Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fort Greene cloud

Marvelous shot from flickr (er, from limonada)...

David Kuo : Where Is Republican Compassion?

I just can't get enough of this David Kuo guy.

I am personally finding my own views shifting more and more to the atheist angle, but I think that is in some ways a reaction to blind denials of things in front of our faces, like teaching children not to think but to rely, for some reason, on an a priori source of truth beyond investigation (er, certain texts).

David is a deeply faithful Christian, but he can see the things in front of his face. He believes that Christianity is about love and humility and caring for the poor. In relating that a Senate Home Security and Government Affairs Committee toured New Orleans on Monday and held a hearing about what can be done to help the people of New Orleans, David notes with horror that not a single Republican member attended (3 Dems).

How, even from a political perspective, can not one of the Republicans attend, let alone a moral perspective? If it was once stereotypically true that Democrats were hostile to faith and Republicans hostile to the poor. Democrats, however, have been trying to reach across the faith divide. Republicans? Nothing. Here is the list of Republican committee members who didn't attend - a list of shame:

Susan M. Collins Ranking Member (R-ME)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
George V. Voinovich (R-OH)
Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
John E. Sununu (R-NH)
Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)
John W. Warner (R-VA)

Where are the phone calls flooding the Senate switchboards mobilized by Christian political leaders like Dr. Dobson and Mr. Robertson? Where are the bushels of letters pouring into the offices of these members reminding them that Jesus cares enormously for the poor and sick and hurting? Where is the outrage that these people didn't even bother to go and survey the problems? Maybe they are just late in arriving.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Alan Gillett

I post this not in the spirit of dark-hearted American Idol early shows, but because Alan Gillett is a truly remarkable human being.

From WFMU's blog, which has loads more info and video clips of Alan.

We've Made a Difference in the World

Last week a friend and I were finally fed up with a promo on the the local news channel, and wrote them to complain. Well, as of yesterday (I think), they had actually modified the promo to remove the jarring sarcastic quip at the tail of the piece! "You're welcome" has been trimmed off!

Thanks to my friend Russell for also writing in, and for noting the edited promo.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


DSC_5359, originally uploaded by ianmcc.

A beautiful shot of The Intrepid Traveller...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Get Some Perspective

Yeah, sure it's cold, and I'm digging it. You can finally SMELL the cold. But let's get some perspective.

My tweaked version of Apple's Weather Widget, showing Kelvin. What a narrow range of "temperature" humans can live at!

Is there really such a big difference between today, Friday ("Coldest day in 2 Years!!") and tomorrow, Saturday ("Balmy")?

Come ON, Now - How Hard Is It?

Jesus' General makes a video of Patrick Leahy demanding explanation from Atty General Gonzalez about how shit got so fucked up with the Canadian citizen that was detained in NYC on his way home, and eventually sent to Syria (??) where he was tortured for months before finally being returned home to Canada, where he was exonerated of all charges of "terrorism."

IE or Y?

Me: Is "hippy" in the singular spelled with a Y or an IE?

Wikipedia: It's spelled "hippy" in the UK, and "hippie" in the US.

Me: Heh. Whaddya know. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

UPDATED: Kill the "You're Welcome" Guy

Updated: NY1 Responds! See below...

If you watch NY1, you know what I'm talking about. My email to them...
Subject: I Don't FEEL Welcome

Dear NY1 -

I've watched your channel for the first 2 hours of my waking life each
day for probably over a decade now, and I don't think I've
ever found anything as irritating as the "You're Welcome" comment at
the end of the 11pm New Broadcast promo. I've tried to ignore it, but
it won't go away, and I feel I had to share my opinion on it. That
smug, smirking quip is, I imagine, supposed to make the channel and
the new show seem "irreverent" and quirky, all Mountain Dew and out of
the box and Doritos XTreme, but it just comes across as some jerk who
stumbled into my living room and made some annoying crack at me. Sure,
it catches my attention, so to that end it succeeds. But NY1 has never
been about Ratings At Any Cost. Your channel succeeds and keeps me
watching because I like the people involved, and they talk
intelligently about the things I'm interested in in the city.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

- m

ps. Give Pat Kiernan whatever he asks for.

pps. While we're at it, the voicework for the "It'll only take you 5
minutes to watch the museum report" promo's also pretty annoying.

