Thursday, July 28, 2005

Gratuitous Blog

Stop presses!
AP headline: Teens Using Internet in Record Numbers

Warning: Survey
Reuters: “E-mail is for grown-ups and U.S. teenagers now prefer instant messaging to communicate with each other online, according to a survey released on Wednesday.”

E-mail is old-fashioned? Already? It’s gone the way of the Victrola? And videotape is outmoded! Already?

Have a big sandwich and take a nap!
Dagwood and Blondie celebrate their 75th anniversary. Already?

Oh, go send an e-mail to your grandkids.

Legendary BEATLES producer GEORGE MARTIN disapproves of modern technology because now anyone can make a record in the comfort of their own home.

Martin sealed his place in history by piecing together a string of classic albums including REVOLVER and SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND - but he fears the advent of mp3 players will dumb down the music industry.

He says, "With iPods, mini-recorders and all the new technology, people can lie in their bath and make a rock record."

Stop presses 2:

“While technology, such as cell phones, e-mail and instant messaging, have in many ways made life easier, these same devices may make users lazy and oblivious to their surroundings. The constant pressure on workers to be accessible means manners often take a backseat. In consumer circles, lots of people apparently believe that because they can take or make a phone call, they should.”

Is she still alive?
"The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," veteran reporter Helen Thomas told DC newspaper, THE HILL. "All we need is one more liar."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

blog to end all blogs

That king of innuendo, god of backroom whispers, emperor of directmail, and alleged leaker, Karl Rove, may have a sex life.

New York Daily News:

President Bush's deputy chief of staff and foremost fishwife is fending off whispers about his friendship with lobbyist Karen Johnson.

The two are said to have gotten acquainted when Johnson sat on the board of then-Gov. George W. Bush's Business Council.

"Their friendship reportedly deepened after Bush appointed Johnson - a little-known spokesperson for the Texas Good Roads Association - to a seat on his Transportation Department transition team in 2000," reports. "The plum appointment enabled Johnson's lobbying firm, Infrastructure Solutions, to snare such high-paying clients as Aetna and the City of Laredo."

Johnson now travels frequently between Washington, D.C., and Austin, where she often appears at Rove's side at parties, according to Radar.

"Although there is no evidence that their relationship is anything but professional, the close association between the married White House aide and the comely lobbyist has long raised eyebrows in conservative Texas circles," the mag reports.

Raising eyebrows

“…such high-paying clients as Aetna and the City of Laredo.”

The City of Laredo? Is that really a feather in a lobbyist’s cap?

And what kind of company name is Infrastructure Solutions? Doesn’t this sound like a cover to you? Clearly, this “Karen Johnson,” if that’s her real name, is some kind of spy. Let's out her!

Raising eyebrows2
Does anybody really raise an eyebrow any more? These days it seems we’re more given to shouting hoarsely at those of whom we disapprove.

The wives speak.

Mrs. Blair: "Nothing I say here could possibly be construed as making light of these horrific acts of violence, or of the responsibility imposed on the UK and other governments to keep the public safe. At the same time, it is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation. The Government, even in times when there is a threat to national security, must act strictly in accordance with the law. In our troubled times, where terrorism, division and suspicion of others, are the order of the day, this role for judges is perhaps more vital than ever before."

Mr. Blair: "It is very important to protect our way of life and it is important to protect our security. I think probably, to be fair, if you read the whole of the speech she was saying the same thing."

Mrs. Bush (on a Supreme Court nominee): "Sure, I would really like for him to name another woman. Whether it's a woman or a man, of course, I have no idea.”

Mr. Bush: “I can't wait to hear her advice in person when she gets back."

Burn Baby Burn

Back in the day, the late Huey P. Newton was a co-founder of the militant Black Panthers. The Huey P. Newton Foundation, a non-profit organization out of Oakland, wants to trademark the phrase, “Burn Baby Burn,” which will then be placed on a hot sauce, and marketed as a fundraising device.

“Burn Baby Burn” began life as a phrase with the famous Los Angeles disc jockey, Magnificent Montague, back in the fifties and sixties, who would utter it before spinning a hot platter. During the Watts Riots in 1965, the phrase was taken up by rioters as they set fires and looted - which kind of took the fun out of the phrase.

Further fun was removed by the Black Panther Party, formed in 1966, who enjoyed posing grimly for photographs with loaded weapons. Some of them died in gun battles with police.

