Mar 31, 2006

Oh no he didn't.

Some right-wing talk radio guy whom I've never heard of, some fool named Neal Boortz, remarked that the hair of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (who is black) made her look "like a ghetto slut," among a whole slew of idiotic things.

And on his website, he says she looks "like ghetto trash."

From Media Matters:
On the March 31 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz said that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut." Boortz was commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu." McKinney is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia.
His rationalization for making inane and racist comments like this?
I've endured years of "bald" remarks. I'm entitled.
You're entitled to an ass whippin' is what you're entitled to. Don't EVEN.

(Props to Dave at Seeing the Forest for the link.)

911 calls from 9/11 released

Partial transcripts of 911 phone calls handled on Sept. 11, 2001, were released today. Partial, because the voices of the callers trapped at the WTC were redacted.
The Times and family members hoped the audiotaped calls would reveal details of what happened inside the towers and whether 911 operators misdirected the victims. The Sept. 11 commission had concluded in 2004 that many operators didn't know enough about the attacks to give the best information to those trapped.
There was also some surprise that the operators weren't able to give enough advice about what to do about inhaling smoke, etc.

The goal of getting these transcripts released was to see if 911 operators possibly misdirected the victims. Misdirected how? From what I can tell, the 911 operators were as dumbstruck by what happened as anyone else was. Maybe I'm missing something, but what could a 911 operator possibly do in that situation other than advise them to stay calm? Was there a "magic word" somewhere that could have averted further disaster?

More importantly, why were the callers' words edited out? Why were the transcripts not complete? That just seems odd to me.

Mar 30, 2006

You KNOW I'm loving this.

(Mad props to Armitage Shanks for the heads up.)

Mar 29, 2006

Chicken Little

"The globe is warming! The globe is warming!"

Just when you think he's reached the height of idiocy ...

(Thanks to Think Progress for the link.)

More spies, please!

As part of their just-announced national security platform, Democrats are saying that they’ll add more special forces and more spies to help capture bin Laden. There’s no timetable for bringing the troops home, except to say that this year will be THE year in which Iraqis assume full sovereignty.

This is nice and all, but why didn’t Democrats come out stronger on national security a year ago? All this pussyfootin’ around is giving the GOP just the ammunition they need to slam Democratic Party efforts to elucidate their national security platform:

"I trust in the common sense of the American people to see these efforts for what they are: misguided political attacks that are simply a bob-and-weave effort by those who have no real solutions or proposals of their own," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

"This is more of the same from the party that opposes this president's effort to keep our country safe," said Tracey Schmitt, a Republican National Committee spokeswoman.

Better late than never, I guess, since polls show Bush’s approval rating in the 30s, and that more Americans consider themselves more Democrat than Republican according to this AMERICAblog post.

Update: The Carpetbagger Report just posted his commentary on this, along with a .pdf of the actual 130-page strategy.

No longer crack-ish

... Whitney’s allegedly up to fully blown cracked out status.
SUPERSTAR Whitney Houston has spiralled into a world of squalor and degradation on deadly crack — as the shocking pictures in today's Sun newspaper reveal.

It shows the disgusting mess in the singer’s bathroom after a drug binge. Drug paraphernalia including a crack-smoking pipe, rolling papers, cocaine-caked spoons and cigarette ends are strewn across the surface tops.

But Whitney, 42, no longer cares.
Do I have to go on a rant about how Bobby Brown ruined Whitney? Do I? Don’t make me.

(Photo credit: My favorite guilty pleasure. Photo copyrighted 2006 by News Group Newspapers Ltd. and/or its licensors.)

Mar 28, 2006

If only I were this lucky

As some of you know, I started a hiking club to basically find people who would want to go on hikes with me. And I have to say that I've enjoyed all of the hikes we've been on so far (yes, even this one), but I can't say we've ever encountered something like this:
John Suhrhoff found the Louis Vuitton bag on a Sausalito park bench during a lunch stop in the scenic city following a weekend hike.

Inside the bag, police say, was a treasure trove: a 12-carat diamond ring, pearl and emerald jewelry, a Cartier watch and roughly $500 in Canadian and American cash. The contents were worth a cool $1 million.
Turns out the purse belonged to one very lucky Shahla Ghannadian, who was in town with her husband for her daughter's wedding.
The Ghannadians told the Marin Independent Journal of Novato that their flight to Toronto was scheduled for Sunday evening, so they decided to visit Sausalito. The town is known for its waterfront views of San Francisco and is a tourist hub.

Shahla Ghannadian briefly left her husband in charge of the purse, which contained jewelry she wore at the wedding, according to the paper.
No comment. (snort)

P.S. Suhrhoff returned the purse.

Mar 27, 2006

Doughboy Revisited

Wow, it's been a while since I last posted on Karl "Doughboy" Rove.

Apparently now Doughboy is more than willing to sell out Mr. Go Fuck Yourself, providing Patrick Fitzgerald with materials crucial to the Valerie Plame leak investigation:
According to one source close to the case, Rove is providing information on deleted emails, erased hard drives and other types of obstruction by staff and other officials in the Vice President’s office. Pentagon sources close to Rove confirmed this account.
Could this be the three-months delayed "Fitzmas" we've been waiting for? Will these newly "discovered" emails, files, etc. shift the blame away from Scooter Libby and onto Cheney himself?

I don't know what image is disgusting me more: A) The fact that Karl is - according to Steve Clemons at the Washington Note - "cooperating enthusiastically" with Fitzgerald, meaning that there's gotta be some egregious wrongdoing here, and that Doughboy is going to cut himself a deal, or B) That Cheney truly is the source of the leak and yet, will get off anyway?

