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31 October 2003

HALLOWEEN TALES OF HORROR, MYSTERY AND INTRIGUE

In keeping with the spirit of this most honored of witchcraft-promoting, Satan-worshipping, chocolate-gorging holidays, I present for your bewilderments stories so bizarre, they may very well cause your feeble human mind to implode upon itself!

(1) Economic growth expands at the highest rate in 19 years, and yet personal income and jobs went down! Spooky! Perhaps the economy can dress up like an unemployed textile worker buying big-ticket electronic items over the internet with a nearly maxed-out credit card!

(2) Fox News : Fair and Balanced :: Keith Richards : Sober. Have we entered an alternate, H.P. Lovecraftian dimension of gigantic Bablyonian fish gods with rows upon rows of jagged teeth? Help me out here!

(3) Sooner or later, the Supreme Court may have to become involved in the strange and terrible ability of the Bush Administration to making people legally disappear. What are the bodies of enemy detainees going to be used for, Theodore "I-gor" Olsen?

(4) Via warped, mind-clouding black magician Billmon, I am told that beneficiaries of Iraqi no-bid contracts contributed heavily to Bush's campaign coffers. Get right the fuck out of town, Center for Public Intergrity (CPI)! I can't even begin to wrap my barely evolved ape-brain around this doozy, other than to catatonically recite a litany of pre-programmed denial-based arguments aimed at Billmon:

"Mere coincidence. Not only that, but I heard that CPI is a Stalinist front organization. Halliburton wanted to bid on those contracts, but the overzealous Pentagon Procurement Division wouldn't let them. I liked you when you used to blog about military tactics, but now that you've started on corporate corruption, you've gotten a whole lot more shrill. What about the rest of the huge corporations that didn't get to feed at the Iraqi trough? How come the liberal media won't report on that? (blowing dust off file) Marc Rich, anyone?"

30 October 2003

HALLOWEEN EQUAL TIME: A NOT-SO-BRIEF GUEST POST BY DONALD LUSKIN

[webmaster's note: I was told that I had to allow this little screed by Mr. Luskin in order to avoid immediate shutdown using double secret, written-in-invisible ink provisions of Patriot Act IV.]

A Happy Halloween to the dozen or so cretins that read this putrescent website on a regular basis. Let's get down to business. On August 14, 2003, on Matthew Yglesias' weblog, noted America/Bush-hater Norbizness (don't worry, there are myriad subpoenas being prepared as we speak to ferret out this inconsequential gnat from his beer-bottle-decorated hovel in East Austin) made the following slanderous comment about my business venture:

"I'm still trying to find out what 'Trend Macrolytics' is all about--- (a) some sort of health food for economists? (b) a system where I can buy real estate with NO MONEY DOWN? (c) the pyramid scheme mothership that sponsors other trend-based franchises?"

Evidently this shrieking little judgement-proof turd is as short on originality as he is on money, because he made another self-defeating attempt to malign my perfect system of macrolytizing trends on Pandagon, a repository for brain-dead anti-Semitic Paul Krugman apologists:

"Using the Trend Macrolytics system, you can (1) buy real estate with no money down; (2) improve stamina and performance by at least 15%; and (3) drop out of college after a year and blog incessantly about a Princeton professor with numerous scholarly articles and awards to his credit."

You can deride me all you want (well, no, actually you can't), but trying to parody the system I dropped out of college to develop is really beyond the freaking... no... fucking pale! I am therefore directing my lawyer Jeffrey J. Upton to harrass with insipid demand letters every web site that doesn't delete Norbizness' calumnious, defamatory, detractive, injurious, invidious, scandalous, and wrongful comments. I Will Stalk. He Will Balk.
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C'MON YOU BASTARDS, JUST MAKE IT TO THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS AND GET BOUNCED BY THE KINGS OR THE SPURS, THAT'S ALL I ASK.



(First row: Steve "The Franchise Tax" Francis, Yao "Supermodel Thin" Ming, Cuttino "The Black Hole" Mobley, Maurice "Injured Reserve-- Paper Cut" Taylor. Second row: Jim "12 Teams in 10 Years" Jackson, Moochie "Inexplicably in the NBA" Norris, John "Who the Hell is This Guy?" Amaechi, and Eric "The Bipolar Pole" Piatkowski. Not pictured: Kelvin "Capitalism is a Fucking Sham" Cato) By the way, for Halloween I'm dressing up as Jeff van Gundy dressing up as Ray Liotta in "Hannibal". Click here for the frightening pic!
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UPDATE: 102-85 over the Nuggets. Extrapolating out, they will go 82-0. Sweet.
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OBLIGATORY NEW WEBLOG SHOWCASE VOTE

Anyone who has the intestinal fortitude to plow through the archives at Little Green Footballs gets my vote. I was also informed that there are "watch" blogs for Andrew Sullivan, Lucianne Goldberg, David Horowitz, Mona Charen (?!?), and Insta-Hot-Karl.

For the uninitiated, Little Green Footballs is like Free Republic, if Free Republic were 97.6% devoted to stories about Muslims and/or Palestinians. For the really uninitiated, Free Republic is a reactionary insane asylum. As for LGF, even the rare non-Muslim post (this one on the Capitol gunman story today) can be overrun in the comments by auto-responding Bipolar Disorder Mad Libs v 3.0; to wit:

14. White? Hmmm. Unlikely he was an Islamist then.

15. Since the JOOOOOS control everything can we blame Sharon for this.

17. CAIR's probably working on a press release to the effect.

21. The Dems will probably try to introduce some more licensing after this event so that we can submit to Allah's swords peacefully.

25. Color means nothing, as there are Muslims of all races. The guy may look "white", but he might be an Arab, Hispanic, a very light-skinned African American, etc.

28. It looks like the masked man in the photo with the kids is holding an M-16. Must have been PA (Palestinian Authority)issued.


And then the story broke about the two Congressional staffers with toy guns, and the auto-responding programs' fun was ruined.

29 October 2003

BACK IN THE DAY WHEN I WAS AN AOL CHATTER //
YOUNGER, DUMBER, AND 30 POUNDS FATTER


(apologies to A Tribe Called Quest). In light of today's libel farce involving Donald Luskin and Atrios, I dredged up a little something from my former life as a housebound, paranoid lunatic who spent too much time in AOL political chat rooms. The vestigial page concerning our exploits can be found here, and I'm still listed even though I quit AOL a while ago. The web site had a fair amount of "libel" shriekers, which was especially amusing since we were nothing but a collection of chuckle-headed pseudonyms. So I decided to put together a fake demand letter, which probably had about as much chance succeeding as the National Review's proposed lawsuit:

"I, the undersigned, who may or may not actually be a licensed attorney in the Republic of Texas, have agreed to represent the collected AOL cretins in "Reactionary Row" in a class action suit of epic proportions. Feeling that the Supreme Court is ready to re-visit its horrific and ill-advised unanimous decision in Jerry Falwell v. Hustler, I am ready to prove that obvious satire is actionable and that my cretins...er... clients are entitled to damages ranging anywhere from purely nominal to $1000 in Monopoly money.

All I ask in return is a contingency fee of 15% of the collected wit and wisdom of my client class, i.e., nothing. I feel that this is a service to the all-caps ranters and assorted hangers-on...to show them that the law means more than local police and a COPS camera crew showing up at their doorstep after they clock their spouse in the head with an empty Boone's Farm bottle. The law is a vehicle to restore the self-esteem brutally robbed from them when their parents sold them to the white slave trade in Algeria for a childhood of manufacturing methamphetamines.

Be forewarned: a veritable onslaught of cyber-injunctions, writs, liens, and origami pterodactyls is heading towards this den of iniquity. With God and a half-empty container of Flintstones chewable Haldol on our side, we cannot help but prevail.

Arrivederci,
Norbizness"
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SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT A CAMPAIGN THEME

(1) Congress Approves $20 Billion in Grants for Iraq. "Over the administration's opposition, the compromise requires the Pentagon to expand access to health care coverage for National Guard and Reserve troops when they return home."

(2) Sick Soldiers Wait For Treatment. "'I have never been so disrespected in my military career,' said Lt. Jullian Goodrum, who has been in the Army Reserve for 16 years."

(3) Halliburton Contract Extended in Iraq: "Halliburton's (no bid) contract, worth $1.59 billion so far, will be extended until December or January while the government receives and evaluates revised bids for replacement work that could total $2 billion."