Considering the Panther’s and phrase’s history, many conservatives object to the Huey P. Newton Foundation’s using this particular phrase for its hot sauce. Huey P. Newton, you may recall, was convicted of manslaughter for killing a policeman. He was later accused of killing a prostitute, and fled to Cuba for three years, then returned and was acquitted. Later, he was convicted of embezzling funds from a Panther school fund to finance his various bad habits. He was killed by a drug dealer in 1989. Put some of that on your taco, baby!

On the other hand, these are kinder gentler times for non-profit organizations. They’re more about PowerPoint and action items than taking the struggle to the street. We don’t do revolutions any more (unless they're revolutions in marketing). Instead, we raise awareness.

And the phrase, “Burn Baby Burn” eventually evolved from an angry shout on a fiery street to a joyous call to shake your booty on the dance floor - the streets on fire became the disco inferno.

(“Disco Inferno” is also the name of a recent track made by the rapper 50 Cent, in which he declares, “Little mama show me how you move it, go ahead put your back into it, do your thing like there aint nothing to it,” a sentiment to which I believe both Magnificent Montague and Huey Newton might be sympathetic.)

All things considered, I would much rather see “Burn Baby Burn” on my sizzling links than hear it shouted from a mob bent on burning down my house. But that's just me.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Coldplay Blog

Chris Martin and Gwyneth: An Authorized Adventure.
Tall, lithe Chris Martin was lounging at his home in Belsize Park, thinking about a new song for his pop group, Coldplay, when a small knock came at the door. Though he was listening to Radiohead on his iPod at the time, seeking inspiration, he was so attuned to his environment that he sensed the outsider’s presence immediately.

Removing his headphones and glancing up, he noticed his wife, slender Gwyneth Paltrow, star of SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW among other films, enter the room. Intuitively, he could tell she was concerned as well, even though her brow was unfurrowed. The nanny, tall brunette lesbian Eleanor Foster, followed in her wake, carrying the sleeping child, Apple (Apple of my eye, thought Chris Martin with an inward smile).

Gwyneth asked the obvious question, “Who is it, darling?”

“Only one way to find out,” said Chris Martin grimly. He unfolded his long legs, and headed for the door.

Opening it, he was surprised to see Noel Gallagher, of the pop group Oasis. He seemed ill-at-ease and angry.

“Lo, Chris Martin,” he muttered.

“Noel!” Chris Martin knew that Noel Gallagher viewed Coldplay as a deadly rival to Oasis in the highly-competitive popular music scene. His presence at Chris Martin’s doorstep came something as a shock. “Come in,” a puzzled Chris Martin said, stepping aside, “Come in.”

Gwyneth, ever the hostess, chimed in: “Would you like a spot of tea, Noel? A pint, perhaps?”

“Nothing for me, ma’am,” the sullen rocker responded, entering.

“A healthy macrobiotic snack? Or I could make some flounder with miso sauce. Or some bangers and mash? I know how you lads like to indulge now and then.”

“I’m fine, me,” Noel said.

“Sit down, sit down,” said Chris Martin, gesturing towards the couch.

Noel sank into the leatherette Milano, and sighed.

“It’s Liam,” he said.

Chris Martin and Gwyneth exchanged a knowing look.

“Oh Noel,” Gwyneth uttered sympathetically, sitting down in one of the twin loungers.

“Talk to us,” said Chris Martin.

“I dunno.” Noel ran a hand through his hair. “Maybe it’s because we was so skint coming up. Insecurity and that. But we were both wild boys.”

“Yes,” agreed Gwyneth, softly.

“We have a new record,” Noel said. “Liam’s doing all right now, but I’m afraid he’ll go back to his wild ways.”

“He gets bored easily,” ventured Chris Martin.

“Oh yeah. The silly twat might headbutt a promoter, for example,” Noel said. He held up a hand, and added, “Nothing wrong with that, done it myself. But what if he does it in front of the fans? Or what if he doesn’t show up at a show?”

“Even if he does, he could headbutt a fan,” offered Gwyneth.

Noel concurred: “He can be fookin’ barkin’, on occasion.”

“So you’re being proactive,” nodded Gwyneth, approvingly.

Chris Martin, who had been looking out the window thoughtfully, turned and said: “I think we can help you, Noel.”

“That would be brilliant,” Noel said. “Maybe I’ll have that pint after all, then, ma’am.”

