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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Carson Daly Must Die!

Carson Daly raped my dog. I want him fired, incarcerated, or destroyed.

So you gonna help me or what, Sharpton?

Updated: Jeff Jarvis has relevant thoughts here.

Tommy Lee: Trendmeister

If there's one metal dude I can't stand, it's Tommy Lee. And no, it's not because he turned Pamela Anderson from a Baywatch slut to a cheap porno skank. It's not because he was in Motley Crue.

It's because the dude has no style. If you wanted to define Tommy Lee's style, it would be trendy.

Think about it.

When it was cool for metal dudes to look like drag queens, Tommy Lee was queened up with mascara and lipstick and lace panties.

When it was cool for metal dudes to get tats, Tommy Lee got sleeves.

When it was cool for metal dudes to rap, Tommy Lee turned into a poor man's Fred Durst.

When it's cool for everyone and their dog to be a DJ, Tommy Lee is spinning records.

DJ Tommy Lee? No thanks.

Um.....NO

Maybe it's just my BDS acting up again, but this request is absolutely ludicrous when faced with this.

So let me get this straight...You want more power to spy on people, and yet you can't account for these e-mails?

Um, your answer is no.

Of course, I'm assuming that the lost e-mails are the result of the usual Bush Administration incompetence...and not what I think they truly are: the result of Bush Administration ass-covering and blatant deception.

A Few Things

I used to think Mike Shanahan could do no wrong, what with guiding the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowls with Elway and such. But now...I'm not so sure. First he signed Jake Plummer as the heir apparent to Elway (huh? A mediocre interception machine was intended to replace one of the game's living legends?), then he drafts Maurice Clarett (who never played a down in a Broncos uniform and is now serving 7 years for robbery), and now...now he releases Al Wilson???

Say it ain't so, Mike.

On another note, the head of Don Imus is hanging by a pike down by the bridge in case you wanted to see it before the birds peck out his eyes.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Imus was fired by both NBC and CBS. (I do want that special mojo which allows you to be employed simultaneously by two competing companies, like NBC and CBS, for the same job, no less.) Imus and his big mouth was all anyone could talk about even as the Iraqi parliament was bombed and more US soldiers died. Oh yeah, the DNA came back on the Anna Nicole paternity test. But why worry about all that, when we could talk about Imus...

Imus, Imus, and more Imus. Blah!

Still, I wonder...

A) If Imus's phrase-that-fires was so bad, why are we hearing it repeated in every news story about the topic?

B) Now that we've destroyed Dan Rather, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Britney Spears, and Don Imus, who's next?

My vote is this guy. I've been gunning for him for years....Surely there's some racist, anti-semitic, hopelessly liberal, homophobic or just plain crazy skeletons in his closet, right?

C) What does Don Imus, the Rutger's women's basketball team, and Al Sharpton have in common? I'm still trying to figure that out. Anyone got any ideas?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Guess What I'm NOT Doing

Guess What I AM Doing

No Salt and Pink Underwear

Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was on CNN this morning talking about a, ahem, man in his medical jail. The man has a drug-resistant form of TB and has been quarantined because he refused to wear a mask when going out in public. It's a weird story.

He's not accused of any crime, but he's imprisoned in this locked room, no TV, no phone, no internet. Sheriff Joe recognized the special case, and will be giving him a TV and a cell phone, but no internet. He says they can't run the cables up there. They can, but Sheriff Joe won't.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is famous for making his inmates wear pink underwear. He puts them on chain gangs and sticks them out in a tent city. He's a tough guy and he's known for it.

But get this...his inmates aren't allowed any salt or pepper. It saves the government $20,000 a year, it was said.

Cellule de Tige

A hundred years from now, when rich Americans travel to France to get stem cell treatments, Bush is going to look like a frigging idiot.

James on Imus

Let me just say that Don Imus's "nappy-headed hos" comment was misogynistic and in bad taste, but with that said, I don't think it was racist.

Yes, I understand how a white man calling black women "nappy-headed hos" has racist connotations, but let's pretend that Stephen A. Smith, who is black, used the same phrase in the same context. Would he be accused of racism? Doubt it.

Because though it's verboten for white folks to use the phrase, black folks have no such taboo. Is this woman racist? What about the guy who wrote this book? Surely this hair salon in Michigan is a den of black-hating racists.

Um, no. They wear their hair nappy (and call it nappy) with pride.

You want to know what's racist about this Don Imus controversy? This idea that there are words and phrases that are widely accepted in the black community, and these same words and phrases are completely innappropriate if uttered by white lips. How is that not racist?

Did You Know...

That Carl Sagan was a huge dope-smoker?

