Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Apt Analogies

From the "Vanity Fair" Oral History of the Bush White House:
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell: Cheney brings this accumulation of power and ability to influence the bureaucracy to a fine art. He surpasses Kissinger even. This is all the more ironic because Cheney was the antithesis of this when he was chief of staff of the White House under Gerald Ford and when he was secretary of defense. He was very deferential. He was not trying to insinuate himself.

But he turns everything on its head and he becomes the power. And he does it through his network. This is a guy who’s an absolute genius at bureaucracy and an absolute genius at not displaying his genius at bureaucracy. He’s always quiet.

So are most of his minions, not all of them. [David] Addington [the vice president’s counsel] is brilliant, and Addington is a strange beast, and Addington is sort of the Ayman al-Zawahiri for Cheney, the brains trust. [Chief of Staff Lewis] Libby was the doer. Libby was a real bureaucrat’s dream.
Do you have any problem with Wilkerson comparing Addington to Ayman al-Zawahiri -- "brains trust" [sic] of arch-terrorist and Public Enemy Number One Osama bin Laden? Do you take any issue with Wilkerson comparing Cheney (by implication) to bin Laden himself? Continuing the analogy, I guess this makes little Scooter Cheney's Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.

The apology of Dennis Prager, asshole

Born romantic that he is:

"Sweetheart, I'm not a total monster. Tonight, I'll just settle for you getting on your knees and you can even take it in the face instead of swallowing."

- Dennis Prager

And to think there are two ex-Mrs. Pragers and no prospects for a third.

These articles make Chip Saltzman seem positively refined.

Tripp Palin

Already smarter, more moral and more mature than John Bolton.

Yesterday, on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, Iran war hawk John Bolton said that Israel’s recent bombing campaign in Gaza is all the more reason for the United States to bomb Iran now.


The Bush Administration & FoxNews, upping the intelligence level of intellectually challenged sea-slugs since 2001.

The Kind of Movie I'd see this Holiday Season

The one where Adam Sandler and his pet Rob Schneider get together and attempt join a plot to kill Hitler (who is also a vampire). The plot fails ... for a short while, whereupon Jim Carrey stabs Hitler in the Heart with a garlic clove which is progressing back to seed stage.

After which all three of our heroes, including their pet, are put to sleep.

And then Will Smith audits their estates and gives it all to Julie Nixon.

All while Keanu Reeves just stands there.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Banned Words of 2009™ : The Final Cut

Okay, I asked you to help me cull this list back in November because banning thirty-nine words is (a) unreasonable and (b) sort of totalitarian. Below represents the final list, which includes some of your suggestions, plus some of my own. I'm also including a satellite list -- Banned People of 2009™ -- of people I want to go the hell away in 2009.
  1. Superdelegate
  2. Bitter
  3. Vet/Vetted/Vetting
  4. Main Street, not Wall Street
  5. Bipartisan
  6. Bailout
  7. Elitist
  8. Cougar
  9. Center-Right Nation (or "Govern from the Center")
  10. Islamofacist
  11. BONUS: Race Card (or "Gender Card")
Banned People of 2009™
1. Cate Blanchett (Yeah, yeah, I like her acting; but I'm sick to death of her general fabulosity.)
2. Mylie Cyrus
3. Sarah Palin
4. Angelina Jolie
5. Nicolle Wallace, Rick Davis, Steve Schmidt
6. Any of the Tuckers (Carlson, Bounds, Eskew)
7. Any of the Joes (Lieberman, Sixpack, but especially, Joe The Plumber)
8. Mike Bloomberg
9. Any wealthy person who lost money to Bernard Madoff and dares to crab about it (I'm looking at you, Alexandra Penney.)
10. George W. Bush
11. BONUS: Erin Burnett

"You have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on..."

"'s almost embarrassing to listen to you."

Learn something from your old man Mika.

If he had called him "Boy" it'd be a landslide

Apparently, calling an African-American a "Negro" now makes you not only a "laugh-riot" but the object of sympathy in the Republican Party as a victim of discrimination.

Yep, they are that fucked up.

We're all going to die watch

Now that we've elected a black President, we have to go by Hollywood rules and select which uncontrollable act of nature will kill us all.

Part One - Yellowstone's gonna blow!

Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come.

Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone, but it's very unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days, said Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah.

Maybe Cheney just has a last-minute rush order on a new underground hidey-hole?

Still insisting we "watch this drive"

God forbid, Bush change his habits just for a little ol' crisis. Whether we like it or not, when Obama says "we have only one President at a time" is never more true than during times of crisis. And, tragically, if there is one area the Bush Administration is NOT going to consult the President-Elect, it's foreign policy, particularly toward Israel, even though Obama is hardly some radical reformer in that area.

So what has Bush decided to do?

1. Cheer on a disproportionate response -- "Yay, make the rubble bounce!"

2. Stay on Vacation

This, of course, is the pattern.

-- Bombs from a car, boo!
-- Bombs from a plane, Yay!
-- Stay on vacation

Has there been no crisis, other than Terry Schiavo (which strains the term "crisis" past the breaking point), that Bush did not respond to with more vacation?

[cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yeah, Charlie Manson wonders the same thing...

Cheney: ‘I Don’t Have Any Idea’ Why People Don’t Like Me

The Conservative Agenda

The most important issue to the right-wing at this moment is the Right to use the word "Negro" with impunity. While the words "insufferable cracker" are the most bigoted ever!

I encourage Conservatives to push this incredibly "important" right for the next several years.


Enjoy the votes of your increasingly small base.

Fap fap flop

In what will likely be one of his last NY Times columns, Bill Kristol demonstrates that in a "(P)inch", he can always find something to delude himself with, you can almost see his pants dropping and one-hand typing.

For one thing, there will be the invocation, delivered by Rick Warren. I suspect he’ll be careful to say nothing pro-life or pro-traditional-marriage — but we conservatives have already gotten more than enough pleasure from the hysterical reaction to his selection by the tribunes of the intolerant left. And having Warren there will, in fact, be a welcome reminder of the strides the evangelical movement and religious conservatives (broadly speaking) have made in recent decades.

Yeah, the GOP has now established a tenuous foothold in only one region of the country, the South, thanks to this tactic. Good job.

Bill Kristol, making NY Times editorial pages stick together for nearly 365 days.

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Brett Fav-ra

So powerful he single-handedly ruined three teams seasons (Jets, Patriots, Packers) at once.

