Saturday, May 31, 2008

When the students know more than their "teacher's"

Student Janine Perri writes a guest op-ed in Newsday about today's teachers and their lackadaisical attitude toward typos. Like apostrophes that don't belong there. And messages that "congradulate" spelling bee winners. And administrators who brush off these boo-boos by saying, "We all make mistakes."

Granted, I've been guilty of the occasional "typo's" in this blog. And elsewhere. But what does it say if a student is more concerned about basic grammar 101 than her "teacher's"? As Ms. Perri puts it:

It makes you question today's teaching standards and wonder how much students actually learn in school, compared with how much know-ledge they gain on their own.

It is pretty scary. Perhaps "teacher's" should be required to take some grammar test's before they're certified?

Of course, some damage is done already. Take the case of Stephen Sabludowsky, who doesn't know the difference between "censure" and "censor." Or Kevin James. Both of whom, it turns out, have law degrees. And from real law schools, not diploma mills. I know; I'm dismayed by it, too.

A confession...

I think I might check out the Sex and the City movie after all. Strictly out of morbid curiosity. I mean, I don't know anyone who lives like Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, or Charlotte do.

Wire at the South Street Seaport, 5/30/08

The subject line says it all. Wire played at the Seaport last night and kicked all kinds of ass. Photographic evidence below.

It's schadenfreude season, baby!

Scotty "I Found My Conscience After I Quit" McClellan likes Barack Obama. And just might vote for him. In his own words:

It's a message that is very similar to the one Gov. Bush ran on in 2000, and won on, promising to bring bi-partisanship and honesty and integrity to Washington.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Music for a Thursday night

The late Elis Regina, queen of Brazilian pop, singing one of her finest songs, "Madalena."

Another day, another subpoena

Conyers has subpoenaed Rove. It would be nice if said subpoena were actually enforced.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Separated at birth?

Scummy boy band impresario Lou Pearlman.

Scummy Bush advisor Karl Rove.

One almost single-handedly helped ruin Top 40 radio for several years.

One almost single-handedly helped ruin America for several years.

One is now in prison.

One is, inexplicably, not yet in prison.

Is there a way to do a DNA test on these guys?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Am I the only Noo Yawka who's barely seen a single episode of "Sex and the City" and isn't all that interested in the movie? Does this make me weird?

Irony oh irony

From The Albany Project comes news that Darth Cheney will rise from the crypt appear at the annual dinner for New York State's GOP. Said swank get-together will be held in Manhattan. This despite the state GOP's professed antipathy to all things Big Apple.

We have seen one upstate Republican state senator hold a fundraiser in Manhattan and the NYS Senate Republicans held their own fundraiser in Manhattan also. This from the party that, on a state level, always labels the Democratic Party as the party that caters to the downstate and New York City interests.

And let's not forget where the 2004 GOP convention was held.

This has been a dispatch from Planet IOKIYAR.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yes, there CAN and WILL be a woman president...

...but it may not be Hillary Clinton.

As I've said before, I was never totally sold on La Hill as a presidential candidate, but she didn't repulse me either. At least not in 2007, as the great presidential free-for-all began and assorted Republican wannabes turned their attention from Reagan hero-worship in one debate to relentless Hillary-bashing in another. Seriously, you wanted to see La Hill get the nomination and win the election if only to make wingnut brains explode. Even if it was, frankly, hard to defend her.

The thought of Hillary Clinton as a tough-minded, pragmatic politician was pretty exciting. But instead, we are confronted with the reality of Hillary Clinton as pander-prone, distaff Dem version of Mitt Romney, willing to say that the sky was mustard yellow if it would ensure her a shot at the Oval Office.

Hillary is ruthless and ambitious; this is true of just about every politician, male and female. She may be corrupt and willing to say anything to be elected; this is true of every politician as well--including Mitt, the moderate Republican from Massachusetts, who inexplicably found himself the darling of the wingnutosphere, while the traditionally conservative McCain was scorned.

