Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Not that the whole "hate magnet" theory isn't really incisive, Peggy. Truly. My favorite part? That's it's just so worthy of a WSJ columnist.
Now the online Moonie rag Insight quotes "senior GOP sources" saying that Dick and Bush just aren't feelin' it anymore.
Salon's War Room quotes Noonan spinning a complex web of interdependent reasons for Cheney's departure, but really, come on, there's only one reason, right?
How do you give the Republicans an advantage in 2008 if there's no sitting VP running?
If you think BushCo gives a fuck about Cheney's numbers or if you seriously believe they might split over POLICY DECISIONS, then you really should start paying better attention.
If there's one thing BushCo can be consistantly counted on to be, it's a cold, calculating power machine: how to get it, how to keep it, how to get more.
Of course that's not something Peggy's going to be likely to get into. Not if she wants to keep her WSJ job, and her placemarker in hell.
Monday, February 27, 2006
It's like the Chicago Tribune, only with boring local politics, and all the sports stories replaced with showbiz news
Apparently, this guy is credited with taking a right-wing rag and making it a "world-class news organization."
Jeez, can you imagine how bad it must have been before, if they think it's "world-class" now?
And now, if you need to hinder some pesky watchdog group like Texans for Public Justice, the IRS is apparently willing to order an audit or two.
You knew funny. You knew how funny walked, and talked, and if the double take were an Olympic event, and it should be, you would've taken the gold, baby.
You took pathetic men and you made them more pathetic, you made them more braggarty and more clumsy and more cringe-inducing then any writer could have ever imagined them, and then you made us love them for it. There is no other explanation for it except for your total fucking actorly brilliance.
When I played Varya in The Cherry Orchard, I was totally channeling you, Don. And guess what? It worked. You should have done all the classics just to show us that it ain't no thing. And that shoulda been you, Don, on Inside the Actor's Studio, being ass-kissed by Mr. Lipton, and telling him what you'd like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates.
Maybe it would've gone something like this:
Friday, February 24, 2006
Several of Granny’s children and grandchildren were offered some portion of her ashes. I took mine home with me on the plane from her home in South Carolina. I also acquired a nice little pair of stainless steel needle-nosed pliers that she had set aside for me in her will. (This gift makes more sense if you understand that we shared a passion for charm bracelets.) Of course there were items of more monetary value as well, but none of those were unusual enough to arouse the curiosity of airport security. They took the pliers from me, saying that I was not allowed to bring any “tools” on board. And since I was forced by a flight cancellation to check all my bags at the gate, there was nothing I could do about it. They took my pliers. I started to cry. I explained that they had been willed to me by my dead grandmother. They looked understandably skeptical.
Then they pulled out the velour drawstring bag containing my Granny’s ashes. They peered inside.
“What’s this?” one screener asked.
I looked at him for a moment and said simply “My grandmother.”
I was too exhausted and morose to be snarky or indignant. I didn’t want to fight with airport security, I didn’t want to struggle to make the flight, or worry about the snowstorm at O’Hare and the repercussions throughout the United schedule. It had been a long sad week, and I just wanted to go home.
Suddenly something changed in the dynamic between me and the screeners. My luggage was zipped up in a flash and handed back to me. I was waved on. As I turned to walk away, one of them held up the pliers and said “Sorry. We’ve got to keep these.” I nodded and ran for my gate.
Some time ago, it occurred to me that one of the best things my Gran ever gave me was a love of the ocean. When I was five, she took me on a trip to visit her sister in Washington state, and soon after we got there it was determined that Gran and I would join her sister's family on a clam dig at the shore. I remember that day vividly still. I remember screaming with delight at the sight of the ocean. I remember that I screamed so long and so joyously that the adults all laughed. And Gran showed me starfish, and sand dollars, picking them up gingerly with her fingers, and then setting them back down in the surf. I remember digging for clams, even though, having seen a clam, I couldn’t understand how they could dig. “He digs with his foot,” Gran said, “he has a foot inside his shell that he digs with.”
I remember peering into Gran’s bucket of clams, afraid and yet half wishing that this mysterious “clam foot” would pop out of one of those shells.
I was no good at clam digging, and that was just fine with me, except for the fact that Gran kept asking me about my progress. She would look over her shoulder as she flung shovelfuls of sand and say “How many clams do you have in your bucket?” And I would say “None, Granny.”
She would then urge me to dig faster.
