Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rush Limbaugh hospitalized with chest pains
Conservative U.S. radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was resting comfortably at a hospital in Hawaii after suffering chest pains, his Web site said.

Local KITV television, citing unnamed sources, said earlier that Limbaugh, 58, was in serious condition at Honolulu's Queen's Medical Center after being treated at a hotel by paramedics.

Limbaugh's Web site,, said, "Rush was admitted to a Honolulu hospital today and is resting comfortably after suffering chest pains."

We wish Mr. Limbaugh a full recovery and a lengthy period of  well-deserved rest and recuperation away from the microphones and cameras.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Rep Eric Massa (D-NY) finally says what needs to be said:

  • Dick Cheney is a coward who needs to STFU so we can solve the problems he created.
  • Jim DeMint has put Americans at risk for political gain.
  • No one complained when Dubbya took SIX DAYS to come out and make a statement about the "Shoe Bomber"
  • More Dems need to kick back against Republican liars like Cheney, King, DeMint, and Hoekstra who are making this failed attack by the Undiebomber into a political issue.

Link, for those who can't see embedded vids:

More Dems like this, please.

Comment Moderation Is Enabled Again

Due to a particularly noxious infestation of trollus off-topicus anonymous, the management has been forced to re-enable comment moderation. If you don't see your comment immediately, I'll get to it ASAP.

Comments that disagree with me on the topic of the post are welcome, in fact encouraged; comments that merely repeat generic off-topic slurs and tired old discredited wingnuttery regarding President Obama, liberals, "leftists", "socialists," etc. will be deleted, as will whines about my language or the "tone" of my responses or suggestions that I suffer from some sort of mental illness. The last is well-documented and requires no reiteration.

This is not an attempt to stifle dissent or discussion; it is an attempt to stifle tiresome idiots. Like that anonymouse from Rochester NY, for example, who likes to talk shit from behind what he thinks is a wall of anonymity.

All decisions of the management are final. Thank you, and God bless.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch Pat Buchanan in this bit, and I think you'll understand, if you didn't already, how insane the wingnuts really are. Watch as Buchanan, supposedly some kind of right wing elder statesman, gets more and more hysterical, his voice climbing almost into a range only dogs can hear, as he demands that the Undiebomber be tortured, even though the reports are that he's already cooperating. Then he demands that we kill his entire family.

Then contrast that with the commentary from Washington Independent reporter Spencer Ackerman, who sounds like an adult. I particularly like the bit about "Muslim supermen with Muslim heat vision". A tip of the hat to Ta-Nehisi Coates, who's rapidly becoming one of my favorite bloggers, for cluing me in on this one.

I certainly hope the adults win this conversation. I wish, however, that more Democrats would grow a spine and push back against this hysteria and fearmongering, not to mention calling these assholes out for politicizing this failed attack to raise funds and get votes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Republican Congressman: For Terrorism Before He was Against It

New York Congressman Peter King has certainly been a busy little fellow since the Christmas Wannabe managed to burn his nuts off while trying and failing to bring down an American airliner. He's demanded that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab be tried before a military tribunal instead of charged criminally:

"I think that the administration has made a mistake by treating this terrorist as a common criminal — by putting him into the criminal justice system. I wish they would have put him into a military tribunal so we could get as much intelligence and information out of him as we could."

He's called for profiling because, and I quote, "100% of the Islamic terrorists are Muslims," which, I suppose, is strictly true.

And it seems that whenever the networks need a soundbite about the failed attack and how President Obama's screwing everything up, you see either King or the egregious Pete Hoekstra, who's actually using the fear he's whipping up over the attack as a fundraising tool for his gubernatorial campaign.

But Mr. King wasn't always such a foe of terrorists:

[H]e told an IRA rally in 1982, "We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry." Two years later Mr King's "legitimate guerrilla army" came close to assassinating Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Subsequently there were bombs in the City and Docklands, plus a mortar assault on 10 Downing Street amongst many, many other outrages.

Wonder why all the reporters and pundits lining up to take down every pearl of wisdom that drips from Rep. King's jowly mug don't ever bring that up?

Liberal media my ass.

Chutzpah, Part II, or They Were For Civilian Trials Before They Were Against Them

Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge:

"I take a look at this individual who has been charged criminally, does that mean he gets his Miranda warnings? The only information we get is if he volunteers it?" Ridge said. "He's not a citizen of this country. He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States

However, as Talking Points Memo points out:

The AbdulMutallab case is virtually identical to the Richard Reid "Shoe Bomber" case from December 2001 -- to an uncanny degree. Same explosive, (PETN), same MO (blowing up an airliner bound for the US), same failed attempt.

It's really about as close to identical cases and you get. And, of course, Reid was tried in civilian courts and is now serving a life sentence. Seemed to work fine in his case. And unless I'm misremembering, I don't remember anybody criticizing this approach at the time.

More chutzpah from the failed Bush Administration.


Chutzpah: Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and a grudging admiration. In the same work Rosten also defined the term as "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."

An alleged attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration -- if there were one.

Instead, the post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has held up President Obama's nominee in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union.

DeMint, in a statement, said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempted attack in Detroit "is a perfect example of why the Obama administration should not unionize the TSA."

Get that? If the TSA unionizes, it won't be able to stop terrorist attacks. We're so dedicated to this principle, we're going to render the TSA leaderless. The fact that there was an attempted terrorist attack during this interregnum just proves our point, even though the TSA was not, at the time of the attempt, unionized.

