Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten New Year's Resolutions

10. Lindsay Lohan (and Mischa Barton, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, ad nauseam) -- Call a taxi.

9. Rudy Giuliani -- Size zero sequined number by Memorial Day, come hell or high fugly.

8. Mitt Romney -- Remember to change lithium-ion batteries in face-plate along with the smoke detectors, during switch-back to Daylight Savings Time.

7. Hillary Clinton -- Ask around for ideas, pick resolution that focus-groups best with sensible centrists and Village idiots.

6. Barack Obama -- Bring people of all nations, creeds, colors, and lifestyles together under magnetic charisma and happy-talk, then get each one of them to kick down fifty bucks for a nice juicer. Buy tropical island.

5. Sherri Shepherd -- Explain frantically to bozos in audience how Jeebus was around before gravity and thermodynamics, which made getting around in those days interesting to say the least. Offer to take bozos on field trip to Creation Museum.

4. Fred Thompson -- Give wife's tits a good squeeze, scratch and fart a bit, then laze into 800th iteration about how it's better to elect a president by voting for someone who acts like he has better things to do.

3. Corporate media -- Stay housebroken.

2. Richard Bruce Cheney -- Try to find a little "me" time, explore rejuvenative properties of bathing in puppy blood. Have Constitution reprinted in two-ply for executive bathroom.

1. George Walker Bush -- Get NotJenna to show him where Pakistan is on a map.

Special Hammer of the Blogs bonus resolutions:
  • Larry Craig -- More cock, this time at county fair glory hole.

  • Billy Kristol -- Other side of glory hole.

  • Britney Spears -- Think seriously about getting tubes tied. Share taxi with moron coke-whore friends. Start fashion trend by painting smiley-faces on cankles.

  • Mike Huckabee -- Appoint son as head of security team. Continue insisting that grampa warn't no monkey, even though one look at progeny proves otherwise. Re-stock on snake oil for general campaign.

  • Tom Brady -- Upgrade from Bobcat to Caterpillar D8 to retrieve ginormous piles of money and/or pussy. Share some of each with teammates, coaches, and helpful refs. Prepare for inevitable downfall caused by unrealistic expectations and excessive repetitions of that damned Dropkick Murphys song from The Departed.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Spiked Punch

In his Political Punch column, Jake Tapper helps Fred Thompson explain himself a little more thoroughly.

The larger point Thompson seems to have been trying to make is that he's not interested in the process of running for president, but he wants to be president and thinks he'd be a good one.

He also said -- and this isn't new -- that those who have had fire-in-the-belly for the job aren't necessarily the people who should be entrusted with the job.

Yeah, case in point there would be ol' Oedipus Tex, who enjoys the leadin' 'n' decidin' 'n' dressin' up 'n' all, but not so much on the part about knowin' stuff. That would have taken time and effort, cut into his two hours a day of mountain biking and the afternoon nap.

I think Thompson is a shrewd enough character to know how his phrasing will be perceived by his crowd, that they all know who is consumed by personal ambition. It's as much about the she-goblin of their fever dreams having too much fahr in the belly, than Ol' Fred not having enough.

But you could say the same thing about Romney, who is apparently hellbent on spending Tagg's inheritance on making sure the Cornfield County Caucus tilts his way ever so slightly over the Huckabee juggernut [sic]. Romney seems to enjoy trying to be everything to everyone; someone (I'm sick and I don't feel like looking it up) very astutely pointed out the other day that if Romney felt that being a pirate would get him the nomination, he would have run as a pirate. That about covers it.

His efforts to clarify his colleagues' work and Thompson's thoughts nearly complete, Tapper offers some final nuggets o' wisdom.

That's Fred. Fred is Fred. He has disdain for the process. And I think probably most of us can understand why.

Ah, Fred is Fred. But of course. It all seems so simple now.

So where was Fred's "disdain for the process" when he was making money off it, being a Warshington lobbyist for twenty years, or parlaying the perception of his gravitas (and ooooh, his height) into a comfortable supporting niche of authority characters? Why would Thompson have disdain for the process, when the initial stages of it for him consisted of mash notes and swoony bullshit from everyone from Margaret Carlson to Tweety Matthews. I mean, if we're going for fuckability quotient, then why not get Heidi Klum or Katherine Heigl in the race while we're at it?

And I'm not sure whom exactly Tapper means by "most of us" understanding Fred's imaginary disdain. Is Tapper talking as a voter here, or as part of the electoral-industrial complex, a group of vertically-integrated conglomerate media entities who make tons of money spinning their wheels over a two-year campaign? I do not quite get the observations of people such as Thompson and Tapper, who are literally part of the problem they so plaintively decry.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Passion of the Brady

You know, if the NFL needs Team Tuck Rule to win it that fucking badly, why not just save us all another month of shitty officiating and give the Patriots their trophy now? Jesus Christ, Brandon Meriweather hits the Giants' punt returner late and out of bounds at the Giants' 40, so the refs call a personal foul on Amani Toomer, who replays showed doing nothing at all to Meriweather (or anyone, for that matter).

This is the same sort of shit refereeing that handed the game back in Baltimore, and really goes back to the infamous retardation of the snow bowl playoff game against the Raiders six years ago. Whatever Bob Kraft or Bill Belichick is paying the refs, they're certainly getting their money's worth. I hope their playoff opponents understand that they will have to absolutely kick the Pats' asses to squeak out a win. The calls are always going to go their way until the game's out of reach.

And frankly, considering New England's off-putting running up of the score all season long, I would urge future regular-season opponents to hold a grudge. Eventually someone will have a sore mangina, or Moss and Brady will not get along, or whatever. The team's star will fall at some point. Hopefully the rest of the league chips in and cleans their fucking clocks for as long as possible.

The Tedium Is the Message

I'm always down for a slap fight twixt opinionators (although, to be sure, with the conservatards being more robust in their epithets, Pat Buchanan would have found or created an opportunity to call, say, Jonah Goldberg a douchey inbred fuckwit or some such), but the root of the problem is hopelessly obscured. Consumerism and jonesmanship long ago supplanted the concept of an informed citizenry that votes and lives its principles. Now it is enough simply to be seen mouthing them. Hey, I watched the global warming LiveAid dealio, whaddaya want from me?

Let's put it in even more stark terms -- Reich and Judt, whatever their principled differences, probably cling to the hope that "if only people knew....", they would buy local, drive smarter, be less wasteful, blah blah blah. If only they knew how the sausage was made.

Well, guess what, podna? They may not know the arcana of capital mobility and bundled derivatives, liquidity puts and FDI and such, but they know cheap sausage when they see it, and they know they want it. You can give them all the guided tours of the slaughterhouse you want, but no one believes that they're the sausage until the bolt gun's cocked against their temple.

You might be better off just telling them to max out their credit cards on iPhones and magic beans, so at least they're enjoying themselves while their jobs are outsourced and their houses are foreclosed.


Presumably because Mobutu Sese Seko's availability is compromised by his being dead and all, Izvestia has opted to further squander its scraps of credibility by giving legacy floater Billy Kristol a weekly column. Funny how journamalism (especially the opinion-mongering stripe), like politics, is one of those unique vocations where being wrong every fucking time has no effect on your ability to find work.

Truthy Versus Facty

So let's see -- Huckabee does not know where Pakistan is, nor has he any clue as to what proportion of our illegal immigrant population Pakistanis constitute. Nor, it appears, does he have even a little bit of insight as to any realistic solutions in that part of the world. (Or hell, this part of the world.)

Which means he'll be a perfect nominee for his party; after all, the current occupant got in not knowing the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia (or Sweden and Switzerland, for that matter), and in fact did not even know Pervez Musharraf's name back in '99/early 2000.

The total, contemptuous disinterest this country's citizens and politicians hold the rest of the world in is creepily complemented by their tiresome insistence that only we can solve their problems for them. It is almost a perfect symbiosis of cognitive dissonance. We don't know shit about the problem, but we're the only ones who can be trusted to fix it, whatever it is.

America has a tiger by the tail in Pakistan. It would help if at least some of our decision-makers and would-bes knew a fucking thing about it, instead of me-tooing each other on how tough they all think they are.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Never before has a boutique blog been launched with such care and detail. Can't wait for the next illuminating post. It's been eleven days since the initial burst, so perhaps the poor boy's constipated. Still what's there ranks among the most profound he's ever written. I, for one, applaud his moxie and/or gumption.

Ride the Tiger

Couple more things on the developing investigation of the tiger attack at the SF Zoo the other day. The hysteria over this event, recklessly inflated by the media, serves to show just how many people really are nothing more than bleating retards. Look, this is the first time ever that a visitor to an American zoo has been killed by an animal. But with the breathless coverage, including a particularly moronic Today show piece that overtly implied that you're taking your life into your hands, you'd think you're in imminent danger, and many of these goobers seem to genuinely believe that.

