Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Did You Know?

The perfect kiss is dry as sand and doesn't take your breath
The perfect kiss is with the boy that you've just stabbed to death

According to the Beautiful South, at any rate. Who may have been joking.

I am the Greetest

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!


Now I am leaving Earth for no raisin!

Monday Mail Bag (On Tuesday)



Hi Everybody. I'm not Dead as it turns out. No I was just on the road the last couple of weeks visiting relatives in the keys. I'm back now.

So let's get right to it.

Our first comment is from Random Goblin who commented on
a post of Bryants about Dennis Prager and the need to understand those we fight. Incidentally, I think Random Goblin is a very fine fellow and he should post on his blog a lot more often. Lets see what Mr. Goblin has to say.
You're right.
Thank you for that Mr. Goblin, or can I call you Random?

Bryant has done a series of posts on Conservative commentary on the Ports deal, and Van, who runs
Gulf Coast Progressive, commented on the first of these.
Nice to see some desent from the conservative loyalists.
Incidentally I think you should consider Lobster run ports. I realize I'm not the ideal spokesman for my people (being a attempted-world conqueror), but really I think we could do a great job. We swim under water without gear, and can crush terrorists with our mighty pincers.

Turning to the mail bag, I see one with a very intriguing subject from a Chang Tao Chung.
ACT AS OUR COMPANY PAYMENT REPRESENTATIVE
That name doesn't strike me as very believable. Nevertheless, I believe I would be perfect for the role of the Company Payment Representative. I would probably play him in a bit of a Cleese-ian style, as a stuck up self-important lobster, who's not as bright as he thinks he is.

Alternatively I could play him as a sort of wounded and scared whistleblower, trying to keep up appearances while inside worrying if anyone will find his embezzlement.

Or maybe as a handsome smooth Company Payment Representative, jetting off to exotic locals like, well, London maybe, to complete some big deal.

Whatever you prefer, I can do!

Except, of course, I can't represent you to your customers by taking their checks and wiring you the money afterwards. That seems more like work than acting. And I never work!

But of course my fellow Lobsters would work - it's just me who has the bad attitude. Turning all your dock operations to my Lobster Brethren would work out great. I guarantee it!

Let's look at one more letter. This one is from George Petterson, and it opens this way.
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because I
believe everyone will die someday.
Way to bring me right down, Mr. Petterson. Just for that, I'm not going to give you my bank account number!

Anyway, that's it for another week. Keep on trucking, y'all!

Who is to Blame?

Dennis Prager's latest article is all about how Liberals and Conservatives look at wrong doing. According to Prager, Conservatives blame the wrong-doer; Liberals blame the victim or the situation.

This is not true.

Prager makes reference the fact that many liberals have criticized Israel's policies in regard to Palestine or France's assimilation policies or the choice of European papers to print offensive cartoons. This is the same as blaming the victim, in Pragers mind.

What Prager neglects to mention, because it doesn't fit his thesis, that almost all of these articles in questions contain some variation on the phrase "Of course, none of this excuses those who commit violent acts."

But to make sure there is no confusion, allow me to say I think terrorism is bad. And I think rioting is bad.

But I think willfully refusing to analyze why such crimes might occur is just as bad. Sticking to a simplistic "terrorists are evil and that's all you need to know" theory is a recipe for suicide, and this is the path that Prager urges.

This is why Conservatives can't be trusted on National Security.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Keep Moving

This is an inspirational video. It is exceedingly inspirational.

Every Character has Someone Who Likes Him or Her or It

I should have just titled this "Everybody's Got Something To Hide (Except for Me and My Monkey)" and been done with it.

Anyway reading Comic Book Resources rundown of the New York Comic Con this last weekend. Lots of interesting stuff, but what strikes me is that most panels seem to take a gratuitous shot at a character nobody gives a crap about. Maybe it's Speedball. Maybe it's Golden Age DC characters.

The problem is that every comic book character has fans, even the ones that I think are really lame. Rocket Raccoon has fans. Shining Knight has fans. Werewolf by Night has fans (and I'm one of them). And most of those fans think that "If the comic was done right, it would sell."

I just can't think it would be very pleasant for a fan of character X to hear creators, the ones that Marvel and DC trot out to represent themselves, to hear those creators making lame jokes about how lame their favorite character is (and very few of these jokes rise above "Character X is soooo lame.")

Anyway just something that crossed my mind. If you are interested in what is coming up for the Marvel and DC Universes, though, it's still worth reading.

Even More Conservative Commentary on the Port Deal

Diana West isn't so keen on the port deal.
Well, one overwhelming reason is that it was spawn of the Middle East, not Great Britain, that hijacked four American passenger planes on Sept. 11, 2001. And it was United Arab Emirates, not Great Britain, that served as a financial and operational base for the Sept. 11 hijackers (two of whom came from UAE), and a hub for Pakistan's rogue nuclear export business. As Great Britain is Islamized, the distinction narrows; for now, it's reason enough to hold a UAE company to that "different standard." But such evidence -- and there's more -- is obvious; hardly the stuff of great debates. The fact that the president even begs the question is what requires deeper consideration.

Bush threatens to veto any legislation drafted against the port sale. Why? The only explanation I can think of -- and it spells disaster -- is that George W. Bush has decided that international feelings trump national concerns; that upsetting the UAE is worse than upsetting Americans: "I am trying to conduct a foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly,'" he said. Fairly? That's how you treat people after the war, not while the outcome remains undecided.
Of course one chilling thing about the current War on Terror is that it's not really expected to end. So I gather we won't be dealing with the Muslim World for quite a while.

Robert Novak, on the other hand, is in favor of the Port Deal. And of pointing out the political opportunism of the Democrats in congress.
. . . deeper problems are reflected by overwhelming public opposition to a company owned by the government of a close Arab ally operating U.S. ports. Polls suggest the darker side of the American mind: isolationist, protectionist, nativist and xenophobic. Bush's ceaseless efforts to rouse his countrymen to support the war against terrorism may have unleashed the dogs of anti-Arab prejudice.

The firestorm over whether Dubai Ports World should be permitted to replace a British company in control of U.S. ports is unexpected largesse for Democrats, desperate to regain control of Congress this year. Left-wing Democrats led by Schumer and Sen. Hillary Clinton seek the opportunity to trump Bush and the Republicans on their strong suit of national security.
Armstrong Williams goes a step further, to comment on the growth of American racism against Arab Americans.
This new strain of anti-Arab racism is exemplified by the hubbub that greeted the United Arab Emirates plan to take over shipping operations at six U.S. ports. The operations had previously been rented out to a British navigation company. No one had a problem with that. Nor does anyone have a problem with ports being rented to other countries, which they are. Legislators are only exhorting the President to block Arabs from taking over operations at the ports. To his credit, the president has said those who oppose putting the United Arab Emirates in charge of operations need to "step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard."
Williams does not see fit to comment on how his fellow Conservative Commentators (people like Ann Coulter or Cal Thomas) have fed this racism to the best of their abilities. Larry Kudlow takes a similar tack in his article, laying the problem completely at the feet of Democrats and calling the hullabaloo a symptom of Islamophobia.

Kathleen Parker responds to this line of defense in her article opposing the sale of the ports.
That distant thunder you hear is the sound of thousands of harrumphing pundits and politicians clearing their throats.

"Ah, what we really meant to say was that we love all G-d's people, but we'd really rather not have Middle Easterners managing our ports. If it's not too much trouble."

