Monday, December 31, 2007

Au Peer

Hey. My friend d r i f t g l a s s won himself a little big prize. (That's me on the left, by the way. He let me hold the prize.)

Congratulate him ... and read his good advice for New Years Revellers.

Best Book(s) I Read in 2007

Was it this? (Nope. But it cracked me up.)

How about this? (No, but it was the best political book I read this year.)

This one? (No, but it's beautiful, moving, and important.)

Or was it this one? (No, but if you love New York (or the Dutch), you should check it out.)

Was it by Mr. McEwan? (No, but I loved this as I've loved all his books.)

Okay, okay. So what was it?

It was a tie between this (which made me cry) and this (which made me laugh).

Happy 2008, everyone.

Okay, here's the question

Please feel free to give me your advice, though I will ignore it and do what I want anyway.

As no shock to anyone, I don't stay up late most of the time. One of my good friends supports Hillary Clinton which is fine (it would be harder if a close friend supported, say Mitt Romney or Ron Paul). She has the invite for her and one guest to attend a New Year's Bash here in Des Moines thrown by her campaign.

Now, I'm not a Hillary Clinton supporter, I'm uncommitted (I will NOT commit to perpetuate an oligarchy unless it is forced upon me by the nomination process). I also will be really tired.

So, should I go?

...and by the way, just to get it out of the way, and I cannot possibly allow an easy joke to come toward me so easily, no matter who I would offend...

There is no truth to the rumor that at "Hill & Bill's Rockin' New Year's Eve" when midnight strikes it is Bill's balls that drop.


Best Records of 2007

I'm treading on DeDurkheim's territory here, but I'm posting my good friend G's "Best Records of 2007" list in the hope of provoking some music trash talking between them. And by the way, I take no position on -- or responsibility for -- the content of this list. I knew I had to do that when I saw No. 11, which has got to be a joke.

G -- You'll need to defend your choices in comments. Okay, enough with the qualifiers and other preliminaries, here's G's List:
  1. The National -- "Boxer"
  2. Band Of Horses -- "Cease To Begin"
  3. Eddie Vedder -- "Music For The Motion Picture 'Into The Wild'"
  4. The Arcade Fire -- "Neon Bible"
  5. Josh Ritter -- "The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter"
  6. Okkervil River -- "The Stage Names"
  7. The Shins -- "Wincing The Night Away"
  8. Shout Out Louds -- "Our Ill Wills"
  9. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss -- "Raising Sand"
  10. Bruce Springsteen -- "Magic"
  11. Kelly Clarkson -- "My December"
  12. M.I.A. -- "Kala"
  13. Mark Ronson -- "Version"
  14. Bright Eyes -- "Cassadaga"
  15. Jarvis Cocker -- "Jarvis"
  16. Spoon -- "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
  17. Suzanne Vega -- "Beauty And Crime"
  18. Tegan And Sara -- "The Con"
  19. Interpol -- "Our Love To Admire"
  20. Bishop Allen -- "The Broken String"
  21. Mark Knopfler -- "Kill To Get Crimson"
  22. Jens Lekman -- "Night Falls Over Kortedala"
  23. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova -- "'Once' - Original Soundtrack"
  24. Fionn Regan -- "The End Of History"
  25. Mika -- "Life In Cartoon Motion "

Now there's your endorsement

The Pantload will take 'em where he can get 'em:

Vox Day on Liberal Fascism [Jonah Goldberg]

Cutting through a lot of oddly backhanded compliments (I like Vox) we get to the meat of it, and the meat is good:

[Goldberg] has written the most ideologically significant work of political non-fiction since ... "The Closing of the American Mind."

12/31 08:38 AM

Where have we seen this "Vox" that Goldberg likes so much?

Oh yes, Vox Day is the guy who used the death of six million jews to support the deportation of illegal immigrants, because gosh darnit, it worked! [Even WingNutDaily couldn't stand for that].

Of course, Vox, is also a guy who loves to toss the word fascism around (while admiring its the Holocaust for example)...

Far too many women are fascists at heart...Some people think the Founding Fathers had never even considered the thought of allowing women to vote, that it was just a historical oversight on the part of some unconsciously sexist men. I suspect that they knew perfectly well what they were doing, given the obvious connection between the female franchise and the West's continental drift into socialism.

Dude really knows how to sweet talk. No wonder he thinks rape is morally the same as premarital consensual sex, and mostly on the woman [hey, at least he doesn't say "broads"].

But Jonah really likes the guy.

Says it all, doesn't it?

Uncommitted, tragically

I was waiting for Joe Klein to weigh in on Iowa before I decided who to support ("vote for" is too substantive a claim for the Iowa Caucuses) here on Thursday.

But now that Klein has added his unerring (just ask him) thoughts and pontifications so that I know how NOT to go, I've made up my mind.

Klein also manages to use the Tom Friedman technique of finding people who talk like Joe Klein.

Joe, Iowa voters, especially the Democrats, are a rather sophisticated lot -- rather ironic, considering how you actually consider us hayseeds. We don't like you, we know what you are about, and we are all in fairly common agreement. You are a corporate whore, 1st Class.

In short, you suck.

BTW, if you were wondering if Joe is the most clueless person this side of David Broder, let this be your evidence, the "wise" pundit in action...

I compared [Hillary Clinton] to a bran muffin last summer.

And I compare you, Joe, to the end result.

Come back to Jeebus...

Um, yeah...

Mike Huckabee, a Republican relying on support from religious conservatives in Thursday's hard-fought presidential caucuses, on Sunday stood by a decade-old comment in which he said, "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." ... He gave the speech the same year he endorsed the Baptist convention's statement of beliefs on marriage that "a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."


Maybe Huckabee is closer to Mitt than we thought. After all Willard Romney believes that Jeebus make a "Curtain Call" in 'Murica after the whole resurrection thing. I just hope his papers were in order. But since I have been told for years he was a really handsome blonde Richard Chamberlain...but not at all Richard Chamberlain, even Tom Tancredo would probably give him a green card.

So who learned what from who?

I keep forgetting who is learning things from who...

The party of slain former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto tapped her 19-year-old son Sunday as its new chairman, preserving one of Asia's most enduring political dynasties, but it turned real power over to her husband, a one-time businessman dogged by corruption allegations.

I expect President Bush and Senator Clinton to immediately denounce this sort of nepotism.

Followed by Jonah Goldberg, John Podhoretz, Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol.

Oh, and if one more generation comes up...if we are truly going to let the teachers become the masters, somebody is going to have to be hung.

And no, that is not a hopeful wish Pantload.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Help me MATLOCK!!!, you're my only hope

I'm traveling today, but for now, please note that David Broder seems to think that the problem with Democracy is that not enough people are shitting their pants like him and other pundits.

Davey, that isn't just fear, it's incontinence. Just one of its many manifestations in how it afflicts you.