Gran was, of course, a wiz at clam digging. She was a refined Midwestern lady and yet could roll up her sleeves or her pant legs and dig clams or fish or build a fire with the best of them. She was nothing if not absolutely self-reliant, at least in those days.
I wasn’t allowed to fish, because I wouldn’t bait a hook. And if you couldn’t stand to put a worm on a hook you had no business fishing, according to Gran. Years later, I took her philosophy to its logical extreme and became a vegetarian. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the result she was looking for.
See, even in those early outings with Gran, the pattern was set for our interactions ever after. I guess I never much remembered the endless things I did that pleased her or made her proud, but I agonized without end over the ways in which I disappointed that remarkable woman. And yet despite my girly squeamishness, I loved the ocean, and I wanted to run in the waves and collect shells and watch it churn forever. And I thought that there must be something kinda magic about my Gran, that she had the power to reveal such amazing new sights to me.
So it follows, I guess, that I thought that the Pacific was a good place to scatter what remained of her.
My boyfriend Spooney, endlessly patient, accompanied me on this errand, perhaps just a tad motivated by the promise of calamari and a bloody mary afterward at Paradise Cove.
We climbed the cliff above Point Dume in Malibu, but of course the wind was blowing in, so any ashes that I threw from the top would only come back in my face. I was very concerned that this not happen to Gran’s ashes, as it seemed like the height of indignity, and Gran was really the essence of dignity. I mean, she could look dignified while she nailed you with a snowball.
Also, I was mindful of an episode involving my ex, in which, due to a wind shift, his own grandmother’s ashes ended up scattered across the stern of the boat they stood in, instead of in Lake Michigan. At the time, my ex and I were in contact from the shore via cell phone with the tiny boat, and right after some mournful words were intoned, we heard laughing, and then someone said, “Uh-oh. Grandma’s all over the boat.”
No such fate for my Granny. No siree.
So down to the shore Spooney and I went, and out into the surf among the rocks underneath the Point, and I waited until a wave rushed in, and stalled for a second or two, and then just as it began to rush back out again I threw my handful of ashes across the water.
Success. Out she went, and then sucked underneath into the tumult of competing waves.
Goodbye, Granny. I miss you so much. And one more thing.
It has occurred to me that I wasted so many years trying to earn your love, when really it was mine all along.
And I wonder if that ever occurred to you.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
It's 3 a.m. There's no more beer, and all the chips are gone. Your hosts are in their pajamas, yawning.
It's past time to get the fuck out of there.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq. He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo. He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that "stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible," but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it...
...Enlisting countries to help to pay for this war and its aftermath would take more time, he said. "I expect we will get a lot of mitigation, but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact," Mr. Wolfowitz said. Mr. Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing knocking down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding, saying the upper range of $95 billion was too high, and that the estimates were almost meaningless because of the variables. Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion. "To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," he said.
A senior executive of Dubai Ports World in charge of its European and Latin American port operations, David Sanborn, was named by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. The agency advocates for the U.S. maritime industry under the Department of Transportation.
(via Salon's War Room)
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee has just postponed the sentencing of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali -- a man convicted of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate George W. Bush -- so that his lawyers can explore whether the government obtained evidence against him through the use of illegal wiretaps.
"It was like one of those cycling races where the two rivals keep looking over their shoulder for the big-sponsored team, worrying about their peers. And then the guy from the bike shop in New York sneaks ahead and wins," said Derek Parra, the defending Olympic champion who finished 19th. "Could one of them been on the top of the podium if they weren't so concerned about beating each other? Who knows."
Later Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick went at it with a little prompting from reporters:
During the mandatory postrace news conference, the feuding speedskaters got to the heart of the matter. Asked why they didn't hug and make up, the 28-year-old Hedrick said: "Michael Jordan doesn't go onto the court unless he is confident he's going to win. He's going to do anything he can do to win. And that's how it is. That's how every top level athlete is and if he's not that way, he's not a winner."
"Speaking of Michael Jordan, I'm from Chicago and a big Michael Jordan fan," said Davis, 23, who grew up on the South Side. "I've never seen him act in a nonprofessional manner when it came to losing. . . .But I'll be honest and in front of all you people, since me and Chad were fighting for the same thing. He wants to win, I want to win. It would have been nice -- I'm just throwing it out there -- it would have been nice if after the 1,000 meters, he could have been a good teammate and shook my hand just like I shook his hand or hugged him after he won the 5,000 meters."
