Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Of Hornets and Fists

If you put you fist through a hornets' nest, is it the hornets' fault that you get stung? The answer is yes, of course it's the hornets' fault. You had plans for that hornets' nest and if the hornets can't appreciate it then there's obviously something wrong with them. So, as your hand swells and you start getting stung in the eyes, you bitterly curse the deity that allowed this to happen to you. But you sure as hell don't take your hand out. You lecture the hornets, tell them that a new life awaits them if only they would stop stinging you and flying around. Can't they see you're trying to help them?? Well, no. The hornets have a different way of looking at life, as hard as it is for you to understand. They just want to make their nest and be absolutely terrifying to people with bee allergies. Plus, not for nothing, but you did put your hand through their house without bothering to consult them about it.

So why is it still the hornets' fault for stinging you? Because you, like I, live in America. Don't believe me that this would be the prevailing attitude among your contemporaries? Watch the CNN/YouTube debate and listen to the people who want to be our next President. When it came to discussing the war and how mismanaged it is, there was only one place to lay the blame: on the Iraqi people themselves!

Nothing new of course, the "blame the Iraqis" game has been going on since about the time we gave the Iraqis elections. But now that their government is taking a vacation, it's time to really shame them. "How dare they do this when our troops are out in the hot sun protecting their raghead asses!" is more or less the argument being made everywhere these days. Even the Daily Show got in on calling the Iraqi legislators cowards and whores.

Now, this is a somewhat valid argument. A government on the verge of collapse should probably not be taking a month off to go play golf or ride horses or whatever it is one does to momentarily forget a civil war. But the thing is, the Iraqi government is not our government. We don't own them and we sure as hell don't have any right to demand things from them. But since everyone seems to think that we do own Iraq, it would be nice if they just owned up and admitted that this has turned into imperialism, plain and simple. It's no longer about "the war" it's about determining whether or not we as a country are shameless enough to revive the blatant military imperialism that Europeans got tired of half a century ago. If we are, then we sure as hell can't bring home our soldiers now, because the game has just started. If we aren't, which I think would be right, we leave, but we don't act all pissed at the Iraqis for not doing everything we told them to do.

Let's go back to that hornet's next again real quick. Since your hand is stuck there and you don't seem to be pulling it out, maybe it's best that you wait for the hornets to tire out then you can get yourself to a doctor. But then you see another hornet's nest. Now, you don't know this, but it's the home of the Asian giant hornet. But shit, you don't care. What the fuck are you, some kind of bugologist? Hell no! You kill bugs dead. So you lumber over and put your other hand through that nest, completely oblivious to the fact that not only are these hornets different from the hornets already slowly killing you, but these hornets are much more adept at it. What would this make you? An asshole with two deadly boxing gloves? Just an asshole? No actually. It would mean you're the President.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sweet Merciful Christ

I could bitch about the fact that earlier today when I checked my email I was invited to a Facebook group called "Hollywood Blacklist Lindsay Lohan", but there is something much cooler and much funnier at work here. I obviously need to read the New York Sun more often, because they want Dick Cheney to run for president. Of America.

Can that happen please? As if the Republican field weren't dumb enough (9/11 Boy, Mormon, Actor, Scarface and The Rest), you're seriously telling me that someone is encouraging the most unpopular Vice President evar to throw his top hat and umbrella in the ring? Please oh please oh please let Cheney win that nomination.

A Cheney nomination would actually present a clear choice between himself and whoever the Democrats put up there. Hell, I could run and beat Dick Cheney and I'm a habitual drunk driver with multiple hit and runs. It would be like if Barry Goldwater spent eight years being VP and then ran. I mean, it's bad enough when an out of touch conservative ideologue runs without ever having had the chance to fuck up the whole country. But now in a time when Americans are worried about the war and the cost of living, a rich secretive Penguin-lookin motherfucker who was the primary brain behind said war is going to go out campaigning? If Cheney got ten percent of the popular vote I would be absolutely floored.

Sure, this is kind of old news and the blogosphere has already exploded all over it from what I can gather. But count me as a strong supporter of a Cheney for Pres campaign.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Brooks v. Brooks

Like some kind of bizarro world smackdown, David Brooks has managed to contradict himself in just three days. Very impressive, I'll give him that much. But if both of them are evil, which one wears the goatee?

Brooks today:
It illuminates the dangers of believing that there is a universal hunger for liberty. That universal hunger may exist in the abstract, but we’re embedded creatures and the way specific individuals perceive liberty depends on context.

Brooks on the 17th in his presidential handjob:
Bush is convinced that history is moving in the direction of democracy, or as he said Friday: “It’s more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn’t exist.”

It's true Evil Brooks didn't come out and say he agreed with El Presidente on his view of God and freedom. But the tone of the article certainly made it seem that he agreed. And now we have, uh, Hideously Evil Brooks dropping that little nugget in between a bunch of other drivel. Christ, I wish I had a job as a political columnist.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Joe Biden is a Douchebag

There it is. I can't say it any more concisely than that. Joe Biden is an absolute douchebag. Already running a one issue platform for his longshot presidential bid, Biden decided to underscore that one issue by encouraging viewers in a CNN/Youtube primary debate to vote for a scripted question his campaign made up so that it will be asked to all the candidates. After holding my head together to keep it from exploding upon hearing the absurdity that a presidential debate has to stoop to American Idol tactics to get people to watch, I read what this fucking moron's prescripted question was.

