Friday, September 30, 2005

That Greyhound in the Headlights Look

For Dog Blog Friday: Nigel says, "What do you mean my ear is funny? I can't hear you, my ear is funny. But then again, so is my tongue."

Was That Resurrection Good for You?

The AP reports:
Lincoln, NEB. – A pastor received an unwelcome supply of Viagra pills by unregistered mail earlier this month. The 500 pills of the impotence drug was very unexpected, he said. The pills were charged to his credit card, which the pastor believes was stolen while he was on vacation in Canada.

And what do we learn from this news nugget, beyond if you’re a pastor in Nebraska, a trip to Canada seems like a mighty fine vacation? Well, no one expects a Viagra imposition, let alone 500.

At this time it’s unclear if the recent surge in conversions in Lincoln has anything to do with this case. Numerous women have reported uplifting spiritual experiences that have left them crying “Oh, God.” And some “ohgodohgodohgodohgod.” And some have said things we can’t print in a family blog (although methinks I just closed the barn door on propriety after the horses were rode hard and put away wet, to mix metaphors a bit).

Meanwhile marketers at Pfizer are busy working on the “I Will Raise Him Up” pill that will guarantee to make any man a savior. They also remind users that more than four hours in the presence of the godhead can cause permanent speaking in tongues.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Lie and How They Told It

In the news today the U.S. Attorney General's Office argued that widespread evidence of voter fraud in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election should not be released. Among the evidence are computer files, videotape surveillance footage and still photos of election officials doing shocking things.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, arguing that the evidence should be withheld from the public, said, "Releasing this material will merely make people believe less in democracy. Letting them know their votes do not count is the last thing the Bush White House wants for the American people."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pernunciation Problems

As Amy wisely noticed today, while also pointing out how I've had her watch too much baseball, when President Bush says "terrorist"--and he says it often, as terrorists are now the only things polling worse than he is--it sounds like "izturis." As if poor Cesar didn't have enough problems needing Tommy John surgery and all.

Help! We Helped Somebody

Remember stories like this one from the New York Times about the repressive and violent Saddam Hussein regime?

Armed men dressed as police officers burst into a primary school in a town south of Baghdad on Monday, rounded up five Shiite teachers and their driver, marched them to an empty classroom and killed them, a police official said.

It's a darn good thing we've helped establish freedom, safety and democracy in Iraq.

Oh, that story is from the September 27, 2005 New York Times?

[mumble, mumble]

How about that, those gas prices...uh, the honesty of Republican leaders like Tom, boy, that Brownie told them Senators what's what, no?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Avalanche of Audacious Almsgiving

Why that perky political poster Wonkette will always leave me with the giggles (and wondering who stole the Maker's Mark): great throw-aways like this one:

The Sears American Dream Campaign puts in an appearance, distributing "half-million dollars of needed goods," though it's unclear from the report whether this is the same as the Sears "Caravan of Caring," which also gets a mention. (We confess we're curious about the rejected protoype names for this project: Sears' Truckloads of Tenderness? Sears' Buttloads of Benficence?)

Although it would seem if you've got a buttload, it could be nothing but benificent.

Oh, and if I was smart enough to read the whole entry before trying to write mine (that's what happens when you interrupt a work task as important as labeling Arlo Guthrie photos, you rush to get back to the essential labor), I would have read the post was written by "Holly Martins," and not Wonkette. Shoot. At least I know where Holly stole his, yes, his, name from, that great film with the soundtrack by the man who will put you in a dither with his zither. Who couldn't cotton to the sounds of Anton Karas?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Col. Tom Parker : Elvis :: Joe Allbaugh : America

When Elvis died, his rapacious manager Col. Tom Parker was asked, "What will you do now, Tom?" And Parker didn't hesitate to reply, "I'll keep making money off him just as I've always done."

It seems Bush & Co. are ripping a page from the Col. Parker playbook when it comes to the Gulf Coast. Reuters reports, "More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to clean up after Hurricane Katrina were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, the New York Times reported on Monday." (OK, it is odd that Reuters is reporting what the NYT says and can't get off its own lazy reportorial ass and figure things out. Reuters will just be a blog soon, if it keeps that up.)

It gets better, of course (which means worse, since irony is about all we have left to fight them, the bastards):

Already, the Times said, questions have been raised about the political connections of two contractors -- the Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton that have been represented by lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's ex-campaign manager and former head of FEMA.

