Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This is just silly. Even if it does predict a landslide victory for Al Gore.
Today's Winners and Losers
Who's making gains, and who's losing traction:

--The Dixie Chicks
--Al Gore
--South Dakotans (only a preliminary victory)

--Rick Santorum
--James Taranto
--Religious conservatives with half a spine.
Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? A-19's very own US Rep. Marsha Blackburn was voted the hottest woman in US politics in's recent poll (found via Wonkette).

I'd like to look as hot as she does, so I'm hoping someone can tell me what skin care products, services and procedures she purchases with her Abramoff dollars.

FYI, hottest guy voting begins later this week; I don't think Tennessee will sweep, but I'd put some money on my Senator Obama being in the running.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

MEDIA TUESDAY (It's virtually Monday, right?)
What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

Last night I watched "Two Days in October" on PBS' American Experience. Apparently it was originally broadcast last fall, but I hadn't seen it before.

It was about 1967 or now, Vietnam or Iraq, Westy or Rummy. The one thing that's strikingly and disappointingly different is how thousands of Americans took their opposition to the war into the streets in 1967.
Mr. Robinson
Hurricane Seasons Starts June 1
Chris Rose of the Times-Picayune is afraid. And it looks like for good reason.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

On a weekend getaway with a few friends to New Orleans (you know, just to help out the economy)...the good news is the hotel has wireless Internet access! But the last few miles of the drive in was bleak, bleak, bleak. A ghost town in spots.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Winning Ticket
For 2008.
Screen Saver Fun
When he gets stuck, just drag him out into the open. Enjoy. (via TalkLeft)
News conference yesterday with Blair
QUESTION: Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq.

Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

BUSH: Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here.

Saying, "Bring it on"; kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know. "Wanted, dead or alive"; that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted. And so I learned from that.
"certain parts of the world"....."misinterpreted."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Echoes of The Sopranos?
Come on...who shoots a rapper in the "upper right arm"? I'm suspicious.
Nice Work, Democrats
Circular Firing Squad in full effect.

The man is on tape. Time to cut him loose. If prosecutors can't put him away with their evidence, then we'll all give him a big wet apology and name him ambassador to someplace nice. In the mean time, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Could it really all be unraveling for the GOP?
Holy Cow. Maybe this is why Hasert doesn't want law enforcement snooping around congressional offices. Convenient timing of this leak, eh? Maybe the FBI got tired of hearing his sanctimonious crap.
Tom Delay has finally found a conservative that's willing to offer strong support, so he's featured this new ally's "hard-hitting" interview with filmmaker Robert Greenwald on the front of his "Defend Delay" website. The staunch, America-loving conservative at his side? Stephen Colbert...
CNN = Crappy News Network? recently updated their home page's format to make room for their Pipeline live video thing, and their new layout now maintains a list of 12-13 "latest news" headlines adjacent to the lead story photo. Since that change, there are consistently 5-6 useless topic headlines in that chunk of prime real estate, usually including Paris Hilton, Brittney Spears, American Idol, crazy animal stories, and things you used to see as "news of the weird" or on a Fox TV video "caught on tape" show.

As we speak:
Dashcam shows SUV flipping, rolling off road
Lawyer: 3 kids tossed in bay as sacrifice
Tape shows wife on fire, husband pouring gas
Atheist sues Catholic Church for proof of Jesus Jeb Bush for NFL commissioner?
Prankster finds giant hamster wheel in his room

There was one yesterday about a dog too fat to walk from being fed donuts and beer. Ha ha, cruelty is so funny that I don't care anymore about Iraq, NSA spying, fencing the border, or melting glaciers.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Al and Katie
Atrios has video of Gore on the Today Show.
OK This Could Be Bad, Right? [UPDATED]
Longtime readers will remember that the bird flu scares the crap out of me. This seems to me especially bad news.
All seven people infected with bird flu in a cluster of Indonesian cases can be linked to other patients, according to disease trackers investigating possible human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus.

