Friday, December 30, 2005
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it
I don't like to play scary games where we all stay awake late at night, telling each other scary stories -- but there's a reason we have never given our government this kind of power. As the late Sen. Frank Church said, "That capability could at any time be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capacity to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide."
And if a dictator took over, the NSA "could enable it to impose total tyranny." Then we always get that dreadful goody-two-shoes response, "Well, if you aren't doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about, do you?"
Folks, we KNOW this program is being and will be misused. We know it from the past record and current reporting. The program has already targeted vegans and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- and, boy, if those aren't outposts of al-Qaida, what is? Could this be more pathetic?
This could scarcely be clearer. Either the president of the United States is going to have to understand and admit he has done something very wrong, or he will have to be impeached. The first time this happened, the institutional response was magnificent. The courts, the press, the Congress all functioned superbly. Anyone think we're up to that again? Then whom do we blame when we lose the republic?
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A punk-rock style, trendy tight fit and affordable price have made Cheap Monday jeans a hot commodity among young Swedes, but what has people talking is the brand's ungodly logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead.
The jeans' makers say it's more of a joke, but the logo's designer said there's a deeper message."It is an active statement against Christianity," Bjorn Atldax told The Associated Press. "I'm not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion."
Atldax insists he has a purpose beyond selling denim: to make young people question Christianity, which he called a "force of evil" that had sparked wars throughout history.Such a remark might incite outrage or prompt retailers to drop the brand in more religious countries.
But not in Sweden, a secular nation which cherishes its free speech and where churchgoing has been declining for decades.Even the country's largest church, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, reacts with a shrug.
"I don't think it's much to be horrified about," said Bo Larsson, director of the church's Department of Education, Research and Culture.
Can you imagine, I mean, CAN YOU IMAGINE a church in the U.S. reacting in a similar way?
If they ever try to sell these jeans in the U.S., the Republicans will convene a special Schiavo-esque session of congress just to deal with the imminent threat to our nation's values.
And Bill O'Cocksucker will devote several weeks of programming to a boycotting campaign of retailers that carry the jeans...
But just like the evidence that Gore won Florida no matter how you decide to count the vote, this story has zero traction in the media.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
So, where did I go for Xmas, anyway?
stays in Vegas.
Don't tell Spooney.
Anyway, Happy New Year, y'all.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I'm on blog break until late next week.
Have some wicked awesome holidays, fuckers. I'll miss you like crazy.
(thanks to Josh for the pic)
NYT: John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, told a Senate panel in May that environmental and animal rights militants posed the biggest terrorist threats in the United States, citing more than 150 pending investigations.
Holy fucking cow! Does the president know this? Because just yesterday he said that al-Quaida was the big threat.
Your phone call is important to us. We defy you to believe that as you wait on hold twenty-six minutes for the next customer service agent.
Clerk 1: Have you started on the stocking yet?
Clerk 2: No, I haven't had a chance.
Clerk 1: We got, like, an hour.
Clerk 2: I know, I know. I'll start it now. And I'm not going to talk to any customers!
Ah, it brings back memories of the retail life.
It's a pretty popular sport right now, complaining about customer service. And with good reason, of course. But I submit to you that poor customer service is so seldom really the fault of the customer service clerk, or the cashier, or the barista.
My ex used to work at that barren wasteland of customer service that is Home Depot. Here's the deal with that: At the beginning of your shift, they give you a buttload of shit to stock, and/or a long-ass list of shit to inventory, and they tell you that you better have it done by the time your shift is over. And believe me, "helping customers" is not an acceptable excuse for not getting it done. Your manager tells you that you have to help customers AND get your stocking/inventory done as well. How do you do that, when you have a whole aisle of people 12 deep waiting for you to show them where the lug nuts are? Well, we all know how they get it done at Home Depot, don't we? By pretending that you, the customer, do not exist. Yep, by putting on those "customer blinders" that allow them to walk right past poor befuddled little you without so much as a glance.
So it's not really the poor retail clerk's fault that he ignores you, is it? He's just trying to keep his fucking job.
Here's another example. I used to work for Starbucks as a assistant store manager. And man, oh man what a bunch of fucking hypocrites those "the customer is so fucking important" fuckers are. See, they got this little thing called a labor matrix, and it shows you how many dollars you bring in per half hour, and how many people they will allow you to have on the floor at any one time based on those dollars. Well, that doesn't sound too bad, does it? That sounds like good, sound capitalism, don't it? Well, yeah, except that built into that matrix is a little equation that basically figures how long customers will wait in line before they give up and walk away, or go completely postal and start thrashing at the pastry case with their cell phone. And then it figures out how to make them wait just 3 fucking seconds shy of that.
So if I was managing the morning rush, and we fell below the dollar figure to keep four people on the floor, I would have to send a person home immediately, NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE WAITING IN LINE. No matter how wretchedly the restrooms were fucked up, no matter how swamped the barista was in half-caf soy pumpkin lattes.