Please keep this man upright and throwing interceptions for the benefit of his own ego for years to come.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Well, thank goodness our "allies" don't take advantage of a vacuum

How many think the Israeli's decided to make "the rubble bounce" in Gaza until 250 plus were killed because they worried they wouldn't get away with it so easily if Obama was President?

...not that that wouldn't have, but the price is less steep with the detached and disinterested and always quick with an apology for Israel Bush in office.

And like clockwork the Bush Administration sends out officials that act like they are playing "Risk" than actually engaged in diplomacy:

"These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people," [National Security Council Spokeflack Gordon] Johndroe said in Texas as President George W. Bush was spending the week before New Year's at his ranch here.


The Party of Sado-Masochism

Yeah, if not Sarah Palin, the GOP needs to push another Bush into office -- while they decry the nepotism of Carolyn Kennedy in an article written by Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol or a random Kagan:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — the son of one president and the brother of another — has been working the phones since Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) announced earlier this month that he won’t seek reelection in 2010. Sources say Bush hasn’t made up his mind about running for Martinez’ seat, but that he’s getting green lights from would-be contributors and blessings from Republican Party leaders.

Strategists and political observers take it as a sign that Bush will run.

So, things are really calm down over there...

Pakistan, the world's most restive place:

At least 30 people were killed in a suicide car bomb blast at a polling station in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, during a by-election for a provincial assembly seat, police said.

"The death toll has reached to 30. It could rise further," Behraman Khan, head of the police station near the Buner town, where the blast took place, told Reuters by telephone. "It was a suicide attack."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The lovely toupee didn't hurt either

There's nothing he can't fuck up:

A stunning photo of President Bush shaking hands with the father of pardoned - then unpardoned - housing scammer Isaac Toussie emerged Friday as the White House reeled from the embarrassing scandal...

It was not immediately clear if the picture was snapped before or after Robert Toussie's $28,500 donation to the Republican National Committee in April.

You know Bush is desperate to "lift the lid" while that photo is snapped.

Deep Thought

I wonder if Nicolle Wallace, Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, Tucker Eskew, and Tucker Bounds had a holly jolly Christmas?

/falls off chair laughing

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reading is Fundamental

A selection of books I read in 2008. Recommendations for 2009? Put 'em in comments.
  1. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (Good, but needed an editor. Could have slashed fifty pages and gotten the same -- or even better -- result.)
  2. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta (Not his best (those honors still go to Election and Little Children), but worthwhile.)
  3. Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago by Mike Royko (He built the Machine. Blago got piggy with it.)
  4. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Evocative, ethereal, proves the adage "Less is More".)
  5. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The reasoning is inductive, not deductive.)
  6. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner (The place was a rat's nest of dysfunction from Day One. I think Attaturk would like this one.)
  7. The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans (What's a cold dark winter without Nazis?)
  8. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King (Recommended by Atriot Gromit. Read the Holmes in prep for this.)
  9. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (Funniest book I read this year, which reminds me -- I need to read more Amis.)
  10. The Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles R. Morris (a/k/a "Derivatives for Dummies". How we got where we are today. Thanks, Wall Street!)
  11. The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kuntsler (Christ, he's cranky. And his book is fascinating.)
  12. Netherland by Joseph O'Neill (Writes about New York like an out-of-towner. Still, I won't soon forget Chuck Ramkissoon.)
  13. Look at Me by Jennifer Eagan (A woman next to me on the subway recommended it -- although said Eagan's The Keep is even better.)
  14. What Happened to Anna K. by Irina Reyn (Anna Karenina reimagined among the Russian immigrants of circa 2008 Queens.)
  15. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (The Way We Live Now is the way we live now. Highly recommended.)
  16. Nixonland by Rick Perlstein (The roots of our Republican-engineered Heart of Darkness.)


The Taliban faces stiff opposition!

Seems rather well-liked

We'll see if the media that kissed Bush's ass for about 6 and a half years before deciding to ignore him altogether can undo that:

A month before his inauguration, Americans choose Barack Obama as the man they admire most in the world, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. It's the first time a president-elect has topped the annual survey in more than a half-century.

President Bush falls to a distant second after seven years as the most-admired man.

Hillary Rodham Clinton leads the list of most-admired woman, a spot she's held for 13 of the past 16 years — as first lady, then New York senator and now Obama's designate for secretary of State.

Lord knows, people in the press keep ignoring Hillary Clinton's being admired.

There is a disturbing note, Sarah Palin, well-known turkey-slaughterin'-supermom-non-birds and bees discussin'-mentally challenged-governor is number 2 on the women's list.

One-third of Americans call Obama their first or second choice for most-admired man. The only higher support for a man in the history of the survey was Bush's 39% rating in 2001, months after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington...

Obama's rise is matched by Bush's decline. The president's support has ebbed nearly every year since 2001, falling to 5% this year.

That matches the presidential low point

Still accomplishin' missions

The "Oops, I crapped my pants" Presidency winds up as only it can:

Despite a flurry of last-minute shoppers lured by the deep discounts, total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell over the year-earlier period by 5.5% in November and 8% in December through Christmas Eve, according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit...

The holiday retail-sales decline was much worse than the already-dire picture painted by industry forecasts, which had predicted sales ranging from a 1% drop to a more optimistic increase of 2.2%.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Your Unfortunate Headline of the Day

"they's tasty!"

I take full credit

Since I have traveled to Minnesota for Christmas (I'm that crazy) let me take the opportunity to claim responsibility for the phrase "Senator Al Franken" and his apparent obtaining of six-tenths of "an Al Franken Decade".

In a unanimous decision handed down just now, the state Supremes denied Coleman any relief in a lawsuit he was waging to deal with allegations of double-counted absentee ballots, which his campaign says have given an illegitimate edge to Al Franken...

Simply put, Coleman is in very big trouble right now. With Al Franken leading by 47 votes, this lawsuit was Coleman's best shot at coming from behind. And it just failed, making a Franken win nearly a foregone conclusion when this recount finishes up in early January.

Happy Holidays

Well, another year another Christmas. I was fortunate to receive the usual gifts this year. An 8 oz jar of pimento-stuffed olives and a comb.

Hope you got what you wanted for the Holidays, especially if it was a "job" as those are getting damn precious.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pop Quiz!