A team of international experts has been unable to find animals that might have infected the people, the World Health Organization said in a statement today. In one case, a 10-year- old boy who caught the virus from his aunt may have passed it to his father, the first time officials have seen evidence of a three-person chain of infection, an agency spokeswoman said. Six of the seven people have died.
A highly contagious human-to-human strain of H5N1 is a nightmare scenario. Sooo...everyone have a good day!

[UPDATE: Reuters reports 3 factors in this case that hopefully point this development away from the realm of global pandemic. One, there is no evidence of significant mutation in the strain found on the family (though they will only know of its contagion when it happens). Two, the family apparently had killed animals recently for a feast of some sort and this region has been notoriously uncooperative in animal testing. So, they may have all been infected through animal contact. Three, there is evidence of a genetic predisposition that could make some more likely to be infected, which again could explain why the family all was highly contagious, without necessitating that the virus easily spreads among all humans, which would be the worst possible explanation.]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

At least he didn't say "read my lips." If you're worried that your teen might be on the verge of becoming a Republican, you can tell them this story, of one of the ways the Bush Administration is trying to help pay for tax cuts to the richest Americans and corporations. From David Cay Johnston, author of "Perfectly Legal", in Sunday's NYTimes:
The $69 billion tax cut bill that President Bush signed this week tripled tax rates for teenagers with college savings funds, despite Mr. Bush's 1999 pledge to veto any tax increase.

Under the new law, teenagers age 14 to 17 with investment income will now be taxed at the same rate as their parents, not at their own rates. Long-term capital gains and dividends that had been taxed at 5 percent will now be taxed at 15 percent. Interest that had been taxed at 10 percent will now be taxed at as much as 35 percent.
We wouldn't want to accidentally offer any encouragement for kids to save for college now would we?
Why Bother?
Come on, Chris. You're a good Senator and leader. But, can we not waste time on this?
On the Gore Bandwagon
Shorter Bill Clinton: "Me Too!"

I'm sure the coming wave of attention Al Gore may receive will be hard on Bill Clinton's ego, and I'm sure his desire to see Hillary President will have him eager to see Al trip up. But Slick better not do something to sabotage an Al Gore resurgence that might propel him into the Presidential race.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What have you been reading, listening to, watching?

Why I Like The Dixie Chicks
Nice article in Time Magazine (cover story) about the Dixie Chicks and their new album. You have to watch an online ad to get to read it for free, but here are my favorite snips:
"I'd rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it," says Maguire, "who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."
Maines says she's not looking for more battles, but she won't shy away from any either. "Everything was so nice and fine and happy for us for the longest time," she says of their pre-Incident days. "It was awesome to feel those feelings again that I felt in high school: to be angry, to be sure that you're right and that the things you do matter. You don't realize that you're not feeling those feelings until you do. And then you realize how much more interesting life is."
The writer says it will be the best adult pop cd of the year, which ordinarily would make me run the other way...but I'm looking forward to supporting them by picking it up. Not overly crazy about the first 2 albums, but think Home is a great bit of song-writing and arranging. That they've decided not to go crawling back to mainstream country fans begging forgiveness, with so much at stake, says something about their character.

Weekend Box Office
1. Davinci Code
2. Over the Hedge
3. Mission Impossible 3
4. Poseidon
5. RV

Looks like Davinci did some serious worldwide damage in box office, despite the bad reviews. I've actually seen more positive reviews lately (though usually involving something of a back-handed compliment), but coming more from reviewers who hated the book. AO Scott wasn't terribly fond of either.
To their credit the director and his screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (who collaborated with Mr. Howard on "Cinderella Man" and "A Beautiful Mind"), have streamlined Mr. Brown's story and refrained from trying to capture his, um, prose style. "Almost inconceivably, the gun into which she was now staring was clutched in the pale hand of an enormous albino with long white hair." Such language — note the exquisite "almost" and the fastidious tucking of the "which" after the preposition — can live only on the page.
So, I know some of you have seen it already. Give a thumbs up or down in comments and identify yourself as follows: read the book and liked it, read the book and didn't like it, or haven't read the book.
Sopranos Thread
One episode to go this season. What do you think?

