Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins, RIP

Via Skippy, I found out that Molly Ivins lost her battle with cancer.

Classic Ivins:

The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point. Poor people do not shut down factories,... Poor people didn't decide to use "contract employees" because they cost less and don't get any benefits.

Amen, Molly. Rest in peace.

Oh joy. Guess who else is running in 2008?

Yup, it's this guy. More opportunities to say, "Senator Biden--SHUT UP ALREADY!"

Update: Yes, Senator Smarm just had his very first foot-in-mouth moment as a presidential hopeful. One that had him trying to play kiss-and-make-up with another 2008 presidential hopeful.

Dig that Observer piece where he attacks the other 2008 candidates for their Iraq war positions:

To hear him tell it, Hillary Clinton’s position is calibrated, confusing and “a very bad idea.” John Edwards doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is pushing a recipe for Armageddon in the Middle East. Barack Obama is offering charming but insubstantial fluff. And all of them are playing politics.

“Let me put it this way,” Mr. Biden said. “You didn’t hear any one of them get in this debate at all until they announced for President.”

How do you explain Feingold and his drive to cut off war funds, Senator?

To be fair, Biden admits to being a windbag. This makes his treatment of Kerry and Obama somewhat ironic. From NYT:

After barking at Senator John Kerry during the same hearing to keep his comments short (“just one minute, Senator, or we will have everybody else…”) Mr. Biden, the chairman of the committee, was the very picture of accommodation when Mr. Obama went beyond his allotted time.

Even when Mr. Obama himself noticed the clock and started to wrap up, saying, “I know I’m out of time,” Mr. Biden waved off the inconvenience.

“That’s okay,” he told Mr. Obama. “You’re making a very salient point.”

Isn't that nice. Biden, stick to hammering Bush about the misbegotten war. Otherwise...SHUT UP!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fundies blacklist "gay bands"

Le Sweetie has discovered yet more proof that fundies and popular culture mix like hot dogs and marshmallow fluff.

Of course, the site itself could be a parody. In the meantime, I am confused as to how Ghostface Killah got on the list.

Update: Scott EVill provides very, very strong evidence that the site is indeed satire.

The World's Most Overrated Ancient Mystery

In 1989, I paid a visit to a place familiar to anyone who ever watched "In Search Of." I am, of course, talking about Stonehenge, that circle of really big rocks that a bunch of ancient Brits stuck in the ground for reasons nobody has figured out for certain. There weren't any druids dancing around the rocks on the day that I visited. There were, however, a lot of tourists. For a bunch of rocks stuck in the ground, it is certainly a major tourist attraction.

Photos of Stonehenge are often taken at twilight, showing the big rocks silhouetted against a darkening sky. Or they're taken from a distance, so we can see the rocks in their element, surrounded by an expanse of emerald grass. Or sometimes, we'll see a photo of Stonehenge up close, as the photographer crouches behind one of the rocks to photograph some of the other rocks, to emphasize he mysteriousness of this ancient, pre-historic whatchamacallit.

But here's what you won't see: You won't see the ropes around the big rocks, which keep the tourists at a safe distance and prevent anyone from spray-painting graffiti. If Stonehenge seems unapproachable, that's because it is. English Heritage, which runs the place, has set up a parking lot across the road. You pay the admission fee and then walk under a tunnel, where you're greeted by the following: "Step back in time 5,000 years!" As you proceed under the tunnel--wondering why none of those TV shows never bothered to show this stuff, you see the following signs as you approach your destination: MODERN ENGLAND...ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND...NORMAN ENGLAND...ANCIENT GREECE...ANCIENT EGYPT. Yes, not only will you step back in time, you'll end up in an entirely different place.

Once I got there, I walked around the big rocks, and my friends and I took turns taking pictures in front of the rocks. I remember us all feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the experience. I also remember the snack bar sold something called Stonehenge Rock Cake. And I later heard a theory that perhaps Stonehenge was "a prehistoric tourist trap, with priests handing out tickets." Maybe one day, archaeologists will find stone slabs with ADMIT ONE scrawled in some ancient language.

In the meantime, people continue to speculate as to what those rocks are doing there. Olbermann's show reported on a new theory, based on a nearby archaeological dig: that it was, in fact, a piece of swanky real estate, "Beverly Hills, 2000 BC," as Olbie puts it.

Stonehenge as a prehistoric McMansion? Come to think of it, that theory's not too far off.

Some people are no fun at all

Via Skippy, it turns out that the party-pooping meanies at Google have disabled the "Miserable Failure" Google bomb. Sigh. I suppose it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Joe Biden again

And for once, he tells it like it is.

