Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's a Greek play

As previously noted, I don't like Maureen Dowd so much as some of my Liberal comrades do. I don't even think all of this is good stuff. But the part that is is so good...

As Mark Twain said: "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Of course, it's taken Junior only five years to learn how smart his old man was.

His father made the "mistake" of not conquering and occupying Iraq because he had the silly idea that Iraqis would resent it. His father made the "mistake" of raising taxes, not cutting them, and overly obsessing about the federal deficit. And his father made the "mistake" of hewing to the center, making his base mad and losing his bid for re-election.

Bush père did make a real mistake in responding slowly to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but that blunder has been dwarfed by what the slothful son hath wrought. Because of his fatal tardiness, W. now has to literally promise the moon to fix New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, driving up the federal deficit and embarking on the biggest spending bonanza and government public works program since F.D.R.

In his address from the French Quarter, the president sounded like such a spendthrift bleeding heart that he is terrifying the right more than his father ever did.

Read my lips: By the time all this is over, people will be saying that Poppy was the true conservative in the family.

Via Steve Gilliard, who adds:

Everything that Bush does fails. From Andover to Katrina, he's tried to emulate his father, but with his mother's character, so he fails. Over and over and on a bigger scale.

Bush is no conservative, he's a reactionary

Bad dog. No biscuit.

Poor ladies of Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia

Trojan is smarter than we thought.

The condom brand has launched a new line of products called Elexa, which claims to commit itself to a woman’s right to “sexual freedom.” (I can’t help giggling when I read that.) Additionally, they’ve included Club Elexa, a forum where women can get advice from sexologists and share “inspiration and war stories” with each other. (Whatever that means.)

The products range from condoms and gels to “freshening cloths” (ew!) and a vibrating ring (ooh!). The ring is actually not available in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia.

Vanessa from Feministing

Single Women, Single Children

Jill at Feministe has some data:

The birth rate among single women has gone up — which some consider a bad thing, and make ridiculous statements about. Example A: Bridget Maher, from the Family Research Council, who “said another possible reason for the higher birth rate among single women is that they depend too much on contraception instead of abstinence to prevent pregnancy. Maher added, ‘Behavioral change — and not pharmaceuticals — will solve this problem.”

Many single women are now choosing to have children without being married. Is that necessarily a bad thing? The ideal situation for a lot of women may be the husband and the baby, but a lot of others either may not have the husband or may not want one (and there are certainly a lot who have a same-sex partner instead). I don’t think telling women in their 20s and 30s that they should toss out their pills and be abstinent will be very successful.

Here is a comment I made on their blog:

I’m kind of of two minds about this...but I admit I’m biased because of my personal experience. I grew up without a father or father figure, and while it wasn’t the only thing that “twisted” me, it sure as hell didn’t straighten me out.

I think I agree with Chris Rock, who said on one of his specials that sure, a woman can raise a kid alone…but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the father, or even a man, but I believe in my heart that some sort of family structure larger than just a mother and child is better for kids.

Now, none of this means I think the goverment has any place getting near legislating the issue. And it seems obvious to me that contraception is better than abstinence…for a number of reasons…but it’s just how I feel.

Calling the 'crats on their cowardice

You know, no matter how many times I watch "Celebrity Poker Showdown", which I do fairly often, I still don't know much about the game. No matter how many times I see that little tutorial narrated by Dave Foley that they run at the beginning, there seems to be something in my brain that rebels against the knowledge.

That does not keep me from enjoying this Op-Ed that uses poker as a metaphor for what the Democrats need to do to win:

In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt.

Control of the initiative is control of the battle. In the alley, at the poker table or in politics. One must raise. The American public chose Bush over Kerry in 2004. How, the undecided electorate rightly wondered, could one believe that Kerry would stand up for America when he could not stand up to Bush? A possible response to the Swift boat veterans would have been: "I served. He didn't. I didn't bring up the subject, but, if all George Bush has to show for his time in the Guard is a scrap of paper with some doodling on it, I say the man was a deserter."

The press, quiescent during five years of aggressive behavior by the White House, has, perhaps, begun to recover its pride. In speaking of Karl Rove, Scott McClellan and the White House's Valerie Plame disgrace, they have begun to use words such as "other than true," "fabricated." The word that they circle, still, is "lie." The word the Democratic constituency, heartsick over the behavior of its party leaders, has been forced to consider applying to them is "coward."

I don't know why I like that so much, seeing as, as I said, I don't know much of anything about the game. Oh. Unless of course...well, you don't think the fact that screenwriter, playwright and director David Mamet wrote it has anything to do with it, do you?

When bad things happen to bad people

And when I say bad, I mean less-human-than-weasel. That's right, I'm talking about Tucker Carlson. A couple of months ago or so, he said (on MSNBC) that he's "always respected" the French for blowing up a Greenpeace ship, killing a member of its crew. "It was a bold and good thing to do."

Now that, already, is enough to make me wish I could see him thrown naked into a severe winter, with insufficient food. Maybe leave him his goddamn bow tie so he'd have to eat it. But get this.

It'd be one thing, if he had the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say "yes, I believe pro-enviromental activism should be punishable by death." But no, he doesn't even have the courage of his own insane convictions.

Dig this conversation between Carlson and Greenpeace Executive Director John Passacantando:

TC: ...The French Government did not intend to kill anyone, therefore it is not terrorism. This is an important distinction. Vandalizing the ship was impressive on France’s part. I don’t support terror.

JP: Bombing a ship is terrorism. Killing a man is murder.

TC: You should know about vandalism, you guys engage in it all the time.

JP: We are a peaceful organization that engages in no violence to people or property.

TC: Spraying paint on seals is the same kind of vandalism, blocking entrances with your bodies…

JP: So would you call Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi vandals?

TC: I don’t want to make a generalization.

(Empasis mine)

This is the kind of thing that makes me want to put this man down with my knees in his chest, slapping him repeatedly and saying:


Ahem. Sorry. Say, you know who I don't like? Tucker Carlson.

So...who's seen Escape from L.A.?

Funny story: When I first saw this film a few years ago I would have called it flawed to a crippling extent but with some interesting ideas. But man, in the years since it's started to age well.

A natural disaster turns an American city into a gang-infested hellhole populated mainly by "minorities." The President of the United States, a hypocritical, pious fraud with a spitfire daughter he cannot control, manipulates others into trying to find a doomsday weapon for him.

Meanwhile, time is running out for such "heroes" as we have left, and there seem to be more bad guys than good. All in a supercharged, high-testosterone fantasy that both looks back to what America probably never was and ahead to what it might possibly become.

In 1996 they thought it was satire. Heh. Funny.

Friday, September 16, 2005

TV Update Two

"Twins" must set some kind of sitcom record for the biggest waste of proven talent. In one show, we've got Melanie Griffith, Mark Linn-Baker and Sara Gilbert, on a series created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.

Griffith may have been best known for being gorgeous from the '70s through the '90s, but given a good director and/or script, she can be quite touchingly human. Denied either here, she walks through it calcified in both performance and appearance (I suspect Botox).

Linn-Baker was so good as Peter O'Toole's sidekick in "My Favorite Year", and of course spent seven years as Larry on "Perfect Strangers." That show hasn't quite made it to the "classic" status bestowed by TV Land, and there's probably a reason. But a recent one-time-only showing of an episode during their WB television marathon did show he and Bronson Pinchot to be a servicable comic team. If not quite the reincarnation of Gleason and Carney some were calling them at the time. Here, I found myself wondering if, or maybe hoping, this was a gig he took for money, in the firm conviction it would be soon cancelled.

And Sara Gilbert. Wow. She makes me sad. She created, along with the writers, one of my favorite fictional characters ever in Darlene on "Roseanne." One of my biggest objections to the dive that series took in its final years is what they did to her character. I have a thing about series that take strong women characters and turn them into zombies, especially when they're produced by self-declared champions of feminism. But at her peak on the show, say the season between Becky leaving and Darlene going to college (some of which was written by future "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino), she was a cynical but sensitive smartass. I have a weakness for such characters, as anyone who's read my work or, probably, knows me, will attest. Anyway, it's been what? 12 years? And it's beginning to look like she's never again going to find such a perfect melding of actress and material.

