Wednesday, December 31, 2008


To all Hellions, everywhere, here's to a great year ahead.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009: The Year in Preview

Latest Newspaper Column:

I think we can all agree that this has been a year that won't look any better in retrospect than it did the first go-round. So, once again, we bring you 2009: the Year in PREview:

JANUARY: President Barack Obama is sworn in with his hand on the same Bible Lincoln used at his first inauguration. He has a Christian, anti-gay-rights minister give the invocation and a Christian minister giving the benediction. He invokes God multiple times during his speech. Right-wing bloggers and pundits insist this just proves that Obama is, in their words, "A Muslim. Or an agnostic. Or something. We're not really sure what, but we know it's something really bad.
Maybe he's a Goth. Yeah, that's it. A Goth."

FEBRUARY: Two weeks after the inauguration, Fox News airs the first of a 470-part series of reports (hosted by theoretically Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman) on "the Failed Obama Administration." The first one is entitled, "So Where's That Economic Turnaround, Mr. Smart Guy? Huh? HUH?" A motion at a Democratic Party meeting to censure Lieberman is voted down because, as Majority Leader Harry Reid says, "we're a big-tent party that encourages different viewpoints, even unfair and stupid ones."

MARCH: President Obama states that he does not intend to investigate or prosecute alleged war crimes by Bush administration officials who authorized the torture of detainees. "We believe," he states, "in looking forward, not looking back." O.J. Simpson immediately files an appeal of his armed robbery conviction under the new legal theory of "Hey, let's not dwell on the past."

APRIL: Hollywood is shocked when insanely maternal actress Angelina Jolie and husband Brad Pitt accidentally adopt a Japanese Little League team while passing through the Los Angeles Airport.

MAY: The Obama family, fully settled into the White House, adopts a dog, a male sheepdog they call Rags. Hard-core Hillary Clinton supporters declare the choice of a male dog "a slap in the face to hard-working females everywhere and proof of Obama's sexism and misogyny," while the Republican National Committee immediately files suit to force the disclosure of the dog's AKC papers. When the White House announces that Rags is not registered with the AKC, Fox News begins a nightly series of investigative reports on "Rags-Gate: What Is Obama Hiding?"

JUNE: The Big Three automakers return to Congress to ask for another $75 billion in loans. When asked what they'd done with the previous money allocated to them by President Bush, Chrysler's CEO Bob Nardelli looks at the ground sullenly, shuffles his feet and mutters, "I don't know. Stuff." GM CEO Rick Wagoner holds up a crayon drawing of an electric car he claims they're designing. Unfortunately, after being questioned more closely, Wagoner admits that car's electric engine has to be charged by a generator that runs on gasoline. "Clearly," Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker claims, "this is entirely the fault of the United Auto Workers." The automobile industry is saved at the 11th hour when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie adopt Nardelli, Wagoner, and the entire United Auto Workers.

JULY: A total eclipse of the sun causes right-wing bloggers and pundits to claim that the Obama administration is a "complete and dismal failure." "If we had only elected John McCain," theoretically Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman states while guest-hosting the Rush Limbaugh radio show, "the Moon Dragon would never have dared to eat the Sun."

AUGUST: Several banks and Wall Street investment firms return to Congress, also demanding additional bailout money. "It's those danged autoworkers, ya know?" one hedge fund manager shrugs.

SEPTEMBER: Hollywood paparazzi appear before Congress and request a $10 billion bailout, claiming that their business has been thrown into turmoil due to the lack of crazy antics by pop singer Britney Spears. "She hasn't shaved her head, dropped her kid, or attacked a car in months," dejected photog Guido Kleinmann tells a Senate subcommittee. "We're dyin' out here. Also, autoworkers." A compromise is reached when Congress agrees to fly drug-addled UK pop star Amy Winehouse to L.A.

OCTOBER: Theoretically Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman disrupts a presidential address to Congress by throwing a spear at the podium while President Obama is speaking. Senate Democrats vote down a measure to have Lieberman stripped of his committee chairmanships while in federal custody because, in the words of nominal Majority Leader Harry Reid, "Hey. What can I say? We're chumps."

NOVEMBER: President Obama, following the tradition of presidents before him, pardons the White House turkey. Congressional Republicans immediately demand an FBI investigations into whether the pardon was politically motivated, while Rush Limbaugh, through a mouthful of his special-recipe oyster and Oxycontin stuffing, lambastes Obama as a "phony" for eating Thanksgiving dinner anyway.

DECEMBER: Just in time for Christmas, Sarah Palin releases her political manifesto, "I Betcha You Think You're Pretty Doggone Smart, Doncha?" In what her literary agent (Joe Lieberman) calls a display of her "authorly maverickness," the book contains no actual words, just pictures, crude cartoons, and the occasional pop-up page.

Here's to the passing of a kidney stone of a year! May 2009 be better all around.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Did Ya Hear the One About....

The crook who was so dumb she robbed a bookstore? 

Best wishes to the folks from Quail Ridge Books, who seem to be weathering the disaster okay. RDU area Hellions, you know I've been after folks to buy books for gifts this season, so maybe drop by and show Quail Ridge some last minute gift-buying love.

Ho ho ho!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear Santa

Latest Newspaper Column:
Once again for the holiday season, your Intrepid Columnist and his team of researchers have obtained, at great personal risk, the following documents from a secret facility high in the Arctic:

Dear Santa:

I don't know what happened. One minute it was like me and Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin were best buddies. We were like the Three Amigos. Everywhere they went it was "Joe the Plumber this," and "Joe the Plumber that," and "Where's Joe the Plumber?"

Gov. Palin even winked at me one time. I'm pretty sure it was me. I mean, I was home watching it on TV, but she had that special smile that said. "That Joe the Plumber, he's a heckuva regular, rugged, real American-type guy, what with the shaved head and the plumbin' and the not pallin' around with terrorists."

But now, Sen. McCain won't return my phone calls and Sarah -- I mean Gov. Palin -- seems to have changed her phone number. And all those creeps in the liberal media won't even let me on their shows and make stuff up about Obama and Israel anymore. It's gotten kind of lonely out here in Ohio.

So what I'd really like for Christmas is another 15 minutes of fame. If I can't have that, do you have Sarah's -- I mean Gov. Palin's -- home phone number?

-- Joe W. (the Plumber), Ohio

(Note to staff: Let's see if we can pull a few strings and get Little Joey the plumber's license he didn't have so he can be a plumber for real and not just a pretend one for a change. -- S.)

Dear Santa:

OK, ya fat [bleep], I know you're a guy who'll play ball.

I got this [bleeping] Senate seat here and it's really [bleeping] valuable. I'm not going to [bleeping] give it up for [bleeping] nothing. So whaddya say? You wanna be a senator from Illinois? It's gonna cost ya.

I want a Wii. One of the good ones, with extra controllers. And an iPod. And about a dozen of those [bleeping] Elmo Live dolls, so I can sell them to friends whose kids really want them. I bet that [bleep] Obama will be ready to deal when those kids of his start wailing for the Elmo. That'll show the [bleep].

Anyway, give me a call. But call me on my cell, because the [bleeping] office phones have this funny buzzing noise on the line.

-- Rod B, Chicago

(Note to staff: How many lumps of coal do we have in stock to give this [bleep]? -- S.)

Dear Santa:

I have been extra good this year. I didn't start a war with anyone over phony WMDs, and when it looked like a major city was going to get hit by a hurricane, I actually didn't go on vacation.

I was going to ask for a new pair of shoes, but a nice Iraqi reporter gave me his when I was there. He seemed real enthusiastical about giving them to me, too. I thought that was nice to give me a gift at the Christmas season even though he was probably one of those Islam guys.

So to show my own big heartitude at the season of giving, could you bring him some new shoes in whatever rat-infested torture chamber the new Iraqi government is keeping him in? Thanks.