But trouble it is to admit what's really got Americans in high dudgeon over the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. ports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It's not just the sale itself, but the Bush administration's apparent lack of respect toward American citizens concerning a business deal that at least seems untimely and counterintuitive.
David Limbaugh straddles the fence on this one, which is odd since his brother has been so supportive of the deal.
On the other hand, there are legitimate reasons to be skeptical of this deal and to urge that we err on the side of caution in these dangerous times. It is not just xenophobes and bigots who recognize that all of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Muslims, two of which came from the UAE, that Palestinian Muslims danced in the street upon the news of the murders, that terrorist activities in Iraq and elsewhere around the world are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims, and that we see so little condemnation from "moderate" Muslims of suicide bombings and other atrocities repeatedly perpetrated by Islamic terrorists.

. . . I'm not yet completely convinced we should oppose this transfer for security reasons, but I'm confident it raises sufficient red flags that we ought to take more time to scrutinize before finally deciding.
So let's tally them up (so far)

In favor of the Port Deal - Stuart Rothenberg, Tony Snow, Oliver North, Robert Novak, Armstrong Williams, Larry Kudlow,
Opposed to the Port Deal - Ann Coulter, Kathleen Parker, Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Spencer, Diana West,
On the Fence - David Limbaugh
Disinterested - Tim Chapman

So that's 6 in favor and 6 opposed with 2 abstaining. Looks like they haven't got this one figured out quite yet. It is interesting that the braniacs who stress about economic issues seem to be in favor of this deal while those rubes who are more concerned with social issues are opposed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Defenders Saturday (A Day Late)

Once again, this is the second of three parts of Marvel Comics Presents the Defenders, because this story is so strange. Actually this middle part makes a bit more sense than the first part, but the third part will ramp up the wackiness factor again.

When last we met, Xemnu (from the Magic Planet) had a crappy TV show and was saying he was going to take the children of earth with him. Well one of those kids is none other than Jim Wilson (young black kid who is friends with the Hulk). General Thunderball Ross who’s kind of like Grandpa when he’s not obsessed with the Hulk switches the program off and says it’s crap. Jim agrees and realizes that he needs to talk to someone arrogant. So he goes out and heads down to Greenwich Village to talk to an annoying cabbie.

But then Dr. Strange shows up. It turns out that Dr. Strange has a TV set (presumably he mostly watches cooking shows on it). Jim notes that the TV is set to Xemnus show and explains that he, for a moment, wanted to go with Xemnu back to the Magic Planet. And frankly, who wouldn’t. Anyway Dr. Strange looks pensive, but we are spared a long explanation of his thoughts by the miracle of a cut.

Let’s check back in with our astronaut buddies. They are still jerks. Then the Hulk shows up with Jim Wilson and says “Hulk wants to come on your SHOW - - make the world see he’s NOT as bad as they THINK.” The two astronauts realize that having the hulk on the show could be incredibly dangerous, but then realize that the Hulk rarely does much more than property damage and so say “Sure” Jim Wilson and the Hulk exit (by means of a flying carpet), and, in a nearby ally, the Hulk transforms into Dr. Strange. Jim Wilson says that they will return to the studio in four weeks.

As the weeks pass the show continues to get high ratings, and kids buy little fluffy Xemnu figurines or dolls. Finally the big day arrives, and the show the Hulk is going to be on is timed to coincide with a manned space launch. Yeah, NASA had ratings problems even then.

Apparently, being the Hulk is very tiring for Dr. Strange. But that’s ok because the real Hulk in his puny Banner form walks by a TV and sees himself on TV. This is upsetting to Banner and even more so to the Hulk Hulk gets a little bit upset and destroys the tv shop he was walking past, saying “SO! Even when Hulk does NOTHING some human makes himself LOOK like Hulk. Tries to make other Humans MAD at him.” Hulk leaps into the air to avenge this injustice.

New Logo, New Quote!



Hi all!!!

Another update of the logo, this one based vaguely on a Pet Shop Boys DVD that didn't turn out to be all that great. Not terrible but not great.

Hope you are all doing wonderful!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Did You Know?

According to sources, one in four morticians is a necrophiliac.

Friday, February 24, 2006

David Limbaugh

I've pointed this out before, but it hit me again (and I'm about to have to go to a meeting so won't post for a while). Here is the first line of the guy's biography at Townhall."David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics who writes engaging columns from a fresh, conservative point of view."

Yeah that's really kind of sad. His claim to fame, after having written several (terrible) books and published a column for several years is still "Well, I'm Rush's brother."

I almost feel sorry for the guy, but then I remember who he is.

More Conservative Commentary on the Port Deal

Tony Snow (who has some connection with Fox News, I am given to understand) writes an article about how ludicrous it is for us to question the port deal and the United Arab Emirates intentions.
Many critics of the deal also seemed to know nothing of the security cooperation between the United States and the UAE. To reject the deal would be to slap a government that has provided on-the-ground intelligence from the opening salvo of the war on terror. Gen. Tommy Franks notes that the UAE's much-criticized "recognition" of the Taliban actually enabled the country to do first-rate spying. The UAE provided maps and information for the opening invasion of Afghanistan.

The UAE since has put troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, in active and humanitarian missions. It trains Iraqi forces on its soil. It lets the United States conduct flights through its airspace. It has housed servicemen -- and women -- from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. It maintains the largest U.S. naval facility outside the United States, and Dubai Ports World performs contract service at the port.
Oliver North takes the same tack in his article, and also throws in the suggestion that those who oppose the deal are racists.
Perhaps most importantly, the UAE is much more than just "an Arab country that has supported terrorism in the past," as some of the more racially-tinged rhetoric has it. Unfortunately, the accusation -- repeated almost hourly now on talk-radio call-in shows -- has a grain of truth to it. Two of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from the UAE. And al Qaeda money was laundered through Dubai banks. But since then, the UAE has become one of America's closest allies in the Global War on Terror, apprehending terrorists, shutting down their financial networks and providing tangible support for U.S. military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It was this close cooperation that led the multi-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) -- to green-light the transaction.
Charles Krauthammer has a piece that takes a bit more pessimistic note, although he also denounces the Democrats for opposing racial profiling while opposing this deal.
The greater and more immediate danger is that as soon as the Dubai company takes over operations, it will necessarily become privy to information about security provisions at crucial U.S. ports. That would mean a transfer of information about our security operations -- and perhaps even worse, about the holes in our security operations -- to a company in an Arab state in which there might be employees who, for reasons of corruption or ideology, would pass this invaluable knowledge on to al Qaeda-types.
Over at Front Page Magazine they reprinted Ann Coulters article and have another one by Robert Spencer on why this deal is such a bad idea. You can kind of predict this response from Front Page Magazine given the rampant Islamaphobia over there.
After all, no one even in Washington is yet even asking the right questions of self-proclaimed moderates about where they really stand on jihad and Sharia issues. Officials in Washington and Europe have shown no awareness of the fact that it isn’t enough to have no ties to terror groups; a Muslim who nonetheless believes in the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism and the subjugation of infidels is still susceptible to jihadist recruitment. Is it possible to determine whether such recruitment is likely or not in the case of any particular individual? No -- and that’s why turning over any ports to Dubai Ports World is ill-advised: the potential for jihadist infiltration is just too great.
And that's the big ones - interesting that David Limbaugh hasn't weighed in on this one yet. His brother sure has (very pro Bush plan to turn ports over to UAE), but to listen to his callers, I'm not sure he is convincing them.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello all, this is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat. I am here to provide you with a look round the internet.

Farm Runoff has a
very amusing joke concerning the drug Marijauna. I understand you future generations have quite a drug problem. Another sign that future generations have a lot less moral fiber. In my day we could handle drugs without getting worked up about them. Still this is a very funny joke.

Natalie Davis' All Facts and Opinions has
an article on Organic Food, which is apparently a very big commodity in your society. I have to say the future sounds a little scary at times. At any rate her article covers how to buy organic vegetables and fruits and which ones are better if grown organically.

Speaking of organic food, blogAmy has
a picture of a very healthy looking specimen of fish, and according to All Facts and Opinion, all fish are more or less equally organic. Also the picture looks very nice.

