Saturday, December 10, 2005

Our guy has a bigger dick than your guy

New York Magazine...[via Josh via Susie]:
Bush-administration officials privately threatened organizers of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, telling them that any chance there might’ve been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak at the gathering today in Montreal, according to a source involved with the negotiations who spoke to New York Magazine on condition of anonymity.

“The organizers said the Bush people were threatening to pull out of the deal,” the source said. After some deliberation between Clinton and his aides, Clinton decided he wouldn’t speak, added the source: “President Clinton immediately said, ‘There’s no way that I’m gonna let petty politics get in the way of the deal. So I’m not gonna come.’ That’s the message [the Clinton people] sent back to the organizers.”

At around 8:30 p.m., organizers called Clinton aides and said that they’d successfully called the bluff of Bush officials, adding that Bush’s aides had backed off and indicated that Clinton’s appearance wouldn’t in fact have adverse diplomatic consequences.

Oh, man

Richard Pryor, man. Richard Pryor.If there were a comedians' Mount Rushmore, he'd be on it alongside Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Did you know he co-wrote Blazing Saddles? Mel Brooks said Pryor wrote the Jew jokes, and the Jewish writers wrote the black jokes. He was supposed to star in it too, but nervous executives vetoed the idea.

Incomprable yet hugely influential. Eminently quotable-"Who you gonna believe, me, or your lying eyes?" "Bitch was so fine, I wanted to suck her daddy's dick." There can be no question that Pryor was a genuine American classic, as important in his time as Bob Hope was in his.

Feeling the way I do, I'm always happy when one of Pryor's concert films turns up on cable, and always a little grateful that they exist, that we have that record of Pryor in his prime. My favorite is probably Live on the Sunset Strip, but if you wanted to say Live In Concert you wouldn't start a fight.

Sleep in heavenly peace, motherfucker.

Diamonds are a girls best friend androgynous fellow like myself, however, gets along perfectly well with CDs and books such as you can find on my Wish List. If you're amazed at the quality of posts on this site (I know I am), please consider making a small donation to the Buy Ben Those Books And CDs He Can't Score Through The Ink 19 Gig Fund. I thank you.

I knew listening to all that Culture Club and disco music would come back to haunt me sooner or later

You scored 63 masculinity and 63 femininity!
You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 52% on masculinity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 60% on femininity
Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

On the bright side, according to that quiz I posted a couple of months ago, I was only 20% Boyish and 80% Girlish. So I've moved up a few.

Keitha: If you want to call it that...

Annabel: Shh!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Masters of Horror/Barney Miller

I've been meaning to say a little something about Showtime's Masters of Horror series. I thought Joe Dante's recent well-publicized Homecoming was arguably the best of the series so far. As political satire, I doubt it'll change anyone's mind, but judging from the interviews I've read with Dante and screenwriter Sam Hamm, I don't think they care to. It was a suitably creepy story with perhaps a little more bite than most, with just the right touches of Dante humor. Again a little darker than his usual, but some would not be surprised to learn that the director of Gremlins and the Howling has a dark side.

The runner-up would be Incident On And Off A Mountain Road, directed by Don Coscarelli, best known for the Phantasm series. This starts out seeming like it's just the best-shot, best-acted variant of the last act of every slasher movie you've ever seen. You know, where the young woman fights alone against a misshapen killer.

But there's a twist coming. And that twist, when it comes, is such a sharp blast in the face that it should not be given away. I'd recommend avoiding other reviews if you expect to watch it. The one I linked above is safe, but the first three I found gave too much away for my liking.

The other episodes in the series seem to be in the Hitchhiker/Tales From The Crypt vein, mildly creepy stories with recurring flashes of Hey, It's Showtime! nudity. But I should confess that I watched much of the others via On Demand with FF at the ready whenever I thought I could see an ending coming all the way up the track...

So don't take my opinion on those as an absolute. Also, regarding the nudity, I'd be a hypocrite if I said I didn't take my hat off to the casting department...

On an only semi-related note: On-Demand are junkie dealers. Over the past year, in a section of the On-Demand menu they call Tube Time, they've been showing the first three seasons of Barney Miller. In a handful of episodes at a time, you see.

Well, they've got me hooked. I was a little too young for this classic sitcom when it first aired (just a little too young-it started when I was four). Now I've grown increasingly addicted to the truly unique, conversational feel of the humor and the way the style of the show resembles a one-set stage play.

But, if you're not already way ahead of me, On-Demand hasn't updated with a new batch of episodes in weeks, maybe months. How can any human beings be so cruel? With the series not in syndication around here and only the first season availible on DVD...what is a man to do?

Junkie dealers...