Let's not forget that Allbaugh was the man who gave us his roommate Mike Brown as head of FEMA, when Allbaugh himself went off to Iraq, figuring someone had to rebuild after we shocked and awed them into rubble. Not to mention someone had to reap the government contracts. Here's what his company there sees as its mission:

New Bridge Strategies, LLC is a unique company that was created specifically with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion [sic] of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Its activities will seek to expedite the creation of free and fair markets and new economic growth in Iraq, consistent with the policies of the United States Government*. The opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that companies seeking to work in that environment must have the very best advice and guidance available.

*And the policies of the U.S. Government are that markets are fair only if we--that is, New Bridge Strategies, LLC--make a huge profit from them. Free markets are no-bid markets, where we come from. Remember, I was the campagin manager for Bush-Cheney 2000. Someone owes me, big time.

As for Bush & Co.--bad poll numbers? They're laughing all the way to the bank. Which they own.

Meme's the Word

So Agitprop suggested bloggers go through their archives and do the following:

Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
Post the text of the sentence in your blog.

Here's mine. From the post "A Bobo in Brooksdom" we get this sentence: "You're so perceptive, David."

Hmm, guess you have to read the whole thing. See, context is everything.


Monday Mosaic Blogging: Can't I start my own meme? If you're ever in Escondido, be sure to check out Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden.

(See, you curse out Blogger and then it works. Kinda like kicking the car.)

Blogger Bytes Bite

Continuing the recent trend, there's little time to pretend I'm clever, let along luck into some wit. And then when I decide post a pretty picture instead, Blogger won't let me do that.

So. There will be something resembling content and not mere whining in this space eventually.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Left Profile

For Dog Blog Friday, and for your consideration: Move over Kate Moss, Mookie wants to be a supermodel. He's got the right body shape without the eating disorder and he's never done coke. Greenies, that's a different story.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

An Open Letter to Ted Kennedy

Dear Senator--

Recently you sent me a snail mail appeal asking me to donate to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Hopeful sucker that I am, I was prepared to send you money, and kept the return envelope in my briefcase to do just that, but then life got busy and I didn't do it right away. And that's a darn good thing.

For tonight it becomes clear that along with fighting the right-wing wacky ways of our dear president, and other loons like Rick Santorum, Tom Cockburn, etc., it seems we also need to fight Pat Leahy, Herb Kohl, Russ Feingold, and even sadly, Robert Byrd (who at least had the balls to say no to Iraq from the beginning, but looking for Dems in the Senate who did that is like what the Catholic Church's search for priests will be like once it bans gays from the priesthood).

Be an opposition party, dammit. There are only 45 of you, so you will lose, but at least you will stand for something. You will give people a reason to vote for something.

For when Orrin Hatch says, "I don't see how anybody can justify a vote against Judge Roberts, unless they want to nitpick certain areas that you can nitpick on anybody," we all need to scream. (Well, we should pretty much scream about everything Hatch says, but....)

Here are the nits the Dems should be picking:
  • President Bush doesn't make good appointments. (See bad, bad Michael Brown.)
  • The White House refuses to release all papers relevant to the nomination. Make them play fair.
  • Roberts ruled in favor of the military commissions at Guatanamo, so he more or less thinks the president has unlimited power as long as there's a war, and the war on terror is forever.
  • He ruled for the president after initially being interviews by the White House for a Supreme Court spot. If this isn't completely unethical, it's certainly scummy.
  • At his last confirmation, he suggested his Catholicism might lead him to recuse himself on certain cases. A judge's job is to protect the Constitution, not the Papacy.
  • The current pope is leading the church forward into the 15th century.
  • OK, that bullet wasn't about Roberts.
  • Roberts advised the Republicans on Bush v. Gore, which caused all these problems in the first place (but do note the Dems lacked a spine in those days, too).
  • He appears to be anti-choice.
  • He appears to want to lead women back into the 1910s. (This time I mean Roberts, not the pope.)
  • He's all for property rights, especially when they can trample on the environment.
  • He's all for big business rights, because if we don't take care of big business, who will keep paying minimal salaries and crippling workers?

Look, every dog's that dangerous doesn't drool before he sinks his teeth into your leg.

It's sadly funny that your website includes the phrase "stop the abuse." For it would be wonderful if you Democrats stopped abusing the folks who really want you to stand up and fight.

When you do that, come back and we can talk money.


