Thursday, June 28, 2007

The word of the day is: "accommodation"

Now remember kids, today's word is "accomodate". As in what Congress is supposed to do for President Bush. Go to Team Dubya's response to a bunch of mean Democrats and you'll see this term and "accommodate" used repeatedly.


With respect, it is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid by finding grounds for mutual accommodation....

It was his intent that Congress receives information in a manner that accommodated Presidential prerogatives....

As a result, your Committees have received an extraordinary amount of information regarding the U.S. Attorney replacement issue by way of accommodation....

In keeping with the established tradition of Congress and the Executive Branch working together to accommodate each others' interests, the President was willing to go even further in response to your inquiries....

The President's offer reflected his desire to cooperate and accommodate....

Issuing subpoenas and seeking to compel the disclosure of information in lieu of accepting the President's reasonable offer of accommodation has led to confrontation.

Hey, guys. Why not just say, "Subpoenas, schupoenas"?

One small victory for women's rights

Egypt has banned female genital mutilation once and for all. This repulsive practice is one of those old cultural customs that have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with irrational misogyny. This is good news for Egypt's women and girls.

Meme time! More fun than Blogthings!

Catherine over at I Am Screaming and Punching Myself has done the "tag! you're it!" thang. On that note, here is the meme:

THE RULES

1. All right, here are the rules.
2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
4. People who are tagged write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.


Eight things about moi:

1. Le Sweetie and I have been together for about three years. When we first met, I thought, “Okay, there is definitely something here.” Something about him made my widdle heart go thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa! That’s when you know you’ve struck gold. You just know.

2. I had my first tooth filled when I was 21. In fact, I have 3-4 cavities, total, in my mouth. I’ve been lucky in that regard.

3. I never wear nail polish. I have no patience for sitting around waiting for the stuff to dry. In fact, I’ve never had a manicure or a pedicure in my life.

4. I’m fascinated by the Middle Ages. I read Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, and I was struck by the parallels between that period and the present day. Right now, I’m reading Alison Weir’s biography of Queen Isabella, mother of King Edward III.

5. I love to swim. As soon as the thermometer climbs into the 90s, I head for the nearest body of water—but not before lathering on sunscreen, of course.

6. Like the aforementioned Catherine, I know I should be more outgoing. Still, a good friend calls me the most outgoing shy person she's ever met. I think deep inside I am and always will be rather shy.

7. I am a redhead. A natural redhead. I used to be embarrassed about this, but with all the fake redheads out there, I am now proud of it.

8. I have not visited Seattle yet, but it is on my mental list of places to visit before I die.

Now to tag eight bloggers:
Ye Wei Blog, Parenthetical Remarks, Debsweb, Evil Bobby, The One True Tami, Pseudo-Adrienne, Yellow Doggerel Democrat Stop Looking at Me, Morning Martini, and Reconstitution.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh NO! Not again!

Earlier today there was a blackout that affected Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Yes, shades of last year's blackout where northwestern Queens was without power for about a week. Including my neighborhood. Pissed me off to no end. A brief rundown here. Planet Earth to Con Ed! It's summer. It gets hot. It gets humid. People run the air conditioner. People need electricity for lots of things. Make sure the damn electrical grid works already! And no, I don't believe you when you say the hot weather had nothing to do with it. You lied about last year's blackout, so how does anyone know you didn't lie about this as well?

Can you tell I have no respect for Con Ed?

Keep it up, Annie!

Months ago, I realized that Crazy Annie had tremendous potential to help raise money for all sorts of cool progressive causes.

It's really simple. Here's how it goes: Crazy Annie makes one of her insane remarks about liberals or journalists or Democratic presidential candidates or feminists or non-whites or gays or Arabs or people to the left of Bush. Left-wing candidates and organizations post the footage, sound files, or text on their Web sites while urging their supporters to donate! donate! donate! "Send Ann Coulter a message! We're everything she's afraid of, and with your help, we can (insert name of progressive goal here)!"

Looks like John Edwards has already figured this out. This is the second time that Team Edwards has used Crazy Annie's words against her. In fact, I suspect that Elizabeth Edwards called Annie knowing she'd say something stupid and knowing that it would be great for a fundraising pitch. Perhaps Michelle Obama should give Annie a call the next time she referred to Michelle's hubby as "B. Hussein." That would be priceless.

Please, CPAC, invite Crazy Annie back in 2008! It'll be a goldmine for Dem fundraisers!

Funny quote of the day:

From White House spokesman Tony Fratto:

It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation.

Fratto is, of course, talking about the meanies who subpoenaed Bush 'n' Dick regarding their warrantless wiretapping program.

Yeah, it's unfortunate--for Bush 'n' Dick. Right, Tony?

PS: I've been wanting to refer to them as Bush 'n' Dick for a long time, ya know.

File this one under "What idiot does this, anyway?"

Yosemite Mitt has pissed off PETA. See, about 25 years ago, he and his family went on a road trip with the family dog riding in a dog carrier strapped to the roof of the car. Which is against the law in Massachusetts. Of course, the statute of limitations has come and gone. But the question remains: why not just a. let the dog ride in the car or b. put him in a nice kennel?

I remember my mom took the family dog with us to visit my grandparents in Maryland. The dog rode in the car and stuck her nose in the car's air conditioner. Which was pretty funny. But neither here nor there.

PETA compares Mitt's dog riding on the roof to torture. The ASPCA is more restrained in its response: "Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we'd think is inappropriate."

This is another installment of "Mitt Romney, the Unintentionally Hilarious Presidential Candidate."

(Via Atrios.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Real journalists and the wingnuts who hate them

The Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a the kind of smart, clear-headed editorial columnist that the mainstream media really, really needs more of. Unlike, say, Bozell or Malkin or Susan Estrich or Ted Rall, he's an actual journalist who can write and argue with logic. And he has a 2004 Pulitzer to show for his fine work. So naturally, right-wing extremists have decided that they hate him.

The trouble started when right-wing bloggers and racist bigots decided to exploit a horrible crime for political points. A white couple in Tennessee was abducted, raped, and murdered. Five African-Americans have been charged. It made the local news, but was not reported nationally. To the wingnutosphere, this is evidence that the librul media is so wimpy and politically correct that it purposefully avoids covering black-on-white crime so that nobody thinks they're racist. (Please note that the aforementioned African-Americans have been arrested but have not yet been convicted. Just some perspective here.)

Anyway, Pitts begs to differ.

Truth is, media ignore horrific crimes all the time. Space is limited and growing more so. Which means the story that catches fire usually has some element beyond gruesomeness to sell it. In the Duke case, it was class, privilege, sex and race that did it.

Not that I expect Oliver or any other ''oppressed'' white person to pay attention to something so trivial as fact. They're too busy demanding that this case be tried as a hate crime -- even though police say there's no evidence the couple was targeted for any other reason than that they were there. And last weekend in Knoxville, white supremacists held -- I kid you not -- a ``rally against genocide.''

Part of me thinks I should consider the source and let this slide. But the argument being advanced here is so utterly, abysmally, stupidly, self-servingly wrong that I cannot help but respond.

Black crime against whites is underreported? On what planet? Study after study and expert after expert tell a completely different story....

And here I'm obligated -- because I'm black -- to say that if the defendants in this case did what they are accused of doing, I'd be happy to see them rot under the jailhouse. Sadly, that needs saying because there are people who will not take it as a given.

Anyway, one white-supremacist site, Overthrow.com, decided to get back at the uppity Negro by posting his address and phone number. And, as you can guess, Pitts has been threatened by assorted white racist loons. And, as you can also guess, Overthrow.com isn't removing the information. Their webmaster, Bill White, told the Herald's managing editor, "Frankly, if some loony took the info and killed him, I wouldn't shed a tear. That also goes for your whole newsroom."

Come to think of it, this talk isn't far removed from Ann Coulter's fever dreams of Timothy McVeigh destroying the New York Times building. And somehow, like Ms. Coulter, you suspect that White is serious and really would love to see someone spray the Herald's staff with bullets.

Dave Neiwert has some background on the charming Mr. White, a veteran neo-Nazi, race-baiter, and all-around evil thug.

Question

If it's clear that most of the general public is either a. dislikes Paris Hilton or b. doesn't care about her, then why is Larry King interviewing her? She is not interesting, folks. Can't you write about Amy Winehouse or something?