"Every Democrat wants to get our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. But other than Joe Biden, none of you seem to have a plan for what we leave behind. … Beyond getting our troops out of Iraq, what’s your plan to ensure we don’t leave a mess behind?"

Ok, maybe the question would be innocuous enough taken at face value if it wasn't tailored specifically to name drop Joe Biden and intended to highlight his absurd Iraq partition plan, but Biden seriously expects to garner recognition on the campaign trail through this absolutely shallow and moronic nonsense. Convinced that he's got the panacea to all that ails Iraq, this asshole has decided that since the country has three distinct and hostile religious identities, we should split the country into three distinct and semi-autonomous states! Besides, the country of Iraq was formed by the British in 1920, so if we just dismantle that state now, it'll go back to how it was! Great idea! Remember how well that worked in the Balkans!

Anyone with half a brain can see this plan is obscenely ethnocentric, some concoction of a pure politician concerned more about carving out a niche in a political campaign than forming logical policy. First of all, oil wealth will be centralized exclusively in the Shia south and Kurdish north, leaving the Sunni center impoverished or, at the very least, with the smallest slice of the pie when it comes to how that money is divided. The Turks will have no regards for encroaching into Kurdistan without an effective national apparatus to defend it and the territory will be increasingly vulnerable as it's isolated from the country. That is not to imply that the country of Iraq has an effective defensive force that could fend off the Turks, but if the country is split across ethnic lines, you can be assured there will be little aid from the Autonomous States of Iraq.

But most importantly, above all of these logical reasons for opposing this dumb plan, Iraqi nationals are generally hostile to the idea. We're already considered occupiers, rapists, murders, heathens, and general jerkoffs by a substantial part of the Iraqi population; imposing arbitrary national partitions from afar would strip us of any semblance of national sympathy and moral compass we have in this mission. In fact, we would become no better than the British colonialists who formed Iraq in the first place, or those that carved up Africa for economic gain. It wouldn't take very long for people to figure out which side America is providing the bulk of its support to in this new partitioned nation (hint, it ain't the Sunnis with no oil).

Worst of all, this shit isn't even new, but the fact that Biden pretends he thought up this plan has "Al Gore invented the internet" written all over it. In spite of it's being a horrible idea, he marches around spouting this shit off like he's so much smarter than everyone for having thought of it first. He repeats it and harps on it between Bush insults like a machine, assuming that if he repeats the same thing over and over his ideas will gain some sort of legitimacy that people will tie his campaign to. Enough, please. The plan doesn't work, so just drop out of the presidential race and go back to spewing your bullshit on the floor of the Senate.

Fuck you, Joe Biden. You're a fucking douchebag.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's not easy being Chinese

And in the NBA. China is now slamming Yao Ming for being late back to its national team. Pride in country from the mouth of a large government that's now collectivizing even its most individual players. The Chinese government can't take the the fact that one of its citizens is successful somewhere else, even if he remains a loyal national of their shitty, low down, dirty rotten nation. It's almost worth it to take a hit to our national reputation in order to knee cap these bastards over this. To hell with international space and other militaristic foreign policy initiatives. This is basketball we're talking about! We own this shit, even if our Olympic team is no longer a lock! Who the hell is China on a street court? In fact, if they hadn't taught everyone to be so competitively standoffish toward one another, Yao Ming would have fifty rebounds a game!
I hope the D-League All-stars stuff the living shit out of China in horrible embarrassment just to kick the revolving government in its big, bloody pseudo-Communist shins. The only problem with that is that they would execute the point guard. Fuck China. Newly free trade, never free activity.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

David Brooks Is A Hero

Other than The Walrus, my favorite least favorite Times' columnist is David Brooks. Nerdy, proper and careful to separate himself as an elite that likes the everyday folks, Brooks' schtick as the likable Republican on the Times' editorial page is a constant source of amusement, much in the same way SportsByBrooks is a good website. Which I guess to say is not at all.

Heroes and History, Brooks' latest opus, is not only laughably weird, but also poorly named. I mean, go look at a picture of David Brooks. Does this look like a man who's ever done anything heroic? (The answer is no)

Brooks contrasts the "despondency and despair" of our cowardly congresspeople with the...ummm..."different universe" George Bush seems to inhabit. Yes, this is how far we've come, even George Bush's supporters now mention that spending time with George is like living in a different universe.

Far from being beleaguered, Bush was assertive and good-humored.

Other things that happen in this Universe: trumpets play saxophones and white people are slaves. But there's still a long drawn out pointless war going on. And according to Nerd Boy, Bush is still committed to winning this war.

If Gen. David Petraeus comes back and says he needs more troops and more time, Bush will scrounge up the troops.

Wow. My herpes chancres are more empathetic than David Brooks. "Scrounge up more troops"? I think that says all you need to know about what David Brooks thinks of our (Middle American)(poor) military. These aren't people, they're resources to be "scrounged" in a doomed and infantile effort to be right. You don't scrounge up soldiers, you scrounge up money to buy a twenty sack at the end of the semester.