Another type of goofball is the bien pensant animal rightist, imploring the rest of us with this "cantcha see" plaint about the intrinsically confining nature of zoos. It does not seem to occur to these people that, especially with endangered species such as tigers, zoos actually serve as a redoubt of preservation of these species. I thought everyone knew this; it's not that complicated.

How long would Tatiana have lasted in the wilds of Siberia, game for poachers and assorted scumbags who ascribe arcane medicinal properties to the animal's organs? You know what's killing off tigers? Self-indulgent fuckheads and superstitious weirdos, who themselves oughta be shot, skinned, and parted out for folk remedies. Failing that, zoos are about the last best realistic hope for preserving what's left of these animals. There are more tigers in Texas than there are in the rest of the world; hell, there are probably more people named Carlos just in San Jose than there are tigers on this planet.

There are, of course, private foundations and sanctuaries, who do wonderful work. But they also have to rely on volunteer work, donations, and the local example I linked has to constantly deal with unwarranted harassment from paranoid neighbors. (Personally, I would be more than happy to live next door to them; Durham is a beautiful town, and I know first-hand that the facility is extremely safe.) Zoos, backed by municipalities and states, do not have to worry about such things (though many do receive substantial funding from private trusts and foundations).

Anyway, what's pissing me off about this stupid story is how idjits have allowed themselves to whipped into a paranoid frenzy over a freak accident which, the more information trickles out, looks less and less like a straight-up accident.

When Carlos Sousa Jr. didn't show up for Christmas dinner, his father called several of his son's friends - including the two brothers injured in the tiger attack that killed the teen.

Either Amritpal "Paul" Dhaliwal, 19, or his 23-year-old brother Kulbir Dhaliwal answered the phone and told Sousa Sr. that his son wasn't with them. In reality, the three young men were either on their way to or had already arrived at the San Francisco Zoo, where they would later be mauled by a 350-pound Siberian tiger.

"I said, 'Have you seen my son?' and he said, 'No,' then he wished me a merry Christmas," the father said.


A man accompanying family members outside the house later told a reporter that the family would have nothing to say until after consulting with a lawyer.

The Dhaliwal brothers have been hostile to police in the current death investigation and were "extremely belligerent" in an earlier encounter with police this year, authorities say.

After the zoo attack, authorities said, the brothers had refused to give their own names, identify the victim or initially give authorities an account of what occurred.

Other reports indicate that pine cones and sticks from elsewhere were found in the tiger's grotto. A shoe-print was found on one of the railings. No doubt there'll be more once the Dhaliwar brothers decide to talk, since apparently they have something to hide.

I fucking despise these puling, paranoid histrionics people indulge in every time there's a unique, if tragic, incident. These same people will climb into their grocery schooners and drive like assholes while talking or texting on their cell phones. They are more than 217 times more likely to blow their own brains out (lifetime odds 225:1) than to be killed by any mammal (other than dogs) (48,957:1). They are even more likely (200:1) to be killed by some sort of fall. People won't you see? Stairs and ladders, the silent killers! Oh, won't someone please think of the children?

It does appear that the SF Zoo may have misrepresented the dimensions on the wall height of the tiger grotto, and someone's going to get their asses sued for it. But the facility had also been inspected and accredited just a couple years ago. And perhaps the tiger would have just continued to go about its business if it hadn't been taunted. I don't know what sort of fucktard goes to a zoo to tease and provoke the animals, but one of the few sensible reader comments at the Chronicle site indicated that such things are commonplace.

We don't know that that's what happened here yet -- indeed, thanks to the recalcitrance and outright lying of the Dhaliwar borthers, we don't know much of anything. I suppose we'll find out more if this goes either to criminal or civil court, but in the meantime, the media would do well to exercise some responsibility, take a big chug from the STFU cup, and quit inciting these hooting dipshits.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dare To Be Stupid

It's like spitting on a fish; it's like barking up a tree.
It's like saying you gotta buy one if you wanna get one free. -- "Weird Al" Yankovic

Shorter conservative thinkamator:

Instead of pestering us to explain the specific dangers of the crack, or pointing out that nothing is in fact wrong with your mother's back, just do what you're told. Those "smart" people are just trying to trick you into stepping on the crack.

Really, unless he's trying to be facetious or ironic here, for a guy who actually wrote a book on people who avoid reason and logic for fanatical, uncritical thrall to "traditional imperatives", he's just being obtuse.

The Illusion of Control

There are days when momentous events happen with such sudden force, that people can only step back for a second and pause, and try comprehend the bigger picture. Such events snowball and reverberate, generating unforeseeable yet associated events, and nations can only tremble in dread of what more may come.

I'm talking of course about the Mischa Barton DUI bust. Can any of these dingbats afford a goddamned driver? Then they can do lines off each others' tits and chug Ketel One till they black out, and no one's the wiser. It's one thing for some blue-collar guy to take the back roads home after work with a coldie between his legs (it's still not right, but it happens), but quite another for these overprivileged morons to weave up La Cienega at three in the morning, not only shitfaced but not even having a license. One Lindsay Lohan's more than enough, sweet cheeks. You're going to have to develop a sex addiction now just to get your career back.

Okay, okay, so seriously the Bhutto assassination is obviously huge. I would think the immediate assumption is that it's the same Islamic lunatics who've tried to assassinate Musharraf twice, this time trying to bait him into over-reacting in the tribal regions (which, let's face it, they sorely deserve). That and the only alternative in the upcoming election now is Nawaz Sharif, as big a crook as Bhutto was, but more sympathetic to anti-western sentiments. That this took place in Rawalpindi, a military city, is also significant. (Added bonus: the footage of some of these asshole rioters, lamely swinging anything they could find into the shells of destroyed buses -- real fuckin' cool, guys. The bus looks pretty well done, but hey, keep up the fine work. I remember my first beer.)

I dunno. There's really not much to say about this, oddly, and very little even to speculate. It's a sad situation, and we're stuck, and our man in Islamabad is stuck as well, being pushed into a corner where moderation becomes less and less likely an option for him. I think 2008 is going to see a U.S. surge in Afghanistan, because people have Tinkerbelled themselves enough to believe that the Iraq version succeeded utterly on its own merits. But the terrain, the people, and the cultures are entirely different, and the "planners" of these operations can't get out of their one-size-fits-all approach to things.

Update: Timely article in the London Review of Books, for those inclined to more backstory. Big thanks to Marius in comments for the tip.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pillars of Humanity

50 Most Loathsome People of 2007. Check it out.


Everybody's heard about the tiger attack at the SF Zoo by now. It's in all the papers and everything.

The rampage began about 20 minutes just after the zoo closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday, while dozens of visitors were still milling about inside. The animal apparently escaped from the grotto, attacked the first man near its enclosure, then proceeded about 300 yards to the Terrace Cafe restaurant, where it mauled the other two victims.

The word "rampage", while technically accurate, connotes a marauding, unpredictable force tearing through all in its path and causing massive amounts of damage. And yet the tiger actually got out of its enclosure (how has not yet been determined, but there's bound to be a story there as well) and did what tigers do, and made it all of 300 yards away from its enclosure before being shot. Tragic, but is it really a "rampage"?

Unfortunately the tiger was female, so there is no penis to harvest for impotent, superstitious morons, but I'm sure the other parts and organs have lots of cool magickal "properties" as well.

Maybe this qualifies as a "rampage":

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) -- A man killed two women and left their bodies in the basement of a house, then beat and raped the daughter of one of the victims in the same home, authorities and a relative of the victims said.

Fabian Hands, 46, was booked on two counts of homicide and two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Officers were called to the house in north Omaha Monday night. When they arrived, a 20-year-old woman came out of a bedroom and said she had been sexually assaulted.

Hands followed her out of the bedroom and assaulted her in front of officers, according to a police report. Officers subdued him and took him into custody.

What do these stories have in common? I dunno, one animal killed a couple of people for no goddamned reason, and the other one's a freakin' tiger. Shame that, unlike the tiger, Hands was not shot during his rampage.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Season's Bleatings

I don't think the word "mixed" means what CNN thinks it means.

It's the best of times, it's the worst of times -- a tale of two legacies as President Bush prepares to ring in the final year of his presidency.

Sitting in the front row for Bush's final press conference of 2007 on Thursday, I was struck by how it's a mixed bag for the president on three key issues -- his relationship with the Democratic Congress, the state of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the health of the U.S. economy.

Jay-zus. You know, it's great to get a hummer for Christmas, but it should be from your wife (or whatever), not some reporter assigned to Christmas kneepad duty. I mean seriously, how the hell are the three issues Henry puts forth in his own article perceived even charitably as a "mixed bag"? There's no way, pal -- there is no relationship between Bush and congressional Democrats; the economy is foundering; the war in Afghanistan is stalling, and the one in Iraq has temporarily normalized because Iran has told the Shiite militias to stand down for a while.

