Saturday, October 08, 2005

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Finally saw this on DVD. If you've seen it or not, you probably know there are a lot of twists, some of which I saw coming--and was glad to see they weren't presented as great big "gotchas" saved for the end.

One of the things I liked about it is that I think it is, in a way what they call "pure cinema." That is to say: It uses the fact that it's being told as a film as a way of telling its story. If you get where I'm coming from. I don't do that; not so far anyway.

All my stories can be told on stage, on screen, or in a book. I don't think that makes them lesser than; so can a lot of peoples. I hope not anyway. I hope so anyway.

It is, in the end, moving. I probably would have ended it a beat or two before they did, but that's due to glitches of my own that need not necessarily concern you or anyone else. Speaking of glitch, I know Charlie Kaufman is generally considered to the bees knees of screenwriters right now...and this is the point where I admit that I haven't seen anything else he's written.

Nope, nada, nothing. Not Malkovich, not Adaptation, not Confessions of A Dangerous Mind. And certainly not Human Nature. Another one of my little glitches is that sometimes I resist whatever the "hip & cool" thing of the day is.

Anyway, that's more or less everything I want to say, except that I continue to like Jim Carrey more in movies like this or The Truman Show than the comedies like Liar, Liar and The Mask that made him a star.

Kate Winslet is, as always, scrumptious. And Kirsten Dunst has a very pretty face (for those of you who haven't heard). They're both also very good in this, he added, so no one would accuse him of misogynism.


I was up early this morning and saw the breaking news on CNN about the huge quake in Pakistan. And I thought, as one does, about what a terrible tragedy it was, and I said a silent prayer of gratitude to whomever it is that I pray to that I don't know anyone there.

I also felt that I knew with a sickening sense of certainty what the reaction of some of the pro-Bush bloggers would be. And I was right.

Sean Hackbarth (who, I grant you, has a cool name) asks:

When will President Bush be blamed and when will Halliburton be accused of reaping profits from the dead?

If it turns out he is in any way responsible, and if that corporation does, in fact, start reaping profits from the dead, Sean. That's when. So far as I know, there is as yet no reason to think either of those things are true.

ETA: Although, it's worth reporting that within a few hours, the UK had aid teams on the way. Which, if we've done yet, I haven't seen it.

Meanwhile, someone whose blog in no way suggests he has issues about his manhood, "Big Dog" expands on Hackbarth's satirical point above.

In a related story Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy want to know why George Bush did not respond before this disaster. They claim many lives would have been saved if the US federal government had acted more quickly. FEMA, already under the gun for its response to hurricane Katrina, was also fingered as a responsible party.

Said Pelosi, “If this administration can not handle natural disasters in a more efficient manner to save lives, how can we trust them to do anything?”

Ted Kennedy reported that George Bush was too busy giving a speech to oil executives to put together a plan before this happened and Harry Reid is calling for the head of FEMA to be fired.

Senator Hillary Clinton has called for an investigation like the 9/11 Commission to find out what the President knew and when he knew it (sort of like that book about her).

Yeah, I know the reference to the widely-discredited book about Hillary Clinton doesn't quite make sense. You have to understand. I mean, I don't know "the Big Dog," but I'm guessing he saw a chance to take a swipe at so many people that he despises in one go. He just got a little overexcited. I'm sure he appreciates your understanding, and the knowledge that it happens to all bloggers at some time or another.

Oh, and by the way

Nine more American soldiers have been killed in something like the last 24 hours in Iraq. 21 soldiers have been killed in the last week. Since, as Blogs for Bush told us, the war is "The only actually important issue before the American people," I'd like to suggest a trip to Daily Kos.

There you can read excerpts from two or three blogs by current or former soldiers who actually served or are serving in Iraq. I especially recommend the comments posted on a blog called Fight to Survive. I may or may not agree with all of them, but I can't argue with the guy's passion. And he does have the advantage of actually having "been there."

I'm also impressed by the way he retains his sense of humor in the face of criticism:
I must admit that your frequent use of the word "sedition" both surprises and humors me. That must be a big word for you. Did you happen to read it somewhere, or was its terrorist connotation ever so monotonously drilled into your head in boot camp? Perhaps you removed a "seditious" leader in Level 7 of your new Tom Clancy shoot'm up video game. Whatever the case may be, perhaps you have a valid point. Webster's defines the act of sedition as "rebellion or incitement: actions or words intended to provoke or incite rebellion against government authority." If what you are saying means that I am accused of opposing this current and criminal regime, and desperately hope for swift and drastic change, least you used the word right.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

You know, just when I think I can stop making those "guess which prominent right-winger is pissed off at Bush's choice of Miers now" posts...they give me something like this:
Robert Bork - whose nomination to the high court was rejected by the Senate in 1987 - called the choice of Miers "a disaster on every level."

"It's a little late to develop a constitutional philosophy or begin to work it out when you're on the court already," Bork said Friday on MSNBC's "The Situation with Tucker Carlson." "It's kind of a slap in the face to the conservatives who've been building up a conservative legal movement for the last 20 years."

Via AmericaBlog.

Because they're exactly the same thing.

From Media Matters for America:

Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson predicted on his radio program that allowing same-sex marriage in the United States would lead to "group marriage," "marriage between daddies and little girls," or "marriage between a man and his donkey." Dobson called this vision of the future "more or less a prophecy," though, he stressed, not a "divine prophecy, but a prediction." He said that his specific examples, as well as "anything allegedly linked to civil rights," will be "doable, and the legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed."

As ever, what continues to amuse me about statements like this from people like Dobson, ole' "man on dog" Santorum and Bill O'Rielly is not the homophobia. It's the unbelivable twists and turns people will make to avoid saying: I don't think of homosexuals as people.

I mean, there might be something--not much, but something--to be said for a honest homophobe who said this is what I believe and this is how I feel. But no, we gotta dress it up in "concern for marriage" and "religion."

If you don't think two people of the same sex who are in love should be entitled to exactly the same right to get married as anybody else, guess what? You're a homophobe. Accept it. Embrace it. I'm pretty sure there are places where you can still get little hats, and someone will be along to teach you the words to the songs and tell you when the next meeting is.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Welcome to the party, pals

Evangelicals, Republican women, Southerners and other critical groups in President Bush's political coalition are worried about the direction the nation is headed and disappointed with his performance, an AP-Ipsos poll found.

That unease could be a troubling sign for a White House already struggling to keep the Republican Party base from slipping over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Gulf Coast spending projects, immigration and other issues.

All together: Got a feeling 2006 is gonna be a good year...

The "wisdom" of Solomon

The following news item by Associated Press writer John Solomon seems to me a perfect example of the kind of bad writing and reporting we've seen too much of in recent years. I'm not talking conservative or liberal bias, I'm just talking bad.

Let's start with the headline, which, to be scrupulously fair, I won't blame Solomon for because I don't know if he wrote it. It is:
Rove Says He Wasn't Involved in CIA Leak

And yeah, I know what you're thinking. He said that? Oh, really? Well, what possible reason would he have had to lie? But then we get into the meat of the story itself...

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told President Bush and others that he never engaged in an effort to disclose a CIA operative's identity to discredit her husband's criticism of the administration's Iraq policy, according to people with knowledge of Rove's account in the investigation.