It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy. It's the failed policy of this president — going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely.

From here.

I was wondering when some major political figure would point out this blatantly obvious fact.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Occam's Razor

I believe in Occam's razor. Put in plain English, Occam's razor is the theory that the simplest solution or explanation is the correct one. Nothing is a better example of Occam's razor in action than the discussion of the Iraq war, and the efforts to discredit or silence its critics.

Waaaaaaay back in 2003, there were some disparate, brave souls who dared to question the wisdom behind a pre-emptive war, ranging from Jeremy Glick, whose father died on 9/11 to Brent Scowcroft, Poppy's former national security advisor. There was ample evidence given by Joseph Wilson and Karen Kwiatkowski that the case for the war was full of holes and that the administration was manipulating intelligence. General Eric Shinseki, meanwhile, was pooh-poohed for daring to suggest that a pre-emptive war would require a larger number of troops than Shrub and company were willing to commit.

Clearly, the war critics were not a random sampling of moonbats, leftover hippies, and Saddam apologists. In fact, there was solid evidence that the administration was manipulating the intelligence and the media to build up a case for war. Not that this meant anything to the Bush personality cultists, who badly wanted to believe in a strong leader and didn't like what Wilson, Kwiatkowski, et al. were suggesting.

The president and his cabinet, liars?!?! Playing the public and the media for fools? Surely not! And so they sought to answer these charges by attacking the war critics themselves, not what they were saying. Kwiatkowski was accused of having ties to Lyndon LaRouche...and Wilson, well, we all know what happened to him. (Hey wingnuts, just a reminder: his wife was a covert agent. The CIA said so.)

Dave Neiwert sums up this attack-the-messenger mentality:

Paul O'Neill? Oh, he's just trying to sell a book. Nevermind that his description of Bush as incurious and insular, not to mention incompetent, played out before the nation during the Katrina disaster.

Richard Clarke? Just an embittered loser with an agenda (and a book to sell too!). Nevermind that his concern that the Iraq invasion would be a disastrous diversion from the serious pursuit of a real "war on terrorism" is proving all the more accurate every day.

Brent Scowcroft? Please. He just lives in a pre-9/11 world still.

Bruce Bartlett? Just another disgruntled ex-employee.

Nevermind that all these "Bush haters" are people who have long histories of distinguished service under Republican adminstrations, people who have real credibility on the subjects they're addressing. And all people dismissed with yet another wave of the ad hominem wand.

Well, now the trial of Scooter Libby is underway. And guess what? It turns out the Bush administration really did play everyone for fools. They really did manipulate the media. Cheney's former press assistant Cathie Martin said so. Under oath. On the witness stand.

People? It's not a conspiracy by moonbats or an example of Bush hatred. It's Cheney's press assistant talking. You've been suckered. The whole country has been suckered. There's no hiding from it anymore.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Okay, there's something interesting about the SOTU after all

Namely, Senator James Webb's response. You compare Webb to an empty suit like Dubya and you feel some embarassment. Can't our country have a smart president? Please?

Finally, someone talks sense tonight. He's saying what needs to be said about the economy. And about Situation FUBAR. Oh yeah, and he brings out a photo of his dad in uniform. And he talks about his own military career and his son, who's now serving in you-know-where.

Take that, chickenhawks.

Figures. He mentions the "I" word...

And it's a case of "same old shit, different day." So much for "Mission Accomplished."

I knew Dubya didn't have a fucking clue.

Oh, but he wants to establish a bipartisan advisory committe for the war on "terra".

And he's calling for an increase in troops and a civilian reserve corps. Why do I not trust this idea of a civilian reserve corps?

Why do I have a feeling the Republicans aren't going to get behind a civilian reserve corps? And it'll go the way of Dubya's Social Security "reform"?

The "I" Word

Isn't it interesting that Dubya hasn't brought up the "I" word yet?

He talks about going on the offense, but not the "I" word.

He talks about the war on "terra," but not the "I" word.

He talks about his allies, but not the "I" word.

He talks about alleged accomplishments in the war on "terra," but not the "I" word.

He talks about September 11, but not the "I" word.

He talks about al Qaeda, but not the "I" word.

Man, he's making it too easy for Webb.

WHOA! That came out of left field!

"For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil."

Dubya, your Saudi buddies are NOT gonna like that!

Da-na! Da-na-na! Dude sounds like a Democrat!

No wonder Cheney's squirming and scowling and looking all unenthusiastic.

Holy effing crap!