Thanks so much for all of your past denigration of people who cared enough to be angry as George Bush led us into the deep shit.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

1. I want to be even more self-centered.
2. My fat pants are too loose, I need to put on about another 20, I'm aiming to need one of them seatbelt extenders...for my car!
3. Damn, why not put gravy on everything?
4. I'm cutting out jawbreakers.
5. I've never enjoyed it, but maybe this is the year I can take up smoking.
6. I'm going to bring back the Jefferson Davis "Neck-goatee"
7. Wear more paisley & horizontal striping
8. I'm going to start the "One really cool laptop for middle-aged, balding, Midwestern, white liberals" program. Let's start with a Core-4.
9. I think Tom Cruise needs to speak out on more things.
10. This is the year, there will be reports of Kate O'Beirne going commando.
11. I'm going to sow some Quaker Oats.
12. Regularity is the hobgoblin of small minds, life is an adventure.
13. Like Mike Huckabee I'm going to take a strong stand against irrelevant foreign immigrants. So fuck you Luxembourgians!
14. I'm going to try to get up earlier.
15. This will be the year porn scripts get back to the golden age of witty Pizza Delivery Boys.
16. There is nothing erotic about flossing each other.
17. I'm going to start off the new year designing the cover of my latest book, "Fascist Fascism". I will then finally finish it in the year 2019. I expect plenty of patently insincere reviews from my co-bloggers.
18. I'm going to find out what "Rosebud" means.
19. I will stop using bait when fishing for compliments.
20. I encourage each and every one of you to be good to each other ... more blow for me.


I never got a free copy (and frankly that's still more than I'd pay) of the Doughy Pantload's Book, "Sloppy Seconds: My life with Momma" so there's never been a review.

Besides, Sadly, No did it so well, I could never have bettered it. Just like it looks that Jonah could not top even the logical standards of Michael Ledeen.

All I can say, is that when you create the book jacket about two years plus, before you write the tells you all you need to know.

Blog like me...

A great end of the year obituary to one of 2007's great losses, the tremendous Steve Gilliard in the New York Times.

While many of us can identify with Steve in some ways, he was truly unique and we'll all miss his writing terribly.

Update: From the people who know him best, there is one major flaw with the linked article.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I'm going to guess it will be interpreted as "Good News for Republicans"

Bin Laden to release Iraq message

Apparently, like Leno, Bin Laden is being forced back to work before the writer's strike is over.


I watched the usual abysmal American media coverage of the Bhutto assassination -- shallow, lacking context, and immediately applying all events to the presidential race [both absurd and grotesque].

And just like Iraq, one of the few sources of decent coverage was McClatchy [formerly Knight-Ridder], they have an excellent on-the-scene piece on the Bhutto assassination and set the context for how it occurred:

I was standing near the rally stage, about 30 to 40 yards away from the scene of the shooting. There was pandemonium. On hearing the shots, I started running toward the scene. Then came the explosion. I ran back a bit. I didn't see the killer, and by the time I got to the gates, Bhutto's SUV was driving to a Rawalpindi hospital. She didn't have a chance.

The assassination occurred in this garrison city housing the headquarters of the Pakistan army, an institution that has always seemed opposed to Bhutto. A couple of miles away across Rawalpindi, a previous military regime had executed her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan's first democratically elected prime minister, in 1979, when she was 26.

Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts. As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: "Willing to die for Benazir."

Ghulam Mustafa, a witness at the scene, said he saw bodies with missing heads and limbs.

"This happens only in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Why not America?" he said.

Bhutto's party had complained repeatedly that the government provided her with inadequate security. She'd narrowly escaped another assassination attempt, at her homecoming parade Oct. 18 in Karachi, which left

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Incredible BBC Docs at KOS

From our friends at Daily KOS comes links to Adam Curtis' BBC documentaries. The folks at KOS have inserted links to the online versions of Century of the Self and Power of Nightmares into a diary that got recorded at dKos, and they're just riveting. Especially the Power of Nightmare episode on 9-11!

These documentaries present a detailed focus on grouping methods and psychological testing that should feature heavily into discussions of public manipulation by politicians and business. Everyone should really try to find time to watch them if you haven't.  Amazing.  And disturbing.

Bush is a Symptom

...and not the problem according to the Krugmeister writing at  He believes that progressives have a historic opportunity to reshape politics.  That's funny.  I wondered and pondered this and then it occurred to me that all of us here at R-H have been saying that since the chimperor was pronounced president by Scalia during the scandalous days of Bush v. Gore.  Remember those days?

However, Krugman believes that the public has become more liberal and open-minded.  He then goes on to attack the mainstream media (of which he is part) and gives no real compelling evidence for this "liberal opening." 

Is it that the country has become more liberal or is it that Chimpy and Co. have so gravely mismanaged the ship of state that the Dems just don't look so bad?  And we know they believe in a few things it just so often seems to this commentator as though it is a softer more people-friendly version of what the GOP is selling.

Of course, that mainstream media will just attack the Dems, poison the discussion, and excoriate every perceived liberal (let alone progressive) offering.  So, assume the Democrats do win the executive branch.  Further assume they open their leads in the House and the Senate.  What are they capable of doing with this supposedly advantaged position?  Dems are supposedly running Congress right now and what are they doing with it?  They can't even get health care in the long term for poor kids.

Yes, Bush is a symptom but ineffective and skittish Democrats are going to give the whole package right back to the Neocons if they don't start standing up for something and be willing to fight -- and fight hard -- for what they believe in (assuming their concern for health care, the environment, working people, schools, infrastructure... and so much more really means something).

Now, is not the time for bickering and petty squabbling, now is the time for a progressive agenda that is advanced at the federal and state levels where it is possible to break into the discussion and move forward AND CREATE CHANGE.  That is, assuming the mainstream media will even listen.

Yes, Paul you are right that Bush is just a symptom of deeper problems with politics in this country. 

Utah Phillips

The progressive folk singer and storyteller Utah Phillips has had to retire from performing due to chronic and serious heart problems. In recognition of his work on behalf of working people, several union locals have passed resolutions honoring Phillips and attaching donations for his assistance.

One way that we can help is by purchasing some of Utah's vast catalog of songs and stories. All of his CDs and more information are available at his website.

Utah has begun podcasting. You can also order his CDs online through cdbaby, but prices are cheaper and more of that money will go into Utah's hands if you order directly from him.

Here's the address for CD orders and to send a donation:

U. Utah Phillips
No Guff Records
P.O. Box 1235
Nevada City, CA 95959

Bush's Class Warfare

From our friends at we have additional proof that Chimpy's efforts to attack the average American runs deep.

Just a week before Christmas, President Bush gave corporate America two big presents. On Tuesday, his Federal Communications Commission changed the rules to allow the nation’s giant conglomerates to further consolidate their grip on the media by permitting them to purchase TV and radio stations in the same local markets where they already own daily newspapers. As a gift to the country’s automobile industry, Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency ruled Wednesday, over the objections of the agency’s staff, that California, the nation’s largest and most polluted state, and 16 other states, can’t impose regulations to limit greenhouse gases from cars and trucks that are stronger than the federal government’s own weak standards.

So far, no major politicians or editorial writers have labeled these actions “class warfare,” although this is precisely what Bush is engaged in — helping the already rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else. Class warfare is, in fact, the very essence of Bush’s tenure in the White House. In thousands of ways, big and small, Bush has promoted the interests of the very rich and the largest corporations. Corporate lobbyists have the run of the White House. Their agenda - tax cuts for the rich and big business, attacks on labor unions, and the weakening of laws protecting consumers, workers and the environment from corporate abuse - is Bush’s agenda.

