Tuesday, October 31, 2006

By the pricking of my thumbs...

Tonight, Spooney will put on his Halloween Mix, and I might wear some glow-in-the-dark earrings, and we will hand out candy to the kids who show up on our porch. This is what passes for fun in NoHo on Halloween. If this year is anything like the preceding ones, we’ll get maybe 20 trick-or-treaters all night. I’m surprised that we don’t get more kids from the adjacent barrio descending on us, but maybe they’ve been taught by their parents not to take Twix from gabachos.

My scariest Halloween was one I spent in Pittsburgh when I was a grad student. I was single and living in a teeny tiny studio just a stone’s throw from Homewood Cemetery, a freaky-ass graveyard home for the Mellons and the Heinzes and other famous dead tycoons from the area. The monuments there were all huge mausoleums and stupendous marble avenging angels, you know, the kind Christopher Walken plays in the movies. Also, there was this giant pyramid. Yeah, a freakin’ pyramid. It was not a place I relished walking by at night, know what I mean?

So it’s Halloween night and I’m watching Phillip Anglim’s Macbeth on A&E. In those days A&E hadn’t yet become all true crime, all the time, and it was common for them to air taped Broadway productions. And because of the different time zones, or perhaps just due to a dearth of programming, they would usually air the same show back-to-back at least twice a night.

I’d recently played a witch in Macbeth, so I was interested in the watching the show. At the same time, I was aware that watching “the Scottish play” on Halloween was not something a superstitious person would recommend.

When I was in the play, frankly, the “Scottish play” people annoyed the shit out of me. I could never remember not to say the name of the play in the dressing room, and so was sent outside to turn around, spit and swear more times than I can remember. The lead witch was especially hysterical about the superstition stuff, and I’m pretty sure I dropped the name once or twice purely to annoy her.

Nothing calamitous went wrong with the production, although I did step off the back of the 30-foot spider web framing the stage (don’t ask) once after the blackout, and fell waist high into a gap between the risers of the raked stage. I was forced to pull the curtain over me and hide from the audience until someone pulled me out. Oh, and one of the main superstition-flaunting actors did receive a nasty blow to the hand in a sword fight and had to bow out for a week or so. All the “Scottish play” types crowed about that one for a couple of days, but really, the production went pretty smoothly, considering.

So I wasn’t truly concerned about the whole Macbeth curse thing, but all the same, when my upstairs neighbors called and asked if I wanted to come up for a drink, I was more than a little relieved not to have to spend the evening alone. Just as I was pressing the remote control to turn off the television, I heard the opening words of Act IV, Scene I, you know, the ole’ “by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” witches’ cauldron scene. “Good timing,” I thought, and clicked that shit off.

My apartment was really just a bedroom and bathroom that had been partitioned off from a huge old mansion. Three male grad students lived upstairs from me. Our apartments shared what would have been the back staircase of the house, and we frequently hung out together at their place. That night, however, they decided, against my protests, that they wanted to turn out the lights and tell scary stories. I reminded them several times that I would have to go back downstairs BY MYSELF at the end of the evening, but to no avail.

After they had exhausted their canon of ghost stories, the guys decided that they wanted to go to Homewood Cemetery. Why, I have no idea, because even a child could tell you that that is exactly the kind of behavior that gets you killed in horror movies. But they were intent, and so 3 hours or so after ascending the stairs to their place I descended back to my tiny little room. It was almost midnight.

The first thing I did was turn on the television. Macbeth was on again. The witches’ cauldron scene was just beginning, again. “Wow. Weird,” I thought.

I decided to go to bed and so I got my toothbrush and stood in front of my little kitchenette counter, watching television and brushing my teeth. Suddenly, my eyeglasses fell off my head. And I mean they fell off my head in 3 pieces. They had come apart at the joints where the bows attach to the front piece. Now, it’s not uncommon for the little screw that holds the bow on to fall out, but for both to fall out at the same time?

I stared down at the pieces of my glasses lying on the counter. I remember being just kind of stunned by the whole thing. And as I stared down, I saw a drop of blood fall onto the counter, and then two, and then many drops. I put my hand to my nose, and I was, as you might imagine, sorta terrified to discover that my nose was bleeding rather profusely. It was really fucking bleeding. Now, I hadn’t been picking, or otherwise touching, my nose prior to that moment, so I had no idea on earth why blood was now pouring from it.