He's talking about saving Social Security! Omigod! And public education! Double omigod!

Of course, he wants Congress to re-authorize No Child Left Behind. Congress is unimpressed.

Oh, and Dubya? The other part is the DEMOCRATIC Party. Not the DEMOCRAT Party.

Democratic is an adjective. Democrat is a noun. Dig?

Well, the SOTU has started...

...and I'm aware that there are SOTU drinking games floating around the blogosphere. I'm glad I don't have any alcohol lying around, or else I'd be drunk in 5 minutes. Elayne Riggs directs us to this drinking game and this one as well.

Boy, does Darth Cheney look glum standing next to Madame Speaker. Actually, the worse "Madame Speaker" got a bigger round of applause than Chimpy did. This many not be a good thing. Of course, considering Madame Speaker's predecessor.

Awwwwww. Dubya congratulated the Dem majority and McCain looks unhappy. Cheney looks like either a. he's mulling over his newly uncovered role in Plamegate or b. he's trying to muffle a fart.

Gee, it's so nice that Dubya's sounding all bipartisan, isn't it? Man, his speechwriters are pretty good, but looking in his eyes, you can tell he really doesn't mean them. Like the part about deficit reduction and balancing the budget.

("Balanced budgets? We don't need no stinkin' balanced budgets! We just need to protect America's endangered stem cells!")

Just a thought...

La Hill is being interviewed by Olbermann and she's good! She says all the right things and she's smart as hell. There's the teeny-tiny part of me that hopes that a President La Hill would be the kind of pragmatic problem-solver this country needs.

The only down side of La Hill as president would be if the Bush family tries to find another family member to run. Maybe Jeb Bush with his imaginary friend Chang as his running mate?

I must be going nuts

Le Sweetie says he's going to be sure he's doing something else with his time when Chimpy gives the SOTU. Me, I marked my calendar for it. I'm the only person I know who's waiting with bated breath to listen to this speech. It probably won't be very inspiring, but I'm sure there will be some stray nuggests of comedy gold. And, of course, there's James Webb's Democratic response to look forward to.

I'm waiting as MSNBC counts down to the speech. I'm out of my mind to be looking forward to this thing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Prog blog time!

In homage to Atrios, this week's prog blog features Yes performing "Yours Is No Disgrace" circa 1971 on "Beat Club."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Super Bowl? What's that?

Am I the only one trying to catch up with Battlestar Galactica instead of watching the Super Bowl?

And now I'm going to check out the premiere of The Dresden Files. It's another SciFi channel series and looks interesting. A crimefighting wizard sounds like a neat premise.

Jazzfest blogging!

Here are some pictures from the Knitting Factory's Winter Jazzfest. The guys here are Gary Lucas (ex-Captain Beefheart) and his band. All were taken with my cellphone. At some point, I'm going to need to splurge on a digital camera, aren't I?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's Presidentified Senator Season!

La Hill has announced she's running for president. C'mon, who didn't see that one coming? She might as well have worn a "Hillary in 2008 2006" campaign T-shirt.

Christopher Dodd has announced, too. I know what you're thinking: Who? WHO?!?!? He's the senator from Connecticut who isn't Joe Lieberman.

Barack, of course, has announced, and the wingnutocracy is already making a big deal out of the fact that his surname reminds people of that evil guy who's behind 9/11. Oh yeah, and Barack's middle name is Hussein. The wingnutocracy is all over that like flies on manure. Note to wingnutocracy: is this the best you ass-clowns can do?

Joe Biden hasn't formally announced yet (I don't think). And hopefully he won't. Joe, don't do it. And while you're at it...SHUT UP!

John McCain is no doubt arranging a hugfest with Dobson and Falwell even as I type this. The Straight Talk Express has been permanently derailed, folks.

Sam Brownback is supposedly announcing his 2008 run today. Yes, there's a candidate out there that makes George W. Bush look like a bleeding-heart liberal.

It's a terrible shame that Bill Frist decided against running. A primary with Frist and McCain facing off would have been hella fun.

Obligatory weather blog

I guess today's bone-chilling cold and wince-inducing wind are prime examples of "be careful what you wish for." December felt weirdly like March or April. Two weeks ago, temps hit 70 degrees. Yup, you read that correctly. 70 degrees. In January.

Now, it is appropriately freezing cold. Le Sweetie and I are going to the Knitting Factory and invited some buds to go along. The buds decided that the freezing weather was too much to bear and decided to make it a "Turner Classic Movies" afternoon.

