Nov 29, 2005

When Talking Points Go Bad

If a fallen U.S. soldier came back to life, what would he say?

In "Homecoming," we find out.

The short film opens with a man and woman driving down a dark road, when they encounter a zombie crossing their path. They run over the zombie, only to meet up with a military-issue Humvee filled with more and more zombies. A gunfight ensues, and the man ends up shooting his female companion in the head.

Fade out, fade in.

Washington D.C. and other parts of the nation become overrun by zombies. They can't be killed, but only one thing can stop them: Their undying desire to ... well, that's for you to find out.

Part horror flick, part political commentary, "Homecoming" is an eye-opener for anyone who craves a, shall we say, different angle on - to use the movie's term - this country's current engagement. The parallels between the characters and situations in the movie and in today's political and social climate are pretty obvious, even down to the Ann Coulteresque cover photo. [Not the exact cover photo, but you get the idea. Nice touch, guys.]

In the film, the fallen soldier zombies become the incarnation of the nation's collective conscience, nagging and tugging away at its psyche. And their message gets through to many, including at least one person who was partly responsible for starting this mess in the first place:

The face of this war had always been ugly. We've always tried to hide it from the public. But then, they were among us, these dead young men, these monsters, demanding only that we look at their faces and acknowledge what we had done.

Our nation's leaders and spin doctors - in this movie, at least - faced their Day of Reckoning and were forced to answer to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

If you, Dear Reader, examined your conscience and reflected on your ideas about the current War on Terror, how would you react if you suddenly had to explain yourself? What would you say if you were face to face with a fallen U.S. soldier?

Directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling, Rock and Roll High School) and written by Sam Hamm (Monkeybone, Batman, Batman Returns), "Homecoming" is part of the ongoing "Masters of Horror" anthology series and airs this Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Rumor has it Showtime will be offering a free preview this weekend. Check with your local cable company for details.

UPDATE 12/2: Our most esteemed BARBARian colleague, King of Zembla, offers up a conversation with "Homecoming" Director Joe Dante here.

UPDATE 12/5: One of the best BARBARian writers and all-around great guy (just don't get on his bad side) Shystee, scores an interview with "Homecoming" screenwriter Sam Hamm here.

Nov 28, 2005

Creepy Milestone

According to this article, the U.S. is scheduled to hold its 1,000th execution this week since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

There is some discussion in the article that the public perception regarding the death penalty has been slowly turning against this practice, at least since 1994:

A Gallup poll last month showed 64 percent of Americans favored the death penalty -- the lowest level in 27 years, down from a high of 80 percent in 1994.

"There's now considerable public skepticism about whether all those being executed are really guilty and that has cast doubt on the whole system," said Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center.
Interestingly enough - or not - Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma account for more than half of the executions since 1977. More. Than. Half. At the time when Not-My-President was first nominated to be president, Texas led the nation in executions. Who is to say that at least one of these people executed were innocent? According to this article first published in Rolling Stone on July 6, 2000, Bush has said repeatedly that "he was confident of the guilt of those inmates executed under his charge." But as this 2003 Salon article shows, innocent people do, in fact, get executed. And how - as in the case of Texas Convict Charles Dean Hood - can you even guarantee that someone on Death Row has received a fair trial?

This should have been the foreshadowing of that now-popular Bushism, "stay the course." Again, from Reuters:

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are trying to pass legislation to speed up executions, complaining that the time between conviction and execution, which usually exceeds 10 years, is too long.
With all their pro-life posturing, why are the Republicans in such a hurry to kill? Nowhere is this bloodlust more evident as it is in Mr. Go Fuck Yourself's vehement support of torture. Why do the Republicans hate life so much?

Nov 27, 2005

It's all about the Coconets, baby

Back in August, I posted about the BBC World/Newsweek World Challenge, a contest that searched for entrepreneurial individuals who have created projects to benefit their communities, and who have shown "enterprise and innovation at the grassroots level."

I am so proud to say that the Philippine Coconets project won!

These "nets," made out of coconut husks, are intended to manage erosion in the jungle by holding loose soil together, preventing landslides. It's a great way to make use of a byproduct that would otherwise become waste - not to mention the economic benefit to the lives of more than 1500 families who are involved in the Coconets project.

Whenever they see some product made in Asia that is not made in the Philippines, my parents occasionally lament over this. "The quality of so-and-so is much better in the Philippines," they'd say. "It's a land of missed opportunities," my mom once said, "and it's a shame."

Here's hoping that the publicity from this World Challenge victory will help create additional industry for my ancestral homeland, create a better quality of life for its citizens, and preserve the country's natural beauty for generations to come.

Nov 25, 2005

Wax off

Oh shit. Pat Morita died yesterday. R.I.P. Arnold.

You know, from Happy Days.

Interesting bit o' trivia: Did you know Morita was born in Isleton, Calif., home of the Crawdad Festival?