“Fuck!” I yelled, and I picked up the remote and changed the channel. MTV would be safe, I thought, and indeed I was immediately comforted by the familiarity of the video for Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Goofy-ass video. No way I can be scared, now, right?

And that’s pretty much the end of the story. I stuck some toilet paper up my nose, repaired my glasses, and threw back a couple of drinks to hasten the sandman. The next day, I wondered if the whole thing had even really happened, but there was the pile of bloody tissue in the trash as proof that it had. Anyway, it just goes to show you that anything can happen on Halloween.


Thanks to Spooney, I am totally addicted to the Nkorho Pan Africam.

The camera is trained on a watering hole somewhere in the South African bush. The other day Spooney and I heard splashing sounds coming from the computer, and when we got to the screen we saw a whole herd of water buffalo tromp through the frame and wallow in the watering hole before moving on.

Okay, we're geeky for thinking it's cool. But try it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

How does it feel?

Well, if you're watching a clip from the new Broadway musical based on the songs of Bob Dylan, it feels pretty goddamn bad, my friends.

Hey, I'm only saying what we're all thinking

Lose some weight, you fat fucking cow.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

And you thought Halloween was scary

Many, many thanks to Grant Miller for finding this gem, The Pumpkin Gospel, on the Christian Focus on the Family website. Go and read his post, which is hysterical, as always. But I really do feel compelled to throw in my two cents on this one as well.

Apparently, FOTF is very concerned that kids might get the idea that Halloween is about fun, instead of subservience to a Christian God (who really can’t be as much of a killjoy as these guys make him out to be, can he? Criminy).

So instead of simply having fun with your kids, drinking cider and helping them carve scary faces into a pumpkin, FOTF simply can’t resist squeezing every last bit of non-godliness out of the event, by advising parents “what to do about Halloween,” as if something more than making sure their kids don’t run into traffic in a candy-induced frenzy were required of them:
What you need:
sharp knife
Don’t forget a large helping of self-righteousness!
What to do:
Prepare a place for your pumpkin carving. Set newspapers on a table and get out the knife, spoon and bowl. Cut an opening in the top of the pumpkin. Have your kids pull out all of the seeds and scrape out the inside of the pumpkin.
Some people might think the above directions are a little elementary for someone who is capable of accessing the internet and, oh, reading. Because who doesn’t know how to start carving a pumpkin, right? But sadly, many Christians do not know how. Many Christians have never carved a pumpkin, because their families believe that the rituals of Halloween are akin to Satan-worshiping. Many Christians have been threatened with eternal hellfire just for LOOKING at a Jack-o-lantern on the neighbor’s porch. So it’s important to start out slow. Because there are souls at stake here, people.

What to talk about:
1. How is the stuff we pulled out of the pumpkin like sin in our heart? (They’re both yucky; sin is inside us; it’s sticky and smelly.)
2. How is the way we cleaned out the pumpkin like the way Jesus cleans us out when we confess our sins? (All the yucky stuff is taken away; Jesus scoops out the sin.)

3. How is the way we take out the seeds and salt them and cook them in the oven like the way Satan will roast us on a spit over the Lake of Eternal Hellfire if we don’t dedicate our lives to Christ?

What to do:
Draw a happy face on the pumpkin, then use the sharp knife to carve it out. When you are finished, read aloud 2 Corinthians 5:17 and/or Ephesians 2:10.

And if those verses about us all being lumps of clay made to perform God’s will hasn’t sufficiently killed whatever joy your children might be experiencing, can I recommend that you remind them once again what happens to little children who do not dedicate their lives to Christ only? And remember, don’t be afraid to really delve into detail about the whole “roasting on a spit in hell” part.
What to talk about:
1. How have we made this pumpkin a “new creation”? (It has a face now; it used to be just a pumpkin, but now it’s a jack-o’-lantern.)
2. How do we become a new creation when Jesus comes into our hearts? (We learn to love Him more; we’re no longer filled with yucky stuff; we become God’s children.)