Whitman's grade: U for Unconvincing

Juan Gonzales over at the Daily News sounds deeply unmoved by Christine Todd Whitman's testimony yesterday. In general, the paper's done an excellent job of pointing out her lack of truthfulness, honesty, and leadership following 9/11. I remember when the woman was a rising star in the GOP circa 1995. Who would've thought that this would be her legacy? And who would've believed Colin Powell--once touted as presidential material--would be appearing on TV trying to make people forget he ended his career as a Bush water carrier? Truly pathetic, both of them.

July 4th's gonna rock


Cartoon Network is making up for the inexplicable Ed, Edd, and Eddy marathon of two months back by running a marathon of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends on the Fourth of July. Right now, Foster's is the only Cartoon Network series I watch regularly. Which is a little sad, considering that CN used to offer lots of clever, inventive series. These have been relegated to Boomerang, CN's "oldies" network, while the lame Ed, Edd, and Eddy and the increasingly unfunny Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy remain on the air.

Yes, I plan to get the DVD of Foster's first season. Yes, I'm kinda dorky.

Excuses, excuses

Try not to laugh at this headline. Bushco's gotten all the time in the world, and they still can't do anything right in Iraq. Give it up already.

Monday, June 25, 2007

And now, back to Situation FUBAR

One general doesn't know if the Iraqis can hold on to territory captured from the insurgents.

The Iraqi military does not even have enough ammunition, said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek: "They're not quite up to the job yet." His counterpart south of Baghdad seemed to agree, saying U.S. troops are too few to garrison the districts in the capital newly rid of insurgents. "It can't be coalition [U.S.] forces. We have what we have. There's got to be more Iraqi security forces," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch.

The two commanders spoke after a deadly day for the U.S. military in Iraq. At least 12 soldiers were killed on Saturday from roadside bombings and other causes, raising the U.S. toll for the past week to at least 32.

We've been in Iraq for how long? And Iraqi security forces still don't have enough ammo? Yup. Believe it.

Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commander of the Iraq Assistance Group, said "it'll take years" for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant in protecting the country from internal and foreign threats. He suggested that it will be at least two years before the forces, which number 348,000, can "take control" of the situation in Iraq.

Oh, this is just wonderful. Could someone please explain why the US hasn't been able to train or equip the Iraqis? I'm seriously confused here.

Some thoughts on Romney

It's no surprise that one of Yosemite Mitt's staff has been pretending he's a state trooper. After all, Yosemite Mitt himself is trying to impersonate a gun-lovin', stem-cell opposin', pro-life religious conservative. Obviously, he's attracted like-minded people for his campaign.

Another GOP foot soldier (read: spineless wonder)

Christine Todd "It's my party tooooooo!" Whitman is the latest of Bush's loyal idiots having to explain why she endangered Americans' lives. Specifically, Whitman, as head of the EPA, said the air around Ground Zero was safe when it wasn't. Like her ex-boss, Whitman has mastered the art of the nonsensical response.

Whitman maintained the government warned those working on the toxic debris pile to use respirators, while elsewhere in lower Manhattan the air was safe to the general public.

"There are indeed people to blame. They are the terrorists who attacked the United States, not the men and women at all levels of government who worked heroically to protect and defend this country," Whitman said.

Yes, dear, we know that. Trying to deflect responsibility just isn't going to work for you or any other Bush employee, past or present. For all the lip service you guys give to New York City and 9/11, you have treated this city like crap. From the the human remains used to fill potholes to the idiots who decided the city had no landmarks worth defending, you've used NYC as a rallying point to remind your base about the evil terrorists. But seriously, you never had any real love for a city that represents everything that base loathes.

Back to our gutless foot soldier, having to answer for her bungling. Unlike Colin Powell, Whitman ended up doing it in front Congress--including Jerrold Nadler, who represents Lower Manhattan.

Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes the World Trade Center site, called the hearing after years of criticizing federal officials for what he says was a negligent and incomplete cleanup.

Whitman called such allegations "misinformation, innuendo and downright falsehoods."

Her responses were mostly calm and deliberate. But under questioning from Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Whitman angrily raised her voice, saying she based her statements on "what I was hearing from professionals," not the whims of politicians.

Whitman pointed out that her son was in the World Trade Center complex that day, "and I almost lost him," at which point Ellison said he would not "stand here and allow you to try to obfuscate."

"I'm not obfuscating," Whitman shot back. "I have been called a liar even in this room today."

Okay, perhaps she does have a spine after all.

For more on the health crises among Ground Zero workers, click here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

From the country that brought you the parrot sketch

CNN took a break from Whatshername who's in jail to bring this sad tale of broken love.

A computer programmer found out his girlfriend was having an affair when his pet parrot kept repeating her lover's name, British media reported Tuesday.

The African grey parrot kept squawking "I love you, Gary" as his owner, Chris Taylor, sat with girlfriend Suzy Collins on the sofa of their shared flat in Leeds, northern England.

But when Taylor saw Collins's embarrassed reaction, he realized she had been having an affair -- meeting her lover in the flat whilst Ziggy looked on, the UK's Press Association reported.

Ziggy even mimicked Collins's voice each time she answered her telephone, calling out "Hiya Gary," according to newspaper reports.

The cuckolded parrot owner was so distraught that he gave away his parrot because hearing the name "Gary" brought back sad memories.

(Via Badtux.)

Ah, bicycling

In my pre-city girl days, I was a rabid bicyclist, so much so that I was nicknamed "the mad biker." I thought that was all behind me when I came to New York City. I'd rent the occasional two-wheeler at Central Park and remember that I missed biking. And then I'd forget I missed it. And then I bought a bike from a friend. It was one of the smartest purchases I'd ever made. Now, I've rediscovered the joys of biking. I've got a regular route around the neighborhood and often pedal around the local park. There are a few streets with clearly marked bike lanes, but oftimes, I have to fight an uneasy feeling as I'm riding on the streets. Okay, it's Queens, not Manhattan. Still, there are some busy roads with honking cars and drivers who don't like sharing traffic with bicyclists. There are also sidewalks that glitter with shards of broken beer bottles. (Maybe the idgits should try recycling their bottles like normal people?)

Via Elayne Riggs I've discovered that David Byrne is another bike lover. He's lucky enough to be able to bike to work. Most offices--including my workplace--don't have facilities where you can keep your bike. And bike racks are few and far between. Otherwise, I might bike to work as well. If Bloomberg wants to make NYC greener, he could promote bicycling. Byrne explains:

Now Paris is embarking on a bicycle plan that should make New York envious. A collaboration between business and civic affairs than may just work, as both the city and Deceaux can benefit. Bikes as a means of local transport has worked elsewhere; the mayor of Bogota, Enrique PeƱalosa, relieved traffic congestion AND made his city more livable by converting streets to bike/pedestrian use and by adding dedicated bus lanes. Of bike lanes he said, “If an eight year old kid can’t ride on it safely then it isn’t a bike lane.” I don’t remember Paris having very many bike lanes, and the drivers adopt a “survival of the pushiest” approach, as I recall, but that may be changing.

I know New York has its traditions. Subway congestion and insane traffic are among those traditions. But traditions can be replaced or done away with, right?

Sigh. I'm going to miss Coney Island

Le Sweetie and I went with a friend to the final Mermaid Parade in Coney Island yesterday. It was a bittersweet experience. There were the usual people dressed as mermaids and jellyfish and shrimp and other sea creatures. There were the rawk bands on floats. There were Charlie's Angelfish and the Seapranos. There were the King and Queen of this year's parade (IIRC, Patti D'Arbanville was the queen; can't remember who the king was). There were me and Le Sweetie, going ballistic with Le Sweetie's digital camera, trying to capture the final moments of a well-loved Coney Island pasttime, before yet ANOTHER neighborhood is turned over to condo developers.

Enough with the condos. Can't we keep our beloved pasttimes and landmarks. Can't we at least have affordable housing? I'm sick of freaking condos. Yes, yes, there will still be an amusement complex, or so the new owner says. But what kind? Le Sweetie was bemoaning the imminent demise of Astroland. He wasn't the only one. On parade were mourners in black carrying a coffin covered with photos of Astroland. And at the end was a tombstone that read: 1962-2004.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get copies of the photos for the final Mermaid Parade. It's Le Sweetie's digital camera, but still.

Already, many of Coney Island businesses have been shuttered. Alicublog mourns the loss of the go-kart tracks. Man, I miss those go-karts. I loved the go-karts. At least the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel will (or should) stay. Elayne Riggs also thinks the carousel is safe. Still, I'm going to miss Astroland. I got a big lump in my throat when I realized that this was its last summer. From now on, if Le Sweetie and I want amusement parks, there's Rye Playland or Six Flags Great Adventure. But Astroland has a sort of sticky, ketchup-stain charm that you won't find at the other places.

