Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Astute Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan makes a few good points in this post:

One thing has struck me these past few years about the right in America. As it has slowly abandoned its own principles - limited government, individual freedom, balanced budgets, federalism - it has been forced to resort to three fundamental issues to keep itself alive. The first was the war on terror, the second fundamentalist Christianity, and the third, hatred of the left.
The first one isn't such a feather in the Right-wing's cap these days, the second one will never change as long as pols flog gays and abortion, and the third? As Sullivan puts it, that's all they have now:
The only way the GOP base will be motivated to vote for an incompetent, exhausted, fiscally insane administration is if they get to vote against "libruls". Michael Moore, the Daily Kos, Paul Krugman, George Clooney, et al. are therefore the GOP's last, best hope this fall.
Fucking George Clooney???? There's a boogeyman if I've ever seen one. Of course, Sully knows this, as you can see when he predicts:
"So watch out for the anti-left hate and hysteria from Republicans. It's coming. It's all they've got left."
Hate and hysteria, indeed.

More Rants

Some crackpot thinks he found Noah's Ark on Mt. Ararat and has the satellite pictures to prove it. Now, I can't say for sure what Porcher Taylor found, but I'm pretty sure it's not Noah's Ark. The Noah's Ark story is a myth, so the Ark can't be found because it never existed.

But let's say they find a 300 cubit by 500 cubit ship covered in pitch up there. Let's say it even has a big old sign on it that says, "This is the REAL Noah's Ark."

What does that prove? Does that prove the veracity of the Flood story? Does that prove there is a God? I don't think so...

I read this semi-amusing article yesterday. The implication, of course, is that even using a hands-free cell phone while you're driving is dangerous. How about this one though?

Driving is dangerous, PERIOD. All the seatbelts and all the air bags and safety features in the world have given us the illusion that driving should be completely safe and harmless. It's not. When you're going at high speeds in that hulk of metal and glass you call your car, you are rolling the dice every time. The probability of death is statistically low, but it is always there every time you get into a car.

You can buckle up, keep your hands at 10 and 2, leave the radio alone, ignore the cell phone, keep your eyes on the road, go the speed limit. You can do all of those things, but driving would still be dangerous. It's just the way it is.

Today's Politics Rant

Studies are confirming what I've long suspected (and ranted about on the blog): When it comes to politics, people's brains stop working.

The Bushie's snuck some changes into security clearance policy. Now, it's easier for bureaucratic ass wipes to deny security clearances based solely on sexual orientation. Small deal, perhaps, but it hits home. My Mom, who is a lesbian, also works for the Federal government. Could a homophobic fundie use that to stunt her career? With these changes, it's not outside the realm of possibility. Now where are those straights only water fountains again?

Spike Lee, in promoting his new flick, has some strong words about the possibility of a Condie Rice presidential campaign:
“African-Americans will have to really, really, really, really, really, REALLY analyze the Secretary of State’s record, and get past the pigmentation of her skin,” he said. “If we do that, I don’t think we can vote for her. I’m not the spokesperson for 45 million African Americans … but that’s my right as an American citizen.” He laughed. “Hopefully, that right hasn’t been rescinded yet. I’m not going to vote for that woman. No. Way.”
Buy the man another round. That's MLK Junior's words in action: the content of their character, not the color of their skin. And everyone thinks Spike is racist......please.

So I've been wrestling with political issues a lot lately, particularly after Cheney's shooting incident. I've been long displeased with the Republican junta controlling the government, as well as the grassroots Christian socialists who prop them up, and on the liberal side, I don't see anything other than carefully couched self-serving behavior and pointless grandstanding. But more than that, I'm disgusted by the complete lack of intellectual integrity when it comes to all things political.

Take this paragraph from David Frum, one of Bush's chief hindlickers:
I sometimes want to say to the critics and handwringers: OK, have it your way. OK, let's concede for argument's sake that it was all a big mistake, Bush lied, etc. etc. Now what? We're there - if we quit the insurgency wins, with all that follows. What's the plan? Just moan? Just rub the wishing ring? There's no safe alternative to success. And no leader worth following who is not determined to succeed.

That reminds me of an old Chris Rock joke about the man who unintentionally knocks up his girlfriend. Having impregnated her, he shrugs all responsibility onto her by saying, "So what are you gonna do?" It's not "What are we going to do?" It's "What are you gonna do?"

And that's basically what Frum is saying here. "We got you into this war. So...what you gonna do now?"

There are no win-win options left. We can't stay in Iraq because our mere presence emboldens the insurgency, which only inflames the sectarian strife. But we can't leave either because then war lords and militias will rule the streets. So what do we do? I have no idea. And I don't think I'm the only one.

