Monday, July 30, 2007

Yes, being smart IS cool!

Months ago, I wrote about Danica McKellar (aka Winnie Cooper from "The Wonder Years"), who has a BA in math from UCLA and has a mathematical theorem named for her. Her guide for math-phobic middle school girls, titled "Math Doesn't Suck," will be published in August.

McKellar talks about her new book in Newsweek.

"When girls see the antics of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, they think that being fun and glamorous also means being dumb and irresponsible," says McKellar. "But I want to show them that being smart is cool. Being good at math is cool. And not only that, it can help them get what they want out of life."

Could we be seeing a backlash against the current celebrity vapidocracy? Here's hoping.

More proof that God does, in fact, exist

Awwwwwww. Guess who got cut out of her grandpa's will?

PARTY princess Paris Hilton is $60 million out of pocket after her billionaire grandfather - appalled by her jail term for drink-driving offences - axed her inheritance.

Family patriarch Barron Hilton was already embarrassed by his granddaughter's wild behaviour - notably when her home sex video was leaked on the internet.

But the 79-year-old considered her 23-day sentence last month the last straw.

"He was, and is, extremely embarrassed by how the Hilton name has been sullied by Paris," says Jerry Oppenheimer, who wrote a biography of the clan called House Of Hilton.

"He now doesn't want to leave unearned wealth to his family."

Hilton senior, the only member of the family left with a sizeable stake in the huge hotel chain, has let it be known that he intends to donate to charity the $2.4bn he will gain from this month's sale of the company to private equity firm Blackstone.

The money will go to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the charity set up in the name of the founder of the family business.

Coming soon on the next season of The Simple Life: Paris has to, like, work for a living and bursts into tears when she's passed over for a job at Wendy's.

YES!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A long-overdue prog blog!

This time it's Rush performing "Tom Sawyer." Whaddya mean, you don't like Rush?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Please, please, please let this happen!!!

If it did, I would be the happiest person on Earth.

Dismissing the GOP presidential field as a "pathetic" bunch of "pygmies," Newt Gingrich hinted Monday he might step in to beat Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"If, in mid-October, it's quite clear that one or more of the current candidates is strong enough to be a serious alternative to a Clinton-Obama ticket, you don't need me to run," the former House Speaker said at a breakfast sponsored by the American Spectator. "If it becomes patently obvious, as the morning paper points out, that the Democrats have raised a hundred million more than the Republicans, and at some point people decide we are going to get Hillary unless there's a radical change, then there's space for a candidate," he added. "So you'll know by mid-October one of those two futures is real."

It's really sad that Gingrich has no faith in '08 slate. I mean, they're the ideal GOP candidates. What's not to like? There's John "What straight talk express?" McCain. There's Rudy "Never mind the naysayers; here's America's Mayor" Giuliani. There's Yosemite Mitt, a guy named Thompson who has decided to run, a guy named Thompson who hasn't decided to run, the obligatory long-shot maverick whom everyone talks about and nobody will vote for, the loony wingnut senator from Kansas, and Governor Whatshisname from Arkansas. And three of these guys don't even believe in evolution.

Nice to see that Mr. Derailed-Straight-Talk-Express hasn't let the Newtster faze him. But can't he come up with some witticism? I mean, this guy can sing "Bomb Iran" but he can't come up with a good one-liner in response to Newt?

Especially when Newt says shit like this?

Gingrich mocked Republican presidential candidates for subjecting themselves to a May debate hosted by Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball."

"You're watching an utterly irrelevant, shallow television celebrity dominate everybody who claimed they want to lead the most powerful nation in the world," he said.

Gingrich ridiculed "the idea of 10 or 11 people standing passively at microphones," and said he refused to "shrink to the level of 40-second answers, standing like a trained seal, waiting for someone to throw me a fish."

He added: "These are not debates, these are auditions. By definition, the psychology of an audition reduces the person auditioning and raises the status, for example, of Chris Matthews."

Attaboy Newt. Don't lower yourself to answering a bunch of YouTube nincompoops. Keep that stick up your ass your head held high. I'm sure you'll be a winner. Enter the race. America will love you for it.

How can Bush get more Americans killed?

By crying wolf again and again, that's how. Cynthia Tucker explains more.

We just don't believe them anymore. We no longer take seriously the warnings of terrorist threats coming from White House functionaries. So, earlier this month, when Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Chicago newspaper about his "gut feeling" that the nation faces an increased risk of a terrorist attack this summer, nobody paid much attention.