Maybe some nice developer can build a new amusement park on, I dunno, the Rockaways. That would be really awesome.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Watching Olbermann Watch watch Olbermann watch...

It's nothing but thundershowers tonight. So naturally, I had to get caught in one while bicycling. I am now more or less dry. Okay, I guess Winter Solstice 2007 has been somehow disrupted. I was looking forward to watching a bright pink sunset at about 8:45 or 9 PM, but instead I'm indoors watching Olbermann. Speaking of Olbermann, Olbermann Watch decided to make an unexpected return to the Web.

You may remember that back in March OW reacted with horror to the news that MSNBC had signed KO for four more years. Four more years? Nooooooo! (Now they know how most Americans feel about Bush's second term.) But I guess these Keyboard Commandos wanted to prove their toughness by forcing themselves to watch more of "Countdown."

Now, there's Watching Olbermann Watch. You can guess which blog they're following regularly. I'm waiting for, say, "Watching Watching Olbermann Watch Watch Olbermann." Though the blog URL would be too long.

Prog blog time!

I'm mainly posting this to demonstrate what strange dressers British prog rockers are. Bass player Chris Squire has been the one constant in Yes, the only one to appear on all their albums--and dressing really badly every time. Dig those sunglasses.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bloomie's not running

As I said yesterday, I'm not surprised that Bloomberg left the GOP. It was all a marriage of convenience, you know. At least nobody can accuse him of being a RINO--you can't be a RINO if you're not a Republican. Maybe Bloomberg will apologize for inflicting the GOP national convention on us.

Anyway, he is not running for president, which is understandable. Not only does he have a year to go as mayor, but Bloomie as independent candidate would be just another Perot.

Here's what I really want to see: Bloomberg coming out in favor of medical marijuana. I am not a pothead--stuff smells awful and I hate smoke--but I do remember Bloomberg admitting that he'd tried the stuff and like it. I also remember NORML using that quote in their ads. C'mon Bloomie! This is your chance to really do something radical. You want to go green? What's more green than cannibis?

Campaign Advice for Evil Spock



If Evil Spock is serious about 2012, I have the perfect campaign video and theme song. La Hill should really watch her back with this one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mayor Bloomberg leaves the GOP

I'm not surprised by this. He switched from Democrat to Republican only because that way he'd have a better chance of winning. I've never been the biggest Bloomberg supporter; for one thing, I'm sick of seeing NYC turned into a big suburban strip mall. But I suspect he'd be more comfortable as an independent.

Pity the disillusioned conservative

Their ranks appear to be growing. These are not the crybaby conservatives for whom manufacturing outrage is a hobby as engrossing as macrame or pottery. These are relatively level-headed people whose views are based on some degree of thought, not on repeated exposure to Faux News. Needless to say, since they're rational conservatives, they don't like Bush, and now Brad DeLong has a breakdown of the right-wing anti-Bushosphere.

I think we should recognize that the intelligent, honest conservatives out there are not Bush supporters, and turn that to our advantage in selecting honorable intellectual adversaries.

What I would like is a list of "honest conservatives" who fit into the following categories--and let me try to give an example of a person whose existence is recognized by the mainstream media for each class:

Class of 2000: People who in 2000 said, "George W. Bush is not qualified to be president, and we should be really worried about this."

Class of 2001: People who in 2001 said, "I supported Bush in 2000, but George W. Bush is not listening to his honest conservative policy advisers, and we should be really worried about this." John DiIulio

Class of 2002: People who in 2002 said, "I supported Bush in 2000 and 2001, but 911 has unhinged the administration; it's detention and other policies are counterproductive; it needs to be opposed." Richard Clarke

Class of 2003: People who in 2003 said, "I supported Bush over 2000-2002, but enough is enough. That's it. I supported the invasion of Iraq because I was certain there was evidence of an advanced nuclear weapons program--otherwise invading Iraq was just stupid. Well, there was no advanced nuclear weapons program. Invading Iraq was just stupid. Plus there's the Medicare drug benefit. These people need to be evicted from power." Tim Barnett, Bill Niskanen

Class of 2004: People who in 2004 said, "I've been a Bush supporter. I'm a Republican and a conservative, but I've had enough: I'm voting for Kerry." Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bartlett, Brent Scowcroft

Class of 2005: People who in 2005 said, "I voted for Bush in 2004. But I made a mistake. A big mistake."

Class of 2006: People who in 2006 said, "I know I supported Bush up to last year, but that shows I'm not the brightest light on the clued-in tree." Rod Dreher, Andrew Samwick

The class of 2007--people who are now opposed to Bush only because they think Bush will drag the Republicans down in 2008--doesn't count. Dead-enders who are still claiming that Bush is Teddy Roosevelt don't count. They aren't honest conservatives. They are only worth scorn, and fit objects for nothing but mockery. One just doesn't joust with them in honorable intellectual combat. It's not done.

Yes, there is at least one tool who has compared Bush to Theodore Roosevelt. TR's descendants would beg to differ.

It would also be nice if those conservatives who once parroted the "evil L1BrUL war critics R TEH SUX0R!!!1!1!!" line circa 2002 would retract their statements. Yes, Sullivan, I'm talking about you. Those kinds of lies have poisoned general discourse on your side of the aisle.

(Via Mockingbird's Medley.)

The good, the bad, and the unlistenable

The good: La Hill has a sense of humor.

The bad: if you hated the Sopranos finale, this may revive bad memories.

The unlistenable: Celine Dion. La Hill. Is using. A song. By CELINE FUCKING DION. Whatever happened to Fleetwood Mac?

Okay, Senator Biden. You can withdraw from the race now.

Or, to make it really simple: Joe Biden, SHUT UP!

Guess who else had "other priorities"?

Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why - the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.

Newsday has the full story. Maybe Rudy can still win some uneasy security voters by talking about bombing Iran.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wow, how patriotic

Mitt Romney, aka Yosemite Mitt, is still trying to sell himself as the kind of Republican candidate that the hardcore authoritarian base can transfer their loyalties to once Bush leaves office. Of course, the base remains troubled by his Mormonism and past support of ungodly things like reproductive choice.

They are, however, less concerned about the fact that Mitt is a big war cheerleader with five adult sons who haven't bothered to enlist. This? Is the dumbest quote yet uttered by a 2008 hopeful.

Asked on CNN this morning whether the fact that none of his five sons has served in the U.S. military might be a political issue for him, Iraq surge supporter and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said: "Each of my five sons gave two years of their life to the service of their church, and I consider that service to be laudable. But I very highly value those who serve in the military. But it is a volunteer military and I hope that we keep it that way."

So, Mitt, is there a reason why your sons haven't VOLUNTEERED for the military? Operation Yellow Elephant? You there?

(Via Down with Tyranny.)

Idiots + cell phones + roads = accidents

Okay, time to be fair. Stupidity knows no party line. Take this state senator, a California Democrat. She got into a car accident while driving and chatting on her cell phone at the same time. After voting to ban cell phones while driving. It seems that she has a history of driving like a homicidal maniac. And now she's blaming it on leukemia. You know, ma'am, car accidents kill people, too.

Blog Against Theocracy II

The first Blogswarm Against Theocracy was such a hit that another one is planned for July 1-4. Just in time for Fourth of July Weekend. Time to extol the separation of religion and state that has enabled diverse religious and secular beliefs in this country to flourish. More here.

Someone can't take a joke

Britney Spears is a pop star with class, savvy, and a sense of style.

Which is why she was horrified when a radio station began using her in ads.

Britney Spears is threatening legal action against a Florida radio station that used a bald-headed photo of the pop star on billboards that appear to call her sanity into question. In a June 14 letter to Clear Channel Communications lawyer Donna Schneider, Spears's counsel claims that the billboards promoting the MJ Morning Show were "outrageous to the extreme" and demanded their removal...According to the star's lawyer, Spears's "likeness has a multi-million-dollar value for authorized commercial exploitations" and, as a result, she is entitled to "very substantial damages" from Clear Channel. The MJ Morning Show airs on several stations across Florida. The Spears billboards, which first appeared in April, advertised the program in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Clearwater.

The ads in question:


Actually, I think I'd be concerned that these ads would scare listeners away.

Situation FUBAR Update

Guess which country is now the second-most failed state in the world?

Iraq has emerged as the world's second most unstable country, behind Sudan, more than four years after President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, according to a survey released on Monday.

