Saturday, January 28, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
Interestingly, his two-episode "West Wing" debut has recently come to seem to me like a bizarre kind of fanfic that just happens to have been written by the real guy (Sorkin). They're full of continuity references and feature the appearance of a new character (Perry) in whom an established character (Donna) expresses romantic interest. And who then shows himself to possess unusual qualities by finding something out in one day that results in the resignation of the Vice President. Maybe I should just be glad the character's name wasn't Mary Sue.
I'm being a little snarky, but actually I like the episodes (he said, being loyal to his onetime TV fave). Even more interestingly, Perry's part on the new show would seem not to be much of a stretch of the imagination for Sorkin to write...
After lengthy negotiations, the former "Friends" star will join D.L. Hughley and Steven Weber in an untitled drama set behind the scenes at a fictional long-running sketch-comedy series in the mold of "Saturday Night Live."
Perry will play a genius comic writer who was forced out of his position as co-executive producer on the sketch show after a dispute with the network, UBS.
A majority of Americans said the presidency of George W. Bush has been a failure and that they would be more likely to vote for congressional candidates who oppose him, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
Fifty-two percent of adults said Bush's administration since 2001 has been a failure, down from 55 percent in October. Fifty- eight percent described his second term as a failure. At the same point in former President Bill Clinton's presidency, 70 percent of those surveyed by Gallup said they considered it a success and 20 percent a failure.
Can we please retire the "George Bush is a winner" falsehood noooooooooooooooooooooooooow?
Senate passes gay rights bill
One-vote margin sends measure to state House
By CHRIS McGANN
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
OLYMPIA -- The Senate today voted 25-23 to approve a gay rights bill and ended the debate over legislation that emerged in Washington the same year singer Anita Bryant began her "Save Our Children" crusade against such protections.
The bill would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, lending and employment.
Twenty four of 26 Democrats were joined by one Republican and approved the bill with a one-vote majority.
Seriously, you won't often see me say this about a Republican, but let's hear it for Bill Finkbeiner:
Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, reversed his previous position to turn the tide this year.
"This has been a terribly difficult issue for me," said Finkbeiner as he explained his change of heart.
"What we are really talking about here is...whether or not it's OK to be gay or homosexual in this state. On whether or not it's appropriate to be discriminating against or to discriminate against someone because of that."
He said being gay or lesbian isn't a choice.
"People don't choose this. We don't choose who we love, the heart chooses who we love," Finkbeiner said.
"I don't believe that it is right ... to say that it's acceptable to discriminate against people because of that , because of who their heart chooses to love. I can not stand with that argument."
As opposed to:
Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester said..."The passage of this legislation puts us on a slippery slope towards gay marriage..."
Keitha: DAMN STRAIGHT!
Colley: You should pardon the expression.
Survey USA has released its new 50 state poll of job approval ratings for all U.S. Senators.
Billy Frist has a net approval rate (approval minus disapproval) of 5 percent. That compares to a net approval of 54 percent earned by each of the two most popular senators, Daniel Inouye and Olympia Snowe.
There are six senators more unpopular than Frist.
And the man thinks he has a shot at the presidency? Senator Frist will be fortunate if he can find a hospital that will allow him to practice medicine.
For the record, neither of my Senators did particuarly well either, with Maria Cantwell at 19% and Patty Murray 14%. But they still did better than Bill Frist.
But before we get there, there's going to be a bunch of twaddle and a link to a picture of a naked lady. Everybody cool with that?
You know, the '70s were a very strange time. I mean, look at this photo from The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.
Is it just me, or was Shaun Cassidy prettier than either Parker Stevenson or Pamela Sue Martin? And that's just not right, especially considering Martin was Jennifer Love Hewitt's spiritual mother in the "I'm going to change my image by taking off my clothes" business.
Oh, and Bush operatives are destroying photographs that tie the President to Jack Abramoff. As Redd says:
Bush's response to all of this thus far has been to say "he doesn't know Jack."
Maybe Bush operatives should have thought a little harder about what sort of incendiary story would arise from photographs being destroyed. In Washington, it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. This Administration ought to have learned that by now, considering the blunder on WMD information and the resulting attempt to cover it up by sliming Valerie Wilson (THAT isn't working out so well in the PR department for Bushie, now is it?). So many examples, so little time.
Members of the press need to stand up and call this ridiculous dodge for what it is: patently absurd on its face, considering the President appointed Abramoff to be on his transition team for the Department of the Interior in 2000. The President is being dishonest -- again -- and the WH should not be allowed to continually lie its way around the truth...
You could knock me over with a sledgehammer.