3. How having a jack-o-lantern with a “happy face” makes us the lamest house on the block and a sitting duck for egg- and T.P.-wielding tricksters.
What to share:
When Jesus comes into our hearts, we become new creations, just as our pumpkin became a new creation. Read Matthew 5:14-16. Then light a candle and place it in the pumpkin. Turn off the room lights so everyone can see the candlelight coming through the pumpkin’s face.
When Jesus isn’t in your heart, just as he isn’t in the hearts of all your little Jewish and Muslim and Hindu and Unitarian friends, then your pumpkin will rot and collapse, and your face will fall off, and your parents will put you in the garbage bin.

What to talk about:
How is the way the candlelight comes through the pumpkin like the way God wants our light to shine? (God wants others to see how much we love Him; God wants our light to be seen by others.)

How is the way we manipulate and carve this pumpkin like the way we crush your identity and demand total psychological obedience?
What to do:
Sing age-appropriate songs such as This Little Light of Mine (younger children) or Shine, Jesus, Shine (older children and teenagers.)
Jesus Christ on a crutch, mom and dad, we get it already! Now please, can we go put on our Harry Potter Roasting in Hell for Practicing the Black Arts costumes and go get some candy? Because we are going to need a hefty supply of sugar medication to make it through that Kids on Fire Christian boot camp you are sending us to next weekend.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip sucks. It sucks so bad it makes me angry, even.

Why? Because at least on Sorkin’s previous show, The West Wing, you could forgive the pomposity and the self-involvitudeness of the characters, because they were, after all, running the US of A and affecting world events. On Studio 60, they’re still just as solemn and grandiose, but instead of working in the White House, they’re producing a television sketch comedy show.

A comedy show. On TV.

So maybe Sorkin could have his characters get down off their high horses and instead of waxing misty-eyed over schmaltzy music on their glorious heritage of pie fights and Jew jokes, he could give them some more realistic dialogue about how they all should get down on their knees and thank their lucky fucking stars that they’ve landed in an industry that rewards them so very well for so very, very little.

Not only that, but Sorkin’s motto for this show is apparently “believability be damned!” How else can you explain the young comic whose 50-ish Midwestern parents HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE ABBOTT & COSTELLO “WHO’S ON FIRST” BIT?? I mean, what the fuck part of Ohio are they from? Brigadoon?

And the predictability of the story lines! Did anyone NOT see the end of that crazy-old-crank-wanders-halls-but-is-discovered-to-be-not-only-not-crazy-but-part-of-our-glorious-heritage thing coming?

And oh, let’s speak in hushed tones about the so so racially sensitive story line about the bad black comic (Black people be different from whites!) versus the good black comic (I’m troubled but intellectual, folks. In a street-wise kind of way. Did I mention I have to catch a bus back to the hood?). Did anyone not see their last-minute discovery coming for, like, 45 minutes?

But the thing that makes the show really smell like ass is the fact that when they do manage to squeeze in a teeny tiny bit from the TV sketch show they purport to live and die by, it is GOD AWFUL. Like Fridays awful. Doumanian SNL awful.

My advice to Aaron Sorkin is that he should catch some reruns of the old Dick Van Dyke Show. Because at least the writers of The Alan Brady Show understood that Alan Brady had to be funny.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chapter 45: In which 99% of the blogger's readers decide that they've had enough

Sometimes, I smoke. And not just when I’m on fire. I mean, sometimes, I like to smoke cigarettes. I like it. To tell you the truth, it gives me an insane amount of pleasure.

And all I hear about is what a pain in the ass that is for everyone else.

Well, I’m also a vegetarian, right? I don’t eat animal flesh. (And yes, that even includes the flesh of fishie-type animals.) But you don’t hear me ragging on all my meat-eating friends, you know?

Vegetarians live an average of four to eight years longer than flesh-eaters, but you don’t hear me saying “How can you EAT that hamburger? You know every one of those takes 10 minutes off your life.”


“When they cook meat in the house, that awful smell gets in my clothes and my hair.”


“Eating the flesh off an animal’s bones – it’s such a filthy habit.”

Seriously, I was at lunch a couple of weeks ago with some friends, and one of them is chewing on a rib, a cow’s rib bone, and she’s sucking the flesh off this rib bone, and gnawing on it to make sure she’s getting it all and ugh, I’m the one with the nasty habit??