As for Kohan and Mutchnick...well, I'm beginning to suspect they must have made some sort of deal with the devil for "Will & Grace" because certainly nothing they've done before or since has been as funny as that show was in its first few seasons.

"Twins" is a show you just kinda watch and say yeah, so what's the point?

Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good, or vice versa?

So there's this fella named Hugh Hewitt. He's a right-winger who, near as I can tell, seems to specialize in setting up false premises. His response to the president last night began,

A Good Speech by a Good Man
September 15, 2005 06:45 PM EST
Perfect pitch returned tonight, and the president's looks backward and forward were on target.

I want to see if I can talk a little bit about that, and I need you to take my word that I am "speaking" calmly and with genuine curiosity as my motivator. I shall try to refrain from cheap shots, and stem the rising tide of bile in my mouth when I read that George W. Bush even spoke the word compassion--

But what I'm wondering is this:

Does anybody really believe any of that?


A good speech? Here I'll admit something: I didn't watch it. I can't watch George W. Bush speak. I even close my eyes sometimes during clips on The Daily Show. Why? Two quotes explain it better than I can right now:

"I have an enjoyment of language...Reverence? Well, I probably do, because I go into a kind of pain when it's used loosely and inaccurately."--Tom Stoppard, in conversation.

This is also why I can't watch most movies or TV shows, with some exceptions:

Words, when spoken out loud for the sake of performance, are music. They have rhythm, and pitch, and timbre, and volume. These are the properties of music, and music has the ability to find us and move us, and lift us up in ways that literal meanings can't. Do you see?

You are an oratorical snob.

Yes I am, and God loves me for it.
--Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing, "War Crimes"

For me, watching George W. Bush speak is like watching a chimpanzee play with one of those little games where you try to make little ball bearings fall into holes. It's like listening to a tone-deaf singer.

I've seen him speak enough times to know that unless looked at through a glowing haze of fairy dust, as it is my knee-jerk response to assume most of those still in his camp are doing, he is never going to be FDR or Lincoln when it comes to reaching people through oratory. It's just not his bag.

And reading a transcript of last night's address, I try as hard as I can to play fair. I even tried imagining Martin Sheen was speaking it. Didn't last, the two styles are too different.

My first problem is that I can't unknow what I know. About where money tends to go in Bush's administration. About the level of competence with which he does almost everything. And about his...original relationship with truth and ethics.

Many of Bush's statements are perfectly fine if taken by themselves, at face value, with no knowledge of the actions surrounding them. Nixon was good at that too; if you ever get a chance to hear a recording of his first Inaugural Address, it's a magnificent speech. Written largely, I believe, by William Safire, though Nixon delivered it well. In it, he said:

When we listen to "the better angels of our nature," we find that they celebrate the simple things, the basic things—such as goodness, decency, love, kindness.

We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another—until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.

There's not a word of that I can argue with--but if you read your history, you know that Nixon didn't mean a word of it.

My second problem is that, as implied above, it seems to me that to see Bush's remarks last night as a great speech you really have to want to see it as a great speech. I guess that comes back to the fairy dust crack I made above, and I know I said I was going to try to avoid cheap shots.

But it's beyond me, sometimes, it really is. Reading it, this seems to me a speech that will not stand, and certainly didn't sing.

For all the jokes I make, I really don't want to believe that all republicans are that blind or that uncaring. But sometimes, they leave me little choice. George W. Bush a good man? Really? I'm not trying to be a wiseacre here, at least not as much as usual. I mean: Really?

I'm trying to avoid the temptation of a list of crimes. Even if they were his only weakness, as The Smiths would sing, it seems the crimes have to be giant and vast for the country to listen. Besides, if you've been reading this blog more than a week, you've heard it before. Probably you could join in on the choruses.

On a scale that (no offense to any perfectly nice ones who may be in the audience) even conservatives can comprehend...George W. Bush is a bad man. And...there's something genuinely scary about the thought that there are some people who either will not see that...or see it, and don't care.

Quick rule

From The Times-Union via The News Blog:

The undershirt the white student wore had a confederate flag on the front with the words "Keep it flying." On the back, a cartoon depicted a group of hooded Klansmen standing outside a church, waving to two others who had just pulled away in a car reading "Just married."

Two black men in nooses were being dragged behind.


"I'm not racist or anything," he said.

"I'm a redneck," he said. "But no, I'm not racist."

Here's the quick rule: Just about anytime somebody says something like "I'm not a racist, but..." it really means "I am a racist, and..." It's not always as clear-cut as this, but it's true at least 99 percent of the time.

Dig the disconnection inherent in that statement, though. To wear a shirt like that, and say one or two of the things he's quoted as saying in the longer article, and then say you're not a racist. Wow...I've heard of the power of good self-image, but this is

George W. Bush: the anti-F.D.R.

Paul Krugman: He's a pretty good foe of the Bush administration, a liberal and most importantly, he's an economist I'm not afraid to read. That has to mean something. In his column today for the New York Times, he expands on what Josh Marshall said about the likely results of Bush's "new deal."

...aside from the effect on the deficit - we're about to see the spectacle of tax cuts in the face of both a war and a huge reconstruction effort - this raises another question: how can discretionary government spending take place on that scale without creating equally large-scale corruption?

It's possible to spend large sums honestly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated in the 1930's.

But George W. Bush isn't F.D.R. Indeed, in crucial respects he's the anti-F.D.R.

When a man is right, he's right

I'm ambivilent about Bill Maher. I never liked him as a comedian, and although I haven't seen much of the new HBO show, I never cared much for Politically Incorrect; I think Maher's instincts as a comedian are at war with his desire to be a serious political commentator. And oft times one is thrown off balance by the other.

But his "Dixie Chicking" was stupid, and his book When You Drive Alone, You Drive With Bin Laden was actually pretty good. But, like it says up there...
"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

...You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans.

When a man is right, he's right.

In the Soup

The best response to the president's speech I've read so far is this from Talking Points Memo:

Maybe you want to spend $200 billion on rebuilding the Delta region too. Fine. Something like that will probably be necessary. But don't fool yourself into thinking that what's coming is just a matter of a different chef making the same meal. This will be Iraq all over again, with the same fetid mix of graft, zeal and hubris. Cronyism like you wouldn't believe. Money blown on ideological fantasies and half-baked test-cases.

What's weird is that Joshua Micah Marshall wrote it a day before the president said anything, but that doesn't make it any less true. Personally, I don't think New Orleans will ever be rebuilt. I can't remember who said this, but it's not original to me: Ask yourself how much progress has been made in rebuilding anything where the World Trade Center used to be. That's two buildings. New Orleans was a city.

The president's plan is about two things, neither of them rebuilding New Orleans: Greasing his friends and trying to get his numbers as a strong leader who is trustworthy in a crisis to go up. Everything else is just smoke on the water.

One of the things the president said was:

"Every time the people of this land have come back from fire, flood and storm to build anew -- and to build better than what we had before," he said. "Americans have never left our destiny to the whims of nature, and we will not start now."

To which I say yeah--every time we weren't being led by you.

Looking at some of the conservative blog reaction to what Bush said, it looks to me as if they're concerned, first and foremost, with how much it's going to cost. Which doesn't seem to have bothered them about Iraq, but hey, that's a war on people who attacked us, you know. This is, um "helping people" who are "down on their luck," and that goes against all republican logic.

What's really weird is that it looks as if at least some of them were really hoping Bush would be a Big Man and essentially tell New Orleans and Louisiana "Who told you to live on the goddamn Gulf Coast in the first place? You get yourself out of it and when you do, you report to me, cause I'll give you a beating."

They think it makes him look small even to just be pretending to be compassionate. It makes me wonder, and I'm going to try not to inject too much wishful thinking into this: Is Bush going to be ground between the rock of his conservative base and the hard place of liberals like me?