Oh, here's another part I really like, because it reminds me of a lovely story:

But Bush is not blind to the realities in Iraq. After all, he lives through the events we’re not supposed to report on: the trips to Walter Reed, the hours and hours spent weeping with or being rebuffed by the families of the dead.

When I was at school, the Gold Star Families for Peace came to speak to us. And one of the mothers of a dead soldier told us she met President Bush, who gave her something like, a Presidential Penny of Freedom or some other bullshit small sum of money. And what did George Bush say when he gave her this? "Don't spend it all in one place." I don't think I'd make a joke when comforting a dead soldier's mother, but I obviously don't know that much, because I'm not the President.

Bush is convinced that history is moving in the direction of democracy, or as he said Friday: “It’s more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn’t exist.”

Did you know God invented democracy? All this time, I thought it was a political theory that evolved through the ages. But it turns out that within all of us there is a God given gift to understand American style representative democracy. I also find it ironic that the man who opened Guantanamo and authorized torture is so big on the God given gift of freedom. Which he takes away from people.

He’s convinced leaders have the power to change societies. Even in a place as chaotic as Iraq, good leadership makes all the difference.

Some clever satirist has broken into David Brooks' head and made him type a painfully ironic sentence.

When Bush talks about world affairs more generally, he talks about national leaders. When he is asked to analyze Iraq, he talks about Maliki. With Russia, it’s Putin. With Europe, it’s Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown and the rest. He is confident in his ability to read other leaders: Who has courage? Who has a chip on his shoulder?

I like this mystery satirist. Especially because they obviously remember this.

That's it, the post is over. Why are you still here? I'm out of scintillating political zingers today. This is supposed to be a sports blog for Christ's sake.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Joe Morgan Is A Motherfucking Idiot

There are people out there who are better at this, but I just don't care.

Anyway, last night I watched the Phillies get their 10,000th loss in a manner that was perfect for it. And I did my best to ignore the commentary. But my best was not quite enough, because through my pot and Sunday apathy induced haze, I heard Joe Morgan and Jon Miller talk about the struggles of my beloved New York Mets. All Miller really did was note the fact that they haven't played that well the last month. But Joe couldn't leave well enough alone and had to chime in with something along the lines of "That shows what a good job Willie Randolph did last year when the Mets had bad pitching. This year their pitching is even worse and they're still in first place."

God almighty what a stupid thing to say. What an absolute mind-meltingly dumb statement. Anyone who's been paying attention even one Tiny Iota would think that Joe Morgan would have to be sniffing glue to make that statement. Onto the useless statistical evidence.

Last year, the Mets used something like 100,000 starting pitchers in the first month of the season. Jose Lima got four starts. Let me repeat that: Jose Lima. Got four starts. I was there for one and he gave up two homeruns to Dontrelle Willis, including a grand slam. The following illustrious hurlers also took the mound for the Mets last year: Alay Soler (8 starts, 6.00 ERA. 1.57 WHIP), Brian Bannister (6 starts, 4.26 ERA, 1.47 WHIP), Victor Zambrano (5 starts, 6.75 ERA, 1.68 WHIP), Geremi Gonzalez (3 starts, 7.71 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, poor spelling). And those were just the castoffs and irregulars. There was also Steve Trachsel, the most useless 15 game winner in the history of rounders and baseball put together. That is not good pitching, yet the Mets got good pitching from Tom Glavine, El Duque, John Maine and their bullpen, ending the season with a 4.14 team ERA, third in the NL.

This year, the Mets have not had to start a trillion castoff starting pitchers. The only crappy pitchers have been Jason Vargas (2 starts, 12.19 ERA, 1.83 WHIP), Chan Ho Park (1 start, 15.75 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) and Dave Williams (1 start, 21.60 ERA, 4.20 WHIP. Which is appropriate because he got lit up). They've also had a disappointment in Mike Pelfrey and Tom Glavine has shown his age. However, John Maine put up All-Star caliber numbers in the first half, Ollie Perez has struck out twice the number of batters he's walked and El Duque has gotten incredibly lucky, giving up only 61 hits in 84 innings (.205 BAA) despite having played Little League with Julio Franco and Jesus. The bullpen has also been solid, anchored by the absolutely unconscious Billy Wagner, who won't win the Rolaids Relief award because he'll have great peripherals and only like, 32 saves. They have a 3.86 team ERA, which is...third in the National League.

I won't bother getting in to why the Mets are worse this year, I'll just say the offense isn't performing. Because this isn't really about the Mets. It's about Joe Morgan. Joe Morgan has a national platform to spew this kind of idiocy, seemingly carte blanche. I mean, why would he possibly think the Mets have bad pitching this year? Did he just make it up? Did he just get lazy and assume the Carloses were pulling their weight? Did he flip a coin? Seriously, help me out here people. Joe Morgan doesn't deserve his job if he's going to put this little thought into it. If you don't know something about a team, don't just pull an answer out of your ass and expect to be right. Because it's gonna stink.

