Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gah! HE'S still around?!?

Once upon a time, I read X-Men comics.

Shaddap! It was the 1980s, before they were ever a franchise. There weren't any movies, cartoons, action figures, or slash fanfics. At least no slash fanfics that I know of.

So no, I wasn't geeky. I was cool, mmmmmm-kay?

Anyway, as I grew up and became more (AHEM!) sophisticated, I started reading stuff like Sandman and lost interest in following the ever-expanding X-Universe. This is probably a good thing, because just as I was getting into Sandman, Rob Liefeld was becoming le hot artist des comics and Marvel was starting to suck ass.

In retrospect, this was a good thing. For those unfamiliar with Liefeld: Ever wondered what would happen if a comics fanboy, addicted Punisher, Nick Fury, and other gun-totin' comic-book manly men, somehow landed an artist's gig without formal training or even a basic grasp of human anatomy? Well, you'd have Rob Liefeld. His artwork usually has lots of screaming, scowling, squinting superheroes brandishing large weapons. Within the comic book industry, he is generally considered to be a douchebag. Among other things, he has called Alan Moore "a whiner." People interested in further details (including his possible reliance on tracing paper) should just go to his Wikipedia entry.

Despite his controversial history and often prickly relationships with his colleagues, Liefeld continues to get work. And the fanboys and fangirls continue to mutter, "I/my brother/my friend/my goddamn cat could draw better than this hack!"

Meanwhile, one brave soul has managed to compile the very worst of Liefeld's work. It is a truly frightening list, but for some reason it omits the image below:

Of course, there could be a reason for this. Maybe it's part of a special issue on steroid abuse in the superhero community.

Liefeld, however, has decided to move on from superheroes to...drum roll please...the Bible.

Yes, the Bible. Only instead of wearing robes and sandals and stuff, Moses, David, Samson, and all their Biblical buddies have gotten the Liefeld treatment. They're heavily muscled, they wear a lot of outfits with pouches, and their adventures take place in a science fiction/comic book setting. See the concept art for more. Who but Rob Liefeld would reimagine King David as an extreme sports fanatic?

Paging Elayne Riggs! There's a ComicMix column in here somewhere.

Meanwhile, I can't help wondering: where's Bill Donahue and the Catholic League when you really need them?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not that anyone noticed or cares...

...but Tom Tancredo is dropping out of the presidential race.

Awwwww. Poor widdle neocons

It's bad enough that their stupid foreign policies don't work. Now Time magazine doesn't want them anymore. Yes, the great Kristolhammer juggernaut is no more. In their place, the magazine has hired some tweek from the National Review who wrote a dumb book called The Party of Death that sold about 50 copies.

Says "Jim" in the comments section:

This action coming from the pile of crap magazine that named a commie "Person of the Year" as opposed to General Petraeus. I think enough is said about them right there...

"Jim" forgets 2004's Simian Man of the Year, George W. Bush. And its 2005 cover girl, Ann Coulter. My, these wingnuts are so sensitive, aren't they?

Just when you're getting into the holiday spirit...

...along comes James Pinkerton, the dumbest editorial columnist this side of Jonah Goldberg. Pinkerton, it seems, was hired to fill a Kool-Aid drinker quota at Newsday. Before Election Day, he was predicting that La Hill's ambiguous stance on licenses for illegal immigrants could sink her in 2008. Two days later, after the elections, it seemed that illegal immigration really wasn't the hot rod issue Pinkerton's and his GOP buddies thought it would be.


I mean, this guy is just fucking stupid. Recently, he's been channeling other people. Like German military generals. And now, the mayor of New York City.

He really needs to give this up.

Could the Democratic nomination really go to Barack Obama - you know, middle name Hussein?

And could the Republican nomination really go to Mike Huckleberry? I mean Huck Finn; I mean Huckabee. Whatever.

Woo hoo! Awesome parroting of wingnut cliches, dude! Islamophobia and class hatred in one fell swoop!

Pinkerton should consider scrapping this pundit gig and opening his own psychic hotline. It would enhance his credibility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Torture: The nightmare scenario

Amidst the discussion of Geneva Conventions, waterboarding, Gitmo, and whether 'Merica really should be the "good guy" on the world stage, I have questions for the faux patriots and torture defenders:

Suppose an innocent person ends up in Gitmo?

Suppose this very person is subjected to--what's the right-wing PC term?--"advanced interrogation techniques"?

See, there's such a thing as mistaken identity. A perfectly innocent man may have the same name as, say, an al Qaeda operative. Or he may bear a close resemblance to said operative.

Obviously, these "advanced interrogation techniques" are woefully ineffective in this case. For one thing, the prisoner, being innocent, would have no information to provide in the war on terror. At what point do the interrogators realize that these techniques aren't working? Or that maybe they've got the wrong guy?

Imagine an innocent man being taken from his home country and spirited away to Gitmo. He's not allowed basic legal rights because, since he is a potential terrorist, he is not, after all, innocent until proven guilty the way most prisoners are. Imagine this innocent man subjected to "advanced interrogation techniques" like waterboarding.

Imagine if the story found its way into the national media. We're talking about Abu Ghraib times 100 here. We're talking about Osama and other demented fundie smirking gleefully as revulsion spreads throughout the Muslim world. We're talking about potential world pariah status here.

In this nightmare scenario, America's troops--the ones good, patriotic Americans support--are the first to suffer. What's to stop a foreign enemy from spitting on the Geneva Conventions, Bushco-style?

American foreign policy has a way of backfiring miserably. The US spent decades propping up scumbags like Batista the Shah of Iran. The result? Said scumbags were tossed out and replaced by unfriendly regimes. The US supported Saddam Hussein in the war against the unfriendly Iranians. You know what happened next. You also know what happened in Afghanistan.

The war on terror has similar potential. Only this time, instead of supporting torturers in Latin America and the Middle East, we'd be doing the torturing ourselves. Forget about the "slippery slope" of "advanced interrogation techniques." It's not a slope--it's a 500-foot plunge off a cliff.

Now do you see why your fellow Americans are so antsy about torture and the Geneva Conventions and all those other things that Fox News tells you not to worry about? It goes beyond good guys and bad guys. It really is in America's best interests not to torture.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gee, I'm already feeling 1980s nostalgia

There's a tribute band for every act you can think of. Like Hair Supply, billed as "the greatest heavy metal tribute to Air Supply in the tri-state area!" They even have a MySpace page. And curiously enough, one of the band's Myspace friends is a metal Bee Gees tribute band. Both bands are currently without record deals, alas.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some English Beat for the afternoon

Here's "Save It for Later," a kewl toon.

I have a question

Am I the only person in this country who really doesn't care that Mitt Romney is a Mormon?

"I tawt I taw a legal summons!"

And you thought our legal system was fucked.

Tweety may get a chance to take the witness stand and sing like a canary. An Italian court ordered the animated bird, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy, to testify in a counterfeiting case.

In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.

The court summons cites Titti, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino — the Italian names for the characters — as damaged parties in the criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.

Instead of naming only the companies and their legal representatives, clerks also wrote in the witness list the names of the cartoons that decorated the toys and gadgets the man had reproduced, said Fiorenza Sorotto, vice president of Disney Company Italia.

"Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," Sorotto joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that's what we try to do."

The Naples court will have to rewrite the summons, although this will probably delay the trial, said Disney lawyer Cristina Ravelli.

"Let's hope the characters will not be prosecuted for failing to appear," Ravelli quipped.

Calls seeking comment from Warner Bros. in Milan were not immediately returned. Phones at the Naples court were not answered Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

When stupid people get too much authority

No, this post isn't about BushCo. It's about a bunch of cops in Wichita who tasered a hearing-impaired man wearing a towel and nothing else. Badtux has his own theories and wonders if this episode is a porn movie in the making.

Really, tasering a guy in a bath towel? Which Mensa candidate thinks this is a good idea?

"Today's word is...oxymoron!"

Something tells me this picture wasn't taken at a kosher deli.

(Originally found at Gothamist.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gimme back my freaking money

Rudy Giuliani seems hell-bent on making certain nobody in NYC votes for him. So far, he's succeeding. Now, it turns out he billed NYC taxpayers for his extramarital canoodling.

Is Pat Robertson kicking himself yet? Or, you know, wishing he'd endorsed a nice, proper Christian like Huckabee or Thompson?