It's true. From his wiki:
Carl Sagan was an avid user of marijuana, although he never admitted this publicly during his life. Under the pseudonym "Mr. X", he wrote an essay concerning cannabis smoking in the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered, whose editor was Lester Grinspoon.[7] In his essay, Sagan commented that marijuana encouraged some of his works and enhanced experiences. After Sagan's death, Grinspoon disclosed this to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson. When the biography, entitled Carl Sagan: A Life, was published in 1999, the marijuana exposure stirred some media attention.

Monday, April 09, 2007

This Ain't Abu Ghraib, Baby

On CNN's American Morning today they were reporting on the continuing story of the 15 Brits captured by Iran, mostly about how there is a huge national outrage in the UK that they will now be allowed to sell their stories to the media.

In addition, they were showing some recently released video taken by Iranians during their captivity. When I left work, CNN didn't have the story up on their site, but now they do.

The lede:
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian state television aired video Sunday of 15 British sailors and marines watching football on television, eating, laughing and playing ping-pong and chess during nearly two weeks in Iranian custody.
And it's true. It's all on the video. I saw it several times this morning.

They're laughing together in street clothes. A pair are playing chess. Another pair are playing ping pong. They were watching a soccer match on TV. And the part where they were eating? You really have to see that to believe it. They were eating in what looked like a banquet hall, and though I have no clue what dish they were eating, there is one soldier noticeably spicing his plate with salt. With salt!

There was even a clip where the female soldier is noticeably exhaling smoke from an off-screen cigarette!

Ping pong, chess, football, salt and cigarettes? Quite a luxurious captivity, wouldn't you say? The cons down in Denver County Jail don't even get those perks. Oh, those county short timers may get salt, but I doubt their mealtimes look as jubilant as the Iranian sponsored one in the video. That's a shit-eating grin on that kid's face as he shakes out his salt, isn't it? His face is saying, Needs more salt...or Someone said something funny. It doesn't say I'm in fear of my life.

No, I'm in fear of my life is what this man's face says:

Don't get me wrong. I suspect these Brits were treated with special care by the Iranians on purpose. Releasing this video was part of the plan the whole time. The TV, the chess board, the street clothes, the ping-pong table, the salt shakers, all that was brought in specifically to keep the prisoners cozy, not out of concern for their well-being or cultural sensitivity, but purely for propaganda reasons.

Now they can say, "See? We're not like the Americans, who attack their prisoners with dogs and smear them with excrement and tie their genitals to batteries. Unlike them, we're civilized."

It's all very clever, and it will work. It may not gain Iran any sympathy here in America, maybe not even in the UK. But elsewhere in the world, in countries just looking for an excuse to hate America for our wealth and technology, it will go over like gangbusters.

My question for America is this: When did we get so bad at propaganda? We have Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and Las Vegas. We invented the pet rock, must-see TV, and Disneyland.

And yet we can't even pretend, as the Iranians are so obviously pretending, that we treat our prisoners with dignity and respect? Every detainee we've ever touched since the "War on Terror" started has come back with a horror story of cruel and inhuamne treatment, even the innocent ones!

And yet these are coming back home, not a scratch on them, distracted by ping pong and soccer matches, well-fed (with salt!) and they're selling their stories to a public hungry to know, "What was it like?"

Based on the video, I suspect the answer might be, "Splendid, dear boy. Absolutely splendid."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Gambler

I saw that McCain expressed regret for some of his "the war is going great" comments, so it was with a heavy heart that I read his op-ed column in the Washington Post.

A few things got me though. This statement struck me as, well, just ridiculous:
"A car bombing at Shorja in February, for example, killed 137 people. Today the market still faces occasional sniper attacks, but it is safer than it used to be."
I don't know, John...a market that "faces occasional sniper attacks" doesn't sound very safe to me.

And safer? Juggling lawn darts is safer than juggling chain saws, but I wouldn't say either activity is very safe. (Oh yeah...both of those activities are safer than juggling hand grenades.) Please spare us the rhetoric, John. Impress me with the "safe" talk when it's actually safe, huh?

What are the "good" signs in Iraq? Here's one:
Sunni sheikhs in Anbar are now fighting al-Qaeda. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited Anbar's capital, Ramadi, to meet with Sunni tribal leaders. The newly proposed de-Baathification legislation grew out of that meeting. Police recruitment in Ramadi has increased dramatically over the past four months.
Okay, line by line...I doubt "Sunni sheikhs" are fighting anyone. Sunni fighters beholden to the sheihks...maybe. But who let Al Qaeda into Iraq in the first place? Oh yeah...Al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq until the invasion!

As for Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki begging for support from the Sunni tribal leaders...sorry, John, but I don't find that an encouraging sign. Who controls who here? Is Al-Maliki asking for support, or permission? Take everything you know about Sunni sheikhs and you tell me.

