Friday, December 22, 2006

Prog Blog time!

Does Focus count as prog? Well, as you can see from the clip below, the guys had a sense of humor--which is why some people would say no, they were not prog. On the other hand, they were European (Dutch to be exact). And they did draw on the European musical tradition, what with their yodeling. And they're on Rhino's "Supernatural Fairy Tales" boxed set, along with...uh...Electric Light Orchestra. (Sorry, I like ELO, but they weren't prog.)

Oh heck, let's just call Focus prog. Here they are doing "Hocus Pocus." From the looks of things, that's Gladys Knight introducing them.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The "War on Christmas": A new, unwelcome holiday tradition

Yes, it looks as if the "war on Christmas" hype is going to become an annual event, right along with "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Only the "war on Christmas" is nowhere near as amusing. Now, I am one of the few people I know who actually likes all those things that people are supposed to hate about Christmas--the carols piped over the loudspeakers, the holiday window displays, the search for the perfect Christmas gifts for a family that, believe me, is next to IMPOSSIBLE to shop for. They never can figure out what the heck they want. Le Sweetie is somewhat better in this regard, but even he is known to say, "I don't care as long as it comes from Boo." (Boo being me.)

Anyway, I like Christmas, and the war-on-Christmas chickenhawks are getting on my nerves. John Gibson's silly book is out in paperback, and I wouldn't be surprised if it makes repeated appearances on the bookshelves each holiday season. Bill O'Reilly, meanwhile, blathers on about this "war" that Christmas lovers are supposed to be fighting against the mean people who say "Season's Greetings" and point out that there are Jews and Hindus and Muslims who don't celebrate Christmas.

Let me tell you something. I live and work among lots of people who don't celebrate Christmas. I like to give them presents and send them cards. I always send cards that say "Happy Holidays" and "Peace on Earth" and "Season's Greetings." Some of the recipients are clearly Jewish, and some I'm not so sure about. So I figure it's best to err on the side of courtesy. Apparently, the Christmas warriors think this is a problem.

Let me state the obvious: Christmas has not been banned. Nobody is stopping John Gibson or Bill O'Reilly or any Faux News viewers from putting up Christmas trees. Nobody is stopping radio stations from playing Christmas carols and nobody is having Christmas television specials pulled off the air. There. Is. No. War. On. Christmas. Not that Gibson or Reilly would admit to this. The myth of a "war on Christmas" has meant book contracts and TV ratings for them and their fellow Christmas warriors.

But if they truly had faith in what the holiday's all about, maybe they'd follow the lead of Nation columnist (and proud atheist) Katha Pollitt. Every year, Pollitt publishes a list of little-known but deserving charities. The holiday season in general is an inclusive time of the year, when co-workers mingle at holiday parties and people donate toys to poor children and New York Cares holds its annual coat drive. When religion doesn't matter as much as generosity and open-heartedness. People don't need--or want--the punditocracy to observe Christmas for them. They can do it just fine on their own.

Besides, if you're one of those busybodies who just has to shove the spirit of Christmas down people's throats, then you never really had it in you to begin with.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sigh...there goes another part of my childhood

Joseph Barbera, R.I.P. I especially miss all those Saturday morning cartoon rock bands. Josie and the Pussycats truly kicked ass.

You you you are Person of the Year!

Yes, Time has voted YOU to be the Person of the Year. A wise choice, given that the alternative would've been the following:

a. Make Bush Person of the Year in light of his emerging legacy as Worst! Preznit! Ever!
b. Make Rummy Person of the Year and dwell on Situation FUBAR in all its messy detail.
c. Make Al Gore Person of the Year for "An Inconvenient Truth."
d. Make Nancy Pelosi, first female House Speaker, Person of the Year.
e. Make the GOP Party of the Year in light of the beating the party took in the elections this year.
f. Make the Democrats Party of the Year in light of the party's electoral gains, with a nice side look at the netroots and its role in electing Democrats to Congress.

Nice rightie newsweekly that it is, Time was unlikely to make any of the above choices. Acknowledge that the magazine's 2004 Person of the Year isn't really much of a revolutionary thinker? No way. Rather than deviate from the same political talking points of the past five or so years, Time took an easy way out and made you--yes, YOU!--Person of the Year. I'm almost tempted to pick up a copy and see if they made any mention of netroots amidst the column space devoted to blogs and YouTube and the information age. Maybe they'll ask Karl Rove to weigh in on ActBlue.

Over at HuffPo, Nora Ephron reacts to Time's cover story with some amusement. Man, I wish she'd stick to writing full time from now on. She. Is. Really. Funny.

Someone still likes Bush. How nice.

From Impolitic comes a missive from proud 30 percenter Fred Barnes, who got to schmooze with Bushco at the White House Christmas party. Something tells me the brown on Barnes' nose isn't from the chocolate fondue.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fun reading, blogosphere style

In this (fairly) old post, Drifting the Grift defines three kinds of libertarians: faux, hardcore, and sensible.

Amber Rhea concludes that UPS sucks rocks. If she thinks UPS is bad, she should try Airborne Express/DHL or whatever that tenth-rate delivery service calls itself. I work with a typesetter that uses Airborne Express regularly, probably because it's cheap. Well, there's a reason it's cheap.

Situation FUBAR update: As Rummy departs, Bush says they've "been through war together." Twisty has the scrapbook.

Wingnuts, meet facts. Facts, meet wingnuts.

Larry Johnson tries to keep food down while reading about Bush/Cheney's tribute to Rummy.

Keith Olbermann, for pete's sake: Forget about Bill O'Reilly. He's a head case with bad dandruff, and anyone stupid enough to listen to him is beyond help anyway.

Once -- just once -- would you please name the REAL "Worst Persons in the World"?

On a happier note, Johnson has some ideas for charitable giving. Speaking for myself, I recommend Heifer International and have already sent them a check.

Philly Soul Sundays!

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Since I received my brand new stereo system, a Christmas gift from Le Sweetie, I've been listening to The Spinners' self-titled album. It's the one featuring "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" and "I'll Be Around." Classic soul of the Philadelphia variety, made even more special by Phillip Wynne's aw-shucks vocal stylings and Thom Bell's production. And I'm left to wonder why Philly Soul is underrepresented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aside from the equally great O'Jays, none of them have even been nominated. You'd think that Bell or Gamble & Huff would be shoo-ins in the nonperformer category, but that doesn't seem to be the case. There are no Spinners, no Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, nobody. This is weird and kind of sucky. Who does the nominating and who votes these guys in? C'mon, we've got a serious imbalance here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bob Barr for President?!?

Yes, Freedom Democrats reports that Bob Barr has left the GOP for the Libertarian Party and is considering a presidential run on the LP ticket. Aside from the fact that he's a homophobic right-wing hypocrite who wasted money and energy on the Clinton impeachment, Barr would be an intriguing candidate.

This switcheroo isn't really a surprise. Back in 2004, Barr was seriously unhappy with the GOP, to the point where he wasn't even voting for Bush. But let's not think of this guy as a principled maverick. If he were still in the House, I suspect Barr would be just another rubber-stamp Republican. As far as GOP politicians go, he's like a cross between George Allen, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh:

Barr has been embroiled in controversy several times during his career. In 1998 he delivered the keynote speech at the national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is viewed by many as white supremacist; he later stated he had not known the group's views until after the speech. His speech did not deal with race, however, and Barr publicly distanced himself from the council. Barr has also suffered attacks for his conservative stance on family values, which left-wing periodical Mother Jones deemed hypocritical: "Married three times and embroiled in a messy court battle with his second wife over his failure to pay child support, Barr had been photographed in 1992 licking whipped cream off two buxom young women's breasts and nipples. And this from the man who would later sponsor the Defense of Marriage Act." In the wake of Barr's adamant support for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, porn mogul Larry Flynt paid Barr's second wife, Gail Vogel Barr, for details of the child support battle and of her abortion. This caused significant political troubles for Barr, noted for his strong pro-life stance.

Now, he's a conservative libertarian who believes in privacy rights. Sorry, but I just don't trust this guy. The only thing to distinguish him from the current GOP goon squad is his opposition to the neocons...and in this case, it just ain't enough. In his Creative Loafing piece, Barr talks about the flourishing economy and budget surplus that Bush 43 inherited. And who was responsible for that? The very guy Barr was trying to have removed from office.

Overrated people

Let's start with John McCain. Since positioning himself as a maverick didn't pan out, he has become one of those more-of-the-same Republicans who simply does. not. get. it.