I think I may be a little dense and/or drunk, so I'll leave it up to my one or two regular commenters to develop the appropriate 2004 campaign slogan. If you're thinking "Halliburton is looting the U.S. Treasury and this administration seems to be happy to help them.", sorry, Frank Lautenberg already did that, and he didn't even tie in the other two stories.
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THIS SEEMS LIKE AN O.K. IDEA



Since the Ten Commandments forms the perfect basis of all law, morality, and justice in America, noted Bible literalist Fred Phelps wants to include some of Big Angry Old Testament God's lesser edicts in his own public monuments. Specifically, he wants to piggyback on a Wyoming Ten Commandments monument in order to politely inform the world that Matthew Shepard entered hell due to his practicing a Levitical abomination.

Although I'm personally partial to the Monty Pythonesque brand of justice found in the more secular Code of Hammurabi, I think we should loudly inform those 2% Christians out there by marble, concrete, or other statuarial device about some other forms of old school justice.

(1) Perhaps a statue commemorating the community stoning of a surly teenager who cursed his parents. Take that, Mr. Foulmouth! Guess you won't be bitching about those Playstation 2 privileges any more.

(2) Perhaps a Botticellian cherub shooting an arrow of divine justice into the temple of some middle-aged wanker who deigned to mow his lawn on the Sabbath. Angry Bipolar God cares not for your edging!

(3) The Newt Gingrich memorial, depicting the slaughter of him and his third wife by a strangely Joe Pesci-looking agent of the Lord. Insofar as both parties in an adulterous relationship kind of need killing, and Jesus kind of told us that divorced people who remarry are adulterers, this seems like a lock.

(4) Speaking of Python, it looks like the Life of Brian was accurate, Levitically speaking. Cursers and blasphemers do indeed get to have the bejesus stoned out of them by the community. I'm thinking the John Cleese With Funny Hat memorial.

As they say, read the whole thing. There's so much crazy shit, we could be waist-deep in monuments.

28 October 2003

A MALAMUTE AND A FEW BASENJIS FOR YOUR CONTEMPLATION



Enjoy your Wednesday workday, or at least your Wednesday sit-on-your-ass-eating-Funyuns-and-watching-the-Oxygen-Channel-a/k/a-your-secret-shame-day.
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TOMORROW'S ONION TODAY

1. The Defensive Department was founded in the mid-1960s to manage the official U.S. position on the Vietnam War. The department has recently come under fire for the size of its budget, which is currently larger than at any time since Richard Nixon was in office.

2. The master of the lightning-speed one-liner produced a string of memorable side-splitters earlier this year. When meeting with the Dutch ambassador to the Vatican, he referenced the country's laws governing same-sex unions. Condemning the laws, the pope said that sexual relationships are for "men and women whose love will yield children," and characterized gays as deviants who act contrary to "natural law."

3. If that girl from the muffler commercial were my girl, I'd do everything I could to impress her.

4. "I know where he's (John Allen Muhammed) coming from. I tried to treat myself for colon cancer. But after a few months, I turned to a pro."

5. You weren't aware that you could go to hell for wearing the wrong pants, but then you saw it in the Old Testament.

6. During a night out for dinner and drinks at Shooters Bar And Restaurant, probate attorney Michael Bradshaw built a strong case in re ordering nachos.

7. New Excedrin 'Lights Out' Kills You Dead On The Spot

8. Briarwood Nursing Home residents Horace Klass, 86, and Helen Veukmaan, 83, successfully mated in captivity Monday.
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MAN, WHY DON'T WE HAVE THESE MORE OFTEN?

I can certainly cut and paste criticism of the President's pathetic, scripted, lifeless press conference from any number of commenters or bloggers in my blogroll. However, I want to attempt to be fair and balanced, even if it just means scouring the more popular sites of Administration apologeia to laugh at their reflexive idiocy. For maximum result, I need to hit the sites that throw up excruciating post after excruciating post (it's currently 7 pm CST, 10/28/03):

(1) National Review Corner: Since the press conference, there were four posts on Paul Krugman, three posts on Ulysses S. Grant, and one on Madame Chiang Kai-shek before someone put up a bare link to the transcript some eight hours later. Must have been a rousing success.

(2) Andrew Sullivan: Since the press conference, a post on Susan Sontag, a post on the BBC's coverage of an anti-Semitic professor at Oxford who was suspended, a self-congralutory post on web traffic, inane excerpts from a pro-Republican punk rock artist, gay marriage in Taiwan, and Fred Phelps. Hmmmm... that's certainly odd.

(3) Insta-fuckwit: The cowardice of the Red Cross, "cider" at Starbuck's, Sugarmama's photo collection, updates to a porn blog, why North Korea's not an immediate threat, fire photos, the anti-Americanism of A.N.S.W.E.R., photos of female bloggers, several posts I don't understand, why Howard Dean is like George McGovern, racism in Senate filibuster of judicial nominees, and Naomi Wolf's essay on pornogrpahy. To summarize, Pornography 2, Press Conference 0.

(4) James Lileks: Ow, my fucking eyes! Abort! Abort!

Screw it. This is like paying a movie reviewer to come up with glowing terms to describe Manos: The Hands of Fate, Glitter, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Rollerball (2002, not the superior Jimmy Caan version), Cop and a Half, Kangaroo Jack, Ballistc: Ecks vs. Sever, or Allan Quartermain and the Lost Cities of Gold (all helpfully compiled on imdb.com's 100 Worst Movies List).
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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: ON THE SUBJECT OF ANGELS

For the proposition that angels exist, Dr. Billy Graham: "Whereas it's interesting to speculate about the origin of the angels, it's much more important to remember why God created them. The Bible says one reason God made them was to help us in our journey through life by surrounding us with His protection. The Bible says, 'Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?' (Hebrews 1:14). Thank God for His angels, for even if we don't see them, they are still with us every day if we know Christ."

For the proposition that angels only exist in the drug-addled brains of mouthbreathing morons, "Dr." George Carlin: "Here's another question I've been pondering -- what is all this shit about angels? Have you heard this? Three out of four people belive in angels. Are you fucking stupid? Has everybody lost their mind? You know what I think it is? I think it's a massive, collective, psychotic chemical flashback for all the drugs smoked, swallowed, shot, and obsorbed rectally by all Americans from 1960 to 1990. Thirty years of street drugs will get you some fucking angels, my friend!"

Hybrid theory: God exists, but the one true religion is Zoroastrianism. God therefore curses people who believe in the false messiah Jesus Christ by clouding their minds with infantile, silly delusions of winged guardians, causing them to produce utterly irrational explanations for natural phenomena. In a cruel ironic twist, these delusional wretches actually institutionalize other delusional wretches who exclusively hallucinate evil, avenging, or death-oriented angels.

27 October 2003

TWO YEARS GONE, HOLDING ON

A brief word on the war that's gone down the collective memory hole: if you type in “Afghanistan” in the always reliable Google news search engine, and sort by relevance, at least 90% of the stories appear to be from Asian news sources. Perhaps it's a matter of what gets a story in the news. Precise timing, (hopefully pronounceable and high-profile) name in the news, and a single sound bite or quotable quotes, slow news day. Well, unfortunately the California election fell on Tuesday, October 7th, so everything else on the front and editorial pages got shunted aside.

(1) Marginal success (due in no small part to satisfying the timing and sound bite criteria): "We know the Taliban have been more active in recent weeks and months and there are indications that they may be planning even larger attacks, more spectacular attacks."

(2) Absolutely no success (unpronounceable name, baby blue helmet, Iraqi bombings... take it away, Pakistani news source): "UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno told the UN Security Council on Friday that the decision had been made because many of the fundamental causes of insecurity in Afghanistan 'remain unresolved.' He added that Taliban forces were retaking parts of Afghanistan as the post-war government shows 'signs of weakening'."

(3) Absolute black-out, domestic coverage (perhaps the committee could have drummed up coverage with something about the effect of Joe Millionaire 2 on international relations): "Two years after the defeat of the Taliban, a lack of security continues to plague reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The continuing influence of warlords and local militias undermines the authority of the central government… Opium cultivation is surging to annual levels of 150 to 300 tons, the proceeds of which finance terrorism and local resistance to the Kabul government."

(4) Absolute domestic apathy, part two (for God's sake, Biden, give it a rest. And what's up with those photographs that crop out your magnificently ratty head of hair?): "Today, huge portions of Afghanistan outside Kabul have been ceded to warlords… the only troops assigned to protect reconstruction projects, let alone civilians, are the provincial reconstruction teams, whose combined units number only a few hundred soldiers… drug profits last year dwarfed both the central government's budget and international reconstruction funds."

(5) Lack of coverage about lack of coverage (nothing against the Sacramento Bee, but come on now): "'Things aren't going as well as we want,' said Larry Goodson, author of a 2001 book about Afghanistan and professor of Middle East studies at the Army War College in Carlisle, Penn. 'Afghanistan has flipped off the radar screen to some extent'."

