Saturday, May 06, 2006

I can see wanting to set a world record

...but isn't this milking it?

Thank you, good night everybody...

"Are you my mommy?"

Photo via Shakespeare's Sister.

Now, about those hookers...

...specifically, the ones involved in the scandal that may well have forced Porter Goss' resignation.

I know what you're saying.

You're saying, isn't there any way in which they could be gay hookers, and thus expose the George W. Bush administration as being hypocrites on an even grander scale than we might have dreamed possible?

Well, guess what...

(As Muskie Muskrat might say: "It's possi-bull, it's possi-bull ...")

Friday, May 05, 2006

Another private citizen doing reporters job for them (UPDATED)

Update: The audience member referenced below was Ray McGovern, who spent 27 years of his life as a analyst for the CIA. Unclaimed Territory has a post about the utterly predictable smear campaign the extreme-right websites have launched against him.

Glenn Greenwald concludes:
Not only is a lopsided majority of Americans (like McGovern) against the war in Iraq, they also believe (like McGovern) that the Bush administration "intentionally misled" the country into war. The fringe, radical, discredited views on the war are not those expressed by McGovern, but are those expressed by Instadpundit, LGF and company. And yet those same extremists continue to classify people who oppose the war as "radicals"and "leftists" because they apparently still believe -- even in the face of all that evidence to the contrary -- that it is their pro-war views which represent what mainstream Americans believe.

To which I'll just add: Can we impeach them (all) nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow?

Original post:
Speaking in Atlanta today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was sharply questioned about his pre-war claims about WMD in Iraq. An audience member confronted Rumsfeld with his 2003 claim about WMD, “We know where they are.” Rumsfeld falsely claimed he never said it. The audience member then read Rumsfeld’s quote back to him, leaving the defense secretary speechless.

--Think Progress.

I like this kid

Remember Pink's "Dear Mr. President," the political song I've mentioned a couple of times in recent months? Well, in Coral Springs, Florida, a 10-year-old girl, Molly Shoul, wanted to sing it at her school talent show.

She's not being allowed to, as
"This is a fifth-grade student that wants to perform a song filled with lyrics about drug use, war, abortion, gay rights and profanity," said district spokeswoman Nadine Drew. "This is an elementary school that includes kindergarteners and pre-K students."

Now, there's one or two lies in that statement, as the news story above properly lists. For one thing,
The song does not mention abortion, and the profanity mentioned is the word "hell."

But believe it or not, I'm not completely deaf to to the concerns some parents might have about hearing such a song performed before such a young audience, much as I like it. If they'd asked me, I would have said she should go ahead and do it, but it's not what I see as a great newsworthy act of censorship that she's not being allowed to.

To me the more noteworthy part of all of this cool is a 10-year-old girl who wants to get up in front of her entire school and sing a song about important subjects like speaking truth to power?
Molly said she liked the way the song addressed the president directly.

"He should try to listen to what other people say, not just himself," she said.

On the off chance that Molly and/or her mother are Yahoo! searching her name & come across this blog: Way to go, kid.

One thing does concern me, however. The last paragraph of the news story is:
Assuming the decision stands, Molly said she plans to select a new song for the show later this month with a message she thinks school officials wouldn't object to: A hip-hop song about two girls fighting over a boy.

I suppose it's always good to reinforce that "catfight" instinct as early and often as possible. The message, then: Speaking out on issues in which you believe=bad. Fighting over boys=good!

Don't you believe it Molly, wherever you are.

The Democrats: It's time for Tough Love

John Aravosis raises the question of whether liberals ought to lay off the Democrats till the election, "for the good of the party.":

I think at some point we can hurt ourselves by helping create a public perception that our party has no message and is spineless. Then again, it’s not like they need much help creating that perception - chicken and egg.

Jedmunds responds:
...when Chuck Schumer decides that Bob Casey will win a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, it’s not only a consequence that he must win that seat without me. It’s a matter of the two of them figuring out how to win that seat with my active, petulant, and whining opposition. When someone like Maria Cantwell decides to vote for cloture on a filibuster of Samuel Alito’s elevation to the Supreme Court, the consequence is that I’m going to have to support her Green opponent, Aaron Dixon for her Senate seat. When Democrats mince around and run from the great “war president” on every issue of national security, no matter how unconsionable, no matter how obviously so, I’m going to say something, and not that I particulary care, but it’s not my words that create a perception, but the actions of meek politicians who create a reality to discern.