They said Rove's denial to Bush occurred during a brief conversation in the fall of 2003, a few months after media reports revealed that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked as a covert CIA operative.

So in other words, a more accurate version of that headline would have been, Rove Told Bush He Wasn't Involved In CIA Leak In 2003. Before he testified before a grand jury four times about something he wasn't involved with, was a likely candidate for indictment for something he wasn't involved with and had an axe hanging over his head for something he wasn't involved with.

Moving on, we find this little two-line paragraph buried a little deeper in the story:
Wilson, Plame's husband, went public on July 6, 2003, with criticism of Bush administration officials, suggesting they manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq war.

Now, I suppose it would be Bush bashing of me to expect this to be followed with something like:

This later proved to be true.

But wouldn't it be considered good writing and reporting to add something like:

"Later evidence, including what is called The Downing Street Memo, tended to support this suggestion."

You know, the more I look at the things Rove, Bush at all have been doing over the past week, the more convinced I am: Everything they are doing is about giving Bush the smoothest early exit they can. That's what Miers is about-trying to make sure he has a lifeboat. That's what Rove's extra testimony is about, I betcha. Giving Bush what's called "plausible deniability".

They don't think he's going to finish out his term.

Maybe those stories about Bush falling off the wagon in the wake of Katrina are accurate. Maybe somebody (Laura?) put their foot down and said find this man a way out that evades prison.

Of course, even if he should resign in disgrace as did Nixon, I'm sure we can rely upon Cheney (or Hastert, come to that) to do for him what Ford did for Nixon.

I can look deep into your eyes and shout Hold me, hold me...

Shakespeare's Sister has a good entry on "outing" today. I especially agree with this part:
I always find it interesting that people to whom I’ve spoken who dislike the practice inevitably agree that they would argue with “outing” other aspects of a politician’s life that would expose hypocrisy, but remain uncomfortable with outing someone on the basis of his or her being gay. I think it reveals an entrenched discomfort with homosexuality that some people are unwilling to admit to themselves, even as they champion gay rights.

I don't have chapter and verse, but that last bit goes along with something I've long suspected is true. I think there are people who are not, shall we say, quite so "enlightened" as they would like us to believe. Or as they may believe themselves to be.

It's one thing to express sympathy for a minority...but acceptance is another kettle of fish alltogether.

Preach on

Anne from Peevish adds some things in response to that report that alleges
Democrats can't win with liberal voters?

Just let them get some real leadership with a liberal platform and some candidates we believe in, and we'll see whether or not that's true.

Exactly; this is what I've been thinking for a long time. How would we know if a real liberal leader can or can't attract enough votes--when was the last time we nominated one? Carter? Mondale? No, I said leader.

If we'd had a campaign in which one party was conservative, and made their case, and one party was liberal, and made their case? And the country said you know what, we'll go with the conservatives, then, then I might believe the "experts" who say we have to moderate.

But until I see the Democrats really try to win with a truly liberal leader, all those so-called experts are is the people who brought us Kerry in '04 and Gore in 2000.

Oh, really now

To anyone who remembers some of the shit the republicans pulled before and during the Clinton impeachment, the following can only be seen as karma:
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's legal team asked a court Friday to throw out his indictment, arguing that a Texas district attorney "attempted to browbeat and coerce" grand jurors into filing criminal charges.

Ronnie Earle "and his staff engaged in an extraordinarily irregular and desperate attempt to contrive a viable charge and get a substitute indictment of Tom Delay before the expiration of the statute of limitations," DeLay's attorney Dick DeGuerin said in a court filing alleging prosecutorial misconduct.

Now, for some reason, I'm inclined to disbelieve any argument Tom Delay's legal team makes. But you know what? Even if they're right, I don't care. It's called what goes around, comes around.

You harassed my president and impeached him on a point of trivia (in terms of his job). You browbeat a young girl--who yeah, had made a regrettable choice--into cooperating with you. And you did it all because a multi-billion-dollar investigation led a by a special prosecutor who was, to say the least, motivated, lasted years and found our guy had done nothing illegal.

And now you want the big mean prosecutor to stop hurting your poor wittle feewings. Uh-uh. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Maggie, bring in the standard forms. I'm getting married.

Part two in what's looking like it's going to be a continuing feature on blogs I find through the wonders of Site Meter. A blogger calling herself introvert182 was kind enough to put Dictionopolis in Digitopolis in her sidebar of "blogs [she] adore[s]."

I'm her chosen representative of blogs on current events. I know, I'm scared too.

But, in checking out the blogs I'm hanging out with in her adoration, I found Lisa. Lisa, who has a blog devoted to discussing all things '80s. Lisa, who makes lists of annoying celebrities that I can't argue with 98% of. Lisa, who writes:

Boobs are not meant to be strapped down with duct tape and squashed into place. Breasts are supposed to look natural and move a little bit when you walk.

Lisa, who shares at least one of my big pet peeves (not introducing two people to each other). Lisa, whose boyfriend--okay, so she's not perfect--"once said I reminded him of a young Virgina Madsen."

Sigh. It can't be just a coincidence that she has the same name as the Kelly LeBrock character in "Weird Science". I couldn't love her more if another guy and I had made her up sitting around with bras on our heads.

It takes a whole lot of medicine, darlin', for me to pretend to be somebody else

I suppose it's the masochist in me but I've been taking a little tour of the pro-Bush right-wing blogs reaction to the president's speech yesterday. Hoo boy. First, this from Blogs for Bush...

While we are arguing about nominees and indictments, the war goes on. The war: The only actually important issue before the American people.

Ah yes, the war. The one the American people now think was a mistake, is being badly fought, and want ended as soon as possible. That the one you mean?

Among the many things in the speech which impressed me was this bit, which refutes the critics who say that our liberation of Iraq caused more problems than it solved:

Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and al Qaeda attacked us anyway.

Um, okay, call me dense, but from where I'm sitting that doesn't refute such critics at all. It's just another attempt to muddy what has been crystal clear for years: Iraq had no connection to 9/11.

It doesn't even make sense; so, if we'd been in Iraq before 9/11 they wouldn't have attacked us?

We didn't "cause" or "trigger" the rage of radicals: We enabled it. By attacking a nation that was of no threat to us whatsoever, by sanctioning torture and other abuse of prisoners of war, we have given a whole lot of people around the world reason to say well, maybe al Qaeda is right.

By acting like the great Satan they've already been told we were, we have given, in a very real sense, aid and comfort to the enemy. That's what people mean when they say our invasion of Iraq has caused more problems than it's solved.

Meanwhile, John Hindrocket (and this is the last time I'm going to tell you this: he chose that nickname for his own self, we godless heathens just enjoy shoving it down his throat) writes:

I was talking with a liberal the other day, who tried to explain to me that democracy in Iraq is impossible because of that country's religious and ethnic diversity. Only civil war can result from such conditions, he said. Oh, great, now they tell us--multiculturalism is impossible!

Bwa ha, bwa ha, ha! because you see..Iraqi culture is exactly the same as American culture! So if their religious and ethnic diversity can only result in civil war, that means Geena Davis should get out of The White House and into a body stocking, where she belongs! Bwa ha, bwa ha, ha! Stupid liberals don't know what they're talking about!