Damn, that was way cynical of me, wasn't it.

(Props to Susie at Suburban Guerrilla for the link.)

More holes than Swiss cheese

I thought the Patriot Act and the wire tapping and the blahdy blah blah were all supposed to make our country a safer place. And yet, investigators were able to enter the U.S. (via the Mexican border) with enough radioactive material to make two "dirty bombs. From Reuters:
Two teams made simultaneous entries at the U.S.-Mexican border and the border with Canada carrying radioactive material in their vehicles in December 2005, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in the report on its investigation.

The congressional watchdog agency said the test was designed to examine potential weaknesses related to radiation monitors that have been installed at U.S. border ports of entry, the GAO said.

The monitors worked. But the investigators, posing as employees of a fictitious, still got past the border patrol with fake paperwork authorizing them to transport the material, the report said..

"The CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) inspectors never questioned the authenticity of the investigators' counterfeit bill of lading or the counterfeit NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) authorizing them to receive, acquire, possess and transfer radioactive sources," the GAO said in a letter to Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee.

"We believe the amount of radioactive sources that we were able to transport into the United States during our operation would be sufficient to produce two dirty bombs, which could be used as weapons of mass disruption," the letter said.
Mind you, this breaches in our border security happened in December. 2005. What if this was the real thing and not an investigation?

Feel safer yet?

Mar 26, 2006

Tell me where the light is

By the way, I caught a snippet on MTV of the video for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new single, "Gold Lion." Please believe I downloaded it and the Diplo remix from iTunes straight away. This song has a fuller, richer, produced (but not overly so) sound than anything you might find on Fever to Tell. Am loving it.

I adore the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their new album comes out on Tuesday, and I am giddy. They're also playing the Warfield 4/28 and 4/29.

Note to self:
1. Find out if tickets are sold out.
2. If not, buy them, and
3. Find someone to come with.

(Photo credit: Yeah Yeah Yeahs page on MySpace.)

RE: Ben Domenech

Now, I'm no conspiracy theorist, but this thought just crossed my mind: What if Ben Domenech's brief stint as the appointed right-wing blogger at the court of WaPo was a setup all along?

The motive by the "vast right-wing conspiracy": To discredit bloggers in general and to attempt to diminish the ever-growing influence of progressive blogs to help incite change and reinvigorate the Democratic party?

I'm just saying. There's gotta be more to it than the Washington Post hiring a blogger with a history of plagiarism - easily found via Google search - to be quickly devoured by the progressive blogosphere and leading to his resignation three days later? I say there's gotta be more to it, because quite frankly, how could the WaPo be so ... stupid?

And let's say, for the sake of argument, that my theory is correct. Most likely, Domenech's resulting trashed reputation can be considered collateral damage. An innocent lamb led via the GOP to the slaughter by the progressive blogosphere, etc. But what if he - Domenech - was privvy to the whole plan? Did Domenech agree to be the patsy? A sort of right-wing fanatical version of the - dare I say it - Islamic modern-day martyr/suicide bomber? Because let's face it, his career as a writer is pretty much shot.

And will the nuclear fallout from Domenech's brief notoriety affect the reputation of all blogs? Even this, my humble, G-list blog?


(This is what happens when I take a mid-day nap, mind you. I really should be in bed right now.)

Panda hater

Not everyone loves them some pandas:
When Chinese officials unveiled a pair of cubs early this year, calling them "a gift" to the island, the people of Taiwan went wild. Polls say more than 65 percent of Taiwan's population are in favor of accepting the mainland's offer [regarding the "56-year armed standoff between mainland China and Taiwan").

But Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian, is urging his government to say no. He fears that the pair would be what the press is calling "Trojan pandas." Skeptics see the animals as a perfect symbol for Beijing: no matter how friendly they look, watch out for their claws. They say it's no coincidence that a mainland-run contest gave them the names Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, echoing the Mandarin word for "reunion": tuanyuan.
Not me man, As you all know, I loves the pandas.

If it bleeds, it leads

Last week, Bush and Mr. Go Fuck Yourself criticized the media for underreporting the "good stories" that come out of Iraq, and that the media should do a better job about providing a fair balance.

CBS Journalist and Naomi Watts look-alike Lara Logan addressed this charge on CNN today, saying:
KURTZ: But critics would say, well, no wonder people back home think things are falling apart because we get this steady drumbeat of negativity from the correspondents there.

LOGAN: Well, who says things aren't falling apart in Iraq? I mean, what you didn't see on your screens this week was all the unidentified bodies that have been turning up, all the allegations here of militias that are really controlling the security forces.

What about all the American soldiers that died this week that you didn't see on our screens? I mean, we've reported on reconstruction stories over and over again…I mean, I really resent the fact that people say that we're not reflecting the true picture here. That's totally unfair and it's really unfounded.

...Our own editors back in New York are asking us the same things. They read the same comments. You know, are there positive stories? Can't you find them? You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

'Oh, sorry, we can't show this reconstruction project because then that's going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked. I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country….So how it is that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?'
I agree that in order to remove any sort of bias on the aggregate level, there needs to be a balance of reporting the good and bad stories. But what if there are more bad stories coming out of Iraq than good? If American soldiers are dying in Iraq, if a large number of Iraqis are systematically tortured and killed by insurgents (like this weekend, for example), well, guess what, people. That's NEWS.

Robert Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, explains it this way:
But I think what the administration is trying to say is, it's not just whether you're reporting on the casualties -- they're there, sure -- but we're trying to make a case that these deaths are meaningful, that there is a good reason for doing what we are and for people paying the ultimate sacrifice, and the media isn't communicating that.