Warning: Spoilers in the comments

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Protest, Hope, Naivety
Some time back I squirted up a bad-mood post, picking up on a sentiment of Kos', that was down on the idea of mobilized protest (marches, vigorous speeches, yadda yadda) as means of affecting social change. I was rightfully smacked around by some here who had just taken part in the war protest in question. At the time, I was concerned that it got the wrong kind of attention, served as a kind of leftist caricature that Republicans have learned to shine a cynical light toward, and in the end just doesn't work anymore because of that.

I was missing some of the big picture (and ok, some of the little picture as well) in my dismissal. Readers reminded me that sometimes such things are less about persuasion than they are about rejuvenation among the distressed, who need to be shown they are not alone; and they convinced that keeping a bad war in the news, no matter what the frame, is always an important way to inch toward its end. I was reminded of that discusssion today after reading Shelly Fredman's (Tikkun Magazine) recent interview with Howard Zinn, who--after all these years, no...because of all these years--still believes.
HZ: It's true that any talk of hope is dismissed as naïve, but that's because we tend to look at the surface of things at any given time. And the surface almost always looks grim. The charge of naïvete also comes from a loss of historical perspective. History shows that what is considered naïve in one decade becomes reality in another.

How much hope was there for black people in the South in the fifties? At the start of the Vietnam War, anyone who thought the monster war machine could be stopped seemed naïve. When I was in South Africa in 1982, and apartheid was fully entrenched, it seemed naïve to think that it would be dissolved and even more naïve to think that Mandela would become president. But in all those cases, anyone looking under the surface would have seen currents of potential change bubbling and growing.

SF: Has the Left responded adequately to the kind of fascism we see coming from Bush's people? Street protests seem to be ineffective; it's sometimes disheartening.

HZ: The responses are never adequate, until they build and build and something changes. People very often think that there must be some magical tactic, beyond the traditional ones - protests, demonstrations, vigils, civil disobedience - but there is no magical panacea, only persistence in continuing and escalating the usual tactics of protest and resistance. The end of the Vietnam War did not come because the Left suddenly did something new and dramatic, but because all of the actions built up over time.

If you listen to the media, you get no sense of what's happening. I speak to groups of people in different parts of the country. I was in Austin, Texas recently and a thousand people showed up. I believe people are basically decent, they just lack information.
There's plenty for even an optimist to quibble with here (finding 1,000 protestors in Austin is about as difficult as finding 1,000 guitar players in Nashville: not very; the "monster war machine", apparently, wasn't "stopped" so much as momentarily diverted) but his point is well-taken and most surely right. Every victory counts, and true advances in humanity are better measured in generations and lifetimes than in congressional terms or news cycles. We'd prefer justice to roll down like a mighty river, but in truth the path is more winding, the pace is sometimes more of a slow drip. The only question is what kind of person do you want to be: one who hears the rush of the waterfall in the distance, or one who doesn't?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Public Service Announcement
Flipping channels today, I saw 20 agonizing seconds of the Tyra Banks Show. I was paralyzed by the horror. She has the worst television presence of any host I've ever seen. And the most awful/stupid things come out of her mouth, and the mouths of her guests. If you have ever been curious about what might be the worst television, the most terrifying way to spend your time (and not the bad kind of television that you can actually enjoy for its badness), Tyra is it. Please, please don't let yourself, or anyone you care about, have that experience. Staring into the sun is better for you. Shocking that Tony Danza would be cancelled while this show remains.
The Whole World Is Going Mad Nevermind
Thank goodness...Juan Cole lets us know (via TPM guest blogger Matthew Yglesias) that the story was, as he says, a "steaming crock."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More Gore
From Franklin Foer (The New Republic):
I went to a screening of the Al Gore movie. And I found myself walking out in a strange mood. I had just seen a movie featuring a politician ... and there wasn't a trace of snark or cynicism coursing through my body. The film has genuine rhetorical power. It builds an incredibly frightening case without hints of fear-mongering or over-wrought moments
I walked out of the movie and decided to sell my car and begin otherwise preparing for our planet's impending doom. I know this praise isn't so unexpected coming from TNR. But I think the movie has the potential to become a seminal political document--a cinematic Silent Spring.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wonder if they really will find Hoffa this time. We've heard this story before.
"Gore Watch"
Via Atrios.
I'm fascinated by this story
More Rove-y stuff at TalkLeft. Hard to understand what the long-term strategy is of whoever is lying in this case. If Rove has been indicted we will eventually know about it. Why deny so forcefully? If he hasn't, who-close to the investigation-would benefit from floating a story saying he has? All I can think is that Rove would desperately want to retain his seat of power within the administration and clearly can't do that once he's been indicted. Doing everything he can to get it rescinded, claim every technicality to hold on to the position that he has not actually yet been indicted? Or just wants to control when the story gets out there? None of it makes any sense to me. But then, what does these days?
Phone Call Patterns
Via Kevin Drum, this Washington Post op-ed is the best explanation I've heard yet as to how a database of all domestic calls even *could* aid law enforcement through pattern analysis. But that's not saying much.
Let's take a hypothetical problem: An al-Qaeda operative decides to switch cellphones to prevent the National Security Agency from monitoring his calls. How does the NSA identify his new cellphone number? How does it winnow down a haystack with several hundred million pieces of straw so that it can find the deadly needle?