Too much work, too little sleep, the checkbook is off an annoying $.03 (which I will find), so all I have is time to point. Michael Bérubé loans his blogspace to John McGowan every now and then, and the other day he really nailed the differences between liberals and conservatives. Here's an excerpt of something you really have to read in its entirety, since us liberals are complex and hate bumper sticker thoughts and easy outs like "ideology of hate":

Conservatives are about, when push comes to shove, offering justifying reasons—economic ones like inventiveness and ingenuity or moral ones like virtue and hard work—for some folks having so much more than others. In their heart of hearts, conservatives really believe that the world is only just when there is inequality since then each person is getting what he or she truly deserves. The notion that a just world would be an equal one is foreign to them. Hence the huge divide in sensibility. The successful deserve their success, the unsuccessful deserve their lot —and the virtuous few should have authority over the untrustworthy many. Those are the bedrocks of conservatism.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Battered Young Bird

What can be said about Madeleine Peyroux that hasn't been said about any car crash. But unlike car crashes, from which we can't turn away as the morbid is our calling, we rarely see the crash as it happens. With Peyroux, her concerts are the crash in slo-mo (ok, at least the one tonight, but go do the Lexis-Nexis and tell me this isn't more than likely par for the course), something stately and dignified and inch-by-inch horrific, as filmed by someone like Cronenberg. And it's not just that her voice is a dead ringer for Billie Holiday, which naturally invites other unhealthy comparisons. It's the haunted look in her eyes, the way her jaw clenches, the way her guitar seems more like a prop than an instrument. It's the langour, even in the swing, even with a band that can play. It's her trumpet player turning into FX sound man enough times it becomes a bit of schtick. It's that in her patter she tips her cap to Rimbaud for absinthe, Elliott Smith for bar talk. It's realizing that prior to Souixsie Sioux goth chicks had to turn elsewhere with their darkness, plumbing bell jars and Bessie Smith blues. It's the way a note will escape Peyroux and it's like she's back busking and sometihng off-key only cost her a quarter. It's the note she nails, and the coffin lid of a song caught dead to rights stays shut.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wal-Mart's Employee Weight Reduction Plan

The AP reports that there's no free lunch, blue light special or otherwise:

Lawyers representing about 116,000 former and current Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees in California told a jury Monday that the world's largest retailer systematically and illegally denied workers lunch breaks.

The suit in Alameda County Superior Court is among about 40 cases nationwide alleging workplace violations against Wal-Mart, and the first to go to trial. Wal-Mart, which earned $10 billion last year, settled a lawsuit in Colorado for $50 million that contains similar allegations to California's class action. The company also is accused of paying men more than women in a federal lawsuit pending in San Francisco federal court.

The workers in the class-action suit are owed more than $66 million plus interest, attorney Fred Furth told the 12 jurors and four alternates.

Darn good thing they stopped people from having lunch breaks. Next thing you know they'd want 5 day weeks or 8 hour days or health benefits.

And how in the world will the Waltons get by on just $9,934,000,000? They'd be practically forced to survive in just their first mansions, wearing only cubic zirconium, and eating soy caviar and drinking second growth Bordeaux.

Better Late than, oh, Whatever

The AP reports today that John Kerry got feisty, attacking President Bush with harsh lines, claiming sort-of-but-not-quite fired Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown was to Hurricane Katrina "what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what George Tenet is to 'slam dunk intelligence'; ... what George Bush is to 'Mission Accomplished' and 'Wanted Dead or Alive.' ... The bottom line is simple: The 'we'll do whatever it takes' administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done."

After his speech, a few people reminded Kerry he lost the election in November 2004, and perhaps he should have found his spine this time last year.

And He's the One with the Handlebar Moustache

Saturday morning's last dream fragment, I swear: Somehow, somewhere I overhear Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rollie Fingers making homophobic remarks. I challenge him on them. We head outside...and I wake up before pasting him one for the GLT community and the 1973 Mets.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Let's Go to the Audio Tape

As long time readers might remember, I still make mixed tapes because everyone needs to be a technophobe about something. Amy got her hair cut yesterday (why yes, it does look smashing!), so it seemed like a good evening to sit on the floor surrounded by CDs and create one of these. The greyhounds particularly like this event, as I remain eye-to-eye with them for over an hour. That's lots of time to jump on me.

Them What Taint You

Side A
Petra Haden “Tattoo”
Tommy Keene “Tattoo”
Fountains of Wayne “Red Dragon Tattoo”
Bright Eyes “Gold Mine Gutted”
Dogs Die in Hot Cars “Apples & Oranges”
XTC “Scarecrow People”
The Decemberists “16 Military Wives”
New Pornographers “The Body Says No”
The Chills “Singing in My Sleep”
The Futureheads “Meantime”
Graham Parker “Vanity Press”
Richard Thompson “A Solitary Life”

Side B
Deacon John More “Going Back to New Orleans”
Feist “Mushaboom”
Nouvelle Vague “Teenage Kicks”
Boomtown Rats “Dave”
Arcade Fire “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
Modest Mouse “Ocean Breathes Salty”
Chris Stamey Experience “Compared to What”
Sppon “The Infinite Pet”
White Stripes “Denial Twist”
Crooked Fingers “Weary Arms”
Son Volt “Atmosphere”
Waco Bros. “It’s Amazing”
Sleater Kinney “Modern Girl”

You Must Have Been a Beautiful Puppy...