As Benjamin Franklin left the final day of deliberation by the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a citizen supposedly asked him, "Well, Doctor, what have we got--a Republic or a Monarchy?" Franklin replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
If all goes as planned, in a week or so that Republic will finally escape our grip. When the Senate votes to affirm Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, the central tenet of our government - the separation of powers - will take a blow from which it will likely never recover. In its place a de facto monarchy will solidify and expand, and our Constitution will join the Geneva Convention as a quaint anachronism. And the Republic we have kept for two hundred years will join its Athenian and Roman predecessors as good ideas whose time has passed.
Melodramatic? I think not.
Then you may want to read or listen to this Tears For Fears song. I did.
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
~Tears For Fears, Mad World
But hey, John Kerry is calling for a filibuster. Oh, good. Someone who really knows how to rally the troops. In AmericaBlog, Joe points out the best reason for doing it, no matter how futile it may seem:
Make the GOP say what they want: a justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Make them defend it. They never say it. Make them.
And remember: They could have just asked him.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!
You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull.
Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.
A corrupt scumbag government with apparently no possibility of recall.
The bible being wedged down the throats of schoolchildren.
And Anne Hathaway has been photographed looking like this. Would somebody like to remind me why I get up in the morning?
NY Times to Dems: Filibuster Damit
An editorial in today's Times expresses the prevalent feelings of disgust over a political party that behaves more like a doormat than an opposition party.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always lose if you fail to even muster the courage to stand and fight.
If the Dems won't stand up and fight against the appointment of an overt Bush yes man to the Supreme Court, what in hell are they good for?
Not that it matters...
"The BBC is reporting that more than half of Britons do not believe in evolution, with a further 40% advocating that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science classes. I'm a Brit myself, and I thought most people over here thought these views were outdated and lacked substance. None of my close friends give any credit to creationism or ID, but we're all well educated athiests so I guess that's to be expected. Maybe I've been blind to the views of the majority in this proudly secular country?"
(Oh, here, if you don't get the reference)
I'm somewhere in the process of teetering between resigned skeptcism and bitter cyncicism today. You wanna see the worst of it? The worst of it is this is my feeling today, right now:
If this is who the country wants...fuck 'em. Let their children burn and bleed and die for the man they chose. I'm done feeling heartsick for the poor, understaffed, under funded, undersupplied troops. The people who re-elected Bush clearly have no empathy for "my people", so I'll be damned if I'm gonna waste any more of what Barbara Bush so rightly called "my beautiful mind" on their Nascar-spawn.
As I said, that was written at a time when I was feeling very skeptical (even more so than is my default position), bitter and cynical. I know perfectly well that it is not just "their children" who are burning and bleeding for this insignifigant scrap of a man.
But, when I read things like this, it is all too easy to return momentarily to that state of toxic rage.
First it was the linguists, now we learn that sorely-needed medics have been discharged simply for being gay. With all the severe injuries and rehab needed for all the men and women fighting in Iraq, and an admitted shortage of qualified personnel to treat them, this Don't Ask Don't Tell policy makes absolutely no sense.
The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military reports that 244 medical specialists were kicked out between 1994 to 2003. The Pentagon information was obtained by Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee. (The Advocate):According to a Senate report issued in 2003 by senators Christopher Bond and Patrick Leahy, hundreds of injured Guard and Army Reserve soldiers "have been receiving inadequate medical attention" while housed at Fort Stewart because of a lack of preparedness that includes "an insufficient number of medical clinicians and specialists, which has caused excessive delays in the delivery of care." The situation created the perception among soldiers that they were receiving care that was inferior to that received by active duty personnel, which had a "devastating and negative impact on morale." (Advocate.com)
This is huge. In 2002, Bush administration OPPOSED legislation to make it easier to wiretap under FISA
by John in DC - 1/25/2006 11:54:00 PM
The Bush Administration opposed legislation that would have given them the very power they now claim they needed, power they now claim they didn't have under FISA. It's because they didn't have this power, they now claim, that they had to break the law and spy without a warrant. But this law would have given them much of the legal power they wanted. Yet they said they didn't need it, and worse yet, that the proposed legislation was likely unconstitutional. But now we know they did it anyway.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Of course, it probably would have helped if there hadn't been seven weeks between original episodes. If you're gonna resolve plots in ways that depend upon my remembering guest stars from that far back (and further) you've gotta give me some ramp-up...
VM's plots are so knotted, they'd benefit almost as much as "24" from being aired straight through without being interupted by repeats.I may be more pissed about that than I am about the bright idea to schedule it opposite "Lost."
I still love the show, but...damn!
If I'm arrested for slapping the President repeatedly while screaming at him with my knees in his chest, just so you should know why
"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02
"I am truly not that concerned about him."
- G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts,
3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)
Also that same year:
"If this was a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator"
AP - Wed Jan 25, 6:37 PM ET
FORT MEADE, Md. - President Bush, defending the government's secret surveillance program, said Wednesday that Americans should take Osama bin Laden seriously when he says he's going to attack again. "When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it," Bush told reporters after visiting the top-secret National Security Agency where the surveillance program is based. "I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously."