Bloggg has
a piece on the proposal to hand over management of seaports to some people from the middle east. Basically, while Americans can expect to be spied on and monitored to protect them from terrorists, people who come from the part of the world where the terrorists are from can run the ports. That sounds troubling to me.

Dohiyi Mir has
further thoughts on this port deal; apparently the Democrats have responded to it forcefully, letting Republicans know that they need to be more aware of the dangers of the modern world.

Collective Sigh
pondered this question; if President Bush is so determined to stop terrorism, the numbers are going the opposite direction?

The News Blog has
a story on the recent destruction of a Muslim holy site in Iraq and how that may be the end of what little peace there has been in that country.

And that is it for another week - hope you all do well and if you can't do well, at least do medium.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Something doesn't add up

Archy has a post comparing two comments by Bill O'Reilly that have to be read to be believed.

Assuming you have a hard time believing Bill O'Reilly is an inconsistent hypocrite. Frankly I got no problem believing them, myself.

For those fans of Firefly and Serenity

I am a fan of the website Television Without Pity, as some of you know. To be more specific, I am a fan of some of the writers there. For those who don't know they specialize in providing snarky recaps of television episodes).

Basically there are two types of good recaps, the funny ones about shows I don't care much about (see The Apprentice and Boston Public) or there are smart recaps about shows I do care about (see Battlestar Galactaca). Smart Recaps make you think a bit more about what you are watching, bringing elements of the show into sharper focus.

Jacob (who also does recaps on Battlestar Galactaca) has done a recap for Serenity the movie, and it is definitely in the Smart category. He pulls in a lot of stuff that one senses pretty intuitively and makes it plain. If you are a fan of the movie, I strongly encourage you to check this recap out. I had a hard time enjoying their recaps of the series (largely, I think, because I knew the ending which was that the show hadn't survived. Which made their snarky comments a bit like kicking a dead horse, however funny they were without knowing the end).

Anyway it's very well worth reading and it will tug on the old heart strings if you enjoyed the movie.

Conservative Commentary on The Port Deal

Ann Coulter is against it, for about the reasons you would expect.
There are at least 3,000 reasons why a company controlled by a Middle Eastern Muslim emirate should be held to a different standard than a British company. Many of these reasons are now buried under a gaping hole that isn't metaphorical in lower Manhattan.

. . . Isn't it enough that we're already patronizing the savages over the cartoons? Do we have to let them operate our ports, too?
Kathleen Parker also finds this deal baffling, but is just as interested in what the deal reveals about President Bush's psychological make-up.
The final throes of Bush's journey toward self-destruction may have found expression with the apparent sale of operational rights to six of our nation's largest ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Approved by the Bush administration against all reason, the $6.8 billion sale includes the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

Despite bipartisan condemnation, the Bush administration has defended the sale to Dubai Ports World as not only safe, but prudent. The UAE, which incidentally served as a financial and operational base for the Sept. 11 hijackers, is an important ally in the fight against terror, we're told.
Cal Thomas, given his strong anti-Muslim feelings, takes the tack you would expect.
There have been some dumb decisions since the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, including the "welcoming" of radical Muslim groups, mosques and schools that seek by their preaching and teaching to influence U.S. foreign policy and undermine the nation. But the decision to sell port operations in New York, Newark-Port Elizabeth, Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans to a company owned by the UAE may be the dumbest of all.
Tim Chapman seems mostly interested in the politics of the situation.
Of course, the irony of this situation is that the bipartisan opposition to the president comes on an issue that he polls strongest on. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows President Bush receiving strong approval ratings for his handling of the war on terror. Clearly, Democrats have sensed an opportunity with this news story to move to the right of the President on an issue that has traditionally been his ace in the pocket. Republicans in Congress must agree, because they are ceding no ground on the issue to the Democrats.
Finally Stuart Rothenberg, who is not a name I'm very familiar with, trots out to defend the administration's position.
While Democrats and Republicans vent their anger over the Bush Administratios decision to allow a United Arab Emirates-based company from taking "control" of America's east coast ports (from a British company), I have a question: Exactly what responsibility and authority does this UAE company have? Specifically, how is U.S. security weakened?

I don't know, and I bet 99.5% of the people discussing the "threat" don't know. As a matter of fact, I'll bet most of us have no idea what managing a port entails.

But that hasn't stopped people from ranting about the Administration's decision to approve the British-UAE deal.
Actually when I say that is the administration's position, I get the impression it won't be for much longer. Anyway it's interesting to me how many big conservative columnists haven't seen fit to write on this. Presumably they have their fingers in the air for the moment, and will speak when the time is right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Liberals are Gutless Socialists

I'm really tired of life today - but let's do this anyway. Herman Caine is upset because liberals are gutless socialists. We are socialist because we favor programs like income tax and Social Security. We are gutless because we get those programs through democratic procedures rather than through violent coup.
Yet unlike the tyrannical dictators who ruled communist nations in the 20th Century, congressional liberals lack the guts to tell the public their true intentions. Those intentions are motivated by the Marxist philosophy of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Instead of conducting a deadly revolution, liberals are waging their war on capitalism through public policy, assaults on our free-market system and socialistic rhetoric.
Get that? But then in beginning his assault on Modern Democrats he starts in 1913. Income Tax. Then he hits Social Security (and other New Deal ideas), witholding of income tax and up to the modern day.

If only we liberals had had a violent coup, put Herbert Hoover's head on a pike, and taken over. We woudln't have to hear all this conservative crap today . . . actually I'm sort of coming around to Cain's way of thinking.

But nonetheless let's look at conservativism's gutsiness. How many in your party are open about their desire to take this country back to 1913? Even President Bush's intentions in regard to Social Secruity were covered over with a gauze of "fixing Social Security" rather than the more honest description (fundemantally changing Social Security). Why is that?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Turnabout

I've commented to myself in following the Cheney story and this new UAE / Ports story how if the shoe were on the other food, 90% of the participants would just change seats and be mouthing the same arguments. Upon further reflection, I'm not sure.

I think Republicans would be nastier.

If a Democrat had shot a hunting companion, it wouldn't just be what Vice President Cheney is going through. Rather Conservative commentators would throw on the additional suggestion that liberals are effeminate. We'd be hearing about how liberals are girly-men and feminine and weak. Over and over again. So naturally they don't know to handle a gun.

If a Democratic Administration put UAE in charge of our ports, it would be just greed and poor judgement they'd be talking about. It would be treason.

So yeah, there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Port Security

For those of you who do not know, the Bush Administration has brokered a deal to turn 6 ports over to a company owned and operated by the United Arab Emirates. I originally wrote this story off as pretty political (the Republicans base, fed a steady diet of Ann Coulter and Cal Thomas, aren't going to like him letting the Arabs in, so lets hammer this), but it turns out my initial estimation was wrong. There are valid reasons to be concerned about turning our ports over to this company and over how this deal was worked out.

For a good rundown of the issues involved, I'd advice checking out firedoglake's typically brilliant rundown on the issue.

Vice Presidential Judgment

One possible scenario that has been floating around my mind since the shooting is that the white house takes this opportunity to drop Cheney and bring in someone new. I figured that there was not much of a chance that the White House itself would buy into this theory, but the logic of such a move would animate some within the larger movement. As it stands now, Bush has no heir. This means in 2008 both the Republicans and the Democrats will have fights over the nomination.

So some within the party must be thinking that getting rid of Cheney gracefully might be well worth considering. And with that in mind lets look at Paul Greenberg's latest article.
Leaders who are trusted tend to be those who trust the rest of us to be fair. Which is why the best way to manage the news may be not to try so hard to manage it - just tell it the way it happened. And don't wait till you've got all your quail in a row for Fox News.

