Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Am A Guest Author

I was invited to join the American Nihilist (named tongue in cheek, of course) blog and have not yet done so but that has apparently not stopped me from becoming a guest blogger. repsac3 has reproduced my comments from one of my conservative counterpart's blog entries thusly:

(Is a writer considered a "guest author" if I cut & paste his words without asking?)

Well... It's too dang late now...

JBW of Brain Rage exposes the truth about Democrats and babies. It's on, people.

"The Democrats want a war on babies. I cringe at the thought of just being around people like Katha Pollitt, and for my readers with infants and young children, hold your loved ones close - you might have one too many for the state-planning mandarins of the Obama-Pelosi new age."

Well said, Don! You're right to try scaring your readers with this; Pollitt speaks for the entire left and now you've exposed our diabolical plan: forced abortions for whomever Emperor Obama chooses! China was just the remote testing ground for our culling program but we long ago refined our baby-hating agenda and were just waiting for the go ahead from "The One" (that's the secret code-name we've given him; shh, don't tell anyone) to launch the operation.

But now that the secret is out enough messing around: I want every reader of this blog to register with the Obama White House posthaste, informing them of how many children you have, their age and weight (fat kids eat more) and whether you are more willing to embrace communism or nihilism as your family's new religion.

Oh, I almost forgot: you'll also need to report to your local mosque to receive an "O" tattoo around your right eye, a la X-men: Days of Future Past-style (Obama's a comic fanboy, after all). It'll incorporate a tiny bar code that will have to be laser-scanned several times a day once everybody except Muslims and atheists have been rounded up and placed in their respective camps; the shit part is that you'll be painfully yet temporarily blinded for awhile every time you're scanned but the really shit part is that this was done intentionally, so as to fulfill Emperor Obama's decree that every law now be enforced "in a dickish manner".

I've been made assistant precinct captain for the local Christian internment camp here in the Bay Area but I hope to be running my own precinct by Obama's first State of the Soviet Union address (yes, that's what you're going to have to start calling it now). So let's get moving, people! This is the change we've been waiting for! Obama! Nihilism! Wooo!


(At least he doesn't let the baby out of the bath regarding "The One's" new book: To Serve Babies. I'm not sure the public is ready for that bit of "hope and change," yet. But soon, fellow nihilists... Soon.)
As far as I've seen, Don has not replied to my liberal taunts but I am eternally hopeful, and if you don't get many of the jokes about his site you can receive a healthy dose here. As far as being quoted without my permission: no worries, repsac3. I'm sure that I'll warm to your new venture as soon as I have the time to commit my energy. All the best, amigo.

Picture Of The Day

From National Geographic:

Flaring the gills that give the species its name, a frilled shark swims at Japan's Awashima Marine Park on Sunday, January 21, 2007. Sightings of living frilled sharks are rare, because the fish generally remain thousands of feet beneath the water's surface.

Spotted by a fisher on January 21, this 5.3-foot (160-centimeter) shark was transferred to the marine park, where it was placed in a seawater pool.

"We think it may have come to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters," a park official told the Reuters news service. But the truth may never be known, since the "living fossil" died hours after it was caught.

Is it just me or does this thing remind you of Falkor the luckdragon?

Colbert's Better Know A Beatle - Paul McCartney

The definitive McCartney interview. If you can find another interview in which Paul McCartney accuses the Dalai Lama of potential cannibalism, I'll promise to watch it:

A Plea To The Silent Amongst Us

A non-political appeal to the several people I know are reading this blog yet are not commenting at any great length: Doug E, Jeremy, Reza, Angela, Matt, Toby, BD: bring the noise! Tell me what's what! This community thrives and dies at your discretion. Please, help us thrive. Nuph said, ya'll.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Something Someone Else Said

"This tidbit from the Times story on the House stimulus vote just bowls you over:

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said that former President George Bush’s signature tax cuts in 2001 had created years of growth but that the nation’s problems started when Democrats regained majorities in Congress in the 2006 elections.

Really? So the Democrats came into office and a housing bubble retroactively inflated and began to pop? Mortgage-backed assets worth trillions less than their stated value just magically appeared on bank balance sheets and in hedge fund portfolios?

Just to clarify, did all this happen on election night 2006, or was it not until January of 2007, when Nancy Pelosi officially became Speaker?" -Noam Scheiber, The New Republic

Grace Explosion, Departed

I'm sure that many of you remember frequent visitor to this site and all around theocratic loon Grace Explosion (the photo above is a wishful representation on my part) and her colorful yet less than well thought out posts from a while back. For all of you newbies, here's a small taste from about a week prior to Barack Obama's inauguration:


