Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meeeee-yow!

The following comes from Newsbusters.org, a right-wing site dedicated to "exposing and combating liberal media bias." And when they're not doing that, they're searching for ritual Satanic cults, alligators in the New York City sewers, and WMDs in Iraq.

Anyhow, the latest bit of (don't laugh, whatever you do) liberal media bias comes from an exchange between Michael "Cartoon penguins are TEH GAY!" Medved and Li'l Tucker Carlson.

I know what you're thinking. Medved and Li'l Tucker are conservatives. What's this "liberal media bias" crap? Read the transcript and the answer shall be revealed.

TUCKER CARLSON: Why exactly do you think -- let's put our shrink's hats on here -- why do [conservative radio talk show hosts] hate McCain so much?

MICHAEL MEDVED: Well they're acting like liberals, and I know that's a terrible thing to say about people I like and respect -- I have great respect for Rush. But he's acting like a liberal on this. Liberals allow personality and emotion and feelings to take precedence over issues, substance and policy. And that's what they're doing here. Because if you actually look at the three essential elements of the Reagan coalition: security, economics and social issues -- McCain is solid. He is very conservative. He is a traditional Reagan Republican, and there is no policy reason, there is no issues reason, for people to be so hostile to him and to call him all these names and to bang on him day after day after day. I actually believe that talk radio is hurting itself more than they're hurting Senator McCain.

Limbaugh and the rest of Medved's wingnut colleagues will lose their minds when they see the "L" word applied to them.

And the reality-based community? Mr. Gay Penguins is accusing his fellow nut cases of acting like liberals while appearing on a non-liberal talk show with a non-liberal host and trying to convince everyone that McCain is not, in fact, a liberal, even though he's too liberal for all these wingnuts who are acting like liberals.

For all its amusement value, the whole thing is kind of confusing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More liveblogging

Yosemite, who hired illegal aliens for yard work, says illegals should go home.

Nobody's mentioned La Hill, Reagan, or George W. Bush thus far. It's just a matter of time, though.

Tomorrow Keith Olbermann has a special comment on FISA. I'm sure it's more inspiring than the GOP debate.

Then again, the commercial break is more inspiring than the GOP debate.

Yosemite doesn't blame Bush for the sorry state of the GOP. Yeah, he's hoping for the movement conservative vote.

I imagine Ron Paul is sitting there, thinking a third-party run is a really good idea. And Yosemite, meanwhile, is sniping at the Democratic candidates, accusing them of being more interested in leaving Iraq than in winning in Iraq. Which isn't true; they didn't say that. For one thing, Iraq is unwinnable. And Yosemite thinks a timetable for withdrawal is "offensive." Poor guy sounds unnerved, while McCain looks like Yosemite just farted in the seat next to him.

McCain says that in fact Yosemite did want a timetable. Gee, he sounds so principled, standing against an Iraq withdrawal. "Timetable" is a baaaaaad word to McCain. Nobody's cheering him as he spouts on and on about why timetables are bad.

Okay, now Yosemite's going to get miffed at McCain. "How is it you're the expert on MY position?" he snaps. Of course, McCain is proud to have supported Bush's Iraq misadventure, stating a withdrawal is a victory for al Qaeda (which had NO presence in Iraq before 2003).

Okay, now it's the Mitt vs. McCain spat. They're going to dig themselves into a hole with the Iraq argument. This will be fun.

Note to Yosemite: That tan? Is scary.

Meanwhile, that third-party run probably looks even better to Ron Paul.

"You want a withdrawal date!"

"No I don't!"

"You want a timeline!"

"No I don't!"

Makes you miss having Rudy in the race, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, Rachel Maddow is on Dan Abrams. Note to MSNBC: please give Ms. Maddow her own show.

Question

Why do Yosemite Mitt and his ilk call Medicare, Social Security, et al. "entitlement programs"? What do you call corporate subsidies, eh?

GOP liveblogging: Zzzzzzzzzzz

Ron Paul got a chance to speak after Huckabee's state's rights spiel. Now, he's talking about property rights. Then he gets cut off.

And of course, Huckabee cites a Heritage Foundation study of tax rebates. Wingnut welfare groups? Huckabee should be the GOP establishment's dream candidate. But the wingnuts love Yosemite Mitt. What's wrong with this picture?

Still, Huckabee has a point about the country's infrastructure. Meanwhile, Yosemite looks like he's trying to stifle a laugh. Twit.

Ron Paul addresses the infrastructure question by...talking about American Empire and cutting spending. "Lower taxes, less regulations." Doesn't solve the infrastructure questions. And they don't let him talk about the monetary system.

This debate is going to hurt everyone on Super Tuesday. Republicans will sleep right through the primaries.

GOP liveblogging: Who's most clueless?

Poor Nancy Reagan. She looks like she'd crumble if you tapped her shoulder.

And now she's got to try and say hello to the yahoos of the 2008 slate.

Yosemite Mitt is talking about how he saved Massachusetts from financial ruin. He avoids the question of whether the USA is better off than they were 8 years ago. Of course he won't say no. Just says there were problems.