Who wrote this?
[In 2009] America will remain the most powerful country, but will not retain the position of self-proclaimed tutor. As it learns the limits of hegemony, it should define implementing consultation beyond largely American conditions.

All this requires a new dialogue between America and the rest of the world. Other countries, while asserting their growing roles, are likely to conclude that a less powerful America still remains indispensable. America will have to learn that world order depends on a structure that participants support because they helped bring it about. If progress is made on these enterprises, 2009 will mark the beginning of a new world order.
After you click to find out, think about how far gone things have to be for the author of these words to make even a bit of sense. And while the above sounds nice, pray to the God of your choice that the Obama administration politely ignores whatever helpful suggestions the author offers behind the scenes, because in the past, this author's wise counsel has often resulted in corpses strewn far and wide.

Mammory Lane

Remember this?

"Every year in March I come here to organize the Arnold Classic, which is all about building the body and pumping," Schwarzenegger said.

"That's why I want to invite Senator Obama because he needs to do something about those skinny legs. I'm going to make him do some squats.

"And then we're going to make him do some biceps curls to beef up those scrawny little arms.

More of those Republican Facts

Wait a minute?

the Arnold Classic, which is all about building the body and pumping

But where does the "groping" come in?

There can be only ONE...user of a secluded location

Hey kids, just so you know -- you may use this to track Santa.

But so is Dick Cheney.

And he's fucking armed to the teeth.

You kids outside of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states are going to have to settle for Mom & Dad eating those cookies and feeling each other up, or discussing the terms of the divorce (don't worry, they actually do blame you).

So, Happy Holidays then.

I, for one, am outraged at the "Audacity" of Pecs

In a major shocker it has been discovered that the President-Elect of the United States goes to the beach and gets in the water -- OMG -- topless! And without being bedecked with areola jewelry, belly piercing or even a tattoo [I was so hoping for his left bicep to be stenciled "Playaaa" in a tasteful Gothic font].

Forget Barack Obama's staff making contact with a governor charged with corruption. What's got everyone talking is the president-elect's fine first form...

The photos were distributed by Bauer-Griffin, a photo agency more typically found on the corners of Hollywood. Photographer Chris Behnke simply strolled along the beach to get the shot, said agency co-owner Frank Griffin.

Obama "wasn't hiding. He was completely out in the open," Griffin said. "We didn't by any stretch of the imagination expect to get the images we got."

Men have nipples?

Who knew?

(pic via Huffington Post)

[cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Let me get this straight

People are going to go see "Marley & Me", a movie about a dog that we all know gets "put down" in a scene that undoubtedly takes about a half-hour?

Why not just read Ol' Yeller?

Or better yet, rent Brian's Song, where at the end Billy Dee Williams puts down James Caan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shorter AdNags

"They got nothing".

("They" being Republicans.)

/falls off chair laughing

Simple Pleasures

I just heard on the radio that while no one is buying (even deeply discounted) cashmere sweaters, houses, or cars, they are buying Christmas trees:
Retailers say Christmas tree sales are one bright spot in an otherwise dismal holiday shopping season.

Dale Howard of Howard's House of Trees has tree farms in Marathon and Maine. He says sales will be up this year over last, and that's typical in hard times, when people usually buy more trees.
I get it. The ROI on a Christmas tree is very very high. It's fun to pick it out, schlep it home, unpack and remember where you got your decorations (even the ugly ones), trim the tree, light it up, and then stare at it for hours and hours on end. When you're a kid, that staring exciting and exhilarating. As an adult, it's calming, even soothing.

And then there's that smell.

I'm staring at mine right now and it just looks really pretty, even if it is listing a bit.

File Under "Somewhere, Gray Davis is Smiling"

How do you like your Terminator now, Gullivornia?
With cars whizzing behind him along one of Southern California’s most congested and detested freeways, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger warned Monday that the state was “on a track toward disaster” as it ceases highway, school and bridge construction because of budget and credit woes.

California, which has suspended nearly $4 billion in public works projects, is one of a half dozen states delaying or halting projects because of capsizing budgets, an inability to attract investors to the municipal bonds used to bankroll many projects and a reduction in gasoline tax revenues — which underlie a lot of transportation financing.
California and other states are clearly holding out hope that President-elect Barack Obama will pump some federal money into the stalled infrastructure projects, and some may even be delaying work until they have a chance to make the case for federal spending. Mr. Obama has proposed a stimulus package intended to create or save three million jobs, largely through financing infrastructure improvements.

“It happens to be that the Obama administration wants to rebuild America,” Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, said at a news conference here.
It's really rich to hear fiscally inept Republican "grownup" Arnold "Kindergarten Cop" Schwarzenegger suck up to Barack Obama like an economic girlie-man. If it wasn't for the possibility that an entire state, millions of people, and the entire U.S. economy could go down the toilet as a result of California's Republican-engineered failure, I'd tell Schwarzenegger to take his Hummer and shove it straight up his ass.

Bush Presidency: FIERY WRECK!

This used to be my first comment in any Eschaton thread. I adapted it from this NYT piece, which three years later, sounds kinda prescient:
Five months after President Bush was sworn in for another four years, his political authority appears to be ebbing, both within his own party, where members of Congress are increasingly if sporadically going their own way, and among Democrats, who have discovered that they pay little or no price for defying him.

In some cases, Mr. Bush is suffering mere political dings that can be patched up, like the votes by the House this past week to buck him on withholding dues to the United Nations and retaining a controversial provision of the USA Patriot Act.

In others, the damage is more than cosmetic, as in the case of stem cell research, an issue on which a good portion of his party is breaking with him. In a few instances - most notably the centerpiece of his second-term agenda, his call to reshape Social Security - he is dangerously close to a fiery wreck that could have lasting consequences for his standing and for the Republican Party.
(Just as an aside, I think that bit about Democrats discovering that they pay little to no price for defying Bush was a bit premature. They only seem to have figured this out, well, about three weeks ago. But I digress...)

Have you seen Bush lately? He reminds me of the doofus that football players tolerate hanging around so they can send him out for a case of PBR when the keg runs dry, all the while silently praying that no one tosses him a beating. He looks perpetually abashed (as well he should), like the Geek in "Sixteen Candles" before he and Jake make the deal for Samantha's panties over martinis in Jake's party-trashed house. Getting those shoes thrown at him was probably most positive reaction Bush has gotten from anyone since Lehman Brothers went the way of Iraq, New Orleans, the Supreme Court, and everything else Bush has wrecked.

