30 November 2003
I've found that a joyful way to pass along a relatively slow Sunday evening is to respond, with zest and zeal, to every pop-up ad that greets you on the Drudge Report. It's more friendly and interactive than trying to separately indulge in the various goods and services that adorn Rush Limbaugh show commercials (male enhancement products, Ecuadoran gold futures, non-addictive mint snuff, the semi-official Trend Macrolytics Swiss Army Knife, mail-order Lithunian brides, Kirk Cameron Left Behind bobble-head dolls, an FDR dartboard, and imitation Dick Cheney toenail clippings). Just hit refresh to access:
(1) The Conservative Book Club: Need a hemisphere of your brain instantly disabled? Then order Sean Hannity's "Let Freedom Ring" pop-up book!
(2) Do you support Mel Gibson? poll: Apparently, this is an insipid Newsmax poll that inadvertently causes you to purchase the Lethal Weapon 4 / What Women Want DVD 2-pack, proceeds supporting Mel's attempt to construct and launch a cross-shaped satellite that will broadcast 9th-century Catholic dogma in 148 languages into outer space.
(3) 24/7 Pharmacy: Free medical consultations?! Confidential next-day shipping?! Will send to rural post boxes registered in the name of your Central American housekeeper?! Discreet withdrawal of large but non-reportable amounts of cash from the federally insured banking institution of your choice?! I honestly can't think of who would need such a thing.
(4) Kennedy-Western University, an online university-- Are there actually employers not named Jiffy Lube that are fooled by this?
While you're at it, go ahead and check out the Newsmax "Supporting President Bush" store. If you can't recognize the camp and/or scatalogical value of an authentic, made-in-Myanmar "I Like Bush" T-shirt, then you're not drinking enough goddamned Kool-aid, ese!
29 November 2003
Finally back in Austin after a refreshing holiday with the family, and I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I guess it's incumbent upon me to (a) gloat about the Longhorns' shellacking of the Aggies (46-15... pretty close to my 45-17 prediction. Give me money!) and to (b) comment on the President's going to Iraq for Thanksgiving.
It's easy to divide the world into cynics and crypto-fascist simpletons, which is why I do it on a regular basis. I'm glad that our troops who got to see the President got a brief morale boost, but a few points need to be made: (a) this was not courageous in any sense of the word (take it from a confirmed coward); (b) this does not show that he is "in charge" of Iraqi policy; (c) the ample footage of this event will obviously be used as a substitute in his re-election campaign commercials for the now-discredited aircraft carrier footage; and (d) in a point that hardly needs to be made, Iraq is an ongoing foreign policy disaster, and an expensive, painful sideshow from the larger war on terrorism.
Some might say: "Well, Norbizness, there's not very much he could have done to garner your respect, is there?" To which I answer: "Of course not, dimwit! Haven't you been reading this thing?" The multi-flank public relations blitz to show that he has some sort of personal touch vis-a-vis Iraq is six months late and about $200 billion short.
24 November 2003
"The word 'bipartisan' usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out."-- George Carlin.
Of course, he wrote that in 1996. Couldn't possibly be (Medicare, energy bill) applicable these days.
23 November 2003
Other than to apologize for the people who have accessed this page via the following internet searches, although #3 may have been part of an actual post:
Joan Lunden's obituary
michael hutchence death hamster
Keith Olbermann + Brain trauma
www. sex live cam dick guy. com.
scooby doo 2 monsters unleashed songs
arguments on puppy abuse
precision puppy pen
strength of five gorillas
Playstation "Get On Board Now"
22 November 2003
It's like the little fat kid in the Goonies (Chunk? Is that right? According to imdb.com, he's a UC-Berkeley graduate and entertainment lawyer? That doesn't sound right.), all 1200 pages of its pork-riddled, sad, cloistered existence. Apparently just enough Northeastern Republicans (and John McCain) were horrified by Tom DeLay's last minute insertion of a provision "[which exempted] methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive, from product liability lawsuits. It was blended into gasoline during the 1990s to make it burn cleaner, but is now blamed for affecting water supplies in more than 1,500 communities, with clean-up costs in the billions of dollars."
Despite this montrosity, plenty of corn-belt Democrats still managed to get bought off by the numerous ethanol subsidies contained in the bill (and Daschle, after unsuccessfully voting for cloture, still managed to retain the gall to criticize it. That's a BAD Minority Leader!) In a sentence I'd never thought I'd type, thank God for John McCain (who labeled the bill the "The No Lobbyist Left Behind Act of 2003") and John Sununu.
Of course, the genesis of this bill was the Vice President's Energy Task Force Committee, whose papers are still not being released despite numerous court victories for the un-American forces for open government. The fact that 13 Democrats voted for this Frankenstein-ish special interest wet dream, because one of the special interests happened to be ethanol producers, is to their ultimate discredit.
21 November 2003
From the first Republican President TV advertisement of what's going to be a long, depressing next 11 months in the campaign season: "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists." After that highly misleading line, we are treating to, surprisingly enough, no concrete examples. It's almost as if having a two-party system, in which Democratic candidates vie for a position in the general election, is an attack in itself.
I guess that the only way this can be plausibly read is in conjunction with Dick Cheney's highly implausible and widely discredited assertion that Iraq was Phase II of, or the new central front on, the War on Terror. Of course, the true explanation of where the non-existent, highly decentralized "front" would take much longer than a disgusting 30-second TV advertisement. The recent attacks in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco (along with the regrouping of the Taliban, with the assistance of certain Pakistani elements) show that al-Qaeda, unfortunately, is not slowing down. (For a more thorough analysis of the actual War on Terror, check out this fine post from Eve of the Apocalypse.)
In short, General Clark was right: the activity in Iraq is a sideshow in the War on Terror. We have 130,000 troops committed to rebuilding a country barely connected with the enemies who attacked us, yet there are only 11,000 coalition troops trying to secure Afghanistan (and by extension, put pressure on Pakistan). This is what is commonly known as a "diversion of resources". Further, we have squandered our international goodwill on the bullheaded drive for war in Iraq, have reduced our international stature immeasurably, and are fuelling anti-American sentiment in moderate Islamic and Arab states.
In short: I'm all for our (hopefully unemployed in 15 months) President to go after Al-Qaeda with the assistance of native governments, I'm all for accountability and transparency in realistically sizing up our past mistakes (stonewalling of the independent 9/11 commission, anyone?), and I'm all for actually funding our security infrastructure (recent boxcutter smuggling story, anyone?). The question is: when is he going to get serious about it?
RANK THE IDIOCY!
(1) James Lileks, bewilderingly semi-famous writer, directed at the famous Baghdad blogger who had the unmitigated nerve to write in to the Guardian in criticizing the reconstruction/security effort:
"Hey, Salam? Fuck you. I know you’re the famous giggly blogger who gave us all a riveting view of the inner circle before the war, and thus know more about the situation than I do. Granted. But there’s a picture on the front page of my local paper today: third Minnesotan killed in Iraq. He died doing what you never had the stones to do: pick up a rifle and face the Ba’athists. You owe him."
(As for me, I couldn't go help for the following reasons: I have a terrible case of gingivitis, my adorable little scamp of a daughter is taking up finger painting next week, and that nativity scene in my front yard won't assemble itself. Writing insanely reactionary columns is all I can do, dammit!)