-- George, Washington, D.C.

(Note to staff: I thought we were going to get little Georgie a sense of irony last year? Did that fall through? Please advise. -- S.)

Dear Santa:

I know I asked last year for a big win for the party in 2008. But wow. I mean, when we nominated a black guy with a Muslim name, I was thinking it was all over. But man, John McCain and Sarah Palin -- what a gift they turned out to be!

I'm so happy, in fact, that I really don't have much to ask for this year. I hear that the Republicans are talking about how they need to be more like Gov. Palin and keep making up scary stuff about the other guy and talking about who's a real American and who's not.

So all I really ask for, Santa, is: Please please please let them keep doing that. Because I know we haven't won much, but I'm kind of starting to like it.

-- Howard, Democratic National Committee

(Note to staff: No need to act on this one. Just let nature take its course. -- S.)

Dear Santa:

If we don't get $25 billion, right now, we're going to destroy the economy. Don't think we're bluffing, and don't think of asking how we plan to spend it. We want to keep building gas guzzlers, we're gonna do it, see? Oh, and our jets. We want our jets back. We mean it, fat boy. Dec. 26, we start tossing out bodies.

-- The Big Three, Detroit

(Note to staff: It's not going to work with me, either. I think we're going to need to order more coal. -- S.)

The Place Where I Live

From the Letters Section of My Hometown Paper: :
During the election you could not breathe Barack Obama's middle name Hussein without being accused by left-wing critics and their friends in the equally left-wing media, including The Pilot, of being an anti-Muslim, racist, right-wing kook pandering to the Christian religious right's obvious bigotry.

Ah! But Obama has delivered on his promise of change. Now we find that at his swearing-in as president, Obama insists in being sworn in with his full name Barack Hussein Obama so as to ingratiate himself to all the Muslims of the world. Take that, you right-wing religious bigots.

So now what? Expect the same left-wing critics and darlings of the press that railed against the use of the name Hussein before the election to extol its use now as another sign of President-Elect Obama's gift for reconciliation and statesmanship for identifying with all those folks who before the election were thought of as a liability. Another example of "change you can believe in."

Sounds like just another Chicago pol on the make to me. As phony as the proverbial $3 bill.

Bernadine Olsen

Foxfire Village

Got that? Barack Obama is "just another Chicago pol" and a phony because he wants to be sworn in using his actual name, one he has never once tried to hide.

This is the type of person I put up with every day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Republican Christmas Carol

The National Review Online: Ebenezer Was Right, Or, how I became a compassionless Conservative.

by Jennifer Graham

Except for a brief, irrational fling with Jimmy Carter during my high-school years, I've always been a Republican.

Until recently, however, I was a squishy one, teetering dangerously to the left on a few select issues such as coastline management and welfare reform. I want to be a good conservative — really, I do — but I've got this weakness for intact sand dunes and latchkey kids.

But then I met Tiffany. Or, more precisely, Tiffany's mother. And, after a ten-month crash course in why the poor are poor, I am squishy no more.

Tiffany moved to our cul-de-sac in February, the same week that we moved in. Initially, we were thrilled to see another set of movers unloading Little Tykes products a few houses down. But it didn't take long to realize that Tiffany's family were not, as we Grahams lightly put it, PLU: People Like Us.

Okay, I thought when I read this, this has to be parody. But this person is dead serious, because the rest of Tiffany's story is just too depressing. What's even more depressing is the writer's reaction to it.

I'll summarize the rest: I met a poor person, and she was kind of icky, so now I hate poor people.

And so it is, that on the eve of the merriest of seasons, I have finally become a compassionless conservative, because of a deadbeat mother who bowls. I now stand in defense of Darwin and natural selection, and of Ebenezer Scrooge, the real Scrooge — before he went soft like me — Scrooge, at his noblest, the way he was before the onset of those pesky midnight visitors. I think of him fondly and recall his inspiring words: "Are there no prisons? Are there no poorhouses?"

It's time to rethink old Scrooge. Ebenezer knew the truth: No good deed goes unpunished.

Apparently, this good Republican hasn't read the story to the end. The part where Scrooge, after being shown where the compassionless life leads--to a lonely, unmourned and unhappy end--goes out on Christmas morning with a song in his heart and actually helps people, even though they're Not Like Him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You Absolutely Will Not Believe Your Eyes

Swedish Dance Bands of the 70's

And you thought YOU had some embarrassing pics from that era...

Hat tip to the amazing Nikki Leone for this one.

Who Said It?

Think Progress:
The top priorities for the Senator who will raise his right hand on January 20, 2009, and say “I do solemnly swear” are obvious: keeping America safe and growing the economy.

Less obvious is how to create a White House where forceful debate can take place. Plain speaking, straight talk, and dissent must be encouraged, with participants thoroughly prepared, ideas offered with deference for opposing views, and colleagues not subjected to self-serving leaks. The power of the Oval Office can cower critics and silence disagreement; the Chief Executive must labor hard to make it a place of debate and vigorous debate.

I guarantee you won't believe who this quote is from.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Credit Where Credit Is Due
In his first Sunday political TV appearance since November 4, [Senator John] McCain also promised to work to build consensus in tackling America's challenges, and criticized his own party for its latest attack on Obama.

McCain rejected complaints from the Republican National Committee that Obama has not been transparent about his contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"I think that the Obama campaign should and will give all information necessary," McCain told ABC's "This Week."

"You know, in all due respect to the Republican National Committee and anybody -- right now, I think we should try to be working constructively together, not only on an issue such as this, but on the economy, stimulus package, reforms that are necessary."

McCain, somewhat surprisingly, refused to commit himself to backing the egregious wingnut Sarah Palin if she runs next time.

Now, I know this may seem a little hollow coming from the same guy who pushed the Ayers non-issue so hard. But I'll be gracious (because I'm awesome like that) and try to believe  that McCain is returning to the fundamentally reasonable and decent  guy he was before he ran for President. In fact, had he run more like this and not put all his principles in hock to the party extremists, he might not have gotten his ass whipped so soundly.

Hat tip to my sometime stalker and fellow blogger at Murderati, the fiercely talented Toni McGee Causey,  for sending this one my way.

Not the Christmas Present You Expected

Latest Newspaper Column:
I suppose, after the deranged behavior of some so-called "conservatives" during the Clinton presidency, it should come as no surprise that there is already a large cohort of wingnuts whose burning hatred for President-Elect Barack Obama makes the rage-zombies from the movie "28 Days" look like a bunch of mildly vexed Sunday school teachers.

It must have seemed like an early Christmas present to them when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got arrested for trying to sell Obama's now-vacant Senate seat.

Unfortunately, when you look at the facts alleged in U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of Blagojevich, that "Christmas present" seems a lot more like the cheap polyester socks you found under the tree when you thought you were getting a new bike.

Not that this is any defense of Blagojevich. The guy was not only a corrupt sleazeball, but a particularly brazen one. He let it be known far and wide that the Senate seat (which, as governor, he was empowered to fill) was up to the highest bidder, and if he didn't like what was being offered, he'd just appoint himself.

He did everything but put the seat up on eBay.

He also tried to tie state aid to the embattled (and now bankrupt) Tribune Company to the firing of Chicago Tribune editors who had criticized him.

But tying Barack Obama to Blagojevich's corrupt ways is going to take a lot of s stretching, even by the relaxed standards of truth and nonexistent standards of logic currently in place in the Republican Party.

When the president-elect comes up in the allegations, it's in the context of Blagojevich either speculating about how he may try to leverage a Cabinet post or ambassadorship out of the new administration, or cursing them bitterly for refusing to play ball.

To quote the affidavit that's attached to the indictment: "Rod Blagojevich said he knows that the president-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but 'they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Bad word] them.'" Fitzgerald noted in his inevitable press conference touting Blagojevich's arrest that "We make no allegations that he (Obama) was aware of anything."