28 days until "Good Riddance to bad rubbish".

Photo: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

Putting Morons in their place

Watch this guy, Mike Rogers, take apart a Warren apologist and fabricator Mike Barnacle. A thing of beauty:

Warren's church (the hilariously named "Saddleback") by the way has removed all of its "gay related" issues from its website.

Digby has more.


I'm sure Bill O'Reilly will proclaim she "asked for it" what with that rainbow sticker and shit.


But not as big as the assholes that did this.

Thanks a lot Packers

I already feel myself choking on the Vikings' behalf.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Allow me to say something...

I didn't think I'd ever say.

Fuck you, Center for American Progress!

You know, I've been writing for Firedoglake for about 13 or 14 months and they have every right to edit me, or delete a post or what have you.

But no one ever has, in fact, I've pretty much been left completely alone to write what I want to write about. It's not that I'm not mindful to tone down my act from what I write here (though I do a lot of cross-posting -- because I'm lazy), but no one has compelled me to do so, or write some post-disclaiming my post. Same with Atrios on those occasions I've posted over there. This week I'll be putting up some posts at Watertiger's site, I'm pretty confident I'll be left alone there as well.*

It's bullshit, through and through.

By the way, the person who wrote this disgrace is Jennifer M. Palmieri, she's rumored to be up for assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

Not that anyone asked, but I wouldn't endorse her for bathroom attendant.

*Y'know, now that I think about it, I'm really allowed to dispense bullshit all over the place. Maybe someone should stop me. ;-)

The War on Christmas continues unabated!

Gross commercialization and gluttony are for gentiles only, HOW DARE THEY!

A 23-year-old mechanical engineering student has downed 46 of the potato pancakes in eight minutes to win a contest at a Long Island deli.

Pete Czerwinski (sir-WIN'-skee) says he'd never eaten a latke (lot-kuh) before consuming about seven pounds of them Sunday at Zan's in Lake Grove. The Toronto bodybuilder says he's just "a power eater" whose brain never signals that he's full.

Association of Independent Competitive Eaters Chairman Arnie Chapman says Czerwinski demolished the contest's previous record of 31 latkes, set in 2006.

Wait a minute, that dude's Polish?

Someone alert Bill O'Reilly!

The rich, they're just better than you. Ask them.

While the GOP & Bush Administration did all they could...and keep doing all they can to shit on the blue-collar workers of the UAW...

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Meanwhile, you may remember the stories about how "out of touch" the Big 3 CEO's were (and then somehow by Bob Corker's logic the UAW) by flying their corporate jets to Washington.

But what of the literal moneyed class -- the one we bailed out with more than 40 times the amount?

Crisscrossing the country in corporate jets may no longer fly in Detroit after car executives got a dressing down from Congress. But on Wall Street, the coveted executive perk has hardly been grounded.

Six financial firms that received billions in bailout dollars still own and operate fleets of jets to carry executives to company events and sometimes personal trips, according to an Associated Press review.

Truly, we live in a "gelded age".

(pic AFP/File/Stan Honda)

[cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Sunday, December 21, 2008


He certainly lives up to his name:

WALLACE: Highest moment the last eight years?

CHENEY: Hmmm. Highest moment in the last eight years? Well, I think the most important, the most compelling, was 9/11 itself

3,000 people dying is the highlight.


While the GOP & Bush Administration did all they could...and keep doing all they can to shit on the blue-collar workers of the UAW...

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

Kick 'em while their down

Why save the Big about for these reasons?

"For the first time, I'm seeing guys make a conscious decision they'll be better off in prison than in the community, homeless and hungry," said Joseph Williams of New Creations Community Outreach, which assists ex-offenders. "In prison they've got three hots and a cot, so they commit a crime to go back in and come out when times are better." ...

The jobless rate has climbed past 21 percent, the embattled school district just fired its superintendent, tens of thousands of homes and stores are derelict and abandoned, the ex-mayor is in jail for a text-messaging sex scandal. Even the pro football team is a pathetic joke — the Lions are within two losses of an unprecedented 0-16 season.

And overarching these and many other woes is the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry, Detroit's vital source of jobs and status for more than a century.

A place should only have to take so much.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The War on Christmas is REAL

Someone call O'Falafel! The latest skirmish in Ο πόλεμος στα Χριστούγεννα is raging in Greece.

Deep Thought

Somewhere, Gray Davis is smiling.

"Now I am become death...

destroyer of closets."
- The BhagaDICK Gita

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The definition of self-centered

checking out your own package.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Only 17 behind

Bristol Palin, is on the verge -- or by the time you read this may have dropped a new prop for her mother to hand off to one of the younger members of the commune in 2012.

Oh, but what to name it?

I suppose in the wake of this week's stories it would be too much to ask for the name "Jordyn Adolf Hitler Palin Johnson" wouldn't it?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The "South" (at least a portion of it) tries to rise again -- bet these a-holes are straight ticket Republicans. In the immediate wake of Katrina in September 2005:

... Some of the gunmen prowling Algiers Point were out to wage a race war, says one woman whose uncle and two cousins joined the cause. A former New Orleanian, this source spoke to me anonymously because she fears her relatives could be prosecuted for their crimes. "My uncle was very excited that it was a free-for-all--white against black--that he could participate in," says the woman. "For him, the opportunity to hunt black people was a joy."

"They didn't want any of the 'ghetto niggers' coming over" from the east side of the river, she says, adding that her relatives viewed African-Americans who wandered into Algiers Point as "fair game." One of her cousins, a young man in his 20s, sent an e-mail to her and several other family members describing his adventures with the militia. He had attached a photo in which he posed next to an African-American man who'd been fatally shot. The tone of the e-mail, she says, was "gleeful"--her cousin was happy that "they were shooting niggers."

Friday, December 19, 2008

He's good enough, he's smart enough, and gosh darnit...


Franken presently UP 12 16 23 42 64 74 86 102 124 154 167 188 233 and counting!

If this keeps up we're all going to have to make Green Bean Casserole (the Minnesota State Dish) in celebration.

It's BUSH!!!

Yeah, the Warren thing pisses me off, but this really really makes me angry. Obama should immediately overturn this fucking piece of vindictiveness:

Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality...

Also denouncing the U.S. stance was Richard Grenell, who until two months ago had been the chief spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N.