See? McCain says everything's just ducky. Despite the housing crisis and the coming recession and the stock market, uh, wait...some things need to be fixed.

"I think we are better off overall if we look at the entire 8-year period," McCain said. But still, "we've got to get our fiscal house in order." Dude, it's okay to raise your voice when you talk.

Finally, Huckabee says no we are not better off. Somewhere, a National Review editor is yelling at the TV screen.

They've all been caught in a trap, it seems. Can't wait for Ron Paul's response.

And, of course, McCain is the frontrunner. Huckabee's aiming to become the GOP John Edwards. Speaking of which, Edwards has dropped out of the race.

Ron says, "No, we're not better off." Too bad he's totally insane in so many ways, because this talk of how we need a humble foreign policy is right on. Ditto the declining standard of living the USA.

Uh oh! Yosemite is reminded of that "liberal" slur he tacked onto McCain. Isn't McCain a conservative? McCain voted against the Bush tax cut and co-authored McCain-Feingold. Uh, Yosemite? The vote against the tax cuts could be seen as a fiscally conservaative vote. Oh yeah, and he thinks McCain's immigration stance sucks. Yosemite adds that a guy who got an NYT endorsement is not a true conservative.

While Yosemite babbles, McCain looks like he's about to laugh in his face.

Dear Senator McCain: working with Lieberman (your ex-Dem buddy) is not "working across the aisle." Oh yay. Yosemite raised taxes.

"I'm not a liberal, you're a liberal!"

"No, you are!"

"No, you! You you you youuuu!"

I just remembered: at some point Duncan Hunter dropped out of the race and nobody noticed.

And now McCain touts his conservatism.

Ooooooooh! Ooooooooh! Now, Yosemite gets to respond to McCain's charges and it's La Hill/Obamarama all over again while Huckabee and Paul twiddle their thumbs.

Oh dear. McCain got some money amounts wrong. Ya know, Yosemite is an even worse speaker than McCain. McCain thinks he's whispering. Yosemite thinks he's at a shareholder's meeting.

And Yosemite touts his healthcare record. Except that is socialism and somewhere, another National Review editor is crying into his beer.

Huckabee responds to Limbaugh. He thinks Limbaugh is a great conservative voice. In other words, he's been mainlining Kool-Aid.

Sheesh. This whole debate is a case of "more conservative than thou."

Okay, now these guys are cutting hairs, talking fees, taxes, and the like. Yosemite goes back to his healthcare plan. Now, he's complaining about those welfare cheats who go the hospital to be treated for free in the emergency room. Yeah, I've always wanted to throw myself in front of a taxi so I can get a free stay at the hospital on the taxpayer's dime. How did someone this vapid and dumb get to be a governor?

What they're offering is a laundry list of right-wing cliches and frames. Blah blah blah free market blah blah taxes conservative blah blah blah.

Oh goody, McCain proposes nuclear power to fight global warming. Can you say "radioactive waste"?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

McCain vs. Romney: Fear of TEH GAY!!!1!1!!

I told you the GOP slurs were getting stupid, didn't I?

Now John "Maverick? That must've been someone else" McCain has stooped to attacking Yosemite Mitt the old-fashioned way: gay baiting.

"Mitt Romney thinks he can fool us. He supported abortion on demand, even allowed a law mandating taxpayer-funding for abortion. He says he changed his mind, but he still hasn't changed the law. He told gay organizers in Massachusetts he would be a stronger advocate for special rights than even Ted Kennedy. Now, it's something different."

McCain's voting record on gay rights mirrors that of every other Republican: basically, he's against gay marriage, gays in the military, hate crimes legislation, you name it.

Note to the Log Cabin Republicans--if you even think of endorsing this guy, you've got a worse case of battered spouse syndrome than previously thought.

Meanwhile, wingnut talk show hosts still hate the guy, for reasons nobody can understand. McCain's as right wing as they are. What does he have to do to prove it--cozy up to President Bush and the Christian right? Oh, wait...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wow. The netroots won. Again, WOW!

The FISA bill, complete with retroactive immunity for telecoms, seems to have stalled in Congress yet again, thanks to Senator Dodd's filibuster. The netroots, led by Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and Glenn Greenwald, have been at the forefront trying to stop this bill.

Meanwhile, Kos is confused about something.

For all the talk of "freedom" that the Paulbots claim to believe in, they sure as heck have been silent on the horrible FISA bill we're fighting to fix in the Senate right now. Same for Ron Paul. Why the silence? And the CATO people and the libertarian publications like Reason, where are they?

Here we are engaged in a huge civil liberties issue, and progressives are being forced to fight this thing alone. It's easy to talk about "liberty". It's much more impressive to actually do something about it.

I've tried to give libertarians the benefit of the doubt. But given their numerous double standards on the concept of "freedom" and even libertarianism itself, I'm somehow not surprised that they're AWOL in this fight. Libertarianism--at least as expressed by the Reason/Cato/Lew Rockwell, seems to be more about free markets than free minds. And they don't seem to be pro-freedom, just anti-government.