Let's sum up: There's no evidence that President-Elect Barack Obama was in any way involved in Blagojevich's schemes or even knew of them. Blagojevich even calls President-Elect Barack Obama and his staff rude names because they won't play along or offer him "anything but appreciation" for appointing President-Elect Barack Obama's favorite candidate. President-Elect Barack Obama has now called for Blagojevich to step down.

Clearly this is a huge blot on the reputation of the president-elect. How can he possibly govern now?

(And yes, I know I used "President-Elect Barack Obama" a lot in that last paragraph. While the frequent repetition of that phrase may seem a bit clumsy, prose-wise, I'm just tickled by the thought of wingnut heads exploding whenever they read those words. But I'll quit now.)

But, you say, this just shows that Obama is tainted by the corrupt political environment of Chicago. After all, when you swim in waters this polluted, certainly some of that pollution sticks to you.

Oh, really? Seems to me that two of the GOP's "rising stars," Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, preside over states with a fair amount of political corruption. Louisiana is as legendary for political corruption as Chicago ever was, and recent revelations out of the previously little-known corridors of Alaska government have led some pundits to christen it "the Louisiana of the Arctic."

If we can assume that some high-profile politician being dirty in a state taints all other high profile politicians in that state, then the indictment and conviction of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter's recent hooker-related scandal ought to doom the political futures of Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal.

Funny, isn't it, how the GOP gets all indignant when you bring that up.

It's like I've said before: The Republicans may have thrown down and danced upon every principle for which they once claimed to stand, but they are rock-solid on one core belief: Everything's OK if you're a Republican.

Oh, I'm sure the Republicans will attempt to spin this as an "Obama scandal." They've already started, judging from RNC press releases. It's just like when they tried during the campaign to make Obama out as a terrorist because he was on a committee with a washed-up Sixties radical.

To the Republican spin doctors, guilt by osmosis is an article of faith. You can be tainted by being in the same room with an unsavory character, whether or not there's any evidence you even knew the guy was a scoundrel. Unless, of course, you're a Republican.

Well, we all saw how well that trick worked.

Someday, maybe, the Republicans will actually come forward with some reasons to like them, rather than tying themselves in knots trying to find reasons to hate
and fear the other guys.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why I Love Digby

Hullabaloo addresses one of those deeply concerned types who admits that there is no connection between Rod Blagojevich's corruption and Barack Obama, but who is nevertheless wringing his hands and fretting that the Obama team isn't being quick enough in "getting all the facts out":
Jesus H. Christ. They always say this and it's never, ever enough. Obama could sit down with David Gregory and spill his guts like he was lying on a therapist's couch and he would be accused of not "getting the facts out." This is because the only "fact" they care about is one that says there was wrongdoing. Anything other than that is being "coy."

Bingo. The so-called "liberal" media wants to pin Blago's bullshit on Obama so bad they can taste it, and they're clutching at any straw they can to turn that into the story. That dog won't hunt, but they're kicking the poor hound as hard as they can.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Solution to the "Auto Crisis" : Getting the GOP Senators on Board

John Cole at Balloon Juice has the answer:
We need to invade Michigan and rebuild the state from the ground up. We will be greeted as liberators, we have clear supply lines, and we can easily rebuild the auto industry with the kind of money we spend on other countries we invade. Hell, our new Secretary of State, Hillary of Clinton, spent the better part of the past year fighting for the rights of average folks from Michigan, so think of the good will we have with the public. This is very doable. Just tell Congress we will give KBR no-bid contracts to fix Detroit.

And citizens of Baltimore, Altanta, St. Louis, and DC- you better get your shit together or you are next.

Oh sure, we'll probably kill a hundred thousand civilians or so. But it's not like the Republicans care about that. In fact, it's regarded as shockingly bad form to mention it.

I Could've Told You This Would Happen...

PIA, Wash. - State officials, besieged by requests for more seasonal displays at the state Capitol, have approved several more - including a "Festivus" display honoring a faux holiday popularized by TV comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The new display requests come on top of an anti-religion placard, a Christmas tree and a Christian nativity scene erected earlier this week and a pro-religion sign added Friday.

The state General Administration, which runs the state Capitol building, have OK'd four of the requests so far:

- On Saturday, Dec. 6: A balloon nativity shelter from a private citizen.

- On Sunday, Dec. 7: A demonstration by a group called "Private Citizens of Federal Way" against the atheistic sign will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on the front steps.

- On Monday, Dec 8: A display will go up in the capitol from the Washington Values Alliance.

- On Wednesday, Dec 10: A Festivus display from a private citizen. 

According to the online reference Wikipedia, Festivus is an annual holiday invented by writer Dan O'Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.

Most people now celebrate the holiday on Dec. 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997, Seinfeld episode "The Strike."

The holiday includes novel practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year.

See, here's the thing. Once you start allowing religious displays on public property, everyone's going to want to get their religion, or non-religion, or even satirical made-up religion, into the act. Won't be long before you won't be able to navigate across the Capitol Rotunda.

 Will the Scientologists demand a dispaly with a starship shaped like a DC-9? Will we see a display in tribute to  the Flying Spaghetti Monster (all hail his noodly appendage)? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Illinois, I'm Here For You.

Blagojevich Arrest Muddies Illinois Political Waters - The Fix'

According to conversations with several Chicago political sharps, the thinking now is that if Blagojevich makes the appointment, the only possible pick is a caretaker with an unimpeachable record on ethics who will hold the seat for two years and then step aside in 2010.

It's nearly impossible to imagine that anyone Blagojevich picks at this point would be able to run for a full term 2010 as they would immediately be labeled as the hand-picked choice of a scandal-tarred governor.

Let me suggest another possible solution: Me.

Hear me out here. I've got no ties at all to the "scandal-tarred governor." Frankly, I never even knew the guy's name till a couple of days ago. I'm not tied to any corrupt Chicago political machine. In fact, I don't even live in Illinois. Oh, I've been there, and I've got friends in Chicago, sure, but none of them, as far as I know, have even a whiff of political scandal about them.

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus has this to say: Well, I'm not sure what's best for the people of Illinois who matter here. However, I do think anyone who accepts a senatorial appointment from the governor is obviously unfit for the job.

I mean, really. Can you think of anyone more unfit for the job than me?

Illinois: I'm here to help. Call me.

Question of the Day

'Day Without a Gay'| Los Angeles Times
Gay-rights activists are encouraging people to “call in gay” to work today to demonstrate how integral gay people are to American society.

“We are here, and we are not second-class citizens, and we deserve the same rights as everyone else,” said Julio Perez, a restaurant manager in Chicago who is planning to take the day off.

The event is among scores of grass-roots activities — including protests, boycotts and marches — that have sprung up in California and across the country since the passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, along with other anti-gay ballot initiatives in Arizona, Florida and Arkansas.

It was first proposed by Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein and is patterned after the 2006 "A Day Without a Mexican" work stoppage. After Stein wrote a Nov. 14 column proposing the idea (which he said he got from a friend), activists seized upon it and chose Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day. Sean Hetherington, a personal trainer and stand-up comedian who is among those coordinating the event, urged protesters to use the day to do volunteer work.

So....if you're bisexual, do you come in late or just not come back from lunch?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This Bullshit Makes Me Absolutely Crazy

Rod Blagojevich Arrested: The Damage He Could Do: Huffington Post
The arrest this morning of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has sparked intense discussion in the political universe over how great a taint his ethical follies will have both on the next Illinois Senator and Barack Obama.

The governor, accused of seeking cash for the political appointment of Obama's Senate replacement, is not a close associate of the President-elect. Indeed, in the affidavit, Blagojevich called Obama a "motherfucker" for wanting him to appoint an official that the governor either did not like or wouldn't receive money from. Local news reports, meanwhile, suggest that it was Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel who blew the whistle on the governor.