I honestly cannot figure out why this article needed to be written.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Anne Applebaum rightly -- if obtusely, as if we don't all know the answer to the rhetorical question -- asks why we don't repudiate Saudi institutionalized sexism as forcefully as we should -- or indeed, much at all.

This comparison of Saudi and South African apartheid, and the different Western attitudes to both, has been made before. Recently, journalist Mona Eltahawy argued that while oil is a factor, the real reason Saudi teams aren't kicked out of the Olympics is that "Saudis have succeeded in pulling a fast one on the world by claiming their religion is the reason they treat women so badly." Islam, she points out, does take other forms—in Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia, and elsewhere. But Saudi propaganda, plus our own timidity about foreign customs, has blinded us to the fact that the systematic, wholesale Saudi oppression of women isn't dictated by religion at all, but rather by the culture of the Saudi ruling class.

I don't buy that for one second, not when we are utterly dependent on Saudi oil, not when they have substantial investments throughout the U.S. economy and stock market. They have us by the balls, so on the rare occasions when we do bother to criticize their institutionalized barbarism, it's in the most mealy-mouthed, sotto voce terms possible.

But this tack is an interesting contrast from Applebaum's recent column on the Sudan teddy bear kerfuffle....or was it a brouhaha? I can never tell the difference.

In a pattern that has also now become familiar, Western reaction to these events divided neatly along political and institutional lines. The British government, faced with a controversy involving a teddy bear, put on a straight face and began negotiations with Khartoum, gingerly using two Muslim peers as emissaries. The archbishop of Canterbury and British Muslim students' groups regretted the "disproportionate" punishment, thus implying that a somewhat gentler one might have been more acceptable. Asked for its opinion on the matter by Fox News, the National Organization for Women was not "taking a position" at this time. Elsewhere, some even criticized Gibbons for her insensitivity to Sudanese religion and culture.


In fact, the Great Sudanese Teddy Bear Controversy, like its Dutch, Danish, and papal precedents, was not actually a religious or cultural affair. It was purely political. Nobody—not the other teachers, the parents, or the children—was offended by Mohammed the teddy bear (who received his name last September) until the matter was taken up by a totalitarian government, handed over to what appears to have been a carefully orchestrated mob, and briefly turned into yet another tool of domestic terror and international defiance. The Sudanese government, which, when not persecuting British teachers, pursues genocidal policies in Darfur, is under pressure to accept peacekeeping troops from the West. At least some of the Sudanese authorities thus have an interest in building anti-Western sentiments among the population and intimidating those who disagree.

Well, yeah, that's why it got snapped up by the western press so quickly. Sudan is now a proxy in the ascending great game between West and East, or more specifically the U.S. and China, though the obliquely coinciding interests of the respective allies of each cannot be disregarded. (Russia I would consider a wild card, though as a member of the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, and given its distancing policy from Washington in general and Bush in particular, they might be considered a China ally if push came to shove.)

But anyway, it's passing strange that Applebaum instantly susses out the obvious political motivations for the teddy bear deal, yet does not see essentially the same sort of ramifications in why we choose not to "handle" the Saudis in like fashion. It's not going to happen unless and until we find a way to get off the petro-tit, or at least try to turn the guzzle into more of a trickle. It's all offensive to anyone not just with western sensibilities, but with a modest standard of decency, that women are treated like chattel in these places. But it's apparently not quite offensive enough to actually do something constructive about it.

Paul Maul

Something the Ron Paul goofballs still haven't gotten through their thick skulls -- the guy is his own worst enemy. He's still quibbling over the validity of the Civil War (completely incorrectly, as the post points out) and the Civil Rights Act.

I have extraordinarily little patience with "states' rights" or "originalism" advocates, because these phrases are simply code for excusing unreasonable localized measures to make the people who obsess over things like abortion and gay marriage feel like they have a voice (other than the ones in their heads). "States' rights" is always invoked to trample the rights of disfavored individuals, and "originalism", while nice in principle, does not adequately address everything that has transpired and innovated in, you know, the last couple centuries or so. This does not mean you change your founding document with popular whim, but you also cannot run things only from such a distant perspective, anymore than you can accurately view your place in the world through a collection of anonymously written Bronze Age legends.

Anyway, Ron Paul. This must be one of the all-time unforced errors in a campaign, though it's also the sort of barmy rhetoric that may serve to galvanize his more, um, ardent supporters, who are nothing if not committed, or should be. That Paul conflates fundamental rights such as voting and housing access with innocent homeowners being "forced" to welcome unwanted minorities into their humble abodes, literally -- I don't even know what to say to this. It's beyond bizarre, it's astonishing, especially forty-plus years in retrospect.

Now if Paul wants to talk about what's left of the Fourth Amendment, I'm willing to listen. But these are like crazy-coot answers to questions that should have been easy to handle, were Paul's body of work not so extensive and easy to track, even a Punkinhead could do it.

Update: I have finally gotten around to reading Under the Banner of Heaven (the wife has been on a Krakauer bender as of late, so I thought I'd jump in), and am struck by some unfortunate concurrences in the spheres of politics and religion. (I'm only about halfway through the book right now, so don't spoil it for me.)

Anyway, what's notable right off the bat, as Krakauer delves into some of the formative events and principles of Mormonism, is the similarities in how things are perceived and processed, let's say, rather selectively by certain people. Fundamentalism, as Krakauer notes in describing the schisms between the official LDS chruch and the literally hundreds of splinter cults, arises from individuals exercising a rigorously literal interpretation of their founding texts, which of course are sanctified to divine status to begin with. The primary FLDS cults Krakauer describes do not simply indulge in the nastier pursuits of marrying their cousins and stepdaughters, though you'd think that would be quite enough to motivate someone to do something about these loons.

No, the members -- mostly the men, since the women have to maintain some profile so as to grift the welfare system for their inbred litters -- refuse to pay property taxes and auto registration, obey speed limits, recognize the decisions passed down by "worldly" courts, etc., etc. Indeed, a scarily literal reading of the Constitution comes into play almost as much as their scarily literal readings of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrines & Covenants. That's why they call 'em fanatics, I suppose.

But this is the well-spring of political fundamentalism as well, the extremist fetishizing of sacred texts coupled with the insistence that only you are interpreting these documents correctly. Therefore, per Ron Paul, since the two million agrarian colonists did not foresee cabinet departments for education, transportation, and energy, those departments are by definition unconstitutional, and should be abolished. Okay, and then? Let the free market decide? What do you think has kept Hummers on the state-built roads all this time, the fuckin' SUV fairy?

People can agree that those departments and others -- indeed, much of big gubmint itself -- is frightfully dysfunctional, and should be reined in. But it has become big and intrusive because that's the way we wanted it, because everyone has their own private boondoggle, and the hell with the externalities. Well, this is what you wanted, this is what you got. But when you wake up and realize that things don't work as advertised, your first response should not be to just tear it all down in a petulant frenzy. The Rummy-Cheney doctrine has beat our armed forces capability onto the ground, and trashed our foreign policy for the next generation, but that doesn't mean you junk the DoD.

I don't think the system works either, but most of the blame lies with ourselves, for acting like government is some kind of holy combination of Santa Claus and a superhero Jesus. Frankly, while it's easy to write off much of the logical incoherency of intartubez surfers defending their beloved candidate (though, to be sure, it makes a lot more sense to have a hard-on for Paul than for Giuliani or Thompson), the curious consistency of their vehement message is not to be ignored.

That doesn't make Paul a great candidate, though he stands out from the miserable GOP roster; what it means is that he's tapped into and ventriloquized an undercurrent of isolationism, xenophobia, and Christianism as an overtly political entity. And in the era of globalization, like it or not, that is simply not a viable option.

Hope In Their Souls

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Mike Huckabee, seriously. That muffled-pop sound you keep hearing is heads exploding from the cynical megachurch wing, now that they are confronted with an actual believer in their midst. It's not just something he says to get the extra-chromosome bloc going, so the playas in what's left of the conservatard intelligentsia are completely baffled by it.

"Playing the Jesus card." Motherfuckers, you've been dealing from the bottom of the Jesus deck for the last generation. Payback's a bitch, innit? What makes this even sweeter is that the official Short Bus Shepherd, Marion Robertson, has already given his imprimatur to Giuliani, who is about to get swallowed up in his own creepy extra-curricular doings (not to mention his Giuliani Partners clients/activities).

That leaves Dobson, the redneck pope. Does he cast his lot with the apparently sincere but completely unelectable Huckabee, the cultist corporate mannequin Romney, or does he instruct his monions to keep their powder dry, thus ensuring a GOP smackdown and giving his own bloc more power for a Jeb! run in '12? Whichever way it rolls, it is too sweet to see users have their pet tiger bite them finally. They figured two Supreme Court justices would be enough to placate the fundies, and if the fundies were rational, that would have been sufficient.