So Laura Bush wore the same red suit that three or four other women were wearing? This nonentity of a First Lady had to get publicity for something, right? Is she popular with anyone? If so, why?

Barack Obama's a cool dude, but I hope he holds off on a run for president until he has some more experience under his belt. He's the kind of uniter--as opposed to divider--that this country needs, but he just. won. office. two years ago. Let him build a reputation as the kind of independent straight-talker that McCain was supposed to be before we start talking about a presidential run.

And La Hill? I'm ambivalent about her. Smart lady, but she' hasn't given the public any good reason to support her in 2008. At least not yet.

I'd love to see some fresh blood in 2008. No more Bushes or Clintons. Maybe a good governor who could do what Bill Clinton did in 1992--come out of nowhere and win an election. It would be interesting to see Janet Napolitano or Kathleen Sebelius run, but their names never come up as presidential candidates. Sigh...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More on libertarians and Republicans

I'm confused. Why would any libertarian ally himself with today's Republican party? Perhaps once upon a time, when the GOP promoted fiscal restraint, lower taxes, and smaller government, it would've been pretty understandable. But now? Please. Those libertarians who throw their lot in with the Republican party seem to be suffering the political equivalent of battered spouse syndrome.

Really, what's so "libertarian" about the current crop of Republicans? The party that doles out welfare money to corporations, inserts itself into end-of-life decisions, has expanded the government in the last six years, and spends money like there's no tomorrow? The party that gave us the Patriot Act and promotes warrantless wiretapping? And why wouldn't any libertarian be aghast at the flap over gay marriage? Aside from the fact that it's a useless sop thrown to the theocon base, it's an example of the government telling mature adults what they can or can't do. Yet libertarians are mysteriously silent on the issue.

Long story short: there is NOTHING libertarian about today's Republican party. Freedom Democrats spells it out in more detail.

Avedon Carol takes a different tack. She's deeply unimpressed with the current crop of libertarians, suggesting they're not so much libertarian as anti-liberal:

How else to explain their willingness to call themselves conservatives rather than liberals, and to support Republicans rather than Democrats, even when conservatives/Republicans are clearly embarked on projects that directly conflict with libertarian principles? Identification with conservatism and support of Republicans is about no other principle than the hatred of liberals. It isn't even necessarily liberalism they hate (although they clearly despise any token or talisman that is associated with liberalism), since most of the libertarian program is itself primarily liberal. Yet they refuse to see themselves as part of liberalism, even when the only people who do not oppose them (on, say, drug laws) are liberals. Despite every evidence that the biggest and most oppressive programs come from conservative Republicans, they insist on identifying with the right wing.

She's got a point. After all, Mary Matalin has called herself a libertarian, and she's basically a Bush/Cheney flunky. There's nothing libertarian about Bush or Cheney. "Libertarian" seems to be a term for those conservatives who want to present themselves as "edgy" and "hip." Matalin is about as edgy and hip as a cinderblock.

Needless to say, left-libertarians do exist, although they're not as visible as their right-wing counterparts. Drifting Through the Grift ponders the eternal puzzle of why this is so, and divides libertarians into two groups: Financials and Socials. Financials are, of course, the free-market gang; Socials believe in personal liberty and privacy rights. He depicts today's libertarian movement as a big tent: "There is room for all and we accept that our differences are not disloyalty but rather continue to advance the discussion." But he still doesn't answer the question of why some so-called libertarians continue to support a party stands for everything they oppose. And before anyone trots out the old "free market" talking point, I'd like ask how corporate subsidies and bloated mega-corporations fit into the picture.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Enough to drive Bruce Tinsley to drink...

Situation FUBAR is dragging down Bush's approval ratings.

(CBS) Americans believe the war in Iraq is going badly and getting worse, and think it's time for the U.S. either to change its strategy or start getting out, according to a CBS News poll.

Forty-three percent say the U.S. should keep fighting, but with new tactics, while 50 percent say the U.S. should begin to end its involvement altogether. Only 4 percent say the U.S. should keep fighting as it is doing now.

Just 21 percent approve of President Bush's handling of the war, the lowest number he's ever received, and an 8-point drop from just a month ago. Most of that drop has been among Republicans and conservatives. Three-quarters of Americans disapprove of how the president is handling Iraq.

(Emphasis mine)

Who's this 21 percent who still approve, anyway?

When the going gets bad...

...the bad become Fox News commentators. Everyone's favorite disgraced congressman-turned-blogger has found a new gig bloviating on Fox. Anyway, Susan over at Kiss My Big Blue Butt has been having fun at her former congressman's expense. On "Hannity & Colmes," DeLay has been repeating the classic "waaaaaaah, it's the liberal Democratic media's fault and it's not fair!" talking point to explain his legal troubles, Situation FUBAR, and just about any other misfortune he could come up with.

Man, how could a congressional Big Bad be such a dullard?

I'm desperately hoping, meanwhile, that Fox News gives Rick Santorum a regular gig. They could have the "Ricky and Zell Hour." That would be long as Zell doesn't get mad and challenge Li'l Ricky to a duel on the set.

If it ain't "Happy Feet," it's soy

No, this is NOT a joke.

Annoy a wingnut: drink a soy latte

This sure explains a lot

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Via Rising Hegemon comes the news that a certain humor-challenged right-wing cartoonist has been arrested for DUI. This is his second offense. Makes you wonder if he's been writing and drawing under the influence as well.

UPDATE! We have an update! One nice blogger with a strong stomach has compiled a whole bunch of Mallard Fillmore strips that mention Ted Kennedy, Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick, Ted Kennedy being drunk, drunk Democrats, and drunk driving. Ah yes, it's another one of those do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do types. Admit it, this is really shocking.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Because it bears repeating...

Joe Biden should SHUT UP!!!

This looks to be fuuuuuun...

Yes, Tom Delay, the oily Texas congressman who won't go away, has decided to blog. Only I don't think he realized all the work that went into blogging before he set up his new home away from home on the net. For one thing, people who read blogs often leave comments. And with a high-profile blogger like the Hammer is sure to be inundated with comments. Unfortunately, the comments were mostly negative, as Mr. DeLay is a very unpopular public figure. He even screwed over his party when he resigned from Congress after winning the primary, thus ensuring that he would have to stay on the ballot...and increasing the chance for a Democratic win. Long story short--Mr. DeLay's replacement in Congress is a Democrat. The GOP can't be happy about this.

At any rate, visitors to Mr. DeLay's blog had a lot of fun at his expense before he turned off the comments option. However, shutting the comments down won't make them go away. Note all the unregistered commenters with names like Jack Abramoff, Ann Coulter, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and Rick Santorum. Note also the frequent references to a possible future stay in prison. Not to mention some guy called John W. who keeps thinking of new ways to say, "You are a fucking moron."

Meanwhile, over at Kiss My Big Blue Butt (formerly Juanita's Beauty Salon), a former constituent of Tommy Boy offers this knee slapper:

Okay, here's the best part of DeLay Blog. The Hill says it'll be an organization like moveon dot org.

Except, I think in Tom's case, it should be named goback dot org.

Look, and I'm being perfectly serious about this, Tom is just looking for another way for somebody else to pay his green fees. Just watch - within three months will be spending money for golf trips with corporate jets. I'll betcha.

Americans are treasonous moonbats. Film at eleven

Here be some poll results to prove it. Of course, the Republican respondents are, by and large, still drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to Situation FUBAR.

Harry Reid interview

Bob Geiger interviews the new Senate Majority leader. It seems that the right wing echo chamber is going to be in for a letdown. The politics of revenge and vindictiveness are now a thing of the past. The 110th Congress will be involved in other pursuits--like, I dunno, making laws and all that boring stuff.

It's great reading, but the most telling moment is when Geiger brings up the "I" word with Reid:

Geiger: House Speaker-elect Pelosi took some heat when she made the statement that the subject of impeachment is "off the table." Now, those of us who understand that politics is probably 99 percent gray and very little black and white, looked at it and said that it's probably not something that an incoming Speaker should say or that an incoming Majority Leader should say -- that they're specifically going after the president.

But that said, isn’t there a big difference between that and any investigations that might happen and, without benefit of a crystal ball, acting on whatever results may come from those investigations?

Reid: I haven't been interested in impeachment for some time because of two words: Dick Cheney. I think that there's a significant difference between impeachment and investigations. We have to have investigations. We have to have our Intelligence Committee complete the work they started on investigating how we went to war. That's an investigation. We would be derelict in our duties by not doing that.