Meanwhile, where's Bloomberg? Wouldn't it be nice if Rudy repaid the city and the money were distributed as tax rebates? Yes, it would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Larry, give it up already

Senator Craig is going to wish he'd simply retired three months ago.

For over a year people have been telling me that Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman was working on a thorough investigative piece on a secret that had long been out in DC gay circles, that homophobic right-wing Republican Senator Larry Craig was addicted to sex with men. Some of the closeted gay Republicans on Capitol Hill occasionally-- rarely but occasionally-- get a pang of conscience about demonizing other gay people and will refrain from voting to destroy the lives of gay men and women and their families. But not Larry Craig. All the time he was out hunting for anonymous sex in toilets and gay bars he was part of the 100% crowd of hysterical anti-gay extremists. He strongly opposed prohibiting job discrimination against gays and lesbians. He strongly opposed expanding hate crimes legislation to include crimes perpetrated against gays and lesbians. He strongly supported legislation and even a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage. Every opportunity he's had to vote against gay people he's taken. And all the while, according to the "he-said, he-said" report in today's Idaho Statesman, he was sneaking around in the dark having sex with strange men.

It's kind of funny, isn't it? Craig's fellow GOPers Repubs Hagel, Warner, and Allard are choosing to retire with as much dignity as a rubber-stamper possibly can, while Craig insists on holding onto his job.

Doll blogging time!

This sweetie is a Madame Alexander Russian doll. I got her on eBay.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

"And Leon's getting LAAAAARRRRRGERRR!"

On this day--World AIDS Day--I've been thinking about my favorite movie of all time, Airplane! I know what you're thinking: "Okay, Truffle. Isn't this kind of a non sequitur?"

Let me explain.

Sometimes, a film has one actor who steals every scene he's in. In Airplane! that actor was Stephen Stucker, who played Johnny the flight controller. Everyone in that movie had great lines ("I am serious, and don't call me Shirley!"). But Stucker? He had the best ones.

"How about Mr. Rogers?"

"Johnny, what can you make of this?"
"Well, I can make a hat. Or a brooch! Or a pterodactyl.."

"The fog's getting thicker!"
"And Leon's getting laaaaaaaarrrrrrger!"

"The tower? Rapunzel! Rapunzel!"

"Oh, it's a big, pretty white plane with red stripes and curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a really big Tylenol."

Years later, I looked up Stucker's IMDB entry. I hoped to find that he was, at the very least, doing TV guest spots or maybe appearing stage or teaching drama at a university. Instead? He was one of the first actors to announce his HIV status, and he died of AIDS in 1986. Aside from his stint on Airplane! and its not-so-hot sequel, his screen credits were fairly small and insignificant.

My first thought? "Wah! No fair!" I laugh my ass off every time I watch Airplane! Especially Johnny.

I can't find much information about the guy. There's his Wikipedia entry and very little else. (Airplane's directors remember him as a scene-stealer even when he was an extra. Oh yeah, and those one-liners? He improvised a lot of them.)

I think Stucker is one of those actors who deserved a higher profile, a stronger career, and, of course, a longer life.

Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Stucker. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I have a question

Lots of people love to bitch about (liberal) celebrities talking about politics. When are they going say something about Chuck Norris's loopy Huckabee endorsement?

I'm curious.

The new gay subculture?

Methinks Ruben Bolling is on to something.

Via Jolly Roger.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Okay, this news, if true, is way funny. But still, if I were a gay male escort (which I'm not, being neither gay, nor male, nor an escort), I'd have my standards. And they wouldn't include this guy:

Okay, I am really hoping this is not true. Because I hate the thought of anyone being desperate enough to accept him as a client. No. It can't be true. The Trentster is leaving to make money as a lobbyist. Or go on Faux News. Or spend more time with his family. Something innocuous like that. You can't convince me otherwise. Lalalalalalala I can't hear you.

I heart 1970s soul

And to prove it, here's the Emotions, singing "Best of My Love." I saw these ladies on a PBS special a few years ago, and yes, they can still hit the high notes! Their Stax material is also great.

It had to happen--Rudy vs. Mitt

Mr. 9/11 and Mr. H-E-Double Hockey Sticks have wiped the brown off their noses long enough to exchange personal attacks. No, they're not accusing each other of being faux conservatives. It's better than that.

The bulk of the battle stemmed from Romney's decision on Friday to call for the resignation of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman -- 20 months after he appointed her.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, learned that Tuttman had released without bail a convicted killer, who has since been charged with killing a married couple in Washington state.

Romney defended his decision Saturday, saying that Tuttman had "showed an inexplicable lack of good judgment," and that, despite her "record of being a law and order prosecutor," her poor judgment requires her to step down.

Giuliani, who was also in New Hampshire, told The Associated Press on Saturday, "the governor is going to have to explain his appointment and the judge is going to have to explain her decision."

Romney shot back -- making jabs at Giuliani's judgment.

Romney pointed to his rival's close friend and former New York police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, who is being indicted on multiple counts of corruption and fraud.

"It's strange to have him bringing forward my selection of individuals to serve, judges and so forth, when he's got Bernie Kerik all over him these days. When someone he knew was under investigation, he recommended to the president to be secretary of Homeland Security?... Throwing stones from a glass house is never a wise thing to do," Romney said in an interview to be aired Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Man, Wednesday's debate can't come soon enough. It's got to be more interesting than the Hillary and Friends show the Dem debates have become. Speaking of the Dem debates, does anyone besides me think Biden would be a better Secretary of State than President?

Gym-related rant

After work, I go to the local YMCA for the obligatory calorie-burning. This is fun. I have to find a locker first. This is not so fun. Why? Because of people who don't bring locks to the locker room, that's why. The YMCA after work is a madhouse, and nothing invokes the chorus of "They're Coming To Take Away Haa Haaaaa!" quite like opening a locker door and finding someone's stuff in there. Come on, you dimwits. Get. A. Lock. For. Your. Stuff. You are lucky most of your fellow gym goers are nice people who won't steal anything. Seriously, it's a pain in the ass and totally unfair to other people looking for empty lockers.

The YMCA people advise everyone to get locks. Locks are your friends. Dig?

In other news, the subway had signal problems, so I had to take the bus home and then walk. This is not my lucky day.

I don't get it

What's up with all these recently re-elected Republicans suddenly up and resigning without bothering to finish their terms? Denny Hastert wouldn't deign to simply retire in 2008. That was silly enough. But now Trent Lott, who just won another term last year, is resigning at the end of 2007. There were rumors circa 2005 that he would retire, but he chose to run again. Not that I'm sorry to see yet another GOP slimebag leave Capitol Hill, but it sounds like a huge waste of time and money. Actually, it reminds me of professional loser Tom DeLay, who stayed on the GOP ballot until they couldn't get rid of him.

Word has it that Lott wants to make money in the private sector. Could a Singing Senators reunion be in the works? Larry Craig is probably going to have a lot of time on his hands after 2008.

In other news, is it just me? Or is Bush holding Middle East peace talks kind of like Nicole Ritchie hosting a cooking show?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And they wonder why nobody reads them

Newsday's op-ed section sucks, and a look at their regular op-ed columnists shows why. Mondays, there's faux libertarian Raymond J. Keating. Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's wingnut welfare recipient James Pinkerton, spouting all kinds of tired talking points and wrongheaded silliness. What kind of silliness, you ask? Well, Pinkerton's gone all New Agey on his readership and tried channeling Carl Von Clausewitz, with predictably hilarious results.

Ironically, my biggest single point about war was actually a point about peace: winning the peace. As I wrote, "war is a continuation of politics by other means." That is, if Country A can't get Country B to do what it wants through diplomacy, well, then, Country A might have to attack. War may or may not be just or glorious; that's not my concern. I am practical-minded, albeit maybe a little cold-blooded.

Unfortunately, Bush has not pursued this policy of "war is a continuation of politics by other means." But this fact has not occurred to Clausevinkerton, or whatever this new composite entity calls himself. The result is one of the loopiest op-ed columns since Charles Krauthammer imagined himself talking to Martians. What's next--using astrological charts to predict 2008's elections?