But now Wehner and the rest of the nozzles of douche are starting to figure out something some of us realized long ago -- these people want a 9-0 majority in the judiciary, they want more, ever more of their termites infesting the bureaucracy, they do not believe they should have to compromise on any of these things. Believing you're divinely ordained and charged with a mission will do that to you. Guys like Robertson are easy; they've always just been in it for the money, therefore they can be bought off. But how do you solve a problem like Huckabee, who actually believes in something besides getting paid?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Black Like Me

I can't see the Willard X thing sticking for more than a day or two, especially considering it was a gaffe originating from a clear attempt to pull moderate mildly retarded Democrats away from voting from a center-rightist like Hillary to a smoother, more wealthy center-rightist like the Mittster.

Other than that, I mean, really -- is there anything about the modern Republican party's militarized corporate evangelism that strikes anyone as being remotely interested or aligned with anything Martin Luther King ever said? The only dream these guys have seems to involve pre-emptively nuking mullahs and letting oil, insurance, and Big Pharma set the domestic agenda.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's a Festivus Miracle!

Paradise is just up the ridge from Chico, so this story has jammed up the local news, especially since it went national. As the time the family remained lost progressed, certainly people here were getting more and more concerned, so it's great that they were found safe and sound.

And of course they're giving credit where credit is due:

"I'm glad I'm home. Praise God," Dominguez told reporters after exiting a chopper at the search command post. "It was awful."

Asked how he survived, he replied, "Jesus Christ."

Butte County Search and Rescue dispatcher Madde Watts said, "They had angels with them, for sure."

Oy. Sure, "angels" in uniforms and helicopters and such. Look, you want to go through life with your warm blanky, knock yerself out. But I recall one local news blurb where the mother's boyfriend said something to the effect that God briefly lightened the snowfall to enable the search team. Come on, we're getting into Marion Robertson territory here.

You know why these people were found in the nick of time? Because we have a solid taxpayer-funded infrastructure of trained people with good equipment who can mobilize quickly for these things, and a lot of good people who volunteered their time and effort to help. That and they were resourceful enough to find a culvert for shelter and help each other stay warm enough to avoid frostbite until they were found.

Just last week in Paradise, an elderly woman (who apparently had early-stage Alzheimer's, so someone should have been driving her) left church and got lost en route to a church social function. They found her body next to her car on a side road a few days later. Then there was the software executive who got lost on a side road up in Oregon last winter; after a huge search and national coverage, his body was found just a couple hundred yards from the road. He had traversed essentially in circles for days, trying to find help to save his family, before exposure and hypothermia did him in. I always think of the classic Deep Purple song Pictures of Home (whoever transcribed the lyrics there fucked it up, but you get the idea) when these stories come up.

There should be some sort of objective, empirical way of figuring out why these poor people apparently didn't believe hard enough or whatever to appeal to this capricious deity who seemingly flips a celestial coin to decide whom to save. Lost Christmas tree hunters in Northern California, and He's all over that; emaciated, brutally ravaged Christians in Darfur, not so much. Truly, the mind wobbles.

I know people can't just admit to themselves that shit happens, so they need to find a reason for things, and when they can't find one, they invent one, and ignore the objective implications. But it's still a little strange, this subtle narcissism that develops, even if they're not really thinking it through to that extent. You know, if Tom Cruise got lost in the woods and was rescued, and started going on and on about how he was miraculously rescued because he prayed to L. Ron and got clear?

This insatiable need to attribute job performance, individual resourcefulness, and a small bit of luck to divine intervention seems connected to the voguish obnoxiousness of the "war on Christmas". For what it's worth, I say "Merry Christmas", mostly just out of habit. I don't really think about it one way or the other. But incessant coverage of this fictional "war" (which really, when the country is caught up in two actual wars, trivializes the meaning of the word) has seeped into their little sponge-brains, and so now the simple phrase "Merry Christmas" has become a code, a cultural signifier.

Speaking of local media, I saw a commercial the other night where the local merchant basically used the entire segment to affirm his cultural righteousness in his preferred coded phrase, whilst he pimped his product. "Buy from me, I say 'Merry Christmas', dammit!" Well, whoopdee-fuckin'-doo, pal. This idea that everybody should share the same superstitions and anxieties is now a ploy for cultural niche marketing. Sweet.

So I've decided to make the jump over to "Season's Beatings" instead. I want no part of these people's secret handshake, nor their insistence on attributing the easily explainable to the supernatural.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Maybe a Telethon Would Help

Seriously, does Savage have end-stage Tourette's or something? It's not the intemperate boobery so much as the sheer incoherence of it all. Nice to see the people's airwaves clogged with the sandwich-board brigade.

Civil Wars

Interesting kerfuffle going on at Roy's over some hortatory boilerplate by Michael Totten which, thanks to the (oh dear!) incivility on both sides, has taken on a half-life of its own.

I can't say I buy into any literal interpretation that Totten should kill himself, for fuck's sake. That might be a bit much (the best I could muster was to refer to Totten as a "piece of crap" and compare him to a standard-issue Cops loser threatening to get all Ike Turner on his bitch, and even that might have been harshly polemic). Nor does it really move the debate forward; not only is Totten not going to kill himself, but people can simply point and plaint "WTF?" over and over again.

But to each their own; there certainly are still much stouter defenders of this damned war who must come to terms with their moral cretinism and selective memories, one way or another. As for Totten, his decision to accentuate the positive in Fallujah comes with its own baggage, much as he may wish to ignore it and stay in the now. This is a city of 350,000 people that was besieged, not once but twice in 2004, the second time propitiously scheduled right before the election. The city was doused in white phosphorus and shelled relentlessly, cleaned out, cordoned off to all but foot traffic, and each resident was issued an ID card and biometrically scanned. All of that was a direct consequence of the savage murders of four Blackwater contractors; feel free to contrast it with Totten's own averral, in discussing the inflated body counts of the Arab media, that "a mere" 52 civilians were killed when the IDF raided the Jenin refugee camp in 2002.

Three full years later, as Totten himself acknowledges and Roy acerbically points out, the citizens of Fallujah -- indeed, of most of Iraq -- still do not have access to clean drinking water, and unemployment is estimated to be at least 50%. It's great that violence has abated, seriously; however, with roughly 10% of Iraq's pre-war population killed, another 10% internally displaced, and another 5% lucky enough to escape something that -- it cannot be repeated enough times, people -- did not have to happen, the figures were bound to kick over at some point, and of course the triumphalists were itching to jump on those figures for their own purposes.

As the comments thread goes further at Roy's, Totten reappears periodically to disavow his "support" of this war, or any potential future ones. In fact, he essentially admits that the mistakes have been catastrophic. Yet it is curious, is it not, that the article of contention is in Commentary, of all things, the house organ of the hardcore neocons? Indeed, a brief perusal of their political page indicates many such folk, including one fella who seriously (and, it must be noted, tediously) argues (from the October issue, yet it is in the current t.o.c.) that neoclownservatism has not been repudiated by the failures of this war, but rather vindicated.

Is Totten directly or indirectly responsible for being in the same magazine as such piffle? Perhaps not, but it is also not unfair to surmise that Totten knows that Commentary is the virtual flagship of the "real men go to Tehran" claque, and thus his disavowals of the current clusterfuck ring pretty hollow as he's placed cheek to jowl with these intellectual hooligans. To put it mildly, they've never been known for their objectivity.

If Totten wishes not to be conflated or confused with the folks who quite seriously still would like to expand the operations, then it is up to him to dispositively make that disassociation clear. Because what happens -- what inevitably, tragically happens -- is that token efforts to "set the record straight" get utilized for other purposes, other agenda. "Violence has abated for the past few months" has already turned into "the surge is working", and heading straight for "see, we told you so", from the drunk assholes who ran the car into the fucking ditch in the first place. Great, you called a tow truck. Doesn't mean you should keep driving.

Finally, though it has been five long years, it has also been only five years; most of us who were against this during the buildup, whether or not we got rolled by Colon Powell at the last second, recall quite well the vicious epithets, the gleeful calumniations of motive, morals, and reasoning (generalizing here; I don't recall Totten specifically among that group, though the arguments of some of his commenters ring familiar).

Now they want to talk about civility, and improve the tone of honest, open debate. How sweet. We'll see just how well that holds the first time Preznit Hitlery does something that rocks their Cheeto bowls. Maybe we're just frustrated by the inability of the vaunted Dem leadership to find their spines, or maybe the '02 screamers are finally reaping their Rovian whirlwind.

Sister Act

Are they trying to affirm every snarky stereotype about churchgoing Southerners? Christ, I hope at least this baby-daddy isn't an aspiring Vanilla Ice type.