The 2007 Failed States Index, produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, said Iraq suffered a third straight year of deterioration in 2006 with diminished results across a range of social, economic, political and military indicators. Iraq ranked fourth last year.

Okay, how long will it be before the Kristolhammer juggernaut turns up on Faux to complain about the America-haters at Foreign Policy who aren't reporting on the good news coming out of Iraq?

A quiz result I actually agree with

Guess I'm not such an on-again, off-again feminist after all:

You Are 94% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.


A quibble: can we get over the dumb idea that feminist = man hater? Wanting equal rights is not the same as hating the opposite sex. Quit pretending it is.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I feel so bad for what I'm going to say...

...but it's GREAT to see the Republicans floundering like this. I'm sorry; I know it's bad. It's just that after all these years of "We GOOD! Donkeys EVIL!" it's kind of nice to see that the party can't figure out what they stand for. It's nice to see the base crying into their non-alcoholic beverages as they look at a slate of unappealing candidates as they pray for yet another actor to come be the fearless leader of their authoritarian dreams.

This could be the new Republican Party in the making: a disappointed, dissatisfied and inward-looking coalition that abandons Reagan’s hopefulness and tries to hang on by playing on fears of terrorism and anger about immigration. If Fred Thompson’s job is to restore optimism to a dispirited bunch, he faces a task that might have overwhelmed even Ronald Reagan.


Oh yeah, and the rightie bloggers are also miserable. Forget Situation FUBAR, Gonzogate, Plamegate, Foleygate, Katarinagate, or Insert-Scandal-Here-Gate. The immigration bill was the last straw. Oh, and guys? Welcome to Planet George Bush Thinks I'm Un-American. Enjoy your stay, you hear?

My obligatory Father's Day post

Le Sweetie and I called his stepfather to wish him a happy Father's Day. It felt a little strange to say "Happy Father's Day." I haven't uttered those words in years.

My own father died of cancer when I was nine going on ten. Dad himself was forty-four going on forty-five. My brother was six going on seven. We were all born in September. In fact, my brother's birthday is the day after mine. Yes, we were born three years and a day apart. I guess winter was a really, uhm, romantic time of the year for Mom and Dad.

Anyway, he had cancer of the stomach, but nobody knows where it originated. I only know that it was first spotted when Dad went into the hospital for a hernia. In fact, he and my brother had hernias at about the same time. And from what I remember, this all happened right after my brother had his tonsils removed. I never had mine removed. I was never in the hospital overnight. I never even got that sick--well, except for chicken pox when I was six years old. Enough about me.

At some point, I remember one kid told me, "I heard your father's dying in the hospital! Is that true?"

"No!" I replied. I must've been seven or eight. As far as I was concerned, everything was okay. I had no reason to be afraid of much of anything--least of all Dad dying in the hospital.

I mean, my memories of my dad have nothing to do with death or cancer. In my head, he is full of life, reading and telling stories. Telling me how he and Mom met. Of how we got the family dog and the family cat. Of taking us to buy candy. Of the country fairs and craft fairs. Of apologizing to me after losing his temper. Of usual kid things like Halloween candy and Christmas presents and sitting around the dinner table and growing up surrounded by trees.

Mom and Dad had grown up in the New Haven area and lived in New York City for a year before I was born. After that it was all countryside and butterflies and dandelions and flowers. We moved to Vermont, where my brother was born, and we lived in a cozy apartment in a building at the bottom of a hill. Then we moved to a small town just north of where FDR was raised.

Dad gladly took to the life of a 1970s college librarian in a pretty rural hamlet. Admittedly, it had its really fun moments. Like sliding down the staircase banister. (Okay, Mom and Dad wouldn't consider that "fun.") Or skipping behind Dad down a hill. Or even going to visit him at his job. Yes, one day, after school, I decided to go to the library and visit him. Even a city girl like me admits you can't really do that in NYC.

Being a librarian, Dad had books stacked up around the house. Including one called "The Gospel According to Peanuts." As in Peanuts cartoons. I don't remember all of his other books. They were, after all, grownup books.

He and my mom also loved music. Dad was the rock fan and Mom really wasn't. This is especially strange when you consider that he was 12 years older than she was. She was a baby boomer and he wasn't. Who said you can't trust anyone over 30, eh?

Right after I began fourth grade, my dad went into the hospital. For a long, long time. What seemed like forever. Even though it was probably only a few weeks. Time moves veeeeeerrrrrry sloooooowwwly when you're a kid. Especially the Christmas season. Then, when you're a grownup, it can't end soon enough.

Ha ha. That's a joke. I actually like the Christmas season. Back to the topic.

I had a horrible teacher who really, really didn't seem to like me. I'd always had trouble paying attention in school, and it got worse. My grades were fine. The paying-attention part...not so much. And Dad was in the hospital and when was he getting out?

Well, finally, he got out, and he was miserable and got cranky. Because he had stomach cancer, his stomach had enlarged, and so I had one generally nasty girl tell me, "Your father looks like he's pregnant." The whole family was miserable and angry and self-conscious and confused. Nothing was right anymore and nothing was getting any better.

One day, my mother took my brother and me aside and said the "C" word. I really tried to block out the possibility of him not making it. No, wait a minute. It wasn't just a "possibility" at that point. But I wanted to believe that there was a chance he'd survive. Something to hold onto amid the misery. And I began to wonder if, between the teacher from hell and the unhappiness at home and the--let's be fair--usual naughtiness that kids get involved in, I was starting to fail him.

Fast forward. It was May or June when he took me aside and gave me a big hug. And then he said, "I love you. Daddy's very sick." That's what I remember what he said. Anyway, summer was coming and I was soon to be rid of the nasty teacher. I'd been terrified that she'd have me held back a year, but imagine how happy I was to read my final report card. I was advancing to the fifth grade! I'd even won an award for spelling! Maybe things would get better after all.

He left for the hospital in New York City some time in July and we all gave him hugs and kisses goodbye. That was the last time I saw him. I drew cartoons and she would bring them to him and she'd tell me how much he loved them. I kept drawing the cartoons for him and waiting for him to come home, as everyone expected him to.

But he never did. He died in the hospital. She tells me that he had a tube in him so he couldn't speak, so he had to write out his last words: "Tell Jean and the kids I love them."

At home, there's an anthology of P.G. Wodehouse's fiction. It's got Dad's signature and it's dated a month before his death. I'd like to think it brought him some laughter and comfort during his final days.

After his death, I really, really wanted to keep observing Father's Day, so I sent my grandfather cards. And then he passed on, and I stopped.

Still, I consider myself fortunate to at least have had a hands-on daddy for nine years of my life. Even though I wish I'd had more time, more chances to really celebrate Father's Day. To give him more gifts to complement the painted-rock paperweight I gave him when I was five or six, and which he kept on his desk. Because being fatherless on Father's Day is notlike, say, being a Jew at Christmas. You feel sad and then you try not to think about it.

Or maybe you take a leap of faith, and you say, "Happy Father's Day, Dad, wherever you are."

So this year, that's what I'll do. Happy Father's Day, Dad, wherever you are.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"But Mommy, I thought Grandpa went to heaven! What's he doing in the toybox?"

We interrupt the usual political snark, popular culture oddities, cat blogs, prog blogs, punk blogs, and general fun at the wingnutosphere's expense to bring you news of a unique new product that may interest the reader...if that reader wants his or her loved ones to come back from the great beyond as spirits of rage and vengeance. Ahem.

It was Scaramouche who first found yet more proof there's a market for everything. Including new ways to store the remains of the dead. Like maybe within the plushy innards of cute angel teddy bears.

Huggable Urns is the site that sells these adorable critters. Miss having Grandpa tuck you in at night? Well, now you can have Grandpa right beside you in bed. Grandpa (or what's left of him) is place inside a pouch saying "Eternal Love", and the pouch is tucked inside the stuffed animal.

Not only are Huggable Urns cute, they are economical. Why spend thousands of dollars on a family plot when they could all be stacked next to each other in, say, the playroom?

You get your choice of a teddy bear, a dog with a red ribbon, or a kitty with a pink ribbon. It would make funeral planning so much easier.

Of course, you're wondering "What kind of weirdo would put someone's ashes inside a stuffed toy?" Funny you should ask. From Huggable Urns' front page:

Soon after my Dad passed away he started to communicate to me how upset he was that after living his life to the fullest he ended up in some ugly hard container. This was just not acceptable to him. Was I surprised!!!

