Thursday, October 25, 2007
She finds, among other things, that the modern Republican political machine runs on some high-test whine--with plenty of hollow sanctimony and bellowing insincerity helping to grease the gears.
Read the excellent, "The Art of the Hissy Fit"
(Via Crooks and Liars, of course.)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
So, what gives? It's The Onion, so they're there in there to be funny, of course. But, did they pick this nut up from some wire service and run his crazy pieces to be ironically amusing (and intentionally irritate their mostly left-leaning readership)? Or is the whole thing just brilliantly made up? I mean the panels simply nail the grandstanding, paranoia, and inanity--not to mention the technique--of these syndicated political cartoon types. You know, the current-event whoring, the recurring conventions (Lady Liberty shedding a tear... again), and even a mini-'toon of the artist giving you a straight-up version of the strip in case you missed the meaning in the drawing.
I finally got curious enough to investigate and it turns out I'm not the only one who was thrown for a loop.
An LA Times article does a good job of illuminating things--complete with plenty of linked examples.
And for good measure, my recent favorite.. it's just so completely insane:
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Over the last month and a half there have been several cases of Right-wing Republican-types bursting out of the closet in the most unintentional and hilarious ways. This sent what had been about a once-a-month trend skyward, forcing Republicans everywhere to pour on the hetero and dig even deeper into their roster of tough-guy/daddy-save-us types. Hell, just look at the ever-manlier--and apparently great-smelling--Fred Thompson, who's running for the GOP presidential nomination.
A brief recap of the most recent GOP sexual oopsies: Well, there was that Senator from Idaho getting busted for cruising an airport bathroom. Pure comedy. And who could forget the Florida campaign chairman who's fear of black men sent him into a public toilet in search of carnal knowledge of... a black man? There was also a more tragic outcome to a couple of these transgressions. A high-level state Republican staffer with very close ties to K-Street criminal, Jack Abrhamoff, was murdered in a gay love triangle gone bad in--ahem-- Orlando. And just this weekend a Republican prosecutor from--where else?-- Florida committed suicide after being brought up on charges for trying to rent a 5-year-old girl for certain acts from an undercover federal agent over the internet. So, that last one aint exactly closeted homosexual activity, but it fits the theme of Republican repression and hypocrisy so well, it deserves to hop on for the ride.
So, of course this all leads up to today's item in the booming news beat I'll coin, "Right Wing Moral Hypocrisy on Parade".
Moralist, bible thumping, GOP advocate, Baptist minister, Michael Aldridge was found dead in his Alabama home this weekend. The official cause of death? An errant auto erotic undertaking. Now, normally, that would only get a mild chuckle, partially from the unintentional suicide part (death by jerking off is always a funny item) and partially at the mild hypocrisy of the situation. Buuut, as his bad luck would have it, that's only the first layer of this tasty taco.
Ya see... um. Well, the thing is... Ah, hell. Why not just read the police report provided by The Smoking Gun?
Go ahead. Read it again.
That's right. Not one, but two scuba suits. And he apparently hog-tied himself. And there was a condom'd dildo hanging out of his butt. Wow. How far gone do you need to be to where one rubber wet-suit just doesn't cut it for you anymore? Jeeesh.
Anyhoo, the always rollicking Sadly No! has more on the story and a lively free-for-all in the comments section. Go have a look!
Damn, it's good to be back.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Very, very interesting.
Read: The Power of (Right Wing) Myth.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The wedding planning and work-related craziness has left me with little free time for blog posting. For that, I apologize and offer this tasty morsel that will have to tide you over until I get back to Chicago, tanned, rested and, yes, married.
Bush and Co. have finally been nabbed for attempting to turn the Federal Government into a subsidiary of the GOP. Not exactly news for those of us who've been paying attention, but it now seems some folk have dug up some pretty damning evidence. And to whom does the finger of blame for the most part point? Why the recently flown-the-coop Karl Rove, of course.
The Liberty Papers' take:
Friday, July 27, 2007
(Via the great Cursor.org, who incidentally, need you help.)
Item 1: Apparently the numero uno US construction contractor building the US Embassy in Bagdhad (a complex rumored to be larger than the Vatican) has been using slave labor.
"I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work at the U.S. Embassy,"a witness tells the House Oversight Committee, adding "I've read the State Department Inspector General's report on the construction of the embassy. Mr. Chairman, it's not worth the paper it's printed on." More on 'charges of human trafficking.'
Item #2: As new information is leaked about the death of post-9/11 US Army enlistment poster-boy, Pat Tillman (the poor fella who walked away from the NFL only to be killed by his own unit in Afghanistan), it turns out that in the days before his death, not only was he about to go public as a major anti-war figure, but by all accounts it now appears his death was an assassination, not an accident.
Documents obtained by the AP in response to a FOIA request, note medical examiners' suspicions that Pat Tillman was killed deliberately by his own men, something that his mother, who remains harshly critical of the investigation, has long suggested may have been the case.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Democratic Member Of House Homeland Security Committee Denied Access To Portions Of Presidential Directive
From the article:
...As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom'' in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.
On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED. "I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack,'' DeFazio said...
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Were I to spend about a minute and a half on it and name the band after myself, it might look something like this:
It just occurred to me that my new imaginary album cover looks a lot like this record from The Fucking Champs:
Monday, July 09, 2007
It's one of the main tenets of those who champion the free market as the ultimate righter-of-wrongs, healer-of-wounds, and servant of humanity-- customer service. It's the manifestation of their belief that the corporation is controlled by the citizens (the old "speak with your wallet" adage). Unfortunately, even in the face of massive deregulation across the business spectrum, this belief looks far better on paper than it works out in real life.