For Dog Blog Friday: Nigel turns four tomorrow, so here he is at 10 weeks or so, when he could still fit inside a thimble. (Andre the Giant's thimble, but still....)

This second photo is to remind people that what looks cute most of the time can turn just like that (sound of cyber-finger-snap).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Torque Ya Muddah, Torque Ya Faddah

Every schoolchild knows the famous rhyme about one of Spain’s great trendsetters of the 15th century: “In 1498, Torquemada ended his rule of hate.” Yep, friday is the 507th anniversary of his death day. But so few of us really know the man who put the unexpectancy in the Spanish Inquisition. Sure, he was responsible for the deaths of 10,000 people. Yeah, he helped institutionalize anti-Semitism. It’s a given he was one of the key figures to sustain the Catholic Church’s inflexibility that it proudly maintains till this very day (a big shout-out to Pope Benedict!). But he did love puppies.

Famously described by the Spanish chronicler Sebastian de Olmedo-Saenz as "the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the saviour of his country, the honour of his order," it wasn’t until he jumped to the ABA that he earned the nickname “the Round Mound of Rebound.”

Alas, Torquemada rarely broke out the comfy chair to torture or punish. Nope, he was the master of burning non-believers at the stake, which was performed as a public spectacle called an auto-da-fé (literal translation: “what duh f---”)(and the --- isn’t to keep this clean, it’s because it’s hard to make the “k” sound when your tongue has melted). If the condemned recanted and kissed the cross, they were mercifully garroted before the fire was set, for nothing bespeaks coziness like a wire through the carotid. If they recanted only, they were burned with a quick-burning seasoned wood (Kingsford Quick-Lite Charcoal, the Official Briquettes of the Spanish Inquisition). If not, they were burned with slow-burning green wood (but as a bonus, the slow-cooking method preserves the heretic’s juices and makes for much better eating latter).

Here we have a picture of Torquemada right before devouring one of his victims.

You Ain't Nothing But Fine, Fine, Fine

Now why is it that us Californians who are sentient (those of us who didn't vote for the Governator, say) get exasperated with Senator Dianne Feinstein?

"I don't know what I'm going to do," said Feinstein, who said his [Judge Roberts'] testimony showed "this very cautious, very precise man, young, obviously with staying power. ... I'm convinced you will be there, God willing, for 40 years. And that even concerns me more because it means that my vote means more." (Quote from the AP)

Because of course, Dianne, if he only was the Chief Justice for 25 years, how much could he really screw up then?

The Reds and the Blacks

You've probably heard already that the police force of Gretna in Louisiana blocked people--African-American people, that is--from crossing a bridge on the Mississippi to evacuate the Katrina disaster on foot (remember, a third of New Orleanians don't own cars). But did you know one reason the story hasn't got more national play is that the mainstream press got scooped by the Socialist Worker?

Here's how the Washington City Paper puts it:

Almost in unison, newspaper editors across the country pooh-poohed the news value of cops’ firing toward black people on a bridge in the deep South. In the days following its publication in the Socialist Worker, the drama clambered onto the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle in addition to scoring a brief on UPI. The relative silence proved a maxim of print journalism: It’s painful to credit other journalists, and it’s really painful to credit a pair of part-time socialist journalists.

How many different kinds of shame will Katrina dig up?

It's also warming to see the way the Wall Street Journal defends its decision, for according to the City Paper article:

“When we decide we want to go along, we go along. We kill a lot of stories each day because we’re judicious about what we put in the paper,” says a Journal editor.

In fact, the WSJ is so judicious that on just the first page of a Google search for "Wall Street Journal editorial page mistakes" you get all kinds of doozies. FAIR comes up with 20 mistakes, from misattributing quotes to out-and-out lies. RealClimate points out the ways the WSJ, like the President it sucks up to, denies the massive scientific evidence that proves global warming. Salon points out the ways the WSJ attacked articles in the Seattle Times--not to correct the record, but to sway the Pulitzer Prize committee.