Candor can be a virtue in a politician. In a society in which trust has eroded, it can be an especially valuable character trait. There was a time, circa the 2000 presidential election, when character was regularly mentioned as an important element of leadership, at least by the Republican candidates. That time seems to have passed, which is another troubling little detail.
I will say that while "Character" was an issue in the 2000 elections, candor has never been this administrations strong suit. Still that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement. Kind of the opposite really.

I have to say, it's nice to see a conservative acknowledging the nature of Fox News.

Anyway this is just one article, and I don't really expect the White House to cut Cheney loose. Still it's worth keeping in mind.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Annoyance

I can't log on to World of Warcraft - it's very annoying, and also annoying that I am annoyed. There's something childish in being pissed that I can't play a computer game. A video game that I am paying for of course, so I do have a legitimate reason to get annoyed.

Still . . . it is annoying.

80's Remixed

Having listened to Future Retro a few more times and being willing to declare it good (more or less) I would like to recommend some tracks for Future Retro two.

First of all steer clear of "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell and "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby. Yeah they are iconic songs - but hard to remix because the beat is so memorable. If you are looking for songs by these bands to remix try "Bedsitter" "Torch" or "Down in the Subway" by Soft Cell and "One of Our Submarines" or "The Flat Earth" by Thomas Dolby. Actually I'd really like to see a good remix of "The Flat Earth"

Other possibilities.

Pet Shop Boys - Suburbia
Simple Minds - Theme For Great Cities
Orchestral maneuvers in the Dark - Genetic Engineering
The Clash - Lost in the Supermarket
The Police - Wrapped Around Your Fingers
Thompson Twins - Sister of Mercy (Or Lies)
The Art of Noise - Close (To the Edit)
The Psychedelic Furs - Here Come Cowboys
U2 - Gloria (or I Will Follow)

These are bands who appeared on the first one - but obviously bands who's songs lend themselves to remixes.
New Order - Everything Gone Green (Remixed by the Chemical Brothers (and this is the only one I'm going to suggest a remixer for, but think this would be hot).
Depeche Mode - Get the Balance Right!
Erasure - Oh L'amour
The Cure - Why Can't I Be You?

Do you have any suggestions for 80's tracks you'd like to see reworked in the modern style?

Gay Marriage

For those interested, Random Goblin has posted his thoughts on Gay Marriage and they are well worth perusing.

I am of the same faith as Mr. Goblin. I do not have my thoughts completely sorted out on the subject, but I find Mr. Goblin very persuasive.

Media Bias

There's a great new report on Media Bias that has just been released. What's even greater is Media Matters for America's debunking of the new report.

Apparently they decided to see how many times reporters referenced political organizations and think tanks. If they referenced Conservative Think Tanks they were skewing conservative and if they referenced Liberal Think Tanks they were skewing liberal. Easy enough, although it begs the question of what to do if they quote an organization and an individual with different view points. Obviously they heap the organization on the scale, ignore the individual, and judge the story biased.

The best part, however, is how they determine the liberalness or conservativeness of an organization. If a Conservative or Liberal senator quotes an organization approvingly, well, that organization must be more to his way of thinking. So if Bill Frist quotes the ACLU, well, the score of that organization moves a little to the right. But wait, don't senators often try to quote from organizations on the other side of the fence so as to appear more non-partisan and "cool?" I mean everybody knows that Dick Cheney is buds with the NRA (although not a good example of gun safety apparently), but when Harry Reid quotes them approvingly, that looks good.

At any rate, according to this methodology, the ACLU falls, just barely, on the Conservative side of the fence. That probably tells you all you need to know about this methodology.

But for our friends, the conservatives, they'll probably buy off on any survey that tells them what they want to hear.

Anyway it's a good and thorough debunking, covering a lot more than I just referenced - go check it out.

Pure Naked Politics

The title of this article comes from a song by SPK (called Pure Naked Aggression, if memory serves). I can't really expect you to know that.

Anyway on Friday, Stan Goff explained in an article why we need to focus on Cheney's little accident.
However pathological the macho death-cult of guns is in this country, the people who have taken the trouble to learn anything about firearms at all now know that Cheney is what my dad used to call a pig-hunter and a fool that traipsed around after his "one beer" lunch on the quail preserve with his finger on the trigger. He's no more a hunter than Bush is a cowboy.

He's just another stupid, pampered, autocratic narcissist like Bush-bullshitting his way through high office-and leaving bodies in his wake with as little concern for them as he does for 70 pheasants.
This is largely true. But if you boil down this argument it amounts to "this issue matters because it can hurt Cheney with the dummies who support him." Well, yeah. It should.

But let's not pretend this is anything but us slamming in the Cheney because we can (in much the same spirit that Republicans slam into Democrats on the slightest pretext. It's just politics, nothing less, nothing more.

It's not statesmanship. But I suppose we are in an era in which statesmenship would be as useful as a horse and carriage.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Defenders Saturday (A Day Late)

Hey. As you've noticed I've been not doing this for a while. Part of that is laziness (a big part) but part of it is also that this next story is both long and gloriously goofy. So I was intimidated. I have decided to break it up into more managable chunks so this issue will be in two or three parts. Here's part one.

Marvel Feature presents the Defenders Issue 3

We start out with two astronauts landing in the middle of the ocean. Waiting in the ocean is General “Thunderbolt” Ross, Hulk’s arch-enemy (but mostly in a Moby Dick/Capt. Ahab kind of way). Apparently Hulk’s been quiet so he has time to stand around on an aircraft. With him is Jim Wilson who can apparently control the Hulk.

The capsule lands on a whirlpool somewhat arbitrarily. Equally arbitrarily the Sub-Mariner is around to rescue them. A Giant Squid attacks the space capsule (everybody knows how those squids can’t get enough giant metal things). Sub-Mariner saves the day and gets pissed off at sailors who point that he saved the day. “Fools! Do you think I care about your paltry Headlines? I saved this capsule because it was likely to have men within. Yet to do so I harmed a denizen of the DEPTHS. And, by Nepture, I LIKED IT NOT!” Sailors don’t like being called fools and decide to attack, not showing all that much smarts.

They scuffle a little, and Jim Wilson shows up to say “Hey stop fighting those sailors or I’ll sic the Hulk on you” More or less. And the Sub-Mariner acknowledges that it was wrong of him to let those sailors attack him. The Astronauts on the other hand, think that Sub-Mariner has the right idea. If these swabbies were doing their jobs right, the space program would run smoothly.

Yeah I’m not sure I follow that either.

Anyway they announce that they are leaving the space program and taking up a life of celebrity. That doesn’t seem like a very good career plan today, but this was back in the day. The offer a cut of their astronaut money to Namor, but he turns them down. “Now I RETURN to the deep, for, it seems I dived for GIANTS, and brought forth but a pair of MINNOWS!” In rapid succession the astronauts get their picture taken, but the pictures don’t come out. Then they immediately sign a TV PACT!

Their show title – the Astronuts! It’s about two stupid astronauts who try to keep Xemnu (from the Magic Planet (which is just to the left of the Planet of Making Stuff Up). His first line is “And I’m going split right BACK there as soon is I get PAID, I am, I am.” Yes, apparently all the planets of the galaxy went through a vaudeville period. We see kids really getting into it, despite the fact that it is crap. This is a sign that something is wrong because in the real world, people never continue watching shows they know are crap.

Then Xemnu says “In fact, you’ve been SO wonderful to me that I might just take you WITH me when I go next month.” But does Xemnu really mean it? Tune in next time for the shocking continuation of this recap.

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Hi everybody! : )

Hope you are having super great weekends.

I am! Mostly!

Talk to you later!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sedition Begins at Home

Or, to be more precise, the persecution of people for expressing the wrong opinions, begins at home.

I know that many of my readers take Ben Shapiro (and Ann Coulter and Cal Thomas and so on) as a joke. I myself found his latest article, calling for Al Gore, Howard Dean, and John Kerry to be tried for Sedition, more humorous than threatening. But perhaps I spoke too soon.