I’m not inclined to trouble myself with some sort of mental jujitsu. I just can’t concern myself with the ever futile effort of trying to influence the oligarchs of the democratic party anymore. If Democrats want my support, if they want me to say nice things about them, then it’s up to them to make the effort to get on my good side.

And if I were susceptible to being swayed by frightening spectres into voting against my better judgement, I’d probably be a Republican.

I believe I agree with Jedmunds.

You have absolutely got to be motherfucking kidding me

There is a school of thought that suggests that all of Tom Cruise's recent publicity worries-the fact that he's now best known as the lunatic who dances on a couch, etc-stem from his firing his longtime publicist and hiring his sister to replace her.

He's since fired the sister, but it seems when it comes to coming up with ideas that don't look crazy, he and his people just can't catch a break. Case in point:
The plan was to conceal digital audio players in 4,500 randomly selected newspaper boxes around Los Angeles and Ventura County. When newspaper buyers opened the racks, the six inch long, two-and-a-half inch wide red plastic boxes -- connected to activator switches on the news rack doors -- would play the easily-recognizable "Mission: Impossible" theme song.

Despite the simplicity of the plan, the digital audio players and the red, white and black wires leading to their activator switches did not stay concealed.
See if you can spot the flaw in this plan. Concealed small boxes, connected to activator switches by red, white and black wires. Guess what happened next.
One newspaper buyer saw the device and switch, thought it was a bomb and called authorities. After an inspection of the newspaper rack could not determine whether the device was explosive, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad blew up the newspaper rack.

Best of all, one of the boxes was found by a Veterans Hospital that had to be evacuated.
Nikki Baker, public affairs specialist for the V.A. in Los Angeles, {said:]

"Lives were at risk. Doctors could not get into the building. The evening shift personnel, also, could not get into the building," Baker said. "There were operations that needed to be performed and people were really at a standstill because of this."

"The Los Angeles Times and Paramount Pictures had the financial means and human resources to install these 4,500 small music boxes all over the city," Baker said. "But, they didn't think about us. They didn't think about our patients.

"The lack of foresight and the absolute failure to adequately communicate this information to us," she continued, "was just really uncalled for."

Good one, boys and girls.

Oh, and...

You remember Porter Goss? He's the highly partisan Republican lawmaker turned CIA director. Even though he himself felt he was unqualified to hold that position and didn't have the required skills, I guess he figured, in the Bush administration, qualifications and skills are not a plus.

Well, he's resigned now. Why? Let's ask my latest internet crush, Georgia10 of Daily Kos fame...
This isn't part of some White House shake-up. This is a scandal-plagued Bush appointee resigning just as an investigation into another Republican corruption scandal hits too close to home.

It is Goss's hand-picked #3 man at the CIA, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo who is under serious investigation in connection with a massive bribery scheme that touches on sweetheart deals, million dollar contracts, and yes, even hookers.

You will recall that Ken Silverstein, based on a source, noted that the prostitution scandal could touch a former lawmaker "who now holds a powerful intelligence post." Speculation abounded that Porter Goss fit that description perfectly.

The difference between wit and humor

As defined via The Opinion Mill:
In his book Paradigms Lost, John Simon points out that humor and wit are nearly polar opposites. Humor is inclusive: it invites everyone to join in on the laugh and feel like one of the crowd. Wit is exclusive: it addresses itself only to those who are in the know, and if the other people in the room feel uncomfortable because they don't get it -- hey, that's a bonus. Colbert's performance was a display of wit at its most lethally cutting. He went into a room with the most powerful man in the world and his courtiers, and he excluded them from the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No such thing as tomorow, only one two three go!

Sit down, got another letter to write
Think hard, got to get the letter just right
There's a ringing on the telephone
Oh no, got to write a letter later
No such thing as tomorrow, only one two three go!