Mr. Cates said he selected Mr. Stewart, 43, in consultation with the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Asked to synthesize Mr. Stewart's appeal, Mr. Cates, 71, said, "He's hip, he's with-it, he's 'today.' "
He elaborated that Mr. Stewart was one "hep cat," and that he was "gear" and "fab" and "groovy" all rolled into one, and that he was the opposite of a "jive turkey."
He further added, "23 skidooo!"
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
In a letter to the Treasury Department last week, seven members of Congress from both sides of the aisle listed some of the reasons for concern: Two of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE nationals; the FBI concluded that money for the 9/11 attacks was moved through the UAE banking system; the Treasury Department complained that the UAE was uncooperative in helping the United States track down Osama bin Laden's bank accounts; Dubai was one of only three nations to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan; and it has been named as a "key transfer point" for shipments of nuclear components by A.Q. Khan.
Bush seemed to suggest today that the concerns about UAE control of U.S. ports amounted to racism against Arabs. "This process has been extensively reviewed," he told reporters on Air Force One. "I really don't understand why it's OK for a British company to operate our ports but not a company from the Middle East [for which] our experts are convinced that port security is not an issue."
Perhaps W doesn't remember that he once claimed to feel differently:
"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. "
The Supreme Court, stocked with two new conservative justices, agreed today to consider the constitutionality of the federal law banning "late-term" abortions.
The "partial-birth abortion" ban, enacted in 2003, has been invalidated by three different federal appeals courts on the grounds that the ban did not include an exception for cases when the health of the mother might be at stake and constituted an undue burden on the right to abortion.
BushCo has placed the safety of our ports in the hands of a company owned by the government of Dubai, or United Arab Emirates.
Dubai, a country that provided key financial support to the 9/11 perps.
Oh my lord, you say, what a spectacularly bad idea, to entrust our ports to a company owned by Dubai.
Why would they do such a thing?
Welllllll......apparently BushCo's got a few ties to the company.
In spite of Austria's desire to brown-nose their way out of historical condemnation, it's really not a crime to be an idiot.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Lip readings, you know, like palm readings, only with lips.
What a joke. You can't do lip readings in Los Angeles, home of the hot dog lips.
If you did, everyone's reading would be the same: "Yes, I see you are an extremely vain person, but with a really fucked-up idea of beauty. You have too much disposable income, spend too much time reading celebrity magazines, and you have the number of a plastic surgeon in the pocket of those really tacky, jewel-encrusted jeans."
It was the new name our US Congress, god bless their sweet little hearts, gave to the french fries served in their cafeteria after France publicly disagreed with our assessment of whether Iraq posessed weapons of mass destruction.
Who was right about that one, by the way? It was so long ago, I don't remember. Oh, they were? They were right?
Well, Jesus, I hope we apoligized or something for all that "boycott French products" business.
No, we didn't? Huh.
Anyhoo, Iran has taken a page from our playbook after all this "offensive" Danish cartoon nonsense, and has renamed Danish pastries.
No, I'm not kidding.
Here's the best part. They're calling them "Roses of Mohammed."
Isn't that the best? I love that name, and I hope they continue to use it long after the memory of this nonsense fades. I hope they use that name forever, as a reminder to them, and to us all, just how completely fucking retarded people can be.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I don't know about you, but I can think of some uses for that money...body armor for troops springs to mind
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.
New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.
And you know that gal Armstrong, who acted as Cheney's scandal beard in the recent shooting incident? Her family would profit handsomely from the deal.
See Blumenthal's excellent piece on the politics of the Texas royal families for more in that vein.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
While religious faith is the one species of human ignorance that will not admit of even the possibility of correction, it is still sheltered from criticism in every corner of our culture. Forsaking all valid sources of information about this world (both spiritual and mundane), our religions have seized upon ancient taboos and prescientific fancies as though they held ultimate metaphysical significance. Books that embrace the narrowest spectrum of political, moral, scientific, and spiritual understanding – books that, by their antiquity alone, offer us the most dilute wisdom with respect to the present - are still dogmatically thrust upon us as the final word on matters of the greatest significance. In the best case, faith leaves otherwise well-intentioned people incapable of thinking rationally about many of their deepest concerns; at worst, it is a continuous source of human violence. Even now, many of us are motivated not by what we know but by what we are content merely to imagine. Many are still eager to sacrifice happiness, compassion, and justice in this world, for a fantasy of a world to come. These and other degradations await us along the well-worn path of piety. Whatever our religious differences may mean for the next life, they have only one terminus in this one – a future of ignorance and slaughter.
