April 30, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 27, 2007
(Click to watch)
(hat tip to freakgirl; NSFW)
"Editor's" note: I don't think a bad phone call makes Alec Baldwin a bad man. As a matter of fact, I think that it's entirely possible that his 11 year old daughter is "a rude, thoughtless little pig." I will admit that his lack of control lacks something to be desired but as far as we know, he's not an abusive dad (certainly there have been no charges brought against him). Regardless, I prefer to separate the man from his art. I hope he continues with 30 Rock (a friend of mine just said yesterday that Baldwin is the only irreplaceable member of that cast) and I hope Alec continues to steal every movie he appears in.
A couple of weeks ago, it poured about a month's worth of rain in a 24-hour period. The water level actually rose above our bulkhead and left a large surprise on our dock (as well as our neighbor's docks):
(Click to watch)
Is this the most mundane thing I've ever posted?
April 26, 2007
Many of our friends have told us that if they are ever reincarnated, they'd like to come back as one of our dogs. To prove to you that our friends are not crazy, here's a little glimpse of the lives of Toast and Wahoo:
(Click to watch)
Cover of Iggy & the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by Uncle Tupelo. Apologies to Wahoo, our adopted and second dog who sadly got shorter shrift when it came to the Kodak moments.
Bill Moyers' new series, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL premiered last night with a special presentation entitled "Buying the War," a 90-minute documentary that explores the role of the press in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq:
How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? "What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored," says Moyers. "How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?"
(Click for excerpt)
To watch the entire program, go here. BILL MOYERS JOURNAL continues at it's regular time slot this Friday night with special guest Jon Stewart. Check your local listings for times.
April 25, 2007
April 24, 2007
April 23, 2007
A must-read from The New Yorker:
At a press conference, Virginia’s governor, Tim Kaine, said, “People who want to . . . make it their political hobby horse to ride, I’ve got nothing but loathing for them. . . . At this point, what it’s about is comforting family members . . . and helping this community heal. And so to those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere.”Read the whole thing here.
If the facts weren’t so horrible, there might be something touching in the Governor’s deeply American belief that “healing” can take place magically, without the intervening practice called “treating.” The logic is unusual but striking: the aftermath of a terrorist attack is the wrong time to talk about security, the aftermath of a death from lung cancer is the wrong time to talk about smoking and the tobacco industry, and the aftermath of a car crash is the wrong time to talk about seat belts. People talked about the shooting, of course, but much of the conversation was devoted to musings on the treatment of mental illness in universities, the problem of “narcissism,” violence in the media and in popular culture, copycat killings, the alienation of immigrant students, and the question of Evil.
Some people, however—especially people outside America—were eager to talk about it in another way, and even to embark on a little crusade. The whole world saw that the United States has more gun violence than other countries because we have more guns and are willing to sell them to madmen who want to kill people. Every nation has violent loners, and they tend to have remarkably similar profiles from one country and culture to the next. And every country has known the horror of having a lunatic get his hands on a gun and kill innocent people. But on a recent list of the fourteen worst mass shootings in Western democracies since the nineteen-sixties the United States claimed seven, and, just as important, no other country on the list has had a repeat performance as severe as the first...
Reducing the number of guns available to crazy people will neither relieve them of their insanity nor stop them from killing. Making it more difficult to buy guns that kill people is, however, a rational way to reduce the number of people killed by guns. Nations with tight gun laws have, on the whole, less gun violence; countries with somewhat restrictive gun laws have some gun violence; countries with essentially no gun laws have a lot of gun violence...
Semi-automatic Glocks and Walthers, Cho (Seung-Hui)’s weapons, are for killing people. They are not made for hunting, and it’s not easy to protect yourself with them. (If having a loaded semi-automatic on hand kept you safe, cops would not be shot as often as they are.)