Yes, I do view life as having a primary metaphysical component of the battle of good and evil. I define God as wholly good, Satan as wholly evil - and man under the influence of one or the other... acting by one spirit or by the other Spirit. That's how I view life and reality. I see Obama as evil having denied God and ultimate evil as having claimed to be God as a messiah. To me, that's fully satanic and evil and deceptive and subtle, etc... which is why he qualifies for suspicion as the 666 beast of Revelation as he rises to power and seeks to become a world leader while claiming to be God. That's the bottom-line of why I suspect him... and other things appear to be "lining up" in timing, world events, allegiances, etc. Yep, that's my logic... and I can understand why a person who doesn't believe in God, Satan, or the apocalypse would not see validity in my line of reasoning. But a logical line of reasoning based on the premises I've described, to me, clearly exists.
Just makes you want to wrap her up in a warm towel and take her home with you, doesn't it? Well, it seems that about a week ago on my conservative counterpart's site Grace announced that she was moving on to greener pastures and followed those words by removing most of the more interesting and hilarious comments she's left on both of our sites over the past few months (yes, the quote above apparently made the cut as to what was a suitable legacy). So, to mark her departure from our digital lives I've composed a short poem that I like to call "An Ode to Grace":
G is for Grace: that was your online name,
R is for really crazy: that was your favorite game.
A is for Antichrist: we just threw him an inauguration,
C is for cesarean: how you'll birth your Christian nation.
E is for evangelicals: with whom you've chosen to roll,
The only requirement for membership being your everlasting soul.
So good luck dear, or bonne chance chère as they say in France,
If you looked at all like the photo above, I'd have a Grace Explosion in my pants.
I never said it was a good poem. Adieu, Grace: your mere existence has made every other Christian I know seem much more reasonable by comparison.

The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same. Michael Steele has just been chosen as the new head of the Republican National Committee. Two thoughts: 1) Would this have happened if Barack Obama wasn't president? and 2) Do Republicans really think that they're going to start attracting black voters now? As we saw here in California, the anti-gay shit will help them on specific religious issues but I wouldn't count on anything more than that.

Alaskans Brace For Redoubt Volcano Eruption

Impending doom (or at least impending annoyance) for residents of Seward's Folly:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hardware stores and auto parts shops scored a post-holiday run of business this week as Anchorage-area residents stocked up on protective eyewear and masks ahead of a possible eruption of Mount Redoubt.

Monitoring earthquakes underneath the 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned that an eruption was imminent, sending experienced Alaskans shopping for protection against a dusty shower of volcanic ash that could descend on south-central Alaska.

...Alaska's volcanoes are not like Hawaii's. "Most of them don't put out the red river of lava," said the observatory's John Power.

Instead, they typically explode and shoot ash 30,000 to 50,000 feet high — more than nine miles — into the jet stream.

"It's a very abrasive kind of rock fragment," Power said. "It's not the kind of ash that you find at the base of your wood stove."

The particulate has jagged edges and has been used as an industrial abrasive. "They use this to polish all kinds of metals," he said.

Particulate can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages. The young, the elderly and people with respiratory problems are especially susceptible. Put enough ash under a windshield wiper and it will scratch glass.

It's also potentially deadly for anyone flying in a jet. "Think of flying an airliner into a sandblaster," Power said.

Redoubt blew on Dec. 15, 1989, and sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet carrying 231 passengers. Its four engines flamed out.

As the crew tried to restart the engines, "smoke" and a strong odor of sulfur filled the cockpit and cabin, according to a USGS account. The jet dropped more than 2 miles, from 27,900 feet to 13,300 feet, before the crew was able to restart all engines and land the plane safely at Anchorage. The plane required $80 million in repairs.

Jesus, could you even imagine what that must have been like for those people: your plane enters a noisy cloud of impenetrable dust right before your engines all fail and you drop 2 goddamn miles, only to be saved when they restart and you all land safely? Crazy.

I've always had a soft spot for Alaska, partly because I've had a great time every time I've visited and partly because it's one of the handful of states in which I've gotten laid (perhaps those are both the same thing...). BD and hot momma, I hope that everyone you care about in Anchorage is safe and adequately prepared for the coming eruption; please send along my good wishes to friends and family alike.

The WTF Blanket

I contemplated writing about how much I hate this stupid product when I was writing about how much I hate the guy from the Shamwow commercials a few weeks ago but this new voice over to the original commercial for the Snuggie does nicely:

Incidentally, my favorite part of these commercials for products that will ostensibly make your life so much easier is watching the idiots who can't figure out how to use simple everyday objects: the woman who can't operate her manual can opener, the guy who smashes every tomato he tries to cut, the woman who can't manage to cover herself with an ordinary blanket, etc. "There has to be a better way!"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Bipartisan Stimulus Plan

You may have heard by now about the back and forth between President Obama and conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh. If not, here's a quick recap:

First, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh said on the air that he was rooting for Barack Obama to fail and resented efforts, presumably by friends, to give the new president a honeymoon.

We are being told we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over and grab our ankles ... because his father was black, because he's the first black president, we've got to accept this.

Charitably, maybe Rush meant that he hoped the president's liberal agenda would fail.