The problem may seem hopelessly complex, but if you use common sense, you can see how the NSA has tried to solve it. Suppose you lost your own cellphone and bought a new one, and people really needed to find out that new number. If they could search all calling records, they would soon find a number with the same pattern of traffic as your old one -- calls to your spouse, your kids, your office, your golf buddies. They wouldn't have to listen to the calls themselves to know it was your phone. Simple pattern analysis would be adequate -- so long as they had access to all the records.
But this still falls way short of passing the most basic test. If the NSA is monitoring a cell phone (thanks to a court order properly received) suspected of being used by a criminal and they suddenly realize it's no longer being used, then they can quickly get the proper subpoena required to look into the phone call patterns of the numbers the suspect has called in the past, and they can perform *exactly* the same analysis without ever having to have on file the calls I made or received this week. This is simply ridiculous. The idea that some super computer somewhere is going to gargle every phone call made in the US and then spit out the numbers of terrorists, in a way that it couldn't if it didn't have my records, just doesn't make any sense.

And all of that disregards, as the piece (and Kevin Drum) points out, one other glaring issue with all this mass data mining. It's illegal.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sopranos Thread/Speculation
Tim Goodman thinks it will be Janice.
Curious about the Rove-indictment-story weirdness? TalkLeft has more here, and makes a compelling argument that we may have a case of a source misunderstanding legal procedure and just what may have happened at this point.
Harder than it looks
I guess at Fox News, Mr. Snow wasn't accustomed to being called on his lies and racial slurs. The honeymoon is already over. I'm predicting it will be a short-lived relationship. Tony, have you really been spending enough time with your family lately? We may be hearing him explain his need to do just that soon. Heckuva job, Snow.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Maybe Not
So now everyone is denying the report that Rove has been indicted. And the reporter in question has vowed to out his source if the story should turn out to be false. I don't believe Rove's spokespeople would deny the story so completely if he has in fact been indicted. Wouldn't make any sense. So, assuming the story is false, we either find out what a crappy source truthout considers to be so good, or we find out what kind of person would try and sabotage reporter Jason Leopold. Or maybe a little of both.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Gore on SNL
Funny. I think.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Fitzmas everyone.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Drinks are on me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

QWest, anyone?
The only company to refuse Bush's warrantless spying scheme. How do we switch phone service to QWest?
According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order — or approval under FISA — to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.
Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Open Thread Time
It's grading day here in the #1 city in America. Needless to say, I'm behind. No time to even read the news, let alone post my favorites. So, use this thread today. What's happening? Outrages, peculiarities, poignant statements of something or the other, it's all welcome here.

