Thursday, December 31, 2009

Banned Words of 2010™: The Final Cut

Because it's never too early to put the world on notice...
  1. Green Shoots. One month of less-weak data, does not a green shoot make. Where the economics commentariat sees green shoots, the rest of the world sees weeds.
  2. Gamechanger (e.g., "The attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack is a gamechanger for Republicans"). It's not a game, asshole.
  3. Obamism. Conjures B- and C-grade and/or self-appointed public intellectuals (Cough! Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks! Cough!) desperately striving for posterity.
  4. New Media. It's not new anymore.
  5. Cougar. Banal. Sexist. Just plain offensive. Bear in mind who the real cougar fans are, people.
  6. Baby Bump. Straight out of gossip rags that make People read like Dostoyevsky.
  7. Gang of [insert number of senators here]. Because to make sense, the people in the applicable gang ought to be leftists (which are in extremely short supply in the United States Senate), and because the construction is overused to the point of inanity (by TPM).
  8. Slams/Smacks Down/Rips1 (e.g., "X slams Y over Z calling bloggers 'pajama-clad bedwetters' on 'Hardball'"). TPM strikes again, although HuffPo is also a huge offender.
  9. Walk Back (e.g. "Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum walks back his comments about party boss Rush Limbaugh"). Josh Marshall hits a triple. Maybe he's busy expanding his new media (oops!) empire, but the editing at TPM has become extraordinarily lazy this year.
  10. Ack. Number 10 was tough. I was down to "Dither", "Sausage-Grinder", "Bankster," and "The New New/Normal", and "[insert subject of non-scandal du jour here]-Gate" (e.g., "GatesGate," "TravelGate", etc.), but I'm going to go with Disappointed, as in "I'm so disappointed with Obama". Let me clue you into something: it's not about you and your disappointment. Whining about your disappointment is boring your friends, exhausting your family, and annoying your colleagues. Instead of ceaselessly wringing your hands about your disappointment, your buyer's remorse, or how you've been betrayed/sold out/thrown under innumerable buses, why don't you put down your laptop, get out of your house, and do something about it in 2010? March. Write letters. Make an appointment with your congressperson. Field primary challengers to Blue Dogs. Hell, field a primary challenger to Obama if that's what you think is best. Grab the pitchforks and torches you've been calling for and lead. Just Do (rather than say) Something. I guarantee that you'll feel better.
Bonus Bans: Oaky, Finish, Mouth Feel, Fruit Forward or any other cliché that describe wine. Unless you're Robert Parker, please just STFU and enjoy the stuff.

For kicks, here are the Banned Words of 2009™ and the Banned Words of 2008™.

Happy 2010, Hegemaniacs.

1Thanks to Loretta in comments for suggesting the addition of "Rips".

The Best Salesman in the World

Was a fixture at the Union Square greenmarket here in the New York and, sadly, died in 2009.

res ipsa's One Simple Rule for a Good New Year's Eve

No Reflecting.



Not even for a moment. 

More than ten years ago, I was in a shrink's office on the afternoon of New Year's Eve and the phone was ringing off the hook.  It rang so often and so seemingly loudly and at such long intervals that it distracted us from the work of our session (which was probably to talk me off the ledge regarding some guy I did not like and who did not like me, but who inexplicably seemed like Mister Right at the time).  The shrink said, "What is going on?" and I said, without missing a beat, "Too much reflection". 

On New Year's Eve, you look in only one direction:  forward. 

Tomorrow, in the clear light of The Day After, you can reflect.   And if you're too exhausted or hungover, put reflection off until Monday.  

In the meantime, look forward.

Happy New Year, Hegemaniacs.

P.S. No resolutions, either.  You have Goals:  clear, concrete goals.  You're not going to "Exercise more", you're going to "Walk one mile a day in January and increase the distance by a half-mile in each succeeding month."  But formulating goals might involve reflecting on what you have or failed to accomplish this year, so table those until tomorrow, too. 

What Digby said

In fact, let me steal from it. The incredible capacity for Republicans to swallow their own bullshit is truly stupefying:

"Finally, Janet Napolitano comes out and the first thing she said was everything worked well. And she seemed almost like she was bored to be there. There was no intensity. There was no show of emotion,"

Hey, Peter, take a copy of "The Pet Goat" and shove it up your ass.

Well, that's a good argument for becoming a vegetarian

I mean, I'd still have desert.

What an amazing era of policy making the Bush Years were.

Here's what we got, somebody got rich from the idea of injecting beef with AMMONIA to kill e.coli and salmonella.

And what did we get in return?

Beef still contaminated with e.coli and salmonella, with that special touch of AMMONIA!


Ending the decade as stupid as he came into it

Is there anything stupid that Jonah Goldberg is incapable of committing to print?

Regarding that dreadful 3D movie where the 10-foot-tall blue people hump each other: “What would have been controversial is if — somehow — Cameron had made a movie in which the good guys accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts.”

I guess he will when you will, dumbass.

...BTW, truly giving Mel Gibson the money to see Flayed, Blood-Spattered Jesus in 3-D is what the world really needs.

Always ready to jump the gun

How often does Brian Ross get the opportunity to be blatantly wrong about a story before ABC News considers maybe assigning better editors to watch him?

Oh, I guess that would require some level of responsibility from the network that has given us the gift of John Stossel and Charlie "$200,000 annually is like the minimum wage or somethin'" Gibson.

Still a sadistic asshole at heart

Shorter Fred Hiatt:

Obama's right and Cheney's wrong, but what a pity the Nigerian Ball-Burner didn't clam up and give us a chance to get in a little torture.

World Wide Leader in Creepy

ESPN's infernal hype machine completely went off the tracks this week involving a situation at Texas Tech University. The son of one of their college football commentators Craig James apparently did not like his isolation in a dark room following a concussion. Without getting into whether the action was proper or not (it almost certainly wasn't [locking up in a shed for 3 hours] but I know far far worse things happen by football coaches regularly) -- it's never really been discussed in detail so who the fuck knows?

But the University and one of their commentators pretty much gave ESPN a forum to bash the head coach and make it easier for the University, bruised from contract negotiations last year, to get said Head Coach fired for 'unethical conduct'. Same school, same athletic director that hired Bobby "I put the kid in a chokehold to teach him a lesson" Knight just a few years ago.

When the Head Coach was hired a decade ago, Texas Tech was a doormat in their conference and had an abysmal graduation rate among its football players. Now its a formidable power and it has, I believe, the top graduation rate in big-time college football.

Maybe something really bad did happen, but without offering details ESPN gave the father of the student a soap box to drop veiled hints without supporting information while interviewing his supporters within the institution that did the firing.

This is a LOT like having Mary Cheney use CNN to interview a Bush Administration official and call it proper journalism.

There's a whole lot of stink in this one somewhere.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Looking at this giant NYT "Documenting the Decade" slide show prompted me to jot down a few things I remember about the last ten years. For what it's worth, here goes...

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge at 2 AM and convincing my friend K to take a chance on R, who we'd just met on an icy pitched (!) Brooklyn rooftop while watching fireworks greet the decade, even though he was drunk. "A lot of people drink too much on New Years," I told her. "It doesn't necessarily mean he's got a problem. Go on one date." They're married now.