But seriously, people. Newsday is proof positive of why print newspapers are floundering these days. Despite its blue-state readership and the editorial board's generally liberal stance, it has no regular liberal op-ed columnists. And somehow, whoever's in charge doesn't "get" that two right-wingers three days a week is not balance. Nor do they "get" that pandering to the now-discredited right wing won't satisfy the few remaining Kool-Aid guzzlers.

Take this predictable letter to the editor.

The editorial board of Newsday has the audacity to criticize the treatment our returning soldiers receive ["Help them once they're home," Editorial, Nov. 11]. Even the language in the headline implies that our troops need not be supported while they are "over there."

For the past four years, the liberal press, led locally by Newsday, has done everything possible to encourage our enemies in this conflict by undermining our war effort, thus prolonging the hostilities and increasing the number of U.S. casualties, dead and wounded.

Of course, our troops should receive the best care possible, and the debacle at Walter Reed Hospital is inexcusable. However, on this issue the Newsday editors should take a good, hard look in the mirror.

Gregory Florentino
Bay Shore

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Li'l Ricky Santorum's new editorial column. David Sirota was predictably flabbergasted that this in-the-flesh joke even got the gig, given the number of smart, insightful writers that people might actually want to read and discuss. As Temple Stark noted in the comments, "There is a difference between creating controversy from intelligent discourse and hiring a complete fucking whining loser of a wannabe human. People just won't read him."

In other news, Bush has pardoned two turkeys. Strangely, neither is named Scooter Libby.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I have a question

The next time the Democrats have a debate, could they stop attacking Hillary and start attacking the Republicans and their crappy policies?

Please? Pretty please?

I is an edumacated blogger

cash advance

(Via Mockingbird's Medley.)

Myths that need need debunking

For starters, Hollywood is not a hotbed of wealthy liberals. But still, look Rudy's new movie-star friends! Robert Duvall? Gary Sinise?

Here’s the dirty little secret — Hollywood isn’t really liberal. As a community it has strong and large conservative strains, particularly at the top of the business side where all the strings get pulled (see: Murdoch, Rupert).

Not to mention Ben Stein, Dennis Miller, Bruce Willis (who these days denies he's a Republican), and Bo Derek.

The reason Hollywood conservatives like to bitch about being persecuted is because victimology is part of the whole right-wing shtick, not because Joel Surnow actually suffers for his political beliefs. I mean, does anyone think that The 1/2 Hour News Hour was anything other than a wingnut welfare operation?

I've wondered if Michael Medved was another wingnut welfare recipient myself.

Speaking of wingnuts, what'll they say about this?

Truthdig tips its hat this week to South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who took the Anglican Church to task for what he called its “homophobic” attitude, declaring in a recent interview with BBC Radio 4 that, “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”

Archbishop Tutu zeroed in on church leadership in his critique, lamenting that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has not promoted the idea of a “welcoming God” to all members. Instead, Tutu charged, Williams and other top officials have unduly focused on the subject of gay priests, which cropped up again in the controversy over the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, when much bigger considerations should be given priority. “Our world is facing problems—poverty, HIV and AIDS—a devastating pandemic, and conflict,” the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner told the BBC. “In the face of all of that, our church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality.”

Maybe Rudy Giuliani will bring this up with his new friend Pat Robertson. Speaking of Rudy, it looks like the myth of "America's Mayor" is about to go the way of those Bigfoot rumors.

Meanwhile, Dave Neiwert reminds us of the holes in Ron Paul's "libertarian" philosophy. Like his opposition to reproductive rights. And his cozying to far-right racist wackos. And other assorted scary stuff. Go read it. It's educational. (This is not to say that Ron Paul doesn't have possible usefulness as a sort of a reverse Nader.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let us give thanks this Turkey day...

...for no recess appointments.

From Sen. Harry Reid:

The Senate will be coming in for pro-forma sessions during the Thanksgiving holiday to prevent recess appointments.

My hope is that this will prompt the President to see that it is our mutual interests for the nominations process to get back on track.

While an election year looms, significant progress can still be made on nominations.

I am committed to making that progress if the President will meet me half way.

But that progress can’t be made if the President seeks controversial recess appointments and fails to make Democratic appointments to important commissions.

As Democratic leader, I recommend nominees to the President for many important commissions like the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

These independent agencies are required by law to have Democratic representation.

As a result, the President has a statutory obligation to honor my recommendations and move on them in good faith.

And, up until recently, the President has generally discharged that obligation.

In the last several months, however, the administration has been stalling progress on Democratic appointments.

This problem existed before the August break.

In an effort to solve it, I worked hard to confirm over 40 administration nominees in exchange for a commitment by the President to make progress on a number of important commissions.

When we reconvened after August break, I also worked to quickly move on the President’s new Attorney General.

I did this despite my own opposition to that nominee.

Even with all this hard work on our side, the commitments the administration made to me before August break were not met.

In the almost three months since that break, we have received no Democratic nominees to full-time commission positions.

For some, in fact, absolutely no discernable progress has been made.

With Thanksgiving break looming, the administration informed me that they would make several recess appointments.

I indicated I would be willing to confirm various appointments if the administration would agree to move on Democratic appointments.

They would not make that commitment.

As a result, I am keeping the Senate in pro-forma to prevent recess appointments until we get this process back on track.

Can't imagine Mitch McConnell's response to this.

Doll blogging!

One of my hobbies is doll collecting. Granted, it's a somewhat sporadic hobby, but I've always had a fondness for dolls. I bought this Japanese doll in San Francisco's Japantown.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jeopardy answer: "No, not really"

Jeopardy question: "Is there any candidate more vacant than Mitt Romney"?

(Asked by my brother last night.)

Stuff I'm listening to

Julie Driscoll fronting Brian Auger and the Trinity, singing Richie Havens' "Indian Rope Man," one of my favorite Driscoll/Auger tunes. Driscoll married pianist Keith Tippett and is now an avant-jazz chanteuse who performs as Julie Tippetts. Here she's rockin' the short cut and singing like a true blue-eyed soul queen, not unlike Annie Lennox about 15 years later.

Speaking of blue-eyed soul queens, here's the late, great Dusty Springfield. Recommended to all: Dusty in Memphis. One R&B-loving British gal and a crack R&B session team. Good stuff.

Oh, and dig Dusty's sleeves.

For once, the US Constitution wins

Three cheers for Sens. Dodd and Leahy. The forthcoming FISA bill will not, repeat NOT, include retroactive immunity for telecoms. The New York Times has more.

Senator Schumer voted to strip telecom immunity out of the bill. It's not enough to make up for his pro-Mukasey vote, but at least this time he voted on the side of the angels.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Redefining centrism OR Why does Blue Dog = Bush Dog?

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-SD, with two South Dakota Sioux.

Following my post the other day, I've been thinking more about what centrism is and isn't.

And when I do, I find myself thinking about strangely silent GOP centrists, both in and out of office. What do they make of the cesspool their party has become? And then I remember that if they really were concerned, they would've spoken up years ago. So forget them.

Instead, let's turn our attention to one of those Bush-enabling Blue Dogs, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota. She supports that stupid Federal Marriage Amendment. She voted to give Bushco more power under FISA, she voted to make the Patriot Act permanent, and she voted for that horrible Military Commissions Act. She's the kind of Democrat that progressives hate, not because she's a moderate, but because she supports laws and policies that are anything but moderate.

And, like too many moderates, she involves herself in ineffective "bipartisan solutions," especially regarding Situation FUBAR.

So...Is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin one of those scary Lieberdems? Is she a (shudder) DINO? Not quite.

Judging from this profile, Herseth Sandlin is a strong populist who doesn't fit traditional definitions of left or right. For one thing, she's campaigning for John Edwards, one of the more progressive 2008 candidates. As an advocate of rural issues, she feels that Edwards is the best candidate for rural America. She supports biofuels and family farms. Since taking office in 2004, she has sponsored countless legislation to benefit Native Americans. (For a rundown, see here, here, and here. She is pro-choice and supports SCHIP. A quick look at Project VoteSmart, that great political cheat sheet, shows that she gets high marks from many liberal groups--as well as an A from the National Rifle Association. She also receives high scores from Progressive Punch.

In fact, Herseth Sandlin is exactly the kind of Democrat who might appeal to voters who feel let down by Republicans. She's cast some atrocious votes, but GOP-lite she ain't.