It was just a week later that Noel, accompanied by his younger brother Liam, once again knocked at the front door of the handsome front man of Coldplay and his lovely actress bride.

Liam wondered aloud, “What’s this all about again?”

“I told you, mate. Pot noodles for me, and beans on toast for you,” Noel responded. “That’s what it’s all about.”

“Fookin’ great,” Liam exclaimed. “Maybe a pint or two as well, eh?

The door opened. Gwyneth Paltrow, beaming a radiant smile, stood before them. She gestured to the room behind her as she stepped aside.

As they entered, they heard a disembodied voice.

“What am I doing, swanning about like a fooking wanker? Like that fat whinging bastard Robbie Williams? I want to get fooking hammered and freak people out. And I don’t mean the bloody fooking Yanks. They can kiss my stinky white arse. If this is rock ‘n’ roll, I’ll be at home with me feet up, totally monged, watching LOVE ME, LOVE MY KIDS. Russell Crowe, that’s my role model.”

Liam cocked his head and frowned. He asked, “Who’s this chuff?”

The tall slender figure of Chris Martin filled the doorway. He was chuckling.

“Hiya Liam,” he said.

“Chris Martin,” acknowledged Liam.

“Do you remember an interview you did a few days ago with a student newspaper reporter?”

“There are so many….” said Liam.

“The interviewer was a funny-looking stooped-over kid with coke bottle glasses.”

“Fooking geek,” said Liam. “Yeah, all right. I remember.”

“That was me,” grinned Chris Martin.

“You?” Liam was incredulous.

“I helped with the disguise,” Gwyneth chimed in. “And make-up!”

“You did so much more than that, Gwyn,” Chris Martin revealed. “We rigged up Apple’s baby monitor to a digital recorder in another room.”

“And you were wearing a webcam,” said Gwyneth.

“That I was.”

“This is shite,” mumbled Liam.

“We’re glad you see it that way,” said Gwyneth gently.

Liam looked startled. “What d’you mean?”

Chris Martin put a hand on Liam’s shoulder. “That was your voice we just heard,” he said.

Liam looked shocked, then hung his head. “I’m quite the mad aleck then,” he said.

Noel put his hand on his brother’s older shoulder.

“Doesn’t have to be that way, brother,” he said.

Chris Martin spoke again: “Imagine if your fans, or the tabloids, or your record label could see and hear you carrying on like that.”

“You have a wonderful band,” Gwyneth added. “You make uplifting music that young people adore. Do you just want to throw that away?”

“Reckon not,” said Liam sheepishly.

“Oy,” said Noel, pointing at Liam’s face. “The mucker’s blushing.”

Chris Martin’s face broke into an open grin. He asked, “Lesson learned?”

Liam nodded.

“’Nuff said,” exclaimed Gwyneth. “Now let’s have some pot noodles, beans on toast, and tofu.”

Noel broke in: “And a pint or two, as well, if you please. We don’t want to tarnish the image.”

“Don’t forget the chocolate,” laughed Chris Martin.

The nanny, tall brunette lesbian Eleanor Foster, cradling Apple, mused to herself: “Chris Martin. Ah. I could go wrong for that one.”

Then she turned her gaze to the lissome Gwyneth Paltrow, as she gracefully led the way for the men to the dining nook.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


A dire warning about John G. Roberts from Ann Coulter! And who’s Jay-Z?
"So all we know about him for sure is that he can't dance and he probably doesn't know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah...we also know he's argued cases before the supreme court. big deal; so has Larry Flynt's attorney."

As you may have heard, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the source of most of our state’s gravitas, signed a deal, shortly before being inauguarated, with a body-building magazine, that would have earned him something like $8 million over five years. He has decided to resign whatever position it was this body-building magazine had offered him, in the interest of retaining the enormous regard in which he is held by his constituents.

More fodder for conservatives!
From Reuters: “The word ‘fail’ should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase ‘deferred success’ to avoid demoralizing pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.”

And no lullabies, please.
From Reuters: Motorists who enjoy a sing-along while driving tend to concentrate more and fall asleep less than their silent counterparts, new research showed Tuesday. However, drivers should avoid overly rousing tunes or complex rhythms which can divert attention away from the road.

From Reuters: “Bald men in Germany have no entitlement to state support for toupees, a court ruled on Wednesday.”

On Hitchens, On Rove.
This has fallen off the radar, because we have no attention span, but I would like to respond to Christopher Hitchens’ take on the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame brouhaha. My comments are in italics.