As for Frum's naive drumbeat, "And no leader worth following who is not determined to succeed," I say this: Bullshit. Coronado was determined to find the Seven Cities of Gold, Hitler determined to wipe out the Jews and control Europe. Determination is not enough, Frummy. A coherent battle plan helps. Attainable and moral goals help, too.

Bush may be a "great leader" as his supporters claim. But he's leading us right over a cliff.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Last night I went to Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret for their Tuesday night Retro-Vaudeville show. Lannie's is a pretty new club that opened in the basement of the old May D&F Tower downtown. Owned by Lannie Garret (never heard of her, but apparently she's semi-famous), the place is swank. Red velvet curtains, deep red walls with a beautiful marbled faux-finish, great tables and great seats. Even the bathroom looked like it had seen the
services of an interior decorator.

The show itself was a blast. Pierre St. Pierre, otherwise known as the talented Jefferson Arca, was the MC, spitting out double entendres and one-liners in the voice of a hilariously dumb foreigner from the Basque Pyreenees. (That's Marilyn Monroe on his arm.) Sometimes his accent was French, sometimes it was Spanish, sometimes Italian, but it was always funny.

In addition to the Tuesday Vaudeville show, Lannie's also has a country spoof show (starring Lannie Garret) called Patsy Decline and sporadically scheduled jazz concerts. Now a jazz show at Lannie's would be awesome!

Never Give Up

Proof that you don't have to be freakishly tall to play ball. Little Earl Boykins, at 5 foot 5, is a monster on the court.

Of course that begs the question....who's the better player? The tall guy who only has to jump a few inches to dunk? Or the little guy who is playing at this level despite being shorter than most 8th graders?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

NFL News in 5 Seconds

Lots of movement in the NFL.  Culpepper goes to Miami.  Brees to New Orleans.  James to Arizona.  Trevor Pryce and Mike Anderson to Baltimore.  Owens to where?  

Hopefully not to Denver.  Here’s hoping the Cowboys want him more.  

Now I’m off to a Vaudeville show…..  

On the NRO Corner and Their Gayness

We all know K-Lo is a stooge, but Jonah Goldberg isn't much better. Thankfully I don't usually read their dreck, but I did see this little nugget on a post on homosexuality. Granted, this is an e-mail sent to Goldberg, not some idiocy he himself wrote.

Without rehashing it, this is the best part:
So, the question "Where Do Homosexuals Come From?" is irrelevant to the question "Should I behave in accordance with my homosexual impulses?"

When I was an ignorant teenager, I used to think something along the same lines, that being gay is a choice, and if you can choose to be gay, you can choose not to be gay.

But like the old joke said, I grew up.

Anyone who has spent any time with homosexuals will know that they didn't "choose" to be attracted to the same sex anymore than straight people "choose" to be attracted to the opposite sex. If you're gay, you're gay. That's just the way it is.

Yes, every man and woman has a choice as to how they will behave. But if you're gay and you're not hurting anyone, why shouldn't you choose to behave in accordance with your homosexual impulses????

Because some straight person might be disgusted and offended by your private sex life? Who cares?

Because of some distorted ancient mythology? Puh-leaze.....

On Civil War in Iraq

What can we expect from President Bush if civil war breaks out? Denial.

Civil war is already here:
Police found the bodies of at least 85 people killed by execution-style shootings since Monday morning, a gruesome wave of apparent sectarian reprisal slayings, officials said Tuesday.

In the last 24 hours, at least 85 people shot and killed. You say insurgency, I say civil war.

And Bush's masterplan? More of the same. Although it's important to notice one key difference this time: A timeline.

Apparently Bush wants to send a terrible signal to our enemies and has no problem with cutting and running...or is he just being sensible now, realizing that by the end of the year, if he doesn't pull his head out of his ass, then he'll be facing a Congress dominated by a bunch of newly elected Democrats with a voter mandate to clean house?

Fox News reports. You decide.

Dana Milbank has more here.

On Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama, apparently a leading light in the "neoconservative" movement, is having a very public change of heart over Bush's misunderestimated competence when it comes to all things presidential, especially Bush's pet goat, Iraq.

The lede:
"America at the Crossroads" serves up a powerful indictment of the Bush administration's war in Iraq and the role that neoconservative ideas — concerning preventive war, benevolent hegemony and unilateral action — played in shaping the decision to go to war, its implementation and its aftermath.

Fukuyama's conclusion:
The ability of the current Bush administration "to fix the problems it created for itself in its first four years will be limited," Mr. Fukuyama writes near the end of this tough-minded and edifying book. "Repairing American credibility will not be a matter of better public relations; it will require a new team and new policies."

