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.