Winter has arrived. A few weeks late, but it's arrived.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Rudy and Newt try to be relevant

Come, let us relive the 1990s--a period when the music on the radio was oftimes of decent quality, nobody knew who Paris Hilton was, and we had a president with some governing ability and a first lady with a personality. Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrish are bringing back the nostalgia, mainly by reminding us all that they still exist outside the bubble of 2008 presidential predictions.

Their recent editorial on Situation FUBAR is all about how we can secure Iraq once and for all and turn it into a stable country. They have all kinds of constructive suggestions that would be okay in their imaginary world but aren't too feasible in a country of religious groups that can't stand each other and ethnic groups that want their own country.

We must try to achieve constructive and compassionate goals through conservative means--jump starting civic improvement and the individual work ethic in Iraq, without creating permanent subsidies. The goal is to get more Iraqis working, especially young males, who are most susceptible to the terrorist and warlord recruiters.

Uh...Rudy? Newt? It isn't necessarily lack of jobs that leads young Iraqi males to join terrorist groups. There are other factors at work. Have either of you guys bothered to read up on Iraq before you wrote this?

Newt and Rudy also propose an Iraqi Citizen Job Corps. Not unlike Americorps--yet, as Ranger Against War points out--Republicans were dead set against Americorps and since Clinton left office, the program budget has been slashed but good.

Perhaps Rudy can explain why a, ahem, socialist program such as a federal job corps program is a good idea for Iraq but a lousy idea for the United States.

Sigh...At this point, they might as well just formally annex Iraq if they want to give the country all these goodies that they're taking away from American citizens.

Just a thought that crossed my mind...

All this 2008 speculation in January 2007 can only mean one thing: People are absolutely sick to death of Bush and Cheney.

Kind of sad that people are already looking foward to 2008 and 2007 has barely started--isn't it?

O'Reilly follows in Fonzie's footsteps

Yes, kids, O'Reilly has jumped the shark.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Rudy

I always had mixed feelings about Rudy Giuliani during his eight years as mayor. To be sure there were lots of things I respected about him. On the other hand, the man did things that made me cringe.

I admired him for supporting New York's Democratic governor--Mario Cuomo--instead of George Pataki. I liked the fact that crime dropped. I liked seeing no more squeegee guys and no more pot dealers in Washington Square Park. I was glad that he supported reproductive choice and gay rights. I liked his performance during 9/11. There he truly rose to the occasion.

I disliked the way he allowed store chains to start crawling like kudzu all over the city. Broadway in Soho has been given over to Old Navy and electronics stores. It's sad. I also did not like his hostility to the First Amendment or his mishandling of police brutality cases in New York. I think he tended to side with the police instead of simply letting investigations proceed as they should. I think he treated his wife like crap, and she didn't deserve that. I think turned a blind eye to the still-present racial tensions in this city.

Now he's being trotted out as a possible presidential candidate. The Rothenberg Political Report has more on this. As an NYC resident, I have to Just no. Even New Yorkers often had a hard time liking Rudy when he was mayor. He is not going to play well among the Christian right, being a moderate, pro-choice Republican who's on his third wife. He'll be mistrusted by the Beltway as an outsider whose experience is limited to city government. And, much as I hate to say it, he's just not a likeable guy, and America likes its presidents to have some likeability.

More from Rothenberg:

Giuliani’s strong showing in GOP polling reflects his celebrity status and the reputation he earned after the terrorist attacks. But if and when he becomes a candidate, that will change. He will be evaluated on the basis of different things, including his past and current positions and behavior, and he’ll be attacked by critics and opponents. A Giuliani nomination would also generate a conservative third-party candidate in the general election and tear the GOP apart, thereby undercutting Giuliani’s electability argument.

Rudy was considered a great Senate candidate against La Hill in 2000, but he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had to step aside. I'm still a little surprised he didn't try to run again in 2006. Really, if Rudy really wanted to re-enter politics, a state office would be a better bet. Any "Rudy for President" campaign would be dead in the water within two months.

(Via MyDD.)

Just when you thought he couldn't sink any lower...

...Bill O'Reilly goes ahead and attacks a teenage kidnap victim.

Here's Loofahman talking about Shawn Hornbeck, who was kidnapped four years ago from his Missouri hometown and rescued last Friday. It is worth noting that Hornbeck's parents believe that their son was sexually abused by his kidnapper.

And the question is, why didn't he escape when he could have? There are all kinds of theories about that....

All right, you know, the Stockholm syndrome thing, I don't buy it. I've never bought it. I didn't think it happened in the Patty Hearst case. I don't think it happened here.