UPDATE: They responded! And as I wrote back to the guy, it's this kind of thoughtful, personal response that makes me love NY1 so much. Anyone reading this who lives in NYC, do them a favor and try out their 11pm broadcast sometime!:
Thanks for your two cents and your loyalty to NY1. The promo....ah, the
promo. You're right...we were looking for some irreverence and
attitude. As a matter of fact, we are proud of the fact that we don't
and will not do all of the hype and fluff you see on the other channels
and maybe that was reflected in a way that didn't work. Clearly, the
beginning of the promo didn't resonate with you like the "your welcome"
comment did. At any rate, your comments (and others) have been passed
along (and discussed) with our promo folks and we are coming up with
some more content-driven promotion.

Also, while ratings are not the end-all, we DO need viewers so please
watch the show!

Thanks again for the feedback.

Steve Paulus
General Manager, NY1

PS: Pat is doing quite nicely and is well appreciated. The museums
voice feedback has also been passed along.
Thanks, Steve!

Okay, Whatever You Say

There's a new Nintendo DS game out called Hotel 215. It's largely an interactive book, aka an Adventure Game, and it's getting some great reviews. In this one from Gamespot, I've deeply enjoyed the the text I've emboldened, cuz I know exactly what he means.
It helps that the solutions for puzzles aren't often troublesome. All the puzzles are designed specifically with the realities of this hotel in mind, so you won't find yourself with any obscenely weird objectives or "tie the cell phone to the cat" moments, nor are you likely to find yourself glued to a walk-through for the bulk of the game
Line of the year so far.

Did He Just Say "Baby Einstein?"

Regarding the surreal inclusion of Baby Einstein into the SOTU last night...

Yes, and yes.

Digby For President

This is why I contributed money this past December to Hullabaloo.
I have written a lot about the fact that ever since the hippies grew their hair long and women fought for their right to be full members of society, the Republicans have successfully broken the parties into archetypal masculine and feminine tribes. I have long thought that this was one of our more difficult challenges. Public leadership archetypes are mostly male, after all, and the right appropriated them all.

But that's about to change, isn't it? While we justly celebrate Jim Webb's strong no-nonsense speech tonight we also saw a rising Democratic party led by powerful, intelligent women. If there's an archetype at work now it's a healthy modern family --- mom and dad are equals.

I don't know how long it will take the media chatterers to get over their odd, adolescent testosterone fixation, but most of the rest of the country, as usual, is way ahead of them. The Democrats are the party of adults, male and female. The Republicans and the media are the only ones still stuck in Junior High waiting for the football captain to ask them to the dance.
Or, in the previous post:
As we await the magic moment when the Codpiece enters the capitol and wades through the adoring crowd to take to the podium and tell us what the state of our union is, I can't help but be reminded of what it used to be like when Bush made a speech or held a press conference and people like Howard Fineman said things like this:
"If he’s a cowboy he’s the reluctant warrior, he’s Shane… because he has to, to protect his family."
This was the tenor of the political discourse for years. Luckily, the country has seemed to finally noticed that this man's been walking around stark raving naked and babbling like an idiot for years. But it was a very depressing and disorienting time when the entire press corps and official punditocrisy insisted that this illiterate fool was on the par with with Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. Sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind.

Magic Wand

Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, on Bush's incoherent energy policy suggestions in his State of the Union message last night
This is beyond smoke and mirrors, this is magic wand stuff.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An NBA star and the founder of the Baby Einstein videos? And then you feel you can steal and take credit for our subway hero?

Fuck you, you rotten-hearted shit.

What Recycling Means to Bush

This is why ThinkProgress is the finest blog on the Net.

Their compilation of "Energy Independence" quotes from the past five State of the Union addresses...

State of the Union, 1/29/2002: Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.

State of the Union, 1/28/2003: Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment. … Even more, I ask you to take a crucial step and protect our environment in ways that generations before us could not have imagined.

State of the Union, 1/20/2004: Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run — so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

State of the Union, 2/2/2005: To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. … I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.

State of the Union, 1/31/2006: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil. …. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.


This is called being the government's "stenographer." That headline is not news. News would be "Bush to Emphasize the 'Newness' of His Ideas" or "Bush Calls His Ideas News" or "Bush Says His Speech Contains News Ideas."