The plainest evidence of this is seen in the presentations of the massive anti-Wal Mart-ization movement and, on a slightly more conceptual level, by the anti-globalization movement. And those are only a couple of specifics. Just look at the blowback from the global warming hoopla. The vast majority of independent scientists across the globe are practically in hysterics about the toll humankind's massive carbon emissions have begun to take on the biosphere. And who stands against this science? A far, far smaller number of scientists who, as becomes clearer the deeper you dig, are represented by various think-tanks and PAC's who all have ties to manufacturing and production lobbyists.
Care to connect those dots? That's right, the good ol', god-like free market that works so wonderfully in our favor, in theory anyway, is also working, for... well, to take the thing to it's logical conclusion, is working for our extinction. Not exactly a god I'd like to worship.
Well... to turn from the macro to the micro, give this story a read: Sprint ditches customers who complain too much.
How does that story apply to the failure of today's hyper-capitalist free market? I mean, these schlubs can always go sign with a rival network, right?
Well , they can certainly switch cell phone providers... for now anyway. The same unchecked free-market force that's allowed the mass media environment to become homogenized to the point that you can count the number of companies behind America's major news outlets on one hand can also be seen in the dwindling number of cell phone service providers the public has to choose from.
As these companies buy each other out and conglomerate again and again, our choices as consumers dwindles as well. And as we saw from the uncritical, uninterested media in the run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, homogeny breeds complicity, which breeds apathy, which, in turn, breeds decay.
And that is the ultimate result of the unchecked, hyper-capitalism so many deluded American trumpet so loudly these days--decay.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Today's case revolves around a company's claim to have built a perpetual motion machine (which failed completely at its first public outing... surprise, surprise). The debate, er, diatribe revolves around some hilarious misinterpretations of the laws of thermodynamics, raising the dead, and the wicked dogma of the leftist science-elite. Don't worry a bit if you're unfamiliar with the science behind the laws of Thermodynamics (entropy and all that fun stuff), cuz, you're still way ahead of the brainiacs at Overwhelming Evidence.
Oh, and be sure to read the comments on the Science Blogs page. Golden.
From one of the resident PhDummies at Overwhelming Evidence:
Let me explain: Such acts [Jesus' bringin' ol' Laz back from the dead] would have required a great deal of energy brought in from apparently nowhere. The laws of thermodynamics as Hawkings understand them say this can never happen. In hawking's world-view reviving the dead is impossible because a long-dead body contains a great deal more entropy than a healthy living body. On the other hand, well documented evidence says these miricales [sic] happened. As scientists we must follow this evidence wherever it leads.
Read, "Yet another example of credulity begetting credulity".
(Via the mighty Boing Boing.)
We bitched and moaned and cried about these rank and unAmerican actions taken by the American government against the American people. But the so-called "liberal" media could have cared less. Their complicity was duly noted and we've been left to, for the most part, preach to the converted in light-circulation magazines and on (increasingly less) obscure political blogs.
Will any of this change with the release last week of "Presidential Advance Manual" a document obtained by the ACLU in a lawsuit against presidential staffers? Well, no one's holding their breath, but chalk it up as yet another straw on the tired camel's back.
Sez the ACLU:
The lawsuit names as plaintiffs Jeff and Nicole Rank, who were arrested at a Fourth of July presidential appearance at the West Virginia State Capitol because they were wearing T-shirts critical of the president, and Alex Young and Leslie Weise, Denver residents who were thrown out of a town hall meeting with President Bush because they had an anti-war bumper sticker on their car.
The heavily redacted manual illustrates the gameplan for shielding the president and the complicit media from any dissenting or derogatory positions taken, quite leagally, by American citizens in the public sphere. It's just as predictably sickening as one would expect from this sickening administration. And whatsmore: it highlights exactly what we've claimed all along. Yet agian, we've been right from day one and all the talking heads and barking dogs have been dead wrong.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Today #43 commuted the prison sentence of federal criminal I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Bush White House intimate, Libby was convicted (by a Republican prosecutor and Republican judge, no less) for lying to authorities and obstructing justice in an investigation looking into the outing of an undercover CIA agent for political retribution.
Libby had only today been ordered to report to prison immediately and no stay of time would be awarded. The $250,000 fine and two years of probation remain intact, however. Though, apparently, it's fully within the bounds of the law for Libby's defense fund to pay the fine. So, it's quite safe to assume he'll incur very little financial duress from the sentence. And how 'bout that probation? Good golly. Ouch. That wrist must be hurting after a slap like that.
Gotta love it. One set of laws for them and another for the rest of us. I mean, last week it was the VP claiming he wasn't a branch of the government at all (and therefore able to operate his office in TOTAL secrecy) and now this. America, these guys are f'ing laughing at you. And laughing all the way to the bank.
Bush and Co: putting the "Con" back in Neocon.