Someone convince me otherwise. I've just browsed in Lew Rockwell's site too many times and been deeply dismayed about how batshit insane some of his columnists truly were. And to think, Kos has tried to promote the idea of the "libertarian Democrat." Dude, give it up. You don't need to join the kool kidz club to actually be cool. High school should've taught you that.

Bush: A depressing, deadly dull failure

I didn't bother to liveblog the SOTU address. I'm just miffed that it pre-empted Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Honestly, Bush should quit thinking about his legacy. It's too late. He can't fix it. He can't do anything positive that would make anyone forget eight years of scandals and disasters. Most Americans think he's a crappy president who's made America and the world a worse place. The only people who like the guy are mouthbreathers, dittoheads, neocons, wingnut welfare recipients, and the staff of the Weekly Standard.

Really, people are just sick of him. They want his presidency to be over. They want him gone. They want a president who isn't an empty suit. They want someone who'll actually govern and who actually holds some American values.

Hopefully, the GOP will avoid nominating Jeb Bush in 2012. Really, let's pass a constitutional amendment banning all descendants of Prescott Bush from running for political office anywhere in America. Who else thinks it's a good idea?

Oooooh! Them's fightin' woids!

Forget La Hill and Obamarama. For real mudslinging and general campaign ugliness, check out John "2003 All Over Again" McCain and Yosemite Mitt, who are calling each other...liberals. (Wonder what they think of Ron Paul.)

Ya know, as a lifelong liberal (not just progressive, but LIBERAL), I can assure you it's a perfectly normal state of mind. I think McCain and the Mittster have been visiting too many wingnut talk shows and CPAC conferences.

This is the GOP in 2008. Even their campaign slurs are stupid.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This is truly shocking

The Center for Public Integrity documents 935 lies George W. Bush told on Iraq.

Only 935 lies? Now that's astounding.

Note to Speaker Pelosi: Put impeachment back on the fucking table.

Monday, January 21, 2008

In other news...

...Rudy is trailing badly and his campaign is even more FUBAR than Iraq, if that's even possible.

More liveblogging

Now, the discussion turns to healthcare. La Hill explains her healthcare plan would cover everyone--"It is a universal system." But it's not government-run. I have my doubts about this. Insurance companies would be required to cover everyone at "affordable rates." Again, I'm suspicious.

Folks? Free markets and healthcare don't mix. But I guess it's socialist to say that, eh?

Obamarama is up next. The universal healthcare plan wouldn't cover illegals. There are not enough resources, he says.

"The only way we're going to be able to overcome the insurance companies, the drug companies, and the HMOs is if we are having all the negotiations in a public setting," he said. No drawing up plans behind closed doors. Inform the American people.

At least there aren't any wires under anyone's jackets.

Edwards claims that his rivals took money from drug/insurance companies. Obamarama denies this.

"The problem is not that people are trying to avoid getting healthcare," Obamarama says. "The problem is they can't afford it."

I wish some wingnut would insult one of the candidates, thereby generating fun new fundraising opportunities for the Democratic 2008 slate.

Edwards believes that "there is not a single man, woman, or child who is not worthy of healthcare."

La Hill is simply not a galvanizing speaker. And she throws in another dig at Obamarama. At least she wasn't booed this time. I think the only thing more distasteful is an Amy Winehouse death pool Web site, where you can win an iPod if you can guess when Winehouse kicks the bucket.

Hillary says she'll bring the troops home within 60 days of becoming president. "There is no military solution" to the war in Iraq, she claims. She thinks that troop withdrawal will force Iraqis to shape up. Actually, I think that a troop withdrawal will enable the Iraqis to work things out among themselves. The US is an occupying force at this point.

I'm glad Edwards is avoiding all mudslinging, but I still give props to Obama for answering La Hill.

Of course, Edwards will also pull troops out of Iraq.

Obama says he wants "to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." But he wants a fast withdrawal. And he points out that the money being spent in Iraq could be spent here in the US. Finally, he mentions McCain's suggestion that the US could be in Iraq for 50 years. How about attacking McCain and Yosemite Mitt instead of each other, guys?

Obama also says al Qaeda is the strongest its been since 2001. Go, Obama!

La Hill's voice is getting hoarse. She's talking about Dubya's plans for a permanent US presence in Iraq. She calls Iraq a "failed policy."

So, was your vote a mistake, Senator Clinton?

Yay. There's a commercial break.

Just a note

Le Sweetie is watching wrestling right now. According to him, all the others sports are fake. Right now, I don't see any difference between wrestling and this debate.

You call this a debate? (Liveblogging the Dem slugfest)

Ya know, La Hill's sniping at Obamarama really makes me dislike her. Yo, Hill. Shaddap already. He never said he was a fan of Reagan. He said Reagan was a "transformative figure" in American politics. Just a statement of fact, and what he's doing is no doubt trying to attract Republicans and independents. You yourself said you admired Reagan's communication skills. Enough already.

She got booed, too. Yikes!