This sort of confirms what I suspect--Bushes 41 and 43 chose their vice presidents not on merit but as insurance against assassination or impeachment.

Reid says he'll to bring an end to the nucleaar option, calling it "anti-Senate" and "anti-American." Also on the table is the long-overdue minimum wage increase. It would be really great if that horrible torture law was overturned as well. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Prog Blog Time!

A solo turn from Chris Squire of Yes. Looks like he forgot to change out of his bathrobe before heading to the studio. Note Patrick Moraz on keyboards and Bill Bruford on drums.

Speaking of Bruford, here he is with King Crimson. Dig the insane percussionist. What is it about Bruford that inspires his bandmates to wear silly clothes?

Meanwhile, over in Canterbury, we have the less goofily dressed Soft Machine:

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Oh no. Not him again...

I repeat--Joe Biden should just SHUT UP!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Gah! Nickelback! WHY WHY WHY?

Oh dear. It looks like Atrios has discovered that Nickelback exists. YIKES! I have exactly one Nickelback song on my iPod. It's called "How You Remind Me of Someday" and it's a mashup of two of their biggest hits, to demonstrated that the songs sound almost exactly alike. Cookie cutter music making at its total, absolute, corporate worst. Apparently, a lot of Portuguese people at a rock festival felt the same way. Sucky as the band is, a chorus of boos would've been more effective (and less harmful) than throwing rocks. That said, it did cut the band's set mercifully short.

President Bush pretends to face reality

Yeah, it's old mop water sold in new, sparkly perfume bottles, but the Preznit is pretending to share your pain over Situation FUBAR. Short President Bush: Yes, I know two thirds of this country thinks it's a mistake, but I'm continuing with Situation FUBAR and nothing's going to change. And no, I don't care if this rhetoric makes you yawn. I'm the decider, remember?

Oh boy...even RUMMY wanted to reduce troops!

Yes, before he quit, Rumsfeld sent Bush a memo regarding possible solutions to Situation FUBAR. It is supposed to be a very interesting document, and one that has war critics grinning from ear to ear.

In the memo, first reported Saturday by The New York Times on its Web site and titled "Illustrative New Courses of Action," Rumsfeld describes a "range of options" for the White House to consider. Many of them involve sharply drawing down U.S. troop presence in Iraq by mid-2007.

"Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) -- go minimalist," Rumsfeld suggested. For instance, he proposed an accelerated shuttering or consolidation of most U.S. military bases in Iraq.

"We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases," he wrote. "Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007."

Another option: withdrawing U.S. forces from vulnerable positions, such as cities and patrols, and moving them to a "Quick Reaction Force" status, in which they would operate from within Iraq and neighboring Kuwait.

Rumsfeld also proposed keeping high-end special operations forces in Iraq to target al-Qaida, death squads, and Iranians, but "drawing down all other Coalition forces," except for key U.S. advisers.

He suggested a new approach in which U.S. forces would only provide security for those provinces or cities that openly request it -- "and that actively cooperate, with the stipulation being that unless they cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province."

In areas where there is continued violence, Rumsfeld proposed that U.S. forces stop helping Iraqis, particularly with reconstruction efforts.

"As the old saying goes, 'If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it,' " he wrote.

All told, such drawdown efforts would send a strong signal to Iraqis, Rumsfeld said. He described it as "taking our hand off the bicycle seat, so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country."

Oh my. This is awfully close to what Democrats and other threats to the nation have been suggesting. No wonder Rummy left.

Friday, December 01, 2006

One more thought on the Happy Feet flap

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What does the wingnutocracy think of those old cartoons where Bugs Bunny routinely outsmarts Elmer Fudd? It's a slap in the face of American gun owners! An insult to hunters! Not to mention a storyline that would warm the hearts of the eco-wackos and the PETA crowd. Quick, someone give Glenn Beck a call!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

David Cockrum, R.I.P.

Once upon a time, I was an X-men fan. And this was in the 1980s, before mutant comics flooded the market, back when there were only The Uncanny X-Men and The New Mutants. Back when you could actually keep track of the continuity among the mutant comics. Via Elayne Riggs, I found out that X-Men artist David Cockrum has passed away. This is so sad. He was a great, great artist, and an underappreciated one to boot.

Gee, some people ruin all the fun

Bill Frist, the quintessential rubber-stamp Republican, the most inept Congressional leader in recent memory, the man with the uncanny ability to offer diagnoses via video recordings, has announced that he is not running for president in 2008. Bummer. While he's not quite as comedic as Dan Quayle (whatever happened to Quayle anyway?), he's provided plenty of unintentionally hilarious moments during his ill-storied career as Senate majority leader. And now Trent Lott has his old leadership position back. Everything old is new again. Just as I was preparing the bags of popcorn in anticipation of the forthcoming presidential election. Go ahead, enjoy your life as a private citizen, you party pooper.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Continued flapadoodles--Cute animated movie edition

You know, these Kool-Aid servers are starting to sound alike. Glenn Beck has joined Neil Cavuto in calling "Happy Feet" "an animated version of An Inconvenient Truth." I suspect the obsession with Al Gore's movie is a holdover from the Clinton years. Blaming Clinton is passe, so now they're obsessing over all things Gore. Including a movie about cute little penguins.

Anyway, there was a CNN segment on this latest fuss and they pointed out that there's no mention of global warming anywhere in the movie.

Oh, but it gets better. Soooooooo much better. Michael Medved claims "there’s a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity." Yes, that again. A subtle endorsement of the homo-sek-shul lifestyle--which is mainly apparent to professional bloviators--seems to be lurking under the surface of even the most innocuous kiddie movies.

Okay, now it's settled. I have to see this movie. I'm sure it'll be an adorable, clever, well-animated, and hilarious movie about plucky penguins and it won't have any dubious social messages. And it'll be good to giggle at the expense of the Cavutos, Becks, and Medveds once the movie's over.

More flapadoodles over trivial crap--Islamophobia edition

Via Glenn Greenwald, we find that the wingnutocracy is still unnerved over the election of a Muslim (!) to Congress. The Muslim in question is a Minnesotan with the very un-Arabic name of Keith Ellison, who converted to Islam in college. First we had Glenn Beck, saying, "Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." Now Dennis Prager, is angry because Congressman-elect Ellison will be taking his oath of office on the Koran. It is, after all, the holy book he believes in. Being a busybody with no understanding of how the Constitution works, Prager doesn't like this:

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

Gee, really? Will American civilization suddenly, inexplicably collapse because Ellison places his hand on a Koran? Is this some weird part of God's plan we don't know about? Could Prager explain how this is possible?

First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture.

Erm, Mr. Prager? Mr. Ellison is a politician elected to American government. He is a natural-born American citizen, raised right here in America. His culture is American culture.

What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

I would be curious as to where Mr. Ellison has actually said or implied this. Somehow, if he had, it would be all over the wingnutosphere by now. No, it's clear that Prager is just making shit up.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible.

Who's this "America"? Does Dennis Prager have a friend named "America" whom he's using as a sounding board? Or should we trot out the usual "America is a melting pot/multicultural/religiously diverse nation" shtick that we have to use whenever Prager and his ilk try to rewrite American history?

Ellison is not trying to compel anyone else to take an oath of office on the Koran. It's his decision. And why should Prager give a hoot what holy book Ellison chooses to follow? When did this become Prager's business?

If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

I'm wondering what law compels public officials to take an oath of office on the Bible and not some other holy book. Again, I suspect that Prager's making shit up. There's no law against it and any such law would violate the Constitution. I suspect Prager and his ilk know this. Meanwhile, I eagerly await the day when America starts electing Hindus, Buddhists, and maybe even a neopagan or two to office. Things are going to be fun, and heads are going to explode.

Of course, being a fan of the whole religion/state separation concept, I don't think any religious texts at all should be used when a politician takes the oath of office. Of course, that could come from years of listening to the Christian right babble away. Or maybe I'm just contrary. Or maybe I think separation of religion and state is good for religion in the long run. Or maybe I'm just being a contrarian.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Crybaby Conservative Alert!

What's the latest film that the far right hates? No, it's not "An Inconvenient Truth," but rather a movie dubbed "an animated 'Inconvenient Truth.'" I am talking about "Happy Feet," a too-cute-for-words animated feature featuring too-cute-for-words penguins. Here's Neil Cavuto, explaining why he's ticked off about it.