They've frightened us so many times before with false alarms and phony threats and hyped intelligence that we've stopped paying attention. We've forgotten where we put the duct tape and plastic and gas masks. And don't forget those color-coded alerts. Do they still do that?

Tucker neglects to mention the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, mumbling ominously about brown people in turbans who hate our freedoms. Ah well. No one's perfect.

Here's where it all gets maddeningly frustrating: This time might be different. The latest National Intelligence Estimate -- a summary was released last week -- reports that al-Qaida has regrouped and recharged. In other words, Osama bin Laden is still alive, still at large and still hell-bent on destroying this country.

And President Bush is delusional enough to believe that history will restore his reputation?

If the 101st Fighting Keyboardists are slapping themselves on the back over the news, they're even dumber than previously believed. Seriously, if I were one of them, I'd be trying to blissfully ignore that report as much as I can. "Look, over there! There's a moonbat who called someone a bad name! See? Moonbats are mean!"

Guaranteed to rile the wingnutosphere is Tucker's closing line:

In our sixth summer since 9/11, after countless color-coded alerts and shoeless shambles through airport security, we no longer believe the hype. This may be just what bin Laden had in mind.

Isn't it nice to know that so many Americans are doing just what bin Laden wants them to do? Maybe someone should mention this to the wingnutosphere. "Hey dudes. You realize that you're enabling Osama bin Laden, don't you?"

Gee, nice going, governor

Governor Elliot Spitzer's been in office only seven months and he already has a stupid scandal that could've been avoided. This stems from his feud with Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. At one point, Bruno accused Spitzer of spying on him. Now, it turns out there may be some truth to his claims.

Turns out two of Spitzer's aides, Darren Dopp and Richard Baum, were collaborating with the superintendent of state police to investigate Bruno's possible misuse of state aircraft to attend GOP fundraisers. And they were planning to leak this information to the media.

Can you say "blatant political partisanship that you'd normally expect of the GOP"? I knew you could!

Anyway, the good guy in this mess is a Democrat: specifically state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Dopp and Baum, however, refuse to testify under oath.

Newsday has excellent coverage (as always). The Albany Project also has been following the Elliot Mess, as the NYC tabloids call it.

Already, there's one apologist claiming, "Mistakes made out of frustration and desire for real change led to Spitzer's recent slip but lets remember why there is frustration and why NOW is our first chance in 40 years to change our state."

Well, it would be nice if these "slips" weren't outright partisan hit jobs. When Spitzer took office, I think a lot of people counted on him to be better than this. Count me as someone hoped Spitzer would be a rockin' governor and is now totally dismayed to hear pundits and politicians and editorial writers all asking, "What did the governor know and when did he know it?"

Monday, July 23, 2007

This is what a hilariously dumb 25 percenter looks like



Today's nugget of comedy gold is brought to you by Stephen Sabludowsky of the Bayou Buzz in Louisiana. Somewhere, in their cozy home offices, the superstars of the wingnutosphere must be quaking, as they contemplate this upstart from the Deep South (home of Bubba, damn it!) and imagine how their rhetorical skills and laundry lists of talking points can possibly can possibly top an article titled...drum roll please...Feingold's Iraq Censorship Resolution Is Bad Policy.

Iraq WHAT is bad policy?!?!?

Yo. Jonah Goldberg? You there? We don't need you anymore. We've found a new right-wing stupid who makes you look like Keith Olbermann. Maybe, after you're done crying into your beer, you can get back to work on that silly book of yours. What's it called again? Liberal Fascism from Hegel to Whole Foods? On second thought, maybe you should ask your mommy for more money.

Ahem. If you think the title is great, wait till you read the article.

U.S. Senator Russell Feingold wants to censure President Bush and possibly others in the Administration over events leading up to Iraq and for the handling of the Iraq War.

That would be a terrible idea and a step backwards for the United States.

As Feingold prepares the resolution which already appears to have support from some Democratic leaders, the question that should be asked is--whether it will do more good than harm at a time when we are trying to deal with a crises in the Middle East and Iraq, when terrorists have only grown in numbers and when America requires major infrastructure improvements such as focusing upon the rebuild of New Orleans.

YIPPEE! He's managed to use the word "censure" instead of "censor"! And he's says "Democratic" leaders instead of "Democrat" leaders! For bonus points, he's a right winger who actually remembers that we have "a crises in the Middle East" and should focus on "the rebuild of New Orleans."

The censure would be “impeachment lite”. Although Feingold mentioned on Sunday news program words such as “criminal”, there will be a time and place for making that judgment.

Ooooooooh! Ooooooooooh! Feingold said the word "criminal"! That's a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD word! It's like the "n" word to Republicans! Bad Russell! Bad, bad, BAAAAAAAAAD Russell!