Anyway, it's MLK Day and the Congressional Black Caucus is hosting a debate. Edwards is talking about subprime mortgages and proposing new laws to crack down on predatory lenders. "We need a national predatory lending law." He also wants to teach financial literacy. La Hill's moratorium on foreclosures sounds way weak.

Now for Barack, who says that America has "a history of preying on low-income people." He also supports laws against predatory lending and "access to financings."

Since I am not a homeowner, I admit I have not been following this issue.

Obama is responding to La Hill's claim that he repped a "slumlord." Then, he steers the topic over to the theme of "change."

La Hill says she regrets voting for the bankruptcy bill. Will she now say her vote to authorize war was a mistake.

I'm getting tired of La Hill going after Obamarama. Discuss the fucking issues, will you please?

I like Edwards and think he is a decent dude, but he makes me think of George McGovern. Which is not good. Too bad. He'd rawk as a running mate.

Obamarama is better at communicating than La Hill, alas. She just got booed AGAIN, as she talked about Obama's voting record as state senator.

State senator? Shit, she's reaching. Obama points out that the bill he voted "present" on was one he'd SPONSORED. His defense is greeted with applause. Oooooooops!

This campaign sure could use a truce.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A long-overdue prog blog

King Crimson live, 1973.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I need a new template

Seriously, I'm bummed by these generic Blogger templates. I need a new template. Any ideas? Anyone?

Just a question

Why is Duncan Hunter still in the race? Does anyone really support this guy?

Just what we need in the East vs. West dialogue

Britney Spears is thinking of converting to Islam.

Four years ago, she couldn't identify Hinduism ("Is it like Kabbalah?"). But now she's dating some sleazy married paparazzo and she's ready to change religions for him. In the words of a Moroccan blogger:

And all I can say is: Our nut house is full, Britney. Please take up another religion, we have enough crazies of our own.

Still, it would be hilarious of Britney converted and Bin Laden issued a fatwa against her, seeing as how she's the symbol of Western decadence.

Speaking of Bin Laden, one of his kids is thinking of becoming a peace activist. Alas, the kid hasn't figured out that his father is a really bad guy, and thus has yet to renounce him.

"My father is asking for a truce but I don't think there is any government (that) respects him. At the same time they do not respect him, why everywhere in the world, they want to fight him? There is a contradiction," he said.

See? I told you he needs to buy a clue.

Still, Ayatollah Khomeni's grandson is a moderate Muslim who wants better relations with the US. And Netenyahu's nephew is a peacenik who tried to avoid serving in the Israeli military. It would be hilarious if the offspring of prominent neocons became ardent progressives and antiwar activists. After all, Alan Keyes' daughter, Maya, calls herself a "liberal queer." I'm willing to bet even Trash Can Ann and Stalkin' Malkin have a few liberal relatives.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Paging Dave Neiwert

For years, Mr. Neiwert has done his best to remind the reality-based community the real source of American terrorism--namely, the far right. Think Timothy McVeigh, the Klan, and assorted racists and fundies who make the news in local papers and news channels, but whom you'll never hear about on Faux News. Why? Because it's easier for Faux and company to pretend that there's big conspiracy among "the left" (i.e., about two-thirds of the country) to undermine America.

Well, a former congresscritter has just been indicted in a case related to a charity that funded terrorists. Guess his party affiliation.

A former Republican congressman from Michigan was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice. The allegations involve his work as a lobbyist for an Islamic charity accused of illegally funneling about $130,000 to an Afghan warlord considered a terrorist by the United States government.

The former congressman, Mark D. Siljander, who was defeated for re-election in 1986 after three terms in the House, was accused by a federal grand jury in Kansas City of accepting $50,000 in stolen government aid money as his lobbying fee from the now-defunct charity group, the Islamic American Relief Agency.

The charity — which was based in Columbia, Mo., and closed in 2004 — and several of its former leaders were already under indictment on charges of illegally transferring money to Iraq and stealing government money....

Mr. Siljander, 57, was best known in the House for his fierce opposition to abortion and gay rights. He tried to block a $581,000 Justice Department grant to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1985 because he considered the group to be run by “pro-abortion, pro-lesbian, anti-Reagan radical feminists.” The Reagan administration awarded the grant anyway.

Actually, it's not surprising Siljander (or any other Christian rightie) would find common ground with assorted Islamofascist fundie freaks. Here's a further rundown of Siljander's antics, including his chumminess with Sudanese President Omar al Bashir. Sudan, of course, is a haven of religious tolerance. Just ask anyone in Darfur.

Forget racial profiling. How about a different kind of profiling? The FBI should place James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and their associates on a no-fly list. Throw in the staff and fellows at the major right-wing think tanks while you're at it. If you're a movement conservative, a religious nutcase, or a right-wing Kool-Aid drinker, you're automatically suspect.

Who else agrees?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This is getting fun

Yosemite Mitt wins Michigan.

"It's a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism," Romney said in an Associated Press interview, echoing his campaign speeches. "Now on to South Carolina, Nevada, Florida."

You go right on believing that, dude.

In other news, Duncan Hunter is still in the race. Why is anyone's guess.