(Photo credit: Associated Press)

Oh Jah, the irony

Remember that kid, David Ludwig, who killed his girlfriend's parents earlier this month and then ran off with her? Well it turns out that David was a fan of the Christian Rock:
"Pillar and Audio A [two Christian Rock bands David and Kara went to see] rock my face off!" David wrote on his blog the next day. Kara spent almost all the money in her pocket on a Pillar sweatshirt. She was wearing it the morning of Nov. 13 when, police say, David shot and killed her parents and fled with her at his side.
A $720 million industry, Christian music is huge. There's a Christian counterpart to every "mainstream" genre. Supposedly, this music is supposed to be an alternative to the depravity and Godlessness of rock and roll, hip hop, rap, dance pop. All the rhythm, none of the evil. A great way for kids to get their groove on while continuing to worship.

And yet, here we are.

Every time someone tries to blame some form of media for influencing antisocial behavior, I have to laugh. This sad story of David and Kara can't be explained away by the kind of music they listen to, just as you can't blame Marilyn Manson [or violent video games] for influencing the Columbine shooters. If you do that, you'd have to apply that same logic to suicide bombers in the Middle East.

If only Life was that simple.

Nov 24, 2005


Pure Nerd
73 % Nerd, 21% Geek, 17% Dork
For The Record:
  • A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
  • A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
  • A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


(Props to Ole Blue The Heretic for the link.)

Nov 23, 2005

Giving Thanks

Another year, another Thanksgiving. The older I get, the more I start to realize - and appreciate - the meaning behind the tradition. And at Thanksgiving, I like to reflect on all of the good things happening in my life that I have to be thankful for.

And I've come to realize that I am one pensive mafaka when the holidays start to roll around. I thought it'd be a good idea to put pen to paper (or in this case, finger to keyboard) and list the things I'm grateful for.

I'm grateful that I'm able to laugh and smile every day. I have a friend that makes that her daily goal. Sounded like a good one to me, so I borrowed it.

I'm grateful that my parents are healthy and that as a unit, we've been able to face life's challenges head on - and win.

I'm grateful that I have a spectacular circle of friends that support me when I need their help and bring me back down to earth when my ego is out of control. Or if I freak out over a miniscule detail. Which happens a lot. Just ask any of them.

I'm grateful that I've managed to remain an optimist, even though certain life experiences (family, life in general, my non-existent lovelife, work, the Bush Administration, the mental image of Karl Rove naked, etc.) would cause others to become cynical and jaded (or disgusted, as in the latter example). I'm not saying I'm a Stepford Wife, but cynicism and sarcasm, tempered with an unending desire to see the good in things and people is healthy.

I'm grateful that I've learned a lot about my own personal character this year, and I'm very proud of the adult I've become. [Next up: Get better at this "hiking" thing!]

And I'm also grateful for you, Dear Reader, for visiting me here at my humble blog day in and day out. All 35-60 of you. Especially those of you who surf in from Poland, who expect to find some serious and informative website about your country. And you too, you folks still trying to find out about that Damien Marley jam. Heh. Keeping up this blog (and the several others I contribute to) has really inspired me to get myself better informed, and to try and make a change in the world I live in, any way I can. I at least hope that I've been able to inform you, or inspire you to think about a topic from a different angle.

But most importantly, I hope I've been able to make you laugh. Because I can be one silly mafaka, that's right. Ask anyone.

Nov 22, 2005

Who knew?

Apparently, Elvis was a big coffee drinker. And now, Elvis Enterprises has put out - in cooperation with Ugly Mug Coffee - some holiday offerings for The King's adoring fan base and lovers o' the kitsch:

Elvis Presley Enterprises has green-lighted four limited-edition holiday coffees. They're Santa Baby, Blue Christmas, Love Me Tender and Silent Night -- which is the decaf version.

And here's a bit of information to store under "who knew?" An official with Elvis Presley Enterprises says Presley was a big coffee drinker and would have been thrilled with the deal.
Nothing like a cup o' The King's blend with breakfast. Thankyaverymuch.

R.I.P. Ugly Dog

Dude. Sam, the World's Ugliest Dog, died last Friday. Needless to say, the family is in mourning:

The pooch died Friday, just short of his 15th birthday, his owner said.

"I don't think there'll ever be another Sam," Susie Lockheed said, adding: "Some people would think that's a good thing."
Don't fret, Susie. The blogosphere I'm sure will immortalize Sam's face from now to eternity in random "Friday Afternoon Ugly Dog Blogging" segments everywhere.

Nov 21, 2005

Spin Cycle, Activate!

Reuters reports that U.S. troops killed Iraqi civilians - including a child - today. This happened while U.S. troops fired on a minivan that had failed to respond to their requests that the minivan stop and after firing warning shots.

Already, we're getting the same, tired, old "it's not us, it's them" spin:

"These tragedies only happen because Zarqawi and his thugs are out there driving around with car bombs," said Major Steve Warren, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Baquba, in reference to the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
I'm torn. On the one hand, this story reads like those good-cop-shoots-suspect stories in which a perpetrator gets shot on the mistaken assumption that he or she is carrying a firearm or weapon. Let's say you were a US soldier in Iraq. How would you respond if it were you in that position? You just don't know - and can't know for sure - that this person (or minivan) in front of you is packing heat. So what do you do? You err on the side of caution. And your conclusion wouldn't have been all that far fetched:
Scores of suicide car bombs have been launched at military and police checkpoints, as well as convoys and civilian targets, making soldiers wary of any vehicle.