Sitting there, stupefied, as the clerk read the Supreme Court verdict in Bush v. Gore and thinking we'd entered some sort of Banana-Republicanesque territory (as we had).

Getting laid off.

Listening to my colleague E shriek, "Washington is in flames!" outside the West 50th Street lobby of our borg on 9/11, but thinking that there were probably a lot of rumors and suggesting that we find a TV or radio to see what was what. Not being quite able to grasp that one of the buildings had collapsed and blurting out the words, "Son of a bitch!" when I finally did. Comforting some of the young women with whom I worked and telling them to walk home together to Astoria over the 59th Street bridge. Experiencing my only moment of real fear that day on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, outside Carnegie Hall, when I heard (very loud) planes (F-15s? F-16s?) overhead followed by a Con Ed guy saying, "Don't worry. Those are ours. Go home," which I did. Worrying about my childhood friend D and his wife R, who lived across the street from the WTC until I heard from him at about 5 PM that day. Receiving dozens of emails from fellow New Yorkers with the subject line, "Okay?" or "Alright?" that afternoon and evening. Hearing from people from disparate parts of my life (and the planet) who came out of the woodwork to check up on me over the course of the next few days.

Watching HAZMAT units roll up to NBC from my borg window. Hearing the breaking news -- and being scared out of my wits -- about anthrax.

Attending a Howard Dean "Sleepless Summer" rally in Bryant Park with my friend J.

Knowing the blackout was big because of the way the power went down/out (out for a second and straining several times to power back up as the system tried to draw power from other parts of the grid), only to go completely out a few seconds later). Walking around my neighborhood, experiencing the party in the streets. Buying my first $0.25 ice cream cone. Feeling my way up the stairs after dark. Listening to the quiet and realizing that when a dog in one building would bark, dogs all over the neighborhood would bark in response.

Thinking that the 2004 GOP convention was a slap in the face to New Yorkers (which it was) and giving the finger and silently mouthing the words "Fuck you" to a couple of attendees in full Bush regalia on the subway. Hoping they'd dine out on the story back in Texas for the rest of their lives. Getting the hell out of Union Square because NYPD looked as though it was poised to start rounding up people. Nodding my head, years later, when reading about the damages the city was forced to pay to people held illegally round up and detained during the convention.

Discovering Left Blogistan.

Sharing disbelief and despair with fellow New Yorkers on the subway the day after Kerry conceded.

Feeling conflicted when John Paul II died.

Spending the day Republican operative Jeff Gannon was unmasked as a prostitute by John Aravosis in the comments section at Eschaton. Still the funniest day I've ever spent in Left Blogistan.

Reading the exhilarating prologue to Don DeLillo's Underworld on the boardwalk at Brighton Beach while sipping gin and tonic from a Thermos.

Skipping law school commencement in order to avoid the the pro-Iraq war wingnut speaker, and listening to my Arab classmate, in tears, tell me how his talk hurt her parents.

Reading about Mikhail Khodorovsky.

Screaming, "Drop them some fucking water!" at my television as I watched Katrina-desperate New Orleanians on their rooftops hold signs asking for help.

Standing under an umbrella in Madison Square Park, drinking vanilla milkshakes with friends R and J, just after being sworn to the New York bar.

Visiting the North American Pontifical College in Rome.

Reading about Anna Politkovskaya.

Seeing the Tribute in Light.

Watching the 2006 midterm returns. Hope ...

Seeing and hearing a Stealth Bomber fly above my building.

Being invited to blog at Rising Hegemon.

Seeing "There Will Be Blood" three times in a movie theater.

Going on an incredibly fun string of dates in September, October, and November of 2007.

Telling a stereotypical loony New York mom who was harassing employees at my local bagel place that the only thing her poor kid was allergic to was her.

Getting an ambush makeover courtesy of a lovely drag queen on New Year's eve.

Hearing Joe Scarborough react to news of Benazir Bhutto's assassination by saying, "This plays well for Rudy Giuliani".

Canceling cable TV.

Visiting old and making new friends in Chicago.

Tiring of the 2008 (and still ongoing in some respects) Democratic primary wars.

Shaking hands with and saying, "Best of luck, Senator" to Barack Obama at a rally in a union hall in New York as women squealed for kisses. (Thanks, CoT!)

Standing outside the New York governor's office on the cold day he resigned and feeling absolutely snookered and genuinely let down by Eliot Spitzer.

Watching Lehman employees remove boxes of personal effects from their offices with my siblings from a Utah hotel room.

Being momentarily frightened at my first glimpse of Sarah Palin ... and feeling enormous relief in the days thereafter as she opened her mouth again and again and again.

Driving up Amsterdam Avenue minutes after the networks called it for Obama and watching people spill out of bars, cheering and chanting "Yes We Can!", hugging and high-fiving strangers, beaming and crying.

Watching the Obama family take the stage and finally losing it myself as I thought, "They're such a good-looking couple and the kids are so cute and it's finally over!"

Hearing celebratory chants outside my apartment until 2 AM.

Being blown away by the transformation of my father's childhood home, Williamsburg.

Seeing the revival of "Hair" with watertiger and her lovely mum.

Clapping and cheering with my colleagues as Obama was inaugurated.

Attending the ordination (and attendant celebrations) of a Catholic priest.

Driving cross-country from Seattle to New York by way of Vancouver, Banff, Glacier National Park, Bozeman, Rapid City, Milwaukee, Ontario, and Niagara Falls (among other stops).

Shedding tears for Ted Kennedy, who'd felt a part of my life since childhood.

Trying to maintain hope ...

Take a bad song and make it even worse

Who will be the brave and tasteless one to create the YouTube mash up of Charles Lincoln & Orly Taitz to the "timeless" Lionel Richie/Diana Ross duet "Endless Love"?

Truly the internet must gird its loins for the sheer awful awesomeness!

No non-liberal ever punished for anything

Television privileges are never revoked for any moral or intellectual faux pas if you are crazy enough to blather about a Democrat. From Bill Kristol, to John Bolton, to Pat Buchanan, to Dick Morris, it's all just expected and rewarded.

The latest beneficiary Larry "Whitey Tape" Johnson:

CNN just had a lengthy piece with No Quarter’s Larry Johnson as one of their “experts,” where he used the phrase “Obama bin Laden” instead of Osama bin Laden and never caught himself. He had to be corrected by the bobblehead.

He was not asked about the Whitey Tape.

But Marcy Wheeler said "blowjob" and she'll never be on television again.

If I wrote for the Washington Post...

I'd be crapping my pants and demanding Obama return to Washington, D.C. right now:

Doughy Pantload: I just cannot keep up with my own bullshit

Not only do I admire TBogg's talents for withering sarcasm, but I can appreciate doing a google search on NRO and the time it takes to document the intellectual crimes of the world's most over-rated intellect, even though Jonah Goldberg's reputation is that of an intellectually incurious moron.

Ratify my crapping of pants, please

Fred Hiatt and company cannot be happy unless they are ordered to crap their pants, even if they are conditioned to do so anyway. As I recall, a guy went all Richard Reid on his private parts -- fortunately nothing more happened. What is a President to do? Apparently act completely insane:

By staying in Hawaii, the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious, that things can proceed just fine until he’s back. And isn’t it that kind of reasoning that emboldens our never-vacationing enemies into thinking Christmas Day is the perfect time for them to strike?