In other news, Joe Lieberman's robocalls on behalf of fellow right wing water carrier pragmatic centrist John McCain didn't exactly help the latter in the primary. In fact, it pissed off liberal and conservative bloggers alike.

Oh boo hoo hoo

James Pinkerton has resigned from Newsday to go work on Huckabee's campaign. Those wanting right-wing comedy in the "liberal" media will have to stick with William Kristol, who's already inspired a flood of letters to the editor. Mostly wondering how this guy is always so wrong.

The netroots hearts Yosemite Mitt!



The latest in primary hijinks is a move by Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and other netroots denizens to get out the vote for 2008's most unintentionally hilarious presidential candidate. Following the victories of Huckabee and McCain elsewhere, they are determined to muddy the waters in GOP-land. How? By trying to ensure that Yosemite Mitt wins the Michigan primary today. Kos explains:

Now here's the thing -- without a real Democratic contest on the ballot, and a lack of party registration in Michigan, this is an open primary. Anyone can pick up a Republican ballot. So Michigan Democrats and independents who want to see the Republican battle royale continue should just take a few minutes on Tuesday, January 15th to cast a ballot for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary....

If we can help push Mitt over the line, not only do we help keep their field fragmented, but we also pollute Romney's victory. How "legitimate" will the Mittster's victory look if liberals provide the margin of victory? Think of the hilarity that will ensue. We'll simply be adding fuel to their civil war, never a bad thing from our vantage point.

Michigan Democrats helped deliver their state to McCain in 2000 to spite their hated governor, John Engler, who had "guaranteed" his state to Bush. To prevent such future mischief, Michigan Republicans helped push through a unified tax-payer funded primary date to supposedly keep Democrats focused on their own race (prior to this year, party contests were funded by the parties). Let's make sure their meddling with the Democratic primary and their misuse of taxpayer funds backfires on them.

Michigan is Romney’s last stand. He has pulled all advertising from other states for a last-ditch effort there. It’s sink or swim time for Romney, and we’re going to throw him a lifesaver.

So why are we doing this? Because we can. Because it'll be fun. And because we've suffered Republican meddling, stealing, and disenfranchisement in our elections for far too long.

I have a friend in Michigan, but she's pretty much a centrist, and I don't think she'd go for these shenanigans. I'm tempted to persuade her to vote for Mitt, but she knows I'm a liberal and will get suspicious. I live in New York, so I'm going to have to content myself with popping the popcorn.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Things that make me appreciate my job.

Some poor soul--actually CNN's Jack Hannah--had the unfortunate job of liveblogging the most recent Britney custody hearing.

Aren't you glad you don't have to do stuff like this for a living?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Okay, how did THIS happen?

This is a musical clip from the 1969 Hanna-Barbera cartoon show "Cattanooga Cats." It is called "Birthday Suit." Millions of elementary school children watched this on TV.

And people thought "Scooby Doo" was subversive...

Really serious questions

Why do Bill Maher and Chris Matthews keep pretending that they're still in grade school and it's still cool to join the He-Man-Woman-Haters Club?

Also, at what point will the freaking DLC be considered irrelevant? I ask, because it can't be soon enough.

From the "what he said!" department...

...comes an open letter to the SciFi Channel from Entertainment Weekly writer Marc Bernardin. I happen to totally agree with him.

Dearest Sci-Fi,

Why are you not way more awesome?

Don't get me wrong, when you're good—like with Battlestar Galactica or Eureka (and I'll even give you credit for Doctor who, despite that being a BBC show you just imported)—you're a phenomenal destination network. But let's be honest here, there's not a lot of "good" on your schedule. The Stargate franchise is stale, Flash Gordon (left) is a derisible, stillborn remake, and ECW Wrestling is…wrestling! (And I swore an oath never to speak of Who Wants to Be a Superhero again.)

(Wrestling? WTF?!? Braveheart was bad enough. But wrestling?!?!?)

The thing that infuriates me is that you have so much potential. We're living in the Age of the Geek, where pop culture has finally come around to our way of thinking. Where the most-watched shows on TV are geek-nip like Heroes, Lost, and Bionic Woman; where we buzz about movies like Pan's Labyrinth, Spider-Man, I Am Legend, and Iron Man. The audience could not be more primed for this material, so why are you offering them Ghost Hunters International and crappy "original movies" like Mansquito?

Why aren't you adapting more classic sci-fi texts—like you did with Dune—into miniseries events? (Ones that, hopefully, will fare better than Tin Man.) Where's the Foundation saga, or Ender's Game, or Footfall, or The Man in the High Castle, or The Forever War?

Why aren't you engaging today's premiere purveyors of genre material and giving them ten episodes to do whatever the hell they want? I'd watch contained, BBC-style series from folks like Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow, Warren Ellis, Charlie Huston, Neal Stephenson, or China Mieville. The names alone would attract viewers by the truckload. And even if what they produced were failures, they'd be interesting failures—marked by reaching too far, instead of not far enough.