All I've got is the bizarre history of the graham cracker.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

#1 City in America
Kiplinger's Magazine surveyed the cities of America searching for the things their readers said mattered most to them in deciding where to live: cost of living, housing value, quality education, access to health care, growing economy, low crime, cultural/recreational opportunities and variety among a few others. And guess which city came out number one?

Those of you that left years ago - don't you feel silly now?
Bush's posse are so accustomed to his dictator schtick they don't even recognize when they're behaving illegally, let alone just plain unethically. Now they just brag about it. You have to at least act like government contracts aren't dependent on being a fan of the President. The HUD secretary should be fired immediately. Probably will get a medal of freedom instead.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

Especially looking for recommendations this week. Exams end tomorrow; grading will be done by Wednesday and by Thursday I want to have an overly ambitious reading list to get excited about for the summer. Read anything lately that should go on it?

Sorry to break in to today's Media Monday but thought you might want to hear the number for the day: 31.

Commit to see the Al Gore Movie
At the film's website (warning: the site plays music...if you're annoyed about that like me, you may want to turn the volume off first.), you can sign up to commit to see the Gore film in its first weekend, and can see the trailer if you haven't already.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lots of talk going around lately about potential Presidential picks for 2008. I hadn't wanted to talk about it so early but I just can't resist today. So here's a roundup of some of my thoughts - curious about yours.

The very idea that Sam Brownback, or Bill Frist, or George Allen have even the slightest hope of getting the Republican nomination seems ludicrous to me. These are small men with demonstrable flaws and little to no stage presence. Brownback and Frist especially, a fanatic and a criminal, will be trounced, and early. And since I don't regard Allen as much of a political heavyweight, I didn't care much that it turns out he's something of a racist. But that doesn't help him either.

My money's still on Giuliani. I see him as virtually unbeatable, and think the people who say he's not conservative enough are missing the big picture. Though McCain still shows promise, and is sucking up to the right crowds. If I had to wager, I'd say a Giuilani-Powell ticket looks pretty solid. (Now Powell is a guy who probably couldn't get the nomination but would beat either guy in a general election). I'm not even sure why they should go to all the trouble of a big field. Let's just put Giuliani and McCain in a race and see what happens. I look forward to being able to point back to this post someday and see just how completely wrong I was.

[random GOP question: is Dan Quayle still alive?]

Your guess is as good as mine. Edwards and Clark will both make another charge, and it's hard to see how either will do any better than last time. Kerry will no doubt suit up again but I can't see him doing too well.

That leaves a couple of options: 1) an establishment candidate in Hillary Clinton. Markos of Daily Kos fame has an op-ed in the Washington Post detailing his current opposition to her candidacy--I think he's a bit too hard on her, and I think he over-estimates the influence of the netroots, as much as I hate to say it, but I agree with the thrust of his complaint. How can she criticize the war effort she essentially still supports? I just have to believe, with Markos, that third-way politics may have gotten her husband elected, but at the expense of health of the Democratic Party.

or 2) an insurgent candidate, like anti-war, anti-wiretapping Senator Russ Feingold, or little-known Virginia Governor Mark Warner. As for Warner, I know him only by reputation. In fact, being little-known may be his greatest asset at this point. Obviously, that's not in itself a winning campaign strategy; he'll have to become known, and impress, eventually. As for Feingold, I'll believe it when I see it. He'll likely gain an early boost from anti-war protesters, but like Dean and McGovern before him, I don't see it lasting, or translating into broad support.

Ok. So as far as I'm concerned that would leave the Democratic Party open for one Al Gore. I've been against it, and anyway believed him that he just isn't going to do it. But, the more I think of it, the more I think he just might waltz to the nomination if he decided he wanted it. He's spent the last 4 years developing all the grassroots and liberal wing bonafides of Feingold or Dean, and he spent the 12 years before that developing all the establishment, inside the beltway qualifications anyone could want. And he's got this summer to become a movie star and connect with the growing concern over the environment. The problem, of course, is what happens after the nomination.