On Friday, Obama told Republican lawmakers that bipartisanship over his mutli-gazillion-dollar stimulus plan requires good faith on both sides. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told them.

So Limbaugh's response was to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal which he discusses in this transcript:
ERIN BURNETT: The fear is that Washington's new spirit of cooperation is already gone. Now, sit down. Prepare yourself. You see this, "My Bipartisan Stimulus"? This was written by Rush Limbaugh making a bid to keep bipartisanship alive. That's the op-ed he wrote this morning. He joins us on the news line. Rush, a lot of people are skeptical with a headline from you: "My Bipartisan Stimulus."

RUSH: Why skeptical? I'm just trying to build bridges and roads to the administration for genuine bipartisanship and cooperation and fairness. The president says that he still wants to work with Republicans.

MARK HAINES: (snorting)

RUSH: Here I am. We can work together and do what's best for the American people.
As a result of all of this recent noise while there is an obvious power vacuum at the top of the Republican party many have started speculating that Rush Limbaugh is fast becoming its new de facto leader. Now remember, this man was never elected to any political body or position and has never been an appointee to anything; he's a political commentator, an entertainer. I think Obama was right to denounce him and should not do anything further to legitimize him but that is easier said than done.

Limbaugh has an expansive voice and an extremely loyal following through his radio show, so much so that a Republican congressmen has recently refused to disagree with him on air concerning his comments above about Obama's father's race and another went on Limbaugh's show yesterday to apologize for saying that Limbaugh wasn't on the same level as the party's elected leaders. Clearly when United States congressmen are forced by their constituents to kiss your ring you are a powerful man, so what should Obama do?

If he fires back at Limbaugh he lets himself get entangled in a public brawl with an entertainer and that is never good for a sitting president but if he dismisses Limbaugh's plan out of hand then he will be crucified by the right for not heeding his own call for bipartisanship. So I propose that he do this: release a public statement thanking Limbaugh for his ideas which also says that the Obama White House has a page on their website created specifically so that American citizens like Limbaugh can send in their ideas to the president and his staff for review.

Done. Obama will have adhered to his own policy of inviting any and all ideas to the table while simultaneously relegating Limbaugh to his proper place as a private citizen rather than an elected official, and he will have appeared gracious and egalitarian in the process. Limbaugh will scream discrimination and dismissal to his fan base but he will essentially be neutralized as far as trying to put himself on the same level as the president. If President Obama is reading this he has my permission to use this idea free of charge; all I want is the credit.

Greed Works

Is this kind of thing even surprising anymore?

By almost any measure, 2008 was a complete disaster for Wall Street — except, that is, when the bonuses arrived.

Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.

That was the sixth-largest haul on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the New York State comptroller.

While the payouts paled next to the riches of recent years, Wall Street workers still took home about as much as they did in 2004, when the Dow Jones industrial average was flying above 10,000, on its way to a record high.

Some bankers took home millions last year even as their employers lost billions.
We gave $700 billion to these guys without even asking for a receipt, then put the auto companies through the ringer for a small fraction of that amount and now we learn this. There seem to be no consequences for these people.

Picture Of The Day

Tourists are douchebags, via Blog of Hilarity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Is Your Brain On Football

As a big fan of this sport I found this story particularly disturbing:

Until recently, the best medical definition for concussion was a jarring blow to the head that temporarily stunned the senses, occasionally leading to unconsciousness. It has been considered an invisible injury, impossible to test -- no MRI, no CT scan can detect it.

But today, using tissue from retired NFL athletes culled posthumously, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), at the Boston University School of Medicine, is shedding light on what concussions look like in the brain. The findings are stunning. Far from innocuous, invisible injuries, concussions confer tremendous brain damage. That damage has a name: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

On Tuesday afternoon, researchers at the CSTE released a study about the sixth documented case of CTE in former NFL player Tom McHale, who died in 2008 at the age of 45, and the youngest case to date, an 18-year-old multi-sport athlete who suffered multiple concussions.

While CTE in an ex-NFL player's brain may have been expected, the beginnings of brain damage in an 18-year-old brain was a "shocking" finding, according to Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, and co-director of the CSTE.

"We think this is how chronic traumatic encephalopathy starts," said McKee. "This is speculation, but I think we can assume that this would have continued to expand."

CTE has thus far been found in the brains of six out of six former NFL players.

"What's been surprising is that it's so extensive," said McKee. "It's throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but it's deep inside."

CSTE studies reveal brown tangles flecked throughout the brain tissue of former NFL players who died young -- some as early as their 30s or 40s.

McKee, who also studies Alzheimer's disease, says the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an 80-year-old with dementia.

"I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases," said McKee. "To see the kind of changes we're seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of."

I was pretty unhappy as a kid when my momma decided that she wasn't going to let me play football; in Texas, that's tantamount to denying your children permission to see the next Harry Potter flick, forever. It's stories like this one and others that make me very thankful that she was so protective.