And, you know, too bad about Mama Spears' parentin' book being "put on hold" in response to the blessed event. The entertainment value of seeing who was planning on shelling out money for such a thing would have been worth the price of the marketing campaign. Instead, both her daughters are competing for tabloid space for the foreseeable future, the youngest having pre-sold the first photos of the next rugrat for a reported million dollars.

When the aliens finally land, we'll make great pets.

Rumble in the Bungle

Pantload's crappus maximus has finally hit the bargain bins, and the gang at Sadly, No! are reading it so the rest of us don't have to. Money quote of the day:

Reading this book is like watching a flaming piano fall out of an airplane and land in a puppy farm.

And as long as they're mentioning the tedious Bell Curve exercises in statistical speciousness, I might modestly propose that Jonard be a case study in whether stupidity is contagious or congenital.

Or, perhaps even more likely, a hazard of the line of "work" he's in and the crowd he rolls with.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tits for Brains

The genius of Silicone Canyon gives a crash course in l-u-v:

The twosome entered into their union Oct. 6 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. It was the third marriage for both.

Anderson, 40, was previously wed to Kid Rock and Tommy Lee, while Salomon, 39, was married to Shannen Doherty (the union was later annulled) and to voice actress Elizabeth Daily.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in September, Anderson revealed she was taking a gamble on a new man after falling for Salomon in an unconventional manner.

"I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors, and I fell in love. It's so romantic. It's romance," she said at the time.

Shortly thereafter, she and Salomon obtained a marriage license in Las Vegas and went on to wed in a quickie ceremony conducted in between Anderson's nightly appearances as magician Hans Klok's assistant.

"Rick and I are truly grateful," Anderson wrote on her Website following the nuptials. She described Salomon—best known for his sex-tape endeavors with costar Paris Hilton—as a "friend for 15 years."

How could this magical union not succeed? As Jeff Ross told Anderson at her Comedy Central roast, after enumerating her most notorious paramours, "Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels, Kid you ever fuck anyone with talent?" One detects a pattern, to put it mildly. It's as if it never occurred to the poor girl that there might be men who can read books and bang her into next week, before Hollywood turned her into a parody of a blow-up doll.

Jesus, the story of their whirlwind courtship is like something out of a midnight Skinemax flick starring, say, Shannon Tweed and Andrew Stevens -- or better yet, Shannon Whirry and Michael Nouri. You get the idea. The only way it could have been more of a soft-porn cliché is if she and Salomon had not been "friends" already, though what Salomon actually does besides fuck famous women (not that there's anything wrong with that) escapes me.

Or maybe if Pam had been on the run from her troubled past, and Rick was the well-meaning goober caught up in a web of seamy intrigue and cheesy cold-shot sex. There could be a skeevy ex-boyfriend chasing her and her dark secret, an ill-tempered greaseball named "Ace" or "Chuy"....or "Kid". Seriously, a magician's assistant in Vegas who thinks that paying off a poker debt with sexual favors is romantic? Wasn't that the plot for Dangerous Prey?

So why again is it that the two women living down the road from me for twenty years can't get married?

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Dickless

Wake up and face me.
Don't play dead, 'cause maybe someday
I will walk away and say, "You fuckin' disappoint me".
Maybe you're better off this way. -- A Perfect Circle, Passive

The ButtplugNutmeg State's favorite party traitor is nothing if not entirely predictable in his preening maverickosity.

"Being a Republican is important. Being a Democrat is important. But you know what's more important than that? The interest and well-being of the United States of America," the Democrat-turned Independent said in announcing his decision Monday morning in New Hampshire.

"Let's put the United States first again, and John McCain is the man as president who will help us do that," he said.

Lieberman, the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2000, said the next president needs to "break through the reflexive partisanship that is poisoning our politics today and stopping us from getting anything done in Washington."

Huh. Seems to me like the only thing "stopping us from getting anything done in Washington" is the obstructionism and deliberate opacity of the White House. Congress can throw all the whinging contempt charges they want; it has no effect on people who scorn the law reflexively, indeed as a matter of operational policy. "I have to hide under your bed to wait for the boogeyman" is not a coherent strategy, but fortunately for them, there are plenty of incoherent voters, disinformed by a complicit media.

McCain's big beef with the war is that it wasn't prosecuted heavily enough, not that it was a strategic blunder in the first place. If he just had the balls to say "if I knew then what I know now" it'd be different. But he's a different man now than he was in 2000, before he became a butt-boy to this administration's agenda. At least Charlie never push-polled the retards in South Carolina about McCain's black love child.

He's the one guy who knows first-hand about real torture, both as method and policy, and his opposition, while obviously heartfelt, seems infused with the foreknowledge that it will be disregarded, even by the voting blocs he himself wishes to court. This is a party -- and a demographic -- at odds with itself, with the country's institutionalized principles and values, with its own future as a viable organized political party, as opposed to a dissociative gaggle of poltroons and carnies.

The Connecticut senator decided to endorse McCain because he considers him "the most capable to be commander in chief on day one of his administration, and the most capable of uniting the country so that we can prevail against Islamic extremism," a Lieberman aide said earlier.

This is clearly going to be the preferred narrative for the campaign season, "unity". Let's let bygones be bygones and move forward, shall we? Well, no. I'm not for letting people off the hook for running this country into ditch, for turning another country into a nightmarish husk for no goddamned reason, for insinuating that everyone who disagreed with them was a Baathist stooge. Fuck unity, I have nothing in common with these criminals, and I'm not going to pretend that I do.

It's as if a year of habitual capitulation by the Democratic majority hadn't taken place, as if they were still (or hell, ever) a bumptious, unreasonable opposition making trouble for Dear Leader and potential Dear Leaders like Poor Ol' Straight Talk. And for the media, since the horserace-industrial complex thrives on the appearance of a tight contest, it's all good. They can pimp their tedious Rodney King homilies instead of drawing responsible policy distinctions between the parties and candidates.

Fortunately, it seems axiomatic that Lieberman's move will serve only to further marginalize himself and McCain. In the meantime, one hopes that Reid will at least find enough goddamned spine to kick this motherfucker to the curb already, stop letting him caucus with Democrats. If Holy Joe hasn't the sack to jump over to the dark side yet, then fuckin' push him already. The man is political ballast.

What the Huck

So far, I haven't seen or read anything regarding Huckabee that would explain his son's aberrant, sociopathic behavior. But I think Lambert makes a solid connection in comments there, noting the list of Republican candidates and associates who have been known to abuse and mistreat animals for fun and/or profit.

Correlation is not causation, but it's still associative, and it's still where most nutjobs start, until they get desensitized enough to move on to more dangerous game. The kid seems like another Billy Carter or Roger Clinton in the making, which is marginally better than becoming another Neil Bush, but still, he sounds like a fuckin' creep. And at least the presidential black-sheep brethren were merely garden-variety yahoos, not malevolent trolls killing dogs and packing heat on a plane.

And I wonder if this is the handiwork of Giuliani's oppo research, or Romney's. Smells more like Rudy, but it's hard to distinguish from his usual heady aroma of Aqua Velva, a Napoleon complex, and dried jism.

Lashing Out

Awful fucking large of them:

Saudi King Abdullah has pardoned a rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison in a case that sparked international attention, a Saudi newspaper has reported.

I've also seen a few reports on this case which strongly insinuated that the guy was raped as well, which tells you something about this society and its "justice" system, not that we didn't already know more than we want to.

It must be positively surreal for women to live in such an oppressive, brutal society of closet-cases, so afraid are they ofeven the whiff of an assertive female sexuality that they feel compelled to hide them and conceal them as much as possible. It's disgusting and pathetic in equal measures.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Right Said Fred

This is precisely the sort of tedious horse-race coverage sensible people should deplore:

Fred Thompson came out on top in Wednesday's debate among the Republican presidential candidates in Iowa. Of all the candidates, he did himself the most good.

Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney also scored well. They avoided any last-minute derailments of their front-running candidacies in Iowa and shored up the support they've built.

So let me get this straight -- a candidate who has basically fallen off the radar, because he's decided to play this like a job he doesn't want to appear to want too much, topped the two prospective front-runners? Well, no, not exactly. It's just that Fred showed a pulse for one night, which is more than he's done in the past six weeks. Lowering expectations always helps with this crowd.

So what exactly did the esteemed lobbyist from Hollyweird say that rejuvenated his malingering excuse for a candidacy?

He had several high points. One of them came when he flatly refused to play the "raise your hand" game in answering a question about global warming. Another came when he said the biggest problem facing education was the National Education Association. (Bashing teacher unions is always popular with Republican audiences.)

Thompson also gets credit for being a stand-up guy willing to take on entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt the country if left unchanged. He made it clear that wealthy, older Americans could no longer expect full Medicare benefits if he's elected. Thompson also teased Romney about his wealth and how the former Massachusetts governor is "getting to be a pretty good actor."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up a second there, hoss. Talk about your loaded euphemisms, the "entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt the country if left unchanged". There are plenty such entitlement programs that will do that if permitted to fester, starting with our catastrophic foreign policy. How many more bungled invasions do you think we can stand? I'm sure Fred has a folksy metaphor to answer with, but I don't really care how many ticks his uncle's bloodhound had, sorry.