So, again, it really does very little good to berate the barista when your trip to Starbucks takes a half an hour. It really does no good to berate the manager, even. Those decisions about shitty shitty cheap-ass customer service are being made at the corporate level, and that's the only place where they can be addressed.
And jeez, don't even get me started about those call centers in India. It was bad enough, when American phone reps weren't empowered to truly help you. Now, they're not empowered, and you can't understand a fucking word they're saying.
But, you know, have a nice fucking day.
Bamford points out that not only can the FISA court grant a warrant to eavesdrop in very short order, but that under the rules of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act, the NSA can eavesdrop immediately without a warrant, as long as the seek one within 48 hours.
As Bamford observes, it is "not exactly an onerous procedure."
The FISA court has only turned down the NSA's warrant request about 10 times in 30 years and over 15,000 requests.
And even then, there is a FISA appeals court, a option the government has pursued only once since 1978.
And if they are turned down by the appeals court, they are able to appeal directly to the Supreme Court in an immediate secret session.
Bamford characterized the odds of the government not being able to get a warrant as "extremely small."
So why then, is our Attorney General, Alberto "I heart torture" Gonzalez, along with our so-in-over-his-head-it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-fucking-suicide-inspiring president, insisting that the FISA warrant process not adequate?
Why? Because they want to avoid the courts altogether, even the ultra-secret FISA court, and operate off the grid.
But why? Why oh why? What could the NSA be up to, that they want it secret even from the friendly FISA courts?
That is a scary fucking question, my friends. James Bamford said of the NSA that they are an "extremely dangerous agency that has to be watched very carefully."
And he would know.
So if they are really only going after terrorists, and honest-to-allah enemies of America, then there is absolutely no reason why they can't get a freakin warrant, my friends.
And if you still think otherwise, then, as I recently said to one of my more credulous readers, then I got a little detention facility in Guantanamo Bay I'd like to sell you.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Yeah we are, motherfuckers.
This year we beat the Houston dynasty for the "Smoggiest City in the World" title.
Although the EPA had to change their rules about how they measure smog in order for LA to win. If they hadn't changed their rules, Houston would've won again.
Wait a minute, doesn't the President, a certain George W. Bush of Houston, Texas, appoint the head of the EPA?
Ah, come on! You didn't have to fix the contest! We coulda beat ya fair and square, ya fuckers!
(thanks to JackJo for the tip)
Did the story, and the WH request to squelch it, occur prior to the 2004 presidential election?
It's a good question. The NYT is referring it to "corporate PR."
Friday, December 16, 2005
No, we're not talking about the Patriot Act, which, for all its faults, at least is a legal law passed legally through a legal process by legally-endowed-if-mentally-challenged members of our legal legislative bodies.
This is a secret illegal order made by BushCo:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval was a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.
"This is really a sea change," said a former senior official who specializes in national security law. "It's almost a mainstay of this country that the N.S.A. only does foreign searches."
Never heard of the NSA? You're not the only one. The NSA's profile is so low that it is frequently referred to as "No Such Agency." (Hey, that's funny for Washington.) For more info on the NSA, see James Bamford's seminal 1982 book The Puzzle Palace.
Why does any of this matter? Shouldn't our government be able to conduct intelligence-gathering inside our borders in order to stop crimes and terrorist attacks?
Of course. There's only one catch, constitutionally speaking.
It's called a warrant:
The standard of proof required to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is generally considered lower than that required for a criminal warrant - intelligence officials only have to show probable cause that someone may be "an agent of a foreign power," which includes international terrorist groups - and the secret court has turned down only a small number of requests over the years. In 2004, according to the Justice Department, 1,754 warrants were approved. And the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court can grant emergency approval for wiretaps within hours, officials say.
Administration officials counter that they sometimes need to move more urgently, the officials said. Those involved in the program also said that the N.S.A.'s eavesdroppers might need to start monitoring large batches of numbers all at once, and that it would be impractical to seek permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court first, according to the officials.
Hear that? It's inconveinent for them to uphold the constitution!
Well, hey, that's good enough for me, BushCo! Spy away! I trust you not to abuse the power!
Because your administration is a model of restraint when it comes to tolerance of your critics.
Even the increasingly conservative NYT allows a few sentences about why this whole thing might be a really bad idea:
Widespread abuses - including eavesdropping on Vietnam War protesters and civil rights activists - by American intelligence agencies became public in the 1970's and led to passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which imposed strict limits on intelligence gathering on American soil. Among other things, the law required search warrants, approved by the secret F.I.S.A. court, for wiretaps in national security cases. The agency, deeply scarred by the scandals, adopted additional rules that all but ended domestic spying on its part.
Ah, the 70s! Bell bottoms, disco, and unrestrained domestic surveillance! Man, I miss those days.
You know what I think it comes down to? What kind of country you want to live in.
There are many people, my friends, many many people who willingly give up their freedom in order to more closely live the illusion that they are safe. It's how they're put together. It's the way they think things should be. They think there's nothing wrong with BushCo's post 9/11 admonition to "watch what you say" because hey, they fuckin' do that anyway. They already think that if you say bad things 'bout the government, then you deserve to go to jail, you fucking ungrateful little bitch.