And then there's Mr. Bush himself, who said:

Recently our country observed the fourth anniversary of a great evil, and looked back on a great turning point in our history. We still remember a proud city covered in smoke and ashes, a fire across the Potomac, and passengers who spent their final moments on Earth fighting the enemy. We still remember the men who rejoiced in every death, and Americans in uniform rising to duty. And we remember the calling that came to us on that day, and continues to this hour: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity

We still remember a president who froze like a deer in headlights, sitting in a schoolroom, reading a book called My Pet Goat. We still remember the way the real heroes of that day who were fortunate enough to survive had their benefits cut. We still remember who dressed up in a pilot suit and strode manfully across the deck of a battle carrier and gave a speech in front of a banner that said "Mission Accomplished."

Almost two years ago. Two years of apparently neverending battles and mounting U.S. casualties. We still remember. But here's where I started to get angry.

We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.

How was that five-week vacation, you sanctimonious little turd?

We don't know the course of our own struggle — the course our own struggle will take — or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice.

I'm sorry, whose sacrifice? Barbara and Jenna finally joining up, are they? My god. And to think they called his father a wimp.

Say what you will about Bush Sr, he does have that whole "shot down durning WW2" thing going for him. All Bush Jr. has is the blood of innocents.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Karl Rove

This may turn out to seem meaner than I at first intended it

Esquire magazine has named Jessica Biel their 'Sexiest Woman Alive' for 2005. I'm not going to make a list of women I think are sexier than Biel, just a few words about why she wouldn't be at the top of such a list.

Granted, she is beautiful, but frankly...really only in a sexist-appealing way. Let me see if I can explain what I mean. I'd be a hypocrite if I said that I don't appreciate women's bodies; I do.

And, as previously blogged about here, I enjoyed Biel's bouncing tits in the otherwise unecessary Texas Chainsaw remake as much as the next heterosexual male or lesbian.

So yes, it's possible for a woman to turn my head by appealing to no more than that "monkey" part of my brain. The problem is that to appeal to the other part, the human brain, to keep me looking at her?

She has to eventually be seen to be, well, sort of, no offense to Ms. Biel who I'm sure is a perfectly nice person, That is to say, I've seen her interviewed, and I've seen her work.
I can't see spending 15 minutes talking to her while thinking about anything other than how to get her dress off.

Hey, yeah...

In Sioux Falls, some parents are up in arms because of some new textbooks...

"There's some drawings of the whole entire frontal of the male," said Karla Wornson, who is home schooling her middle school daughter but has sons who attend public high school. "My 12-year-old daughter would probably crawl under the desk."

One Odd Goose points out the flaw in that argument...

This woman has high school age sons and thinks her daughter has never seen a penis?

Well, she is home schooled. Maybe they keep her upstairs in a big, plastic bubble.

The Last McBain

As I noted at the the time, the prolifc author of the 87th Precinct novels and others, Ed McBain, died earlier this year. His last book, Fiddlers, has now been published.

The last McBain is probably not the best McBain (for me that would be either Lightning or Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man). But it improves greatly over last years Frunious Bandersnatch and Hark! And is a fitting "end of the bookshelf.".

The knowledge that this will be the last "Novel of the 87th Precinct" is impossible to dispel. But McBain, in their "farewell appearance" is too much of a professional to let his characters get so out of character as to be maudlin.

This is, finally "just" another character-driven McBain police procedural. Except that it isn't. Without giving anything away, it seems safe to assume he felt a certain kinship with his final villain.

McBain may or may not have invented the form, but he made it his. He created characters that, over the course of almost 50 years, readers came to care about, and all while sketching them in with only the sparsest of lines. How much do we know about Steve Carella outside his "almost Oriental" eyes and his deaf wife, Teddy? The answer is not a lot...and yet everything. Because we've been living with him on the job for years.

His chronicler, Ed McBain (AKA Evan Hunter), has given him and his colleagues a fitting send-off.

TalkLeft Is Right

Here's the whole post, excerpts follow.

Two "intellectuals" from the Clinton centrist era have issued a new report saying the only way Democrats can win is to abandon liberalism and take a centrist position like Clinton did in 1992. As an example, they give this:

They suggest that Democratic presidential candidates replicate Clinton's tactics in 1992, when he broke with the party's liberal base by approving the execution of a semi-retarded prisoner, by challenging liberal icon Jesse L. Jackson and by calling for an end to welfare "as we know it."

Who cares whether Democrats win if they are just Republicans in sheep's clothing? Why be a member of a party if its values aren't your values?

The radical right is not a majority in this country. It is a relatively small group with very loud preachers. The radical right is running this country because Karl Rove figured out how to energize the evangelicals and get them to the polls.

Our voters are out there, we just have to give them something worth voting for, and centrism and Republican-lite won't do.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My, my.

Wasn't it just yesterday I was saying how interesting it should be to see Bush's next round of polling numbers? Well, guess what. They're in.
CBS News. 10/3-5. MoE 3.5% (9/9-13 results)

Bush approval ratings, Overall:

Approve 37 (41)

(Via Daily Kos)

37%, y'all. My god, this parachute is a napsack!

Hay una discoteca por acqui?

I don't speak the language
I can't understand a word...
--Pet Shop Boys, "Discoteca"

About 10 days ago, I added Site Meter to this blog. Among other things, this means that I now get a log of referring URLs. As in, if someone came here because they found my blog on a Google blogsearch, I know that.

I just found in that log the URL to a blog belonging to someone calling themselves Mariano. What text there is is in Spanish, which I don't understand, but in fact there's little text there at all.

It seems completely devoted to showing pieces of artwork. I assume "Mariano" painted them him-or-herself, but again, I have no way of knowing.

But as the saying goes, I may not know about art, but I know what I like. And I like these. I encourage you to click on the link above and stroll down the page; whoever "Mariano" is, he-or-she has a gift.

(Again, assuming this is his-or-her own work. I don't think I've ever wished quite so hard I spoke Spanish)

I kind of threw a reference to this away earlier

But it is, apparently, a really big deal that Rove is testifying in the CIA leak case a fourth time.
Presidential confidant Karl Rove will testify for a fourth time before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity even though prosecutors have warned they can no longer guarantee he will escape indictment, lawyers said Thursday.

Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, said that it was unusual for a witness to be called back to the grand jury four times and that the prosecutor's legally required warning to Rove before this next appearance is "an ominous sign" for the presidential adviser.

"It suggests Fitzgerald has learned new information that is tightening the noose," Gillers said. "It shows Fitzgerald now, perhaps after Miller's testimony, suspects Rove may be in some way implicated in the revelation of Plame's identity or that Fitzgerald is investigating various people for obstruction of justice, false statements or perjury. That is the menu of risk for Rove."

Anybody else starting to feel like a kid at christmas?

Okay, the Oklahoma suicide bomber thing

I assume you've heard about this young man who committed suicide outside a packed football stadium using explosives. Although his father denies it was politically motivated, right-wing sites like WorldNetDaily have been getting all hard over it. Because, they claim, of reports he was a "suicide bomber" in possession of "Islamic jihad" materials.

Though the funny thing about those reports is that the right-wing sites seem to be the only ones making them. Must be that darned liberal media again. Meanwhile, David Neiwert (the second-greatest liberal blogger out of Seattle) wonders about "The other possibility."