Okay, now I've got to see this movie!

New slogan idea: "Annoy a wingnut--go to the movies!"

(Via Moxiegrrrl.)

Prog blog time!

Here's the inimitable Hawkwind performing "Silver Machine," their big, big British hit single, sung by future Motorhead dude Lemmy.

And here's Amon Duul II. On the one hand, it's a pretty weird video. On the other hand, it features Renate Knaup on vocals.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's Miscellaneous News Monday...

...And I'm probably one of three people who doesn't care about Michael Richards. I'd already heard rumors that the guy was an asshat, so I wasn't too surprised by this meltdown. Maybe he and Mel Gibson could collaborate on a comedy about two politically incorrect grumps. Sounds like box office gold, doesn't it?

Remember Richard Adelman? The loyal Bush foot soldier who kept his mouth shut for so long out of, erm, "loyalty" (read: the desire not to look stupid)? USA Today quotes Mr. Adelman in a piece on embarassed neocons trying to distance themselves from the Iraq debacle.

Okay, so the good guys don't always win. Jean Schmidt still has a job to go back to. You have to wonder what color the sky is in Ohio's district 2...

The Happy Feminist weighs in on the best analysis of Girls Gone Wild and similar raunch culture I've read in a long time. No, disliking Girls Gone Wild does not make you a prude. No, feminists do not have a problem with nudity or raunch per se. The problem is misogyny, not nude girls. As I've mentioned before, I work on X-rated books for a living, and they're books written by and for women. NOT the same thing. I still think the answer to crappy, woman-hating porn is porn that doesn't degrade women or show sex as filthy and icky. But men as well as women seem to have a really skewed idea of sex. Hence Hustler and Girls Gone Wild.

Because it can't be posted enough...

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Here's the Rummy-Saddam handshake!

I'm sure that Rummy, in his retirement, would prefer not to dwell on certain embarassing aspects of his political career. Which means he'll try not to think about his career at all. Meanwhile, Karen Kwiatkowski weighs in on his legacy. At this point, analyzing his handling of the Iraq war is like using a machete on a pinata, but this article is a must read.

Nice to have my life back

I just turned in a proofreading assignment--a fantasy/horror anthology about vampires. Now all I have to do is wait for the check to come in. I love extra money. Doesn't everyone?

Spent Turkey Day at the home of Le Sweetie's family. It's a little weird to do that, because I was new to the way they do things. But everyone had a good time, except for Le Sweetie's grandma, who had vertigo and had to stay in bed. For Christmas, we're going to my mom's. Le Sweetie's family is Jewish and thus won't be doing much for Christmas.

Le Sweetie and I are going to Miami at the end of December. The week between Christmas and New Year's is generally dead, so my office is closed that week and so is his. To avoid the end-of-the-holidays funk, we're going to be where it's sunny and sandy. Should be fun.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh boo hoo hoo.

If the GOP establishment can't read this WaPo article and figure out what's seriously wrong with their party, then they're more fucked up than anyone imagined.

The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney's residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the "cakewalk" Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. "It was a euphoric moment," Adelman recalled.
Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq."

Cakewalk. Right. Because we all know invasions are just easy as pie to implement, don't we? Mr. Adelmen is proof positive of how unrealistic the White House Iraq group's expectations always were. Here's a special little clue for Mr. Adelman: An invasion does not just end when some US soldiers pull down a statue of a crazy, evil dictator. If I remember correctly, Dubya's Uncle Brent (Scowcroft, that is) has been saying for several years that the Iraq invasion was a dangerous gamble. You can't get more Bush family/Washington insider than Uncle Brent. But Adelman and the rest of WHIG just believed what they wanted to believe and addressed Uncle Brent and the rest of the grownups with a collective "NEENER NEENER WE CAN'T HEAR YOOOOOOUUU!"

Anyway, back to Adelman, who's now no doubt trying to figure out which condiment with which to eat his words:
"There are a lot of lives that are lost," Adelman said in an interview last week. "A country's at stake. A region's at stake. This is a gigantic situation. . . . This didn't have to be managed this bad. It's just awful."

Congratulations, Mr. Adelman! You're now this week's winner of the Counselor Deanna Troi Award for Blatantly Obvious Commentary! Anyway, since those unfortunate election results that have left the GOP smarting, the Republicans have come out of the woodwork to point fingers and blame everyone but themselves for the GOP establishment's failings.
"People expect a level of performance they are not getting," former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said in a speech. Many were livid that Bush waited until after the elections to oust Rumsfeld.

"If Rumsfeld had been out, you bet it would have made a difference," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said on television. "I'd still be chairman of the Judiciary Committee."

Nice set of priorities you got there, Senator. Do your country a favor and retire in 2010, will you please?

The WaPo article goes on to quote numerous DC establishment Republicans, all mad at the president for one reason or another. You have Colin Powell and company, who conveniently waited until Powell had tendered his resignation before they began to denounce the Iraq war. Or Christine Todd "It's my party toooooooo!" Whitman, who toed the White House line, right down to lying about the air quality around Ground Zero, and then began denouncing the GOP wingnuts after she'd left the EPA. You know guys, maybe if you'd said something sooner, or quit in protest, or taken some sort of principled stand before the White House could do any damage, you'd have some more credibility.
Similarly, Kenneth Adelman waited until he was no longer in the WHIG before making his views public:

Adelman said he remained silent for so long out of loyalty. "I didn't want to bad-mouth the administration," he said. In private, though, he spoke out, resulting in a furious confrontation with Rumsfeld, who summoned him to the Pentagon in September and demanded his resignation from the defense board.

"It seemed like nobody was getting it," Adelman said. "It seemed like everything was locked in. It seemed like everything was stuck." He agrees he bears blame as well. "I think that's fair. When you advocate a policy that turns bad, you do have some responsibility."

Most troubling, he said, are his shattered ideals: "The whole philosophy of using American strength for good in the world, for a foreign policy that is really value-based instead of balanced-power-based, I don't think is disproven by Iraq. But it's certainly discredited."

This party-before-country mentality is exactly what's wrong with the present Beltway GOP, and comments by Specter and Adelman seem to prove that they still don't get it.

Punk blog time! Punk blog time!

The awesome clip below is X in their early 1980s prime, performing "White Girl," from their masterpiece Wild Gift. The quality ain't so hot, but the performance is amazing. For proof, click the mouse.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Great gift ideas for 2006!

Christmas season hasn't even started, yet I still predict that the annual "War on Christmas" will be waged yet again, for a third straight year. How do I know this? Well, first, there's the news that Toys for Tots has rejected 4,000 Talking Jesus dolls. Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson are going to be pissed. Why did Toys for Tots reject their Savior-in-toy-form? Well, since the Marines are government employees, they can't be seen to favor one religion over the other. Yes, it's that pesky little First Amendment thing again.
Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations," said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va.

As a government entity, Marines "don't profess one religion over another," Grein said Tuesday. "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."

But never fear, War on Christmas warriors! Before Gibson adjusts his glasses (he must've worn the same pair since 1978 or so) and sits down to update his "War on Christmas" book, Toys For Tots reports that everything has been straightened out. "Toys for Tots has found appropriate places for these items. We have notified the donor of our willingness to handle this transaction," says the organization's Web site.

Mockingbird's Medley has actually had a look-see at this Talking Jesus, and seems...well, floored by it. I think the big question is: does this Jesus merely recite Bible verses or does He also sing passages from Jesus Christ Superstar? Because if he did, it might be awesome. You could have Judas and Mary Magdalene figures to go along with it.

In the meantime, for the little secular humanist or science geek in your life, there are Giant Microbes. Wide-eyed, plushy, utterly adorable virus toys. Yes, virus toys. As in toys that look like cute, cuddly viruses. Huggy-snuggly-wuggly viruses. What a great gift idea!

Actually, on second thought, you might want to be careful with these toys. Imagine if your second-grader says, "Guess what, teacher? Mommy gave me kissing disease for Christmas!"

Personally, my favorites are the alimentary viruses.

This little guy is E. Coli.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And this cutie-pie is Salmonella.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The perfect critters to cuddle up with when you're home sick in bed--wouldn't you say?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Okay, someone explain HOW Glenn Beck got his own show?

Does he own incriminating photos of CNN executives? Does the network have some affirmative action policy where they have to fill a certain wingnut quota?

After reading this transcript, I'm curious.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crybaby Conservative Alert!

Today's crybaby is Poppy Bush, who blames the bloggers for today's hostile political climate.