And don’t come at me with that lame-ass “second hand smoke” bullshit. I’ll agree that people shouldn’t be forced to work in a closed smoky environment. But how come the meat-eaters never want to talk about how dangerous their little habit is to me? I mean, do you know what effect the cultivation of animals for meat has on the environment?

To say nothing of the nasty nasty business of meat processing and what it does to the people who work in it.

Look I’ll make you a deal. You show me a tobacco processing plant where minimum wage workers are being mangled to death by big cigarette-making machines, and I swear I’ll quit that minute. But until then why don’t y’all think about giving up the meat, man, and smoking a cigarette. You’ll live longer.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

El nombre de la tia es en la biblioteca

I'm going to be in Mexico for a few days. I'll be back next week.

"There's pride in your work, and then there's arrogance."

Hey! Go on over to Skyler's Dad to see this fucking brilliant clip of Ricky Gervais talkin' 'bout Genesis.

The book, not the band.

What's next? Raiders fan anthrax scare?

Thanks to Pops for the link to this story, which reveals that the FBI have questioned a Milwaukee man in connection with the phony "dirty bomb" threats against NFL stadiums.

Figures that the guy is from Wisconsin. Probably a Green Bay fan.

Look, dude, it's over. Favre had a good run, but it's been 10 years, and he's not taking you back to the fucking Superbowl, okay? You and all the other "co-owners" are going to have to learn to live with disappointment.

So stop posting bomb threats on web sites and go back to what you do best: novelty hat-wearing & beer-infused cheese fondue tailgating.

And also forget who stopped hunting for Bin Laden so he could play soldier in Iraq?

The GOP has a new ad that intends to remind voters of the danger they're still in.

But do you think they'll forget who put them there?

(via War Room)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Well, it IS called Cracker Barrel

Chris Rock's mom is filing suit against Cracker Barrel after she was denied service.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chapter 45: In which our blogger gets all mushy-like

Megan at By and By, by way of explaining why the Nordstrom bra lady felt sorry for her, invokes the phrase “bless your heart,” and explains its cultural implications:
"Bless your heart," for my readers in The North, is what Southern women say to indicate that they feel sorry for you. Most of the time, they really do feel sorry for you and "bless your heart" is a genuine expression of sympathy. Some women, however, use "bless your heart" to disguise bitchiness. As in, "You look like you've gained about 50 pounds, bless your heart."
"Bless your heart" had a similar meaning where I grew up. Once, when I was about 8 years old and living in a very rural area outside of Marion, Indiana, I slid down a hill on the way home from the Jalapa general store (buying penny candy - natch!), punctured an artery in my leg on a piece of broken glass, and then nearly bled out as I ran at least a mile trying to find someone to help me. In fact, I heard many days later from my mother that there was much buzz in the area about wild animals, as neighbors sought an explanation for the trails of blood leading up to and away from their front doors.

Finally, I encountered a former army medic (just home from Vietnam) who was working in his garage. He bandaged my leg up tight, called my mom, and carried me to the car when she arrived. My girlfriend very helpfully screamed during the entire ordeal.

Later that day, when my mom finally got me home from the hospital, she asked me what on earth I was doing sliding down a hill instead of staying on the road as she had instructed me to do. I thought I was in for a world of hurt after all the trouble I had caused, and I started to cry. I explained to her that I saw some brown-eyed susans blooming at the top of the hill, and just I wanted to pick them for her.

Brown-eyed susans had a special meaning to us as she used to tell me, when I wore my favorite yellow dress, that I looked just like a brown-eyed susan.

Well, of course I was not in trouble. She just shook her head in that Mom way and said, "Well, bless your heart."

Funny, the things from your childhood you remember. But then, I do have an almost perfectly square half-inch scar on my ankle to remind me.

The impudence of optimism

Democratic "rock star" Barack Obama (is he ever described any other way?) has a new book with the horrible title The Audacity of Hope.

I wonder if the evocation of #42 is deliberate?

It's hard for me to get too excited about the guy. First of all, because he's very good at playing footsie with the opposition, and while I concede that it's a necessary game for a U.S. Senator, it's a game that, if played too well, can ruin your chances to ever leave the Senate.

Ask Joe Biden.

And then there are the handlers. Obama recounts in his book an incident in which an aide chastises him for asking for Dijon mustard at a T.G.I. Fridays, worried that word of his condiment preference might make him appear elitist.