Alas, it's the crappy votes that stand out more prominently than her populist stance. And yes, at least one SD centrist has a big problem with her FISA vote. What to do when a moderate supports immoderate policies?

Well, maybe the problem is bigger than one individual Blue Dog Democrat. Or even the voting block of Blue Dogs who break with the rest of the party and vote for these crappy policies. Maybe the main problem is that the concept of "centrism" has changed in the Bush years. Instead of aisle-crossing pragmatists in both parties being productive and building a consensus on issues, there are a bunch of Republicans who don't dare break with their party, a lot of Democrats who consistently vote with theirs because the other party is stupid, and the Blue Dogs, who are the reason why a lot of Bush's laws get passed.

Blue Dog defenders point out that these congresscritters represent purple to crimson-red states and districts. Even so, they're out of step with national mood. Bush's approval rating pretty much sucks all over the country. At this point, the Blue Dogs have nothing to lose by refusing to play along with the administration's fear-mongering, Constitution-shredding antics.

In the words of one South Dakotan:

Things are looking pretty grim for the Republicans in the Congress. C'mon Rep. Herseth Sandlin, please please please... for our South Dakota guys and gals...

Just say it...

"Our soldiers have done well and fulfilled their mission. And, it's become crystal clear that it's time to redeploy from Iraq. Now."


The Bush/Blue Dogs are a diverse bunch, ranging from Southern Zell Miller wannabes to populists like Herseth Sandlin. In the latter group, we can add her North Dakota neighbor, Congressman Earl Pomeroy, who went so far as to call President Bush a clown. Notes the Rural Populist:

Earl Pomeroy knows some of the same rhetoric used by new darlings of the West such as Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). He needs to learn how to use that good-old-populist rhetoric to justify standing up and voting against the Bush Administration on issues such as the war and the invasion of personal liberty though expanded wiretapping authority. His constituents are already sympathetic to a populist argument for doing so.

The Republicans seem content to continue on their merry party-before-country way. But there's no reason for a moderate or even conservative Democrat to follow (see John Murtha for proof).

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin claims to be "an independent voice for South Dakota." She and her fellow Bush Dogs should be independent enough not to fall in line behind Bush's dangerous policies. How do you convince them? I'm not sure.

For more about Bush/Blue dogs, check out Open Left.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Music to save the world by

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, featuring Teddy Pendegrass. The song in question is "Wake Up Everybody." Man, we could use more songs like this.

A thought re Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich, fighter though he is, is better off remaining in the House. In fact, I think it would be a good idea to give him a nice, high-profile position in the house. Like maybe majority leader or even House Speaker. It's a long shot, not unlike his campaign. But I can dream, yes?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For once, the bad guys lose...

...and a corrupt Republican gets thrown out on his ass. Kentucky's scandal-plagued governor, Ernie Fletcher, was trounced by Democrat Steve Beshear. Fletcher got 41% of the vote. OUCH!

I imagine the folks over at Ditch Mitch are happy as a pig in slop today. They have an interesting finding on the election results:

Beshear doing EXTREMELY well so far in western Kentucky, which is arguably the state’s most socially conservative region. Gay-baiting didn’t work here, it appears. Troubling sign for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) next year?

Speaking of Dan Abrams...

Why is he playing Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" on his show? I'm confused.

Crybaby conservative alert!

Somewhere a wingnut's head is exploding.

Riding a ratings wave from “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” a program that takes strong issue with the Bush administration, MSNBC is increasingly seeking to showcase its nighttime lineup as a welcome haven for viewers of a similar mind.

Lest there be any doubt that the cable channel believes there is ratings gold in shows that criticize the administration with the same vigor with which Fox News’s hosts often champion it, two NBC executives acknowledged yesterday that they were talking to Rosie O’Donnell about a prime-time show on MSNBC.

During the nine months she spent on “The View” before departing abruptly last spring, Ms. O’Donnell raised viewership notably. She did so while lamenting the unabated casualties of the Iraq war and advocating the right to gay marriage, among other positions.

Note the operative phrase: "Raised viewership notably." Even though Rosie probably hurt Bitsy Hasselback's feelings a few times.

Say, if Rosie gets the gig, would Bitsy agree, perhaps, to be her co-host? Sort of like Colmes to Rosie's Hannity? The thought makes one rub one's hands with glee.

I'm not really a Rosie fan, but she'd probably be fun to watch. Could you imagine Rosie inviting Newt Gingrich to be on her show? Or Rudy? Or even some clueless Beltway Dem like Pelosi or Schumer? Really, after the rabidness of Bill O'Reilly, Rosie O'Donnell is probably the picture of politeness in comparison, yes?

Of course Faux News' stooges are pissed. They're now obsessing about it, too.

From News Hounds:

Fox doesn't give a rat's patootie whether or not advertisers will follow. Fox is freaked out that a Rosie show would smash Hannity & Colmes' ratings. According to Allison, Dan Abram's show -- which runs opposite Hannity & Colmes now -- is up 40% over last year. According to the article linked to above, Keith Olbermann's ratings is up 33% over last year. (Several months ago I read they were up more like 54%.) Democrats and progressives, who comprise 50% of the country, are starving for television that speaks to them. Rosie would probably be tremendously successful and I submit that's why Fox is having a hissy fit about this. Fox wants its viewers to call MSNBC and complain about that "radical" (as John Gibson called her) and quash this deal before it gets going. And they act like they're such big, bad tough guys.

Dan Abrams? Wow. Is it just me or is that guy kind of a pipsqueak?

Speaking of pipsqueaks, Li'l Tucker, it seems, is headed for cancellation city. Which means he'll probably end up at that great refuge for right-wing losers: namely, Faux News. Note to Roger Ailes: give this guy a job already, so he can lose any remaining legitimacy and we won't have to see him on Sunday morning blabfests anymore. Okay?

Meanwhile, does anyone really watch Glenn Beck's show? This is a serious question.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What is this thing called centrism?

American progressives flinch at the words "centrism" and "centrist." Seriously, who can blame them? Centrism conjures up images of Liberdems displaying their naked butt cheeks to Fox News "analysts," screaming "THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?!?" Centrism is generally agreed to be a lousy strategy, unless you're one of those lame-ass consultants paid according to how many elections you lose for the Democratic party.

But is it really? Does "centrist" have to be synonymous with "right-wing Bush brown-noser"? Is centrism really the problem? Or is the definition of centrism the problem? Does "Blue Dog" absolutely have to equal "Bush Dog"?

I don't believe so.

Over at the Great Orange Inferno, there's mad respect for moderate and even conservative Democrats like Jim Webb and John Murtha. Webb was a fracking Reagan staffer, remember? But progressive activists respect his tough stance against the Iraq war, his support for the troops, and his pride in his military service. Similarly, John Murtha is a military veteran and seasoned hawk with ties to the Pentagon. Neither is an arch-liberal by any means. But here's what makes them strong Democrats: they fight and rebut the White House frames and talking points.

Democrats should quit squawking about finding the "center." At this point in time, the Democratic party is the centrist party. The Republican party is the party of the reactionary right.

It wasn't always so, of course. Thirty years ago, sensible, level-headed moderates happily found a home in the GOP. They were liberal on social issues and believed in fiscal responsibility. They were rational and sane. They were comfortably, happily centrist. They were great for building bridges between parties. And they had cool names. Jim Jeffords. John Chafee. Olympia Snowe. Only in America can a Republican senator have a rather hippie-ish sounding name.

Heck, 30 years ago I might have been a moderate Republican.

Sadly, the few remaining GOP moderates have become sad, voiceless, anonymous Bush enablers. Really, you think the Democratic leaders in Congress are spineless? What about all these self-proclaimed centrists and traditional conservatives who spent years rubber stamping all kinds of right-wing reactionary bullshit? That sort of party-before-country behavior is the epitome of spinelessness.

Meanwhile, popular, capable centrist Democrats occupy state houses in the Midwest and the Rockies (e.g., Kathleen Sibelius and Janet Napolitano). Sibelius in particular has managed to lure moderate Kansas Republicans into the Democratic fold. The latest Democratic governor, Ohio's Ted Strickland is the latest member of the club.

As governor, he said in an interview in his statehouse office, "we've tried to avoid being overly partisan." As party builder, he said he wants to focus on "what I call the kitchen table issues ... the basic issues that are important to a family's quality of life."