Time - got the time tick-tick-tickin' in my head
Time - got the time tick-tick-tickin' in my head
Time - got the time tick-tick-tickin' in my head
Tickin' in my head, tickin' in my head, tickin' in my head

If I tell you what I'm doing today
Will you shut up and get out of my way?
Someone asked me what the time is,
I don't know
Only know I gotta go now

No time - gotta get a watch repaired
No time - haven't got a thing to wear
Hear the ringin' of the telephone no no
Hear a ringin' in my head now
No such thing as tomorrow, only one two three go!
--Joe Jackson, "Got The Time"

I told you it was all a game

Mannion has a good post on the boys and girls in the glass bubble:

They cover politics as if it is a game, as if the people involved, the "players," are players, colorful characters whose quirks and foibles make their stories funnier or more dramatic, but whose political views are no more important than a ballplayer's pet superstitions or diligent pursuit of an arcane record. It's not just Joe Klein. He's the model. That Tom Delay is a thief and a thug and a posed a real threat to the useful functioning of the government never seemed to figure in the coverage of him, even as he disappears back down the sewer out of which he came. The Bug Man, the Hammer, he's just contemporary Washington's Ty Cobb, isn't he?

He also goes on to give the clearest explaination of why, as Media Matters has been documenting, the traditional media have been rolling over like dogs to get their tummy rubbed over Bush's funny skit last Saturday. While ignoring Stephen Colbert's routine, when they're not bashing him for "crossing the line."

And only wishy-washy liberals (like yours truly) seem to remember Bush's funny, funny routine from a year or two ago in which he made jokes about the lies for which he's sent other people's children to their deaths. That wasn't crossing the line, to those who are now complaining about Stephen Colbert.

Why? Because, as Manion sez:

...Bush's "joke" keeps the game going. Colbert's jokes spoiled the fun of pretending it's all a game.

Emphasis mine.

PS: I'm sorry if any of you think I'm overdoing the Colbert posts, but the more I think about it, the more I think this was one of the great moments in American political satire.

ETA and expand on that: Glenn Greenwald found a paragraph I somehow missed from a couple of years back, in which Elisabeth Bumiller, who is supposed to be a reporter for the New York Times, flat-out admitted that she is incapable of doing her job-

I think we were very deferential because … it's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you're standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time.

-and offers another reason why most national "journalists" have been faced with a choice between smearing Colbert and ignoring him:
...they hate Stephen Colbert for doing what they were supposed to do but were so blatantly unwilling and afraid to do, and so they have to smear his act of courage by tossing up their noses and characterizing it as some very offensive breach of etiquette, even depicting his criticissm of the President as being cowardly.

Stephen Colbert did what I don't remember reading about very many political satirists doing: He went into the lions den, and critisized the President of the United States when he was standing three feet from him. Does Garry Trudeau do that? Did Mark Twain?

Does anybody?

Colbert in 2008. It's the only solution.

I'll accept that.

The Pyrrhonian
The results are in, and it appears that you have scored 47%...
Quietly confident and aloof, the Pyrrhonian recognises that religions exist and that people subscribe to them, but manages to keep well out of it all. Pyrrhonians came to the realisation long ago that all matters of faith are beyond the scope of reason or argument, and thus retains a clear-headed skeptical approach to religion in general. They refuse to place belief in anything for which there is no proof, and regard the majority of theistic claims as irreconcilable. Leading a life of tranquility undisturbed by religious concerns, the position of the Pyrrhonian is enviable, if a little frustrating for others at times.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on pentagrams
Link: The Atheist Test written by chi_the_cynic on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Pam's House Blend has a few words for Mary Cheney

...who, with a book to sell, is suddenly mouthing words of discomfort about having helped elect her father and his monkey. Somewhere, I hope someone is keeping a record of all the Republicans in the "too little, too late" club for those GOP members who only convieniently realized after the 2004 elections things like that the Republican party is-absolutely-the party of bigots.

Ms. Cheney simpers and whines about how it was a very tough decision to work for the party that, if her father were not wealthy and powerful, would treat her with approximately the same care with which he treats his hunting buddies.

In response to an article that said: rights activists say that Cheney's silence is just a form of hypocrisy...Her reply to their criticism is simple. "We each have to choose our own path," she said. "I respect their opinion. But it is not the path that I would choose for myself."

PHB said:

Which path is that, Mary?

* One that questions "professionally closeted" gays who work for a party that officially considers you a second-class citizen? Jeezus, you're in company with plenty of out gays who work for, support and vote for candidates in a party who are ready to legislate your relationship into legal limbo, the level of delusion is stomach-churning. Happy with that path?