So basically, the Bush administration is asking that the media rationalize Iraq War casualties.

The administration's attempt to become editor-in-chief of every single media outlet is preposterous: Media's job is to serve as a check on government - not provide assistance in internalizing and disemminating the government's agenda. When that happens, that's called propaganda, not journalism. (Are you listening, FOX News?) To blame the media for helping lower public approval of the war is off base: As casualties increase, public opinion decreases. And although the media informs people about casualties, you can't deny that people are dying. Sure, it would be nice to see feel-good stories of a soldier receiving a medal for something he did, or a school being built in an Iraqi city destroyed by war. But as long as people are dying over there, not one positive story is going to make me feel better about this war, no way.

(Props to Peter Daou, who got me all riled up.)

UPDATE: Steve Young at the HuffPo adds to the discussion and brings up a great point about Michael Moore.

Mar 24, 2006

Fruit Cocktail

Why does Gwyneth Paltrow hate children so much? Emphasis mine:
Gwyneth Paltrow is reportedly eschewing the temptation to have a full on fruit cocktail of a family (Her daughter, as you all probably know, is named Apple and her husband is... not without his own fruitiness.) by choosing to name her next baby, a boy, not Kiwi or Mango or Cumquat, but after her godfather, Steven Spielberg. And no, he won't be named Steven. Or even Speilberg. Or Rich. He'll be named Mortimer, because not only can Gwyneth Paltrow not fake an English accent, she is also incapable of calling people by their proper names. "Uncle Morty" is the nickname she bestowed upon her godfather as a child. Again, not Mortimer.

(Courtesy of my favorite guilty pleasure, Nothing but Pink Socks and a Sombrero, with gut-busting regular feaures, such as "Trann-ay or La-day?", "Who the What?", and "Guess that Nipple.")

Have a great weekend everybody.

Mar 23, 2006


As if the Dubai Portgate thing wasn't enough to cause the Bush administration some drama:
In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere.

The administration acknowledges the no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. represents the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a sophisticated U.S. radiation detector at an overseas port without American customs agents present.

Freeport in the Bahamas is 65 miles from the U.S. coast, where cargo would be likely to be inspected again. The contract is currently being finalized.

The administration is negotiating a second no-bid contract for a Philippine company to install radiation detectors in its home country, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. At dozens of other overseas ports, foreign governments are primarily responsible for scanning cargo.
Even though I'm somewhat happy some folks in the Philippines will get some work out of this deal, I still have to ask: Why is the Bush administration outsourcing to other countries responsibilities that are integral to our national security? After everything that has gone down on our soil (9/11), and the ever-tightening noose around our civil liberties (Patriot Act, FISAgate, etc.), I'm just a little surprised that there is so much trust in foreign governments to basically look out for the safety of the American people. I mean, this current administration, one that revels in secrecy and outright lying doesn't even trust its own people to begin with. How does this make sense?

Am I missing something here? If this is a "different kind of war," and if we have to change our way of thinking from a "pre-911" to a "post-9/11" mindset, why is the tendency - as it appears - to relinquish control over something that could directly effect how terrorists can infiltrate our country?

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

(With inspiration from John at AMERICAblog.)

Mar 22, 2006

Let's go hiking!

To my delight, the proposed seven-mile hike at Purisima Open Space Preserve turned out to be five-mile semi-moderate stroll through gorgeous and lush redwood forest, due to closure of the Soda Gulch portion of the loop. Recent rains caused many portions of the trail to become squishy and muddy, which only added to the fun.

Speaking of fun, Am joined us on her first hike with the group and held her own with the faster hikers. She definitely gets the award for “hiker with the best trail snacks” – those pb&j sandwiches were delicious!

Actually, Joice wins the joint award for the bag of fresh strawberries. Yum.

Anyway, back to the hike!

Up until now, our humble little hiking club hadn't had any run-ins with animals while on the trail. On that day, banana slugs greeted us at every turn, along with a lone salamander, whom we named “Purisma Sally.” Some discussion was had regarding the proper etiquette when pouring water on a salamander. The main point of contention - if I remember correctly - had to do with P.H. levels in water vs. a salamander's skin.

I kept walking.

For those of us who felt up to an additional 3 miles, an out-and-back hike to Bald Knob noted a 15-degree differential from the cool, damp canyon, which gives you an idea of what a elevation distance of 1800 feet really feels like.

As I continue to go on these hikes, I find that my edge is about five miles. As my recap from the Mt. Tam hike shows, anything longer than five miles, and I begin to curse the ground I’m walking on. Every step forward is a mini struggle to contend with.

I suppose this means I need to continue to push myself.

Until then, I'll remain content in the fact that although I hadn't hiked since Mt. Tam, I managed to pull through this one quite nicely. My chest did not feel like it was going to explode this time. Progress?

I wholeheartedly recommend Purisima as a hike we'll need to revisit sometime soon. The lush canyon, tall redwoods, and creekbed reminded me of the sensory overload I suffered at Mt. Tam from taking in all of my gorgeous surroundings. It was truly beautiful. I'd be curious to do that same loop during the summer.

Farewell for now, Purisima - we'll be back. Until then, Hikemeister Doug provides us with yet another wonderful slide show from our hike. Enjoy!

(Photo credit: Doug)

Mar 21, 2006

You can lead a horse to water ...

... but you can't make him pull out the troops during his term in office, apparently.