Some afternoons you just feel more isolated from your culture than others

I want to draw a perhaps-thin distintion. I don't like to see anyone criticise things they don't know about; so I'm going to be trying not to do that in what follows.

What I want to talk about is why I find myself with surprisingly little interest in seeing The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I'll acknowledge up-front it's been getting generally good reviews, and it's entirely possible that I'm "wrong."

Certainly like many of you, I grew up reading the books by C.S. Lewis, just as I did Tolkien's Hobbit tales; each fired my imagination just as they did yours. Yet I was curious to see Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy; anxiously so after I saw the first. But I don't seem to feel quite as great a curiosity to see this one.

I think the reason is that I haven't been able to shake an idea of mine, since I first heard the new film announced. I think it was born not of people who loved the books. But of people who saw the grosses of Lord of the Rings and The Passion of the Christ and put two and two together.

Given that one accepted reading of the Narnia books is as Christian parable (IIRC, this gets heavier as the books go on), I think they figured:

"If we could make a movie that appealed not only to the special F/X and sweeping saga storytelling crowd..."
"But also to the newly-discovered Christian market...we'd be on the gravy train for life!"

I don't quite know why this should bother me, though, when certainly the people who made Lord of the Rings (or any movie ever made) did so with some expectations of profit (expectations that were just-as-certainly realized).

I'm also bothered by the idea that New Zealand has now become the apparent default filming location for the aforementioned sweeping sagas. Narnia is not Middle-Earth. Not in my head, at least. But the ads sure make it look like it.

And I'm irritated by those ads for the film that trumpet "Directed by Andrew Adamson" at the end, in an obviously tacked-on voiceover. I don't believe if you asked any three people at your local QFC who Adam Adamson was, they'd know, so it's not like he's a selling point. This seems likely to be Mr. Adamson's ego speaking, possibly through his agent.

As it happens he's the director of the Shrek movies. So why wouldn't they just say "From the director of Shrek and Shrek 2?" This would seem a much more likely selling point. Answer? Because then the apparently anxious Mr. Adamson would not get to hear himself identified as the auteur of someone else's story, one that had only lasted over 40 years before he got his hands on it.

I may be wrong, but I don't recall any of the Rings pictures being promoted as "directed by Peter Jackson," and especially not the first.

Finally, glancing at the credit information, I note with numb resignation that it apparently took four screenwriters to bring to the screen what it only took one man to put in my head. This seems like a good time to cite what I think of as "(Harlan) Ellison's Rule," which states that if a film or television show has any more than two writers listed, odds are it's going to suck rocks as a story. There may be other compensations, and there are always exceptions that test the rule. But as a handy-dandy should I see this or watch this guide, that works a treat.

I'll close with the last paragraph from a review by Roger Ebert, who liked the film (and as I say, it's quite possible that he's right) :'s remarkable, isn't it, that the Brits have produced Narnia, the Ring, Hogwarts, Gormenghast, James Bond, Alice and Pooh, and what have we produced for them in return? I was going to say "the cuckoo clock," but for that you would require a three-way Google of Italy, Switzerland and Harry Lime.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

While most of her friends and neighbors are amusing themselves with Christmas decorations and holiday gifts, Patricia Arndt is fretting over far more serious matters.

The single mother from Medford has been unexpectedly pulled from the inactive Army reserve and ordered to report for active duty by Feb. 5.

As Christmas nears, Arndt, 43, is trying to sell the Medford home she says she will not be able to keep on an Army salary of approximately $60,000 a year, and is searching for someone to care for her 13-year-old son, Shane. She expects to train for an 18-month tour of duty that could take her to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Atrios reminds us of armchair warrior poster-child Jonah Goldberg's pathetic excuse for
why he won't go fight in the war he supported:

As for why my sorry a** isn't in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give -- I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few -- ever seem to suffice.

They don't suffice because they're irrelevant, Goldberg. People older than you, poorer than you, with children who are just as special as yours are answering the call to duty. You're not. It's because you are a chicken. There is no other answer.

I don't have a problem with physical cowardice as a way of life, I just think you should admit it.

Let's give Ms. Arndt the next-to-last words:

Arndt, who never married, at first arranged to have Shane live with her sister. But those plans are in danger of falling through, she said, because of family problems. She said her son's emotional well-being worries her the most.

"He says, 'My father's not here, you're not here, why should I be here?'" Arndt said. "His life as he knows it is gone."

This is one of those times when I know with sickening certainty what the response of armchair warriors like Mr. Goldberg will be to this story, if any: If she had a man around...

Oh, Jesus Christ

On Think Progress:
Reporters Tom DeFrank and Dana Milbank were on MSNBC last night discussing the Rumsfeld resignation rumors.