Everyone but the media and the politicians themselves probably already realizes this. Even the dummies who wanted four more years of this bullshit.

Speaking of...I'd like to take this opportunity to slam the Democrats here too. Fucking John Kerry?? John Fucking Kerry???????

Is it bad to still be mad about that, a year and a half later?

On Censure

Russ Feingold seeks to censure Bush over the NSA spying scandal but no one is biting. The Republicans, of course, are backing up the president, and the Democrats are showing their usual cowardly colors. Nothing new there.

Nothing new here, either, with Bill Frist, who probably shouldn't have made it out of med school after that brainectomy in his junior year, who made this brilliant, and incredibly false, assertion:
"It is addressed at attacking the president of the United States when we’re at war, when the president is leading us with a program that is lawful, is constitutional, that is vital to the safety and security of the American people."

The only part he got right was the first part. Yes, the censure is "attacking" the president (although I think "censuring" is the more appropriate verb) and yes he is the president of the United States.

But the NSA domestic spying program is NOT legal, NOT constitutional, and I have serious doubts as to whether it's "vital to the safety and security of the American people." As expounded before in a previous post, Bush's wiretapping program is next to useless. Even it's biggest proponents say it's only slightly better than chance.

Hell, even the President's lap dog, Joe Lieberman, knows better than to claim warrant-less spying is legal. He's not liking Feingold's censure effort either, and this is why:
"Frankly I’d prefer to spend our time on figuring out ways to bring this very important program of surveillance of potential terrorists here in the United States under the law."

You heard the man. Quick! Let's make it legal.

It's this kind of bullshit from disingenuous, preening politicians that makes one question the value of politics as a whole. One side claims that no bad deed occurred. The other wants to give the President a do-over and make it legal after the fact.

To me, both sides have gotta go!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday - Zoo Edition

I’m going to a movie later (Night Watch) so this one’s short, but it's a recap of what I did this weekend.

This week's FFF:

The realization slowly dawned on me that I would not be allowed to smoke for at least twelve hours.  The signs are posted everywhere.  The zoo is a smoke-free environment.  The paperwork was very clear on the matter.  The gates will close at 6 PM and will not re-open until 10 AM, and the zoo is a smoke-free environment.

But it’s for the kids, this Bunk with the Beasts program.  The object, to spend the night at the zoo, literally.  You camp out in a classroom, you wander the zoo at night, use night vision goggles to look at the sleeping animals.  You know, for the kids.  And it’s kind of cool for the adults, too.  Especially if you have a thing for penguins…

And lemurs.

And for the kids, it’s an experience to remember for a lifetime, a night at the zoo, being attacked by a bronze anaconda.

Milosevic Dies

They’re dropping like flies!  Slobodan Milosevic cheats justice…by dying!  Before old Slobo became the Butcher of the Balkans, he was just another CP official until he wrested power from his mentor, Ivan Stambolic.  Milosevic’s political career didn’t start in earnest until he did what no Yugoslav government official had dared to do since the days before Tito:  He took sides.

During a visit to Kosovo, where a Serbian minority felt oppressed by the ethnic Albanian majority and emboldened by democratic reforms, Milosevic listened to the grievances of his fellow Serbs.  Flouting the ethnic neutrality enforced with an iron hand during the Tito years, he promised that he would protect them.  “No one should dare to beat you,” he said, a phrase that resonated in Serbia like “Axis of Evil” here.

Years and years of oppression of any kind of ethnic strife was thrown out the window, and all those “ancient ethnic hatreds” came bubbling to the surface.  The Serbs remembered the fascist Croatian Ustashe, who collaborated with the Nazis in perfecting what we now know as “ethnic cleansing.”  The Croats, for their part, remembered the dreaded Chetniks, Serbs who matched the Ustashe warcrime-for-warcrime during World War II.  

It didn’t long for civil war to break out.  Once that genie was out of the bottle, it was war to the death, or as the scholars call it, genocide.

The truth is, though, that Slobodan Milosevic wasn’t some kind of bloodthirsty Hitler or Idi Amin.  He was a cynical opportunist, who rode an old horse to the throne and did everything he could to cling to it.  His crimes weren’t those of commission, but of omission.  He could have stopped Yugoslavia’s descent into civil war, but he encouraged it, he threw gasoline on the fire.

And boy was he wrong.  He had a few years at the top, lived an extraordinary life and was treated like a legitimate man in power.  Meanwhile, his country destroyed itself.  Thousands died.  Later he would be ousted from power in a popular protest, and then arrested by his own people, sacrificed to the UN gods.  

Not much of a political strategy if you ask me.  Succumbing to evil, only to die in prison, disgraced and remembered as a mass-murdering tyrant.