In the past few days more than 160 people have died in a spate of suicide car bombings and other attacks across Iraq, including attacks on Shi'ite mosques in the northeast and at the funeral of a Shi'ite tribal sheikh near Baquba on Saturday.
On the other hand, this story is not going to paint the US government or military in any more positive light in the international court of opinion. It's unfortunate (to put it mildly) that this happened to Iraqi civilians, nobody disputes that. But what will be important to watch is how Dubya and crew choose to spin this unfortunate event in Iraq today. It will either reveal if this administration is really serious about nurting diplomacy, or confirm for us whether politics, and not true "support for the troops," is the order of the day.

But nurturing diplomacy takes tact, compromise, and an adept skill at anticipating needs and working together to find solutions. It's imperative that we wrap things up in Iraq. This black-and-white, "you're either with us or against us" modus operandi, however, makes me doubt that any form of successful diplomacy or withdrawal of troops can take place under this administration.

Dubya will need lots of help from his cabinet and the legislature, since every move they've been making lately seems to kick them in the ass. Creating a successful exit strategy's real hard work, y'know?

UPDATE: Amen, Cenk!

Nov 20, 2005

Abandon every hope, all you who enter

At least, that's what I thought as I approached the trailhead. I couldn't get Aligieri out of my mind. My hiking club (I started it) decided to take on the Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop today. It was rated as a moderate, 7-mile hike. To be honest, I've been dreading this hike for weeks. Since the day I announced it. This morning, I woke up. Nervous. See, I'm a beginning hiker, so I'm trying to work on getting the cardio part down. Needless to say, this trail proved to be a challenge, physically and mentally.

Challenging physically, in the sense that I'm just a beginner hiker, and I've gotten my ass kicked on every single hike I've gone on so far. Challenging mentally, because as my first 7-mile hike, really had to dig real deep to find the will to finish the hike. Somewhere after Mile 4, I started to think, "I can't wait until this is over." I've been having problems maintaining my focus the last few weeks, so I wonder if that had anything to do with my attitude.

But with every dreaded footstep, and with every steep switchback, my mantra slowly became one of "just concentrate on getting one foot in front of the other." It reminded me of someone I know re-learning how to walk. Deconstructing the walk step by step. Breaking it down element by element, and distilling a solution to the issue. Getting down to the essence and redefining the idea of goal setting, applying it to a larger point of view. Even if you set minute-by-minute goals, one success builds upon the next, leading to a final crescendo of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Here's hoping I find some inspiration this week.

UPDATE: If you'd like to see more pictures, click here.

Nov 18, 2005

Movie minute***

Since it's Friday, and my thoughts have already turned into flights of fancy [I really need to get focused at some point], let's talk about movies (upcoming and present) that you want to see. Here are mine:

RENT - I've seen this on stage twice and I love love LOVE it. I read somewhere that some members of the original Broadway cast will be in this movie. Can't wait for it to come out. Can. Not. Wait. I was invited to a special screening to benefit Project Open Hand, but tickets were like, $100 a piece. Exqueeze me?

Memoirs of a Geisha - Loved the book, and I mean no offense when I say this, but why is 50% of the cast Chinese? I mean, Director Rob Marshall got some great actors for this movie, but man, we don't ALL look alike.

And then there's:

  • "Walk the Line," the Johnny Cash movie
  • "Jarhead," the Jake Gyllenhall drool-fest
  • "Good Night and Good Luck," George Clooney's movie about the McCarthy era
  • "Capote" (Have I ever mentioned my undying love for Philip Seymour Hoffman? Seriously. I think he gets my other ovary.)

Hell, I still haven't seen "The Constant Gardener" yet. I'm so behind.

*** The absence of the new Harry Potter movie is no coincidence.

Nov 17, 2005

Writer's Block

Gosh. There's so much going on right now: Bob Woodward's cockblocking; Cheney's lashing out; the threat of an Avian flu pandemic is still looming; the Plan B pill will be offered over-the-counter in Canada but not in the US, because it'll turn us all into raging sluts who kill babies left and right; and so forth.

And I don't even know what to say, because everything I wanted to say has already been said.

I need a muse.

Nov 16, 2005

Deodorant is the new black

Smelling good is SO HOT right now.

The folks at Axe came up with this tv ad masquerading as a breaking news story. The premise: Some remote town in Alaska is devoid of women, so to get them there, the town gets cropdusted with Axe body spray. Chicks come runnin'. End scene.

Heh heh.
The “report,” which launched last week, will be available to the 13.5 million Time Warner and Comcast subscribers nationwide who have the interactive TV feature [dammit! -me]. The content appears for three months during the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of programming. Some 75% of the audience for that time frame is 18- to 24-year-old men, Axe’s prime target.
Here's a link to the Adage article and a link to the video. I don't know if it'll work - you'll have to register and all that, but try it anyway.

I could go on about how scent plays a big part in sex, seduction, attraction, etc. But I'm at work and I don't want to get all hot and bothered right now. We'll save this conversation for later.

I got chills, they're multiplyin' ***

Have you seen this? It comes from a Washington Post article published on 9/11 of this year. [Emphasis mine.]