I should know. Many of those people are related to me.
But the government is not my parent, and I don't have to be grateful to it for the mortgage over my head and the pothole-scarred pavement under my feet. Neither is it the boss of me, as long as I don't break any real laws. And talking shit is not illegal, okay? At least not yet, although I think T.O. may soon ruin that for all of us if he doesn't shut the fuck up.
The government is mine, fucker. It belongs to me. And if it sucks, no one will say so or try to nudge it ever so fucking slowly in a better direction if not me.
So if I want to say that I think BushCo should be hauled before the Hague and prosecuted for crimes against humanity, it's only tough love, man. Tough love.
Surveillance that, motherfuckers.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
But I still think capital punishment is wrong. I don't believe in state-sanctioned killing for a whole host of reasons, the most important of which is: What if you're wrong?
Steve Lopez, writing for the LA Times:
His victims, all four of them, were shotgunned as if it were a cheap thrill for Williams. And as one of the first Crips, he started something that destroyed everything in its path, bringing genocide to neighborhoods on top of all the other problems.
Williams was a tough guy in prison too, spending years in solitary confinement for his mayhem behind bars before he took a different tack. His anti-gang books and speeches from death row were great gestures, but the Nobel Peace Prize nominations were preposterous, and the marketing of Williams as a hero was offensive.
If he were truly redeemed, he would have taken responsibility for the murders, he would have rejected the duplicitous code of honor among those who refuse to tell what they know, and his dying words would have been a call for the dismantling of the gang he started.
Those who tried to cast Williams as a martyr, including the usual Hollywood rabble, once again picked the wrong man to carry the banner against the death penalty. They made a cause of Tookie Williams as others have done with Mumia Abu Jamal, the Philadelphia cop killer and death row inmate whose claim of innocence is pure fiction, despite the celebrity bestowed on him.
And yet, watching Williams put to death Tuesday morning by agents of the government — his execution sanctioned in a country where godliness and virtue are synonymous, even as torture and execution are defended — made me all the more certain that capital punishment is barbaric.
NEW YORK -- A mother trapped in a burning third-floor apartment prayed and then dropped her 1-month-old son out a window to the crowd below. The infant was caught safely by a man who plays catcher for his employer's baseball team.
The rescuer gave the baby mouth-to-mouth resuscitation -- a skill he picked up two decades ago as a teenage lifeguard -- and the mother was rescued by firefighters. Both were treated at a hopsital and released.
Syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, who has repeatedly declined to discuss his role in disclosing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, said in a speech this week that he is certain President Bush knows who his mystery administration source is.
Yeah, thanks, Bob. I'm pretty certain he knows too.
Novak said Tuesday that the public and press should be asking the president about the official rather than pressing journalists who received the information.
I think the press HAS asked, and the answer is "We're not telling."
Novak also suggested that the administration official who gave him the information is the same person who mentioned Plame and her CIA role to Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward in the summer of 2003.
"I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, according to an account published yesterday in the Raleigh News & Observer. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."
You'd be amazed? Well, that doesn't exactly bolster your assertion, Bob, since we all know your credulity level is rather high.
Woodward disclosed last month that he, too, learned about Plame's CIA role in a confidential conversation with a senior administration source. Many involved in the case believe that Woodward and Novak had the same source.
Though neither journalist has identified the source publicly, both have said the official was casually providing a tidbit of information and did not seem to be trying to generate a story to discredit Wilson's mission.
"Casually providing a tidbit of information"? See what I mean about the credulity thing?
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald has been investigating for two years whether senior Bush administration officials broke any laws in leaking Plame's identity to the media. On Oct. 28, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, was indicted on charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing the investigation.
Woodward declined to comment yesterday. Novak's attorney, James Hamilton, declined to comment on why Novak is now discussing the case.
Novak said in his speech that an investigation into his role in the Plame affair "snowballed out of proportion" as a result of a "campaign by the left." But he also blamed "extremely bad management of the issue by the White House," saying, "Once you give an issue to a special prosecutor, you lose control of it."
Ah, Novak is fucked up on sooo many levels:
1) The Plame investigation snowballed because of a campaign by the left? It didn't snowball because what BushCo told the investigation didn't jive with what the journalists told the investigation, thereby encouraging the special prosecutor to delve deeper?
Are you sure?
2) How exactly do you downplay the leaking of a state secret for political retribution, Bob? Jeez, I know you're old enough to remember Watergate, and Nixon only fucked with the Democratic Party's secrets, and people's personal secrets, he didn't fucking leak classified information to faux-journalist toadies as payback for critical column in the NY Times.
At least not that we know of.