April 22, 2007
Courtesy of David Letterman and the White House Correspondents Dinner:
According to Editor & Publisher, Bush "chose" not to be funny (because of the VA Tech killings) and the evening's kinder and gentler (than Colbert) headliner, Rich Little, blew. Fortunately, we'll always have last year's videotape:
(Click to relive the warm and fuzzy memories)
April 21, 2007
April 20, 2007
Vermont Senate adopts resolution seeking impeachment of Bush, Cheney
Vermont senators voted Friday to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, saying their actions have raised "serious questions of constitutionality."And then there is this:
The nonbinding resolution was approved 16-9 without debate _ all six Republicans in the chamber at the time and three Democrats voted against it.
Bush and Cheney's actions in the U.S. and abroad, including in Iraq, "raise serious questions of constitutionality, statutory legality, and abuse of the public trust," the resolution reads.
The Vermont Senate is believed to be the first state chamber in the country to pass such a resolution, said Bill Wyatt, a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Desperate for support among fellow Republicans, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faced grim prospects Friday after a bruising Senate hearing that produced one outright call for resignation and a fistful of invitations and hints to quit.Time will tell.
One GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, John Cornyn of Texas, predicted Gonzales would weather the furor and said he should. "Frankly, I don't think the Democrats are going to be satisfied with the resignation by Al Gonzales," he said.
Gonzales gave no indication Friday that he was leaving.
"Please know that as you continue your work, I am by your side," the attorney general told an audience of crime victims' rights supporters. He spoke in a gravelly voice the day after his long day of testimony.
April 19, 2007
To flog the release of her new collection of stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, Miranda July has created a homemade website using the tops of her kitchen appliances:
(Click either frame to go to her website)
If you don't know who Miranda July is, you should run and rent (or Netflix or illegally download or whatever) her directorial debut, Me You and Everyone We Know (if you get TMC, it will be on this Friday at 1:45 a.m.). In the meantime, here's Are You The Favorite Person of Anybody?", a short film she wrote and starred in, taken from the first "issue" of Wholphin:
(Click to watch)
Time to pull the plug...
April 17, 2007
President Bush will speak at Tuesday's convocation at Virginia Tech to remember the 33 people who died in two campus attacks and comfort others affected by the deadliest campus violence ever in the United States.George, of course, has yet to attend an Iraq servicemember's funeral, preferring instead to speak to family members in private:
“Because which funeral do you go to? In my judgment, I think if I go to one I should go to all. How do you honor one person but not another?” he said.And then he added, "Besides, I'm gonna get me a much better photo-op in Virginia with all those cryin' students then I ever could standing in front of a bunch of flag-draped coffins."
April 16, 2007
"As far as policy, the President believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. And certainly bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting -- I don't want to say numbers because I know that they're still trying to figure out many people were wounded and possibly killed, but obviously that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for."- Dana Perino, White House Briefing Room
"We have to look at what happened here, but it doesn't change my views on the Second Amendment, except to make sure that these kinds of weapons don't fall into the hands of bad people."
More than 30,000 people die from gunshot wounds in the United States every year and there are more guns in private hands than in any other country. But a powerful gun lobby and support for gun ownership rights has largely thwarted attempts to tighten controls.Question: How many rounds of ammunition do you need to kill a deer?- Reuters
For those of you who thought I might have been a little too flip about Mr. Ho's passing, I'd like to state, for the record, that I had nothing but respect for the late entertainer -- in the dictionary, there should be a picture of him next to the word trouper. But, I gotta tell you, my respect for the man just went off the charts after I found this on the internets:
(Click to listen to a cover song that's almost as good as this)
April 15, 2007
Although I said CBS did the right thing in terms of firing this sad, angry, repulsive man, I want to clarify that I believe they did the right thing only because in the final analysis it came down to an economic decision (ol' Don was hemorrhaging adverstisers). I thought it was the right thing because I think the guy is a puke.
Okay. Done. Finished. Let's get back to Iraq.
April 13, 2007
(Click John and enter
this code: AW4AMNY)
For more info, go here.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the missing White House e-mails:
“This sounds like the administration’s version of the dog ate my homework. I am deeply disturbed that just when this administration is finally subjected to meaningful oversight, it cannot produce the necessary information."