Oh, and is it too much for you to point out that Bush called for an end to "Oil Addiction" in last year's State of the Union? It doesn't take a damn Nancy Drew to "notice" that.

Jules Crittenden Blames You

It continues to blow my mind to read shit like this. Jules Crittenden is, apparently, an "editor and columnist for the Boston Herald," and he writes "the speech George Bush should make Tuesday night":
So what is the best thing I can do tonight? I can tell you the truth. What none of you want to hear. What you’ve been stopping your ears to. The ugly truth.

The State of the Union is a disaster. I did my best, but I made mistakes, and my best wasn’t good enough.

We went to war without building up our army, and now, I am trying to make up for that.

But that is not the disaster.

The disaster is that you, Congress and the American people, do not care to fight.

Faced with a fundamental challenge to our own security, to everything we believe in, to the world order to peace and security for which we and our parents fought so hard for so many years, you now want to pretend like none of these threats are real. You want to surrender to the evil I have been telling you about. An evil that, unchecked, can consume large parts of the world and threatens to usher in a dark age.

You didn’t like it when I talked about evil. Sounded too simple, too uncompromising, too moralistic. Too … biblical.
For real? You HONESTLY believe that the reason Iraq is a catastrophic quagmire and we are Less Safe than we were if Bush had played bumper cars for 5 years is that we have blocked his work? That the American people - and the fucking Republican-led congress - were obstacles to his goals? That he didn't fire randomly at enough targets?

Jules, you are a terrible person.

Monday, January 22, 2007

You'll Have Plenty of Time to Play With Your Friends When Your Chores Are Done

Thank you, David Sirota:With A Mere 15,840 Hours Until Election ‘08, I’m Already Sick of the Presidential Campaign

I feel a bit like I used to feel about basketball games. In the latter, I felt you could show up midway in the 4th and they would have 5-10 points separating them, and then they would finish the game and one team would win.

In the Presidential Race I feel that we could all just stop talking about it for, say, 6 months, and don't worry, it'll be there waiting for you, all fresh and relevant, with plenty of time left to work out who can best save the lives of humans around the globe. Until then, just govern.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sick Minds

Ken Hovind is a "young earth" creationist that built a Pensacola, Florida park called Dinosaur Adventure Land, which "depicts humans and dinosaurs co-existing in the last 4,000-6,000 years and also contains a depiction of the Loch Ness monster."

He was just indicted for tax evision and given TEN YEARS in prison. He owed over a million dollars.

In a Pharyngula post on the topic, two quotes stood out to me that indicate the mindset of those in this "realm" of the world (must...hold back...from making judgemental...comments. Let the quotes speak for themselves....).

First, a supporter named Shelley the Republican, in a post that later urges believers to pray for a positive outcome of the (at that time not finalized) judgement, writes.
A quick review of the case show that the federal court unfairly denied Hovind's sensible and truthful defence: Kent owes no tax because everything he "owns" is really property of God. This is a fact that we would all do well to remember!
Sure, if you don't want to live in a country, like the United State of America, which is founded on secular laws, feel free to remember it. Are you really sinking to the equivalent of "But God created adultry"?

Next, Kent's own words to the court, asking for leniency.
If it's just money the IRS wants, there are thousands of people out there who will help pay the money they want so I can go back out there and preach," Hovind said.
How could we ever build a bridge to these states of mind? They need to form their own Christian version of Iran, I suppose.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure books on the iPod! Excellent. And there's even a free one: The Abominable Snowman.

Twisted Polls Create Twisted Impressions

Someone named Dean Barnett posts on Hugh Hewitt's blog about what he calls the "Most Depressing Poll Ever."