But then again, it's just as judicious for the Wall Street Journal to block socialists as it is for the sheriff and deputies to stop blacks.

Looks Ain't Everything

If you've been listening to NPR the past few days, you might have heard international news stories that have refered to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder's "movie star smile" and to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's "rock star hair." And, somewhere in Europe or Japan, what could they be saying in their radio reports about U.S. President George W. Bush....

(Photo by Associated Press)

Future Supreme Only Knows Dream Girls

OK, I'm a few days behind on this one, but let's go to the New York Times transcript for Judge Roberts' spirited self-defense about how he believes women are equal to men:

I married a lawyer. I was raised with three sisters who work outside the home. I have a daughter for whom I will insist at every turn that she has equal citizenship rights with her brother.

In a similar vein, he also claimed that he was all for civil rights, for, after all, "My family had a black housekeeper who never even stole loose change and some very polite Latinos did the gardening."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

When God's on the Sauce

So busy this blog has been in preparation for its first anniversary that it completely ignored that there's a new god in town...and in the media and on other websites (thanks to Christina Kahrl for pointing it out on the Baseball Prospectus site, which can teach you about both new kings, as in Felix, and new gods, as in pasta) and up above us in a special heaven with not only a stripper factory but also a beer volcano (my guess is it spews whatever flavor of beer you most like, so I can positively swill in Anchor Liberty Ale and you can lap up Coors, well, if someone who drank Coors was going to heaven). Of course this new--or perhaps I should say at last coming into the righful period of his worship-- god is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose major prophet is Bobby Henderson.

Go have a laugh, or perhaps offer your prayers to the wonder of semolina. Make sure you don't miss the chart that proves global warming is directly connected to the modern day absence of pirates, which is totally true because Rex Smith played one in a movie over 20 years ago.

The amazing thing is that while I had never heard of FSM before today, it was back in 1882 that Friedrich Nietzsche took the FSM, threw him against the wall, found out he stuck, and famously said, "God is cooked."

You're Bloggier than You've Ever Been, and Now You're Even Bloggier

Just like everything else in California that gets older, the blog has had a facelift. All thanks to Amy, who can whip up CSS into a sweet design souffle.

You see, September 15 is INOTBB's first blogiversary. It will be on a fully solid food diet any day now, although it will lap at the teat of a public idiocy till the day it dies. Now if you'd just burp it, we'll call it a night.

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

I'm not exactly "wretched, retching on all fours," but I am working on 4 hours sleep and facing more than 8 hours of work to crank out today (hmm, maybe that's why they call it work), so sorry for the dearth of posts. In the meantime, let's go to bullet format for a quick review:

  • The Decemberists are truly terrific live, managing to encompass everything from sweet epic sweep to a charming acoustic ditty about a red right ankle to claiming in a song intro that Dick Cheney insists he's just a "chimbley sweep."
  • You know a concert is really cooking when they bring out the second accordionist.
  • Especially when the second accordionist is from the Pogues.
  • It's not everyday you get to join 600 other people in pretending you're being swallowed by a whale. (The secret is to moan a bit along with your screaming.)
  • If you thought Petra Haden doing The Who Sell Out a cappella was just some stunt, you should see/hear her do it live with 9 other women. The end of "I Can See for Miles" will raise the top of your skull. In that good way.
  • The Hungry Cat is still yummy.
  • In LA you really can sit at a restaurant table and have the actress at the table next to you chat with the waiter/stand-up comic. (The screenwriters don't speak to anyone else, afraid to have their ideas stolen.)
  • Etiquette tip: Even if you're an actress, when you go to a restaurant and sit relatively close to someone else on a banquette along a wall, don't take off your shoe and curl your foot not-quite-underneath yourself (although that's mostly because your butt's too small to cover anything). Even actress feet are gross when they get to close to peel-and-eat shrimp.
  • Thanks to the LAPD for flying that helicopter around the blocks where we parked. It was just the right touch of ambience.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

That Hole-in-One Hussy

Damn you, Wonkette, for pointing me to this.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bush's Freudian Slip?

Bush to the press today: "There's a lot of information floating around that will be analyzed in an objective way, and that's important."

(Photo by Phil Coale of the AP)

Tears in Your Beer

I keep telling myself I'm drinking to honor New Orleans, since if any town deserves a rollicking wake it's NOLA, but perhaps it's to forget. Or at the least to slow my actions and reactions as I watch how horribly our country has treated the poor there--it's one of those terrible literal moments, isn't it.

Of course, if Bush & Co. can live with themselves, why can't I?

Oh, yeah, I've got a conscience and a soul.