He wrote in SLATE:

“…[T]he most exploded figure in the entire argument is Joseph Wilson. This is for three reasons. He claimed, in his own book, that his wife had nothing to do with his brief and inconclusive visit to Niger. ‘Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,’ he wrote. ‘She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.’ There isn't enough wiggle room in those two definitive statements to make either of them congruent with a memo written by Valerie Wilson (or Valerie Plame, if you prefer) to a deputy chief in the CIA's directorate of operations. In this memo, in her wifely way, she announced that her husband would be ideal for the mission since he had ‘good relations with both the Prime Minister and the former Minister of Mines (of Niger), not to mention lots of French contacts.’ If you want to read the original, turn to the Senate committee's published report on the many ‘intelligence failures’ that we have suffered recently. I want to return to those, too.”

This has been brought up again and again. What the hell difference does it make who “proposed” him to Niger? Even if his wife gave a blow job to Dick Cheney or the Minister of Mines to get Joseph Wilson the gig, how would that affect what his findings would be?

“Speaking to the Washington Post about the CIA's documents on the Niger connection, Wilson made the further claim that ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.’ Again according to the Senate report, these papers were not in CIA hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip. He has since admitted to the same newspaper that he may have ‘misspoken’ about this.”

And why is this significant? Beats me.

“The third bogus element in Wilson's boastful story is the claim that Niger's ‘yellowcake’ uranium was never a subject of any interest to Saddam Hussein's agents. The British intelligence report on this, which does not lack criticism of the Blair government, finds the Niger connection to be among the most credible of the assertions made about Saddam's double-dealing. If you care to consult the Financial Times of June 28, 2004, and see the front-page report by its national security correspondent Mark Huband, you will be able to review the evidence that Niger—with whose ministers Mr. Wilson had such ‘good relations’—was trying to deal in yellowcake with North Korea and Libya as well as Iraq and Iran. This evidence is by no means refuted or contradicted by a forged or faked Italian document saying the same thing. It was a useful axiom of the late I.F. Stone that few people are so foolish as to counterfeit a bankrupt currency.”

Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. He did not have yellowcake uranium. He may have WANTED these things, but wanting is not having. Joseph Wilson may be a self-serving individual (all I know is the VANITY FAIR profile) but to treat him as some kind of conniving liberal operative is just ludicrous.

“Thus, and to begin with, Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless. What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press? Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend. Or you can say that the word of a mediocre political malcontent who is at a loose end, and who is picking up side work from a wife who works at the anti-regime-change CIA, may not be as ‘objective’ as it looks. I dare say that more than one supporter of regime change took this option. I would certainly have done so as a reporter if I had known.”

To my mind, Wilson’s “worthless”ness has not been proved at all. What reporters report, of course, is up to them and their editors, but if you work for the Bush administration (or any administration), to my mind the proper way to approach criticism is to answer it forthrightly, to America and to the mediocre political malcontent’s face, and not have anonymous beside-the-point telephone and e-mail exchanges with reporters, behind the malcontent’s back, especially those exchanges that MAY have jeopardized long term undercover CIA operations. It’s one thing for a Daniel Ellsberg or a Phillip Agee to spill CIA secrets. They're lefties, after all, with a moral ax to grind. But the White House? Just to discredit a guy that Hitchens claims shouldn't be taken seriously in the first place? It’s sleazy, lazy, and stupid.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Quotation Station

Blue Moon of Kentucky, Stop That Smiling
I don’t get around much any more, so it was news to me that the official license plates of Kentucky bear a smiley-face icon, called “Mr. Smiley,” with the motto, “Kentucky: It’s that friendly!” The design, AP informs me, was unveiled by then-Governor Paul Patton in 2002. Reaction was swift.

“Some drivers drew a mustache on the smiling sun's image or covered it up with a frowning-face sticker or duct tape. Others even paid extra money not to have Mr. Smiley greet other drivers …. The backlash brought a surge in sales of specialty plates…. Mr. Smiley even irritated some state legislators, who proposed several bills over the past two years to change the plates.”

On January 1, Mr. Smiley will be history. Current Governor Ernie Fletcher is supposed to announce the change on Tuesday. The new slogan will be “Unbridled Spirit.” And perhaps the license plate will show a picture of a fierce horse, or a brooding pony.