One group doesn't want him to do anything that might cost them money or make him look weak. The other will never trust either his intentions or his ability. Are there enough people in-between for republicans to keep power?

PS: And yes, I'm back.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Boondocks is a horrible, angry comic strip

Stupid, rebellious and hateful. And this isn't funny. This isn't funny at all.

Annabel wrote this, I do not endorse it

She's still really liberal, for obvious reasons, and hasn't quite wised up to the contemporary feel of this blog as it now exists. But she wanted to say something about this:

Accompanied by a six-member band led by her musical director, Rob Bowman, Ms. Stritch breezes through 16 songs woven together with a running monologue in which she describes her life in show business as a sequence of bittersweet comic pratfalls, many of the worst tumbles fueled and fogged by gin martinis. Her self-deprecating tale of the time Tony Curtis fixed her up on a disastrous blind date with Frank Sinatra is one for the books.


"Oh, to be in New York now that the Theater season is here."

Thanks, kid. Like I say, that's Annabel talking; I don't go in for that show tune crap, myself. I can't explain how the 1985 Live Performance Follies in Concert CD, featuring Ms. Stritch, got on my amazon wishlist, reachable by clicking on "view my complete profile" over there.

Here's some more of that stupid defeatist talk

TalkLeft-so you can guess how unbiased they are-has a post quoting an article from the AP on what the public thinks about our President, George W. Bush, these days. The AP article says:

Fewer than half say Bush has strong leadership qualities, down from 63 percent in October 2004.

_More than half say they don't trust Bush's judgment in a crisis.

TalkLeft ends by saying:
Can Bush lead in a time of crisis? More and more people are saying he can't. And that may be his enduring legacy - that of a President who failed to lead.

Personally, I don't like their attitude. I mean, if President Bush had failed to lead, that would mean he squandered the opportunity of a unified country and world like few if any Presidents have had before.

It would imply, in fact, that he was a wimpy incompetent who enjoys playing dress-up in his grown-up suit; to say nothing of his cowboy and fighter pilot outfits. But a man-child who hasn't a clue what any of those occupations really mean.

And I, for one, don't like to hear that kind of talk about our President.

*Posts revised slightly to promote bi-partisan healing.

Soon we'll have you making babies to step up for the war of 2023

ETA: Do not read this post by law Professor Michael Froomkin at Discourse.Net. I know it seems like he's making sense but I think he's sneakily being what they call "ironic." Which, it turns out, does not have an awful lot to do with rain on your wedding day.

So like I said, don't read it. Also, do not think of a purple cow.

The only effective way to retake control of the public debate and distract from Katrina is to reignite the culture war, a move which would give the GOP a reasonable shot at controlling the debate for the next election. And the best way to do that is to appoint an anti-abortion Justice such as Priscilla Owen shortly after Roberts is confirmed. Far better to have the next election be about abortion than competence, Iraq, or indeed anything to do with the way the nation has recently been governed.

The ever-shrill Amanda, always blogging on "womyn's issues" better hope that boyfriend of hers is shopping for a ring to make an honest "womyn" out of her. And she knows it, too; for once the little mad dog can't even summon up the breath to snort; she's accepted the inevitable:

For what it’s worth, it’s hard for me to write about Roberts for the same reason it’s hard for Kevin Drum—it’s such a farce. He’s clearly going to get the position and it’s just a matter of noting what idiotic Democrats go along with it. That and I’ve been worn down by the people who thought this wasn’t worth fighting about and that things like Roe v. Wade weren’t really being threatened. I do it anyway, but my heart isn’t in it....Abortion really is going to have to be criminalized before a good number of people wake up, I think.

It's gonna be a lot better than you think it is, Amanda. You'll like being a mother, and you'll see that this is really a gift from God. We'll take care of you; don't worry.

*Posts have been revised to reflect current mood of reaching across the aisle to our brilliant, sensitive and nonpartisan Republican brothers.

What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?

Good afternoon. The posts of this blog have been slightly revised to bring them up to our current, pro-Bush standards of discourse. That aside, they're exactly as sensible and sane as any entries that appeared in previous months.

I do not agree in any way, shape or form with this entry by Oliver Willis, in which he says to his party, the democrats:

This is a new world, folks, and simply because you’re on the minority doesn’t allow you to slide by voting for bad things. John Roberts may be a perfectly amiable guy, but he’s a stone cold conservative that believes in an ideology that dismantles a lot of what we hold dear. You may want him helping out with the little league team — but not on the supreme court.

I really think if any of you are serious about ‘08 or want to be brought in from the cold on that day when Dems regain a Senate majority - you need to vote no on him, and vote no on the right-wing agenda whenever it comes up (that means estate tax, income tax, social security, and foreign policy among others).

I am glad to see Mr. Willis has finally gotten on the bandwagon that this is a new world since 9/11, but it's unfortunate that he still doesn't realize that the majority is always right, except when they've been misled by our biased media.

That's how we know that The Brothers Grimm is such a major cinematic accomplishment--it's made $33.3 mil, so it must be good, right?

George Bush says that Americans have liked what they've seen in John Roberts, and that's good enough for me. I mean, I know some liberal cream puffs like the so-called People for the "American Way" have raised their effete little fingers in objection, but that's probably because they know he could hit a ball further than they can, the little pussies. Chief Justice Roberts is going to bring us back to what we used to be in the 1950s, when everybody lived just like Leave It To Beaver; it'll be a paradise on earth come again.

Ollie knows the democrats aren't going to yield a serious candidate in '08 because they don't have serious candidates, all they have is a bunch of schoolchildren. Fighting the War On Terror and letting the wealthiest one percent of Americans keep their money is a job that requires grown-ups, and Republicans have got a lock on that, as this photo proves.

I only hope Mr. Willis will show the grace, and inspire the pride, that our legitimately elected leader did when he accepted responsibility for all the screw-ups that may or may not even be his fault. I, for one, wiped away a tear.

Now, off to listen to some good-old-fashioned down home country music, real music, without synthesizers, just the way God intended it.

ETA: Lil' Joshua bleats something else about how the democrats aren't hitting Republicans who supported President's Bush's wrongly maligned plan to save Social Security hard enough. Jeez, Josh, work and play well with others much?

Many, many Republicans who will be in competitive races next year came out for this disastrous idea, which is now deeply unpopular pretty much across the country. And with very few exceptions -- I'll give Santorum his due on this one -- they ran away from like scurrying rats as soon as it became clear that the president couldn't protect them and the public wouldn't stand for it.

Their own actions and words convict them twice-over. They stood up for terrible policy and then they switched or ran away from their position as soon as it was expedient. So they're happy to sell out their constituents and lack principle. They're flipfloppers.

Are we only willing to win the defensive phase of this battle?

Yeah, Josh. Because the best offense is a good defense. Everybody knows that.

Sometimes I just feel like banging my head against the desk


From where I sit, there are some real problems with the idea that Clinton should be the Democratic Party's candidate for president that have nothing to do with her combativeness or her willingness to deal respectfully with bloggers. Most notably, she's on the wrong side of the small matter of America's currently ongoing war.
Demanding "ideological purity" of your primary candidates is a bad idea, but there's a lot of distance between purity and "anything goes." Best as I can make out, the political calculation the Pottery Barn Democrats are making is that they think Bush will declare victory and go home before the 2008 election. That will defuse the war as a primary issue, while still lending them a hawkish posture that will be useful in the '08 general election. That may happen, and I certainly hope it does. My guess, however, is that it won't and this war will still be going on. If that's the case, then this blogger at least plans on getting unfashionably litmus-testy about it and my hope would be that others will join me.
(Emphasis mine)

Arrrrrrgh! A Republican president who is personally responsible for starting a war that has cost the lives of thousands based on a lie...and Democrats are hoping it'll all go away because they were too stupid to oppose it in the first place.