At the Huffington Post, Robert Elisburg asks an important question, after reminding us that Gore received more votes than did Bush in 2000: who would have voted *for* Gore in 2000 that would now vote against him? Haven't the last 6 years only vindicated Gore's policies and his predictions of Bush's? Doesn't Gore already come into the race with all those votes, plus most of Nader's, just for starters? It's an interesting way of looking at it, but I suspect that if Gore believed that for one minute, he would run in a heartbeat. So, what is the argument that a former Gore supporter would use now to oppose him? What is Elisburg's flaw?

Will be interesting to see if Gore's movie is well-received and acclaimed as something beyond partisanship or if the GOP/Fox News can Michael Moore him. If the summer makes an issue-based star of him, and legitimately raises concern over the environment, how could he not think of parlaying that into one more run?

Constitution Party?
One other potential factor in the news these days, with the immigration debate in full swing, is a Constitution Party run from one of those build-a-wall minutemen guys. If he's a decent candidate at all, he could seriously pull some far-right votes from the GOP over dissatisfaction with their Party... big if.

Best I can tell, the 2008 race will come down to Clinton v. Giuliani - still my prediction, with Giuliani winning. But I can also see Clinton v. McCain, Gore v. Giuliani or Gore v. McCain happening. With the wild card being Warner. Of those, which would the Democrats have the best chance of winning? What is wrong with my analysis in general? Who am I missing?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Goss is gone. Bribery? Hookers? Nobody's talking, but we need to find out.

[UPDATE: If you want a primer on the poker-bribery-hooker scandal that may in fact have engulfed Goss, Think Progress has a handy summary in their second update to this post.]

[UPDATE 2: Zachary Roth at Washington Monthly reminds us that Goss was always just a political hack anyway, and used his CIA post to that end. He concludes: "Looks like we've got another candidate for the Presidential Medal of Freedom." Sounds about right. Will be interesting to see how Fox News The White House spins this over the weekend, having dumped this on a Friday afternoon.]
Local story, but too funny to pass up. Comedian Gallagher was in town and did a 20-minute studio interview with a local sponsoring radio station that has sports talk all day. So, what do you ask about if you're basically a wanna-be jock and you have 20 minutes with Gallagher. Hell, if you're anybody what do you ask about? Watermelons, of course. That's just what Mark Howard did...that's when all hell broke loose and Gallagher went on a tirade:
Gallagher accused Howard of not doing his research and said that type of question was akin to what a high school newspaper reporter would ask. He said his fans know that he no longer smashes stuff. Seems he's more into political humor these days.

"You would have thought I was asking the president about stem-cell research,'' Howard said. "It was like I was asking about a really controversial subject. I had the nerve to ask Gallagher about watermelons.''

Maybe the ol' Sledge-o-matic backfired on Gallagher one too many times.

Howard kept his cool attempting to salvage the interview since Gallagher was scheduled to be in the studio for 20 minutes or so. But it didn't get much better.

"I basically let the guy beat me up for 20 minutes,'' Howard said. "We were sponsoring his deal (with Zanies), so I wasn't going to go on the attack. At one point he said, 'Who paired you two guys up?' intimating that we were just awful.''

The 58-year-old funnyman wasn't intimating when he returned the next day seeking a meeting with Citadel officials. His agenda was crystal clear.