They both said that Rumsfeld would have been fired long ago if things hadn’t been going so poorly in Iraq. Firing Rumsfeld now would simply be too embarrassing for the administration. It’s the key to Rumsfeld’s success: he’s so incompetent, it’s impossible to let him go –

MATTHEWS: Is anybody taking responsibility for saying we would be greeted as liberators?

MILBANK: No. The vice president certainly hasn’t. That’s not what anybody is doing. What is happening here is they’re hoping for an improvement, an uptick, in Iraq. That’s the sort of thing that could allow Rumsfeld to get out gracefully.

The snake is truly eating it's own tail. If things improve in Iraq then the administration will fire (one of) the guys who's responsible for making things go so poorly in Iraq, but as long as he's...


Oh, would to that it 'twere

The movie "Rent" hasn't exactly been burning up the box office. I haven't seen the film (I wrote about my feelings on the stage version here last month), but the Rotten Tomatoes consensus was:
Fans of the stage musical may forgive Rent it's flaws, but weak direction, inescapable staginess and an irritating faux-boho pretension prevent the film from connecting on screen.

However, news comes today that there may be reason to appreciate it after all: It's driving a group of homophobic parents from Rhode Island positively around the bend.

A group of parents is calling a high school field trip a "promotion of homosexuality". The parents are threatening to pull their teenage children from a Ponaganset High School trip to see the movie "Rent" at a local theater.

"The lifestyles depicted in this movie are not the majority, not the lifestyles of 99.9 percent of the kids that live in these two towns," School Committee cochair Donna Mansolillo told a meeting of the committee this week.

Mansolillo then handed out a review of the film by the conservative group Focus on the Family that calls the movie "an in-your-face glorification of homosexuality and lesbianism."

My first response to this quote was the headline above. Then Pam pointed out something. Homosexuality and lesbianism?

Well, it's not like it's an exact science or anything

Your 2005 Song Is

Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani

"This shit is bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S)"

For you, 2005 was the Best Year Ever.

The best year ever? Oh, please don't say that.


A few days ago, I posted a picture of Mariah Carey. One of my faithful correspondents suggested:
I think you could have found a more flattering picture of her.

I sincerely thought the first picture was flattering, but perhaps my correspondent was right. I could have chosen an even more flattering one. However, by the same token, I could also...

Well, all I need is a Bond girl and I'm all set

How intriguing. You are Ken & Barbie as 007 and the
*Bond Girl* Tres chic!

Which Ken & Barbie Couple Do You Belong To?
brought to you by Quizilla

I'll take Famke Janssen, Maryam d'Abo and Barbara Bach, please...shaken, not stirred...

All right!

Your Musical Tastes Match: Nicole Kidman

See her whole playlist here (iTunes required)

'Tis the season

As mentioned previously, we here at Dictionopolis in Digitopolis are among those who feel that Daily Show host Jon Stewart is a god. Well, even gods need easy pitches now and then, and our dear friend Bill O'Reilly was good enough to serve one up recently.

As a demonstration of the alleged "war on Christmas," O'Reilly showed a clip from The Daily Show, implying to his television audience it was recent, and flat-out telling his radio listeners it had aired the day before.

Well, funny story. The clip was a year old. Like I say, easy pitch, but even an easy pitch is worth watching if Jackie Robinson's going to hit it out of the park. (Right now, certain of my friends are saying "Ben, that was a baseball metaphor! You feel all right?).

Media Matters has an item including a transcript of Stewart's response. It's not as good as seeing it, but I havent found a video clip yet (if I do I'll add it). Here, though, is Mr. Stewart's conclusion:
If Bill O'Reilly needs to have an enemy, needs to feel persecuted, you know what? Here's my Kwanzaa gift to him. Are you ready? All right. I'm your enemy. Make me your enemy. I, Jon Stewart, hate Christmas, Christians, Jews, morality, and I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together at Osama's homo-abortion-pot-and-commie-jizzporium.

The man's a god.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Black Sea

On a ship to nowhere
On a dark and tranquil sea
I’m sinking with a cargo
Of the things that cannot be
On the far horizon
the final sunsets fall
And Tuesday becomes Wednesday
Becomes any day at all

Everything we do
Nothing remains true
I am frightened I’m a liar
And I’m tortured by desire
Every single day
In all the simple ways
I am torn apart inside
by the things I’ve tried to hide

~OMD, "The Black Sea"


Good post at The Anonymous Liberal. He starts with a post from John Hindrocket of Powerline in which it is noted that
Network coverage [of Iraq]has been over-whelmingly pessimistic.

Hindrocket goes on to conclude "logically" that this in some way indicates that the media has bewitched the poor American people into thinking that the way is going badly. Instead of that being something they concluded because they have eyes and a brain stem.