I will call it what it is:  Class Warfare!  The wealthy take profit off the back of the corporate welfare handout train known as the "Bush Administration."  The Wobblies once famously proclaimed: 'there are those who work, and those who don't. The interests of these two groups are so contradictory that, so long as they exist, their relationship can only be a struggle.'

No one could have not foreseen

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

That doesn't mean it isn't about as bad a news as could be.

As you know, this being a Huckabee...

(Keith Bedford/Reuters)

Things didn't end well for the dog either. Still more efficient than hanging, so they're learning.

I know, you're all wondering if he's doin' it Santorum-Style aren't you?


(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

I've been on the road, still am, so I missed George Bush's trip down Jimmy Jeff Lane. Yeah, like he was the pitcher.


In today's episode David Broder remembers the best prunes he ever had but forgets that George Bush's vetoes and Republican obstruction, like cloture votes, exist.

Meaning it, once again, is all the Democrats fault!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Banned Words of 2008™ (Part II)

My friend Sexy Pixie reminded me of a few more words, phrases, names, and other phenomena that need to be banned before 2008 makes its debut. I'll add her contributions -- and those of other R-H commenters, to the previous list.

Keep 'em coming, people. 2007 is not over yet.
  1. Presidential
  2. Electability
  3. Luxury
  4. Playing the _______ card.
  5. Judd Apatow (No problem with the movies, but this guy is to 2007 what Quentin Tarantino was to 1994.)
  6. Kerfuffle (Sweet Jesus, do I hate this word.)
  7. Go negative
  8. Baby Bump
  9. Decadent (in reference to food)
  10. Devastating
  11. Not so much
  12. Shortening of names into abbreviations for self-promotional purposes," e.g., "NatGeo" for National Geographic and "WaMu" for Washington Mutual. (Per Sexy Pixie, "It’s tacky, like giving your self a nickname. At least I think KFC and Mickey-D’s evolved organically."
  13. Hottie (Capital J)
  14. Adding "-age" to words, e.g, "beardage" (Capital J)
  15. Centrist (Dr. Dick)
  16. 9/11 (definitely) (boggeriquage)
  17. "It's all good" (drydiggins)
  18. Canoodle (The Kenosha Kid)
  19. "Off the table" (as in "Impeachment is...") (Elspeth Ravenwind)
  20. "War on ______" (station agent)
  21. Any sentence construction that contains the phrase "so not" (as in, "I am so not going to that party") (gypsy howell)
  22. Amazing, e specially when pronounced "aMAZing." (Hoyt Pollard)
  23. Spot on (some blogger named DeDurkheim)
  24. Surge (Contisertoli)
  25. Gravitas (Major Woody)
  26. All that good stuff (JeffCO)
  27. Competitive birthing (watertiger)
  28. Push presents (watertiger)
  29. At the end of the day... (SteveLG)
  30. _______ Czar (e.g., Drug Czar, War Czar, etc.)

"And this..."

(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

"Is the copy of the Gettysburg Address Lincoln gave me."

Big Butter Jeebus meets Annette Funicello

In "The Passion of the Bikini Beach".



As Bush would say.

There are many myths out there in the world...where a little work might do a real journalist some good.

Or you could get your White House "facts" faxed to you and read and/or paste them.

I wonder how many at CNN or MSNBC, the Washington Post or New York Times will actually read Juan Cole? Knowledge, much easier to get than a Wii.

Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2007
8. Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Fact: The civil war in Baghdad escalated during the US troop escalation. Between January, 2007, and July, 2007, Baghdad went from 65% Shiite to 75% Shiite. UN polling among Iraqi refugees in Syria suggests that 78% are from Baghdad and that nearly a million refugees relocated to Syria from Iraq in 2007 alone. This data suggests that over 700,000 residents of Baghdad have fled this city of 6 million during the US 'surge,' or more than 10 percent of the capital's population. Among the primary effects of the 'surge' has been to turn Baghdad into an overwhelmingly Shiite city and to displace hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the capital.

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart.

Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Alternative Media

The Christian Science Monitor is just discovering that thinking voters in New Hampshire are turning to independent and alternative media.  Shocking.  Next, the CSM is going to discover that college kids are taking pictures of themselves partying on a social website.  Just shocking I tell you, shocking.

Concert Slump

Do we care about live concerts anymore?  Especially when even "live" performing can be as much a reflection of computer and software tools rather than musical heart and soul.

Remember when a concert felt like a divine intervention?  A time when the audience melted into the experience?  Audiences would talk about a powerful performance for weeks if not months and years.  Remember a concert where you dissected all of the elements of the music, playing, and overall experience?  Does that kind of experience exist anymore?

A serious question for the music industry is whether live music can regain its prominent place in American popular culture in an era of YouTube, iTunes, MySpace, Podcasting, Blogging, Facebook, and well... any Internet entertainment.  We can hear, see, and feel music in so many different ways.

We also face a music business where the costs of tours are atmospheric and that most large venues are not fan friendly.  Why would you go?  In fact, given that you can wait until after the tour and buy a DVD or watch the tour on a premium cable or satellite channel, why go? 

The top 20 tours generated $996 million, down 15.6 percent from the year before, according to preliminary data issued on Friday by Pollstar, which covers the concert business. The previous low was $951.1 million in 2004, when Prince and Madonna topped the box office, it said.

So, why go?  What concerts did you attend in 2007?  Did anyone go to the "Big Tours" of 07?  What kind of experience did you have at the show?

Happy X-Mas

Monday, December 24, 2007

Best Movies I Saw in 2007

Dedurkheim did the music, I'm doing the movies. My favorites, in chronological order of release. Chime in with yours in comments.

1. "The Lives of Others" (The Best of The Best. I just watched it again on-demand and it is terrific.)

2. "Across the Universe" (Loved it, especially the "Because" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy) sequences.)

3. "I'm Not There" (For the little smile Cate Blanchett gives the camera at the very end.)

4. "Zodiac" (Because I dig police procedurals and San Francisco.)

5. "Sicko" (Michael Moore may be fat, but he's also right.)

6. "No End in Sight" (In fifty years they're gonna show this in schools to teach the kids How It All Went So Terribly and Horribly Wrong.)

7. "Michael Clayton" (Two words: George Clooney) and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (Three words: Phillips Seymour Hoffman)

8. "Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten" (I miss The Clash.)

9. "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Beautiful and moving and as good a movie as it was a book.)

10. "Sweeney Todd" (Because Johnny Depp is a pro and a sport and because it was a Movie Movie).

Note: I didn't see "Away from Her," "Eastern Promises," "Into the Wild," "Ratatouille," "Superbad," "The Darjeeling Limited," "Gone, Baby Gone," "Margot at the Wedding," "The Savages," "There Will Be Blood," "Persepolis," or "Juno" (yet).

Movies I wanted to like more, but didn't: "Starting Out in the Evening," "Redacted," and "No Country for Old Men."

Movies also worth mentioning: "Lady Chatterley" and "American Gangster."

