Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

31 August, 2006

Escape from childhood acting hell

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Remember Cousin Oliver, who is credited with single-handedly bringing down The Brady Bunch?

He's actually pretty fucking cool!

Objectivists, to the barricades!

Pamela "Atlas Shrugs" Oshry rallies the hordes of wingnuttia to the embattled GOP hold on the Senate. Aux armes!:
America, America, Gd [sic] shed his grace on thee. Do no [sic] squander it! As Soros Shadow party angles for a coup d'etat, and jihad is the enemy we speak of only in whispers and hushed tones (!)............I ask you, who better to fight the jihad? It is not morning in America, it is late afternoon.
I asl [sic] every reader to get involved in the process and insure that America stays America.

Fight Amerabia, fight the UN takeover of our sovereignty.
It's late afteroon, people! Just like in that Lieberman ad!

Pamela then goes on to name a who's who of the craziest (Santorum) and sleaziest (Burns) Republican senators out there, without really understanding why it is that these Republican incumbents are endangered. Her expert political analysis?
I don't trust Zogby, the quintessential Democratic party tool but I do believe the Republicans are vulnerable.
I will continue to update this and I will post the House and Governor races as well. Stay with these races. Make a difference
Damn if she doesn't have her finger on the pulse of American politics! She's got some kind of inkling that the Republicans are vulnerable! With all that warblogging, how does she find the time to keep up with politics?

In all seriousness, Pamela's obvious cluelessness in her solicitation of campaign funds shows that she has no understanding of the maxim "All politics is local," and that dumping money into a race won't necessarily swing the polls back to her favored candidates advantage, especially when her favored candidate is facing an opponent with an extensive on-the-ground organization and isn't hefting around an albatross named G.W. Bush. But if people want to throw good money after bad in re-electing Rick Santorum - who's not looking so hot - I say let 'em.

What an endorsement.


Read it all. Or watch it here.

30 August, 2006

For what it's worth

Here's a reader Q&A with Noam Chomsky published in the Independent.

"Fine" art

From the artistic genius who brought us Birthin' Britney comes the latest in celebrity shit - literally: introducing a bronze rendition of (blameless) Suri Cruise's (alleged daughter of douchebag #1 Tom Cruise and impressionable youth Katie Holmes) first solid poo.
"It's partially a statement on modern media that 'celebrity poop' has more entertainment value than health, famine or other critical issues facing society and governments today," the Capla crew said in a statement, "and also the absurdity of the media coverage on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' new baby, Suri Cruise, which has reached stellar proportions, eclipsing far more notable events with more substance."
Riiiiiiiight. Despite these high-minded pronunciations, I still say it's shit.

Perhaps, for art's sake, I should have ms. wobs save l'il wobs first-poo-in-the-toilet?

Succinct rebuttal

Matthew Yglesias provides a comprehensive rebuttal to the unmedicated ramblings of Crazy Uncle Rummy:
So, here's Iran. Outgunned by its two leading religio-ideological antagonists, Israel and Saudi Arabia, in the region. One immediate neighbor is Pakistan, with a larger population base and a nuclear arsenal. Another immediate neighbor, Afghanistan, is occupied by soldiers under the command of an American president who has spurned peace offers and threatened to overthrow the Iranian government. A second immediate neighbor, Iraq, is occupied by a larger number of soldiers from the same country. The Iranian military's equipment is outdated and essentially incapable of mounting offensive operations. So Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. Under the circumstances, wouldn't you? Don't you think a little deterrence capability would serve the country well under those circumstances?

I'm sorry to have gone on at such great length here, and a little nervous about stepping outside the "sensible" zone with my commentary on this topic, but somebody needs to call bull$#*t on the prevailing elite consensus about Iran. Of course it would be better to find a way to persuade, cajole, whatever Iran out of going nuclear -- the spread of nuclear weapons is, as such, bad for the USA. But there's no need -- absolutely no need -- for this atmosphere of panic and paranoia.

They grow up so fast

L'il wobs took his first stinky poo-poo in the toilet today! Hell yeah, I'm proud!

Remedial history

Crazy Uncle Rummy's at it again:
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that critics of the war in Iraq and the campaign against terror groups “seem not to have learned history’s lessons,” and he alluded to those in the 1930’s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.
He doesn't seem to realize that contemporary Iraq - pre- or post-invasion - bears absolutely no resemblance to Europe in 1938.


This is what winning in Iraq looks like:
So Mounthir Abbas Saud, whose right arm and jaw were ripped off when a car bomb exploded six months ago, must have thought the worst was over when he arrived at Ibn al-Nafis Hospital, a major medical center here.

Instead, it had just begun. A few days into his recovery at the facility, armed Shiite Muslim militiamen dragged the 43-year-old Sunni mason down the hallway floor, snapping intravenous needles and a breathing tube out of his body, and later riddled his body with bullets, family members said.


"We would prefer now to die instead of going to the hospitals," said Abu Nasr, 25, a Sunni cousin of Saud and former security guard from al-Madaan, a Baghdad suburb. "I will never go back to one. Never. The hospitals have become killing fields."

Eulogy for Labor Day

Harold Meyerson has a must-read op-ed piece today:
Corporate profits, by contrast, have risen to their highest share of the GDP since the mid-'60s -- a gain that has come chiefly at the expense of American workers.

Don't take my word for it. According to a report by Goldman Sachs economists, "the most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor's share of national income."
Again, I've got to ask, are we supposed to keep buying Stern's line that unions need to be concerned about the corporate bottom line? They're doing pretty fucking well without us!
For those who profit from this redistribution, there's something comforting in being able to attribute this shift to the vast, impersonal forces of globalization. The stagnant incomes of most Americans can be depicted as the inevitable outcome of events over which we have no control, like the shifting of tectonic plates.

Problem is, the declining power of the American workforce antedates the integration of China and India into the global labor pool by several decades. Since 1973 productivity gains have outpaced median family income by 3 to 1. Clearly, the war of American employers on unions, which began around that time, is also substantially responsible for the decoupling of increased corporate revenue from employees' paychecks.

But finger a corporation for exploiting its workers and you're trafficking in class warfare. Of late a number of my fellow pundits have charged that Democratic politicians concerned about the further expansion of Wal-Mart are simply pandering to unions.
Let's fucking traffic in class warfare. Let's start harrassing the corporate bigwigs who illegally deny their employees their basic human right to organize. Let's hold accountable the government enablers who allow such violations to occur with nary a slap on the wrist. Let's start talking to our friends, our families, and our co-workers, saying "These are the greedy pigs who are screwing you over!" Let's fucking organize and take our shit back!
Devaluing labor is the very essence of our economy. I know that airlines are a particularly embattled industry, but my eye was recently caught by a story on Mesaba Airlines, an affiliate of Northwest, where the starting annual salary for pilots is $21,000 a year, and where the company is seeking a pay cut of 19 percent. Maybe Mesaba's plan is to have its pilots hit up passengers for tips.

Labor Day is the traditional start of the campaign season. We need to be working our asses off on that day and the days after to elect labor friendly candidates to public office. And once they're elected, we need to work our asses off holding them accountable to us. And we need to bust our humps organizing the unorganized. We need to continue the massive organizing efforts that have begun in the service sector, but we need to also organize the professions - a demographic group which is now starting to see the effects of proletarianization as the same logic which stripped the craftworkers of their autonomy and livelihoods begins its insidious assault upon the white-collar worker.

Stir shit up. And yeah, I'm pissed.

So what's his excuse?

Fat-ass Rush Limbaugh blames the Left for the obesity crisis among the U.S. poor.


29 August, 2006

Minor miracles

I suppose we should be thankful for the small things:
The nation's poverty rate was essentially unchanged last year, the first year it hasn't increased since before President Bush took office.