President Bush’s legacy is surely on the line and it will be judged upon whether he can achieve peace and stability in a country and in an area which has become a tinderbox ready to explode.

Yo. Dude. I think we can all forget about Bush trying to salvage his legacy.

There is a good argument that Congress should make a “historical record” to prevent future military incursions until and unless the country has all of the facts and war is deemed absolutely necessary. But, the censure resolution is bad for a number of reasons.

What do you mean, "good argument"? It's a necessity. Congress should be doing stuff like this. And you think it's a bad idea.

Say, before going forward, let's have fun with a dictionary. Specifically, the online edition of Merriam-Webster. A dictionary is a place where you look up words and find out what they mean. It is very helpful for people like Mr. Sabludowsky.

The definition of censure:

1 : a judgment involving condemnation
2 archaic : OPINION, JUDGMENT
3 : the act of blaming or condemning sternly
4 : an official reprimand

The definition of censorship:

1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively
2 : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
3 : exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

Ahem. Back to the article.

For America to solve this Iraq nightmare, it will take a bi-partisan effort to override any possible Presidential veto. By embarrassing the President, it would be a certainty that Republicans would rally around the flag and make it much more difficult to work for Democrats and Republicans to work together.

"Bipartisan effort"? Dude, did you have a straight face when you wrote this? Bipartisan efforts are what Bush wants when the mean Democrats are hurting his widdle fee-wings. You know this, right?

And what's this about "embarrassing the president"? Bush doesn't need Feingold or anyone else in Congress to do that.

Censuring the President would just be a waste of time, inflame the nation’s emotions when we have serious business at hand.

Quick, someone give this guy a calendar. "Inflame the nation's emotions"? Has he been overseas, on some South Pacific Island--say, Tonga--making an effort to tune out the regular American news? I'm serious. He's clearly living in a time warp where it's 2002 and wingnuts can get away with saying all kinds of dumb shit and no one will call on them on it. Particularly dumb shit like this:

Censuring President Bush would instill confidence in the terrorists who would love nothing more than to repudiate President Bush and to embarrass him as a symbol of the “evil empire”.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Okay, I've stopped laughing. Seriously, dude, not only will that dog not hunt anymore, but said dog was in fact put down quite some time ago.

We should wait for the full report from General Petraeus and from Ambassador Ryan Crocker for military ground level and for foreign relations assessments. Precipitous action, now that the Surge is in operation, would be unfortunate with events moving very quickly.

Okay, why is this a Surge as opposed to a plain ol' surge? We'll never know if Feingold's Iraq censorship goes ahead.

The way out of Iraq is to force the Iraqis to be responsible, to provide them the support that is absolutely needed and to make certain that removal of troops is the wise course of action. Partisanship for political gain will not work. It hurt the Clinton Administration during impeachment and it will further damage the Bush administration during the time of need.

"Force the Iraqis to be responsible"? What the fuck does he think this is, junior high school? Note the right wing projection. Of course, the Republicans were engaging in partisanship, whining about Clinton wagging the dog in Kosovo. But our brave Mr. Sabludowsky has a point. Impeachment hurt Clinton so badly that he left office with approval ratings that Bush can only dream of.

Say, Mr. Sabludowsky, perhaps this Iraq, erm, censorship would be good for Bush.

No doubt, President Bush has made some serious miscalculations during this horrifying experience which has caused over 3500 American deaths fighting a war that probably need not to have been fought.

I'm confused about "this horrifying experience which has caused over 3500 American deaths fighting a war." You can actually fight a war when you're dead? Is that what he's saying?

Bush has made other mistakes and it has cost and will cost his party dearly.

Hooray! Whoot whoot! Finally Mr. Sabludowsky says something that makes sense!

But, a censureship vote only opens up a wound for no really good reason and does not salve our sores.

Of course, it doesn't. There's no such thing as a "censureship" vote because there's no such thing as "censureship." Again, maybe some nice person should buy Mr. Sabludowsky a dictionary so he will learn and understand that just because two words have similar spelling and pronunciation, that doesn't mean they mean the same thing. Otherwise, I suspect that he'll be carrying Lipton tea bags to the golf course.

Back to the mealy-mouthed "you're being MEAN to Bush--WAAAAAAAAAH!" doublespeak typical of the Sabludowskys of the world.

We need healing. We need closure. We need to work together in a bi-partisan way with the support of the Administration as was promised when the Democrats took over.

Promised by WHOM?