If you're 11 years old or 12 years old, 13, and you have a strong bond with your family, OK, even if the guy threatens you, this and that, you're riding your bike around, you got friends. The kid didn't go to school. There's all kinds of stuff. If you can get away, you get away. All right? If you're 11....

The parents of Polly Klaas might beg to differ with the Falafel Fool. But let's continue:

The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn't have to go to school. He could run around and do whatever he wanted....

With a mentally ill child predator who's been linked in the disappearance of another boy who was never found? Uh-uh. No way.

And I think when it all comes down, what's going to happen is, there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances.

Ugh. Either O'Reilly is seriously mentally ill--as in Michael Savage mentally ill--or he's made it his life's goal to make Keith Olbermann's job easier.

Or maybe both.

Is there any reason why this scumbag is taken seriously anymore?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Negro caucus"? Say what?

Someone in Montana thinks it's the 1950s.

Journalists don’t know the meaning of a “holiday.” No matter whether it’s Christmas or Easter, there’s some lonely reporter pumping out copy for tomorrow’s newspaper. But roaming the halls of the Capitol, I’ve heard more than one disgruntled comment about Montana’s Legislature working on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday

“No one in the Negro caucus objected,” Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton joked.
(Uh, for those that don’t know, there are no black lawmakers in Montana.)

Negro caucus. SIGH. (Via Daily Kos.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

C'mon, give it up, dude.

John McCain continues to prove that he'd sell his children to be president. Making nicey-nice with Dobson? Gee, it figures. It wasn't enough to kiss up to Bush; now he is trying to become the religious right's ideal presidential candidate. He's got plenty of competition for the wingnut vote: Tom Tancredo has thrown his hat in the ring, following the equally insane Sam Brownback.

The GOP presidential field is going to be a free-for-all next year. And I don't think McCain is really the shoo-in he thinks he is.

Can't wait for the State of the Union speech!

First, there'll be the sight of Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi standing side by side behind the preznit. Can't wait to see the look on Cheney's face. Or the Democratic responpse, to be delivered by Senator James Webb. It's going to be fun.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yeah! That's the ticket!

Norbizness suggests that everyone's favorite bogus political party outsiders form their own party. The outsiders in question being John "I'm a team player, I really am! Vote for me!" McCain and Joe "The Dem it's okay for wingnuts to like" Lieberman.

It's about high time that we had a viable third party to supplement the tired-ass binary system we've got going now. Thank God several prominent Senators are applying for this splinter from the Republican Party, if only they could settle on a name: Extremely Silly, Raving Loony, Church of the Most Exalted and Infallible President Bush.

Alas, Raving Loony Party name was taken years ago by the late, great Screaming Lord Sutch. Actually, it is known as the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. Maybe Extremely Silly or Bush Sycophant Party would be good names. Mary Matalin could be a party secretary, as shilling for Bush seems to be the one thing she's exceptionally good at--that and trading on the fact that she's a Republican married to a Clintonista.

Anyway, back to our so-called "mavericks." They're mavericks only in the sense that they reject the majority opinion regarding Situation FUBAR. Alas, the majority opinion on Situation FUBAR is rooted in common sense, and not Fox News. See how hard it is to be a maverick in today's political climate?

There's still hope for Terri Shiavo, people!

AMERICAblog explains.

(Via Shaun at Upper Left)

Rights? What rights?

USA Today reports that a Pentagon official is mad at lawyers who are donating their time to represent Guatanamo detainees.

In a radio interview last week, Charles "Cully" Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, brought up the issue, cited many of the law firms by name and suggested that corporate CEOs "make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms."

Wait. I thought that this was America, where everyone--even a prisoner detained at Guatanamo--had the right to a lawyer and a fair trial. USA Today notes that Stimson himself is a lawyer, which begs the question: which law school awarded him his J.D.? This fair trial stuff is common knowledge, right?

Perhaps a few facts need to be called to Stimson's attention.

While holding hundreds of prisoners in Kafkaesque legal limbo at the camp, the U.S. government has transferred or released about 380. After labeling prisoners the "worst of the worst," it has admitted that some pose no long-term threat. No doubt, defense lawyers helped bring about some of those just releases.

But Stimson, a lawyer who should know better, doesn't seem much bothered by facts. In his interview with Federal News Radio, he suggested darkly that some of the firms "are receiving monies from who knows where, and I'd be curious to have them explain that."

Oh, really?

According to a spokesman for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which recruited the lawyers, the firms are donating their time and expenses; one firm representing Kuwaiti detainees has received some payment and donated it to 9/11 charities.


Perhaps Charles Stimson could explain why he hates America.