But the fact that Blagojevich put, in essence, a for-sale sign on Obama's Senate seat -- and some of the lengths he went to in order to extract financial benefit from the process -- could create for long-term damage for the Democratic Party and, by extension the President-elect.

Okay, let me get this straight. there is absolutely no fucking evidence that Barack Obama was involved in this conspiracy, the Defendant, in fact, calls Obama a "motherfucker" for not being part of it, and, in fact, it may very well be Obama's own chief of staff who turned the sumbitch in...but this is somehow going to reflect badly on Obama? What the FUCK?

It's bad enough that the RNC and their dutiful stenographers in the so called "liberal media" are going to try to tar Obama with this brush. But we expect that from that pack of lying, reality-challenged weasels. But this is the Huffington Goddamn Post buying into this huge steaming pile of bullshit.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Random Notes

Latest Newspaper Column:

Just a few random musings this week:
  • The most hyped movie of this holiday season seems to be the Tom Cruise vehicle "Valkyrie." It's a heartwarming holiday tale about one of the failed plots to kill Adolf Hitler, and it opens, for some unaccountable reason, on Christmas Day. Because, as several of my friends have pointed out, nothing says Christmas like a movie about trying to kill Hitler. My personal theory is that it's aimed at giving Jewish people something to do on Christmas Day other than going out for Chinese food.
  • New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress capped off an injury- and fine-plagued year by accidentally shooting himself in the leg in a New York nightclub. Then, to add insult to injury, he got arrested for illegal possession of the weapon and benched for the rest of the season. But none of this answers the main question for me: What the heck kind of name is "Plaxico"? It sounds like a cholesterol drug.
  • Am I the only person who finds it really really disturbing to hear the voice of Steve Buscemi, the oddly visaged actor who's made a career out of playing creeps, coming out of an animated gingerbread man in an AT&T ad?
  • Recently when looking back over the last few months' news, I started feeling a strange sensation of déjà vu. Gas shortages and high gas prices. Stock market crashes. Recession. Auto companies going to Congress for a bailout. Suddenly, a chill ran down my spine as I realized: We are facing the return of the 1970s. If disco comes back, I really am moving to Canada. Unless there's a corresponding Led Zeppelin reunion to offset it.
  • Speaking of the '70s, though, the Big Three automakers who recently went to Washington to beg for a bailout should have studied up a little better on their history, particularly the trip Chrysler chairman Lee Iaccoca made to Capitol Hill in 1979 to ask for Congress' help in saving his company. He went up there with a plan for changing the cars the company had been making. He didn't ask for a handout; he asked the government to guarantee loans to the company--loans that not only got paid back in full, they got paid back early. And he sure as heck didn't fly there in a private jet. When the CEO of a major company does something that makes the vast majority of the people who hear about go, "How stupid is this guy?" one can't help but question the wisdom of giving that company money.
  • One of the things that's really redlined my BS meter recently is the media's attempt to start a fight between Barack Obama and his Cabinet picks, in particular Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton. Reporters are acting like junior high school students trying to stir up drama: "Did you hear what she said about you?" The attempts to sow dissent (and therefore boost ratings) don't end with Clinton. Fox News' Chris Wallace even asked if Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, would "follow orders" when it came to Obama's timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. This is patently stupid, even by the standards of Fox News. Politicians making nice with one another after slamming each other on the trail has not previously been regarded as remarkable. Bush the Elder, after all, was picked for veep by Ronald Reagan after calling Reagan's domestic policy "voodoo economics." I'm betting that Obama's wishing he'd never mentioned he was reading that book about the Lincoln administration called "Team of Rivals." The media's obsession with that phrase ignores the fact that Obama, first and foremost, has picked a team of professionals. I know that seems strange and exotic after the past eight years, but the press just needs to accept that the government is finally in the hands of grownups.
  • I am chuckling, however, at the irony of the fact that a lot of the harshest criticism of Obama's picks comes not from the right wing, but from the left. Progressive bloggers like The Nation's Christopher Hayes are shocked that the Cabinet-to-be doesn't contain "a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive." They're particularly incensed that Obama has relied heavily on people who served during the Clinton years. "That's not change!" they whine. But you have to ask: Where else are you going to find people who have experience implementing Democratic policies? All of the Carter veterans are really, really old by now. Again, picking people with actual experience in the jobs they're supposed to be doing may seem strange after eight years of Bush putting incompetent cronies and wild-eyed ideologues in charge, but it's really the way it ought to be done.

    A Cabinet picked for competence and experience -- that really is change we can believe in.

Friday, December 05, 2008

But Now, Who'll Find Nicole and Ron's Real Killer?

O.J. Simpson gets at least 15 years in prison -
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- A Las Vegas judge sentenced fallen gridiron great O.J. Simpson to at least 15 years in prison for leading an armed confrontation last year at a Las Vegas hotel room over sports memorabilia.

Here's my favorite bit from OJ:

"I just wanted my personal things. I was stupid. I'm sorry. I didn't know I was doing anything illegal. I thought I was confronting friends. I thought I was retrieving my things. I didn't mean to hurt anybody and I didn't mean to steal anything," Simpson said.

You didn't mean to hurt anybody? Really? That why you took guns with you? You didn't know that doing that was illegal? Please.

Sorry, dude, you were caught on tape taking stuff at gunpoint. Makes no difference that you claim it was your stuff. Even in Vegas.

And I actually believe the judge when he says it wasn't payback for the murder acquittal. He could have given OJ life if he was going to play it that way. 15 years for armed robbery, kidnapping and assault, with parole possible in nine, is not an unusual sentence.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Concentrated Essence of Awesome

Bruce Lee playing Ping Pong.

With nunchucks.

Need I say more?

Hat tip to Ain't It Cool News.

Yeah, it's probably CGI. Still.

No Retreat, No Surrender

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Well, friends, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I hope you had a fine time and good fellowship with friends and family, and that you had occasion to reflect upon all of the things for which we should be truly thankful.

And I hope you got some rest.

Because, dear readers, we are faced with desperate times. We have a great battle upon us, and I hope you won't think I'm overstating the case when I tell you it's a battle more desperate than the Alamo, the Siege of Khe Sanh, Stalingrad and the stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae combined.

I'm speaking, of course, of the War On Christmas.

You know the one I'm talking about. It's the battle fought every year against the forces of secular socialist progressive liberalism and their fiendish campaign to replace the word "Christmas" with the word "Holiday" in our commercial discourse. Because, as we know, any time someone says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," a little bit of America dies.

Don't just take my word for it. No less an authority than Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor Daniel Henninger has warned us that the current collapse of the financial sector has its real roots, not in years of failed Bush financial policies, but in the disappearance of "Merry Christmas."

"What really went missing through the subprime mortgage years," Henninger writes, "were the three Rs: responsibility, restraint and remorse. ... Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down. And so we come back to the disappearance of 'Merry Christmas.'"

If Christmas, Henninger cautions, becomes the holiday "that dare not speak its name," then "we are erasing the chalk lines. ... Go ahead. Banish Merry Christmas. Get ready for Mad Max."

Now this might sound like insane gibberish to some, especially if, like me, you've never in your entire life met a single person of any religious persuasion who claims to be offended or insulted by the words "Merry Christmas."

But let's not forget, this man is a deputy editor of one of the nation's most prestigious newspapers. And if he says that the use of "Happy Holidays" is going to lead to the collapse of civilization and leave us all running around in the desert driving souped-up vehicles, wearing leather bondage gear, and fighting to the death over a few drops of gasoline, then perhaps we should listen. I'm betting that it's the forces of secular socialist progressive liberalism (hereinafter referred to as the FOSSPL) that have kept him from being a full editor. Those guys are everywhere.

So, in these dark times, where is our champion? Where is our leader in the fight to save Christmas? Our General Patton, our Lone Ranger, our Gandalf?

Where is Bill O'Reilly?