Oh, and be sure to keep a look out for the full pardon, sure to come on January, 19 2009.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Round two saw Chris Richard join Corey Brewer in Minnesota and Taurean Green join the number one overall pick from the team the Gators steamrolled to pick up their second national championship, the towering Greg Oden out in Portland.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
From Crooks & Liars:
In one full term, this Court has severely curbed local efforts to promote racial diversity in schools, upheld a right-wing ban on a necessary medical procedure for women, curbed students’ free speech rights, crippled Congress’ ability to keep corporate money out of political advertising, prevented taxpayers from challenging the constitutionality of Bush’s faith-based initiatives, made it almost impossible for women to prevail on claims of longterm sex discrimination . . . and they’re just getting started.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
This time, though, they did it over the bodies of 9 South Carolina firemen who recently died in a warehouse fire. The fucking swine.
O'Neal Compton has the rundown.
Friday, June 22, 2007
In any event, posting will be light next week too as I'm headed to Miami for some decidedly somber business. Then it's up to Orlando for some visiting and other business. Orlando folk, gimme a call, eh?
In the meantime, filmmaker, firebrand, lightning rod, provocateur, etc, etc, Michael Moore has a new film out soon. Sicko is about his inspection of America's fundamentally, pervertedly flawed health care system. Something I've had an ongoing, intimate experience with since 2002, my happy-go-lucky cancer year. I'm looking forward to seeing the film, for sure, but as with any of Moore's projects, I'll be bringing a grain of salt along. In fact I'll bring the whole shaker.
The Nation magazine has a great article on Sicko. Why not read it?
Friday, June 15, 2007
Well, on to today's roundup:
- More here on how the wannabe terrorist boobs the feds keep busting (and the administration keeps hyping) are little more than schmucks with more pipe dreams than pipe bombs (yea, I used that phrase last week, I like it). This time security technology expert Bruce Schneier shines the light of reason on what is never presented to the American public without a heavy dose of frothy fear-mongering. Sez he, "There is a real threat of terrorism. And while I'm all in favor of the terrorists' continuing incompetence, I know that some will prove more capable. We need real security that doesn't require us to guess the tactic or the target: intelligence and investigation -- the very things that caught all these terrorist wannabes -- and emergency response. But the "war on terror" rhetoric is more politics than rationality. We shouldn't let the politics of fear make us less safe."
- The legendary and notorious Yes Men have struck again with typically insightful and hilarious results. This time at Calgary's Gas and Oil Exposition. (If you hasn't seen the film on these guys... rent it now!)
- And on a slightly more depressing note, ever wonder how all that outsourcing of labor and manufacturing is gonna affect the American economy over the long haul? I mean, of course, how it will affect normal plebeians like you or I, not our corporate masters or the guy passed out at the bus stop in a puddle of his own (hopefully) vomit. Well, economists aren't too keen on the way things have played out and warn that, basically, China's got America's proverbial balls in the proverbial vice. And they could turn the crank anytime they please. Global Research's Richard C. Cook has the run-down.
- And if that isn't depressing enough for you, try this website. Apparently there are a good number of people who believe the Earth is flat. It's not a joke, sadly enough. So, maybe this isn't so much depressing as it is hilarious. But the Q&A page employs a rationale so akin to the modern anti-Darwin, creationist movement's rationale, that it's guaranteed to depress you again once you remember just how big and just how stupid the Creationist movement in America is.
- And finally, not one to leave you on too depressing a note, I got blogger and friend Patrick Hughes' new book, Diary of Indignities, in the mail this week. If you've enjoyed his blog, Bad News Hughes, well, you won't find a whole lot particularly new here. But you will revisit a multitude of painful humiliations anew and find that, even though you know the stories this time around, they're still awfully goddamned funny.
Friday, June 08, 2007
- I'd meant to mention this a few weeks ago, but things have been mighty busy on this end... the rP00P blog is back! Get your music fix. Have some laughs... and apparently see a picture of me during a not-so-open mic night at the Art Institute Museum last month. Dig the backing band.
- The Existentialist Cowboy is also back after some time off. And, again, this is something I've been meaning to mention for the past few weeks. Today's excellent post dissects the vitriol and finger-pointing emanating from the modern GOP. Or as the cowboy himself puts it, "What we are witnessing from outside America's increasingly radical, imperialist party is the ugly puss that oozes from an open sore: Republicanism, desperately seeking scapegoats."
- Everyone's favorite smartass lefty blog, Sadly No!, continue the hilarious feather rustling of right-wing
simpblogger, Ace of Spades. Previous posts-turned-spats revealed ol' Ace's puzzling take on women parts. Specifically, that he finds vaginas icky and they, for some reason, to him, resemble an assemblage of "play-doh and bacon." Today's post investigates Ace's particularly cock-eyed take on modern feminism.
- It's been a while, so why not check in with one of the greatest, funniest sites in the intertoobs, Engrish.com?
- And finally, I've somehow managed to keep my head above water over at Chicago's finest food blog, Drive Thru. And despite being ungodly busy lately, I found the time to post a couple articles this week. If you're so inclined, just look for my byline.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Hell, even the reporter from Fox News called the plot, "impossible to carry out."
But of course the Bush administration and their apologists never let little things like facts mess up some good fear mongering. Thusly, pundits and politicians around the nation wasted no time in filing another notch in the bedpost, as they unsurprisingly hailed this latest bust as at once a justification of their "extraordinary" techniques... and, curiously, at the same time, a reason to continue to expand the legal reach of those techniques.