You know what? Fuck it. Fuck 'em. I'm joining the other side. This blog is now pro-Republican. The President's response to New Orleans was prompt and swift; his compassion for human suffering knows no bounds. John Roberts is a supremely qualified, fair and just man, and a fine choice to define the law of the land for decades. The war in Iraq is directly connected to the events of September 11, 2001.

That may all be hard to swallow, but not as hard as the democrats' bloodless gobbledygook. This may be the only party in history with the ability to to turn a gift horse into a sows ear. Fuck em. They don't deserve victory, they don't deserve our votes until they stand up and say this war is WRONG and this president is a LIAR.

Until then, GOP forever! Hail Bush!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I'm so not following this

Ok, you may have heard there's a bit of a tempest in a blogspot going on right now. It's about Michelle Malkin's objections to a planned memorial to the passengers of flight 93, who died on 9/11.

Malkin is a favorite punching bag of the more Democratic-leaning blogs, a Republican columnist, one of the pack of attack dogs set out after Cindy Sheehan, and the author of a book defending the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Despite the fact that this contradicts a statement she wrote in 2000.

But anyway, in regards to the proposed memorial, Malkin's objection is to the design. This was chosen by a committee that included surviving family members of those who perished in the crash.

Some other such family members have described the winning design this way, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Liberal Avenger):

"It's powerful but understated," said Kiki Homer, whose brother, LeRoy W. Homer Jr., was co-pilot on the plane that crashed after passengers rebelled against terrorist hijackers. "It's beautifully simple.

"My breath is taken away."

Esther Heymann, whose daughter, Elizabeth Wainio, died in the crash, agreed.

"The understatement speaks to the profoundness of what occurred here," she said.

According to jurors who chose the winner, it offers "tranquility, beauty and silence. It will be a place for everyone who visits to feel the spirits of the 40 heroes in the whisper of the trees and honor their unselfish sacrifice of their lives to preserve the lives of countless many.

Ms. Malkin, on the other hand, feels that the proposed design really looks kind of, like, Muslim to her. Some of the other bloggers have been attacking Ms. Malkin's position, including Jill from Feministe, who counters Malkin's argument that--

This is no way to fight a war. Or to remember those who have died fighting it.

A proper war memorial stirs to anger and action.

--by saying,

I cry whenever I go to the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial in DC. I don’t feel “stirred to action,” although admittedly I walk away feeling angry at our government over involving us in another unnecessary war. I don’t feel like picking up a gun after visiting the WWII memorial, or the Holocaust museum, or the Korean War memorial. If I remember them correctly, all those memorials manage to focus on bravery and courage, while still allowing space for grief, contemplation and hope for peace.

And they were actually war memorials. Do I need to say it again? The innocent passengers on Flight 93 didn’t die fighting in a war. This is not a war memorial. I agree that it’s important to immortalize the heroics of the people on that flight. But it’s completely innappropriate to turn a memorial into a politicized “let’s kick some ass, yay war!” campaign

This in turn has earned Jill the scorn of a fella named Jeff Goldstein, who writes a blog called protein wisdom. Mr. Goldstein manages to be gratuitously sexist in his response, in reference to both Jill and, bizarrely, actress/model Shannon Elizabeth.

He pretends, you see, that Elizabeth replied to Jill's blog entry by saying--

“Gee. And I thought I was an uninformed bimbo."

--which comment he actually posted on the blog.

Now, I hold no brief for Ms. Elizabeth who, it's true, will probably mostly be remembered, if at all, for her breasts and her willingness to expose them to a camera. Though a quick search for recent news items about her shows that she does, at least, seem to be doing her bit for charity, both as regards victims of hurricane Katrina and breast cancer.

I'm just contemplating how quickly a member of the right "blogosphere" jumps from discussing what form a memorial should take, to making ill-tempered slurs that use offensive terms.

But I've been staying out of it, although I do feel that if the family members of those who are being honored are OK with a memorial design, who am I to disagree? Seems simple enough to me.

But like it says up top there, I'm so not following this...

Oh, good lord, this is a terrible idea

Actors, singers will belt out TV theme songs at Emmys

Like "American Idol," Sept. 18's Emmy Awards will either have viewers nodding to unknown vocal talents or shrieking with horror as TV stars and singers croon a number of classic TV themes. Thankfully, most of them will be duets with some of the less-accomplished getting some professional help.

This "Emmy Idol" will include William Shatner ("Boston Legal") and opera star Frederica von Stade singing the theme from Shatner's 1960s series, "Star Trek."

Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") and Donald Trump ("The Apprentice") will be cackling the "Green Acres" tune, and Gary Dourdan ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") and R&B artist Macy Gray will elevate their voices with "Movin' On Up" from "The Jeffersons."

Ellen DeGeneres returns as host and will manage this circus full of comic potential.

I'm anticipating a lot of muting...

Ethics, schmethics

Oh yeah, I've been meaning to mention this here. From the Los Angeles Times:
Just four days before the Bush administration named John G. Roberts Jr. to fill retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court, the District of Columbia federal appeals court decided a case called Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld. In a crucial victory for the administration, the court upheld President Bush's creation of special military tribunals for trials of alleged terrorists and denied them the protection of the Geneva Convention. Roberts was one of the judges who decided that case, but he should have recused himself.

While the case was pending in his court, Roberts was interviewing with high White House officials — including Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove — for a seat on the Supreme Court. In the words of the federal law on judicial disqualification, this placed the judge in a situation where "his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

Of course, during Bush v Gore in 2000, there were at least two Supreme Court justices who should have recused themselves. So, it's not like this is a problem, and no macho but compassionate man should be expected to think otherwise, right?

From Blah3:

January 2001...

President Bush witnessed the swearing-in of his White House staff Monday and said he expected them to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and to conduct themselves with humility and civility at all times.

Bush warned that he expected his White House staff to meet the highest ethical standards, avoiding not only violations of law, but even the appearance of impropriety.

Prisoners of love, grey skies above

From The Wall Street Journal:

[James]Cox, a prisoner for nearly 30 years, is serving time for armed robbery at the Washington Correctional Institute. In the past two weeks, though, he has also been a first responder, one of dozens of inmates in orange jumpsuits who have been driving forklifts, clearing debris and handing out food and water to people living here near the Mississippi line.

As Louisiana digs out from Hurricane Katrina, convicts have been opening roads with axes and chainsaws and doing other useful work. At Angola State Penitentiary, near Baton Rouge, inmates produced mattresses for shelters. Some prisoners have even donated money from what little they are paid so evacuees can buy postage stamps.

"I've been a thug since 1966, and this feels good," said Mr. Cox, a brawny, tattooed 53-year-old. "When people come up and you look into their faces and see all the sadness, and then they thank you like you are the one giving this stuff to them, it makes you tear up."

If I were the United Nations

Bush Presses World to Crack Down on Terror
"We must send a clear message to the rulers of outlaw regimes that sponsor terror and pursue weapons of mass murder: You will not be allowed to threaten the peace and stability of the world," Bush said. "Confronting our enemies is essential, and so civilized nations will continue to take the fight to the terrorists."

I'd say, good thinking. Here's the deal: You don't get to decide who our enemies are ever, ever again. You cool with that? That okay with you, sunshine?

Take your apron from your holster, it's a woman's world

So there's this columnist and radio talk show host named Dennis Prager. Yesterday he published a column that seemed to take as it's topic...well, frankly, I'm not entirely sure. Come with me, won't you, and let's see if we can make sense of...

The feminization of society: Judeo-Christian values: part XXII

As a result of the repudiation of Judeo-Christian values, we are witnessing the ascendance of the feminine in Western society.

All right!

Wait, he means that as a bad thing.

There are two reasons for this. One is the overriding belief in equality, which to those who reject Judeo-Christian values means sameness.

Well, he's got me there. I'm going to guess that by Mr. Prager's standards, I reject Judeo-Christian values. I'm pro-choice, pro-gay, pro gay marriage, pro-separation of church and state, pro-science. And it's true, to me, equality does mean sameness. You know why?

