Feb 28, 2006

The Curse of Dick Cheney

In light of recent events surrounding the Grim Veeper and his current 18% "favorability" rating, I feel I have to draw attention to this great 2004 article that I keep going back to from Rolling Stone. I consider it to be quite profound and quite prophetic.

Maybe there really is a Cheney curse? Does everything he touch really turn to failure?
As vice president, Cheney has been the decisive force pushing America into war. In the inner councils of the administration, it was he who emasculated Colin Powell, cut the State Department out of effective policymaking, foisted fake reports on the intelligence agencies and supplanted the National Security Council. It was also Cheney who placed appointees personally loyal to him, including Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, in charge of the Pentagon and speckled the warmaking bureaucracy with desk officers culled from neoconservative Washington think tanks -- ideologues with no military experience.

"They were like cancer cells," says retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked on the Defense Department's Near East and South Asia desk during the buildup to the Iraq war. "They didn't care about the truth. They had an agenda. I'd never seen anything like it. They deformed everything."
As the disaster has unfolded in Iraq, [Cheney] has continued to insist against all evidence that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, that the dictator was aiding Al Qaeda, that nothing the Bush administration has done was a mistake. Those who have known him over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. "He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met," says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter. Cheney's freshman-year roommate, Steve Billings, agrees: "If I could ask Dick one question, I'd ask him how he could be so unempathetic."
It baffles me how someone like Cheney can continue to get away with the things he has managed to get away with during the course of his career. Is it the permasnarl? Are people just THAT AFRAID of him?

Anyway, check out the article. It's worth a re-read.

Political Theatre

The Army: Listen, um, can you cut this check for $2.41 billion?

Pentagon Auditors: Who's it for?

The Army: It's that invoice from Halliburton.

Pentagon Auditors: The one with the almost $250 million in potentially excessive and unjustified charges?

The Army: Yep. That's the one.

Pentagon Auditors: But ...

The Army: Two words: Dick. Cheney.

Pentagon Auditors: (shiver) Should I take it out of the $900 million from American taxpayers, or from the $1.5 billion of Iraqi oil proceeds seized from Saddam's government?

The Army: Don't question me in public.


(With a nod to Wayne Uff at Bad Attitudes.)

Feb 27, 2006

Because I care

Attention all my favorite NYC bloggers with dogs: Taking the pooch out for its daily walk can be deadly.
During the snowy months of late winter, when salt mixes with slush, electric current escaping through uninsulated wires can be conducted up to the street through manholes, streetlights, service boxes, grates or cracks in the sidewalk.

New Yorkers became painfully aware of the phenomenon two winters ago, when a 30-year-old woman named Jodie Lane was electrocuted while walking her dogs in the East Village. Lane's death opened people's eyes to the risks posed by the wires that weave in and out of the city.
New Yorkers were reminded of the phenomenon last week, when a chow-collie mix named Barkis was electrocuted near Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

The dog's owner, a music producer named Danny Kapilian, was walking Barkis when the dog "started yelping and jumping" and lunged into the street. Assuming the dog was reacting to rock salt on the street, Kapilian bent down to wipe his paws. For a moment, Barkis seemed calm. Then he went into a fury — eyes flaring, teeth gnashing, so violently that Kapilian was afraid his sweet-natured dog would attack him.

Barkis then fell, flopping on to the sidewalk, and went into convulsions. Kapilian sat beside his dog for 40 minutes, a crowd gathering around him, while he waited for help. When two animal technicians reached down to try to move Barkis, they too were shocked.
This store, Trixie & Peanut, sells black-rubber soled boots for your dogs to protect them from this sort of thing.

Now, normally I’d say my usual “that’s just for people who have too much money to spend” line, but geez. What’s up with ConEd?

In an attempt to get past the lack of information out there, people are taking it upon themselves to inform other doggie owners. Some post warnings around the neighborhood. There's also a blog called Shock and Paw (nice title, guys!) that posts information on “hot spots” around town. I tried to find the link, but couldn't. If anyone comes across it, let me know, and I'll include it in this post.

Be careful out there, folks.

(Courtesy of Fark.)

Feb 25, 2006


Oh yeah, and Mister Furley died today. End of an era.

The Sadists in South Dakota

South Dakota's Senate State Affairs Committee, as we all know, passed legislation in their state this week to ban all abortions. All of them. Even if it meant that having the baby would kill the mother or cause serious long-term damage to her body.

And I thought, wow, that's really stupid and unfortunate, but thank Jah I live in California where it is still legal (for now). And I read the responses on all of my favorite blogs. And I have to say, I was complacent. That shit would never fly in California, I thought.

And not like I think I'd ever have an abortion if I were ever to get pregnant. And of course I say that now, but you never really know until you're in that situation.

But then.

My friend Erica at Soft Pretzel Love put in her two cents. In the middle of her post, she shows this photo of a woman, Gerri Santoro, naked, lying on the floor face down, legs spread, knees bent. She's clutching a towel in her right hand, an attempt to try and stop the bleeding from her botched "back alley" abortion done by the baby daddy who happened to have his hands on some medical instruments and a medical book he borrowed from a colleague. Abortion, DIY style.

Here's the link to Erica's post. But I have to warn you, the picture - if you haven't seen it before - is graphic. Gerri Santoro is there. All up in your face.

Looking at the photo turned my stomach, obviously. The image is haunting. And I wanted to cry, because she didn't have to die like that. But she did, because where she was from, abortion was illegal. It was 1964.

Immediately I thought of all of my close friends and family who have had abortions, and I thought, "what if this happened to them?"

I wonder if these fool lawmakers in South Dakota ever try to think that way. My guess is they'd blame the woman for having sex. Hell, they'd probably blame her because she left the house, instead of staying home and cooking. Or if it was one of their daughters, they'd whisk her off to their high-priced private doctor, do the D&C, and then nobody in the family would be allowed to ever mention it. Especially at the dinner table.