I did some more research on the Internet (and by "research," I mean "idly wasting time while pretending to be working on this column"), trying to find out what Mr. O'Reilly has been up to in his valiant battle against the anti-Christmas hordes.

My friends, what I saw shocked me. Appalled me. I was aghast. I was agog. It seems that Bill O'Reilly, sworn enemy of the word "holiday" in regard to the Yuletide celebration, had been co-opted by the FOSSPL. There, big as life on the O' Web site, was Bill's -- I
shudder to even say it -- "Holiday" reading list.

Say it ain't so, Bill-o!

And the news gets worse. Focus on the Family, the religious group that's provided such a valuable early-warning system for "Holiday"-based threats to America's Christmas, announced recently it was laying off more than 200 staffers, citing "the faltering economy and a decline in donations."

So is the traditional American Christmas, in which we celebrate the birth of Our Lord with paranoia, a chronic persecution complex, and bullying people over imagined slights, a thing of the past? Is this a world in which fear-mongering is no longer profitable?

I can't believe it. I won't believe it! We are going to carry on the fight. We shall fight them in the malls. We shall fight them in the Walmarts. We shall fight them in the PetSmarts and Best Buys. We shall never surrender. We will bring the true spirit of Christmas back to this country if we have to cram it down the throat of every man, woman and child in it.

God bless us, every one.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, practices law, and celebrates Christmas in Carthage.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

They Just Don't Get It

The person selling this bumpersticker over at Cafepress has the following to say about it:

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism - Anti-Obama style! Liberals thought this was a pretty clever slogan during the Bush years. Now let's see how THEY like it!

Actually, you drooling fuckwit, I still like it just fine. In fact, you want to dissent from what President Barack Obama has to say, or bitch about what he's doing, have at it.

The difference is that, while I reserve the right to question your logic, your intelligence or your sanity, I'm not going to use your disagreement over policy to question your love for America or to call you a traitor. You know, the way you wingnuts have been treating everyone who dared to question your Dear Leader for the past eight years.

They just don't get it. They really do think everyone else is just like them: small-minded, piss-scared, mean, and ignorant.

One thing I'm thankful for is that on January 20th, we'll see concrete proof they're wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reasons to Be Thankful

Ann Coulter's Jaw Wired Shut (New York Post):
...although we didn't think it would be possible to silence Ann Coulter, the leggy reaction- ary broke her jaw and the mouth that roared has been wired shut .

Is is possible to break your own jaw by clenching it in insane rage?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Totally Stole This Idea From John Scalzi

Among my biggest supporters in the past few years have been the great Charlotte independent bookstore Park Road Books and its wonderful owners, Frazer and Sally Dobson.

So....if you go to and mail order BREAKING COVER before Thanksgiving, I'll drop by and sign it, so it'll be sent to you autographed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Make the Call

Is George Dubbya Bush the snubber or the snubee in this video?

Either way, our standing in the world is bound to improve when we see the last of a President who's too arrogant to realize that that standing actually matters to our long term security and well-being.

Hopefully, the days of "fuck you, world, we do whatever we want, so suck on this" are gone forever.

It's going to be nice to have grownups in charge.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh No He Di'int!

Al-Qaida Insults Obama in Audio Tape

CAIRO,Egypt (Nov.19) - Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites.

The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.

In al-Qaida's firstresponse to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect— along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice —"house negroes."

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house negroes."

Okay, two things we can take away from this:

1) Osama bin Laden is almost certainly dead, or he'd be the one delivering this.

2) He called Obama a "house negro"? It's on now, muthafucka. It is on.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Plenty Left to Write About

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After the election, a lot of folks have been coming up to me and saying things like, "I guess now you don't have anything to write about." To which I say "au contraire," which is French for "of the contraire." I think.

My favorite targets, the right-wing crazies and political hysterics I have so much fun mocking, didn't vanish in a puff of smoke on Nov. 5, more's the pity. In fact, it seems like the loonier members of the GOP are just gearing up for some real Grade-A wingnuttery.

Take, for example, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who expressed, out loud, the fear that Barack Obama may be about to create an American Gestapo.

"It may sound a bit crazy and off base," Broun said, presumably while sober, "but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force. I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."
Here's a hint for future reference, Congressman. When you begin a sentence with the words "It may sound a bit crazy and off base," maybe you ought to just stop right there, because you're probably right. I'm not saying there aren't some crazy conspiracy theorists in the liberal camp; I'm just saying that most of our loonies are content to just blog or chain themselves to stuff. We just don't elect as many of them to the U.S. Congress.

Then, of course, there's the National Rifle Association, which has spent millions portraying Barack Obama as a Big Scary Gun Confiscator, despite the fact that Obama has not made gun control an issue and has barely mentioned it in the campaign. So much so that the day after the election, gun dealers report sales that rival the week before Christmas and the week before hunting season combined.

Which, actually, is cool with me. I have friends in the firearms business, and I like to see them do well. I would point out, however, that gun manufacturers and dealers are major NRA supporters, so you may want to consider who benefits financially from an NRA campaign that scares people into thinking they won't be able to buy guns or ammo after January. Just a little food for thought.

Actually, though, there is a sad side to all this fearmongering. The National Review's David French wrote a tear-jerking column in which he talked about how his "almost 10-year-old" daughter was quietly crying in her room on election night. When asked what was the matter, the little girl tearfully explained, "Daddy, I heard that Barack Obama wants to bring all the troops home from Iraq, and that we might lose the war."

Yes, that's right, folks. That bastion of conservative thought, The National Review, says that that mean old Barack Obama made a little girl cry. Aren't you sorry you voted for him now?

Actually, Mr. French, let me enlighten you: Your little girl isn't crying because of Barack Obama. Your little girl is crying because you, you twisted right-wing freak, have been filling your child's head with the same kind of irrational fear you've been trying to peddle to the rest of us. It's bad enough when you and your kind try to scare the American electorate with your fabricated bogeyman. To terrify your own child with it, and then use her as column fodder, is unconscionable.
But I digress.
Finally, I'll always have stuff to write about so long as Bill Kristol, the affable boob who's become the grinning face of the Far Right, continues his never-ending stream of utter BS.
In his New York Times column and his never-ending talk show appearances, Kristol continued to make the case that Honorable John McCain could still win the election.
Of course, this is the same guy who told everyone that the Iraq War would cost at most $200 billion dollars, that everyone in the Middle East would respect us afterwards, and that "we'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction."
I've made this offer before, and I'll make it again: Give me Bill Kristol's job. All of it: the New York Times column, the talk show appearances, the whole thing. I can be consistently wrong, just like he is, and here's the kicker: I'll do it for half of whatever he's charging you.

So fear not, my good friends. Even though it's morning in America again, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, there's a bright golden haze on the meadow, and all that sort of rot, there will always be things around that redline the BS meter. I'll always have some wingnut to mock.

You don't get rid of me that easy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, Dear God, Please No....

Obama Met With Clinton to Discuss Possible Role -

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama met late Thursday in Chicago with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss what role she might play in his administration, advisers to both Democrats said on Friday.

Neither side disclosed details of the conversation, and it was unclear how seriously Mr. Obama was considering bringing Mrs. Clinton, his onetime rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, into his cabinet.

Speculation in recent days has focused on the possibility that Mr. Obama would ask Mrs. Clinton, a second term senator from New York, to be his secretary of state.

This is a terrible idea for several reasons:

One: If the idea here is to placate the rabid Clinton supporters. it's not going to work. These are people who even as Clinton was endorsing Obama, continued to insist that she didn't really mean it, that Obama's "thugs" had put a "gun to her head" and that the clips we were seeing of HRC endorsing Obama were a "hostage video." (actual quotes). They are not sane and cannot be placated.