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Cenk Uygur's latest post on the HuffPo brought this to my attention. To me, it would seem like the Bush Administration's focus should be to discourage proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Instead, extension of this pre-emptive policy regarding nuclear weapons will do everything to increase productions of WMDs everywhere - not to mention solidifying our country's position as, let's face it, an enemy to the rest of the world. This is just out of control.

Uygur asks, "Are any of you positive that a cornered George Bush wouldn’t pull the trigger to divert attention from his troubles and rally the country behind him again in a time of war?"

When Uygur says "cornered," I can picture Dubya being cornered - not by another nation that the U.S. perceives as a threat, but by Mr. Go Fuck Yourself, snarling and getting all up in Dubya's face, commanding him to do it.

And that thought just chills me to the bone.

***Cheesy title, I know. It's hard work coming up with clever titles every day, dammit.

BOR is a boor

Mark Morford, to whom I have reserved one of my ovaries, had this to say about Bill O'Reilly's recent psychotic break [emphasis mine]:

In a way, we should be grateful for O'Reilly and Robertson and Limbaugh and Coulter and their slime-slinging ilk. They live in those black and nasty psycho-emotional places, so we don't have to. They show us how ugly we can be, how poisonous and ill, so we may recoil and say, Whoa, you know what? I think I need to be more gentle and less judgmental and kinder to those I love. BOR works an inverse effect on anyone with a vibrant and active soul -- he makes us better by sucking all the grossness into himself and blowing it out via a TV channel no one of any spiritual acumen really respects anyway.
But I would never go so far as to wish terrorists would blow up, say, Washington, D.C. Or Bill O'Reilly's personal fetish dungeon at Fox HQ in New York. I would never take a similar BOR tack and suggest that every red state that openly supports Bush and his miserable wars (and by extension, O'Reilly and his miserable worldview) should offer up their kid as a blood sacrifice to the Iraq War.

Check that: Maybe I would.
I couldn't have said it any better myself. Let's move on. O'Reilly will get his karma kickback soon, I am sure.

Fasten your bible belts

What's going on with these tornados lately? We're way past tornado season.

Nov 16, 2005 - (PARIS, TN 11/16/05 AP) _ Extensive damage and at least one death are reported from severe thunderstorms in the nation's midsection.

Storms late Tuesday spun off tornados that destroyed or damaged buildings in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Emergency workers in Kentucky report one death and nearly two-dozen people hurt.

Things are looking pretty bleak for the midwest. My heart goes out to all the folks who lost their homes and businesses, and I hope they are able to regain a sense of normalcy soon.

But I have to ask: With all of the bullshit being spewed by the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Pat Robertson about the depravity of San Francisco and their opinon about so-called immoral individuals getting what they deserve, how do they rationalize an act of God inflicted against some of the most religious and conservative communities in this country??

Nov 14, 2005

Pass me the bread basket, will ya?

As has been previously reported, low-carb/high-protein diets may pose health risks in the long run. But this current report from the BBC highlights a startling finding:

Scientists have found high fat, low carbohydrate diets can reduce energy to the heart.
They found that the energy stored in the heart was reduced by an average of 16% among those who followed a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
In some people the energy reduction was as much as a third.

Their hearts also became slightly 'stiffer' - not relaxing quite as well as before the diet.
Sixteen per cent. Stiffness in the heart tissue. That's pretty freaky. The good news is that the condition can be reversed when returning to a more-balanced diet.

I remember trying one of those Atkins/South Beach diets a year ago. All I remember is the willingness to maim someone for an orange. And while I typically frown on white flour and processed food (although my latest fried calamari/beer-drinking binge proves otherwise), any extreme tilt to either side just - intuitively - can't be healthy. And I had been contemplating a return to the low-carb livin' (after the holidays, of course, heh heh). But after reading this article, not so much.

Nov 13, 2005

Please, no more

Oh please, no. For the love of Jah, let's not even entertain the thought:

BERLIN (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of U.S. President George W. Bush, ruled out running for president in 2008 but left open the possibility of a subsequent bid in an interview with a German magazine published on Sunday.

Jeb Bush, who is scheduled to visit Germany this week, told Focus weekly he had not thought much about running for the office held by his father and older brother except to rule out the next election at the end of George W. Bush's second term.

"You should never say never. But for the 2008 election, my answer is definitely no," he said, in comments translated into German by the magazine.
A crazy coincidence, this article above. I was just out having some tea with friends this evening, chatting out the benefits of Brazilian waxing vs. shaving, and then I come home, read a few articles online and come across this. And the only thing running through my mind in both instances was "no more bush."

No more Bush, indeed. This country's had enough of you guys.

(Photo credit: Marc Serota/Reuters)

Nov 11, 2005

Oh, Rick. Just shut the hell UP already.

ABC's "Primetime" did some investigation on malpractice lawsuit reform and came up with this interesting little tidbit.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., says that the No. 1 health care crisis in his state is medical lawsuit abuse and in the past he's called for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards or awards for pain and suffering. "We need to do something now to fix the medical liability problem in this country," he declared at a rally in Washington D.C., this past spring.