Bush is saying now that U.S. troops will stay in Iraq "for years," and that it's up to the next president to decide when it's the right time for withdrawal.
Bush has adamantly refused to set a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Asked if there would come a day when there would be no more U.S. forces in Iraq, Bush said, "That, of course, is an objective. And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

Pressed on whether that meant a complete withdrawal would not happen during his presidency, Bush said, "I can only tell you that I will make decisions on force levels based upon what the commanders on the ground say."

White House officials worried Bush's remarks would be read as saying there would not be significant troop reductions during his presidency. They pointed to comments Sunday by Gen. George W. Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, who said he expected a substantial troop reduction "certainly over the course of 2006 and into 2007."
Wow. How convenient. Not only will the next president inherit an ever-growing deficit, but now he/she will also inherit a poorly planned, poorly executed, and poorly run war in the Middle East.

Again, it looks like Bush will emerge from this disaster of a presidency unscathed. Pity.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Mar 20, 2006


You all probably already knew this, but I just found out today. And I'm SO very excited to hear that the new span on the Bay Bridge will have a pedestrian/bicycle pathway from Oakland to Yerba Buena island.

Of course, the only article I could find about this was this one, which highlights the concerns some people have that we're now providing suicidal folks with yet another bridge from which to end it all.

Honestly, I don't know how I feel about this, and my tendency in this situation is to be a bit selfish ...

(Photo credit: Caltrans)

Three years and counting

Today in Ohio, Bush had this to say about the war in Iraq, which hit the three-year mark today:
In the war on terror, we face a global enemy. And if we were not fighting this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and trying to kill Americans across the world and within our own borders.

Against this enemy there can be no compromise. So we will fight them in Iraq, we will fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won.
So, basically, the strategy in the War on Terror --- or the rationalization for keeping our troops there in the midst of a civil war --- is that we're DISTRACTING Al Qaida from committing any more terrorist acts. So if we weren't fighting the war in Iraq, the terrorists would be so bored, and have so much time to kill, that they'd wage another terrorist attack on the U.S.

Why am I imaginging a game of "keep away"?

Nevermind too, that Bush is relying on a CONCEPT to lead us to a long-term victory:
In the long run, the best way to defeat this enemy and to assure the security of our own citizens is to spread the hope of freedom across the broader Middle East. We've seen freedom conquer evil and secure the peace before.
Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Oy.

Mar 19, 2006

People shouldn't be afraid of their government....

We saw "V for Vendetta" last night on the IMAX. So good.

And while I can see why many people may think "V for Vendetta" supports/glorifies terrorism, I don't think it does. I mean, yes, "V" commits acts of terrorism - but the government in place precluded any sort of open, two-way dialogue between those in power and those they serve. What else is a masked avenger supposed to do?

To me, the movie tries to get the viewer to think of terrorism in a different way: What's the difference between terrorism and revolution? It's a fine line in this movie - on the one hand, yes - it's bad to kill people. But on the other hand, what will it take for people to stand up and take notice that their government is screwing them over? And once notice has been taken, to what extent will people stick to their convictions and right the wrongs that have been committed against them?

Stephanie Zacharek at Salon has this to say about the movie:
Mostly, "V for Vendetta" is a joyless, jumbled screed, a meditation on the evils of totalitarianism for people who don't really want to think too hard about it.
Maybe for some, yes. The parallels one can draw between the fictional political arena of the movie and of current day Bush Administration are numerous, of course (there's even an Avian flu mention in the beginning of the movie). But - and I may be a little too optimistic here, I realize - the movie's high-level analysis of Evil Regimes and the People Oppressed by Them may be just enough to get through to someone new, to get them thinking, taking the next leap, and perhaps finally come to the realization that we need a regime change, here in our own backyard.

Go see the movie. In IMAX if you can. Just saying.

Mar 17, 2006

Caress Me Down

It's been a while since I did one of these silly Internet quizzes, so I thought I'd start the weekend off right. Have a great weekend, everybody.

Which Sublime song are you?

Caress Me Down

Te gusta reggae, y te gusta punk rock. Oh and what's that other thing you like...oh yeah-sex. You're hornier than Ron Jeremy. Uuh, and that's the lovin' sound.

Personality Test Results

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Mar 16, 2006

Is TuPac alive?

I have a cousin that is a huge Tupac Shakur fan. Huge. As in, she'll play his songs all day on his birthday.

Found this on Drudge. It's supposedly some footage that shows Pac chillin in some parking lot with his homies, smoking and just chillin.

A Holla Back exclusive, yo.

I don't know if this is real or not. And the resolution isn't all that great, but well, you never know.

It's hard out there for a pimp.

Bumper sticker anarchy

You've probably heard this already, but I just got to it today: A woman in San Diego is suing her employer for allegedly firing her over her car's bumper sticker.

It was a bumper sticker for Air America.
In her Feb. 21 claim, [Linda] Laroca asserts that on Oct. 8, three weeks after she started working for the marketing company, Fath called her on a Saturday and requested they meet at a nearby grocery store parking lot so Laroca could pass on some documents Fath needed.

During the brief encounter, Laroca charges, the manager pointed to the bumper sticker ---- the only one on Laroca's car ---- and remarked that it was a new sticker and called it "that Al Franken left-wing radical radio station."

Laroca alleges in her suit that Fath then told her, "The country is on a high state of alert. For all I know, you could be al-Qaida."

A stunned Laroca laughed nervously at the statement, the suit alleges, and then was dealt "the final blow" when Fath fired her on the spot.
I don't even know what to say.

(Thanks to Paco for the link.)

Nine trillion dollars.