What is it about the pro-life debate that says the one life is more important than another? Why, in the proselytizing over morals and "family values," does this preclude the individual autonomy of a woman to make her own decisions when it comes to her own body?

Part of me wishes I'd never seen Gerri Santoro's crime scene photo. But then again, it's a good thing I did, because now I will never forget her.

Feb 23, 2006

What now?

Great. Coup attempt in the Philippines.

"I have declared a state of emergency," Arroyo said in a taped address on television and radio, adding she had authorized the military and police "to take ample measures."
Dad comes home Saturday.

Is Morrissey a Terrorist?

(Or, alternatively, "The Boy with a Thorn in His Side." I couldn't decide. Anyway. Moving on.)

Of course not, but apparently the FBI and British intelligence questioned him at length after some comments he made that were critical of the Bush administration.

[Morrissey] is a famous critic of the US-led war in Iraq and has dubbed President GEORGE W BUSH a "terrorist" [well, isn't he? --me.] - but he was baffled to be hauled in by authorities.
"I don't belong to any political groups, I don't really say anything unless I'm asked directly and I don't even demonstrate in public. I always assume that so-called authoritarian figures just assume that pop/rock music is slightly insane and an untouchable platform for the working classes to stand up and say something noticeable.

"My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies. You can't really speak your mind and if you do you're investigated."
Yes, one would think so. I wonder if they'll go after Kanye next?

(Inspiration courtesy of this post at Shakespeare's Sister, fellow Smiths fan.)

Don't worry your pretty little heads

I’m sorry, come again?

We don’t need to worry about national security?

Haven’t you held the issue of national security over our heads the entire time you’ve been in office? Haven’t you used national security (and terrorism) as the basis for every decision you’ve made to effectively dismantle our civil liberties while attempting to render the Constitution irrelevant?

And when I say “basis,” I mean superficially. We all know that the real reasons you make the decisions you do are to continue to keep you and your cronies and supporters happy and fat in the wallet. Even if the home country of those cronies and supporters have supported terrorism. Even if two of the 9/11 hijackers came from this country. Even if most of the money used to fund 9/11 tragedy funneled through the country that will now run our ports.

Oh right, because that’s part of the Master Plan though, isn’t it. You think you’re being smart, building a business partnership with this company. But what you’re really doing is making us their bitch.

If we aren’t already.

Project Runway After Party

UPDATE: Here's a video link to the Daniel Franco song. It's here until YouTube shuts it down. Enjoy. I've already watched it like, a million times. (Courtesy of Blogging Project Runway.)

Episode 12: The Reunion Show
Aaah. Everyone is back for one night to dish about behind-the-scenes stuff. I never realized how much I missed everyone until watching the reunion show.

All 16 of the designers show up one by one at the Parsons New School, looking ALL hot. John discovered Atkins, Kirsten is seven months prego, and Kara is engaged! They all hang out backstage getting all liquored up. Looser tongues make for better TV, my pretties.

On the set, everyone’s sitting around with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn talking about how their lives have changed because of the show, like how everyone's been working like crazy on all these cool and amazing projects, and Guadalupe is busting out with this ironic clap, like she’s happy but giving you the stink eye at the same time. Rowr! Hmm. Guadalupe must not ... be working on anything ... interesting. (Uncomfortable silence.)

Tim asks Chloe about the time the last three designers stabbed her in the back. To add insult to injury, they replayed the clips from last week, including the one where Santino called her basically a patternmaker. Chloe's crying. Daniel Franco, Jah bless him, calls Santino out, asking him why he always has to be mean. And Chloe tells Santino that he basically offended everyone along the way.

Santino says that what he says doesn’t matter. (Interesting choice of words there.) That it doesn’t come from an evil place.

Cue Santino montage!

Santino says that he regrets that his words hurt the other designers’ feelings. But I'm sure he doesn’t regret the fact that his outrageous personality was the only thing that kept him on that show, because homeboy ended up at Olympus Fashion Week anyway, yo!

Oh my god. Guadalupe is tanked. I can’t even transcribe her response to the question that asked whether she thought her Nicky Hilton loss was justified.

Oh yay. They replayed Andrae’s breakdown. With an “elapsed time” stamp! Hahaha! Nine minutes, 53 seconds! And by the way, the Andrae montage was hilarious! Kara and Chloe immitating Andrae while doing their morning primping? Hysterical!

Zulema’s montage introduces us to her alter ego, Shatangi. Understatement of the evening:

“I don’t think I’m that intense.”

Right, Zu.

And as if there isn’t enough tension in the room right now, they bring up Zulema’s now-infamous walk off battle, and bring out Tarah and Rachel, the models. There is much eye rolling from Rachel, Miss "If you're gonna do all that, at least come out with a bangin' dress!" Oh no she didn't! All that was missing was the neck snap.

Looking back, all those models walked the same. Zulema thought that she was doing Rachel a favor by helping her “evolve” with her walk. Whatever! As if walking’s like, hard or something.

Cue more shit-talking montages.

The musical montage was the best! It was a “Lighten up, it’s just fashion” and “Daniel Franco, where did you go?” medley.

What was up with Daniel Franco telling Heidi Klum that he loved her? And what was up with the awkward silence that followed? Yikes. Daniel Franco may have a good heart, but that was creepy, like how when one of your hardcore stalkers says "I love you" to your face and all you want to do is take a hot shower and scrub yourself with a Brillo pad. At least, that's what I hear it's like.

Bravo loves them some drama!

The final runway show airs on March 8, kittens. And the preview shows Chloe crying. Again. Why does Bravo have to make lil’ Chlo cry every episode?

Feb 22, 2006

Portgate really boils down to torture

Lambert at CorrenteWire has a great post up about how the whole UAE port deal boils down to the Bush Administration ensuring that it can continue to torture.