(2) Kyra Phillips, possibly brain-dead CNN interviewer of the doctor taking care of the Iraqi limbless boy in April 2003: "'Doctor, does he understand why this war took place? Has he talked about Operation Iraqi Freedom and the meaning. Does he understand it?'" (the answer, strangely enough, was "Actually, we don't discuss this issue with him because he is -- the burn cases, and the type of injury, he's in very bad psychological trauma.")
Still gotta go with #2.
20 November 2003
Johno over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy points out wonderful innovations in strengthening heterosexual marriage that may be undone by civil unions, such as (1) Las Vegas, (2) reality shows, (3) trophy wives, and (4) Congressmen and their staffers. How can we let such a hallowed institution be sullied by two committed members of the same sex?
Nico Pitney, a new contributor at Not Geniuses, goes over reactions to Governor Dean's "re-regulation" plan, which I have to admit is not a very winning phrase. How about "Smart Regulation" or "Ex-TREME Regulation"?
Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff dissects recent personnel decisions by my beloved Houston Dis-Astros, much to the interest of me, him, and about 6 commenters. Not planning to return to Houston for a World Series victory parade any time soon.
Dave Neiwert at Orcinus tells us why Biblical societies back in the day were firmly against miscegenation, leading me to believe that we'll hear as much outrage about gay marriage in 2040 as we're hearing about interracial marriages today.
Andrew at the Poor Man, fed up with all the bullshit we voluntarily read in the blogosphere every day, comes up with rules for posting known as Blogme 03, which should go over as well as Dogme 97. I had a manifesto once (check the very early archives). Once.
Seb over at Sadly, No takes a typically Pollyannish, ill-considered quip by Andrew Sullivan concerning Afghanistan and proceeds to go to absolute town on his stunning ignorance.
South Knox Bubba provides a detailed re-cap of the Salon interview with Robert Kennedy, Jr., who is currently the general counsel for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It's been said before, but if you must read one Salon interview with RFK, Jr. this year-- read this one, and perhaps we can start giving a shit about the environment again.
Susan at Suburban Guerrilla has an especially funny run-down of today's London protest signs directly from one of her many international correspondents.
BONUS LINK: For the New Weblog Showcase, Rob at Anarchy Zero for his run-down of disturbing developments in Iraq that are giving even our allies pause.
Since that seems to be the symptom du jour with my current illness, I might as well feed you the following, interesting takes on current events like a mother bird feeds her nestlings (for continuing Jacko coverage, I'm afraid you'll have to resort to every single goddamned news and entertainment television channel in the known universe):
The Angry Bear has a very interesting series of posts concerning whether the current Administration is becoming protectionist, and whether he is in the process of completing the Hoover trifecta. I personally am looking forward to the re-emergence of Hoovervilles in East Austin.
Hope at the Appalachia Alumni Association continues to track the impact of the proposed Medicare drug legislation and its strange interaction with Medicaid. Uggabugga, naturally, has graphics.
Jeanne at Body and Soul provides ongoing coverage of the bizarre case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen handed over to Syria in the "war on terror" when that country promised not to torture him. Yes, that's the same Syria we'll probably be invading next. Try not to think about it.
Elton at Busy, Busy, Busy reads and summarizes another brain-splittingly inane column from Tom Friedman concerning his love-hate-love-hate-love-hate relationship with the Administration's policies in Iraq.
Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran undertakes the painfully quixotic task of reconciling international law with Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle's candid admissions from London yesterday.
Kate at Electric Venom reveals that Buckingham Palace may be the next candidate for one of those interminable 38-hour Changing Rooms marathons on BBC America.
Steven at Ethel the Blog revels in the lost art of getting shit-faced at your dead-end, soul-sapping place of employment.
Kriston at Grammar Police ties together the recent horrific bombings in Turkey with the lack of actual foreign fighters in Iraq (very concisely, I might add) to hopefully defecate on and dispose of that insane "flypaper" theory once and for all.
Everybody's favorite wacky objectivist, Arthur Silber from the Light of Reason, is back from the abyss.
More later, gastric juices permitting.
19 November 2003
I just got back from a science fiction literature convention, and it seems that today's writers are coming up with the strangest characters and places:
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar: Some sort of "renegade warlord" on a distant planet, calling upon some ancient religious texts to aid in his struggle against foreign invaders. Evidently not someone to be trifled with.
Zalmay Khalilzad: A wise man and envoy who returns to his native galaxy, issuing strange and prescient edicts concerning the rise of a dangerous foe, once thought vanquished.
Afghanistan: I saw a little bit of publicity for this-- but there were other, flashier booths for "Iraq VII: Dungeonmaster"; "Commander Michael Jackson and the Asteroid of Despair"; and "Civilunionimacon".
DESERT ISLAND DISCS
In response to Balloon Juice's challenge, and I kept to ten.. er.. collections. You'll notice the absence of Ambrosia, Alien Ant Farm, and Dream Theater. I'm so sorry.
1. Stereolab: Emperor Tomato Ketchup
2. Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory
3. Kraftwerk: Man Machine
4. Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady
5. The Kinks: Are The Village Green Preservation Society
6. Camper van Beethoven: Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
7. Talking Heads: Sand in the Vaseline (2-disc compilation)
8. Wendy Carlos: Switched-On Boxed Set
9. Fats Domino: My Blue Heaven
10. Propellerheads: Deck Drums & Rock and Roll
I swear to God, I'll shut down the comments on this one so quick it'll make your head spin.
MORE ROCK CATEGORIES FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT
Thanks to Mr. Cromulent and Michele at A Small Victory (and their commenters) for the following additional categories of rock that many people find objectionable:
1. Pretentious Rock: Bands in this category usually have at least one member who is classically trained and never lets an interviewer leave that part out. They will claim their influences are Hendrix, The Ramones [ed: ?!?] and Beethoven. Look for long, drawn out solos, lyrics that reference great works of literature and concept albums. Bands include: Yes, Genesis (early Genesis), Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater. [No, its progressive, like an early 20th century Wisconsin Senator! A shorter definition would be bands that not only know how to play, but never, ever let you forget it; Rick Wakeman is the ultimate example].
2. Suck Rock: Any band whose lead singer is an ugly miscreant and whose music makes one wish for temporary deafness. Band: Limp Bizkit. It's their very own category. [ed: What about Creed? The suckiest band of suckers that ever sucked!]
3. Spendthrift Rock: Bands that rely on mussed hair, thrift-shop clothes and low quality recording "effects" to pass off their music as hip and nostalgic. Includes The White Stripes and The Strokes. Pioneered by the catchier and more intelligent Local H. Originally invented by the Ramones, but they are immune because no one had ever gotten so famous off a bunch of 3-chord songs before. [ I could start a whole new post on lo-fi, lo-soul, lo-talent college rock poseurs that I have hated throughout history: Pavement, Sebadoh, Archers of Loaf, etc]
4. Scrap Rock: What better way to cement your band's future obscurity than by releasing a cover song as your first single? I'm sure looking forward to the Ataris ("Boys of Summer") and Alien Ant Farm ("Smooth Criminal") joining Love Spit Love ("How Soon Is Now?") and Tiffany ("I Think We're Alone Now") on Crest Toothpaste's "Monsters of Mall" Tour in 2013.