Two: The Republicans would turn the confirmation hearings into a three ring circus. It'd be their last chance to bash the Clintons and drag the Obama Administration into a pointless side battle at the same time. And you KNOW everything Bill's been up to the past few years is going to get dragged in. Sure it's all bullshit, but it's bullshit the press reflexively laps up like cream. It'd be wall to wall coverage and all about the Clintons and the past, not Obama and the future. We don't need the distraction.

Three: Hillary Clinton has the potential to become a real power in the Senate. She could be the next Kennedy or Moniyhan. She's got a safe seat, she's well-thought of, and she's smart. Why would she want to turn over the possible leadership of a co-equal branch of government to go let the man who defeated her be her boss? And she'd be the classic example of the employee you can't tell what to do and you can't fire. The Secretary of State serves at the pleasure of the President, and I just don't see HRC being comfortable in that role.

Don't do it, Mr. President-Elect.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lawyers, Bikers and Bloggers

Frequent blog commenter and librarian Gerard Saylor interviews your Humble Blogger in a quiet moment from the Murder and Mayhem in Muskego conference this past weekend. Be sure to check out his blog at:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look For This Buzzword Over the Next Four Years....

"Obama recession."
Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh continue to suggest that President-elect Barack Obama is to blame for the decline in the stock market, referring to the state of the stock market as an "Obama recession." In fact, analysts have refuted the proposition that the market decline has anything to do with anticipation of Obama's presidency.

Of course it's stupid. Of course it has no basis in reality. Of course, it's started before Barack Obama has even taken office.

But mark my words, the wingnuts are are going to call this nothing but the "Obama recession." Because the truth means nothing to them.

These are the same people who insisted that Sarah Palin was qualified to be President if anything happened to John McCain because she lived closer to Russia than anyone in the Lower 48. These are the people who held up Joe the Plumber as a symbol of the horrors of an Obama tax plan, even though he isn't really a plumber, his name isn't really Joe, and he'll actually do better under Obama's tax plan than McCain's, a fact that's been proven over and over.

But they just keep on lying.

This fight isn't over.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lessons Learned

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Folks, you know I'm a politics junkie, but even I'm glad the election is done.

Of course, I'm glad it ended up the way it did, with Sen. Barack Obama decisively winning both the popular vote and the electoral college, in numbers greater than any president in a century -- numbers, I might add, that only the looniest of the loony, the real tinfoil-hat crowd, could attribute to "election theft." This multi-state drubbing can't be explained by a few dodgy ACORN registrations.

So what have we learned in two years?

One thing we can learn from Sen. John McCain's defeat is that you've got to have more of a message than "I'm not the other guy." Sen. John Kerry made that mistake in 2004, when his campaign theme was, essentially, "I'm not Bush." There were enough people appalled by Bush at the time (and I was one of them) that Kerry almost made it. But you don't win like that.

Like Kerry, McCain could never seem to stay on one clear message other than "Not Obama." Even that message was all over the map: Obama's an elitist. He's a celebrity. He isn't patriotic. He's a socialist. He's a "redistributionist." As my son noted, whichever candidate's ads you were watching, they were probably talking about Obama.

It's true that Obama ran a lot of ads pointing out that McCain's policies were going to be a continuation of George W. Bush's. Some called those "attack ads," but since what message McCain did manage to articulate was basically "make Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy permanent and keep Bush's war in Iraq going," you can't call them unfair.

Plus, Obama managed to keep his criticism consistent. Let's do an experiment: What percentage of the time did McCain vote with Bush? If the number that popped into your head was "95 percent" you begin to see the effectiveness of a consistent message.

But Obama also ran plenty of ads about policies he'd pursue: middle-class tax cuts, closing tax loopholes for companies that send jobs overseas, developing clean and renewable energy, etc. In the final week, Obama ran an infomercial that was seen by millions. One anonymous online commenter pointed out it didn't mention McCain once. "Could McCain have gone a full 30 minutes without mentioning Obama?" the commenter asked. Judging from McCain's ads, the answer was "no."

Another thing that John McCain could have learned from John Kerry is that in the 21st century, no one really cares about what you did in the 1960s, at least not enough to influence their vote. Kerry tried to run on his service in Vietnam, and I have to admit I cringed when he opened his convention acceptance speech with that line, "Lt. Kerry reporting for duty".

McCain mentioned that he'd been a POW so often that he turned it into joke fodder by bringing it up every time he was questioned on something. Everyone gave McCain respect for his service (certainly more than the Republicans ever gave Kerry), but in the end, they weren't going to make him president just for that.

We also learned that no one really cares what some guy you had a nodding acquaintance with did in the 1960s, no matter how rotten it was. McCain did everything he could to hang washed-up Sixties radicalBill Ayers around Obama's neck, and almost 64 million people shrugged and went, "So?"

(And while I'm sure there'll now be a flood of letters to this paper from bitter dead-enders trying to "prove" some tighter Obama/Ayers connection, just remember: No. One. Cares. )

Oh, and people apparently don't much care about some crazy thing your preacher said, no matter how many times you bring it up. Preachers say crazy stuff. No one cares.

All in all, the biggest loser in this election was the divisive Karl Rovian politics in which one candidate seeks to paint the other candidate, and by extension his or her supporters, as not just wrong, but scary, not "really American," even traitorous.

Or, as Elizabeth Dole tried to do, by painting Kay Hagan, a Sunday School teacher and Presbyterian Church elder as "godless," even having a strident female voice behind her picture crying out "There is no God!" as if Hagan herself was saying it. Dole got her head handed to her on Election Day, and rightly so.

All that said, I did think McCain's concession speech was quite gracious and classy. After all the mudslinging he'd been doing, however, it was kind of like the end of "Return of the Jedi," when
Darth Vader renounces the Dark Side, turns back into Anakin and asks Luke to take his helmet off so he can see him one last time.

In closing, I've been thinking a lot about a line in Kurt Vonnegut's classic novel "Timequake." In the book, people are just coming out of a massive disaster that's left its victims depressed and apathetic after seven years of suffering.

"You've been sick," the book's main character tells people, "but now you're well, and there's work to do."

Let's get to work.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In Case Anyone's Interested

My election night diary:

7:00 I sit down in the big chair with the remote, the laptop, and a stiff drink. My trusty guitar sits in its stand next to the chair for when I need comfort.

7:05 McCain picks up Kentucky, Obama gets Vermont. No surprises.

7:15 Too early to call for President, but ABC calls Virginia's Senate election for Democrat Mark Warner. Hello!

7:21 Indiana: Obama's within 1%, and the urban north hasn't reported yet.

7:25 CNN reports McCain way ahead in Virginia. Argh. Then they point out that that's only two rural counties. Damn you CNN! I pick up the guitar.

7:29 Some guy on CNN is dissecting Indiana county by county, and I have no idea what he's talking about.

7:56: Indiana again. Now I get it. Obama's not losing as bad as Kerry in the rural counties. So when the urban counties come in...

7:57 South Carolina. Obama 55%, McCain 44%, but they call it for McCain. WTF?

8:00 Obama jumps up to 77 EV's according to CNN vs McCain's 34. I'm already getting really tired of that sound CNN uses when they call a state. They also sometimes use it when they tell you it's too early to call.

8:14 Dana Bash reports from McCain HQ where they have a boys' choir performing. How lame is that?

8:18 I flip over to MSNBC. WTF is up with David Gregory's gangster suit?

8:21 ABC calls the NH Senate race. I find that I really like saying "Shaheen beats Sununu." Maybe I need to slow down on the rum.

8:27 ABC News calls it for Hagan 58 42%. Looks like calling Hagan "godless" didn't work out as well as Liddy hoped. I seem to remember it being fairly close before she pulled that malarkey. My wife wonders how long Liddy will hang around Salisbury now. We're thinking, not long.

8:30 My friend Tasha e-mails me iPhone pictures from Grant Park in Chicago. She's already been through three security checkpoints. I feel a little better about Obama's safety. I also feel pretty good that I'm not in Grant Park. History's nice, but I'm not fond of crowds.