...if memory serves me correctly, the last Oklahoma bomber of any note in fact was a right-wing extremist...I wonder why that possibility hasn't crossed their radar.

Well, actually, I don't.

Think about images we've drawn, think about all those empty songs

Over on the Official Blog , a woman named Andrea Rubenstein has written an impassioned, lengthy but worth-reading entry "On Being An Oversensitive, Man-Hating, Embarassing Feminist/Liberal/Whatever."

Under this discourse, if you say “[group y] did bad thing [x]” then they tell you how “not all people who belong to [group y] do [x], so stop attacking them!” Does this mean that people shouldn’t voice their opinion on things because someone might think that they’re unfairly targeting an individual? Do we all really need to put a disclaimer up every time we talk negatively about a group to assure people that “not all [group y] are part of [x]”? If someone is talking about male dominated areas, are they attacking all men? What about speaking out about homophobic hate crimes, are they accusing all straight people of hating gays? Is it hard to see the difference between criticizing an idea or practice and engaging in an ad hominem attack?

Warning: It's a little "inside" in places--it was apparently sparked by "some recent events in the blogsphere." In those places it does resemble more of a comment in a flamewar than an entry that can be read on its own, but can be thought-provoking nevertheless.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see

They're delusional. Really, that's all Bush supporters have left now. Case in point, this from Blogs forBush, via Demagogue (which blog has a really cool graphic, BTW):
What with bogus indictments, regurgitated Plame kerfuffles, false charges about hurricane responses and alleged rightwing anger over certain Supreme Court nominations, you'd be in large company if you thought the GOP was down on its luck...but, as in most group-think, you'd also be wrong. Grasp that fact - we're the political top dogs in the United States. It is important to remember this because it puts things into perspective - we don't have to claw our way into power anymore.

Man, the things you have to believe to think Bush is still a worthy boy-king right now and the GOP isn't taking water over the side. Just look at those word choices: "Bogus," "kerfuffle," "false," and "alleged."

In other words, they think none of it is real.

And nothing to get hung about.

Blaze of Glory

Johnny was a young boy
with nothing much except a certain kind of look in his eye
He was discovered one day - you see he had a certain kind of appeal
for a certain kind of guy
Who gave him some advice on what to wear
and sent him out to make the young girls cry
And all the young boys who'd just been dumb and restless
now they could identify

So tell me who'll take the blame
for the way things turned out?

Well six long months passed and Johnny was the biggest thing alive
And we loved Johnny and we owned Johnny
but no one knew how Johnny felt inside
And Johnny was so beautiful, he was like a god
and we all went along for the ride
When the ride started to go too fast
Johnny just conveniently died

And he went up in flames
He did what he had to do

And they say it's a tragic story
he just wasn't there one day
but he went out in a Blaze of Glory
and you and I - you and I just fade away

Well nowadays there's a lot of guys like Johnny
they got it all worked out - like working 9 to 5
But they're all just cartoons - all think they're Superman
but they can't even fly
And they say that Johnny's ghost walks 'round in Memphis
when the moon is full and high
And I wonder if he sees these jokers
and I wonder if he laughs or if he cries

Now he's an angel in flames
But what about you and me

And they say it's a tragic story
he just wasn't there one day
but he went out in a Blaze of Glory
and you and I - you and I just fade away
-Joe Jackson, "Blaze of Glory"

2005: What the fuck is going on?

I eagerly await the announcement of President Bush's real nominee to the Supreme Court. If the president meant Harriet Miers seriously, I have to assume Bush wants to go back to Crawford and let Dick Cheney run the country.

Unfortunately for Bush, he could nominate his Scottish terrier Barney, and some conservatives would rush to defend him, claiming to be in possession of secret information convincing them that the pooch is a true conservative and listing Barney's many virtues – loyalty, courage, never jumps on the furniture ...

Harriet Miers went to Southern Methodist University Law School, which is not ranked at all by the serious law school reports and ranked No. 52 by US News and World Report. Her greatest legal accomplishment is being the first woman commissioner of the Texas Lottery.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the words of...Ann Coulter.

ETA: Seriously: What the fuck is going on? In The Washington Times--typically somewhere between The Corner or Drudge and Fox News in the "fair and balanced" department--we read:

"I can't stomach another 'trust me' from a Republican" in the Oval Office, Free Congress Foundation President Paul M. Weyrich told Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman at Mr. Weyrich's regular Wednesday conservative coalition luncheon.

ETA, again: About that "trust" issue. One theory has it that the reason Bush has been making so many colossal blunders lately is that he has been denied access to his "brain." Karl Rove has been too distracted by thoughts of the Plame ax falling, so the theory goes, to really Mayberry Machiavelli it up like the good old days.

I saw some sense in this theory. It certainly seemed like as credible an explaination as any for Bush's seemingly inexplicable "betrayal of the faithful." But if what The Washington Times is reporting here is true (and again, with The Washington Times, that's a pretty big "if"):

Senior Bush adviser Karl Rove was "very involved" in President Bush's Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, who was selected in part because she has no judicial track record, according to a Republican with close ties to the administration.
"We know that Rove was very involved in the process, and he's certainly well tuned in to the Hill and how it works," said GOP strategist Charlie Black. "I suspect the Senate leadership might have given him the advice to take into consideration on how hard or how easy someone would be to confirm."

I'm wondering now if this isn't just something they're putting out to try to shut the hysterics of the party up: Hey, you guys, it's Rove! Wink, wink. See, we're up to something! But, again in The Moderate Voice:

President George Bush's nomination of his lawyer Harriet Miers to the Supreme
Court is now turning out to require a sales job that may not necessarily require
an emergency visit by super salesman Zig Zigler — but all the King's horses and
all the King's men may not be able to put George Bush's agenda and trust from
some factions of his party together again.

Lord knows I've thought Bush was an incompetent for a long time. But in the last day or so, I've started to think... it may be worse than any of us have ever imagined in our most darkly cynical moments.

On the other hand, I just quoted Ann Coulter and The Washington Times (twice!), semi-approvingly, in the same post. Well, I see the the writing on the ole' wall. It's time to check myself into the funny farm.

Come visit me, won't you, and tell me how things still are in the outside world?

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel

Media Girl has a good entry here on what she calls "The liberal spin of Harriet Miers." Some of the more prominent liberal bloggers seem to be trying to convince themselves that it's okay not to oppose Miers.

Probably because they're so enjoying the apparent tizzy into which she's thrown the conservatives (I know I am). But MG reminds us, in the words of Gershwin, that It Ain't Necessarily So...
The latest "evidence" is that, as a member of the advisory board for the SMU law school, she advocated funding a program for women speakers. There's no indication that she had a hand in the selection of actual speakers, or just how active she was in the effort.

... reading anything into this as being reflective of her actual views is simply wishful thinking.

--As it is wishful thinking to believe she supports gay rights (while opposing repeal of Texas sodomy laws?)--

--As it is wishful thinking to believe she's pro-choice (while running for office as a born-again "pro-life" conservative?)--

By lending too much credence and significance to these rather oblique reports on Miers, the SCLBs are coming off as stretching the truth to try to fit over their hopes. I can see pointing at these tidbits of information as helping to paint a fuller picture, and perhaps even offer cause for hope (against hope). But why the veritable campaign to color her liberal? I just don't get it. And I ain't buying it.