28 August, 2006

And while real news was happening...

We had two weeks of "All JonBenet All The Time" for this?


The end of an era...
After 33 years in New York City's East Village, legendary punk club C.B.G.B. is expected to move to Las Vegas - commodes and all.

Club owner Hilly Kristal, who lost his lease last year, plans to relocate the venue to downtown Sin City after closing in October. He said he plans to take the bars, doors, toilets and urinals along to recreate the club's atmosphere.

"We're going to take it all," he told Pollstar.
As much as I love CBGB and its legacy, I think I can speak for all of us when I say taking everything to Vegas to "recreate the club's atmosphere" - that atmosphere being "urine-soaked" - sounds a little unsanitary.

Squeezing blood from a turnip

Still don't believe that class warfare is happening, and that working people are losing?
With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.


The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”

Until the last year, stagnating wages were somewhat offset by the rising value of benefits, especially health insurance, which caused overall compensation for most Americans to continue increasing. Since last summer, however, the value of workers’ benefits has also failed to keep pace with inflation, according to government data.

At the very top of the income spectrum, many workers have continued to receive raises that outpace inflation, and the gains have been large enough to keep average income and consumer spending rising.
Are folks still buying Andy Stern's line that working with corporations to ensure their profitability is good for the average worker?

Punk Rock Monday

Git your hands in there and feel what the people are all about!

With VHS quality, enjoy this set of three from the Minutemen: "Ack, Ack, Ack!", "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," and "This Ain't No Picnic."

d. boon was taken away from us much too soon.


27 August, 2006

Sore throat remedy face-off!

Chloraseptic v. Gargling Saltwater

With Chloraseptic, all you get is that cherry mixed with novocaine taste, along with 15 minutes of pain relief. Gargling saltwater for about two minutes actually takes the edge off for close to an hour, making swallowing almost bearable.

Advantage: gargling saltwater

Check back in when Tylenol Sore Throat Night-time formula challenges gargling saltwater in a face-off which pits the brute strength of pharmacopia against the ju-jitsu of home remedies.

[updated at 11:13 PM on 8/27/06]: The verdict on Tylenol Sore Throat? Surprisingly effective and minty-fresh. Score one for Big Pharma (and I ain't talkin' about Rush Limbaugh)!

I be illin'

What a rotten 48 hours. I've been slayed by some foul bug which has rendered me feverish, sore, and now unable to swallow without serious pain. A pox on this pestulence!

I got my shit together enough to roll out of bed, ride my bike through the 90+ degree heat to all-around great guy B's matrimonial festivities, and even choked a beer down the scratched up throat, but am now back to feeling, what's the word?... Ah yes, craptacular.

24 August, 2006


From Hunter at dKos:
Why are we treating our national frigging war policies like the Special Olympics? I fail to see why people who have been wrong about every single foreign policy prediction for the past four decades are still allowed to hold pens, much less wield them in public.

Oh, wait, now I remember. It's because being a goddamn incompetent horsef--king liar is considered a valuable punditry skill, cherished by political opportunists and media publishers who have better things to do than read the actual monstrosities against God and nature that they put up each day. Like figuring out what more effectively masks the smell of gin in the mornings: coffee, or orange juice? See the poll on page six!

Ladies and gentlemen, pick your sides

Draws released today for Champions League play.

Trickle, soon to be flood

The new cohorts are starting to trickle in to the office, one-by-one. So far, without exception, they've joined the GTFF.

Ché on a shrimp!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The General susses this one out. That ain't Jesus, it's Ché!

The Gamper

Things are looking swell at Camp Nou:

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

K-Fed's not letting the buzz get him down:
Kevin Federline gives his performance at Sunday's Teen Choice Awards the thumbs up, he tells PEOPLE in its new issue.

"I'm happy," says Federline, whose first album is due in October. "I think I pulled it off pretty well. (But) I'm overly critical of myself."
You're critical of yourself? A realistic assessment of your performance would cause you to conclude that it was painful, laughable crap. If you were overly critical, I'd expect you to be dead of a self-inflicted wound by now. I think the word you're looking for is "clueless."

Amid the trash, a kernel of truth

Every now and again, I need to be reminded why it is I have a morbid fascination with celebrity trash:
There is no clearer harbinger of the end times than the avalanche of reality shows jockeying for our scant TV viewing attention -- from "Extreme Makeover's" Frankensteinish reinvention of average Joes and Jills to the intimate peeks inside soon-to-fail celebrity marriages to unapologetic teens squandering their parents' disposable income on Sweet 16 parties to adults who will eat bugs or face extreme danger for the opportunity to one day evade taxes -- our society reached its acme sometime in the mid-70s. We are Caligula at this point [emphasis mine].
Ah, that's right. Bourgeois decadence.

Time for a new mnemonic device, J

Pluto's out:
The prestigious international group in the Czech Republic today spelled out the basic tests a celestial body needs to pass before it can be deemed a planet: "A celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a . . . nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

It's the last part of the definition that doomed Pluto. Its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.

Pluto will now be reclassified in a new category of "dwarf planets," similar to what astronomers have long called "minor planets."
So rather than promoting three new planets, Pluto gets the boot after 76 years (astronomy geeks will recognize that amount of time as the the interval between visits of Halley's Comet). A quibble, though. If it's the third criteria that got Pluto ejected from its prime celestial classification, wouldn't it be just as easy to say that Neptune isn't a planet because it failed to remove Pluto from it's orbital path? Wasn't it an arbitrary decision to pull Pluto's status, leaving Neptune's reputation intact despite that planet also failing to meet the third criteria?

I'm calling out the International Astronomy Union on their bunk and arbitrary anti-Pluto zealotry!


Is there anything more sublime than side 2 of Dark Side of the Moon?

Someone smack this guy

Buried at the end of an article describing the pessimistic turn in White House rhetoric on Iraq, we have this gem:
[Bush] had lunch at the Pentagon last week with four Middle East experts to solicit ideas about how to stabilize Iraq.

"I would say he was deeply concerned about how many lives are being lost, both American and Iraqi, and how much this is costing the American taxpayer," said Eric Davis, a Rutgers University professor who was among those invited, who urged Bush to launch a New Deal-style economic program in Iraq. "He would like to see progress sooner rather than later."
So, now we've got folks not just trying to scrap the New Deal, but to out-source it. Faboo.

23 August, 2006

GTFF-style branding

French politicians shamelessly rip-off one of the GTFF's lesser known branding ideas:
Light aircraft trailing banners for the party have been flying past beaches for eight weeks, while navy blue caravans have pulled up at almost 40 resorts to hand out free headrests, T-shirts and condoms decorated with the initials UMP. Red, blue and white flip-flops, which leave the initials UMP imprinted in sand, have already become collectors' items among some at the beach. But the most popular are the condoms, supplies of which are running out. One entrepreneur has advertised a set of 12 for €50 (£34) online.
I'm tempted to deliver a hardy "We told you so" to the naysayers from that time, but instead I'll simply say that, given the success of our Gallic colleagues, we should re-consider this as an idea for GTFF swag.

It's a shame about Evan

My memory might be foggy, but I don't recall Evan Dando ever being saddled with the monniker of "the golden boy of grunge." The Lemonheads were not grunge, if my memory of their short yet-oh-so-saccherinely-sweet time at "the top" is correct.

22 August, 2006

Hyperbole, anyone?

They want so desperately for the War on Terror to be WWIII (IV? V?) and for Bush to be Churchill.

The GWOT looks nothing like WWI or WWII, except in its senseless taking of lives. And Bush isn't even a noon-time shadow of the wartime leader that Churchill was.