Why don't you try a daily sci-fi soap opera? Airing late at night, so people could actually be home to watch it—or DVR it. Why can't the same kind of serial storytelling that's worked for 50 years on shows like General Hospital be marshaled to create compelling science fiction? (Actually, I've got to give Evan Narcisse a tip of the hat for this one. Because I'm just that kind of bloke.)

Mark Harris was right when he said that science fiction needed to ditch the nostalgia if it's going to reclaim its integrity. Lucky for those of us who love sci-fi that there's a whole network devoted to it. I just want them to fulfill their mandate.

Imagine that. (No, seriously. Get to work imagining.)

If the network did stuff like this, I could even forgive them for canceling "Farscape." Personally, I think you can never have too much good, well-written space opera. The only such series on the air now is "Battlestar Galactica," and it's about to begin its last season.

Personally, I think CJ Cherryh's Alliance-Union books would be a great basis for a series (mini or otherwise), as would the Morgaine series.

How about David Brin's Uplift books? I know, I know, the cinematic mangling of The Postman might have scared him off. But it would still be a great premise for a miniseries.

How about anime? Why doesn't SciFi air classic anime series or films, as Cartoon Network has been doing for years? How about creating its own original animated programs? An anime version of Cherryh's Chanur books would rawk.

As it is, other networks are making the channel redundant. Me, I'm looking forward to the series premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles tonight. It's on Fox. Meanwhile, SciFi continues to air wrestling. Gah!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Okay, this is pitiful

Dear Bill Kristol:

When professional loser Bob Shrum manages to be more insightful and perceptive than you, perhaps it's time to rethink this new op-ed gig of yours.

Sincerely,

A Helpful Person

P.S. Dig this money quote, dude: "Methinks that Hillary Clinton's unexpected surge in New Hampshire is attributable entirely to Bill Kristol's inaugural column in Monday's New York Times. Call it the 'Kristol factor.' He's always wrong."

A true sign of gender equality

Nodoro, the male answer to the vaginal douche. Sheesh, are some people so dumb that they wouldn't, like, use soap and water first?

Via Hill Country Gal.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Crybaby conservative alert!

Faux libertarian and closet America hater Neal Boortz sounds like he's scared of a possible Democratic tidal wave. So what does he do? Whine, fume, complain about people on welfare, write things that make no sense, and try to discourage people from voting. Note how he wants to get "tens of millions of parasites off the voter roles [sic]." Yeah, it's petty to mock a typo. I guess Boortz was just really steamed up about all this democracy nonsense that he hates.

Getting paid to be stupid

It was one of life's little "WTF?" moments as William Kristol was hired as a New York Times op-ed columnist. First of all, Kristol has written mean things about the Times. Second of all, he is a neocon laughingstock who has been proven wrong about everything. There is no reason for anyone to take him seriously anymore, or to use the Weekly Standard as anything other than mulch.

In fact, Keith Olbermann suggested that the paper hired Kristol to make him their very own Alan Colmes. It's an interesting thought, and one that the "media is TEH LIBRUL!" crowd might consider.

However, there's another, more boring reason. And like everything else in the conservative universe, nepotism plays a big part:

Outrage was followed by bafflement after editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal described Kristol as "a captivating writer and keen observer of the political landscape."

***

Kristols and Rosenthals go back a long way together. Bill's father, Irving, and Andy's father, Abe—both charter neocons—were good friends, and Irving Kristol was a proud member of the "Rosenthal for President" lunch club, which also included Bill Buckley, Dick Clurman, Bernard Kalb (known as Bruno Frescobaldi) and Arthur Gelb.

Click the above linky and you'll find a photo of Kristol, looking like the Joker sans makeup and trying to muffle a fart.

As most sensible people--liberal and conservative--would point out, Kristol's conservatism is not the issue. After all, David Brooks is a conservative and he's been with the Times for years. Sensible people would also hire their columnists based on merit, not on who their daddies knew. Sensible people are in short supply in the mainstream media these days, alas.

Anyway, Kristol's captivating writing and keen observations were on display in his debut column.

Thank you, Senator Obama. You’ve defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you’re about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you.

But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.

Welcome, Mr. Kristol, to the town of Not Getting It. Population: You. (I wonder if his "nanny state" includes corporate welfare. What do you think the answer is?)

Anyway, Mr. Kristol also attributed a Michael Medved quote to Stalkin' Malkin. The quote in question references "work-hard-to-get-ahead strivers who represent the heart and soul of the G.O.P." And of course, Bill Kristol is the epitome of a work-hard-to-get-ahead striver. As are Jonah Goldberg...John Podhoretz...George W. Bush...do I need to go on?

To fill column space, Kristol threw in quotes from a couple of New Hampshire GOPers. And to he says that one of Huckabee's main characteristics is...that he lost weight. I kid you not.

I'd like to think that Abe Rosenthal, neocon that he was, is spinning in his grave. Because right now, Kristol's Times gig is turning out to be the most colossal bomb since Britney Spears at the VMAs:

Bill Kristol Spews, America Heaves

Cracked Kristol

"It's not like it's even quality conservative bullshit."