Because that's what it means.


n 1: the quality of being the same in quantity or measure or value or status [ant: inequality] 2: a state of being essentially equal or equivalent; equally balanced; "on a par with the best" [syn: equivalence, equation, par]

Judeo-Christian values emphatically affirm the equality of the sexes.

Yes, that's why they want women to have an absolutely equal say in what's done to their body. And if the sexes are equal, what possible difference could what sex one marries make?

In fact, given that the creation story in Genesis proceeds from primitive to elevated, the last creation, woman, can easily be seen as the most elevated of the creations.

See that? If you broads would just stay on your pedestals and let us elevate you high enough that we could look up your dresses, we men could get something done around here.

Every man knows how much a good woman helps him transcend his animal nature.

And that's what you're here for, you know. Coming to complete fufillment for yourself is irrelevant.

Judeo-Christian values do not conflate equality with sameness.

Too bad. Because, as seen above, that is the reality of what it is. I leave it to you to infer what that means about Judeo-Christian values.

But the Left rejects any suggestion of innate sexual differences.

We do? I'm pretty sure I still know the difference. Girls are the ones with soft bodies and the pretty eyes, right?

That is why the president of Harvard University nearly lost his job for merely suggesting that one reason there are fewer women in engineering and science faculties is that the female and male brains differ in their capacities in these areas.

Actually, he nearly lost his job for saying that women lack natural ability in math and science and this explains why fewer women succeed in math and science.

A secular liberal who advocates affirmative action based on sex, Harvard's president nevertheless also has -- or had, until his humiliation at the hands of his faculty -- a belief in seeking truth.

He also had--and for all I know still has--a habit of trimming the number of women offered tenure at Harvard since he became president.

And the truth is that men and women are profoundly different.

It's true. We are. What with the penises and the vaginas and all. This Dennis Prager is a deep thinker.

One of these differences is that women generally have a more difficult time transcending their emotions than men.

Silly bitches.

There are, of course, millions of individual women -- such as Margaret Thatcher -- who are far more rational than many men; but that only makes these women's achievements all the more admirable.

See? I'm not sexist!

It hardly invalidates the proposition.

It hardly needs to.

Far more common than Margaret Thatcher's rationality was the emotionality of the women jurors in the Menendez brothers' trials. All six women jurors in the Erik Menendez trial voted to acquit him of the murder of his father (all six males voted guilty of murder). A virtually identical breakdown by sex took place in the Lyle Menendez trial for the murder of their mother. The women all had compassion for the brothers despite their confessions to the shotgun murders of their parents.

Compassion? Those crazy, crazy bitches.

To say that the human race needs masculine and feminine characteristics is to state the obvious.

Actually, each human needs both masculine and feminine characteristics. That's a very important distiction.

But each sex comes with prices.

Especially on Times Square.

Men can too easily lack compassion, reduce sex to animal behavior and become violent.

We can? Thanks, Den!

And women's emotionality, when unchecked, can wreak havoc on those closest to these women and on society as a whole -- when emotions and compassion dominate in making public policy.

"Bury your feelings, Luke--they do you credit, but they could be made to serve the Emperor."

The latter is what is happening in America.

Yes, compassion is dominating in making public policy. One has only to look to Iraq or New Orleans to see a public policy dripping with compassion.

The Left has been successful in supplanting masculine virtues with feminine ones.

We have? Actually, most people don't consider virtues to be either masculine or feminine.

That is why "compassion" is probably the most frequently cited value.

Stupid compassion.

That is why the further left you go, the greater the antipathy to those who make war.

Except for all the lefties (including me) who agreed with making war on those who had...oh what is the phrase...actually attacked us, he's quite right, of course.

Indeed, universities, the embodiment of feminist emotionality and anti-Judeo-Christian values, ban military recruiters and oppose war-themed names for their sports teams.

Damnit, I would have done well in college.

A sentiment such as "War is not the answer" embodies leftist feminine emotionality.

Actually, it embodies one of the most truly reverent, I would argue divine and sincere songs ever recorded. However, it was recorded by a man named Marvin Gaye. That may be throwing you.

The statement is, after all, utter nonsense, as many of the greatest evils -- from Nazi totalitarianism and genocide to slavery -- were quite effectively "answered" by war.

Well, I'm pretty sure during WWII, very few people were saying war was not the answer. Just during, you know, Vietnam (when Gaye's song was recorded), the most recent war in Iraq, and other quagmires.

(Virtually every car I ever have seen display the bumper sticker "War is not the answer" was driven by a woman.)

That's good enough for me! Our mistake, Den, was in teaching 'em to drive in the first place...

The response of one of the leading women professors who attended Harvard President Lawrence Summers' talk aptly illustrates this point. As The Boston Globe reported, Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "walked out on Summers' talk, saying later that if she hadn't left, 'I would've either blacked out or thrown up.'" It is difficult to imagine a male MIT professor, even another leftist, walking out of a lecture and saying that he had to lest he vomit or faint.

See what frail little bitches they are? And it's not at all possible that she was using hyperbole, is it? That kind of clever word game is man talk.

In the micro realm, the feminine virtues are invaluable -- for example, women hear infants' cries far more readily than men do.

So, you know, we do need you for the breeding and the caring of the children and all. We'd help, but we'll be too busy with our guns and sticks. You just stay in your little place with the little tasks we've left for you.

But as a basis for governance of society, the feminization of public policy is suicidal.

Don't knock it till you've tried it.

That is one reason our schools are in trouble. They are increasingly run by women -- women with female thinking moreover. Such thinking leads to papers no longer being graded with a red pencil lest students' feelings be hurt; to self-esteem supplanting self-discipline as a value; to banning games such as dodge ball in which participants' feelings may get hurt; to discouraging male competition; to banning peanut butter because two out of a thousand students are highly allergic to peanuts.

Huh. See, I would have thought pressure groups from both the right and the left censoring books with any sort of color off the reading lists, lack of funding, the cutting of arts programs, low teachers salaries or whackjobs trying to get creationism taught as if it was science and abstinence-only sex ed.

But no, apparently, it's the bitches fault.

In a masculine society governed by Judeo-Christian values (which include a masculine-depicted and compassionate God), feminine virtues are adored and honored.

A choice of responses:

Especially at Hooters.

This is another one of those questions I feel I have to put to my female readers. Ladies, do you feel your virtues are adored and honored?

In a feminized society, male virtues are discarded.

That's right. We've been tossed aside. Like an old shoe...except that we know how you gals love shoes. Ask Condi.

Then both sexes suffer.

You like thinking about that, don't you Dennis?

Just one more consequence of the war against Judeo-Christian values.

Which doesn't exist, but hey, keep telling yourself that. I'll be talking to your daughter.

If you can take more, Jill at Feministe has some good responses to the same column.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

And now for a commercial break

Image from The Heretik via Pandagon.

TV Update One

The new TV season started for me tonight with the season premiere of Gilmore Girls. I still love this show. I was thinking, it seems like it's been so long since I had a favorite show where the season premiere was like seeing a bunch of old friends for the first time in months.

I thought this was a consistently surprising script--two or three times I thought I knew what was going to happen, and then it didn't. I like that. Now, a minor complaint to the universe. It's rare for me to like more than a handful of shows each television season. So do you think it would be possible not to put them opposite each other on the same night?

Last season, the CBC, which I can get here in Seattle, was showing the new Doctor Who opposite Gilmore Girls. And being that it seems to be beyond my capabilities to watch one show while taping another...

This season, there's a new show called Bones. It stars David Boreanaz, late of Angel, which is why I wanted to give it a look. And it looks quite promising, the dialogue had a real snap to it and the characters seemed, again, surprising.

From what I could tell during the Gilmore Girls commercial breaks, that is. I realize this isn't just way down the list of things the universe needs to be thinking about right now--it isn't even on the list.

Nevertheless, it's really annoying, so I'm asking the powers of whoever's in charge to please fix this. Thank you.