Are the terrorists downsizing?
Anne-Marie Slaughter over at tpm café ponders:

“After all the predictions of apocalyptic terrorism, the assurances that we are in a new era in which al Qaeda’s chief goal must be to top its last attack in drama and number of deaths (hence the overriding likelihood that it will try to acquire and use a weapon of mass destruction), we seem to be back to fairly ordinary – albeit horrible – bombings of transport systems.”

Belgravia Dispatch wonders the same thing:

“…[D]on't you think that, for a Big Bang style attack in London--a major world and financial capital and home to the so hated Bush Poodle Tony--don't you think al-Qaeda would have put to use the very best explosives it had at its disposal? …”

And Rush Limbaugh had these words of condolence:
"It's like I said -- 40 people dead, 150 seriously wounded, 1,000 wounded out of over 1 million people in that transit tube. It's not a successful terrorist attack, folks."

Brit Hume’s reaction to the London bombing.
"My first thought when I heard - just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.'"

Fox’s Stuart Varney finds a plus side!
"It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again."

Fox’s John “Ever-tasteful” Gibson had this to say:
If the International Olympic Committee “…had picked France instead of London to hold the Olympics, it would have been the one time we could look forward to where we didn't worry about terrorism. They'd blow up Paris, and who cares? This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics - let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while."

In other news, Karl Rove – whistleblower
WSJ editorial-July 13
“For Mr. Rove is turning out to be the real ‘whistleblower’ in this whole sorry pseudo-scandal. He's the one who warned Time's Matthew Cooper and other reporters to be wary of Mr. Wilson's credibility. He's the one who told the press the truth that Mr. Wilson had been recommended for the CIA consulting gig by his wife, not by Vice President Dick Cheney as Mr. Wilson was asserting on the airwaves. In short, Mr. Rove provided important background so Americans could understand that Mr. Wilson wasn't a whistleblower but was a partisan trying to discredit the Iraq War in an election campaign. Thank you, Mr. Rove.”

Yeah, thanks a heap. As a matter of fact, for his ceaseless efforts to bring unvarnished truth to the media, why not give Karl Rove a medal, made out of that Niger uranium?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

rove free blog

From Salon: “Metrosexuals, move over. The small towns of America are churning out macho, high-maintenance pretty men who love women and Budweiser -- and have perfectly waxed privates.”

And do they have their people working the meth labs for them?

"TransGeneration" provides a textbook example of television executives legitimizing deviancy for all of us in the name of a "live and let live" society where anything goes. As I explain in my new book, "Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future," Hollywood's focus on pushing the envelope leads to greater societal tolerance for higher levels of deviancy. According to the TV execs, we should all embrace the deviant -- after all, these transgendered students are "idealistic and impassioned," going through "life changes" just like the rest of us. Who are we to condemn them?

Drudge goes wild!

The review of the movie in question, WEDDING CRASHERS, on MSN reveals that “McCain appears for only a few seconds, apparently playing himself (as does James Carville), while [Christopher] Walken is cast as a fictional Secretary of the Treasury.” Who are we to condemn him?

MSM launches blog!
CBS is going to have its own blog, according to the New York Times:

“Andrew Heyward, the president of CBS News, said that Internet users did not want to watch programs as they were produced for broadcasts … and would rather have more control over their viewing.

"’The beauty of the Internet is we are not singing the linear blues in a nonlinear age,’ he said. "We don't want to make someone wait through 45 minutes of the Scott McClellan briefing if they want to see footage of the mudslide.’”


I know that the blogosphere is the bee’s knees these days, but isn’t there a case to be made for getting something other than only information we WANT to receive? If we only see what we want to see, and if those who create information give us only the information they think we want to see, are we really informed? Or are we just the final link in a food chain?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

May I have a double super secret background please? With sprinkles?

They've given you a number, and taken away your name.
According to Newsweek, Matt Cooper's e-mail to Time Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy said, "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation.”

Double Super Secret Background? It’s like something two third grade boys would swear to: “This is Double Super Secret Background, and if you talk, you get a noogie.”

Did lawyers could up with this category of anonymity? How are the layers of secrecy determined? I know that reporters quote people “on background,” and “deep background.” An interne, I assume, would be assigned “background,” and an assistant to the under-assistant secretary of whatever would get “deep background.” When did this other level pop up?

On the top level, the Karl Rove level, there's “double super secret background,” but who gets the in-betweens? I am inferring that there must be such levels as “secret background,” and “super secret background.” Who gets those? Condoleeza Rice? The Homeland Security guy?
Dick Cheney must be pissed. He’s probably demanding Triple Super Secret Background, even though he has no intention of talking to the press, ever.