TAL takes off from there, beginning with:
You know, the capacity for insane paranoia among the wingnut crowd never ceases to amaze me. I know, I know, paranoia is rampant on the Left as well. But that's to be expected. Paranoia goes hand in hand with lack of power. With all the branches of our government under the control of conservatives, it's not surprising that many on the Left have succumb to the paranoid desperation that so often afflicts the powerless. But what excuse do conservatives have? It was one thing when they were sitting around discussing Vince Foster's murder during the height of the Clinton years. But now conservatives control both chambers of Congress, the Presidency, and an increasingly disproportionate swath of the judiciary. And conservative talking heads now dominate television and radio. Yet none of this has done anything to alleviate the persecution complexes from which so many conservatives appear to suffer. All Republican political problems are still best explained by pointing to some vast conspiracy of liberal elites.

Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sometimes I feel so sad. Sometimes I just feel so sad.

In Think Progress:
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, deputy editor George Melloan advanced startling rationale for the Iraq war. In Melloan’s view, the invasion was about creating a home base from which the United States can launch future wars against Iran and Syria...

According to Melloan, we need to finish the job in Iraq quickly – not so we can send the troops home – but so we can get ready to fight Iran:

Nowhere is the antipathy toward America and the West more clearly manifested than in Iran…Getting Iraq under control is urgent because of what may be the next threat in the Middle East.

Don’t expect the string of wars to end anytime soon. Melloan concludes that the fight could last “30 years in the view of some analysts.”

Must not start drooling in anticipation...must not...

From today's edition of The Nelson Report about that grand jury meeting Pat Fitzgerald held today ...

The line between gossip and intelligence is too-often thin, as we’ve seen the past few years. With that caution in mind, Washington buzz today focused on reports of a three-hour grand jury meeting (presentation?) by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, with no witnesses called. Our legal advisors confess no inside information, but say this sort of an event usually precedes an indictment being handed down.
If so, who...whom...might be the lucky winner this time? The afternoon betting line is White House political guru Karl Rove, who’s earlier “exoneration” was very much exaggerated by Republicans eager to have the whole Wilson/Plame case “closed” with the indictment of VP Cheney’s then-chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Via Talking Points Memo.

More good news for our Hebrew friends.

Update: On the other hand, Gibson may be too busy running for Governor of California.

Original post:

From TNR:

Flory Van Beek, have you heard the news? Mel Gibson is going to take your self-published memoir--of how, as a Dutch Jew, you survived the Holocaust--and he's going to develop it into a four-hour miniseries for ABC!

Now, depending on how much you've heard about Mr Gibson and his father's views on the Holocaust, you may or may not smell the irony reeking from the headline above. Fortunately, Atrios is here to explain everything, in a post that begins:

I think people too often get this issue wrong and it's important that people understand. Neither Mel Gibson nor his father deny the holocaust exist in the sense that they claim it's a wholly fabricated story. While Papa Gibson has been more outspoken than his son, Mel has never (to my knowledge) distanced himself from his father's views and in fact in the interview in which he supposedly proved he wasn't a holocaust denier he in fact demonstrated that he really was one.

Holocaust deniers for the most part don't claim that it was entirely fiction. What they do is say that the numbers and intention were exaggerated, that World War II was a tragedy all around and the holocaust happened in the context of a war in which lots of people were killed.

There's tons more neat stuff. Mel Gibson directing a story about the holocaust is like George W. Bush directing a story about lesbians.

Fuck Hillary Clinton.

Seriously. That's all, just fuck her, and I don't mean that in the good way. I've defended her in the past, and yeah I think she's had to put up with too much shit because of sexism, but I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of someone who is supposed to be this big liberal Democrat supporting a neo-con, conservative war (while not, of course, encouraging Chelsea to enlist). Now she's signing on to meaningless right-wing issues like Flag-Burning legislation.

She's Co-Sponsoring a bit of Flag-Burning legislation with a Right-Wing Freak from UTAH. Never mind the hardcore Lefties AND Righties who happen to rather LIKE the First Amendment!

So, Hillary? Fuck you. Time to move to the back of the bus. Not because you're a woman. Because you're wrong.

Stupid, stupid Democrats

Oliver Willis has another one of those "I agree with every word" posts. Especially these paragraphs:
But if there’s one group of people who make the job of the modern conservative movement easy as pie, it’s the Democratic party. There are some people in the Democratic party - Senator Clinton and Senator Biden, for instance - who have this misguided notion that it’s still 1996 and we exist in an environment that simply being less evil than the Republican party is the cure for what ails us. I seriously wonder if these folks and the people who work for them were even awake for the last four years. There is no middle ground with the right. They do not care what Democrats think about anything — not just in the people in Washington, but in the entire country. George Bush considers himself not the President of America, but the President of Red America.