The tripping ground for a lot of people is the fear that if we "make" Bush choose another, this time s/he won't be nearly so "liberal." But even if there is hope that she is not a Bushlike nut, I oppose her confirmation on the simple grounds of qualification.

She shouldn't be, because she isn't. That seems to me concrete, and I have to go with that over a lot of "what-ifs."

Anybody else really, really, seriously I'm not kidding scared by this?

Via the BBC:

President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

You know, it's times like this I hope some responsible body within the Republican party (yeah, I know) really is looking into exit strategies for President Bush. (And Rove may be about to provide him with one)

Because if this is true...then the man is nuts. Seriously, Son of Sam territory nuts.

He's got to be stopped.

ETA: Hey. Hey. Hey hey, hey hey hey...I just had a thought. What if naming Miers to the bench was intended as a test to see just how much trust the "conservative base" still had for Bush (answer: not a lot)?

So they know how much support they have before trying this hypothetical "exit strategy." It's probably not why it happened, but it did give me pause for thought.

ETA, again: Yeah, Pam's frightened too.

I object to all this sex on television-I mean, I keep falling off...

At Alternet, a woman named Kara Jesella has a piece about a book called Female Chauvinist Pigs and what's called "raunch culture." Her argument, as I understand it (given that I am, after all, just a man) is:

It's possible, and may even be preferable, for women to enjoy the fun and sexuality of being feminine. While still rejecting the false "female" ideals embodied in things like boob jobs.
In other words, raunch culture isn't all about fake boobs, and the women who embrace it aren't all FCPs [Female Chauvinist Pigs]. Purchasing the Aerosmith DVD with all three Alicia Silverstone videos on it (which I did) or being the pleased recipient of an old copy of Playboy as a Christmas gift (that was me, too) might not be, to use a word that Levy and the FCPs both love, "empowering," but that doesn't mean I'm disempowered. Participating in raunch culture may not always be a feminist act, but that doesn't make those engaging in it antifeminists -- or deluded. I'm thinking of the happily paired lesbian couple I went to a pro-choice march with who went to a strip club on a recent birthday. Or the feminist labor activist friend who finds Brazilian bikini waxes sexy. Levy rails against a culture in which "the only alternative to enjoying Playboy is being 'uncomfortable' with or 'embarrassed' about your sexuality." But I know lots of women for whom there is a middle ground between rabid antiporn Dworkinizing and Girls Gone Wild vapidity. There are plenty of us who have put together our sexual identities from bits and pieces of our personal histories, our pop culture experiences, our love of certain parts of raunch culture that don't feel oppressive.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

non-spoilery blogging about mars

Just wanted to make the general observation that Veronica Mars may have picked up just a dollop of additional signifigance in post New Orleans America.

Considering how much of the show, last season and this, is about the haves vs. the have-nots:

Those who watched the season premiere last week (if you haven't seen it yet, stop reading now or forever hold your peace) know that at the very end of the episode, a bus carrying Neptune High students home from a field trip -- those not wealthy enough to pay for a return limo ride, that is -- plunged off a cliff into the sea. Left behind at the bus's last convenience-store stop, Veronica (Kristen Bell) was spared.

The Outsiders - "The Complete Novel"

I was most curious to see this new version of a film that had so moved me in my youth. And, well, the DVD features are well worth seeing, for fans of the film. All the major cast members save Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise, as well as Coppola and other members of the crew, participate in a short retrospective. There's also kind of a neat idea, a sequence showing the actors reading short passages from the novel about their characters.

The cast contributes a breezy commentary; Rob Lowe in particular is endearingly self-depreciating. Coppola's commentary, unfortunately, collapses under its own pretentious rationalization. It spotlights the fact that this is the most ill-conceived "special edition" since Star Wars.

First of all, changing the music was a terrible idea. Yeah, the original score was melodramatic. But you know what? So is the story. And more are your emotions when you're a teenager. By replacing it with rockabilly and surf tunes, Coppola seems to cheapen those emotions. And drapes some of the most dramatic scenes in the film with a message that says: "Don't worry. It's just a romp." Or worse, god help us..."Tarantinoesque" irony.

Coppola was right to cut the footage he did back in 1982. Replacing it in the name of making the film more resemble "the complete novel" does not convince. Why? Real simple. A movie is not a novel. In a novel, you can have epilogues and digressions from the main spine of the story. In a movie, they just seem like anticlimaxes and padding.

Because of the age I was (11) when it first came out; The Outsiders is one of those movies that are just in my matrix. I knew the novel like the back of my hand at the time too. I'm glad to see Coppola's epic screen pictures in wide screen for the first time since its theatrical release (this is a movie that really suffers in pan-and-scan).

But I know, with the certainty that an 11-year-old knows, it was once a better movie than this.

You gotta fight for your right to...

From The BBC:

Torben Hansen, who has cerebral palsy, which severely affects his speech and mobility, believes his local authority should pay the extra charge he incurs when he hires a sex worker - because his disability means he cannot go to see them. His case is currently being considered.

In Denmark, local authorities compensate disabled people for extra costs incurred because of their disability.

"I want them to cover the extra expenses for the prostitutes to get here, because it's a lot more expensive getting them to come to my home rather than me going to a brothel," Mr Hansen told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"It's a necessity for me. I can't move very well, and it's impossible for me to go there."

Stupid, stupid Democrats

You know, it's getting to the point where I'm seriously starting to consider starting a "Don't Vote In 2008, Unless You Have Somebody To Vote For" movement for liberals. Because if we don't hit the Democrats, how will they learn?

Recently, they rolled out their "Agenda." A blog called Shadow of the Hegemon has a good rundown on it. But as many have noted, it has one, great big, gaping hole right smack dab in the middle of it.


I know I've said this before but it's so frustrating sometimes it almost makes me want to cry. Here is a president who lied his country into a war. One which he and his cabinet have waged so ineptly they've lost almost 2, 000 men and women and the hearts and minds of virtually the entire planet.

How, in any world with even the slightest basis in logic, is that not a slam-dunk for the other side?

And the answer, of course, is that the other side sucked Satan's cock on the roll-up to war and called it a sweet lollypop. And now that everybody sees it for what it is, and knows what they did, they can't spit out the taste fast enough to say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done.

So you know what I say? I say, fuck 'em. Fuck every single last milquetoast, cowardly, tremulous, appeasing jargon-wonk fraudulent one of them. We need a leader! And until they produce one, they can just keep fucking off out of the White House.

You'll get your toys back when you show me you can use them, bastards.

ETA: At length, with a cooler head and less would-be Bill Hicks channelling, the Swing State Project addresses some of the same issues I do above.
Any Democrat serious about challenging an incumbent Republican member of Congress is wise to make Iraq a defining issue in the race. Yet the DCCC has remained silent on Iraq because the message is quite different for incumbent Democrats who...are on the wrong side of the issue. As long as the DCCC remains silent, it is clear that their message and priority is incumbent protection -- trying to minimize losses instead of winning seats.

(Empasis mine)
As long as the DCCC ignores Iraq, it is not an organization worth supporting unless your goal is to waste money on incompetence or fund an effort focused on Democrats minimizing losses.

Bloggers are calling bullshit on this strategy...