I'm sick to my stomach after reading this. Under Clinton, didn't we have a surplus? I'm just saying.
Only a handful of Republicans spoke in favor of the measure as a mostly empty Senate chamber conducted a brief debate Wednesday evening.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Bush's tax cuts account for just 30 percent of the debt limit increases required during his presidency. Revenue losses from a recession and new spending to combat terrorism and for the war in Iraq are also responsible, he said.

As for the $781 billion increase in the debt limit, Grassley said: "It is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the federal government."
Newsflash for Grassley: Being nine trillion dollars in debt really does nothing for me in terms of preserving my faith in the federal government right now. Seriously.

(Props to Rich for the link.)

Mar 13, 2006

Bush Euphemisms

In my relatively short stint as a - dare I say it - blogger, I am always amused at the euphemisms writers use to refer to President George W. Bush. I came across this post from at Povertybarn in which SourKraut refers to him as "Dumb Dumb."

Needless to say, this roused a hearty chuckle within me.

So I thought I'd list all of the Bush euphemisms I could think of that I've heard over the years - some from bloggers, and some from old coworkers. Feel free to add more in the comments section. I think it'd be interesting to see how many we can come up with.
  1. Not My President
  2. Dubya
  3. Shrub/Shrubya
  4. Preznit
  5. King George
  6. Gwibby
  7. Bubble Boy
  8. ???

More hot air, plus an update from me

Posting will be light for the next few days (as if any of you really notices anyway, now that Project Runway is over), as I am busy with the flawless execution of this conference I've been coordinating for the past three months.

I'm sitting in my hotel room right now with a delightful view of the freeway. My fault, I guess, for asking for a room with a balcony. Anyhoo.

Bush is going to start defending his Iraq policy (yes, again) in a series of speeches this week. Yawn. Seriously. Nothing we haven't heard before ("We will not lose our nerve"). More staunch I've-made-up-my-mind-and-I'm-sticking-to-my-guns language.

Nevermind that 54 people died yesterday in Baghdad as a result of more bombings.

I'm with Kennedy when he says this:
Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, a critic of the Republican administration, said instead of leading a "public relations blitz" Bush should bring Iraq's factions together for a summit to avoid a slide into civil war.
I mean seriously. Enough with the smooth talkin'. We already know Dubya's full of it because he made no mention in this speech about any timetables for bringing the troops home.

Alas, I'm also afraid that this series of speeches is meant to further build a case for messing up Iran, too:

Bush said Iran had been responsible for some of the increasing lethality of attacks in Iraq.

"Such actions along with Iran's support for terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear weapons are increasingly isolating Iran," he said. Iran has denied meddling in Iraq and says its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes.

U.S. officials have previously accused predominantly Shi'ite Iran of giving training and weapons to Shi'ite militias operating in Iraq -- charges rejected by Iran's leaders.

Mar 12, 2006

Ports, schmorts

SHHHHH! Don't let the terrorists see this one!
Lapses by private port operators, shipping lines or truck drivers could allow terrorists to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States, according to a government review of security at American seaports.

The $75 million, three-year study by the Homeland Security Department included inspections at a New Jersey cargo terminal involved in the dispute over a Dubai company's now-abandoned bid to take over significant operations at six major U.S. ports.

The previously undisclosed results from the study found that cargo containers can be opened secretly during shipment to add or remove items without alerting U.S. authorities, according to government documents marked "sensitive security information" and obtained by The Associated Press.
And this UAE ports deal was supposed to be all kosher, remember? All business records did not have to be kept on U.S. soil, right? And we were supposed to trust Bush on this one, because he looked into every single possibility of terrorist infiltration and came up with every Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C imaginable to prevent that from happening. Oh wait.

(With inspiration from Joe in DC at AMERICAblog.)

Mar 9, 2006

To my friends on the east coast.

I made granola tonight. From scratch.

It's official. I'm a hippie. Don't hate.

(Kickass serving bowl courtesy of ACCI Gallery.)

How is this even a parallel?

Courtesy of Pandagon comes this article:
A group of men's rights activists will file a lawsuit Thursday aimed at giving men a chance to opt out of financial responsibility for raising a child.

The group argues that women have more options than they do in the event of an unintended pregnancy.

The gist of the argument: If a pregnant woman can choose among abortion, adoption or raising a child, a man involved in an unintended pregnancy should have the choice of declining the financial responsibilities of fatherhood.
First of all, don't even get me started on how absurd the term "men's rights activist" is.

Second of all, don't some men do this already? Does bringing the law into it somehow make it new?

I'm tentatively relieved

So I guess the UAE company has bowed out of the ports deal.
"Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship ... DP World will transfer fully the U.S. operations of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity," Edward H. Bilkey, DP World's chief operating officer, said in a statement.
So which U.S. company is going to get this ports contract?

Halliburton must have some kind of subsidiary related to this, I'm sure.

Project Runway After Party

Episode 14: Finale Part Two
The final runway show is here, and I am as happy as a little girl. And even though I’ve already seen the clothes, there’s nothing like watching the models prance and traipse and flutter down the runway, breathing life into the designers’ creations. I just hope the music on the runway is better this year!

So last week, we saw the Final Three designers return to Manhattan after five months of working on their 12-piece collections for Olympus Fashion Week. Then Heidi Klum bum rushes them with their final “surprise”: To design a 13th garment to fit into their collection.


The better to make my homegirl Lil’ Chlo cry again, of course.

So here we are, at the last episode, and we see the final three designers with their ex-cast member partners rushing to make the now-infamous 13th outfit.