See, so while the whole Portgate deal makes Bush appear like a blithering idiot who doesn't even know what's going under his own watch, making it look like we're pretty much handing terrorists free reign and access over and into our country, in Bush's cognitively dissonant "reality," this is really about showing how the Administration really IS tough on terror after all!

Clever how they do that, isn't it? From the AP [Emphasis mine.]:
The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.

As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.

The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

"They're not lax but they're not draconian," said James Lewis, a former U.S. official who worked on such agreements. If officials had predicted the firestorm of criticism over the deal, Lewis said, "they might have made them sound harder."
Silly me, thinking that some Bush loyals really meant their criticisms. I'm sure they knew this smoke and mirrors trickery all along. It's amazing how creative they can be to try and get around the whole "torture" thing, yet they fail to use their same, twisted imaginations to solve the real problems on our own soil.

"Project Jay" on Bravo tonight!

Tonight’s the first episode of “Project Jay, the spinoff to my favorite reality show (don't act like you don't know) “Project Runway.”

For those of you living in a cave, this show highlights Jay McCarroll, the winner of last season's “Project Runway” and his experiences, misgivings, and rants, surrounding his life as a post-reality fashion designer in New York.

According to this review in the New York Times, we find out that the fashion world ain't pretty.

But first, we see Jay off to make a name for himself in New York via Park Slope. Brooklyn, y’all.

Jay is informed by his publicist tells him that Heidi Klum wants Jay to design an evening gown for her to wear at the Emmys. And although Jay doesn’t really want to do it (evening wear is not his thang), and he wants to tell Heidi to not wear red (even though that’s the color she requested), he makes her a dress anyway.

Fade out, fade in.

At the last minute, Heidi’s “people” tell Jay that they’re going to go with another dress after all.

Ain’t fashion a bitch.

(Photo credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Bravo)

Puppet Presidency

So as we are all hearing, the White House now claims that Dub didn't know anything about the UAE ports deal.

That's why Bush is so vehement about threatening any congressional obstruction with a veto.

It all makes sense, and if you don't get it, you hate America or something.

Somewhere, Bush is saying, "I supported the UAE port deal even though I knew nothing about it."

Feb 21, 2006


Back in November, I posted about O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, a Brazil-based church that holds as sacred the drinking of a tea that contains a component - hoasca - that the Bush Administration considers an illegal drug. The case was to be heard in front of the Supreme Court.

I thought that this case was significant, because it was the first religious freedom case to be heard by newly minted Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who wrote the court opinion. [Scalito took "no part in the consideration or decision" in this case.] You can read the opinion in its entirety here (if you have a lot of spare time and the interest), but basically it's saying that the government's desire to have a uniform application of the Controlled Substances Act violates a person/group's religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (The Peyote Exception). Furthermore, the opinion states that the government didn't even submit evidence that would show the damage that would be caused if the tea was exempt from the CSA.

Basically, the government failed to make its case.

Thanks to Catherine at Poverty Barn for the heads up. I love closure, especially when it works out the way I'd like it to.

Save the drama for your mama!

So yesterday I posted about former U.S. Senate Candidate Paul Hackett and how his camp may have leaked out campaign research that paints Sherrod Brown in a bad light, right?

So today, Hackett is accusing Brown's campaign of spreading ugly rumors that Hackett mishandled body parts while serving in Iraq. I know. This shit is better than a soap opera.

Word 'round the campfire is that pictures exist of Hackett PLAYING WITH BODY PARTS. Of course, Hackett denied this on Hardball with Chris Matthews:

"I have heard those stories, and they're absolutely preposterous," Hackett said. "I invite anybody who wants to make those allegations to come onto your show. I'll meet them here."

Hackett said he believes that the rumors came from Brown's campaign because he heard that from "multiple different sources throughout Ohio, all pointing in that direction."
And of course, Brown's campaign folk deny they had any part in spreading this nasty rumor.

Hackett had previously shied away from identifying the source of the rumors. In an interview last week with The Plain Dealer, Hackett said he believed that he knew the source of the rumors but didn't want to elaborate. He instead suggested that a reporter contact a supporter of his, Clermont County Democratic Chairman David Lane.

Lane said last week that he had no proof that a Democrat was responsible for the rumors, but he recounted a conversation last fall with Dan Lucas, an aide to Brown, in which he said Lucas told him "there are things out there about Paul that I don't think he [Hackett] really wants to be made public."
This is insane. And I don't know what's real or not. I'm sure Hackett didn't futz around with body parts, and I don't know if Hackett himself intentionally leaked that information about Brown to the Toledo Blade. But what I do know is this backstabbing and mudslinging and just plain ugliness is going to hurt us in Ohio.

I mean, I understand Hackett might have some serious angst about being asked to drop out of the race in favor of Brown. I get that. Even I was pissed. (And I don't even live in Ohio!) And if someone accused me of playing with body parts in Iraq, I'd staunchly defend my reputation, as Hackett is doing. But also, if these rumors have been going on for a while, why wait until just last week to say anything?

In just two days, the democratic ticket in Ohio has just turned into a morass of infighting and backstabbing and just plain ugliness, when instead they should be working together to make sure a Democrat wins the Senate seat in the next election.

Feb 20, 2006

How does this make sense?

The Bush Administration plans to allow a company based in the United Arab Emirates to run six major ports in this country.

Yeah I know. WTF. How does this make sense?
The UAE was used by some of the 9/11 terrorists as both an operational and a financial base.
Yep. BushCo sure loves him some 9/11.

I guess this means I really should finish my copy of House of Bush/House of Saud.

With a nod to esteemed BARBARian colleague and Most Benevolent Despot King of Zembla for the link.