Apparently, it was a FOX News Poll, and listen to this twisted, manipulative poll question. I don't feel like this records any particular feeling, just people's attempts to convey their opinion within the odd confines of the format:

Do you personally want the Iraq plan President Bush announced last week to succeed?
As you can imagine, the results of such a twisted question (we already know that most people do NOT want to allow the escalation to go through, and so their response to this will be seriously clouded by that) are somewhat negative. The results:
Overall: 63% Yes 22% No 15% Don’t Know

Democrats: 51% Yes 34% No 15% Don’t Know

Republicans: 79% Yes 11% No 10% Don’t Know

Independents 63% Yes 19% No 17% Don’t Know
Dean continues, offering his solemn and serious analysis.
Friends, I’ll allow you a minute to wrap your minds around this, for we are truly through the looking class. Even though we have some 150,000 troops in harm’s way and we universally profess to “support the troops,” over 1/3 of our society either wants them to fail or doesn’t know if they want them to succeed. Even more chilling are the results regarding our currently dominant political party. 49% of Democrats either want us to lose in Iraq or “don’t know” if they want us to succeed.

I would love to hear why losing in Iraq would be in the national interest. And I would love to hear the humanitarian justification for leaving Baghdad’s civilians to the tender mercies of the murderous militias and terrorists that stalk that city.

And I would also love to hear Democratic leaders respond to these poll numbers. But I won’t hold my breath.
The main problem here is the Bush refuses to define "success" or "victory," so questions like this make no sense. Also, as I said, the strongest reaction to the "plan" last week was a reaction of the plan, so if folks reject the premise, asking them about the results of it are out of place.

If I were to even ask the Poll question "Do you want America to succeed in Iraq?" there would probably be folks that say "no." But again, that question would also make no sense, because it's based on a strange movie-based view of the world. Polls need to be more specific.

Do you want America to find the Pony?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Put Down the Party Horn

Go Glenn!. On the "compliance" of the Bush Administration in "ending" illegal warrantless surveillance.
I have to say that I find the celebratory tone that I have seen here and there to be quite odd and unwarranted. There is nothing to celebrate here. We shouldn't be grateful when the administration agrees to abide by the law. That is expected and required, not something that occurs when the King deigns that it should and we then celebrate that he has agreed to comply with the laws we have enacted.

And even more Glenn - his excellent coverage of some Congressional "activity" today.

Who's the Vegan NOW?

The Onion: Dairy Company Introduces Lots-Of-Pulp Milk

Bestest Friends

No love lost between Iraq Prez al-Maliki and the Bush administration:
Responding to Condoleezza Rice's recent comment that his government is on 'borrowed time,' Maliki 'humorously' suggested 'that it might be the Bush administration that is on borrowed time,' the Los Angeles Times reports.

'I understand and realize that inside the American administration there is some kind of a crisis situation, especially after the results of the last election,' Maliki said. "
(Thanks to Matt for reminding me whether "no love lost" means good or bad)
Johnny Marr's in Modest Mouse now? Oh, jeeeez. I guess I'll have to try to get over the MM singer's voice now.

Chamois Queen

These days, I'm all about chamois shirts. Hence, this is my new patron saint.

(okay, maybe hers is denim, but it's the whole effect that matters)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

2006 Chickenhawk of the Year

Nobody does it better. The Poor Man Institute presents the 2006 Chickenhawk of the Year.

Drooling Over Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is the best political writer living today. I've been reading and worshipping his blog for about a year now, and his references to a new book (he previously wrote How Would a Patriot Act?, which I actually still need to read) are getting me all geared up. Today he dropped a handful of details of what the book will be about:
Its broad theme is the exploitation of 'Good v. Evil' concepts and rhetoric (and the corresponding and insatiable need for an 'Enemy') in American political 'debates' and policy, and how reliance on that framework has destroyed the Bush presidency and damaged the country. Various topics are examined under that rubric (Iraq, Iran, media narratives, domestic policy making, executive power abuses, etc.). I'll write more about the book at some point when it makes sense to do so.

David Kuo on Dobson/McCain: "it is Jesus that is being bartered and sold here"

Earlier today I posted on my feelings of cynicism about Bush "taking a stand" against the way the Saddam (and subsequent) executions were handled (inane Bush quote I hadn't included: the new Iraqi govt "has still got some maturation to do") .

I linked to a writer named David Kuo, an evangelical Christian who used to work for the Bush Administration in their, more or less, "Faith Outreach" department. He left and then wrote a book strongly criticizing the administration of mocking and manipulating evangelicals, and just pretending to care about them.