Chloe leaves the draping to Diana, but she’s taking too long. If Diana continues at this pace, Chloe’s gonna have to bust a “I don’t care if you cry and drape, but you got to cry and drape.”

Back to the BR workroom. Santino and Andrae are making a dress, and Tim tells them that it’s “gorgeous.”

Daniel “Don’t Call Him the Golden Child” Vosovic says his 13th garment “invigorates” the rest of his collection. Oh. It’s that beige sack dress that I saw a few weeks ago. Yawn. I’m underwhelmed.

Did you see that? I channeled Michael Kors just then.

Tim calls the designers to gather around to pick order of presentation: Daniel, Chloe, and then Santino.

Ten hours before the show, finishing touches are made, shoes and accessories are sorted, and emotions are running high. Blah, blah, blah.

It's 5:30 a.m. the day of the show, the designers entered the empty tent. The gravity of the situation - the realness of it all - begins to sink in.

Ooh. I want an Elle goodie bag. I hope the folks at Blogging Project Runway are able to get the low down on what’s in those goodie bags. You KNOW it’s gotta be some great stuff. (UPDATE 3/9: Christine at bliu blog was there at the PROFW show - yes, I'm jealous - and she mentions not only what was in the goodie bags, but she has nice candid pictures with celebs and PR cast mates from seasons 1 and 2. Drool.)

Chloe’s having issues with makeup and hair, and she is NOT happy.

“Oh my God. Lack of sleep is making me a diva,” Lil’ Chlo says.

Go on, girl. You BE a diva. It’s your day, homegirl.

Daniel V. is missing his arts-and-crafty handbags. Tim tells him “Everything happens for a reason.” Hmm. Tim Gunn sabotage?

They show Santino’s mom in the audience. She’s verklempt, of course. Cut to Daniel’s parents, but they find the purses, so let’s talk about them instead!

The runway show starts. Heidi looks like she’s been fake n’ baking. She introduces the judges, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and Debra Messing from “Will and Grace.”

Let’s start the show.

Daniel Vosovic
I know I’ve bashed Daniel’s collection for a few weeks now. I still think he’s produced better garments during the course of the show, but I really found his Project Runway collection to be pretty safe and quite frankly, nothing new that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I liked the seafoam green (?) wrap/kimono top, but then again, I think I liked it because it reminded me of Kara’s trademark kimono dress. However, seeing Daniel’s collection come down the runway improved my final perception of the it by about 20%. Except for the 13th garment. I’m not loving that at all. It’s a shapeless sack.

Daniel’s model during the show, Rebecca, comes out in the final dress and gets her feet tangled in the fishtail hem. She trips on it, but doesn’t fall. Oh, the drama! This is like, the equivalent of fumbling the football or something. You just know Kors is gonna give Daniel shit for this.

Lil’ Chlo
So homegirl comes out on the runway, thanks everyone for coming, points out her family and thanks them, etc. Ooh. Chloe has a boyfriend. He’s hot! You go, girl!

I enjoyed the sexiness of the long green dress with the floral print. The high-collared suit/blazer was kind of stiff, but its other counterpart (the pants outfit with the lace shrug top in the same color scheme) was a lot more “Chloe.” I also just loved the long blue print dress with the wide blue trim. Her 13th look was cute too, but there was something very “pre-teen” about the bust. Like it was too small or something. That wouldn’t even cover my girls if I wore that dress.

And the final gown made Grace, again, look like she’d had a few decent meals, finally.

Santino Rice
After giving his mom a shout out (“My mom’s the shit, y’all!”) his collection starts.

Santino's collection - to me, anyway - totally succeeded in conveying the 40’s Hollywood glamour/boudoir theme – even down to the 13th garment. If I had to get rid of one piece, it would be that black Queen Elizabeth-Virgin-Queen-Gone-Goth jacket, only because it came off as a bit heavy, and wasn’t as light and airy as the rest of the other garments. It was a cool jacket and created an interesting silhouette, but that one was a bit of a wild card. Overall though, I thought Santino did a great job.

AND, to top it all off, Santino created his own original music for the runway!

Think of it this way, Santino: If the designing gig doesn’t work out (or if Nicky Hilton doesn't hit you up for a dress), you have a promising career in electronica.

Judging time!
Debra Messing asks each designer to describe the inspiration behind their collections. Michael Kors says that he wants to rip that patch off of Rebecca’s dress. And he liked Daniel V.'s 13th dress. He thought it was great. WHAT? Losers. And the judges mention that the whole Asian and military theme didn’t play out. Agreed.

Nina and Michael say that Santino’s collection was out of character. Nina thinks it was too safe, but she appreciates this aspect of a more “mature Santino.” Thank you. But then, they criticized the fit of his clothing: “The boobs weren’t where they were supposed to be,” says Heidi. But Nina assures him that he has a place in fashion and for him not to be discouraged.

The judges move on to Lil’ Chlo and question her choice of doing all evening wear. Heidi criticizes the “matchy matchy” shrugs. Heidi says she’d never wear that, but maybe they love to rock that look in Houston. Who knows? Debra Messing absolutely loved Chloe’s 13th dress.

Each designer now has to defend why they should win. Santino thinks he’ll create timeless pieces even if people think he’s crazy. Chloe says she has a great business mind. Daniel says he has a unique point of view.

So who wins? And more importantly, do I get a carne asada burrito out of this?

Damn. Santino is out. No burrito for me.

Lil’ Chlo wins! And so does Grace, she gets her spread in Elle! Congrats, ladies!

P.S. to Daniel V.: Take the Kors job offer.

Mar 8, 2006


David Hasslehoff's estranged wife has filed a claim alleging domestic abuse.