To reiterate for the Google searchers out there: Joe Morgan idiot. Joe Morgan wrong. Joe Morgan stupid. Joe Morgan eats paint chips. Joe Morgan glue sniffer. Joe Morgan lazy. Joe Morgan dumb. Joe Morgan bad analyst. Joe Morgan history's greatest monster.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Poor Widdle John McCain

Poor Widdle John McCain.

Wretch. The original link from the politics section state "Battered and Broke, McCain Fights On." I'm not sure if CNN is still living the in the glory days of activist journalism and they think that Iraq actually is Vietnam, but that sounds more like a description of a soldier than a politician. Theoretically he has been both by trade and metaphorically he is battling. Only the problem is...

News isn't meant to be metaphorical!

John McCain has wanted to be the next sweet piece of ass in politics since his life began and he came damn close in 2000 when this country had the election of the wannabes. George Bush wanted to win the election. He had to steal it. Al Gore wanted to be liked. Even the Democrats looked elsewhere for votes in Nader. Nader wanted to make a viable future for a party. He didn't. Bill Bradley wanted to make a splash. He didn't. And John Freakin McCain wanted to have broad enough conservative appeal to win a Republican Primary and (WHADDAYAKNOW!?) he didn't. The man fit in perfectly almost a decade ago.

This time around he has to face plenty of non speak and double speak savvy and has to deal with the same problems he did before. We may not have known everything, but this guy couldn't even beat George Bush in a primary. Now, another eight years older and eight years more sore assed for sitting on the damn bench and fence about every hot button in America, blowing political hot methane air into the nostrils of press row and up the skirts of Senate interns, is supposed to make John McCain the comeback kid that vows to fight on for his majority of the delegates?

Self delusion is one of the world's favorite drugs, and the Arizona Senate chamber is bumping with it. Try to be empathetic for a moment. You have a death grip of power, inhaling cocaine off a stripper in your third term as incumbent and then you wind up stuck near your constituency with your boring wife and Paradise Valley golf club meetings, your colostomy bag carried by a hot young assistant , for whom you can not even become erect anymore. Welcome to hell!

Just kidding. John McCain's scandal didn't involve sex or drugs. HE's too sophisticated-like, all respecable, with his "Savings and Loans" and whatnot. The guy's been known as crooked since Reagan's second term and the newscasters jerk off to him like he's the next best thing everyday for five minutes (dependent upon coffee breaks in the particular station).

It's a disease pushed by more than he himself, as every moderate statist and middle of the road wannabe moron gets press for pissing off both parties with a terrible compromise that leaves no one happy. Great job, centrists. Way to bring people together. It's no wonder that there's no real party for you, getting gunned down in primaries by your own kind.

But nooooooooooo, not the all powerful John McCaaaaain. He's so strong and brave and moderate and unoffensive and a role model for our thriving nation which defends freedom and September eleventh September eleventh.

My only consolation is that this time he will be reduced to a shell, given the Gephardt treatment in a way that might make him finally say "Uncle. " By the time that snarky and vicious sunufabitch Rudy Giuliani starts attacking him and the role player like Mike Hucakbee and Fred Thompson, the ship will sink like the body of Arturo Gatti did earlier tonight in what he has said will be the last fight of his career. The difference is, of course, Gatti is an exciting hero and champion while McCain is an... an asshole?

Good riddance to the current representation of Arizona. May it rot in its own rhetoric on the campaign trail, disintegrating into an uninteresting mess of former power brokers armed with ctiny and compact legislative proposals that will go to waste under the gavel of a new generation of dweebs and dirt bags. Take solace in the fact that there will be no John McCain.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Q. When Is Thomas Friedman Wrong About The War?

A. Whenever he's alive.

The New York Times' esteemed scholar of increasing wrongness has another dispatch from on high for us. And it doesn't involve the phrase "six months"! Instead, Tommy has decided for us that America should throw in the towel in Iraq. Does he look back on his ironclad support for a regrettable war with any remorse? Pff, The Walrus knows no regret. He only knows about eating fish by the bucketload.

We must not kid ourselves: our real choices in Iraq are either all in or all out — with the exception of Kurdistan. If those are our only real choices, then we need to look clearly at each.

Staying in means simply containing the Iraqi civil war, but at the price of Americans and Iraqis continuing to die, and at the price of the U.S. having no real leverage on the parties inside or outside of Iraq to negotiate a settlement, because everyone knows we’re staying so they can dither. Today, U.S. soldiers are making the maximum sacrifice so Iraqi politicians can hold to their maximum positions.

Getting out, on the other hand, means more ethnic, religious and tribal killings all across Iraq. It will be one of the most morally ugly scenes you can imagine — no less than Darfur. You will see U.S. troops withdrawing and Iraqi civilians and soldiers who have supported us clinging to our tanks for protection as we rumble out the door. We need to take with us everyone who helped us and wants out, and give green cards to as many Iraqis as possible.

But getting out has at least four advantages. First, no more Americans will be dying while refereeing a civil war. Second, the fear of an all-out civil war, as we do prepare to leave, may be the last best hope for getting the Iraqis to reach an 11th-hour political agreement. Third, as the civil war in Iraq plays out, it could, painfully, force the realignment of communities on the ground that may create a more stable foundation upon which to build a federal settlement.