3) Surely even you, Bob, realize that the elephant in the Plame investigation room is the war in Iraq. You know, the one where over 2000 Americans and (conservatively) 30,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives? You were a big fan in the beginning, remember? And then the plot got complicated, and the budget got out of control, and it got depressing, and then the new season of Desperate Housewives came on, and you stopped watching the war and talking about it so much? Remember that? Okay, so if operatives for the FUCKING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES go to this much trouble to smack down some little no-account former ambassador, and stop him from asking public questions about pre-war intel, then MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE A LOOK AT THAT PRE-WAR INTEL. Specifically, if the "Saddam tried to buy uranium" documents were forged -- who fucking forged them? It must have been someone who chose to profit by that. And who would that be, Bob? Huh? Or am I snowballing ya, buddy?
4) I love that he says that the WH mismanaged the issue. Yes, they certainly did, and I'm pleasantly surprised that you admit that, Bob! Oh, wait. According to Bob, it wasn't the lying about how they're going to find the leaker that was the mismanagement part. And it wasn't the stonewalling of the press under the guise of a transparently phony concern for the investigation that was the mismanagement part, either. It was the fact that BushCo allowed Ashcroft to hand the investigation over to a non-toadie investigator actually determined to do his job! That was their misstep, according to Bob.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think Bob Novak has spoken candidly for the first time in his life.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I saw Gene McCarthy many times and he never struck me as diffident. I was, but he wasn't. He was a handsome Irishman with a gift for graceful speech, and he loved to stand up in front of an audience with his hands in his jacket pockets and rock back on his heels and orate. Even speaking impromptu, he was succinct and pointed and funny. He was always worth listening to and this cannot be said of so many people in politics, then or now. There is a constant supply of gasbags and stiffs and never quite enough men and women who can use the English language to good effect.
Gene McCarthy wrote a poem that begins with the names of women he knew as a boy -- "Mathilda Ophoven, Minnie Quast, Lucinda Nistler, Verena Brixius," who
Could cook potatoes
Eight ways at least
And believed any illness would yield
To eucalyptus tea, and brandy.
He may have been the last man in American public life to quote from Yeats or Frost and do it because he himself loved the poem and knew it by heart and not because a speechwriter had inserted it in the text. And he found poetry in the names of the old ladies of Watkins, Minn. May God's eternal light shine upon him.
PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?
SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf and it's actually how we got the same information from Al Libbi. It's exactly the same way the Bush administration got this info about the operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam.
Ken Lay declared his innocence, demonized his accusers and asked ex-employee "truth sayers" to rally 'round him for his trial, in a luncheon speech today.
Lay promised he'll testify and asked other Enron employees to join him in creating a "wave of truth."
Shhh...I sense that we are in the presense of a PR mantra. "Truth sayers." "Wave of truth." That is some quality PR there, folks. He probably paid at least 200k just for the whole "fight the truth being revealed by saying 'truth' a lot" concept, and I bet the 2 phrases above were an extra 50k each, at least.
"Enron employees really have only two choices. Either we stand up now -- and prove that Enron was a real company, a substantial company, an honest company, a company that had a vision and values -- or we will leave this horrific legacy shaped by others," he said.
His lawyer Mike Ramsey, in a post-speech news conference, said he and lawyers for Lay's codefendants Jeff Skilling and Rick Causey are still seeking supportive witnesses and think people have not come forward out of fear of being prosecuted.
Your ex-employees won't defend you because they fear prosecution? Oh... See, and here I thought it was because YOU STOLE THEIR FUCKING MONEY.
Q: Are you anti-Bush, as the pundits say?
Mortensen: No, I’m not anti-Bush; I’m anti-Bush behavior. In other words, I’m against cheating, greed, cruelty, racism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, treason, and the seemingly limitless capacity for hypocrisy shown by Bush and his Administration.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Bits such as:
While a man needs little or no preparation for sex, a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation.
5 Major Needs of Women:Affection, Conversation, Honesty and Openness, Financial Support, Family Commitment
5 Major Needs of Men:Sexual Fulfillment, Recreational Companionship, Physical Attractiveness, Admiration, Domestic Support
HOURS of emotional and mental preparation? What the fuck is he doing to her, anyway?
I mean, sure, the first 15 or 20 times you take it up the ass it can be a little off-putting. But really, hours, ladies?
And then, the 5 Major Needs? WTF? By my government's definition, I am a man.
But wait, there's more, including this charming, government-funded fairy tale:
Deep inside every man is a knight in shining armor, ready to rescue a maiden
and slay a dragon. When a man feels trusted, he is free to be the strong, protecting man he longs to be. Imagine a knight traveling through the countryside. He hears a princess in distress and rushes gallantly to slay the dragon. The princess calls out, “I think this noose will work better!” and throws him a rope. As she tells him how to use the noose, the knight obliges her and kills the dragon. Everyone is happy, except the knight, who doesn’t feel like a hero. He is depressed and feels unsure of himself. He would have preferred to use his own sword.
The knight goes on another trip. The princess reminds him to take the noose. The knight hears another maiden in distress. He remembers how he used to feel before he met the princess; with a surge of confidence, he slays the dragon with his sword. All the townspeople rejoice, and the knight is a hero. He never returned to the princess. Instead, he lived happily ever after in the village, and eventually married the maiden—but only after making sure she knew nothing about nooses.