***

Boy! I have never talked to my Dad so much in my whole life as I have since he passed. Not only has he guided me every step of the way in the creation of Huggable Urns but he also has guided me in my personal life.

He wanted something soft and cuddly that people could hold and to have around them at all times. My family found this to be very comforting to our aching hearts. Plus my Dad wanted you to be able to accessorize your Huggable to fit the personality of your loved one. Out-of-site, out-of-mind is not my Dads way.

It gives me such comfort to be able to pick up my Teddy Bear and give my Dad a hug anytime I want to especially during my personal hard times.

Question: does Dad share in the profits from this product? Does he do ads for it? "I'm not just the inspiration for Huggable Urns; I'm a customer!"

Does this woman have any siblings? If so, what do they think of this? Do they all wish they had Daddy's teddy bear urn for themselves?

Wouldn't it be a bad idea to put the urn on the mantel over the fireplace? The urn's fabric could catch fire.

And, finally, has anyone stopped to cuddle the urn without realizing who/what it is?

What will the funeral industry say about all this? If Huggable Urns catch on, won't the casket manufacturers be mad? I imagine Jessica Mitford, author of The American Way of Death, is observing all this from somewhere in the afterlife, asking these very same questions, realizing that there are no satisfactory answers.

Not quite Situation FUBAR, but still...

Afghanistan, the nation that neocon "thinkers" have deemed unimportant in the drive for an American empire global war on terror, is now a humanitarian mess. So says the Red Cross. Galloping Beaver has the full story.

See? I knew this was a great week for music!

Lou Pearlman, the man responsible for shoving boy bands down the throats of American listeners, is now bankrupt. All his boy band paraphernalia has been auctioned off. Here is the full story in its schadenfreudelicious detail.

Pearlman allegedly defrauded about 1,000 investors of more than $315 million by selling for years a bogus savings account plan, then using their money to cover his losses in other businesses. Banks are hounding him and his companies for more than $120 million, according to court documents.

He also is being investigated by the FBI, IRS and state authorities.

Pearlman's whereabouts are unknown. He hasn't been seen or heard from in months, nor has he responded to multiple subpoenas.

Question: is he hiding from the FBI, the IRS, or angry music lovers?

(Via Reconstitution.)

Update: Oooops! Looks like the law caught up with Mr. Pearlman.)

Because I'm a nice person...

...here's a hit song you can listen to without cringing: "Dreaming," by Blondie.

A great week for Journey




Not only is "Open Arms" at #15 on VH1's list of the greatest soft rock songs of all time, but now "Don't Stop Believin'" is a hot download on iTunes.

Admit it--you're feeling that early-1980s nostalgia rush right now. (Confession: I actually like a handful of Journey's songs. We can't all be perfect, right?)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

See? Everyone thinks she's boring

Looks like La Hill has ceased to interest the American public. No More Mister Nice Blog reports that the two recently published books about her have not exactly set the bestseller lists on fire.

Moral (choose one): The number of people who are fascinated by her is greatly exaggerated. The number of people who despise her enough to buy these books is greatly exaggerated.

Really, there are other women in politics--Democrat AND Republican--who are more intriguing and have a much longer history of accomplishments and public service. However, the media fixates on La Hill, Nancy Pelosi, and a handful of right-wing loons like Mean Jean Schmidt, Michele Bachmann, and Katherine Harris. I'd be interested in learning more about, say, Janet Napolitano or Kathleen Sibelius, both of whom are considered potential running mates next year. Could someone remind the nice news media that there are other women besides La Hill that they could write about?

Oh goody! Another homophobic closet case!

Man, they keep getting younger. Meet Tyler Whitney, an 18-year-old college Republican and webmaster for Tom Tancredo. He's scrubbed most of the political stuff from his MySpace page, but basic information about this rising star of the conservative movement can be found here, here, here, and here. All four sources note that Mr. Whitney has come out of the closet as a homosexual. This would be filed under "it's his personal bizniss" if not for some unfortunate facts noted by the fourth and final link, Pridesource.

Whitney's candidate, Rep. Tancredo, has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, which means he has never voted in favor of any pro-LBGT legislation. In addition, the long-shot presidential candidacy is mired with allegations of support from white supremacy organizations, like the National Alliance, as well as endorsements from David Duke. Tancredo is attempting to ride to the presidency on a wave of anti-immigration campaign promises including English only balloting, and deportation of every single illegal alien in America. He has also called for a "time-out" on legal immigration into the U.S.

In addition to his ties to Tancredo, Whitney is closely associated with Kyle Bristow, the leader of the Young Americans for Freedom MSU chapter, now officially listed as a hate group. Bristow has opined that if he had a gay son he would kill him, and that homosexuals should be in prison.

Whitney is also pictured in a Nov. 20 protest holding a sign which reads "Go back in the closet." The protest was against a proposed comprehensive human rights ordinance in the city of Lansing, an ordinance that was later adopted by a unanimous vote of the City Council.

Guess Mr. Whitney found that closet to be uncomfortable, what with all the sexual deviants inside. Nonetheless, Bay Buchanan is now crying about all the mean liberals who have pointed out yet another example of the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mentality so pervasive on the right. Dan Savage's reply: Tough noogies.

Sorry, Bay, but gay-bashing conservative thugs—people like you, your horrible brother, your vile candidate—can’t have it both ways on the gay issue. If Whitney’s sexual preference is a personal matter, if Whitney’s sexual preference shouldn’t have anything to do with the campaign, then neither should mine—or the sexual preferences of any other Americans. Until your candidate lays off the gay bashing, until the GOP stops attacking the rights and humanity of gay and lesbian Americans, then Tyler Whitney’s sexual orientation—it’s not a preference, Bay, and you know it—is fit for public debate.

Or is sexual orientation only a private matter when a Republican is being sodomized?...

And if you’re 18 and closeted and gay and politically active, as Whitney was, you’re old enough and savvy enough to know that aligning yourself with anti-gay politicians, marching with assholes that carry “Straight Power!” signs at anti-gay rallies, and being best buds with a guy that thinks gays should be imprisoned is as good as painting a bulls eye on your back. You not only risk being outed, you invite it.

It becomes a private matter when having a homosexual on staff is politically embarassing to a homophobic candidate. It also becomes a "private matter" when someone is so full of self-loathing that he gladly campaigns against his own civil rights.

In case you want to know what Mr. Whitney's original MySpace page looked like, click here. Don't thank me; thank Michael Signorile. Tellingly, the original MySpace page had very few comments. Think maybe Whitney was interested in that "increase your size" spam in the comments section? (Yes, that's bad, but I couldn't resist.)

Hopefully, he'll be able to get a good job when he graduates from college. Otherwise, he'll end up like fellow wingnuts JimmyJeff GannonGuckert and Matt Sanchez. That would be very unfortunate.

Things that make me embarassed to be female

Women who disrobe for Girls Gone Wild cameras and then are shocked--shocked--when they and their hooters are displayed for the benefit of assorted horndogs. Women like these two dumbasses.

Two Florida women have sued "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis and his film company, alleging a sexually explicit video was released without their consent.

In the federal lawsuit filed Monday in Panama City, Brooke Pastolic and Christina Brose said they were enticed to board a "Girls Gone Wild" tour bus with the promise of free clothing. Once onboard, they allegedly were given alcoholic drinks even though both were younger than 21.

According to the lawsuit, the cameramen then coerced the women into exposing themselves and engaging in sexual activities, but repeatedly stated they would not use footage in a video. However, the footage appeared on two separate "Girls Gone Wild" DVDs.

The women claim the footage was used without their consent, and if they did give consent, it was obtained illegally by "Girls Gone Wild" representatives giving them alcohol.

When and where the footage was taped isn't stated in the lawsuit. The women's attorney, Christopher Hill, didn't immediately return a message Wednesday.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Moral of the story: When you see or hear the words "Girls Gone Wild," steer clear if you value your dignity. In fact, avoid misogynist jerks in general. Don't do anything in front of the camera that would totally embarass you if it were to turn up on the DVD shelves. Don't drink more alcohol than you can handle. Oh, and if you want new clothes, buy them yourself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Something I realized about Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is also kind of boring. He might as well hang a sign around his neck saying, "Hi there. In case you haven't noticed, I'll say anything to improve my chances of a nomination. Judging from his interviews, he is also not that bright. He named one of his kids Tagg. TAGG! What was his trying to do, ensure his kid suffered through twelve years of ridicule at school?

What a doofus.