(hat tip: Shannon)

[Update: It seems that Andrew Sullivan has linked to the same news story and titled his post just as I have (I wrote this post last night after getting an email from my sister) but a quick perusal of the blogosphere shows that many have done the same so I feel less like an inadvertent plagiarist but also slightly less clever as well.]

The Guantanamo Detainees: Some Thoughts

I'm tired of hearing all of these Republican congressmen and governors crying about how dangerous it's going to be having the 245 Guantanamo detainees imprisoned here in the United States after that prison is closed in Cuba. These guys aren't Houdini-esque escape artists or even highly trained super soldiers, they're a bunch of thugs and religious nuts (except for the ones who haven't done anything but were caught up in our security net anyway); a well trained American marine could beat the shit out of a couple of these guys at once. We incarcerate vicious gang members and psychopathic serial killers in prisons all across the country, I think we can handle a few hundred terror suspects. Am I wrong?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Obama Action Figure

Complete with American flag, microphone, selection of red & blue ties, weapons, interchangeable hands (?!) and picnic set. Now that's presidential.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Picture Of The Day

Did you know that the president gets his own special pen with his signature on it? Neither did I! Man, his own car, his own plane and now this; that's some sweet gig. If I was president I'd want my very own monogrammed presidential barbecue pit out on the White House lawn, class that dump up a bit.

Something Someone Else Said

"The reality is that the human location “in the loop” is already becoming, as retired Army colonel Thomas Adams notes, that of “a supervisor who serves in a fail- safe capacity in the event of a system malfunction.” Even then, he thinks that the speed, confusion, and information overload of modern-day war will soon move the whole process outside “human space.” He describes how the coming weapons “will be too fast, too small, too numerous, and will create an environment too complex for humans to direct.” As Adams concludes, the new technologies “are rapidly taking us to a place where we may not want to go, but probably are unable to avoid.”

The irony is that for all the claims by military, political, and scientific leaders that “humans will always be in the loop,” as far back as 2004 the U.S. Army was carrying out research that demonstrated the merits of armed ground robots equipped with a “quick-draw response.” Similarly, a 2006 study by the Defense Safety Working Group, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, discussed how the concerns over potential killer robots could be allayed by giving “armed autonomous systems” permission to “shoot to destroy hostile weapons systems but not suspected combatants.” That is, they could shoot at tanks and jeeps, just not the people in them. Perhaps most telling is a report that the Joint Forces Command drew up in 2005, which suggested that autonomous robots on the battlefield would be the norm within 20 years. Its title is somewhat amusing, given the official line one usually hears: Unmanned Effects: Taking the Human Out of the Loop.

So, despite what one article called “all the lip service paid to keeping a human in the loop,” auton­omous armed robots are coming to war. They simply make too much sense to the people who matter." -P. W. Singer, The Wilson Quarterly

(via The Daily Dish)

Scenario: DogvCat VI

Bring the scenario:

You can watch the first five here, here, here, here, and here; you can read about the McCain story here. And Lewinsky did have that "I know I'm a fat girl so I'm gonna try harder with my mouth" feel about her, didn't she? Woof.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Something True Someone Else Said

"If waterboarding is torture and torture is criminal, and it came from Cheney’s office, I don’t see why there is a problem prosecuting. If waterboarding is torture and torture is criminal, and it’s been ordered from the top, I don’t see the problem with prosecuting unless there’s a political reason to obstruct it and I don’t think that’s justice." -Chris Matthews, commenting on whether Bush administration officials should be prosecuted for authorizing torture by the incoming Obama administration

I don't think that it's justice either but I also don't think that Obama's administration will pursue this, at least to the point that Mathews is suggesting: namely, that top Bush administration officials be prosecuted for ordering the actions that those lower on the chain of command have already been imprisoned for, and I am convinced that the reason for not doing so is entirely political.

President Obama knows that if his justice department goes ahead with trying to prosecute some of the bigger dogs from the Bush administration for the authorization of torture it will utterly destroy any cooperation he might receive from Republicans in congress to institute the larger and frankly more important programs of his agenda. Yes, it is a travesty of justice that will ultimately not be served in this case and he will be attacked by many on the left for it but Obama will do what he believes he has to in order to achieve the greatest good for this country. I've said before that I do not envy him the tough decisions that he will have to make and I believe that this is definitely one of the tougher ones.

Family Guy: Osama Bin Laden Classic

I was watching The Naked Gun: Police Squad yet again last night so I had to post this classic Family Guy parody, updated to feature some sweet Yoda lightsaber moves and Bin Laden. He's always seemed so humorless in all of his other videos:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Twirling Mexican Wrestlers

These guys do the wrestling moves American wrestlers don't want to:

Something Someone Else Said

"Listen, I think the world of Governor Palin. ... Look, whenever there's a losing campaign, there's always a little bit of back and forth that happens postmortem. Uh, look, I'm so grateful to have her as a friend. ... I think she has a big role to play [in the GOP]. ... But let me just say, I don't know who’s running and all that, but I will always be grateful to Sarah Palin for her friendship and her strong principles and leadership," -John McCain, asked if he would support his 2008 running mate for president in 2012

A ringing endorsement if ever there was one. Please run her. Please?