Then there's Supernatural. First weird thing I want to mention: Series star Jared Padalecki is late of Gilmore Girls, where he played a character named Dean who was thrown over by his girlfriend for a boy named Jess.

On Supernatural, he plays a character named Sam...who has a brother named Dean and a girlfriend named Jess. I'd almost think the writer was fucking with him. The show itself? I'm lukewarm. It was consistently watchable and well played, but not much humor or wit (different things) in the dialogue. A few too many video effects for my liking, too and unfortunately the commercials gave the ending away.

Still, I'll watch next week, so on that basis (the only one that counts) I'd rate the pilot a success.

It's Showtime, folks

Steve Gilliard links to a story about Showtime's attempt to compete with HBO in the original series arena, and offers his own comments:

Showtime tends to focus on upgraded sitcoms and family dramas. The fact is that they have 12 weeks at most, and they don't pick their subjects with care.

Take the L Word. The ONLY reason to watch that show is to see straight actresses play at being lesbians. The writing is torpid, the characters unfocused, the situations barely credible. Compared to Curb your Enthusiasm, or Six Feet Under, it isn't interesting. Huff, which has seven Emmy nominations, is another weakly focused show. The main character is supposed to be troubled, but how is anyone's guess.

Look, money is no excuse. FX has three strong dramas, The Shield, Rescue Me and Nip/Tuck. Why? Because unlike Showtime, they took risks with creators and actors. Even the networks take more risks than Showtime. Gay couples do not make up for indifferent writing. Without strong writing, TV shows do not work. Gilmore Girls took what could have been a soapish situation, a single mom and her teen daughter, and made it interesting by creating strong characters and well written, consistant episodes. Too many TV shows have their characters change to fit the situation.

24 is another example of a risky concept bolstered by strong writing. Sure, the plots are often driven with coincidence, but the fast paced nature of the show and the skillful use of violence makes it compelling.

I agree about The L Word. Most if not all of you know about my continuing writings about a lesbian couple who, I hope, are lovable, heroic people whose "gayness" is not their most compelling feature.

I finally focused my objection to that show down to this: If not for the fact that they periodically take off their pants and start breathing heavy with each other, not one of the characters would be the slightest bit interesting to me.

And, candidly, there are other shows I can watch for that. Plus, I do have the internet, you know.

I disagree about Huff; I think that series develops the title character's troubles very nicely. But anyone who comes out in support of strong writing is going to have me as a friend.

Good lord. It's 1963.

Via TalkLeft:

A lawsuit filed today alleges that Tyson Foods, Inc. is responsible for maintaining a segregated bathroom and break room, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era, in its Ashland, Alabama chicken processing plant. Twelve African-American employees filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, alleging that a “Whites Only” sign and a padlock denied them access to a bathroom in the Ashland plant. The complaint states that numerous white employees had keys to the bathroom that were not provided to African-American workers.


From a radical right-wing site where people are not happy about Roberts' answers today:

this nomination is shaping up as the biggest failure of the Bush presidency

Um...not to put too fine a point on it, but I can think of one or two that were bigger. Without even breaking a sweat, really.

Taking responsibility

"'Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government.'" Mr. Bush said. 'And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility.'"
(Emphasis mine)

Who is going to ask the president why he is taking responsibility? Every president, by definition, is responsible for what the federal government does on his watch, regardless of whether his actions specifically resulted in the consequences under discussion.

Is that what he means?

In this case, there is a growing body of evidence that he is actually responsible. As in, key failures came as direct results of decisions he made and how he managed his job. His decisions to staff critical jobs with patronage hires, his decision to politicize FEMA, his decisions about how to run DHS.

Which does he mean? How is he taking responsibility?
--Josh Marshall (emphasis in original)

Ben Stein: Game show personality, comic actor, and apologist for corrupt presidents

You know Ben Stein, I imagine. If not from his days on Win Ben Stein's Money then from his classic appearances in John Hughes films ("Bueller?....Bueller?...Bueller?"), among others.

But what you may not know is that he was a Nixon White House speechwriter. And once marked the anniversary of Watergate by claiming that nobody could really remember what it had all been about, so it must not have been very important.

Well, he's at it again. To hear him tell it...

"Bush's response has not been unusually bad, but amazingly powerful and swift. "

"George Bush... does not attack those who falsely accuse him of the most horrible acts and neglect. Instead, he doggedly goes on helping the least among us."

Quotes via the TPM cafe, where you'll find more, and commentary too.

They give new meaning to the words "compassionate conservatism"

Jesse Taylor found a couple of right-wing responses to news of the power outage in Los Angeles yesterday.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...the light dawns...

Mark Kleiman passes on a friend's theory on just why the Administration has been getting so many things about this disaster wrong, even for them. In a sentence:

Karl Rove, who was always the brains of the operation, is so worried about whether he's about to be indicted that he's not at the top of his game.

It may be too early to say this, but I've got a feeling when Democrats wish each other a happy new year this December, they'll be meaning it.

2006, muthafukkas.

Feministing is doing good spot-entries on Roberts

On his second day of questioning. Originally I was gonna post a quote or two, but I've decided it's all good. If you have any interest in paying attention to Roberts' confirmation process at all (and I hope I've shown you in the last few days why you should), start here.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I want a word with all you tigers

Well girls, your secrets are out. An investigative reporter/traitor to The Sisterhood has written an expose of all your dirty, nasty ways. We've got you now! Deny, if you dare, the truth of these:

A woman may give you her body and her heart, but there are parts that she'll never give up. Pieces woven into the very fiber of her being. Mysteries only hinted at in a passing sly smile, an inscrutable laugh.

Yeah! Oh, you mean that as a bad thing?

These are the secrets of lovers past, hidden fantasies, and unshared longings. A woman's deepest secrets that don't -- and never will -- include you.

Never, never?

1) My best friend knows everything. She knows all of your vitals -- from the size of your bank account to the size of your other, um, holdings -- and she knows how both compare with those of every other man I've ever dated. I have done a hand-comparison measurement so I can divulge size and girth with a high level of accuracy.

Gasp! Not my other, um, holdings!

15) I obsess about when you're going to call me again. The period of time between our first date and your "Thanks for a great night; when can I see you again?" always seems stretched into slow motion. So don't worry about looking too eager. Call. Even if you only wait until noon the day after, it will feel like a lifetime to me.

Heh...these are all things that I do...

20) I'm constantly testing you. I observe, analyze, and judge every action, word, gesture, e-mail, and facial expression. When I ask you if you want to have a threesome, I don't mean it. If you want me to speak to you again, let alone sleep with you after this conversation, the answer should always be, "Why would I want to sleep with another woman when I have you?"
22) I need constant indications that you want me around. That's why it's better, for example, to say, "I want you to come away with me for the weekend. Could you come with me?" than to ask, "What are you up to this weekend?"

Yeah, these are both true of me, too. Except for the part about having a threesome. I meant that. I don't know why Erica's sister rolled her eyes and said "ew."

23) I love it when you get a little jealous. So if you ever see me flirting in front of you with the waiter, the bus driver, or another guy at a party, know I'm actually flirting with you -- through him

Too bad OJ didn't know that.

When we do break up, I put all photographs of you and mementos of our relationship in a shoe box and store it in my closet. Just in case I get nostalgic. Just in case you come back.

Well, that's the way it works on Gilmore Girls (season premiere tomorrow, kids!).

30) I want you to take control in bed. Yes, I have a successful career, I'm financially independent, I live on my own, and I don't need a man to make me happy (in theory). I still want you to pick me up, carry me to the bedroom, and take without asking.

A choice of responses:

  • All right!
  • Somehow, I just know a Buffy/Spike fan wrote this.


A columnist for the Orlando Sentinel has written a piece about bloggers in which he states:

For the uninformed, a blog is any thought posted on a Web site that is not good enough to be printed in a newspaper.

Here is an example: "President Bush has totally and utterly failed the American people. Almost every day we are presented with further proof why he should not be our president."

This is from "Bulldog Manifesto."

Note that you would never see the words "utterly" and "totally" in the same newspaper sentence because they are redundant terms.