There are two responses to a President like this. One is to be Joe Leiberman, to become just another appendage of the right, sitting stupidly on Dick Cheney’s lap as he operates your mouth with his bloody hands. Or for once you can stop buying into the conservative propaganda that blankets the mainstream press and stand up for what is right.

Look, the Democratic party needs to pull its collective head out of its collective ass. Waging war in Iraq was a mistake, and while there is no way to bring back the lives lost, there is still ample time to end our mistakes there. I wish nothing but success for the people of Iraq, but to be blunt I care more about New York, Washington, Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago than I do about Baghdad. And I think the Democratic party needs to realize that their jobs, the reason they are in D.C., is to stand up for America and to do what’s right. There is no moral victory or political gold to be found in simply being just a little less evil than the right - it’s a loser on all fronts. The Democrats have made themselves into losers for years now, offering milquetoast responses to Republican nonsense.

And know, earlier I remarked upon what fun it was to see the big right-wingers stumbling around. It's not so much fun when it's the party to which I belong (if only by default).

From The Washington Post via Suburban Guerrilla:
Strong antiwar comments in recent days by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have opened anew a party rift over Iraq, with some lawmakers warning that the leaders’ rhetorical blasts could harm efforts to win control of Congress next year.

Arghhhhh! As SG Susie points out, how can being on the side of most people in this country harm efforts to win control of Congress?

In HBO's documentary about the first year of Air America, there is a scene filmed on election night, when most there had been smugly confident the Democrats would win. As it becomes increasingly clear that events are not going their way, an unidentified young woman is seen tearfully throwing up her hands and saying "Have I been living in some Democratic bubble or something?"

I know how she feels, but in this case I feel like I, and other bloggers in the Democratic base, are the ones outside the bubble. It's like we're standing there, holding signs, screaming at the ones who are supposed to represent us. "Hey! Hello! Over here! The people are on our side! The facts are on our side! The law is on our side! We have actual information that will prove it if you'll just come over here and listen to us, for god's sake listen to us, instead of giving creedence (again) to proven incompetents and liars."

And they just go back to planning their bi-partisan cotillion.

Ladies and gentlemen, a self-hating Jew.

Sigh. The latest assault in this completely nonsensical "war against Christmas" is this shameful commentary on the right-wing WorldNetDaily by Burt Prelutsky, a writer of books and scripts for T.V. shows including MASH.

You know how I know this "war against Christmas" notion is completely nonsensical, as in, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever?

Let me put it this way. I live in one of the bluest parts of one of the bluest states in America. I live in Seattle, Washington. Our state Senators are Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. We chase army recruiters off campuses. Our Governor is Christine Gregoire. My Congressman is "Bagdad" Jim McDermott, who's so freaking liberal he's featured in Farenheit 9/11.

So you would think that if anybody had this "war on Christmas" stuff down, it would be us. So how come already twice since Thanksgiving, I've been in stores where they were playing not just Christmas music, but blatantly Christian Christmas music? And yet, those crazy Jewish nuts from the ACLU did not run riot.

If it's not happening here, it's not happening. There is no war on Christmas. It is a lie. But let's see what Mr. Prelutsky has to say anyway.

Schools are being forced to replace "Christmas vacation" with "winter break" in their printed schedules. At Macy's, the word is verboten even though they've made untold millions of dollars from their sympathetic portrayal in the Christmas classic, "Miracle on 34th Street." Carols, even instrumental versions, are banned in certain places. A major postal delivery service has not only made their drivers doff their Santa caps, but ordered them not to decorate their trucks with Christmas wreaths.
Gee I wish he'd source some of this stuff. But basically, these are all covered with one answer: It's called having consideration for other people, the idea that you might think of someone besides yourself.

I know this notion is foreign to right-wingers, but in a way, it's actually what Christianity (and hence Christmas) is supposed to be about. Caring for others. Compassion. But let's move on:

Although it seems a long time ago, it really wasn't, that people who came here from other places made every attempt to fit in. Assimilation wasn't a threat to anyone – it was what the Statue of Liberty represented. E pluribus unum, one out of many, was our motto. The world's melting pot was our nickname. It didn't mean that any group of people had to check their customs, culture or cuisine, at the door. It did mean that they, and especially their children, learned English, and that they learned to live and let live.

Although it seems a long time ago, it really wasn't, that people who came here from other places were welcomed with institutionalized poverty, racism and Red-baiting. They lived under the constant threat that the slightest deviation from the norm would be grounds for expulsion from society at best. Beatings and lynchings at worst.