Attytood brings the goods. From his post:
Look, here's what you need to know about the JFK Four (one suspect is still at large.)They were yet another band of ne'er-do-wells with a homegrown hatred forthe U.S. They had no terror training or know-how, no links to Osama bin Laden,al-Qaeda, or the big-bucks funding mechanisms of the kind that carried outreal terror on 9/11. Their driving force in this plot of "unthinkable devastation"was a government informant, a twice-convicted drug dealer eager towin a lighter sentence. Aside from the most important aspect that their plan was not feasible, they also had no explosives to carry it out.
People who think that violence and bloodshed are an answer to anything are indeed danger to a civil society, so unless the facts are radically different than what's been reported so far, we should have praise for law enforcement, including the NYPD and the FBI, for not letting this kind of nonsense get very far. It shows yet again that the law-enforcement approach to fighting this type of threat -- so ridiculed when John Kerry dared even mention it in 2004 -- remains the one that in most cases works best. That said, the plot was not exactly the biggest thing going on the world right now.
Tonight, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann aired a piece about the "nexus of politics and terror," in which the Bush administration's calculated use of these so-called terror busts is chronicled. How they have been used to put political feathers in the president's cap is scrutinized.
Crooks and Liars hosts the video. WATCH IT.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Sooooo, lessee what's in the news today.
Bush Administration Calls for Permanent US Bases in Iraq
In the words of the late, great Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, surprise, surprise."
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This episode of, "Gee What a Surprise," stars right wing radio personality and professional busybody, Dr. Laura Schlessinger who only a week ago complained about the attitude of serviceman's wives ("He could come back without arms, legs and eyeballs, and you’re bitching?”) when they dared speak up about said troops treatment by the government (see Walter Reed hospital scandal).
She went on to speak about her son, a paratrooper stationed in Afghanistan, stating that she never shares her concerns with him because she, "raised a warrior," who, we're to assume, don't need no pansy-ass mothering. Which in the context of the conversation also means that when he returns, he won't need no faggoty PTSD treatment either.
Well, looks like mommy's little monster might be sent home a little sooner than anyone expected. But that PTSD treatment looks like it might be court-ordered, whether mommy likes it or not.
From the Salt Lake City Tribune:
The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called "repulsive."
The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.
Wow. It's certainly jarring but considering the boatloads of bullshit she sends over the airwaves it's not in the least surprising. A heavily right wing jingoist, the former army brat Dr. Laura has perfected the blame-the-victim mentality with her daily "self-help" radio program. Her advice to women on relationships and child rearing has been the wind beneath the wings of many of America's misogynists and those who still feel that Betty Friedan is the Anti-Christ.
Well, at least we can rest assured that in raising her little warrior, Dr. Laura seems to have put her money where her mouth has been. The proof is in the psychopathic pudding.
UPDATE: Both an Army spokesman and Dr. Laura now claim that her son's Myspace page was--you might wanna sit down for this one-- hijacked by terrorists. Uh huh.
It's really something to see what becomes of a person raised on heavy doses of right wing demagogue froth. This kid's lunacy is the precisely the fruit that grows from the incessant hate, paranoia and stupidity sowed by AM radio and a good swath of cable "news."
Congratulations conservative America. It's a boy.
Bush domestic policy czar: "I am never going to hire another woman because they just get pregnant and leave."
Monday, May 21, 2007
It doesn’t take a very long look around the web to realize that the Republicans and right wing outlets tend to function from the standpoint of disseminating rhetoric and propaganda mostly in the form of opinion pieces. While, more often than not, their left-leaning counterparts tend to prefer transparency and fact-based reporting. (This tendency has even spawned its own catch-phrase, courtesy of TV’s Stephen Colbert, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”)
This isn’t to say that GOPers don’t enjoy their studies and charts or that the progressives don’t have their own circle-jerking, hyper-linked witch hunts. But the tendency is solid. It’s there in black and white. And the internetting public has very clearly responded to that dynamic.
Afterall, on a message board flame war, some clever talking points and a shrill put down might win the day, but when hammering out your position on, say, the existence of Sadaam's WMD's a pile of links to actual reports from the UN weapons inspectors goes a hell of alot further than a link to Bill O'Reilly's latest rant or a venomous Ann Coulter quote.
Now this hasn’t always been the domain of the Democrats to any great extent, but after two electoral drubbings the party discovered a need to reinvent itself, from the bottom up. And it certainly didn’t hurt that despite of, or perhaps because of, their public victories the GOP evolved into a bloated and historically corrupt political party who’s penchant for secrecy and top-down lockstep loyalty have provided endless fodder for truth-seeking John Q. Public’s everywhere.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Good and funny stuff at, wouldn't you know, Crooks and Liars.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Normal Internet news stop Crooks and Liars was on my drive-by list after getting to work and ignoring that big stack of paperwork. Their Falwell entry contained a caveat about posting respectfully in the comments section. Of course that's an invitation for some fireworks so I spent some time there, eventually getting involved in some of the back and forths.
What piqued my interest was the battle within a group of more or less likeminded people about what the tenor of the comments oughta be. As if the comment board wasn't supposed to be a kind of dialogue.
And it usually is on the C&L site. Not like the lockstep you'll find at the DailyKos or 99% of pro-Republican sites. That's part of what I like about it. But today was different.
They know that Right wing internetters and even some prominent columnists troll the boards just waiting to sink their teeth into an off-color comment and hold it up as an oh-so-typical example of Lefty values or whatever. Thus the initial warning.
