25 January 2004
For anyone who's come here from the Koufax Awards, looking to confirm that I have no actual humorous content, please note that my actual address for the last week has been:
I apologize for your valuable time being wasted in such a reckless fashion.
16 January 2004
In posting limbo right now, but it's ready to be let out of the basement:
NORBIZNESS.COM: The New Home of Happy Furry Puppy Story Time
Many thanks again to the King of Fools who helped with the migration. I have no doubt that there will be technical issues aplenty as I try to join the 21st century in blogging, but I've got a warm, positive feeling that we can meet these challenges together (cue swelling violins).
The old content will remain here, uncategorized. The new content will appear on the new page.
Enjoy, or something.
Then you should, in all likelihood, go to the following places:
-- Hope at the Appalachia Alumni Association discussing Texas' ongoing desire to screw each and every poor sick kid out of health care programs. We've got unnecessary sports arenas to promote, after all.
-- The Lizard Queen, driver of the Blue Bus, concerning the level of media disinterest in the primary season and the level of media antipathy towards the perceived front-runner. I call it "crabs in a barrel".
-- Pete at Drug War Rant concerning the federal government's overarching concern with the precious bodily fluids of its employees. Remember: smoking weed makes the angels cry.
-- Juan Cole at Informed Comment concerning the potential impact of those darned Shiites marching in Basra for free elections prior to the Summer 2004 transfer of power.
-- Max at Maxspeak (oddly enough) concerning a new political paradigm: government by fiscal time bomb.
-- Buckethead (not the new guitarist for Guns n' Roses) at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy goes into excruciating detail about our baffling desire to return to the moon. "You'll be on a rocket ride to the MOON! And while your there can you pick up some of that nice moon money for me?"
-- Tom at Opinions You Should Have has some ideas about how to spend that sweet, filthy $1.5 marriage promotion money. Personally, I thought a cheap but intensive million study of the marital habits of Mickey Rooney would serve our goals (whatever those are) better.
-- Captain Cromulent at a Perfectly Cromulent Blog has a test concerning whether you've seen the 100 greatest movies (as ranked by the readers of the Internet Movie Database). I have a few thoughts in the comments.
-- The S-Train Canvass drops considerable knowledge on the unsuspecting domes of his readership concerning racial and clothing stereotypes. I've always wanted to people to judge me on the content of my character, not the played-out status of my 8-ball jacket.
Oh, and by the way (thanks to Mithras), there's a great new Get War Your On! series. A preview:
15 January 2004
This goes out to all the little bastiches that ever tried to visit my cockpit during cocktail hour.
I had no idea the evil mother from The Goonies was still alive, much less running for President.
And in this suit, Former Secretary O’Neil may enjoy his exile on the moon…
Looking for some free publicity, Democratic candidate John Kerry agrees to fight Evander Holyfield in a 12-round non-title fight at the MGM Grand in February.
The Chinese Army prepares to mobilize against Taiwan, who stands accused of stealing four of the Party’s special herbs and spices.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot is upgraded to Missy “Class C Felony” Elliot after stealing three Grammys from Steely Dan.
Some all-you-can-eat Asian buffets have a unique approach in dealing with their competitors.
What do you mean, what’s going on behind me? Not a refinery fire, I can tell you that much!
AdultDiapers.com? What the fuck have I been smoking?
(1) Thanks to Kop, the permalinks are finally working.
(2) Which may be a moot point, because I'm in the process of getting on Moveable Type through Wizbang's Exodus project and registering the www.norbizness.com website. Estimated completion date: Who knows? Estimated cost: No man can say (Citizen Kane voice).
(3) However, this could flame out, and I'll be stuck here for eternity, and you'll get to click through to classy, tasteful Dubya (re)- election paraphrenalia like this:
(4) UPDATE (new addresses and reclaimed links) : 18 1/2 Minute Gap, Chaotic (not Random), The Hamster, The Head Heeb, How Appealing, Jesus' General, Metajournalism, Mustang Bobby, Opinions You Should Have, Stupid Evil Bastard, and Very Very Happy
(5) E-mail link added to the right, once again, it's firstname.lastname@example.org
Sounds like a Kang/Kodos campaign promise...