And what about President Bush himself? Should he ever want to drop a little bombshell to a reporter, would it be under Quadruple Super Duper Secret Background? And God Himself, should He ever decide to speak to us once again from a burning bush, would it be under Super Secret Background Yea Unto Infinity?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Terrorism loses!

Favorite headline.
“Dennis now a tropical depression.” Because I have a friend named Dennis, who is rarely depressed, perhaps because he lives in the Land of Earthquakes, and not the Land of Tropical Depressions.

Unfornunate word coinage, x in a series.
“Cellywood”: indicating the ambience in which media are created for display on a cell phone.

Poor Hillary
Ms. Clinton, in a speech in Colorado, compared President Bush to Alfred E. Neuman, because (in her, or her handlers’ view) he has a “What-Me-Worry?” attitude.

In other times, this would have been considered standard political boilerplate, and best ignored, but in today’s climate, Stephan Minarik, New York’s GOP chairman, felt compelled to respond, "At a time when President Bush and most elected officials are focused on the security of our nation, Mrs. Clinton seems focused on taking partisan jabs and promoting her presidential campaign. Her priorities are clearly out of whack."

Um. She is a Democrat, is she not? What is she supposed to do, worship the guy?

And RNC spokeswoman declared, "Hillary Clinton's opportunistic attempt to market herself as a centrist is like a wolf dressing up in sheep's clothing. Such thinly veiled rhetoric doesn't change the fact she is part of today's angry and adrift Democrat Party."

Thinly veiled rhetoric? What is it veiling, exactly? I don’t know about the adrift part, but I certainly look forward to more anger from the Democratic party. A little more creativity in the insults, though, please.

Poor Hillary 2
Howard Klein reports from the Washington Post, “Despite the enormous hype surrounding Edward Klein's scathing and hearsay-filled book about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the author has been ignored by all but two television talk shows.”

In addition, Peggy Noonan called his book “poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work." New York Post columnist John Podhoretz said it was "one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated."

It’s weird when conservatives urge restraint, isn’t it? Especially when Ms. Noonan only this June referred to her as a “political grifter.” John Podhoretz, on the other hand, is apparently always eminently sensible and eager to please. According to a New York Magazine profile, “He considers bitter feuds over, say, Hannah Arendt a waste of time, friendships lost over nothing.” (And who wouldn't?)

On the other hand, from the blogosphere - the Etherzone, specifically (“the intelligent alternative”), the righteous loon John LeBoutillier thunders: “In the midst of the media firestorm over Ed Klein’s blockbuster book, THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY, we can see the moral cowardice and equivocation that can destroy our nation from within. Yes, the very effective Clinton Spin Machine has worked with their allies in the so-called Mainstream Media to censor Klein and keep him off the TV airwaves.

“…[W]hat we could not have predicted was so many craven so-called ‘conservatives’ who bailed out on the Klein book in an obvious attempt to curry favor with the chablis and brie cocktail party set.

“Peggy Noonan, John Podhoretz, Dick Morris, Bill O’Reilly and Craig Shirley are some of the ‘conservatives’ who trashed the Klein book - without even reading it!

“We must have the courage to fight!”

That’s more like it. I frankly don’t see what you’re so on about, but go get her, John! Let’s fight! Something!

On a personal note
The wife has just learned she has been accepted as a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. There is no money in this. But great honor!
And I have just learned I will be doing a Saturn commercial tomorrow. My first paying voice gig in four years! There is no great honor in this. But money!

This amused me, from the Portland Mercury:
Why the Fantastic 4 Human Torch ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!) is the Worst Movie Tie-In Toy Ever
by Wm. Steven Humphrey

Children are not idiots. Okay, most of them are idiots. Nevertheless, children still deserve our respect. Okay, they don't deserve any respect. But even so, I would not wish the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!) toy on my worst child enemy--and, believe me, I have many. Why? Because of the thousands of movie tie-in toys produced in the world every year --from Batman action figures to Darth Vader helmets to Lord of the Rings crossbows-- there has never been a more ridiculously stupid and insulting toy than the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!). And this is why:

The Human Torch has no need for an "All-Terrain Vehicle"--because the last time I checked, the Human Torch can fucking FLY.