* You couldn't find a way to choose a path that fights for the rights of everyday LGBT citizens, putting your personal mettle to the test to live openly, speak publicly, question those in authority, and distance yourself from a campaign that was demonizing you (instead of further lining your wallet)?

The paycheck versus your principles...everyone knew where you stood then (and were flabbergasted). Now, with this interview, you confirm what a sick and sorry state of mind you're in. I am trying to find a place in my mind where I can pity you, but I simply can't.

There's more. Read it all.

George Lucas has a message for those Star Wars fans who were stupid enough to buy the "special edition" DVDs

That message is...thanks, suckers!
In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you'll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.


I know we can't, but...can we please retire the "George Lucas, Mythmaker" falsehoods now? He's a cynic who doesn't care about anything except separating as much money from your wallet as he can, as many times as he can.

Pardon me, madam. I've come to read your poet.

Stumbled into a blog called SpeedCrash which seems to be a place where a young man named Dagmar Makara posts his poems. Mr. Makara is from Manchester, England...England, across the Atlantic sea..and I'm a genius genius...I believe in god, and I believe that god believes in Claude that's me...sorry.

Anyway, I like the poems. Mr. Makara is 17...and frankly, you'll be able to tell...but I like the poems.

Oh good Lord in Heaven

A radio talk show host named Martha Zoller suggests Stephen Colbert was disrespectful to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Why does she suggest this? Well, follow this with me, won't you? As part of his remarks last Saturday, Colbert said of Bush:

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will.

To which Zoller sez:
...9/11 was a Tuesday, so that was -- and he probably didn't even think about a that, but for me, having lost friends in the World Trade Towers that was the first thing I thought of.

It's as plain as the nose on your face.

Via Crooks and Liars.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More from Mariano

"...the unofficial official 'mystery artist' of Dictionopolis in Digitopolis." You can see more of his recently-posted work here.

Oh, Howard

So there's this fellow Donald Hitchcock. He's the gay liasion to the Democratic National Committee. Or rather, he was; he was fired recently. Why? Well, the DNC has yet to give a reason for the firing other than "It was decided we needed a change."

But by a remarkable coincidence, the firing took place
less than a week after Hitchcock's domestic partner, Paul Yandura, a longtime party activist, accused [Howard] Dean of failing to take stronger action to defend gays.

Quote from Washington Blade Online.

Over on AmericaBlog, John A. makes what seems to me the safe assumption that
Howard Dean would never fire a straight woman because her husband had criticized the DNC. But somehow when it's a gay couple, Dean has no problem giving the appearance of taking revenge on an employee who has done nothing wrong. Then again, the employee is gay, so you know, perhaps that makes him only three-fifths an employee in the eyes of the DNC.

Challened to defend this in the comments, John adds,
If this were a woman complaining of sexual harrassment, and she were fired five days later, it'd be a case of res ipsa loquitor.

That's Latin for 'the thing speaks for itself,' BTW.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh, and by the way...

You know how we're going to war in Iran over the supposed "proliferation of nuclear weapons material" there? Sure is a shame we didn't have anybody tracking that a while back, isn't it? Oh, wait.

We did.

Her name was Valerie Plame.

Glenn Greenwald blogs:
MSNBC reporter David Schuster reported yesterday that at the time the Bush administration disclosed her employment with the CIA, Valerie Plame was working on a project "tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran." Schuster also reported that intelligence sources of his claimed that her disclosure forced her to cease this work and that it disrupted and harmed the efforts of the United States to obtain intelligence relating to Iran's weapons activities.

When spoiler warnings go too far

Actual blog headline:
Movie Review: United 93 ** Spoilers **

Via Hullabaloo.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I knew he was okay with the paintings and the drawings and all, but who knew he could write good?

Vincent van Gogh:

'But I must continue on the path I have taken now; if I do nothing, if I don't study, if I stop searching, then I am lost, in misery. That is how I see things, persevere, persevere, that is what I must do. But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal is becoming more clear, it will take shape slowly but surely, as the scribble becomes a sketch and the sketch becomes a painting. As one works more seriously, and embrodiers on the initially vague idea, the thought at first volatile and transient-until it takes on a concrete form.'