April 12, 2007
“I have absolute confidence that (CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves) will do the right thing.”Today:- Sumner Redstone, chairman of CBS parent company Viacom Inc.
"There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society...That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision."- Leslie Moonves, explaining the decision to fire Imus.
Just a few quick words on the Don Imus affair: Some people out there are calling this whole unfortunate situation a free speech issue. Only half true. Imus can certainly say whatever the hell he wants, especially on his own time. But he happens to have a job that is both ratings and advertiser dependent. If his employers believe that his words hurt either, then they have every right to can his pathetically bony ass. Personally, I would have fired him years ago simply for NOT BEING FUNNY.
MSNBC did the right thing by getting rid of perhaps the most untelegenic person in the history of television (however, his mind is uglier than his face). It remains to be seen what WFAN will do but given the fact that the station is supposed to be a "Sports Radio" station it makes sense to get rid of him, not only because he is sooooooooo not a sports person but can a network devoted to covering Basketball, Baseball and Football – sports featuring, oh, just a few minorities – really think it's a good idea to allow this racist to continue to soil their airwaves?
If they do decide to keep him, I think they should switch to an "all-Hockey & Imus" format. And I said Hockey, not you-know-what...
I hate to say it, but man is this guy articulate. No, not in a Joe Biden/Don Imus way but in a "we haven't witnessed a politician this articulate since Bobby Kennedy" kind of way. Kerry never did a good job of speaking for me or to me. Unfortunately, neither did Al Gore (although he's become a lot better). Bush? About as articulate as box of rocks. McCain? Pure gibberish. Rudy? Yes, for one week of his miserable life he was articulate. Hillary? I can't listen to her because I don't believe she believes what she's saying. Reagan ("weeeelllll"), Nixon ("let me make one thing perfectly clear"), Carter ("nuculer"), Bush I (I only remember his Dana Carvey-isms). Only Bill Clinton comes close but he does tend to go on and on and on and too often plays up his southern-boy thang.
But Barack Obama? This guy brings the goods. And it's not just how he says it, it's what he says:
(Click for Part 1)
(Click for Part 2)
I think the question isn't whether America is ready for a Black President. It's whether America is ready for a President who is this smart.
You can support Barack by clicking here.
- Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007. "So it goes."
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, 1974
April 09, 2007
do go see John Fugelsang's All the Wrong Reasons: A True Story of Neo-Nazis, Drug Smuggling and Undying Love.
John used to work with my wife as a "teleprompter monkey" (his term), hosting various VH1 shows and we always knew he was ridiculously smarter than the material he was forced to deal with. That's why, of course, after VH1 he went on to host America's Funniest Home Videos (hey, even smart guys need to earn a living).
Fortunately, John is now pursuing his muse and has written a very funny, very beautiful one-man show centered around the fact that he is the "real life son of an ex-nun and a former monk" (we kid you not). In the show, John "declares war on everything the neo-cons hold dear...Sex, politics, Klansmen, the drug war, stem cells and radical love - it's all part of this brilliantly comic and heartbreaking odyssey."
We saw a preview this Saturday and laughed our asses off. In fact, the only two people who laughed more than us were the two famous people in front of us (hint: he's a political cartoonist, she's a former news host/anchor-type person).
So do yourselves a favor and click on John's pic above for more information about the show and for a link to buy tix. I believe if you like this blog, you'll love his show.
April 08, 2007
Sunday in the Market With McCain
By Frank Rich
JOHN McCAIN’S April Fools’ Day stroll through Baghdad’s Shorja market last weekend was instantly acclaimed as a classic political pratfall. Protected by more than a hundred American soldiers, three Black Hawk helicopters, two Apache gunships and a bulletproof vest, the senator extolled the “progress” and “good news” in Iraq. Befitting this loopy brand of comedy — reminiscent of “Wedding Crashers,” in which Mr. McCain gamely made a cameo appearance — the star had a crackerjack cast of supporting buffoons: Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who told reporters “I bought five rugs for five bucks!,” and Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, who likened the scene to “a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.”
