plump like—sausage of knowledge. It’s an apt metaphor, don’t question it. But now your time at college is at an end. Now you are leaving here. And this leads me to a question that just isn’t asked enough at commencements. Why are you leaving here?
This seems like a very nice place. They have a lovely Web site. Besides, have you seen the world outside lately? They are playing for KEEPS out there, folks. My God, I couldn’t wait to get here today just so I could take a breather from the real world. I don’t know if they told you what’s happened while you’ve matriculated here for the past four years. The world is waiting for you people with a club. Unprecedented changes happening in the last four years. Like globalization. We now live in a hyperconnected, global economic, outsourced society. Now there are positives and minuses here. And a positive is that globalization helps us understand and learn from otherwise foreign cultures. For example, I now know how to ask for a Happy Meal in five different languages. In Paris, I’d like a “Repas Heureux” In Madrid a “Comida Feliz” In Calcutta, a “Kushkana, hold the beef.” In Tokyo, a “Happy Seto” And in Berlin, I can order what is perhaps the least happy-sounding Happy Meal, a “Glugzig Malzeiht.”
There are so many challenges facing this next generation, and as they said earlier, you are up for these challenges. And I agree, except that I don’t think you are. I don’t know if you’re tough enough to handle this. You are the most cuddled generation in history. I belong to the last generation that did not have to be in a car seat. You had to be in car seats. I did not have to wear a helmet when I rode my bike. You do. You have to wear helmets when you go swimming, right? In case you bump your head against the side of the pool. Oh, by the way, I should have said, my speech today may contain some peanut products.
My mother had 11 children: Jimmy, Eddie, Mary, Billy, Morgan, Tommy, Jay, Lou, Paul, Peter, Stephen. You may applaud my mother’s womb. Thank you, I’ll let her know. She could never protect us the way you all have been protected. She couldn’t fit 11 car seats. She would just open the back of her Town & Country—stack us like cord wood: four this way, four that way. And she put crushed glass in the empty spaces to keep it steady. Then she would roll up all the windows in the winter time and light up a cigarette. When I die I will not need to be embalmed, because as a child my mother hickory-smoked me.
But you have one thing that may save you, and that is your youth. This is your great strength. It is also why I hate and fear you. Hear me out. It has been said that children are our future. But does that not also mean that we are their past? You are here to replace us. I don’t understand why we’re here helping and honoring them. You do not see union workers holding benefits for robots."
Senate to tackle gay marriage banServes the interests of who? Our soldiers without enough body armor? The thousands of people without homes in the Gulf Coast? The millions of people without healthcare?President Bush and congressional Republicans are aiming the political spotlight this week on efforts to ban gay marriage, with events at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue — all for a constitutional amendment with scant chance of passage but wide appeal among social conservatives.
"Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all."
Ladies and Gentlemen, our government has been officially highjacked by rightwing fanatics who DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU (unless you have money and/or votes to give them). It's time for a (NSFW) song:
For those of you who don't know the phrase "Fiddling While Rome Burns," here's The Phrase Finder's definition :
"To occupy oneself with unimportant matters and neglect priorities during a crisis."
June 03, 2006
Photo by fellow promo producer Jason who writes:
"I think what I love most about what we promo types do is our unfailing ability to mobilize the same creative skill set used to bring social awareness to a devastating world pandemic to promote the
opening of a new, horror movie based on a Playstation game."