But hey, at least he's letting those elderly parasites know exactly where he stands on things, so they have no excuse if they fall for his schtick. (Of course, Fred's needs are well-met, thanks to those same taxpayers who are expected to throw away what safety net they might have.) And as for teasing Richie Rich about being rich, well, pot meet kettle. Fred may not be worth Willard's reputed $200 mil+, but he's not going broke either. Nothing worse than one rich asshole trying to play the class warfare card with a richer asshole.

The biggest problem with the debate was that it wasn't really a debate. Candidates got almost no opportunity to grill one another. Often they ran out of time and were cut off just as they started to probe an opponent.

The event would have been more nourishing had the format allowed for more back-and-forth.

Sure, and if your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle. "Nourishing", that's freakin' hilarious. We're talking about a set of candidates -- and an audience -- that still happily supports this failure of an administration. These people are so malnourished, I almost feel like I should try to save them for only pennies a day, and they can write me heartwarming letters about the new well in their village.

As much of a dog-and-phony show as these things are, at least this wasn't cluttered with a preening celebrojournomoderator. The last thing any of us needed was Tweety Matthews spanking his beleaguered monkey behind the podium over how tall Fred is. In the meantime, I still assume that, given the sheer incompetence, buffoonery, and baggage of the rest of the field (and seriously, what the fuck is wrong with Alan Keyes?), Romney will get the nomination. He's got the money, the telegenic demeanor, and he seems the least certifiable, which is saying something with this lot.

The question is, who gets Romney's nod for veep? I think he'll throw a bone to the CPAC losers, it's just a matter of to what degree. Of his competitors, I could see McCain getting pulled on to a ticket, despite his age. Beyond that, it all depends on how cray-zay they want to get.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Up In Smoke

Oh, this is rich -- a Clinton adviser, supposedly talking out of school, predicts problems with Barack Obama's drug use a generation ago. Apparently Obama wasn't quite savvy enough to concoct some moronic feint about not inhaling. Not to mention the current reformed party boy.

Coming soon: Shaheen figures that Giuliani's struggles with fidelity might be problematic for some folks. It'd be a shame if oppo research ran with such a ball.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I don't think that word means what Cillizza thinks it means. Still Cillizza manages to be useful in his uselessness, in showing exactly what's wrong with his "profession". Notice that never once does he address the substance of Russert's questions (because he apparently has a reserved parking space halfway up Fatboy's ass), nor Giuliani's dodgy answers.

All that matters to people like Cillizza is that Giuliani be somewhat artful in his evasions, as if that were reason enough to not just write this clown off once and for all as a skeevy little fuck who literally used the NYPD to walk his good-time girl's dog, and profited quite nicely from teh 9/11, thanks very much. It's all of a piece with Cillizza, anyway; I couldn't find a transcript, but last Tuesday he was on Olbermann beating his teeny meat to this stupid sort of horse-race coverage, never once appearing to consider that these are choices that will affect our lives. Panem et circenses, folks.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Something Really Cool

Because smiley-face Hitlers and calling people "fascists" and "totalitarians" are Teh Funnay.

This is cool -- Grace Nearing at Scriptoids has refashioned the cover to Pantload's forthcoming crappus maximus, based on some smackdown I dropped over at Roy's some time back. Sadly, No has linked it also. Good stuff. I would read a book with that title, who wouldn't?

I think Pantload's going to find this thing a tough sell, except for Richard Cougar Melloncamp Scaife lining his ex-wife's attic. The bunker mentality at Wingnut Welfare HQ is probably just about cabin-fever stage by now, and all they're left with is Jonah and Party O' Death Pornmumu short-sheeting each other in the last twin bed.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dipshit Housewives

Do people still watch The View, and if so, do they really give a shit what any of these people think about anything? Remember when Sasha Baron Cohen did the talk show circuit for Borat in character? I thought for a second that maybe Martin Lawrence was trying the same thing for Big Momma's House 3. You never know.

Why would anyone be interested in the insane ramblings of a (literal) flat-earther? I seriously do not know what to make of an American adult who asserts that there was literally nothing before Christianity, except that it's exhibit A that our school system churns out retards. Maybe they just brought this broad on to make that Hasselbeck dingbat seem smart, I dunno. This show appears to be deliberately retarding housewife discourse anyway.

What's even more annoying than Miss Thang's ludicrous beliefs is how ineptly they're rebutted by the smarter ones. (And folks, let's face it, the bench ain't all that deep there, to be kind about it.) Just a quick "the Greeks and Romans came first, then the Jeebus" averral, as if a mediocre history student shouldn't be able to think of at least a quick dozen pre-Christian civilizations, almost all of them polytheistic.

But you can see from the look on their faces, they just didn't want to get into it with her; it's clearly not worth the trouble. They've been down that road before, they know better. As the saying goes, never argue with a moron -- people might not be able to tell the difference. Some people are simply incapable of letting facts get in the way of the lies they have to tell themselves, and you're just better off recognizing them for what they are and pushing them aside, so they can get back to their intellectual nose-picking.

Which still begs the question: if you're at least pretending to have a show that discusses issues and shit, do you really need to air the "back row of Jerry Springer" point of view for some weird reason, especially if you're not going to effectively rebut this completely stupid nonsense?

¿Quien Es Mas Borracho?

Why did the Venezuelan people "turn" against Chàvez? Gee, what a deep question. Perhaps because, as responsible citizens of a democratic republic, they informed themselves and recognized that a reckless clown was maybe not the best choice for a permanent leader. That said, at least Chàvez has actually done something for someone besides himself and his externalized daddy issues. Nor has he ruined an entire country just to see if he could glue it back together with his eyes closed and one thumb up his ass. He's got some catching up to do.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Isn't It Iranic

Fred Kaplan's trust is sweet, if entirely misplaced, regarding the supposedly beneficial effects of the NIE. I'm not sure how many times you have to explain it to these people -- the Cheneyites are never going to let inconvenient "facts" and "details" and "repudiations" get in the way of their idée fixe. If they have to swim in Podhoretzian lunacy regarding the CIA's traitorousness -- forgetting of course that the CIA has already knocked over Iran once before, scarcely fifty years ago -- so be it. They count on and encourage their fan base to be ignorant and reflexive over these things.

Biden deserves credit so far for being willing to speak a bit more proactively about the venality, if not the outright stupidity, of these people. I'm not sure who's the bigger idiot, Bush for seriously saying that his DNI walked in and said there was new and important information about Iran without telling him what that information was, or anyone who believes a word he says about anything anymore.

These people are liars, buffoons, imbeciles. Why do presumably intelligent people think that a rational, logical event will simply stop them from what they've wanted for years?

Two things that I have not yet seen entering the conversation regarding Iran and nukes, and given the state of the media, I have no hope for seeing them raised:
  1. The presidency of Iran is very much a figurehead position. "Taking out" Ahmadinejad is a different matter than, say, rolling Hugo Chàvez down the road. The country is actually run by a council of mullahs, who appear to alternately ignored, despised, and/or revered by the citizens, depending on where they are in the food chain. It is a more complicated matter than simply "replacing" Ahmadinejad.

  2. Much talk about "potential" and "weaponization" and "knowledge", but no talk whatsoever about whence the knowledge and infrastructure came. Pakistani national hero A.Q. Khan is generally credited with giving them what weaponization knowledge they do have, and Russia's own Bill Pooty-Poot, he of the transparent soul-eyes, has undertaken several cooperative agreements to help the Iranians build facilities and infrastructure.

Should these small facts be brought up somewhere along the line in due consideration of whether we should attack yet another country we know nothing about for no goddamned reason, or should we continue to thumb our dicks and pretend that Cheney and Bush and the rest of them will be cowed by something as inconsequential as evidence?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bailing Out the Casino

Let's cut the shit -- these people are nothing but legitimized bookies, and bundling other people's debts into derivatives and CDOs and such does not generate real wealth, it only maneuvers phantom assets.

Inevitably, when the playas have to scramble and bail each other out, comes the plaint that the big bad ol' state must do two things: step in and regulate (where before it was vital that they absolutely not interfere), saving the suckers from predators and the predators from their own blind greed; and bail the high-rollers out. I mean, if these guys lost out, and took their toys and went home in a huff, who would keep our Wall Street action alive with liqidity puts and bundled default hedges? Besides state and county governments and pension funds, that is.

This is "spreading risk" in roughly the same sense as a football pool. It's just that these puds went way out on the margin to bet on the Bears, and now that they turn out to be a crappy team, the high-rollers are trying to figure out how they'll pay up without losing a kneecap or the deed to their house.