The knee-jerk loathing of the Clintons has always been puzzling. He can't keep it in his pants, and in personal affairs he lacks the sense God gave a dog. She is, as mentioned before, ruthless and ambitious, and probably has more in common with Eva Peron than with Eleanor Roosevelt. Nonetheless, you have to feel bad for her given the repulsive misogyny she invokes in mainstream, mostly male commentators and pundits--misogyny that is an accepted part of political discourse.

Writes Marie Cocco:

I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven't publicly uttered a word of outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York. Among those holding their tongues are hundreds of Democrats for whom Clinton has campaigned and raised millions of dollars. Don Imus endured more public ire from the political class when he insulted the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

Would the silence prevail if Obama's likeness were put on a tap-dancing doll that was sold at airports? Would the media figures who dole out precious face time to these politicians be such pals if they'd compared Obama with a character in a blaxploitation film? And how would crude references to Obama's sex organs play?

Cocco forgets that Obama's candidacy has brought out the ugliest kind of racism in the right-wing fringe. For examples, see Dave Neiwert. And that doesn't even include the anti-Muslim "Barack Hussein Obama" smears or the recent Obama '08 T-shirts with pictures of Curious George. But Cocco is correct when she points out this racism has been soundly condemned while Hillary-inspired misogyny is tolerated. Still, La Hill's own proxies have tried to prop her up as a candidate through racist rhetoric. Only a rabid Hillary partisan could defend that.

As an on-and-off feminist, I'd be pleased as punch if the US had a female president--but only if she were a really impressive, inspiring candidate. Hillary Clinton, alas, is neither--not with her slipshod campaign, tactical slip-ups, odious race-baiting, and efforts to curry favor with the very wingnuts who loathe all things Clinton (Richard Mellon Scaife, for example).

The saddest thing about the Hillary Clinton of 2008 is her "if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em" mentality. Americans are tired of that, but apparently certain Beltway/DLC types are not. Barbara Ehrenreich says it best:

Hillary Clinton smashed the myth of innate female moral superiority in the worst possible way -- by demonstrating female moral inferiority. We didn't really need her racial innuendos and free-floating bellicosity to establish that women aren't wimps.

With a quick review of the last eight years, you can find plenty of other examples of this same moral inferiority in women: Condoleeza Rice, Mary Matalin, Ann Coulter, Karen Hughes, Michelle Malkin, and Gale Norton, for example. Of course, La Hill, unlike the aforementioned women, is a Democrat and a liberal. Democrats and liberals are supposed to be soft-hearted, sympathetic, nicey-nice milquetoasts who'd rather negotiate than fight. This is an old, discredited right-wing frame, but Hillary didn't realize this. Instead, she tried to out-Repub the Repubs. And she didn't realize that her party (and most Americans) are pretty much fed up with all things Republican.

Over at the NYT, they're trying the focus-group approach to predicting the next female candidate for president. A few names have been bandied around whenever the topic comes up: Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas; Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas. (Actually, it would be terrific if Obama were to pick Napolitano or Sebelius for VP.) But perhaps America's first woman president is someone nobody's heard of yet--after all, in 2004, Obama himself was just a senate hopeful.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh. My. God.

Generally, I can't stand Chris Matthews, but this clip makes me feel sorry for the guy. I'm serious. I wouldn't want his job if it meant dealing with people, just watch the clip.

Let's help Kevin James, shall we? Here's a short bio of Neville Chamberlain.

Where did Mr. James go school, anyway? Was this lady, perhaps, one of his classmates?

(Via Balloon Juice.)

I'd feel sorry for them if I weren't laughing

While Democrats keep winning in "red" districts and George Bush pretends that he's done sacrificed a lot in this here Situation FUBAR by not playing golf, the Beltway Republicans are trying to do damage control. How? By borrowing slogans from drug companies and trying the same liberal/race-baiting tactics that worked so swimmingly down in Mississippi. The Carpetbagger Report has more and points to this memo from Rep. Tom Davis.