Most of the changes involve the sections on the treatment of women and the caste system. Here is one change being proposed:
Existing text: "Men had many more rights than women. Unless there were no sons in a family, only a man could inheirit property. Only men could go to school, or become priests."
Proposed change: "Men had different rights and duties than women. Women's education was mostly done at home."
Wow, if only I had known when I was a kid how easy it is to rewrite history!
Because, damn, I wouldn't have wasted all that time being upset about the treatment of Africans brought to this country as slaves. It would have been so easy to fix those history books, and then I needn't have been upset at all:
"African Americans had different rights and duties than whites. The education of African Americans was done mostly at home, under cover of darkness. African Americans were interested mostly in agriculture, and home economics, while whites toiled in the areas of property management and human resources."
See? All better.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I couldn't disagree more. What belittles women is bitches who can't walk in their shoes.
Monday, February 13, 2006
And then a little game of "blame the victim." Nice.
And it seems pretty clear that if the owner of the property hadn't leaked the story to a local reporter, then we would never have heard of it.
Yup. Nice again.
Perhaps sensing that they were once again played with by the WH, NBC News reporter David Gregory got a little testy with WH Monkey Boy McClellan this morning:
“David, hold on… the cameras aren't on right now,'' McClellan replied. "You can do this later.''
"Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,'' the newsman said, his voice rising somewhat. "Don’t be a jerk to me personally when I’m asking you a serious question.''
"You don't have to yell,'' McClellan said.
"I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. "If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don’t appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that’s wrong.’’
‘’Calm down, Dave, calm down,'' said McClellan, remaining calm throughout the exchange.
"I'll calm down when I feel like calming down,'' Greogry said. "You answer the question.'
"I have answered the question,'' said McClellan, who had maintained that the vice president's office was in charge of getting the information out and worked with the ranch owner to do that. "I'm sorry you're getting all riled up about.''
"I am riled up,'' Gregory said, "because you’re not answering the question,''
McClellan insisted he understood that reporters deserve an answer.
"I think you have legitimate questions to ask,'' the press secretary said. "The vice president’s office was the one that took the lead to get this information out… I don’t know what else to tell you... That's my answer.''
I direct you to him not because I am writing to refute him, but because he has at least written something worth reading in defense of the god people.
Although I do have to say that I have no sympathy for anyone who feels besieged by Atheist or Agnostic points of view. I’m sorry. This fucking country is steeped, it is soaked, it is fucking drowning in the god stuff. It is every-fuckin-where. People offer me their unsolicited opinions as to whether Jesus loves me, or their unsolicited assertions that Jesus sure does love them, or that god is on their side or America’s side or that he is even watching over their automobile. Every poor sucker who ever held nature or the human body in awe or who ever had to suffer some deeply fucked up shit gets to hold forth in the media about how it all confirmed their faith in god. And we expect it to. We would be surprised if any other message were offered to us. We expect Jesus to be credited with Grammy awards, and touchdowns, and victories on the field of war. We expect to look to god to give us strength, not to each other. Not really.
So, feeling a little weary of the anti-religion point of view? Well, how’s it feel, baby?
How’s it fucking feel?
But as the debate about religion in public life rages, I would like to note a couple of things:
I would never advocate the dismantling of anyone’s place of worship. Period. People are absolutely free to believe whatever they wish, however beautiful or nonsensical.
I do advocate the separation of church and state. And most Christians in this country might say publicly that they advocate the same, but as the religious majority, they betray their mistrust of the religion-less constantly. Don’t believe me? Name one U.S. public official who is a known atheist.
Yeah, I thought so.
I advocate that it is the role of government to protect its citizens, even when what they are protecting them against is the dogma of religion, i.e., I reject the idea that men are free to subjugate women if they do it in the name of Allah or Jesus or any other god or latter-day saint, for that matter.
Religions are not above critique or condemnation merely because of their longevity in the human theatre of suffering and misery. The Catholic church is fucked up. Women cannot be priests because of original sin, or they don’t have a prick like Jesus did, or whatever lame-ass reason they are offering up these days. Oh, and priests can’t fuck because fucking is sinful – say what??? That’s fucked up. It just is. You can say that it’s a tenet of their faith but that doesn’t mean I must respect it. No. I must be free to say it is fucked up and no money from my taxes should go to fucked-up organizations where I am a second-class citizen. And no meeting of my government officials should get kicked off by some priest from this backward, fucked-up group of institutional women-haters. And no evil fucker from this group should get to lobby my government so that they can more effectively impose their tenets on all people, even those who do not give a shit about their medieval crapola.