Harriet Miers: Day Three

Joe Gandelman, who calls his blog The Moderate Voice but has seemed pretty conservative to me in the past (of course, I'm a liberal Democrat) has a long but good post:
President George Bush is now playing defense in a battle no one would have predicted he would have to wage: a battle to convince many in his own party — many social conservatives and libertarians — that a nominee he picked for Supreme Court justice is qualified.

Read the New York Times report on GWB's press conference yesterday and you sense a President who has stubbed his toe, is suppressing a scream, trying to smile and making things worse when he speaks

The White House avoided a Democratic filibuster but at what cost? The Miers appointment has united social and libertarian conservatives in mutual shock and disappointment. There could, in fact, be bipartisan consensus that this is not a quality could be the kind of choice that professional politicos of both parties in Congress could live with — one not as bad as some of the alternatives that could lead to all out partisan warfare. Partisan activists in both parties feel all out warfare is worth it.

This all makes me think it's going to be interesting to read Bush's polling numbers in the next week or so. Meanwhile, The Heretik has our latest contestant on Who Hates Harriet Miers (or at least Bush for wanting to make her a justice)?

George Will (of all people)...come on down!
The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me.

There is no reason to, for several reasons. He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.

Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments.

Yes, I should say it's going to be very interesting watching Bush's polling numbers over the next few days...

You know who we like, here at Dictionopolis in Digitopolis?

Jon Stewart. And here's just the latest reason why. Check out his take on the problems the White House is having with its "conservative base." BTW, the first part of that video is the end of his remarks on Nicholas Cage having named his son "Kal-El," but get past it.

BTW, does anybody else think that the Bush White House looks like it's been staffed by twisted, mirror-universe, grown-up versions of the Peanuts gang? Think about it. Doesn't Karl Rove look exactly like Charlie Brown?

And as you watch the video clip, take a look at Dan Bartlett...and tell me he's not looking like a broke Linus. Of course, the question then becomes, who is Snoopy?

I'd have had a really good joke to answer that, but John Ashcroft resigned.

Is your marriage really necessary?

A friend (Colleen) of a friend (Corey) has a noteworthy post at her blog, Communicatrix.

What really pisses me off about marriage is what pisses me off about most things that stick in my craw: it's not fair. Specifically, it's not fair that some people (i.e., the ones who might meet in a titty bar) get to do it while others (the ones who might shower together after P.E.) can't. Period. I mean, I have lots and lots of issues about marriage, but I freely admit those are more about me hating the sound of the cage door slamming shut than Marriage as it might be practiced by non-lunatics (who, for the record, come in both the titty bar and P.E.-showering variety).

She goes on from there to flip through some sites proposing alternatives to marriage, such as:

My favorite of the sites, the Alternatives to Marriage Project (a.k.a., has its own mongo cache of fun links, including: "Famous People in Unmarried Relationships (Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are only the beginning!)"; jokes ("why don't melons marry? they cantaloupe"); and separate sections on being polyamorous and/or marriagefree ("as free as the wiiiind bloooows...").

I don't quite know why I think this is a noteworthy post. I don't know why it rang a bell with me. It's not for the reason you might think; because I support gay marriage.

So far as I know I don't have any strong feelings about marriage one way or the other (never been, never asked...never been asked. Never been close).

I think that I would like to be, maybe, someday, "meet the right, girl, settle down" and all that. Of course, I did once watch the girl that I was in love with get married to another guy, and that fucked me up so much I eventually wrote a play about it in which she sleeps with "me" and leaves her fiancee (there was more to it, as those of you who've read it will testify, but...)

On the other hand, I had a pretty lovely time with my friend Moya watching my friend Stefon get married a year or so ago...although I got down when I saw the pictures; I don't think I looked my best.

On the other other hand, I'm a bastard. I am "illigitimate."

How do I feel about marriage? I don't know how I feel about marriage, thank you.

I was misinformed.

From William Goldman's Which Lie Did I Tell? :

In Casablanca, by the Epsteins and Howard Koch.
Probably you remember the moment. Bogart is talking to Claude Rains in front of his club.

And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?

My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.

Waters? What waters? We're in the desert.

I was misinformed.

...First of all, it is wonderfully elegant dialogue. Witty, plus it makes you laugh out loud. I wish to God I'd written lines as glorious as 'I was misinformed.'

But what does it tell us?

What it tells us is this: Don't ask. What it tells us is: Bad things happened, it's dark down there, and I will die before I tell you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

There is no god

New Orleans.
And I just saw that New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" is being used in a shoes commercial for Payless.

Mother of Christ

I'm being linked in The Washington Post.

Bush kvetches about them uppity black folk

I saw Kanye West perform for the first time on Saturday Night Live last week. Man, that dude rocks. By the way, on a completely unrelated matter,

In his press conference today, President Bush expressed confusion and disappointment about his standing in the African American community, saying:

I was disappointed, frankly, in the vote I got in the African-American community. I was. I’ve done my best to elevate people to positions of authority and responsibility — not just positions, but positions where they can actually make a difference in the lives of people. I put people in my Cabinet. I put people in my sub-Cabinet.

Side note: Is it just me, or does anybody else think he wanted to put the word "you" before "people" there?

Maybe President Bush should take a look at the facts if he wants to clear up his confusion:

– Today, 33% of black children live in families under the poverty level.

– President Bush’s political appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services doctored a report about racial disparities in healthcare. The department deleted a key section detailing racial ‘’inequalities” and ‘’disparities” in health care from its findings. Deleted: conclusion by HHS scientists that healthcare disparities are “national problems.” Deleted: key examples of health care disparities, including findings that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancer, die of HIV and be subjected to physical restraints in nursing homes.

– When a racial profiling report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed African Americans were more likely than whites to have their cars searched or be threatened with force after being pulled over in traffic stops, political supervisers at the bureau ordered the findings deleted. When the study’s author refused, he was fired.

From Think Progress.

Oh no, how will I be able to live with myself?

Bill O’Reilly on blogs:
Personal attacks lodged through the internet!

How are so-called “Web logs” being used as ideological weapons? And who’s behind the smear campaigns?

We’ll have a No Spin look at a dangerous new weapon in the culture wars!

Blogs. I don’t even read them. I mean, it’s so outrageous...look, that’s just a waste of time. You shouldn’t even read it. It’s garbage. Nobody cares about it. Everybody knows the simpletons who are doing it are cowards and they don’t have any influence.

That's cold, man. And here I thought lying about and yelling at people was cowardly. But no, apparently, it's blogging.

But wait, there's more

ETA: First, in our continuing series on "People who hate Harriet Miers (or at least Bush naming her to the bench)"...Pat Buchanan. Man. Firedoglake (and Steve Perry-not that one. At least I don't think) are right: Bush is screwing his fundementalist base in order to be sure he gets a lifeboat.

I have to say, there's a certain symmetry to it. Bush was placed in office by cronys in the Supreme Court, and now he's making sure his exit will be just as gentle as can be the same way. Meanwhile, from our "Black is white, night is day" category, John "Hindrocket" (again: his self-chosen nickname) of the Powerline republican blog, posts...

First, the charge of "cronyism" that we are hearing in many quarters is unfair. The fact that Bush knows Miers personally and trusts her isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing.