I always knew one day I'd hear Anne Hathaway say that.
So what’s the big risk here?
Here it is: That Democrats do nothing. That Alito is confirmed by a vote of 56-44 – Super Weasel Ben Nelson (DINO-NE) has already said he’s voting to confirm – and we all then write about our dismay, complete with quotes from Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy saying how awful the Supreme Court now looks. We then lose big in November because our party base is utterly demoralized and our total lack of conviction will have emboldened and strengthened the people on the other side of the aisle.
You know what I think? I think that's exactly what's going to happen.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I love Molly Ivins.
I genuinely appreciate the response by real conservatives on this issue — the libertarians, the true heirs of Barry Goldwater, the all-government-is-bad grumps. It’s called principle. But I am confounded by the authoritarian streak in the Republican Party backing Bush on this. To me it seems so simple: Would you think this was a good idea if Hillary Clinton were president? Would you be defending the clear and unnecessary violation of the law? Do you have complete confidence that she would never misuse this “inherent power” for any partisan reason?
Because we are stuck with this administration for another three years, I think it important to begin to get past the defensiveness and drawing attention away and blame games that big messes provoke. And part of that calls on American journalism to get over reporting the Bush administration as though it were a credible source. We need to face facts.
Graphic from TGW.
But, oddly, perhaps, what stays with me (at this moment, anyway) are its metaphors for despair. The giant "rockbiter" left behind when all his friend have been swept into nothingness, sitting there looking at his hands and saying "They look like such big, strong hands, don't they?"
And the strange turtle-like creature who preceeds almost every utterance with the words "Not that it matters..." and when asked if it doesn't care says "We don't even care that we don't care."
Not that it matters, but I want to add a voice of agreement to this entry in firedoglake giving the reasons why Alito should be (and should have been) opposed. And why Democrats who don't (and didn't) do everything they can to stop him being placed in a position such power will be on the well-deserved end of a lot of ire when he's confirmed.
Not if. When. Because he's already been cleared through to the Senate, and "a filibuster is unlikely."
The entry also contains as close to perfect an articulation as I've seen of my feelings on a woman's right to choose.
I don't want people to have more abortions. If I could, I'd wave a wand and make all babies be born under ideal circumstances to parents who would love and care for them.
But I happen to live in the all-too-real world, where sexual abuse and violent rape and all those other nasty things happen, where children wake up and wonder if there will be any food for them to eat -- right here in the US of A -- and where other things that most people can never even imagine happen within families and neighborhoods and all over the place.
And I know enough to know this: I don't speak for God, and neither should anyone else. That's why it is an individual choice -- you make peace with your own soul, your own faith and your own family and friends based on your own, individual and hideous circumstances in each case -- and beyond that, it's no one's business. And I say this as someone who struggled with fertility issues for close to seven years and fully understands how very precious that life is. But I've seen enough horrible things in my life in the law to know that there are just some circumstances where you cannot know unless you happen to be walking in those particular shoes...those very dismal, very difficult shoes.
Not that it matters.
They look like such big, strong hands, don't they?
"It's amazing that people say to me, `Well, he's just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" said Bush.
Monday, January 23, 2006
MADDOW: I'm actively angry that this is being turned into a political attack on Democrats, when Osama just threatened us.
CARLSON: It's not a political attack on Democrats. It's merely an acknowledgement that Osama is stealing all your best lines. Time to take a new one.
MADDOW: That is absolutely ridiculous.
CARLSON: Sure. It's totally true.
MADDOW: What about when he said, "This is going to be a generations long war and we need patience. That's George W. Bush.
CARLSON: Yea, that's one of the lines Bush uses, but it wasn't...
Weasel. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Fucking own your attacks, Carlson.
A poll last week showed Senator McCain could trounce Senator Clinton, the Democrat favourite, by 52 to 36. The 16-point lead revealed that he has a decisive advantage among independents and swing voters.
"The more scandal and corruption in Washington, the better it is for McCain. He is at a high point right now," said Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of National Journal's Hotline news service, which commissioned the poll.
Senator McCain went on to stake out an independent position on the war in Iraq, which he considers to have been botched, and he led a successful campaign in Congress to ban the use of torture and the cruel and degrading treatment of detainees.
In Congress, he is leading his party's efforts to get out of a mire over lobbying and corruption after Jack Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist, was indicted for attempting to bribe politicians.
Republican senators are queueing up to support McCain's reform bill, which would ban privately funded travel by members of Congress and impose stricter limits on gifts from lobbyists.
Do you get it? In other words, he's getting support because he's actually being seen to be doing something. I could argue the truth of some of the assertions of that story, but the truth isn't the point.
If growing up under Reagan in the '80s taught me nothing else, it was that perception is everything. McCain is filling a void that the dumbass Democrats should be filling, but aren't. And they won't, until they learn that they have to throw Hillary (and the Hillaryesque) to the fucking timber wolves.