I mean, you go back in history and you’ll find that there was always adversarial
politics. There was always gut fighting. And it’s probably a little worse now
given the electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things.

Poppy reminds me of an overly indulgent parent who spoils his kid silly and then acts all surprised when the kid turns into an overindulged loser who keeps getting into trouble and whom nobody likes. Maybe because...well, that's the kind of parent that Poppy really is?

Rush Limbaugh: the gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, the schadenfreude continues, as Jon Friedman explains why we have Rush to thank for helping the Democrats win.

At last, Rush Limbaugh got his comeuppance. And he did it all by himself.

As a matter of fact, my favorite Election Day moment occurred at the very end of the process, when newly elected Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill slyly thanked Limbaugh for his role in her victory.

Yes, revenge was sweet for the Democrats. And why not? Limbaugh had delighted in kicking sand in their faces for years, luxuriating in the GOP's dominance in national politics.

In contrast to Limbaugh's trademark, piercing proclamations, McCaskill made her remark while flashing a big, triumphant smile. But she clearly relished in twisting the knife.

Fair enough. Limbaugh went too far when he blasted actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, on the eve of the midterm elections.

One view is that all's fair in politics, and Fox had put himself in the public arena by becoming a spokesman for the pro-stem cell research faction. But everyone deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. Whether Limbaugh was guilty of bad manners or bad politics, it didn't matter. And even when he explained his remarks afterward, his comments had a hollow ring.

In hindsight, it would have been wise for Limbaugh to leave Fox alone, especially after Fox shook violently during television commercials. But Limbaugh couldn't
do that.

Instead, trying to make Fox look as bad as possible, Limbaugh said he suspected that Fox hadn't taken his medication. He reckoned that Fox had exploited his illness as a slick way to boost the public's appeal for federally funded embryonic stem cell research. The stem-cell issue had become a pivotal part of McCaskill's campaign in Missouri (and the initiative ultimately passed).

Here is the irony. If Republican Jim Talent had defeated McCaskill, the Republicans would have held on to control of the U.S. Senate. Not only did Limbaugh hurt Talent, he ended up screwing the whole Republican Party.

Well, there's a still a bright side to all this. Rush has been liberated from having to carry water for the likes of charisma-free rubber-stampers like Talent. I'm sure the GOP appreciates that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The return of American feminism

I am what you could call an on-again, off-again feminist. There have been times in my life when I've strongly identified myself as one as well as times when I just didn't think about it that much. Nevertheless, I've always objected strongly to right-wing attempts to demonize the movement. After all, what's feminism? The belief that women are equal to men. That they are entitled to the same rights and opportunities that men are.

Of course, that's the way I've always seen it, but the truth seems to be more complex. There is not simply one version of feminism, but many. There are the radical feminists, the moderate feminists, the libertarian feminists, the eco-feminists, the egalitarian feminists, the womanists...heck, there's probably some newly emerging branch of feminism I don't know about. Just check out Wikipedia's entry and you'll see 'em all listed.

That said, there are plenty of feminists who've mangaged to completely distort what feminism stands for. Yes, I'm talking mainly about the now-outdated Dworkin/MacKinnons, with their toxic view of sex and their willingness to ally themselves with the religious right to get rid of dirty pictures. As it turns out,I edit erotic romance books for a living. Books written by and for women. And I don't believe that porn/erotica is inherently evil. On the other hand, really badly written porn is more laughable than sexy. But that's neither here nor there. The antiporn feminists, along with the goddess worshippers and the recovered memory therapists, are largely relics of the 1980s and 1990s. With the return of liberal populism, the time has come for feminism's reemergence. But this version will have to be very, very different from the feminism of decades past.

Here is Redneck Feminist, libertarian and rock 'n' roll drummer, explaing why "feminist" does not equal "victim."

Just because I realize that sexism still exists (against both women and men) doesn't mean I think life sucks and I'm oppressed. It just means that I recognize it exists. It's a little hard not to notice when a guy walks up to me during a sound check and says, "Are you really the drummer? Really?" Um, no...I'm just the band's eye candy. And they let me tune the drums. Cuz that's hot.

Personally, I think that she should just mention Maureen Tucker, Cindy Blackman, Terry Lynne Carrington, Patty Schemel, Sheila E., or Gina Schock next time a guy acts all surprised that a girl, like, plays drums.

For me, feminism should encourage women's responsibilities along with women's rights. I've discovered a new blog by Erin Solaro, author of a book on women in the military and proponent of what she calls "civic feminism." "Now we’re pretty much equal and it’s time for a feminism for the hard years ahead," Solaro writes. I'm not sure if men and women are entirely equal at this point. In the USA, yes, things are pretty good. But you look at the Senate and how many women are there now? Sixteen. In Sweden's parliament, half the members are women. We still have yet to elect a female president.

But at the same time, women in America aren't sentenced to be gang-raped or subject to genital mutilation. We don't need permission from our fathers, husbands, or brothers to travel. We can drive and go to college. And in my opinion, the Feminist Majority Foundation deserves credit for keeping the plight of Afghan women in the news, years before 9/11. I think it's important to remember this. Feminism can be effective when addressing gender discrimination around the world.

Solaro, meanwhile, is justifiably annoyed at feminists who focus on frivolous issues, proposing a new, relevant version of feminism:

Women have a stake in the United States of America. But America is not immortal, and is currently walking open-eyed into disaster. This new civic feminism, while continuing the fight to remedy past injustice and remove the remaining barriers to equality, now concentrates on preserving this

What the new feminism offers is the belief that civilization is nothing less than that which men and women together add to, create, guard and defend, as public and private equals.

This sounds like a version of feminism worth following and, in time, worth supporting. With disparate feminist voices out there, it's possible that a new feminist movement could emerge from the grass-roots movement along with the new American liberalism.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Whoopee. Poppy Bush is back.

According to the latest issue of Newsweek, Bush 41 has come to pull Bush 43's ass out of the fire. Again. So what do you call this? Bush 41.5? If I'd wanted Poppy in the White House, I would've voted for him in 1992. At this point, the best thing the Bush family could do for their country would be to get out of politics and stay out. Once Junior leaves office, maybe they'll all just go away. We can hope, right?

Friday, November 10, 2006

No more Scalitos! No more crooks! No more Bush's dirty looks!

There are gonna be changes on the Senate committees. For one thing, Democrats are going to be chairing them. Instead of James Inhofe, who doesn't believe in global warming, we're gonna have Barbara Boxer. And instead of Arlen Specter's (lack of) leadership on the Judiciary Committe, we're likely to have Pat Leahy. Says Dick Durbin, “It means send us more moderate people or don’t waste your time." In other words, no more Scalitos or Janice Rogers Browns. The Federalist Society must be fuming.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"A song for Democratic campaigners"

From Iddybud Journal. Feels so good after so long.

And another one's gone and another one's gone...another one bites the dust

Rove stooge Ken Mehlman is stepping down as RNC chairman. More here.

Wow, THAT was fast

Already, the alpha conservabot of right wing talk radio is distancing himself from the GOP. Yes, it's the new, independent-minded, principled Rush Limbaugh!

I feel libertated. I'm just going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry water for people who I don't think deserve to have their water carried. Now, you might say, well, why have you been doing it? Because the stakes are high. Even thought the Republican party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat party and liberalism does.

Orcinus deciphers Rushbo's blather into plain English.

Gotta laugh at Wart-on-Ass's comment about "beliefs." What beliefs? And he's implying that his beliefs are the same as the rest of the country? Now I know he needs to check into rehab--fast. Plus using "Democrat" party instead of "Democratic" party is, like, so 1998.

Still, it didn't take too long (like, about one day) for him to admit it was all a put on and that he's not going to be just another knee-jerk wingnut anymore. Oh, but I guess he's going to reinvent himself as a straight-talkin', no-bullshit political commentator, yessir! Look for Rushbo to embark his own straight-talk express, a la another GOP sellout, John McCain.

Hey, if the political shift undergoes the kind of shift I think it will, we might even see Rush--gasp!--turn liberal! The ranks of conservatism have several former lefties (David Horowitz being the most notorious example--and the right can keep him). Of course, you wonder a. how many of these left-to-right conversions really happened and b. how many of them simply went where they saw the power and opportunity were. Now that conservatism is on the wane, I wouldn't be surprised to see some professional conservatives take note and abandon the movement for greener pastures. And by "greener," I mean "where there's money to be made."