Strickland's first budget passed with only one dissenting vote in the Republican-controlled legislature. It included a property tax cut for seniors and the disabled as well as more money for higher education. It also provided health insurance for children living in families with up to about $62,000 in income - a bipartisan accomplishment that stands in contrast to the veto struggle now unfolding in Washington over the same issue.

Let's see...focusing on issues rather than ideology. Giving seniors a tax cut. Investing in education and health care for kids. Doing the right thing for Ohio's citizens. Sounds like Strickland understands mainstream priorities. Poll results specifically show that most Americans worry about health care and education. What Governor Strickland is doing is hardly radical...unless you live in DC.

Focusing on practical, pragmatic solutions, rather than ideology, is what centrism should be all about. Nobody in Washington seems to realize this anymore--not Republicans and certainly not Congressional Blue Dogs.

Voting for Bush is not a sign of moderation. It's not pragmatism. It's pandering. It's another form of enabling, just as ridiculous and nonsensical as rubber-stamping of the few remaining GOP moderates.

By all means, the Democrats should claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility. Many already have. But it's time to get beyond shopworn think tank frames and consultants' admonishments. This mythical "center" that Democrats have been searching for is exactly where they've been standing all along.


From Kick! comes this Signe Wilkinson cartoon.

A super special prog blog!

In view of his recent blogging about healthcare, I'm dedicating this blog post to Badtux. Here's 1970s cult band National Health on "The Old Grey Whistle Test."

Friday, November 02, 2007

The strange end of red-state America

A Kossack reports that the preznit's approval rating has finally dipped below the 50 percent mark in America's last red-state holdout, Utah.

Bush Derangement Syndrome in Mormon country! Run for your lives! And dig that shade of dull gray in Cheney's home state, too.

Meanwhile, one useless wingnut responded to John Cole's recent party switcheroo by posting Cole's personal information at his blog. Shades of Graeme Frost and family. How long do you suppose it'll be before Stalkin' Malkin schleps off to West Virginia to manufacture controversies about Mr. Cole?

"Is that the only trick Rightards know?" asks FDL's TRex. The answer, alas, is yes. Malkin, after all, ran off stomping her feet when the grownups challenged her to a debate and so humiliated herself that she made Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom Watch.

Really, the best response to these right-wing assclowns is a simple "Grow the fuck up."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Republican of conscience jumps ship

For years, John Cole has been a lone voice in--well, not the wilderness, but rather a messy backyard of broken toys, smeared baby food, and poopy diapers. (That's the best analogy of the wingnutosphere I could come up with.) A Republican who had no use for the movement conservatives or the Coulter Republicans, and whose disgust became more apparent with each post. Then again, he always sounded more like a center-right kinda guy than Kool-Aid-guzzling movement conservative.

Not anymore. For one thing, Cole is no longer a Republican. In fact, he's changed his voter registration to Democrat. The wingnutosphere will snarl, but it's clear that Cole didn't leave the GOP. The GOP left him. He joins John Eisenhower and Lincoln Chafee among those ex-Republicans who came to realize that the party had no room for them or anyone else with a grip on the real world.

Welcome aboard, dude.

The ultimate crybaby conservative alert!

Li'l George Bush is really mad at the mean Democrats in Congress. Especially the ones who don't support the Iraq War and don't like Mukasey's stance on torture. So he stormed off to a wingnut think tank where people will listen to him without laughing in his face. His latest tantrum is all too predictable. Note how he congratulates the think tank's president for his 30-year tenure: "No such thing as term limits here." Gee, ain't that cute?

The whole speech is more blah blah blah designed to cheer up a bunch of hysterically clueless think tankers. But really, Li'l George shoots himself in the foot:

In the 1920s, the world ignored the words of Hitler, as he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany, take revenge on Europe, and eradicate the Jews -- and the world paid a terrible price. His Nazi regime killed millions in the gas chambers, and set the world aflame in war, before it was finally defeated at a terrible cost in lives and treasure.

Uh...George? Which party was in charge of the Oval Office during the 1920s? And which one was in charge during World War II and its aftermath? Do you really want to go there?

Then he starts whining about Mukasey's confirmation hearings.

Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war. For example, in a time of war, it is vital for the President to have a full national security team in place -- and a key member of that team is the Attorney General. The job of the Attorney General is essential to the security of America. The Attorney General is the highest ranking official responsible for our law enforcement community's efforts to detect and prevent terrorist attacks here at home....

Translation: "WAAAAAAAH! I want it I want it I want it NOW!!!!!"

As a price of his confirmation, some on that committee want Judge Mukasey to take a legal position on specific techniques allegedly used to interrogate captured terrorists. As Judge Mukasey explained in a letter to committee members, he cannot do so for several reasons: First, he does not know whether certain methods of questioning are in fact used, because the program is classified -- and therefore he is in no position to provide an informed opinion. He has not been read into the program, and won't until he is confirmed and sword in -- won't be until he is confirmed and sworn in as the Attorney General. Second, he does not want an uninformed opinion to be taken by our professional interrogators in the field as placing them in legal jeopardy.

"Torture" and "interrogation" aren't the same thing. And the question isn't about the program itself, but his view of torture. But most people (i.e., people who aren't movement conservatives) already know this.

Finally, he does not want any statement of his to give the terrorists a window into which techniques we may use, and which ones we may not use. That could help them train their operatives to resist questioning, and withhold vital information we need to stop attacks and save lives.

This is really confusing. If Mukasey says that thinks waterboarding is torture, then terrorists will be taught to withstand interrogation? Is that what the preznit is saying? Someone help me out here.

Anyway, the whole speech is worth reading as solid proof of how out of whack Bush's sense of reality truly is. He could believe that the sky is the color of orange sorbet, and if, say Patrick Leahy or Arlen Specter quizzed one of his appointees who was trying to pretend otherwise, he would no doubt go stomping off to Uncle Dick's office to throw things around and kick the wastebasket.

Once again, Howard Dean tells it like it is: "President Bush is now just making things up."

Bob Cesca has managed to deconstruct the thing without losing valuable IQ points in the process.

Congressman Kucinich was absolutely correct on both counts: the UFO thing and the president's mental stability thing. Here's why. The UFO which Kucinich claims to have seen was, in fact, President Bush successfully landing his crazy jet on the flight deck of the USS Batshit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another Dem debate liveblog

You know, debate fatigue is setting in--especially on the Democratic side. They're just not as pander-prone as their GOP counterparts. Anyhow, tonight, the Dems are debating at Drexel.

Like Ted Koppel, Brian Williams seems unable to change his facial expression as he speaks.

Barack is asked about his pledge to be more aggressive against La Hill. It's kinda weird that Barack would accuse her of sounding Republican, given his current chumminess with "ex-gay" Donnie McClurkin. Barack is not sounding too inspiring or eloquent. What are these "sharp contrasts" he speaks of? C'mon, dude, what's going on here? I've liked what he's said in the past--definitely. And he's got points about La Hill.

La Hill rebuts: "I don't think the Republicans got the message that I'm voting with them." She noted the last GOP debate, which was all "Hillary Hillary Hillary" instead of "Reagan Reagan Reagan." Truth to tell, La Hill, like Barack, usually votes on the side of the angels. But that Kyl-Lieberman vote? No, just no.

Now Edwards, talking about how Bush has "destroyed" the relationship between the president and the rest of the world. Edwards calls out La Hill: "She defends a broken system." And of course, he also calls her on Kyl-Lieberman.

Hillary responds by pointing out her record. Could she please explain Kyl-Lieberman?

She brings up fiscal responsibility. Yay Hill. But is this another debate about La Hill?

"Let's start taking the tax cuts away from the wealthy!" she says. Clearly socialistic words to the GOP.

Tim Russert asks her about Kyl-Lieberman. She says, "I'm against a rush to war." She points out when she said Bush had no authority for war. "I am not in favor of doing nothing," she insists. She says the GOP wants a false choice between war and doing nothing and speaks of "vigorous diplomacy." She said it was a show of support for economic sanctions. She said it was a non-binding resolution. But she insists that they're missing the point, which is to stop Bush et al. from pre-emptive war. Don't think I agree with this. Designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group? No. Just no.

Chris Dodd is correct. It's a dangerous resolution. He points to Cheney's current saber-rattling. And the Republicans who opposed it.