Yes, President Bush defied all odds after the election and went on his own course. History will prove whether he has been right or wrong. Leadership will fix Iraq and return America to a just cause in the Middle East and throughout the world.

You mean "leadership" as in "someone other than the current president and his cabinet," right?

Tearing down the man who happens to be occupying the Oval Office is a waste of time, will result in the opposite of what the resolution drafters desire and will hurt America in the short and in the long haul.

Tell that to the Watergate Committee.

Let’s send the censureship packing.

Let's write to the Bayou Buzz and suggest that their copy editors do a better job. If you're going to publish this stuff, you can at least run the spell check before the articles are published.

On the plus side, at least Sabludowsky didn't imagine what the Martians might say about this. Probably because if there really are Martians, they've decided people like him are proof positive that Earth has no intelligent life.

MPB blog time!

It's two Brazilian legends for the price of one: Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim performing "Aguas del Marco."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Oh. Crap.

First, there's the general annoyance whenever this city gets heavy rain. Not only do the roads flood (sadly unavoidable) but the flooding causes subway delays. It's like five dozen sick passenger delays all rolled into one. I seem to remember one morning when the rain pelted the city for all of about 10 minutes and the subways were down, delayed, or otherwise fucked up for the rest of the fucking morning. Is there any way water pumps could be upgraded so passengers can be spared future headaches? I'm tempted to get more involved with the Straphangers campaign.

Well, the day went from bad to worse when a steam pipe exploded on the East Side this afternoon.

Emergency workers are testing the air for asbestos following a deadly steam pipe explosion that occurred just before 6 p.m. tonight near the corner of Lexington and 41st Street on Manhattan's East Side.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that at least one person was killed and nearly 20 more were injured in the massive blast, which disrupted subway service and forced the evacuation of several buildings in the area.

The explosion tore a crater in the street nearly the width of Lexington Avenue, and created a geyser of debris that rained down on passers-by as they fled the area.

“The police and fire trucks were coming from every which way,” said a witness. “Cops in the street were screaming ‘Evacuate! Evacuate! Get off the block!’"

“I heard a big roaring noise and I felt the ground literally shaking,” said another.

Scenes of smoke billowing from city streets rekindled fears of 9/11 among city residents, but authorities say that the explosion was not terror-related.

The mayor said the 24-inch steam pipe, which was installed in 1924, likely exploded when a burst of cold water got into the pipe.

Yikes. Cold water. That's it? That's all it takes to blow up 41st and Lex? Okay, this makes me nervous for some reason. Details should be forthcoming soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

None of the Above in 2008! Woo-hoo!

Although Rudy, McCain, and Yosemite Mitt are tripping over each other on the way to the GOP nomination, Republicans themselves are unimpressed with them. Gee, why could that be? Are GOP dog lovers appalled at Mitt? Are the Christian righties wary of Rudy (what? after that photo op with Santorum?)? Do they think McCain is just too darn old for the job? Do they wish Fred Thompson had remained on "Law and Order"? Who knows?

Among the legions of undecided Republicans is Barbara Skogman, 72, a retired legal assistant from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She isn't at all excited about any of the prospects. At one point, she favored McCain. At another, she was open to Giuliani. Now, she's leaning slightly toward Romney but says she's far from sold on him.

"I'm looking for a strong, honest person. Do you know of any?" she joked. She had an easy time detailing why she was queasy about each of the most serious contenders. "Isn't that sad?" Then she reached a conclusion: "I just don't know."

Strong and honest. I take it she didn't vote for Bush, either.

Meanwhile, Jim Gilmore (huh? who's that?) has dropped out of the race.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What part of "enough, already" don't these guys understand?

Well, it looks like the main players in Situation FUBAR can't keep their stories straight. Al-Maliki says America is free to leave any time. Lee Hamilton disagrees.

"There is no chance that the Iraqi forces could take over at any time, or certainly by the first of the year," Hamilton said in a nationally broadcast interview. "All of the support efforts, logistical and medical and so forth, they are not close to being able to meet," Hamilton said.

"The most important is inclusivity," he added. "That is making sure that you include all elements of Iraqi society in the government," he said. "They're not close at all. The president gave them a satisfactory rating. But all they've done is create a committee" to work on a host of legislative issues aimed at completing the transition from the Saddam Hussein era.

"I am extremely doubtful about it. He's had quite a bit of time now. He's known exactly what he's had to do. He hasn't done it. His rhetoric is pretty good. His performance is pretty bad."

Not that Dubya cares. After all, he dismissed that Iraq Study Group report that Daddy was so nice to help put together as "a flaming turd." Oh yeah, and he's responded to Lugar and Warner's proposals with a firm, decisive "Lalalalalalalalalala I can't hear you!"