Prog blog time!

Yup, it's the band that would eat all the other proggers for lunch. I'm talking, of course, about Van Der Graaf Generator. This is VDGG performing "Arrow" circa 1975:

Just in time for the swimsuit issue...

Debsweb has discovered a company called Ahiida that makes bathing suits and sportswear for fitness-loving Muslim females. There's even a hood that goes along with the outfits. The bathing suits are called "burquini" swimwear.

Think Sports Illustrated would be interested in a two-page spread?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Now THIS is a surprise

After years as rubber stampers, America's minority party has made a break with Bush. Newsweek reports the splintering of the GOP.

Last Tuesday afternoon, a day before President George W. Bush went on TV to explain his decision to send more troops to Iraq, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called his Republican colleagues together for a private talk. Several GOP senators had already come out against the plan. McConnell, Bush's closest Senate supporter on Iraq, hoped to keep others from defecting. He urged his colleagues to stand together at least until Bush had the chance to speak to the country. After the meeting, the senators went outside the room to display their unity to waiting reporters. McConnell said he thought more troops were just the thing to "give us a chance to succeed." He then stepped aside so the other senators could second his sentiments. No one came forward. McConnell's eye fell on Trent Lott. "Trent?" McConnell said, motioning him toward the microphone. "I don't think I have anything to add," said Lott.

Wow. This makes McConnell look like an even worse Senate leader than Bill Frist was, if he, erm, misunderestimated his fellow senators so badly.

Well, it's nice to see the rubber stampers develop a spine. I know it's asking too much for them to follow in the footsteps of Howard Baker and really ask tough questions of their president, but what can you do? The next two years are going to be bad for the party-before-country crowd, and they're going to have to make some choices.

Having fun at Tom DeLay's expense

Bay Area Houston shows how.

(Via Kiss My Big Blue Butt.)

Man, DeLay should just pack it in and retire from public life.


I saw Dreamgirls on Friday with Le Sweetie and a friend. Great movie, great music, great performances, great stuff from everyone involved. If God exists, He will see to it that Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, and Eddie Murphy get Oscar nominations. (I still want to see the Best Actor Oscar go to Forrest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland. He is simply mesmerizing.)

Watching Eddie Murphy as the flamboyant, conflicted R&B singer James Early, I just wondered, "Wow! Why doesn't he pick more scripts like this?" Eddie, enough with Pluto Nash, Daddy Day Care, and the rest of that crap. Seriously.

And Jennifer Hudson? She's phenomenal. Ladies and gentlemen, forget the sleek Diana Ross wannabes. This is (or should be) the next black female crossover star.

Only one quibble--the guy who brought his/her baby into the theater. The baby, needless to say, didn't have a lot of appreciation for the music, period-perfect costumes, or great performances--this is, after all, a BABY we're talking about. Instead, the baby gurgled and gaaaaaahed during the movie and it was annoying. At least we didn't hear "WAAAAAAAAAH! WAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

People, babies don't belong in movie theaters, period. Either hire someone to babysit or wait until the DVD comes out, okay?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Guess not everyone can be a Fox News commentator

Li'l Ricky Santorum's got a new job at a think tank. He'll be working with a program called "America's Enemies." I guess this means he'll be following the activities of his former colleagues in the GOP-controlled Congress. Or maybe even tracking Rove and Cheney, yes?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tom DeLay, Loser

No, he hasn't started wearing a bright orange jumpsuit yet. But never fear. Tom DeLay is still out there demonstrating to the world what a loser he is. And what better way to do so than trying to reposition himself as a principled right-winger a la Limbaugh? You may remember Limbaugh basically admitted that he never enjoyed carrying water for the GOP assclowns who recently got dumped. Now, he's pretending to be an underdog. Meanwhile, Tommy Boy is trying to make everyone forget what a scuzzball he is over at his ghostwritten blog, which is taking votes for the Most Ridiculous Liberal of 2006. Sadly, DeLay's Democratic replacement, Nick Lampson, is not a nominee.

But wait! It gets better! To offset his legal expenses offer a beacon of light for the conservative movement, Tom DeLay has written a book titled No Retreat, No Surrender. Raw Story reports on fighting at DeLay's publisher over the book cover and the fact that the book even exists. DeLay's editor is, to make a long story short, a total wingnut, and her colleagues are appalled that a known scumbag like DeLay even got a book contract. That doesn't stop Kiss My Big Blue Butt from having a few giggles at his expense: "Face it, Tom doesn't have that many fans who can read, so it doesn't matter what's inside."