Acceptable Words of 2008 (patent pending)

With all due deference to the lovely and highly intelligent, Res Ipsa Loquitur, we offer our list of words, phrases, clauses, catch phrases, and names that we hope to hear in 2008 (please add you suggestions in the comments below):

  1. Democratic Landslide
  2. President Bush Arrested
  3. Superbowl Champion Vikings (ok, this one is for me)
  4. Writer's well compensated
  5. Conservative Correctness
  6. Progressive (in a way that is approving!)
  7. Cool (does this one ever go away?)
  8. Does this look like the right arm of a man who doesn't like sex?
  9. That's SO Cheney! (said with a vigorous shaking of the head)
  10. I accept responsibility
  11. Its the music that matters

There are just a few of the words and phrases that will gain wide usage in 2008.

Happy Shopping Holiday

Engage full snark mode.

Well it's that time of year again my friends. Time for all good Americans to focus on what really matters. Not family, community, charity, or world peace, but that national sacrament of late-stage capitalism known as Holiday Shopping that started auspiciously enough with a day known as Black Friday. 

Whether you do it online, or drag yourself to the mall amidst the sea of humanity scrapping and fighting for the latest must-have gizmo, toy, or thing-a-bob, rest assured that your actions are vital to the national interest. In fact, the annual consumer bonanza unleashed in the last fiscal quarter is so central to defining life and vitality in the U.S. that the economy's strength in the beginning of the following year is literally tied to how much stuff we buy for the holidays.   So, buy, buy, buy my friends. 

So get out there and do your duty: Buy American. Be American.  Shop.  Shop some more. Keep on shopping. Shop till you drop, and remember, this is what it means to be a patriot!  Remember even George H. W. Bush bought a pair of socks!  And all by himself!  He must have been oh so proud!

Now, being one who doesn't like to give advice that I myself am unwilling to follow, I must say that I too have been making the holiday pilgrimage to the shopping centers, online stores, and corner markets lately, both to purchase desired items, and also to observe others in the process of this sociologically fascinating ritual known as holiday shopping.

As someone who regularly writes about American culture, you can probably imagine that I have long been especially intrigued by the way in which holiday behavior and symbolism replicates notions of economic correctness and conservative ideology, and therefore acts to reinforce the control of the old guard.  Yet, are the holidays really holiday-like without the shopping? Could we really stop shopping even if we wanted to stop?

So, enjoy the presents and remember that the shopping is a little contradictory.  And embrace those contradictions just realize that you need to continually buy more and more stuff to keep the system afloat.  Toward that end, if any of you wish to send your pal Dirk D. DeDurkheim a gift you can contact me directly.  I need your help in getting a wii and some wii games.  Damn those things are expensive.

Snark setting returned to normal.

Greetings from Arizona

For those of you who read the blog, and wish to know, my mother is out of the hospital and back at home where 4/5ths of the immediate family has gathered. Thanks for all the well-wishes.

I'm typing this from their backyard with the temperature in the 40s and it still feels good enough to me. Too damn bad I missed the big snowstorm. They live out in the east valley of the greater Phoenix area in a retirement housing development with great views. And I have to say they have a menagerie of desert animals that come here every morning to demand food. From the small rabbit my mother has taken to nursing with a fresh carrot every morning (from sickly to full health but still demanding) to the partridges and the male cardinal that visits every morning standing three feet away from you and chirps for birdseed until he gets it.

Anyway, that's the boring status report. Stay safe, happy holidays and such.


You know Michael O'Hanlon, the thing about Sherman & Grant is, they ended their civil war, they did not finance it in perpetuity.

The Americans are haunted by the possibility that Iraq could go the way of Afghanistan, where Americans initially bought the loyalty of tribal leaders only to have some of them gravitate back to the Taliban when the money stopped...

“Many people believe this will end with tens of thousands of armed people, primarily Sunnis, and this will excite the Shiite militias to grow and in the end it will grow into a civil war,” said Safa Hussein, the deputy national security adviser and a point man on the Awakening program for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Still, the government has made only the most halting steps toward rapprochement with the Awakening groups, even those who have been fighting insurgents for months in their neighborhoods.

And for the Americans who helped create and nurture the movement, the initial excitement has been tempered by the challenge of managing a huge, and growing, force where many of the men have shadowy pasts.

Let me tell you how this ends. In the name of stopping the short-term being fucked, we get fucked even worse a generation down the road.

Ask, oh, I don't know...Charlie Wilson.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Banned Words of 2008™

(Actually, banned words, phrases, and names.) Add yours in comments.

1. Presidential
2. Electability
3. Luxury
4. Playing the _______ card.
5. Judd Apatow (No problem with the movies, but this guy is to 2007 what Quentin Tarantino was to 1994.)
6. Kerfuffle (Sweet Jesus, do I hate this word.)
7. Go negative
8. Baby Bump
9. Decadent (in reference to food)
10. Devastating
11. Not so much

David Byrne gets the New Paradigm

When Rock and Roll started, oh so many moon ago... it was about feeling, expressing, creating, living... it was about the music.  It was about the unique connection between musician and fan who loved the music.  Of course, the record companies were involved in efforts to control the acts that they signed from the very beginning but there was little choice for artists who had no way to distribute their creations.

Today so many record label execs and the old school music press do not understand that in the creation, distribution, and listening to music we have had a shift of vast proportions.  And, of course, it has been years since the big magazine mattered, now we go to smaller magazines and fanzines.   Hell, we go to MySpace and some artists websites.  We got to E-Music to avoid Digital Rights Management - DRM- where we can listen to songs without having to get permission (I am talking to you iTunes and record label websites!).

***I know that DRM is not the stranglehold it was just a few months ago but still... if you pay for a download you should not need permission to play it.***

It is nice to see some musicians get the Radiohead experiment as well as the realization that everything  about the music industry does need to change!  Trent Reznor even told his fans to steal his music.  And with so many fans involved in let's just say questionable downloads, the music industry needs to embrace the technology not fight against it!

The era of Giant Record Label total domination and absolute control is over.  Although the effort to push 360 degree (also called Equity) contracts are just a last gasp of a dying model -- where the musicians sell their souls to the record company.

Given the summer concert season  -- not nearly as good as expected sorry, but even given some big tours concert hauls did not do nearly as well as industry insiders thought -- and the fact that more and more venues cannot support live concerts in the same way as the past, it is time to embrace new models for the creation of music and more importantly new ways of getting that music into the ears of the fans.

And maybe the musicians and artists can do this without all of the bloatware, bad deals, and over-pricing of record label execs who get paid for doing virtually nothing.  Remember, in the end whether we like a particular artist or song... it is supposed to be about the music.


Shorter Broder:

Man speak pretty. Me write bad.

What a fuckin' embarassment

So long Tuckwad.

The Scoreboard: Thursday, Dec 20

25-54 demographic: (L +SD)

Total day: FNC: 226 | CNN: 147 | MSNBC: 105 | HLN: 100

Prime: FNC: 371 | CNN: 191 | MSNBC: 214 | HLN: 154

5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC BigStory: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:

140 238 325 541 282 289 251
CNN Blitzer: Blitzer: Dobbs: OutOpen: King: Cooper: Cooper:

143 179 215 165 230 179 184
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Abrams: Special: Special:

120 49 123 246 144 252 207
HLN Prime: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:

102 144 135 205 90 181 241

How Quaint!

Joe Klein, isn't it cute when he plays naive so he doesn't look dumb?