Bush needs to keep the party's conservative base aggressively in his corner. He also needs to show that, notwithstanding his mostly-superficial second term problems, he can get what he wants from the Senate when the chips are down.

Emphasis mine. To recap: Bush is the first president in 200 years to lose a city. He launched a war that a majority now believe was mistaken and badly planned and has now cost the lives of almost 2,000 soldiers.

If those are superficial second term problems, I wonder what the boys at Powerline would consider a signifigant one? Oh right, I know. A man getting his cock sucked. I guess if it happens to you rarely, you would consider it a signifigant event.

PAUL adds: ...I think it's cronyism in the bad sense when the president reaches down to the second tier to pick a friend even if she is qualified. I do concede that it's better that Bush picked one of his cronies than one of John Kerry's.

God, you can "hear" the fear and terror in their "voice" can't you?

"Uh...uh...Bush chose somebody who's not one of us and isn't really as qualified as we might like but..but...(there has to be some way I can still cling to my illusion that he is a great man)...but....ahhhhhh! John Kerry! The boogeyman! Ahhhhhh!"

ETA, again: Writing for Right Wing News, John Hawkins (he who separated the Democrats into groups) responds to a suggestion that conservatives should just trust Bush by asking:
why should conservatives trust George Bush after the terrible judgement he has shown on so many issues?

It goes without saying that Bush is worse than Lyndon Johnson in the big spending department. In his entire time in the White House, he has never even vetoed a single pork laden bill. Then there's the enormous Medicare prescription drug benefit which will create a massive expansion of government and add a trillion dollars to the debt next 15 years.

Since his election in 2004, Bush has spent months senselessly flogging Social Security when almost everyone acknowledges it isn't going anywhere. Even on the war in Iraq, an area where many conservatives agree wholeheartedly with his policies, it has been frustrating to watch Bush twiddling his thumbs instead of making a real effort to buck up public support for the war.

You know, things like the above give me just the teeniest glimmer of hope. Because it makes me think right-wingers are waking up to the fact that agree with his policies or not, Bush is quite simply hands-down an incompetent.

It doesn't make me feel any more compassion for those who voted for an incompetent rather than betray their precious ideology, but it does give me a glimmer of hope.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Oh, and Tom DeLay's been indicted again

Via the Washington Post:

April Castro
The Associated Press
Monday, October 3, 2005; 6:34 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas grand jury indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on a new charge of money laundering Monday, less than a week after another grand jury leveled a conspiracy charge that forced DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader.

Both indictments accuse DeLay and two political associates of conspiring to get around a state ban on corporate campaign contributions by funneling the money through a political action committee to the Republican National Committee in Washington.

If you stand just right, this could start to seem like a really good day to be a Democrat.

PS: How much do you want to bet that somewhere, right now, a right-wing nut is making a "joke" about the reporter's last name?

If you want to torture Jon Stewart, just hum "Morning Train" (I'm guessing)

...and other things I learned reading this Guardian profile.
Born Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz, he started using his middle name as his surname in 1987. "I'm not a self-hating Jew," he once said. "Actually, to borrow a line from Lenny Bruce, I just thought Leibowitz was too Hollywood." He started his career doing stand-up (his first big gig was as the opening act for Sheena Easton in Las Vegas) and still goes on the road from time to time. But the tone of The Daily Show is less a gagfest than a repertoire of shrugs, smirks, rolling eyes, raised eyebrows and damning asides, expressing frustration and despair at the powers that be. Relating Bush's decision to have a day of prayer following Hurricane Katrina, Stewart frowned. "OK," he said, followed by a long pause and plenty of laughs, "but - and I don't want to be crass here - isn't a hurricane an act of God? Shouldn't we have a day of shunning?"

When Condoleezza Rice admitted to the Senate that she had seen a presidential daily briefing in August 2001 ... "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside The United States' "... Stewart just stared at the camera for 20 seconds. Then he covered his face in his hands, lifted his head up and moaned. "You're fucking kidding me, right? Please say, please say, you're fucking kidding me."

I know this probably isn't supposed to be my reaction to this, but...

Whatever happened to tits? The above is, apparently, Bloomingdale's in New York's new look for fall. Ladies, speaking for myself (but I don't think I'm alone here), I don't like you to look as though the only reason you'd cuddle up against me is for warmth. I don't like you to look so brittle I'm afraid you'll snap in two during sex. I know Corpse Bride is the number three film at the box office at the moment but please don't take that as any sort of indication of male tastes.

You know what I like? Women's bodies. Honest-to-god, real women's bodies. With all the tits, rough-and-smooth textures, warmth, heat, please-god curves and softness that implies.

Call me a traditionalist, but that's what I like.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

Okay, here's what I've got so far on Harriet Miers, Bush's next nominee for the Supreme Court. Shorthand: Conservatives are pissed, Liberals worried about her lack of qualifications.
[John Podhoretz]
I am going to assume that this is a classic Bush head-fake gambit. If I'm wrong, I will spend the weekend banging my head against a concrete wall. This is the Supreme Court we're talking about! It's not a job for a political functionary!

Meanwhile Amy Sullivan puts it like this:
It's possible that with a six-week bar review course, any of us would be more qualified than Harriet Miers to sit on the Supreme Court. Bush chose hackery. Let the debate begin!

Ms. Miers is reportedly a "moderate conservative." Did I mention that conservatives are pissed?

Roger Pilon, founder and director of the Cato' Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies, released this statement: "I know of nothing in Harriet Miers’ background that would qualify her for an appointment to the Supreme Court. It is noteworthy that the White House chose to make this nomination two hours before the Supreme Court begins its new term under the direction of a new Chief Justice, John Roberts, thereby taking the spotlight from that critically important event in the nation's history."

Yes, Sorkin-basher John Podhoretz hates her. The lovely Amy Sullivan hates her. The Cato Institute hates her. Who likes her? Funny you should ask.

The White House noted some Democrats had urged Bush to consider the Dallas-born Miers but would give no names. One of those, however, was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

"I like Harriet Miers," said Reid, who had voted against John Roberts as U.S. chief justice in Roberts' confirmation vote last week. "In my view, the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer."

There may be a crunchy frog in the assortment that we'll uncover later, but for now...

The politics of dancing
The politics of ooo...feeling good
The politics of moving
Is this message understood?
-Re-flex, "The Politics Of Dancing"

"It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy. Miers is undoubtedly a decent and competent person. But her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president," said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard magazine.

(I actually kind of like Kristol, who is at least occasionally honest, for a conservative, middle-aged straight male pundit expert on lesbians)

Oh, and one other thing.

Records show Miers has given money over the years to both Republicans and Democrats, including $1,000 to Democrat Al Gore's presidential campaign in 1988.

In 1987 she gave $1,000 to former Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen. Bentsen was the Democratic vice presidential nominee who ran against Bush's father in 1988.

Okay, boys and girls, all together now, what are conservatives?

Atrios points out:
Wingnuttia is rather angry at the choice. I don't think this is because they're really concerned that she's not conservative enough for their tastes, although that's part of it. They're angry because this was supposed to be their nomination. This is was their moment. They didn't just want a stealth victory, they wanted parades and fireworks. They wanted Bush to find the wingnuttiest wingnut on the planet, fully clothed and accessorized in all the latest wingnut fashions, not just to give them their desired Court rulings, but also to publicly validate their influence and power. They didn't just want substantive results, what they wanted even more were symbolic ones. They wanted Bush to extend a giant middle finger to everyone to the left of John Ashcroft. They wanted to watch Democrats howl and scream and then ultimately lose a nasty confirmation battle. They wanted this to be their "WE RUN THE COUNTRY AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT" moment.