I stand corrected

I must revise my previous statement on Madonna. She has not only joined the constellation of bizarro stars, she has outshone them:
“I can write the greatest songs and make the most fabulous films and be a fashion icon and conquer the world, but if there isn’t a world to conquer, what’s the point?” Madonna said, according to the paper. “I’ve just come to a place in my life where I’m trying to really see what the big picture is and where my energy is better spent, and that’s one area I’m really concerned about.”
Greatest songs? Most fabulous films? What did I tell you? Batshit insane.

Attendant with the belief that some huckster's holy H2O can rid us of nuclear waste comes an overly-inflated ego:
Madonna’s rep dismissed the story as old news, saying that the singer’s efforts occurred a few years back. “Better to talk about her current obsession — building an orphanage in [the AIDS ravaged African nation of] Malawi,” she noted, “kind of adopting an entire country.”
You hear that, motherfuckers? Madonna adopted a whole fucking country. I'm certainly not going to quibble with a person of means using their resources to help the least of us, and Malawi could certainly use the attention, but only a person with a paternalistic sense of noblesse oblige (or maybe the white man's burden?) - admittedly on the part of her PR flack - would refer to it as "adopting" a country?

Of course, Madonna is conquering the world, which may be why the Russian mob is after her...

A warm round of applause, please

Dear readers, I'd like for you to help me welcome Madonna and Guy Ritchie to the ever-growing constellation of stars who are bat-shit crazy:
“Together with husband Guy Ritchie, she approached Downing Street, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) with the idea, The Sunday Times reported. It is understood she was promoting a water-based solution that had allegedly proved successful in neutralising dangerous nuclear waste in Russia. Film director Ritchie was said to have called BNFL and written a series of letters accompanied by scientific papers. BNFL looked into the theory but could find no scientific basis for the claims, the newspaper said. Mr Ritchie was told by one senior executive that the scheme defied the laws of physics, but he persisted and was referred to a team led by Sue Ion, BNFL’s executive director of technology, said to have ‘a brain the size of a planet'."
This ranks right up there with Tom Cruise's deep insights into childbirth, Britney and K-Fed's Dwarf-Fest, and Mel Gibson's inside voice getting out of hand.

Punk Rock Monday

George W. Bush is completely and utterly delusional. I'd like to dedicate this Black Flag twofer - "Rise Above" and "American Waste" - to the miserable failure himself.


21 August, 2006

Piling on

Apparently K-Fed has already been savaged by the maurading mobs that are the internets, but I had to get a lick in after reading this:
“Don’t hate because I’m a superstar! And I’m married to a superstar! Nothin’ come between us no matter who you are!” he declared, as dancers pop-locked as his side.
That's painful to read, much less hear. And we don't hate K-Fed. We just think he's a no-talent sideshow freak.
Elliot Wilson, editor in chief of XXL magazine, hadn’t seen Federline’s TV debut. Still, he called it a “YouTube disaster” — something to be laughed off in hip-hop circles.

“I just think we ignore him,” Wilson told The Associated Press on Monday. “He’s a joke, basically. ... I just don’t think he gets it. He doesn’t get that he’s Britney’s man and it’s hard to take him seriously.”
See? And in a textbook case of cocaine-induced euphoria, we have this record-industry flack:
Hall said that despite the barbs K-Fed is getting, he still has a shot at success.

“All you can do, is really just keep on plugging,” Hall said. “He’s definitely going to have a teenage female fan base. So, you know, make songs that cater to them. Keep it clubby, keep it hoppy, keep it happy.”
Please don't keep on plugging.

How does this change your criminal profile?

Crap or no crap? Osama ♥s Whitney Houston:
According to Bin Laden’s former sex slave Kola Boof the Saudi native is obsessed with the crack addicts [sic] work.
Is there anything in this sentence that is not over the top? Kola Boof?!? Bin Laden is seriously into Houston's œuvre?!? You have got to be fucking kidding me!
"He would say how beautiful she is, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and by her husband - Bobby Brown, whom Osama talked about having killed, as if it were normal to have women's husbands killed."

She added: "He explained to me that to possess Whitney, he would be willing to break his colour rule and make her one of his wives."
If this is for real - c'mon... Kola Boof?!? - it's an intriguing look into the mind of the guy who actually has attacked the U.S. Just as John Hinkley Jr. tried to impress Jodie Foster, Osama's bad boy behavior is simply a desperate attempt to gain Whitney's notice and approval. It all makes sense now.

What he said

Gary Younge in the Guardian:
Every identity has its fundamentalists - the gatekeepers of what is and isn't permissible for those who share that identity. Since we all have access to multiple identities - race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, class - these fundamentalists usually have their work cut out trying to keep everybody in line. As the guardians of authenticity, their job is to deny complexity and impose uniformity.

One thing all these fundamentalisms have in common is that they are, ultimately, reactionary. They exploit identity not as a starting point to connect with the rest of humanity but an end point, from which the rest of humanity is excluded. Devoted to eternal and exclusive truths, they brook no dissent and tolerate no debate. What matters most to fundamentalists is not what you do but who you are. Regardless of how many good deeds you perform, a Christian fundamentalist will only recognise you as a fellow human being up to a certain point unless you too are a Christian fundamentalist - beyond that you are just one more sinner.

"Helping" the poor II

Speaking of (not) helping the poor, the Times also has a feature on the rural poverty of nearby Oakridge, OR. It serves as a vivid counterpoint to the triumphalism of the welfare "reformers".

"Helping" the poor

The NYT contributes a piece assessing a decade of welfare "reform". I'll let a Congresscritter give you the review:
“We have been vindicated by the results,” said Representative E. Clay Shaw Jr., Republican of Florida and an architect of the 1996 law who was vilified at the time. “Welfare reform was one of the most successful policy changes in our nation’s history.”
Wow. And what sort of metric are we using to determine success?:
When it was passed, some opponents offered dire predictions that the law would make things worse for the poor. But the number of people on welfare has plunged to 4.4 million, down 60 percent. Employment of single mothers is up. Child support collections have nearly doubled.
Sounds great! Until you actually think about it.

I'm not going to quibble with the increase in child support payments, although I will mention that in order to receive federal assistance, single mothers are required to disclose the identity of their child's father. There were lots of fears that this may endanger the woman and her child if they had left after being victims of abuse. I don't know the numbers on this... I'd be curious to know if anyone is even tracking instances of domestic violence that have been linked to the paternity disclosures.

Examining the claim that fewer people are on welfare. Okay - that's true. If their goal was to reduce the number of people receiving public assistance - reduce the number by kicking them off welfare - then they certainly succeeded. If their goal was to help alleviate poverty, however...

As for the claim that the numbers of single mothers working have increased, these women have primarily gone into low-wage, no benefit jobs with little chance for advancement:
Chevaughn L. Stephens of Seattle, a 29-year-old mother of three, said: “The emphasis on work first did not help me at all. It kept me back. It kept me from getting the education and skills I needed.”

In the last decade, Ms. Stephens said, she has had jobs as a waitress, a taxi dispatcher and a telephone sales representative. She is taking courses to get a high school equivalency certificate, needed for better-paying jobs.
So by success, Representative Shaw must be referring to the creation of a new desperately poor workforce willing to work the shit jobs in our nation and not get uppity about it. How noble.

Other notable points made in the article:
One of the most significant features of the 1996 law was the five-year limit on assistance for any family. Democrats feared it would cause immense hardship. To the surprise of welfare officials and policy analysts, most welfare recipients came nowhere near the limit.