This idiot will not. change. his. mind. Note to anyone represented by a Republican in the Senate: Regardless of whether you voted for this person, you really need to hold his/her feet to the fire and let him/her know that enough is enough. With sixty votes, Senate can get lots of good things done...like maybe even stopping this lunacy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Welcome to reality, Mr. Matthews

Maybe I should start watching these Sunday morning gabfests more often. Chris Matthews is on TV, looking pissed, fed up, and disillusioned about Iraq. It's really nice that he's stopped fawning over Tom DeLay and other assorted Repubs. About time, too.

Maybe he should stop cutting off his guests, though. If I were Cynthia Tucker, I'd slap him.

Oh, and it's too bad Katty Kay's British, because she'd be an awesome news anchor.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Okay, NOW can we leave?

Iraq's prime minister says that US troops can leave "any time they want." That's nice...except that not everyone agrees with the guy.

Al-Maliki said difficulty in enacting the measures was "natural" given Iraq's turmoil.

But one of his top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like "an experiment in an American laboratory." He sharply criticised the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarrassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with "gangs of killers" in its campaign against al-Qaida in Iraq.

Come on. This is stupid. These guys can't make up their own minds, and we can't run their country for them. The general undercurrent in al-Maliki and al-Suneid's statements is the same: "We don't want the US here." You don't stay at a party after the host has told you to leave, so why continue to occupy a country that wants you out?

Crybaby conservative goes to jail

Conrad Black has been convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice. Do you think he'll appeal the decision on the basis of a biased jury? Specifically, a jury not composed of rich people?

Life's little "A-freaking-MEN!" moments

Theodore Sorensen, adviser to President John F. Kennedy, has written the perfect speech for the next Democratic presidential nominee, whoever he/she may be. It's a stunning piece. Let's hope that our next Democratic nominee really, really gets it.

In other news, I'm off to see "Sicko" with Le Sweetie tonight, among other unpatriotic pursuits.

PS: Happy Bastille Day to the French! There are some Americans who still like France, y'know.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rightie pundits **heart** the DC Madam

Jack Burkman is the latest name to pop up on the DC madam's client list. And who's Jack Burkman? He's one of those analyst/pundit/consultant whatevers who pop up in GOP circles and on TV shows, all spouting the same stuff. He was a surrogate speaker for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign. He's appeared on "Scarborough Country," "Politically Incorrect," and (where else?) Fox News. He has his own firm, though it's a little unclear from his Web site exactly what it does. He also does what every good German right-wing toady does and defends Ann Coulter every chance he gets.

Oh yeah, and he has a history of paying for intimate relations. And mistaking lesbians for hookers.

afterward, we got a snazzy hotel room at the mayflower downtown. on the way over there, this really hot business man in a pinstriped suit walked past me, said hello, and doubled back. he asked me my name and introduced himself (jack burkman, government relations strategies), asked where i went to school, etc, gave me his card, and asked me to call him. i later texted him and never could get rid of him again. he thought he talked to me on the phone several times, but he never did. i always made kat or kristin be me. he told kristin about how he really enjoyed my outfit (TITS GALORE) and that i was beautiful, etc. by the end of the night (5 am or so), he was offering to pay for our room and give us a thousand dollars if two of us would fuck him. oh, jack burkman. his card is my DC souvenir.

Via Blanton's and Ashton's.

Mitt has some new political enemies

Dogs Against Romney is the group, and they've em-BARKED on a campaign to oppose the GOP's Great Blue State Hope. They've got some "ruff" words for Mr. Varmint-Shooter. They're dogged in their effort to get the word out about the most notorious dog-owner this side of Paris "Dogs Are the Cutest Accessory" Hilton.

In fact, if we're unlucky enough to have a President Mitt, I'm sure they'll campaign to have him im-pooched.

Okay, I'll stop with the puns now.

Via Scott EVill.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Li'l Ricky opens his mouth. Again.




"You know, Rudy, I can really, really help you in the fearmongering department. Can I work on your campaign, Rudy? Huh? Can I?"




Rick Santorum is now playing Wingnut Nostradamus, predicting that there will be more terrorist attacks on America:

Appearing on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, Santorum also hyped the necessity of "confronting Iran in the Middle East," and predicted that Giuliani, Romney and Fred Thompson would be the three surviving Republican candidates who would go head to head in the race for the nomination....

"Between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view," said the former senator from Pennsylvania.