Sure, laugh if you want to. But just remember what happened when the American public saw photos of John Kerry windsurfing.

Bang! There go the NASCAR dads.

Because we're basically an intolerant people, and in fact we're kinda proud of that. We don't want anyone leading us who's too Frenchy-fruity, too smart, or who can't wear military accoutrement believably.

But I will give Obama this one thing. In labeling the Democrats as "the party of reaction," he is on the money:
“In reaction to a war that is ill-conceived, we appear suspicious of all military action. In reaction to those who proclaim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to tackle pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our policies with a larger meaning. We lose elections and hope for the courts to foil Republican plans. We lose the courts and wait for a White House scandal.”

We stay out of trouble and wait for that VP nominee buzz, eh, Obama?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hastert innocent until Democrats proven guilty

Oh, Christ.

Thanks to True Ancestor for the link to this story, which makes me smack my forehead, hard, with the palm of my hand every time I read it.

Congressman Christopher Shays (R-Delusionville) is in a tight race to hold onto his seat, and he apparently became a bit unglued after Sen. Ted Kennedy campaigned for his opponent last week.

Shays, while responding to questions about the Republican leadership's handling of the Foley scandal, offered the following defense of House Speaker Dennis Hastert:
"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," the embattled Connecticut congressman told The Hartford Courant in remarks published Wednesday.

"Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody," he added.

Shays is of course referring to Chappaquiddick, the 1969 scandal that forever ruined Kennedy's chances for political office outside of the adoring state of Massachusetts. In that scandal, Kennedy, probably drunk, drove off a bridge with a cute young campaign worker in his car. Kennedy escaped from the car, but the woman did not. Kennedy did not report the accident right away, but let the family's lawyers handle things, which they did poorly, and well...thus endeth Camelot forever.

But let's get back to Shays's method of deflecting criticism from the embattled speaker.

I applaud it. I think it is only fair to defend Hastert, a Republican, by comparing his sheltering of creepy creep Foley to the crimes of various Democrats throughout American history.

The only problem is that Shays didn't go far enough. Why stop at Kennedy, when there are a wealth of crimes of which Hastert is NOT guilty? For instance:

Unlike Andrew Jackson, Hastert did not advocate the genocide of Native Americans.

Unlike Martin Van Buren, Hastert did not call for the Africans aboard the Amistad to be returned to slavery.

President Wilson stood idly by while the Russians created the evil Soviet Union. Hastert did not.

Two hundred thousand civilians were deliberately killed by U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki under orders from President Truman. Speaker Hastert was not consulted.

Over a hundred Americans died in the ill-advised Bay of Pigs invasion. Unlike President John F. Kennedy, Hastert was not involved on any level.

Hastert did not escalate the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam. President Johnson could not say the same.

And let's not forget Jimmy Carter's killer rabbit. I understand that Hastert was in Connecticut at the time and has an air-tight alibi.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Shays didn't invoke the ghost of Vince Foster, the Clinton advisor that Bill and Hillary presumeably murdered, or had killed by some contract assassin, possibly Tipper Gore. Dennis Hastert has never been implicated in Foster's death, but that's hardly surprising, since implicating a Republican would make very little strategic sense.

Hastert was also, as far as we know, not involved in the fatal crash in which Laura Bush killed her high school sweetheart. Although due to the probability of alcohol as a factor in the crash, and the resulting cover-up and silence of the local police force, we will never know for sure.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Sharp as a tack!"

The officers in Los Lunas, N.M. are not as gracious as the detectives of the ole' 1-2 when it comes to the accidental ingestion of mind-altering substances.

(again, via Scanner)

When album art attacks!

This video just made my fucking month.

(via Scanner)

Democrats guilty until proven innocent

Thanks to the Daily Show for unearthing this interview of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-Idiotland) on the Foley scandal:

BLITZER: So what you're suggesting -- and correct me if I'm wrong, because you've been doing this for the last few days -- that Democrats are behind the timing of the release of this information? Is that your accusation?

MCHENRY: Well, look, all the fact points lead to one question: Did Rahm Emanuel or Nancy Pelosi have any involvement on the strategic or tactical level? This morning on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the question was asked of Rahm Emanuel. His reaction was he did not see the instant messages or e-mails. He repeatedly said, he did not see. I've asked him to testify under oath to assure the American people that he was not involved in this issue in any way, shape or form.