Biden doesn't sound happy with Kyl-Lieberman either. He notes the fact that oil prices went up afterwards. "We've emboldened [Bush]," he said. Wow. Biden is being concise. He's also pissed at the 76 Senators who voted for the thing. He says it contributes to the "urban legend" in the Middle East that the US "is on a crusade against Islam."

At least they're moving away from Hillary-bashing.

Hillary insists that Congress needs to rein in Bush and pushes the "vigorous diplomacy" frame re Iran. "Everything should be on the table, not just their nuclear program....You need both carrots and sticks....I want to start diplomacy."

Edwards steps in re Kyl-Lieberman, saying it "looks like it was written by the neocons."

Russert remembers Richardson's running. He says that he would negotiate with Iran. He points to the moderates in Iran and believes in compromise. He believes in talking to hostile nations (Iran, Syria, North Korea).

Remember Kucinich? He's also running. "I want to know when this Democratic Congress is going to stand up to the president" and impeach the prick. (No, he didn't say "prick.") There's applause. Man, I wish Kucinich was be Speaker of the House.

Dodd points to Pakiston as a problem area. Richardson mentions enriched uranium and loose nukes. He emphasizes diplomacy.

Most of these guys are saying the right thing...except La Hill regarding Kyl-Lieberman.

Kucinich says the media has to be careful regarding frames. Yup, he's a blogger's dream candidate. He'd negotiate with Iran. He'd encourage them to give up nuclear power as well as nuclear weapons.

La Hill says she opposes the war but does NOT oppose the soldiers. When she's president, she'll bring the troops home, so she says.

Obama's done nothing but respond to and critique La Hill. Edwards wants voters "to understand you have choices." Edwards says La Hill is more of the same.

What's the issue here--Iran, Iraq, or Hillary Clinton?

Monday, October 29, 2007

My favorite political cartoon of the year

Courtesy of Ann Telnaes.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some people just won't go away

Take Li'l Ricky Santorum.

A press conference was held at 1:30 this afternoon at the Philadelphia Inquirer to announce that it has added former Sen. Rick Santorum to its stable of columnists....

The story in the paper today includes: "Talking about the threat of Islamic terrorism is now Santorum's main occupation, though the Republican sounds laid-back these days. He is pitching a movie idea to Hollywood and laughed off speculation about a political comeback in Pennsylvania."

The article explains that he has talked with "Hollywood producer Steve McEveety, who produced the Mel Gibson megahits 'Braveheart' and 'The Passion of the Christ,' on a movie idea that, naturally, has a terrorism element."

Yo. Ricky. If Horrorwitz and Pipes won't speak up about MEK, perhaps you should. Right, Ricky? Erm...Ricky?

***cue sound of chirping crickets***

David Sirota notes the irony of a city paper in a Dem-leaning city hiring a disgraced wingnut as a columnist.

Santorum, you may recall, isn't even from Philadelphia. He was from Western Pennsylvania (I say "was" and not "is" because he actually moved to a wealthy Virginia suburb). But beyond that, you may recall, as Editor & Publisher did, that Santorum "was soundly defeated in his race for re-election last year." In fact, he received just 16 percent of the vote in Philadelphia County - the state's most populous county and the county that is the Inquirer's customer base.

So how can a newspaper like the Philadelphia Inquirer complain about losing readership when, in a major Democratic city, it is providing news analysis from a right-wing Republican who was soundly rejected by voters, who isn't even originally from Philadelphia, and who actually decided to move out of Pennsylvania while representing the state in the U.S. Senate?

Yo! David Horowitz! You there?

Mr. Horowitz and the rest of the maroons behind Islamofascism Awareness Week should be asking a few questions of their right-wing compadres, Daniel Pipes. Specifically, his defense of MEK, a Marxist-Islamofascist terror group. Alternet has more.

Alas, it turns out Pipes isn't the only rightie who's enamored of these goons. Can you say "yet another example of right-wing projection"?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Crybaby conservative alert!

Shit, won't the fundies ever quit whining about evolution? Now, they're making a documentary called Expelled! No Intelligence Allowed and are trying to gather horror stories about mean people who believe in evolution. Sheesh!

Note to all religious fundies: There is a place where your children can read about deities shaping the world to their little hearts' content. It's called...get ready for it...Sunday school. I bet there are a lot of very nice church ladies who believe in intelligent design and would love a chance to teach it to America's youth.

Mean people really, really suck

There's just no nice way to put it. Steve Bates has this bon mot from Texas GOP congresscritter Joe Barton on SCHIP.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

He's talking about SCHIP. WTF? What is it that makes Texas Republicans act like utter assholes? Something in the water down there? Is there some evil wizard who's got all them under a spell? Not only are GOP congresscritters mean and nasty, but they're utterly clueless as well. That, or they hate their jobs and they want to lose next year so they can go home and make lots of money in the private sector.

"Lipstick on a pig." Feh.

A really scary thought

Now that Rudy has switched allegiance to the Red Sox, what's next? Will Yosemite Mitt try to one-up "America's Mayor" by showing up at Yankee Stadium for opening day 2008?

Who says Muslim women are weak?

From Newsday comes the story of Hafiz Sahin, a Turkish immigrant who chased off a convenience store robber by waving an ax at him. Ms. Safin is petite and slightly built. She wears the traditional Muslim headscarf. In short, she might seem to fit the stereotype of a docile Muslim woman who's seen and not heard. Guess again.

Kevin Klein, 49, a family friend who also works at the store, said he was not surprised at Sahin's gumption. "I've seen her roughhouse with a friend," he said. "I knew she was tough."

I hate violence, but I gotta love this story. You go, girl!

Please, let this be true!

Have the Senate Dems on the Judiciary Committee come to their senses and realized that, like, torture isn't cool? I know, I know; I've been disappointed before, too. And yes, I call my senators and tell them to vote no on these Bush-kowtowing schmucks. Of course, my senators are Schumer and Clinton, who are pretty liberal. (However, WTF was La Hill thinking when she voted for Kyl-Liberman?)

It's those milquetoast Lieberman wannabes who are frustrating. The ones who don't "get" that Bush and company are a. bad people, b. bad for America, and c. NOT friends of the Democrats. The Dianne Feinsteins and Ben Nelsons, in other words. I'm sick of these idiots.

Don't get me started on "principled" Republicans who cower at the sight of the Chimp. What part of "country before party" don't these morons understand?

As usual, it's up to the Democrats to be big meanies and ask Michael Mukasey the big, big questions about whether he thinks waterboarding is torture. The full rundown is here. Guys? If Mukasey is such a fence-sitter, perhaps he shouldn't be AG. You think?

But maybe the Democrats are thinking along the same lines. Maybe.

A Democrat familiar with the panel’s deliberations said that unless Mukasey is prepared to say that waterboarding is torture, he will not receive the 10 votes on the 19-member committee required for a favorable recommendation to the full Senate.

From the "jokes writing themselves" department

Lynne Spears, mother of Britney, is writing a parenting book.

Religious publisher Thomas Nelson said it will publish "Pop Culture Mom: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World," by Lynne Spears. Nelson spokesman Curt Harding said the book, to be out next spring, will be about Lynne Spears' raising three children and will have a religious element.

There's a religious element to teenage girls dressing in push-up bras for soft-core photos in rock magazines? Who knew?

From the comments section (blame the commenter for the caps/typos):


What kind of dolt thought this was a good idea? Answer: the same kinds of people who think Broadway belters like Ethel Merman were tailor-made for disco.

OW! My poor tummy!

There I was, trying to get this month's horrible Radar cover out of my mind, when Andrew Sullivan alerted his readership to the latest intersection of hardcore porn and stomach-turning bad taste. Make sure you have an empty stomach when you click this link.

Jee-zus. What's next? "Debbie Does Darfur"?

Prog blog time!

It's Family, fronted by the inimitable Roger Chapman. One of those bands that really shoulda been more famous.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Things to be glad for...

When it seems that life has become like a giant, stinky swamp of depression and bad news, never fear. There's always something to smile about.

The Ethel Merman Disco Album is now out on CD.

NJ city council turns Dem

Well, this is wild.

In a rare shift in party affiliation, the entire membership of the all-Republican governing body in Lyndhurst will switch from Republican to Democrat tomorrow. Nearly 60% of Lyndhurst’s Republican County Committee will become Democrats too.