Five rugs for five bucks: boy, we’ve really got that Iraq economy up and running now! No wonder the McCain show was quickly dubbed “McCain’s Mission Accomplished” and “McCain’s Dukakis-in-the-Tank Photo Op.” But at a certain point the laughter curdled. Reporters rudely pointed out there were 60-plus casualties in this market from one February attack alone and that six Americans were killed in the Baghdad environs on the day of his visit. “Your heart goes out to just the typical Iraqi because they can’t have that kind of entourage,” said Kyra Phillips of CNN. The day after Mr. McCain’s stroll, The Times of London reported that 21 of the Shorja market’s merchants and workers were ambushed and murdered.
The political press has stepped up its sotto voce deathwatch on the McCain presidential campaign ever since, a drumbeat enhanced by last week’s announcement of Mr. McCain’s third-place finish in the Republican field’s fund-raising sweepstakes. (He is scheduled to restate his commitment to the race on “60 Minutes” tonight.) But his campaign was sagging well before he went to Baghdad. In retrospect, his disastrous trip may be less significant as yet another downturn in a faltering presidential candidacy than as a turning point in hastening the inevitable American exit from Iraq.
Mr. McCain is no Michael Dukakis. Unlike the 1988 Democratic standard-bearer, who was trying to counter accusations that he was weak on national defense, the Arizona senator has more military cred than any current presidential aspirant, let alone the current president. Every American knows that Mr. McCain is a genuine hero who survived torture during more than five years of captivity at the Hanoi Hilton. That’s why when he squandered that credibility on an embarrassing propaganda stunt, he didn’t hurt only himself but also inflicted collateral damage on lesser Washington mortals who still claim that the “surge” can bring “victory” in Iraq.
It can’t be lost on those dwindling die-hards, particularly those on the 2008 ballot, that if defending the indefensible can reduce even a politician of Mr. McCain’s heroic stature to that of Dukakis-in-the-tank, they have nowhere to go but down. They’ll cut and run soon enough. For starters, just watch as Mr. McCain’s G.O.P. presidential rivals add more caveats to their support for the administration’s Iraq policy. Already, in a Tuesday interview on “Good Morning America,” Mitt Romney inched toward concrete “timetables and milestones” for Iraq, with the nonsensical proviso they shouldn’t be published “for the enemy.”
As if to confirm we’re in the last throes, President Bush threw any remaining caution to the winds during his news conference in the Rose Garden that same morning. Almost everything he said was patently misleading or an outright lie, a sure sign of a leader so entombed in his bunker (he couldn’t even emerge for the Washington Nationals’ ceremonial first pitch last week) that he feels he has nothing left to lose.
Incredibly, he chided his adversaries on the Hill for going on vacation just as he was heading off for his own vacation in Crawford. Then he attacked Congress for taking 57 days to “pass emergency funds for our troops” even though the previous, Republican-led Congress took 119 days on the same bill in 2006. He ridiculed the House bill for “pork and other spending that has nothing to do with the war,” though last year’s war-spending bill was also larded with unrelated pork, from Congressional efforts to add agricultural subsidies to the president’s own request for money for bird-flu preparation.
Mr. Bush’s claim that military equipment would be shortchanged if he couldn’t sign a spending bill by mid-April was contradicted by not one but two government agencies. A Government Accountability Office report faulted poor Pentagon planning for endemic existing equipment shortages in the National Guard. The Congressional Research Service found that the Pentagon could pay for the war until well into July. Since by that point we’ll already be on the threshold of our own commanders’ late-summer deadline for judging the surge, what’s the crisis?
The president then ratcheted up his habitual exploitation of the suffering of the troops and their families — a button he had pushed five days earlier when making his six-weeks-tardy visit to pose for photos at scandal-ridden Walter Reed. “Congress’s failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines,” he said. “And others could see their loved ones headed back to the war sooner than they need to.”