But Santorum's wife sued a doctor for $500,000 in 1999. She claimed that a botched spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering, and sued for twice the amount of a cap Santorum has supported.
When cornered by ABC during a book signing, in PA, Santorum said, "Of course I'm going to support my wife in her endeavors. That doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything that she does."

Of course you're going to support her. You and she benefited from a legal settlement twice the amount of your proposed cap on "non-economic damages." Give it a rest. Seriously!

(Photo credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster, courtesy of the HuffPo.)

Nov 10, 2005

I'm only AA, but I think in XXX

Today, Senator Sam Brownback (R.-Kansas) examined the effects of pornography during a Senate hearing. In just over a year, Brownback [a possible deviant sexual term if ever I heard one] has already held three hearings on the subject of sex.

According to Jill Manning, a BYU sociologist called to speak at the Senate hearing, pornography is responsible for:
  • An increased risk of divorce
  • Decreased marital intimacy
  • Letting people know that other kinds of sexual behavior (S&M, beastiality, group sex) exist

Another panelist, Pamela Paul, also let us in on the internal conflict you married men face day in and day out:
They must choose between masturbating at a computer and finding sexual satisfaction with their wives. "If they go to their wives, well, just practically speaking, they have to make sure they have done all of the chores around the house they were supposed to do. They need to have a half-an-hour conversation about what they did that day," said Paul. This courtship could take up to an hour and a half. By contrast, she said, it takes "five minutes to go online."
Oh, you poor things.

So far, Brownback hasn't written one piece of legislation to address this porn "problem." Seems to me he likes talking about sex more than he does legislating it. But he has to know that expanding obscenity laws, or expanding the definition of what is considered "obscene" is highly subjective. This little pet project of his is heading down a slippery slope, because what is considered obscene will differ from community to community.

Tom Hymes, spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition, told Salon in a phone interview after the Brownback hearing that red states enjoy porn more so than blue states. Fuck, I love me some irony:
"The hotel rooms in Utah, for instance, download more adult movies than any other state. I have that on a very good source."
Yeah, I've heard rumors about them Mormons, man. Kink-AY.

Look. Porn is fun. It's entertainment. It's informative. A "learning experience," if you will. Of course, I think we can all agree that there a line does exist differentiating what we find exciting and sexy versus what we find obscene and deviant. This will differ from person to person. And our obscenity laws already target certain kinds of smut that are threats to public safety. We don't need some guy from Kansas telling us that pornography and masturbation lead to loss of judgment, or that it's going to cause the collapse of the civilized world.

Please, stop legislating sex. Seriously. Stay out of my bedroom. Or dressing room. Or back seat of my car. Or rooftop. Or whatever.

(Photo composite credit: Bob Watts/Salon)

Bring it on

According to this CNN article, the White House is poised to launch a "campaign-style" attack against Democrats in response to allegations that the White House manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq war.

Telegraphing the beginning of a communications effort is a tactic the Bush team has used in the past, especially when it comes to Iraq.
White House officials are determined to reverse President Bush's poor poll showings on the topics of Iraq and "honesty and trustworthiness."
Looks like the GOP is planning to get all types of ghetto up in here, up in here. Cue the dirty tricks, discrediting of critics, and getting the truth all twisted up, all the while ignoring the fact that people are onto you, Dubya. You and your entire cabal of degenerates.

Bring it on.

P.S. The Rude Pundit's take on this is worth a read.

Ambassador Joe Wilson @ Cal

Last night, the Goldman School of Public Policy hosted "A Conversation with Ambassador Joseph Wilson" at the I-house.

He spoke about his many years as a diplomat in Africa, how it was a choice between him and some other guy to explore the yellowcake issue in Niger, and how he went to Niger, not as a spy ("I don't do clandestine"), but out of service to his country.

What I've always wanted to know was specifically how Wilson arrived at the conclusion that the Bush administration's claim - that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa, thereby justifying the U.S. invasion - was untrue. Wilson, familiar with the mining industry in Africa ("I am not a WMD expert"), went into some detail to explain what "yellowcake" is, and the kind of resources you'd need (people, machinery, water, etc.) to separate the ore, not to mention the paper trail that has to be in place for everything to be legit. Even if this was done off the books, Wilson said, we're talking about 500 tons of unenriched uranium - it would not go unnoticed.

After a brief Q & A session, Wilson said that if he were to boil the evening's conversation down to a core issue - or "moral of the story," if you will - it's what he has been saying all along: Yes, people who work in government work very hard, but it is our duty, as Americans, to be tireless in our efforts to hold these individuals accountable for their actions. This country has strayed so far away from its greatness, both here and abroad. Wilson said that this country is currently being run by a bunch of “radicals rallying under the banner of republicanism” — but what they are doing instead is damaging our country and not caring about the ripple effect these actions will have in the long run.

Nov 9, 2005

For Amanda

I know my friend Amanda will appreciate this.

In New Jersey, the election ended quickly for Mr. Forrester, who called Mr. Corzine shortly after 10 p.m. to concede. About 45 minutes later, an exuberant Mr. Corzine appeared before cheering supporters in East Brunswick, the Bon Jovi song, "In These Arms," blaring in the background. Mr. Corzine told voters, "Hold me accountable."
Emphasis mine.