Moral of the story: Occasional assistance may be all right, but too much will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess.
The other moral of the story: Shut up, bitch.
And some advice for the love-lorn:
Sexual relationships often lower the self-respect of both partners—one feeling used, the other feeling like the user. Emotional pain can cause a downward spiral, leading to intense feelings of worthlessness.
Not if you do it right, asshole.
At conception, the baby comes into being. About the sixth to tenth day after conception, when the baby is no bigger than this dot (.), the baby snuggles into the soft nest in the lining of the mother’s uterus.
The newly developing person from conception until about eight weeks is called an embryo. Fetus is the technical term the unborn child is called from about eight weeks until birth. Most people just say “baby” or “unborn child.”
When referring to the mother, most people just say "skank" or "vessel for the man's seed."
Damn, who wrote this crap, anyway? Antonin Scalia?
Here's the best part: the fucking French knew it. Yes, all you neocons and French traitor-haters, the French knew it, and told the CIA, and the CIA ignored them.
Hang on a sec. I gotta stop laughing so hard. I can't type.
Yeah, it stings, don't it? That the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" are sitting around their stinky BO country laughing at us for being so gullible and believing what our government told us? Oh, man, that is hard to stomach, ain't it? I mean, how are you going to face your friends, and constituents, and readers, and editors and stuff?
Maybe y'all should try and drown your humiliation in an order of Freedom Fries or something.
Maybe get a nice Cote du Rhone to wash 'em down with. Oh, if you're not done boycotting the French for refusing to go to war with us for made-up reasons, that is.
Pryor changed stand-up comedy forever.
He changed the dialog on race in America forever.
He was a man on fire, sometimes literally.
He died Saturday of heart attack after struggling with MS for many years. He was 65.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, "the American people," as in the sentence, "I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people." It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay.
The words "the American people" provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the U.S.
The United States no longer bothers about low-intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favor. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.
And Rumsfeld poo-pooed the effete bleeding-hearts who gave a shit about "vases" and other antiquities?
Well, it turns out the sale of those artifacts is being used to fund...
wait for it...
Or, as Rumsfeld prefers to call them, "Enemies of the Legitimate Government in Iraq."
Well, as a famous general once said, "Semantics is hell."
I'm not kidding. Apparently the school has a hilariously strict "English only" policy.
Does that policy apply to French and Spanish classes, I wonder? And what about Latin?
Anyway, you won't hear the yammering buttheads going on about this one, probably.
On the lowest levels we try. Sometimes we succeed.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I told you that I am such a child when it comes to this stuff, and you took advantage of it.
So, anyway, I've been TAGGED, apparently, and now I must respond in kind, or the chain will be broken, and disaster will befall the server within a fortnight or some shit like that.
So, for anyone who's still reading, here it is: 10 Random Things About Me.
1. I am a pretty darn good whistler. I frequently whistle the theme to the Andy Griffith Show when I’m alone. Drives the dogs crazy.
2. I really do swear as much in life as I do on my blog, and I don’t understand why people think it’s bad or unusual. They’re just words.
3. I met my current boyfriend online.
4. There was a time in my life when my family was poor, and I really resented not being able to have new clothes or shoes for school when all the other kids did. Consequently, I rarely deny myself, sartorially-speaking, unless it’s just way out of my price range.
5. I love to bake, and I find it pretty annoying that no one wants to eat dessert anymore. When I bring, like, a nice plum cobbler to a pot luck or a shower or something, and some skinny bitch wails “Oh, I can’t!” I just want to throw the whole thing in her face.
6. I never met a museum I didn’t like. Ditto aquariums, botanical gardens, theme parks, miniature golf courses, roadside attractions, antique or souvenir shops…
7. My mom and dad used to make me perform comedy routines at their cocktail parties when I was a kid.
8. Snails give me the willies.
9. I still cry over some of my deceased pets.
10. I love anything almond: marzipan, amaretto, almond soap, almond lotion, etc. It’s like crack to me.
Jebus, is anyone still there? If so, now comes the part where I send out some tag love to:
That seems like enough. God knows I don't need any more enemies.
It wasn't so long ago that these same retailers were getting all kinds of shit from the same kinds of people for COMMERCIALIZING CHRISTMAS.
Yeah, remember that? Remember when the religious types were all upset that department stores and other retailers would plaster the "Merry Christmas" signage everywhere, and would use nativity scenes and other "holy" symbols to advertise, say, their mid-December large appliance sales?
Well, forget all of that, retailers. The proper place for Christmas is not in your heart, no matter what that liberal puss commie Linus says. The proper place for Christmas is on that fucking marqee, and in large (preferably color) letters in the newspaper ad, and on that big fucking plastic banner that you string across your parking lot.
And "Merry Christmas!" should be spoken to every customer, loudly, and with forced merriment, the moment they enter the store. It should be drilled into their heads that that's why they are there, in your stores, spending money, right?