His own failures had already foreordained exactly these grim results. Only the day before this news conference, the Pentagon said that the first unit tossed into the Baghdad surge would stay in Iraq a full year rather than the expected nine months, and that three other units had been ordered back there without the usual yearlong stay at home. By week’s end, we would learn the story of the suspected friendly-fire death of 18-year-old Pvt. Matthew Zeimer, just two hours after assuming his first combat post. He had been among those who had been shipped to war with a vastly stripped-down training regimen, 10 days instead of four weeks, forced by the relentless need for new troops in Iraq.
Meanwhile the Iraqi “democracy” that Mr. Zeimer died for was given yet another free pass. Mr. Bush applauded the Iraqi government for “working on an oil law,” though it languishes in Parliament, and for having named a commander for its Baghdad troops. Much of this was a replay of Mr. Bush’s sunny Rose Garden news conference in June, only then he claimed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was taking charge of Baghdad security on his own. Now it’s not even clear whom the newly named Iraqi commander is commanding. The number of military operations with Iraqis in the lead is falling, not rising, according to the Pentagon. Even as the administration claims that Iraqis are leading the Baghdad crackdown, American military losses were double those of the Iraqi Army in March.
Mr. Bush or anyone else who sees progress in the surge is correct only in the most literal and temporary sense. Yes, an influx of American troops is depressing some Baghdad violence. But any falloff in the capital is being offset by increased violence in the rest of the country; the civilian death toll rose 15 percent from February to March. Mosul, which was supposedly secured in 2003 by the current American commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, is now a safe haven for terrorists, according to an Iraqi government spokesman. The once-pacified Tal Afar, which Mr. Bush declared “a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq” in 2006, is a cauldron of bloodshed.
If Baghdad isn’t going to repeat Tal Afar’s history, we will have to send many more American troops than promised and keep them there until Mr. Maliki presides over a stable coalition government providing its own security. Hell is more likely to freeze over first. Yet if American troops don’t start to leave far sooner than that — by the beginning of next year, according to the retired general and sometime White House consultant Barry McCaffrey — the American Army will start to unravel. The National Guard, whose own new involuntary deployments to Iraq were uncovered last week by NBC News, can’t ride to the rescue indefinitely.
The center will not hold, no matter what happens in the Washington standoff over war funding. Surely no one understands better than Mr. McCain that American lives are being wasted in the war’s escalation. That is what he said on David Letterman’s show in an unguarded moment some five weeks ago — though he recanted the word wasted after taking flak the morning after.
Like his Letterman gaffe, Mr. McCain’s ludicrous market stunt was at least in the tradition of his old brand of straight talk, in that it revealed the truth, however unintentionally. But many more have watched the constantly recycled and ridiculed spectacle of his “safe” walk in Baghdad than heard him on a late-night talk show. This incident has the staying power of the Howard Dean scream. Should it speed America’s disengagement from Iraq, what looks today like John McCain’s farcical act of political suicide may some day loom large as a patriot’s final act of sacrifice for his country.
April 04, 2007
April 03, 2007
Okay, so I'm a little late with my Opening Day post, but the holidays (Passover, April Fools Day), threw me off my regular blogging schedule.
So far, so good for "my" Mets. I have a feeling they'll be back in the thick of things come October. They have a solid lineup but there's a few holes in the bullpen and the starting rotation has an experience level that averages out to be a little less than actually experienced: Two guys with too much experience (translation: OLD) and three guys that you can practically greet with "Welcome to the show."
Fortunately, old guy number one, Tom Glavine, started right off where he left last October, pitching a great game against the Cards on opening night and getting himself 9 wins away from 300. Glavine has turned things around so much with his tenure with the Mets that his playoff victory against the Dodgers last fall has been deemed "Classic" by the Mets broadcasting network, SNY. As a result, I finally got to see myself acting way too serious after a 4th inning strikeout:
(Click to watch)
Once again, a big thanks to George (on my left) for the amazin' seats.