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Saturday, October 11, 2008

If I Was a Farmer...

I'd be a heavy metal farmer.

Losing Your Revolution

Dan Riehl says:
Imagine a hard working, mostly white middle class marching on Washington wondering how this inept government destroyed the American dream, while an empty suit that happens to be black thinks he can simply take to a microphone and everything will be just fine.

Okay...
There may indeed be blood in the streets before the current political and economic issues before the nation are resolved.
Yes, the blood of NRA revolutionaries who think they can take on a tank.

A Dissent

Tom Curran calls the Broncos "paper tigers," despite their 4-1 record and high-scoring offense (only the Cowboys have scored more points). Yes, their defense has shown some holes, but Mike Shannahan is the king of adjustments and there isn't a hole that can't be plugged talent-wise.

I'm not sure about Curran's reasoning on this one, though:
But there’s something a little more ominous about Denver's record and Cutler's success and statistics. They’ve played some pretty weak defenses. The Chargers have allowed more yards per game through the air than any team in the league. New Orleans is well into the bottom half of the league defensively and the Chiefs have the worst defense in the AFC. Denver’s other opponents, the Bucs and Raiders, are above average statistically on defense so far.
Yes, the Broncos have "played some pretty weak defenses," and have exploited them mightily.

And they beat the Bucs and the Raiders, too. Maybe it's a little too early to call them "paper tigers."

His other paper tiger, the unbeaten Giants, is also suspect. They scored 44 points last week, and while that may be a commentary on Seattle's defense, it also says something about the efficiency of Eli Manning's offense. Namely, that they're not paper tigers.

(Meanwhile he puts the Chargers in the "sleeping lion" category. Here's the thing about the Chargers. When they're expected to do well, they tank. When no one expects anything from them, they do well. Find me a more inconsistent team and then we'll talk "sleeping lion." At least the Detroit Lions are consistently bad.)

The Outdoor Open

Yeah, I know it's only preseason, but I can't wait to see this game.
[T]he Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets -- go head to head on a wooden court with a leather ball at the 16,000 seat, open-air Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Obviously I'm a soft target for this kind of marketing ploy.

Cannibal

Static X apparently has a very good live sound.

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain Gets Cowed

Watch McCain tell this angry guy raving about "the socialists taking over our country" to calm down.

Oh wait, he just let the guy rant and then said, "The gentleman is right."

Sorry, John, that man is neither gentle nor right.

Updated: Reports that McCain is pushing back against some of his nuttier supporters. Good for him.

TD

Speaking of football...

John Elway is one of my heroes, but Terrell Davis is the man who made me a Broncos fan for life.

I still get chills watching this guy run.

Spencer Larsen

This is a beautiful hit.

I love football.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Parade of Fools

Proud to be an American? Not today.

Red Colony

This one's for Kat. Me...singing. It's not Long Whip/Big America but it's something.


And just for comparison's sake, the original.

I Heart Scarborough

I've always like Joe Scarborough, even when I disagree with him. He's a mensch.

Quick Hits

So far, Andrew Bacevich's book is brilliant. Here's a guy who truly thinks outside the box. I'll put together some quotes when I finish it, which will probably be tonight. Definitely recommended reading for anyone interested in politics.

A few things:

Glenn Reynolds continues his hackdom with this post, titled "PRESS COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN." Will this disabuse him of the notion that the "MSM" (otherwise known as "Where Most People Get Their News") is "in the tank" for Obama? Don't count on it.

This headline is quite funny: "Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe." What a joke. When the real report is released tomorrow, perhaps she will, in fact, be cleared. But protestations of innocence are not enough in the real world. "How do you plead?" "Not guilty, your honor." "Well, that settles it. Case dismissed" Bullshit.

They said that if you weren't doing anything wrong, you didn't have to worry about he government tapping your phone. They were wrong.
The linguists said National Security Agency interceptors routinely monitored and recorded the private calls of U.S. military personnel, Red Cross and other humanitarian workers; personal discussions that had entertainment value — pillow talk or phone sex —were shared among intercept operators, they said.
What the fuck?

Cindy McCain says:
“The day that Sen. Obama cast a vote to not to fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body let me tell you,” Cindy McCain said in introducing the GOP ticket.
That's funny, because the day that John McCain voted to authorize military force in Iraq sent a chill up my Mom's spine. And let me tell you, I care a whole lot more about my Mom, who also had a son in uniform, than I do about Cindy McCain.