Digging for Hope

I feel like a bad Filipino for not commenting on Friday's landslide in South Leyte. This was partially because the initial counts of 1,800 feared dead tripped me out. My dad and his sister are in the Philippines right now, so I had my initial "Where the fuck is South Leyte?" Google Maps freak-out moment. (Nowhere near where they are, thank Jah.) Also, the mental image of trees sliding down the hill - vertically - was hard for me to fathom. I didn't comment also because I've been angered by stories about how illegal logging in the area has caused uncontrolled soil erosion, making this landslide inevitable, and I really wanted my reflection on this disaster to be a little more rational rather than a slew of F-bombs.

Fortunately for me, I don't have any family in South Leyte. My family is mainly on the island of Luzon. In case you were wondering.

I was born in the States, and have visited the Philippines about three or four times. And whenever I visit, I realize that they have the same problems that we do here - but on a much larger scale. Natural resources are plundered. Basic infrastructure is lacking (although my family says that now there is a central highway that connects Manila to Northern Luzon, where my mom is from). Corruption - of all kinds - runs rampant. And it always makes me sad to see that, because that is what the rest of the world sees. But in reality, if you dig deep enough, you can find the beauty of this country. Like now.

When I read stories like this, it just makes me so proud of the people from my ancestral homeland, because they refuse to give up their search and rescue efforts, when other cynical and jaded people - like me - would have already given up. I mean hell - even Imelda is going to donate some money to the mudslide victims instead of using that money for some "alternative medicine" treatment she was going to check out in Hong Kong. She does have a heart after all.

My mom sometimes says that the Philippines is a land of "lost opportunities." I hope that Philippine President Arroyo takes her cue from this disaster to make sure that greed (e.g. illegal logging helping to make this landslide worse) doesn't overcome the basic need to take care of the Philippine people. It's a tall order, but she can at least get the ball moving in the right direction. It's an opportunity to make some real change. Like, for example, a broader use of coconets to help battle soil erosion, helping to prevent landslides of this magnitude from happening again.

Baby steps.

If any of you readers happen to have any family affected by the landslide, you are in my prayers.

Photo credit: AFP/HO/Michael D.Kennedy

Freedom of (Dis)Information

I've seen among some liberal bloggers questioning whether the Grim Veeper has the authority to reclassify documents.

Now look. Seems like since 1999, the "CIA and five other agencies" have been reclassifying documents that have previously been declassified. For years. In secret.

And, then there's this.
The secret program accelerated after the Bush administration took office and especially after the September 11 attacks, according to archives records, [The New York Times] said.

Are we going to lose Ohio?

Thought the Paul Hackett drama was over? Yeah, so did I.

And then I saw this on Suburban Guerrilla today, and if it is true, it's pretty slimy on Hackett's part. Basically, the Toledo Blade is reporting that Hackett's campaign did some background research on his (then) democratic opponent Brown, and was going to use that information to paint Brown as being soft on national security, intelligence, the Patriot Act, etc.

Mr. Hackett quit the race last week, leaving Mr. Brown as the near-certain Democratic nominee against incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine. But not before his campaign paid more than $5,000 to comb Mr. Brown's background for political weakness.
Which isn't surprising in and of itself, since Hacket would need to find a way to stand out against his fellow running mate, had he stayed in the race. But the information his consultant came up with, and what is now leaked to The Toledo Blade may or may not now harm Brown's viability as a winning Democratic candidate in Ohio:

The research concluded it was unwise to attack Mr. Brown's career voting record in a Democratic primary, because he toed the party line faithfully. It also predicts Republican attacks on Mr. Brown this fall.

"For Sherrod Brown, the issue of terrorism presents a big problem," a Hackett consultant wrote in an undated memo. A paragraph later, the consultant called Mr. Brown's intelligence votes "evidence that Brown would be pummeled in a general election match-up, as we already know how Republicans use the issue of terrorism against Democrats."
I'm really, really, really hoping that his camp didn't leak the info but that maybe it got stolen somehow by The Other Side.

Feb 17, 2006

I'm beside myself with disgust.

"My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week," Whittington said. "We hope that he will continue to come to Texas and seek the relaxation that he deserves."

It's one thing to be gracious. It's another thing to be a doormat. Or a patsy. Or to say YOU'RE THE SORRY ONE when your "buddy" shoots you in the face on accident.

I mean, look at him. Because of this incident, he had a heart attack AND his face is all busted. I don't get it.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Todd Yates)

Friday Morning Insomnia Blogging

I saw a link to this article on Ang's blog, talking about how they found 3,000 year-old Muslim graves underneath the Museum of Tolerance.
When workers broke ground on the $200 million Museum of Tolerance on the edge of Independence Park, they unearthed what bulldozers often dig up in a city whose history dates 3,000 years: the bones of the dead.

In this case, the site was on the edge of a historic Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem that Arabs say holds the remains of not just their grandparents, but long-ago associates of the prophet Muhammad.

The resulting uproar has placed the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center's expansive new monument to "human dignity" in the center of a historical imbroglio in the city where three religions intersect.

Lawyers for two Muslim and human rights organizations Wednesday asked Israel's Supreme Court to block the project, which they said displays a disrespect at odds with the planned museum's mission to promote coexistence of ethnicities and religions.
Feel the irony.

Also, I'm a dork. I thought that the "Museum of Tolerance" was just something they made up on South Park.

Yes, I watch South Park sometimes. Deal. That was a funny-ass episode, man.

Feb 16, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 11: "What's Your Line?"
Here we are at the Final Four, and Heidi Klum asks of Chloe a pivotal question during runway judging:

If you think you deserve to be at Olympus Fashion Week, who doesn't?

Chloe outs Santino, and he responds in kind, saying that being a good patternmaker doesn't necessarily make one a good designer. Ouch. Okay, the snark from Santino was expected. What I didn't expect, however, was for Daniel and Kara to say that they didn't think she should be at Fashion Week either.

Wow. Backstabber alert!