What was acceptable to post became far more interesting that what folk actually had to say about Fartwell himself. And before long the site moderators kicked up the policing a few notches. Which was very interesting. Pruning the more explicit comments and keeping the conversation on topic is their usual MO and the folks at C&L do that better than anyone, usually. What started out as a plea to keep things respectful and reasonably civil turned in to, for me, a lesson on where the American Left stands in relation to its critics and detractors.
How? Well, the crux of the discussion alluded to the fact the certain Right wing journalists and web site dwellers will gleefully be taking the worst of the comments and running all the way to the polls with them, so we oughta be good little boys and girls and show those jerks what upstanding citizens we could be and not post anything too angry or mean. And that's a sentiment that's chapped my ass severely lately.
For me, it smacks of pandering. Of branding. Of performance. It's a corner that we (as Left America, as progressives, whatever) have allowed ourselves to be painted in to by the think tanks and strategists of the Right. It's Karl Rove's way of grabbing our arm and saying, "stop hitting yourself," as he repeatedly smacks us upside the head with it.
I posted the following on another site's board after being holla'd at by someone of like mind who saw me get into a tiff with another commenter and a site moderator/writer of the Falwell post over on C&L earlier.
It’s like they’re [C&L mods] a little tweaked at the idea that someone from outside the clubhouse might peek in and see everyone running around in their underwear or something.
The Reich-wingers will certainly troll for the more turd-colored comments about this death, and use em to point the finger, sure. But so what. If no one said any of it, they’d just make it up anyway.
All that “bad for the brand” bullshit. I can understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t care for it. Nope
To stoop to hyper-policing the comment section content or to even bitch about that content on the grounds of, “lets show them how upright we can be about this and not post anything boorish” is to play the exact game they want us to play.
Notice how the Right-ists have, over the last couple years as Bush’s glory has faded, increasingly painted the Left as hypocrites in our approach to “tolerance” and “diversity”? It’s a cheap-shot, purposeful mis-understanding of the concepts. To paint us as intolerant of their “right” to bigotry, homophobia, etc…
To try and over police ourselves is to not only play the game by their rules, it’s to play their game, period. It’s called “controlling the message” and why the FUCK would we let them control our message?
Oh, almost forgot to add–GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE JERRY FARTWELL.
To put it another way, I just feel that now that blogs have begun to become scrutinized by the big boys in the MSM and some of us feel the pressure of the world watching as our readership rises and our voice gets louder, there's no flippin' reason to buy in to the same relationship that the mainstream left-ish press has with the world at large. To overly self-censor because an "enemy" might be watching or to tailor your output to fit someone else's idea of how you oughta think is completely blasphemous to me. It's why the Democrats have had their ass handed to them for 40 some years by the Republicans. They let the other guys define the terms of play. And if that attitude doesn't change, the victories won in the wake of GWB's abject failures will be decidedly short-lived.
Ahhh... crap. Is that even any clearer? It's been a long day and I think it's just about Miller time.
BTW: If anyone happens to arrive at this post via the C&L comments, I sincerely do hope I've clarified myself to some degree as I was asked not to post any more about this issue over there. I don't relish starting arguments and certainly don't enjoy poo-pooing on someone who works as hard as that particular author/mod.
(Additionally, I feel it's worth pointing out that nothing I posted had anything to do with trying to grab a spotlight and grandstand. Those were some very cheap shots. Very cheap shots.)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
"It's never too early to watch for the hype," argues CJR Daily's Paul McLeary, recommending "a healthy dose of skepticism" as 'Questions About Legitimacy' are raised with regard to the role of an F.B.I. informant in the Fort Dix plot.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Indeed there has been several plots against the people and property of this country, but in just about every single instance, the plots were nowhere near as congealed and immanent as we were led to believe in the official announcements. Further investigation has consistently revealed that the various plots have ranged in stages on planning from, “If only we could find someone to sell us a surface to air missle,” to “Hey, man, (toke, toke) you know what would be really cool?”
The kooky shoe bomber, Richard Reid, came as close as anyone to actually pulling something off. And the validity of that has actually been called into question with investigators charging that the “bombs” in the guys shoes were about of capable of blowing up as house party in a retirement home. And let’s not even get into the phony-baloney story about the British Muslims trying to mix fluids en route.
Time and time again the plots the government claims to have foiled have been little more than trumped-up media events; a PR circus whose only goal is to pump up the credibility of an administration who are failing historically on every conceivable front.
Which takes us to today.
A day after major polling figures are released indicating that President Bush’s approval rating has hit an all-time low of 28%, presto-blammo, the trumpets blare across the land that Bush’s special anti-terror badass fox force, or whatever, have made a major bust. They stopped a ring of 9 or 10 Islamic terrorists right here in America!
But that’s not all. You wouldn’t believe what these scum were up to. They wanted to attack a US Army base in New Jersey and kill as many soldiers as possible. It’s like they hate our troops as much as Democrats do… hell, the talking point nearly writes itself, doesn’t it?
Now if we’ve somehow stopped an attack, however minor, that woulda killed at least one American on our own soil, well, great. This should be celebrated. But spend a few minutes thinking about this with our good pal, Mr. Common Sense and things start to look a wee bit fishy.
1) Once again, these guys were nowhere near coming close to pulling this off. They apparently put out some inquiries about automatic weapon purchases and got busted right off.