As for the police recruitment increasing, let me just say this: I'm hoping these aren't the death squad cops...

McCain tempers his unjustified optimism with some caution, though.

Despite these welcome developments, we should have no illusions. This progress is not determinative. It is simply encouraging. We have a long, tough road ahead in Iraq. But for the first time since 2003, we have the right strategy.
Let me repeat that last part.

For the first time since 2003, we have the right strategy.
Yes, for the first time in four years we have the right strategy.

Basically what McCain is asking here is to throw good money after bad. By his own formulation, we've been flopping around aimlessly with the wrong strategy for the last four years, and now...now we have the right one. Does that mean before we win the war in Iraq we have to first erase the mistakes of the last four years? How long will it take? Is it even worth it at this point?

Hit it, Kenny:

You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away; know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.
That last part is for you, "Mission Accomplished" Bush and "last throes" Cheney.

Updated: You might have noticed another of McCain's "signs of success" bullet points.
Extremist Shiite militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr is in hiding, his followers are not contesting American forces, sectarian violence has dropped in Baghdad and we are working with the Shiite mayor of Sadr City.
Well, here's the Iraq news from today. Al-Sadr is still in hiding, but he's still releasing statements, this time calling for Iraq unity...against the US. Check it:
The renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday.
I wonder if he read McCain's piece in the Washington Post and viewed it as a provocation.

"So I'm in hiding, huh?" he says, stroking his beard and reaching for his pen. "Well watch this, motherfucker."

It's enough to make you wonder why he's still around. He's been our foe in Iraq for some time now and it makes sense to me to take him out. Of course, I realize that there would be consequences, if the effort were successful, that is (a big if). His followers would be pissed at us...but then again, they're already pissed. We invaded their country. If they weren't pissed, they would be cows, no human DNA whatsoever. But what are they gonna do? Follow a dead man?

They'll be pissed, but they'll move on to some other cause, perhaps a less confrontational one, one that doesn't attack US soldiers, one that actually has an interest in building a new Iraq, modern and free, a 1st world country, not the medieval battleground it has become today. Al-Sadr seems to want to seize the throne of Babylon in some kind of Alexandrian power grab. Do we want that?

So let's try a new tactic here. The war in Iraq is not going to be won by trashing Democrats, as Bush and Cheney have done so eloquently in the past week or so. It's not going to be won by little stunts like John McCain's stroll through Shopra market. It's not going to be won by trying to spread the "good news" Americans don't hear. We get it, man. Believe it or not, we Americans aren't stupid.

It's just that we see all this bad shit, and it's getting a little old. It's time to put up or shut up, fellas.

Age Gracefully...Not Surgically

Note to future wife:

When we get up into our AARP years, you are not allowed to get plastic surgery. This is non-negotiable. If you want to look like Joan Rivers when you should look like Jessica Tandy, marry some other dude.

CNN Anchors Away!

Oh yeah, Write Procrastinator mentioned that I haven't mentioned Soledad O'Brien's firing as CNN's morning woman.

Actually, it seems that CNN is going through some changes. Not only did the O'Briens get shit-canned as the morning anchor, but they changed their set. I'm watching right now and the weekend morning anchors aren't behind a desk like they were last week.

One reason might be for a more casual feel.

I think the real reason, though, is to get a better look at Betty Nguyen's yummy legs.

Closer

On the video wall tonight, Closer, the brilliant and very brutal drama from Mike Nichols. With equally brilliant performances from Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and particularly from Clive Owen.

A scantily clad Natalie Portman got my butt in the seat. The heart-rending dialogue kept it there.

It starts off slow with a little meet-cute scene, but this movie is anything but cute. If you want to be punched in the gut with a little bit of emotional honesty, watch this movie.

What do I mean by emotional honesty? This scene might explain:

Larry: Is he a good fuck?
Anna: Don't do this.
Larry: Just answer the question! Is he good?
Anna: Yes.
Larry: Better than me?
Anna: Different.
Larry: Better?
Anna: Gentler.
Larry: What does that mean?
Anna: You know what it means.
Larry: Tell me!
Anna: No.
Larry: I treat you like a whore?
Anna: Sometimes.
Larry: Why would that be?
Ouch!

Immigration Woes

I don't know if you've seen the video of the Geraldo-O'Reilly shouting match, but if you haven't, it's worth a look. Watch it here if you really want to get pissed:
If you first impression is similiar to mine at all, you're probably thinking, "Wow, Bill O'Reily is an asshole."