James Fallows on Kristol's "breathtaking banality of expression."

Kristol's First Times Oped: Neoconservatism For Idiots
(Is there any other kind?)

All this reminds of me when Kristol was hit by a pie during a speech at Earlham College three years ago. He showed more dignity wiping pie filling from his face. Sad, huh?

Monday, January 07, 2008

'Tis the evening for subversive DVDs

For Christmas, Le Sweetie gave me a whole buncha DVDs. All animated DVDs. Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Surf's Up. Happy Feet. The last movie was attacked as some sort of leftie eco-propaganda film when it came out two years ago. Oh yeah, and Michael Medved said it had a gay subtext. So far, the movie has daddy penguins taking care of baby penguins. I guess that's pretty gay, isn't it?

Le Sweetie also gave me a Schoolhouse Rock DVD. It's got all the songs on it. Songs about the Constitution and saving energy and women's suffrage. I bet Michael Medved hates Schoolhouse Rock.

UPDATE: Looks like Queen's "Somebody to Love" is on the Happy Feet soundtrack. Yeah, that's definitely gay.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Grow up, Bill-O

Y'know, two years ago the ever combative Bill O'Reilly told a Newsday reporter he was thinking of retirement. Maybe it's time to move past the thinking stage.

O'Reilly just made a fool of himself at an Obama rally.

Obama staffer Marvin Nicholson, a personal aide always at Obama's side during rope line handshakes, said O'Reilly yelled at him to get out of the way of his cameraman's shot. Nicholson said O'Reilly came around the waist-high barricade separating Obama from well-wishers.

"Then he grabbed me with both of his arms and tried to push me out of the way," Nicholson said after the campaign agreed to make him available to reporters.

O'Reilly, interviewed afterward by phone on Fox News, said he tried "to gently remove" Nicholson because he was standing in front of Fox's camera.

Yeah, it really sucks when a politician's paid staff does that, right?

In yet another one of those right-wing projection moments, O'Reilly called Nicholson "low class." Man, Keith Olbermann's going to have a field day with this.

Oh yeah, and O'Reilly told Obama he wants him on his hour-long tantrum Talk show. Don't do it, Senator Obama!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ella!

Among my Christmas gifts were volumes 1 and 2 of Ella Fitzerald's Irving Berlin Songbook. Below, here's Ella singing "Mack the Knife," which is not an Irving Berlin composition, but is a cool song nonetheless.

Iowa's over. Start popping the popcorn.

For the past week, it's been All-Iowa, All the Time on the cable news channels. Mornings, I'd flip on the TV to hear more punditry on Iowa. Le Sweetie would then ask, "When is this all going to be over?"

Iowa has come. Iowa has gone. The netroots denizens are pleased as punch about 2008's new state of Obamarama. La Hill, meanwhile, is scrambling to regain her footing, because--soo-priiiiiize!--her current tactics aren't working.

Some advisers say that the campaign miscalculated in having Mr. Clinton play such a public role, that Mrs. Clinton could not effectively position herself as a change agent, the profile du jour for Democrats, so long as he stood as a reminder that her presidency would be much like his. Other advisers say that Mr. Obama now owns the “change” mantra and that Mrs. Clinton needs a Plan B.

“Hillary says she’ll change things, but then voters see Bill and hear them talk about the 1990s, and it’s clear that the Clintons are not offering change but rather Clinton Part 2,” said one veteran adviser to both Clintons. “That won’t win.”

Beating a sunny, charismatic opponent like Mr. Obama — especially given his embrace by such a cross-section of Iowa voters — is not part of the Clinton experience. When facing political crises, the couple’s modus operandi has been to attack their attackers and question their motives. But Mr. Obama is not Kenneth W. Starr, Newt Gingrich or Paula Jones; a presidential campaign is not a Washington scandal; and the Clinton strategy of attacking Mr. Obama’s readiness for the presidency did not work in Iowa.

I've never been against La Hill, but nothing about her has thrilled me. Not even Merle Haggard's endorsement. And I was concerned President Hillary would be a case of "same-old-shit-different-decade." I always preferred Edwards and Obama--Edwards for his populism, Obama for his "we're-all-in-this-together" message.

In fact, Obama's inclusive vision is the best antidote to the snarling, raving, and general bitchiness, which has poisoned American discourse. It's striking that the best thing movement conservatives can come up with is an attack on Obama's middle name. However, things can and will change.

Glenn Greenwald notes that the righties are already writing stupid crap about Obama, fearing a great public meltdown on the left if Obama becomes the nominee and then loses the election. Yeah, it's more right-wing projection, and Greenwald points to right-wing thuggery and lunacy during the 2000 Florida recount.

Most of those fist-waiving, threatening protesters were actually aides to GOP establishment figures, including Fred Thompson, Tom DeLay, Jim DeMint, and the NRCC, shipped to Miami to create a climate of intimidation and thus prevent pro-Gore votes from being counted.


I'd yawn if the wingnutosphere wasn't so potentially dangerous.