While bemoaning Hillary Clinton's campaign leaning on her connections with her husband (and really how can that be helped?) Klein points out one true flaw that really does bother me, the oligarchical nature of another Clinton as President, leaving us with a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton occupancy of the White House. I'm not making any real endorsements on this blog, because really, who gives a shit who I endorse? But I've said before I'll vote for her if she's the nominee, but failing to maintain at least a pretense of non-noble families where the Clinton's are the DeMedici's and the Bush's are the Clampett's running everything is important.

But then Klein veers into stupidity as ever:

I don't want the same old ratpack of shills and donors (and the accompanying pack of right-wing nutballs, bottom-feeding off the Clintonphobia of the wingnut base).

Oh please, you don't need a Clinton for the GOP sliming machine to kick into gear. If Hillary Clinton's the nominee they just have to cut & paste. But if anyone else is, they'll do the same.

I mean, c'mon Joe haven't you already heard (apparently he missed the whole Swift-Boat thing last time around)?

-- Barack HUSSEIN!!!!! OSAMA!!!!!!!?, educated in a terrorist madrassa. Doing cocaine speedballs with his two kids, Saddam & Qaddafi while on the Haj?

-- John Edwards and his 33 illegitimate babies conceived in the back of speeding ambulances he chased down with his mighty trial lawyer powers? His exquisitely coiffed gay-hair billowing in the wind while crushing Christian babies in a drill press?

There's nothing special about how the right will tread Hillary Clinton over anyone else except the spade work has already been done. It's simply old slime versus new slime.

Ron Paul, White Supremacist?

paul-and-don-black2.thumbnail (picture from Citizens Against Hate)Ron Paul and Stormfront founder Don Black

A great deal of discussion, debate, and fact checking is occurring regarding whether or not Ron Paul has been supporting -- directly or indirectly -- the work of white supremacists.  What evidence we do have is sketchy at present.  Whether we can trust various posts by extremists remain to be empirically proven. 

At a minimum, we need to consider Edgar Steele's strenuous support for Ron Paul on YouTube.  But there is some more absurd news because white supremacists might be coalescing around Paul.  In a surprising post on a racist Internet Vanguard News Network (VNN) forum, prominent neo-nazi "leader" Bill White of Roanoke, VA "claims" that racists from various organizations such as Stormfront and Council for Conservative Citizens had lunch meetings with congressman and rethuglican presidential hopeful Ron Paul. White also claims that he was invited by Ron Paul's staff for policy discussions which would form the basis for Paul's presidential bid. It is possible that White's posts may be more of an effort to sabotage Paul than support him.  Whether the claims of Paul being a supremacist or nationalist are completely true or fabricated are yet to be definitively established.

However these ideas have been considered true by Eye on Hate and Citizens Against Hate. If this is true, then it validates what several groups have been saying for a long time: that Ron Paul is a  racist and these roots run deep.  The Rightie Freeper brigade is freaking out about this one (Free Republic is following much of these discussions, which provides some interesting reading).  Included below is one of the postings by Bill White on the racist VNN forum:


I have kept quiet about the Ron Paul campaign for a while, because I didn't see any need to say anything that would cause any trouble. However, reading the latest release from his campaign spokesman, I am compelled to tell the truth about Ron Paul's extensive involvement in white nationalism.

Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays. This is part of a dinner that was originally organized by Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, and has since been mostly taken over by the Council of Conservative Citizens.

I have attended these dinners, seen Paul and his aides there, and been invited to his offices in Washington to discuss policy.

For his spokesman to call white racialism a "small ideology" and claim white activists are "wasting their money" trying to influence Paul is ridiculous. Paul is a white nationalist of the Stormfront type who has always kept his racial views and his views about world Judaism quiet because of his political position.

I don't know that it is necessarily good for Paul to "expose" this.  However, he really is someone with extensive ties to white nationalism and for him to deny that in the belief he will be more respectable by denying it is outrageous -- and I hate seeing people in the press who denounce racialism merely because they think it is not fashionable.

Bill White, Commander
American National Socialist Workers Party

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Is Anyone Surprised?

From Mazzetti at the New York Times, the bipartisan 9/11 panel study finds that the C.I.A. withheld the tapes of "interrogations."

The commission's chairmen said they believed the C.I.A. had made a conscious decision to impede repeated and detailed inquiries about interrogations.

At what point do we scuttle ye olde idea that these "security experts" are trying to protect us? So, who are they trying to protect at this point?

Who is messing up the Airlines?

It looks to me like airline workers could do a better job of running an airline than management does.  And they could certainly do without those parasitical stockholders who only care about increasing the price per stock by a few cents and damn the business or the fliers.

A rich record of the employee discontent emerges from regular question-and-answer sessions held at US Airways, which is both the worst-performing big airline in the country and a company that encourages its 36,000 workers to direct tough questions at its chief executive, W. Douglas Parker.

“Doug, I watched you on CNBC today,” said one e-mail message from a worker, sent on Oct. 25. “And I hate to tell you but the interiors of our plans [sic] smell bad and they are filthy. As an employee I am embarrassed to admit working for US Airways. When are you going to quit talking and do something about it?”

The rancor is not any worse at US Airways than at most other big carriers. What is different is that Mr. Parker, 46, subscribes to the let-it-all-hang-out school of employee relations.

He says management learns a lot about how the airline is actually performing through an uncensored give-and-take — and he willingly provided transcripts of the Q. and A. sessions.

The brawling dialogue does, however, suggest that airline service might get worse before it gets better. The current US Airways is a result of the most recent big airline merger, with America West Airlines in 2005. Mr. Parker tried unsuccessfully to acquire Delta Air Lines a year ago. Now, other airlines are mulling mergers as a way of cutting costs to offset high fuel expenses. Such deals could start a broader service decline.

Parody as reality

Tony Blair converts to Roman Catholicism, baptized by Monsignor Mark O'Toole.

C'mon, that's a porn name if I ever heard one.

"The system literally hates them."

Very powerful stuff here via James Wolcott.
There is no better country than America in the whole world to be rich. It is probably the only country in the world where the rich are loved. Conversely there is no worse country in the world to be poor. Of course these people are paranoid, the system literally hates them.
Then Digby digs up some stuff on Fred Thompson's stalker admirer, Margaret Carlson, who actually gets it, but is overwhelmed by visions of lobster ravioli dancing in her tiny head:
No, Carlson spends little time on Bush’s policies, though it’s clear who she thinks they favor. For example, she briefly mentions Bush’s legislative approach after the 2002 elections. “After his big win in the midterm elections in 2002,” she writes, “Bush lurched further in the direction of protecting those who have against those who don’t.” But she spends much more time discussing the way Bush provided better food on his plane. Mmmm! “There were Dove bars and designer water on demand,” she recalls, “and a bathroom stocked like Martha Stewart’s guest suite. Dinner at seven featured lobster ravioli.” Apparently, Bush’s policies reflect the tastes of “those that have” even when dinner bells chime.
And yesterday, in discussing the Bushville tent city that's sprung up outside L.A. for people who are out of their homes due in part to the mortgage meltdown, Atrios wrote:
There's a narrow window in the period just after people slip through the cracks when they are seen sympathetically, as "people like us" who had bad luck. As time goes by, they fast cease to be "like us" and sympathy fades.
I'm so sick of people equating success with virtue. I'm sick of the lack of sympathy. I'm sick of protecting those who have from those who don't. I'm sick of the meanness and hardness that comes from living in a culture where all of this is accepted as the norm.