Yes, some people are that dumb

Don't believe me? Read this.

The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain.

Independents and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe in the theory of evolution. But even among non-Republicans there appears to be a significant minority who doubt that evolution adequately explains where humans came from.

The data from several recent Gallup studies suggest that Americans' religious behavior is highly correlated with beliefs about evolution. Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend. That Republicans tend to be frequent churchgoers helps explain their doubts about evolution.

The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution's explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.

And they wonder why people think they're rock stupid.

(Via Brilliant at Breakfast.)

At least someone's happy about the Sopranos finale

As we segue from soft rock to early eighties AOR hits, it seems that Journey guitarist Neal Schon is really psyched that David Chase picked "Don't Stop Believin'" for that final scene with la familia Soprano eating onion rings in a restaurant. More here, in case anyone's interested.

Wuss-rock nostalgia central

VH1 has done yet another top-40 special, recruiting a bunch of comedians, musicians, and other pop-culture pundits for one of its periodic nostalgia trip. This time, it's the 40 greatest (?) soft rock songs of all time. The list is heavy on wussy '70s ballads and schmaltz and other things that make people cover their ears and say, "La la la la la la I can't hear that fucking song." Le Sweetie sat through about two or three entries before grabbing the remote control.

And now Stereogum has blogged about it. In case you missed the VH1 special (or want to avoid sitting through it, Stereogum has listed the songs. And judging from the comments section, there are some very opinionated soft rock fans who read Stereogum. (At least they seem to be fans.)

"Pina Colada" at number three...sweet.

Um, no England Dan and John Ford Coley? No Steely Dan? No "Time Passages"? No Gary Wright? Ambrosia? Gerry Rafferty? Firefall? Lobo?

This list is seriously lacking. Also, "A Horse With No Name" for America? That song is no match for the smoothness of "Sister Golden Hair" or "Ventura Highway."

No "How Long" by Ace? Bully-bully-bullshit.

They didn't even scratch the surface. I was just waiting for some Paul Davis :(

I'm filing an official protest over this list on account of its lack of "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins. Way more softsational than "One More Night."

lets not forget the most irritating song ever: "Feelings" or "Achy Breaky Heart".

Okay, why isn't "Feelings" on the list? I bet Morris Albert could kick Christopher Cross's ass.

Orleans' "Still the One" was a shoo-in for this particular list. And here, of course, is where soft rock and politics strangely intersect. For Orleans' leader, John Hall, has established a new career as a Congressman for New York's 19th District. Here is his homepage. Last year, I donated to his campaign. NY-19 is right across the river from my hometown, so I felt it was the right thing to do. For a rock musician, Mr. Hall has a relatively scandal-free past. Unless you count this:



I believe Congressman Hall is the guy in the middle. And yeah, as I donated via ActBlue, a little voice in my head kept saying, "I can't believe I'm giving money to the guy on the scary album cover!"

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another question

Am I the only one bored by La Hill? Her face on TV, in magazines, and on the bookshelves. There are two new books about her. Me, I think she is really boring. I also think McCain is really boring (not to mention pathetic). I'm tired of hearing about how much they want to be president. We've all known since about 2000 that they want to be president. It's been "Hillary McCain Hillary McCain Hillary McCain president president president 2008 2008 2008," ad nauseum, since then. They don't have new ideas and they're not interesting. Could they both take themselves out of the presidential race so they don't bore the voters to death?

Please?

Situation FUBAR: Still FUBAR

There's a big problem that usually arises when Americans try to form alliances with assorted factions in Iraq. First of all, the new allies often tend to be criminals, warlords, and other assorted unpleasant types. Second of all, these allies are sometimes unpopular among their own people. Third, the alliances don't hold because the Iraqis don't like being occupied by American troops any more than they like al Qaeda. And finally, these allies may turn out to be unreliable.

For a complete rundown of all the above points, see this latest WaPo piece.

As Swopa over at Needlenose puts it:

I can't begin to count how many times the U.S. has been hoodwinked into backing one side or another of an internal Iraqi squabble just because someone told them what they wanted to hear -- in this case, that it was OK to cede control of Anbar to the Sunni locals so the insufficient level of American troops could fail in Baghdad instead for a change.

"I think all we need is some attacks on American soil"

Think the FBI's got a file on this guy?

In his first interview as the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, Dennis Milligan told a reporter that America needs to be attacked by terrorists so that people will appreciate the work that President Bush has done to protect the country.

"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001]," Milligan said to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."

Just a word of caution, if the FBI does place Mr. Milligan on some sort of list, they should include his background information so that all the other Dennis Milligans in America don't get any grief. I'm sure there are some very nice Dennis Milligans who don't want another 9/11 to happen, after all.

(Via Democratic Underground.)

More unnecessary things

Why does the moviegoing public need a live-action version of Transformers? I'm just wondering, that's all.

The party-before-country crowd strikes again

Looks like the Senate couldn't muster 60 votes to give Gonzo a vote of no confidence. The final tally: 53-38. Before going into detail who voted against giving a disgraced attorney general a no-confidence vote, guess which party these 38 "nay" voters belonged to?

However, let's give credit where credit is due for the senators who voted yes: John Sununu, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, Chuck Hagel, and Arlen Specter. And a pie in the face to Joe Lieberman, who voted no.

Trent Lott, meanwhile, proves he simply does not get it:

"This is a nonbinding, irrelevant resolution proving what? Nothing," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. "Maybe we should be considering a vote of no confidence on the Senate or on the Congress for malfunction and an inability to produce anything."

C'mon, dude. That's not the point and you know it. The point is to make a stand and show that the Senate does not support an attorney general who places party before country. I mean, surely Senator Lott isn't a party-before-country guy, is he?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Protecting the world from people named Robert Johnson

Le Sweetie and I watched 60 Minutes' report on the no-fly list that is supposed to protect America. Boy do I feel safer after watching that. Except not. Basically, the no-fly list is just as ass-backwards as the rest of America's security measures. The original story aired about a year or two ago, but it's still worth following if you want a nice reality check.

Thanks to this no-fly list, America at least was somewhat safer. From the 9/11 hijackers, who were already dead when they were put on the list. From the president of Bolivia (what did he do, again?). And from Robert Johnson. Which Robert Johnson, you ask? Well, the one who tried to bomb a Hindu temple and got deported to Trinidad. The no-fly list has made life worse everyone else with that name, because it didn't include the original's date of birth or any other information. So if your name is Robert Johnson and you want to avoid a lot of grief at the airport, you might want to consider a name change.

The whole transcript is here. Admittedly, it is pretty funny, in a who-could-be-so-stupid sort of way. The update says that the FBI is reviewing the list and planning to remove names.

Question re that Sopranos finale

That's IT? WTF was that?

Liveblogging Powell on "Meet the Press"

Powell has characterized Iraq as a "civil war." Russert has asked him if Situation FUBAR is worth it, given the money and the loss of lives. Powell insists that there is no way to know as the war isn't over.

Dude? The war is over. It's not a war any more. It is an occupation.

The Iraqi security forces are not up and running and the government isn't functioning well; Powell acknowledges this. At least Powell acknowledges that it's the Iraqis' job, not America's. Tell that to Bushco.

Powell thinks "pulling out" is a bad idea. Dude, stop the "cut and run" crap. Nobody's talking about cut and run, OK.

Al Qaeda is described as "a small percentage of this overall problem" but a very important one.

He acknowledges that the Preznit is unhappy with the way has been handled. Powell did not, at the time, think the war was a mistake. He believes that the responsibility for the war lies with the Preznit.

Powell says that if he'd known that there were no WMDs in Iraq, "I would have had nothing to say to the UN." Without the "the weapons of mass destruction case," there would've been no valid justification for the war."

Powell's sure being mild-mannered and level-headed.

"I was not unaware" of the possible consequences of the Iraq war, he said.

Russert reminds him that nobody told the public that this could be a long-term war/occupation.

Powell: "I never used terms such as 'cakewalk.'" He adds that nobody realized that there would be an insurgency. He says there weren't enough troops to restore order.

Uh oh. They replayed the Colin's speech to the UN. Powell insists that he spent 5 days with the CIA going over intelligence. He says, that "we were making a statement of the facts as we knew them."

I wonder when Russert's going to ask him about Lawrence Wilkerson's statement that he and Powell took part in "a hoax on the American people."

A lot of talk about the aluminum tubes that were offered as proof and whether they could be used to make WMD's.

The CIA added that they realized some of the information in Powell's speech wasn't true. It was taken out by them but still magically ended up in Powell's speech.