From the article "Military Lawyers Criticize Tribunal" , a few excerpts:
"Five U.S. military lawyers assigned to defend prisoners captured in Afghanistan in a newly created military tribunal filed a sharply worded 'friend of the court' brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday... The Bush administration has argued that the special nature of the war on terrorism and the fact that the prisoners are held not on sovereign U.S. territory means it does not have to observe the requirements of the U.S. Constitution or the customs of international law... The brief notes that only once before did a sovereign attempt to do what the Bush administration and Pentagon is doing with the Guantanamo prisoners. That was in 1660, when a military commander attempted to move prisoners to an island off England to escape the reach of the courts. That maneuver was used against him in impeachment hearings, and actually became the basis for the writ of habeas corpus in England and ultimately the United States."
Good to see that we're following the precedent of renegade 17th century British commanders in fashioning our policies. The Supreme Court brief on behalf of some of the detainees is located here (thanks to Talk Left). The main points of the brief are:
(1) the detainees claim that they've never been an enemy combatant or participated in a terrorist act; (2) they have never been formally charged, although they've been interrogated for nearly two years; (3) they have never been informed of their rights [since the Administration claims they have none]; (4) many detainees have been the victim of circumstance, basically handed over by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan or kidnapped; (5) they are confined in cells that average about 50 square feet 24 hours per day; (6) they are being afforded fewer rights than even World War II accused saboteurs.
In other news, kidnapping and storing people in private prisons has become a profitable cottage industry in liberated Iraq. These kidnap victims have roughly the same rights as the Guantanamo detainees.
14 January 2004
As much as I love regular readers-- all three of you-- this weblog is really more of an educational resource for the sad and misguided youth of this country. For that reason, I am including this recent list of search terms which led these inquisitive scamps to my extremely humble (some would say ramshackle) website:
Sausage Factory+TV Show (apparently, it's some sort of Canadian teen TV show)
bleeding gums puppy (I can't really help you here)
idol hands spend time at the genitals (It's "idle", dumbass! A quote from Ol' Drippy, the fungus-based spontaneous life form that arose on Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
dead puppies lee ermey (The star of Full Metal Jacket has nothing to do with this, you cretin!)
prime minister lester bryant bird (The current head cheese for Antigua and Barbuda! Who knew?)
ad calvin klein ashton kutcher (I am chastised and ashamed.)
DoD policy on transsexuals (My guess: they're against them?)
become every time happy (#1! Who said I'm a pessimist?)
greedy codes+laura monroe (an article in the magazine Designs, Codes and Cryptography. Higbrow enough for you?)
sex crazed iraqi bitches (In the top 10! Coming soon to a Middle Eastern Betamax Super Fun Outlet near you!)
Thanks, clip art!
(1) We Are Personally Screwed: "America's consumer debt has topped $2 trillion for the first time. Tied to the record consumer debt levels has been a surge in personal bankruptcies, which reached an all-time high of 1.6 million households in 2003... Credit cards have become 'yuppie food stamps'… Although the credit card industry says average household consumer debt comes to $9,000, Manning said, it is actually closer to $13,000." Remember: growth can be a enriching personal experience, or a tumor. Remind me to steal the 'yuppie food stamps' line.
(2) We Are Nationally Screwed, Short-Term: "To put the deficits in perspective, five years from now the average family’s share of the national debt will be more than $84,000, compared to a projected $500 per family when Bush took office." Goddamn it, someone hammer this point home!
(3) We Are Nationally Screwed, Long-Term: "This year the national debt is likely to hit $7.5 trillion, or about $25,600 for every American. But each American's share of the government's long-term unfunded liabilities—meaning tomorrow's debt as well as today's—comes to about $156,000." Remind me to convert my share of Social Security to pets.com stock or perhaps a set of Greg Ostertag trading cards.
(4) We Are Internationally Screwed: "Add the states' own budget shortfalls and the country's trade deficit, the IMF report notes, and the United States faces an 'unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country.'… Most damning of all, the report attacks the 'complicated and nontransparent manner' in which the Bush administration's $1.7 trillion in tax cuts were enacted, designed as they were to mask their true budgetary impact." And I keep telling you, the only drinking problem I have is that I don't have enough to drink!
Sorry, couldn't find any articles on how our crushing debt affects relations with neighboring solar systems.