Kathleen Parker, who is a conservative, points out what's been obvious to anyone with a brain here:
The McCain campaign knows that Obama isn't a Muslim or a terrorist, but they're willing to help a certain kind of voter think he is. Just the way certain South Carolinians in 2000 were allowed to think that McCain's adopted daughter from Bangladesh was his illegitimate black child.
What kind of voter? The ignorant and foolish low-information voter.

Let me put this as clear as I can: Barack Obama is not a terrorist! He's a United States Senator and a Presidential candidate.

If you can't support him because he's a liberal Democrat, fine. If you can't support him because you have your head up your ass , then do us all a favor and stay home on election day. Just stay home. Clean out the lint in your belly button, rearrange your sock drawer, do something relatively useful to the rest of the world. But do...not...vote. You give democracy a bad name.

Am I shrill? No, I'm pissed!

The New Luxuries

Last payday I allowed myself the luxury of buying two books. They arrived today.

The first:


And this one:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Contrast

Shortly after I woke up this morning, I got a call. It was the boss. "Hey, we're short-handed today. If you want some overtime, come on in."

So I worked an 11-hour day. Because when times are tough for the working man, the working man works.

If you're an executive for an insurance company that just got a massive bailout...you go on a half-million dollar vacation.

That's not capitalism. That's rip-offism. No wonder our financial system is in shambles.

Don't Call Me Pepper Keenan (Or a Flip-Flopper)

Updated: So I killed the video. it sucked so bad. Not my singing, which sucks by definition, but the actual video quality. Maybe I'll do another "take" with more light. Maybe you should just read these lyrics, or better yet, just go buy Corrosion of Conformity's Wiseblood record.

This video sucks, but the song rules. (PS. The song is called Long Whip/Big America.)

Here are the full lyrics:
Saw the news today, some D.C. suit trying to break away,
Said he lost another million
Just another old man trying to pass the buck with his dirty hand
Good thing he knows his bible

Stick his ass in hell, even better in in this tiny cell
Make him understand the meaning
Of these words they try to preach just to keep them out of the nation's reach
I guess it's all for the better

Take it all away
Take me
Won't you take me far away
HEY HEY HEY What's that game you play
Will it make me richer?
Cause I do not have a dime and I hate to waste your time
Maybe I'm wrong but I think this whip is too long

Now I was barely 21 laying in a ditch with a loaded gun
So I gave my heart away
But I got it back today in a velvet box stamped USA
Now all the neighbors call me hero. hero.

Going to lose my mind so I buckled down and did some crime
But it wasn't what they taught me
Hit the road in high pursuit now I'm on the run just like a suit
Didn't know it was this easy

Take it all away
Take me
Won't you take me far away
HEY HEY HEY What's that game you play
Will it make me a poor man?
Cause I got an extra dime and I lose it every time
Maybe I'm wrong but I think this whip is too long

HEY HEY HEY what's that game you play
Will it make me richer?
Cause I do not have a dime and I hate to waste your time
Maybe I'm wrong but I think this whip is too long

No more, no more
See I can't find the time to crawl across the line
But I can't stay here...

No more, no more
See I can't find the time to crawl across the line
But I can't stay here till I die



* I'm not afraid to make an ass of myself on the internet. (Okay, so maybe I am...)

Smoke Up My Ass

I had almost forgotten about this comment John McCain made during the debate:
Americans' workers are the best in the world. They're the fundamental aspect of America's economy.
As an "American worker" myself, I'm grateful for the pat on the back.

But if that's true, why do we rely on migrant workers to pick our crops, build our houses, and mow our lawns?

Why is so much of what we use, from clothing to electronics, made in Asia?

Why do I need to talk to a guy in India if I want to change my cable package?

Maybe I'm wrong, but being "the best" just doesn't seem to amount to much these days.

Roger L. Simon is No Jon Stewart

Roger L. Simon is not only a hack and a jerk, he's also not funny.

Or very good at reading off a teleprompter.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Reveling In Ignorance

Strange that Obama gets so much heat for pronouncing words correctly.
Senator Obama's ostentatiously exotic pronunciation of Pakistan, one thing I like about Sarah Palin is the way she says "Eye-raq".
Exotic? Dude, that's how you say it!

And you know, I say "Eye-raq" too. And yes, I say "Pack-istan" rather than "Pock-istan." I guess it's my American accent.

But I'll tell you what, I certainly won't be slamming anyone for using the correct pronunciation. That would just make me look, well, stupid.