Is Santorum expressing foreknowledge of some coming atrocity or is he merely using a tactic familiar to the leadership of his party - exploiting the fear of terror for the purposes of political rhetoric?


Now now. Let's give Li'l Ricky the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this is all part of his dopey little think-tank project about "America's Enemies." Maybe scoring political points has nothing to do with it.

Or maybe he's stumbled onto super-special information during on-site research for his upcoming documentary about radical Islam. Yup, now that Li'l Ricky is armed with the hard facts about the terrorists that we're fighting in Iraq so we don't need to fight them over here, Michael Moore's going to look plenty stoopid.

(Via The Sideshow.)

Lady Bird Johnson, 1912-2007


Her husband's legacy may be at best troubled and at worst catastrophic, but Lady Bird Johnson did lots of good with her conservation work. True, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt will always be my favorite First Ladies, but I have a soft spot for Lady Bird. It's partly because of her nickname and partly because America's landscape is a lot more beautiful because of her.

Doug Marlette, 1949-2007

When I first moved to New York City, New York Newsday quickly became my favorite daily tabloid. Back then, the paper's featured editorial cartoonist was Doug Marlette, who doubled as author of the Kudzu comic strip and always induced giggles with his mockery of Jesse Helms. I loved his cartoons.

This afternoon, I learned he was killed in a car accident, at the age of 57. David Cagle blogs about this tragedy and includes a cartoon from Marlette's nephew.

Rest in peace, Mr. Marlette. And thanks for the laughter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The bright side of John McCain's presidential run

Sure, the Straight-talker turned Bush Mini-Me has had to fire 50 campaign staffers. Sure, he's been embarassing himself every chance he gets. Sure, he's had a falling out with his closest campaign ally. And sure, his fundraising has sucked royally.

But at least he hasn't shown any interest in hookers.

Look who's in the little black book!

Yes, it's Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. And the black book in question is the DC madam's.

Normally, I'd file this story under "Politicos dig hookers--what else is new?" Except for the fact that he considers gay marriage to be one of the most important issues facing the nation today. (More important, in fact, than constituents who were left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.) Specifically, Senator Vitter supports that stupid gay marriage amendment.

You know, I bet that a lot of those gay couples would be more faithful in their own marriages than Vitter was in his.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Your regular Yosemite Mitt update

First, he angered animal lovers. Now conservatives are mad at him.

Hey, waitaminnit. Doesn't the conservative base just luuuuuuuhv Mitt now that he's abruptly decided abortion and stem cell research are bad?

Uh, no.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, who rails against the "cesspool" of pornography, is being criticized by social conservatives who argue that he should have tried to halt hardcore hotel movie offerings during his near-decade on the Marriott board.

Two anti-pornography crusaders, as well as two conservative activists of the type Romney is courting, say the distribution of such graphic adult movies runs counter to the family image cultivated by Romney, the Marriotts and their shared Mormon faith.

"Marriott is a major pornographer. And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an anti-pornography group based in Ohio.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a leading conservative group in Washington, said: "They have to assume some responsibility. It’s their hotels, it’s their television sets."

Insert appropriate Mark Foley joke here.

Life's little "WTF?" moments

Coming soon to a county fair near you New York's Roseland Ballroom!



Yes, Silverchair. Mid-90s Australian Nirvanabes. They're still together. How did they get a gig at Roseland, anyway?

Prog blog time!

Van der Graaf Generator performing "Whatever Would Robert Have Said," circa 1970:



Soft Machine, performing "Why Am I So Short?" circa 1967:



Jello Biafra's favorite prog band, Magma, performing...uh, I don't know the title of this song:

Sunday, July 08, 2007

This five-day weekend didn't have to end...

...but it has. Almost. Tomorrow, I return to work. It was a cool extended July 4 weekend, seeing bands with Le Sweetie, going to Jones Beach with Le Sweetie, eating seafood with Le Sweetie, checking out the Whitney's Summer of Love exhibit with Le Sweetie. I also have a freelance proofreading job and a writing assignment as well. Going to Live Earth yesterday was part of that writing assignment. Amidst all this, I still found time to do the laundry and ride my bike around the neighborhood. This is what summer should be like.

Yay! I got an award!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Yup, I finished second place in This Eclectic Life's "This Blog Blows My Dress Up" Contest! And now I've got a cool graphic not only to celebrate but also to take you to This Eclectic Life's list of contest winners! Who came in first and third? You'll find out there. At some point in the future, I'll add this to my sidebar. In the meantime, hooray for me!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In case anyone missed Olbermann last night...