5. My musical co-editor, Uncle Jeffington, reminds me that (a) Butt Rock bands should include Faster Pussycat, Pretty Boy Floyd, Tora Tora Tora, Mr. Big, Great White, LA Guns, Nelson, Built to Spill, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Vinnie Vincent, Europe, Night Ranger and Extreme; (b) Shit Rock II [a/k/a reconstituted Shit Rock] should include Damn Yankees and Bad English; and (c) who could fill out a Wuss Rock roster without Ambrosia, Captain & Tennille, Hall & Oates, and Bread?
18 November 2003
In an ongoing discussion of protests and the President's visit at the Daily Rant (my favorite place to act all irrational and leftist), I posted the following facetious comment:
"There's only one thing to be done in response to [protests]: close down everything for 10 days (including the underground), cancel the speech before Parliament, enforce a 10.3 mile zone of free speechery, suspend all air traffic, make anyone touching the President to have to do so with radioactive material gloves, immunize Secret Service agents from their shooting innocent people, and pre-emptively tear-gas most of Knightsbridge."
Based on my review of all of the news articles on the visit, I think that radioactive gloves and the tear-gassing of Knightsbridge were the only things not actually discussed. Crooked Timber notes that, although the partial purpose of the visit was to forcefully advocate for his blinkered foreign policy, he's pulling out of the speech to Parliament. Hesiod picks up on a Daily Mirror article that suggests that families of British military he will meet will be pre-screened so that nothing embarrassing is said or implied. And, of course, if something disagreeable does enter the President's mobile panic room, the non-response du jour ("This just shows the value of free speech") has already been thoroughly tested and mother-approved. Hopefully, the 14,000 police officers assigned to this small detail (only 3,000 more than the number of coalition soldiers in the whole of Afghanistan!) will see that this gross indignity does not occur.
DEALER SHOWS 18. PUSH.
To selectively quote the schmuck who took over for Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin II: Death to Carter-- "I have absolutely no opinion concerning the recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court concerning gay marriages. I really don't know what 'The Full Faith and Credit Clause' is all about, the different levels of scrutiny frighten and embarrass me, and the interplay between this decision and future legislative manuevers is of supreme disinterest to me."
Meshach Taylor, the only "star" to appear in both Mannequin movies, opined thusly: "Put pennies in my eyes, cuz I sure don't beleive what I'm seein'!"
17 November 2003
(1) Military families over the closing of on-base schools? Sounds like a PR winner to me.
(2) A nearly-libertarian Republican congressman over the empty slogan "supporting the troops"? Well, he's kind of out there anyway. (via James Landrith)
(3) The families of 9/11 victims over your ongoing battle to suppress information from the independent commission investigating the terrorist attack? Can't possibly see that one backfiring during the New York convention in 2004.
(4) The families of dead British armed forces? They didn't have a vote, last I checked. On a related note, how is President Sock Puppet going to spend his National Lampoon's British Vacation? In a plastic bubble in one of Buckingham Palace's many panic rooms?
On the agenda for the upcoming week: British royalty, Miss United Kingdom 2002, MI6, Dame Judi Dench, St. Paul's Cathedral, the British dental profession, and several sheep. Non-voters, the lot of them!
AND NOW, THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARD FOR MOST UNSTABLE COUNTRY...
Looks like Afghanistan, the little tiny country that time forgot, is making a minor publicity push through its agents to get re-noticed. I know that it's difficult, with only so much of the cable new television screen available for war-related graphics (and, of course, Afghanistan is easy to miss, all tucked away on the world maps down by Guatemala). For some reason, I don't think the newly approved Iraqi textbooks or news services will be covering any of the following developments:
(1) General Abizaid starts describing combat operations in Afghanistan as "every bit as much and every bit as difficult as those that go on in Iraq." Apparently, the usual suspects (Taliban remnants, opium-financed warlords) are continuing to scuttle plans for any sort of legitimate government outside of Kabul, and are really messing up Disney World-- Kandahar preparations.
(2) But don't worry, there's decisive action afoot (Operation Emerald Claw? Infinite Circular Saw?) Hell, they're only 98,800 local militia disarmings away from the projected goal of 100,000 established a couple of months ago.
(3) Nicholas Kristof, taking a much-needed time out from his "Fast for Liberal Civility 2003", has decided to actually write a column about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. It seems that heroin production is up 19-fold, schools are being burned down in fundamentalist regions. Please take time to read it until you get about halfway through, when Nick's completely inappropriate response to religious mutilation kind of ruins the whole column.
(4) Taking a page out of the Iraq playbook, Taliban remnants decide to scare the shit out of UN relief agencies by engaging in a horrific murder of an aid worker.
I guess we weren't lying when we said we sucked at military nation-building ["Let me tell you what else I'm worried about: I'm worried about an opponent who uses nation building and the military in the same sentence."-- George W. Bush, November 7, 2000].
14 November 2003
Yes, that's Paul Wolfowitz. Let's hope the link to the picture holds up. Winner announced Monday, unless nobody chooses to participate. But come on now. OK, here's a start: "Wolfowitz drew the short end of the stick prior to the high-radioactivity weapon prototype test."
UPDATE: Although I would sorely like to name myself the winner, and I do like Stradiotto's attempt to synthesize my Brit band pictures that are interspersed in the links with the caption contest ("Baghdad spirals into an eighties pop nightmare"?!?), Kriston wins (absolutely nothing) with:
Morpheus: "What? Trinity, this isn't the right guy. I said Neo, not neocon."
We're all geeks now. And the crowd goes nuts.
TIME FOR A NEW LOAD OF STORIES AND LINKS FOR THE TOXIC WASTE DUMP
(1) Bushlies.com. I heard it's written by a guy who works for The Nation, so obviously it's infused with a lot of Stalinist bias. Same goes for John W. Dean, who wrote a positive review of the underlying book while being held hostage by gay atheist animal liberation transsexuals.
(2) Are we going to be in a rush to count those military votes in 2004? True to form for the "supporting the troops with platitudes" Administration, the ballots will probably be mailed out postage due.
(3) Iraqification: A Losing Strategy. Another journalist rips the virtual reality Kool-Aid I-V tube out of his arm long enough to write a column decrying the "quick transfer of power" which is being implemented now.
(4) Majority of Americans Diapprove of Iraq Policy. And this was before the chopper tragedies, the Italian fiasco, and the hasty foreign policy three-card monte this week. Of course, as you know, I'm nervous being in the possibly temporary majority.
(5) Voluntary compliance, my favorite environmental oxymoron. Follows the Administration pattern of stabbing meritorious claims in the back (see also retroactive class action rules). I'm sure that this systematic fucking over of the air and water will bring jobs aplenty, won't it? Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath, except literally.
(6) The White House War with the CIA. Interview with Thomas Powers, who obviously values his precious intelligence information more than he values propping up a thoroughly corrupt and chronically deceptive Administration. I mean, look at this guy! He probably listens to the Melvins or the Screaming Trees while dreaming up ways to tarnish our God-sent executive. Disgusting!
(7) Where My Jobs At? I said it before, I'll say it again. If anyone understands the economic barabajagal in the linked article, feel free to explain it to me. I'm tired.
UNINSPIRED LINKING WITH RECKLESS ABANDON PART 2
Oliver Willis, although he regularly "jumps the blog shark" with Paris Hilton references, has an ongoing discussion about the use of "chickenhawk" which you've probably already seen. My thoughts: I don't mind anyone's ill-informed foreign policy opinion (including my own), but I definitely value the opinions of actual foreign policy experts and servicemen/women over those of my fellow couch potatoes.