Hey, worked for the Three Wisemen, hi-yoooooo!

Seriously, flipping out every time something ALMOST happens is the kind of wise stewardship that made people love George W. Bush so very much.

Say, how did George Bush handle the shoe bomber Richard Reid in late 2001 when he gave himself a hot-foot instead of a hot-crotch? was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received for his reaction to Friday’s incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit.

And then they arrested Reid, put him on trial on American soil, convicted him, locked him up in an American prison and he was never heard from again. Funny how that worked.

(h/t Balloon Juice)

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Floaters vs. The Homogenizers

Just in case you need a (very) last-minute holiday gift for that unique someone on your list:  The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies.

Family Values

I'm going to guess that after a quarter-century the body's resistance to Rohypnol builds up to the point it loses its potency.

I'm just sayin'.

So when will Karl Rove be out defending traditional marriage again?

Pop Quiz!

These Paul Slansky quizzes in the New Yorker are simultaneously fun and horrifying.   

One sometimes gets the feeling

While reading "Moron Junction" aka National Review Online, that the thing they are really jealous of (besides people who have sex, enjoy life, aren't ingrates, or the "victims" of rampant nepotism, brown people, cool people, gay people, magnanimous people, short people, tall people, moderately endowed people, lady people, male people, she-male people, cat fanciers, ethnic cuisine in excess of $5, street vendors, homeless people, egalitarians, the well-adjusted, the non-NRO employed maladjusted) is that the Nigerian Ball-Burner was able to feel something anything down there through the use of a foreign object. Somebody tell Jonah Goldberg to use those "waxing" coupons for a purpose. Maybe he and Andy McCartney can go and simultaneously rip one off each other.

And yes, you're welcome for that visual.

Here's something to assist you in your imaging (NSFW)...just stretch the picture a great deal horizontally (a great great great deal actually) and you may find the mental image the Doughy Pantload has of the perfect office retreat...would take a whole lotta quatloos.

Well, knock me over with a feather

Who could have anticipated?

The political action committee behind the Tea Party Express (TPE) -- which already has been slammed as inauthentic and corporate-controlled by rival factions in the Tea Party movement -- directed around two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period back to the Republican consulting firm that created the PAC in the first place.

Well, I'm back

And ready to blog regularly again. My flight was uneventful -- and getting on the flight not terribly different. No testicles were set immolated.

Sadly, Susan Sarandon was not on my flight, so no updates on her availability in case she wants to go even younger into middle age.

I guess love really does require "commitment"

I do believe we have found the creepiest story of lust ever committed between a dentist/real estate agent/lawyer and her debarred "law clerk"

For much of 2009, a disbarred attorney named Charles Lincoln played key roles in Orly Taitz’s multiple “birther” lawsuits against President Obama. Lincoln claimed to be a “law clerk” for Taitz, and he showed up again and again to file documents or assist her in court.

Last week, Lincoln went on his personal blog and filed a lengthy, emotional post confessing that he had fallen in love with Taitz

Wait, it gets better, and by better I mean worse.

She needed me and probably still needs me in every possible way, but I don’t have her husband’s money and so she chose to DUMP me, to DUMP real love, for the illusion of piles of federal reserve notes and other credits, and she goes on with her reckless rage and fire.

Oh, death by birthing, the ironic sting is both creepy and hilarious.

[cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Monday, December 28, 2009


As I prepare to endure the nightmare that is modern commercial aviation, observe the odds that all this inconvenience only becomes worse:

...the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.

So for those odds, we add just a bit more misery to our lives.

But some people crapped their pants...while one guy set his balls afire.

via Balloon Juice

"I got nothin'"

Robert Samuelson decides to spend his column writing about what drove him to inhaling Vick-Vap-O Rub or something:

Offended by many liberal and conservative dogmas, I aspire to the "sensible center."

Forty years and you still keep missing while reaching for the curb.

So there I am...

Watching a very very dull Dallas at Washington game and who do I see stuffing his withered face on my television behind Washington's obnoxious owner but Alan Greenspan.


"Never forget" -- unless you're a Republican

Remember when Bill Clinton was President on 9/11/2001? Reality neither.

MARY MATALIN: I was there, we inherited a recession from President Clinton and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation’s history. And President Bush dealt with it...

A Yemen Party

Welcome to the newest craze where old men get together for some arousing fun -- a Yemen Party:

"Somebody in our government said to me in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war"

It takes more than one old war mongerer to get themselves stiff enough with excitement for a good Yemen Party:

Senator Lieberman tosses out a fascinating idea when he talks about preemptive action. That's a big, complex subject but one we ought to be considering.

Yes, fascinating is not the word I'd come up with, but these older gentlemen are tingling with anticipation. I guess the thought of bombing Iran just isn't the turn on it used to be.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The latest bomber

As I often have on this blog, I cannot strongly enough endorse The Looming Tower, given to me originally by Res Ipsa the best book I've ever read on Al Qaeda and the systemic nature of how extremists groups like it operate (the great movie from Germany the Beider Meinhoff Complex touches on this subject as well) -- generally these folks who threaten items in the West are not the folks living the war zones. No, they are often the wealthy dilettante children of Egypt or Saudi Arabia. They have enough knowledge of western culture to like some of its values, yet resentful of some karmic spiritual death of their own culture as they perceive it, leading to some sort of aesthetic resentment requiring violence.

The middle and upper classes have historically been the places to look for revolutionaries and extremists -- and, of course, blog posters and blog readers. Not the poor, they are too busy trying to get by day-to-day to have time to be reflective about destroying shit. Just go down the line, our own revolutionary heroes, Robespierre & company, Marx & Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, the Red Brigade, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot. Some heroes, some scoundrels, some in betweens, but all uniquely upper middle to wealthy classed. Situation is no different in the Middle East -- except of course for the possibility of success being less, while the potency of the individual destructive act being increased. What could be done to Alexander III, McKinley, or Franz Ferdinand on a limited basis, can no longer be easily done to them but a more widespread mass killing of civilians is out there.

It might be nice if some of our more pervasive media outlets reported on this sort of phenomena and how seemingly timeless it is, rather than talk inextricably about broad sweeping generalizations.

Oh, happy day

I have to listen to Joe Lieberman go on FoxNews and whine about how fucking much we should shit our pants. He will not be happy until every passenger on an airplane is strapped down with duct-tape, blindfolded, and gagged.

...and if their brownish...periodically tased.

Sounds like his solution is bombing the fuck out of Iran.

But, on the other hand the Ripken-like streak of McCain/Lieberman/Graham being on Sunday morning TV goes on and on and on.

President McCain is a busy man

Oh, a perfect fit for him. An outdated sport flagging in popularity, the smell of old sweat and Mentholatum, bizarre posing, temper tantrums and corruption:

A plan proposed by HBO to have Sen. John McCain, a serious boxing fan, mediate the drug-testing dispute was originally embraced by the camps but was later shot down by Pacquiao.

Oh hooray!

I have a flight tomorrow morning, oh won't that be fun!?