But the looming time limit may nevertheless have influenced the choices and behavior of welfare recipients. Professor Grogger said many people, aware of the deadline, left welfare after only a couple of years so they could “save the benefits for a rainy day.”
Prof. Grogger, an economist (obviously) from the University of Chicago (natch), misses the boat here, mainly because he bought in to the trope of the long-term welfare addict perpetuated by the GOP in their long PR battle waged in the years and decades leading up to the 1996 welfare reform law. By and large, most of the people who received public assistance were experiencing a short-term crisis and eventually left welfare as their situation resolved itself. What you do see, however, is cycles of going on and off of assistance.

Welfare reform can only be deemed a success in making an already vulnerable population more dependent on and powerless against a system of exploitation, leaving them trapped at the margins of society.


I hope you'll pardon the mish-mash of this post. I'm just going to throw up some odds and ends - you know who you are:
  • Last we heard (about a week ago today), someone was headed to the hospital. I'm sure said person now has much more important things to do, but I believe I speak for all of us here when I ask for news as soon as you are able to fill us in. Smoke signals will do.
  • Did I mention that I saw Ted Kennedy in Boston? I did:
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
  • I had the joy of renting power tools today. And while renting them, I had a conversation with someone who looked exactly like our dear friend from Michigan, AP. Sounded exactly like her too... down to the accent. It was weird. So, in AP's honor, a shout-out to all of my friends in the midwest.
  • Didja see Wendy G is back?
  • J asked for more pictures of the l'il wobs. What J wants, J gets:
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
  • How are y'all settling in after your moves to the East Coast?
That should do it for now. I promise actual content of interest soon. Cut me some slack. It's Sunday.

I did a shitload of yardwork today playlist

Two birds with one stone:
  • Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
  • Somebody Pick Up My Pieces - Willie Nelson
  • Search My Heart - Hot Tuna
  • Boplicity - Miles Davis
  • November - Tom Waits
  • Pant Leg - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
  • Blame It on The Sun - Stevie Wonder
  • Maple Leaf Rag - unknown
  • Another Man's Done Gone - Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Cinderella's Big Score - Sonic Youth
Damn. That's a pretty sweet ten. Can we sweeten it up with good ole number 11?
  • Love Songs Suck - Bad Livers

20 August, 2006

First piece of tin

First, a sweet hook-up from seasons gone...

And the second leg of this weekend's Super Cup.

Ruminations on the county fair

The whole fam went to the county fair on Friday evening for our annual fried food extravaganza. A few thoughts:
  • Is there a reason why the designated dress code for the fair is "skank-wear"?
  • Styx? All consonants and still rockin' (in that county fair circuit kinda way).
  • There's a "you must be this tall" limit for the fucking ferris wheel. L'il wobs was not tall enough. He was disappointed, and it's a really stupid rule.
  • We are a fat, fat country. I'm not talking curvy, which is grrrrrrraaaaaaawwwwwllllllllll... but, unhealthily, unpleasantly fat. It's all the more unpleasant when you watch these folks shovel fried food and 64 ounces of soda into their face. Gross.
  • Rumor has it that Loverboy played the fair Thursday evening. Rumor also has it that the years have not been so kind to them. See the previous bullet point.
  • Carnie rides = rip off
  • I'll admit that I'm a big fan of jugglers, especially at the Country Fair where they're really good and can make all sorts of stoned hippie jokes. Juggler at the county fair? Not so funny, couldn't juggle worth crap.
  • Do all oldies cover bands have the exact same repetoire, or was it the same band moving from beer garden to beer garden?
  • Is it always 1985 at the county fair?
  • I learned something about how to keep our compost from stinking.
  • Saw a handful of "Saxton for Governor" buttons and "I'm a fan of the GOP" fans. Didn't see any Governor K. buttons, but I did see lots of Planned Parenthood fans.
  • If you're two years old, they'll give you all sorts of free crap.
And there you have it.

18 August, 2006

Justice may be blind, but she gives a helluva handjob

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You just can't ignore a story like this:
A former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.
Yeah, you read that right.
[Donald] Thompson, a married father of three grown children, testified that the penis pump was given to him as a joke by a longtime hunting and fishing buddy.

"It wasn't something I was hiding," he said.

He said he may have absentmindedly squeezed the pump's handle during court cases but never used it to masturbate.
Just so we're clear - Thompson is claiming that he wasn't trying to hide the fact that he had a penis pump firmly clamped on under his robe while sitting on the bench. Furthermore, his "use" of the pump was really just him needing something to do with his hands; the fact that his makeshift stress ball was attached to a penis pump which was attached to his dick is nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence.
Police built a case against the judge after a police officer testifying in a 2003 murder trial saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson's robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.

Investigators later checked the carpet, Thompson's robes and the chair behind the bench and found semen, according to court records.
Pity the poor CSI who had to process this case.

I suppose this may be one of those moments where Justice does not lament her lack of sight.

I see high people

I love it when the jokes write themselves.


Remember Katherine Harris, the Wicked Witch of Florida in 2000? She's running a hilariously unhinged campaign for the U.S. Senate in the Sunshine State. How hilariously unhinged, you ask? Crazier by the minute:
Katherine Harris' attempt to boost her campaign with a series of high-profile endorsements wilted Thursday when none of the officials appeared at her campaign rally and one of them said Harris wrongly included him on her list of supporters.


None of the nine officials listed on her event flier appeared, leaving Harris on her own to address a group of about 40 supporters, reporters and campaign staff members.

The most prominent official on hand was former State Rep. Allen Trovillion who left office four years ago.

Harris spoke in an airplane hangar that seemed to highlight the modest size of the crowd. She said a last-minute location change - required because a tree fell on the hangar where the event was supposed to be held - kept crowd numbers down.

Airport officials, however, said no hangar had been damaged by a downed tree and that the rally was held in the hangar that had been originally booked.

Harris spoke for 10 minutes saying she was the only candidate with the conservative credentials to defeat Nelson. When she finished, red, white and blue balloons dropped onto an empty stage, rendered unnecessary by the sparse crowd.
Schadenfreude, anyone?

Here's to friends I don't see enough of

Thanks for the great night, y'all. Too bad we have to pay for it somehow...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

17 August, 2006

Why am I not surprised

Yeah, we're in the midst of a the summer news doldrums, hence this crap:
Britney Spears, expecting baby No. 2, says she and husband Kevin Federline didn't plan the pregnancy. ''It just kind of happened,'' the 24-year-old singer reveals in an interview in the latest issue of People magazine, on newsstands Friday.
To paraphrase someone far wittier than I, family planning is a misnomer - any two idiots can make a baby. It takes planning not to procreate.

Anarchists from Eugene

Heh. I think I might actually know some of these "terro-hippies" to whom digby refers.

Take it from me

You should read billmon everyday. His coverage of the Middle East is expertly informed and has been of unsurpassed eloquence.

His latest on the war in Lebanon.

Meet the new boss...

The corporate class sees the writing on the wall:
Washington lobbying firms, trade associations and corporate offices are moving to hire more well-connected Democrats in response to rising prospects that the opposition party will wrest control of at least one chamber of Congress from Republicans in the November elections.

In what lobbyists are calling a harbinger of possible upheaval on Capitol Hill, many who make a living influencing government have gone from mostly shunning Democrats to aggressively recruiting them as lobbyists over the past six months or so.
En garde, kiddies. If we're going to be working to get the Dems into office, we're going to have to work doubly hard to make sure they're responsive to the people and not the corporations once they're elected. It's been a free-for-all for the rich for the last 5 and a half years, and they're not going to be thrown out of the party without a fight.

All is not as it appears

via John Campanelli at dkos

Your shampoo may have been confiscated for no other reason than to save someone's ass politically:
None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

16 August, 2006

Oh brother

When we last checked in with Pamela of Atlas Shrugs infamy, she was busy informing the world of the treasonous bastards at the NYT. We all figured she was a few fries short of a happy meal at the time, but tittered amongst ourselves and got on with our lives.