Christmas equals spending money in stores. At last all those killjoy Christians agree that the most important feature of Christmas is that the retailers are hyping it sufficiently, and if they don't, then Christmas is dying.
So go to it, motherfuckers.
Happy fucking birthday, Jesus!
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Now, although I do like good country music, no country music fan would consider me a country music fan. The only country artists I like seem to be those that are pretty far outside the mainstream Nashville establishment: Hank Williams 3, Wayne Hancock, and of course, the luscious Dwight Yoakam. But Deana is a wonderful songwriter, more southern folk/rock than country, and therein lies her problem.
After the success of her country album “Did I Shave My Legs for This” and the crossover hit single “Strawberry Wine,” Deana fell off the music map, in spite of great reviews for her subsequent releases. Was it her label’s lack of promotion that contributed to that slide? Oh, yeah. Whether that lack of promotion was a conscious decision to punish an non-conforming artist who wanted her songs produced her way, or whether the label was simply at a loss to promote an artist who didn’t fit one of their rigid molds, I can’t really say. But for sure the label screwed her career. And that’s a shame.
It’s a shame because she has a beautiful voice, her new tunes are tasty, and her band kicks ass, especially her brother and lead guitarist, Jeff Carter. (Deana and Jeff’s dad: legendary session musician Fred Carter.)
Something else that was a shame was the heinousness of the venue last night. The sound quality is good there, but because of Universal’s inexplicable curfew restrictions, the concerts always start way too early for a town where it takes an hour to get ANYWHERE, and hence the opening act, which Deana was, must play to a house that starts out at about 20% capacity and swells to about 60% before her set ends and the 30 minute break between acts begins. So Deana played mostly to an audience that was paying more attention to their nachos than to her.
Also, she seemed a tad subdued, almost mournful. Perhaps the fact that she was opening for Keith Urban, who used to open for her, was not lost on her. Certainly it was his crowd, as evidenced by the faux-country hoochie girls pole-dancing sans pole with conspicuous faux-abandon and the all-hat-no-cattle cowboys who know, and SING, every word of every song and emphasize their favorite parts by thrusting plastic cups of beer into the air. Keith is the new “new” country hottie with the good hair and the ironic name, and although he plays like a demon and mixes up his own well-crafted countryish pop tunes with some well-chosen covers, there’s just something about him that doesn’t sit quite right with me. An exuberance that seems a bit too calculated, perhaps.
I dunno, maybe he just needs to tone down those highlights in his hair a little bit.
But anyway, I’m hoping that the new independent label does well by Deana Carter, and that LA, where she now mostly lives, is a better place for her to make her music. It seems like the Nashville establishment was pretty much done with her, and jesus those pricks can be unforgiving.
Good luck girl. Make more good music.
Bush is getting flack from the religious right because the WH Christmas card doesn't mention Christmas or Jesus.
"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com. "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."
Doesn't act like one? Whoa, where the hell has HE been?
Damn. If Bush doesn't act like a born-again, evangelical Christian, then can you imagine what those motherfuckers are REALLY like?
"Certainly President and Mrs. Bush, because of their faith, celebrate Christmas," said Susan Whitson, Laura Bush's press secretary. "Their cards in recent years have included best wishes for a holiday season, rather than Christmas wishes, because they are sent to people of all faiths."
Sounds reasonable, right? Uh-oh, here comes Donohue again:
"Ninety-six percent of Americans celebrate Christmas," Donohue said. "Spare me the diversity lecture."
Oh, and just in case you thought Donohue might still be clinging to some shred of humanity or reason:
"It bothers me that the White House card leaves off any reference to Jesus, while we've got Ramadan celebrations in the White House," Wildmon said. "What's going on there?"
Yeah, what the fuck IS going on there??? Is Bush plotting to convert the whole country into a "holiday season" -havin', Ramadan-feast-eatin', Menorah-lightin' bunch of heathens???
I bet he is!! I bet that's been his plan all along!!
First he lulls us into a false sense of complacency, by appointing a slew of born-again brain-dead freaks to government posts, by giving federal funding to religious groups that provide social services only to Christians, and by telling the world that Jesus' dad talks to him about his middle east policy...
Then, he turns the tables on us and declares himself...a Unitarian!!!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Then they ask the guy who first found the remains of the ship in 1985 to comment on this latest discovery.
"They found a fragment, big deal," he said. "Am I surprised? No. When you go down there, there's stuff all over the place. It hit an iceberg and it sank. Get over it."
Okay it was a fucking tragedy, a colossal monument to man's hubris blah blah, but it also inspired countless boring tv specials and at least 4 awful movies.
Oh yes, I said it.
That fucking movie sucked, people. It sucked. Just admit that it sucked.
Because it sucked.
And then Saddam's defense attorney rose and asked her two questions.
Were there any dogs?
Did they take pictures of you?
Felony charges. Which means that he cannot resume his duties as House Speaker, at least not technically.
Unsure where we are?
Our story so far:
DeLay wants to increase the amount of Repub congressional districts in Texas to increase the Repub hold on the US Congress.