And then I get to get my car out of economy parking in the 'blizzard zone'.


Atta J. Turk's Trusty NFL Picks

A tougher week for me last week as bad teams played better than other bad teams, etc. But thanks to the Steelers beating the Pack on a miraculous play, I went 3 and 3 and am at 58 and 32 for the year. Time to finish strong, like bull.

I'm sitting here in Arizona at the moment (NFL Picks field trip, except I'm not going to a football game) so I'm in a special position to judge games this week (ed. no you're not).

Chiefs at Bengals: Well, let's start out slow and build up a head of steam to finish strong. How about we pick a good team, at home, coming off two road losses to good teams over a bad team on the road who last week was completely run over by the Browns? Sound good to you? It does me. The Bengals will kill the Chiefs, literally. They'll rip out their still beating metaphorical hearts and have them watch, like some weird Mel Gibson fantasy-flick (without gratuitous gay bashing). Bengals win big.

Seahawks at Packers: But wait, you say, shouldn't you pick some tough games? Hey, I went 3 and 3 last week, that cannot happen again. In the 352nd most exciting regular season game played at Lambeau Field (I'd reckon they've played about 280 regular season games there over 50 plus years when you add in all the home games they used to play in Milwaukee) I believe somehow the Packers will be able to pull this one out.

Texans at Dolphins: As they usually seem to do, the Texans having all but eliminated themselves from playoff contention by the end of November are going on a late season surge. And now they've done it, they've sort of got themselves back into a smidgen of a chance. The Dolphins on the other hand have been not great, but pretty good since October. This game seems hard to pick because you really don't know which version of each team you'll get. But I smoked some of Ricky Williams' old stash and my vision quest says pick the Dolphins.

Ravens at Steelers: Well, how about this. At the beginning of this year you'd have thought this game would have meant more than about who might get eliminated from even being in the playoffs. However, that's pretty much what it has become (though the Ravens are still alive even with a loss). These two teams played a few weeks ago when Roethlisberger was out because he couldn't spell his name (seems a tad too strict a test in my opinion) and the Ravens won in Baltimore in overtime. For some reason I think with him back I like the Steelers.

Jaguars at Patriots: Do the Jaguars ever play the Patriots at what passes for their home, attended by literally dozens of fans? I cannot recall them ever doing so. It must be some Belicheckian mind-fuck. The Jaguars had control of their own playoff destiny a few weeks ago -- and then seemingly remembered people noticed and the only sporting thing to do was to suck. And lo they have. Patriots, will someone pull this one out, and one of the minutemen will miss shooting off his musket because he's cruising with Pat Patriot.

Vikings at Bears: Did you see how much the Vikings sucked against the Panthers last week? OMG! It was an embarrassment. And now, in a blatent effort to promote their Monday Night Game between THIS GUY and THIS OTHER GUY it's been Favre vs. Childress vs. Schism all week long. You know it's true the Vikings sucked last week, but the Bears have pretty much sucked for three straight months, going 2 and 8. When they met last month in Minnesota it was Vikings 36, Bears 10. Expect something a little less awful, but not much. Take the Vikes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Remember the old days, before Twitter, when you could steal anything you wanted?

When Republicans didn't care about the deficit, the dark old days of the mid-2000s?

Six years ago, "it was standard practice not to pay for things," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Who could have anticipated?

Oh, those airstrikes from predator drones...ALWAYS work perfectly, at least when first reported:

A U.S.-born radical cleric is alive and well following reports he may have been killed in a Yemeni airstrike against suspected al-Qaida hideouts, friends and relatives said Friday.

The utility of these strikes, whether under Bush or Obama, not to mention their morality continues to really bother me.

Commence the shitting in pants

Thank goodness the ever reliable hyperventilators are around to react. Like twin Peters, King and Hoekstra, who I'm sure are going to find a way to blame Obama for a terror-act that failed.

Meanwhile, it appears this was a fuck in that somehow on overseas flights were relying on a third-world nation's security (though that may not necessarily be a problem).

Although it does give some awesome quotes on twitter:

RT @NYCAviation "CNN passenger interview: Heard pop like champagne cork, moments later saw flames shooting out of suspect's crotch."

Now there's reality as metaphor.

(fez tip AmericaBlog)

Friday, December 25, 2009

And here's some video that works

I do love some of these videos from The Onion, this one is quite brilliant:

Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins Of 'Friendster' Civilization

Merry Christmas

What better than a Christmas Reading on You Tube without Video?

But I've long-loved this fictional Christmas Pageant Review from David Sedaris:

And welcome to those readers who followed this advice, got this gift only, and are now completely unattached

Via Blue Girl via Ken Levine:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Answering the timeless question, how can I compare my loved one to cream cheese on a bagel?

What Digby Said

This piece (as indicated through Hullabaloo) on how Colbert & his writers worked on and then executed the justifiably famous (or infamous if you are America's Concern Troll, Richard Cohen) Correspondent's Dinner routine in the Spring of 2006 right before George W. Bush.

It's awesome, it will brighten your X-Mas, and make those new brown socks seem heckuva lot browner!

When the dinner was over, "I don't think I'm dying. I go to sit down and nobody's meeting my eye. Only [the late journalist-turned-White House spokesman] Tony Snow comes over and says I'm doing a great job." Then Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came his way and told him he was brilliant.

"I said, oh, s-, don't let me like Antonin Scalia!"

Wondering what exit he should use, Colbert recalls being approached by actor Harry Lennix, whom he knew from their days at Northwestern University. Colbert indicated that he sensed some of the audience wasn't happy. "And he [Lennix] said, 'f- these people."

Indeed, fuck them.

Merry Christmas...except to them.

Well, it's Christmas

And in keeping in spirit with what the President said about health care reform, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and start shopping for gifts this year.

And then I'm going to get working on fulfilling those 2009 resolutions I made.

And then see if I can figure out a way to print off that book I bought on my Kindle.

(pic from here)

[cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lindsey Graham's not white enough Christmas

Artfully put, moron:

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Throughout the nation, there are going to be thousands of more people enrolled in Medicaid. And every state, except one, is going to have to come up with matching money.

I have 12 percent unemployment in South Carolina. My state is on its knees. I have 31 percent African-American population in South Carolina.

And the South Carolina GOP thinks this guy is too moderate.

Well, it's getting closer to being done

Health Care "Reform" passes the Senate on a straight party vote (60 to 39, conservatives prayers kept Republican Jim Bunning from realizing he was still alive), I tell you, I step away from blogging for a day and the next thing you know...

It's like dogs and cats living together. Redstate morons start hanging out and posing as progressive morons.

Isn't anything reliable anymore, something you can count on?

Well, there's always David Broder living in bipartisan-fantasy land, where impossible things, like sane Republicans and Regularity exist forever.

It would help a lot if he reached out personally to those few Republicans who might still want to improve the bill rather than sink it.

Yes, Broder, and scientists should keep research going into how you can go back to enjoying peanut brittle for Christmans.

Morning Miscellaney

I think Dad may be traveling or sleeping in. If that's the case, I'll try to put up some tidbits while I'm making my gravy, which is already on the stove.