And obviously, don’t get me started on Islam.
Look, that stupid bitch in the picture in the post below is free to hide her shameful woman-face and submit to the whip for talking back to her husband and whatever other shit that Islam feels free to dish out (praise Allah!), but in this country, religions must submit to the laws of the land, at least as of this writing. Yes, there are a lot of encroachments that must be constantly protested and fought against, but men don’t get to whip women for showing their ankles in public, no matter what retarded, musty old book they can produce that says otherwise.
And for the record, of course I don’t think Muslims personally are evil because of their faith, but yes, I do think there is something fairly evil-y about any religion that seeks to stay alive by conquering and converting, and that shit is all over the Koran, and it is in the Bible, too, fuckers. Kill unbelievers. It is in there.
And I am willing to give any individual religious person the benefit of the doubt, regardless of their faith, and I always will be. I am not so sure, however, that most of them would return the favor.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Let's get this straight, bitch.
1) I am not a Christian. I can take the lord's name in vain.
2) I am not a Jew. I can do what I want on the Sabbath day.
3) I am not a Muslim. I can draw horns and a Hitler mustache on Mohammed if I wanna.
There is no religious law you can invoke or make that I am bound to observe.
That's the beauty of escaping from organized religion.
I am free.
I recommend it highly.
And suprise! The attack on the Library Tower may not even be true:
But several U.S. intelligence officials played down the relative importance of the alleged plot and attributed the timing of Bush's speech to politics. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly criticize the White House, said there is deep disagreement within the intelligence community over the seriousness of the Library Tower scheme and whether it was ever much more than talk.
Even Colbert's most obvious targets don't mind being mocked. "He does it without being mean-spirited, which is a refreshing change," says Fox News anchor O'Reilly. "Ninety percent of them are just vicious and they use their platform to injure people, but it doesn't seem that Colbert does that." Does he see himself in Colbert's character? "Yeah, sure," O'Reilly says. "The formula of his program is, they watch the 'Factor' and they seize upon certain themes that work for him. He ought to be sending me a check every week, 'cause we're basically the research for his writers. I feel it's a compliment."
The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade.
"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," Pillar wrote.
It's also alarming, but not surprising, that the Bush administration is refusing to release information about what they knew, and when they knew it.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
-The show opened with Gorillaz’s huge huge huge record of the year-nominated song “Feel Good Inc.,” performed by the same blasé cartoon characters from the video. At one point, the cartoon singer became so bored that he started texting someone from his cell phone, which probably captured the mood of the Grammy audience throughout the evening pretty accurately.
The Gorillaz’s song gave way to Madonna, who rose out of the stage (surely you don't expect Madonna to just walk onto the stage, do you?) with ironed disco hair and a lavender lycra leotard. Hey, why the fuck not, right? Madonna latest club song, “Hung Up,” is not bad, really, but if I was Kylie Minogue I would be on the phone to my lawyer. Okay? ‘Nuff said.
-Oh, Coldplay? Your music called. It’s tired and it’s going to lay down for a while. It’ll see ya later.
-John Legend, the next Norah Jones. Oh, shit, she’s still alive, right?
BTW, whenever they precede the awarding of “Best New Artist” with a sampling of the previous winners, how come they never mention Christopher Cross? Or Milli Vanilli? Or Evanescence?
-You know, I love me some Alison Krauss, but Best Country Album? This is why country music just has its own awards and feels free to ignore the Grammys, because the Grammy voters are infiltrated with stuck-up idiots who just have no fucking clue about what real country music is, or real rock music for that matter.
-Which leads me to U2. Once again, winner of the Best PR Machine Award (although Kanye gave them a run for their money this year), and still inexplicably winning Grammys for a record that came out in…what? The mid-90’s?
I know, I know, Bono is so awesome. Well, yeah, except he puts out tripe like “Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own,” and then stands up and spouts off about it and his life and his career and his music when what he should be doing is accepting the award with embarrassment and humility and some sense of how mediocre and tepid the album is and how lucky they are they got an endorsement deal for that Vertigo song. Then he should slink off, red-faced, to the green room and get really really drunk.
But hey, that’s just my opinion.