Honestly. This "Final Four" show was, as the judges put it, underwhelming. Their task, to design an evening gown for Iman to wear at some red-carpet event (which was actually the Elle-sponsored Project Runway premiere party), brought out - with the exception of Santino, natch! - the safe and boring in each designer. Daniel V., Kara, and Chloe all choose a silk charmeuse (yawn!), while Santino chooses a gold stretch satin and this gold fabric with giant sequins.

[UPDATE: Actually, the task was to design a garment that would give the judges a glimpse of their collection, should they show at Olympus Fashion Week. It then turned out that the garment the winning designer made in this episode would be worn by Iman at the Project Runway premiere party sponsored by Elle. Thanks to WestCoastMaven for keeping me in check!]

I have to admit, Santino's final gown was the riskiest, and while it was over the top - typical of Santino's designs - it still left us with no doubt about what his point of view is. And even though it wasn't the most beautiful dress I've ever seen, it certainly wasn't boring. Everyone else's dresses were just ... blah. Construction problems, fabric puckering, uneven hems ran rampant in all of the Golden Children's (Daniel, Kara, Chloe) three dresses.

And after all of Daniel's, Chloe's, and Kara's bitching all episode about how fucked up it was that Nick got booted off and not Santino, I still can't get over how they sold Chloe out on the runway. So what if she already has a fashion business in Houston? That was just shady!

Daniel V. wins this challenge. (Shocker.) Chloe doesn't lose, and she will be going to Fashion Week after all. Phew. Kara and Daniel must feel like shit.

Kara gets the official Auf to end all Aufs, but as we already know, all four of them show at Fashion Week anyway.

Next week: The Reunion Show! And in the preview, we hear Tim saying, "I think this is the biggest bunch of bullshit I've heard all week." Delish!

Feb 15, 2006

Hell, why wait until 6 p.m.?

MSN just posted an AP article with highlights from the Grim Veeper's interview today. In a nutshell, Cheney feels bad about what happened ("the worst day of my life"), that he doesn't blame Whittington ("it was not Harry's fault"), and yet he still stands by his (stupid) decision ("I had no press person with me") to sit on the story for 24 hours before letting it break.

What is it about this administration staunchly defending its bad decisions?

And, by the way, OH PLEASE:

Through hospital officials, Whittington has declined to comment.

“He still kind of wonders what all the hoopla is about,” Banko said. He said Whittington sees it as “much ado about nothing.”

Don't even. You're in intensive care and you had a heart attack because your "friend" popped a cap in your face. And you'll have the scars for the rest of your life to remember this day by.

That is, if Whittington really said that. Which is questionable.

Also, doctors are calling the heart attack a "silent heart attack."

I'm sorry, but a heart attack is a fucking heart attack.

Go Fox Yourself

UPDATE: I didn't get the time entirely wrong, but apparently the Fox "News" interview with Sith Lord Cheney will be taped at 2 p.m. and aired at 6 p.m. Sweet. Now I get to watch Cheney's Pack of Lies during dinner. Thanks to fellow BARBARian Blognonymous for the info.

Dammit, I wish I was working from home today, because Vice President Cheney will so graciously let us know his take on the whole Whittington peppering/shooting/pop-cappin' accident today at 2 p.m. (that's 1900 GMT, y'all). I'm expecting oodles of snarling and dismissive chatter, and lots and lots of "I did nothing wrong" proclamations.

Or maybe Cheney will tell us that, in fact, he shot a man, just to show us he could.

Jesus' General, in his ever-so brilliant deduction, has come up with a "Magic BB" theory. According to his interpretation of the police report, there's no way a tiny BB, weighing 1/345th of an ounce, could have made its way through Whittington's jacket, skin, muscle, bone, and eventually, his heart, from 30 yards away unless ... you know ... it was magic.

It doesn't take an expertise in forensics to know that something's not right here.

Mama loves her some Jesus' General. Go check out the rest of the post. It's quite funny and disturbing at the same time.

Feb 14, 2006

And I don't even live in Ohio!

UPDATE: Paul Hackett posted a statement on the TPM Cafe about why he chose to exit the Senate race. He's really quite refreshing in his honesty and adherence to his word. I wish him the best, but I'm sad that he's leaving the political arena for what seems to be for good. It's nice to see people still hold their integrity dear to them.

I’ve posted before about how I thought Paul Hackett of Ohio just might be “the guy” we need to reinvigorate the Democratic party. His outspokenness against the Bush administration and the Iraq war was a breath of fresh air among the stagnant, don’t-want-to-rock-the-boat, pandering-to-the-base antics of both parties. He’s a straight shooter. He doesn’t mince words.

Unfortunately, Hackett pulled out of the Ohio Senate race yesterday and may be leaving politics altogether. From the NY Times:
Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

‘This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me,” said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.

“For me, this is a second betrayal,” Mr. Hackett said. “First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me.”

Mr. Hackett was the first Iraq war veteran to seek national office, and the decision to steer him away from the Senate race has surprised those who see him as a symbol for Democrats who oppose the war but want to appear strong on national security.

“Alienating Hackett is not just a bad idea for the party, but it also sends a chill through the rest of the 56 or so veterans that we've worked to run for Congress,” said Mike Lyon, executive director for the Band of Brothers, a group dedicated to electing Democratic veterans to national office. “Now is a time for Democrats to be courting, not blocking, veterans who want to run.”

But Democratic leaders say Representative Brown, a seven-term incumbent from Avon, has a far better chance of toppling Senator DeWine.

“It boils down to who we think can pull the most votes in November against DeWine,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “And in Ohio, Brown's name is golden. It's just that simple.”
While it’s important that we regain control of Congress, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the right thing to do at the risk of losing someone like Hackett in the political arena altogether. And calling Hackett's donors behind his back? That's just straight-up shady.

Schumer and Reid better know what they’re doing, seriously. If we lose Ohio ... I don't even want to think about it.

Feb 12, 2006

Ma che bestia che sei!