July 1880

As you watch this, ask yourself what Bugs puts his pen and paper away into

My new favorite blog has clips from Rabbit Hood. The second (from the top) features one of my all-time favorite "Bugs' adversary gets carried away with the moment" gags. But notice how for the purposes of producing and then removing pen and parchment, Bugs' torso suddenly seems to have pockets.

Stephen Colbert: The Aftershock

At last year's White House Correspondent's dinner, you'll remember that when the president joshed and giggled about not finding the weapons of mass destruction, the press laughed and laughed. They just love it when the president makes fun of himself. It reminds them of why they love him --- and why they are better than he is.

I sorry to report that this year, in an alarming lack of decorum, Stephen Colbert went way over the line --- he lampooned the press corps itself in such a way as to make it seem as if they might be partly responsible for why 70% of the nation feels the country is on the wrong track. Making fun of politicians is one thing. They are a slightly lower life form. But the press itself? Implying they are complicit in all this unpleasantness with war and what not? Well, that simply isn't done.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

I can't accept that.

"Silent Hill" director Christophe Gans reportedly had some unkind things to say about our man Roger Ebert in a recent issue of a magazine called Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ebert quotes and answers them in this week's installment of his Answer Man column.

He begins:

In the article, Gans praises video games as a form of art and says "The Legend of Zelda" was "a beautiful, poetic moment for me."

See above. No, I can't accept that. I'll accept that there can be beautiful, poetic moments in comic books, movies, music, puppet shows and music videos, but video games? No. No, I don't think so.

Neil Young: Champion of free speech?

It's your call.

Yay...(updated w/additions)

Stephen Colbert performed before Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. According to early reports, the President was not amused. That's just fine, the President thinks the golfer's joke about only hitting two balls when you step on a rake is funny, not to mention death row prisoners and sending other people's children to die because of a falsehood.

The President thinks that's really frickin' hilarious. We're not talking about a JFK here when it comes to an appreciation of quality humor.

Oh, wondering at what the President was not amused? At this:

[Colbert] attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.”

Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side." He also reflected on the alleged good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.

Addressing the reporters, he said, "Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know--fiction."

Go, Stephen, go.

Colbert closed his routine with a video fantasy where he gets to be White House Press Secretary, complete with a special “Gannon” button on his podium. By the end, he had to run from Helen Thomas and her questions about why the U.S. really invaded Iraq and killed all those people.

Several veterans of past dinners, who requested anonymity, said the presentation was more directed at attacking the president than in the past. Several said previous hosts, like Jay Leno, equally slammed both the White House and the press corps.

Colbert in 2008!

ETA: What's interesting is that the people who are criticizing Colbert's performance this morning-The Moderate Voice has a sampling-seem to be doing it from the POV of people who don't watch Stephen's show, and don't know what he does. By most accounts that I have read so far, he had the balls to turn the Correspondent's Dinner into an episode of The Colbert Report-which presumably is what they hired him to do.

I have to wonder, though, whether long, stern conversations haven't been held with whoever books that dinner in the hours since ("What, Dennis Miller wasn't avalible?").

ETA, again: Mark Evanier wonders-
I'd also be curious to know what Colbert's goal was...and it may not have just been to entertain the folks out front in the formal wear. If it was, he probably went about it the wrong way. When you hammer the president that much right in front of him, you make an awful lot of people uncomfy...and not just the ones who side with the guy. I thought some of Colbert's lines were brilliant but if I'd been in the room, I might have spent more time looking at the reactions of others (Bush, especially) to some of them than laughing. On the other hand, Colbert's main objective may have been to cultivate a certain image as a performer...or simply to express his views. He could well have succeeded in one or both of those.

To reiterate: What interests me more than the question of Colbert's goal is what was the expectation of whoever offered him the job? I can hardly believe this is true, you suppose someone saw a few episodes of his show and...didn't realize he was being ironic?

ETA, one more time: A blog called enrevanche has more.

A few choice Colbert lines:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's not butter. Most of all I believe in this president. Now, I know there's some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias."

"John McCain is here. John McCain. What a maverick. Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you wasn't a salad fork. He could have used a spoon. There's no predicting him. So wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. Senator, I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light... Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city. Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I would like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption."

Oh, my god...