Billmon at Whiskey Bar talks about the bond market... at least that's my best guess. Will someone please summarize it for me?
MBW at Wampum, proving that historical parallels are not totally passe, goes back in time to view the economic data and political developments at this time in 1991.
The Talking Dog has an ongoing conversation with William Kristol, or so it would seem. For a while, I thought I was having a heated discussion with Spiro Agnew, until I realized he had been dead for quite a while.
The S-Train Canvass details how he spent Veterans' Day with (gasp) an actual veteran!
South Knox Bubba does more analysis than I ever would concerning General Clark's plan for Iraq, which he notes has the actual advantage of being a plan.
Sadly, No! continues to chronicle John Bolton's steel-cage verbal match with the Axis of Evil. Well, at least we've given the world a crackpot to snicker at.
Ted at Rocket Jones attempts to further sap the purity of manly essence from his male readership by offering kitchen tips for the holidays.
Andrew at the Poor Man comes up with the comprehensive list of top 20 lists to end all comprehensive lists of top 20 lists. Although I have to admit that I prefer the prequel to "My Dinner With Andre", a one-man show with Wallace Shawn entitled "Where the Fuck is Andre? I've Been Eating Breadsticks for 2 Hours!"
Pete at a Perfectly Cromulent Blog contributes several new categories of bullshit rock music, including bands that I am aware of (Papa Roach, Sum 41) but whose existence I politely deny in mixed company.
Emma at Notes on the Atrocities announces a grandiose film project that I don't really understand because I kind of zoned out after the first paragraph. Perhaps you readers can do better than me.
C.J. at The Nitpicker goes over President Bush's absolute commitment to free and unfettered speech, so long as it's in a foreign country and still occurs at least 8.4 miles away from his Secret Service posse.
Max at Maxspeak goes over both sides of the argument concerning the ongoing Iraqi police action... er... ongoing war... er... occupation (hell no, not occupation, jackass!)... transitional period. At least, that's what I think he's doing.
Enjoy them all, but be constantly wary of the strain on your right hand's index finger. We don't need any more internet casualties.
PLAGIARISM-FEST 2003 CONTINUES UNABATED
If I had a Bible, it would probably be George Carlin's "Brain Droppings". Of course, the irony would be that he and I are both pretty much atheists. From the holy book of the Norbizness Bible entitled "People Who Should Be Phased Out":
(1) Guys who always harmonize the last few notes of "Happy Birthday"
(2) Men who propose marriage on the Jumbotron.
(3) People who know a lot of prayers by heart.
(4) Guys who wear suits all day and think an earring at night makes them cool.
(5) People who say "knock knock" on entering a room and "beep beep" when someone is in their path.
(6) People who have memorized a lot of TV theme songs and are proud of it.
(7) Guys who can juggle, but only a little bit.
(8) Athletes and coaches who give more than 100 percent.
(9) Blind people who don't want any help.
(10) Guys who flash me the "thumbs-up" sign. Especially if they're winking and making the peace sign with the other hand.
On the positive side, he does like guys who say "cock-a-roach", permanently disfigured gun collectors, and guys who don't know what they're doing and won't admit it.
13 November 2003
(audience groans). Although I steadfastly maintain that you should be reading every website to your right with a fanaticism not unlike Ben Wallace grabbing a rebound, sometimes you need a gentle nudge. This nudge becomes all the more important when I don't feel like expending the energy to rip them off and make a half-assed attempt to pass their ideas off as my own original content:
The Agitator wonders if there's a principled case for fiscal conservatives and/or libertarians to completely give up on Bush the Younger.
The Angry Bear, who claims to be a dismal scientist, makes a run-through of economists to wonder whether 2004 will bring an economic slowdown and/or recession.
Hope at the Appalachian Alumni Association goes over the latest developments concerning the negotiations for a Medicare prescription drug benefit.
The Mania of Balasubramania maniacally goes over the ideological ramifications of the nutjobs successfully stoned during the shameful "Senate sleepover" yesterday.
Jeanne at Body and Soul (now with 50% more Kenny Loggins-related content) considers the fallout from the Administration's frenetic attempts to dispose of the Iraq question before the next election.
Colorado Luis, in a really strange move, starts playing handicapper for the next Colorado Senate race. What, no microbrews? Weak!
Jo Fish at the Democratic Veteran kicks Paul Bremer repeatedly in the groin over his tepid, less-than-awe-inspiring response to the CIA report painting a bleak picture of Iraq.
Thorswitch at Different Strings is closely following the silly, shameful games the White House is playing with the Independent 9/11 Commission over access to documents.
NTodd at Dohiyi Mir is running another caption contest with prizes, no less! Looks like somebody is weathering the bad economy pretty well, Mr. Moneybags!
Kriston at Grammar Police runs down the effect of the mega-unions endorsing Howard Dean. I'm personally staying out of primary politics, except that I might endorse Joe Liebermann (thereby dooming his campaign) if it appears that he's doing well.
Jonathan a/k/a The Head Heeb runs down the developments in another African country with which I'm woefully unfamiliar. Actually, that could be a running commentary on his entire site... so read the entire site.
Teddy at It's Still the Economy, Stupid goes over our magnificently constructed, jobless, benefit-less, hyper-productive Wal-Mart economy. I hereby decree: McJobs for everyone!
James Landrith continues to cover the "if it ain't about bombs droppin', I don't give a shit" story of child slavery in the Sudan, easily the most fucked up country on the planet.
BONUS LINK: For Scout at "And Then...", a neophyte competing in the New Blog Showcase, runs down Majority Leader Bill Frist, the bane of cats everywhere, and his head-scratchingly asinine marathon of jackassery.
Sorry if I skipped over you this time around. Having run out of energy, I'll try the people in the M-Z line tomorrow.
ADVENTURES IN PASSIVE VOICE
From the article Government Outgrows Spending Cap Set By President:
"Confounding President Bush's pledges to rein in government growth, federal discretionary spending expanded by 12.5 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, capping a two-year bulge that saw the government grow by more than 27 percent."
It's to our Founding Fathers' eternal discredit that they didn't provide the Executive a mechanism by which he could do battle with this rapidly reproducing budget that seems to expand at will. I heard that scientists are working on some sort of far-out "line item veto", but it may not be ready for deployment until 2008. Can it be true that the only thing he's equipped with is the power to make half-assed pledges? Is our republic doomed? Take it away, Stan Collender, federal budget analyst for Fleishman-Hilliard:
"This is an administration that cannot possibly take up the mantle of fiscal conservatism. It's probably the least fiscally conservative in history."
I must remember this sense of helplessness the next time that the credit card company comes calling. "I made a pledge to limit my purchases, but circumstances beyond my control caused my expenditures to quickly outpace my income. I know that I was also caused to purchase a lot of online porn and gift baskets from Hickory Farms. Unfortunately, I'm powerless to change this spending pattern because of 9/11, so you might as well prepare the bill for my yet-unborn grandchildren. "
12 November 2003
(concerned) Um.. what?
(defensively) What, Dick?
(soothingly) Mr. Ambassador...
(longingly) Yes, Condi?
(high on ether) Oh, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul. Paulie Walnuts. Ambassador Paulopolis. Peter, Paul, and Mary. Dr. Linus PAUL-ing. Gwyneth PAUL-trow....