Crooks and Liars has the whole thing up.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"It's all over but the booing"

Well, it's put-a-fork-in-it time for the Bush presidency. So says Olbermann. Already, he's quoting reputable scholars and constitutional lawyers who all say the same thing: President Bush is unpopular and incompetent and nobody likes him. NOW will Congress present a united front against this president and his crooked cabinet? Please?

Olbie quote: "Political capital: Don't spend it all in one place."

Now he's coming out with guns blazing. This special comment of his just rocks.

High Kultcha Blogging!

Here's legendary pianist Martha Argerich performing Chopin's Polonaise Opus 53.



And Chopin Scherzo No. 3.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The last word on Yosemite Mitt's dog

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

If the rooftop ride really was such a smart solution, at the very least Mitt could have taken a turn up there himself. Certainly he's proved resolute in the face of risk, at least in the business world, and I have it on good report that the hair product he uses is guaranteed to hold fast in gusts of up to 70 miles an hour.

On an unrelated note, Mitt has a wife named Ann and sons named Tagg and Matt. What's up with all the double consonants?

Portrait of a former GOP shoo-in

At one point, it seemed the GOP nomination was McCain's to lose. And guess what? It looks like he will lose it. Yes, in the race to see who can do the best imitation of a Bush conservative without actually invoking Bush himself, McCain is stumbling quite badly.

Sen. John McCain's once formidable presidential campaign is in deep trouble, as senior officials announced Monday that worsening financial problems have forced them to lay off staff in all departments and the campaign manager will work without pay.

Specifically, McCain has let go of about 50 people. Hopefully, his campaign manager has a really reliable source of income and other job prospects, because this campaign might not look so good on a resume.

Three months after promising to do a better job raising money for his campaign, McCain, an Arizona Republican, posted another disappointing tally. He brought in $11.2 million in the second quarter of this year, down from the $12.5 million raised during the first quarter.

"We wanted to invite the Beach Boys to sing 'Bomb Iran,' but nobody called back."

Once considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination, McCain put together a classic front-runner's operation with a large and expensive staff, a plethora of paid consultants and a vast grass-roots network of local officials publicly backing him.

Maybe some of these staffers are covert DLC operatives? "Hey, we couldn't win elections for the Democrats, so let's lose some elections for the other side! Yeah, that'll do it! Thank us in 2008, guys!"

But McCain has suffered nationally as he repeatedly made the case for keeping American troops in Iraq, siding with an unpopular president. But most damaging has been the debate over immigration as McCain advocated for broad reforms that would beef up security at the borders and, more controversially, provide illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship.

"We took a pretty good pounding for the last few weeks on immigration and it had an effect," said Mark Salter, a senior adviser. "But McCain is not going to pander his way to the nomination."

"McCain is not going to pander his way to the nomination." Mr. Salter, are you aware of whose campaign you're working on?

On the plus side, McCain is probably nice to his dog. Assuming he owns one.

How predictable can this president possibly get?

Yes, after flinging Muppet Man under the bus, the preznit has decided to scrape him off the tarmac and flick the pebbles off his suit, lest Scoots have to trade the suit in for a bright orange prison uniform. Otherwise, the man with the dumbest name in political history might reveal certain ugly facts about the administration.

At this point, the president should just pose in front of an American flag with both middle fingers extended upward.

New political slogan: "If you're not outraged, you're probably just waiting for January 20, 2009."

Contests! I love contests!

And I don't enter enough of them. Well, now that going to change.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's a funny name for a contest, because, well, it's a funny contest! Specifically, a contest to determine the funniest post. I'm up against some strong competitors, but of course I've got my eye on that Amazon gift certificate.

I miss the 1990s

In retrospect, it was a great time to be alive. We had a competent and popular president and a first lady with a personality. We had a good economy and a sense of calm. We also had cool music.



Is there any non-wingnut who doesn't miss the 1990s?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Rata-WHAT?"

It's always problematic when ideologues of any kind try to analyze cartoon movies, as generally their efforts at analysis leave the reader screeching: "It's...only...a...MOVIE! Get REAL!!!" I remember when people claimed The Lion King was sexist and homophobic. Or when The Incredibles was supposed to be some kind of conservative/libertarian/anti-liberal manifesto. (With a strangely French-sounding costume designer? Don't think so.) Or the right-wing outcry over Happy Feet.

Needless to say, I left Ratatouille convinced that the wingnutosphere would hate it. I mean, the characters are French, for God's sake! And those rats living in the ceilngs and sewers are symbolic of evil Muslim terrorists hiding among righteous Christians...right?