Powell acknowledges that what they thought were mobile labs were not in fact mobile labs.

Side note: a colleague of yours truly suspects that Saddam hid the WMDs in Syria. I don't believe it. If they were in Syria, the US would know about this by now.

Powell doesn't know why the right information didn't get to him.

He does say that the case for war was based not just on the fact that Saddam was an evil dictator but on these supposed WMDs. Powell doesn't accept his responsibility for what happened. He says it rests with the Preznit, the intelligence community, and Congress.

Wilkerson's name comes up. Powell repeats that they went to war based on the intel that they had. Supposedly Alma felt Colin was used to promote the war. Colin does not agree. I imagine the dinner conversations are interesting.

You know, there is ample evidence that evidence was cherry picked. It's too bad Russert didn't really bring that up.

Powell thinks we're safer now "in terms of another 9/11 happening." Uh, I don't think so.

Gitmo comes up. Powell says it's "become a major problem" that affects how the world sees the USA. Powell would close Gitmo and move them to prisons in the USA. He would also get rid of military commissions and use established judicial procedures. Gitmo is being used by crazy dictators to justify their own crazy, evil behavior.

Gays in the military? Powell isn't sure that this is the right time to scrap "don't ask don't tell." But he also says gays should have "maximum access to all areas of society." He says the military should have "a different set of rules." Whatever that means. He doesn't know if it's "inevitable" that "don't ask don't tell" will be eliminated.

Barack's been talking to Powell for advice on foreign policy.

Can't wait until that transcript is available on the Web.

PS: I don't care about that new book about La Hill. I don't think La Hill is that interesting.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Yet another GOPer who won't go away

Addressing a bunch of think-tankers with no sense of the real world, Newt Gingrich has recast himself as the Cassandra of the GOP.

Addressing a conservative organization, the former House Speaker never mentioned the president by name, but his political point was clear.

"If the Republicans run a stand-pat presidential candidate who ends up being on defense for all of September and October and who is seen by the country as representing four more years, the fact is that Republicans are not going to" win, Gingrich told the American Enterprise Institute.

Guess what, Newt? By and large, the GOP race is all about standing pat. Everything about Romney, Rudy, and McCain have said have come to indicate that a. they have no idea what they stand for, and b. they really, really want the GOP base to come out and vote for them. That GOP base is reliable because a. they're guaranteed to never, ever vote for a Democrat and b. they're the only ones dumb enough to think four more years of Bush is a great idea. So Newt, you're a little late.

Of course, Newt has his own bright ideas for when/if he decides to run. You ready, America?

Gingrich, who helped shut down government over spending fights with the Clinton administration in the 1990s, said Republicans must offer a more dramatic platform for remaking government that focuses on private-sector innovation.

This "private-sector innovation" is code for corporatism, people. "Private-sector innovation" has led to an explosion of chain stores and service jobs and exclusive government contracts to Halliburton. C'mon, Newt. Not only will that dog no longer hunt, but said dog was put down a long time ago because it was really old.

In a glimpse of what his candidacy might look like, he said he would shut down public schools that aren't performing and offer a $20 billion reward for the first private company that successfully completes a Mars mission.

Four words, Newt: No Child Left Behind. That's what's crippling the nation's schools. Why do righties have it in for our public schools, anyway?

And a Mars mission? Huh?

Maybe Newt should run. Maybe he deserves the nomination. Because if anyone would offer more of the same, it would be him. No one can stand pat quite like the Newtster.

From the "Repubs who won't go away" department

The Repub formerly known as Senator Macaca is endorsing Fred Thompson for president.

Thompson has the right philosophy, is articulate, has a record and is "the best voice in America," Allen, a Virginia Republican, told a lecture series audience yesterday.

He likened Thompson's voice to that of a "modern-day Rex Allen," drawing a reference to a now-deceased cowboy actor.

What is this thing that GOP wannabe "rugged individualists" have for cowboys? Between "Brokeback Mountain" and the growing Democratic presence in the Rocky Mountain states, you'd think they'd be looking for a new manly archetype. Tattooed sailors, perhaps?

As No More Mister Nice Blog put it:

Perfect: One phony good old boy who's actually made most of his money in Hollywood and Washington being endorsed by another phony good old boy whose father made most of his football-coaching money in L.A. and Washington.

Question

Now that Paris Hilton has gone back to jail, will people please stop writing about her? She isn't talented or interesting or smart. Please stop reporting on her. Pretty please?

Cat blog time!



Lots and lots of kitties for this cat blog!

News from Planet IOKIYAR

Okay, is this the Alabama Senate floor or a playground?

Republican state senator who punched a Democratic lawmaker in the head expressed regret, saying "that's not the way grown men solve their problems," but he said he won't immediately apologize.

Republican Sen. Charles Bishop claimed that Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron called him a "son of a (expletive)" in the Senate chamber on Thursday.

"I responded to his comment with my right hand," Bishop said.

Alabama Public Television tape captured the punch.

"I was raised in the woods of Arkansas and people don't say that about your mom," Bishop said.


Excuses excuses. "Son of a bitch" is just a common term of derision, Senator. He was not trying to dis your mother. Try again.

Barron denied saying that to Bishop. He said the Jasper senator used an expletive to him and he was trying to get away when he was hit by Bishop on the side of the head near an ear. He said he had not decided if he would file charges.

"I would like to finish today in a productive manner. I will evaluate the situation tomorrow on what I may do," Barron said Thursday.

After the punch, Barron went into a closed-door meeting with other Democrats. Sen. Vivian Figures went into the meeting carrying first aid supplies, but she said he was not hurt.

Oh, brother. File charges, dude. If you think that's going too far, then he should be censured by the Senate. Sheesh. If Pat Leahy can keep his cool while being told to go bleep himself by the freaking VEEP, then Senator Bishop can keep his hands to himself when speaking with his colleagues.

Best quote:

Members of the Alabama House said the incident makes the entire Legislature look bad.

"It's certainly a black eye on the Legislature and the Senate in particular," Republican Rep. Jay Love said.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Repeat after me: Bon Jovi tribute band...



It was a matter of time, wasn't it. Kiss tribute bands are everywhere. The same is true of Beatles tributes. Slap on a wig, thrown on a suit, and you've got a Beatles tribute band. (Why don't Beatles tribute bands ever perform in the Sergeant Pepper band uniforms? This I've always wondered.) We don't need a Doors tribute band, as Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger have beaten them at their own game, hiring Ian Astbury and touring as--ahem--the Twenty-First Century Doors. At some point, you run out of '60s and '70s bands and have to move forward. Hence, the Journey and Bon Jovi tributes.

Journey and Bon Jovi. Can you imagine playing in one of those tribute bands? This is sad. Couldn't they pick some bands deserving of a tribute?

PS: Guess who else performed at the same club as Bad Medicine and Evolution? Lucy Lawless. That gig has come and gone, alas.

Prog blog time!

As a tribute to ELO, the band behind Xanadu's most memorable songs, here is an early clip of the band doing "10538 Overture." This is right after the Move morphed into ELO, and Roy Wood is wearing a gray wig while Jeff Lynne practices for next year's Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Iraq is the new (insert name of country here)

Every day, I feel more sorry for Iraqis. As noted in last month, Bush and other Republicans keep confusing Iraq with other countries. This time, they think that we can just keep a bunch of soldiers there like we have with South Korea. The Defeatists explain why this won't work.

Korea, for those of you who skipped geography, is a peninsula with a lot of mountains, etc....Capitalist Buddhist Christian Confucian Japanese hating kimchee makers to the south; starving, lobotomized, goose-stepping animists ( I consider Kim Il Song and all the rest of the northern gang on a par with baboons...) to the north. The border is the most heavily mined, guarded, militarized stretch in the world. Makes the old Berlin Wall look like cheesecake. Makes the proposed wall on our southern border look like a turtle fence. There are constant probes, tunnels, etc, but for the most part bad guys to the north, our guys to the south.

Iraq is, as we say about Texas, a whole other country. In Northern Ireland, you had about 60% of the people who wanted peace and the ability to get along, and 40% nutcases. However, bad guys didn't come in from Rome and Geneva to keep the pot stirred up. At it's worst, which went on for years, the Brits were losing people daily. The difference in Iraq is that the tempo will be greater because there are more of the fuckers and more of them hate each other. Oh, yeah - the Brits could get good intel and infiltrate because there are a lot of Anglo-Irish in places like Liverpool and Glasgow and London and they all look alike! American soldiers don't look like Iraqis...those that do or speak the fucking (or fooking as we Micks would say) language are targeted by the religious right-wing nuts in the military as probably being homosexuals, security risks or just weird. So it's a stupid idea. Simplistic, historically inaccurate, and the product of facile bullshit substituting for policy. Par for the course from Dubya...