-And then came Sir Paul McCartney, who I really wish would wash that shoe polish out of his hair. I mean, what good is being married if your wife won’t tell you how stupid you look? I thought he might play “When I’m 64,” since I think he really is, like, 64, but no, he’s bopping along, playing some “chopping broccoli” song from his new album that I think is also on a car commercial right now, (well, you know, Paul was always the “cross-over marketing Beatle") and then, suddenly, he informed that crowd that he might begin to rock a tiny little bit. And then he actually did. Fuck yeah, Sir Paul of McCartney played Helter Skelter, I think just to show everyone in the room that there was a time and a place when he could and did write and play awesome rock songs. And, babies, it rocked. Yes it did. A tiny little bit.
Good for you, Sir P. Now go wash your hair.
-This year’s “Across the Universe” Heinousness Award goes to the confused, non-funky, no-beat, can’t-dance-to-it free-for-all that was the “tribute” to the god Sly Stone.
Ah, the heinousness. Where do I start? How about Maroon 5? How about Joss Stone, the cyborg Janis Joplin? What about Ciara, and Steven Tyler? These are not people acquainted with the funk, my friends. Not at all. These are people acquainted with the mixing engineer, yes. But not the funk.
-God Among Men Bruce Springsteen, whose record, Devils and Dust, was correctly categorized as folk, but whose performance singing the title cut was nominated under the rock category (huh?) uttered the only political statement of the evening, a curt “Bring ‘em home” at the end of his performance of his nominated song.
Yes, it’s true. Musicians trooped up and down the steps and sprung up from under the stage and hovered over on platforms and throughout the whole 3-hour ordeal we got exactly 3 words of personal feeling that wasn’t about thanking the producer?
Where the fuck was Kanye, and why no speculation from him about Bush’s lack of affinity for African Americans? Why no dressing as Christ, or Coretta Scott King, or something?
Oh right, he was too busy copping Andre 3000 from 2 years ago.
Yeah, I said it.
The marching band thing? So “Hey Ya,” Kanye. So “Hey Ya.”
Oh, yeah, you’re bad. I forgot. So bad you rewrite your songs for the censors. “Broke…broke” Please.
-After winning Record of the Year for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” a song which is on my own personal "what if I were condemned to hell for all eternity?" soundtrack, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong declared “Pop radio playing rock music is a very big deal to me.”
Really? How about rock groups selling out to strike it rich on pop radio? How do ya feel about that, Billie? Equally good, I would think.
I was actally stupid enough to look forward to the Richard Pryor tribute they kept waving at me all night long. And then the tribute consisted of Queen Latifah (‘cause she’s black and funny, get it?) saying “Thank you, Richard Pryor.”
Was it cut out for the West Coast? Was there a technical glitch?
Or maybe there wasn’t enough clean, non-obscenity laced, non-offensive footage of Richard to string together a tribute appropriate enough for one of the most whitewashed, lameousness-filled television award programs ever.
I’m looking at you, Kanye.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Read The End of Faith, part 5: Perfect Faith.
Jesus Christ—who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death, and rose bodily into the heavens—can now be eaten in the form of a cracker. A few Latin words spoken over your favorite Burgundy, and you can drink his blood as well. Is there any doubt that a lone subscriber to these beliefs would be considered mad? Rather, is there any doubt that he would be mad? The danger of religious faith is that it allows other wise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy. Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still besieged by the armies of the preposterous. We are, even now, killing ourselves over ancient literature. Who would have thought something so tragically absurd could be possible?
- Sam Harris
This is the guy who is pretty much responsible for the fuss over the Mohammed cartoons, which were originally published in a small Danish newspaper, like 5 MONTHS AGO. The rioting over the cartoon depictions of Mohammed has taken 11 lives so far, and has been the cause of many injuries and much destruction of property. It was also the inspriation for an Iranian newspaper contest that apparently is seeking retribution by making fun of the Holocaust via cartoons.
Wait a minute, you're saying, how did the Jews get blamed for this?
Hello! This is Iran we're talking about. I can't believe you're even asking that question.
So anyway, this guy Abu Laban sees these cartoons, including the one at left in which Mohammed is depicted with a hat made of a bomb (funny!), and is outraged over the depictions because they are forbidden by the laws of Islam, which he feels the entire world is bound to observe, apparently, and instead of writing a letter to the newspaper to protest, he sends the cartoons to religious leaders throughout the Middle East, and asks them to whip a little support for his bonehead cause.
And religious boneheads in Muslim countries throughout the world have been only to happy to protest the depiction of their religion's prophet as a perpetrator of violence by...wait for it...perpetrating some violence.