Rube Goldberg Runs A Print Shop

It's no Honda commercial but I still liked it:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hitting The Ground Running

How much vacation time do you think this guy is going to be taking?

Barack Obama will have spent his first several days in office issuing a series of executive orders which, some quibbling and important caveats and reservations aside, meet or actually exceed even the most optimistic expectations of civil libertarians for what he could or would do quickly -- everything from ordering the closing of Guantanamo to suspending military commissions to compelling CIA interrogators to adhere to the Army Field Manual to banning CIA "black sites" and, perhaps most encouragingly (in my view): severely restricting his own power and the power of former Presidents to withhold documents and other information on the basis of secrecy, which was the prime corrosive agent, the main enabler, of the Bush era.
Gitmo closing? Check. Torture banned? Check. Executive transparency increased? Check. So, what's next?

Wingsuit Base Jumping

Some of you may remember this fellow from the first few weeks of this blog. Well, his buddies in this video aren't trying to land their wingsuits but they do engage in some total badassery:

(hat tip: PK)

Picture Of The Day

Last night I checked in on my conservative counterpart over at American Power. Don had a picture of President Obama entering the Oval Office that I liked and when I clicked on it I was linked to his Photobucket account, where I found this beauty. The only way these guys know how to win is through fear: of gays, of communism, of foreigners, of terrorism. No wonder Obama won this one. They have four years to come up with something better but I'm not holding my breath.

Buh Buh Bye, George

This toddler is sad to see George W. Bush go bye-bye:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama's Non-Believer Shout Out

First, props to one L bill for his text message to me about this during Barack Obama's inaugural speech the other day. I hadn't charged my phone in a while and unbeknownst to me it had turned itself off, so I did not see his text until after I had added my update to this post. one L is a devout Christian and either out of familial compassion or cultural curiosity he puts up with my godless outbursts and rantings with good humor and obvious respect. As I wrote in the comment section: good looking out, brother.

That said, Obama's use of this phrase has been much discussed around the blogosphere since Tuesday but a comment by Chris Bodenner while guest blogging at The Daily Dish particularly caught my eye:

It's just one anecdote, but: I stood with mostly African-Americans during the speech and the only time I ever heard booing of Obama, from many directions, was his shout-out to "non-believers."
I find this to be an interesting phenomenon amongst the black community in America. Religion is a part of life for almost every black American to some extent and this truism applies across education levels, geography and income groups. As I said in a previous post, several gay rights groups out here in California have unfairly blamed black voters for the passage of Proposition 8 although the data shows that it would have narrowly passed without them but the fact remains that they did oppose the measure by a far larger percentage than any other racial demographic, and I feel confident assuming that this was due to the prevalence of religion in the black community (accompanied by a significant amount of homophobia in popular black culture, the origins of which I'm slightly less inclined to attribute to religion but I'm neither a sociologist nor a theologian on that count).

The reason I find this interesting is that black people as a demographic group in America are so similar to a substantial portion of Southern white Republicans: they're passionate Christians, they oppose gay marriage rights, they oppose abortion rights, they favor prayer in schools, and they are for the most part on a substantially lower economic scale than the average American, yet 88% of the black vote in 2004 went to John Kerry and a whopping 96% in 2008 went to Barack Obama. After the slight increase is attributed to Obama's race my question is this: besides an overt exploitation of religion by the Republican party and a subversive vein of racism running through the same, what do black folks see in the difference between these two parties that Southern whites do not?

This question is not rhetorical; I'm actually asking the readers of this blog. Is the black community really voting against their religious beliefs or is there really something the matter with Kansas? I'm genuinely curious as to the origins of this phenomenon and am entirely open to thoughts on either side of this cultural divide (although full disclosure does compel me to admit that I believe that Kansas and other predominantly poor white populations are voting against their own self interests by supporting Republican candidates; if one of you can convince me otherwise, I've learned something new and so much the better).

[Update: On a completely related note, Bodenner also links to this post at The Black Atheist blog. As a straight white atheist who oftentimes feels alone and misunderstood in 21st century America, I can only imagine what it must be like for an atheist who is also black and gay. Sometimes I have to see how hard some other people have it before I can appreciate how good my life, despite any personal hardships, really is.]

Limbaugh: "I Hope He Fails"

Comedian Rush Limbaugh is fast becoming Coulter-esque sputtering things like this:

Barack Obama has not yet taken office, and Rush Limbaugh is already rooting for his failure. On his radio show last Friday, Limbaugh said, "I disagree fervently with the people on our [Republican] side of the aisle who have caved and who say, 'Well, I hope he succeeds.'"

Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by "a major American print publication" to offer a 400-word statement explaining his "hope for the Obama presidency." He responded:

"So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, 'Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.' (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, 'Oh, you can't do that.' Why not? Why is it any different, what's new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don't care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it."