8:45 ABC & CNN call Pennsylvania, McCain's "Must win", for Obama. Things look bleak for McCain. BWAHAHAHAHAAA!

9:11 ABC shows a shot from McCain's HQ at the Arizona Biltmore, and I realize 'hey, I've been drunk in that ballroom." Then I wonder "Why are the McCainiacs waving red flags?"

9:30: ABC and CNN call Ohio for Obama. Another state McCain had to win. It looks like it's over. Guess trotting out a fake plumber didn't work as well as they'd thought.

9:39: CNN reports that they've turned off the news feed in the ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore. If that's not a symbol of Republican thinking. I don't know what is.

9:45 The guy with the big touch screen electoral maps on CNN illustrates how McCain can take a whole bunch of disputed states and still won't get to 270. It's over.

10:00 Obama takes Iowa. I turn over to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's coverage on Comedy Central.

10:47 Waiting for the final blow to fall when the West Coast polls close. This is the longest hour ever.

10:56 Comedy Central calls Virginia for Obama before anyone else? WTF?

11:00 Comedy Central also calls the election for Obama. I love that first got the news form Jon Stewart.

11:20 McCain concedes. Graciously. It's reminiscent of the scene in Return of the Jedi when Luke takes Darth Vader's helmet off and he's Anakin Skywalker again.

11:50 C'mon, Barack, get out there and get inspiring and shit. I have to work tomorrow.

12:05 I love the reference to the kids finally getting the dog they were promised if Dad won. It's so Cosby.

12:30. Hell of a speech. I'm going to bed. Glad this one's not going to recounts, courts, etc.

To quote my friend Jim Winter from the comments below:


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Message For America

At this moment, I'm reminded of a line that's stuck with me from Kurt Vonnegut's TIMEQUAKE: 

“You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do.” 

A Defeat for the Forces of Hatred

Kay Hagan projected to win Elizabeth Dole's Senate seat. 

Guess that "godless" bullshit didn'thave the effect you'd hoped, huh Liddy? 

UPDATE 9:52:  Watching Liddy's concession speech and cackling madly. Good-bye,  you poisonous waste of a Senate seat.  

Today's the Day

And a reminder, once again of why this election is so important.

Comments from on the death of Barack Obama's grandmother:

Nice timing. That’ll pick up a few sympathy votes for sure.

Cancer patients usually pass away from a planned terminal sedation.
This may be the first politically timed terminal sedation ever, though.

I'm wondering if is going to publish an obviously Photoshopped death certificate to prove Grandma really died today...

Since he is the messiah, can’t he raise her from the dead?

hawaii trip was prob for funeral and get birth certificate from the attic...

And the Republican party is filing a complaint, on the day of her death, that that Obama's visit to his grandmother to see her before she died was an illegal use of campaign funds.

As opposed to:

You know what to do.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Other Side of the Coin

Jonathan Curley is a banker in Charlotte, North Carolina. He voted for George H.W. Bush twice and George W. Bush once.

In this story from the Christian Science Monitor, he talks about canvassing for Obama.

I learned in just those three hours that this election is not about what we think of as the "big things."

It's not about taxes. I'm pretty sure mine are going to go up no matter who is elected.

It's not about foreign policy. I think we'll figure out a way to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan no matter which party controls the White House, mostly because the people who live there don't want us there anymore.

I don't see either of the candidates as having all the answers.

I've learned that this election is about the heart of America. It's about the young people who are losing hope and the old people who have been forgotten. It's about those who have worked all their lives and never fully realized the promise of America, but see that promise for their grandchildren in Barack Obama. The poor see a chance, when they often have few. I saw hope in the eyes and faces in those doorways.

My wife and I went out last weekend to knock on more doors. But this time, not because it was her idea. I don't know what it's going to do for the Obama campaign, but it's doing a lot for me.

It's a great story and I recommend it heartily.

This story and the one in the blog post below it illustrate to me exactly why this election is so important. I don't think I'm overstating the case when I say it's a battle for this country's soul. A battle between the fear and hate and divisiveness that's come to symbolize the McCain campaign and the hope for the future and unity that Obama stands for. I've had to fight for eight years against people who have no problem calling me a traitor and un-American because I've dared disagree with my country's government. People like the lady in the story below, who don't see anything wrong about punishing children out of hate for the candidate their parents support. That lady is not an islotated case. I know people just like her, all over. They write me some really charming e-mails.

If I have to, I'll fight them for another eight years.

But lord, I'm tired.

Another Real American

MyFox Detroit: No Treats for Obama Supporters
A Grosse Pointe Farms woman is accused of pulling a political dirty trick. Instead of giving away treats to every child who knocks on her door, parents say she's only giving them to kids who agree with her choice for president. FOX 2's Andrea Isom talked with the woman accused of denying children candy.

Yep, that's right. This Real American asked parents of trick or treaters if they were supporting Obama. If they said yes, the kids got no candy. When she heard the kids were crying, Real American Shirley Nagel shrugged and said "Oh, well...everyone has a choice."

The thing that really infuriates me about these wingnuts is the complete lack of shame they exhibit, the complete lack of awareness of just how horrible they really are.

Now, a question: if Barack Obama and Kay Hagan are responsible for and required to distance themselves from everyone who ever supported them or sent them money, shouldn't Honorable John McCain be required to repudiate this woman who makes children cry because she doesn't like their parent's candidate? Hmmmm?

h/t to Crooks and Liars

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Latest Newspaper Column:

This is the last column before the election, and, per the Pilot's long-standing tradition, this will not be a partisan column.

I will not be giving my opinion on whom you ought to vote for. Because really, folks, if you haven't figured out my stand on this by now, there's not a whole lot of hope that you ever will. So I will be at least mostly serious here and tell you that, whoever you are, and whomever you're backing, you really should get out there and vote, if you haven't done so already.

A recent letter to this paper asserted baldly that there is no constitutional right to vote in America. I have to tell you, that one brought me up short.

A lot of times, some of the things I read in the letters column of this paper cause me to shake my head in disbelief. A few have made me scare the pets with loud and occasionally profane commentary. But I have never before been so totally gobsmacked from anything in The Pilot as I was when I read that letter. So allow me for a moment to set the record straight.

The United States Constitution does indeed speak of a "right to vote." It's explicitly stated in the 15th Amendment, which states: "The rightof citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

The 19th Amendment says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," and the 24th Amendment says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

The 26th Amendment provides that "The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age."

Anyone who tells you you don't have a right to vote under our Constitution is just flat wrong. Show them how wrong they are by going out and pulling that lever, or filling in that little oval, or whatever.

And I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the excuse that some people give for not voting, namely that "all the candidates are the same." Anyone who could say this in this election has obviously not been paying attention. Either that or they're just too lazy to inform themselves.

Similar to this lame excuse is the whine that "there aren't any good candidates to vote for."

Look, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate, one who agrees with you on everything. Widely different people hold a wide variety of positions, and you just have to decide which ones are going to be deal-breakers when it comes to a particular candidate and which ones you're willing to live with because you agree with him or her on your big core issues.

Finally, I hope I can restrain myself from going upside the head of the next ninny who tells me that "politics has nothing to do with my day-to-day life," but I'm not making any promises.

Fortunately, I'm hearing less and less of that, because you mostly hear it from young people. It's finally beginning to sink in for them that, with two wars going and the prospect of more, what their government does in the next few years could literally be a question of life or death for them.

Now that we've got that rant out of the way, do keep in mind a couple of things:

First, under our local system, if you vote straight ticket, Republican or Democrat, you have not yet cast a vote for president. The folks at the place where I went for early voting were pretty good about informing people of that little quirk, but it's a message that bears repeating.

Second, there have been reports of people who've voted on computer voting machines suddenly seeing their votes switched to another party or candidate.