Now, I'm no Christian, let alone an Evangelical, but I can respect one who speaks with honesty and integrity, and I find David's blog fascinating. This is a man who believes that Jesus is the highest of the high, higher than issues of sex on tv, higher than the fight against homosexual marriage, higher than "abstinence-only" programs - generally, he believes that all the trappings of the American Evangelical scene have nothing to do with his religion, and that is a wonderful and refreshing thing to here.

Well, today David is writing on the whole McCain-Dobson nonsense (Dobson, super-big-wig of American Evangelicals and the power they wield, says he doesn't like John McCain, and John says "hey, let's talk, let's work this out"), and it sickens him in many ways. Watch how he nails them both to the wall from a perspective different from my own, but one which I love to see. The highest sin is hypocrisy and falsehood.
This whole thing does nothing more than hurt the name of Jesus because it is Jesus that is being bartered and sold here. McCain wants Jesus so he can get votes. He thinks Jesus is found with the religious conservative vote. Dobson wants to give the illusion he controls Jesus so that he can achieve his political ends. All of this sends a single message to the world - Jesus' main significanc these days is to serve people's political ends.
Republicans have been taking Christians for granted by dangling minor panderings in front of them, and Christians are starting to realize they've been had. I may not agree with everything David writes (in fact, I'm sure of it), but in this case, and many others, David looks at the world with eyes unclouded by what he wants to believe is in front of him -- a top ethical position in my book.

Hey, isn't that sometimes referred to as Science?

Bush Uses the Upset Card to Convince People His Opinions Are Foreful

Bush says he is upset (come on, Bushie, can you say "unacceptable" again??) at the handling of the Saddam execution. So were ALL of us, LAST WEEK, when it happened, you spineless shit!

David Kuo has a fascinating and honest Christian blog called J-Walking where, among other things (like his fascination with the iPhone) he believes that Bush should have watched the Saddam hanging:
I watched him squirm during the discussion of Saddam Hussein's hanging video and how he didn't want to watch the actual hanging. If we can't watch the consequence of what we have done then isn't it possible that the thing we have ordered is wrong? Isn't facing consequences what every one of Jesus' followers is to do? I don't understand it.

More from Wikipedia, in case you didn't know who David is:
David Kuo is an author and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo's book Tempting Faith is a political and spiritual memoir of his time in Washington working with the religious right. However, it received enormous attention primarily because of his revelation that President Bush's "compassionate conservative" promises were never fulfilled and used for primarily political purposes. He also revealed how the Bush administration used Christian voters while simultaneously ridiculing Christian political leaders.

Christian Jedi Update

Each morning I ride the train through the field and streams of NYC freakdom, and I note some surprising media almost every day. I plan to present them here with little or no comment, as they tend to hit me pre-cognitively.

Note that small wide word above the word "Wisdom" - I hadn't even seen that word when i spotted this book on the train. That makes the posting even more surreal.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something to Aspire To

I didn't even know freehand perfect circle drawing people existed. I'm smitten.

Glenn Beck Should Rot In Hell

CNN dickhead Glenn Beck decides that Martin Luther King Day is an appropriate opportunity to call the rape allegations of the Duke Lacrosse team a "lynching." Cute, Glenn.

I've written to CNN at their feedback form:
Glenn Beck consistently shames your organization with his racism and his general behavior of a 10 year old brat. But calling the Duke lacrosse team the victim of a "lynching" on Martin Luther King Day is truly beyond the pale. Absoutely nauseating. Just because people are talking about how he's an embarrassment to CNN doesn't mean you're winning some goal of "viewership." Please reconsider his role at CNN.


(My Two Sense, via AmericaBlog)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sensations of His Own Weakness

Glenn Greenwald writes about how a cornered, threatened, weakened Bush is especially dangerous for us all:
The most dangerous George Bush is one who feels weak, powerless and under attack. Those perceptions are intolerable for him and I doubt there are many limits, if there are any, on what he would be willing to do in order to restore a feeling of power and to rid himself of the sensations of his own weakness and defeat.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Sinking Ship of American Illusion

The Unapologetic Mexican on The Lie:
Though blood is spilling and fear is growing and government control is unhinging its flex like a fevered, murderous marionette due to this mad, mad idiot child at the helm of our nation, in a sense we are better off. For the Lie will never be swallowed quite so easily by quite so many. And because after this razing to the ground of the great star-spangled illusion, I am sure we will recoil, and with a passion that just may make this world a better place than it could have been were Gore or Kerry to win.