That's it, I fucking quit.
IF POSSIBLE, TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT KITTENS IN TREES OR NEW TEXTBOOKS WHEN TRYING TO PIECE TOGETHER THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ
Crude, elementary attempts to synthesize these non-toy-drive Iraq news items have been attempted here and here. The upshot of the analysis is that rebuilding may be put on hold while major military efforts (read: large bombs) are renewed because of the deteriorating security situation. Apparently, the players in Iraq have been told that they can stop putting smiley faces on horrendous developments...
(1) Lt. Gen. Sanchez holds a heavily guarded news conference in Baghdad. Discards theories about large numbers of foreign terrorists being involved. Outlines rise in number and complexity of attacks. Starts talking about "war" again, a move analyzed by Fred Kaplan at Slate.
(2) Bremer gets called back to Washington D.C. to talk about the progress of the Washington Redskins under Steve Spurrier. Minor agenda items may have included: speeding up self-government, the decision to disband the Iraqi Army, the ongoing efforts to pin the blame for things on the Iraqi Governing Council, and the rate of kittens being rescued from trees.
(3) Apparently, the south of Iraq isn't secure, contrary to the assessment of the security situation provided by Secretary Rumsfeld to our Asian allies. My condolences to the Italian forces.
(4) To further add to his sterling record of accountability and accuracy, Rumsfeld decides to go ahead and set up the military brass for the blame. "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday he hopes military commanders 'are telling the truth' when they assure him no more troops are needed in Iraq." My ass.
(5) The CIA, masters of inappropriate timing, release a report that says that "growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding that the U.S.-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the resistance". The conclusions in the report explain developments #1 and #2. The White House, masters of foot-shooting, refuse to confirm the existence of the report.
You want better analysis? Find someone smarter, sizzlechest!
11 November 2003
Homer: Stealing?! How could you?! Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain What's-his-name? We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn't hear anybody laughing. Did you?
TOWARDS A UNIFIED TAXONOMY OF TERRIBLE ROCK MUSIC
(1) Butt Rock (definition from Mullets Galore): rock n' roll music with that has the following characteristics: four or five male members with long, feathered hair (bangs are common, but not neccesary) or mullets, wailing guitar solos, distorted guitars, and lyrics about women, sex, drugs, Satan, and cars. Currently no home on the radio dial.
Bands include Slaughter, Dio, Dokken, Ratt, Poison, Great White, White Lion, Steelheart, Tesla, Grim Reaper, Def Leppard, Vixen, Danger Danger, Skid Row, BulletBoys, Warrant, Firehouse, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Cinderella, Quiet Riot, and Winger.
(2) Wuss Rock: No definition needed. You know what it is. Makes up the backbone of adult contemporary radio, although it can show up on classic rock formats. Acts include: Dan Fogelberg, Air Supply, Kenny Loggins, Little River Band, Poco, Christopher Cross, Al Stewart, America, Peter Frampton, Cat Stevens. Preferred by Marge Simpson.
(3) Crap Rock: The hippie uncle of Butt Rock. Extremely derivative, lowest common denominator music, usually preferred by Homer Simpson: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Grand Funk Railroad, Foghat, Foreigner, Kansas, Mountain, Nazareth, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Uriah Heep. One or two songs will show up on classic rock radio.
(4) Shit Rock, Category I: This will usually refer to bands who had a good late 60s/early 70s run, only to be phased into obsolescence by the advent of disco, punk, and later metal. Usually characterized by the now coked-up, debt-ridden bands trying to appropriate new musical styles (i.e. finding a synthesizer) from the time period 1976-1986, mostly with disastrous results. You may even see one or two attempts at a music video from the dawn of MTV. The most desperate bands with the least amount of street cred to begin with turn into Wuss Rock bands (see Chicago). Most importantly: the efforts of these bands during these times has no home on the radio dial.
Bands include: Allman Brothers/Gregg Allman solo, Ronnie James Dio-era Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Moody Blues, Santana, Chicago, Bad Company, Blue Oyster Cult, Boston (although it could be category II), Crosby Stills and Nash (and especially the Crosby-Nash permutation), Doobie Brothers, Jethro Tull, the Kinks (sorry to say), and Yes.
(5) Shit Rock, Category II: Bands/acts that were born shitty , including supergroups comprised from the tattered remnants of some of the above bands. Includes Journey, Asia, the Firm, John Cougar Mellencamp, Allan Parsons Project, Bob Seeger, Billy Squier, and Styx. The backbone of VH-1 and VH-1 Classic programming.
Feel free to add your own examples or categories in the comments. The West must not forget its rich heritage of bland, terrible, nausea-inducing music.
Met a Vietnam Vet in line for a flu shot this morning. Apparently, the local VA clinic didn't tell him about the schedule this year until 3 days after the shots were given. The benefits are out there, but there doesn't seem to be a great publicity push by government agencies to tell our veterans about it. For instance, 50% of GI Bill benefits regularly go unused.
Stay informed about the current debate concerning ending the practice of deducting disability benefits from retirement benefits. Thankfully, most of the reductions passed by the House last June ($28 billion in total) are being restored through, slow, gradual political pressure. This is no doubt fueled by the disconnect of being told to "support our troops" while stories surface about (1) the shameful treatment of reservists at Fort Stewart or (2) current troops having to pay for their own flights home while DoD brass bilk the Treasury for first class flights (via Digby). Tell your friends and family about the following resources:
In other words, money--- meet mouth.
10 November 2003
From HFPST 8/27/03, "As for our soldiers from the last Gulf War, I have only this to say: We simply cannot allow greedy trial lawyers and their reprobate Gulf War POW clients to collect from money that rightfully belongs to padded Halliburton contracts. That is SIMPLY not the American way."
OK, Scott McClellan, you've had two-and-a-half months to formulate the mind-numbingly horrific Administration reply to the snarky gauntlet I've thrown down. How do you plead, flack-boy? Keep in mind, tomorrow is Veterans' Day, the most magical day of the year!
"Q: Scott, there are 17 former POWs from the first Gulf War who were tortured and filed suit against the regime of Saddam Hussein. And a judge has ordered that they are entitled to substantial financial damages. What is the administration's position on that? Is it the view of this White House that that money would be better spent rebuilding Iraq rather than going to these former POWs?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that I view it in those terms, David. I think that the United States -- first of all, the United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal torture to which these Americans were subjected. They bravely and heroically served our nation and made sacrifices during the Gulf War in 1991, and there is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. That's what our view is."
Private McClellan! What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? I'm going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! Were you born worthless, or did you have to work at it? I'll bet you're the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddam common courtesy to give him a reach-around! You had best unfuck yourself and start shitting me Tiffany cufflinks or I will definitely fuck you up!
"MAYBE MY SPECIAL ARMY TUX WILL FRIGHTEN THEM"
A PIXILLATED VIGNETTE RIPPED FROM TODAY'S HEADLINES
These attacks gotta stop, people! We got the 500 pound bombs, we got the high-tech night vision equipment, we have the capabilities.
(60-year-old farmer): "(Reprisal attacks) will only increase our spite and hatred of them. If they think that they will scare us, they are wrong. Day after day, Americans will be harmed and attacks against them will increase.''
Come on, old timer! Listen to reason! You can't really thumb your nose at America! Didn't you hear the explosions?