First up: did you read this? This article by one of my favorite writers, Dr. Atul Gawande, offers the most compelling reasons I've read for why the bill should pass. It's a little long, but stay with it and let me know what you think.

This is a bummer.

Pareene: Our Favorite Things about 2009: These People are Gone.

I'm looking forward to this evening when a friend is having a Christmas Eve open house. She's got two kids -- three and five -- who are in their prime Santa-believing years. According to their mom, their excitement has been building all week and I'm anxious to see them in full Santa freakout. I got some goodies to stick in their stockings after we put them to bed and the grownups get their goodies in the form of some adult beverages.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More From the George W. Bush & Dick Cheney of Popes

In an effort to calm growing tensions with Jewish groups, the Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI had not moved the wartime Pope Pius XII closer to sainthood as an “act of hostility” against those who believe Pius did not do enough to stop the Holocaust.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement saying that the beatification process evaluated the “Christian life” of Pius, who ruled from 1939 to 1958, and not “the historical significance of his choices.”
Huh? What does that even mean? Is Lombardi a canon lawyer?
The legacy of Pius is particularly sensitive for the Jewish community in Rome. More than 1,000 of its members were rounded up in 1943, and deported to Auschwitz. Documents in the Vatican archives indicate that Pius knew of the deportation and did not act to stop it.
He was pope and he did nothing to stop it? Sounds like a Christian life to me.

Speaking of the Putz

Golly Howie, maybe it's because it's one of those things that have a direct and immediate impact on the lives of tens of millions of people? Many of these people, like me, might be traveling long distances:

I guess you and Chuck Todd can get together and decree the news has to lead with a Tiger Woods/Dead Celebrity story 365.



Dear Barack and frequent Amtrak rider Joe,

Amtrak needs money. New Jersey Transit needs money. They need money to upgrade their infrastructure, so that stuff like this doesn't happen ever, not just on the day before Christmas.

Why, when it comes to infrastructure, is our attitude "No We Can't?"

Another stimulus, please? This time, with infrastructure.



The metaphysical bond between all black people according to a white person part infinity

And now America's least critical media critic Howard Kurtz:

And for all the heated rhetoric being thrown at him [President Obama] these days -- socialist, sellout, soporific, yadda yadda yadda -- I don't think anyone has accused him of a racial approach to politics. People want to know what he's doing about unemployment and health care and climate change. In a very real sense, he seems to have transcended race.

(I was going to make a Tiger Woods analogy here, but at the moment that seems like a decidedly bad idea.)

So why'd you bring it up asshole?

via Atrios.

Sex in the '00s

(That got your attention, didn't it?)

Pareene: The Top 13 People Politicians Should Not Have Had Sex With in the 2000s

Too lazy to excerpt. I'm up to my a## in cooking and cleaning in preparation for the big Christmas celebration chez res. First the cleaning. Then tomorrow I'll put some old-school gravy (that's marinara to the uninitiated) on the stove, blanch some broccoli rabe, make the shells for the manicotti, pull together some meatballs, the whole Italian-American deal ...

Will say re the post however, that the funniest day bar none that I ever spent on the internets was the day John Aravosis unmasked Jeff Gannon as a prostitute. I don't think I've ever laughed as hard since. Commenters in Left Blogostan outdid themselves on that historic day.

The Village -- You Suck

The Shrill one really goes after the centrist budget scolds who along with the GOP have done fuck all:

And let’s also not fail to take note of those who had a chance to join in this historic moment, and punted.

I’m not talking about the progressives who have rejected this bill because they don’t think it’s good enough; I disagree, but I respect their motives. I’m talking instead about the self-described centrists, pundits and politicians, who have spent years lecturing us on the need to make hard choices and actually come to grip with America’s problems; you know who I mean. So what did they do when faced with a chance to help confront those problems? They made excuses.

Health care costs are, as everyone serious acknowledges, at the core of many of our difficulties, very much including long-term budget deficits. What reformers have been saying for years is that the only way to tackle health care costs is in the context of a reform that also tackles the problem of uninsurance; and so it has proved. As Atul Gawande and others have pointed out, the Senate bill tries a wide variety of approaches to cost containment — in fact, just about everything that has been suggested. We don’t know which of these approaches will work or how well, but that’s more than anyone has managed to achieve ever before.

Oh, and the legislation is fiscally responsible from the start.

So did the deficit scolds, the people who preach the need to rein in entitlements and start paying our way, rally behind the cost-containment plans? Um, no. As I said, they made excuses, whining that the bill doesn’t do enough (as if there were any chance of passing a bill with everything they want), or insisting that even though the legislation does do the right thing, it doesn’t matter, because Congress won’t let the cost cuts go into effect — which turns out to be a claim at odds with the evidence of history.

And the lesson I take from that is that these people are insincere. They like posing as defenders of fiscal rectitude; they like declaring a pox on both houses; but when push comes to shove, their dislike of social insurance, their refusal to consider any government economy measures that don’t involve punishing people with lower incomes, trumps their supposed concern about acting responsibly.

Via Brad DeLong.

What Conservatives stand for apparently

Via Kevin Drum, it appears the National Review has hired another intellectual titan, Mike Potemra:

I have over the past couple of months been watching DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show I missed completely in its run of 1987 to 1994; and I confess myself amazed that so many conservatives are fond of it. Its messages are unabashedly liberal ones of the early post-Cold War era — peace, tolerance, due process, progress....


1. As Drum notes apparently some conservatives are now willing to fess up to loving war, intolerance, kangaroo courts, and going backwards. Points for honesty I guess.

2. The guy is essentially saying, I don't like Star Trek, but I've been watching old DVD's of it over the last several months. I'm sure Mr. Potemra would say the same thing about fetish porn.

3. Not liking Star Trek? How long will Doughbob Loadpants allow this guy to keep a job? Stupidity and incompetency are one thing at the National Review, hell, they're essential functions, but dissing Star Trek -- straight out!

Well it's been almost a week

Since they had to perform emergency surgery so Michelle Duggar could crank out number 19 -- Jingo!.

So I imagine it's time for ol' Jim Bob to tickle the ol' Myhrr and plant his seed.

And, yeah, Merry Christmas.

Hard to believe a Glenn Beck-wannabee would be so emotionally unstable isn't it?

Quoting a liberal chuck of Wolcott on some idiot filling in for other idiot Glenn Beck who took Christmas off to inappropriately touch gold bars: favorite part of the Baker spiel was when he announced at the top of the hour that even though Jesus is his Lord and Savior, he had no Christmas spirit this season, none. This health care extravaganza, moving toward a vote and what looks like inevitable passage, had ruined Christmas for him, and not just this Christmas, but every Christmas going forward, because each future Christmas will only serve to remind him of the health care bill that was foisted on the American people this Christmas...if he can shepherd a huge, contentious, complicated bill to the president's desk that will ruin this Christmas and future Christmases for blowhard Glenn Beck wannabees, then Harry Reid is my hero.

I understand they considered benching Wolf because Julius Peppers was hitting him so hard

How will civilization survive without an additional hour of Wolf Blitzer's stunning lack of wit or charisma?

CNN will be changing things up on January 18th, when Rick Sanchez will get a second hour, anchoring a new show called "Rick's List" from 3-5PM. He currently anchors the 3PM hour but the hour is not branded as his show.