Not only does he get weirdly out-of-control angry when Geraldo doesn't mindlessly agree, but he descends to some transparently ridiculous tactics, the most obvious when O'Reilly points his finger and claims that Geraldo wants "open-border anarchy." Please...

During that shout fest, Geraldo makes several good points, and they're worth repeating.

1) Bill O was using this drunk-driving tragedy to make a "cheap political point." Geraldo is absolutely correct that in this case, the issue is drunk-driving, not the man's citizenship. It's unfortunate that the guy was busted on a DUI before, and even more unfortunate that on his second one, he killed a little girl. But that doesn't change the fact that a DUI has nothing to do with the man's nationality. It doesn't explain why he was drinking, nor does it explain why he was driving. And in case, Bill O'Reilly is wondering why this man wasn't deported, he might want to bone up on the law. It might actually be illegal, based on Supreme Court ruling Leocal v. Ashcroft, to deport the guy. But then again, maybe the Supreme Court wants open-border anarchy too.

2) At one point, Geraldo says "We lure them (illegal immigrants) to this country." Despite the accusatory tone, Geraldo is speaking a lot of truth there. While there is obviously no welcoming committee that "lures" the immigrants here, it's not too outrageous to state the obvious: The incentive for these migrants to come to this country is greater than any incentive for them to stay in Mexico. That includes all the bureaucratic hurdles put in place to discourage further migration, border-patrol efforts, and even the threat of deportation. They know they'll be hated. They know they'll be paid shit wages. They know they'll have to live lawlessly in the emigre underground. They know they'll be considered "dirty wetbacks" the rest of their lives. But they also know that despite all that, living in America is worth it. They also know that their children will be better off here than in some impoverished Jalisco barrio.

They're not lured by porous borders. They're lured by the promise of America.

And you know, perhaps it's just me but it struck me as downright un-American when O'Reilly said, "They don't have a right to be in this country!" Usually when you hear Americans talking about rights, they're reserving them, not denying them. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Right to life. Right to die. Civil rights. Gay rights. Right to bear arms. Right to remain silent.

Which amendment gives us the right to be here again?

Inside the Statue of Liberty, there is a plaque with these words inscribed on it:
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
That's America's proud tradition, so I don't know what Bill O'Reilly is talking about.

Weekend Wrap-up

You might have noticed the blog went on a bit of a hiatus this week. What can I say? I've been busy, man.

My weekend started on Tuesday at 8AM. Typically what I try to do on Tuesdays is revert back to a normal (ie less nocturnal) schedule by trying to stay up as long as possible instead of crashing around noon like I usually do during the work week. What this means usually is that by 4PM, I'm fighting to stay awake, nodding off in my seat, too exhausted to even think.

This Tuesday, I started my fence project. I gathered the materials, started digging the holes for the posts, etc. It didn't take long to complete exhaust my energy stores. I ended up crashing around 6PM and that set the tone for the rest of the week.

Collapse in exhaustion before it's even properly dark, sleep a dreamless sleep for about eight hours, then wake up at the unenviable hour of 3:00AM.

Waking up at 3 in the morning with the urge to get back to building my fence can be somewhat frustrating. You can't really get much yard work done in the dark.

Once the sun did rise and the cold morning air had blown over, I got back to work. Unfortunately, I underestimated the level of effort it would take to dig 7 post holes, cut 7 posts, mix 7 bags of concrete. And this all by hand, no less.

Rent an auger? Me? Why can I do that when a shovel works just as well.

A cement mixer? Fuck that. Just give me a bucket, an old piece of molding, and some elbow grease.

(Thank God for the chainsaw...otherwise I'd still be hacking away at those posts.)

Needless to say when I wrapped up the fence project (I still have two gates to build), I was wiped out. Fighting off sleep was going to be a task of herculean proportions, and well...I'm no Hercules.

So what did I decide to do after exhausting myself building a fence? I decided to steam clean my rugs. Yes, I shampooed my damn rugs.

I assure you that was accomplished with much less effort.

Here's the rub, though...this weekend of accomplishment left me completely drained. Thursday I went to the library and spent most of the day reading. I read this book from cover to cover. I literally couldn't put it down. Good book, fascinating subject. I crashed before the evening rush hour kicked into gear.

Friday I took the day off of work so I could attend a friend's birthday party. The best laid plans, of course, don't always go off as intended. Several hours before the party, I laid down, telling myself, "Just a little nap." Big mistake.

I woke up long after the party was over. So much for that idea. Happy birthday, Chris. Wish I could have made it.

And now here I am, back at work...Saturday night, Sunday morning...(I think). Oh, and look at that...it's Easter.

A Creep and a Weirdo

The perfect combination of image and song.It makes one wonder...does Cheney have any idea of how truly creepy he is? I don't think he does.