It takes a special kind of stupid to take this big fat idiot's performance art seriously. What's really disturbing though is that this guy is the biggest name in conservative radio bar none, millions and millions of people listen to him everyday and he is being paid $400 million over the next 8 years (yes, those numbers are correct) to say things like this.

Over the past several years we were told by the right that we need to support our president in a time of war and that to do anything less was unpatriotic. And then during the election I listened to so many Republicans telling me how unpatriotic Obama was for not wearing a flag pin or covering his heart during the pledge of allegiance. And now their biggest entertainer has openly called for the failure of his presidency, and by extension: the failure of America. This is the modern Republican party.

I promised myself that I was going to refrain from using the phrase "Obama Derangement Syndrome" for the next 4-8 years because people on the right sounded so pathetic saying it about W as if it were some kind of valid argument but it's going to be tough with this crowd, and this is just his second day!


Is it OK for him to use the seal now?

Olbermann's World's Worst People

The Worse is funny in it's typicality, the Worser is frightening in it's implications and the Worst telling in it's ignorance:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Something Someone Else Said

Jon Stewart interviewing Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopalian bishop, about giving the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration -"Washington was so crowded today, there were so many people. You as a bishop are sort of doubly handicapped in that situation, only being able to move diagonally: how is that, negotiating the crowds?"

Bishop Robinson -"John, you have to understand: there's a queen on the board as well."

Picture Of The Day

Never, you know, mind.

[Update: Oops.]

Busy, Busy, Busy

Have a lot to do today and didn't have time to write much last night so the posting will be a little light for a while. Apologies to anyone who cares.

Moment Of Zen - Credits For The Last Eight Years

Jon Stewart and the Daily Show staff give credit where credit is due for the last eight years of comedic material:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Star Wars: From Bits And Pieces

The original trilogy, as told by someone who's never actually seen it but rather has just absorbed it via cultural osmosis. It seems fairly obvious to me that a person this clueless has either kept themselves willfully ignorant of most of Star Wars lore for their entire life or else was born within the last decade and a half. Either way, I wouldn't date her, for two very different reasons:

I weep for the future. Hans?

Bye Bye, Boomers

I've been watching the Obama inauguration on the cable news channels all day and Pat Buchanan just said something on MSNBC that made me think (I know: Buchanan, what were the odds?) He and the other pundits were discussing parts of President Obama's inauguration speech, specifically this passage:

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.
I admit that it's a testament to my own partisanship (which I try very hard to control whenever possible but I'm only human) that when Obama spoke about the failures of the past and the challenges that he's inherited I immediately thought, "Damn, he's totally dissing George W. Bush while the guy's sitting right next to him!" Buchanan however had a slightly different take: he said that not only was Obama's criticism leveled at the Bush administration but that it was also an indictment of the Clinton administration before that and this gave me pause.

It's true: in the past Obama has never gone out of his way to avoid blaming Clinton for his failures as president, which I'm sure goes a long way toward explaining the animosity we saw between him and the Clintons during the election last year. But I think Obama meant for his words to convey an even more expansive message than what Buchanan has suggested. I think he meant for his condemnations to apply not just to the Bush and Clinton administrations but in fact to their entire generation, the Baby Boomers.

These two former presidents are not just members of this generation, they're personifications of the two opposing sides of the culture war that has defined it for almost half a century. Had Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination rather than Obama and maybe Giuliani the Republican one rather than McCain, we would have seen the absolute worst aspects of this ideological struggle played out against a national backdrop yet again, but mercifully we were spared this cultural bloodletting. Instead the main differences between the candidates last year became generational: Generation Jones supplanting the Boomers rather than the usual 60's infighting and this allowed Obama to win the argument.

So the Boomers are out and Obama has already acknowledged the historical nature and significance of this transition of power. When he speaks of change these are the concepts that principally go through my mind: new generations of Americans thinking up new ideas and new ways of doing things to tackle the old problems that have plagued us for so long now, actually instituting change in politics rather than callously paying that word mere lip service and working towards making the entire country better instead of catering only to certain interest groups or political parties. Obama has promised to be measured and pragmatic when confronting the struggles America faces in the 21st century, which to my mind will be a welcome shift from the last eight years of swaggering and shooting from the hip. Whether he becomes a successful leader governing this way or not remains to be seen but I still have hope, for every generation.

President Obama's Inauguration Speech

The adults are back in charge:

[Update: when I first read this speech this word really jumped out at me:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.
When have you ever heard a president so readily acknowledge this country's atheistic citizenry at an inauguration before? That's change, baby.]

President Barack Obama

We just witnessed history today. Now comes the hard part: cleaning up the mess of the last eight years. As I said just after the election, I don't envy Obama this monumental task, but I'm glad that he's the man America has chosen to tackle it. And yes, the second political win feels even better than the first.