I don't really know what to say about this (aside from the obvious), but I just wanted an excuse to use this picture, which I have dubbed "The Greatest Picture Ever."

I even have it on a t-shirt, I love it that much.

That is all.

Mar 7, 2006


There are just some things you don't joke about. For real.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Slavery in Iraq

Chicago Dyke at Corrente Wire highlights this article that discusses how government-contracted businesses like Halliburton and Bechtel create elaborate --- and untraceable --- contractor and sub-contractor relationships with companies to hire folks (referred to as “third country nationals,” or TCNs) to help build the U.S. bases in Iraq.

And while the promise of increased income from these overseas jobs is an attractive lure for people from the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc. what essentially happens is that these TCNs become part of the grand scheme of what is essentially, modern-day slavery (emphasis, as always, mine):
The menial wages paid to TCNs working for the regional contractors may be the most significant factor in the Pentagon’s argument that outsourcing military support is far more cost-efficient for the U.S. taxpayer than using its own troops to maintain camps and feed its ranks.

But there is also a human cost to this savings. Numerous former American contractors returning home say they were shocked at conditions faced by this mostly invisible, but indispensable army of low-paid workers. TCNs frequently sleep in crowded trailers and wait outside in line in 100 degree plus heat to eat “slop.” Many are said to lack adequate medical care and put in hard labor seven days a week, 10 hours or more a day, for little or no overtime pay. Few receive proper workplace safety equipment or adequate protection from incoming mortars and rockets. When frequent gunfire, rockets and mortar shell from the ongoing conflict hits the sprawling military camps, American contractors slip on helmets and bulletproof vests, but TCNs are frequently shielded only by the shirts on their backs and the flimsy trailers they sleep in.

Adding to these dangers and hardships, some TCNs complain publicly about not being paid the wages they expected. Others say their employers use “bait-and-switch” tactics: recruiting them for jobs in Kuwait or other Middle Eastern countries and then pressuring them to go to Iraq. All of these problems have resulted in labor disputes, strikes and on-the-job protests.
Halliburton’s numbers alone reflect that TCNs make up 73% of Kellogg, Brown & Root’s workers in Iraq. Kellogg, Brown & Root, you’ll remember, was that Halliburton company that basically overcharged the government $250 million and is going to get paid anyway.

These American companies - these companies with close ties to the Bush Administration - continue to reap the benefits from the blood, sweat, and tears of poor brown people. It's so disgusting. Is this how the War on Terror is to be won?

BARBARians to commemorate the Ides of March

If you're not doing anything on the 15th and don't mind going out for drinks on a school night, come join me and my fellow BARBARians on our latest monthly-ish night out.

Check out this post for details. No word yet on whether togas will be the required dress code for the evening.

Women of South Dakota, reclaim your uteri

So they've signed that bill into law in South Dakota which makes it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion - unless the woman's health is at stake (thank Jah for small favors). Instances of rape or incest are not included in this exemption.

Also, apparently a committee voted down a measure in that bill to immediately terminate all parental rights of a rapist upon conviction.

I'm with Kvatch. If you're a woman living in South Dakota, get the hell outta Dodge.

Reject this legalized and institutionalized misogyny. Because even if you get raped in that state and become pregnant, there's a chance that your rapist will continue to be in your life, at least until the child turns 18. And hey, maybe he'll try to rape you again. And again. Or maybe it'll be some other rapist. And then maybe you'll have given birth enough times to have a nice little family. And well, gosh darn it, isn't that just great! Family values rule! (Just don't ever talk about the fact that Daddy's a rapist.)

I don't even know what else to say about this, except to leave you with this one frightening quote from Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America:
Some other states are considering similar bans on abortion, and the South Dakota legislation will have an impact in other states.
I wouldn't be surprised if other states do, in fact, jump on the Sadists in South Dakota bandwagon. How the hell does a country like ours manage to throw away years and years of progress in such a relatively short period of time?

Totally disgusting.

You may also want to check out Blogenlust's take on this issue, as if you weren't riled up enough already.

Mar 2, 2006

What's the point?

The ports deal with the UAE company becomes final either tomorrow or Monday, regardless of the 45-day review.

UPDATE: And then I come across this from Think Progress (via Suburban Guerrilla). See, back in 2002, Al Qaida wrote a letter to the UAE government acknowledging that the UAE government was well aware that Al Qaida infiltrated key agencies in that country.

Why the urgency to sign this ports deal? It's almost as if the Bush Administration is trying so hard to ensure another 9/11 --- or better yet --- a thwarted attempt, saved in the nick of time. All the better to ensure you continue to vote GOP in November, my pretties.

Project Runway After Party

Episode 13: Finale Part One
So this week, the three remaining designers are tasked to present a 12-piece collection at Olympus Fashion Week.

After sharing some champagne (and cider) with Heidi and Tim, the three remaining designers toast to Fashion Week. Everyone bids goodbye to the Atlas, to Manhattan, moves out, and goes back home to work on their collections.

Five months later, Tim visits the designers to see how they’re coming along on their challenges.

Santino Rice
Tim’s first stop is Hollywood, Calif. to visit Santino – whose house looks like it should be on MTV FREAKIN’ CRIBS, by the way. (Oh. He’s renting. Carry on.)

His theme: 40’s glamour, boudoir, publicity still. Vintage meets contemporary.

Santino shows Tim a dress with sunburst pleats. So that’s what you call those things. I remember having a dress with sunburst pleats when I was a kid. Loved it! J'adore how this show is both entertaining and educational.