IF we survive the further destruction that Bush is clamoring to 'bring on,' that is.
As we were gearing up for the 2004 Presidential election, I remember whispers were started to be heard along these lines - that a Bush win "might not be such a bad idea," because things could get really bad before they got better, and that the bounce back my be higher than it would be otherwise (with just a single-term Bush nightmare behind us). Well, sitting here in my safety and plenty at a computer screen, of course, it's easy to say that, and - in a way - I can understand it. Wishing for it before the election is actually different than looking for a silver lining at this point, but I do believe with TUM that the Lie has been exposed for all the people of the world to see, and for America to see how our system can fail.

I'm young, though, and I imagine thoughts like this must have been going through heads post-Hiroshima and post-McCartney, too.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Feel the JoeFuckYoumtum!

Brad Altrocket from Sadly, No! is fed up:
Dear Joe Lieberman,

You are the biggest loser in the history of loserdom. You are a bigger loser than Kevin Federline. You are a bigger loser than the entire Italian Army. You are a bigger loser than the goddamned LA Clippers.

“Pointing out that Bush sucks only divides the nation!”
Read why, if you have no idea. Hint: It has to do with Katrina.

Look, Stop

You know when someone's arguing a point, and they say "Look, the real reason..." or "Well, look, it's not that..." or "Look, no one's saying..." or "Look, if we can only..."?

I can't think of a time in my life when someone says that Look and it's not irritating.

Here endeth today's complaint.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Growth of a Child (Learning Responsibility)

8 year-old: "If there were mistakes, I'm sorry"

12 year-old: "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me"

adult: "I made a mistake. I'm sorry. It was this."

Froomkin continues:
That's a step. But the restoration of Bush's credibility on Iraq requires that he admit that he himself made mistakes, and explain what he's learned from them.

Instead, what he was saying last night was, basically: People who worked for me screwed up, and I'm jumping on the grenade. That sort of "admission" casts himself as heroic, rather than repentant.

There was no acknowledgment that he himself had ever done anything wrong. There was no contrition, no remorse, no apology, no sense that he had learned anything from the experience, no reason to hope that he'll make better decisions next time around.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Most irritating way to start an ad:
"What's your cereal's IQ?"
From a Kellogg's Start Smart cereal ad.
Clive Thompson, from Collision Detection:
Personally, I think squid-inspired design could improve anything.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Failures of "Homespun American Pseudo-Folk Wisdom"

Incredible article from Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on how the US keeps fucking up in Iraq:
And so this is how we got where we are. You get a whole nation full of people who spend 99 percent of their free time worrying about their lawns or their short iron game, you convince them that they know something about something they actually know nothing about, and next thing you know, they're blundering into a 1,000-year blood feud between rival Islamic groups, shooting things left and right in a panic, and thinking that they can make it all right and correct each successive fuckup by "keeping our noses to the grindstone" and "making lemons out of lemonade."

The whole war has been characterized by this kind of behavior. The Americans continually make ghastly mistake after ghastly mistake, and they keep responding to their mistakes by digging down and seeking the aid of the same homespun American pseudo-folk wisdom that got them into this mess in the first place. Our foreign policy initiatives in the area resemble attempts to mend fences with a neighbor whose lawn has been mussed by bringing him a tuna casserole cooked specially by wifey; only in Iraq, when casserole-presenting Dad ends up with his eyes gouged out and his skull charred black, hanging upside down from a telephone wire and impaled on the shards of the casserole dish, the neighborhood committee convenes and...decides to bake a bigger casserole.
You really ought to read the whole damn thing. It's a blistering piece, with lots of blistering (huh?) for Mr. Thomas Friedman.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


DSCF5124, originally uploaded by Happykid.

No chelicerata - just a beautiful picture for a Sunday morning.

Joel McHale on TV's The Soup
If there were a Voltron-like creature created by the sum of the egos of the ladies on The View, it would have to be Tyra Banks.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

As I've said before, I keep a handful of frightful rightwing blogs in my reading (malkin, etc) because a) they are entertaining, b) sometimes, like with FOX News, despite my stringent disagreement with it, often there is rich "information" within the messages, and c) the whole "know your enemy" theory.