The only surprise here is that Neil Bush isn't somehow involved in it, though funnily it appears Jeb might know some of the playas. It's in their DNA apparently.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Home on the Strange

Let's conclude our spelunking of the Sunday paper with this whimsical jeremiad about "our" responsibility for the homeless.

When we see the homeless on the streets of our city, failing and vulnerable, we see our own failure and our own vulnerability, our own guilt for failing to care for them.

These are things we don't want to see. These are things that frighten and shame us. So what do we do?

We strike out at the victims.

We call them names.

We decry them for defecating in the streets and leaving needles in the park, without bothering to ask ourselves what public policies brought them to such a degraded position.

And having properly demonized them in this way, we try desperately to get rid of them, to get them out of sight.

I am not entirely unsympathetic to the broad-brush plight of the homeless, though this sort of burbling piffle certainly taxes my patience. It's the language of victimology, spun through a funhouse mirror. How the hell does someone who deals drugs, shoots up in the park, and takes a fucking dump on the sidewalk count as a "victim"?

How about the taxpayers, hm? What about the person who owns a small business, has their hands full just running that and dealing with customers, inventory, taxes, employees, slow sales cycles and such, and the drunk asshole harassing potential customers for money right outside the door? How about the person who gets up every morning, goes to a job they hate so that they can keep a roof over their head and support a family, and has to step around people fighting or sleeping near their doorstep? How about a family that wants to take their kids to a park to barbecue some burgers and play frisbee, and not watch people sleep and shoot up and have sex? Aren't those people victims?

Human rights and dignity are obviously important, indeed vital to every individual's functional stability, and thus to the people whom we affect. A variety of programs have been attempted in San Francisco, for years, with very little to show for it. I feel somewhat unencumbered by not having to belabor this "we are all perfect images of God" stuff. Some people, I'm sorry to say, are just no damned good, as the prophet John Mellencamp pointed out eons ago.

Strolling over to a 7-Eleven in her Outer Sunset neighborhood to buy a candy bar in the wee hours of the morning of Nov. 21, the 26-year-old German exchange student noticed Robert Hancock, a 23-year-old drifter from Iowa. Hancock - who "has no permanent local address," according to the police - looked pretty bedraggled. Rucker felt sorry for him and, on an impulse, decided to buy him something to eat.

Hancock reportedly accepted the food, but began to follow Rucker. He tried to talk to her, but Rucker, who is more comfortable speaking German, says she had trouble understanding him.

Unprovoked, Hancock allegedly grabbed her and tried to pull her toward Ocean Beach. Police say she screamed and fought him, which is when he allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed her in the wrist, neck, thigh, abdomen and chin - wounds that would send her to the hospital for a week.

Luckily, her screams attracted neighbors who called the police. Sgt. Fitz Wong and Officer Jarome Winesberry responded, located Hancock, and after what Taraval police Capt. Paul Chignell calls "a violent struggle," he was subdued. The officers found a bloody knife in Hancock's pocket, police say.

Now, this woman gets no points for common sense by trudging alone to an urban 7-11 "to buy a candy bar in the wee hours of the morning". That's not terribly bright. But what sort of a person bums food from someone and then tries to forcibly rape them? I suppose he now has plenty of time to think about that, but what brings this character all the way out from Iowa? The knowledge that in Frisco, they'll give you three squares and make the taxpayers feel bad about it? That there are people whose sole raisin detree is to "advocate" for your right to free shit?

We know very well what will work: more housing, more public mental health and substance abuse centers, more job training programs.

Well hell, while they're at it, they can come on over and raid my refrigerator, drink my beer, and fuck my sister. And come on, "job training" basically means teaching people how to dress and be punctual; we're not talking about enhancing skill sets for that tech career you always wanted to bounce into if the crack-head thing don't pan out.

I don't have a problem with spending tax dollars to offer these people an opportunity to get their shit together. But there are already plenty of those sorts of programs for people who really want it, and if those programs are going to be ramped up, it should come out of somewhere else in the budget. I have my own family to support, and it's hard enough as it is.

At some point, we are going to have to choose between our oil-guzzling empire and a more comprehensive social safety net; we cannot have both guns and butter. And this would be a fine use of the peace dividend, to push the homeless into something better than a life in the gutter, and returning quality of life to the people who actually live and play by the rules.

In the meantime, trying to guilt-trip people for being tired of syringes in sandboxes and doo-doo in doorways is just insulting and tiresome, and is not going to change the minds of people who work just so they can share in the bien pensant squalor. It is not "irrational" or "misdirected" for people to just be sick and goddamned tired of this sort of behavior. Perhaps the good rabbi can grant these sacred children of God sanctuary in his synagogue. Problem solved.

Sharpening the Crayon, Part Duh

Another brain surgeon weighs in:

Editor - What a surprise. Robert Redford makes a movie about Iraq that severely criticizes President Bush and his administration ("Redford's war," Nov. 4). Just out of curiosity, why do none of these narrow-minded, self-serving, leftist "experts" such as Redford, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, George Clooney, Rob Reiner and a seemingly endless list of other show business Bush haters ever have even one thing positive or complimentary to say about the president or his accomplishments? Constant and relentless accusatory bad-mouthing and fault-finding with absolutely no positive aspects inevitably grow exceedingly boring, and their sincerity comes into question.

One might just as well ask themselves why no Bush supporters ever seem to get around to making films of their own, if he's so bloody popular 'mongst both the hoi and the polloi. Funny, that.

And exactly which of these "accomplishments" is someone -- friend or foe -- supposed to make a feature-length hagiography of? Sticking a firecracker in Iraq's ass just to watch it blow? Running up the deficit? Making sure Paris Hilton doesn't go broke, under the guise of "keeping the economy strong"? Learning how to pronounce "subliminal" and "nuclear"? We're all on the edge of our seat, sweet cheeks.

Most people can't keep pace with inflation and/or gas prices, not to mention that the world order is collapsing around our ears while Junior learns how to work the remote, seven years into the game. Please be assured of my sincerity that people are welcome to make films about those subjects (in lieu of, say, Fred Claus) any day of the week.

Thomas the Wank Engine

You'd think, just as a fundamental issue, that anyone listing his co-authorship of something called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design in his CV should automatically be assumed to be full of shit. It ain't that complicated, folks.

More fun here. Oops.

Like a Surgin'

Here's a perfect illustration of how clueless professionamals can be, when they really work at it:

Is the troop surge in Iraq working?

If it is, the battleground at home could shift in ways unthinkable just two months ago: President Bush could be off the ropes and Republicans back on offense. The Democratic Congress and presidential candidates could lose their footing on their biggest issue. And U.S. troop commitments and war funding could be set on a higher, more permanent trajectory.

The article proceeds to go into some depth on the various aspects of the surge, as it affects Iraqi people and politics. The mistake in the introductory paragraphs is twofold: the first in attempting to frame this in the context of American politics, the second in naturally assuming that "positive" results of the surge should and will naturally redound to Republicans.

I've subscribed to the Chronicle for many years, and am very familiar with Lochhead's work. I would not consider her body of work particularly brilliant or insightful, but nor is she an idiot or a hack or a corporatist shill. The only thing I can think of is that this is the way the overall narrative generally works, because the media institutionally are conditioned to be diffident, even when they are being needlessly sensationalistic, which is quite the paradox.

Seriously, let's break this down a bit. You could literally take away that initial excerpt, leave the rest of the article, and have a decent analysis of the surge's effects (and lack of). And you could then re-insert that excerpt toward the end, as a conclusion derived from the evidence you presented. It would still be a tremendously flawed conclusion, but narratively its placement would at least make sense. But this setup makes no sense. She's placed the cart before the horse, then set about beating the same dead horse.

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? This administration screwed the pooch royally in invading and occupying Iraq. Even many of its supporters have tacitly acknolwedged various aspects of this over the past five-year rush into -- and slog through -- this manifestly unnecessary war.

Make no mistake about what that means. It means that, even if you're gullible enough to accept this administration's own selective metrics as evidence of the "success" of the surge, that it is "working", that things are "going good" -- even if, like the lazy-ass media, you follow the administration's pathetic lead and fail to define any of those things and just swallow what you're being spoonfed, the fact is that somebody drove the car into the ditch for no goddamned reason. We might be able to get the car towed out of the ditch and drive on, but even if that's possible, why the fuck would you consider letting the same asshole get behind the driver's seat? Why would you give more firecrackers to a kid who's been sticking them up frogs' asses?

That's what Lochhead is saying with her lame "off the ropes" and "back on offense" tropes. It's retarded, and completely unfounded; as she points out in the subsequent paragraph, the percentage of Americans who want the troops home "has not budged". Even the people who contend that it's "worked" admit that it has done so in a different way than they had intended.