The party realignment, first reported in last summer, is far greater in scope than speculated. It represents, perhaps, the most massive shift in Party affiliation of elected and Party officials in a single community in one day. “It’s safe to say something like this certainly doesn’t happen in politics everyday,” said Lyndhurst Mayor Richard DiLascio.

Lyndhurst has long been considered a swing town in general elections over the last twenty years.

Not anymore, it isn't.

Franco-pop blogging!

Below, France's pre-eminent ye-ye girl, and a talented songwriter to boot. Yes, it's Francoise Hardy, singing "Ce Petit Couer."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Delayed AGAIN? C'mon, Pantload, what're you waiting for?

Sad news from the Nation of Wingnutia. Jonah Goldberg's oft-ridiculed and still-unpublished manifesto on liberal fascism has been pushed back yet again--to January 8, 2008. Notes Roger Ailes:

It now comes out on Elvis Presley's birthdate, (and will probably die on the toilet much soon than did the King).

Ha! Obviously, Mommy's money is keeping Doughy Pantload afloat financially and he feels no need to rush this thing. Durig the course of the book's publication, he's been especially creative with subtitles, throwing in names like Hegel, Hillary Clinton, Mussolini, and Whole Foods.

Wait a sec. WHOLE FOODS?!?!?

Anyway, this week the working title for the book is: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. Awwwwwwww. Why can't he stick Hillary's name in there, like he did in the first place? Or at least throw in Barack Obama. I mean, Obama's middle name is Hussein, after all. Which means he's a dirty Islamofascist. Right, Doughboy?

More intriguing is the new publisher's description:

Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.

Do these striking parallels mean that today’s liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.

Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, it took a “friendlier,” more liberal form. The modern heirs of this “friendly fascist” tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

Man, I knew there was something seriously creepy about my elementary school--and it wasn't the sixth grade teacher with the bad breath and the lame toupee. On that note, a little homage to Le Pantload and his latest addition to America's book remainder bins.

Kindergarten Uber Alles
(sung to the tune of the Dead Kennedys’ “California Uber Alles”)

Hello kids, I’m Mrs. Brown
What’s your name? We’ll go around
I’m the teacher of this class

Mom and Dad have gone away
Your free lives will end today
Your young minds are not your own
I will make you government drones
I will make you government drones

Kindergarten uber alles!
Kindergarten uber alles!
Uber alles! Kindergarten!
Uber alles! Kindergarten!

Propaganda will be next
Here’s Mein Kampf--it's your new text
Sez the new ruler on the Hill
(Here's a hint: her husband's Bill)

You live in a godless world
Where the boys are just like girls
I'll rid you of Christian taint
So shut up and finger paint
So shut up and finger paint

Kindergarten uber alles!
Kindergarten uber alles!
Uber alles! Kindergarten!
Uber alles! Kindergarten!

Now we’re going to take a nap
You ate lunch, so cut the crap
And I'll hear if some little creep
Mutters "Dick Cheney" in her sleep

Lights are on and one cot's bare
There's a child who's gone, but where?
Well, kids we've received the word
Your young friend has been "transferred"

It’s my job to re-educate
Little enemies of the state
Listen up, you little clowns
To your teacher, Mrs. Brown!
To your teacher, Mrs. Brown!

Kindergarten uber alles!
Kindergarten uber alles!
Uber alles! Kindergarten!
Uber alles! Kindergarten!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cue Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" here...

Via The Crone Speaks comes news of the kazillionth retiring Republican. From NYT:

Representative David L. Hobson, a nine-term Republican from Ohio, announced Sunday that he plans to retire. He is the 12th member of his party in the House to do so since the beginning of the year.

“I wanted to go out on top,” said Mr. Hobson, 71.

"Go out on top"? Is this code for "get out of town before another GOP sex scandal hits the papers"? Sorry for making assumptions. I guess I've just got a dirty mind.

Crybaby conservative alert!

Now, it's Larry Craig complaining about Mitt.

"He not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again," Craig told NBC's Matt Lauer in an interview taped Sunday set to air later this week on the "Today" show.

Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, called Craig's behavior "disgraceful" and urged the senator to resign when news of the arrest broke in August.

Craig was Romney's Senate liaison before resigning from the campaign.

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden defended the presidential candidate's response. "Gov. Romney simply believes that a public office is a public trust," Madden said. "He believes when a public official enters a guilty plea, they have broken that public trust and should step aside for the sake of their constituents."

At least Craig didn't resign, change his mind, and storm over to the Romney campaign headquarters demanding his old job back.

This has been another installment of "Republicans Turning On Their Own When Their Hypocrisy Is Made Known." (Great rhyme scheme, methinks.)

Craig seems determined to prove himself a boil on the GOP backside. So far, he's doing a good job.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Someone needs to take a chill pill

And check his facts while he's at it.

Pat Buchanan was spitting nails over President Gore's Nobel Peace Prize win. (Per Badtux, that's what I'm going to start calling the guy.) Specifically, he ranted about "Swedish socialists" trying to gain political points. Or something.

There's just one problem. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway, not Sweden. The committee that awards the prize is appointed by the Norwegian parliament.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Merle Haggard endorses La Hill, abhors Bush

Oh my.

"The folks don't have a say-so anymore. They're being force-fed—music, yeah, but every other darn thing too. I supported George W. I'm not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq... I'm a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives....

"This is America. We're proud. We're not afraid of a bunch of terrorists. But this government is all about terror alerts and scaring us at airports. We're changing the Constitution out of fear. We spend all our time looking up each other's dresses. Fear's the only issue the Republican Party has. Vote for them, or the terrorists will win. That's not what Reagan was about. I hate to think about our soldiers over in Iraq fighting for a country that's slipping away."

Via E Plurbius Unum.

I need a new template. SIGH.

I used to have a really pretty template, until NuBlogger decided that it hated the template and I had to replace it. With this. This dull-as-dishwater template. I've been looking into new templates. Preferably nice, clear, attractive, un-sucky templates. I don't want a template with a picture of a celebrity. I don't want something really overdone. I just want a new pretty template.

Anyone know of templates that can be used with NuBlogger? Anyone?

It's Crybaby Conservative Week!

Michelle Malkin has replied to Ezra Klein's debate challenge with squirming and nervous laughter, as the wingnuts' anti-Frost family crusade has been utterly discredited. Ms. Malkin really needs to let go of her obsession. She's hurting her movement by exposing its hypocrisy and general unpleasantness. If this keeps up, they'll start to distance themselves and disavow any association with her. Just like the wingnuts who were shocked--SHOCKED!!!!--that Ann Coulter called John Edwards a faggot. I'm sure that would hurt her feelings and make her cry.

But wait. It's gotten worse. Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize. All that's missing is mass suicide in the Fox News building. A sampling of snit fits.

Chris Smith of Bexley, Ohio
Al Gore? Nobel Peace Prize? Wow, that really degrades my image of that prize. Why not give it to Michael Moore while we're at it? How sad.

Mr. Smith is clearly at a loss for words. Isn't he also supposed to mention Cindy Sheehan, Jimmy Carter, and Howard Dean?

Mark McCord of New Richmond, Wisconsin
This just means the Nobel Peace Prize no longer stands for peace, it stands for propaganda, fear and political agendas.

Note to Mr. McCord: You've confused your 2000 candidates. Bush didn't win the prize. Gore did.

Ryan Kiblinger of Temple, Texas
My heart just broke today. The Nobel Prize went to an individual who consumes many times more than the average person in the world, and more than the average person in the first world. Yet he wins an award for his propaganda with regards to global warming. Al Gore has no scientific expertise for his film and congressional testimony. He is a mere puppet and speculator. The Nobel Peace Prize has lost all credibility today, and for that my heart breaks.

Man, and I thought baseball fans were overemotional.

Finally, there's this thigh-slapper:

Mary Knight of Novato, California
I strongly feel that Mr. Al Gore's nomination and ultimate win was purely political. Before Mr. Gore or Mr. Jimmy Carter, people like Mother Theresa and Princess Diana should receive an award as prestigious as The Nobel Peace Prize once was. I feel that the Nobel Peace Prize has become an insignificant popularity contest. What a sham, what a shame.