Has anyone told the Human Torch that it might not be safe to sit on top of a gas tank when one is on FIRE? Nice message to send the kids, assholes!

As you know, the Fantastic 4 lives and works in New York City--where driving an ATV is ILLEGAL. According to section 4-14, subsection 1 of the NYC municipal traffic code: "In order to provide for the maximum safe use of the expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes, bridges, and thruways, and to preserve life and limb thereon, the use of such highways by pedestrians, riders of horses, and operators of limited use vehicles [ATVs] and bicycles is prohibited." (Yes, I actually looked this up.)

The Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV also has "light-up headlights!" Good thing, because there's nothing more useless than "dark-down headlights."

What does the freaking Human Torch need with headlights anyway? HE'S ON FIRE!

ATVs are exclusively for assholes and rednecks. I know, this has nothing to do with the Human Torch riding an ATV, but this guy who lives down the block from me is constantly ripping around our neighborhood on one of these stupid four-wheelers--and without a helmet, no less! So basically, this is just to let him know, I think he's an asshole and a redneck.

The Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV has Spider-Man™ hubcaps. Hey toymakers, if saving money by recycling an unsuccessful Spider-Man ATV is all you're interested in, why not just line up the children of the world and piss in their mouths?

And Spider-Man doesn't need an ATV, either!!

Finally, from Reuters
American crooner (what the fuck is a crooner anyway?) Omarion, who was in London at the time of the blasts, but “suffered no injury or inconvenience, wants people to pray for him.”

As to why he should be prayed for, his publicist responded, "He wasn't hurt or anything, but just the fact that he was there and all that."

I’ve never heard of him before, but apparently this idiot apparently has a hit album, called “O.” Stop buying it please. Thank you.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the ongoing horror blog

Hatred of commuters.
One more attack on commuters, in London this time. Perhaps people in motion are the target of our enemies. If you want to survive, just stay in the house and do nothing!

I went downtown today. When I returned home, I wondered if I should be considered a hero. Briefly. Going downtown again tomorrow. Am I taking my life in my hands?

Pit bull moment
The wife and I were on the way to see LAND OF THE DEAD last night when we saw a drunk guy with a shaved head, with his friend, and a very mellow pit bull. The drunk bald guy had a tee-shirt that said “I Make Shit Happen.” An overly-thin blond young woman knelt down to pet the pit bull, but when she saw how fucked-up its owner was, she moved along quickly.

More pit bull news
From Reuters: “Pit bulls were banned from Rio de Janeiro's famous beaches and other public places in the Brazilian city on Wednesday under new regulations that could eventually make the sometimes aggressive breed extinct in the area.”

Is a pit bull actually a “breed?” What if you have a pit bull mix? Where is the “aggressive breed” line? When is it crossed?

My favorite name this week.
I.Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

What’s the deal?
With Lawrence O’Donnell? How did he “break” this story? It seems to me he’s just taking credit for being the first to voice rumors publicly.

(If you don’t know the story, go here:
(You will have to watch a brief ad to enter the site.)

Then here:

Land of the Dead
If you're fan of zombie movies, then you are certainly a fan of George Romero. Some critics have expressed disappointment with his long-awaited latest. I am not one of them. The heads of zombies emerging from the river as they advance towards the city of the living. That was worth the price of admission right there. And the screenplay was coherent!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

this world then the fireworks blog

NASA’s probe: inappropriate?
Spokesman sez: “We touched a comet and we touched it hard.”

And from Russia, this.
I have been informed by the Associated Press that Russian astrologer “Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday ‘ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe'….”

I’ll bet she’s a Virgo.

And this:
From Reuters: “A young Russian man who dressed in women's clothes to take an exam for his sister was caught after his oversize bust gave him away, Interfax news agency reported Monday. The youth's ‘unusually prominent female features,’ and heavy make-up drew security guards' attention and they stopped him from taking the test, Yasen Zasursky, dean of Moscow State University's journalism faculty, told the agency.”

I'll bet he's not a Virgo.

The free market in action.
Apparently the G8 Summit is sponsored in part by the Ford Motor Company. Why do I find that depressing?

News from Ground Zero
The new design for the new “Freedom Tower” is in, and boy does it suck.

From the review in the NYT: The new obelisk-shaped tower, which stands on an enormous 20-story concrete pedestal, evokes a gigantic glass paperweight with a toothpick stuck on top. (The toothpicklike spire was added so that the tower would reach its required height of 1,776 feet.)”