They were great in the '90s, but they fucked it up. And it's not the '90s anymore. Stop bringing cake to a knifefight!
U.S. President George W. Bush calls indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff "an equal money dispenser" who helped politicians of both parties. Campaign donation records show Republicans were a lot more equal than Democrats.
Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.
"Abramoff's big connections were with the Republicans," said Larry Noble, the former top lawyer for the Federal Election Commission, who directs the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
"It is somewhat unusual in that most lobbyists try to work with both Republicans and Democrats, but we're already seeing that Jack Abramoff doesn't seem to be a usual lobbyist," Noble said.
This is not a bi-partisan scandal. I'm sorry if it seems I'm harping on this, but--call it a hunch--I have a feeling that the President Bush version is out there. And the more that version gets repeated and reheated, the more democrats are going to be convinced not to look at a gift horse at all.
As the saying goes, a lie gets halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. And that saying came before the internet.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
(AP) [via USA Today] — The new president on The West Wing will be a real short-timer: NBC announced Sunday it was pulling the plug on the Emmy-winning political drama after seven seasons in May.
The West Wing announcement wasn't much of a surprise. Although this season's story line with a presidential campaign involving a Democrat played by Jimmy Smits and Republican portrayed by Alan Alda has been strong critically, ratings have sunk with its move to Sunday nights.
The decision to cancel it was made before actor John Spencer, who played former presidential chief of staff Leo McGarry, died of a heart attack Dec. 16, said Kevin Reilly, NBC entertainment president.
You get the feeling from recent interviews with Alison Janney and Richard Schiff that they knew it was coming, and that without John, they don't mind much.
"There's a point when you look at the ratings and say, it feels like it's time," Reilly said.
The series finale will be May 14, preceded by a one-hour retrospective. The campaign to replace the fictional Josiah Bartlet as president will be settled, NBC said.
Producers Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme, who created the show and guided it through its early years, will not be involved in the finale, Reilly said.
That's disappointing, but I note with eternally springing hope that he did not say they would not be involved in a "farewell to Leo" episode, as some of us want them to.
ETA: So much for springing hope. According to a spoiler obtained by TWOP (via the Aaron Sorkin mailing list)
When [Leo's] death is noted on the show, it will be just five days to election -- too late by law to change ballots and likely to affect the (fictional) vote that will culminate the season of the show,which has been failing in ratings in recent years and suffered further in a move to Sunday nights this season.
I may still be wrong, but that doesn't sound like Sorkin or Schlamme will be involved with that either. Sigh......come on, Studio 7!
The West Wing won four Emmy Awards for best television drama in a row for its tales of political intrigue. At its prime, it also offered NBC two valuable benefits: critical acclaim and the most upscale audience on television, an important drawing point for advertisers.
And then Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme left.
So you can understand that what absolutely scares the living shit out of him is the idea that there might be photos out there that would make him look bad. George Bush understands that most of the country either doesn't or can't read, and he uses it to his advantage. If more people either could or did read, there's no way Bush gets elected even once, let alone twice. But everybody knows how to look at pictures.
When the Abramoff scandal began to blow up, White House aides were quick to deny that the president knew, or even remembered having met him. This was the story they were afraid of:
As details poured out about the illegal and unseemly activities of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, White House officials sought to portray the scandal as a Capitol Hill affair with little relevance to them. Peppered for days with questions about Abramoff's visits to the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said the now disgraced lobbyist had attended two huge holiday receptions and a few "staff-level meetings" that were not worth describing further. "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him," McClellan said.
The President's memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed. While TIME's source refused to provide the pictures for publication, they are likely to see the light of day eventually because celebrity tabloids are on the prowl for them. And that has been a fear of the Bush team's for the past several months...
Now, if we had any democrats who were actually interested in...oh, what is that word...oh yeah, fighting, instead of triangulating, calculating and equivocating and so frightened to offend? They might know what to do with a golden opportunity like this.
But since we don't, we should probably just start thinking about which denomination of currency we want to see the President's face on. Since he is, after all, a great and good man.
Don't get too excited...I think every blog that anyone wrote in and mentioned gets listed for this round. I don't expect to make the cut when they narrow it down to a top 10 or so.
But that does not mean that I'm not emotionally needy enough to ask you to head on over there and vote for your old pal Dictionopolis In Digitopolis. To prove to me, in the words of Dan Connor's bowling team:
"There's someone worse than us! There's someone worse than us!"
At this point, it's easy to see it going either way: either Lasseter and company will shine their creative light upon Disney helping to revitalize the Mouse's slumbering animation division or Disney's corporate bureaucracy will drag down Pixar with it and we'll enter a new era of films like THE INCREDIBLES MEET WOODY AND BUZZ.