Seismic Presidential Shift

Whoa, did anyone else just feel that? Felt like change to me. America: fuck yeah.

Scenario: DogvCat V

Yes, another one. I like them so I'm gonna keep posting them. Now, I personally don't think that the Iraqis were any better off under Saddam's regime than they are under the regime we've created for them recently but the arguments against this are just as equally simplistic; oh, and please define victory for me before you enjoy:

The first four can be seen here, here, here, and here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Caroline Kennedy: Some Thoughts

Up until this point I have refrained from commenting on the possibility of Caroline Kennedy being named to fill Hillary Clinton's vacated New York senate seat because frankly I just really couldn't give much of a damn. Of course, as with pretty much every other issue under the sun I have my thoughts on the matter: Is she smart? Obviously. Could she do the job well? Yeah, I have a feeling that she could. Does being a Kennedy help her get the job? What country are you from? Jesus. Does being a Kennedy help her do the job well? Depends. I would assume that growing up in a family whose life blood is politics would grant her a unique perspective from most other people, just as growing up in a family of doctors would give someone a better grasp of medical procedures and the field of medicine as a whole. Does being a Kennedy mean she should get the job over other better qualified applicants? Absolutely not.

However, the point of my post is simply this: if she was going to get the job, don't you think governor Patterson would have chosen her by now? I mean, what is he waiting for: her to use the phrase "you know" a few hundred more times? I'm just saying that this seems to me like every other job opportunity you've ever waited to hear the results of: the longer it takes, the worse things look. But like I said, I really couldn't give much of a damn as long as another liberal fills the seat. Plus I will soon have soundbites of Senator Franken to keep me warm at night, which is nice.

Doogie Howser, M. D.: The Symphony

Although I am now a devoted House fan Doogie Howser was one of the medical shows I grew up on so this little musical vignette with NPH from SNL recently really tugged on the old nostalgia strings:

MLK: We Shall Overcome

Today would have been Doctor King's 80th birthday:

Your Tax Dollars At Work

If this isn't the ultimate "fuck you" to the average US citizen I don't know what is:

Behind every great man or woman in Washington there is a great painting. As the Bush presidency draws to a close, portrait artists can expect a surge in business from Cabinet secretaries and other elite political appointees who want to preserve their legacies -- and their images -- for posterity.

The Commerce Department, for instance, recently requested artists' bids to paint a likeness of Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, who has served since early 2005. The contract pays up to $35,000, and Gutierrez gets to select the winning painter, said Rick Dubik, the department's director of administration.

The Coast Guard in August awarded a $12,000 contract for a portrait of Adm. Thad W. Allen, a sharp drop from the $23,500 it spent in 2005 for a likeness of Allen's predecessor as commandant, Adm. Thomas H. Collins. "We have a very strong sense of history and this is a critical part of it, having that formal tie to the past," said Coast Guard spokeswoman Angela Hirsch.

But investing taxpayer money in the time-honored art of official portraiture has become increasingly controversial. In a throwback to the Jimmy Carter era, some fiscal watchdogs and government scholars suggest that high-quality photographs would be a more cost-efficient way to honor departing dignitaries, especially because most portraits are largely inaccessible to the public.

...At the upper end of the scale, the Defense Department awaits the expected February completion of a $46,790 portrait of controversial former secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. It will grace a Pentagon hallway lined with portraits of his predecessors, as well as one from Rumsfeld's first stint as defense secretary from 1975 to 1977, officials said.
I'm still all for official presidential portraits: those guys are important enough to warrant a portrait and personally I think the tradition is kind of cool. What I have a problem with is asshole failures like Rumsfeld and others getting their own portrait at almost fifty thousand dollars a pop on our dime. And again, this isn't a problem of just one party, it's endemic to the system. These guys truly live in another world from the one you and I inhabit.

Flowchart Of The Day

If you're not a man, well: at least you probably didn't have to pay for your drinks (click image to enlarge).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Good To Be The King

I wonder if the first presidents to have to deal with telegraphs and television had the same concerns as this guy:

If being ruler of the free world weren't enough for President Elect Barack Obama, when he's sworn in, he'll never wait for an open telephone line, either.

Yup, access to the National Communications System is just one of the perks to being the President. Put in place by President Kennedy in 1963, the NCS' priority call system is for emergencies when the phone lines may be full but government officials need to make a call.

The NCS contains many different calling options, but the Wireless Priority Service is definitely the most convenient. As described by CNET:

[it] gives authorized users including what NCS calls "senior members of the presidential administration" a higher-priority connection to the cell tower. WPS is accessed by dialing *272 before the destination phone number—but, alas, will only work if your mobile provider has authorized your phone. And the federal government needs to approve.

Now for Obama to get the whole Blackberry situation straightened out. [CNET]

Having constant service is nice but if you're in a tunnel, you're in a tunnel. Sorry, Mr. President.

Picture Of The Day

My fat greasy hero.