13 January 2004
Via Calpundit and Talk Left, we are able to get a glimpse of modern, on-the-go Florida theocracy vis-à-vis the selection for judgeships. The original article ran in the Miami Daily Business Review. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to determine which of these questions (which, if you were a private employer, would get several lawsuits filed on you in a nanosecond) were actually asked by the Judicial Nomination Comission, and which I made up:
(1) "Will you be able to balance your duties as a single mother of twins with your duties as a judge?"
(2) “You do realize that women are spiritually unfit to be in authority positions over men, right? How do you feel about having an all-female docket?”
(3) “Are you a God-fearing person? How about a sense of general dread? Do you at least get a little nervous around God?”
(4) “Would you mind having the Ten Commandments tattooed on your back? I mean, it wouldn’t look so bad. Remember Robert De Niro in Cape Fear? It could definitely work for you.”
(5) “Do you sometimes wonder why it’s even worth applying for a judgeship when the rapture is so close at hand? Do you own a ‘In Case Of Rapture, This Vehicle Will Be Left Unattended’ bumper-sticker?”
(6) “Do you attend church regularly, or are you still wasting your time in one of those hell-bound ‘temples’ or ‘mosques’?”
(7) “Here’s a rattlesnake. Let’s see what you can do with it.”
(8) “Do you believe that homosexuality is something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit? What do you think God’s vomit would smell like?"
I've always remained a little bit conflicted about Hitchens. Frankly, I don't really care that he hung out with a bunch of right wing loonies during the Clinton Administration; I think anyone reading or watching The Trials of Henry Kissinger shows that he's done a lot of good work. However, his support of the continuation of Kissinger's policies through old cronies like Rumsfeld and Cheney (lying to the American public about intelligence, rampant corporatism, continued pussyfooting with far more dangerous regimes like Saudi Arabia) due to his excitement over the foreign policy possibilities post-9/11 is baffling and disturbing.
Even more strange is the notion that Slate would include him in the "liberal hawks" who would possibly reconsider their views on the War in Iraq. They have heard of his legendary intrasigence and... er... feistiness, right? After five paragraphs of pillorying the other Slate contributors who were lily-livered enough to have second thoughts about the need for and prosecution of the war, he uncorks "I cannot see the point of the case about a 'distraction' from the hunt for Bin Laden, and this is not only because I strongly suspect that dear Osama has already passed away," evidently oblivious to the recent Army War College report (or any other developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan). No doubt pointing this out makes me selfish, isolationist, and objectively pro-Saddam, but I generally like to see my $1000-2000 share of this war go towards actually enhancing my feeling of security.
Hitchens is followed up by Fred Kaplan, who I don't know from Adam, who asks the important question regardless of the endless debate about whether we're getting back for our buck, and it's a question that should hopefully resonate with anyone old enough to actually remember Vietnam: "How frankly should an elected leader feel obligated to outline the true reasons for war? If the reasons fail to persuade, should he go to war anyway if he feels the cause is right?"
I think that "Operation: Shifting Rationale" proves, sadly, that we won't demand that kind of accountability, and will continue for the foreseeable future to get fooled again and again.
I personally don't trust a candidate who would marry somebody who isn't interested in being photographed non-stop and pressed into answering asinine questions from Katie Couric. Therefore, I wish to profoundly thank the New York Times for its brilliant expose of a darkly sinister force invading our political ecosystem... Judith Steinberg Dean. Among the revelations in this clear Pultizer Prize front-running article (number of exclamation points indicate the level of threat to the political process):
1. Dr. Steinberg has given about a dozen interviews — none televised — two fund-raising letters and a cameo on a half-hour advertisement!!
2. She has never been to Iowa!!!!!
3. "I think a lot of couples are like us, where they have two career-couples, and both careers are very important to the individuals," Dr. Steinberg, 50, said in an interview this fall. "Each individual has to do what works for her. What works best for me, and what I'm best at, is being a doctor." (!!!!)
4. Voters also have begun to ask about a marriage in which the partners are so often apart!!!!!!
5. "The whole thing has just struck me as a little odd," said Myra Gutin, who has taught a course on first ladies at Rider University in New Jersey for 20 years!!!! [ed: is this class mainly comprised of athletes on academic probation?]