John Cole, meanwhile, shares Greenwald's prediction that the nutcases will whip out their knives if Obama does in fact become the nominee.

We will be regaled with long tales of madrassas, Obama’s first name will become Hussein, and everyone’s pets will be running around frothing from all the dog whistles. Obama is getting a free ride at the moment because of the intense, nutty, and 15 year old hate for the Clagina (in all honesty, I was a hater up until a few years ago when I realized cold and calculating competence is better than willful dishonesty and feckless incompetence). But if and when the queen is vanquished, all that venom will need a target, and that target will be Obama....

I should probably note that the inevitable shift from full-on Clinton hatred to reverse Obamania by our right-wing friends could, quite possibly, be the least interesting political jujitzu they engage in this election year.

No, folks. The most interesting flip-flop of this election cycle could come if Huckabee actually wins the nomination. Then we will get the treat of watching all the establishment right-wingers, who have spent the last few months calling Huckabee a religious nutjob and the like, contort 180 degrees and attack the left-wing for pointing out that he is… a religious nutjob. Which he is.

So many targets, so little time. For all their ulcer-inducing hatred, the Freepers, the Little Green Fruitcakes, Trash Can Ann, and Stalkin' Malkin can only spread so much venom around. Not only do they have to contend with a Clinton and a guy whose middle name is Hussein, but they also have a deluge of Dem candidates running for seats vacated by retiring GOPers.

Oh yeah, and they also have Larry Craig. Who's not running for president but who, nonetheless, won't go away.

They have Mike Huckabee, too.

Really, Huckabee should be their dream candidate. Except that they really don't give a shit about the evangelical voters who are attracted to the Huckster like flies to cow pies. My prediction? The GOP establishment and their lapdogs are going to go all-out to bring down this Hick-a-bee from Arkansas. He's not one of them. They hate him almost as much as they hate the last Arkansas governor to run for president. They'll do all they can to ensure a McCain or Yosemite Mitt nomination.

Only problem. Their obvious pandering to the useful idiots has exploded in their faces. Peggy Noonan can whine all she wants; the wingnutosphere can froth; National Review and Hugh Hewitt can endorse Yosemite Mitt to their little hearts' content. John Cole's response? Too bad.

Look, all you establishment Republicans, I know you weren’t serious about Terri Schiavo. That is why it was so depressing watching you throw the concept of federalism out the window to pander to these guys. But they were deadly serious. The same with all the anti-gay stuff. I know a number of the Republicans I grew up with could not care less about the current ant-gay marriage jihad some want to wage. I know most of my republican friends really aren’t homophobes. But you had to bend over to the religious right, and this was an easy way to get their support. besides, who were the log Cabin Republicans going to vote for anyway? The same with stem cells, abstinence only, etc. Whatever you have to do keep ‘em quiet and keep ‘em voting- you will accept a certain amount of ignorance, religious hokum, and bigotry, just so long as the votes keep coming.

So, with Huckabee, you are getting EXACTLY what you deserved.

Maybe the wingnuts will be too busy turning on their own to spread dumb rumors based on Obama's middle name. I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dolly Parton goes DIY

Yeah, I love seeing established musical stars go the indie route as much as anyone else. Take Dolly Parton, who's releasing her new album, Backwoods Barbie on her own indie label.

Why did Dolly decide to go the indie route? Well, because the music industry sucks and is more concerned with releasing crappy paint-by-numbers records by people whose voices are clearly pitch-shifted and processed until listeners are convinced they can sing. Oh yeah, and veteran artists who are, like, national institutions can't get their music on the radio, because radio programmers suck as much as major labels.

Okay, those weren't Dolly's exact words. Dolly's exact words were this:

"When new country came along several years back, most artists my age got shoved off to the side, no matter how talented they might still be," she said. "I tried a few country albums after that, but to no avail and no chart play.
"In between I did continue to write. I recorded a few favorite things, 2-3 bluegrass CDs, a patriotic CD, but none of that sold very well except out of the trunk of my car!

"Then I watched all the success being enjoyed by other artists, old and young, with all the new technology and all the different ways of marketing their product [and] I thought, "Well, I'm as good as I ever was if I was any good, so I'm going for it.'
"I put it on my own label because many of the majors really didn't want me, as I mentioned, because of age, thinking I was over. But I felt different about that. I figured major labels are pretty much a thing of the past anyway, kind of like they thought I was.

"The way music is being played today, why not make all the money if there's any money to be made. I'd rather have all of something than some of nothing."

Expect to see more artists doing what Dolly's doing as the industry continues to implode.

Okay, I'm back

One drawback to the holidays--all the shopping, celebrating, gift opening, and scarfing of Christmas treats cuts into your blogging time. Spent Christmas in Dutchess County with Le Sweetie, my mom, my brother, and assorted friends and relatives. Two days later, Le Sweetie and I flew to Memphis to spend about a week visiting assorted museums, record stores, and barbecue restaurants. Oh yeah, and we also went to Graceland.

Came back to 20-degree weather, which has dipped into the teens. Went back to work today. Yup, things are now back to normal.