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence at all that Democrats or others might have been behind the timing of this scandal?

MCHENRY: Look, let's be honest...

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence to back that charge up?

MCHENRY: No, no, actually, if the Democrats had any issue with saying this, putting all the facts out on the table, they would say, certainly, I'll testify under oath that I had no involvement in it. They've said no.

BLITZER: Well, you don't have any evidence, though, right?

MCHENRY: Well, look at the fact points.

BLITZER: Yes or no, do you have any evidence, Congressman?

MCHENRY: Do you have any evidence that they weren't involved?

You know, I am so proud of the members of our fine legislative bodies in these United States. Their grasp of the basic legal principles that govern our nation is really awe-inspiring.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's official: North Korean nukes all Clinton's fault

White House PS Snow:

I understand what the Clinton administration wanted to do. They wanted to talk reason to the government of Pyongyang, and they engaged in bilateral conversations. And [former U.N. ambassador and Clinton secretary of energy] Bill Richardson went with flowers and chocolates, and he went with light water nuclear reactors, and he went with promises of heavy oil and a basketball signed by Michael Jordan, and many other inducements for the dear leader to try to agree not to develop nuclear weapons, and it failed.

UN Ambassador John Bolton:
Mr. Bolton dismissed the notion that Pyongyang was driven to carry out a nuclear test by being labeled as part of the "axis of evil", saying those who believed this should "get a life". "The North Koreans have been pursuing nuclear weapons for at least 10 to 12 years," he said. "They signed the agreed framework in 1994, promising to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and then began violating the agreement almost before the ink was dry. This has nothing whatever to do with the 'axis of evil' statement."
Various and sundry BushCo yes men:

"The Clinton administration didn't do much and, even while they were negotiating with the North Koreans, the North Koreans were continuing to develop nuclear weapons," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

"During the Clinton administration we set up a policy and it was continued during the Bush administration, of subsidizing this lunatic regime in North Korea," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., referring to food aid programs that he says allowed Pyongyang to divert its resources to its weapons systems. "That regime would have collapsed a long time ago had we not been subsidizing it. And we should immediately cut off that stipend."

But the Carpetbagger Report begs to differ:

The 1994 Agreed Framework wasn't perfect, but it did represent progress. Clinton offered North Korea light-water reactors for electrical power, and Kim Jung Il agreed to allow full monitoring and inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. When Bush took office, Colin Powell endorsed a continuation of the Clinton administration policy, but was quickly overruled (and rebuked) by the White House. Bush ended negotiations, scraped the Agreed Framework, called Kim Jung Il names, and gave up on having any kind of coherent policy whatsoever.

After the Bush White House ratcheted up the rhetoric, North Korea, as Fred Kaplan explained, "pulled out of the Nonproliferation Treaty, kicked out the IAEA's inspectors, unlocked the fuel rods, reprocessed them into bomb-grade plutonium — and that's where things have stood for the past three years." The crisis, exacerbated by the Bush administration's incompetence, has grown considerably worse.

Consider the bottom line today when the right starts blaming Clinton for this
mess.[P]rogress of North Korea's nuclear program during the last three administrations:

1. George H. W. Bush: one to two bombs' worth of plutonium
2. Bill Clinton: zero plutonium
3. George W. Bush: 4-6 nuclear weapons' worth of plutonium

And a missile test. And a nuclear test. It's quite a success story, if you're anxious to make the world more dangerous.

Monday, October 09, 2006

"The vagina can take a lot of punishment."

For chrissakes, if you didn't see it live, watch David Rakoff on the Daily Show.

(via Video Dog)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Actress Sienna Miller Apologizes to Pittsburgh

That's fine, but she SHOULD apologize to my eyeballs.

Bill Clinton: a scapegoat for the ages

Ah, my favorite LA Times opinionista, Jonah Goldberg, takes a stab at the whole blame-Democrats-for-Foley oeuvre:

Self-described progressives are great at whipping up a moral frenzy when it serves their purposes, and hilariously indignant when Moral Majority types return fire in kind.

I prefer to be beautiful when I’m angry, but I’ll settle for hilarious, I guess. But how come “Moral Majority types” aren’t “self-described”?