Hair Plugs

I did witness this strange riff from McCain during the debates:
And if you do the math, those people who have employer-based health benefits, if you put the tax on it and you have what's left over and you add $5,000 that you're going to get as a refundable tax credit, do the math, 95 percent of the American people will have increased funds to go out and buy the insurance of their choice and to shop around and to get -- all of those people will be covered except for those who have these gold-plated Cadillac kinds of policies.

You know, like hair transplants, I might need one of those myself.
1) Shopping around for health insurance? Oh, that sounds like fun.

2) Hair plugs? I'm gonna go ahead and say he's trying to ding Joe Biden, who famously got hair plugs, and then when it didn't work, he turned the joke on himself.

A) I don't think hair transplants are covered by health insurance, but then again I haven't really "shopped around" for the right plan...

B) You don't need hair transplants, Senator. You just need to admit that you're a bald man. Come out of the comb over, bud, and live out loud. Get a haircut and rock that chrome dome. It worked for John McClane. It can work for John McCain, too.

The Debate

Yes, I watched the debates. No, I don't have anything intelligent to say about them. I missed the "that one" comment because I was working, too. I also didn't hear anything about the Ayers-Rezko-Wright Axis of Evil, which frankly I thought was strange.

It doesn't make sense to bait your supporters into "terrorist" and "treason" cat calls and then not even bother to reel those fish in.

John Cole has the best take on that:
Finally, I guess when it boils down to is that, McCain, for all his tough guy talk, is just a tired old wimp. Given ninety minutes to go after Obama like he and his partner and his surrogates have the past few days, and he said nothing. Given all that time to question Obama’s patriotism, to question his background, to suggest he does not support the troops, and McCain refused to do it. Why didn’t he look him in the eyes and call him Sen. Hussein like his surrogates are doing? Or is that just supposed to be in the background, to make Obama look suspect, to accuse him of being in league with terrorists- but like every punk and every bully he can’t own up to it himself.
Or maybe he just doesn't want to piss off the next President of the United States.

Embrace the Ignorance

Megan McCardle's brilliant strategy for your 401K:
Don't look. Seriously, don't look.
Her reasoning:
If you look you will get upset, and you will be tempted to do something stupid. I can't guarantee that the market won't drop further and you won't regret having held on. But as a general rule, selling into a massive liquidity crisis is a pretty bad idea.
I'm not an economics blogger --I'm just a dude-- but here's my advice.

Keep a very close eye on that shit. And then do what thou wilt. It's your money, after all. No reason to let other people lose it for you, right?

Maybe I'm wrong, but the "don't look" idea is part of the problem here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Another Right Wing Fantasy

Reading Dr. Helen's conspiracy theory reminded me of this conversation I had with a guy at work last weekend. (An approximation.)

Him: Wouldn't it be great if people stormed the Capital and dragged all those politicians out into the street for a good ole tar and feathering?

Me: Sure, but that angry mob isn't going to get very far before the National Guard gets called.

Him: So? They couldn't stand up to a hundred farmers with hunting rifles.

Me: Are you kidding? The National Guard has tanks. And planes. And artillery. Snipers. Grenade launchers. Oh, and they're trained fighters. You're telling me a mob of farmers armed with hunting rifles are going to stand a chance against that?

Him: I don't see why not. It'll be civil war. Besides, I bet most of them would just leave their post and join the mob anyway.

Me: Most? I'm sure some of them would. But the rest, they'll follow orders. And the ones who leave, they won't get to take their tanks with them. They'll have to go home and get the shotgun. Meanwhile, the President calls in the Marines with their M4 assault rifles and M29 SAWs. Sure, Mr. Ted Nugent super-hunter might be able to shoot a deer, but he's not going to stand a chance against a squad of motivated Marines.

Him: The president won't call in the Marines on citizens.

Me: They're not citizens. They're a mob of hostile insurgents intent on bringing the government down. Of course, he's going to call in the Marines. But alright, forget the Marines. What about a SWAT team? Let's say the president calls in the SWAT team. You think they can't suppress your hypothetical mob?

Him: It'll be a tough fight, but I like the farmers' chances.

Me: Sure, but the SWAT team will win. They're better equipped, better trained, and more importantly, they have the law on their side. They'll always win. Remember Waco? Remember Ruby Ridge? The government always wins.

Him: Not always. There was that couple in Pennsylvania that refused to pay their taxes.

Me: Oh yeah, I remember that. They had their own little stand-off going on for a while. And now they're in jail.

Him: (Consults wikipedia) Yeah, I guess they are. But they held out for almost a year.

Me: And still went to jail. Trust me, your mob has no chance.

Him: If we got enough people together...

Me: We could just vote the fuckers out and would have no need to storm the capital.

Scene.