"Neither America, nor the father of America, scares us. Iraqi men are striking at Americans and they retaliate by terrifying our children.''
The "father of America"? What the... jeez, I don't even know what that means! Guy sounds like Rumsfeld or something.... (muttering to self, exit stage left)
THE STATE OF TEXAS (TM), A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF CONGLOMOBUSINESS, Inc.
As a sort of follow up to the State of Texas' ongoing war against an informed public, I'm linking to this Houston Chronicle article. Texas is currently consolidating of all its large health care agencies and subcontracting services to places like Accenutre [formerly (Arthur) Anderson Consulting]. As we all know, private companies are far more efficient at (1) telling nursing home patients that their request for long-term services have been denied, (2) informing Medicaid recipients that their child's psychiatric examinations will not be covered, and (3) breaking it to people that report child abuse that their claims will go un-investigated.
Apparently, these companies are attempting to shield from open records laws any organizational charts, employee lists, executive summaries, or past contracts under the wide-as-a-Mack-Truck "trade secrets" exemption. The Attorney General's decision on the matter is expected by December 10th. Anyone care to bet about how his decision will read?
09 November 2003
THE HITCH-HIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY OF SHITTY ARGUMENTATION
Via the indispensable and soon-to-be-added-to-the-links-of-infamy Ethel the Blog (the 193rd most popular blog with a Monty Python reference in the title), I have discovered the mother-lode of spuriousity, the Xanadu of flawed argumentation, the Wingnut Debate Dictionary. My favorites, in alphabetical order, and with examples, when possible:
(1) ad hankering: The practice of accusing anyone who disagrees with you of ad hominem attacks. ("My research clearly shows that gun ownership decreases cancer." "That's fucking crazy." "Why must the left always engage in ad hominem attacks?" "Shut up.")
(2) All-or-nothingism: This is when one is mocked because his/her recommended policy does not completely solve some problem. ("We definitely need to nuke Mecca." "That's fucking crazy." "Oh, I suppose we should just give them all Joni Mitchell records and invite them to violate our daughters, huh?")
(3) Disinglennuousness: The practice of saying, after the fact, that just because you linked to something outrageous with 'THIS IS INTERESTING' or 'EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS', you don't necessarily agree with the linked sentiments, their having been exposed as utter pig-bollocks. ("I've linked to article about the strategic importance of nuking Mecca. Don't call me fucking crazy! I just linked to it! Jeez! What happened to freedom of expression?!?")
(4) Even the Liberal: If one liberal, anywhere, makes an argument that goes against liberal orthodoxy, all liberals are wrong. (As soon as I get relatively popular through Tony Robbins' Power of Positive Thinking courses on tape, I'm going to to completely hose everyone over.)
(5) Glennuendo: The act of drawing a darkly ominous inference from an opponent's failure to discuss a political issue. ("Why hasn't Norbizness discussed the anal rape of PFC Lynch? Does he approve of anal rape? UPDATE: I just did a Google search with 'Norbizness' and 'anal rape', and the only non-pornographic page I got was my own!")
(6) Noonanism: Wet, rapturous bombast about the feet and other appendages of Conservative Real Men caused by internal vibrations that must stimulate all the wrong nerve cells. ("Xanax: It's like a magical heaven-sent school of dolphins crapped a rainbow in my brain!")
(7) oughtism: the act of providing unsound political advice for one's ideological opponents. ("You know, if the current Communist Party candidate for President would only endorse nuking Mecca, I think I could definitely consider interrupting my lifelong streak of voting a straight-Republican ticket.")
(8) Profanity Always Loses: It doesn't matter how many times they say you love Saddam, but if you use the word "fuck", you lose. ("That idea you had about nuking Mecca that capped off your 28 minute tirade about the Trilateral Commission and dental implants was pretty fucking crazy." "Victory is mine!")
(9) Thesaurus Defense: "The president never said it was an imminent threat! He said it was a looming danger!" (my personal favorite-- think of Seinfeld trying to describe his European carry-all to a policeman who's thinking "purse").
(10) Why Do You Hate America? This one needs no definition. ("I never said I hate America! I said I was consumed with a visceral dislike of it! See #9, stupid!")
YOUR ENTERTAINMENT MINUTE/ORDEAL
(1) The Simpsons season premiere aired tonight, and confirmed what I had been suspecting for the last five years or so: the show is being intentionally sabotaged with lame, unfunny content by Bob Saget to improve the historical legacy of "Full House". Having been there since the first episode, I can safely say "Give me the gun, Ma. It's my tired, shark-jumping animated sitcom. I'll put a bullet in it".
(2) America desperately needs the following sequels like a diabetic needs a carton of Chocolate Creme Twinkies, and by God, Hollywood is not going to abandon us: Agent Cody Banks 2, Alien 5 (a/k/a Alien v. Predator), Birth of the Pink Panther, Blade: Trinity, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Easy Rider 2 (not kidding, people), Gladiator 2, House of 1000 Corpses 2, Indiana Jones 4, Jurassic Park 4, The Matrix: Revolutions (Whoops, too late), Mission Impossible 3, The Princess Diaries 2, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Rocky 6, Rush Hour 3, Scary Movie 4, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Scooby-Doo 3, The Whole Ten Yards, The X-Files 2, XXX 2, and Zorro Unmasked.
(3) Steven Soderbergh Recovers From Head Trauma in Time For Next Picture.
(4) Let the Pussification of America Begin With Renewed Vigor!
(5) What? You mean it's not a television show about a rag-tag pan-African commune of one-hit-wonder rap artists that I can't believe I saw at Lollapalooza III in 100-degree weather in Baytown-freakin'-Texas?
(6) In the barely altered words of the Clash, "I'm So Fucking Repulsed by the U.S.A."
07 November 2003
OPEN GOVERNMENT: OUR NEWEST OXYMORON
A lot of you people, including people who should know better (John Dean, I'm looking in your direction), are surprised by the Nixonian level of secrecy, even pertaining to non-security matters, of the current Administration. Of course, I had to go through 6 years of Governor Sock Puppet, so it's old hat.
The righteous struggle against the public's "right to know what in the holy hell is happening" culminated in 2000, when, aided by then-Attorney-General-now-inexplicably-Senator John Cornyn, Governor Sock Puppet's papers and effects were moved on to federal property--- his father's Presidential library in College Station. A couple of court challenges later, and here they sit, ready for public inspection sometime around the year 2029. [Our only real investigative journalism in town comes from the Austin Chronicle, the free independent weekly. The "paper of record", the Austin American-Statesman, is the journalistic equivalent of a local news story on how to buy backpacks for your back-to-school kids].
Of especial interest was the attempt to shield from scrutiny of the Governor's clemency (a/k/a "Snowball's Chance in Hell") memos. Generally, these were poorly briefed by the current White House Counsel, Al Gonzales, with the Governor's own handwriting "Fry 'em!" in the margins (OK, that last part was made up, but in light of the Karla Faye Tucker incident, who knows what we'll find?) If and when Al Gonzales gets nominated for the Supreme Court, this whole sorry tale of public information nightfall could be Exhibit A. As they say, read the whole article (and the attached articles).