Now, I've been skeptical of theories about voting machines being gimmicked by one party, and I have to say, if someone was planning to steal the election this way, I doubt that they'd have the machine switch right in front of the voter.

But the point is, be vigilant. Machines aren't perfect, and computerized ones even less so. If the machine screws up, say something about it. Politely, of course. If that doesn't work, raise hell.

See you at the polls. And God bless America.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage. And he will be really really glad when this election is over.

Friday, October 31, 2008

That'll Learn 'Em

So apparently Honorable John's crack political operation is throwing some of his own supporters out of his rallies:

“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”

Let's see, mean-spirited, incompetent, with an out-of-control Veep--tell me again how Honorable John is so different from George Dubbya Bush?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just When You Think They've Gone As Low As They Can, The Republicans Break Out the Shovels and Start to Dig:

Elizabeth Dole ad falsely suggests opponent Kay Hagan is ‘Godless.’
Facing a close re-election race in North Carolina, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) recently released an ad attacking her opponent Kay Hagan, falsely accusing her of being “Godless.” The end of the ad shows a photo of Hagan while a woman yells, “There is no God!”

The only problem is that Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, has taught Sunday School and accompanied youth mission trips.

Hagen is reportedly threatening legal action.

 With all due respect Kay, fuck that. It makes you look weak. Hit back, and  hit back hard. Get your pastor, your fellow elders, anyone who can testify to your faith to tell the truth and call "SHAME" on Liddy Dole for this sleazy ad. Point out what a desperate, shameful, and yes, Un-Christian move this is by Dole, who as far as I know hasn't done a damned thing in her years in Washington except take up space.

Now, I'm a firm believer that no religious test shall be imposed as a condition to holding office. But I'm also a believer in setting the record straight and calling a sleazy liar  a sleazy liar.

And Elizabeth Dole: You. Are. A. Sleazy. Liar.

Headline of the Week

Bimbo suspect in break-ins
RALEIGH - Anthony Joseph Bimbo, the man accused of killing the manager of a North Raleigh movie theater, is also a suspect in a string of home break-ins in Wake Forest and Franklin County, according to a search warrant returned today to the Wake County Courthouse.

Sunday's search was prompted by investigators' belief that Bimbo, who was taken into custody Monday at a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop, may have been using the rental unit to store stolen property, the warrant said. Investigators with the Wake Forest police department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office did not recover any stolen items Sunday from the Wake Forest storage unit rented by Bimbo, the warrant said.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Kids Have a Word For it....

It can be pronounced as "owned" or as "poned", with both pronunciations being correct. In some cases, you will even hear it pronounced as "pawned". "Pwned" means "to be controlled against your will", or "to be defeated by a superior power". You might also hear the expression, "pwnage", which is the noun version of "being pwned".

Here's an example of major PWNAGE by VP candidate Joe Biden:

Try to imagine the outcry if a TV reporter had Sarah Palin on and asked "don't your positions make you a fascist?" "Isn't Senator McCain's erratic performance during the financial crisis an indication that he'll botch a major international test?" etc. People would be calling for the reporter's resignation for being so clearly biased and unprofessional, and rightly so. Biden, however, kept his cool in the face of a clear attempt at a hatchet job, and this fifth-rate Ann Coulter wannabe walked away with egg on her heavily Botoxed face.

BTW, it looks like a few people have discovered the answer to Biden's question" "Who's writing these questions for you?"

From the reporter's website:

"I am married to Wade West, an international media consultant to politicians, professionals and organizations. Together we often serve as auctioneers at various fundraising events throughout the state."

And, as it turns out, Wade West is a Republican consultant: "His communication and fundraising skills have made him a popular consultant for political candidates ranging from local elections, to more than 85 members of Congress and *members of the President’s cabinet."*

Plot to Kill Obama Foiled by ATF
WASHINGTON - A plot by two Neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Barack Obama and kill dozens of other African Americans has been foiled, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said Monday.

Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., were charged Friday with making threats against a presidential candidate, illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun and conspiracy to rob a gun store.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville ATF field office, said the two men sought to go on a national killing spree that included an unnamed African-American school, with Obama as their final target.

Lest we forget, this is the same ATF whose agents John McCain's good friend G. Gordon Liddy advocated shooting in the head:

"Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. ... Head shots! Head shots! Kill the sons of bitches!"

G. Gordon Liddy

"It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."

John McCain on G. Gordon Liddy's show.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Message To Republicans

Latest Newspaper Column:
A message to Republicans:

I know I've been hard on your party during this election cycle. I've said some fairly harsh things. I've called you divisive. I've called you hypocritical. I've called you incompetent, and even insane.

All of these things, of course, are true.

But, in the end, I really do wish you well.

I really do hope that, after this election, you can rid yourself of your worst ideas and your worst elements. I hope you can get rid of the idea that just because people disagree with you, or just because they live in a certain area of the country or in the wrong size municipality, that they're not only wrong, but that they're not even "real Americans."

During this election, vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin told an audience: "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America." The implication being that those non-small-town, non-pocket areas, i.e. the cities and suburbs where
most Americans actually live, are not "real America."

McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer took up the theme when talking about the contested state of Virginia, asserting that "the real Virginia" was in the McCain-supporting rural counties, not the heavily populated, Obama-leaning areas in Northern Virginia. Honorable John's brother Joe McCain (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber) went even further, calling counties in Northern Virginia "communist country."

When Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann chimed in, calling for the media to investigate the views of Obama and of the people in Congress to find out, "are they pro-America or anti-America?" I began to realize that this "you're a Republican or you're against America" strategy was the actual, if unofficial, Republican Party line.

As the old saying goes, 'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is on purpose." Even here in North Carolina, Rep. Robin Hayes told a Republican rally that: "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." He then denied saying any such thing, until confronted with a video of him saying it, after which he at first claimed he didn't recall it, then said, "It
came out the wrong way."

As an aside, I think any political adviser worth his salary needs to sit his or her candidate down in front of a computer early on and say, "Mr. Candidate. This site is called YouTube. Any stupid thing you say is going to be on video, on this site, and it's going to be all over the Internet within minutes. You won't be able to deny it, and you'll look stupider if you try. So watch your mouth."

It is for this reason, more than any political ideology, that I want to see John McCain and Sarah Palin fail. I want to live in a country where "if you don't vote for me, you're not a real American" is a losing strategy and not a winning one. I want to live in an America where I can disagree with my government's policies, or the ideas of a
candidate, without being labeled "anti-American."

I'm sick of it. And, if the polls showing that McPalin's divisive attacks are turning voters off are any indication, the rank and file of Americans are sick of it, too.

I have, however, seen some glimmers of hope. McCain himself, when confronted with a woman who said she was afraid of Obama because "he's an Arab," said "No." Obama, McCain said, is "a decent family man" and a "citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues." (OK, that first part could be interpreted as implying that an Arab is not a decent family man, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.)

"We want to fight, and I will fight," McCain said on another occasion, "but I will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him."

Now, it is true, there were scattered boos from the Republican crowd on both occasions, and McCain and Palin did dive right back into the mud within the day, but again, I'll give the benefit of the doubt and interpret that as just indicating there's still work to be done.

Even Gen. Colin Powell, once touted as a potential Republican candidate for president, chose to endorse Barack Obama, citing as one reason his displeasure with the divisive rhetoric of the McCain campaign. Maybe, just maybe, the Karl Rovian politics of the past, aimed at getting 51 percent of the vote and then burning all your bridges by telling the other 49 percent to sit down and shut up or we'll treat you as an enemy
of the State, are in decline.

Yes, Republicans, I've called you divisive. I've called you hypocritical. I've called you incompetent, and even insane. I've made fun of you before, and I'll do it again, because hey, that's what I do. But I don't think I've ever called you un-American. If I have, I apologize.

It's just wrong.