Is it within the realm of earthly possibility for the Administration to be held accountable for two foreign policy fuck-ups simultaneously? Tune in to C-SPAN 3 at 4:30 in the morning (or learn Pashtun) to find out.
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YOU ARE GETTING VERY SLEEPY

One of the most important lessons of a free society that should--- nay, must--- be taught to the Iraqis is that the voice coming from the television set or the radio from your beneficent overlord... er... administrator will never lie to you. Oh wait, they've learned that one already. I'm not sure who Ambassador Bremer is taking voice inflection, cadence, and phrasing lessons from in Iraq, but the results are mondo bizarro. Ignoring the fact that Iraq is/was probably one of the more educated and secular Arabic countries, the broadcasts seem to be aimed at a 12-year-old. Maybe it's mistranslation from the original Arabic, but...

(1) "This new currency is a symbol of the hope in your future. It will be safer and easier for you to use. Beyond that, Saddam is off your money and out of your lives."

(2) "When the people of the world asked the evil one to stop he sneered. When the people of the world demanded that the evil one stop, he threatened them and fought them. And when the evil one fought them, he fought them in your name, with your money and your blood and the blood of your fathers, your mothers and your children."

(3) "Saddam’s tyranny is dead. Never again will he rule the cradle of civilization. Never again will he trample the rule of law in the Hammurabi’s birthplace.", and

(4) "This Ramadan you are free, many things have improved in recent months, but we all know that not everything is as it should be. Yet, you must not lose hope. Especially during Ramadan you must not lose hope."

Don't worry, I'm sure that the word "Ramadan" will be scrubbed from subsequent internet searches from the Provisional Authority web site.

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SWEEPING OUT THE NEWS ITEM BIN

(1) I may or may not have talked shit about Colin Powell concerning his shameful U.N. Security Council power point presentation, but I'll say this: if he manages to broker a lasting peace treaty to end Sudan's 20-year, 2 million casualty, 4 million people-displaced civil war, his legacy will definitely swing back to the positive side. And if there had to be a Republican in the White House (a necessary result of my own karmic debt), I'd still take him in a heartbeat.

(2) Liza Minelli's new friend and confidant Josh Marshall has been plugging this idea for quite some time: if there's an Administration initiative that's completely backfired or has been ineffective, Subterranean Homesick Vice President Dick Cheney's fingerprints are all over it. The energy bill and the numerous lawsuits concerning its secrecy. Shelving the Hart-Rudman terrorism recommendations. Driving moderate Arab states into supporting Saddam. Rigging the White House easter eggs with paint bombs. Senior advisor happy hour at fucking Bennigan's, for God's sake. The list goes on.

(3) Where my $4 billion? Don't worry, I'm sure a crack accounting strike force made up of disgraced Arthur Anderson partners will get to the bottom of the Provisional Authority's foray into slush funding.

(4) I knew I was woefully ignorant of recent history, but having not heard of the controversy surrounding the 1967 attack against the USS Liberty during the Israel vs. Egypt Six Day War really confirms it. Apparently, the senior counsel for the Navy, now approaching his 200th birthday, has decided to allege a high-level cover-up of the incident involving LBJ and Robert McNamara. Funny, that doesn't sound like their M.O.

(5) Man, Baylor, I knew you sucked, but you're really turning into the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. Outscored 256-24 by the Longhorns over the last five years? Find a new NCAA division!

26 October 2003

HOLY SHIT, I CREATED A QUIZ

There are currently 11 snapshots evenly spaced on the right-hand-side links bar, beginning right under the "Powered by Blogger" button. These are from movies I may or may not have ever seen; however, I will swear that I have in mixed company in order to appear cinematically sophisticated. Put your proposed answers in the comments. In 48 hours, I will channel the spirit of General William "If Nominated, I Will Not Run; If Elected, I Will Not Serve" Sherman... and not announce a 'winner' and not award that 'winner' a single goddamned thing. Good luck!
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SMALL ANTI-WAR PROTEST MET BY A COMPLETELY PITIFUL PRO-WAR PROTEST

Thanks to Hesiod for pointing out a nice counter-protest photo album. If you feel like leafing through this catalog of super-sweetness, I've proposed a few captions, if your colon doesn't go all spastic about half-way through it:

1. Niiiiice spelling of Al-Qaeda. The teachers of America don't thank you.
2. Fat, middle=aged white people make up Free Republic? Knock me over with a feather!
4. Ladies and gentlemen, Hades, a loving tribute to Styx, will be on in 5 minutes.
7. A brief announcement: Does anyone have a fog machine? Hades forgot theirs.
9. Please, people, just take one pre-fabricated placard. Plenty to go around.
12. If we combined our signs, we would have the most kick-ass incomprehensible slogan EVER!
14. The crowd observes Hades' strict "no-moshing" policy.
15. "For the last time, we played 'Come Sail Away' 10 minutes ago! Now shut up!"
16. Note to self: pink jumpsuit after Labor Day lets the fashion terrorists win.
17. What do I hear for this Ziploc bag of Dick Cheney's toenail clippings?
18. Hey! I saw a tourist in a beret over there! C'mon, fellas!
20. Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels warms up the crowd with some bird calls.
21. We have yet another zombie B-1 Bob Dornan sighting. Someone build a bonfire.
24. Looks like Brian Becker's estranged sexual partners are out in force.
25. Now it's time to re-enact the Spanish Civil War!
27. Those damned green jackets! They look just like Stalinist crossing guards!
29. The hippies, driven lemming like onto the D.C. Mall by the sounds of Judy Collins...
32. Strange that more people wouldn't dislike being photographed by reactionary retards.
34. "I Hope Ashcroft Is Watching YOU". No fucking comment.
39. Sadly, Captain America is goaded out of poverty-stricken retirement to attend the counter-protest.
40. Maine supports our Troops, brought to you by Pepsi? An odd message.
41. Timothy Busfield, perturbed beyond belief that he was kidnapped by Free Republic.
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GOOD LUCK WITH THE BASTILLE, PEOPLE



Pitiful independent 9/11 Commission! I laugh in hearty derision at your mandate, your Freedom of Information Act requests, your distinguished bipartisan ex-civil servants, and your so-called desire for reform! We here at the Administration have built an impregnable fortress of steel, fortified with executive privilege traps constructed by the finest Bush v. Gore attorneys! Failing that, you must navigate a labyrinth of undergound caves designed by the Vice President and guarded by atomically mutated prairie dogs!

But seriously! I fail to see the wisdom in your attempting to divine the bewildering failures of NORAD! Why must you ask what the President knew and when he knew it? Honestly, is that set of subpeonas really necessary? This isn't the FAA, you cretins! I know you've been having problems with the DoD, DoJ, CIA, and Homeland Security, but... you can't... just... look, can't it wait till after the election?

25 October 2003

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WRESTLE-MANIA XXIV: LIVE FROM LANGLEY!

And, in our title fight, we have George "The Animal" Tenet going up against his stiffest challenger, a 132-room residential and office building, all the way from Pennyslvania Avenue! Sunday! Sunday!! SUNDAY!!!

vs.

There's been a good deal of significant smack-talking in the run-up to the fight for the highly coveted "International Scapegoat for Massive Pre-War Intelligence Failure" belt. Highly flamboyant White House manager and tennis-racket-wielding maniac Pat Roberts (R-KS) issued the first low blow, saying that "the executive was ill-served by the intelligence community." Half-insane CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow (here shown in some sort of poorly improvised Navy outfit) fired back with a blistering retort: "The committee has yet to take the opportunity to hear a comprehensive explanation of how and why we reached our conclusions(!)" Gadfly wrestling commentator and owner of West Virginia Jay Rockefeller couldn't resist jumping into the fray, opining that "It's my belief that what he [Mr. Roberts] wants to do is to lay all of this out on the intelligence community and never get to any other branches of government."

We haven't seen frenzied action like this since Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake trimmed the flowing locks of "Leapin'" Lenny Poffo! Stay tuned for further developments, but call your local cable provider to purchase this event on pay-per-view!

24 October 2003

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A LITTLE INSIDE INFO ON THE STARBUCK'S FRANCHISE ON THE COLORADO RIVER

That dude from Teacherish tried to interview me, but it's more of a travelogue piece on The People's Republic of Austin. Unfortunately, if your computer is like mine, the left column cuts off after question 4. So here it is in its entirety. If you actually feel compelled to consider thinking about possibly moving to Austin as a result of these answers, let me stop you right there. You won't be welcome. Trust me.

1. Who has better gingerbread pancakes, Kirby (Kerbey) Lane or the Magnolia (Cafe)? I've never tried them. I preferred the bacon-wrapped bacon with a side of queso with bacon bits.

2. Are you the Chuy's cocktail waiter that ratted out Jenna Bush? I do know people who work/worked at Chuy's, unfortunately they were not working at the time she loudly, repeatedly asked for their overrated margaritas. Everyone knows Baby Acapulco's has the type of margaritas young Jenna would love, because they basically mix it up with Everclear-- no time to fuck around with mere tequila.