"The Situation Room" will be cut back an hour, and will air from 5-7PM.

Politico's Michael Calderone reports that "CNN president Jon Klein, on the morning editorial call, told staffers that both Wolf Blitzer and Sanchez are pleased with the decision."

Of course in his own mind, Wolf is pleased. Being on TV for an hour less, means he has '40 minutes' less work to do.

I never get banned from anything

I'm not banned from Meghan McCain's twitter (check spelling, yeah, twitter) account, like Watertiger. And I'm just as fictionally eponymous.

And now, it's likely I could go to any Sarah Palin book signing I want (like I would) and would almost certainly not be banned. Nice enemies list, you betcha!

Why am I not banned from doing things I wouldn't do anyway?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best News I've Heard All Day Week Month Year

That [Rudolph W. Guiliani] always will find a good table at a restaurant or a seat in a television studio is assured. But the political executive suite now most likely lies beyond his grasp.
Thank you God, Joe Biden, Mike DuHaime, and Bernie Kerik.

And Yikes! I'd never heard this:
As a teenager, one of his former girlfriends once told The Daily News, Mr. Giulani [sic] would stand before a mirror and pantomime his presidential swearing in, beginning with “I, Rudy Giuliani.”
Bye, Rudy.

Mags 2010

Every year I subscribe to a new magazine. Sometimes they're substantive (The Economist in 2007 and The Nation in 2008) and sometimes silly (Vogue in 2009). I need a suggestion for 2010. I've been a New Yorker subscriber for years (and probably will continue to do so, even though I think it's time for Remnick to bring a few new writers on board), so that base is covered. I've also got a free subscription to Time Out New York, and even though with the exception of "Get Naked" columnist Jamie Bufalino I hate it (most of the features sound as though they were written by people who have never visited, let alone lived, here), I can't seem to stop them from sending it to me, so that one's out too.

So I need something new and would be pleased if you'd put your (non-pornographic) suggestions in comments.

The rankings game

Though many have not noticed (I guess the publications will declare next year to be the end of the decade...or do so again) technically the aughts are in their last eight days.

And good-fucking-riddance!!!

I'd say worst decade EVAH!, except that's palpably laughable. The of the 1340's with the bubonic plague killing about a third to half of Europe, the Middle-East and Asia was pretty fucking suck-a-licious (hey, if that had happened in the 1980s and a third of Asia died we might at least have been spared some awful prog-rock! "Heat of the Moment" can suck it!).

The 1930s were the depression and then led into the decade of the worst war ever (the one we in the U.S. took out the lesson that it was apparently awesome, but c'mon). The 1960s had some great progress, but it also had Vietnam and the assassination of about three prominent liberal and/or democratic leaders.

So I suppose int he next few days we should put up some reader participation polling on things.

The first notable list I've found is this list of 10 Worst WaPo Columnists.

Somehow it fails to contain 'America's Concern Troll' -- which totally undermines the rest of it. This listing has its flaws IMO (I'd have to find a way to put Anne Appelbaum in there somewhere, definitely in place of EJ Dionne who doesn't bother me -- in fact he doesn't register), but it is much better at listing the contenders and does the rankings better IMO.

I'd also have to throw in #11 anyway because Dana Milbank's excretory smugness deserves a special mention.

Really maybe the poll to take -- and this should be left to Atrios only, is who are the top-10 Wankers of the naughtie aughties?

I know many TMZ fans would instantly say Tiger Woods, but I'm pretty sure he's not top-10 material for being extra horny.

Rudy passes up another chance to lose

I was totally looking forward to seeing Rudy Giuliani [9-11!] lose another election at the earliest possible [9-11!] opportunity. But it was not to be...yet.

So long, Rudy.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to announce Tuesday he is not running for U.S. Senate or anything else in 2010, effectively ending his storied - and often stormy - electoral career, The Daily News has learned.

But fear not, [9-11!] Rudy will be back. In fact, at present in Clive, Iowa, Rudy still has his signage up [9-11!] from 2008 -- so he's all set to lose [9-11!] badly in a presidential run in 20-[9-11!]-12.
Still up after 911 days.

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake]

Monday, December 21, 2009

You stay Classy Republicans

Bob Owens, aka Confederate Yankee:

Robert Byrd has been around a very long time, and his many decades of service have made West Virginia a wonderful state in which to manufacture methamphetamine or frame the locals for murder. But it's time for Senator to do the right thing, and expire.

It isn't too much to ask for Byrd to step off for that great klavern in the sky before the Senate vote that may force this nation to accept government-rationed health care. Even a nice coma would do.

Remember when Republicans were pushing Ramesh Ponnorururururururumarmaduke's book where he called Democrats "The Party of Death"?

Today is Alex Pareene Day at Rising Hegemon

I'm too lazy to pull out the best bits. Just go read this, too.

On another note, when I attend my first joint Teabagger/Progressive rally to torpedo the health care bill or audit the Fed or encourage Alan Grayson to primary1 Barack Obama in 2012, do I brandish a sign that shows stacks of bodies at a concentration camp or a giant puppet? Wear an Obama-as-witchdoctor or "Free Mumia!" tee-shirt? Carry a "Get a brain! Morans" placard or one that says, "Got spell check?"

Please kill me.

And on yet another, entirely unrelated note: New York got some snow this weekend. Not nearly as much as D.C. or Philly or Boston or Long Island, which according to my cousin, got absolutely whacked. I was out of town, though, and arrived this morning to see that the city had done a horrible job of plowing the place. So a hale 'n hearty middle finger salute to Mayor Bloomberg and the DOT, because I'm 99.9% sure that said half-assed plowing is yet another of those stealth budget cuts we're seeing so much of here these days.

And finally, to that DC cop who pulled his gun on a bunch of people having a snowball fight, the only thing that shocks me is that you didn't Tase them before you started waving your gun around. And with regard to your Hummer? Well, sorry about your penis. Asshole.

1Absolutely horrified that I used "primary" as a verb here.

What Pereene says

Alex Pareene at Gawker nails it yet again:

We learned, again, forever, that the Senate is broken. There are 60 votes to pass the bill but no chance of that happening before Christmas. They had to meet at 1 a.m. in a blizzard to pass a procedural motion. Do you think a climate bill is happening? Hah. Sure. Whatever. Olympia Snow and Susan Collins got everything they asked for and they voted against it. Lieberman and Nelson promise to attempt to kill it again if it ends up looking too generous. Here is a chart that proves that it was not always thus.

So, let's talk about Harry Reid. It is dumb to have a party leader in danger of being unseated! And yet, the Democrats keep doing this! Remember Tom Daschle, our last Democratic Majority Leader? He lost reelection, because he was a moderate Democrat representing a Republican state.

...But Reid, who we have criticized a lot, did an admirable job with what he was given. He did basically sacrifice his Senate seat for this legislation, and he never actively attempted to water it down, his role in the various compromises notwithstanding. It's just that a majority leader shouldn't have to sacrifice his seat for legislation. That is idiotic...