Note to Ms. Knight: Mother Theresa did in fact, receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. However, she and Princess Diana are currently ineligible for the prize, having been dead for about ten years.

Look on the bright side, guys. If Li'l Ricky Santorum ever gets around to his dream of becoming a right-wing Michael Moore, maybe he'll win an Oscar.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Firedoglake asks an important question

And the answer is a big fat no.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Purple blogging!

It's 1972, and Purp is somewhere in Asia, performing "Highway Star."

Yes, this really is the best they can do

Awwwwww. Poor widdle wingnuts, upset over a 12-year-old kid.

There's not a lot that can be said over the Graeme Frost witch hunt that hasn't been said before--and in great detail--by dozens of other bloggers. Like here. And here. And here. And especially here. But it really shows how threatened they are now that they realize how unpopular, ineffective, and simply wrong they and their ideas really are.

I mean, really. What a bunch of sad bullies, crying about a tween who dares to talk about how the fact that--gasp!--SCHIP helps people! They don't like that, so the Malkinites and Freepers have gone into total Snidely Whiplash mode on the poor kid and his family. At this point, the Frost family should contact the police about a restraining order against Stalkin' Malkin and the mouth-breather brigade.

Anyway, it's a good thing that the liberal end of the blogosphere is saner than these fruitcakes. Otherwise, someone might, say find the personal information--including addresses, phone numbers, and personal e-mail addresses--for Malkin, Steyn, and leading Freepers. And then maybe this information would be posted all over the lefty blogosphere.

After all, if, as the wingers insist, 12-year-olds are fair game, then surely they themselves are willing to accept the invasion of their own privacy. Like, are these people really earning an honest living or do they just get payouts from Richard Mellon Scaife? How about Canadian-born Steyn? Is he in the USA legally or did his work visa expire? You know, those kinds of personal details. Surely these people have neighbors who'd be happy to talk.

Note: No, I didn't mean what I wrote earlier about digging personal dirty on these cretins. I'm being rhetorical. I'm sure what I just wrote will earn me a spot in Malkin's next book: Super-Unhinged: Never Mind Me, You Mouth-Breathing Suckers, Here's the Moonbats. But really, I'd just be happy to see these guys splattered with pies. That would be enough to send them running away, crying their eyes out.

Even one prominent conservative blogger is disgusted by the wingers' jihad. (Granted, John Cole is a rarity, a conservative who's got brains and a conscience.)

Of course, the "attack-the-messenger-not-the-message" schtick is nothing new among these guys, who know they don't have good ideas and facts. As Avedon Carol wrote last year, after poor, pathetic Ann Coulter embarrassed herself attacking 9/11 widows:

What she is demanding is the right to attack them personally rather than answer their argument. Deprived of the weapon of ad hominem attack, she may be forced to engage what the 9/11 families and the survivors of our military dead, like Cindy Sheehan, are trying to say.

So, since she still can't engage what they are saying, she is complaining that they are saying it at all. She has been given ample opportunity to answer the question Cindy Sheehan has been asking for these many months, but she can't. She cannot even explain why she objects to the 9/11 families' campaign for a full investigation of our inexplicable vulnerability on 11 September 2001.

What she wants is not, as she claims, someone she "can" respond to, but that the questions never be asked. Only "liberals", she wants us to believe, would ask them. Yet these people, who obviously have a much more personal reason for asking them that owes nothing to their political philosophy, are throwing a wrench into the works of her argument.

And that's the same story here. The wingnuts have seen proof that Dear Leader's SCHIP veto would hurt deserving families like the Frosts. And it sounds like these are hardworking people. Heck, Graeme Frost is a scholarship student at a private school, which means he's one smart kid.

Smarter than the wingnuts, that's for sure.

They've been outclassed and outsmarted by a 12-year-old. No wonder they've lost their minds.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Tweety on FIRE! Try not to laugh...

Is it me, or is Chris Matthews the Mitt Romney of the punditocracy? Since when has Tweety been a gung-ho Bushco critic? I'm curious.

Chris Matthews had barely finished praising his colleagues at the 10th anniversary party for his “Hardball” show Thursday night in Washington, D.C. when his remarks turned political and pointed, even suggesting that the Bush administration had "finally been caught in their criminality."

In front of an audience that included such notables as Alan Greenspan, Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, Matthews began his remarks by declaring that he wanted to "make some news" and he certainly didn't disappoint. After praising the drafters of the First Amendment for allowing him to make a living, he outlined what he said was the fundamental difference between the Bush and Clinton administrations.

The Clinton camp, he said, never put pressure on his bosses to silence him.

“Not so this crowd,” he added, explaining that Bush White House officials -- especially those from Vice President Cheney's office -- called MSNBC brass to complain about the content of his show and attempted to influence its editorial content. "They will not silence me!" Matthews declared.

"They've finally been caught in their criminality," Matthews continued, although he did not specify the exact criminal behavior to which he referred. He then drew an obvious Bush-Nixon parallel by saying, “Spiro Agnew was not an American hero."

Matthews left the throng of Washington A-listers with a parting shot at Cheney: “God help us if we had Cheney during the Cuban missile crisis. We’d all be under a parking lot.”

You tell 'em, Tweety. *snerk* As soon as you explain your chumminess with Tom DeLay and assorted other thugs.

I've got to find a YouTube clip of Tweety vs. Jon Stewart. Meanwhile, there's always The Many Man-Crushes of Chris Matthews for your reading enjoyment.

Sue me. This is funny.

Ladies and gentlemen...Starbuck's new Britney-themed drink: the Mess-o-cino.

Speaking of Britney, it seems her new video for "Gimme More" isn't much better than her VMA performance. From People, one of the few magazines to continuously kiss her butt, comes a collection of negative reviews. Which in turn, leads to this assessment from my favorite entertainment mag, Entertainment Weekly.

The moral of the story is, if you're going to build an entire video around a stripper pole, then you better work said pole like a nine-to-five. Drop it like it's hot. Throw a leg up over your head. Hire one of the elegant ladies of HBO's G-String Divas, and have her teach you that daring move where you hang upside down by your legs and spin with reckless abandon. Alas, in the case of "Gimme More," I've seen sexier pole work during an afternoon of fly-fishing.

Groovin' to Feist

Well, I finally brought the whole album today. As Temple Stark helpfully notes, I could've bought the thing on iTunes. Someday, when I get off my lazy butt and upgrade to DSL/cable, I will be able to download whole albums relatively quickly. And someday, I'll be able to go without album covers, credits, and neat album packaging. Until then, I still have a soft spot for CDs. Especially considering how many records are really obscure and hard to find and probably nowhere to be found online.

That said, I still download MP3 files from iTunes and my personal favorite download site: eMusic. eMusic offers downloads from independent labels only. And, of course, the selection is phenomenal. Classic soul? British folk? Old school punk? New indie bands? They're all on eMusic.

Meanwhile the majors continue their descent into obsolescence. Glen Gamboa notes that Feist and Ingrid Michaelson found exposure via TV commercials for iPods and Old Navy, respectively. Twenty years ago, they would've branded as sellouts by assorted cranks like critic like Dave Marsh. But since radio sucks and music video channels are more interested in reality TV programming, artists have to look elsewhere for their songs to be heard.

These days, when I think of Britney Spears, she seems more and more like an artifact--the music-industry equivalent of an actress from in Old Hollywood. Along with the boy bands, she was a classic example of top-down success. Contrast to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and Feist, who started with grassroots support and worked their way up. In that way, the Internet has become the great equalizer in the music industry. Perhaps, more and more artists will bypass American Idol and take their careers into their own hands. It would certainly be preferable to facing a snarling Brit and a onetime Laker girl with no singing talent.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Why why WHY?

This morning, I turned on the TV, and both MTV and VH1 were playing the same Nickelback song at the same time. It's that godawful new song about wanting to be a rock star, and it consists of a bunch of random people all mouthing the words to the song (with a few actual rock stars like Kid Rock deigning to appear). This is not the first time both channels have played this video at the same time.

The question is: WHY? Can't they play more of that fun Feist video, "1234"? It's a good song and a really colorful yet simple video. It's featured in a bunch of iPod commercials. If iPod starts using Nickelback in its ads, I'm going to take my iPod and throw it out the window, I swear.

Anyway, I went to Borders to get the new Feist album and it appears to be sold out. Sigh.