Go back to David Seaton via Wolcott. This is what Huckabee's tapping into. It's what John Edwards is tapping into (although he's not allowed to tap into it because he spent $400 on a haircut, but I digress ...). It's what the Margaret Carlson's of the world would rather avoid by scarfing down Dove bars and lobster ravioli. And it's what millions of people would shout "Fuck yeah!' in respose to if only they weren't terrified that they'd lose their house/health insurance/paycheck for doing so."

At Wolcott, Seaton writes:
The entire American economy is based on making people feel bad about themselves, making them feel poor, ugly, sick, helpless, stupid, inadequate and then offering to sell them something to relieve the pain of rejection and failure.
It's based on making them afraid, too. Of losing the aforementioned house/health insurance/paycheck and of the myriad of boogymen under our collective beds. You think we don't have national health care because we can't do it or can't afford it? We don't have national health care because if we did, quitting your job and moving on to something better or even to the unknown wouldn't be so fucking terrifying. Some American dream, huh?

Sorry this is so disjointed. Wolcott got me all riled up.

Um, yeah

Nice headline:

Thompson tries to stay alive in Iowa

Time to bring in Rich Lowry as a headline writer:

(modified from AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Huck and the Victim Thang

From our friends at Consortium News -- In his sudden rise to the top of the Rethuglican crowded field, Mike "Mr. Christian" Huckabee has tapped into Christian conservative resentment over perceived attacks on Christians, X-mas, and the religious right throughout the world by those Godless secularists and liberals.  

This persecution theme was directly created and inserted into the body politique by our friends at Faux News (and other right-wing media -- especially talk radio -- and Internet outlets) and Mr. Right-wing Sean Hannity via the "War on Christmas" notion that was popular two years ago (and is repeatedly brought back by the nutcase religious right).

Nothing like clothing yourself in religious persecution as a strategy for winning the GOPpers primary.  Who wins the game of one-downship?  Huck or McCain?  Can Huck even touch McCain on struggle and persecution?  Do these challenges even compare?  McCain was a tortured POW while Huck... well, he thought of himself as tortured. 

From Robert Parry in 2005:

You have to hand it to political operatives who can turn the Christmas celebration of Jesus’s birth into a nasty wedge issue, transforming a traditional message of love, peace and tolerance into one of anger, conflict and resentment.

Ah the GOP, if you can't win legitimately cheat and generate fear.

Why can't you kids get along?

You ever hear that line from your parents?  Apparently Myspace and Facebook are locked in mortal Internet combat.

Yet MySpace will have the mind-set of a start-up the next several months, with an audacious menu of business partnerships, technology initiatives and expansion plans to gain the attention of consumers and advertisers.

It has little choice. Though the most popular social network, MySpace is in an escalating battle with upstart Facebook. As major retailers such as Coca-Cola and Blockbuster pump up advertising on social networks to reach millions of Americans creating personal Web pages, MySpace is trying to be heard above the din of Facebook — a rival less than half its size. MySpace co-founders DeWolfeand Anderson have a few tricks up their virtual sleeves as they try to reassert their company — often stereotyped as a site for kids — as a preeminent power.

Is this really such a big deal.  In one corner a corporate shill pretending to be a cool, edgy rebel for the college kids and in the other corner a corporate hack masquerading as a cool, edgy rebel for anyone.  Isn't the real difference the number of posted photos of drinking?

Santa Caption Contest


Hello there faithful Rising Hegemonians, who has the best caption for this picture?

Santa runs to support Iraqi War Effort!


Santa runs from Huckabee  (I hear Huck has something against the Big Redsuited One)



1,000 Spam Letter

This morning, according to my spamfilter, I have received my one -thousandth Nigerian bank spam letter. 

I would like to thank the academy...

Best Music of 2007?

Hello there fellow music-lovers!

We here at Rising Hegemon HQ are dealing with our feelings of abandonment now that Atta J. Turk have left us for some holiday with his folks. 

So, one item that we came up with was to share our responsibility in creating a Best Music of 2007 list.  Now, of course, in creating such a list there comes great awesome responsibility.  And this power must be wielded carefully.

For example, I do not understand the buzz around Amy Winehouse - the CD left me cold and the live performances that I have seen were simply awful.  Not just bad but may the ground open up and swallow her to never be seen again awful.  So, perhaps some of you can explain to me why her CD is so good, I just can't hear it.

Some music just fell a little short of making my list:  The Fratellis, Bruce Springsteen, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, The Nines, Everybody Else, Minipop, Tori Amos, Kaiser Chiefs, Leona Lewis, Arctic Monkeys, Last Stone Cast (exciting heavy band from Cleveland) and Jason Faulkner.  All had good records this year but were not as good as they could be - in some way to my listening they failed to live up to their potential.  And for something to make the 'Best of' list', the entire CD has to grab my attention.

DeDurkheim, all around enjoyer of music, has generated a long list of some of his faves for 2007 (the list is in no way complete but does get this experiment off the ground).  The list below crosses a few musical boundaries because I listen to lots of different stuff.  I will write another post about the reasoning behind my choices soon.

In no particular order, I give you:

DeDurkheim's Best Music of 2007

Linda Thompson Versatile Heart
Foo Fighters Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace
Fountains of Wayne Traffic & Weather
Rooney Calling the World
Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full
Graham Parker Don't Tell Columbus
Mitch Easter Dynamico
Lily Allen Alight, Still
The White Stripes Icky Thump
Son Volt The Search
Radiohead In Rainbows
Wilco Sky Blue Sky
Richard Thompson Sweet Warrior
The Eagles Long Road out of Eden
Robert Plant and Alison Kraus Rising Sand
Kanye West Graduation
Ian Hunter Shrunken Heads
Nine Inch Nails Year Zero
Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards
Arcade Fire Neon Bible
Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Tomahawk Anonymous
Monarch Lowly
Donald Fagan The Nightfly Trilogy
Scott Colley Architect of the Silent Moment

So, what are your favorites for 2007?

Be Careful about Donations

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government acted legally when it denied an entry visa to the prominent European Muslim scholar, Tariq Ramadan because he had donated money to an organization that passed some of its funds to Hamas.

Does this mean that every dollar/pound/yen must be accounted for?  Consider the ramifications of trying to keep track of every scarp of a donation someone makes!  Do we know what the United Way, Salvation Army, etc, etc... do with every bit of every single donation? 

Pretty high standard when you think about it.


Light posting today. I'm in Eastern regions of the greater Phoenix area preparing for the holidays with my parents. My mother, who has has respiratory problems, had an emergency visit to the hospital (something not unusual for someone in her condition) and nobody really slept last night.

So even, I, the early rising, obsessively-posting one, don't have much to put up at the moment. We're awaiting word from the hospital, but we expect her to be okay, it's part of the drill.

Anyhoo, if anybody else wants to pick up the slack that would be great.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mission Accomplished

How it works in Bush World:

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

Which leads to this Cavutoesque response:

That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results.

"Did you see those severed puppy heads in a jar too?"

Yuri Gripas/Reuters

"The horror, the horror."