Sometimes, tho, I read a post and I sigh and I feel like I'm looking down at a 4 year old who is hitting me with a winter hat he has been asked to put on. Mark Noonan, of Blogs for Bush, writes a mean "Why am I even wasting my eyes on this when I could be asleep or watching, say, VHS tapes of Paradise Hotel" post - this one is called "Fight Terrorism? How Dare He!":
Democrats are planning a slew of "oversight" hearings to "investigate," amongst other things the war in Iraq, and terrorist surveillance.

You get this? Apparently, fighting terrorism is a bad thing, and must be treated as a potential crime.

What should we be calling the Democrats now? Defeatist Democrats? Cut and Run Democrats? Bin Laden Democrats? It seems like they are motivated by a desire to see this country lose the war. Why? To undermine President Bush.

And they accused President Bush of being a divider, not a uniter? These liberal sickos have done nothing but divide this country. In my lifetime alone, they've committed some of the most blatant acts of treason. Whether it be Ted Kennedy's reaching out to the Soviet Union to undermine Reagan's reelection, to as recent as their opposition to the Patriot Act, the surveillance of terrorists and reaching out to our enemies to undermine Bush.

It's time to investigate the Democrats. They are deliberately trying to lose the war, and they must be held accountable.

Life Grows and Changes

I love evolution so much it makes me cry. From writer Clive Thompson, on his blog Collision Detection:

Dig this: A group of researchers has discovered that red squirrels appear to be able to predict the future.

At least, the future of the forests in which they live. American and Eurasian red squirrels live in spruce trees, and love to eat spruce tree seeds. To try and thwart the squirrels, the trees long ago evolved an interesting defense: An unpredictable boom-and-bust period of seed production. The trees will produce several low-seed years in a row and then, boom, outta nowhere and seemingly at random, a bumper crop of seeds. The idea is that the trees will starve the squirrels in the lean years, thus reducing the squirrel population -- whereupon the trees will launch a massive seed offensive to try and frantically reproduce while the squirrels are on the ropes.

But here's the thing: The squirrels have fought back. A team led by Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta studied the squirrels' mating patterns, and Boutin found something remarkable: The squirrels appear to be able to predict when the trees are going to randomly produce a bumper crop. In a high-yield year, several months before the trees produce their seeds, the squirrels engage in a second mating cycle, doubling the size of their broods. The squirrels are somehow seeing into the future of the trees -- or at least making incredibly accurate bets.

I do feel like noting that this description takes the classic inverted view of evolution than the one I prefer: species don't TRY to become something else. The ones that are still around are the ones that did a certain thing. Individual ambition, while its own wonderful thing, has nothing to do with evolution. (Feel free to show some way that it is in a comment)

The trees aren't TRYing to be like that. The ones that started doing it are in fact the ones that are still around, even better than ones who, say, started a simpler alternation of high- and low-output years.

On the squirrel side, it's a bit more complicated. We can say for sure that the squirrels aren't meeting in committees and debating the evidence, and choosing as a society what to do. But I couldn't really say what's at work here. More study needed. It's possible that the ones that are still around are the ones that have a mating cycle that somehow matches the (certainly not random) cycle of the bumper crop years, but....how strange is all that?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Okay. We're part of this now?

(David Horsey, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
File Under: Sore Losers

Tom Delay's Blog ("I write it out in longhand, and they type it") calls the bills the Democrats are introducing in their "First 100 Hours" the equivalent of "Martial Law."

What will they say once the crooks start going to JAIL?

Cheney Swears in Hillary

Cheney swears in Hillary yesterday. I don't know what Bill's doing there, but still: Priceless photo.

(Photo from the NY Times, via The Reaction)
The Washington Wire blog at the Wall Street Journal notes that at the end of a press conference Thursday evening with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (the same one the BushBoy harassed with a nauseating shoulder grab last summer), Bush made what he appears to think was a joke: "No Back Rubs"

Says one commenter:
It is amazing how many nannies this president has.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Editors provide some serious analysis:
You could invade Sweden tomorrow, re-name it “Iraq”, and have yourself a marvelous, if slightly Nordic, Iraqi state.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Hero To Start

Let me start off 2005 2006 2007 with a STANDING OVATION for this man.