Fourth, we will restore our deterrence with Iran. Tehran will no longer be able to bleed us through its proxies in Iraq, and we will be much freer to hit Iran — should we ever need to — once we’re out. Moreover, Iran will by default inherit management of the mess in southern Iraq, which, in time, will be an enormous problem for Tehran.

For all these reasons, I prefer setting a withdrawal date, but accompanying it with a last-ditch U.N.-led — not U.S. — diplomatic effort to get the Iraqi parties to resolve their political differences. If they can, then any withdrawal can be postponed. If they can’t agree — even with a gun to their heads about to go off — then staying is truly pointless and leaving by a set date is the only option.

You evil patronizing sonofabitch. Green cards? Do you drink when you type this Walrus? Half of this stupid country thought Iraq was behind 9/11. That section also tends to look at all Arabs suspiciously. So now we're going to bring an influx of Iraqis in to our country, where I'm sure they'll be welcomed with open arms by everyone. Not to mention the callousness of destroying someone's home and then telling them that your house is much nicer and you should move there instead. Think Tom would mind me setting fire to his house if I let him crash on my couch?

I also appreciate blaming everything on Iraqi politicians who Tom just can't abide by. Why can't they reach an agreement? It must be because these wogs are so selfish and stupid. They just don't appreciate the brave sacrifices we've made for them! Nor do they seem to appreciate our contempt for their safety through the 1980s and 90s or our shifting alliances with Shia then Sunni then Shia then whoever the hell's side we're on now. Come now you savages! The Walrus doth grant thou an eleventh hour respite! Make well with your bargains in a fortnight lest you arouse his anger once more!

And I just want to point out this little gem once more before we go.

Tehran will no longer be able to bleed us through its proxies in Iraq, and we will be much freer to hit Iran — should we ever need to — once we’re out.

Hit Iran? Do you never fucking learn? Curse you Walrussssss!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nothing Shocking

In a pattern that should be all too familiar by now, the former surgeon general under Bush, Richard Carmona, has said that the Bush administration is run by ideologues (!). Between the outrage and heart attacks I had that something so insane could be levied against this administration, I sighed and returned to work. Among the gems he dropped, Carmona cited "political interference preventing him from discussing the science on embryonic stem cell research, contraceptives and his misgivings about the administration's embrace of 'abstinence-only' sex education." It's good to see that Bush doesn't let non-partisan science get in the way of his Christian policy formation.

The real issue that causes the greatest concern in all of this is that cabinet level officials need to be able to operate independently of political considerations. Yes, these people serve at the pleasure of the President, but they are confirmed by the Senate and expected to fulfill vital functions for our nation. Let's run down a few of the cabinet officials that couldn't get on the trolley with the agenda and stepped down as a result of internal pressures, shall we?
  • First, and foremost, my personal favorite. Christie Todd Whitman, former governor of the polluted strip of Hell known as the Armpit of America turned head of the EPA, steps down because of conflicts within the administration. She claims it was family concerns at the time, but later acknowledges that the administration, which Cheney forming the policy, had an agenda against tightening air pollution controls. I'm not saying that we would still have ice caps at the North Pole if Whitman was still in office, but at least some individual within the administration would have at the very least feigned concern about global warming before March of this year. I've known about global warming since I was 8, maybe Bush and Cheney should have watched more Nickelodeon in 1992.
  • Colin Powell, respected by Republicans and Democrats alike as the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, steps down from his position as Secretary of State on November 15, 2004 after lending (read: shattering) his credibility to administration assertions that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That credibility peaks with a speech given to the United Nations that there are mobile weapon production facilities within the country; of course, that intelligence was pushed by Cheney in long-since publicized internal administration conflicts during the run-up to Iraq 2.0. In September 2005, Powell was asked about the speech during an interview with Barbara Walters and responded that it was a blot on his record. He added, "It will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."
  • John Ashcroft, quite possibly the biggest douche in the universe whose political career is punctuated by being defeated in a Senate race by a dead man and arresting Tommy Chong, announces that he will resign from his post as Attorney General upon commencement of the President's second term, pending confirmation of a replacement by the Senate. Congressional probes into the unconstitutional wiretapping program used by the administration to eavesdrop on citizens reveal that Ashcroft had been confronted by his deputy and eventual successor, Alberto Gonzales, and Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card, to certify the legality of the program while he lay critically ill in a hospital bed. Ashcroft refuses to sign the documents brought to him. Let the eagle soar, baby.
How many of these former officials need to come out and make statements that the inner workings of the presidential cabinet is corrupt and driven by distinctly radical conservative ideologues before the Congress does more than cry about it? A partisan doctor is about as useful as a blind seeing-eye dog, but I would bet that nothing will come from this revelation at all outside of some finger wagging and new stump speeches. When supposedly independent authorities within the government are unable to act independently, it stifles democracy and shatters the trust that is supposed to exist in the social contract between the governors and governed. Perhaps that's the biggest tragedy of all; the social contract has been destroyed beyond all recognition, and when things like this happen, we all sigh and go back to work.