So, yeah, it would be nice to see a tougher leader, from a more liberal state. One who would maybe force through a reconciliation vote on the various nice liberal things that were stripped from the bill—most of those things, like the public option, are things that would work in reconciliation. It would be nice to have a leader who would threaten to blow up the rules of the Senate, which needs to be done by someone. The "political reality" is that everything needs 60 votes and every single compromise was necessary to add or retain every vote, but "political realities" change when politicians change them, which is why there is a 60 vote floor to begin with...

It is nice, really, to have billions of dollar for uninsured people to afford insurance, and the new regulations are long overdue. But christ, the country is pretty broken, right?

2010 is going to be fun! There will be like three more of these year-long soul-destroying battles over every little thing!

Oh my favorite arguments

1. How dare anyone say anything negative about Obama, we should all just shut up and tow toe-the-line like Republicans.


2. Obama is a traitor, he's betrayed us, he's Bush II or worse.

Y'know it's quite possible that both of these things are preposterously untrue.

On point number one -- if people don't make demands upon a Democratic President, why the fuck would he (or she) feel compelled to do anything?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with criticizing a President of your own Party, in fact, good for the people who do.

Oh, go to hell

Douchehat has truly gone down the rabbit-hole -- when is this moron's contract up?

It’s fitting that James Cameron’s “Avatar” arrived in theaters at Christmastime. Like the holiday season itself, the science fiction epic is a crass embodiment of capitalistic excess wrapped around a deeply felt religious message. It’s at once the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, and the Gospel According to James.

Oh crap.

Now, I saw Avatar this weekend, it's a big spectacular spectacle (as opposed to an unspectacular one of course) with some underlying messages, and certain plot points that make no fucking sense at all (floating mountains...huh? I guess it makes sense in Movies and "Yes" album covers) ... in other words a well-crafted Hollywood blockbuster, but a blockbuster nonetheless.

I know they've been forced to do something about concussions

But there's an epidemic of de-pantsing in the NFL this year as well. From Devin Hester a few weeks ago, to the most monstrous near tragedy of all, Raiders lineman Tommy Kelly:

And for once it wasn't because the Raiders were crapping all over the field.

What Digby Said

It's stunning watching the GOP continuing to push the biggest lie of the year, pray for a Senator to get sick or die promptly, while complaining about bipartisanship and have talking heads say shit like this:

In my judgment it's a tragedy for the country to have a bill this important, a historic piece of legislation, pass with only one party voting for it.

And this is said with an implication that it is somehow ALL Obama's fault.

I'm not at all a fan of this bill, but time after time after time Republicans refused to sign on to any portion of it and continued to do all they could to prevent it even coming to a vote. So much that the battle is just to get to a goddamn vote. I sure see Obama portrayed as some sort of progressive traitor, but the make up of the Senate is definitely an excuse, but sometimes excuses are valid.

I wish they would have done this differently, of course, but at the end of the day it's the GOP that's shut itself out and made Presidents out of Lieberman and Nelson.

While many of us aim at the top

I think it's more than fair to look at the dysfunction in the Senate (and House) and look at what some things progressives wanted are up against.

It's all nice for progressive, and let's face it, "gadfly" Russ Feingold to blame Obama for the Public Option not being in the Bill -- and I think one can logically argue the White House long ago made the choice to let Congress do the heavy lifting to keep everything from being like 1993 (and thanks Barack and Rahm).

But Feingold's complaining doesn't really change the fact that all these "progressive" Senators when push came to shove -- or hell, over the last several months -- have not done a hell of a lot on the issue either. And that includes Russ Feingold, who tries to come across as a hero ("Yeah for me, keep that blue money comin'!"), when he's done very little at all.

Couple that with the fact that not one single Republican will even vote for Cloture and you see the margins the White House and Democratic Leadership was dealing with.

There are not very many heroes in this in the White House or the Senate (some House members possibly), and it certainly justifies complaining about, but at the end of the day I'm more frustrated than anything else -- but I'm not going to deal with it by calling Obama, Bush II and referring to anyone who disagrees with me as a tool of one kind or another.

The metaphysical bond between all black people according to a white person part infinity

As painful as it is to say, it's Frank Rich yesterday for this:

Though the American left and right don't agree on much, they are both now coalescing around the suspicion that Obama's brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger's public image — a marketing scam designed to camouflage either his covert anti-American radicalism (as the right sees it) or spineless timidity (as the left sees it). The truth may well be neither, but after a decade of being spun silly, Americans can't be blamed for being cynical about any leader trying to sell anything. As we say goodbye to the year of Tiger Woods, it is the country, sad to say, that is left mired in a sand trap with no obvious way out.

In addition to being overwrought crap, it once again does what a conservative like Bill O'Reilly would be verbally flogged by me. Relating all things black men with other famous black men on completely unrelated matters is the laziest bullshit argument in history.

Plus it makes Joe Klein right and dammit, that really pisses me off. If you make that argument feel free to fuck yourself.

Yeah, Popeye you and your Republicans had nothing to do with it

Project much, scratch that, ever fail to project EVER?!

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ripped into the president on Sunday for abandoning his pledge to foster bipartisanship in Washington, accusing Obama of creating a more toxic political environment than that which existed during the Clinton administration.

Obama's biggest failing in my book is giving you assholes concessions you don't deserve because you still don't vote for the legislation. You right-wing assholes are at least as culpable of ceding control of health care reform to Co-Presidents Nelson and Lieberman as Obama is.

In short, as ever, fuck you you god-damned imbecile.

I hope the Teabaggers remembers to thank the Academy

Of Regent University for the honor.

Polifact's Lie of the Year:

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

"Death panels."

Not to be reported by FoxNews of course.

Oh the dawn of the Holiday Week

What are we all going to be EXTREEEEEE pissed off about today?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Republicans, more than just ideology

There's also laughable hypocrisy, no matter how allegedly "moderate" they are:

After months in which the Senate health care bill was held up over efforts to find some form in which she would agree to sign on to it, Sen. Snowe (R-ME) now says she will oppose it because it is being "rushed."

Oh thank goodness

John McCain will be on a Sunday News Program again.

It's so difficult to see ol' "President" Bastard anymore.


Oh dear it's time for Metamucil Man to decry the liberals picking on poor President Obama, how dare those fucking hippies.

What next, will someone be called the 'Comeback Kid'?

Oh, and observe closely, the closest David Broder ever comes to noticing something true is in this column in the last half of this paragraph...

I think Obama deserves more help than he is getting from his fellow Democrats in Congress, given the boost he provided them in the last election, the difficulty of the problems he inherited and the stiff-arm he has received from Republicans.

But once again, he seems not to notice who gave him the problems he inherited. You think the natural obsession Broder should have by now in the issue of inheritance he'd think of such things. But then again, he's leaving behind a tarnished legacy too.

Atta J. Turk's Trusty NFL Picks

I went 4 and 2 last week, making me 55 and 29 for the year. So I'm on a bit of a roll.

With that in mind let me make one more prediction -- it's going to snow a goddamned shitload on the east coast.

Ya' see that's why I get the big imaginary money.

Because the NFL has deprive us of two games to show on their network that so many of us are not allowed to see, there are fewer games this week to pick on a Sunday. Thanks Roger Goddell and Cable Companies. Screw you! On the other hand, thank goodness those two games already happened, or I'd already probably be at least one loss down.