Gawd, the Preznit's getting predictable

The only remarkable thing about his "we're-escalating-troops-so-too-bad-if-you-don't-like-it" speech was how remarkably dull it was and how dull-eyed and inept the Commander-in-Chimp appeared. In fact, this whole administration and the whole right-wing echo chamber are starting to induce yawns and eye rolls now. They keep saying the same shit over and over. Have they listened to themselves talk?

Olbermann offers his analysis: "And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people."

At this point, the Preznit should give up hope of pinning his preznential legacy on Situation FUBAR. He should instead cut his losses and begin plans for a gradual withdrawal, spending the next two years in a state of lame-duckery as an impotent figure. It's really the best possible outcome for him and the rest of the country.

Honoring Ella

Ella Fitzgerald has been honored with a commemorative stamp. Anyone who hasn't heard this great lady sing is well-advised to do so. The Best of the Song Books, featuring her stunning interpretation of "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," is a perfect starting point.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

WOW! It's Carole and Paula!

Anyone remember a kid's show called The Magic Garden? It aired in the tri-state area and I remember watching it after school. It starred two women named Carole and Paula who sang songs and told jokes. Very gentle children's programming, if I remember correctly.

The Magic Garden is long gone, but, as it turns out, Carole and Paula are still performing together. Wow. I haven't thought of them or their show in years, but now I'm getting a nostalgia rush. It really was a sweet-natured show, and the airwaves could use more shows like that.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame notes

The most recent inductees are: Patti Smith (finally! after HOW long?), Van Halen (finally! after HOW long?), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., and the Ronettes. Nice list. Where the hell are the Spinners? When do they get inducted?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Nostalgia time!

Anyone remember a multi-culti PBS series called "Vegetable Soup"? Taking a peek at Youtube, I find that that lots of people do! Which begs the question: is there anyone interested in reissuing the show on DVD? Because "Electric Company" has gotten the DVD treatment. And yes, there is a famous name or two attached to "Vegetable Soup": Bette Midler did the voice of Woody the Spoon. Not as iconic as Morgan Freeman's "Easy Reader," but still notable.

Also notable are the opening credits. Why didn't these cartoon characters get their own animated series to themselves? They're tons trippier (and more fun to watch) than that dull stoner Shaggy.

Update: Okay, it seems I'm not the only one who remembers this show. Nick Sagan shares his memories of being creeped out by the opening credits, the aforementioned Woody the Spoon, and the marionette segments. Sagan on the cartoon rock band:

This is not warm and fuzzy kids' animation. This is psychedelic, surrealist, Yellow Submarine-inspired, "hey kiddies, don't the freaky people, like, totally trip you out?" animation. Now imagine that you're six years old and watching these demonic squiggles kick out the jams while song lyrics are practically shrieked at you in some kind of weird, jazzy gospel blasphemy: "It taaaakes... AAALLLLL KIIIIINNNNDDDSS of VEGGGETTABBLLESSS!"

Jazzy gospel blasphemy? I don't remember the theme song being that bad. In fact, it seemed pretty groovy--even if weird freaky animated people were playing it. Then again, I have a weakness for cartoon rock bands (it's a 1970s nostalgia thing, you know). I can't help myself.

Leave it to Sagan to sum up many people's feelings regarding Vegetable Soup:

Vegetable Soup scared me silly when I saw it, and yet I couldn't turn away. Why did I keep watching it? And why do I remember it fondly today, nightmarishly weird though it was?

Via Sagan, here are the weirdest kiddie shows on the air today. Eesh. You call this weird? This is nothing. I remember...I remember...oh, here comes that nostalgia trip again...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Please, let this be true!

Laura Rozen finds hints in WaPo that Condi may be the next neocon stooge to leave. We can only hope.

C'mon, Condi, admit it. You miss academia. The ivy-covered walls of Stanford are beckoning to you even now. Please, do your country a favor. Get out of politics and stay out.

Joe Biden speaks...and for once it's worth listening to

Yes, the man who has supplanted Joe Lieberman as my least favorite Democratic senator has confirmed what some reality-based folks have suspected all along. Namely, that even the highest-up higher-ups in the Bush administration--including Cheney--have concluded that Situation FUBAR is, well, FUBAR.

"I have reached the tentative conclusion that a significant portion of this administration, maybe even including the vice president, believes Iraq is lost," Biden said. "They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy -- literally, not figuratively."