Last week, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ruffled feathers by comparing himself to Napoleon. [He was listing his achievements while in office.] And now, Berlusconi just did some more ruffling by comparing himself to Christ.
His Napoleon remark caused some ironic comment and scornful remarks from opposition leaders, some of whom warned him that he might soon meet his Waterloo, the name of the decisive battle in which Napoleon was defeated by the British.

"No, I was just joking," Mr Berlusconi told his supporters at a dinner at Ancona on the Adriatic coast.

But then he went on to complain that he feels like what he called "the Jesus Christ of Italian politics".

"I'm a patient victim. I put up with everything. I sacrifice myself for everyone," he said.

Opposition politicians called Mr Berlusconi's comparison grotesque, although he was simply using popular speech.

In Italian, for example, you can refer to someone as a Povero Christo, or a poor Christ, without being accused of blasphemy.
Leave it to the Italians to be trendsetters, whether it be food, fashion, or political comparisons to hitorical figures/despots/tyrants/religious figures.

Because you know, Hitler comparisons are SO 2005. Seriously.

Shoot at the quail, stupid.

Vice President Go-Fuck-Yourself accidentally shot his friend and fellow hunter, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, while quail hunting yesterday.

I'm sure the nation will forgive Cheney this little slip-up. It must be through some compelling force of habit, or perhaps some nervous tension, since some in the GOP are starting to speak up and criticize this administration lately.

A bit of an itchy trigger finger there, eh, Dick?

(Links courtesy of Americablog)

UPDATE: Bob Geiger over at Bring It On! lists Vice President Go-Fuck-Yourself's Top 10 Excuses for Shooting Fellow Hunter. Go check it out. It's hilarious!

Feb 11, 2006

Olympus Fashion Week in Full Effect

As many of you hardcore Project Runway fans know, we're now down to the Final Four, which means - if we go by last season as precedent - all four designers show their collections at Olympus Fashion Week.

Well, so much for the element of surprise. New York magazine is publishing slideshows of all four designers' shows. I think Fashion Week was last week.

I'm really enjoying Chloe and Santino's stuff. Chloe's is sexier and a departure from her usual halter-dress-with-deep-V. Santino's collection is actually quite wearable. Amazing what you can accomplish when you have more time to work. I'm slightly disappointed with Daniel V.'s. Lots of suits. Yawn. Although the white "pea coat" with the portrait collar is quite stunning from the picture. Kara's collection definitely shows her point of view, and there is one stunning purple/turquoise gown that I totally want for myself.

I'm wondering who will get The Auf next week ...

Feb 9, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode #10: Makeover
Five designers left, and as you remember from the last episode, Daniel V. has immunity for this episode.

Tonight, our remaining designers get to make over each other.

Thank Jah. Maybe someone will cut that side bun off of Kara's head finally.

Everyone's bummed out that Andrae got bumped off, but Santino thinks he's got the edge because he's got two wins down his belt.

Um, OK, Santino. Wins don't matter.

Andrae's model, Danyelle, also gets The Auf by Daniel V. which isn't really a shocker, since he and his model are a tight team. We find out Danyelle is just as much of a crybaby as Andrae is.

Anyway, back to the challenge at hand. They have a budget of $200. Who gets to make over whom? Santino gets Kara. Kara gets Santino. Nick gets Daniel V. Chloe gets Nick. Daniel gets Chloe.

The makeover-ees discuss their ideas about what they want to look like, with the makeover-ers sketching out the design. Did anyone else catch the fact that Santino's sketch of Kara was complete with camel toe? Nice touch, Santino.

Chloe and Kara, the only two girls left, are at a disadvantage. All the garments made on the show have been for women. Now all of a sudden, they have to make clothes for men. But then again, how different can it be? Aside from the fact that men don't like loose shirts if they're going to wear vests over them.

Who knew? I didn't. But then again, I detest The Vest.

Warning: This episode is full of hateration! There's drama in the workroom, and it's so thick you could cut it with one of Andrae's cheekbones. They're playing a questions game of "Would You Rather?" and Santino is talking over everyone, not letting anyone else answer the questions. And everyone else is like, "Bitch, shut up." But he doesn't.

Santino knows that he's special. He "wants to go down in history." And in some way, because of this show, he will. But I don't think he wants to be known as an obnoxious, Rasputin lookalike, who does a fantastic Tim Gunn impression.

Santino: "Are these space pants?"
Kara: "Space pants?"
Santino: "Coz' my ass is out of this world."

Santino tells Kara to bust her butt to get his outfit done. Then he busts out with, "you can't polish a turd." Back at the Atlas, Daniel V. and Nick try and get Santino to slow his roll. But I don't think Santino is trying to hear it.

The next day, Collier Strong, some guy from L'Oreal, works with each designer for their makeovers. He tells Santino that he has great skin and awesome eyes, and Santino thinks that he's going to look better than Brad Pitt. Just because Collier mentioned that hey, sometimes Brad Pitt grows a beard. I don't think he was calling you Brad Pitt, Santino. But, hey. Work it.

On Day 2, Santino busts another turd comment, which pisses off Nick and makes him leave the room. He's giving Santino the silent treatment, even if Santino yells, "truce." Snap! Don't piss off the queens, yo. Nick's cold as ice right now!

Kara's starting to have some doubts because she's not putting Santino in a suit. Nick says that the outfit Chloe is making for him makes him look like the senior flight attendant for British Airways. He means this in a nice way, he says. Got that? Flight attendant for Continental Airlines = janky. Flight attendant for British Airways = crazy delicious.

Nick's suit for Daniel is too femmy. Which really, why is this a bad thing? Daniel V. could work the androgynous angle on this one.

Santino is stressing Kara out on the outfit she's making for him. He may as well tell her that she can cry and cut, but she better cry and cut. Jeezus.

I can feel it this time. Santino's getting The Auf tonight.