Please, God, don't let this happen

Senator Craig Thomas, Republican from Wyoming, lost his battle with leukemia earlier this week. Although Wyoming's governor, Dave Freudenthal, is a Democrat, state law says that his replacement must be another Republican, chosen by the state's GOP.

Soooooo...guess who's being touted as a successor? I'll give you a hint: she's married to a really evil guy and her surname starts with a "C".

Nice. Just what this government needs. Another unofficial Republican ruling family that needs to go away. Can't they bring back Alan Simpson? He's much saner than about 75 percent of the Republicans currently in the Senate.

(Via Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

Beatle blog time!

It doesn't take much to stoke the latent Beatlemania in our cultural consciousness. Now it's the fortieth anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper album, and yet another opportunity to celebrate the band that totally changed the face of popular music as we know it without even trying to. Mockingbird's Medley is asking readers to name their favorite albums. I'm going with the "red" and "blue" anthology collections, mainly because my parents played them so many times when I was a little kid. It's like I grew up with the band.

Of course, I'd be stoked if the Yellow Submarine movie were reissued on DVD. Somehow, it has gone out of print and you will need to check out eBay (and pay a lot of money) to get a copy. In the meantime, there is always YouTube:

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

THIS looks FUN!

Sure, the Harry Potter saga is almost over, but we haven't seen the last of Pottermania.

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter will open at the Universal Orlando Resort, in Florida, in 2009.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling said: "The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed."

Touted as a "theme park within a theme park", it will feature attractions and rides based on Harry Potter locations.

Based inside Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park, which already houses Marvel Super Heroes and Dr Seuss islands, the Harry Potter theme will be spread over 20-acres.


Woo hoo! I love theme parks and you can never have too many, in my opinion. Hopefully, the attractions will not be too frightening for Le Sweetie.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"You have to believe we are magic/Nothing can stand in our way..."

Yes, it seems the Broadway musical version of "Xanadu" now has its own Web site! Looks like the musical's going to have the right amount of wink-wink, as it's described as "hilarity on wheels for adults, children and anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired....You'll want to keep the music in your head and Xanadu in your heart, forever."

Le Sweetie is not going to want to see this thing. I'm tempted to go see it myself. Even if the tickets are kinda pricey.

I can't help it. It sounds like a blast and I love ELO.

In the meantime, a taste of the original for those who missed it.

Larry Flynt goes digging for dirt

No, he's not taking up gardening. If you've had a torrid sexual encounter with a politician, Mr. Flynt wants to know.

"Have you had a sexual encounter with a current member of the United States Congress or a high-ranking government official?" read a full-page advertisement taken out by Larry Flynt's pornographic magazine in Sunday's Washington Post.

It offered $1 million for documented evidence of illicit intimate relations with a congressman, senator or other prominent officeholder. A toll-free number and e-mail address were provided.


Just in time for the presidential race.

From King of Zembla.

Why insane stage moms suck

While Lindsay Lohan is off on an extended vacation in rehab at Promises, her vile mom, Dina Lohan, has other little Lohans in the wings to groom for stardom. This gives new meaning to the terms "greedy" and "shameless."

DINA Lohan is about to get what she always wanted: her own TV show.

Dina - who has ridden the coattails of her eldest daughter, Lindsay, for years trying to become famous - is in talks to do a reality show with E! tentatively titled "Mom-ager," in which she'll try to turn her youngest children, Ali, 14, and Cody, 11, into stars.

An insider fumed, "Can you believe that? She totally messed up Lindsay by making her a 'star' and living vicariously through her - and now she's going to do the same to the other two? How the [bleep] can E! do this? Those kids should be in school having normal lives, the life that Lindsay didn't get to have."

Dina, who refers to herself as "the white Oprah," has been trying for more than a year to get an on-air TV job. She most recently appeared on "Entertainment Tonight" to give the show "exclusives" with troubled Lindsay - once when she was in the Wonderland rehab center and the other time at the "Georgia Rule" premiere.

Dina failed to return our calls and e-mails, and so did reps for E! and Lindsay.

I propose a new law: The Stage Parents Prevention Act. Any parent of a child performer has to be evaluated by a shrink before the child can work. That way, perhaps we can weed out psychos like Joe Jackson, Lynne Spears, and Dina Lohan.

"White Oprah." Ms. Winfrey should have a few words with Mrs. Lohan.

Sometimes, the good guys win after all

Scooter's headed for the slammer.

"People who occupy these types of positions, where they have the welfare and security of nation in their hands, have a special obligation to not do anything that might create a problem," Judge Walton said to Libby as he was sentencing him to 30 months in a federal prison and fining him $250,000.

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald had asked for a sentence like this, and this morning he told Judge Walton that a tough term was needed for Libby because "the truth matters ever so much." The federal probation office had suggested a sentence in the 15-to-30 month range and Libby's lawyers had famously begged for leniency and asked for probation.

No dice, said the judge: You do the crime, you do the time, especially when you should have known better and done better. "Overwhelming evidence" of guilt, Judge Walton declared.

Monday, June 04, 2007

OMG...

I have to hand it to I Am Screaming and Punching Myself, where I was first exposed to Katie Price, aka Jordan, in all her...essence. If you thought her maternity wear was unbelievable, well...her wedding dress has to be seen to be believed.



Nice to see the UK has its own tacky slebs. To Katie/Jordan's credit, she hasn't been arrested for anything or gone to rehab yet.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ron Paul, race-baiter? YIKES!

Dear Congressman Paul:

Please explain what's so libertarian about those scary militia dudes and white supremacists you're so chummy with? I mean, the militia dudes are obsessed with the Second Amendment to the Constitution, but aren't too interested in the rest of the amendments. And that Christian Identity group that endorsed you? Congressman, you really should rethink that endorsement. They're a bunch of quasi-religious racist nuts.

While you're at it, please explain the bigoted commentary in that newsletter of yours. These kinds of statements have a way of coming back to haunt presidential candidates. Just ask Rudy Giuliani. Of course, Rudy never tried to dodge criticism claim that his writings were ghost-written.

It's pretty sad the way a purported "conservative libertarian" would see kindred spirits in people who don't share his much-vaunted for libertarian values.

Congressman Paul, perhaps you should go back and re-read the Constitution.

Update: Dennis Sanders of Neomugwump weighs in on Congressman Paul.

Another famous, gay-friendly straight guy

From the Rock:

I know a lot of closeted gay actors in Hollywood who refuse to come out, whatever the reasons are and I respect that. But I believe that if people love you now, when you come out, they would love you more. If they don't, then they werten't real people to begin with. They can fuck off.

Your obligatory reality check here...

While LiLo is off in rehab, soldiers and civilians in Iraq keep dying.

The U.S. military announced Sunday that 14 American soldiers were killed over the past three days, including four in a single roadside bombing and another who was struck by a suicide bomber while on a foot patrol.

The blast that killed the four U.S. soldiers occurred Sunday as the troops were conducting a cordon and search operation northwest of Baghdad, according to a statement. Two other soldiers were killed and five were wounded along with an Iraqi interpreter in two separate roadside bombings on Sunday, the military said.

In the boldest attack, a U.S. soldier was killed Friday after the patrol approached two suspicious men for questioning near a mosque southwest of Baghdad, and one of the suspects blew himself up. Military spokesman Maj. Webster Wright said U.S. troops also fired at the second suspect after he began acting aggressively, and the gunfire detonated his suicide vest.

"Our initial analysis is that these guys were al-Qaida and were planning to launch attacks into Baghdad," Wright said in an e-mailed statement.

Seven other soldiers were killed in a series of attacks across Iraq on Saturday....

Combined with the previously announced death of a U.S. soldier in central Baghdad on Friday, it was a deadly start for June. May was the third bloodiest month since the war began in March 2003, with 127 troop deaths reported.

Maybe LiLo, Britney, Paris, et al. could add some meaning to their dumb, drug-addled lives and go enlist. They'd be doing something good, and they'd be out of the tabloids.

Steve Gilliard, 1966-2007


I so hoped that the man behind The News Blog was going to make it. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Godspeed, Steve. I'm sure you and Kurt Vonnegut are going to have a lot to talk about.