“Hispanic voters are a swing group in this election and future elections. John McCain, being from a border state, may be out of sync with many Republicans but he has standing among Hispanics. Barrack [sic] Obama has not made the sale to Hispanic voters. Thus, this issue is a tar baby for anyone who touches it, with land mines everywhere.”

Forget the mixed metaphor. TAR BABY?!? Who does this guy think he is? George Allen?

THREE lost elections in a row? OWWWWW!

Travis Childers, Democrat, won the special election for Mississippi's First Congressional District. This is the third House seat--from a very conservative district, no less--to be won by a Democrat. Even losing Denny Hastert's seat doesn't sting quite this much.

Needless to say, the wingnutosphere really isn't taking the news very well. A handful of right-wing bloggers have become so unhinged that they've resorted to reprinting entire Ann Coulter columns. (Yes, I'm linking to Technorati. Really, if all you have to offer is a cut-and-paste Coulter post, you really aren't worthy of direct linkage.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ralph Nader must be green with envy

Yes, it looks like Bob Barr is going to take the third-party spoiler crown from Ralphie boy. The accompanying FDL link includes amusing footage of Sean Hannity blowing a gasket on Faux News.

Breibart's comments section is full of fed up conservatives. Like this guy:

There are many, many, MANY conservatives who are very unhappy with LIBERAL McCain. Barr provides an avenue for those of us who do not want a liberal in the White House. I believe Barr will do extremely well with the base, well enough even to capture the popular vote. If Barr performs well in the debates it will be a close race.

Not just Liberal McCain. LIBERAL McCain. There are people who really feel this way, and now it's okay to have fun at their expense.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Somewhere, Falwell's spinning in his grave

Via HuffPo comes this Seattle Times story about young evangelicals who are fed up with the GOP. They haven't floated into the Dem fold yet, but they have decided that some issues are more important than abortions and gay people. Like, say, the Iraq war. The story quotes a student at an evangelical university:

Most of us would never blindly follow the old Christian Right anymore. James Dobson has nothing to do with us.

In other words, count on a schism in the evangelical vote in the years to come.

And now some music for y'all

The Small faces, performing "Song of a Baker" and kickin' serious ass. RIP Steve Mariott and Ronnie Lane.

McCain on Bush: "Dumb as a stump"

Oh dear. The 28 percenters aren't going to like this.

Over the Fourth of July weekend of 1999, I had the good fortune to accompany my then fiancée (and now happily my wife) to the McCain vacation home in Sedona where she was interviewing them for a Home and Garden Television show. The interview itself was entirely apolitical, focusing on fabrics and furnishing in their lovely Oak Creek abode, topics about which I do recall the senator was less than comfortable discussing.

Always the goods hosts, the McCains also invited us to spend the day with them, including for barbeque, a favorite of John's. And as McCain flipped burgers, I could not help but ask his views about then candidate George W. Bush.

"He's as dumb as a stump," McCain offered. We then went on to discuss other matters (including Vietnam) but that quote remains seared in my memory.

I suspect more stories of McCain dismissing and ridiculing Bush are going to come out as this election cycle progresses.


Is it just me, or is Jenna Bush's wedding just not interesting to read about? Seriously, neither of the Bush daughters is very interesting, not even when they're kicked out of Argentina.

Note to Terry McAuliffe

Maybe you should look for a new line of work. You were not much of a DNC head. You are not doing Hillary any favors. And don't even think of floating the idea of an Obama/Clinton ticket. You and the rest of Team Clinton have burned your bridges in that area.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More dispatches from Planet IOKIYAR

Rep. Peter King (R-Lawn Guyland) is now defending his li'l buddy Vito Fosella against the meanies who want him to resign. From Newsday:

King said Republicans "who are supposed to be his friends" should be giving the Staten Island-Brooklyn Republican "the time and opportunity to make that decision" -- whether to resign, to serve out his term but leave afterward or to stay in office and seek another term -- "himself."

That's really noble of you, Congressman. That reminds me--how did King react when Eliot Spitzer was caught in the prostitution ring? Funny you should ask.