Let's face it: most (if not all) of these professional conservatives--particularly the rabid radical righties--are interested in money, fame, and publicity. Now that being a Bush personality cultist is no longer popular or fashionable, they need a new schtick. So who--if anyone--among the right wing crazies will try to reinvent themselves as principled moderates, political mavericks, or--gasp--liberals? Rush? Coulter? Hannity? Some second- or third-tier wingnut like Medved, Malkin, or Glenn Beck? You can bet they'll be trying to rewrite their own history and repositioning themselves as a new different kind of a political animal. Maybe even a donkey. But if they go that far, the proper response should be, "Kiss my ass."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All this, and Britney's divorcing K-Fed, too

Tester wins in Montana. Just one more vote and the Democrats have the Senate.

Rumsfeld cuts and runs

Yes, Rummy has quit. And just days after Li'l George said he was doing such a fabulous job and how Unca Don would be staying until the end of the term. Gee, what brought about this turn of events?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Yaaaaaay! We won! We won! We won control of the House! We won!

Oh, happy happy day!

South Dakota's abortion ban goes down

See here for more.

On the minus side there are a bunch of stupid laws banning civil unions that somehow passed. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

La Hill and Bill on TV

Hillary's giving her victory speech, looking happy as a pig in slop. They're playing Tina Turner's "Simply the Best" on the NY1 broadcast.

Third cool quote of the night comes from La Hill: "I think democracy is great."

Second good election quote of the night

From former House majority leader Dick Armey: "It's very hard to watch."

This is SO sad...

I'm watching footage of Jeanine Pirro at campaign headquarters. She got a measley 26 percent of the vote for attorney general. I predict she's going to vanish after this year.

From CNN's election coverage--Quote of the night!

"Not a single Democratic incumbent has been defeated."

Of course, it's only 10 PM, but right now, the outlook in the House is good.

The Democrats have all kept their jobs. No Daschles this year.

Whoot whoot whoot!

The results of all this electoral hand-wringing thus far:

La Hill is still a senator. Gee, who didn't see that one coming?

Bob Menendez is also still a senator.

Socialist Bernie Sanders has gone from congressman to senator. Yes, you heard that correctly. A socialist in the Senate. Somewhere in Wingnutville, someone's brain is exploding.

Li'l Ricky Santorum is, alas, no longer a senator. Oh well, maybe he can get a job as a commentator on Fox News.

Mike DeWine is also no longer a senator.

New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio now have Democratic governors.

Polls in New York closed about half and hour ago. More results will be coming in as the night goes on.

I've been wringing my hands all day, but right now I'm pretty happy.

Exit Li'l Ricky. Enter a socialist senator. 2004 seems like a century ago.

Update: NBC projects that Ben Cardin will become Maryland's next senator, replacing Paul Sarbanes. In other words, this seat stays blue.

Second update: CNN projects Whitehouse as the winner in the Rhode Island Senate race.

Third update: Nancy Johnson, 24-year Republican congresswoman, has lost to Chris Murphy. I'm hoping that Chris Shays joins Johnson in retirement soon.

Fourth update: The Democrats have won 129 seats; the Republicans have won 118. Meanwhile, Kerry's making a speech following Ted Kennedy's (hardly surprising) campaign victory. He seems to have a sore throat, but at least he hasn't put his foot in his mouth. Massachusetts has elected its first African-American governor, and is first Dem governor in what seems like forever. C'mon, can't Kerry sound more enthusiastic?

Fifth update: Democrats are up to 144 house seats, compared to Republicans' 124, per CNN. Six more seats, and the House is ours. Say, what's happening in Tom DeLay's old district? Did Lampson win?

Sixth update: Just one more vote and we have a Democratic House! Okay, now the suspense is really killing me!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

C'mon...tell us what you REALLY think

Via Neomugwump, I came across this post from a military veteran. For this guy, the attack on Jim Webb was the straw that broke the camel's back.

George Allen has cost the Republican Party two members in Texas. And one in Staten Island. It breaks my heart, but I won't soil my name by supporting this party anymore. Winning isn't so important that we should stoop this low, and if this team has forgotten that, then it's not a team I want to be on.

I was wondering how long it would be before people became disgusted with smear campaigns against military veterans. Now I know.

Helpful hints for GOP buck-passers

Note to Republicans in office: Your fellow Americans in the reality-based community are being nice and trying to help you. So nice, in fact, that they're offering you some guidelines the next time GOP crybabies the party of personal responsibility needs to exonerate itself. Try this fun quiz and see how well you do!

(Via Parenthetical Remarks)

Prog Blog time!

For today's prog blog, we revisit the wild, anything-goes spirit of late-sixties/early-seventies Germany. Here's the incomparable, ever-morphing, ever-restless German commune dwellers who became known to the world as Amon Duul II:

This is ADII performing "Eye-Shaking King" from the Yeti album. Missing in action here is the band's vocalist, Renate Knaup. She took a brief hiatus from the group and doesn't appear on their Tanz der Lemmings album. I've tried to find a clip featuring Miz Knaup, but for now, this will do. Looks like Chris Karrer handles the vocals for this one.

Below is the legendary Can performing "Paperhouse" from Tago Mago. From the looks of things, they're on the German program "Beat Club."

When in doubt, blame Ted Haggard's wife

One yahoo suggests Ted Haggard strayed because, well, Wifey let herself go. No, this is not a joke.

Here's a photo of Ted Haggard with his beard wife, Gayle. Does this look to you like someone who's "let herself go"?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

With news like this, who needs attack ads?

"Time for Rumsfeld to Go." That's the title of the soon-to-be-published editorial that will be appearing in all four papers published by Military Times Media Group. The papers in question are Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, and Marine Corps Times. As you can guess, these newspapers are published for and sold to men and women in the U.S. military.

When is this editorial going to appear? Monday. The day before the election.

Great timing, isn't it?

Yeah, suuuuuuuure. We believe ya.

Comin' up on the Psycho-Christian Chronicles: "How Ted Haggard Conquered Temptation!" An inspiring true story! Think CBN would be interested in the TV movie rights?

The Rev. Ted Haggard said Friday he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.


All the people who thought "I didn't inhale" was silly have to admit that this excuse is way dumber.

I've always suspected that this guy is a serious closet case as well...

Of course, in a few days, he won't be a senator anymore, so nobody cares.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

You'll be seeing more of Amy Goodman soon... the newspaper! Yes, she's been hired by King Features Syndicate as an op-ed columnist. Great news!

Won't Tom DeLay just do us all a favor and get lost?

Apparently not. Thankfully, his former constituents weren't subjected to his latest jackassery. No, he came to Nassau community college. I just love the headline for the article: "DeLay promotes his vision." Talk about jokes writing themselves...

This part wasn't so funny, however:

"I don't think water boarding is torture," DeLay said. "My definition of torture is you physically harm someone by cutting them, by cutting their fingers, sticking things in their eyes, sticking their fingers in electric sockets. Water boarding is a frightening experience. But the person does not have physical damage."

And to think, he couldn't get off the GOP ballot in his district, and now it looks like Democrat could take his place soon. Stinky, isn't it?

(Via Juanita's.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My thought on the Kerry kerfluffle

The man does not have much of a future in comedy.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who REALLY supports our war veterans?

You can find out from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. IAVA grades senators and congresscritters according to their votes on veterans' issues. Thus far, AM New York picked up on the story. I'm happy to find out that New York State's senators both get high grades--a B+ for Schumer and an A- for La Hill. Arch-conservative Rep. Peter King earns a measly C+, proving that his actions don't match his bluster. To be fair, there are some Democratic congresscritters who earned a C from the IAVA. But in the US Senate, it's much more cut and dry. Democratic senators receive high grades, never slipping below a B-. Republican senators, on the other hand...well, check out Bob Geiger to find how much they really support veterans.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What liberals could learn from Bugs Bunny

When I was a little girl, watching cartoon reruns in the early morning hours before school, Bugs Bunny was my hero. Saturday morning was the time for "Yogi Bear's Laffalympics" and "Scooby-Doo" spinoffs, but Yogi and Scooby could never match Bugs for cleverness and cool.

In 2002, TV Guide ranked Bugs Bunny #1 on the list of the greatest cartoon characters of all time. How does one explain his appeal? You could say it's a combination of brilliant animation, clever catchphrases, smart writing, and cheerfully irreverent nods to high and popular culture. But it's also because Bugsy is a quintessentially American icon. He could've only been conceived, written, and drawn right here in the USA. He epitomizes street smarts and resourcefulness. He's unflappable and fearless. He makes mistakes, like that wrong turn en route to Pismo Beach, but he always bounces back. He's the cartoon icon for those who grew up believing in the American dream.