3. What's the deal with all those bats under the bridge? Bats? BATS?!? Holy shit, I'm moving to Waco.

4. Are grackles really from another planet or do they just sound that way to non-Texans? Yeah, they pretty much sound like me when I was on the unfiltered Camel kick.

5. Have the yuppies ruined 6th Street yet? If no, what's taking them so long? It's been a rough few years for yuppie-dom. They tried to get smoking banned, but that's about to be overturned. All of their high-rise condos in downtown Austin are tanking, the high-tech industry is moving to Albany, and someone who looks mysteriously like me keeps firebombing Starbucks and shot bars.

6. Is there hope for SXSW ever recovering from becoming the industry wank-fest that it became in the Post-Nirvana/let's-everybody-get-a-pet-grunge-band-oh,-this-indie-rock-thing-is-cool era? No.

7. What's that in the ashtray? It's for my glaucoma.

8. What's in your pockets? It's for my chronic pain from an old rugby injury.

9. Is there a spare tire on your car/truck/Vespa, and if so, is there any air in it? In the words of my personal hero and undisputed Messiah, Bill O'Reilly: "I'm evaluating this interview very closely... Now we've spent now, all right, 50 minutes of me defending defamation against me in every possible way. And if you think that's fair, (Patrick), then you need to get in another business. I'll tell you that right now. And I'll tell your listeners, if you have the courage to put this on the air, this is basically an unfair interview designed to try to trap me into saying something that Harper's Magazine can use. And you know it. And you should be ashamed of yourself. And that is the end of this interview."
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MOVIES TO AVOID LIKE THAT BARELY COHERENT STREET PREACHER

(1) Shattered Glass: Young Darth Vader plays disgraced New Republic fiction writer Stephen Glass. I'm going to put this off until somebody at least greenlights the Jayson Blair story (The Blair Truth?) starring one of those kids from Good Burger.

(2) The Matrix Revolutions: The Back to the Future III of future-babble trilogies? Like I can stop the average fanboy from clinging to the glass doors of their local movieplex like a suckerfish, anyway.

(3) Elf: No. No. A thousand times no. I believe I saw a trailer for this that basically involved Will Ferrell doing a prominent Coca-Cola product placement, and then burping. Hell yeah. I'm sorry, saying he was the funniest thing on SNL in recent years is like saying that hanging is the most enjoyable form of capital punishment.

(4) Anything But Love: Now that the link proves that Andrew McCarthy didn't die in a Rangoon opium den with an transvestite amputee, there's no need to see the movie.

(5) Looney Tunes-- Back in Action: Sorry, it's not a documentary about General Boykin, just some tired old rehashed Roger Rabbit bullshit starring future opium den resident Brendan Fraser.

(6) Master and Commander-- The Far Side of the World: Finally, someone is committing to celluloid the exploits of Russell Crowe and his tugboat as he traverses the seven seas to punch people in the face. I think it stars most of the supporting actors from Cabin Boy.

(7) Tupac: Resurrection-- Finally, a decent horror movie. Look out, East Coast bitchez!

23 October 2003

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HAPPY FURRY PUPPY THESAURUS TIME

In order to avoid placing myself further down on the Q*agm*re List, I will simply refer to the following developments as being indicative of a difficult, often embarrassing situation or condition; to wit, a box, a corner, deep water, difficulty, a dilemma, a Dutch, a fix, a hole, a hot spot, hot water, a jam, a plight, a predicament, a scrape, soup, trouble, a bind, a pickle, or a spot. But heaven forfend that it should ever be called reminiscent of q*a*m*r*, because calling it a q*******, especially on a relatively unpopular and unread blog, could very well provide exactly the right amount of Fifth Column subversion that would cause somebody to leak one of Rumsfeld's internal memos.... oh, shit. I'm in the clear. (click on the numbers for the articles)

(1) The number of attacks is increasing, up to 35 per week instead of 20-25 per week (not that anyone was even aware of the smaller number).

(2) Pipelines are still being bombed.

(3) Large parts of central Iraq are nearly-off limits to CPA personnel.

(4) Local backing of foreign terrorists/interlopers is increasing.

(5) U.S. troops are in a Catch-22 with respect to #4, in that raiding homes for outsiders only increases the support.

(6) Nearly 60% of Iraqis believe that coalition forces will not improve local safety.

That's in the last 24 hours. Do your own Google News search.
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IS THIS WHAT HEAVEN LOOKS LIKE, MOMMY?


Of course, hell for Shirley Hemphill will be serving Fred Berry cheeseburgers for all eternity.
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ALL AFGHANISTAN 3: LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE FABULOUS TALIBAN!

(a) Remember all that crazy talk from the Asia Times in June about the U.S., Karzai, and Pakistan opening up talks with the Taliban to assist in promoting security? I mean, it can't be true because it's crazy, right? Well, the facts have now been scrubbed more times than Lady MacBeth's hand, and we now have news stories (#1, #2) about negotiations with the "moderate Taliban". Predictably, this has made members of the Lincoln Chafee wing of the Taliban about as popular as a 5-hour-long director's cut of Howard the Duck being shown on a trans-Atlantic flight.

(b) Meanwhile, the rest of the Resurgent Taliban (TM), not familiar with how to smile for Pentagon-approved cameras, continues hatin' on the Afghani countryside, including killing bus passengers, attacking police stations, tunneling like as if their name was Steve McQueen, planning spectacular attacks, and in general are increasing, rather than decreasing, their attacks.

(c) This puts me somewhat in mind of one of Peter Griffin's friends on Family Guy, and I'm not talking about Cleveland or Joe. I'm talking about Glenn Q.. Quag... Quagmire. Oh, damn. Back on the quagmire list again.

22 October 2003

AND NOW, THE FIRST TRUTH-IN-BLOG-NAMING POST.



Have an enjoyable evening.
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BACK TO THE SCENE OF THE SHOWCASE

My job duties as a drone in the League of Liberals (preferred superhero: Apache Chief) include voting lock-step for a relatively new member in the Truth Laid Bear's New Blog Showcase. So here you go, Hell for Halliburton, with a description of all the pleasant things Dick Cheney's once and future corporate benefactor has done for the planet.

Actually, since the rest of the new blogs up as of now kind of suck, I don't feel so bad being ordered into doing this.
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I MUST CONTINUE TO APPEAR TO BE HALFWAY RELEVANT (NEWS IN BRIEF)

(1) Jesus Christ! I go to a morning meeting, and this story is already on 200 weblogs. Well, screw you! Here's my take: Donald "Donald" Rumsfeld, frustrated by months and months of constant prevarication, lets it all go in an internal Defense Department memo. Administration reaction was swift, as shown in this picture, as a cyanide-tipped ballpoint pen is held to his neck to force him to recant. Before expiring, he did get off the Blondie/Debbie Harry plan for promoting international security against terrorism: "It is pretty clear the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another."

(2) Pakistan, Saudi Arabia in Secret Nuke Pact: I guess that the House of Saud finally got the "North Korea Recipe for Success" translated into Arabic. Whatever you do, don't irradiate the oil. Please!

(3) Partial Birth Abortion: As the main cast of South Park said in the "Krazy Kripples" episode, "I'm staying the hell out of this one". However, any "findings" authored by Rick Santorum in the legislation will no doubt cause hearty chuckles and/or stunned disbelief that such a dumbass hasn't killed himself in a shower accident in the chambers of the Supreme Court justices.

(4) Treasury Chief Sees a Jobs Boom: And when it doesn't materialize, where does a 114-year-old Administration hack go after he's forced to resigned? Handing out shopping carts and reminding Wal-Mart shoppers of the grim visage of impending death?

(5) Has Cheney Screwed up Halliburton? There are a lot of facts and financial figures in this article, so I couldn't really understand it on any level. What is clear is that, for Halliburton to survive, it must suck at the no-bid government contract teat and get patently anti-consumer class action reform passed. Who says the government isn't good for anything?

21 October 2003

TOMORROW'S ONION TODAY

1. "Apparently, this man has appeared in numerous popular films," Gergen said. "And I guess he was awarded a Mr. Universe title. But I don't understand how that would make him a competent gubernatorial candidate."

2. "I'm glad to hear they ruled out Karl Rove," said Janet Manning, a nurse from Davenport, IA. "I'd hate to have the scapegoat be someone highly placed.”

3. "I saw Charlie's Angels, but you don't have to," Hersley said. "Please, everyone, I'm begging you to listen. No matter what the box says, it's not a sexy, high-octane update of the hit TV show."

4. "At Mommy's party, the [DJ] played 'Boot Scootin' Boogie' twice," Julie said. "That guy was so much cooler than Daddy's band. I asked them to play 'Yellow Submarine,' but they said no."

5. Perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that eating just a single kernel of candy corn manufactured by a company other than Brach's Confections will give you a deadly case of full-blown AIDS.

6. Be persuasive, but not pushy. Ah, fuck it—be pushy.

7. You never thought you'd do anything to set the world on fire, but after a three-month arson investigation, that's what the U.N. tribunal will determine.

8. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience Monday that his abuse of OxyContin was a "remnant of the anything-goes ideology of the Clinton Administration."

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ALL AFGHANISTAN 2: MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE CAPITAL...

Only recently has the Security Council actually authorized troops to venture forth from Kabul, finally realizing that without security in the provinces, the security in the current city-state of Kabul would be jeopardized. This is currently manifesting itself in increased fears that there may be Baghdad-style terrorist attacks in the capital city from Taliban remnants, renegade warlords, and foreign concerns from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

I realize that most of this information comes from a German Lieutenant Colonel who happens to lead the International Security Assistance Force, and not a pre-approved Pentagon source. I simply ask your indulgence that if something is uttered by a non-American and reported in a non-American news source, there is a sliver of a glimmer of a chance that it may have some basis in reality.

By the way, that bed-wetting, weird-bacon-eating, pot-smoking, black-bear-pleasuring, objectively-anti-American, ice-hockey-watching, Rick-Moranis-worshipping Prime Minister announced that there would be no more Canadian troops in the peacekeeping force, especially if it meant leaving the AAA-approved confines of the Kabul Red Roof Inn.
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ALL AFGHANISTAN 1: GUNS FOR KABULI-PALAW

So there's not a lot of "Afghanistan: Two Years Later" editorials and wrap-ups, so it falls on a poorly financed, barely internet-savvy weblogger in the People's Republic of Austin to throw together a series of posts. The first is a promising, if ultimately quixotic effort: getting 100,000 warlord-loyal fighters and ordinary citizens to disarm in Northern Afghanistan. I realize that the Kabul chapter of the National Rifle Association may oppose this effort with the catchy slogan "When Kalashnikov Rifles Are Outlawed, Only Opium-Financed Warlords Will Have Kalashnikov Rifles".

Currently, the numbers are not encouraging. 500 guns out of 100,000 sought to be appropriated. A 5,000 member regional army trained out of a target of 70,000. The main incentive is basically a dirty commie Afghani version of the Public Works Administration. However, in this part of the country, which is scarred with mistrust, ethnic tension, and little allegiance to either the central government or international effort, the program of disarmament and re-integration is an absolute prerequisite to having any semblance of an ordered, semi-democratic society.
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THE PARTY OF INTEGRITY AND COMPETENCE MEETS ITS MOST FORMIDABLE OPPONENT

In this corner, weighing in at 147 pounds with Pulitzer, noted columnist Seymour "The Sandman" Hersh! As they say in effete bridge clubs and your finer library co-ops, read the whole thing:

(1) The Administration eventually got its way, a former C.I.A. official said. “The analysts at the C.I.A. were beaten down defending their assessments. And they blame George Tenet”—the C.I.A. director—“for not protecting them. I’ve never seen a government like this.” Hey, we said the party of integrity and competence, not the party of consistency or loyalty. Back in your cage, Mr. Spook!

(2) Bolton, however, wanted his aides to receive and assign intelligence analyses and assessments using the raw data. In essence, the under-secretary would be running his own intelligence operation, without any guidance or support. “He surrounded himself with a hand-chosen group of loyalists, and found a way to get C.I.A. information directly” His son/pupa, Michael Bolton, also insufficiently vetted his decision to do a heavy metal album in 1987 with record industry insiders.

(3) Senior C.I.A. analysts dealing with Iraq were constantly being urged by the Vice-President’s office to provide worst-case assessments on Iraqi weapons issues. “They got pounded on, day after day,” one senior Bush Administration official told me, and received no consistent backup from Tenet and his senior staff. “Pretty soon you say ‘Fuck it.’” But as soon as you said "fuck it", the Vice President would show up with the ring finger of your wife in a matchbox, cackling like a goddamned maniac.

(4) The Bush Administration took many intelligence operations that had been aimed at Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the world and redirected them to the Persian Gulf. Linguists and special operatives were abruptly reassigned, and several ongoing anti-terrorism intelligence programs were curtailed. I'll let this one stand on its own.

(5) The State of the Union speech was confounding to many members of the intelligence community, who could not understand how such intelligence could have got to the President without vetting. They were also flabbergasted that the President was somewhere in the ballpark in pronouncing Niger (nee-ZHAIR).
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UPDATE: I'm sorry I excerpted the article of a man who is a terrorist (thanks for the reminder, Poor Man). I almost forgot about this exchange between Richard Perle and Wolf Blitzer in March 2003:

PERLE: Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly.

BLITZER: Well, on the basis of -- why do you say that? A terrorist?

PERLE: Because he's widely irresponsible. If you read the article, it's first of all, impossible to find any consistent theme in it. But the suggestion that my views are somehow related for the potential for investments in homeland defense is complete nonsense.

BLITZER: But I don't understand. Why do you accuse him of being a terrorist?

PERLE: Because he sets out to do damage and he will do it by whatever innuendo, whatever distortion he can -- look, he hasn't written a serious piece since My Lai.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to leave it right there.

20 October 2003

MOVIE DEATHS: THE POST

As I previously mentioned, the Downtown Alamo Drafhouse in Austin has been having a midnight show that shows 100 Great Movie Deaths. I won't bother listing them all here, but I will list a few of my favorites from the show (it was a interesting mix of absolute Z-movie dreck, an inordinate amount of Dario Argento, and a few popular/highbrow moments thrown in). There were deaths by:

-- Sylvester Stallone driving a silly car into your crotch (Death Race 2000, #100)
-- a spear sticking out of a mirrored room (Enter the Dragon, #96)
-- making a sundae out of a guy's face (Toxic Avenger, #91)
-- getting shot after asking a street punk for a different type of ice cream (Assault on Precinct 13, #85)
-- get rolled down a hill in a Confederate barrel full of nails (2000 Maniacs, #81)
-- asking a deranged private whether Mommy and Daddy paid attention to him (Full Metal Jacket, #80)
-- having your head harvested by an aesthetically pleasing thresher (Caligula, #71)
-- getting shot with a makeshift palm frond bow and arrow (Eastern Condors, #67)
-- drinking hull cleaner (Heathers, #64)
-- watching Al Pacino overact (Scarface, #63)
-- getting impaled by an impossibly aerodynamic spaceship (Flash Gordon, #58)
-- being a momma deer in a hunter's world (Bambi, #52)
-- pissing off Doogie Howser (Undercover Brother, #51)
-- having a floating chrome ball affix to your face (Phantasm, #44)
-- looking into a peephole and down the barrel of a gun (Opera, #32)
-- singing in a Dogme 95 film during a hanging (Dancer in the Dark, #30)
-- exchanging loving glances with Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black, #26)
-- touching a lump of concentrated evil in your toaster oven (Time Bandits, #21)
-- equipping a large robot with machine guns and faulty wiring (Robocop, #17)
-- stuffed rabbit being pulled along on a visible wire (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, #14)
-- being on the business end of a fire extinguisher (Irreversible, #11)
-- being on the business end of a lawnmower blade (Dead Alive, #8)
-- getting screamed at by a sociopath (Man Bites Dog, #3)
-- playing "mechanical bull" with a hydrogen bomb (Dr. Strangelove, #1-- congrats to Haggai for getting it)

To answer the comments from the previous post: no White Heat, no Shining (although I would have preferred Scatman Crothers getting the ax), no crucifixions, no Godfather deaths, no Kurosawa, no goddamned Star Wars deaths. The Wizard of Oz (death by water) came in at #20.

The only Scorcese was Joe Pesci stabbing a guy with a pen in Casino (#89); the only Tarantino was death by accidental shooting in Pulp Fiction (#37). I'm not much of a death expert, but I would have like to see death by Albert Finney (Miller's Crossing). Like I said, not very scientific, but entertaining.
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IS THIS ANY WAY TO SELL CELLULAR PHONE SERVICES?

I may or may not have voiced this sentiment in the past, but it is very central to my make-up as a human being on this island Earth, and I feel that it needs saying again as I plunge through another work day:

People that script, direct, compose music for, and voice radio commercials comprise the very lowest form of organic life, barely beating out those wastes of space that declare on TV commercials that they'd like to take delivery of the New York Times and dung beetles.