Day 3. The designers get to walk on the runway today, so they're all in hair and makeup. Collin tells Nick he's "pretty." Is this a love connection?

Santino cuts his hair and shapes his beard into a goatee. Hotness!

Kara's sleeve started to come off, so he starts sewing it on her. He starts pretty much telling her not to move her arm down the runway. Santino's shitting bricks.

If Santino doesn't get The Auf tonight, it'll be a travesty. He spent too much time making sure Kara's outfit was made the way he wanted it, that he wasted the time necessary to work on his own garment. You're getting judged on your garment, not on how good you look in the other person's clothes, hello.

Catwalk time! Santino is totally working it, but he did a much better job walking during the Nicky Hilton challenge. Chloe was working her stuff down the runway this time. So was Kara! Nick looked ... like Nick, dressed up for ... wherever he'd go, wearing a pink shirt. Oh, and Daniel V.? Looking HOT down the runway!

But Michael Kors is totally hating on Nick's suit he made. He said it looked like the "Golden Girls." And he thinks that men's pants with no pockets is apparently the biggest faux pas ever. "Like leggings that Friar Tuck would wear." Ouch.

The four designers backstage are hating on Santino too, making fun of him because one of the sleeves on Kara's jumpsuit came undone. Kara's crying (shocker), and everyone else is clowning. "I made three pieces! Where did the time go?" "How much time did he need?"

I kinda feel sorry for Santino right now. All four designers are on the couch, and Santino's in a chair, with his head in his hands, shitting bricks, counting the minutes toward the inevitable.

Chloe wins this challenge! She deserved it.

Oh. Hell. No. Nick gets The Auf, and Santino moves on to the Final Four.

WHAT????? For an unfinished garment? AN UNFINISHED GARMENT? The freakin' sleeve came off! This is bullshit. Ugh. I want to throw something.

Feb 8, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Hey. I just realized that exactly one year ago today, I started You Forgot Poland!

And the day's almost over! Oh well.

What a year it's been. If you're interested, come take a walk down Memory Lane and check out my first substantial post. (It was actually my second post on the first day, but you'll see - the first post really was nothing. A non-post, if you will.)

I am grateful for all of the wonderful folks I have met through this medium in the past year. All of you are very special to me. Your brilliant minds and your written words continue to inspire me to step up my game.

Not that I've been very successful at "stepping up my game," but well, whatever.

I do also have to give mad props to Ang over at Ang's Weird Ideas, who encouraged me to start this blog in the first place. She sat with me on the phone many times, helping me set up site tracking, template modifications, and all the other accoutrements that go along with All Things Blogging.

To Angie, thank you very much. You've created a monster. Heh heh.

Feb 7, 2006

How to support the wiretapping

Frida, the gorgeous and seemingly well travelled pooch belonging to my dear friend at Jones of the Nile, has an idea about how to show your support for the Bush Administration's wiretap---er, infringement on civil lib --- er, domestic surveillance pro---er, whatever the hell it's called.
[The president] should print up a boatload of those little ribbon magnets to put on our SUVs that say “Support the Wiretapping!” That ought to work. People eat that up! (And as a bonus, since we’re headed that way, he could implant a chip in them which could monitor our every trip to the store. Bonus!)
I think Frida's onto something here. I better hop on this before anyone else does. Even Frida. I mean, she's a dog. They don't give copyright licenses to dogs, do they? Hmm. I'll have every right-winger shelling out the dough faster than you can say "executive privilege."

Because, you know, supporting the wiretapping supports the troops, which supports the Republicans, who support 9/11--er, or something. Why do you hate America so much?

I bet Santorum would just kill to get on this bandwagon.

Feb 6, 2006

Hikers of the Bay Area, unite and take over

I've finally gotten around to scheduling the first hike of 2006 for my hiking club.

I'm starting out the new year with a relatively easy hike - a 3.7-mile loop with an elevation gain of about 700 feet. Just what I need to get back into the swing of things.

So excited. It better not rain.

P.S. I do realize that saying "my hiking club" sounds a bit - how do you say - sixth grade. But honestly, I don't know how else to call it. I mean, I started the damn thing.

Speak into the mic, please

Many diligent bloggers whose jobs apparently allow (or are) to watch C-SPAN all day, have done tremendously valuable work in liveblogging today's NSA hearings with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Like the ever-faithful bitch/lap dog he is, Gonzales refused to answer pertinent questions and elevated stonewalling to an art form. Shocker. I'm convinced everyone in the GOP has got to be put through some sort of 6-week intensive "how to avoid direct lines of questioning" boot camp before being elevated to office, I swear. They are so good at this.

From what I gather, today's hearing didn't really accomplish much to those who look at it from the surface, but I think that if the administration's passive-aggressive, absurd --- and quite frankly, mind-numbingly repetitive by now --- denial of any wrongdoing continues (wrongdoing? where to begin?), mainstream America's GOT to sit up and take notice eventually. Like, to the point that it'll be so obvious to even someone with a 3rd-grade reading skill level and/or severe neurological deficits. I mean, like, SO obvious that even freakin' chimpanzees will start talking about it via sign language, asking us why we haven't put the miscreants in jail already.

Hopefully soon. Jah, I really, really, hope so.

Because watching this process unfold (and I was at work all day!)- and with new examples coming up every day about how corrupt and dishonest this administration is - is excruciatingly painful and frustrating to endure, as evidenced by some of the remarks some senators made while questioning Gonzales. For example:
During often testy proceedings, Gonzales fielded scores of questions but repeatedly rebuffed lawmakers' attempts to elicit facts of the program, saying the disclosure of operational details could ruin the government's ability to monitor contacts between militants and their affiliates.

Gonzales refused to discuss the scope of the program that Bush authorized in 2002, any successes, possible abuses or any safeguards in place.