Natalie Davis at All Facts and Opinions has a piece on a woman in Albequerque who was investigated by her employer (the Veteran's Administration) for writing a letter to the editor criticizing the Bush handling of hurricane Katrina. And what was she investigated for? Sedition.

Yeah, this was probably some over-zealous administrator. But it's starting to add up, you know what I mean?

Anyway go read Ms. Davis's review of the situation - very well done, and she makes some important points.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat. Today is going very well. I am attempting to buy an election for a friend of mine, and things have gone very well. His main challenger was a war hero from the Great War. A very dangerous man, but ultimately he figured out what side of his bread was buttered. So that's comforting.

Dodecahedron has
a piece on the possibility that Iran will develop Nuclear Weapons, and our inability to respond. You know whenever I read the words nuclear weapons, I just substitute "mighty dragons" in my head. I know dragons aren't real (apparently), but it helps me get an understanding of what you future people are talking about.

correntewire has
a piece on how the Congress has apparently agreed not to investigate the President's plan to listen in on telephonic communiques. What purpose does the future congress serve?

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES has covered
this story, and also has a picture of three cute monkeys. I love monkeys. I was thinking about getting a private monkey zoo. Also she has the news that the judiciary may not have gotten the memo about President Bush's supremacy.

Liberty Street has
some information on the Vice President's power to declassify information. I personally think you should not declassify information - it just makes people more curious about what information you haven't declassified.

Musing's musings has
an ode to the study of History, which I heartily endorse. You only have 40 to 50 years on your go around (maybe a bit more if you are lucky), which is not nearly enough time to experience everything. But through study you can expand that field of understanding exponentially.

Apparently your future vice president shot a guy in Texas this last week (something you probably all know already). Rooks Rant has
some commentary on the Vice President's public statement on his accident.

Scrutiny Hooligans has
a piece on some new detention centers being built by President Bush's cronies. The new detention centers are to be used to contain an immigration emergency.

Science and Politics has
an homily about a book report and a fabulist called Dr. Smith; it is interesting.

And that is it for today - hope you all have an enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Back in the Day

Thinking about eighties music brings back a lot of memories. I was kind of a late bloomer when it came to music (or it seemed that way to me). My best friend got into music a little ahead of me at a time (13 and 14) when I was still into comic books and action figures. I was an imaginative kid.

At a certain point, however, I got it in my head that this wasn't the sort of thing a grown up did. And I wanted to be a grown up (for reasons that are complex and simple at the same time (one factor - other kids picking on me (other kids sucked))). So I figured I could talk like an older kid people would see me that way.

So I looked at what other older kids (pretty much older boys, I must admit (wait, nobodies holding a gun to my head. I DON'T admit it)) were into - and I quickly came up with three possibilities. Cars, Sports, and the Opposite Sex. I didn't care about cars. I barely cared about sports. And I had, at best, a vague awareness that the opposite sex existed. So my goal of self-improvement through conversation seemed doomed to failure. Then I noticed my best friend seemed to be into music. Hmmmm.

So I got into music. And after a few false starts (two of my earliest albums were Huey Louis and the New's "Sports" and Hall and Oates "Big Bam Boom" (Still have a fondness for the "Method of Modern Love")), I got into Depeche Mode, Erasure, Yaz, OMD, Thompson Twins, and so on. After a remarkably short time I became a bit of a music snob, reading Rolling Stone (for free, as I worked at at a library) and Spin (occasionally) to see what music was hot, and, to a certain extent, getting into that music. Obviously my beloved synth-pop didn't get in the limelight all that much - so I got other albums here and there - Talking Heads, R.E.M., U2, The Cure.

I got Talking Heads "Naked" right after it came out and played it incessantly trying to convince myself that my initial impression was wrong (three good tracks on the first side, nothing on the second side (yeah, it was a cassette)), and it was brilliant all the way through. Had numerous arguments with my brother, who's music tastes at the time could be summed up in one word. Rush.

Of course now that I'm a bit older and a bit more exposed to music I can enjoy 9 out of 11 tracks (still find Facts of Life and Bill a little weak. Cool Waters, on the other hand, and Ruby Dear have grown in my estimation quite a bit).

Being a Music Snob did not in fact turn out to be the route to acceptance. It turns most people find Music Snobs annoying (particularly other Music Snobs). So I dropped the part about looking down on people for liking Tiffany (well, at least publicly) and the part about looking in magazines for validation of my music tastes. I kept the part about being adventurous and seeking out all kinds of different music. So now I am a Music Enthusiast. Which, now that you mention it, is a lot like being a Music Snob. But hopefully less annoying to other people.

Unprovoked Meanness

Just got a new CD put out by Rhino called Future Retro. The high concept behind this album is "lets get a bunch of great 80s songs and have modern DJ's remix them." It's not a bad collection.

One of the tracks is "New Song" by Howard Jones (Peter Black & hardrock Strike Mix Edit), a song I remember from back then. I had several Howard Jones albums, including Dream into Action and One To One, but was never into him the way I was into New Order or Pet Shop Boys or Depeche Mode. I do remember my sardonic response to a line from "New Song" (his first hit, although it was eclipsed by What is Love, if memory serves).
I don't wanna be hip and cool
I don't wanna play by the rules
Whenver Mr. Jones would sing that first line, I always though "Not much chance of that."

Yep I've been mean spirited since 1984.

What is the Role of Congress?

This is going to be an odd little post; I am going to praise George Will's latest article. It's very sharp, and highlights some of the logical inconsistencies of modern conservatism.

1. After railing on liberals for decades for interpreting the constitution in light of the society we live in, the insist on reading in expanded powers for the Executive in light of, well, the post 9/11 society we live in.

2. If the President's interpretation of the Authorization for Use of Military Force is accepted, no president ever need congress to declare war or authorize military force again (so long as the president can invoke terrorism on the part of our enemies).

3. Why does the President press for the passage of the patriot act when he clearly feels he already has the right to pretty much do whatever he wants to fight terrorism?

Good points, all of them. Will does support the passage of a Patriot Act, on the grounds that it would both define and limit the President's power.
But 53 months later, Congress should make all necessary actions lawful by authorizing the president to take those actions, with suitable supervision. It should do so with language that does not stigmatize what he has been doing, but that implicitly refutes the doctrine that the authorization is superfluous.
Yeah, but can't President Bush just attach a signing statement saying "I will interpret the suggestion that I am not all powerful in light of current conditions, i.e. I am all powerful and screw you congress!"

Still nice that some conservatives are catching on to how much power President Bush has taken unto himself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Did You Know?

"Will my friends betray me?" is not the right question.

"When will my friends betray me?" is closer.

White Phosphorus and Fallujah









We just want to make it easy on future sedition prosecutors.

White Phosphorus is an incendiary weapon. According to Wikipedia, these are the effects of white phosphorus on the human body.
Incandescent particles of WP cast off by a WP weapon's initial explosion can produce extensive, deep (second and third degree), painful burns. Phosphorus burns carry a greater risk of mortality than other forms of burns due to the absorption of phosphorus into the body through the burned area, resulting in liver, heart and kidney damage, and in some cases multi-organ failure.
The United States used white phosphorus as a weapon during the invasion of Fallujah.
The US-led assault on Falluja - a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency west of Baghdad - displaced most of the city's 300,000 population and left many of its buildings destroyed.

Col Venable told the BBC's PM radio programme that the US army used white phosphorus incendiary munitions "primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.

"However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants."
Of course the military claims that the weapon would only be used against enemy combatants. They said the same thing about napalm, if memory serves.



How did that work out?