Nailin' Palin

Yeah, Sarah Palin's been back in the news lately still singing the same tired old tune about how the media screwed her in the last election. She's said several stupid things that I could point to and make fun of but this one was my favorite:

"You have to let it go," she said. "Even hard news sources, credible news sources — the comment about, you can see Russia from Alaska. You can! You can see Russia from Alaska. Something like that — a factual statement that was taken out of context and mocked — what you have to do is let that go."
On this she and I agree: you can see Russia from Alaska. Granted, it's from one of the sparsely inhabited Aleutian islands way out in the Bering Sea but that is a factual statement. Of course, nobody ever said that it wasn't and yes, it was mocked quite a bit (Tina Fey's "I can see Russia from my house!" comment being the most memorable, of course). So, let's put her statement into context; here's an excerpt from her interview with Charlie Gibson:
And, Charlie, you're in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They're very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they're doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I'm giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it's in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

Once again she's right: context does make a difference, only the difference just makes her look more foolish. Even if you can see another country from your state that in no way imparts upon you any foreign policy bona fides and that's the reason she took so much shit for that comment during the election. And as I said above and have many times before, her manufactured outrage over this supposed slight by the media just becomes part of the victimology narrative that plays so well with her right wing base.

Personally, I can't decide if I really want her to attempt a run for president in 2012 as I've been saying lately. Yeah, it'd be extremely entertaining watching her implode all over again but that's just me being selfish. If I really love this country as much as I say I do (and I do) then I'd want the best possible candidates on both sides of the aisle running for public office in four years, not some incompetent narcissist distracting from serious policy discussions. But since it's not up to me and I've seen ample evidence that many on the right in this country want her to run I'd say that it's a distinct possibility that it'll happen. And if it does I'll be cringing/laughing the entire time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Obama Forgery

This is just pathetic but now that he's won I can enjoy the humor of it as well:

Snopes has all the info on his birth certificate.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Picture Of The Day

Barack Obama's presidential inauguration in LEGO form, at LEGOLAND California.

An End In Sight

From ABC News, via The Daily Dish:

At 9:00 p.m. Friday, the highest-level staffers will turn in their gear; and the West Wing will become a ghost town. Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, and Press Secy Dana Perino are the senior staffers who will remain here, on standby. Monday is a federal holiday so the White House would be closed anyway. On Tuesday, Special Agent Donald White of the U.S. Secret Service will shadow President Bush, sit in the customary front 'shotgun' seat of the limousine, and guard the President until noon. At 12:01, Agent White steps over to a position behind Barack Obama.
Watch me tempt fate: nothing else could possibly go wrong between now and then, could it? Brace yourselves for the impact.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something Someone Else Said

"On matters of policy, he revealed himself to be as isolated and out of touch as his critics (including me) would have assumed all along. Two illustrations: he hotly challenged the premise of one question that his policies had made America less prestigious and respected around the world, saying that was just the view of some "elites" and other pantywaists in part of Europe. Go to China! he said. They still respect us there. Yes, sort of. As I've written many times in the Atlantic, China does not seem in any deep way "anti-American," and they generally think US-China relations are good. But no thinking person has the slightest doubt that the Iraq, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib policies, in particular, have hurt America's image badly here as they have in most other places. To say what the President did indicates how carefully he has been protected from any unfiltered feedback from the real world." -James Fallows at The Atlantic.com, on George W. Bush's last press conference as president

La Chance

Oh, to be this lucky; a few of these are fake but most are pretty cool:

Picture Of The Day

Cheney still defends the torture of waterboarding. Surf's up! (from Gaius Nation)

Our Newest Member, Calvin

If you played GI Joe as much as I did when you were a kid you know how important it is to make sure that you have the right codename:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bush Spends Day Feverishly Booby-Trapping Desk

The guy is such a scamp:

In preparation for the traditional task of welcoming his successor to the Oval Office, outgoing president George W. Bush canceled all his appointments and press conferences Monday so he could spend the day outfitting his desk with a series of traps, gags, and hair-trigger switches. "Oh, man, is he gonna get it," the president said after rearranging the letters on his computer keyboard and supergluing the direct-line-to-the-Pentagon telephone to its base. "If the 44th president is anything like me, he'll grab this can of peanuts to snack on when he's talking to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and when he does—bam! Right in his face!"

As one of his last official acts in office, Bush reportedly rigged the presidential drawers, chair, and ceiling fan with a number of inconveniencing though harmless devices, including Vaseline-covered pens, fishing-line trip wires, a saltshaker with the top unscrewed, a fake set of nuclear launch codes, an inflated whoopee cushion, and a drawerful of pickles. After backing slowly away from his desk, the president informed his top aides that, if he can get back from the inauguration quickly enough, he also plans to place a bag of canine excrement near the Rose Garden door and set it aflame.

Maybe it's just the frat boy image he projects but the best part about reading this obviously made up story is that I can totally imagine him laughing about some of these things in real life. Less than a week left; I'm going to miss him.