Visibly frustrated, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, abruptly broke in at one point: "Of course, I'm sorry, Mr. Attorney General, I forgot you can't answer any questions that might be relevant to this."

Leahy accused the administration of acting "illegally without safeguards."

New York Democrat Charles Schumer told Gonzales: "I know it's been a long day for you. Especially with all that bobbing and weaving, it's not so easy."


In yet another example of how far the Bush Administration will go to ensure that their absolute power fucks us all over, absolutely:

The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration's unauthorized wiretapping.

Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.

"It's hardball all the way," a senior GOP congressional aide said.

Jah help us, we live in a nation run by thugs.

Feb 3, 2006

BAWLS out in Iraq

In college, I was never one to pull all-nighters, so I never really got into the habit of taking things to keep me awake through the night. Not until years later, when I discovered house and techno music. But that's a whole other post.

If you're a fan of Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, and other energy drinks of this ilk, you may be interested to know that Miami Entrepreneur Hoby Buppert (I don't make up these names, people) plans to market his energy drink - BAWLS - to our troops abroad (emphasis mine, of course).
With some of his devoted customers now serving in the armed forces -- and with all soldiers needing to stay awake through extended periods of boredom -- Buppert has created the BAWLS "military pack."

Could his blue-bottled drink become as ubiquitous today as Lucky Strikes were in World War II?

"There is a huge crossover between our customers and the military," said Buppert, 32. "More and more of our consumers are going overseas, and they miss BAWLS."
I miss bawls too, but the kind I'm thinking of don't come in a can.

Did I share too much?

Way to support the troops: A) Get them hopped up on caffeine and sugar while B) raising your bottom line. Maybe a portion of the proceeds from sales of BAWLS: "Military Pack" should go toward buying them some body armor, perhaps?

It's the American way!

Feb 2, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 9: Garden Party
From the moment the show begins, the cattiness starts:

"Don't go out like Zulema," Nick says.

At 6 a.m., Tim Gunn goes to the Atlas apartments to pick up the designers. They're going on a field trip. And chile, you know how these Project Runway field trips go. But instead of going to Mood, the fabric store, Tim takes them to Manhattan's flower district. It's here that the designers are told they're supposed to make a garden party dress - that is to say, the garden is the dress.

I'm already thinking of Austin's cornhusk dress from last season.

To make things interesting, Tim tells the designers that whoever wins today's challenge gets immunity. Hello? What reality show am I watching? Kara takes this as a signal to step up her game. But three hours to deadline, she still hadn't figured out what she wanted the skirt to look like. So much for that.

Speaking of stepping up your game, Daniel V. busts out with a BASKET WEAVE on the bodice of his dress. The kid's got some talent. Seriously. He so doesn't even need to win this show.

So we're back to the workroom, and after seeing what everyone sketched for their design, I was hoping that none of these models have hay fever. I had to take a Claritin just to get through this episode.

Anyway, so Tim comes around to check on the designs, and Andrae is nowhere to be found. Andrae's out on the sidewalk, gluing some moss to his fabric. This prompts Santino to bust out with his famous, spot-on Tim Gunn impressions:

"Andrae, you really embarassed me tonight at Red Lobster."

Heh heh. Later on, Tim comes back in and calls Santino on it. Tim's really a great sport about all of this. We love Tim.

Chloe is stressed out because she's running out of time - she's gluing leaves onto her dress, one by one.

Santino says he wants to do something beautiful, yet "whimsical." Uh oh.

Honestly, this was a tough runway show for me to judge. They all looked great. However, Andrae's looked like a giant topiary, which was pretty much what he had in mind. Except his final product looked a bit matronly, like a moldy (literally) Chanel suit your mother-in-law would wear.

Kara's dress actually turned out very well. She had a lot of detail and played with texture. She really pulled it off this time. So did Chloe's - it just looked fabulous, and not like "leaves-glued-onto-a-dress" fabulous. Phew.

Daniel V. wins. It was a totally fantastic dress. (Basket weave, hello!) And now he has immunity for the next episode.

It's between Andrae and Nick. I think Andrae's going to cry. Heidi says he "didn't make enough of a statement." She tells Nick that his "taste level" wasn't there.

Andrae gets The Auf and does his crazy, stiff, childlike run offstage. He had a great run of things, and I have to admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Emotional.

Until next week!

Feb 1, 2006

Apparently now T-shirts with attitude are illegal

I thought it would be more exciting to shop for a vacuum cleaner than watch Dubya's State of the Union bullshit last night.

Seems like I didn't miss much, except for the fact that Cindy Sheehan, who was invited by Lynne Woolsey (D-Calif.), got kicked out for protesting.

No, seriously.

She was wearing a black t-shirt that said," 2245 dead. How many more?"

Here's Sheehan's account:
I wore the shirt to make a statement. The press knew I was going to be there and I thought every once in awhile they would show me and I would have the shirt on. I did not wear it to be disruptive, or I would have unzipped my jacket during George's speech. If I had any idea what happens to people who wear shirts that make the neocons uncomfortable that I would be arrested ... maybe I would have, but I didn't.

There have already been many wild stories out there.

I have some lawyers looking into filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the government for what happened tonight. I will file it. It is time to take our freedoms and our country back.

I don't want to live in a country that prohibits any person, whether he/she has paid the ulitmate price for that country, from wearing, saying, writing, or telephoning any negative statements about the government. That's why I am going to take my freedoms and liberties back. That's why I am not going to let Bushco take anything else away from me...or you.
Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. C.W. Young (R-Fla.), also was ejected out of the gallery, but she had a pro-war shirt on ("Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom").

Apparently you can't deviate from the standard White House uniform of suit and tie when you go to these things, otherwise you're labeled as a protester.

Well, only if your name is Cindy Sheehan, apparently. Look at this AP link to the story. The AP has attached the "Protester" epithet to Cindy Sheehan's name in their subhead, where as Beverly Young gets no such title.