And this guy soooo doesn't get it. He takes absolutely no responsibility for the consequences of his actions.
Must be Allah's will, that.
Predictably, conservative wingnut blow-up doll Michele (I heart concentration camps) Malkin, has declared her support for Danish freedom of press as a conservative cause, and is implying that the reluctance of U.S. papers or networks to show the cartoons is because they are all liberal and PC, and not because they are, uh, afraid of being blown up.
I call bullshit. Freedom of the press is something I think the left is pretty much on record as supporting. After all, it wasn't Hillary Clinton who admonished the press to "watch what you say," was it, Michelle?
It wasn't Howard Dean who said that the press had damaged national security by revealing the NSA warrantless domestic spying program, was it? Michelle?
And I think by now everyone's figured out which side of the issue this liberal crackpot comes down on, right?
Poor little Bush. It must suck for him when he has to appear in front of an audience that isn't composed of hand-picked supporters, and have to listen to what real people think of him.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
BIDEN: Thank you very much. General, how has this revelation damaged the program?I'm almost confused by it but, I mean, it seems to presuppose that these very sophisticated Al Qaida folks didn't think we were intercepting their phone calls.I mean, I'm a little confused. How did it damage this?
GONZALES: Well, Senator, I would first refer to the experts in the Intel Committee who are making that statement, first of all. I'm just the lawyer.And so, when the director of the CIA says this should really damage our intel capabilities, I would defer to that statement. I think, based on my experience, it is true -- you would assume that the enemy is presuming that we are engaged in some kind of surveillance.But if they're not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget.
THEY SOMETIMES FORGET????
That's the reason you're giving for accusing the press of being traitors for exposing the NSA warrantless spying program? That the terrorists might otherwise have FORGOTTEN that they're under surveillance??
Holy Maird. How fucking stupid does he think we are?
Wait. Don't answer that.
"I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. . . . "I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss . . . "I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness."
Someone's a little sensitive about their ethics reform bill!
The Chicago Sun-Times says "McCain noted that an ethics reform plan he introduced with two Democrats, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, was evidence of his commitment to including 'members of both parties.'"
Well, that might be true, if he had really included 2 Democrats.
Seriously, Lieberman and Nelson??
The winner and first runner-up in the Senate Republican ass-kissing contest? That Lieberman and Nelson?
Oh, yeah, real bipartisan, McCain.
You know what? I am so tired of your "I'm the good Republican" act.
Oh, you're so beleagured, and you struggle so to maintain your integrity amid the partisan backstabbing and corruption.
Well, fuck you. If you can't stand up against BushCo, you can at least give us a bill with some fucking teeth in it.
Dude it is ON! A cartoon-off!
BANG! Ya'll been SERVED, mofo!
How you like me now?
GONZALES: Certainly General Hayden knows more about the operational details of this [program]. What I can give the American people assurance is that we have a number of safeguards in place so that we can say with a high degree of confidence or certainly that what the president has authorized in connection with this program, that those procedures are being followed.
But General Hayden's responses in interviews haven't been exactly reassuring:
FOX’s MIKE WALLACE: Let me ask another question which I’m sure concerns a lot of people. Can you assure Americans that there is no spying on political opponents or political critics of the Bush administration?
HAYDEN: Chris, this is focused on al Qaeda. The only justification we have to undertake this program is to detect and prevent attacks against the United States. We don’t have the time or the lawful authority to do anything except that.
As Think Progress points out, what's missing in the above response, and others, is the word "no."
And for those of you who believe that government anti-terrorism resources would never be used against BushCo's political enemies, you really do need to pay better attention.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Sure, they're old. In fact, I'm tempted to caption the above picture thusly:
"Ron Wood passes a gall stone and Mick Jagger raises his hands above his head in an attempt to relieve pressure on his heart while Keith Richards's Metamucil kicks in with a vengence."
Ha ha ha. They're old, get it?
Come on, they sucked so badly yesterday, but no one wants to say that about "the world's greatest rock-n-roll band."
And I'm not talking about their sound problems. That was not their fault. But it would be nice if they chose a song lineup other than one song no one cares about hearing in between two songs so overplayed no one ever wants to hear them again, or if they had told ABC to go fuck themselves if they didn't like their lyrics, or if Ron and Keith weren't trying to play competing versions of the same lead solo at the same time, or if Mick could sing anymore even a tiny little bit.
Or, as Spooney so succinctly put it "15 year old kids, out of tune & with no bass player, in a garage jammin' over & over on the same fuckin' riff."