An Italian documentary claims that the civilians suffered strange burns and wounds because of White Phosphorus and others have reported similar incidents.
Yet there are other, independent reports of civilians from Fallujah suffering burn injuries. For instance, Dahr Jamail, an unembedded reporter who collected the testimony of refugees from the city spoke to a doctor who had remained in the city to help people, encountered numerous reports of civilians suffering unusual burns.

One resident told him the US used "weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud" and that he watched "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns." The doctor said he "treated people who had their skin melted"
This is what America has done to the people of Fallujah.

Repeating these facts is going to anger the Islamic world further (and who can blame them). It might even make the Iraqi resistance fight harder, leading to more deaths. This information also happens to be the truth. So if you do get around to arresting people for seditiously speaking the truth, we hope to make the list.

We're Going to Jail

Good news everybody! We're going to jail! All except Cheery, who will play the part of grieving widow and will send us cakes. And McIckleson who is fictional. Well come to think of it Jean Louis Crowley and The Post Modernist are both out of the country currently. And Durango could probably cop an insanity plea (since he is, more or less, insane). But Space Lobster, The Monster, and me are going to jail. For Sedition.

Ben Shapiro, boy prognosticator, has written an article calling for the prosecution of Al Gore, John Kerry, Jim McDermott and Howard Dean. He doesn't say what law he is would prosecute them under, but, then again, young Ben is not a lawyer. He's a mean-spirited dunderhead*.
This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional -- and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign to undermine it.
Translation - we still want to piss on Roosevelt for locking up the Japanese, while simultaneously arguing that he was more or less in the right for doing so. You didn't expect us to play fair did you?

One nice new feature of Townhall is that they allow comments on articles. Here's one entitled None Dare Call It Treason, by grubby.
But I Do! That fantastic idiot, Al Gore, who somehow flatters himself that he's a statesman, even though he couldn't correctly identify the bust of Jefferson within Montecello, utters irresponsible, anti-American and treasonous statements on the very soil that resurrected and nurtures the particularly vile brand of Wahabi Islamism that seeks to destroy the Christian/Western culture. Many more US soldiers will die because of what Gore said which is clearly aiding and abeding the enemy in time of war. He needs to be prosecuted at the capital level for treason - or else the Constitution means nothing, not even to the Republicans.
Or, to put it another way, Sedition doesn't work because it wouldn't allow us to execute our political enemies. Maybe there's a down side to this whole going to jail thing after all.

Here's part of another comment, entitled Ban Sedition until we win the War on Terror, by a guy named bulldogged.
Shapiro's historical case for the necessity of wartime rights violations is stellar, but he omits several pertinent examples. Lincoln imprisoned political opponents during the Civil War, and indeed, we won the Civil War. But what about WWII? The United States interned 120,000 law-abiding Japanese citizens during WWII. We won WWII. The correlation must indicate that violating rights during wartime is the REASON we won those wars. Factors such as our overwhelming military might are irrelevant. Anyone who doesn't see that really needs to take a Stats class (in addition to ceasing to spout treasonous logic).
Hmmmmmm. I wonder if young Ben gets the punchline. Probably not.

Anyway if this is sedition, best to make the most of it. Tune in later for a post on White Phospherous.

* term on loan from the McIckleson collection, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Did You Know?

1984 successfully predicted nothing. But everybody likes pretending it did.

Brave New World did better, but hits a lot closer to home, so we all focus on 1984.

Two Stories

The first story is that the Vice President shot Harry Whittington, a big donator and a 78 year old lawyer, on a hunting trip. They then chose not to reveal that information for 24 hours (during which time the owner of the land they were hunting on notified the press. It's unclear if they would have unburdened themselves if they hadn't had to). A bird pellet entered Whittington's heart and he has suffered a heart attack, but will apparently recover.

A few points.

1. This probably was an accident, and isn't that significant other than another chance to mock the Vice President.

2. The Vice President is going to have to take his lumps from comedians (and bloggists) over the next couple of days, and that is the only price he will probably have to pay.

3. The White House and the Vice President's office screwed up by delaying mention of this accident.

4. There is a lot of speculation on Democratic Underground and elsewhere on the real story behind this accident.

5. The vast majority of this speculation is based on nothing but a surety that Cheney is an evil guy.

6. This accident does come at a fortuitous time for the Vice President and this administration, given that it distracts away from Scooter Libby's testimony and Michael Brown's testimony.

7. You shouldn't read to much into point 6.

8. It's entirely possible that I am completely full of crap.

Second story, Ann Coulter made some highly inappropriate comments lately, this time centered around the Danish Cartoon Controversy.
Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and the NY Times have made submissions.
Well Ted Rall doesn't think this is very funny - so he is soliciting opinions on whether or not he should sue Ann Coulter for Libel.

I'm torn myself - anything that exposes Ann Coulter is certainly appealing to me, but I'm not certain this particular action would do that. For one thing, as Rall admits, she's almost certainly going to say that she was only joking. She will attack Rall for not having a sense of humor (although the "humor" in Ann's comments eludes me). So, I'm not sure he could actually win this particular case.

On the other hand, if there is even a chance at embarrassing Ms. Coulter, won't I hate myself for not supporting it? Anyway if you want to send Mr. Rall your opinion, do so.

Happy Valentines Day?



For those of you not so blessed as to have someone in your lives (because you are some kind of loser or happen to be the only member of your species living on this cursed planet), might I suggest this cheery thought. Tomorrow is as far away from this annoying holiday as you can be. Yep, nearly 330 days until people start talking about Valentine's Day.

If that doesn't work than make some Spanish Omelets.

Recipe for Space Lobsters Spanish Omelets

  • A little bit of Olive Oil.
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped up
  • 1 pinch of every spice available but mostly chili powder, onion powder, Creole spices, freshly ground peppercorns, and salt. Actually you'd be better off leaving out the Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 potato finely Chopped
    2 medium to large eggs or one Extra large egg or however many eggs you feel like, stirred up.
  • 1/3 Cup Salsa (any kind you like, including the fruity varieties (I like Pineapple Salsa myself).
  • 1/3 Cup Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend Cheese. The Four Cheese Mexican blend not the kind that has spices in it.

Step 1. Heat up burner, and pan. Put Olive Oil in the pan.

Step 2. Put Garlic and spices into pan. Wait for them to become fragrant. If you have no sense of smell, wait approximately 2 1/2 hours. That will learn you not to have a sense of smell. OK, wait 30 seconds or so.

Step 3. Throw Potatoes into pot. Cook 10 to 15 minutes depending on how small they are and how crispy you like them.

Step 4. Make a little volcano of potatoes, with a hole in the middle going down to the pan surface. Drop the eggs in the volcano. Wait a moment for the bottom of the eggs to set, then start mixing them up. Let eggs set somewhat (about 2 to 3 minutes at most).

Step 5. Throw in Salsa. Cook until it seems mixed in and evenly temperatured.

Step 6. Through potato salsa egg mixture in a bowl with a lid, and stir cheese over the top. Mix up mixture and cover for about 2 minutes to let cheese melt.

Step 7. Queue up Battlestar Galactaca DVD and get out soda.

Step 8. Remove lid from container and eat. Ponder how much better Battlestar Galactaca would be if Cylons were more lobster like.


This recipe can be modified to serve more people if you get more potatoes and eggs and salsa and stuff. If you needed me to explain that to you, let me reiterate, I was only joking when I said you needed to cook the spices for 2 and a half hours.

Enjoy. And remember, tomorrow is another day.

Happy Valentines Day






Hi Everybody! : )

For all of you who are happy enough to have found someone to be with, we wish you the Happiest of Valentine's Day. Have fun! Go to the Park! Or if it is snowy where you are, get a blanket and cuddle underneath it! : )

The Narrative

This would be a good story for the Post Modernist to respond to, but, as you know, he is still on his mission to safe us all from "u" deprived madness.