And I also had plenty of good beer at Stone Brewing's 9th Anniversary this weekend. If you need something to console yourself, I'd recommend a Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout.

Friday, September 09, 2005

How Weird Hughes

Let's go to the White House and visit with the official transcript (even if it doesn't know the difference between "confident" and "confidant") from the "President Honors Ambassador Karen Hughes at Swearing-In Ceremony" (I guess a "swearing at" ceremony is reserved for Dick Cheney).

First, from Condi Rice's intro to the Prez, we get this line:

And I think with Karen Hughes leading the effort, we will be able to show the world the true heart of America, and people will understand that we mean it when we say that Americans believe that there is no corner of the Earth that should have to live in tyranny, and that every man and woman should bask in freedom.

Of course, all this lofty sentiment might strike some as odd coming the very same morning we learn the following from the BBC, "The US government has the power to detain a man being held as an enemy combatant without charges, a federal appeals court has ruled." So bask in that freedom until we opt to detain you and not charge you with anything.

Then we get to W. himself, in full good versus evil bluster:

In the war on terror, the world's civilized nations face a common enemy, an enemy that hates us, because of the values we hold in common.

Now, exactly which nations are the uncivilized nations? Aren't the terrorists really of no country? And is it the values we claim to hold that they hate, or is it the way we live, of which the SUV is just one ugly image, they find so disturbing?

But then there's this line:

The terrorists have a strategy: They want to force those of us who love freedom to retreat, to pull back so they can topple governments in the Middle East and turn that region into a safe haven for terrorism.

I guess we couldn't expect Bush to say, "After all, we are the only ones who are supposed to topple governments in the Middle East. And besides, we've only turned Iraq into an unsafe haven for terrorism."

He then moves on to several lines that seem more about pleasing Anti-Choicers than anything else, but makes clear the simple-minded Republican way of "us-them," if nothing else:

To achieve these aims, they kill the innocent because they believe that all human life is expendable. And that stands in stark contrast to what we believe. We believe human life is a precious gift from our Creator.

Someone he represses saying that "they" don't even believe in the same creator as "we" do. Nor does he mention that many of those most into the Creator here in the good old U.S. of A. believe human life is expendable since the Rapture will set them free and those bodies only get in the way and make you think about your groins.

Finally, Bush lays this one on Hughes:

Karen will deliver the message of freedom and humility and compassion and determination.

One out of four ain't bad, I guess. A better batting average than we've come to expect from Bush appointees--correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Brown.

Of course, the entire Karen Hughes post has to be seen as a joke--her title is "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Ambassador for the same." After all, it's the private diplomacy that's the real problem, isn't it?

And to pretend that all the world's complaints with the U.S. is a problem of perceptions is to treat the global stage like one big election campaign (which, as we know too well, Karen Hughes is far too good at). For no matter how much rouge and mascara you slap on the cadaver, the body's still dead dead dead.

Legs Up to Here

For Dog Blog Friday: I thought I just lost a quarter between the cushions, but then I looked and found this....

Mookie was such a cute, silly puppy.

That was such an ugly couch, good thing he ripped a hole in it and we had to get a new one.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Half Full, Half Empty

So maybe the people* are waking up?

In a sign of just how severe the damage to the President’s standing caused by Katrina is, the Zogby America survey finds that, despite his re-election last fall, President Bush would lose to every modern president since Jimmy Carter, the one-term Democrat who left office amid record unpopularity and a presidency rated, at the time, dismally. He would also lose to his own father, who left office amid an economic recession triggered, in part, by a devastating hurricane.

But maybe the Democrats are still trapped in a nightmare of their own making:

However, in one of the few bright spots for the President, he would still beat Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, by a narrow, one-point margin.

Or maybe that just means that the Ohio fix is in for Zogby, too.

*You know "the people," in that Ma Joad, hackneyed but you still have to hope, sometimes, when not realizing you're a sentimental fool who the Dick Cheneys of the world would crush without even scraping you off their boot soles, way: "For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn't have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. [...] Like we was lost and nobody cared. [...] Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good, an' they die out. But we keep a-comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out. They can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, 'cause we're the people."

Down in the River to Pray

The AFP reports:

US President George W. Bush declared September 16 a national day of prayer for Hurricane Katrina's victims...."Throughout our history, in times of testing, Americans have come together, in prayer, to heal and ask for strength for the tasks ahead. So I've declared Friday, September the 16th, as a national day of prayer and remembrance," he said.

In other news, Pope Benedict has delcared September 19 an international day of lawmaking and democracy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Arnie Promises Some Kind of Vow

IMDB June 18, 2003:

Terminator - The Gay Icon?