Of course they learned to live and let live, they wanted to live! We're supposed to have made an advance.

But the dirty little secret in America is that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society – it's been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity. For example, the hatred spewed toward George W. Bush has far less to do with his policies than it does with his religion. The Jews voice no concern when a Bill Clinton or a John Kerry makes a big production out of showing up at black Baptist churches or posing with Rev. Jesse Jackson because they understand that's just politics. They only object to politicians attending church for religious reasons.
This paragraph I dearly love-it may be more filled with patent untruths and bullshit than any other single paragraph I have ever seen. First of all, there is no rampant anti-Christianity. Second of all, the "hatred spewed towards George W. Bush" has everything to do with his policies.

Visit any or all of the Weblog Awards "best liberal blog" nominees, and see how much talk you find about Bush's religion vs. his polices. And third, note the "subtle" insinuation that when Democratic politicians attend church, everybody knows they're just kidding.

Even though one of the two Democratic presidents of the past 35 years, Jimmy Carter, now a respected statesman and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a deeply religious man. In fact a former Sunday school teacher, a religious scholar and a man who has plainly tried to live his life caring for others and showing compassion . (There's those words again.)

How disgusting to imply that his faith is a posture.

My fellow Jews, who often have the survival of Israel heading the list of their concerns when it comes to electing a president, only gave 26 percent of their vote to Bush, even though he is clearly the most pro-Israel president we've ever had in the Oval Office.
Well gee, maybe 74% of your fellow Jews were better able than you to see what A. Whitney Brown used to call The Big Picture. Maybe they saw that pro-or-anti-Israel makes little difference if otherwise he's a horror show who is driving our nation off a cliff.

They're clever folks, those Jews, with certain obvious exceptions.

Via Jill at Feministe, who has a couple of timely responses herself.

This is getting good

For reasons explained in a post below, John from AmericaBlog has been slapping the Ford Motor Company around and basically making them his bitch. It's a treat to watch. But now, the Ford Motor Company is fighting back! In subtle, covert ways.

Like trying to post pro-Ford propaganda in the AmericaBlog comments section anonymously. As John writes:
But someone at Ford really needs to take a lesson in Internet 101. First rule, don't use your Ford workplace computers to place your anonymous propaganda in our site's comments section because we know your IP adress

Oh me oh my. There is nothing like watching the big boys slip on a bananna peel, fall down and land with their face in a pile of shit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Only a matter of time, really

Credit: uggabugga

Well, once again, these are special times for Democrats

The country still seems to be waking up with the hangover that comes after the Grand Old Party.

The CIA/Rove/Joe Wilson investigation ain't going away and Woodward' s incompetence has been exposed.

Bush's "plan" for Iraq ain't being bought by the voters-in fact most of 'em don't believe he really has one. And more and more credible people are coming forward to say that "Staying the course" will be disasterous.

Even Republicans admit Dems could well have a chance to take back the House and Senate in '06.

The complete and utter corruption of the modern GOP is becoming impossible to hide; the most serious charges against Delay were upheld.

Alito's supporters are worried enough to accuse his critics of being anti-god.

Bush's place in history, while obviously not assured, is looking none too good.

But I know what you're saying. You're saying, if only there was some way in which the Watergate hotel could be involved...

Well, guess what.

The Watergate hotel is involved.

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Now that's religion

A German church group has caused controversy by releasing a calendar using nude models to portray bible scenes.

The calendar, on sale for £8 in the Katzwanger church in Nuremburg, contains photos such as a naked Eve holding an apple between her breasts for Adam.

Another month shows a topless Delilah cutting the hair of a sleeping Sampson.

Other pictures portray the baptism of Jesus, Lot's daughters, the dance of Salome and the sacrifice of Isaac - many involving nudity.

I haven't linked to a E. J. Dionne Jr. column in a while, have I?

And that's odd, since he's one of my favorite columnists. Here he is on the way Republicans are "Dodging Debate On Alito." They accuse Democrats of having a "litmus test," when they clearly do, Alito passes it and Harriet Miers didn't.

But they can't say that...

I've never been so aroused in my whole entire life

"Oh, baby, I want you now", she said, "but just wait one minute while I..."
The contraceptive is an antiseptic foam spray that “forms a physical membrane inside the vagina, protecting it from infection, acting as a barrier to pregnancy and providing a lubricating effect.”

The company also says that “It can remain in the vagina for a long time without destroying the vagina's chemical balance.”

And you thought stopping to put on a condom broke the mood.

Via Feministing.

By god, I love the law

Via the good ole' conservative boys at, a little reminder that it's all how you look at it. See, by most accounts, Tom DeLay suffered a blow today. Here's a selected roundup of how the major papers and blogs are covering the events in their headlines.