2) What were they planning on attacking again? Oh yea, an Army base. Think about that one for a minute. Less than a dozen knuckleheads try to blast their way on to a fully-fortified US Army base. Now I know most of our equipment is over in Iraq at this point (as the woeful disaster response in Kansas this weekend illustrated), but I’m fairly certain we still keep a good number of firearms on our military bases. Had these clowns targeted, say, a shopping mall or a school or something, well, sure, that would be a pretty scary story. But a frickin’ Army base??? It sounds like movie script from the Al Queda branch of National Lampoon.
3)Which leads us to ask why. Why was this info released now? Well we already covered the most likely reason for that happening. And to back that up follow this story to learn how long ago they had the goods on these guys and how long they’ve kept them on ice. I’ll bet you my car that it didn’t all just fall together in the last couple of weeks.
Maybe I’m way out on a limb with all this speculation. But, really, none of it can be considered much of a stretch given the administration's track record on this stuff lately. Supposed terror plot arrests have been substantially dubious and of outrageously self-serving timing for the embattled Bush regime. This newest story smacks every bit of the same type of desperate propaganda.
Monday, May 07, 2007
A number of lesser trades sufficed in the absence of blockbusters and a series of first-round head-scratching picks left the board wide open for a number of surprises.
Perhaps the biggest trade involved a lowly fourth round pick. The New England Patriots gave up that 4th rounder for the contract of perpetually disgruntled wide receiver, Randy Moss. A gamble to be sure as Moss’ attitude seems to be antithetical to the team mentality that has allowed the Pats to blossom into thee NFL dynasty of the era. But, when taking the rest of the Pats offseason movements into account, this move makes them a bedwettingly monstrous offense should Moss buy in to coach Belichik’s philosophy even just a little. And with several upgrades and smart draft picks the Pats defense can finally operate above skeleton crew capacity for the first time in nearly 3 whole seasons. It looks like, once again, New England can be penciled in as “the team to beat."
My hometown Chicago Bears have emerged from the drubbing they received in the Super Bowl a couple of months ago ready to pick right back up where they left off. Though they made no major moves, not even on disgruntled DB Lance Briggs, they did, however, draft smart.
Initially, I’d been left a little cold by the Bears’ draft day decisions, much like the past few seasons. But after reflecting on the amazing returns from last year’s draft, I took another look at this years haul, draftees, undrafted rookies and all. I gotta say that I like what I see.
With the 1st round pick the Bears somehow against all odds wound up with the best tight end in the draft, University of Miami’s Greg Olsen. A large presence with soft hands, he should be an immediate threat on offense, especially when combined with veteran Desmond Clark in two TE sets. From where they sat on the board, Greg Olsen was easily the best possible pick for the Bears.
In the second round, they went with a little-known DE from Central Michigan, Dan Bazuin. After watching tape of this guy on every local sports show for the last week and seeing him in action at this weekend’s mini-camp, I’ve become more impressed by the day. Dan has talent and has an even better attitude. Whether or not he ever winds up starting, he’ll be a great addition to the line and should play his heart out with every down he gets.
The third round saw a mild reach in selecting the undersized, but fast and record-breaking RB from NIU, Garrette Wolfe. Sure, a bit of a reach, but the Bears staff see something in this guy. And from the buzz around town, so does the rest of the city. We got to see a lot of Wolfe due to the NIU games getting plenty of airtime here. He’s got some great moves and a ton of upside. Will be ever be a feature back and uproot a Cedric Benson-type? No, probably not. But in this modern NFL it’s been proven that you absolutely must have a one-two punch at running back. Wolfe’s speed and juking ability could be the yin to Benson’s yang.
Other picks at Guard and the defensive backfield all look solid and should shore up any loose ends that might result from, say, a pissy pants, wanna be superstar, deciding to sit out all season just to prove a point.
There were also a big haul of undrafted free agent rookies. That the QB for national champs, the Florida Gators, Chris Leak went undrafted wasn’t particularly shocking—he’s been maligned as both too short and too soft to make any mark in pro ball. But the kid helmed a championship team fer chrissakes, that’s got to be good for something. And to get a chance to learn under fellow Gator Rex Grossman (also supposedly undersized and soft) makes him a perfect fit. Leak may not play a down this year, but his development will be most interesting to watch.
Another pick-up here that I’m particularly jazzed about is New Hampshire WR David Ball. Ball obliterated Jerry Rice’s Div I-AA receiving records and despite being labeled as a plodding dwarf. Indeed, he’s kinda short and pretty slow but the guy can grab a football and has plenty of moves for after the catch. UFA pick ups don’t get much smarter or better than this one. I’d love to see him get some playing time this year.
And finally, one more undrafted rookie to mention. DB Jay Skaggs from UNLV was a good player on a terrible, little-noticed team. But what endeared him to Bears management was his passion and tenacity.
The following is from an article on Skaggs from the Sun Times – nod to the Windy City Gridiron for their post:
The 6-1, 220-pound safety from UNLV was on a bad team that finished 2-10 in the Mountain West Conference, hardly on the radar of most scouts. So Staggs started by finding phone numbers for teams on NFL.com. Then he called front offices and relentlessly sought numbers for West Coast scouts. He kept a chart of all his calls.
''When I called a scout, if I didn't hear from him, I called twice the next day,'' Staggs said. ''If I still didn't hear from him, I called three times the day after that.''
He practically lived in the UNLV football office as he put together two DVDs of himself, one on defense and one on special teams. He mailed them to anyone he thought could help him, spending more than $4,000. At the small Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game in El Paso, he brought ''swag bags,'' including a profile of himself and the DVDs, and went around passing them out to scouts. He also had seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble and recovery during the game.