Her blog for the last week, however, has induced whiplash in this here reader, as she has somehow gained access to international players like former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and current UN Ambassador John Bolton while simultaneously plumbing some of the most idiotic depths in the wingnut-o-sphere.

Like in this post when she's finally clued in to one of the longest running Google bombs around - so long-running it's the Wikipedia's paradigmatic example - the "miserable failure." Such outrage - a few years too late.

Or how about this post where she gets all a-twitter about a display mannequin wearing a scarf that resembles a Palestinian keffiyeh. She sees Islamofascists everywhere!

Wow. Maybe if I dumb it down and espouse genocidal views, I too can nip at the heels of important somebodies.

I've seen this movie before

Oh shit.
A new Gallup poll finds that many Americans -- what it calls "substantial minorities" -- harbor "negative feelings or prejudices against people of the Muslim faith" in this country. Nearly one in four Americans, 22%, say they would not like to have a Muslim as a neighbor.

While Americans tend to disagree with the notion that Muslims living in the United States are sympathetic to al-Qaeda, a significant 34% believe they do back al-Qaeda. And fewer than half -- 49% -- believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the United States.

Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D. That same number admit that they do hold some "prejudice" against Muslims. Forty-four percent say their religious views are too "extreme."
A special ID, huh? Maybe like a yellow crescent moon prominently displayed on their clothing? That's never been tried before, has it?

The hired help

If George Felix Allen's "macaca" statement wasn't enough to convince you of the not-so-far-beneath-the-surface racism on the American right,...

... James Wolcott provides some additional contemporary examples of the contempt wingnuts have for those who aren't white.

Real world Mac-PC applications

Best spoof yet...

Thinking out loud

Just trying to process my own weekend experience at COCAL, what I've heard about CGEU, and thoughts on the proletarianization of professional labor in general. I want to ask the question: Is it time to reassess the tenure model of academic employment, to take what is important to the life of the university intellectual - most significantly (I believe) academic freedom and job security - and adapt them to the new realities of American higher education? Is clinging to an antiquated notion of the academy - one which is currently creating a two-tiered academic workforce of tenured haves and everyone else - a viable strategy in protecting the prerogatives and professional status of faculty?

I ask because it's very clear that the nature of the academy is changing - and its changing for the most part without any input from the majority of the people who work within this particular economic sector. We seem to have three options - 1) do nothing and roll with the punches as they come, 2) fight a purely reactionary, defensive battle to recapture the golden days of the American academy, or 3) propose an alternative model which recognizes that higher education in the United States has changed and addresses the numerous inequalities that the last 30 years of educational policy have generated. Yes, that does over-simplify things, but at this point, I just want to put it out there - is the tenure model of higher education the only acceptable model?

Re-defining family

In the wake of the retrograde political season for LBGTQ rights in 2004, this statement seems like a step in the right direction for not only securing the basic human rights of same-sex couples, but recognizing and legitimizing the wide range of family structures that exists (and I would argue has always existed) in the United States:
To have our government define as "legitimate families" only those households with couples in conjugal relationships does a tremendous disservice to the many other ways in which people actually construct their families, kinship networks, households, and relationships. For example, who among us seriously will argue that the following kinds of households are less socially, economically, and spiritually worthy?
  • Senior citizens living together, serving as each other's caregivers, partners, and/or constructed families
  • Adult children living with and caring for their parents
  • Grandparents and other family members raising their children's (and/or a relative's) children
  • Committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner
  • Blended families
  • Single parent households
  • Extended families (especially in particular immigrant populations) living under one roof, whose members care for one another
  • Queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households
  • Close friends and siblings who live together in long-term, committed, non-conjugal relationships, serving as each other's primary support and caregivers
  • Care-giving and partnership relationships that have been developed to provide support systems to those living with HIV/AIDS


Right-wing strategists do not merely oppose same-sex marriage as a stand-alone issue. The entire legal framework of civil rights for all people is under assault by the Right, coded not only in terms of sexuality, but also in terms of race, gender, class, and citizenship status. The Right's anti-LGBT position is only a small part of a much broader conservative agenda of coercive, patriarchal marriage promotion that plays out in any number of civic arenas in a variety of ways -- all of which disproportionately impact poor, immigrant, and people-of-color communities. The purpose is not only to enforce narrow, heterosexist definitions of marriage and coerce conformity, but also to slash to the bone governmental funding for a wide array of family programs, including childcare, healthcare and reproductive services, and nutrition, and transfer responsibility for financial survival to families themselves.
Re-embedding the Right's anti-LGBTQ bigotry in the context of its opposition to civil rights and basic government services may help hasten the changes in public opinion that simple demographics have started.


I know I should know better, but I'm continually amazed at how utterly and completely disconnected from any sort of reality George W. Bush actually is:
President Bush made clear in a private meeting this week that he was concerned about the lack of progress in Iraq and frustrated that the new Iraqi government — and the Iraqi people — had not shown greater public support for the American mission, participants in the meeting said Tuesday.


More generally, the participants said, the president expressed frustration that Iraqis had not come to appreciate the sacrifices the United States had made in Iraq, and was puzzled as to how a recent anti-American rally in support of Hezbollah in Baghdad could draw such a large crowd. “I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States,” said another person who attended.
One hopes that at this meeting the nattering nabobs spelled it out for W, and that he actually listened. However, given the White House penchance for only bringing in sycophants and W's general lack of anything resembling critical thought, I'm not going to hold my breath.

15 August, 2006


The Hoff loves being groped.

Greer gets the money quote

From no less (the article is worth the read for actually showing that grad employee unions are succeeding in many places):
[A]s Oregon’s Greer put it: "So far the message has been, ‘We teach college for Christ’s sake. We aren’t replaceable.’"
If only everyone else had been as on-message.

Sounds like quite the weekend, fellas - way to represent!

Hope for the future

During the 1990s, I refused to be involved with the Democratic Party because I objected very strenuously to the neo-liberal project of structuring "free trade" regimes. My drifting back into the party had more to do with my own coming to grips with political realities in the United States than any perceived change in the Democratic postion on neoliberalism, but when I read folks like atrios, I get the sense that things may be changing for the better:
Joking aside, many of us once-"sensible liberals" bought into the neoliberal 90s paradigm to some degree, and now that we've seen the consequences - both in terms of its politics and its ultimate policy outcomes - we've come to realize that much of it is in many ways Very Bad.
In that post, Duncan links to a great piece discussing how economic populism - as well as some good, old-fashioned dialectical materialism - is finding its way back into the American Left.


13 August, 2006

For Pattyjoe

Because I'm killing time in Seattle while the wee wobs takes a nap...

Rules on Touching the House Guitar
  1. The house guitar is always in tune, in a Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo kinda way.
  2. Despite what the number of tuning pegs may suggest, it is a five-string guitar.
  3. I know it should be strung with nylon strings. I don't care.
  4. You'll have to shake a pick out of the F-hole just like everyone else.
  5. Absolutely no "Stairway to Heaven"!

12 August, 2006

Their 'Couv and COCAL VII

Wee wobs weathered his first extended road trip pretty well. It took us about (or "a-boot", as our northerly neighbors would have it) 13 hours to make the drive, with a couple hour long stops to let the child run crazy for a bit. Other than the long line at customs, entering Canada was a breeze. Vancouver itself is a stunningly beautiful city, one that puts other West Coast metropolitan areas to shame. And, being Canadian, of course, they're super-friendly. I'm a little disappointed that I haven't had time to explore the town while here, but work is work, right?