“It has a refinement that frankly I didn’t see from you in the show,” says Tim about the dress. Good sign, good sign.

Tim and Santino sashay down Venice Beach, talking about Santino’s past, his childhood, while watching the sunset. Santino’s had a rough life apparently, the product of a mixed-race marriage somewhere in Missouri. He lets on about a life filled with adversity, but aside from money problems, he doesn’t really get into it, except to let us in on a pretty vulnerable glimpse into his psyche:

“I come across as arrogant, but I feel major insecurity,” he says.

Obviously. I can identify with that in some way. I can’t hate Santino right now. It’s really good to see this other side of him.

They visit Santino’s friend Tony (he’s a model and photographer who looks like he could be Santino’s brother) and his wife and their family. It’s here that he reveals to his friends that he’s made it to the Final Three on the show. It’s a cute and poignant, the way Tony and his family congratulate Santino over Chinese take-out. And it’s an endearing moment, to watch one of Tony’s little daughters climb all over Santino.

Daniel Vosovic
Daniels’ in NYC working on his collection. And he got a haircut. It’s very … close to the head. I’m not feeling it. Bring back the mop!

His theme: The fusion of military influence and Japanese culture. Or, alternatively, Mixmaster Frump. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Tim’s take: Details will make or break his collection. Tim urges him to push the risk factor.

The two decide to go shopping. Daniel needs a new jacket, or a new outfit for the finale show. They share a laugh about Nick and how maybe he should design a jacket for Daniel. Har har. Gotta love the inside jokes.

Daniel breaks it down about his childhood. Small town Michigan. Gay. Pressure to be “different.” Has the best family, encouraging him to come out. Daniel is so happy with life right now.

Good for him.

Chloe Dao
Houston, Texas. Yee haw! Chloe is so cute. I swear, she reminds me of a more stylish version of myself, or one of my dear cousins. Except she's Laoatian. Minor detail.

Sistafren has SEVEN sisters. And they’re all gorgeous.

So Chloe’s breaking it down about how her family was in prison after getting caught trying to escape from Laos. And then she asks Tim to imagine how amazing it is, the fact that the family--- all 10 of them (Chloe's parents and the 8 girls)--- all managed to escape Laos, intact.

“We had a lot of cavities, but we were all safe.” You go, girl.

So about the collection. She doesn’t really have a “theme.” It’s not completely done yet. But it’s all in her head. Lil' Chlo doesn’t sketch.

Fashion Week
With five days to go to the runway show, the designers return to Manhattan.

Lil’ Chlo hasn’t slept in two days, and she’s nervous about seeing Santino – she’s still burning up about the “patternmaker” comment from Episode 11. And when Santino gets there, they talk about how hard it is, not to watch the show or read any press on the show. But he’d read an article about how Chloe doesn’t like him, and how he’d been dubbed the designer “you love to hate.”

Chloe and Santino talk about how it all went down, but I don’t know if anything is resolved. In fact, when the designers arrive at their new Banana Republic workroom and start hanging up their collections, Santino says that Chloe’s looks “like a couch is coming at you.”

So much for being a nice guy.

Tim comes back and looks at the rest of the collections. He gives Santino and Chloe props for their collections. Then he comes to Daniel’s, and he’s silent.

“Why isn’t he piddling in his panties with excitement?” Daniel asks.

Tim is struggling for words. This can't bode well for Daniel V.

“I’m waiting to see how they’ll look on the girls,” he says finally. Nice save, Tim. Not.

And as you know, pictures of the collections are out, and I really wasn’t all that impressed either. Sorry, Daniel.

Next, it’s off to see Michael Kors, giving them advice on how to give good runway and to do some model casting.

Three days before the show, and now that they have their models, it’s time for the fittings. They’re reunited with their “Project Runway” models. Everyone’s happy to see each other, yadda yadda.

And when Tim comes to see Daniel’s dress on Rebecca, Tim is still at a loss for words. Ouch. The Golden Child of Project Runway is human after all!

Two days before the runway show, everyone still has a lot of work to do. A non-pregnant Heidi Klum comes to the Banana Republic workroom to pay them a visit and bust out with a new interesting “surprise”:

They have to create one more look that has to be shown on the runway.

Don't you know they're all burnt out? And don't you know how much work they have left to do? And now my girl Lil’ Chlo is crying! Damn that Heidi Klum!

To help the already frazzled designers, Heidi tells them that they each get an extra set of hands to help them out with this challenge. At that moment, all the other designers that got kicked off file into the BR workroom. All of them. Even that annoying girl from Texas that didn't know what "auf wiedersehen" meant. Oh, goody. They get to pick who they want to help them out:
  • Daniel picks Nick (he should have picked Andrae, hello Episode 6!).
  • Santino picks Andrae.
  • Chloe picks … DIANA ENG?
I'm sorry, but WTF? I hope homegirl has some strategery going on in that head of hers. Chloe, girl, don’t be trying to make a dress with magnets. I'm just saying.

They have a budget of $250. Thirty minutes to sketch. One hour to shop for fabric.

Stress levels are high, obviously.

And on that note, I’d like to leave you with these wise words from Santino that succinctly sum up this final challenge:
Even if you stick pasties and a maxi pad on the 13th model, it’s like, who gives a shit at this point?
Indeed, Santino. Indeed. Make it work!

Next week is when Bravo airs the runway shows. I can't freakin' wait. America's favorite fag hag, Debra Messing, will be the guest judge.

My pick? Based on how last night's episode went down, and because I've already seen most of the items in their respective collections, I'm willing to wager a carne asada burrito that Santino wins Project Runway this season.