You gotta love The Jerz.

(Photo credit: Tim Larsen/AP)

Nov 8, 2005

Election Watch

Proposition 73, which would require doctors to notify a minor's parents 48 hours before performing an abortion on the patient, was my big issue - my "hot button," if you will - in this special election.

So as of 8:46 p.m., with 12.1% of precincts reporting, Prop 73 is PASSING.

I'm sick to my stomach. The fact that polls closed not even one hour ago gives me some iota of comfort. But still. This shit should have been a slam dunk.

Don't even get me started on Texas.

UPDATE 11/9: Okay, phew. I was about to go off on California for a minute there. Kudos to Virginia and The Jerz for electing democratic governors.


Yesterday, The Bulldog Manifesto posted a link to a video produced by Italian channel RAI 24 that documents the use of white phosporus and napalm on Iraqi civilians in Fallujah last year.

Today, Reuters reports that the U.S. military denies (of course) that it used white phosphorous or napalm, but instead they used MK 77 firebombs against "military targets."

Tell that to former U.S. Soldier Jeff Englehart, who was quoted in the report:
"I do know that white phosphorus was used," said Jeff Englehart in the RAI documentary, which identified him as a former soldier in the U.S. 1st Infantry Division in Iraq. "Burned bodies. Burned children and burned women," said Englehart, who RAI said had taken part in the Falluja offensive. "White phosphorus kills indiscriminately."
Aside from the Reuters link, I was able to find this document sourced by that includes some media links. I haven't had a chance to look through it completely, and I must warn you that it contains some pretty graphic pictures. It's shocking for sure, and I know that with everything there is some bias here. But still. Disturbing.

The use of chemical weapons against U.S. citizens has always been part of Dubya's and Cheney's arsenal to garner support for the war in Iraq. And now there is documentation that suggests that we are doing the same thing? I'm not well-versed this, but this has got to be a violation of Section I of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which addresses protection of civilians during times of war. And then people wonder why Dubya got such a hostile reception in South America?

More of the mainstream media need to report on this. I've already sent the RAI 24 link last night to the NY Times, Media Matters, and SF Chronicle. We need to bring this to the forefront.

Don't Forget to Vote!

Don't forget to cast your ballot in the Governator's special election today.

Need more information on where your polling location is? Smart Voter has a function in which you can not only find your polling location, but you can also print out a copy of your city-specific ballot.

According to the SF Chronicle this morning, voter turnout was anticipated to be quite low, causing concern among non-Republicans. But now, 6.8 million people are expected to go to the polls today.
The Field Poll estimate calls for about 43 percent of the state's 15.8 million registered voters to cast ballots today, not far from the 42 percent turnout predicted by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

"This is not a bad turnout for an election without any names on the ballot,'' said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

That could be bad news for Schwarzenegger and his allies, who had hoped for a low-turnout election in which increased interest among Republicans could offset the Democratic number advantage among California voters.
Get out there and make your voice heard. Nix the first six.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

(cross-posted on NorCal Politics and Blogs By Women)

Nov 7, 2005


So I'm checking email, right? And I find this email from Elizabeth Dole. [I know, I thought "WTF" too.] Basically, this email is from GOP from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, urging me to help the GOP get Scalito nominated, likening the impending partisan battle (or not, if your name is Joe Biden) to "Armageddon."

Um, ok. I have no freakin' clue as to how I got on this mailing list.

So anyway, the email also asks me to take this poll, right?

1. What is your overall opinion of Judge Samuel Alito? (Favorable/Unfavorable/No Opinion)
2. Do you feel Judge Samuel Alito is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States? (Yes/No/Unsure)
3. Should Judge Alito receive a fair up or down vote before the U.S. Senate? (Yes/No/Unsure)
4. If Democrats filibuster, what is the best option for Republicans?
  • Withdraw Judge Alito and submit a new CONSERVATIVE nominee.
  • Withdraw Judge Alito and submit a new MODERATE nominee.
  • Exercise the Constitutional Option which would allow a simple 51-majority to confirm Judge Alito
5. Will you help the NRSC with this nomination battle? (Yes/No/Unsure)

I'm sure you can tell how I answered. Wanna take the poll too? Here's the link.

Who, me? Torture?

A few more bad apples, perhaps? Because, you know. "We do not torture" and all that.

Pimpercrombie & Bitch

The clothing label I love to hate, Abercrombie & Fitch, is again in the spotlight for its insensitivity displayed in the intent to sell overpriced t-shirts to affluent, brand-conscious young adults.

The clothing chain has received criticism for selling t-shirts to girls with the following printed on them:

  • "Who needs brains when you have these?"
  • "Blondes are adored, brunettes are ignored"
  • "I make you look fat"
These shirts sparked a "girl-cott" by the Women & Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania. A spokesman for A&F said "We recognize that the shirts in question, while meant to be humorous, might be troubling to some."

Oy vey. You'd think the company would have learned its lesson by now. Or, maybe they're deliberately pushing buttons to garner publicity. Shall I channel Frist and scream "stunt"?