The eagerly-awaited Terminator sequel Rise of the Machines is poised to turn Arnold Schwarzeneger's time-traveling cyborg into a gay icon. At the opening of the new sci-fi thriller - touted as the most expensive movie ever made - Schwarzenegger's naked character enters a gay nightclub featuring erotic male dancers to steal a black leather jacket and trousers. But the muscle-bound star insists the camp reference isn't a deliberate attempt to win over gay fans. He says, "The Terminator has been associated with leather. It's the most memorable kind of outfit that was created for any character in the history of motion pictures. I think the gay population is part of our society and the Terminator is an icon character for people who are gay or not gay - liking him has nothing to do with sexual preference."

AP September 7, 2005:

Schwarzenegger Vows Gay Marriage Bill Veto

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday he will veto a bill that would have made California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through its elected lawmakers.


The governor has until Oct. 9 to issue the veto.

Despite his promise to do so, Schwarzenegger "believes gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based upon their relationship," Thompson's statement said. "He is proud that California provides the most rigorous protections in the nation for domestic partners."

The Governor went on to say that he felt (and he insisted on stressing he felt) that anyone of any gender has the right to grab anyone else, whether anyone else liked it or not. Although anyone getting groped by Arnold would of course like it. In the corner Maria Shriver sharpened her cheekbones into knives.

Schwarzenegger also stressed how important it was that "gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law," going on to say, "that's why it's crucial the law says they can't get married. If it gave them full protection, people might not think they should not like gay people. However, they are a part of our society and it's rumored many of them go to the movies."

No one pointed out that if Arnold thinks a leather outfit is "the most memorable kind of outfit that was created for any character in the history of motion pictures," then he hasn't seen too many films himself.

The scuttlebutt on the California State Assembly floor is that they will next try to pass a law that a person can't marry himself, no matter how self-centered he is.

Stats Coming and Going

While it's certainly possible that this AFP article that begins, "Three quarters of British women over 40 reckon sex is better now than it was in their 20s," is completely true, eventually I have to question the validity of the piece (can that term be used in this context?) when I get to the line, "Sixty-nine percent of the women surveyed felt more sexually adventurous than ever before and 66 percent felt more confident about their bodies than in their younger days."

69? More adventurous?

Those whacky Brits.

You'll Never Spot the Bunny...

C'mon, you needed the laugh.

Fringier than Your Average Fringe

Don't know if you heard yesterday on NPR, but among those paying their respects to Chief Justice Rehnquist was a group called Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. Confused why they didn't opt to call themselves simply The Living, I figured I had to cyber-hunt these folks down on the internets, and sure enough, they have a website, even if the majority of the jpgs won't load (or maybe my computer simply chooses to censor out their typically graphic over-done images). I have to admit getting a kick out of the fetal skeleton logo though, a swell mix of pirate, haunted house and doll images that still makes a lovely t-shirt. (Although in reality it sort of messes with their intended purpose, for if the fetus was a skeleton, it's mom who's in deep trouble. And mom is just a test tube.)

Checking out the About Us page gets to the ugly heart of the matter. The page is full of slip-sliding diction that omits fetuses but jams children, classmates, friends, brothers and sisters up a poor woman's uterus, as if an embryo wasn't enough. They exaggerate the number of abortions per day (at least if the U.S. census site can be trusted) to jack up their rhetoric. They write this terrific sentence: "Like our founding patriot fathers and the Civil War abolitionist, The Survivors believe that abortion is the issue of our day..." which is either just mushy grammar or evinces a sense of history that, at best, is confused (somewhere William Lloyd Garrison is screaming, "Keep the damn slaves--just stop abortion!").

And, of course, we get to the crux of the matter--you all just have sex on the brain, damn you!:

We believe sex was designed by God for the marriage relationship. We believe that to prevent unwanted pregnancies people should behave responsibly by practicing sexual purity until marriage. Sexual abstinence is the first step to abortion prevention.

This paragraph brings all kinds of thoughts to my surely-headed-to-hell mind. What were the design conditions like when God whipped up the beast with two backs? Were there actual test subjects, or did he do it all on paper? Does "practicing sexual purity" involve lots of towels? Or does it just mean denying you enjoyed it?

Notice these folks also probably ring the intelligent design and anti-gay marriage loony bells, too.

Notice they are the ones happy with the Roberts nomination to replace their dearly departed Rehnquist. Isn't it odd to think that stuffed in the coffin with Rehnquist might be Roe v. Wade.