Her eyes are "up there" George.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Buy this damn thing

Futurama: Bender's Big Score.

Especially for you "Al Gore" fans[2:30 to 2:45] (and yes, that's really his voice).


David Broder, who if life was an ice cream parlor would not be vanilla, but the round cardboard 5-gallon container it comes in, manages to write yet another timeless column, where he surmises the Presidential race from Mount Wanklympus.

Timeless, because when you subtract the cuts and the pastes it could have been written in any prior election...and was.

Although he does take time to get in a dig at a woman, the editor of the Des Moines Register, who, because she isn't in Washington, becomes a suitable target for all manner of misogynistic beltway scorn.

But what of "the Dean" and his ever-Beltway beloved reporting powers?

Yeah, well there's that problem too:

In the most-watched speech of his political career, speaking on “Faith in America” at College Station, Texas, earlier this month, Mitt Romney evoked the strongest of all symbolic claims to civil-rights credentials: “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.”...

Asked about the specifics of George Romney’s march with MLK, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the Phoenix that it took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. That jibes with the description proffered by David S. Broder in a Washington Post column written days after Mitt’s College Station speech.

Broder, in that column, references a 1967 book he co-authored on the Republican Party, which included a chapter on George Romney. It includes a one-line statement that the senior Romney “has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit.”

But that account is incorrect. King never marched in Grosse Pointe, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, and had not appeared in the town at all at the time the Broder book was published. “I’m quite certain of that,” says Suzy Berschback, curator of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. (Border was not immediately available for comment [ed: Are you kidding, "Matlock" was on!?])

Berschback also believes that George Romney never appeared at a protest, march, or rally in Grosse Pointe. “We’re a small town,” she says. “Governors don’t come here very often, except for fundraisers.”

In fact, King’s only appearance in Grosse Pointe, according to Berschback, took place after Broder’s book was published.

That was for a March 14 speech he delivered at Grosse Pointe High School, just three weeks before King was assassinated. But there was no march, and George Romney was not there.

Nice reportin' there slick.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Big Mouth Strikes Again

Do you live in the Chicago area?

Do you hate what right-wing hate radio has done to our airwaves, our sensibility, and our democracy?

If so, driftglass has a little project for you.

Oh, Joy

Alert Larry King!

Al-Qaeda's media arm, al-Sahab, has invited individuals, organisations and journalists to submit questions for an open interview with Ayman al-Zawahiri.

I have a few:

- How have you been dealing with the writer's strike?

- What are your Hanukkah plans?

- Where are you at?

- How long are you going to be there?

And, of course...

- What are you wearing?

All those pesky notes gone and gone...

Oh how fortunate for for the Veep to have all of those files destroyed...

SPLC wins Best Investigative Reporting

The Utne Reader has selected the Southern Poverty Law Center's in-depth reporting of racist organizations and anti-immigration efforts as their 2007 award for in-depth and investigative reporting.

In a time when media reflection on the country's race issues comes down to parsing the latest celebrity gaffe, Intelligence Report reminds us that organized, violent racism often written-off as a troubling relic of a bygone era endures... the magazine tracks extremist movements and their ideological ripples throughout society. In the Spring 2007 issue, for instance, it was reported that the number of hate groups in the United States has swelled along with the nation's rising tide of populist anti-immigration sentiments, climbing 40 percent to 844 in a six-year period (2000 to 2006).

Well deserved.

Hoaxes and Lies

So, what do we make of these Rethuglican lies?

Apparently the nutcase brigade is trying to gear up for what they see as years of political opposition against Democratic advances in the Presidency and Congress.  So, we can expect more dirty tricks and the usual attack crap-a-thons!

With President George W. Bush only a year away from departing the White House and the Republican succession in turmoil, some of the most prominent conservative intellectuals and activists have gathered together for one last great crusade. Movement icons from Robby George of Princeton to Harvey Mansfield of Harvard, from David Horowitz to Brit Hume, raised howls of persecution when they heard reports that two masked men allegedly attacked a conservative Princeton University student. They insisted that the right-wing acolyte was beaten up "for his conservative views," as Horowitz put it. And they accused Princeton of failing to protect conservatives and upholding a hypocritical liberal double standard.

What are the Dems and Progressives going to do when the nutwing and theocrats go on the attack?  So far, watching the Democratic Congress, I am not particularly hopeful that they will fight back.

Jonah Goldberg Remembers (future edition)

January 19, 2007,



Ladies and Gentlemen,

A past and current 'Time Person of the Year':

As Atrios is no doubt likely to remind you again today

Mickey Kaus, ever responsible, is not the father of Britney Spears' sixteen year old sister's "Jesus"-baby.

That's because it's a well-known fact, and the truth of it becomes apparent via his denials ("I was just helpin' them over the fence officer"), that Mickey only has sexual relations with goats.

If you doubt me, please notice the convoluted nature of Mickey Kaus' Drudge-ruled world where Occam's Razor is permanently banned.

(photo from here)

Hard to Believe, I know...

Britney Spears 16-year old sister pregnant.

Naturally this headline is combined with this...

"I was in complete and total shock"

The father is the clearly, equally responsible, Casey Aldridge.

I look forward to the about 2021 when George W. Aldridge knocks up Jism Duggar.

You know the odds are pretty damn good of that happening.

How Rove Built it

Cross-posted from Firedoglake:

I suppose this would be a good time to state once again I live in Iowa (to both the State's and my "mutual shame"). Iowa is also known every four years as, the land of 10,000 phone calls* all inquiring who you are supporting at the Caucus. I have yet to declare my allegiance to a Democratic Campaign - or at least publicly declare one. Every vote counts, and I would not want to hurt my choice with the "Imprimatur of Shame", the "Atta J. Turk, endorsement".

I bring this up to mention -- again -- I get a LOT of phone calls about the campaign. Most are volunteers, but many are from phone banks, including the rare push poll. In talking to the occasional Republican friend (via "lemon juice on paper" with Ron Paul supporters) they tell me the push polls and bizarre recorded calls are heavier on their side. Which brings me to the story of Allen Raymond, convicted Republican phone scammer -- and the kind of recruit Karl Rove brought into the GOP tent in a big way.

A former GOP political operative who ran an illegal election-day scheme to jam the phone lines of New Hampshire Democrats during the state's tight 2002 U.S. Senate election said in a new book and an interview that he believes the scandal reaches higher into the Republican Party...

Raymond said those who've tried to make him the fall guy for the New Hampshire scheme failed to recognize that e-mails, phone records and other evidence documented the complicity of a top state GOP official and the Republican National Committee's northeast regional director.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monkeys vs. College Students

What do we make of this? Let the debates, discussions, and handling begin.

And we must avoid palindromic thinking nonsense about this one my dear e-friends! Because then, the conclusions would not bear thinking about: youth grow/graduate in both laterally and "vertically" ways ( in an academic ascending sort of way) .

And then, where would we be a few years down the road, how would we manage to discuss matters of portentous nature hovering in the back of our minds? This is why I say, in terms of mind boggling genius, it's the monkeys friends. Or is it?

I prefer kierkegaard over Sarte! Don't agree... let the hurling of feces begin!!

My Hero for the Day

Did anyone catch Denis Leary on Bab's all gal gabfest, The View?