Back when I was still living in upstate NY, I remember A&F (a favorite among the rich, private university undergrads in Syracuse) coming under fire in 2002 for coming out with a line of t-shirts that Asian-Americans found racially insensitive. If you remember, these t-shirts featured stereotypical caricatures of the Asian man: Slanty eyes and conical rice-paddy hats. Personally, I find this most recent batch of shirts more offensive, but in Middle America, where racial equality is NOT yet a reality, these t-shirts are particularly troublesome. Captions for these shirts read:

  • "Wong Brothers Laundry Service -- Two Wongs Can Make It White"
  • "Wok-N-Bowl -- Let the Good Times Roll -- Chinese Food & Bowling"
  • "Abercrombie and Fitch Buddha Bash -- Get Your Buddha on the Floor"
A&F's PR person was quoted as saying, "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt."

Oh really.

He probably thinks all Asian women bind their feet, wear their hair in asymmetrical bobs, and have pots of freshly made green tea ready for their men by the time they get home from work. Man, I can't wait for THOSE shirts to come out.

Two words: Focus group.

My message to A&F brand sluts everywhere: Please - buy your clothing somewhere else. Their stuff is NOT that great. You can find better clothes elsewhere. Don't be a part of this stupidity.

(Photo credit: Chronicle/Paul Chinn)

Get out the shovels, his mouth is open again

From the "If you say it enough times, it must be true" department:

"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again," Bush said. "So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law." He declared, "We do not torture."
Except here. And here. Oh yeah, and here.

Nov 6, 2005

Some things just can't be taught

From the "too little, too late" department:

Bush is requiring his executive office staff to attend refresher courses on ethics and handling classified materials, according to a White House memo.

"The President has made clear his expectation that each member of his Executive Office of the President (EOP) staff adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of all rules governing ethical conduct for EOP staff," states the memo sent to Bush's staff.
My question is, will they really learn ethics, or will they really just learn how not to get caught again?

(Courtesy of CNN)

Nov 4, 2005

Friday Afternoon Activism

My new crush, Harry Reid, has a petition going around demanding Dubya and Crew get their heads out of their asses and come clean already.
Dear President Bush,

You can no longer mislead Congress and the American people and need to honestly lay out the facts about Iraq. It's time for an Iraq success strategy that will bring our troops home.

We cannot continue to stay the course in Iraq -- we must change the course.
Amen, brotha. Give 'em Hell, Harry.

Click here to sign the petition.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

(Courtesy of AgitProp featuring Blogenfreude)

Nov 3, 2005

Torturemeister Cheney

The Bulldog Manifesto just did a post on this article from Le Monde that basically implicates Mr. Go Fuck Yourself in having a direct hand in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

Here's an excerpt from the Babelfish translation:
Colonel Laurence Wilkerson, who was a principal private secretary of the former Secretary of State Colin Powell declared, on the waves of the public radio (NPR) which it had found trace of a series of memos and directives authorizing torture, addressed to the Defence Department by the collaborators of Dick Cheney. These directives contradicted another directive of president George W. Bush, ordering with the American army to respect the convention of Geneva which prohibits such practices.
Poor Dubya. Not even his own right-hand man pays attention to what he says.

Aside from the NPR link, I found this Oct. 20 WaPo article in which Wilkerson describes why he had to speak out:

Wilkerson's beef with the administration was, for the most part, not ideological. He argues that U.S. forces must remain in Iraq, and he describes George H.W. Bush as "one of the finest presidents we've ever had."

Rather, the colonel objected to the administration's secrecy, which allowed Cheney, Rumsfeld and others to subvert the foreign policy apparatus that has been in place since 1947.

"What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld," he said. By cutting out the bureaucracy that had to carry out those decisions, "we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, and generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina." If there is a nuclear terrorist attack or a major pandemic, Wilkerson continued, "you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that'll take you back to the Declaration of Independence."

Tell me why you think our current president is "one of the finest" again?


It's a sad day for Cattle Breeder Eric Fleming, whose 70-pound semen tank was broken into last Sunday.

In what could be considered the Quote of the Month, Fleming said:

"I will give a nice fat reward for any information on semen that was stolen from my tank today," Fleming wrote in a message posted on the Breeders' World Web forum this week. "It was a mother load of semen that I consigned to Denver sale."
Emphasis mine. Heh.

Let's take this as a learning opportunity. Did you know:

  • Bulls are finicky about breeding
  • Sperm collecting from bulls is a very difficult process
  • Bull sperm keeps well in the deep freeze, often outliving its donor
  • Female cows/sperm recipients are called "dams." (How rude!)

Do the right thing: If you, dear reader, come across some suspect bull sperm, please alert the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, stat.

Why I am loving Harry Reid right now

Yesterday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi sent this letter to Dubya saying:

With three years remaining in your term, we believe it is imperative that you move quickly to remove the cloud that hangs over your presidency. There are several actions we hope you will take today to allow us to return to the people's business. We strongly believe that you should apologize to the American people for the actions of senior members of your Administration.
No "stunts" here. Looks like he and Pelosi are making a genuine attempt to work together to remind Dubya where his priorities should be. This country is going to Hell in a handbasket, and finally the Democrats are doing what they can to put the brakes on this. There is nothing wrong with demanding accountability. There is nothing wrong with wanting to find the truth behind the lies. And it's nice to see the Democrats trying to get to the bottom of this. I hope this is the start of something big...