Anyway this is an article by Michael Barone that discusses the dominant political narrative of our times. Barone notes that for most of this century presidents were judged according to President Roosevelt. President Ronald Reagan, however, changed the narrative by rejecting government solutions to domestic problems.

Barone's theory is that Reagan's narrative is now the dominant one and Democrat's struggling against it isn't likely to accomplish very much.
Democrats were used to writing our history in most of the past century. But without a competing vision of their own, they seem no more likely to succeed than Roosevelt's or Reagan's furious opponents.
Barone rejects the Clinton narrative, and his disdain for Clinton causes him to miss out on the opportunity to further his theory. Clinton clearly had paid attention during the Reagan years and was willing to say things like "the era of big government is over." But, Clinton was the enemy, so it's more fun to portray his years as a failed attempt to create a new narrative.

Barone is right that history moves in cycles, and the last few years have been years of conservative ascendancy. But now that Conservatives have pretty much everything they could want as far as political power goes, they are going to actually have to perform. They have to make things better. And to a lot of Americans, both liberals and conservative, they just aren't doing it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Round the Horn. Three Fingers of Bryant Version



Hi all. I haven't done any blogging around in quite a while, but I can sort of remember how to do it.

Happy Furry Puppy Story Time has a really good rundown on Republican Scandals - particularly congressional ones. If you think you might haved missed one (considering how many there have been recently), you might want to give it a look.

Musing's musings reviewed Alberto Gonzeles's "testimony" and found it wanting in logic. More to the point, the legal theories he proposed do not seem consistant with the principles this nation was founded on.

All Facts and Opinions has a piece on the internet - apparently many of the major broadband providers are considering tightening the pipe to squeeze out things they don't like. Doesn't seem like that would be a good thing.

Steve Bates, the Yellow Doggeral Democrat, has the news that President Bush can appoint incompetents to more than just the federal reserve (see McIckleson's post below for the link on that story). Apparently he can appoint them to the higher education board as well. But more to the point, the post discusses how businesses look at education, and how that is not necessarily a positive thing.

Speedkill has the details on the most recent of Ann Coulter's many crimes against logic, democratic principles and Christian values. I don't know how much more to say than Speedkill says, except to say that perhaps Ms. Coulter was concerned that she isn't in the papers as much as she used to be.

Finally Sooner Thought has some thoughts on putting the current political climate in a sort of historical context. We shouldn't think ourselves immune to the mistakes we made in the past.

Anyway that ends my session in this set. Hope you have enjoyed this, and expect us to resume our normal programming tomorrow.

Around the Horn. A Space Lobster Joint



Hey all. Obviously not doing my Monday Mail Bag (Tomorrow. Maybe.) today, so I can take part in the big blog-a-round extravaganza. I think the theory is that this will make everybody like us because link to them. I have my own theory, but perhaps I will keep it to myself.

Oh and if I seem in a bad mood, I got turned down again. A modernist revival of "Long Days Journey into Night." I was going for the role of Edmund, which I hoped to spice up a little bit. They offered to let me play a non-speaking servant, but I told them that's not the way this Lobster Parties! I don't know exactly why I said that because it doesn't make a lot of sense. Adrenalin I suppose.

Anyway let's look at these mad-eyed hipsters from around the internet.

firedoglake has
a discussion of the Libby testimony and those who are paid to defend him and those who are paid to defend the Vice President while supposedly defending him. I guess that's not very surprising; certainly Libby is surrounded by people who are focused on protecting his boss. Kind of an uncomfortable position, I'm sure.

Oh and the post title is Curiouser and Curiouser in case it doesn't go right to the post.

T. Rex's Guide to Life has
an explanation of who the Democratic Base is. Apparently it's not so much White nor is it so much Male. It also doesn't seem to be Lobster or Extraplanetary.

Echidne of the Snakes
considers Rudyard Kipling's poem Gunga Din. I knew a guy named Gunga Din back and college. Good guy, and due to a glandular condition, he always produced excess ink. So everybody on our floor would go to him when they ran out; eventually he just kept a bucket by the door.

Anyway this is about the poem Gunga Din, and what it would mean if you changed the signature line to a different gender.

According to The Countess, there is a
new sexual survey that places Americans number two as far has having the best sex lives in the world. I should note that for those curious, earthlings rate number 4 as far as having the best sex lives in the galaxy. Space Lobsters rate number 22. Which proves one thing. The survey was rigged.

According to Bloggg, Brittany Spears is a "Stupid INFURIATING Twit." I'll pause for a moment so you can take that in.

Bloggg
presents evidence to back up this assertion, which I find compelling, but partly because I already found her to be a bit of a Twit. Girl singers haven't really done it for me since 1964. I mean a song here and there, but nothing substantial.

Oh and as far as male singers go, the situation is, if anything, even worse.

Anyway that's my five - the only person left is Bryant, who will do his in a bit. And Cheery is preparing a special name tag for him (like the ones the rest of us get). I think she's putting flowers on it. Which should be entertaining if nothing else.

Around the Horn. A Post-Modernist Approach



Hello. This is Ms. Maple Roberts, personal assistant and calendar remover to Alaistar Niedenmaker, also known as the Post-Modernist. I have been asked to contribute to this review of various blog posts around the internet and I shall try to serve with distinction.

My employer, it should be noted, is busy investigating the missing letter "u." Most of you are probably unaware that the letter "u" has been missing for a week. Currently our minds are adapting by using the previously unknown letter "u". As the little discrepancies build up in the fabric of our society, however, we can expect to all go stark raving mad. Unless, of course, Mr. Niedenmaker is able to solve this particular problem and restore the "u" to it's proper place in the alphabet.

I gather he has teamed up with Mr. Stelpheton, the Oxford Trained Yorkshire Terrier, so I'm sure we have nothing to worry about. Still I would go light on the use of the letter "u" for a while.

Let us start with Iddybud, a website
which discusses, among other things, how this current presidency prioritizes our future generations. Very little, as it turns out. For one thing the United States of America executes more children than any other nation, a fact I was unaware of. This is somewhat chilling reading, particularly if believe in the future, as I do.

Both Farm Runoff and the Fulcrum have deal with a series of recent cartoons about Mohammed. The Fulcrum makes
a plea that everybody gain a little perspective, which I have to echo. Although I remain afraid that such perspective may be too difficult for many people.

Farm Runoff has
a discussion with a gorgeous woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali about the cartoons and about her own persecution at the hands of politically charged Islam. I have to say while she is attractive, I find her mind to be even more so - very incisive and sharp.

Rook's Rant has
a piece on the possibility that the Democrats can gain congressional seats in the fall of this year. He asks if the Democrats are committed enough to do what must be done. A very good question.

CorrenteWire
has news that at least one Republican Member of the Senate might be leaving. Specifically the Senate Majority Leader might have new opportunities open in his life that will take him out of the Senate, which doesn't strike me as a very positive development.

archy has
a discussion on whether or not there should be state laws requiring the teaching of only evolution; he says that such things are not ideal, and his reasoning strikes me as sound.

I do hope you all take the time to click on these links, as the stories really are quite good and interesting, and not overly lengthy. At any rate, I and my employer thank Make Me a Commentator for once again allowing us to participate.

Ms. Maple Roberts.

Round the Horn. A Cheery Festival






Hi Everybody : )

I've done this once or twice before, but it's always nice to do it again, and point you all out to the other websites out there. Most of these are members of the Liberal Coalition, of course - but we will probably miss a few :(. I hope we don't, but we probably will. So if we do miss your website we apologize.

My
first post comes from Welcome to Gilead, and involves the fact that some doctors and pharmecists are refusing to fill orders they don't agree with. I don't really like this trend; but don't like making people fill orders they don't want to either. Perhaps phramecists who don't like giving out certain medicines should take up holistic medicine or something like that. Something people don't depend on so much. You'd still get to help people, just in a different way. : )

First Draft has
a piece on Michael "Brownie" Brown's testimony on Katrina. Apparently he was a bit hard on President Bush who he felt didn't support him in the crunch. It is hard to feel betrayed, but not sure this public spat is a great idea. Still this concerns national security so maybe it is good that we know of it.