Biden gave the comments in an interview as he outlined an ambitious agenda for the committee, including holding four weeks of hearings focused on every aspect of U.S. policy in Iraq. The hearings will call top political, economic and intelligence experts; foreign diplomats; and former and current senior U.S. officials to examine the situation in Iraq and possible plans for dealing with it. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will probably testify next Thursday to defend the president's new plan, but at least eight other plans will be examined over several sessions of the committee.

This keeps up and I may take back all those "Joe Biden SHUT UP" blog posts.

Oh yeah, and Biden continues:

Biden expressed opposition to the president's plan for a "surge" of additional U.S. troops and said he has grave doubts about whether the Iraqi government has the will or the capacity to help implement a new approach. He said he hopes to use the hearings to "illuminate the alternatives available to this president" and to provide a platform for influencing Americans, especially Republican lawmakers.

"There is nothing a United States Senate can do to stop a president from conducting his war," Biden said. "The only thing that is going to change the president's mind, if he continues on a course that is counterproductive, is having his party walk away from his position."

Biden said that Vice President Cheney and former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld "are really smart guys who made a very, very, very, very bad bet, and it blew up in their faces. Now, what do they do with it? I think they have concluded they can't fix it, so how do you keep it stitched together without it completely unraveling?"

The great Katha Pollitt, and other recommended reading

Here is yet another reason why Katha Pollitt is one of my favorite columnists. She's got a list of New Year's resolutions that all liberals would be wise to follow. And yes, if we follow these resolutions, we will find ourselves winning more and more elections. I firmly believe that. Take resolution number 5 as a good example:

5. Avoid weasel words. Like "spirituality." It's "religion." And "faith"--that's "religion" too. And while you're at it, define your terms. What is a "working family"? What is "the middle class"? Do these phrases mean anything more than "virtuous people entitled to make a moral claim on society"--as opposed to those criminals, drug addicts and welfare moms liberals used to care about? And speaking of liberals, whatever happened to them? And to leftists? How come we're all "progressives" now?

Good question. Let's just call ourselves liberals, okay? Liberal values are what made this country great and we should proudly embrace the term "liberal."

Sara Robinson over at Orcinus wonders when the wingnutsosphere is going to wipe the egg off its collective face. Don't hold your breath. They're still getting everything wrong, as da man himself, Dave Neiwert, notes in his takedown of the latest bunch to spout "me-wanna-kill-liberal" nonsense. Yeah, the wingnuts are invoking the "V" word. As in "Vietnam," the Situation FUBAR of the 1960s and 1970s. Come on, nobody but the wingnutosphere believes that the Democrats have ever wanted to lose Iraq or Vietnam. As Neiwert notes:

Actually, if liberals had in fact "desperately wanted to lose" the Iraq war, they'd have proceeded precisely as G.W. Bush has: half-assedly, with no exit strategy, and then incompetently at every turn thereafter.

But for some reason, wingnuts keep pretending that it's the left that wants to lose, when it's quite clear that the problem is that the right has no idea how to win.

Giving new meaning to the term "missionary position": Sex toys: They're not just for godless heathens anymore!

Via Avedon Carol, we find really scary analogies. That conoisseur of silly sites herself, Elayne Riggs, should check this out. Elayne, you there?

Prog blog time!

Once upon a time, Phil Collins was just a drummer in a 1970s prog-rock band and Peter Gabriel was a posh boarding-school lad with an overactive imagination and a fondness for wearing weird costumes onstage. Come relive those days with Genesis circa 1973!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Okay, I know this is vandalism, but... couldn't happen to a more deserving dude.

Take that, Rep. No-Goode!

Aw, no! Just no!

Mr. President, believe me, searching through my mail is a waste of time. What'll you find in my mail? Uh...well...mail from Planned Parenthood, NRDC, the Democratic National Committee (and related groups), NOW, Heifer International, and the ACLU. Trust me, none of that mail is or will ever be of any interest to you. Expecially not the DNC mailings. You don't really want to read that stuff. it's all mass mailings addressed to "Dear Friend/Defender of Wildlife/Fellow American."

Note to the New York Daily News: NOW do you get it? The Preznit fancies himself as Big Brother. He appointed himself Official Busybody during winter recess, when he signed this neat new postal reform bill into law. Will you please stop cheerleading the Iraq war long enough to figure out that he wants to feed the Constitution to a paper shredder? Pretty please?

Drifting the Grift offers his opinion.

For once I agree with online quiz results...

Okay, this I can get behind! Farscape's Moya is first, followed by my beloved Deep Space Nine. Actually, if there were Muppets on DS9, I'd be psyched.

You scored as Moya (Farscape). You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.

Moya (Farscape)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Serenity (Firefly)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
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