Houston Chronicle:
DeLay's hopes dashed for quick end to case Judge dismisses one felony indictment but upholds another

The Moderate Voice: Judge Dismisses One DeLay Charge But Upholds Another

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire: DeLay's Hope for Quick Case Dashed

Associated Press:
DeLay's Money Laundering Charges Upheld

TalkLeft: DeLay Money Laundering Charges Stick

New York Times:
Judge Upholds Most Serious Charges Against DeLay

Washington Post:
Felony Charge Is Upheld for DeLay — But Election Code Conspiracy Count Is Dismissed

Daily Kos: Bad news for DeLay

But in the world of, have no fear! Some of DeLay Charges Dismissed
They also quote a story in the Austin American-Statesmen:
The defense still hopes to derail the prosecution by accusing prosecutors of misconduct in their handling of the grand juries that indicted them.

Well, I guess if you can't derail the prosecution by way of your client actually being innocent...

Monday, December 05, 2005

I think the proper response to this in net-ese is: WTF?

Organizers of this summer's Live 8 concert have filed a lawsuit against the Trimspa diet company over its "scantily clad" spokeswoman Anna Nicole Smith's "intoxicated" appearance and "erratic behavior" at the fund-raising event in Philadelphia.

Live 8's lawsuit says: "To add insult to injury, when Ms. Smith showed up at the Philadelphia concert ... she was intoxicated and scantily clad" in a such a way as that it "damaged Live 8's reputation," reports the Smoking Gun. Live 8 is seeking $500,000 in damages.

According to news photos of the July 2 concert, Smith's outfit consisted of a shiny pink vest bound by a string at her bust. Live 8's legal papers now categorize her costume as "totally inappropriate for a broadcast that would be seen by millions of people in the United States and then rebroadcast throughout the world."

Let me see if I've got this straight. You invite Anna Nicole Smith to your event...and you're surprised when she acts like a drunken floozy?

A Christmas image I can really get behind

Thank you! Goodnight! Drive safely!

Ha ha, ha, ha, ha! My people have come together to defend my honor!

Okay, so there's probably a less self-centered way of thinking about this. But when some duck-humping, homophobic, rock-stupid, anti-sex, illiterate hillbilly from the hated state of Tennessee gets into trouble in my beloved home of the Bay Area....
Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN) thought he'd do some fundraising in San Francisco. But that was before word got out that Ford is one of only 36 Democrats in Congress who voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The conservative Democrat has been holding fundraisers around the country for his 2006 bid for Bill Frist's senate seat.

After Mayor Gavin Newsom heard the news, the famed same-sex marriage champion backed out of the scheduled fundraiser and urged Ford to cancel the event.

...I choose to see it as the sincerest form of flattery.

I'm not normally one for political bumper stickers

But I gotta admit, this one I kinda like......for some reason.

A picture is worth 1,000 words

2005 Weblog Awards

Like it says up there, The 2005 Weblog Awards nominations are out. Vote early, vote often, or at least just stroll by and check out the nominees. It's a good way to see who the big fish in the small pond of the "blogosphere" are.

Yours truly voted for:

Talking Points Memo
Yellow Dog Blog
James Wolcott

Pam's House Blend

and Tim Worstall their respective categories. Being as through some oversight, I wasn't nominated.

They aren't all my favorite blogs or even my most recent, but (of those nominated) they've got the best track record. There's also categories in which I didn't vote, including one for our friends to the great white north.

I note with some sadness that the one-or-two conservative blogs I've found to be civil did not make the cut in that category. Some sadness, but very little surprise.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

179 pages. 36, 293 words. 32 chapters.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, a novella in four parts and an epilogue. Yes, friends, I'm moving on to new and interesting fields in which to fail. Those you on my "first reader comments" list: Don't get nervous. I anticipate at least one more major draft that I hope will bring the word count up to where it can be called a novel, albeit a short one, and then a polish. Both of these will happen next year. A lot of this draft was taken up by the simple mechanics of adapting something originally written for one medium into yet another.

However, I do want readers and comments. Of the former, especially those who haven't been with me on almost every turn of this road so far, and know or think they know the characters almost as well as I do.

But my feeling is that I want to make this round of readings and comments strictly voluntary. I realize that agreeing to read and remark upon on a major hunk of prose (even a comparatively short one as this one is) is a commitment. Morso than a screenplay, short story, or stage play (all other forms these characters have tried in their quest to get out of my head. And win the hearts and minds of their countrymen-and-women).

So, what I'd like is that if any of you would like to give this draft a "test reading" you'll let me know. If you don't already have my email, it's in my profile-or it's just benvarkentine "at" earthlink dot net.