"He wanted people fired, and he was very upset," said Nashville Citadel Market Manager Dave Kelly. "Apparently, he is a comedian who likes to pick on people but doesn't like to be picked on himself. He was in my office about 30 minutes, making it clear that he does not want to be known as the guy who smashes watermelons."
No word on whether the radio guys got wet from spittle during the attack. But, really, I think it's a little too late to be trying not to be known as the melon-smasher.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mission Accomplished?
Well, this is just disgusting....can we pleeeze get Bush to fly down to New Orleans and make an announcement with a banner and everything? Wouldn't really be that different from when he did it in Iraq, would it? (and oh by the way, did you hear Laura Bush clear up what that was all about?)
It all makes sense now...
See, he didn't know it was the Star-Spangled Banner they were singing at all his campaign events.
President Bush likes to drop a few words of Spanish in his speeches and act like he's proficient in the language. But he's really not that good, his spokesman said Thursday.

"The president can speak Spanish but not that well," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "He's not that good with his Spanish."
(thanks LE)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Drug Cartels
If you can't beat 'em, legalize 'em?
Mexican President Vicente Fox will sign a bill that would legalize the use of nearly every drug and narcotic sold by the same Mexican cartels he's vowed to fight during his five years in office, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The list of illegal drugs approved for personal consumption by Mexico's Congress last week is enough to make one dizzy — or worse.

Cocaine. Heroin. LSD. Marijuana. PCP. Opium. Synthetic opiates. Mescaline. Peyote. Psilocybin mushrooms. Amphetamines. Methamphetamines.

And the per-person amounts approved for possession by anyone 18 or older could easily turn any college party into an all-nighter: half a gram of coke, a couple of Ecstasy pills, several doses of LSD, a few marijuana joints, a spoonful of heroin, 5 grams of opium and more than 2 pounds of peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus.

The law would be among the most permissive in the world, putting Mexico in the company of the Netherlands.
I suppose they're hoping that lifting this ban will do for the fight against drug cartels what lifting the alcohol prohibition did to organized crime; either that, or they're hoping it will have the same positive effect on tourism that the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" campaign does for Nevada.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Attempted Hijacking of Multiculturalism

This from Lamar Alexander's recent remarks:

“I worry, Mr. President, that translating our national anthem will actually have the effect of dividing us. It adds to the celebration of multiculturalism in our society which has eroded our understanding of our common American culture." (bold italics added)

Is it just me, or are there others who associate "celebrating multiculturalism" with only positive things? And what will they hijack next? Ice cream?

[Update by Don--sorry the comments box won't let me put lots of links in, so adding it here. Not only has the Banner been translated before, it is in Spanish on the Gov's own website, and you'll never guess who joined in the singing of the Banner in Spanish on the campaign trail while courting the Hispanic vote...George W Bush...McClellan was asked about it today and I don't think he liked it. What a phony Bush is...]

[UPDATE 2--More of Bush being for the Spanish Star-Spangled-Banner before he was against it...haaaaaa. this is getting hilarious. Something tells me we heard the last of him on that...]

Monday, May 01, 2006

What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

Barenaked Lady on Copyright
Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies has a sensible op-ed about copyright and music. I want to point out - in hopes of following Doug's footsteps, creating a massive Canadian readership - that Mr. Page is Canadian. And his piece is in a Canadian newspaper. In Canada.
We know that record companies and music publishers are not our enemies. They are often run by people who love music and are passionate about the promotion of Canadian culture.

Much of their lobbying, however, is not about protecting artists or promoting Canadian culture. It is about propping up business models in the recording industry that are quickly becoming obsolete and unsustainable. It is about preserving foreign-based power structures and further entrenching the labels' role as industry gatekeepers. Their lobbying efforts are focused on passing laws that restrict artists' ability to take control of their own music, reach their fans in more direct ways and earn a decent living from music without sacrificing their autonomy.

IL Dem isn't just TALKING about impeachment
She's done something about it. Karen Yarbrough has introduced a bill in the Illinois General Assembly based on Section 603 of Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice and Rules of the House of Representatives, which stipulates that state legislatures may initiate federal impeachment proceedings by way of joint resolution.

Weekend Box Office
1 RV
2 United 93
3 Stick It
4 Silent Hill
5 Scary Movie 4
The Sopranos Thread
Episode #73: Johnny Cakes

- warning: may contain spoilers -