''With my work ethic and love for the game, who knows what can happen?'' Staggs said. ''This is my passion.''
He got in contact with Bears scout Marty Barrett and finally was hooked up with special-teams coordinator Dave Toub, who liked what he saw. When Staggs went undrafted, Toub acted fast to get him on board, and now he's in position to perhaps replace Cameron Worrell, who made the Bears as a tryout player in 2003 and left for Miami in free agency.
Now, how can you not root for a guy like that? I predict that by the next mini camp, the city of Chicago will be absolutely in love with this guy.
So, all in all, it was another fun draft even if a good bit of the fun happened from trading veterans and picking up some leftovers after ESPN had turned off the lights and headed back to Bristol. Now, we’re left to wait and plan our fantasy league draft plans, hit a training camp scrimmage or two and drool about the whats-his-name snoozefest that is the preseason. I can’t wait.
(For some great and funny draft coverage from one of the big boys, make sure to check out ESPN's Sports Guy, Bill Simmons column.)
Saturday, May 05, 2007
My favorite Polvo song lyric has to be, "...following the grapevine down into the goldmine..."
And really, were I somehow to teach a class on 90's indie rock, Polvo would be a chapter unto themselves--not because they're the gold standard of the decade, but because the represent the particular aesthetic, the particular characteristic of the era.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The dude was, predictably, a loner with some serious issues. But that news didn’t stop Right wing pundits from attempting to claim the South Korean
So, shall we visit some of the swine who’ve come to graze on the still-warm corpses in Virginia?
* Well there’s the National Review’s John Derbyshire, whom you may remember from this post where he publicly chastised the captured British sailors last month. Well, the human-swine hybrid is at it again. Today, he bravely describes how, had he been on campus yesterday, he would have gone all Chuck Norris and put a stop to the madness.
*Then there's ding-a-ling winger, Debbie Schlussel, who has gone to bat for America's racists and "War On Terror" (tm) types--with decidedly diminished returns as more info on the murders has been released. Her wild speculations aired on, where else, Fox News where she cast an ever wider net in attempts to fire up the ol' base and maybe win a few strays back with some blatant racist pandering.
*Not to be outdone for comedy's sake, another National Review-er, Carol Iannone, tosses out this gut-buster, blaming the killings on co-ed dorms and English lit.
*Should I even bother with the "Bowling for Columbine"-esque, rapid-response of the NRA types? Though, there is this.
I will be on the lookout for more wingnut responses and will post the more sub-human of 'em.
*A late entry to this knuckle-dragging, morally corrupt gang is bible-thumper, Ken Ham, who feels that were every US public high school be converted to a christian academy, Monday's tragedy could have been prevented.
*And what would a list of self-promoting swine be without his Foxness, Bill O'Reilly? Here every one's favorite stoke-victim-in-waiting employs his famous, post-modern political jujitsu to use the tragedy to attack the politics of those who used the tragedy to even mention the subject of gun control. Dizzy yet?
Thursday, April 12, 2007
No, today, it's another story. (Always another story for another day here on the good ol' internets.) You see, writer, philosopher, survivor, Kurt Vonnegut has passed away.
There's really not much I can add to the eulogizing goin' 'round the web right now, except to simply add that if you haven't yet read any Vonnegut, just what in the hell are you waiting for?
2007's been a lousy year so far for... well, for all kinds of people and for all kinds of shit. But as it happens, it's also been a lousy year for folks that I greatly admire. They've been dropping dead at a somewhat alarming pace. Maybe it's not the pace, though. Maybe it's more the quality of people that have shuffled off lately. I dunno... it's a little sad to start thinking about.
And anyway, there's still a pile of work to get done before I can go home. And once I'm safely home, there's still our unconcerned neighbor's car alarm that will certainly go on and off all goddamned night. And even if it didn't, our bank account's still in the red. And that's nowhere near as red as all the blood that's getting spilled in our nation's name over in a place called Iraq as our corrupt and inept politicians rob us all several generations into the future. And...
And then again... I won twenty bucks at poker last night. And I got Red Sox tickets the other day. And I've got some good friends coming to town soon. And there's all those great restaurants waiting to be discovered and all those great albums the keep on coming out regardless of tastemaker prognostications... And, hell, I've just started reading a new book. It looks pretty good.
So, maybe sad isn't exactly the right word for what I'm feeling.
(Photo borrowed from Nezua, the Unapologetic Mexican)
Some worthwhile Vonnegut interviews: Rolling Stone, NPR, Salon, PBS, In These Times, Playboy (interviewed by Joseph Heller).
Monday, April 09, 2007
Add to that the godawful customer service and knowledge-base that their shoddy, Wal-Mart-esque treatment of employees garners and there's very little incentive to even walk in the door. And I didn't even mention the uncompetitive prices and perpetually under-stocked inventory.
So, it's not like I need any more incentive to stay the hell away from Circuit City. But should you need it, look no further.
These days, it doesn't surprise me in the least to read about how American upper management treats long-term, mid-level employees. It's always another variation on the cannibalistic urge to swell the corporate coffers and bloat the corporate aristocracy. It's a sickening symptom of the cancer that's killing the American dream... AKA: America's Soul.
Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the media reaction to this wickedness.