So maybe it is nothing shocking. To the victor go the spoils, and as Bush was elected president it is indeed on his terms that he selects his ideologues for the cabinet, right? The general apathy and political climate in our country dictates that we will accept such political agendas. After all, Bush is a lame duck and we're counting the days to a new presidency, so let him do what he wants. This line of thinking is so prevalent in our society that it's sickening, because all it does is set up a system where politics are forever intertwined with decision making; a system where complete morons with no experience, the Michael Chertoffs of the world, are given vital apolitical jobs because they raised money in election campaigns; a system where politically neutral decision makers like Colin Powell are used and trashed when they outlive their usefulness or speak out just a little too often. Bush commutes a perjurer's sentence and is lauded by his base while we all cry foul and do nothing. Are we really so apathetic that we continue to grin and bear it? Can we afford to keep looking to 2008 and let a criminal walk away from seven years of unresolved crimes?

But, I guess when we do let Bush away unscathed, I won't be shocked.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Too Drunk To Wank

You ever have one of those nights where you get home from the bar and you're alone and you can't even masturbate? God, that shit is pathetic.
-anonymous bar patron, approximately 3:30am

Ain't it the truth. We've all had those nights, admit it. Passing out drunk with your limp dick in your hand, waking up with a little puke on your shirt and your roommates yelling something about "Why can't you do that in your room?" Well sorry folks, but some of us get off sitting pantsless on leather.

Presidential politics will soon take on that kind of wearied, beaten feeling, if they haven't for some of you already. The Grey Lady herself has dropped the shocking bomb that while just about everyone, from liberals to undecided morons to registered Republicans are giddy about the prospect of Not George Bush being President, many of those same people are already sick of the campaign. Well of course you are, the campaign started in earnest once Congress got passed on to the party of surrender and amnesty.

George Bush has had so little power since November 06 that it's a testament to either his "conviction" (the Weekly Standard, Newsmax) or his "total contempt for the will of the electorate" (anybody with a working brain) that he's kept going. The man would have been better served going into hiding on a tropical beach somewhere and raiding the public treasury than continue about this fool's errand of being the worst and most unpopular president in the modern era. At least if he hit the beach people might finally wake up and see the similarities between us and any number of banana republics out there. Ah, but of course. In most Third World dictatorships, the president calls the shots, not the shadowy vice-presidential cyborgs behind the scenes. But really, technologically, Central America just isn't there yet, give them time.

Shit, I got myself all in a tangent again. Just about anything is better than talking about this election, but what else is there really? As tired of it as I already am, could you imagine a world where we weren't actively debating our Dick Cheney replacements? I can. It's a horrible little age called 2005, when Americans woke up on Inauguration Day and remembered that the asshole from Midland beat the prick from Boston and we were in for another four years of "stay the course". And my what a course we've kept on. The economy, from everything the talking heads have told me, has been robust enough to keep us fat happy and stupid, which is a shock to me. We keep losing wars, pissing off our allies and screaming the merits of creationism so I don't rightly know what we make anymore. But I guess it's something because people other than the Jews are making money. Maybe we make synergy. I love that shit.

So be weary of presidential politics, but do so with this healthy warning: let anyone but Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich win the Iowa caucuses and you'll be looking at a lot more than primary fatigue. You'll be looking at a collection of political pros who smell blood in the water and want their opportunity to feed from its source. As we get put to sleep by the same tired cliches about the War On Terror that have somehow, in six short years become laughable, we'll never see the patient Chinese waiting to smother us with a pillow when we finally pass out. I guess we've earned it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Pete Domenici: Spitting Cobra Among Vipers

All viperids have a pair of relatively long solenoglyphous (hollow) fangs, that are used to inject venom from glands located towards the rear of the upper jaws. Each of the two fangs is at the front of the mouth on a short maxillary bone that can rotate back and forth. When not in use, the fangs fold back against the roof of the mouth and are enclosed in a membranous sheath. The left and right fangs can be rotated together or independently. During a strike, the mouth can open nearly 180° and the maxilla rotates forward, erecting the fang. The jaws close on impact and powerful muscles that surround the venom glands contract to inject the venom as the fangs penetrate. This action is lightning-fast and is more a stab than a bite. Viperids use this mechanism both to immobilize their prey and in self-defense.

Almost all vipers have keeled scales, a stocky build with a short tail, and, due to the location of the venom glands, a triangular-shaped head distinct from the neck. Their eyes have vertically elliptical, or slit-shaped, pupils that can open wide to cover most of the eye or close almost completely, which helps them to see in a wide range of light levels. Typically, vipers are nocturnal and ambush their prey.

Compared to many other snakes, vipers often appear rather sluggish. Most are ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young, but a few lay eggs.
-Wikipedia entry on vipers

Scales, fangs, sluggish egg laying snakes. Sounds like Congress to me. But Pete Domenici put himself in a special category today. Certainly the spitting cobra sounds like a horrifying enough belly crawler, making use of a venom delivery system I could only dream of having. But I'm not just picking on a random New Mexico Senator am I? Has my decorum reached such a nadir that I'm just lashing out at every old white man I can think of?

“I’m not calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops, but I am calling for a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to continuing home.”