06 November 2003
"For the past six weeks the news from Iraq has felt like the movie 'Groundhog Day.' I get up each morning, fire up my Internet and read that a roadside bomb has killed another U.S. soldier." (link)
Butch up, cupcake! “However dramatic the loss of the helicopter, and the loss every day of American lives, there is no alternative but to look at the figures in perspective. Our casualties since the beginning of the war have reached 400. Last year, 16,000 Americans were murdered within the boundaries of the United States. That same year, 43,000 Americans were killed in automobile accidents.” (link)
Holy shit, it's zombie Bill Buckley! I guess you’re right. In fact, I heard that 500 Americans died of autoerotic asphyxiation emulating Michael Hutchence. I shouldn’t get so down when there’s bigger geopolitical fish to fry.
“There are plenty of countries around the world that would welcome a U.S. invasion.” (link) And what’s up with that disco look, Tom?
Sorry, Mona, you perfidious skank. I’m in “unwinding” mode. But it’s hard to argue with logic. I mean, what country wouldn’t sacrifice the torsos of a few thousand people to get a half-assed reconstruction effort and exacerbated ethnic and religious tensions?
Wasn't your hair parted on the other side just a minute ago? Ahem: “Success - or failure - in Iraq could be the pivotal event in the history of the United States in this century. President Bush is right to stay the course." (link)
I don’t know who you are, but stop stealing my old lines, bitch!
TRANSMISSION RECEIVED... PROCESSING DIRECTIVE
For the New Blogger Showcase, Clarefied presents Death by Invitation, which has something to do with that weird 70s murder mystery/marginal comedy with Truman Capote. Considering that the other political entries deal with (1) "The Thought Police", (2) praying, (3) flat taxes and (4) Zionist running dogs-- it was again an easy, if forced, choice.
By the way, new people. The world needs weblogs who use the words "ramblings" and "musings" like William Conrad needed another double cheeseburger with a side of fried zucchini and ranch dipping sauce.
05 November 2003
God help me, I can't resist. It's too damned mesmerizing. For people who are satire-impaired, the following examples should have served as warning signals.
(1) Now, men's fashion includes not a man dressed in a three-piece suit, but a tight sweater worn by a man with breasts.
(2) From that, we went to this: the Cheerios TV ad.
(3) But most of all, I do this website because I love being a man.
(4) And it doesn't take much to see when all the things I love are being threatened: for instance, when Tim Allen's excellent comedy routine on being a man is reduced to a fucking sitcom called Home Improvement.
(5) For fuck's sake, what kind of girly-man would allow these simpering butt-bandits to change his life around?
(6) And, needless to say, Vijay (Singh) isn't an American, nor a European, which is probably why he still has a pair hanging between his legs.
(7) And I want the Real Man President to surround himself with other Real Men, like Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft, and yes, Rice.
(8) Women, even liberal women, swooned over George Bush in a naval aviator's uniform.
(8a) Donald Rumsfeld, if he wanted to, could fuck 90% of all women over 50 if he wanted to, and a goodly portion of younger ones too.
Now that the context has been removed, don't you feel silly for being taken in?
THE CAST OF LEAVE TO BEAVER PRESENTS: "OUR SYSTEM IS A SHAM"
Gee whillikers, Wally. It says here in my civics book that there's 100 Senators in the Senate. How come a handful of senators approved $90 billion of the taxpayers' money for Iraq and Afghanistan on a voice vote, you know, like a bunch of chickenshit cowards?
Gosh, Beav, I guess it's because there's something shameful in this money dump for everyone; a coupla Democratic Senators running for President don't want to be tarred with insipid charges of "voting against the troops" by silly little douchebags like Lindsey Graham. And the Republicans who wanted to convert half the reconstruction money into loans got their asses handed to them in the conference committee, so they're not touching that stinkbomb.
Boooooys, what are you talking about?
Well, Mr. Cleaver. Seems these treasonous little bastards are ruminating on the failure of democracy, the continuation of a lunatic foreign policy with no clearly defined exit strategy, false patriotism, and an utter lack of accountability for multinational companies in getting our money. I say send them to summer reeducation camp and stick hot pokers... oh, hello Mrs. Cleaver. You're looking radiant today.
Fuck off, Eddie.
04 November 2003
TRY COMMANDER IN CHIEF! WHOSE COMMAND IS TO LET ME FINISH READING "THE PET GOAT" TO THIS ADORABLE COLLECTION OF SECOND-GRADERS!
Hypocrisy is an overused term, like irony. Not in this instance. Follow the dots by clicking on the numbers.
(1) Though no one at the RNC had seen "The Reagans," the letter insisted that either a panel of Reagan pals and historians screen the project before broadcast for "historical accuracy" or the network run a disclaimer crawl at the bottom of the screen every 10 minutes during the movie.
(2) The director of the (Showtime Bush 9/11) film said "There's nothing here that Bob Woodward would disagree with."... What's more, Chetwynd ran the script past a group of conservative Washington pundits, including Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer and Morton Kondracke.
Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't watch a shitty CBS docudrama starring James Brolin as the Gipper if you paid me. However, there is a certain irony (oh shit) in worrying about the historical presentation of a President whose numerous flights of fancy (actually being at a death camp in World War II, for instance) made up his public persona.
SPECIAL MOVIES TO AVOID EDITION: THE LAST SAMURAI, PART TWO
The mid-1980s were cringe-worthy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was midget cheese-monger Tom Cruise and his two moods/acting moves [(1) furrow eyebrows: upset; (2) bend over, smiling with your right index finger knuckle near your mouth: pensive and/or amused)]. He got to employ them over and over again in such cinematic masterpieces as:
6. Legend. The first fantasy-based movie starring two women in love? I can't believe that Ridley Scott followed up Blade Runner with this festering dungheap, which actually makes Willow look like genius by comparison.
7. Top Gun. At least it's really funny viewed through the prism of barely contained homoeroticism.
8. The Color of Money. And you thought that Harvey Keitel as John the Baptist (correction: Judas) was a monumental casting mistake by Martin Scorsese? Exclude Cruise from the movie, and it might have even been Oscar-worthy.
9 Cocktail. Did for the reputation of bartenders what John Wayne Gacy did for the reputation of clowns.
10. Rain Man. Inexplicable Oscar-winner. Maybe Barry Levinson taught him a third acting move/emotion (open mouth and clasp hands together: stunned).
LIBELWATCH 2003: DAVID BROOKS IS A SMARMY, INBRED FANCY-BOY
"I do wish Mumsy wouldn't dress me for work anymore!"
I guess David "Let's Be Civil Starting.... NOW!" Brooks couldn't stand the thought of William Safire out-ass-kissing him, so he's back with a tour de force of Pollyannish piles of problematic psychoanalysis. I'll give you a hint: the first eight paragraphs are bookended by attempts to (1) "get inside the mind" of a Ba'athist goon squad member and (2) explain to you why the Administration is doing what it's doing, punctuated by the sentence "It would indeed be grand if the Iraqis would hunt the killers."
It. would. indeed. be. grand. You know what else would be grand, Master David? If editorial columns in the nation's premier newspaper weren't written like they had a learning-disabled twelve-year-old as the intended audience. If you just managed to do a little research, you can see that there are more policy choices than just "stay the course" and "totally reverse course". Do some second-level analysis, you priggish little twit! Read some goddamned Zbigniew Brzezinski, for God's sake!
There's been some sort of weird, weird role-reversal when I can say with confidence that I am more of a foreign policy realist than (undeservedly) major editorial columnists. I, for one, am sick of persnickety (thanks, thesaurus.com!) little non-entities reducing difficult international decisions to the level of a 1940s Superman cartoon.