From the article:
"Columnist Bill White of the Allentown Morning Call pictures Circuit City CEO Philip J. Schoonover getting a warm welcome to hell - very warm. Satan tells him, "This place is full of overpaid, outsourcing, golden-parachuting, employee-abusing worms like you." Schoonover's sin? Laying off 3400 employees because they had been around for too long and needed to be replaced by minimum wage workers...
...Times columnist David Leonhardt showed some pious sympathy for the laid-off, who will, after a 10 week cooling off period, be able to re-apply for their old jobs at much reduced pay. But he goes on to explain that Circuit City's employee abuse is just part of the larger corporate demand for 'efficiency.'"
Read the entire article: Circuit City Slaughter.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Read the C&L entry.
Once again, it's me and Ralph Peters on the same wavelength, deploring the cowardice of the British sailors and marines kidnapped by Iran. When it happened, I said I hoped the ones who'd shamed their country would be court-martialed on return to Blighty, and given dishonorable discharges after a couple years breaking rocks in the Outer Hebrides (which, believe me—I've been there—have a LOT of rocks). Now, I confess, I wouldn't shed a tear if some worse fate befell them.
Read the pathetic article itself.
If you too have forgotten that diplomacy really isn't defined by sabre rattling and troop surges, perhaps it'll lift your spirits to read this: "Syria Tells Pelosi It's Ready for Peace Talks."
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Explosion in the Sky played an excellent show. They've nailed their live act down. It's exciting and flawless... But somehow, that wasn't enough. The loud-quiet-loud-quiet-real loud formula (or the reverse) paid diminished returns and by the fourth song, I had pretty much tuned out. And that makes sense, cuz they're the kind of band that I have trouble paying attention to for an entire album, let alone an entire live show. The utter lack of hooks or pop nuggets just tends to wear on me after a few songs. Thus it went at the sold out show last night.
But alas, tonite I've got a chance to get that mojo back.
Me and Mrs. Delano have tickets to go see young indie, up and comers, The Besnard Lakes. Their new album, The Dark Horse, is awash in Phil Spector-ish, Beach Boys meet Jesus and Mary Chain sweetness. Or as one review aptly put it, "The band reminds me a lot of Low, if, instead of stripping down their songs to bare-bone affairs, they turned it up to eleven and invited Roger Waters to the party."
That reviewer also posted an mp3 of one of the best songs, "And You Lied To Me."
Wow. What a show it was.
They were one of the best live bands I've seen in years. I really like the new album, but live, the guitars move out from the background. They're big, loud and, for lack of a better word, glorious. And the smoke machine was a perfect accompaniment to the shimmering walls of sound and pop nuggets exploding from the small stage.
Do what you must to see this band live.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
So, I've removed them, finally, from ye olde blogroll. But as I aint exactly one to close a door without opening a window, I've added a new link.
Sadly, No! is a smarmy, belligerent, wickedly funny political blog. Juvenile yet skewering, it's a fun counterpoint to a blog like Glenn Greewald's super-serious fillets. No a bad one-two punch.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Among plenty of other exciting homemaking decisions, we've decided to make a foray into the world of satellite tv. And I'm as giddy as a toddler anticipating Christmas morning about it all*. We're getting the DVR's and about a jabillion stations. The miracle man come Friday morning with the little dish and the magic boxes. I only hope I can get some sleep the night before.
*I should add that as a responsible and moral citizen, I only intend to watch nature and educational programs on my new magic dish, oh, and C-SPAN. And maybe some ESPN. But, really, that's all. Really.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Know what a 419 scam is? Sure you do.
How about the anti-419, scambaiting movement? Of course.
So, what do you get when you combine all three?
A goddamn, certified inteweb classic.
See Xeni's post on Boing Boing for much more about this video and scambaiting in general.
I find her politics and personality wildly repugnant but at the same time I find her to be such a cartoon of a normal human being, that I can't be bothered to laugh at her, let alone fume about her. But I can only wish she'd remain little more than an occasional blip on my personal radar.
It's just that, every couple of months her inner fascist orbits a little too close to her inner child and she says something so outrageously offensive/stupid/titillating that it gets picked up and circulated 'round the blogoshpere, and sometimes the tv-o-sphere. And I become a little more familiar with Ann Coulter.
As I understand it, she's garnered a large following in America's "conservative" community. She's a perennial major player on the GOP punditry circuit where book deals, speaking engagements and TV appearances have earned her a very, very agreeable income. From there, Coulter plays to the baser instincts of the GOP faithful, oftentimes uttering statements (usually in the form of the defensible opinion--actual or calculated) that would get plenty of other media darlings publicly shunned for a lifetime or two. Tellingly, she's retained her seat in the Pantheon of "conservative" icons as much by explicit approval of those masses, as by implicit approval by the leaders of those masses.
Despite the repeatedly violent and vicious pronouncements vomited from the mouth of Ann Coulter, the GOP has yet to publicly denounce her; yet to claim she's gone too far. Whether it's bemoaning a missed opportunity to assassinate a "liberal" political figure, daydreaming of exterminating America's left-leaning citizens, or, now, the jocular, verbal emasculation of a Democratic presidential candidate, Coulter's words are met with a roar from the groundlings and ever more invitations from the elite.
The always excellent Glenn Greenwald writes about the phenomenon behind this tacit approval of Coulter and her peers by the GOP in today's column, The Right-Wing Cult of Contrived Masculinity. It's perhaps the most insightful, most damning post Greenwald's wrote yet. And that, my friends, is saying something.