Science and Politics has the
CUTEST Picture of some kittys : ). The one looks so comfy up on the book shelf. And the other little one looks cute too.

On the note of pets, Dihiyi Mir has a story on
tiny robotic pet dinosaurs. I would be worried they would bite me but they probably aren't allowed to do that.

Good news from Pen-Elayne on the Web, she has a car again. I think her last one got attacked by a tree or something. So she finally got it repared I think. Which is great!

Random Goblin, who is also in NYC, also put up
some pictures of the current snowy conditions up there; he and his wife look so cute together. Almost like kittys!

Anyway that's my contribution - I think the Post Modernist is up next. Hope you have a great day! ; )

Around the Horn (The Jean Luis Crowley Intransitive Mix)



Salut all.

For those of you who do not know, my name is Jean-Louis Crowley. With my band (currently named the Beserking Bats), I grind out blues and folk tunes playing a number of one night stands across Europe. Also I have a deep dark family secret that I don't like to talk about. Currently we are playing an extended gig in Brussels with another group, named Artemis.

I must say the lead singer of that group who goes by Artemis, but who's real name is Holly, has some of the oddest nocturnal habits for someone in this line of work. Apparently she enjoys a glass of warm milk, grabs a book, and reads for a bit, then turns off the light at about 10:30. And sleeps.

I asked if, at least, she were reading eldricht tomes, but she said no. Currently she is reading a book on the assassination of President Lincoln.

At any rate she's quite a good singer, despite her quirks.

So that's what is going on in my life - but now let's check in with the links I have been assigned.

Dodechahedron has written
a post in support of Macintosh's adopting a right click strategy (similar to Windows). I don't know about this. I believe that adopting a right click, while automatically make the current click the left click? And, as I'm sure we all know, left is the domain of the sinister. I am quite sure that Microsoft is under the thrall of Sinstraxion, Ghoulish Lord of the Livid Left. They encourage left clicks because each time you left click your mouse you bring the day closer when the portal will open and Sinstraxion will walk the earth again. So I think avoiding this issue is probably in the Apple Corporations best interest.

I don't want to imply that Sinstraxion has any influence over those who are left handed or those who lean left politically. Only those who use windows based mice.

Liberty Street
discusses a right wing blog who argues that a suspect must have been tortured to stop a possible recent attack on American soil. He's pretty much right; this is disturbing.

THE NEWS BLOG has
a story on new MP3 players and Cameras being made for toddlers. This is interesting. The author suggests that doing this will put an end to silly copyright infringement lawsuits. Nobody, save Ardea Coerulea, Feathered Fiend of the Lower Bayou, would want to sue a toddler. And even Ardea Coerulea would have successfully suing a toddler.

Words on a Page (AKA the Podunt Press) has
a piece on Haliburton. Apparently they should do quite well in the coming years, what with getting the contract to build a lot of detention centers for no particular reason.

. . . You are a Tree discusses an
interesting quiz to see what show you would fit in best. Apparently I would fit in ok on about five different ships, but I would be best in the X-Files. Since I know a fair amount about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes in the day), I think that makes a fair amount of sense.

Anyway I hope you have found this enjoyable.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's Plutocrat.

Here's the big surprise that Cheery has been hinting at. Today we are going to do a round the horn feature that is so big I couldn't do it all myself. This, of course, is a little white lie. There is nothing so big that I couldn't do it myself. At any rate we have some 32-33 websites we are linking to today - so we have divided them up among the staff and brought in the Post Modernist and Jean Louis Crowley to help round out the staff. And, since I usually provide this feature, it was decided that I would go first.

So let's begin.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has written
a brief informative post on the sort of people President Bush is appointing to the Federal Reserve, a 35 year old aide, who is considerably younger than the rest of the board. Apparently this nomination is not being greeted with accolades from the financial community. I have to say I agree with the financial community on this and every other issue; President Bush should nominate someone who knows what they are doing.

Collective Sigh has had a birthday, which is good, and also has
the news that a staggering fifty six vets of the recent Iraq conflict are running for Congress on the Democratic ticket. How did they all become millionaires so quickly?

Speaking of the Iraq conflict, LEFT is RIGHT has
the comments of a Paul R. Pillar, who argues that the decision to invade Iraq was made before the data was gathered (and the data was gathered to support the decision already made). This can lead to trouble.

When I was going to build my stately pleasure dome (following in the tradition of Charles F. Kong), I picked what I thought would be a beautiful spot, on a plateau overlooking a peaceful valley from whence I could survey my superiority over my fellow man and be satisfied with myself. The architect suggested that building on this particular area was not safe, as the ground was not stable. I scoffed at his concerns, sure that he was trying to cheat me. Actually I'm pretty sure that everybody is trying to cheat me. In this case he was right - they had scarcely installed my solid gold African elephant when the entire foundation cracked and it was ruined. We were able to salvage much of the materials but it was a huge and disappointing set back. So I suggest to Mr. Bush, that in the future he should get the facts, then decide what to do.

rubber hose
provides more details on this Pillar person, and speculates that the Bush political machine will try to destroy him. I would agree that this is likely. When you can't do anything to fix the message, always best to shoot the messenger.

But perhaps careful thought is a skill that eludes President Bush. Scrutiny Hooligans has
a story about the President in which he caused the members of the Press to leave his area, but then they were able to listen in anyway because he forgot to turn off the microphone (which makes little sense to me, but apparently you will know what I am talking about).

It is, of course, also possible that Mr. Bush new that the press was listening in, and sent them from the room to increase the likelihood they would repeat his words. Kind of like Tom Sawyer white-washing the fence.

Finally we have
further thoughts on the State of the Union from blogAmY. Apparently it is relatively easy to predict that President Bush will call for tax cuts for the rich. I do have some doubts on the theory that increasing my wealth will help other people (because it will trickle down). I take steps to see that my wealth stays with me and doesn't go any where. But perhaps future plutocrats are more generous.

And that is it for my selection. Next up will be Crowley I think. So tune back in later for more links and discussion.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Hi everybody. : )

Waiting on some stuff - updating the website for look, and our big surprise tomorrow - which we didn't intend to let go for another day. But tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Announcement






Hi all. : )

Just letting you know that we are doing something special for our round the horn feature, which we will do tomorrow. I hope you all enjoy it.

Winged Mammal Theme

David Cole has a really great editorial over at Salon this morning, discussing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's recent appearance before congress.
In the end, Gonzales's argument is circular: You need not reach the constitutional question of executive authority to violate the law, because the president acted consistently with the law. But you must find that the president acted consistently with the law because otherwise the law would be an unconstitutional infringement on the president's powers. At the center of this circle is an astounding assertion of presidential power -- the power to choose the "means and methods of engaging the enemy" without being subject to any legal limits imposed by Congress, whether they be limits on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, or spying on Americans.

What the NSA spying debate is ultimately about is this: Do we want to live in a country where the president, like the rest of us, is bound by law, or do we want to live in a country where the president, by invoking the magic words "commander in chief," can order that criminal laws be violated in secret? One thing is certain: The Bush administration will never want a hearing on that question.
You see the President is like Batman - he has to be outside the law in order to protect us. The terrorists, they don't play by the rules. So the President can't play by the rules either.

The terrorists aren't worried about the complexities of American Laws - neither can our President can't.

The terrorists don't care about civilian deaths or infringement of basic human rights - neither can our President.

The terrorists don't admire or care for western decadence and commitment to ideals like ideals of human decency - President Bush needs to feel the same way in order to defeat them.

In order to defeat the terrorists, our President needs to become a terrorist. That is the only path to victory.