Speaking of the start of big things for the Democratic party, while reading through my blog feeds, I saw this one comment somewhere (and I'm sorry I can't remember now where I read it) that asked, "Where is Howard Dean?"

Seriously. Where is he? What is he up to?

Nov 2, 2005

Oh Please.

Bill Frist, whining like a bitch over the fact that the Democrats actually grew a set yesterday, said this:

''Never have I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution ... It means from now on, for the next year and a half, I can't trust Senator Reid."

Save it, Frist. Seriously.

Never before have *I* been slapped in the face with such an affront to my sensibilities and rights as an American citizen, like:
  • The constant threat of my right to choose being taken away
  • Government officials, like yourself, getting richer and richer through insider trading scams and money laundering
  • The utter failure of your party to govern and care for the most vulnerable of this country's citizens
  • Being lied to repeatedly about our country's motivation for the war in Iraq and being called "unAmerican" for using my decidedly American right to speak my mind

That's just the short list, Mr. Frist.

It infuriates me to no end how the GOP relentlessly try to spin things to make them seem like they are so upright and moral when they play the dirtiest of all.

What's Up with Ann Coulter?

On October 27 [yes, I know this was 7 days ago, I don't even want to hear it], Ann Coulter appeared on Fox's The Big Story with John Gibson and came up with the following zingers:

"If he [Rove] is indicted, I feel for him personally. It has nothing to do with Bush and the Republican Party. He doesn't need Rove again, and I never heard of Scooter Libby until 10 minutes ago."

"I think that [Tom DeLay's indictment] is not going to inure to the Democrats' benefit, to be having this obviously political prosecution of a political enemy, that just shows them to be the fascists that they are."

Whatever. I chalk up the above to your usual Ann Coulter insanity. But then, when asked who her pick would be to replace Harriet Miers, she said:

"[Janice Rogers Brown] has a well thought-out, conservative judicial philosophy. She is eminently qualified. And most importantly -- not most importantly, but importantly -- she is a black woman, and that will drive the Democrats so crazy, we might not even be able to execute them in Texas, which is a darn shame." [Emphasis mine.]

Um, what? Who is she referring to when she says "them"? Democrats? Black people? Women?

Bitch needs to go drink bleach.

Insomnia's a bitch ...

... but then again, I probably would have missed this one.

Newly minted Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was put to task today by fellow SCJ Sandra Day O'Connor in the first religious freedom case to be debated under the new Chief Justice's court. The case also called into speculation about how SC Nominee Sam "Don't Call Me Scalito" Alito would decide.

Seems like a group of 130 members of a Brazil-based church include the brewing and drinking of an herbal tea, hoasca, during their communion services. The tea is sacred to them, as they believe they can "understand God" only by drinking the tea.

Dubya and Crew say the tea - which contains a drug called DMT - is illegal. The members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal consider the tea sacred.

Fifteen years ago, the SC ruled that states could criminalize the use of peyote by Native Americans, but Congress changed the law to allow it.

In a move we might never see for a while should Scalito become the newest SCJ, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor slammed Dubya and Crew's lawyer and challenged the administration's position. Even Roberts suggested that Dubya and Crew was being a little overbearing with their "zero tolerance approach." Hmm.

Other justices also seemed concerned by the government's claim that an exception could be made for peyote, but not for hoasca tea.

"That is a rather rough problem under the First Amendment," said Justice Stephen Breyer.

Hell, even Scalia The Elder said in his 1990 opinion on the peyote case called it "a demonstration you can make an exception without the sky falling."

There is a possibility that Scalito (yes, I know this is not his real name) could be called in to rule on this case, and if so, it will be interesting to see which way he'll go. His own precedents show that he is seemingly (and I use this term with the utmost skepticism) tolerant on religious issues - his 1999 opinion allowing Muslim police officers (good) and the permittance of a religiously diverse display on government property as long as it was balanced with non-religious icons, like say, Frosty the Snowman (slippery slope) make this a tough one to call.

This is just the calm before the storm ... bring me some of that tea, wouldja?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nov 1, 2005

Is that a MEME in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

My favorite BARBARian, Scaramouche, has tagged me with this "meme," with which I am to do the following:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

So here's the fifth line from my 23rd post, "Blah," from Feb. 28 of this year.

Things I should be doing more of:
  • Dating
  • Making more money
  • Growing, professionally
  • Meeting people
  • Writing
  • Keeping in better touch with my friends
  • Riding my bike
Was it as good for you as it was for me? No? Well maybe these guys can do better.

I hereby tag the following Furious Five:

1. Jonsey at Jones of the Nile (does he even have 23 posts yet?)
2. Kevin at Brother Kenya's Paradigm (who needs to come to the next gathering)
3. Seamus at Rangelife (ditto)
4. Erica at Soft Pretzel Love (I know she'll hate me for this, but fuck it)
5. Shystee at CorrenteWire (because I just love his shit)