1,776 feet? As James Wolcott asked in his blog, why not 911 feet?

Designed to“…withstand a major bomb blast, the base will be virtually windowless. In an effort to animate its exterior, the architects say they intend to decorate it in a grid of shimmering metal panels. A few narrow slots will be cut into the concrete to allow slivers of natural light into the lobby.”

Mm. Sounds inviting. A bombproof skyscraper on the site where thousands died. Can I work there?

In other news:
Karl Rove may be the anonymous White House official who outed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent to the media. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were true?

Of course, I’m speaking as a liberal – an actual liberal, mind you, who believes that it’s not a bad thing when a government provides services and incentives for its citizens. So keep that in mind when I say I would love to see Karl Rove led in handcuffs to a courtroom and tried for treason. That would be cool!

And I like Howard Dean too. I like that the right wing think he’s intemperate – and they ought to know. It’s always touching when the right wing concerns itself with the health of Democrats.

A headline I saw at Salon.
“Can bloggers change the face of politics?”
Uh. No. Once the MSM decides they’re not a threat, they (um, we, I guess) will all go back to being the 21st Century equivalent of ham radio, only with snarling.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday Fish Wrap Blog

Salon on Bolton
“…His ‘dead hand’ was firmly clutching the throat of the American delegation at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference -- a monthlong gathering at the United Nations that petered out May 27 without agreement on a formal agenda, let alone on further steps toward nonproliferation.

“Without saying it quite as explicitly as Bolton has said it in the past, the American position was to deny that the treaty has any force over the United States while at the same time demanding that it be applied vigorously against those it has unilaterally nominated as bearings on the ‘axis of evil.’…”

This is so typical of this administration (and, of course, human nature): The law doesn’t apply to ME.

I learned this firsthand several years ago, when I found myself driving 120 mph on my way to LA. About the same time I had this moment of realization, a county cop had a similar epiphany, and pulled me over.

I wound up having to appear in court at the county in question, where the judge cut me a new one (and fined me three hundred bucks). He seemed to think I was some kind of hotshot yuppie scum from San Francisco, appearing in his county only to endanger the lives of the citizens therein.

From his point of view, he was right of course. But from my side of much-derided but omnipresent situational ethics, I was struck by the parade of cases that went before mine – all of which involved non-appearance by various defendants, for drunk driving, driving without a license, etc.

All of these were met with a smile by His Honor – no fines, no scoldings, no threats. He just set new court dates, and urged those attorneys and court representatives to make it clear to the absentees how important it was to show up. Hey, Your Honor! I showed up! It was a five hour drive! Where’s my props!

I think I should represent the US at the United Nations, don’t you? I have anger issues! Vague resentments! No social skills!

Eminent domain
Right and left alike have united in their disapproval last week of the Supreme Court, when it cleared the path for New London, Connecticut with its plan to buy out a neighborhood and replace it with r&d developers, a hotel, new houses, and a “Riverwalk.”

The burr under everybody’s saddle here is that it is not the government here that employs the utilitarian principle of eminent domain – to make a highway, or a stadium, but the private investors.

I don’t know anything about the legal aspects of this case, but I can state this with certainty: a city that thinks a Riverwalk will energize the local economy is a city in deep denial. Have you even been on a Riverwalk? It’s kind of like walking by a river, only mediated by bad architecture.

For those who hate Hillary, you know who you are….
New York Magazine (is that still around?) recently revealed that a photo used in Edward Klein’s new book (also reviled by the right and left! Strange), which allegedly catches Bill Clinton kissing a woman not his wife, was taken by a photographer Jay L. Clendenin at 2004 rally for John Kerry, and actually showed Clinton innocently pecking a potential voter.

The caption in the book reads, according to NEW YORK: “Bill mouth-kissing a supporter. Hillary’s aides noticed that Bill seemed to grow even more reckless after his memoir, My Life, became a big bestseller. He was rolling in money—and hubris. Throwing caution to the wind, he started a torrid affair with a stunning divorcée in her early forties.”

Clendenin told the magazine: “I was there. She kissed him on the cheek. Nothing more. Two seconds out of each other’s lives.”

Asked by the magazine for comment on the picture, Klein responded: "It invites the reader to see a pattern of behavior on his part. A man who masturbated in the Oval Office with a cigar shouldn't be going around leering at women and kissing them on the mouth."

Clinton masturbated with a cigar? When did that happen? And how do you do that?