Relax. They didn't hate it. As a matter of fact, they're positively goofy in their praise of the movie. And I mean really goofy. From WorldNutDaffy:

[T]he overall storyline is very pro-capitalist, pro-individual and supportive of the gifts that the individual has no matter what his background or genetic makeup. The movie also has a reference to godliness in that old non-biblical saw about cleanliness, and there is a reference to heaven.

Obviously, the WorldNut dude ignores the collective efforts of the kitchen staff in the movie--shades of Communism, by golly! But let's not spoil the fun for him, okay? The best is still to come here:

The real Christian theology...


Yeah, you read that right. "The real Christian theology." In a movie about a cartoon rat. A-HEM! Back to the review.

The real Christian theology comes in the fact that the movie makes it clear anyone can be a chef, although not everyone can be a great chef. Thus, like the divine meritocracy instituted by the Declaration of Independence, the movie strongly suggests all people are created equal by God, who grants everyone the right to pursue personal happiness while pursuing individual service to God's divine authority. Whether the humanist pundits who believe in biological and economic determinism pick up on the radical nature of this premise is anyone's guess, but it is nice to see a movie taking the side of free enterprise and freedom to be who you want to be.

Meanwhile, Michael "Happy Feet has gay homosexuals" Medved also liked the movie. He couldn't find anything subversively left-wing about it. Even if it does feature French people.

"Ratatouille" may be the first Pixar movie that is so advanced, so sophisticated, it doesn't feel like it was made for kids.

Funny, I've seen other Pixar films that also looked pretty sophisticated. Anyway, Medved lays off the lame attempts at political analysis for once and avoids embarassing himself. He doesn't even notice that Janeane Garofolo is one of the voice actors.

Janeane Garofolo? Whooooooooops!

Leonard Pitts is, thankfully, alive and well

Here is Pitts' response to the neo-Nazis, hood-wearers, and general mouth-breathers who've been sending him death threats.

I pity the Neo-Nutsies. How impotent they must feel. How frightened and small. So they console themselves with these delusions of inherent superiority....

I feel a little like Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. They say you can tell who a man is by looking at his friends. Which is true. But I believe you can also tell by looking at his enemies. Apparently, I have managed to make enemies of haters, bigots and other low, pathetic men.

I must be doing something right.

And that is how you respond to the thugs. More people should take their cue from Pitts when faced with far-right bigots.

On an unrelated note, E.R. Shipp is another outstanding African-American columnist with a Pulitzer to show for it. She used to write for the New York Daily News, but I haven't seen her byline in a while. Now she has a blog. Where are you, E.R.? Come back! Please, come back!

P.S. Pitts has his own Web site. In his FAQ section, he responds to people who want blacks to quit talking about racism:

As to the issue of "getting over it:" I find it intriguing that no one sees a preoccupation with the past when we endlessly celebrate the Greatest Generation for its World War II exploits or commiserate with the soldiers of Vietnam for their suffering. No one has difficulty understanding how the past impacts the present when we're talking about, say, how a 30 year old political scandal – Watergate – reverberates in the cynicism of the succeeding generation.

It seems we only have these problems with the past when the past in question has to do with African Americans and their history. Which suggests to me that the issue here is less black folks' preoccupation with our racial yesterday than some white folks' fear of it. And that's a problem beyond my control.

Prog blog time!





Last weekend, Le Sweetie and I saw Magma, arguably one of the world's strangest, darkest prog bands. Even darker and stranger than Van der Graaf Generator. I mean, Van der Graaf had a skinny dude singing about lost astronauts and the darkness deep within his soul. Magma consists of French people singing in an invented language about refugees from Earth. They all wear black shirts with symbols on them. And along with Van der Graaf, they're a prog band that punks aren't afraid to admit they like. Reportedly, John Lydon and Jello Biafra are fans. Jello loves 'em so much he had a Magma t-shirt custom-made, complete with the logo.

Anyway, these photos are from one of the band's few NYC-area shows. They played a small club in Brooklyn that was filled with merry fans. Man, there ain't nothing like obscure cult bands with happy, loyal fans. The above photos are from this show. Since a. the lighting didn't really show their faces and b. I don't hink it's polite to use flash photography for club shows, the band images aren't always clear. However, I can say that the lady in the first photo is vocalist/manager Stella Vander. I was not able to get a picture of bandleader/composer/drummer/ex-husband of Stella Christian Vander. For one thing, he's a drummer and it ain't always easy to get a good photo of the drummer, what with them sitting behind the rest of the band.

More on Magma can be found at Seventh Records, owned and operated by Stella Vander.

And on that note...when are Van der Graaf coming to play the States?