6. Dr. Dean said he kept the news that former Vice President Al Gore would endorse him secret from Dr. Steinberg for nearly three days!!!!!!!!
7. Most of the time, wearing sensible slipper-flats and no makeup or earrings!!!!!!!!!!
8. Friends here said the couple hardly socializes, except to attend their children's sporting events. They don't cook much, either!!!
As if that isn't enough, miraculously employed National Review contributor Katherine Lopez weighs in with her penetrating insight into a subject she knows nothing about: "I’m not sure how it all shakes out if, heaven forbid, Howard Dean became president—would Mrs. Dr. Dean really stay home and practice medicine and pick up the dry cleaning? I doubt it. (And I’m not sure that’s completely desirable—in the context of a man who you'd want to be reasonably well-adjusted considering his job and his family, for one thing, but that’s another conversation.)"
Add this to Cal Thomas' well-timed "How to Explain Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ to Confused Half-Jewish Kids" column a few weeks ago, and I think that the Dean family is finally on its way to much-needed rehabilitation. More importantly, I think that America has dodged a bullet.
UPDATE: A commenter on a similar thread at Calpundit's place points to a 2000 CNN article which made Laura Bush seem much more appealing for the same character traits: "Bush himself loves to remind voters of his wife's appealing reticence." (you decide how many exclamation points to assign to this)
Allow me to pantomime my latest column...
From Slate Magazine's open forum for "liberal hawks" to reconsider the Iraq War, we have our good friend Thomas Friedman. He doesn't so take this time to do some soul-searching, but rather goes off into uncharted territory of New Age foreign policy:
"The right reason for this war was to partner with Arab moderates in a long-term strategy of dehumiliation and redignification. The real reason for this war—which was never stated—was to burst what I would call the 'terrorism bubble,' which had built up during the 1990s... Yes, I know, it's not very diplomatic—it's not in the rule book—but everyone in the neighborhood got the message: Henceforth, you will be held accountable. Why Iraq, not Saudi Arabia or Pakistan? Because we could—period."
There are several components of this assignment: (a) what in the hell is redignification? (b) what in the hell is the terrorism bubble? (c) don't the two last sentences concerning Saudi Arabia and Pakistan negate the concept of accountability in the third-to-last sentence? (d) honestly, doesn't he know this? (e) could it be that he understands words that aren't words and doesn't understand actual words? (f) do turtlenecks actually lend an air of gravity to the man? Extra Credit: develop an additional two justifications for Operation: Shifting Rationale whose core concept is not a word or phrase as we know it.
12 January 2004
Just running down a few things that have accumulated like so many fat rolls around William Conrad:
(1) War College Study Calls Iraq a 'Detour': And they didn't even mention the "Road Closed", "Pavement Ends", "Uneven Lanes", and "Under Construction Until 2007" signs.
(2) For the prospect that long-term deficits and financial disarray actually mean something, we have Brookings Institute Senior Scholar Peter R. Orzag (P.S.: I will assume that he is semi-credible). For the prospect that worrying about deficits is for bed-wetting utopian socialists, we have Vice President Dick "We Won The Midterms" Cheney. Too close to call!
(3) I'm not a big fan of making every single word in a post link to another article, but I'll still attempt to make it short. Blair admits that WMD may not be found. / Iraq threat distorted. / Weapons hunters pulled from Iraq. Eh, what's the difference?
(3a) I'm thinking of changing my favorite unofficial Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign slogan from "Sacrifice Is For Chump-Ass Bitches" to "What's The Difference?" Any thoughts?
(4) Intensely unlikeable redneck Roger Clemens is now a Houston Astro, therefore he is officially "our" intensely unlikeable redneck. "We" experienced a similar, more painful shift when Charles Barkley became a Houston Rocket.
(5) Texas Governor Rick Perry has no Cambodian-Americans in high-level positions in state government. I am shocked, outraged, and disgustipated.
(6) Our idea of what constitutes news may need some serious revision. A Bush supporter heckles Howard Dean for "mean mouthing" Bush? Stop the fucking presses! In other shocking news, people that don't vote straight-party Republican may consider voting for Bush in 2004! I can't deal with these insurmountable odds!
(7) The "Freedom of Information Act" may become its own glorious oxymoron (like "First Amendment Zones") after today's Supreme Court (in)activity.