"It is ridiculous to suggest that there are legal reasons why we can't support this resolution — common sense says we should be the leader in making sure other governments are granting more freedoms for their people, not less," said Grenell, who described himself as a gay Republican. "The U.S. lack of support on this issue only dims our once bright beacon of hope and freedom for those who are persecuted and oppressed."

BAKED Alaska

Looks like the noble families of Alaska are falling one-by-one:

WASILLA -- A 42-year-old Wasilla woman was arrested Thursday at her home by Alaska State Troopers with a search warrant in an undercover drug investigation. Sherry L. Johnston was charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who received international attention in September when Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, announced their teenage daughter was pregnant and he was the father. Bristol Palin, 18, is due on Saturday, according to a recent interview with the governor's father, Chuck Heath...

Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance -- generally manufacturing or delivering drugs -- as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession.

Aw, now what will Levi & Camilla Parker Palin do?

Merry Christmas, hope you like meth & doing time?

Quite the efficient process

No sooner have we announced she's pregnant than the next little "Duggar" plunges to earth (for at this time that's the process) out of the womb wearing a catchers mask ready to catch the next one.

I suppose the next goal is to plop out four more and make an entire offensive and defensive football formation.

(Although what they really need is a couple of soccer goalies)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Television was invented!

A real "surge"

As of this moment the Minnesota recount is looking at Coleman's challenges of Franken votes and the deficit for the latter has gone from a few hundred to only 28 24 21 9 6 and it seems to be ever shrinking.

You can follow it live here.

The Great White Wank

Sounds rather awesome:

The Iraqi reporter who assaulted George W. Bush with his footwear is getting an extension on his 15 minutes of fame. Muntathar al-Zaidi will be immortalized in Will Ferrell's Broadway show, "You're Welcome, America: A Final Night With George W. Bush."

The comic recently previewed the play at the Largo Theater in L.A., and word is, the audience laughed louder than people do at clips of Bush waving hello to Stevie Wonder...

"You're Welcome, America" is set moments after Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony and is what blogger and sneak-previewer Lawrence Denes describes as "less of a performance and more of an hour-and-a-half-long intimate conversation with George Bush, [who is] reminiscing on his life and career."

Blithely seeking audience reaction, Ferrell goes full throttle on the topic of the Iraq War. "What it comes down to is whether or not you can go to bed at night knowing the decisions you've made, and I have always been able to -mostly because I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere," he says. "I mean, I love sleep."

I have no real reaction to Rick Warren

Giving an invocation except general disgust.

But then again, I'm neither religious nor gay so it doesn't have as strong a sting.

Why, for the LOVE OF WALT DISNEY ON ICE, why?!!!

Isn't it bad enough that Disney pushed a musical about Chihuahua's this year?

In an interview on the Fox News Channel (where else?) George W. Bush set out to lamely defend his legacy on the "Hey, I wasn't here most of the time Tour":

Bush said he didn't think he would be viewed as the 21st century's Herbert Hoover, who was president during the Great Depression. He said he worked to keep the economy from collapsing. "I'm a free market guy," Bush said. "But I'm not going to let this economy crater in order to preserve the free market system.

On the factual side, Bush is naturally wrong. Hoover didn't sit on his arse as the economy collapsed, it's just that he couldn't conceive of the bigger, bolder ideas that FDR would bring about after he came to office.

Of course, there are other big differences.

-- Hoover didn't lose one war, let alone two.
-- Hoover performed great Humanitarian works in the aftermath of both world wars saving millions from starvation and was one of the world's most popular Americans. Bush tortured people, and bombed and starved millions of them.
-- Hoover had only one MacArthur to deal with, Bush had hundreds of pseudo MacArthurs, including himself.

[cross-posted Firedoglake]

Help out if you can

In the long, rich, tradition of Iowa political blogs (ed: huh?) it's time to come together as a community and help someone out -- if you can.

A few weeks ago, Mike, of the blog Iowa Liberal was mugged in, of all places, Fort Dodge, Iowa. It was a pretty violent mugging and he was hurt fairly severely. He has medical bills that are not covered by insurance. So if you can help please consider doing so.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"7 years 97 days since 9-11-01. Where is Osama bin Laden?”

Cheryl Stewart, I salute you. (And send you condolences on the loss of your partner.)

Not breaking news...more like what else is new?

We may finally be seeing the coming of JISM BOB DUGGAR!

Dec 24, 6:00 pm 30 min(s)

17 Kids and Counting
Big Family Meets Big Apple

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have a big secret: they are pregnant

How the hell is that a secret, you have 17 already? It's only news when Jim Bob leaves you the fuck alone and isn't spreading his essence by being crane hoisted into your sex-chair for conception!

When you can field not one, but two baseball teams, it's time to give it a rest.

My Brain hurts

Trying to wrap itself around this story:

The father of 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, denied a birthday cake with the child's full name on it by one New Jersey supermarket, is asking for a little tolerance.

But wait...that's not all:

Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.

Now how much would you pay?

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because ''no one else in the world would have that name.'' He sounded surprised by all the controversy the dispute had generated.

So it's all just an innocent misunderstanding, right?

The Campbells' other two children also have unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

Where's the real corruption?

The U.S. Attorney that brought down Elliot Spitzer, who as a public attorney aggressively pursued fraud, managed to ignore the greatest defrauders in history -- but managed to successfully attack someone for a knob-job or two.

Meet Michael Garcia, aka Ken Starr, Jr.:

* leaving his post as U.S. attorney in Manhattan to take up a $3 to 4 million per annum partnership at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis.

* Garcia’s sudden move to Kirkland & Ellis was engineered by executive committee member Jay Lefkowitz—a high-powered neoconservative who authored President Bush’s stem cell research policy and was once considered to serve as White House chief of staff.

* Former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr also makes his home at Kirkland, and the firm recently hired former U.N. ambassador John Bolton as a “special advisor.”

These are all from the Scott Horton profile of Garcia, but its most compelling issues are in these two paragraphs:

Garcia served as the AWOL “sheriff of Wall Street” during the most serious collapse of financial institutions since the 1929 Depression. A consensus is building that this collapse is largely linked to a failure of regulatory oversight. That oversight should have been provided by Garcia’s office, which historically offers the prosecutorial muscle for the SEC and other regulators. In his 39-month tenure as U.S. Attorney, however, Garcia can claim no high-profile enforcement effort—not one.