"White men have screwed this country up!," said The Rescue Me star in a mini-rant as part of a discussion about candidates. "I would like a black, female.... everything all rolled into one."


Leary: "I want something different. I want a real change. ... People, I want a president who speaks well, who has a sense of humor. This guy is such a moron! It's beyond the point where it's a joke. He's an idiot." (scroll down to find the story)

At the end of Leary's segment on the show, Whoopi Goldberg gave him a standing ovation and cheered him on. I wish more people would applaud free speech instead of talking about how you can't criticize any flippin' thing because you are supposedly giving comfort to the terrorists. Free speech dies with the silence of downcast eyes.

I remember when Leary had those great angry commercials on Mtv -- he would spit words at the camera over a great gutiar riff -- talking about music, politics, and culture.

I suppose we should cue up the Rethug attack machine, Michie, Andrewbooboo, Hanablaugh, Rushamon -- you all sharpening your claws?

Failing Grade for Ohio's Voting Thingees

This is all pretty awful if not too surprising...

A team of computer scientists in beige colored academia joined their colleagues in the private sector to sharply criticize (is there any other kind?) the integrity of voting machines, procedures, and especially the systems used in good ol' Ohio. 

We are constantly told that Ohio will be a state crucial to the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections and supposedly played a role in the past two presidential contests resulting in ol' Chimpmeister Meisterchimp becoming "preznit".

In their report, which was released last Friday, the scientists made several troublesome points:
° Poll workers could install software bugs in the voting systems to reapportion votes.
° Standard practices in the use of cryptography, password management, and hardware security have not been followed.
° Auditing of the systems is untrustworthy.
° Software maintenance is “deeply flawed,” leading to lockups and crashes.

So, we can't trust the machines.  Check.  We cannot trust the companies that make the machines.  Ok, check.  We certainly cannot count on Rethuglicans to play fair on the playground even if the machines do work.  Yeah, double check.  So, what can we expect from this next fun-filled election merry-go-round?

Let the Geekitude Rejoice!

Apparently the corporate heads at New Line and filmmaker Peter Jackson have agreed to let the bygones go by... yahoo news is noting that Jackson will direct New Line's Lord of the Rings Prequel, The Hobbit and another film based on the Hobbit.

Can you hear the singing of Hallelujah?  I can.  Wait that's me.

Take THAT, Joe Klein!!!

A gift arrived yesterday from Eschatonian and RH reader SallyH. A genuine Turkish fez that she obtained earlier this year on a trip to the land of the original Ataturk (who actually tried to ban the things once).

Thanks so much.

Along with my other regulation fez, the leopard print fez, and that fez (and tiny car) I took from a drunken Shriner after the 1991 University of Iowa Homecoming Parade it makes a lovely set.

Also, fellow blogboy, and long-time Attaturk enabler, Dick D. DeDurkheim will be here in early January as we cover the Iowa Caucuses.

This will give us a chance to truly impress Champollion (although he can have the tiny car if he wants it) and make him jealous as we unleash our new business, 'AKBAR & JEFF'S BLOGGING HUT!'

By the way, tiara-envy harboring Res Ipsa sent me a book yesterday as well on the fabulous 80s (home of my favorite TV shows, "Manimal" and "SuperTrain"). AWESOME!

So remember readers, keep those gifts coming.

Shorter Anne Appelbaum

"You've come a long way baby. Now, shut the fuck up!"

A column so puerile and incompetent Sylvia Plath would have put the oven on broil.

Meanwhile in the "Hap Hap Happy" land of Iraq

Where the progress is palpable:

KIRKUK, Iraq - The Turkish army sent soldiers about 1.5 miles into northern Iraq in an overnight operation on Tuesday, Kurdish officials said. A Turkish official said the troops were still in Iraq by midmorning.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Kirkuk, the hub of Iraq's northern oil fields.


Meanwhile in other news of the land that "Metrics" will never forget:

At least 46 people were killed and 37 injured Monday in a spate of attacks across Iraq, including random shooting by a US force in Mosul and an assault by insurgents with links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network in Diyala province.

In the northern city of Mosul, a US patrol opened fire on civilians after a bomb went off targeting their vehicles, security sources told the Voices of Iraq VOI news agency Monday.

Making Jiffy Pop in the Winnebago Microwave

Should get Tagg Romney a purple heart or something.

Mitt Romney's eyes filled with tears Monday as the Republican presidential contender recalled watching the casket of a soldier killed in Iraq return to the United States and imagined if it were one of his five sons.

Uh, yeah.

“[O]ne of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.”


Seriously, is anybody ever really fucking surprised?

Here's a prediction...

Whenever an Administration official travels in the direction of Asia, Eastern Europe, or North Africa there is at least a 50% they'll make a "SURPRISE!" visit to Iraq.

Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq

KIRKUK, Iraq - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit Tuesday to the city that Iraq's Kurds call their Jerusalem, an oil-rich territory claimed by many where the United States says it sees new signs of cooperation and progress.

They're "surprise" visits because things are going so swimmingly in Iraq that to this day we cannot have prominent officials announce their arrival in advance.

Not that anyone in the media can be bothered to point this out.

Meanwhile, new versions of the same ol' bullshit. Yeah, so much progress being made on the political front.


Aura of Inevitability

I know those who have staked their reputations on convincing us things are going swimmingly in Iraq but crap just keeps happening.

MOSUL, Iraq, Dec 17 (Reuters) - A truck packed with explosives blew up on Monday close to Iraq's largest dam, partly destroying the main access bridge and killing a policeman, police said.

The blast caused no damage to the Mosul Dam itself, which U.S. Army engineers have previously warned is poorly constructed and in danger of imminent collapse.

An engineer at the dam, Abdul-Khalaq Dhanoon, said a section of the 250-metre long metal bridge, which is about 1 kilometre from the dam, had been destroyed in the explosion.

Eventually, someone's going to successfully pull off something horrible at that dam.

Monday, December 17, 2007

No Radio for the Kids


(photo courtesy of Mrs. Dr. J.)

We here at the Rising Hegemon HQ (undisclosed location, of course) have heard that there will be no "School of Rock w/ Dr. J" on WUDR as the radio station is undergoing renovations on their studio. Hopefully our good friends, Watertiger, Res, and that good luck charm gadfly Mr. Atta J. Turk will be back on the air and Internet waves soon.

Of course, inquiring minds want to know when that damn DJ is going to invite me? What do these bloggies have that I don't? Um, actually... nevermind.

Call Me Cynical

Glenn Greenwald paints an ugly portrait of the double standards operating in the senate at the hands of Harry Reid (R. Nev.??):

Isn't it just amazing? Reid is using every power he has, including some which run directly contrary to how the Senate has traditionally operated (and how it still operates when it comes to GOP prerogatives), to ensure that one of the most glaring scandals involving Bush lawbreaking -- warrantless surveillance on U.S. citizens -- is never investigated and there is never any accountability for it. And the methods he is using to accomplish that are as corrupt as the results themselves.

An offer he couldn't refuse? I don't know, why else would Senate minority leader be doing something that benefits only behemoth telephone companies? Me, I'd say Reid owes someone something. BIG time.


According to Jane Hamsher. Reid does the right thing. Small consolation, though. What a disaster and failure of leadership.