Conspiracy Theories: Not Just For Whackos Anymore (or maybe that part hasn't changed)

The Instawife gets all conspiracy theorist on us:
Is your head spinning from all the doom and gloom being blasted from the media and Congress day and night about impending financial disaster? Mine is, and frankly, I sometimes wonder how much of the financial picture is accurate and how much is manufactured in order to get a Democrat elected. One has to ponder about the timing of all of this bad news.
Matt Yglesias snickers:
Brilliant deductive powers. Now the only real question remaining is how the Democrats got George W. Bush, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson to go along with the charade. To say nothing of John Boehner and Mitch McConnel. And for that matter John McCain!
Indeed.

Next thing you know, they're going to tell us that Al Qaeda is working with Saddam Hussein and that Obama is friends with a terrorist.

Another Angry Barage of Insults

I wonder what John McCain was thinking in this clip. When he asks "Who is the real Barack Obama?" some guy yells out, "A terrorist!" McCain kind of harrumphs at that, giving it a squint and a frown, but what went through his head?

A few possible answers:

"Shhh, not so loud. What part of 'whisper campaign' do you not understand?"

Or

"We should probably dial back on the 'palling around with terrorists' talk. These guys are starting to believe it."

Or

"Holy fuck, these people are crazy."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rats

Oh man, I should have got my application in sooner. Looks like Lignol Energy and Suncor Energy beat me to the punch!
Companies are in a race to develop the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which wouldn't require valuable food sources such as corn in their production. Lignol and Suncor plan to use wood, possibly from trees damaged by pine beetles, and wood residue from two Western Slope lumber mills.

Not to get back to that Bosniak thing, but...

There was a time a few years ago when I got really interested in the wars in the former Yugoslav republics. So I did my homework.

So when I heard that Joe Biden referred to Bosnians as "Bosniaks," my impression, having educated myself on the subject, was that he knew what he was talking about. And those slamming him clearly did not. (We knew that already. Thanks, James.)

Curious, I returned to the index of Richard Holbrooke's To End a War, where he documents the Clinton Administration's effort to end the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

Joe Biden is mentioned by name three times.

Page 173. Holbrooke describes efforts to get Congress to approve a NATO peace-keeping operation which would put actual American troops on the ground and writes:
"Other critics of the policy, like Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Joe Biden, who were both Democrats, held their fire, waiting to see what would happen next."
On page 277, Biden comes out in support of a plan to arm the Bosniaks, even if it violates the UN arms embargo. (A little context: During the war, the UN imposed an arms embargo on the former Yugoslav states to try and contain the conflict. It didn't hurt Serbia much, which retained the military apparatus from the rump Yugoslavia, or Croatia, which had porous foreign borders and ports to smuggle through. Land-locked Bosnia, on the other hand, was fucked. They were forced to fight tanks with hunting rifles. Their biggest city, Sarajevo, was literally under siege, surrounded by superior weaponry and unable to fight back.)

On page 317, Holbrooke describes the reaction to the eventual deployment of peace-keeping forces.
Some important members of Congress immediately came to our support: Senators Lieberman, Biden and Lugar [a Republican] once again were in the forefront. Some qualified their support by tying it to a tight "exit strategy." Since the Administration had written a one-year timetable into the Dayton agreement, we could not object. Many other opposed the policy outright.
John McCain, who was also in the Senate at the time, was not one of them. Though he was skeptical of Clinton's Bosnia policy, he eventually voted for it, saying:
I had been a long-time skeptic, if not outright opponent, of our Bosnia policy. Senator Dole and I and others were strong proponents of lifting the arms embargo. But when the president made his commitment, committing not just Bill Clinton but the United States of America, the entire situation changed.
In Holbrooke's book, McCain's also mentioned on page 173 in the section on the Joint Chiefs testimony before Congress:
The Senators kept Shalikashvili under polite but persistent pressure. "Why can't the Europeans carry out these peacekeeping duties themselves?" asked McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war whose courage and integrity were unsurpassed in the Senate.
Asked in September of 1995, it's actually kind of an ignorant question, although in all fairness, it's probably rhetorical.

At that point, it was obvious why the Europeans couldn't do it. They had been trying to end the fighting for years and had so far been unsuccessful. Two months before, in July, Serbian forces massacred thousands of Muslim men and boys in the refugee town of Srebrenica while European "peacekeepers" watched on in humiliation, undermanned and disarmed.

None of this may have relevance to this year's election, but as history it's interesting to consider. It's also unlikely that anyone who considered it would have chuckled at Biden's Bosniak remark.