I'm a little bit disappointed in the conference. On the one hand, I'm more convinced than ever that contingent faculty organizing is where the higher education labor movement needs to be focusing its resources if the movement is to grow and maintain some sort of faculty governance within the academy. The trends are clear - the ranks of contingent faculty - especially part-time faculty - will continue to grow, and the days of the mythical academy filled with tenured professors are numbered. The task is to formulate a model to fill the vacuum.

On the other hand, the contingent faculty union movement has a looooooooong way to go if it hopes to take part in this conversation. I again have to marvel at how cutting edge we are in the graduate employee union movement. Moreover, I'm always surprised at how radical the organizing model seems to most of our brothers and sisters in the labor movement. In a session on mobilization strategies, I brought up that the foundation to any successful mobilization had to be conversations with individual members. The amount of resistance that this met was astonishing to me - people actually questioned the value of having individual conversations, and others objected to the amount of time involved with it. The latter objection, that of it taking too much time to talk to someone, I found particularly disturbing. The fact that many people don't seem to want to do the hard work of building a movement, of actually having to sacrifice for our values and beliefs, bodes ill.

I suppose one small consolation to me is the energy that graduate employees have. We'll be the ones entering the ranks of the new professoriate in the short-term, and I have to hope that our experiences will serve as a shot in the arm to the contingent faculty union movement. In that respect, I was disappointed that I didn't see anyone from LEO or GEO at the University of Michigan here. Here's a success story to be shared - a successful contingent faculty organization, and an example of how grad employees can be a boon to contingent organizing. Opportunity missed.

At any rate, the conference is over for me, now. I'm going to reconnect with the fam in a bit, skipping out on the evening banquet, and we'll be leaving early tomorrow to drive back south so that we can visit a couple of friends in Seattle before making the haul back to Eugene.

I, for one, will miss the metric system when I leave.

10 August, 2006

Light blogging for the next few days

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Blogging is going to be relatively light for the next few days. We're headed to the Great White North for the COCAL conference. I'm excited about getting a sense of what goes on with part-time faculty organizing. If higher ed unionism is going to grow, it's going to be with this crowd, and I'm curious to see how up-to-the-task the movement is right now. I'm also looking forward to being able to attend one of these professional conferences with the family, who will be tagging along to get some quality tourism time in Vancouver. And I'm looking forward to a mojito made with real Cuban rum, and maybe a Cuban cigar. A cheap (but not the cheapest!) Cuban cigar, to be sure.

But I'm also facing the very real possibility of returning home to a drastically different environment. Lots of people are on the move, some already gone, and my world is the sadder for it. So even if I'm just not seeing/blogging/chatting with you folks for four days or seven weeks or some indeterminate amount of time, know that I'm thinking of you.

I hope your interview went well and you have a blast... ok, a tolerable time in Philly.

I hope your stint doing honest work out on the prairies of the Midwest inspires you, and if you need my advice - work smart.

I hope you made it to Iowa City ok and that those UE'ers know how good they have it.

I hope all is well and spirits are high as you wait to meet your wee one. We're all very excited for you!

I hope you discover post-doctoral stability... all of you (you know who you are).

Be well, and I'll check-in when I can.

A word on naming things.

As Dave has shown me this week, somebody has to do the hard work of developing a suitable name for an organization, and you have to really work to get suitable acronyms - hilarious and otherwise. The same apparently holds true for naming the various publications and paper trails that are the life-blood of any bureaucracy. You kinda want to meet the "faceless gummint bureaucrat"/editors who work at the various government printing presses when you see work like this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Or this...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And I certainly have to know the story behind the person who came up with this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What did they expect?

Carl Romenelli gets his comeuppance. Are we surprised that he got burned by the sloppy signature gathering conducted by the Santorum Youth?

What's more, Carl's even crazier than I initially pegged him to be. When after finding out that "69,622 of the 94,544 signatures are likely invalid" and "contain signatures purporting to be for Jesus Christ, John Kerry, Lee H. Oswald, Terri Schiavo and Mickey Mouse," one has got to have quite the generational fortitude to claim that this "is a heavy-handed, undemocratic effort to block him from running" for Senate.

What a fucking dipthong.

09 August, 2006

Funniest. Shit. Ever.

(a shout-out to jhm over at Free Exchange on Campus for this nugget)

Allow me to set the scene: George Leef has worked feverishly through the night, devastating the dread beast of whiteness studies (and its ideological brethern in the pantheon of cultural studies) with his pithy bon mots. He's worked himself into a lather, linking the Bolshevist, racist vanguards of the academy to those who would impede the peaceful and beneficial workings of the free market, all in the name of identity politics. Without even the faintest shred of irony, he pens his penultimate paragraph:
“Whiteness” is a useless explanation for a real problem – the fact that it’s possible for people to use the coercive power of the state to obtain unearned wealth and power for themselves. In modern America, organized interest groups routinely importune politicians for favors and privileges, and race has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Occupational groups, for instance, lobby for anticompetitive regulations that keep newcomers off what they regard as their turf. An inherent weakness in democracy makes it quite feasible for groups of people with mutual economic interests to benefit at the expense of others. In the distant past, race was sometimes used as the excuse for such enactments, but today interest groups rely on different rationales, such as “consumer protection.” The problem to be investigated and confronted is not “whiteness,” but rather what Frederic Bastiat called “legal plunder.”
I give to you George Leef: White Guy, Rugged Individualist, Non-beneficiary of Coercive State Power.

Shitting on the sidewalk, in front of god and everyone

We always knew in the back of our minds that the Bushies wouldn't be held accountable in any meaningful way for perpetuating torture and other war crimes. But I didn't think they'd be so brazen in trying to duck justice.


Does this creep anyone else out?

Trashy confession

Okay. I'm not ashamed to admit that Liz Kelly's "Celebritology" is one of my favorite reads on the old "series of tubes". Why, you ask (knowing full well you probably don't)? Because when she gets her snark on, she's hilariously devastating to the pretentious ego:
Lohan Wants to Visit U.S. Troops in Iraq

The Associated Press
Celebritology Annotation in Italics

NEW YORK -- Lindsay Lohan says she wants to go to Iraq with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and entertain American troops there.

Lindsay Lohan has suffered some big setbacks in recent days -- she was publicly scolded by a studio exec, dumped by her label, hospitalized for "dehydration" and has been called as a witness in a suit against her mother -- and wants us to associate her name with a more positive vision of a busty, ministering angel to the troops than a hungover, forever bikini-clad party girl on the fast track to Taradise.

"I've been trying to go to Iraq with Hillary Clinton for so long. Hillary was trying to work it out, but it seemed too dangerous," the 20-year-old actress says in an interview in the September issue of Elle magazine, on newsstands Wednesday.

"Hillary Clinton has no intention of taking me to Iraq and, as we speak, her people are calling my people to find out where in the hell I got the idea that Hillary would even permit me to join her on a government-funded junket to a war zone. And she asks that I please call her Sen. Clinton in the future. Oops."
Textbook case of what not to do when the advice you're given is "keep it real."

And there's your low-nutrition/high calorie treat to soothe your jangled political junkie nerves.

Please, Joe. Stop.

Joe is moving from the passive "having a political tin-ear" to an active "being a douchebag":
LIEBERMAN: Well, I think it's time for somebody to break through the dominance of both parties by the margins of the parties, which happens in primaries. I think it's time for somebody to break through and say, Hey, let's cut out the partisan nonsense.

Yes, I'm a proud Democrat, but I'm more devoted to my state and my country than I am to my party. And the parties today are getting in the way of our government doing for our people what they need their government to do.

So in the end, Matt -- the great thing about America is that the people will have the last word.


LAUER: Senator, is there any phone call you could receive? Is there anyone in the Democratic Party who could call you today and ask you to drop out that you would listen to?