Which One of These Things Doesn't Belong?

In an article about Wikipedia, Reuters had a bit of brain cramp:

Traffic to the multilingual network of sites has grown 154 percent over the past year, according to research firm Hitwise. At current growth rates, it is set to overtake The New York Times on the Web, the Drudge Report and other news sites.

Huh? Other news sites? Did Matt Drudge's retro chic hat confuse Reuters into thinking he is a journalist?

Or is this the sloppiest of "objectivity," making sure that there's a balance achieved between the left New York Times and right Drudge? Beyond, of course, the Times isn't really liberal and Drudge isn't right.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hug This

Although I'd still like to know how they picked the folks that W. could fondle on Friday to prove he cared, he actually cared (I have a funny feeling it wasn't just random), it isn't surprising to find out that this happened, too, while Bush got a look-see, a huggy-poo and a moment to long for Trent Lott's porch:

Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.

The provisions, secured by U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, and state Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana five days after Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, said Melancon’s chief of staff, Casey O’Shea.

“We had arrangements to airlift food by helicopter to these folks, and now the food is sitting in trucks because they won’t let helicopters fly,” O’Shea said Friday afternoon.

The food was expected to be in the hands of storm survivors after the president left the devastated region Friday night, he said.

After all, they'd been hungry for five days, so what's a few more hours.

Helping Those Who Help Themselves

Good news! The White House at last will have that pesky hurricane problem under control, for as the New York Times reports:

The White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.


The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.


One Republican with knowledge of the effort said that Mr. Rove had told administration officials not to respond to Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush's handling of the hurricane in the belief that the president was in a weak moment and that the administration should not appear to be seen now as being blatantly political.

For as we all know, when Karl Rove gets involved, it has nothing to do with politics. Character assassination, outright lies and mudslinging, sure, but not politics. As part of the plan, the article discusses how numerous White House officials have been sent out to the stricken region to "show we care." Lucky Condi Rice even gets to show she cares in new shoes and it is rumored will be teaching evacuees to sing a cute ditty she just learned, "Always Look at the Bright Side of Life."

As for VP Dick Cheeney, who originally seemed missing in action, he's about ready to come out and help now that he's first made sure that some old friends of his are OK after the disaster.

Friday, September 02, 2005

No Wonder Brian Wilson Went Crazy

From the cover of the Scene tab of the Santa Barbara News-Press today, we get this photo that surely captures the essence of rock 'n' roll.

Mike Love asks, "Are you attending the fish and goose soiree Thurston is throwing tonight?" Bruce Johnston replies, "I never miss the sophisticated sparkle of the Yacht Club, my jolly old chap."

Pant Material

For Dog Blog Friday: It's almost football season, so let's bring out the mouth-breathers.

Words to Dismember

One of the most charming characteristics of Homo Sapiens--the wise guy on your left--is the consistency with which he has stoned, crucified, burned at the stake, and otherwise rid himself of those who consecrated their lives to his further comfort and well-being so that all his strength and cunning might be preserved for the creation of ever larger monuments, memorial shafts, triumphal arches, pyramids, and obelisks to the eternal glory of generals on horseback, tyrants, usurpers, dictators, politicians, and other heroes who led him usually from the rear, to dismemberment and death.
--prologue to The Great Moment, written by Preston Sturges

Sixty-one years later, still just as true, if not moreso. And to think Sturges was one of the funniest Americans ever, too.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Black and White and Bastards All Over

So it's like this, our government realizes that just like in Darfur, the vast majority of those suffering in New Orleans are black. Maybe no one will notice.

The Hurricane's Katrina, the Disaster Is Bush

If you've uncovered enough internets rocks to stumble into this blog, you have to know enough to read Josh Marshall, too, but I have to point out that he's been simply nailing stuff in relation to the horrible way the U.S. wasn't prepared for Katrina. For example:

You can't watch that stuff and not know that this, in that corny phrase, was the big one. And even with the best preparation, with all the organizational pistons firing, there was going to be death and dislocation and property damage on a grand scale.

But how much might have been prevented? And how much more rapid might the rescue and recovery have been?

The flooding situation in New Orleans is at least somewhat unique in natural disaster terms, since there's at least a bit of an all or nothing quality to the situation. If the levees had never been breached, or if there'd been fewer breaches, a lot of that water just never would have gotten into the city. And then the situation would be radically different.

Go read that post, and everything he's put up so far--tales of cutting the money to keep the levees in shape, the movement to do in FEMA, the typical croneyism that the Bush White House does so well--and you'll get to be as angry as you are sad about the whole situation.
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