Hee hee hee hee hee...

ETA: Ah, the other shoe. Stirling Newberry cautions:

All it takes to get the left to roll over is a well coordinated right wing campaign that Mier is unacceptable to the right. The right did the same thing with Roberts - screamed that he wasn't acceptable. This is part of the strategy people - have the right scream so that the muddled middle has to think that she is one of them.

When "US v Rove" comes before the court, you'll see what this really means - Bush is lawyering up the court, appointing two long time conservative hacks to the bench to block anything that might lead back to him.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

More Bennett follow-up

On MyDD, found via The Republic of T, found via One Odd Goose:
Here's what's being overlooked in all of this. The hypothetical example that immediately popped into Bennett's head was based on a premise equating black people with criminals. He could have made a similar example of aborting the male fetuses of upper-class white families to reduce the rate of child molestation. And as he pointed out on the show, likely having realized that his example was an incredibly insensitive one, "[o]ne could just as easily have said you could abort all children and prevent all crime to show the absurdity of the proposition." Bennett's been very effective in muddying the waters around the controversy, trying to make the whole thing a debate about abortion and not race.

The fact of the matter is that Bennett's brain is wired in such a way that he immediately associates "black" with "crime." Unfortunately, many white people's brains are likely wired the same way. This doesn't make them prime candidates for Klan membership, but it does reveal the latent racism that sadly pervades too much of our society. The problem is much larger than just Bill Bennett's stupid comments.

Finally, an acceptance of responsibility, and some accountability around here

Unfortunately, it's not from Judy Miller, the GOP, or President Bush. It's from liberal Hollywood:
One of Hollywood's basic tenets is that when things go wrong it's somebody else's fault.

Which is why it's so startling, suddenly, to hear studio executives and producers taking responsibility for the rows of empty seats in movie theaters this year.

"It's really easy for all of us to blame the condition of the theaters, gas prices, alternative media, the population changes and everything else I've heard myself say," said Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Amy Pascal, whose summer releases "Bewitched" and "Stealth" flopped. "I think it has to do with the movies themselves."

In May, Entertainment Weekly pondered whether even George Lucas' "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" could do battle with the forces keeping moviegoers at bay. "Can Revenge of the Sith Halt a Serious Slump at the Box Office?" the magazine asked in a headline. "Or Are the Movies as Doomed as Darth Vader?"

The movie grossed nearly $400 million domestically but failed to ease Hollywood's anxiety. In June, an Associated Press-AOL poll found that 73% of adults preferred watching movies at home.

In August, after studios had watched such expensive films as "The Island," "XXX: State of the Union" and "Kingdom of Heaven" go belly up, Robert Iger, who took over as chief executive of Walt Disney Co. today, speculated to Wall Street analysts that it might even be time to release movies simultaneously in theaters and on DVD.

All along, theater owners said they knew better. Audiences, they contended, were weary of films with lame plots whose advertising campaigns seemed to be better thought out than their story lines. They pointed to such sleeper hits as the documentary "March of the Penguins," which drew huge crowds via word of mouth without the benefit of splashy marketing, as evidence that if you give them a good reason, people will get in their cars, drive to theaters and pay dearly for a tub of popcorn.

Everyone's repeating it around the club: Happy birthday, Groucho and/or Bud

Mark Evanier tells me that today is (maybe, sort of, no one really knows what with show business being what it is), the birthday of two of the biggest figures in American comedy: One of the two greatest "straight men" of all time, Bud Abbott (only Carl Reiner is his equal) and one of the great comedians, Groucho Marx.

Abbott and Costello were, of course, the very model of a two-man comedy team. I know a lot of people like their films but I tend to prefer them on radio, probably because I like verbal humor more than slapstick.

One exception was The Time Of Their Lives. A very atypical Abbott & Costello picture (fans of the day rejected it for that reason, according to some reports). It features Costello and Marjorie Reynolds as Civil War ghosts, and Abbott as the descendant of a man who betrayed them.

On radio, no one would say they were at the gold standard of Burns & Allen or Bob Hope. But surrounded by a sometimes amazingly good supporting cast that included Mel Blanc, they made shows that stand the test of time, in some cases better than Hope did. (He who lives by the topical gag...)

It's hard to know what to write about Groucho when so much has already been written. For the record, I thought Steve Allen's piece on him in one of the Funny People books was as good as any I have read. Nor do I want to just get into a recitation of favorite lines (marriage is a great institution...).

I think what I want to say is this: I doubt there are many comedians, even today, who don't have, at some time or another, a little Groucho voice in their heads. It's the voice telling them to examine a line for all its most exotic posibilities (a book is man's best friend, outside of a dog...).

Even though Groucho wrote little or none of his own material, he voiced it so perfectly that it became his (Well, love goes out the door when money comes innuendo). Working with his brothers or with others, he was, in a real sense, the very voice of comedy (I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member).

Who the hell else could make the words "That will be all; you may go, Jamison" into a punch line? Who could be so funny just dictating a letter? Or...

"I said beat it!"
"Oh, you said beat it. Boy, I wish I had said that. Everyone's repeating it around the club."

Turn the other cheek

It's important to do that, of course. "Let he who is without sin" and all that. There does come a time when a scapegoat turns into a dead horse--and as A. Whitney Brown taught us all, there's no point in beating a dead horse...I mean, apart from the pure joy of it.

Via Hoffmania. First quoted section is from a local Texas station, second from the New York Times:

Brown also testified it isn't the government's job to provide ice in the wake of a hurricane or other disaster.

Brown told the House panel that it's wrong for the federal government to be providing ice to keep "beer and diet coke cool."

He says that is why the government stresses people should have several days of non-perishable food on hand.

Stumbling Storm-Aid Effort Put Tons of Ice on Trips to Nowhere

When the definitive story of the confrontation between Hurricane Katrina and the United States government is finally told, one long and tragicomic chapter will have to be reserved for the odyssey of the ice.

Ninety-one thousand tons of ice cubes, that is, intended to cool food, medicine and sweltering victims of the storm. It would cost taxpayers more than $100 million, and most of it would never be delivered.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. It isn't that they're fuckups. We in America have a lot of love for fuckups--look at our comedy superstars, for god's sake. So it isn't that. It's that they don't care.

The vile Rumsfeld belittled the looting and destruction of some of the oldest artifacts and pieces of artwork on the face of the earth. Michael Brown doesn't care that his fuckup kept people hungry and sick and in extreme cases led to their deaths. "Beer and Diet Coke."

George W. Bush thinks his WMD fuckup is funny. On the pretext that Iraq had WMDs, almost 2,000 American soldiers have now lost their lives, and I don't even know how many have been physically and/or psychologically wounded. It's not that he's a fuckup, it's that he doesn't care.

Every year and a half, or so it seems

...I see a Saturday Night Live that I'm favorably impressed with. Tonight, it was Steve Carell hosting their 31st season premiere. See you in 2007.