So it's a serious question -- why does a respectable journamalist take the trouble to lead off her profile of the surge with an entirely baseless speculation?

The answer to that, whatever it is in the end, has a lot to do with why we are where we are, and how we got there.

Sharpening the Crayon

What better pastime for a blustery December day -- on which the Raiders are spanking the Donkeys, no less -- than to peruse the Sunday paper and find stuff to pick apart? Let's start with a letter to the editor, shall we?

Editor - Our soldiers, who are risking their lives every day in Iraq and Afghanistan, need and deserve to be fully funded as they face our nations' enemies on a daily basis.

Sounds good, right? Who among us is not in favor of making sure the troops do not have sufficient equipment, training, and means to see to their operational responsibilities in as safe and effective a manner as is possible? Well, let's find out who.

There are some in Congress who do not see any improvement in these countries and sadly, I truly believe that no matter how good the news is, they will not admit any amount of success. They consider a victory for our forces a defeat for their political viewpoint.

How "good" is the "news"? What constitutes "success", not to mention "victory"? And how exactly is it that only these -- aw, fuck it, let's just call 'em defeatocrats, since this passive-aggressive chump doesn't have the balls to just come out and say it -- folks on one side of the aisle are the only ones to be playing politics here?

It's a tragedy that our soldiers should be used as pawns, as many in Congress want nothing more than to slap President Bush in the face.

Many in America, and many around the world, feel the same way, pal. But again, how does one arrive at this moronic conclusion, that this is a rhetorical battle between the manifestly eeeevil and the Simon-pure? No snarkasm intended, I just want to know how someone gets to be so fucking dumb.

The wielder of the crayon finishes with a predictably weak feint.

I believe it's time for the average American stand[sic] up, regardless of political party, and shout: Stop playing with the lives of our sons and daughters.

Yes, Republicans and Defeatocrats, let us all come together and shout incoherently at the Defeatocrats, who won't let Saint Junior play with people's lives in precisely the way he wants to. Because his judgment has been just spectacularly unerring up to now. How dare the citizens of a putative democracy demand a modicum of oversight, and how dare the people they voted for finally grab some sack and do what they were asked to do a year ago?

You have to seriously wonder how some of these bozos manage to tie their fucking shoes in the morning, unless this clown is just part of the velcro strap brigade, or confined to his pajamas.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Retard Runs Through It

What is wrong with these morons (link via Chuckling) and why, other than as an explicit warning, do they merit coverage?

Creationist ideas about geology tend to appeal to overly zealous amateurs, but this was a gathering of elites, with an impressive wall of diplomas among them (Harvard, U.C.L.A., the Universities of Virginia, Washington and Rhode Island). They had spent years studying the geologic timetable, but they remained nevertheless deeply committed to a different version of history. John Whitmore, a geologist from nearby Cedarville University who organized the field trip, stood in the middle of the fossil bed and summarized it for his son.

“Dad, how’d these fossils get here?” asked Jess, 7, looking up from his own Ziploc bag full of specimens.

Whitmore, who was wearing a suede cowboy hat, answered in a cowboy manner — laconic but certain.

“From the flood,” he said.

What was remarkable about the afternoon was not so much the fossils (the bed is well picked over) but the gathering itself, part of the First Conference on Creation Geology, held on the Cedarville campus. Creationist geologists are now numerous enough to fill a large meeting room and well educated enough to know that in rejecting the geologic timeline they are also essentially taking on the central tenets of the field. Any “evidence” presented at the conference pointing to a young earth would be no more convincing than voodoo or alchemy to mainstream geologists, who have used various radiometric-dating methods to establish that the earth is 4.6 billion years old. But the participants in the conference insist that their approach is scientifically valid. “We’re past the point of being critical of evolutionists,” Whitmore told me. “We’re trying to go out and make new discoveries and actually do science.”

Right, "science". Is that what they're calling this horse-shit now, this craven polluting of young minds? "Science", as opposed to schmience, requires using the scientific method of testing your hypothesis empirically. Does this sound like they are doing that?

Then in 1961, John Whitcomb, a theologian, and Henry Morris, a hydraulic engineer from Texas, published “The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Explanations.” The book revived a relatively obscure, century-old theory of Noah’s flood as the most violent catastrophe in earth history. The flood, they argued, warped the normal geological processes and caused rapid transformations. Water from the skies and from within the earth (“the floodgates of heaven”) slammed into the oceans, killing the sea creatures and covering the “high mountains,” as it says in Genesis. For months afterward, the planet convulsed with earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. After a brief ice age, the earth became the ecosystem we know today. Continents shifted; the water receded; the animals left the ark and spread over the earth.

Well, I guess that settles that. Why not just revise all astronomical knowledge while we're at it, call it "leftbehindology" or some such thing? Really, this stuff barely qualifies as claptrap or quackery; it doesn't even bother trying to pass the conventional giggle test. And now it's diluting and poisoning respectable universities.

The "large meeting room" of schmientists wield disproportionate leverage, because they tend to be bankrolled by politically motivated goons who understand that herd animals should be kept docile, and riled only when it's time to get them to go vote against themselves. This requires controlling -- and in this case, inventing -- "facts" and "information". I suppose gravity is God's punishment for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Why not?

Their ideas are being showcased in the new Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., opened in May by a creationist group called Answers in Genesis, whose headquarters are nearby. With its wide-open spaces and interactive exhibits, the place feels like a slick museum of natural history, updated for the Hollywood age. Many of the exhibits were designed by Patrick Marsh, who helped create the “Jaws” and “King Kong” attractions at Universal Studios in Florida. Giant dinosaurs guard the courtyard entrance, promising fun and adventure. Inside, a replica of the ark leads you from seaboard to bottom deck, a rumbling theater replicates the flood, James Cameron-style. Lifelike models of Adam and Eve (who looks like the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen) frolic in a lush garden among the animals, including several dinosaurs.

The museum expected about 250,000 visitors in the first year. Instead, despite its $20 entry fee, it has had that many in six months, according to Michael Matthews, the museum’s content manager. Almost every day, minivans and buses from Christian schools fill the parking lot, sometimes after 10-hour road trips. The museum’s target group is the 45 percent of Americans who, for 25 years, have consistently agreed with the statement in a Gallup poll that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”

The museum sends the message that belief in a young earth is the only way to salvation. The failure to understand Genesis is literally “undermining the entire word of God,” Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, says in a video. The collapse of Christianity believed to result from that failure is drawn out in a series of exhibits: school shootings, gay marriage, drugs, porn and pregnant teens. At the same time, it presents biblical literalism as perfectly defensible science. A fossil shows a perch eating a herring, evidence, they claim, of animals instantaneously trapped by catastrophic events after the flood. In a video, geologists use evidence from Mount St. Helens to show how a mud flow can cut a deep canyon in a single day. “This is what I see based on science,” said Andrew Snelling, one of the many creationist geologists at the conference in July who consulted with the museum.

Feh. I've said it a million times, and I'll say it once more -- this is not science, not schmience, not even religion. This is politics; these are people with a nakedly political agenda, bamboozling superstitious morons into seriously believing that if only we accept the literal truth of the Bible (which also, incidentally, encourages killing gays, not eating shellfish, not travelling with menstruating women, not wearing synthetic fabrics, etc., etc.), we can cut down on school shootings and pregnant unwed teenagers.

As a parent, I look forward to eventually sending my kid out into the college/job market to compete with these goobers. But as an American, I worry that if these idiots keep infesting our institutions of higher learning with their petulant nonsense, we really are going to be left behind. And apparently we'll deserve it.

This Just In

This is not even forest-for-the-trees stuff, this -- it's just how your infotainment product gets manufactured these days, by people who have their hand in the till at work, and a vested interest in how the infotainment product is utilized. Campbell Brown and her shitbird spouse are not anomalies, they're symptomatic of how it's intended to work. It's not a flaw, it's a feature.

There are different rules for people like Brown and Senor because they are Inner Party creatures. This is common; media sock puppets and lobbyist/"consultant" weasels hook up regularly. It makes sense -- they go to the same parties, and use each other for access. It's just business.

Don't be sad or surprised, America. CNN is just being more honest and forthright -- brazen, let's say -- about its role in How Things Get Done. Taking them seriously is like confusing Dancing with the Stars with The Wire. If you want your "news" spoonfed to you by hacks and morons, but don't want that strip-mall food-court vibe that permeates Faux Noise, then CNN is the place to be. Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck....shit, what's not to like? Clearly this is a network which is dedicated to insuring that each and every employee takes their profession and craft with the utmost seriousness. They might as well have the paper hats to prove it.

Seriously, are there still some people out there who were confusing CNN with a credible, serious news network? Shit, on the off chance Miz Brown were to grow a conscience and retire from tendentious hackdom, the executive boobs at the network would probably replace her with Marie Osmond if they thought it might bump their ratings half a point.

And somebody would actually watch it.