This unpaid announcement made possible by the newly-formed League of Liberals, the sorriest, mealiest-mouthed collection of limp-wristed appeaseniks since that group of dumbasses that actually protested to have the Houston Oilers stay in town.
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MY SILENCE DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM UNAWARE OF THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS

1. Gregg Easterbrook has written some inexplicably stupid columns about rape, Kill Bill, and tappin' that sweet Philadelphia Eagle cheerleader ass. He apologized profusely and was subsequently given that Iranian woman's Nobel Peace Prize.

2. The State Department accurately predicted that Iraq wouldn't be as much fun as Grenada, despite assurances by Paul Wolfowitz that "sure it would".

3. Because of Diebold electronic voting machines, I will have to answer 11 trivia questions correctly before being able to register a vote for a Democratic candidate. However, I would have only have to think the name "George W. Bush", even in the line "I would rather vote for that homeless guy's mangy dog than George W. Bush", in order to cast my vote for him.

4. Mother Theresa was beatified on the fast track, while deserving candidates like John Coltrane and the Marx Brothers (except for Zeppo-- he was a punk) are cruelly overlooked by God's One True Church On Earth.

5. President Bush just declared a "Defense of Marriage Week", which was originally started to single out and humiliate un-American homosexuals, who cause the break-up of 10 million straight marriages per year. However, the marriage-protecting fervor spread over the countryside, causing the mass purification (by fire) of the land from adulterers and fornicators.

6. Alan Colmes, house liberal for Fox News, has come out with a new book, either called "Is It Safe to Timidly Voice a Few Mild Criticisms of the Administration?-- No, Not the President, I Know He's Still Off Limits--- I Meant... Oh, Forget It" or "Not In The Face, Sean!"

7. Half the money slated for reconstruction in Iraq may be converted into a loan. The foreign banks are thinking about converting their loans to us into higher interest rates and a visit from Guido from Vinnie.

8. The American version of the already excrementally bad British sitcom "Coupling" is... wait, did I already use a form of the word "excrement"?

9. David Wells is fucking fat. No, not phat.

10. Today, in Tikrit/Baghdad/Kirkuk, 1/2/3 soldiers were killed and 6/7/8 were injured when a roadside bomb exploded/RPGs were fired/ they were ambushed with machine guns fire. But try to think of the school being built/kittens being saved/Kobe Bryant trial/intriguing possibilities of the second "Joe Millionaire".

18 October 2003

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S'ALRIGHT? S'ALRIGHT!

Looks like if I call the President a sock puppet often enough (a few times here, about 50 times on other people's comments, about a zillion times in chat sessions), editorial cartoonists will finally take notice. I'm ready for my huge royalty check, Mr. Luckovich.

Working on a two-year anniversary Afghanistan quagmire (that's right, I said quagmire! Put me on the list!) somewhat larger post. We'll see if it coalesces. In the interim, trying posting a comment here or e-mailing me concerning your favorite movie death. Saw the "100 Greatest Film Deaths of All Time" at a local movie-house last night, but there were some notable ones missing...

17 October 2003

WE SAID "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS", NOT "SUPPORT OUR RESERVES". JEEZ, TAKE A READING COMPREHENSION COURSE.

(1) I'm pretty sure that, after bravely fighting in Iraq, one would expect something better than squalor in state-side accommodations.

"The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day."

"One month after President Bush greeted soldiers at Fort Stewart -- home of the famed Third Infantry Division -- as heroes on their return from Iraq, approximately 600 sick or injured members of the Army Reserves and National Guard are warehoused in rows of spare, steamy and dark cement barracks in a sandy field, waiting for doctors to treat their wounds or illnesses."


(2) But remember the official Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election slogan: "Sacrifice is For Chump-Ass Bitches". Speaking of which, back in the universe of the bloated plutocracy:

"'The overcharging is so extreme that one expert has privately called it highway robbery,' the lawmakers said in the latest Democratic attacks against the Houston company that received a no-bid contract. Waxman and Dingell said Halliburton's KBR subsidiary is billing the Army between $1.62 and $1.70 per gallon, while the average price for Middle East gasoline is 71 cents."

"Cheney receives deferred payments from Halliburton and also has stock options. Cheney's office has said the vice president had no role in the contract and that the deferred payments were for his services while he headed the company. He has said he would give the proceeds to charity should he profit from the exercise of stock options."


(3) I wonder how Halliburton stock prices have been doing since the "March to No-Bid Contracts"? Here's a brief re-cap. Only a 60% increase in value? I'm disappointed in you, Mr. Vice-President!
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I CAN'T DEFINE 'IRONY', SO I CUT AND PASTE INSTEAD

From a recent story concerning our very own holy warrior, who is danger of going off into General Jack "Bodily Fluids" Ripper territory....

Take this: Boykin said of a 1993 battle with a Muslim militia leader in Somalia: "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

Add this: Boykin said Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."

And conclude with this: Rumsfeld on Thursday repeated the Bush administration position that the war on terrorism is not a war against Islam but against people "who have tried to hijack a religion."

Am I in the ballpark?

16 October 2003

10 SIMPLE RULES FOR DETERMINING THAT YOUR DOCTOR MAY NOT BE A "REAL" DOCTOR, BUT RATHER A QUACK IMPOSTOR OR SEX-CRAZED LUNATIC

Fate has intervened, and a fake doctor in Pennsylania has botched a castration effort for a transgendered person. This relatively insignificant story has allowed me to dust off another chestnut from the Norbizness archives... this time from July 2001, when I could only bug my small circle of friends, one immediately deleted e-mail at a time:

(1) Diploma on the wall is (a) fastened there with a thumbtack instead of in a frame; (b) was issued either by the "Cap'n Crunch Institute" or the "Vidor School of Medical-Type Shit", and/or (c) has the original name crossed out with the new name written in with crayon.

(2) Tongue depressors are still cold and have a lime/cherry/grape taste to them.

(3) Blood pressure indicator does not seem to register either the systolic or diastolic readouts, but rather spins around and whistles (a la Fisher Price).

(4) "Um... don't you use a stethoscope for measuring heartbeat instead of your bare right hand? And where's your left hand?"

(5) Examining table has velvet cushions, a small hole in which to place the champagne or Boone's Farm bottle, and rotates.

(6) Waiting room music is exclusively Al Green or Barry White.

(7) The specialist in obstetrics/gynecology he refers you to looks strikingly similar to him, but with a fake moustache.

(8) Waiting room reading material bereft of Ladies' Home Journal, replaced with small brochures on Kama Sutra or the summer fold-out edition of "Gigantic Asses".

(9) Seems to be officed in the stock room of a Payless Shoe Source; examination repeatedly interrupted by retail sales personnel trying to locate Taiwanese replica of Prada footwear.

(10) Rectal thermometer reading preceded by 10 minutes of "therapeutic butt-kneading".

Now where's my goddamned Pulitzer?
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THIS IS ABOUT AS CLOSE AS YOU'RE GOING TO GET TO FAIR OR BALANCED

And now, a few editorial replies to yesterday's 60 Minutes II piece on how Colin Powell lied his ass off from the clinically insane, compulsively reactionary, cognitively dissonant hordes of brain-dead Administration apologists. With a brief rebuttal by yours truly.

(1) "You guys are beyond belief. Where is the fair and balanced news report? Continue your left wing agenda, and get what you deserve. Fair is fair, and your guys are so anti-Bush that you don't know what fair is anymore. You have to have both sides of a story, and you don't." Fuck off, stupid.

(2) "This is really beating a dead horse. We will never know exactly what was known, by whom, when, where, why, etc." Yes we do, stupid.

(3) "I am absolutely furious with your network for airing this story without a rebuttal. This is a dangerous subject for you to cover, especially when we have dangerous people here trying to kill us." Move to China, stupid.

(4) "Did you even ask any administration officials to respond? How about Secretary Powell or David Kay? Probably not, because that would have ruined the story you were trying to tell. As for myself, the mass graves, torture chambers and rape rooms are reason enough to have stopped Saddam's brutal reign." Where were you in 1988, stupid? or What about Uzbekistan, stupid?

As for the premise underlying the above-referenced morons' complaints, "After turning down repeated requests for an interview by 60 Minutes II, Colin Powell spoke to the BBC Wednesday afternoon about Thielmann's claim that he misinformed the nation during his February U.N. speech." That's right, sizzle-chest(s). He talked to the BBC, but not to a primary news outlet in America. The goddamned Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation. It's enough to make me boycott fish and chips in perpetuity.
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LINKS TO NEWS STORIES AND THE PEOPLE I STOLE THEM FROM

Time for a little cleanup. Of course, if you had been religiously checking the nearly 100 blogs to your immediate right every day, there would be no need of this service, since you would have read about these events days ago. Don't give me that "I'm an emergency medical technician" or "I had a court date" crap, I don't want to hear it.