Make it easy on yourself-I don't expect you to read this and get back to me within two weeks. What with Christmas or the non-Christian holiday of your choice bearing down on us like a two-ton truck and all.

But I do like at least a somewhat prompt reply. Shall we say, more than a month, but less than two? And now if you'll excuse me, it is time for my traditional recital upon completing a new work...
There's a part of you always standing by,
Mapping out the sky,
Finishing a hat...
Starting on a hat...
Finishing a hat...

Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat...

--Stephen Sondheim, "Finishing the Hat," from Sunday in the Park with George.

PS: If I haven't heard from anybody else in a week, then, my "first reader comments" list, you can get nervous.

A little more something something about Samuel Alito

Quoted in toto and verbatim from Think Progress:
In a 1984 memo, Samuel Alito wrote that “he saw no constitutional problem with a police officer shooting and killing an unarmed teenager who was fleeing after a $10 home burglary. ‘I think the shooting [in this case] can be justified as reasonable.’” A year later, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the shooting represented an “unreasonable seizure,” and used the case to “set a firm national rule against the routine use of ‘deadly force’ against fleeing suspects who pose no danger.”

Have you driven a Ford...latent?

Ford has caved in to a threatened boycott by the American Family Association (that's Donald Wildmon), pulling ads from gay-market publicatons like the Advocate.
The Dearborn, Mich., automaker came under fire from the AFA in May for its longtime efforts to increase LGBT workplace diversity and support gay rights causes. Ford has long been a regular advertiser within gay media, including The Advocate, and has donated significant sums to LGBT causes and nonprofit groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.

However, this is not completely out-of-keeping with Ford's traditional values.

John from AmericaBlog is all over this like I'd like to be all over Reese Witherspoon. You longtime readers of my old blog may remember last April, when another major American corporation got John's dander up.

It took John just over a month to force that corporation to its knees. They reversed their position of abandoning gays and terminated the employment of Christian Coalition, "pro-life" homophobe Ralph Reed.

And that was Microsoft. If I were Ford, I'd be worried. And frankly, Ford had enough to be worried about without bringing this upon themselves...

Oh. My. God.

Okay. No doubt by now you've heard about the Pentagon paying to plant stories in Iraqi newspapers. NYT columnist John Tierney takes off on a little riff about this, imagining the rejection letters these articles might have gotten if they had been submitted by real freelance writers.

Since Tierney's columns are behind the "select" firewall at the NYT site, I'm quoting it here via a blogger named Tom Worstall. But the thing is, no matter how funny Tierney is trying to be, I'd describe the column as hit-and-miss.

He can't hold a candle to what one of the writers of the Pentagon-sponsored articles, in an apparently true excerpt, tried to get away with.

Teirney says:

You write that these soldiers ''fight for freedom, wherever there is trouble,'' a revelation that would indeed be newsworthy to our readers across Iraq, not to mention the American military advisers. But our readers would remain skeptical unless you could provide more evidence.

"Fight for freedom, wherever there is trouble." That sound familiar to anybody?

That's right, folks. Our goverment paid hundreds of millions of dollars for propaganda on the level of a cartoon/toy commercial from the '80s.

Sleep tight, America.

The email of the species is more deadly than the mail

Okay, if the names "Rove" and "Joe Wilson" mean anything to you, this post may be of interest, if not, move on. Some information is out there regarding an email that Rove's lawyers are trying to spin as proving that he didn't lie about trashing Joe Wilson via his wife.

But as the aforementioned lovely-and-talenteds at firedoglake draw our attention to, there are one or two places where the connections just don't hold up...

(First section is from an article by Michael Isikoff)

Why didn't the Rove e-mail surface earlier? The lawyer says it's because an electronic search conducted by the White House missed it because the right "search words" weren't used.

This new information about the email production just makes no sense. I can't even figure out why they would want to put it out there. And someone who knows more about document production can correct me, but based on my limited experience, the chain of events as sketched by Camp Rove is supposed to look something like this:

1. Abu Gonzales sends the an email telling everyone to turn over relevant documents regarding Joe Wilson, the Niger forgeries and any contact with media.

2. White House IT people do a document search that curiously does not contain the words "Wilson," "Niger" or "Time Magazine."

...Presuming we know even a fraction of what is going on, there are only two explanations I can come up with. One, they are going for something really weird like it took Luskin 10 months to read them all.

Or, we are in a situation like we were when the Dick Cheney leak got floated in the NYT four days before the Libby indictment: somebody may feel like indictment day is just around the corner and is trying to get information out there so its impact can dissipate before the boom lowers.

I imagine this comparision will be driven into the ground in the coming weeks, but I'd like to get it in early: Is it possible that email could be to this administration was tape was to Nixon?