Well! As Florida News Blog points out,

Of course, both of those words are intensifiers: "a modifier that has little meaning except to intensify the meaning it modifies." Because of the goal of intensifiers, it is not uncommon to be repetitive when using them. Had the writer said that Bush "both" totally and utterly failed, then there would be reason to believe he was being redundant. In this case, however, it is clear the writer simply intended to give more weight to the word "failed."

I would add that sometimes I'm repetitive for the sake of the rhythm of a line. But really, "any thought posted on a Web site that is not good enough to be printed in a newspaper?"

That's all you got?

Say, you know what else I haven't done in a while?

Run a quote or two from the real world, and answered it with a quote from the sadly-fictitious world of The West Wing. So, anon:

Democrats, who were already planning to press Judge Roberts on civil rights, are likely to be even more aggressive on that front, citing the racial divisions exposed by the hurricane. But they must be careful not to push too hard, some political analysts say, because the suffering on the Gulf Coast has left the public with little appetite for a partisan slugfest.

A survey last week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 71 percent of Americans were paying attention to stories about gasoline prices and 70 percent to the hurricane, but only 18 percent to the Roberts nomination. So it will be all the more difficult for senators intent on using the hearings to reshape their public personas.

The members of the committee are not an especially diverse group; all are white, all but four are lawyers, and only one is a woman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. Some, like Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator John Cornyn, the freshman Republican from Texas, are trying to carve out national identities. Others, like Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware; Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin; and Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, have White House ambitions.

Beyond the senators and their parties, the hearings offer the entire Senate an opportunity for a political makeover. After senators have spent years of bickering over President Bush's judicial nominees, the Senate's image is badly in need of repair, Mr. Graham said.

His wish for the hearings was simple: "I just hope we don't break down into a partisan food fight."

NY Times, In Roberts Hearing Today, Spotlight Falls on Senators, Too

...I don't think Americans are tired of partisan politics; I think they're tired of hearing career politicians diss partisan politics to get a gig. I've tried it before, they ain't buying it. That's okay, though. That's okay, though, 'cause partisan politics is good. Partisan politics is what the founders had in mind. It guarantees that the minority opinion is heard, and as a lifelong possessor of minority opinions, I appreciate it.

Aaron Sorkin and Paul Redford, The West Wing, "Game On."

ETA: Bob Geiger reminds us of a few other reasons we shouldn't listen to Republicans like Graham who diss partisan politics:

Republicans...would love to have us forget that it was they who stooped to record lows to keep Bill Clinton from getting elected in 1992 and, when they didn't succeed at that, they spent the following eight years making his life a political hell.

This is the same Republican party that smeared the patriotism of Max Cleland, a triple-amputee, Vietnam Veteran so they could get Chickenhawk Supreme Saxby Chambliss elected in his place. [The] party also spread a litany of lies about Al Gore in 2000, disenfranchised 50 million people who voted for Gore and stole that presidential election.

It was also this Republican party that funded the Swift Boat Liars who went after highly-decorated Veteran John Kerry in 2004, who lied to take our nation to war in Iraq and who have been systematically covering up Karl Rove's outing of a covert CIA agent. Now, we are just beginning to figure out how many people have needlessly died in Louisiana and Mississippi because...neoconservative[s] successfully cut funding to repair levees in favor of further tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Until Air America came on last year, the Republican party had been able to mercilessly dominate the national dialog via the radio airwaves – not to mention having their own news network in Fox News -- and even provided a White House press pass to a right-wing, prostitute from a non-existent news service to throw softball questions at Scott McClellan.

How long is it going to take before our democratic "leaders" wake up and hear us screaming and rattling at the bars of their cage? For gods sake, STAND UP AND FIGHT!

Oh my god.

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, one New Orleans doctor told how she ‘prayed for God to have mercy on her soul’ after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save. [...]

The doctor said: “I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. But I did not have time. I had to make snap decisions, under the most appalling circumstances, and I did what I thought was right.

“I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul.”

(Via Surburban Guerilla)

I say it again: This is what we did.

Is it opportunistic of me to say...

...that if the democrats had balls or a spine (call it what you like) at all, they would run the real audio that ends this cartoon by Mark Fiore on every media avalible to them when the time comes for them to ask for the peoples' vote?

It's impossible to listen to and not feel changed. This is what we did, or more to the point, what we didn't do. I say "we," because I do feel a sense of shared responsibility. But "we" all know there are some specific people who are more responsible than others.

The democrats have to stand up and name names.

Another reason or two to oppose John Roberts

ETA: The Nomination Watch blog of the National Women's Law Center provides a list of those groups opposing Roberts' nomination. I don't know about you, but it's a list I'd rather be on than not:
ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights
Alliance for Justice
American Association for Affirmative Action
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Equal Justice Society
Feminist Majority
Human Rights Campaign
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Association of Social Workers
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Women’s Organizations
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women's Law Center
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
People for the American Way
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
The Shalom Center
Women’s Sports Foundation

And from Reuters:

If confirmed by the Senate to the lifetime post, Roberts, 50, would be the youngest chief justice in two centuries.

He would be in position to lead the high court for decades, helping to shape the American way of life on matters from civil rights to abortion rights, voting rights to gay rights.

Sorry, this is still not good enough

Michael Brown has resigned. However, justice still demands that he be beaten about the head by every single person who lost a loved one in New Orleans, and then left alone in a bathroom with a razor blade, a shotgun, and the words "We know you'll do the honorable thing."

I swear I'm not linking to them a million times today because I want them to add me to their linklist

But because today, Pandagon is on fire. Here's Jesse Taylor (again) on the media's patting themselves on the back for having "found their courage" in the wake of national disaster:

If you are in the media, and you're not on Fox News, you will be constantly attacked for everything that comes out of your mouth, from seemingly benign word choice to "strategic" pauses to not covering the chosen poorly-sourced conservative outrage of the week/day/hour above actual world events. It doesn't matter that something has shaken you out of your stupor, and you're no longer afraid to criticize the Bush administration because, to be honest, it's really easy right now. An unequivocal screw-up committed by a massively unpopular president? It's like taking the bold stand that Maurice Clarett is a failure, or that Charmed is cheesy. In a month, when the political winds have shifted and the right has moved on, that's when we're going to see what these people are made of. Take away the low-hanging fruit, and see if they're still grabbing.

Speaking of Pandagon...

They're planning to...
...expand the linklist. I've had a list of blogs sitting here for months that I want to permalink to, and the problem is that I'm both incredibly lazy and used to just browsing my favorites.

As such, we'll be putting up a much-expanded linklist on Wednesday. What blogs do you think we should link to?

If you've a minute to spare, why not stroll over there and vote for me once or twice? You know I'd do it for you.

I have nothing to say about the Redskins’ first win of the season

However, I do enjoy Beyonce's legs.

Joe Conason ain't nothin' to sneeze at

The liberal columnist Conason co-wrote the definitive book on the "vast right-wing conspiracy," The Hunting Of The President. His solo book, Big Lies, is in my view one of the most essential volumes on politics in recent years.

He also wrote this piece on 9/11, which I'm recommending to you. Not because I think it tells you anything I haven't already told you, or that I think most of you don't already believe. But because I admire and respect Conason's writing so much, and reading good writing is, at least for me, always a pleasure.

Here's a taste:
The bitter lessons of four years
Standing among the wreckage of two national disasters, it is no longer possible to deny the plain truth: Bush and his administration are unfit to wield power.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joe Conason

Sept. 11, 2005 It would have been almost impossible to imagine, during the days and weeks that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that we might someday look back on that depressing time with a tinge of nostalgia. For Americans, and especially for those of us who live in New York City, those autumn memories are filled with rage and horror, fire and smoke, loss and death; but they are also filled with a spirit of courage, community and real patriotism. United we stood, even behind a government of dubious legitimacy, because we knew that there was no other way to defend what we valued.

In a strange way, Sept. 11 -- despite all the instantaneous proclamations that things would never be the same -- represented a final moment of innocence.