Watching those animation shorts, one realizes that Bugs never goes looking for trouble; trouble always comes to him. That's the difference between Bugs and, say, Daffy Duck. Like American liberals, Bugs is always underestimated by the enemy. And his enemies bear a strange resemblance to today's odious conservative archetypes. I'm not just talking about Cheney's likeness to Elmer Fudd here. There's short-tempered, unhinged, gun-crazy Yosemite Sam, fighting the Civil War 90 years after it ended. There's greedy, backstabbing Daffy Duck, who would've fit in perfectly at Enron. There's the Tasmanian Devil, as batshit crazy as anyone in Osama bin Laden's inner circle. And, of course, Wile E. Coyote, super genius. Can't you imagine Acme delivering crappy products in exchange for exclusive government contracts?

American liberals have plenty of righteous anger, but the trick is to respond with sass and irreverence as well as passion. Bugs Bunny would let his opponent foam and froth, keeping his wits about him, never losing his cool. And, in the end, you knew Bugs would get the upper hand...and he'd do it in style. Not unlike Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert today.

Today's liberals can find inspiration in Bugs as they respond to GOP mismanagement and right-wing lies. For starters, we can imagine what Bugs Bunny would say: "He don't know me very well, do he?"

More prog blogging!

Below is an early-1970s TV appearance from Caravan, a flagship band of the so-called "Canterbury scene" that also spawned Soft Machine. (Various Softs and Caravans played together in a band called the Wilde Flowers.) Caravan were poppier and more accessible than the Softs--that is, when they weren't doing side-long album suites. As you can see, Caravan sported the long hair, loose-fitting hippie shirts, and bell-bottoms that were ubiquitous among 1970s proggers. They also had the same frequent lineup changes as their fellow proggers. One other thing they had that their fellow proggers most definitely lacked was a sense of humor. Below is "Golf Girl," a droll tune sung by bassist Richard Sinclair.

Friday, October 27, 2006

And the sweet, sweet schadenfreude continues...

Tonight on CNN: "Where the Right Went Wrong." Prominent right-wingers, from Bruce Bartlett to Andrew Sullivan, fretting about the state of American conservatism. It's just awesome watching!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What's that about activist judges, again?

The Gothamist weighs in on Noo Joisey's ruling for gay couples, with the following, erm, eye-opening passage:
The three dissenting voices that wanted to push for gay marriage were all appointed by Republicans, while three of the four justices on the majority were appointed by Democrats. Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz, who was Christine Todd Whitman's Attorney General, emphasized in the dissenting opinion that it was important for gays to to have the word marriage in their vernacular as well: “We must not underestimate the power of language...Labels set people apart as surely as physical separation on a bus or in school facilities." She also wrote a "1999 decision, later reversed by the United States Supreme Court, requiring the Boy Scouts of America to retain a gay assistant scoutmaster. And she wrote for the majority in a 2000 opinion striking down a parental notice requirement for minors seeking abortions."

Yet another Crybaby Conservative Alert!

Today's wounded soul is Tucker Carlson, who's really upset about that Michael J. Fox ad:
It's a form of moral blackmail. No matter where you stand on stem cell research, I look at this ad and say I can't disagree with Michael J. Fox. Because his illness is so sad it pulls on me emotionally so much that it feels immoral to me to disagree with him....

Oh boo-sy, woo-sy hoo. Try imagining life with Parkinson's or cancer or paralysis before you open your mouth, Bowtie boy.

Li'l Tucker told Senate candidate Claire McCaskill that it was "unfair" to run the ad. Wait'll he finds out about all the Republicans who support stem cell research. Including Missouri's former senator, John Danforth, whose brother died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gerhig's disease).
"When you see somebody you love suffer and die from one of these diseases, and medical researchers say this could be the key to finding the cure, then you want the researchers to go forward so other people won't go through the same experience," Danforth said.

Danforth said he has met many Republicans who refuse to vote for Talent because of his opposition to the research as well as his opposition to the ballot initiative.

Interestingly enough, Danforth has declined to support Sen. Jim Talent for re-election. Quick, someone pass Li'l Tucker some tissues.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Van der Blogging

I admit that Van der Graaf Generator is an odd choice for casual iPod listening. But hey, if band's ghostly organs, scattershot saxophones, and primal, proto-punk howls can't keep you awake during the morning commute, what can?

'Sides, I find myself listening to those 1970 arty prog whatever tracks and nodding in agreement. For a 1970s arty prog whatever band, these guys managed to write some songs that are surprisingly...well...relevant. Forget about dusting off those Vietnam protest songs. Who needs 'em when you've got...

We have looked upon the heroes and they are found wanting;
we have looked hard across the land but we can see no dawn;
we have now dared to sear the sky but we are still bleeding...

--"Lemmings," Pawn Hearts

Live by sword and you shall die so,
all your power shall come to nought,
every life you take is part of your own:
death, not power, is what you've bought.

--"The Emperor in His War Room," from H to He, Who Am the Only One

Okay, it's not as catchy as "Fortunate Son" or "Eve of Destruction." But day-yum if you can't recognize the Chimp in Charge in these lyrics. Peter Hammill was more ahead of his time than anyone thought.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heeeeyyyy! What happened to the GOP's October surprise?

It's almost the end of the month and it has yet to materialize. Instead, Bushco promises more of the same regarding Iraq. It must be tiresome to try and sound so upbeat about Situation FUBAR.

I really WISH this were a joke...

Kevin Federline is playing Webster Hall on November 4. The only way to explain it is that he must own incriminating pictures of the club owners.

The American Taliban's Candidates for 2006

Just in case anyone's keeping track...

AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

AZ-01: Rick Renzi

AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

CA-04: John Doolittle

CA-11: Richard Pombo

CA-50: Brian Bilbray

CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

CO-05: Doug Lamborn

CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

CT-04: Christopher Shays

FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

FL-16: Joe Negron

FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

IL-06: Peter Roskam

IL-10: Mark Kirk

IL-14: Dennis Hastert

IN-02: Chris Chocola

IN-08: John Hostettler

IA-01: Mike Whalen

KS-02: Jim Ryun

KY-03: Anne Northup

KY-04: Geoff Davis

MD-Sen: Michael Steele

MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

MN-06: Michele Bachmann

MO-Sen: Jim Talent

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

NV-03: Jon Porter

NH-02: Charlie Bass

NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

NM-01: Heather Wilson

NY-03: Peter King

NY-20: John Sweeney

NY-26: Tom Reynolds

NY-29: Randy Kuhl

NC-08: Robin Hayes

NC-11: Charles Taylor

OH-01: Steve Chabot

OH-02: Jean Schmidt

OH-15: Deborah Pryce

OH-18: Joy Padgett

PA-04: Melissa Hart

PA-07: Curt Weldon

PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

PA-10: Don Sherwood

RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

TN-Sen: Bob Corker

VA-Sen: George Allen

VA-10: Frank Wolf

WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

WA-08: Dave Reichert

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Iraq: Situation FUBAR

Via the Defeatists, we discover what everyone else already knows and Bush has yet to figure out: Iraq is an utter disaster. The US media is too busy covering the World Series, so it's up to the BBC to fill us in on Bush's video conference with the generals over in Iraq. No plans for withdrawal. Just a change in tactics for handling the insurgents.

It has been a lousy Ramadan for the Iraqis and it's going to be a lousy Eid. Won't someone have the guts to laugh in Cheney's face next time he tries to paint a rosy picture of what's going on over there?

To wit: not only are insurgents killing kids who only want to celebrate the holidays, but the Iraqi police can't handle them:

[T]he Iraqi president's security adviser said Iraqi forces trying to improve security in Baghdad were under-funded, badly trained and poorly equipped.

Wafiq al-Samarra'i said that sometimes the insurgents and death squads had better weapons than the security forces trying to combat them.

The comments come a day after the US military said there had been a "disheartening" 22% rise in attacks in Baghdad this month, despite a two-month-old security operation.

Launched in June, Operation Together Forward is a joint US and Iraqi security drive in which thousands of extra troops have been deployed in Baghdad.

On Wednesday, Mr Bush said the escalation of violence in Iraq "could be" comparable to the 1968 Tet Offensive against US troops, which helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War.