(1) Army Probes Soldier Suicides (via Delusional Duck). I'm not a psychologist, but I know a truism when I see one: "Most of the suicides have occurred since May 1, after major combat operations were declared ended. Experts say harsh and dangerous living conditions combined with a long deployment can worsen existing depression."

(2) Drug Crisis Invades Baghdad (via How to Save the World): (a) I especially like the picture of the kid with a bag of paint thinner and a pistol; he looks like an NRA poster child if there ever was one; (b) don't fear: I'm sure that those anti-drug commercials ("I accidentally greenlighted that stupid new Fox sitcom when I was coked up!") will be just as effective in Iraq; (c) say, is there a drug crisis in Afghanistan as well? That's just hearsay and conjecture?

(3) A New Kick-Ass Drug War in Mexico (via Drug War Rant, strangely enough): And it's in my favorite place to buy grey-market stereo equipment, Nuevo Laredo! Well, I'm glad to see that members of the elite paratrooping corps from the Mexican Army have found a pleasant diversion for their talents and are killing lots of villagers. Contrast these sad facts with the self-serving nonsense from our stupid-ass Drug Czar.

(4) 9/11 Panel Still Seeking Access to Documents (via Suburban Guerrilla): Why are you sad sacks even bothering? "Stephen Push, whose wife was killed when a terrorist-hijacked airliner struck the Pentagon, said he was 'very disappointed the CIA, the White House and the Defense Department are still not producing some key documents.'" Look Stephen, I'm sure that everyone responsible for the largest security lapse in American history has already gotten the letter of reprimand in their personnel files. I'm sure your desire to engage in further investigation is only indicative of your irrational hatred of the President and his inherent godliness.

15 October 2003

SAY IT AIN'T SO, COLIN!

I mean, I knew that Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Armitage, and the staff of the National Review were piles of prevaricating putrescence, but you, Colin? Aw, damn. Just damn. A brief decalogue of quotes that should immeasurably enhance your opinion of Secretary Powell:

1. “I had a couple of initial reactions. Then I had a more mature reaction,” says Thielmann, commenting on Powell's presentation to the United Nations. “I think my conclusion now is that it's probably one of the low points in his long, distinguished service to the nation.”

2. At the time of Powell's speech, Thielmann says that Iraq didn't pose an imminent threat to anyone: “I think it didn't even constitute an imminent threat to its neighbors at the time we went to war.” But Thielmann also says that he believes the decision to go to war was made first, and then the intelligence was interpreted to fit that conclusion.

3. “I guess I was angry, that’s the best way to describe my emotions. I was angry at that,” says Wood, who is among the world’s authorities on uranium enrichment by centrifuge. He found the tubes couldn’t be what the CIA thought they were.

4. Solid intelligence, Powell said, that proved Saddam had amassed chemical and biological weapons: “Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent. That’s enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.”

5. Was there ever a time when American satellite intelligence provided Allinson with something that was truly useful? “No. No, not to me. Not on inspections that I participated in,” says Allinson, whose team was sent to find decontamination vehicles that turned out to be fire trucks.

6. What was the reaction among the inspectors as they watched the speech? “Various people would laugh at various times because the information he was presenting was just, you know, didn't mean anything, had no meaning,” says Allinson.

7. Haideiri said he was a civil engineer and claimed to have visited many secret weapon-production sites... the White House listed him first in its Web page on Iraqi weapons. “He was basically an epoxy painter,” says David Albright, a physicist who has investigated defectors for his work with the U.N.

8. Powell claimed Saddam still had a few dozen Scud missiles. “I wondered what he was talking about,” says Thielmann. “We did not have evidence that the Iraqis had those missiles, pure and simple.”

9. “There’s plenty of blame to go around. The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence. They knew what they wanted the intelligence to show,” says Thielmann.

10. When the BBC interviewer pointed out that Thielmann was considered the leading expert for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Powell replied: "I have many experts in my department, and there are many differences of opinion, among any group of experts. And it's quite easy for a televison program to get this individual and then they complain."

Fucking. Awesome.
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BOSS!

I’m ordinarily opposed to made up holidays: Administrative Assistants’/Secretaries’ Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Grandparents’ Day, Rosh Hashanah, Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day… I don’t know what possessed Hallmark to think of those particular days, but I’m sick of paying for it. My Kwanzaa tab alone exceeds $1,500 annually, and my main source of income comes from busking with a Casio keyboard on 6th street.

However, I can get behind Bosses’ Day, which occurs tomorrow. It does well for a nation to sit back and reflect on the capitalist bosses who have oiled their machinery with the blood of the workers, who have kidney-punched child laborers using heavily mustachioed Irish cops, and whose innovations in bloated, crony-heavy government remain the envy of Third World puppet states and military dictatorships.

We can’t stop there, because bosses have so much to offer. Boss Tweed can help teach children that democracy is a sad, tired sham. The Big Boss Man can teach people that caricatures of fat, redneck prison guards can make a compelling evening of wrestling entertainment. The Boss With No Eyes from “Cool Hand Luke” can teach children how to shoot snapper turtles. Boss Hogg (a/k/a Sorrell Booke) can emphasize the need for law enforcement in rural Georgia counties. And, of course, "The Boss" can warn us of the dangers of an upbeat song with a catchy chorus (but downbeat lyrics) being used for political purposes anathema to your own.

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I CAN'T THINK OF A GOOD SUPREME COURT PUN, AND I KNOW THERE'S LOTS OF THEM OUT THERE. DAMN!

It looks like the Supreme Court has 48 cases on its docket for the upcoming term. It's already made news by refusing to review an appellate court decision upholding the right of doctors to recommend medical marijuana, much to the chagrin of Attorney General John "Buttery Smooth" Ashcroft and Drug Czar John "Second Biggest Douche in the Universe Behind John Edward" Walters. Cases of potential marginal interest include:

(1) The Goddamned Pledge of Allegiance vs. Some Godless Atheist Commie Freak. You don't really want to know what I think about this, other than you know that it's going to be used as a political clubbing tool... as evidenced by subtle-as-a-flying-mallet Press Secretary Scott McClellan yesterday: "Keep in mind that you have a Declaration of Independence that refers to God or the Creator four different times. You have sessions of Congress each day that begin with prayer. And, of course, if you look on our own currency, it says, 'In God We Trust.' So we believe the Pledge of Allegiance is an important right that ought to be upheld by the Supreme Court." Go ahead and fuck yourself, Scott. "An important right", my ass.

(2) A more interesting case is whether Washington can withhold state scholarships for theology students (Locke v. Davey). I'm actually surprised that I hadn't heard of it until now, showing that people want to focus on symbolic, useless bullshit rather than actual public policy.

(3) In a case of ultimate importance to most everyone in my demographic, the Child Online Protection Act is finally getting its day in court. I'm with George Carlin on this one: "Your children are overrated and overvalued, and you've turned them into little cult objects."

(4) In another case that affects the inalienable right of Americans to get cheap-ass drugs in Mexico, the question of whether "reasonable suspicion" is needed before a Customs agent can disassemble a car is being presented. Of course, it's being tied into the war on terror, so watch your colons!

(5) Finally, in Sabri v. U.S. (found via the very detailed SCOTUS Blog), the federal bribery of public servants statute is going to be reviewed, basically on the question of whether there is a requirements that the connection between the crime and federal funds be proven. Sleep well, Halliburton Board of Directors!

14 October 2003

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MORE CONTRARIANISM

I sincerely hope that the Florida Marlins (up 8-3 in the 8th inning of Game 6 as I type) win the National League pennant and meet the Yankees in the World Series. I frankly don't care that the Cubbies have had a century-long dalliance with futility, they're a rent-a-team that only made it into the playoffs because my beloved/hated Astros collapsed like absolute chump-zillas against the Brewers in the final regular season series. Meanwhile, the Marlins, viewed simply on this year alone, are the superior story.

The team is 10 games under .500 in late May. They fire their manager, bring in 132-year-old Jack McKeon, and proceed to steadily improve with a team of youngsters, including exciting players like Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre, that Cabrera guy, and Derek Lee. Then, 21-year-old phenom Dontrelle Willis comes out of nowhere and reels off 10 or so straight wins. Given-up-on future Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez shepherds a young pitching staff past a bunch of teams into the Wild Card spot. They then play some of the most exciting games in recent memory to get past the Giants.

As for the American League, I couldn't care less about either team, but I think it would be an interesting contrast to have an exciting young NL team against an older-than-dirt collection of overpriced douchebags from the AL (plus, I couldn't possibly root for a team with shitheads like Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez on it).
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TOP TEN REASONS FOR MAINTAINING THE AGGIE CORPS

Following Metropolitan99's recent admonition in the comments to keep blogging about Texas, come hell or high water, it's tame to wade back into the murky, pre-Internet Norbizness archives (paper and pen, even!) and begin talking shit about Texas A & M. Strangely enough, after 4 1/2 months of constant incendiary leftist bomb-throwing about politics, this may turn out to be my most controversial post.