DeLay is behind an illegal gerrymandering of congressional districts in Texas.
Dems in the Texas State Legislature flee over state lines in order to prevent the new district map from being confirmed by the Repub-held Texas State Legislature.
Fugitive Dems are hunted down, in part thanks to an illegal use of Homeland Security resources by DeLay.
The illegally drawn map is passed anyway by the Texas State Legislature.
Many minority and other Democratic districts are disected and rearranged so as to increase their Repub populations. Some Congressional Dems lose their seats.
One of the rearranged districts is in Austin. The people of Austin are pretty peeved about the whole thing, even though their guy manages to get re-elected.
DeLay's trial will take place in Austin.
Since the two charges against DeLay are upheld, DeLay's attorney pursues a change of venue motion.
So, The Hammer admits that the fine people of the state capital hate his guts, huh?
You know, that almost makes it worth it.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Yes, our very own Watson Twins (formerly BlackSwan). Check out their link above, or it's always in the "Bands" section of my links, natch.
Release date? January 24.
Don't worry, I'll remind you again.
Guess what? It makes Bush's Yale report card look good by comparison.
Surprised? Nope, me neither.
Did I buy, or browse, a copy of the November 17 GQ, in order to get a look at Jennifer Aniston's bristols? [Yo, he's a Brit. He means "tits." - vik] No, I didn't. While I have no doubt that Ms. Aniston is a paragon of charm, wit, and intelligence, she is also 36 years old. Even with the strenuous body-hardening exercise routines now compulsory for movie stars, at age 36 the forces of nature have won out over the view-worthiness of the unsupported female bust.
It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman's salad days are shorter than a man's — really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20. The Nautilus and the treadmill can add a half decade or so, but by 36 the bloom is definitely off the rose. Very few of us, however, can face up to this fact honestly, and I am sure this diary item will generate more angry e-mails of protest than everything else I have written this month.
Yeah, no shit, and isn't that the point?
15?! What a creep.
Of course, he's never seen MY breasts.
They contend that she showed up for the event intoxicated and scantily clad.
Um, excuse me, but isn't that in her contract? I believe it is. Wait, let me find the exact language...
Yeah, here it is:
"Aforementioned spokesmodel, Anna Nicole Smith (hereinafter "SMITH"), shall arrive at event not later than two hours after the time agreed upon, and depart not earlier than immediately after passing out in the greenroom (an event which may or may not be preceeded by evacuating the contents of her stomach in a location not more than fifteen (15) feet from the greenroom toilet).
SMITH's apparel shall be not only inappropriate for a televised event, but shall be of sufficient scantiness so as to excite comment amongst jaded musicians, roadies, and event personnel.
Furthermore, SMITH shall maintain a blood alcohol level of .12 throughout the event, and shall speak only in monosyllables and/or gibberish, except for the sponsor's brand name, i.e., "TrimSpa," which must be spoken at least once on-air with sufficient clarity so that the brand name "TrimSpa" can be easily understood by the average viewer and/or concert-goer."
I noticed that Live 8 excised the paragraph pertaining to above-the-waist full frontal nudity requirement, (historically known as the "Valerie Perrine clause," owing to the actress's pioneering work in this area of contractual requirements documentation), but hey, they're a family show, so no surprise there.
I think Live 8 don't have a leg to stand on in this one.
Rice asserted that the United States does not transport terrorism suspects "for the purpose of interrogation using torture" and "will not transport anyone to a country when we believe he will be tortured..."
"The U.S. does not permit, tolerate or condone torture under any circumstances," she said.
She said international law allows a country to detain a suspect for the "duration of hostilities," but that the United States "does not hold anyone longer than necessary to evaluate evidence against them."
Any violation of detention standards is investigated and punished, she said, citing the case of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison that "sickened us all" and the abuse of a detainee by an intelligence agency contractor in Afghanistan.
And then, a veiled threat to European leaders who have been encouraging the investigation into rumored secret CIA prisons located somewhere in Europe. (Rumors Bushco refused to confirm or deny, BTW):
At the end of her statement, Rice noted that she had been through inquiries about what was done and could have been done to prevent the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that European leaders would not want to face a similar probe.
"I know what it is like to face an inquiry into whether everything was done that
could be done."
Yeah, and you know what it's like stink up the joint with your lame prevarications and your endless ass-kissing, don't cha girl?
Seriously, Condi, you suck. Now take your confirmed-bachlorette ass and get the fuck over to Europe and lie lie lie like a good little toady. While you're at it, why don't you change your hair style or get a new outfit, take some attention away from what you're doing over there? It worked last time.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Not only am I a two-time loser in the marriage department, but I’ve had more boyfriends in more towns than you can shake a dildo at.
I am the Kevin Bacon of dating. If you don’t know someone who’s dated me, you know someone who knows someone. But don’t just believe me. Ask. You’ll see.
So gals, why shouldn’t I give you the benefit of my 40+ years of experience with men?