Even more curious, however, is his most glittering prize: Eliot Spitzer, a man seen by many as a rising star in Democratic politics who was steadily eroding Republican power in Albany and built a reputation as a Wall Street watchdog. Spitzer got to the New York state house after a precedent-shattering two terms as New York’s attorney general. He used the position to eclipse the traditionally dominant role of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney in regulation of financial institutions, bringing sweeping lawsuits that challenged the barons of Wall Street over abusive practices—notably their habit of selling stocks aggressively to the public, while commenting internally, usually in quite colorful language, that the stocks were a bad bet.

So, Wall Street was saved (in time to be nearly ruined) by the non-harmful perversions of one man who made his reputation watching over them.

The GOP, saving their friends in time to bring down America...while not allowing one to actually "go down".

Let's all let out a collective "awwwwww"

It's so very sad:

Just months after he was ousted from Lehman Brothers, Joseph Gregory put his mansion in tony Bridgehampton on the market for $32.5 million.

The former president of the sinking investment bank could not have picked a worse time.

The Hamptons, a summer vacation playground for New York's financial and celebrity elite, are being hit hard as Wall Street power houses like Lehman and Bear Stearns succumb to the financial crisis.

I don't know about you, but I'm sure I'm crying a river of tears...on the inside, so deeply I am not even aware of them.

$900 Billion and counting, that's a lot of shoes

The Bush Administration and its greatest accomplishment per the non-partisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (pdf page 31):

A total of about $818 billion in supplemental funding has so far been provided to DoD for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan—some $648 billion and $170 billion, respectively. Judged by these figures, the war in Iraq alone has already cost more than every past US war but World War II (See Figure 5). The most costly US conflict since World War II was the war in Vietnam. If the projections of future funding requirements discussed earlier (which would bring total DoD costs for the war in Iraq to some $878 billion to $1.227 trillion) are close to the mark, it is possible that, ultimately, that war will end up costing more than twice as much as the Vietnam War.

And since 35 years after Vietnam an American can go there and be treated, almost, as if the war never even occurred (which is literally all we accomplished), we should be able to do that in Iraq right?

Anyone not named Bush think that's a sure thing?

(pic from here)

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where is the Horror?

Call me cynical but I, for one, am tired of the death culture in the United States.

For twenty-plus years we have known who killed Adam Walsh why an announcement now?  What purpose is served in reopening such a painful loss?  So help me if this announcement  is simply cover for some new true crime book...

Adams Walsh's 1981 murder, which shocked parents everywhere, launched a national television crusade, and confounded detectives for more than two decades, will be declared solved today, says the Orlando Sentinel. Hollywood, Fl., police are expected to identify Ottis Toole as the killer of the 6-year old snatched from a Sears store. His severed head turned up two weeks later and his body has never been found. John alsh became a vocal advocate for the plight of missing children after his son's death, testifying before Congress, founding the Adam Walsh Foundation and, in 1988, debuting his crime-fighting television program.

What do you think?

Like Caroline Kennedy

I would like to be appointed to a position which my family's past so richly has earned.

But, as the most prolific writer for a middling bloggy-blog I have apparently already achieved it.

Defiling sacred porn scripts

Cable companies are not allowed to do parodies - I don't need to know why the cable guy is late.


The Bush Administration, a legacy of malevolence with no real purpose other than being a jackass:

A high-ranking Interior Department official tainted nearly every decision made on the protection of endangered species over five years, a new inspector general report finds...Julie MacDonald, a former deputy assistant secretary overseeing the Fish and Wildlife Service, did pervasive harm to the department's morale and integrity and may have risked the well-being of species with her agenda, Interior Inspector General Earl Devaney said in his report out Monday.

And, like so many Bush appointees, she was incredibly qualified to make decisions in the position she was appointed to:

MacDonald, a civil engineer with no formal training in natural sciences

And here is my favorite example of her "skills" as an administrator in action:

In once instance, the report said, MacDonald sent information about a contentious endangered species issue to a friend she had met in an online role-playing game. She told investigators she took part in the Internet games to relieve stress created by her job.

That could have come in handy if she was dealing with orcs or the Kagans at a meeting of the American Enterprise Institute.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Dear Hasbro Corporation,

Have you ever considered manufacturing "The Nerf Shoe"?

Could be productively used against all manner of former Presidents (or perhaps one in particular) without the nasty Secret Service over-reaction.

Would sell quite well, I should think, at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Please direct all royalties to my PayPal account.


Atta J. Turk"

The Best Opium Mules

Get ribbons instead of enemas.


(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Oh, how we luvs the internets

Like some other bloggers, who I've forgotten so I can't immediately link to, it is very impressive that al-Maliki barely flinches. Like it is "just another day in Iraq" to the guy.

Meanwhile, Bush shows cat-quick reflexes that will come in handy in the years ahead. Although some rotten vegetables are harder to dodge than others. I mean he dodged those things like they were "Vietnam".

The Only War the GOP can win...

Is a class war.

While using blue-collar workers as scapegoats to facilitate the coming of "Herbert Hoover Time" the GOP shows just how concerned they really are about equity and fairness.

Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said...

...Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts. In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.

But the UAW and its members "MUST" immediately make a major sacrifice or the Big Three will die.

So, how has that all worked out for you "Reagan Democrats"?

(pic from sd-optimist)

[cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Iraq chooses to follow the gourd

The shoe is a HUGE symbol of disdain in Middle Eastern culture. You may remember when Saddam fell Iraqis took off their shoes and pounded the various Hussein murals with them.

So, while the Emperor Disgustus was taking a victory lap on your dime and the Iraqi dinar an Iraqi Journalist took to symbolic measures to show his pure disdain.

McClatchy identified the man as Iraqi television journalist Muthathar al Zaidi and reports he threw both of his shoes at Bush just after he finished prepared remarks.

The New York Times notes that the first shoe “narrowly missed” and the second shoe also missed. “This is a farewell kiss, you dog,” Zaidi shouted.

Outstanding, that guy is officially my "Sole Brother".


Here is the video

Bush wasn't hurt, of course. But this tax-payer paid for dog & pony show comes in the wake of economic collapse -- and more importantly after a war started by that jaghole has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, if not millions.

For Bush to take a goddamned victory lap is reprehensible.


Dear NBC,

You had a lot of time to consider this decision -- and you went with ratings black hole David Gregory.

Today we learned that Gregory's intelligence was not restricted by Cable News -- rather it was disguised by the presence of others who could walk, chew, and breathe on their own volition.