(8) Breaking news: There has been an above-ground Dick Cheney sighting!
He's totally made up of mechanical tigers!
Tom Cruise, fresh off of absorbing too many blows to the head while filming The Last Samurai, declared that "Buddhism is the grandfather of scientology."
Buddha, who was severely nonplussed by this comparison, issued the following press release from his double-wide trailer outside of Brenham, Texas: "Yeah, I'm pretty sure that a deranged mutation of a self-help system developed by a certifiably insane, shitty science-fiction writer who started his own religion on a bet at a convention is the spiritual descendant of the precepts I laid down in a cave 2500 years ago. I'd like to think that something that claims to be the heir of Buddhism wouldn't need Jenna Elfman, Kirstie Alley, and John Fucking Travolta to pimp it on brain-dead afternoon talk shows. I guess, in my infinite wisdom, I decided not to set up a system of self-fulfillment and balance with nature on the basis of some sort of grotesque, celebrity-driven pyramid scheme. By the way, Mr. Cruise, you still can't act your way out of a wet paper bag."
11 January 2004
A senior administration official said [former Treasury Secretary] O'Neill's "suggestion that the administration was planning an invasion of Iraq days after taking office is laughable. Nobody listened to him when he was in office. Why should anybody now?" However, other administration officials did not deny that contingency plans were made for a post-Hussein Iraq, and pointed out that "regime change" had been the official policy of the United States since President Bill Clinton.
Or, in plain English: "Because O'Neill was unpopular in the Bush White House, you should not believe the claims in his book. Furthermore, what he said was true, but Clinton Clinton Clinton."
Alternate apologetics: "If someone is saying something against the Administration that is objectively provable using documents, meeting minutes, and other secondary sources, this may be overcome with the term 'sour grapes'."
Final exam: If you find a January 2003 article about O'Neill's first public remarks after his resignation, what should you focus on? (a) his criticism of the $674 billion tax-cut plan, which he thought would be better spent on Social Security solvency; (b) his criticism of Bush's failure to file a timely disclosure of his 1990 sale of Harken Energy stock; (c) his views on economic growth and job creation; (d) his praise of President Bush in the war on terrorism and promoting education policy; or (e) his statement that he was "determined not to say any negative things about the president and the Bush administration."
Congratulations! You are now ready to write whiny press releases!
10 January 2004
a/k/a George Carlin, Call Your Copyright Lawyer
(A) Five Bad Things, Real or Imagined
1. Child stars complaining about a lack of work, ostensibly from being identified with their character. I mean, that girly little jerkoff son from Who’s the Boss? (answer: indeterminate) was airing that beef. What were you expecting, stupid?
2. The faux-bemused and faux-shocked, and faux-delighted reactions of interviewers on shows like Entertainment Tonight.
3. Frat boys wearing vintage Negro League uniforms, tucked in to a pair of khakis, with a backwards hat and a braided belt that’s six inches too long. Corollary: when Phil Collins tells me how much Muddy Waters influenced him, musically. Corollary to the corollary: Christian-themed rip-offs of the band who ripped off the band who ripped off Alice in Chains.
4. An E! True Hollywood Stories premiering in 2008 that involves the “Men Who Were the Microsoft Butterfly.”
5. Yuppies, be aware. When the revolution comes, let it be known that you fired the first shot with the following line in an SUV commercial: Woman (whiningly): “I’m just telling little Joey about the new Durango!” No quarter asked, none given.
(B) Five Good Things That May or May Not Be Happening
1. The guys that scream at you-- I mean really work themselves into a full, coronary-inducing lather-- to buy baseball cards on late night infomercials.
2. Charlize Theron being unable to get out of character from playing a husky female serial killer in Monster, showing up at an awards show with a full-on fem-mullet, wielding butterfly knife, and drinking a 32-ounce Miller High Life.
3. TV chefs that have hecklers, and that respond to said hecklers with a devastating cayenne pepper in the eye / meat tenderizer to the mid-section combo.
4. Disgusted homeowners calling the cops when one of those Trading Spaces decorators really fucks up and refuses to leave.
5. 400-pound Christian faith healers in motorized wheelchairs who have their own television shows and their own line of holy snack cakes.