I’ve compiled a short guide to the six basic types of boyfriends, as categorized by their area of guy-interest. Have you ever noticed that pretty much all guys are interested in either 1) sports, 2) cars, or 3) home repair? It’s true! Some guys are interested in more than one area, sure, but within that area, they are always either a “doer” or a “watcher.”
Which kind of boyfriend would be most compatible with you? I can’t give you all the answers, as much as that would feed this sick compulsion I harbor, but maybe the following guide will point you in the right direction. I sure hope so.
1A - Sports Doers
At first, it’s really cool that he can hit home runs and tackle people and dunk and stuff. You will beam with pride as you watch your mighty sports hero. But then, it gets really tiresome washing out ace bandages and restocking the freezer with ice packs all day long. Plus, you’re starting to think that his interest in playing sports might be merely masking a serious alcohol problem.
Also – don’t expect that “grit your teeth and take it” attitude to extend beyond the playing field. Once you are home, he will become helpless - incapable of even pulling that blood-stained jersey off over his head without breaking down and sobbing like a baby.
Good news! His type are prone to travel in packs, so if it doesn’t work out between you, he’s got about 30 friends just like him you can date.
1B - Sport Watchers
Yes, this is the most common kind of boyfriend. If you’re engaged to one of these guys, be prepared to plan your wedding day around whatever sport playoff thing is happening that time of year. And yes, even though he thinks hockey is stupid, he would still rather watch the Stanley Cup playoffs than attend his own wedding reception.
If you never watch television yourself, and if you, in fact, don’t care for the company of people all that much, then the Sports Watcher is the boyfriend for you. But, if for some reason you wish to watch a program of your own choosing on the television, you will soon realize that that is an argument you cannot win, because can’t you see how you wanting to watch that movie on cable (the one that you missed in the theatre because he wanted to stay home and watch that NASCAR thing) is just not as important as the Bengals-Lions game in which one of his fantasy players might come off the bench in the second half? TV control-wise, your only recourse is to take up watching a sport that is completely abhorrent to him, and then demand that he spend equal time enjoying that sport with you. Choose a sport from this list:
1. women’s gymnastics
2. figure skating (men’s or women’s)
2A - Home Repair Doers
This guy not only knows how to fix the shower head and replace a broken window pane, he actually does it! Yeah, like, without begging! Not only that, but when you come home from work each day, he will say something like “Sweetheart, I planed a quarter inch off the top of your closet door, so it shuts properly now.”
Sure, his interest in decorative cabinet hardware does come off as a tad gay, but it’s a small price to pay for getting your toilet fixed for free at 3am, am I right?
Do not let this guy go easily, or if you are planning to break up, make sure you stay friends, so you can call him to install that new ceiling fan while your current boyfriend, Sports Watcher, catches up on Canadian Rules Football.
2B - Home Repair Watchers
In spite of a garage full of power tools, this guy seems to fix almost everything with duct tape and spackle. Nothing he fixes stays fixed, and he usually breaks something else in the process, either by hitting it accidentally with the hammer, or by hitting it on purpose after throwing the hammer after hitting his thumb with the hammer accidentally. This guy will never let you buy any home furnishings, always claiming he could make it much better himself. But first he has to watch twelve more episodes of Yankee Workshop.
This guy’s propensity for screaming in pain, cursing, and throwing hammers will begin to become tiresome, and after several months, you will find yourself goading him into complicated electrical wiring projects on high-voltage fixtures.
3A - Car Mechanic Doers
This guy will change your oil for you, your wiper blades, and your spark plugs. He will rotate your tires obsessively. He will rush out to the driveway to adjust your idle because he didn’t like the way it sounded when you pulled in. He will save you thousands of dollars in repairs, but you must be prepared to listen to him explain how every single thing you do behind the wheel of your car is wrongity-wrong-wrong. Oh, and how he can’t believe you bought that make and model of car in the first place, don’t you read Motor Trend?
Also, his fingernails are never, ever, clean. I know, it sounds trivial, but after awhile something like that can take its toll on a gal’s piece of mind.
3B - Car Mechanic Watchers
He knows every year of every model of American car on sight, and will constantly call them out for your edification, but he can’t figure out how to change his dome light. He used to impress you with his ability to open up the hood and tinker, but lately you’ve noticed that his diagnoses always seem to consist of vague rumblings about “the starter.”
On the plus side, this guy usually serves as an excellent buffer between you and those leering garage mechanics. On the down side, he will probably expect you to go to the car show with him.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Nixon in 1969: "The precipitate withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace."
Bush yesterday: "Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America."
Nixon: "An announcement of a fixed timetable for our withdrawal would completely remove any incentive for the enemy to negotiate an agreement. They would simply wait until our forces had withdrawn and then move in."
Bush: "Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends."
Nixon: "If necessary ... we will withdraw all our forces from Vietnam on a schedule in accordance with our program, as the South Vietnamese become strong enough to defend their own freedom."
Bush: "And as the Iraqi security forces stand up, coalition forces can stand down -- and when our mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will return home to a proud nation."