Remember the national bout of St. Vitus' dance over sexual harassment in the late 1980s and early 1990s?

St.Vitus’s dance? You’re saying that the explosion of awareness of the issue of sexual harassment in the late 20th century resembles the movements of a person suffering from Huntington’s Disease? Wow. Bad writing is a polite word for what that is, dude.

Liberals made sexual harassment their signature issue, rending their clothes and gnashing their teeth over Sens. John Tower and Bob Packwood and Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, among others. The puritanical zeal of these inquisitions cannot be exaggerated.

Oh, don’t sell yourself short, Goldberg.

First of all, 1.) John Tower did fondle unwilling women in public, yes - but only when he was drunk. And hey, one could argue that Tower was one huge shitstorm waiting to happen and that 41 was well rid of him, but, in any case, Tower was brought down by Paul Weyrich, the conservative founder of Sexual McCarthyism, and not by the Dems.
2.) 29 women came forward to accuse Packwood, a man of no particular interest to the opposition, of sexual harassment and, in some cases, sexual assault. So when I try to think of a word to describe my concern at that time, “puritanical” is not what leaps to mind.
3.) Thomas was head of the EEOC, the government agency that is charged with bringing DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS against employers, so when Anita Hill testified that he, her boss, repeatedly tried to pressure her into sleeping with him, you can see why that might be worth a look see, eh?

And then came Bill Clinton, who was, by any fair measure, a worse womanizer than Thomas or the rest of them.

First of all, are we now talking about “womanizing”? When did that happen? I thought we were talking about sexual harassment and assault.

The Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit led, inexorably, to revelations of alleged rape and scandalous behavior with an intern. Forced to choose between power and principle, liberals and feminists held an impromptu fire sale on principles.

“Inexorably”? Do you mean it was unavoidable because Ken Starr was investigating, and sworn Clinton enemy Richard Mellon Scaife was paying witnesses? Because then I’m with you on the whole “inexorable” deal.

Also, conservatives are frequently quick to invoke the charge of rape against Bill Clinton. The charge was made by a woman named Juanita Broaddrick.

And exactly what is the principle that I'm being accused of selling out on? Always believing the woman's side when a famous and powerful person is accused of rape? Is that my principle?

Look, it would be wonderful if women always told the truth about rape. As a women, I hope with all my might and soul that women never ever lie about it. Because it hurts all of us. But, c’mon, folks, Broaddrick’s story was so full of holes that even the Starr Commission couldn’t patch half of ‘em. That’s why she just quietly went away. Because even Starr couldn’t use her.

If I were to insist on believing Broaddrick was raped by Clinton, no matter what my common sense tells me, then wouldn't I be guilty of violating a few other important principles?

And as for the “scandalous behavior”…who the fuck gives a fuck about scandalous behavior??? If all Foley were accused of was “scandalous behavior,” then fuck yeah, let’s bust the motherfucker out of rehab and give him his fucking job back and throw him a big fucking party with 18 year-old male strippers.

Look, I’m a big believer that you don’t have to be 18 to consent to sex. And I’m not yet convinced that Foley did anything illegal. But one thing I do know for certain – that Foley is everything that conservative Republicans purport to be against, and yet they sheltered him in the name of political expediency. That is hypocrisy, pure and simple - whether you supported Clinton or not.

Whereas once feminists insisted that "women don't make these things up," accusations of rape were dismissed instantaneously.

“Dismissed instantaneously”?

Goldberg either has a very short memory, or he's just a big fat liar. Broaddrick's allegations were aired and discussed AT LENGTH in the media.

But when you have someone with an agenda as powerful as Scaife’s and he’s all up in Arkansas feeding well-paid liars to the Starr Commission, I’d say the benefit of the doubt for Clinton was in order, no?

And no feminist worth her stripes would ever insist that women have never and would never lie about rape. Feminists writing has always acknowledged, for instance, that many black men in the south were lynched over fabricated charges of rape.

Whereas once zero tolerance was the rule ("no means no"), feminist deity Gloria Steinem suddenly advanced a one-free-grope rule for powerful men.

Uh, “no means no” doesn’t refer to zero tolerance. It’s an attempt to address all the stereotypes of women in movies and tv and literature who say “no” but mean “yes,” because they’re being portrayed as creatures who are incapable of knowing their own minds, see? I can’t believe I had to explain that to you.