I wouldn't call him a syphilitic moron, but only because I'm not sure he's smart enough to understand how that whole thing works so a social disease risk would be minimal.

Let's spend a few more million for vanity shall we?

It's all about me, day 2,884.

President Bush made an unannounced visit Sunday to Baghdad

We know which side they're on

To the surprise of no one, the GOP opposition to the bailout was all about fucking over the laboring man or woman. God forbid they put restrictions on bankers.

Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), a strong auto industry supporter, acknowledged that some of his colleagues simply did not want to help the UAW.

"We have many senators from right-to-work states, and I quite frankly think they have no use for labor," he said. "Labor usually supports very heavily Democrats and I think that some of the lack of enthusiasm for this [bailout] was that some of them didn't want to do anything for the United Auto Workers."

One major car dealer said conservatives let political ideology get in the way of protecting the country's interests.

"Being a Republican myself, I feel very betrayed by the Republican Party right now," said Beau Boeckmann, vice president of Galpin Motors Inc. in North Hills. Galpin has the nation's largest Ford dealership as well as lots where it sells eight other foreign and domestic brands.

Welcome to the rest of the country's suffering.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Praying For (Preying On) Recession

NYT: Evangelical Article of Faith: Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds
In Seattle, the Mars Hill Church, one of the fastest-growing evangelical churches in the country, grew to 7,000 members this fall, up 1,000 in a year. At the Life Christian Church in West Orange, N.J., prayer requests have doubled — almost all of them aimed at getting or keeping jobs.
(But I thought your Jesus wanted you to be rich?)

Generic Preacher No. 3,456:
”We need to leverage this moment, because every Christian revival in this country’s history has come off a period of rampant greed and fear. That’s what we’re in today — the time of fear and greed.”
One Age of Leverage ends, another begins. Somewhere, P.T. Barnum is smiling ...

Post Titles I with I had come up with

Damn you, John Cole!

What If Instead of GM, We Started Calling Them Terri Schiavo Motorworks?

The Uno Family

They seem awfully well-adjusted.

Y'know Dick & Lynne Cheney used to play Russian Roulette with their kids...good times!

(pic part of a series from here)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Affirming and disturbing

That Paul Krugman so totally gets blogging. I don't know whether this raises my self-esteem or lowers my opinion of him.

Truth be known, I focused on this blog post of his, because the others scare the shit out of me.

Not enough attention ...

Since the media is taking time out from watching the GOP ride the Economy into the ground the way Slim Pickens rode an A-Bomb to concentrate on the truly surprising story of an Illinois Governor being a crook, this escaped notice -- but deserves much, much, more.


The physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of Bush administration detention policies and should not be dismissed as the work of bad guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan Senate report released Thursday.

The Senate Armed Services Committee report concludes that harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA and the U.S. military were directly adapted from the training techniques used to prepare special forces personnel to resist interrogation by enemies that torture and abuse prisoners. The techniques included forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, and until 2003, waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning.

The report is the result of a nearly two-year investigation that directly links President Bush's policies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, legal memos on torture, and interrogation rule changes with the abuse photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq four years ago. Much of the report remains classified. Unclassified portions of the report were released by the committee Thursday.

Administration officials publicly blamed the abuses on low-level soldiers_ the work "of a few bad apples." Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., called that "both unconscionable and false."

"The message from top officials was clear; it was acceptable to use degrading and abusive techniques against detainees," Levin said.

Arizona Republican and former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain, called the link between the survival training and U.S. interrogations of detainees inexcusable.

"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated," he said in a statement.

You take the good, you take the bad...

Small miracles happen. Apparently, there will not be a "Full House" reunion movie.


No word on whether they can convince Tootie to give up on the "Facts of Life" remake.

Which side they're on

The GOP, barely live and never learn. A century ago they attempted to crush the union movement via the railroading of Bill Haywood, the Western Federation of Miners' Union Head described in Anthony Lukas's amazing book "Big Trouble":

Other men have died, other men have died in the same cause in which Bill Haywood has risked his life, men strong with devotion, men who love liberty, men who love their fellow men have raised their voices in defense of the poor, in defense of justice, have made their good fight and have met death on the scaffold, on the rack, in the flame and they will meet it again until the world grows old and gray. Bill Haywood is no better than the rest. He can die if die he needs, he can die if this jury decrees it; but, oh, gentlemen, don't think for a moment that if you hang him you will crucify the labor movement of the world.

Don't think that you will kill the hopes and the aspirations and the desires of the weak and the poor, you men, unless you people who are anxious for this blood--are you so blind as to believe that liberty will die when he is dead? Do you think there are no brave hearts and no other strong arms, no other devoted souls who will risk their life in that great cause which has demanded martyrs in every age of this world? There are others, and these others will come to take his place, will come to carry the banner where he could not carry it.

Gentlemen, it is not for him alone that I speak. I speak for the poor, for the weak, for the weary, for that long line of men who in darkness and despair have borne the labors of the human race. The eyes of the world are upon you, upon you twelve men of Idaho tonight. Wherever the English language is spoken, or wherever any foreign tongue known to the civilized world is spoken, men are talking and wondering and dreaming about the verdict of these twelve men that I see before me now. If you kill him your act will be applauded by many. If you should decree Bill Haywood's death, in the great railroad offices of our great cities men will applaud your names. If you decree his death, amongst the spiders of Wall Street will go up paeans of praise for those twelve good men and true who killed Bill Haywood . In every bank in the world, where men hate Haywood because he fights for the poor and against the accursed system upon which the favored live and grow rich and fat--from all those you will receive blessings and unstinted praise.

But if your verdict should be "Not Guilty," there are still those who will reverently bow their heads and thank these twelve men for the life and the character they have saved. Out on the broad prairies where men toil with their hands, out on the wide ocean where men are are tossed and buffeted on the waves, through our mills and factories, and down deep under the earth, thousands of men and of women and children, men who labor, men to suffer, women and children weary with care and toil, these men and these women and these children will kneel tonight and ask their God to guide your judgment. These men and these women and these little children, the poor, the weak, and the suffering of the world will stretch out their hands to this jury, and implore you to save Haywood's life.

Some things just never change. Where have the "spiders of Wall Street" led us in comparison to the person on the Chevy Cobalt assembly line?

Even Herbert Hoover

Would say these guys are un-fucking-believable.