Friday, February 03, 2006
Goss then went on to say that he could tell us what the "damage" was, but then he'd have to kill us. Ha. Ha.
I got to call a big no way on that.
1. Al-Qaida didn't know that their calls might be tapped? Really?
2. If it's so damaging to talk about -- wow, then the President must have really fucked up when he talked all about it in the State of the Union speech, huh? Holy shit, I hope that didn't damage your ability too much. Maybe you better tell the President, and the Attorney General, and Karl Rove to SHUT THE FUCK UP about it in all those speeches and talk show appearances they're making to defend eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant. Maybe you'd better do that. You know, for the safety of all of us.
I guess that makes me...the sarcastic one?
The bitchy one?
The cranky one?
Okay, while I figure that one out, check out this post from my sister's blog. See where she gets it from?
When I'm 70, I plan to be a couch-bound curmudgeon, not some fucking lycra-covered lunatic hurling down the side of a mountain. Sorry Dad.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
It's sold out.
But I got one ticket for me, and one ticket for Spooney.
2/3/06 Hey babies, the show was awesome - literally!
You really really do need to check out this show. Jenny and the Twins are just really fucking incredible and beautiful and heartbreakingly gorgeous singers. And Jenny's songs are so smart and unique.
Really. See them in your city.
What could have caused this sudden media flurry of grave concern for the massive sequined circle jerk that is the Oscars?
It's not because the Academy nominated a gay cowboy movie, is it?
Because no one's that childish, right?
And seriously, people, when have the Oscars NOT been out of touch?
Okay, one year, when they rebounded from "the year of the independents" in 1996, in which Fargo, Sling Blade, Shine, and Best Picture Winner "The English Patient" all put the big budget Hollywood pictures to shame, awards-wise, to "the year of stupidity" in 1997, when that huge stinking piece of shit Titanic won the Best Picture Oscar.
I know, I know. How can I say that about Titanic? You LOVE Titanic. Well, I'm not sure how to respond to that except that maybe you need to watch it again. Because it's a piece of shit.
Seriously. It's awful, dude.
But enormously popular. Which is my point. Except for the year of Titanic, when Hollywood was so painfully in touch with the lowest common denominator in movie-going America,* Hollywood likes its BP nominees to be popular, sure, but more importantly, they want them to be arty.
Because that's why movie makers make movies. As Orson Welles once said, "It's no great trick to make a lot of money if all you want to do is make a lot of money." And making movies is one of the least efficient ways to make money, ever.
What Hollywood producers want is prestige, and power. They want to be the guy who made Taxi Driver. They want to be the guy who made American Beauty. They want to walk into (insert hot restaurant name here) and see other people tremble before them.
That's all they want. They don't want to make people gay. They really don't care if you're gay. (Well, as long as you're not their lead actor they don't care.) And they don't care if you vote Republican, or if you hate the Palestinians, or if you support racial profiling. They just want to be worshipped for the gods that they are.
And this awards season, that's not such an awful lot to ask, is it?
*I think a case could also be made here for the tremendous gooey turd that was Braveheart, but let's not get into the whole Mel Gibson thing, because he's filming a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, and I just need to stay really calm right now.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Another day, another reason to sue Wal-Mart
Here's some great breaking news on an otherwise grim day: Three Massachusetts women today filed suit against retail behemoth Wal-Mart for failing to stock emergency contraception in its pharmacies.
According to the Associated Press, the women, who are backed by abortion rights groups, are accusing the chain of violating state regulations that require pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines." The suit aims to force Wal-Mart to carry the morning-after pill in the future.
Dan Fogleman, a spokesman for Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, told the AP that the company stocks E.C. only in Illinois, where it is required by law, but that it "chooses not to carry many products for business reasons." Right. I can think of a ton of business reasons that would preclude a company in the business of providing medication from providing medication. It makes perfect sense. In a letter to a lawyer for the plaintiffs, a Wal-Mart attorney made it all clear, explaining that the company doesn't think of the morning-after pill as "commonly prescribed."
The AP notes that CVS, Massachusetts' largest chain of pharmacies, carries E.C. at all its drugstores.
I realize this has been clear for a while now, but given that Wal-Martpays women less, promotes women less and cares less about whether women have access to the medical remedies to which they have every right, women -- and men -- should not shop at Wal-Mart anymore. Cheers to the three New England broads who -- like those before them -- took it a step further and took the company to court today.