Now catastrophe has befallen another American city, with horrors and losses that may surpass the toppling of the twin towers. And while many people in New Orleans have shown themselves to be brave, generous and decent, this season's disaster has instilled more dread than pride, more anger than unity. Why is the mood so different now? At every level, the vacuum of leadership was appalling, but especially among the national leaders to whom all Americans look at a time of catastrophic peril. As rising waters sank the city, summer vacations in Texas and Wyoming, and shoe-shopping on Madison Avenue, appeared to take priority over the suffering on the Gulf Coast.

Four years after 9/11, we know much more than we knew then about the arrogance, dishonesty, recklessness and incompetence of a national government that was never worthy of its power.

Michael Brown needs to be beaten in the face with a club


I don’t mind the negative press (well, actually, I do, but I try to ignore it) but it is really wearing out the family. No wonder people don’t go into public service. This country is devouring itself, the 24-hour news cycle is numbing our ability to think for ourselves.

Boo hoo, it's all about you, let's throw a little pity party...people are dead, you jackass!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The War At Home

Ok, so I watched the pilot for the new show "The War At Home." This is the show that, you may remember, got some early (and, it now seems clear, undeserved) attention last month because of GLAAD's nonsensical but-all-too characteristic hysteria over a couple of lines.

War [at Home] stars Michael Rapaport and Anita Barone as parents in constant battles with their three teenage children. A story line in the pilot revolves around whether one of their two sons (Kyle Sullivan) is gay.
In one scene, his sister (Kaylee DeFer) says to the parents, "He's not gay, he's just a fag." That line set off sparks with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which met with Fox officials. The line was changed.

The original line was funnier. And frankly, this show needed all the funny they could bring. I have rarely seen a more unfunny premire of a "sitcom." You know, the more "crass" TV I see, the more affection I have for what "Roseanne," "The Simpsons" and even "Married...With Children" did at their best.

Those shows could all be pretty crass, but (again, at their best) they were well-written, cast, performed and produced series. Best of all, they were simply funny, while also proving revolutionary in their depiction of blue-collar people on televison.

"The War At Home" is none of the above.

Um, Corey?

Where's Jack Bauer when we need him?

Sept. 11, 2005 — In an apparent Sept. 11 communiqué broadcast on ABC News, an al Qaeda operative threatens new attacks against cities in the US and Australia.

“Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing. At this time, don’t count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion,” the tape warns. “We are Muslims. We love peace, but peace on our terms, peace as laid down by Islam, not the so-called peace of occupiers and dictators.”

This would be a lot funnier if I didn't have valued friends in the Los Angeles area, to say nothing of a few sort of kind of heroes. If this turns out to be real...well, this is one of those times when I should stop talking lest this blog be flagged by the FBI.

But you guys will look out for yourselves, won't you?

A song, a thought, and a question

Four years ago, after September 11, 2001, the first time I left the house, this is the song I put in my tape deck. Of course, the lyric can't give you the full effect. Especially as it's missing the recitation of "The Lord's Prayer" that runs throughought the song, ending with the haunting repitition of "God deliver us from evil."

But this gives you a rough idea.

I stand alone and watch the clock
I only wait for it to stop
And in the room locked up inside me
The cutout magazines remind me
I sit and wait alone in my room

And in my room against the wall
There is a picture very small
A photograph I took some years ago
It shows a picture of the room I know
I sit and wait alone in my room

The walls are white and in the night
The room is lit by electric light

I stand alone and watch the clock
I only wait for it to stop
The doors are shut and all the windows lock
The only sound is from the clock
I sit and wait alone in my room

The walls are white and in the night
The room is lit by electric light

--Yaz, "In My Room"

If there was one sure bet back then, it was that this country would spend whatever it took to make this country safer, especially in terms of airport security. A lot of money has been allocated and it's been a long time since I've heard anyone claim it has spent wisely or even that it's achieved much of the stated goal. Even before the Katrina disaster exposed the inadequacy of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, there were reports of waste; of cash that had been earmarked to improve security going for the customary government pork instead, lavished in states and on locations that are on no terrorist's intinerary. Here's an article about how so much of it went to low-interest loans for small businesses like pet salons and Dunkin' Donuts stands. At the same time, no one seems to think that our nuclear plants are guarded as well as they could be...but, hey, at least you can get a cruller in Seattle.

--Mark Evanier, news from me

"What have we learned, Charlie Brown?"

--Linus Van Pelt

A political song, a political cartoon, and a cartoon politician

Well, we're looking at the cover,
We're spending all our time
Just staring at the magazine.
Well, look who's on the cover
Wasting all our time,
Some pseudo-fascist hero machine.
Well, that's no space for a human being.
That man is not a hero or saint.
When somewhere in deepest America
Grown men weep at the sound of his name.
So it goes and it goes...

--Figures On A Beach, "Accidentally 4th. St. (gloria)"

By weeks end, [Schwarzenegger] was dogged by questions about why he planned to veto a historic gay marriage bill and bills to raise the minimum wage and grant driver's licenses to illegal residents. And his unpopular "year of reform" special election, projected to cost taxpayers over $50 million, is now just weeks away.

Schwarzenegger enters the race amid record low job-approval ratings and an uphill campaign to pass several ballot initiatives. The measures are aimed at curbing the power of Democrat-leaning public employee unions and the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Few would have predicted any of this two years ago, when Schwarzenegger launched his improbable quest to replace Gov. Gray Davis in the state's historic recall election.

His fiscal conservatism was balanced with support for abortion rights, gay rights, gun control and environmental protection. And unlike Davis, who was vilified for his prodigious fund-raising habits, the wealthy Schwarzenegger said he would be impervious to special interest campaign contributions.

He was rewarded with sky-high job approval ratings across the political spectrum, not to mention a nascent campaign to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to run for president.

But somewhere along the way a more partisan Schwarzenegger emerged. He called Democratic lawmakers "girlie men" and campaigned for President Bush.

- Beth Fouhy, Associated Press


Hoffmania reminds us to celebrate Bush's 38% approval rating (in too deep, there's no getting out of it, in too deep, no doubt about it) by taking a stroll down memory lane. Come with me, won't you, to December 20, 1998, when CNN reported:

Poll: Clinton's approval rating up in wake of impeachment

December 20, 1998
Web posted at: 10:48 p.m. EST (0348 GMT)

(AllPolitics, December 20) -- In the wake of the House of Representatives' approval of two articles of impeachment, Bill Clinton's approval rating has jumped 10 points to 73 percent, the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows.

That's not only an all-time high for Clinton, it also beats the highest approval rating President Ronald Reagan ever had.

At the same time, the number of Americans with an unfavorable view of the Republican Party has jumped 10 points; less than a third of the country now has a favorable view of the GOP.

Despite concerns that public calls for Clinton's resignation would rise after his impeachment, the number of Americans who want Clinton to resign has remained statistically unchanged. Only 30 percent want Clinton to resign; only 29 percent want the Senate to convict Clinton and remove him from office.

The poll, released Sunday, also shows that 35 percent approve of the House's decision to impeach the president.

Kind of makes you think, doesn't it? And wonder what might have happened if Gore hadn't treated Clinton as if he were a diseased rapist when he was running in 2000. Yeah, Clinton disappointed me too. But this is what made me nuts: All the politician and journalist bluenoses who kept acting as though this was the worst thing anyone had ever done and would detonate his presidency.

When poll after poll after poll kept saying the American public did not think this was grounds for resignation, and did not approve of the impeachment hearings.

Why didn't Gore or any other Democrats ever get a clue? All they had to to was stand up and stand by their guy. The country liked their guy, and they didn't like the people who were doing this to him.

But, the Democrats didn't do that. They ran and cowered in a corner and whispered about and pointed at Clinton like teenage girls in a bathroom (I'm guessing). For this reason, there is part of me that thinks they richly deserved the ass-kickings they got in 2000 and 2004.

Trouble is, the rest of us don't.