Dear Senate Dems

Come January, time to go nuclear.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Government and Its Discontents

Its not just Blago. I open my paper and just today I read about ...

Nora S. Anderson, a candidate for judge in New York Surrogate Court accused of campaign finance violations.

Anthony Seminerio, a New York assemblyman accused of selling state business to the highest bidder.

Diane Wilkerson, a Massachusetts state senator accused of stuffing bribe money up her sweater.

Charlie Rangel, a U.S. congressman with a plethora of problems.

Then there's the past eight years of BushCo and general Republican corruption and malfeasance.

So I ask you -- what is going on? Are these isolated incidents? Or did politicians as a group grow tired of watching the hedge fund guys go from moving their cash with wheelbarrows to moving it with with shipping containers and decide to get in on the action?

My Kind of Town

What with Barack Obama's thorough beat-down of John McCain, the Blagojevich implosion, and those striking factory workers at Republic Windows and Doors, it feels like the whole axis of the country has tilted toward Chicago these past weeks. So I had to smile when I read this obituary, today. Elmer Valentine was from Chicago. And although his biggest contributions to the culture -- the Whisky a Go Go and its famed Go-Go Girls -- came later in Los Angeles, his obit makes him sound, for better or worse, like a real Chicago kind of guy.

Anyway, I just enjoyed reading his obituary, and I thought you might, too. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Yet, anyway.

Shorter Tommy Friedman

"I give the Auto Makers "Six Months" tops (the ol' F.U.).

Now, Shopping Malls, that's an industry that really needs a bailout!!!

That's what the anonymous, randomly chosen, Syrian Cabbie tells me."

Attention Hollywood!

Hard as it is to believe, the same town that has given us several Brady Bunch Movies, and is no doubt crying out for Norbert II (I have a feeling Eddie Murphy certainly is) has never given us a sequel to the Sylvester Stallone/Kurt Russell vehicle "Tango & Cash". Somehow, missing the chance to say "This time it's personal".

Well, thanks to the world of politics, it's time to relaunch the franchise, I give you:


For once, Bush gets to be the smart one.

Think about it, Sarah Palin could be the "love" interest; Joe the Plumber could be the villain.

Such a dense cast of morons has never been seen on any media display...other than Mondays through Fridays on Fox & Friends.

The Mystery of Statham

Well explained by Jesse Taylor.

As for myself, who can forget his memorable role as a balding-butt-kicking guy set in a medieval fantasy world in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale? Oh, everyone -- voluntarily.

(That's right a Medieval Dungeons & Dragony movie with Burt Reynolds and Ray Liotta in it...hard to believe that sucker failed isn't it?)

They dug up the body of Irony so they could kill it again...

Remember when Kissinger and Le Duc Tho won the Nobel Peace Prize...and how awesome that was -- you remember right, surviving Cambodians?

Well, as always the sequel is not quite as good as the original, but just as sad.

The Economic Collapse comes to Sports

The most profitable and successful league in the world...starts to feel the pinch.

One Hundred-fifty employees of the National Football League laid off. The "Arena Football Leage", which is heavily financed by the NFL, and has a television contract, is shutting down in 2009. Probably pretty good odds they aren't coming back.

This global meltdown is going to shake out in numerous ways, but I wouldn't be at all shocked if several teams in the NHL went belly up, if not the league itself; or the NBA for that matter. Don't be shocked if several English Premier League teams, sell themselves into relegation and further down if some go extinct.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Human Rights Day: Live and Do So Peacefully.

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global definition of human rights and the standard on the appropriate treatment of individuals, groups, and societies.

The document was written to promote the universal human right: to live and to do so peacefully. With versions available in more than 337 languages, the UDHR holds the record for the world's most translated document.

To celebrate Human Rights Day, we here at Rising Hegemon are following the example of WITNESS -- who normally use video to document and expose human rights violations --  and are turning the reflection around on themselves, friends, and family to ask a question sorely needing answering in these days of perpetual war:

"What image opened your eyes to human rights?"

In that spirit we want to encourage dialogue here and ask... "What image or event opened your eyes to human rights?"

Lincoln isn't spinning, he's snickering

Far be it from me to criticize Patrick Fitzgerald, he's certainly a very intelligent and capable attorney. But his use of history for a soundbyte was off yesterday when he said that Ol' Blago's corruption would cause Ol' Abe to spin in his grave.


Lincoln was no stranger to political corruption and scandal.

The name Simon Cameron ring a bell?

Cameron's sleazy reputation was well known and generated a drumbeat of opposition to his nomination in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. However, "Cameron and Lincoln were another of those odd couples that politics occasionally produces, to the wonderment of all. Cameron was a political insider of the slickest kind. For helping nominate Lincoln in Chicago in 1860, Lincoln's floor managers had promised him a cabinet seat. Lincoln had honored the promise and appointed him secretary of war," wrote John Waugh in Reelecting Lincoln.

Sound familiar? Only this time Honest Abe's hands were directly implicated in the quid pro quo, whether he liked it or not, not off in the distance and giving Cameron "nothing" while he maneuvered.

Cameron turned out to be monstrously corrupt, to no ones, especially Lincoln's, surprise, interfering in all manner of government military contracts at a time of war to the profit of his cronies. Lincoln eventually eased him out in late 1862.

A particularly apocryphal story for the current day, involves a conversation between Lincoln, then President-Elect, and powerful Pennsylvania Representative and Republican Thaddeus Stevens:

During one interview with Lincoln, the president-elected questioned Thaddeus Stevens pointedly: 'You don't mean to say you think Cameron would steal?"

"No,' said Stevens drily, 'I don't think he would steal a red-hot stove."

Lincoln partly as a joke and partly perhaps by way of delicate warning, repeated the statement to Cameron. He was not amused.

Stevens later returned to demand of Lincoln: 'Why did you tell Cameron what I said to you?"

"I thought it was a good joke and didn't think it would make him mad."

"Well, he is very mad and made me promise to retract. I will now do so. I believe I told you he would not steal a red-hot stove. I will now take that back."

To use Lincoln as completely clean of corruption, completely unaware, totally innocent, a saint in all things, is to ignore history in favor of canonization -- which makes Lincoln unrealistically dull -- the same thing we've managed to make George Washington into, even though all of the praised giant intellects of the Founders (Jefferson, Hamilton, etc.) always were small in any room the original George W. occupied.