Patriots at Bills
: Now here is a place that is used to snow. Notice there's been no rescheduling in Buffalo (that's what McKinley would have wanted)? The Patriots have been playing like relatively poorly for a while, but managed to pull one out against Carolina. The Bills? Well, who really cares, though they've been better lately. Randy Moss was accused of dogging it last week, but was too lazy to make an effort to respond. Naturally that means he'll go nuts and the Patriots will win big.

Falcons at Jets: The Falcons almost beat the Saints last week, something that seemed almost impressive until it became clear the Saints clearly needed to be beaten -- a metaphorical subconscious desire of what so many would like to see Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson be compelled to do to each other (everybody wins!). Short summary of this game, the Jets can really run, the Falcons can really be run on. J-E-T-S win.

Browns at Chiefs:
The storm has delayed many NFC games to a later start time. But somehow this has not happened to the early games in the AFC. THANK GOD! If that happened much of the nation might have had this game inflicted upon us (unlike what happened to us with Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman). There have been a lot of great match-ups in the NFL this year, but there have also been some incredible dogs. Brows vs. Bills, Lions vs. Rams, Lions vs. Browns (which turned out to be a great game). These two teams are awful, though the Browns and the Chiefs both have something in common -- beating the Steelers. They can get together and stink up the joint and watch the Chiefs win on a late safety.

Raiders at Broncos
: Ah yes, the inevitable guarateed winner pick. Though I feel bad that JaMarcus Russell won't play because than I should get an extra win out of this one, but Russell, it has been recognized sucks so bad that even the awful Charlie Frye will start at QB. Take the Broncos and don't watch this game.

Bears at Baltimore
: The Bears apparently had trouble making it to Baltimore, in addition the game was pushed back to 4:15, but you can't leave behind Jay Cutler. That guy, or as Jon Gruden would say, THAT GUY, can really throw interceptions. I remember at the beginning of the year it was thought that the Bears would battle the Vikings and Packers for the NFC North. Oops. And while they have had injuries to their defense, their offense has been relatively healthy. They just suck. Their offensive line is bad, their receivers are below average, and Cutler is getting compared to Jeff George -- ouch. Although the Raiders would be delighted if JaMarcus Russell was compared to Jeff George. The Ravens will treat the Bears the way Cindy Brunson of ESPN treats make up -- as an unnecessary disaster. Ravens win.

Packers at Steelers
: Its plain by now that the Packers have recovered from a the first half of the season when they were a talented train-wreck. They've won five in a row - and impressively. They are obviously not just a good play off team, but one that can win if they go to New Orleans or Minnesota (can you imagine Fox-TV if those two met in the NFC Championship game, the states of Wisconsin or Minnesota may never recover -- and Rupert Murdoch would develop a chubby. Meanwhile, the Steelers have lost five in a row. They're not going anywhere this year. So one team has won five straight beating the Cowboys and Ravens, one team has lost five straight, including to the Raiders, Chiefs, and Browns. It's insane to pick the Steelers. I'm picking the Steelers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well, apparently there's a consensus

Ben Nelson got some (most, enough?) of what he wanted so it appears all 60 Democrats are now on board for the disappointing, but a little better than nothing Senate version of the health care compromise. (note, I know this my unenthusiastic non-endorsement, as incredibly unimportant as it is, makes me some sort of corporate whore sell out to some insurance company interest, but oh, well)

It appears that the loathsome Ben Nelson got some additional abortion provisions that give states some authority on abortion restrictions, which probably means good things in pro-choice states and more fuck yous in the bible belt for women.

Booman, who while not exactly delighted with the bell is a lot more sanguine that I am -- and has had some fights with some people a lot more pissed than I am -- seems to think this is good news in conference because somehow progressives have more 'hand' in that process, but I think that's rather optimistic to say the least. Whatever comes out of conference can still be filibustered in the Senate (it just cannot be amended) so the final bill is going to be a lot closer to what is in the Senate than in the House.

Watching bits and pieces of the Senate press conference Tom Harkin called the bill a good foundation and no mansion but a something that can be built upon. I don't know about that, it's going to take some reconciliation votes down the line for that to happen and in the near term, who the hell thinks either the Obama Administration or the Democratic Leadership in Congress is going to try that? I don't.

To a certain extent we've been taken for granted, if not sold out, by our Democratic leadership, including the President. Although that seems both too strong and immature a phrase -- it sounds like powerless foot-stomping. The question is, how to hold them accountable, to press them, without enabling a Party in opposition who is truly beholden to the crazies to come anywhere closer to power?

CAVEAT I forgot, Lieberman is off on the sabbath (hell, he flew town and he's not back in DC soon with all the blizzardy weather) so who knows what he'll demand when he gets back. Probably a new real-live dinosaur (and not McCain this time).

True words, but at this stage

Kind of empty:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has struggled to find the necessary 60 votes to beat back a filibuster, which Obama blamed on the insurance companies’ heavy lobbying.

“They’re spending millions of dollars to kill health insurance reform, just like they’ve done so many times before. They want to preserve a system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people,” Obama said in his address.

Well, they've hit a triple, why not go for a grand slam?

Look ma, James Cameron Blue-Me! better verbally...

(sorry about the hideous ad placement, couldn't find a better video)

(pic) REUTERS/John Sciulli/Berliner Studio/BEImages/Handout

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reading is Fundamental (2009 Edition)

Here's a partial list of the books I read in 2009. Recommendations for 2010? Put 'em in comments.
  1. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan (The "Grass" section was fascinating.)
  2. Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritence, by Barack Obama (I hope. Yes. I still hope.)
  3. Brick Lane, by Monica Ali (Female liberation in the south Asian community of Thatcher's London.)
  4. Vile Bodies, by Evelyn Waugh (Scenes from the upper class struggle between the wars. It's not A Handful of Dust, but I liked it.)
  5. You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish, by Jimmy A. Lerner (Middle class Jewish guy's life goes off the rails and into a Nevada state prison. Did I mention that his cellmate is a skinhead named "Kansas"?)
  6. The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry (Beautifully written, but with a too-perfect and ultimately lame ending.)
  7. The Other Boelyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory (Anne got a raw deal.)
  8. The Boelyn Inheritance, by Phillipa Gregory (I watch "The Tudors", too. So sue me.)
  9. Dracula, by Bram Stoker (Absolutely fantastic. How did I miss this all these years? I still think about the "Ghost Ship" sequence. The dawn of it all...)
  10. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery (Get out your handkerchiefs...)
  11. I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage, by Susan Squire (Love. Honor. Obey.)
  12. Drums Along the Mohawk, by Walter D. Edmonds (A ripping-good yarn chock full of history, drama, and intelligently drawn characters.)
  13. A Place of Greater Safety, by Hilary Mantel (Desmoulins, Danton, Robspierre et al come together and crack up. More parallels to this particular moment than I'd care to contemplate.)
  14. 84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff (Charing is charming.)
  15. Slouching Toward Bethlehem, by Joan Didion (The center cannot hold.)
  16. Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, by Charles P. Pierce (Much more substantive than the title would lead you to believe. Occasionally hilarious and consistently horrifying.)
  17. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, by Simon Schama (Professor Schama rules!)
What did you read this year?