No wonder Sixties protest anthems are making a comeback.

Prog Blog Saturdays

Yup, it's the only prog band that the punks ever liked: Van Der Graaf Generator, fronted by the inimitable Peter Hammill, performing "Darkness 11/11" from The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other. Judging from the program, I'd say they're on the German show "Beat Club."

VDGG reunited last year, but copies of their reunion album are hard to come by--at least copies that don't cost under $30.00. Sigh. Any US distributor wanna distribute the thing? Anyone?

More on the band's history at THE greatest VDGG fan site on the web. Also, see Sofa Sound, Hammill's official homepage.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Kansas GOP Diaspora Makes Its Way to the National Media

Yes, you got it. WaPo has noticed those Kansas Republicans jumping ship and running as Democrats. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as colossal overreach. Proof of this can be found in Kansas, where moderates find themselves out of place in the American Taliban Party. A typical race between an American Taliban and an ex-Republican is as follows...

Paul Morrison, a career prosecutor who specializes in putting killers behind bars, has the bulletproof résumé and the rugged looks of a law-and-order Republican, which is what he was until last year. That was when he announced he would run for attorney general -- as a Democrat.

He is now running neck-and-neck with Republican Phill Kline, an iconic social conservative who made headlines by seeking the names of abortion-clinic patients and vowing to defend science-teaching standards that challenge Darwinian evolution. What's more, Morrison is raising money faster than Kline and pulling more cash from Republicans than Democrats.

The head of the Kansas GOP sniffs at the this exodus, calling it "political opportunism." Of course, the Kansas GOP is smarting over the fact that their former head is now a. a Dem and b. the running mate of Kathleen Sebelius.

Meanwhile, Morrison has the endorsement of John Walsh, of "America's Most Wanted" fame.

I can't help but wonder what ol' Bob Dole thinks of this. Not to mention Nancy Kassebaum Baker. Kassebaum Baker in particular is a classic old-school GOP moderate, and she can't be too happy with the Talibanization of the GOP.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Homophobes on gay GOPers: Now it's getting fuuuuuuuuuun!

The aforementioned Gun Toting Liberal points to this Nation piece featuring the whacked-out ravings of the whacked-out religious right. Now that it's painfully apparent that gay Republicans do indeed exist, the Rev. Wildmon is babbling about secret gay cabal in the party. It's not of the same comedic caliber as AIM's "Gay Republicans Are Really Dems" argument, but it's pure comedy gold nonetheless. Wildmon got his hands on a list of gay GOP staffers and he's maaaaaaaad.

Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

"They oughtta fire every one of 'em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. "I don't care if they're heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you've got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto."

James Dobson was more nonchalant about the whole affair, claiming that Foleygate is "sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages." And Foley didn't think to tell the kids to back off or call the kids' parents? Uh huh. You know, Dobby, if you're going try to one-up Conservatives for American Values, you'll have to do better than that.

Of course, Wildmon has managed to look at the bright side of having his party taken over by an evil gay cabal. From his Nation interview:

"This [scandal] might backfire in that if the 'values voters' see the methodology being used here, that could irritate them more than ever and motivate them to vote," Wildmon assured me. "George Soros and his wrecking crew might have made a tactical mistake."

Wait. I'm confused. Is he saying that George Soros is part of a gay GOP clique? Someone please explain this to me. Is there a wingnut-to-English dictionary out there I could borrow?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Did US troops murder a journalist?

The link says it all. This is truly ugly, IF it's true.

Should Manhattan be a no-fly zone?

The crash was a tragic accident and the investigation is still ongoing. The two men killed, Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, are described as decent people. Doesn't sound like a case of reckless flyboys here, folks. Toxicology reports are still to come, but people remember Lidle as a good ballplayer and a good guy, while Stanger was supposed to be an excellent flight instructor whose students said good things about him. Gothamist has the basic info. Basically, there are still questions, not only about what happened, but about the rules for aircraft flying over NYC. And here's more:

And, in a strange, strange twist of fate, the plane landed in the bedroom of Kathleen Caronna. She is the woman who was in a month long coma after the Thanksgiving Day parade Cat in the Hat balloon hit a streetlamp and fell on top of her, fracturing her skull. Caronna was on her way home.

The most hee-larious Foleygate analysis to date!

The Gun Toting Liberal points to wingnut watchdog group Accuracy in Media (AIM), who've offered this, erm, odd take on the Foley scandal. To wit: the gay Republicans involved are closeted Democrats and Foleygate is a "Democratic dirty trick." As far as I can see, the AIM article is not satire, and it was written with a straight face.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh NO. Not again...

A plane crashed into a high-rise. Of course, the report gets the geography all wrong.

Police say an aircraft has crashed into a building on Manhattan's Upper East Side at 72nd Street and York Avenue. It is near Rockefeller Center.

There was no word on casualties.

Video from the scene shows at least three apartments in the high rise fully engulfed in flames.

It's unclear if it was a small plane or a helicopter.

Uh, folks? York Avenue and 72nd Street is NOT near Rockefeller Center. Still, reports like this give me the willies. More news to follow, I'm sure.

Update: NY1 has more on the crash. It's not terror-related, but the details are still awful.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Republicans who've had it

Surfing on into Kos, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble on this editorial from the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, New York. From the aforementioned editorial, by business editor Douglas Cunningham:

I've had it. The Republican leadership in the House, beginning with Speaker Dennis Hastert, has got to go. As in now. I'm thinking we need to plow through four or five people right below Hastert, too. If the Republican members of the House had any guts, they'd have ousted these people last week. If the Republican leadership had any shame, they would have quit last week.

Apparently, not very many people these days have either, at least in Washington. Anyone who knew anything about the scandal, I want them gone. If the Republicans come to be known as the party that protects gay sexual predators, we're finished. I am not ready to abandon the party of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater to the likes of Mark Foley.

The Hastert storyline is one in which there's no percentage. The most degenerate gambler wouldn't place a bet on Hastert and the rest surviving. The Hastert line is this: I take responsibility, but I've done nothing wrong. This is no worse than Democratic sex scandals. We, personally, have done nothing wrong.

Well, to start with, you did nothing about Foley. Do we need to know more? The Republican sex scandals are suddenly pure and virginal? Foley, to the pier. Hastert, to the bench.

Some of you then trot out, Oh, sure, it's a sex scandal that gets you upset. Everything else was A-OK.

No, it's not just that we understand this sex scandal, though it is awfully easy to understand. Pretty much everyone knows, on a visceral level, that what has gone on with Foley is deeply wrong.

The reason Republicans are bent out of shape is that this Foley scandal is the proverbial last straw. We've had it. The out-of-control spending. The earmarks. The graft with the lobbyists. The arrogance. The abrogation of principles that Goldwater, Reagan and others worked decades to spread.

I saw this crackup coming in 2004, even as the GOP were doing their victory dance. That was the year, after all, that John Eisenhower, son if Ike, announced that he'd switched his voter registration to independent and was voting for Kerry. "The fact is that today’s 'Republican' Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar," he wrote. The Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans for Environmental Protection refused to endorse the president for re-election. The most surprising Kerry Voter was one Mary Lou Halliburton, whose cousin formed that Halliburton.

Republican dissatisfaction was already there. One disillusioned Republican was Jazz Shaw, who explained his decision to leave the party:
The fact is, what I feel more than anything else is embarrassed. There really isn't a better word. I am, at this point, simply embarrassed to tell anyone that I'm a Republican. I can't even recognize the party anymore, and the damage that the GOP is doing to this country on more levels than I could possibly enumerate in one post is quite simply more than I can stand.

Again, this was in 2004, folks. Right after the election hailed as such a victory for the new, not-so-improved GOP. The GOP that no longer stood for restraint, fiscal responsibility, or individual freedom. Some Republicans were happy to go along for the ride with the "new" GOP. Others didn't.

The rift really wasn't such a long time coming, was it?

Last year, another ex-Republican summarized his disgust as follows:
We're poisoning our planet through gluttony and ignorance.

We're teetering on the brink of self-inflicted insolvency.

We're selfishly and needlessly sacrificing the best of a generation.

And we're lying about it.

While it has compiled this record of failure and deception, the party which I'm leaving today has spent its time, energy and political capital trying to save Terri Schiavo, battling the threat of single-sex unions, fighting medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide, manufacturing political crises over presidential nominees, and selling privatized Social Security to an America that isn't buying. We fiddle while Rome burns.

Enough is enough. I quit.