LIEBERMAN: Respectfully, no. I am committed to this campaign, to a different kind of politics, to bringing the Democratic Party back from Ned Lamont, Maxine Waters to the mainstream, and for doing something for the people of Connecticut. That's what this is all about: which one of us, Lamont or me, can do more for the future of our people here in Connecticut. And on that basis, I'm going forward with confidence, purpose and some real optimism.
Wow, Joe. It didn't even take you five minutes after leaving the party to start pumping out those GOP talking points. Oh wait, you did that while you were nominally a Democrat.

08 August, 2006

Good-bye Joe

You couldn't have possibly left with more class.

A sailor's life for me

I have yet to see (and am in no particular hurry to get to) either of The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, despite hearing good things about at least one of them. I will, however, make a point of acquiring a recording of Johnny Depp and notable others singing sea shanties. I love me some all-star sea shanties!

07 August, 2006

Done with the Greens

Last week we were presented with either the hopelessly clueless or mindlessly malevolent U.S. Senate candidate for the Green Party in Pennsylvania, Carl Romenelli. The national Green Party has put out this press release defending the GOP's near-total bankrolling of Romenelli's petition drive to be put on the ballot (his "rival" Santorum's interns even helped collect signatures).

The Greens completely miss the boat on this one. The issue isn't whether or not Pennsylvania deserve a variety of political candidates (they do). The issue isn't over Bob Casey's progressive credentials (they're not top-notch).

What's raising my hackles (and the hackles of others) is that Romenelli and the Greens are either too politically at sea to understand, or too pig-headedly stubborn to care, that the only reason GOP donors ponied up to the Romenelli campaign was to make it easier to elect a candidate whose agenda is diametrically, 100% opposed to that of the Green Party.

I've been supportive of the Green Party in trying to elect candidates to local office. I'm even supportive of third party candidates running to the left of Democrats in important elections. I don't begrudge Romenelli or the Green Party their spot on the ballot in Pennsylvania. But don't make up ridiculous rationalizations about why its okay to accept money from your political and ideological enemies whose sole purpose in doing so is to use you in order to advance their retrograde agenda.

This whole episode has led me to believe that the people who are behind the Green Party are either too naive or too fucking stupid to participate in politics.

Gibson's brain trust

In a doozy of a noggin' scratcher, Patrick Swayze defends Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic slip of the tongue... I think:
Swayze, who is starring in the West End production of "Guys and Dolls," said the incident certainly would not end Gibson's career.

"When you are a pit bull, and you love what you do and you are going to continue to grow, that talent will find its way out," Swayze said.
Roger that, the fat man walks on the beach at midnight.

06 August, 2006

Connecting with the youths

via atrios

What will save Joe Lieberman's flagging campaign? Why surely a little cross-generational appeal, right?

Oy vez!

05 August, 2006


Seriously. Sucktacular.

Just when you start to get your head around it...

You think you know where this is headed, but then right at the last second - schwi-pek! I'm just wondering if the message is actually getting through the gimmick to its intended audience, who I'm going to assume are not rabid, right-wing Clinton haters and/or cigar afficionados.

04 August, 2006

Profiles in douchebaggery

I don't usually pile on Bill O'Reilly, mostly because keeping on top of his inane ramblings (and those of his guests) is a full-time job requiring resources I don't have, namely FOX News. But the misogynistic asshole needs to be called out for recycling the classic "blame-the-victim" trope:
From the August 2 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: So anyway, these two girls come in from the suburbs and they get bombed, and their car is towed because they're moronic girls and, you know, they don't have a car. So they're standing there in the middle of the night with no car. And then they separate because they're drunk. They separate, which you never do. All right.

Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She's walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she's out of her mind, drunk.

And the thug takes her over to New Jersey in the cab and kills her and rapes her and does all these terrible things to her. And the thug is so stupid, he uses her cell phone, and the cops trace it back to him and they -- and they arrest him and charge him with murder. He had a prostitute girlfriend with him, and she's charged as an accessory to murder. But Jennifer Moore is in the ground. She's dead.


To the barricades!

Today finds more impassioned pleas on behalf of Mel Gibson to add to yesterday's pile of conservative character witnesses. And they get more bizarre. Take the Rabbi Daniel Lapin, for example (via The General):
A balanced and reasonable view would be that if indeed he really does hate Jews, then he deserves respect for his self control when not drunk.


I would rather be surrounded by people who hate me in their heart but whose conduct toward me and my property is exemplary than by people who love me in their hearts but who kill my cat, kick my kids, and key my car.
Yeah, these quotes are removed from their original context, but honestly, under what circumstances would these statements make any sense? And what kind of friends does this guy have, who "love [him] in their hearts but kill [his] cat, kick [his] kids, and key [his] car?" Is he one of those textbook Stockholm Syndrome-type cases?

The rhetorical and logical contortions of the religious right do not fail to entertain.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

It's August, and the world's going to hell in a handbasket. That can only mean one thing: VACATION!

Freakishly weird

The long, strange meltdown of Joe Lieberman takes a bizarre and violent twist.


[updated 8/4/06 at 9:18 AM]: Matt Stoller breaks an even zanier twist to the event.

03 August, 2006

And they call us elitists

Republicans, true friends to the worker:
From the August 3 broadcast of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show:
BOORTZ: I want you to think about this, folks. You know, most of the people that earn minimum wage are teenagers. They're in the job market for a short period of time, they're learning some job skills, they're learning workplace skills. Most of the people who aren't teenagers that have a minimum-wage job, it lasts about three to four months, and they're off making more money. I want you to think for think for a moment of how incompetent and stupid and worthless, how -- that's right, I used those words -- how incompetent, how ignorant, how worthless is an adult that can't earn more than the minimum wage? You have to really, really, really be a pretty pathetic human being to not be able to earn more than the human wage. Uh -- human, the minimum wage.

Hunter writes

You read.
Words will never be able to express my loathing for the War Pundit class, a strain of human entirely devoted towards the justification and glittering packaging of carnage.

I am not a pacifist. There are plenty of times when I wish I were, but I might as well wish to have wings while I am at it, for both have equal chance of happening, and the wings would be more functional. The truth is, I understand war, and hatred, and revenge just fine, and don't particularly think of those that don't as being more enlightened or more evolved: just less self-reflective. One of the deepest veins in the writers whose work has dug and scratched at me -- Melville, Twain -- is a distinct vein of self-aware misanthropy. Something to admire? No. But something true, I think, and the honesty counts. There are those that say pessimism and liberalism do not go together, but for me the entire premise of liberalism is that the jagged blades do exist, and will, and that it is the responsibility of civilization to dull them.

Because I know myself, and I am hardly an angel. For example, the day a certain unnamed neoconservative "intellectual" dies, you can bet your ass I will celebrate. I will choose a mound of dirt in the backyard, declare it his grave, and dance on it until the grass itself begs for mercy. The day Ann Coulter sheds the last layer of skin between her shriveled heart and the immortal, I will buy a cheesecake. If the swelled chicken pox scab currently masquerading as Rush Limbaugh were to be hit by a bus on the way to his latest half-erect premise, I would look up at the stars that evening and raise a glass in silent acknowledgment of the eternal, where the best of us, the worst of us, the trees that shade us, and the pets we all loved as children are returned to to same vortex of gas and dust momentarily masquerading as a planet.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote a metric crapload of words in his life, but the sheer, broken-glass pleasure of writing an obituary for Nixon: I wonder if anything was more satisfying?

Alas, all of them will probably outlive me, at this rate. Ah, well; perhaps before that time I can make sure they dislike me intensely enough for me to feel I have done some speck of good in this world.

It's easier to bullshit than debunk

Our Man in DC groks what he signed up for when he began fact-checking those with an infinite capacity to sling bullshit.