Gahhh! I'm blind! The sheer amount of nothing in that statement is burning my eyes and causing my central nervous system to shut down entirely. Perhaps before I die I can parse this statement and break down the nothingness if entails. Now, it may just be the poison slowly making its way up my spinal cord, but it seems like Senator Spitter wants to somehow challenge the President's war strategy. Not mind you, by starting a withdrawal from Iraq. Or for that matter cutting off funding for the war. But he does want to somehow bring the troops home and end their combat involvement.

Surely this can't just be completely empty. Could these 41 words possibly have no less substance than the ether? As my respiratory system shuts down, let me meditate my last few moments on this Earth wondering why a man who said absolutely nothing spat his poison in my eyes. That and why the hell did the New York Times help him by painting him as some kind of maverick that broke with the White House?

I got nothing.

Oh, I die Horatio!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Peyser's Still Pissed

Maybe you remember our friend, top-notch investigative reporter Andrea Peyser? Well guess who showed up in my press clips this morning? If you answered George Foster, you are incorrect. Andrea is back with a reasoned critique of the media in the age of terrorism.

Iran's Network Spews
Someone tell me what that means, please. Is it a pun? An incomplete sentence?

The government of Iran is not only dangerously volatile, the nuke-loving regime has developed a twisted sense of humor.
Number of nukes in America: 5,375 active, 9,960 total. Holy shit that is a lot of nuclear weapons.
Number of nukes in Iran: None. That we know of. But I know for damn sure there aren't 10,000 of them.

For the last two days, I've been watching PressTV, Iran's brand-new, state-run foray into 24-hour broadcast news. As if the world needed any more anti-Western propaganda than what's already generated by CNN and the BBC.
How is it that CNN, a network that employs a former AIPAC lobbysit in Wolf Blitzer and rabid immigrant basher Lou Dobbs is seen as liberal? Do I need to call myself something other than liberal to not be associated with these assholes? Or can everyone stop being so lazy and accusing a network owned by an arch-capitalist billionaire and another one with a royal charter from the goddamn Queen of England of being anti-Western? I like the second one.

Since it started beaming itself - in English - to the world via satellite on Monday, PressTV has been the news freak's antidote to reality, streaming a nonstop flow of news abuse, Arab-world victimhood, sports and the weather report in Tehran and New York.

"America Planning a Coup on Saudi Arabia!" warned one of the interchangeable, and humorless, women concealed by a lifeless gray or brown Arabic headscarf.
Fashion critic and media critic. Andrea Peyser is a modern Renaissance woman.

"Israeli Tank Kills Family!" declares a man with a distinct American accent.
Tanks, as we all know, do not kill. They were invented to deliver teddy bears to blind orphans.

Accessing the station on the Internet, I was assaulted by PressTV's far-flung correspondents and purely accidental acquaintance with the truth.
Says the woman who works for the New York Post.

People recognizable on the other side of the pond for conspiracy theories - such as journalist Kevin Cahill, who believes the British government and CIA teamed up to assassinate a Conservative member of Parliament in 1979 - give the broadcast an air of pseudo-authority.
The CIA has never had any assassination plans. Ever.

When it was launched Monday by Iran prez Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the station presented itself as an alternative to Western-biased news. But all it does is promote the insanity of Iran: Hamas is good, Fatah bad. Hezbollah good. And America might as well cease to exist.
Also insane: calling Iraq, Iran and North Korea the Axis of Evil. Starting a pre-emptive war with no strategy. Knocking out a country's two biggest rivals and expecting it to not assert itself. Making up a new branch of government. Using pancake mix that isn't Aunt Jemima.

I watched a feature story titled "Iran, Land of Religion," promoting the country as being good to its Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, as the camera stopped, for a long time, on a picture of yarmulke-wearing, praying Jews. See, we won't kill you!
I saw a show once about a lady who spied on her neighbors and then had sex with them. The camera often stopped for a long time on boobs. Wish I knew where I was going with this.

During the many times I was knocked off the channel - this is one busy network - I read PressTV's Web site. In case you missed the message on the TV channel, the site tells you who the bad guys are.

About the terror plots in Britain, "Is it really the al Qaeda who launched this attack or is it another interested party framing the Muslim nation by pointing the finger of blame at a terrorist group shunned by the Muslims?" read an unsigned report.

Another article blames the United States and Israel for stirring up violence between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza.

"Washington's fingerprints are all over the chaos that has hit Palestinians and the last thing they need now is an envoy called Blair."
You know, to be fair, one of the reasons for this chaos is because the Western countries helping keep the Palestinian Authorities above ground cut off the funding they were providing. They have every right to, but they still did it. Also, why exactly would Israel and the US not help Fatah against Hamas? They're much more corrupt and easy to control.

Wait a minute. That piece came out of The Guardian newspaper - in Britain.

PressTV is in good company.
Whaaaaaaa? I am literally in shock. Andrea Peyser has shocked me. It's like I'm one of those rich snobs from Caddyshack who are flummoxed by Rodney Dangerfield's wacky antics. My mouth is agape and my monocle has fallen into my champagne. That she ended her report this way proves again that Andrea Peyser is just as dangerous with a pen as she is with a double sided katana.

Coors Light Cold Blast Dose of Reality

A little synergy there for you, just a little something to get the advertising dollars flowing in so we can all start living the blogger highlife of cocaine and groupies and handguns. That sure as hell beats the not-too-surprising revelation that my beloved Metropolitans are not a championship team.