03 November 2003
From today's highly scripted, highly non-hostile appearance by the Commander in Chief: "We have got a great United States military. And some of the best have fallen in service to our fellow Americans. We mourn every loss. We honor every name. We grieve with every family. And we will always be grateful that liberty has found such brave defenders."
Meanwhile, back in the world of yet-to-be-censored facts: “A White House spokesman said Bush has not attended any memorials or funerals for soldiers killed in action during his presidency as his predecessors had done… The photos of coffins continued for the first two years of the current Bush administration, from Ramstein and other bases. Then, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, word came from the Pentagon that other bases were to adopt Dover's policy of making the arrival ceremonies off limits.”
In other words, vague remembrance as long as it doesn’t conflict with a planned speech on the economy at a plant in Alabama, or a fundraiser, where he did honor the names of Bill Pryor (stalled nominee for the Court of Appeals), as well as Marty Connors, Edgar Elden, and Bettye Fine Collins, “all of whom are very much involved in grassroots politics here in Alabama”.
Bush/Cheney 2004: Sacrifice is For Chump-Ass Bitches.
UPDATE: Sorry, I misspoke. I thought that the first quote from Bush was a reference to the soldiers who died over the weekend; apparently, it's a pre-packaged paragraph that was used several weeks earlier (thanks to Different Strings). In short, the scoreboard: Alabama Grass-Roots Fundraisers 49, Fallen Soldiers 0.
SPECIAL MOVIES TO AVOID EDITION: THE LAST SAMURAI, PART ONE
The first 5 reasons to avoid this movie, apart from the obvious, and we haven't gotten to Top Gun yet:
1. Taps. Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise at military school. Feh.
2. The Outsiders. Tom Cruise severely out-acted by Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, and C. Thomas Howell.
3. Losin' It. Tom Cruise helps convince Shelley Long she has a viable movie career, thereby ruining Cheers.
4. Risky Business. Introduction of the world to Joe Pantoli... er.. Joey Pants outweighed by artificially extending Bob Seeger's career.
5. All The Right Moves. Are there really 5'1" football players, even in high school?
LIBELWATCH 2003: WILLIAM SAFIRE IS A SENILE, JOB-HUNTING HACK
'Where are my glasses? Damn elves!'
Once again, Safire gets hold of some strategically leaked 3" x 5" blue index cards from the President's daily briefing, and turns it into a column. One would think that his foreign policy and journalism credibility had been effectively shot by the series of columns on the "Prague Connection" between Iraq and al-Qaeda (in which he developed the "well, it coulda happened" standard of verifiability). Honestly, every sentence of the article is rife with factual errors, misstatements, and warmed-over conflation of Iraq with the Eternal War on Terror. If I wanted this kind of content-less blather (and I don't), I'd listen to a Presidential press conference. A few of his groaners include:
(1) most of the country, area-wise, is fine [the "Peaceful Uninhabited Desert" performance measure];
(2) this latest event was tragic, not on its own merits, but because it might embolden "failuremongers and isolationists on the campaign trail" [I guess this, for Safire, is the equivalent of posting his resume online for the Bush-Cheney re-election team];
(3) we'd also have to worry about a loss in credibility in "dealing with other rogue nations acquiring nuclear weapons" [Earth to Safire: no nuclear weapons in Iraq, and the doctrine of pre-emptive war with accelerate acquisition of these weapons];
(4) "Either we stay in Baghdad until Iraq becomes a unified democratic beacon of freedom to the Arab world — or we pull out too soon, thereby allowing terrorism to establish its main world sanctuary" [haven't you heard of Afghanistan, Indonesia or Pakistan, you demented moron?]
02 November 2003
I can more easily read transcripts of Sunday morning talk shows than to actually view them, because my viewing pleasure is invariably disrupted by my shouting "Shut up, asshole!" at the television. To be perfectly honest, I don't envy the position of Token Mouthbreathing Dipshit Administration Apologist after a traumatic event has just occurred.
Fortunately, for coolly dispassionate jackass and baseball-ruiner George Will, this is old hat. He actually manages, if you read this transcript, to far surpass Secretary Rumsfeld in terms of cringe-worthy quotes in only about 40% of the time (in that Rumsfeld was being co-interviewed by George Stephanopoulos). Don't get me wrong. Rummy uncorks a few ("We don't tend to propagandize") that will be used in his involuntary commitment proceeding down the line, but Will is really out there.
1. Will: You say it's (recruiting for security forces) still going up steadily. So that attacks are failing in what must be one of their objectives, which is to deter Iraqis from participating in the security forces. It's not working? (If you can actually you’re your brain around this transposition of cause and effect, you have my congratulations. If security forces are increasing, and they’re effective, wouldn’t that reduce attacks?)
2. Will: One difference is that in 1945, in May, when Hitler died, fascism died. It was no longer a fighting faith. If Saddam dies, there will still be the fighting faith of militant Islam (Please spot at least eleven things wrong with this analogy)
3. Will: Is it a good thing to bring the terrorists in, as they're coming in, to a killing ground that might be favorable to us? It's not New York. We do have a lot of troops there. It's not a jungle. It's easier to find and fight there. Should we -- I mean, this is grim to say, but should we welcome this? (Let me say this in the most non-libelous way possible, Mr. Will: you are a gruesome asshole)
4. Will: The current spike of violence began on the eve of Ramadan, just as the TET offensive began on the eve of the lunar new year over there. The TET offensive was one of the great military victories in American history. (Remember this little chestnut the next time someone screeches about a Vietnam analogy. I still say Beirut.)
OMNIBUS PROGRESS REPORT
The following developments prove that everything is progressing according to plan. If these developments were completely reversed, everything would be progressing according to plan, but in a different way. We have yet to find a way where developments would not be progressing according to plan, and believe me, we're not trying.
(1) 15 Soldiers Die in Helicopter Explosion. I don't know whether this was covered by the PR teams on the Sunday morning political talk shows, and frankly I don't care.
(2) Oh Yeah, That Army. We meant to re-train them all along; we just thought that a six-month stint on unemployment would make them happy to have a job again. Wal-Mart operates on pretty much the same principle. In a rare moment of honesty, this was described as "Talks (that) are at an early stage and (that) do not represent an actual plan"
(3) They Don't Call Us Clueless for Nothing: Haven't solved any of the bombings since August? Don't know who's participating in the attacks? The Brits think our current intelligence is shit? The more things change...
(4) Indefinite Arms, Indefinite Attacks? Let's hope that this analysis by the Pentagon is as spot-on as the rest of their assessments.
(5) To be perfectly honest, I don't like glib Vietnam analogies any more than the next guy. Why aren't more people using Beirut?
(6) I'm not a foreign policy expert, but I know that bravado and resolution is no substitute for progress. For more comprehensive overviews, see these lengthy Mother Jones and New York Times Magazine articles and draw your own conclusions.
Let's be blunt: Schools, water, and a fucking flat tax have nothing to do with security. Personally, I think that signals are being sent out that the things we should have been doing six months ago are going to be hastily thrown together now, all with the purpose of us drawing down forces ASAP. We can then have a provisional government with limited power outside of Baghdad (echoing Afghanistan) and try claiming "Mission Accomplished" again, and see who's willing to get fooled again.