The Ultimate Tool

I should preface this by saying that I'm the type of person that left-wing third parties are attempting to pry away from the Dems. I've got a fingerhold on the left-flank of the party. I voted for Nader twice (in '96 and '00), but I've since come to the opinion that the only institutional entity that has even a chance of stopping the GOP assault on, well... everything, is - for the time being, for better or worse - the Democratic Party. I might be convinced otherwise, but if the Greens are running candidates like this, they won't change my mind any time soon:
In an interview yesterday, the Green candidate Carl Romenelli didn't flinch when I noted his campaign was funded entirely by GOP money. "It's quite possible," he said. "We received a lot of money from Republicans." Romanelli made the ballot, you'll remember, due to a voter signature drive funded by $66,000 from 20 conservative donors. The private company he hired was able to roust up over 90,000 signatures despite there being fewer than 20,000 registered Greens in Pennsylvania.

But Romanelli disputed the notion that he was being used by supporters of incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) in order to draw votes away from their Democratic challenger, Bob Casey. He said it showed that there was "enough mutual respect" between himself and his donors to have "a free and open debate."

"I respect the fact that people on the complete opposite side of an issue could respect my point of view," he told me. As Justin wrote yesterday, that respect came from an unlikely pool of GOP lobbyists and extremely wealthy donors.
There's two possibilities here. Either Romenelli is completely clueless and honestly believes that GOP donors are financing his candidacy in the interests of political pluralism - in which case, he's a complete idiot - or he's running to willfully derail the Democratic candidate, Bob Casey (who's certainly no "blue state" dream candidate). Either way, this is a black eye for the Green Party and its hopes for any sort of political relevance.

Empirical observation

Indians apparently like looooooooong pop songs.

Get your talking points straight

All right then. Either he is or he ain't. Yesterday, Mel Gibson was a verminous, anti-Semitic, Michael Moore lovin' liberal, but today, prominent conservatives are mounting the barricades in his defense, including culture warrior numero uno, David "Lord of the Google Monkeys" Horowitz [all bolds are mine]:
On the August 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz told co-host Sean Hannity that "people deserve compassion when they are in this kind of trouble." Horowitz continued: "As a Jew, I feel much more threatened by people like [former President] Jimmy Carter when Israel is facing genocidal enemies who have sworn to destroy it and kill the Jews, and Carter is out there, wagging his finger at the Israelis." Horowitz added that the anger over Gibson's comments is "all about politics" and that "a lot of the people who are jumping all over Mel Gibson see him as some kind of a conservative or as a Christian. There's a lot of hatred of Christians in this country."
I put it to you: does this qualify as self-hatred? And I'm guessing that I'm not supposed to point out that Horowitz's smear of our evangelical, Southern Baptist former president as an enemy of the Jews is just the very same hatred of Christians so throroughly deplored by Horowitz and his merry band of misfits.

Some of the other tortured rationales profferred in Gibson's defense:
In his August 2 column on National Review Online, John Derbyshire excused Gibson's comments because "[t]he guy was drunk, for heaven's sake. We all say and do dumb things when we are drunk." Derbyshire added: "As little as I care for Mel and his splatter-fest Brit-hating oeuvre, though, I care even less for the schoolmarmish, prissy, squealing, skirt-clutching, sissified, feminized, pansified, preening moral vanity of the vile and anti-human Political Correctness cult."
I must say, this begs the question of what kind of drunk this guy is after his three-scotch-before-dinner warm-up. In vino, veritas.
On the August 1 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, William A. Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said, "There's a lot of people who have made comments which are bigoted who are not necessarily bigots," adding that he is "concerned now about piling on." Of those who won't forgive Gibson, Donohue said: "Who gives a damn about those people?" Donohue then asked, "What kind of blood do they want out of this man?"
To prove his point, Donohue busts out his copy of Blazing Saddles and, sans irony, states, "See, the n*%@!# and the k$@& aren't really bigots, but they're saying bigoted things!" From this, we're to assume that the alcohol didn't so much let Gibson's inside-voice loose in public as throw off his sense of comedic timing, thus turning a perfectly hee-larious Mel Brooks-esque gag into an unseemly anti-Semitic gaffe.

As to Donohue's later question, I hear the Red Cross can always use O+, but they're not choosy about blood types. I hear they prefer you show up sober for these things, but the pay-off, apparently, is that it's easy to get schnockered after giving a pint or two.

So, are all these people liberals, now, too?

Not even light can escape his gravitational field

The Age of Hasselhoff portends great, great evil. Be afraid.


Hat tip to NL
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

02 August, 2006

Profiles in douchebaggery

With Horowitz, it seems to be feast or famine - a slew of outrageous comments backed by incomprehensible logic, followed by periods of silence, where his is presumably ginning up his next quixotic assault (the noble fool!) on the hydra-like totalitarianism of "the Left."

Luckily, we have folks like Mark LeVine who point out that Horowitz is a lying tool and a douchebag.
ALAN COLMES (co-host): Let me, David, ask you, as Jimmy Carter points out in an op-ed piece today, the issue here is tactics. We all want the same goal, here.

HOROWITZ: The biggest appeaser of them all.

COLMES: But punishing civilian populations with the hope that they will then blame Hamas and Hezbollah has had the opposite effect. So the tactics are not working. We've tried these tactics for decades. They've only created more insurgents, more terrorism, more Hamas, more Hezbollah. So we're not doing it the right way. That's the issue.

HOROWITZ: Jimmy Carter is a moral and national disgrace.

COLMES: That's kind of you to say, David.

HOROWITZ: And saying that just proves it. Israel hasn't punished anybody. Israel was attacked across an international border. And Mark LeVine is not a moderator between them. He's an apologist for the terrorists. I have read a ton of his stuff --

LeVINE: All right, this is absolutely unconscionable for you to say. You have said this in a book, sir --

HOROWITZ: You have never condemned, you -- I mean, just what you said before.

LeVINE: Excuse me? Excuse me?

HOROWITZ: Israel did not go across an international --

LeVINE: I've never condemned Hamas? Is that what you're saying? Again you're lying, just like you did in your book.

HOROWITZ: OK, you know, now you're -- now you're interrupting -- now you're --

LeVINE: See, this is why we need to talk about facts, sir. We need to have the facts that are really at hand to have a real conversation. And I'm happy to do that if you don't want to yell and call people morons and --

HOROWITZ: All right, anybody who writes a book about why -- about -- anybody who --
Oh, there's more sputtering, and even a recorded "pfft!" on the part of Horowitz in this transcript, but little in the way of rational thought. The man is a delusional mess.


Brad watches FOX so you don't have to

Even though it pains him:
So I’ve been watching FOX News for the last half hour. When I first flipped it on, they were interviewing some lunatic who said that Europe was demanding an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah because of “anti-Semitism.” After that, they had a piece about how Fallujah was “transforming” for the better because a bunch of Sunnis had fled there after their neighbors in Baghdad threatened to kill them! “It’s become a safe haven for Iraqis looking to escape violence!” the reporter laughably said. During the segment, they actually cut to shot of some guy painting a school. I’m completely serious.


Mel Gibson - an anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-woman, retrograde Catholic - is really a liberal. Simply stunning.

I hear about the post-modern decay of the left from so-called conservative intellectuals all the time, but what can be more post-modern than slapping the label of "liberal" on anything that's "bad," in spite of whatever context it may have been found? Next thing you know, they'll be calling George W. a liberal... oh wait.

A comparison deserved

David Horowitz and Lyndon LaRouche, are we surprised to see them drinking from the same vat of kool-aid?

01 August, 2006

Inter-union loan

Congrats to pattyjoe who'll be checked out on loan to the Land of Lincoln.

Pandora's box

I don't think I'm being paranoid when I say that world events are spiraling out of control very quickly.