“He has to step down. No one will stand with him,” said Rep. Peter King, a Republican congressman from Long Island. “I never try to take advantage or gloat over a personal tragedy. However, this is different. This is a guy who is so self-righteous, and so unforgiving.”

Self-righteous and unforgiving. Kinda sounds like that GOP party line that Vito Fosella was so fond of toeing, isn't it?

Vito Fosella, deadbeat dad

It's not enough that Rep. Fosella drove drunk. It's not enough that he's a classic do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, socially conservative GOP congresscritter who cheated on his wife and sired a kid out of wedlock. Seems he isn't even supporting his second family. His dad and uncle are.

The guy opposes abortion but doesn't really care once a kid is actually born. Why is this not surprising?

Count on the Fosella, Vitter, and Spitzer kids to form a support group at some point.


If you're going to harp on making English the official language, shouldn't you, like, LEARN THE LANGUAGE FIRST?!?!?

An enlightening thought

Barack Obama and the Democratic party represent the views of millions of mainstream Americans, including plenty of independents and--gasp!--Republicans. The fact that GOP scions including Susan Eisenhower, Lincoln Chafee, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower are on Team Obama is proof of this. Barack and the Democrats are centrists. Not radical leftists.

Kids think the darndest things

Parenthetical Remarks has learned some new things since becoming a dad. His baby goes gaga for certain professional bloviators, and he thinks there is a reason for this.


Supposedly, Obama is now doing what he's supposed to be doing: focusing on John McCain and not La Hill. Alas, McCain is taking all this personally, saying that Obama's making fun of his age. Lieberman, meanwhile, follows McCain like the neocon puppy dog he is. I'm sure he's jockeying for a VP slot. I also suspect that he won't get it. Just an instinctive thing. Both seem to be in serious denial--and I'm not talking about a goodwill trip to Egypt, either.

Anyhow, Obama's pointed out McCain's disconnect from The World as It Truly Is:

Speaking to a few dozen employees of a software company, Obama said McCain was "dead wrong when he said recently that he thinks our economy has made 'great progress' under George Bush. Is there anyone outside of Washington D.C., who could truly believe that?"

Meanwhile, McCain keeps insisting he did in fact vote for Bush in 2000. Next up: the wingnuts will be asking why they should vote for a guy who hobnobs with evil Hollywood liberals.

While the campaign gets really interesting, I'm sure Mitt Romney is somewhere envisioning how his 2012 presidential run will play out.

In other news, last night's Battlestar Galactica was great. Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) had a guest spot and it reminded me how much I miss seeing her on the air.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Speaking of mind-boggling...

John McCain's efforts to introduce a third Bush administration have just hit a snag.

It turns out that hobnobbing with liberal blogger Arianna Huffington and the cast of NBC’s "The West Wing" on the left coast can be a risky proposition for a Republican with White House ambitions.

In Jersey City Friday morning, John McCain emphatically denied a report by Huffington on her blog that he confessed, during a Beverly Hills dinner party in 2001, that he had not voted for George W. Bush after his bitter defeat in 2000. But "West Wing" cast members -- who said in published reports they supported a Democratic ticket -- back up Huffington’s story.

I have only one thing to add to this:


The mind really boggles

Julie Nixon Eisenhower donated money to Obama's campaign.


If Tricky Dick were a poltergeist, I can't imagine what he'd do about this.

I'm baaaaaaack!

It's been one thing after another. I moved. I got sick (with a cold or a sinus infection? I still don't know). I had a lot of work. Now, I have my life back. Yay!

Le Sweetie alerts yours truly to...The Empire Strikes Barack!

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. La Hill wins PA and all of a sudden Obama has a "bubba problem." La Hill barely wins Indiana and loses NC. All of a sudden, she's the one with a problem, and the problem is that she doesn't know when to quit.

Oh yeah, and after 2004, when the wingnuts whined about Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax forms, they're weirdly silent on the fact that beer heiress Cindy McCain won't release hers. Welcome to Planet IOKIYAR, folks.