I originally wrote the above-referenced list for my iconoclastic Aggie friend to use on his Tuesday morning cable radio show (estimated listenership: none that he could recall) to be used as a skit between Nine Inch Nails remixes. Despite the fact that he was normally inebriated and would have assented to such blasphemy, he decided, much to his shame, to play it safe and shelve the list. Eight years later, here it is, much to the delight of absolutely no one:

10. Valuable pool of guinea pigs for friction experiments (looking back on this one, I really have no idea what I was talking about).

9. Shaved heads allow anthropology students to study early human evolution.

8. Keeps local gay magazine publishers in business.

7. Training our future military leaders--- you know--- the ones who think hammers cost $7,000.

6. Marching band provides only live music in Bryan/College Station.

5. Teaches future mental patients the importance of being in uniform.

4. Lovely theatre-in-the-park re-enactment of the firebombing of Dresden.

3. Who else would spit-shine the Astroturf on Kyle Field?

2. Stirring tribute to all Aggies who have gone blind in the last year from masturbating.

1. The animals in the Large Animal Clinic get lonely sometimes.
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FROM NACOGDOCHES TO ABILENE, ALL THE EDITORIAL PAGES LOVE THE NEW REDISTRICTING PLAN LIKE DICK CHENEY LOVES SUNLIGHT

That is to say, not at all. This service is being provided while the normal newspaper editorial roundup guy (Charles Kuffner) is off vacationing on his luxury yacht, eating his premium grade lunch meats and sipping possibly imported beer.

Please also remember that many of these are relatively small-town newspapers, and that a brief review of their editorial archives would hardly remind you of the Communist Manifesto, or even the New Republic. I wouldn't want to live in or even necessarily visit any of these yokel nests, but that doesn't mean that, stripped of their voting influence in favor of suburban yuppie hellholes, they can make occasional sense:

Waco Tribune: "Talk about a bitter pill. Not only does McLennan County get the shaft politically at the behest of Tom DeLay, but taxpayers now must pick up a multi-million-dollar tab for the three legislative special sessions required to ram through an outrageously unfair redistricting plan."

San Angelo Standard-Times
: "The bill that brought that about might have been named the Representative Security Act, since it will create more solidly Republican and Democratic districts, making few, if any, of them competitive."

Abilene Reporter-News: "[Republicans] haven’t shown the ability to beat incumbent Democrats — even in Republican-dominated areas. That’s why Republicans had to draw districts that would essentially guarantee a GOP victory."

Longview News-Journal: "Of course, we will never know what DeLay was saying to state lawmakers in the past six months, nor can we expect any more openness from him in the future. The funny thing is, he has no official standing in Austin, so why was he granted access to the negotiations that the rest of the public was denied?"

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: "The last page has effectively been completed in the ugly chapter of Texas history that has been the 2003 congressional redistricting fight. The struggle has not been good for the state, and the result will not be good for West Texas."

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Political parties are a mechanism for organizing the operation of democracy. But both major parties have come to believe that they are an end in themselves, not a means to a greater good. This was dramatically illustrated by the Republicans' high-handed, big-footed, ill-advised, exceedingly expensive, totally unnecessary redistricting fiasco whose Act IV closed Sunday in Austin."

Amarillo Globe-News: "Now comes word over the weekend that the March 2 "Super Tuesday" primary elections could be delayed in Texas while lawmakers continue to haggle over redistricting, a process scheduled to resume Wednesday. By the way, how is the public school funding plan coming along?"

13 October 2003

FEELING RUN DOWN? GET MAMET-IZED!

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan is a fine young man for a lying sack of crap, the son of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton-Rylander-Bouvier-Terwilliger-Strayhorn (sorry you had to see that picture). He's also apparently a devotee of David Mamet and his stilted, frustrating style of delivering dialogue, especially when it comes to answering questions about leaking the names of undercover CIA agents:
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Q Why do you refuse to answer the question whether Karl Rove said that Joseph Wilson's wife was fair game?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think we've been through this for now two days in a row.

Q You didn't answer the question --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I did answer the question.

Q But did he say it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I did answer the question.

Q Did he say it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I answered that question, and we've been through it for two days now. And so, it's been addressed.

Q But what was the answer?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to go back through it again today.
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ROMA (Pacino): Yeah. That's swell. Another waste of time.

AARONOW (Arkin): A waste of time? Why?

ROMA: Why? 'Cause they aren't going to find the guy.

AARONOW: The cops? ROMA: Yes. The cops. No.

AARONOW: They aren't?

ROMA: No. AARONOW: Why don't you think so?

ROMA: Why? Because they're stupid. "Where were you last night..."

AARONOW: Where were you? ROMA: Where was I?

AARONOW: Yes. ROMA: I was at home, where were you?

AARONOW: At home.

ROMA: See...? Were you the guy who broke in?

AARONOW: Was I? ROMA: Yes. AARONOW: No.

ROMA: Then don't sweat it, George, you know why?

AARONOW: No. ROMA: You have nothing to hide.
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A DARK DAY FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO SEE BEARS ATTACK OTHER PEOPLE

Apparently, in response to protests from animal rights activists, Baylor University (mascot: the bear) is discontinuing its practice of bringing its two live bears to home football games. A brief history of the subject is found in this sad Houston Chronicle article (they used to feed the bears Dr. Pepper? What the hell?). The younger bear is pictured here.

Of course, it's sad for me, because this completely eliminates the possibility that the bear handler, upset by the relentless pounding that the hapless Baylor football team is taking, will release the bear to maul and gash opposing fans. This should be a mitigating factor for the sundry animal rights lunatics that are depriving diehard Baylor fans from some gool ol' gladitorial gore.

Growing up in Houston, I actually "met" Shasta (here in a 1979 picture), the University of Houston cougar. This was one badass mascot, capable of completely tearing the shit out of any other mascot, opposing defensive line, or male cheerleader. Unfortunately, her use was discontinued in 1989, and the U of H football program has been in one pathetic downslide ever since.

Now all Texas universities have is a heavily sedated steer, a lame-ass border collie, and some sort of gigantic, cartoonish horned frog.
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YOU WANT STRAW? WE'VE GOT STRAW!

"Remember when you said that the situation in Iraq was a 'quagmire'?"

"I don't think I've ever used that word."

"Well, Congressman X said it on July 14th, and it appears prominently in this Socialist Worker's Weekly publication..."

"I keep telling you, I've never used that word, I'm merely pointing out..."

"In any event, I have here a list of are reasons that it's not a quagmire, the length of which would stun your imagination... did you know that over 1.2 million acres of wetlands have been drained and made suitable for farming?"

"That is certainly good news, but I don't know why increased farmland would tell you whether the military is being bogged down in some sort of..."

"Were you just about to call it a quagmire?"

"No, but I don't think that mass demonstrations, car bombings are necessarily a good development."

"Do you know how many Iraqis aren't demonstrating or blowing themselves up?"

"But the number of attacks on U.S. troops seem to be escalating, and the commander of U.S. forces says the sophistication and intensity is increasing..."

"Come one, let's put that in perspective. I mean, there was a huge car accident in rural Texas that killed 5 people. Does that mean that we should stop driving?"

"Well, I'm just sick of the 'things are improving' card being thrown around. I mean, having electricity generation for half of Baghdad is good, but before the war I'm sure all the electricity was on."

"Are you saying that you think things were better under SADDAM?!?"

"I didn't mean that..."

"That SADDAM was OK, as long as he made the trains run on time?"

"I think this conservation is becoming a quag... er... I mean, an awkward, complex, or embarrassing situation."

"The Longhorns suck."

"You got that right."

10 October 2003

THE EYES OF TEXAS ARE UPON YOU, ALL THE LIVE-LONG DAY, JUST SLIGHTLY LESS THAN THE EYES OF THE TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS NETWORK

Time for every Longhorn fan out there to suck it up and be cautiously optimistic about perhaps thinking about just doing enough to slightly get by the hated Sooners. If it's going to happen, I have a feeling that plucky newcomer Vincent Young at QB is going to have to disregard the insipid, stupid play-calling of head coach Mack Brown and offensive coordinator Greg Davis and Michael-Vick-us to unexpected victory. Maybe the vaunted Oklahoma defense will eat at Arby's the night before and come down with some as-yet-unclassified gastrointestinal disease.

At least you can't say that I'm not prepared for crushing disappointment. Go 'Horns or something. See you in 36-48 hours with a (90% chance defeat, 10% chance jubilant triumph) hangover.
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UPDATE: Damn, that was close. A couple of breaks go Texas' way, and we would have only lost by 30 points or so. Time for Plan B: Gooooooo COUGARS!

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