Blasphemy? Pish posh? Ferffle krackle? Say all the funny sounding words you want Met faithful, but when you look in your heart, you know it's true. It's painful, especially in light of the stupid motto for the team ("Your Year Has Come"), but I just don't see how anyone can imagine this team has what it takes to win a World Series this year. Forget the sweep in Colorado, in their past 31 games the Mets are 12-19, a record only matched by the Montreal Expos in that same time frame.

This is a talented team, yes. But it's also an inconsistent team. Tom Glavine is pitching the way stupid Baseball Prospectus said he would (4.00+ ERA) and both Carloses can't seem to find a solid month long groove. Throw in Shawn Green's magic aging act since he got off the DL and Moises Alou seemingly being kidnapped by gangsters and there's nothing much going on in the corner outfield positions.

All is not lost though. While the Mets aren't a World Series team, either were last year's Cardinals. I still think the Mets are a playoff team, especially in light of Philadelphia's pitching foibles and Atlanta's inability to not trip over their own feet and once a team is in the playoffs anything can happen. But I think until the Mets clinch a playoff spot, we as fans should pull back our expectations a little bit and look more to the future.

Twiddle-spat? Raddle-dinkum? Blreghfei-yaddledee? Maybe it is. I just hope I'm wrong and we can have a good laugh about this in October.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy July 3rd!

And the 4th, too, I guess.
Hooray! I actually have tickets to the game both today and tomorrow. Gives me a chance to see that Biggio character in person with his fancy 3000 hits and all. Roy O is on the mound, throwing heat and slurves and I get to boo Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley until they cry like little bitches or slap me with a foul ball somewhere around the fifth inning. At that point, I have a good story either way.
My partner in crime is Sideshow this evening, a hyper kind of fellow who has made an open mic appearance here at the Meche. I believe we will be flask in hand and attending the game by light rail today, the best way to go. Houston's bum exchange program is definitely the best way to travel to the game, even if this city is designed to never have fear of lacking parking space. Besides, you have to try riding a rail with only one line. It's worth a laugh to see the map.
This Independence Day seems like a more festive one than usual. It's not that we are proud of the way things have been shaping up for the good ol' US, but rather a good move buy the marketers. Typical holiday by holiday capitalism at its finest.
I don't really have a problem with that, as long as it is in a fashion other than cheesily waving a flag or standing pat for the seventh inning stretch while Toby Keith rocks out a replay of the anthem followed by G-d Bless America followed by an extra long version of Deep in the Heart of Texas. In fact, this might be a day when I'm proud to be an American because we do something the way the Europeans and the Canadians do. A holiday comes and we party our asses off in relaxed environments, going to games, slamming hot dogs, attending barbecues later and downing cheap beer like it's oing out of style (and it's definitely not).
So the president stinks and Congress is a sham and the judiciary acts like it wants to get out of session early. So what? America is stronger than that. We must stand as one bong rip, under keg stand, with in partying and nakedness for all. Take that, terrorists.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Spree Are The Truth

Yes that's a terrible photograph, but if you don't come here for the poor photography, what do you come here for? Incisive political coverage and hilarious banner ads? Oh, really, you do? Sorry, that's Newsmax.

Anyway, why weren't you at the Polyphonic Spree show at the Warsaw? Job? Out of town? Broke? Quit your job, jack a car, rob a liquor store next time. Because you missed a band that demolished my ability to ever enjoy another live concert. Unless I get seven song encores and history lessons on the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (They don't know why it sank) I will feel cheated. Not willing to meet your fans at a bar after the show, even though it's 1 in the morning and you've gotta drive to Boston? Then you obviously don't care about us. Musicians, you're all on notice.

The show itself is a spectacle. 24 people take the stage wearing the same creepy Army uniform and they get very very loud. I'm sure you all know that. In fact, when I mentioned being at the show to one of the interns at my office, his response was "Don't they have like fifty people?" Yes, so you all know about the numbers and the uniforms. But what you might not know is that it all blends together to create a beautiful sound that takes the crowd away with it. Urgent and melodic and playful, the Spree put on the kind of live show that you never want to leave. Sunday night somehow becomes Saturday night and you don't really care how. But if Tim says it it must be true.

My Dad always talks about how he feels like a Grateful Dead show is like church to him. I kind of understood what he means, because I've seen all the people around me at Dead shows looking ecstatic. Me? I've kind of sort of lost myself at shows, but even drunk high or on LSD I never completely could describe a concert as anything close to a religious experience from the beginning of a set until the end. I hadn't anyway until this show. A show like this encourages you to sing along as loud as you can, reach ever upward for that sun somewhere and generally act like you've found God. No ego no self-consciousness no embarrassment, just you the Spree and 800 of your new best friends that are as excited to be alive at that moment as you are.

And that Tim DeLaughter, such a fine young man.

Methinks Mike Pelfrey Might Still Be A Bit Over His Head

But really, am I gonna get upset about that? Three out of four from the Phillies is plenty good enough for me.

And do you people wanna see me mope about a Met loss or gush about the Polyphonic Spree?


Thought so. More later.