And I think the one-free-grope rule is predicated upon an admission or proof of guilt. Otherwise, all the politicians in Washington would be lining up for theirs.

Whereas once even the appearance of impropriety was unacceptable, feminists suddenly argued that everyone should lighten up.

Wow! Goldberg has accused feminists of wanting people to lighten up. That’s got to be a first. I’m going to store this column away for future reference.

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, elected in 1992 — the "Year of the Woman" — as part of the anti-Thomas "backlash," argued that female interns should count themselves lucky in the Clinton White House. After all, she said, "30 years ago, women weren't even allowed to be White House interns."

I lived in Chicago in 1992 and so you should believe me when I say that Braun wasn’t part of the anti-Thomas backlash as much as she was part of the anti-incumbent backlash. The previous senator, Allan Nixon, was an incompetent boob, and Illinois voters had finally had enough of seeing his hands in other people’s pockets. Also, Braun herself turned out to be a party hack of the highest order, and was voted out after one term. I understand that it would serve your purpose to make her some kind of feminist spokesperson, Goldberg, but I’m afraid that she just doesn’t qualify.

I happen to have been fairly active in feminist causes, and was a great devourer of feminist literature and periodicals at the time of the Clinton sexual harassment scandal, and I can tell you that the debate among feminists over even Clinton’s admitted behavior was absolutely rancorous. Sorry. I know that doesn’t fit your little “liberal hypocrite” thesis, but it’s the truth.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The payback, she is a bitch

"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."

- Congressman Foley speaking on the floor of the House during the Clinton impeachment proceedings.

(via Salon)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lucky for us, it's hard to smuggle files inside falafel

So we're suspending habeus corpus, and trashing the constitution so that we can hold people indefinitely and eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant, but we aren't reading the mail that terrorists in prison write to and receive from other suspected terrorists, even though it is completely legal to do so.

Why? No staff. No training. No money.

Hello, Freud? This is Fox News.

Notice anything, uh, slightly inaccurate about the above caption that was shown multiple times in prime time last night?

Considering the possibility that the voters next month might not care for the fact that the “family values” party has been protecting and enabling this creep, I'll BET the GOP's network wishes he was a Democrat!

(Crooks and Liars via War Room)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hey, we elected an oilman as president. We have no right to be surprised.

Salon on Woodward's new book on 43, "State of Denial":

At the instruction of his father (Bush 41), Bush (soon to be 43) met with [Saudi ambassador Prince] Bandar in 1997 and confided, "I'm thinking of running forpresident ... And I don't have the foggiest idea about what I think about international foreign policy." You do not have to be a Michael Moore-style conspiracy theorist to find it worrisome that a Saudi prince is put in charge of giving a future president his worldview.

Bandar, who may now be much more willing to go public with Woodward since he has returned home to Saudi Arabia, keeps popping up in the narrative in chilling ways. The administration's infamous rendition policy -- under which terrorist suspects are farmed out to foreign governments with a belief in the truth-telling virtues of torture -- may have begun shortly after 9/11 when Bush told Bandar, "If we get somebody and we can't get them to cooperate, we'll hand them over to you."

The book also describes Bandar's Oval Office meeting in early 2004 with Bush, Condi Rice (then the national security advisor) and White House chief of staff Andrew Card
(another source, since he has now left the administration). Bush, Woodward writes, "thanked Bandar for what the Saudis were doing on oil -- essentially flooding the market and trying to keep the price as low as possible.[Bush] expressed appreciation for the policy and the impact it could have during the election year."

I wonder what the Saudis got in return?

Best ad placement ever

(Via Adrants)

Don't mess with Texas's pooper!

Many months ago, I proclaimed that ass fucking is the new black.

Sadly, Texas is still not on board.

Although they have banned the sale of dildos (seriously, they have) in TX, and have even proclaimed that possession of 6 or more is a felony because it implies intent to distribute (I am not making this up), they have not banned the sale of butt plugs because "the anus is not defined as a sexual orifice by Texas law."

I know. Poor, poor denizens of the Lone Star State. Sure, they can drink while driving and carry concealed weapons, but if they can't go dancing with Bubba every once in a while...shit, they might as well be in Arkansas.