Sheer chutzpah.

Monday, December 28, 2009


John Rogers, at Kung Fu Monkey, re-runs an older, yet timely column that addresses the question: "Wait, Arent You Scared?"
His answer?

Errr, no. And if you are, you frankly should be a little goddamn embarrassed.

In the days after the latest failed attack, while the usual fear-mongers are telling us this is all Obama's fault, and idiots on CNN were demanding to know why he didn't go on TV that very night to hold our hands, hand us our blankies, and tuck us in, it's refreshing to find someone else whose attitude is "Hey, man the hell up, already!" My favorite passage:
Maybe it's just, I cast my eyes back on the last century ...

FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

... and I'm just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.

Damn straight.

Which leads us to our inspirational book recommendation. I just finished one of my Christmas presents, a book by Ben Thompson entitled BADASS. Subtitled "A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders Who Ever Lived." Written in a rollicking, hilarious style, BADASS details the careers of some of history's greatest ass-kickers, both well-known (like Genghis Khan), and some more obscure (like "Mad Jack" Churchill, the British Commando who went into battle against the Nazis with a longbow, a quiver full of arrows, and an honest-to-God broadsword strapped across his back).

Check both out, and let them remind us all that, in Rogers' words:

God gave me a brain, and a modicum of spine. Taking something seriously, and panicking over it are two different things.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010: The Year In PREview

Latest Newspaper Column:

Once again, here are our fearless predictions for the year ahead:

JANUARY: All eyes are on South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson during President Obama's State of the Union address, wondering if Wilson will stage a repeat of his ­infamous "You lie!" outburst. Unfortunately, all of the attention focused on Wilson allows rapper Kanye West to leap onto the podium, seize the mike and begin a long diatribe about Beyoncé's last album, before being wrestled to the floor by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

FEBRUARY: Orly Taitz, leader of the so-called "birther" movement, files yet another lawsuit in Federal Court challenging Obama's eligibility for office. This time, her evidence that Obama was not born in the U.S. consists of a birth certificate allegedly saying that he was actually born in 1968 on the planet Vulcan. Taitz is immediately granted interviews round the clock on every Fox News show. The other networks simply report that "questions and doubts remain" about Obama's Terran birth.

MARCH: White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi appear in an "exclusive interview" with TV host Larry King. This is unusual because the couple were not actually scheduled to be on that night. "What can I say?" King shrugs. "I was expecting Brad Pitt, but they just walked in and sat down like they owned the place. So I interviewed them."

APRIL: Tiger Woods announces that, after extensive counseling, he and wife Elin Nordegren have reconciled and that they are now "more in love than ever." Two weeks later, Nordegren buys Stockholm.

MAY: Birther Orly Taitz's suit is ­dismissed in Federal Court when it is revealed that the alleged "Vulcan birth certificate" is actually scrawled in lipstick on the back of a cocktail napkin, and furthermore that the lipstick is, in fact, Taitz's own favorite shade. Taitz holds a press conference in which she denounces the ruling as "more evidence that the entire federal judiciary is in league with the criminal and corrupt Vulcan conspiracy." Glenn Beck immediately offers Taitz a permanent co-host spot on his show.

JUNE: The House begins work on a banking regulation reform bill. No one has actually read the bill because there is as yet no bill to read, but that doesn't stop conservatives from immediately denouncing it as "a huge socialist power grab that will destroy American capitalism as we know it." Liberal bloggers, for their part, immediately denounce the bill as "a massive corporate giveaway that will turn all power over to the corporate fat cats."

JULY: Sarah Palin posts on her Facebook page that the proposed banking reform bill "will result in the strangling of thousands of puppies. And my baby son Trig, also." The next day, the White House releases a four-word statement on the claim: "That's simply not true." Fox News commentator Sean Hannity immediately brands the statement a "Gestapo-like tactic" to "stifle dissent."

AUGUST: Fox News does a seven-part series on what it dubs "Strangle-gate," with "fair and balanced" commentary by Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity and John McCain. When media watchers note that there are no liberals on the panel, Fox news execs indignantly assert that to them, John McCain is a liberal.

SEPTEMBER: Glenn Beck releases his latest book "AAAAAH! Obama's Going to Kill Us All! AAAAAAAH!"

OCTOBER: Following up the success of its wildly popular "Guitar Hero" series, video game maker Activision releases a flood of follow-ups including "Ukulele Hero," "Accordion Hero" and "Yodel Hero." Thousands of copies of "Accordion Hero" have to be recalled when Kanye West suddenly and inexplicably appears on the screen during the "expert" level of "Beer Barrel Polka" and begins raving about the new Mary J. Blige album.

NOVEMBER: After President Obama pardons the Thanksgiving turkey, he is immediately blasted by liberal bloggers who charge that this just shows that Obama has been "bought and paid for" by the poultry industry, while conservatives criticize the move because "Well, Obama did it, so it must be bad."

DECEMBER: The world is stunned when Osama bin Laden is finally captured by a commando team made up of Kanye West and White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi. "Bin Laden was recording one of his video messages," a Pentagon spokesman reports, "when the Salahis walked right past the guards and Kanye grabbed the mike from his hand."

The thing is, whatever actually does happen -- it's probably going to be even weirder.

Happy New Year, all! (And thanks to Stephan and Bryce Lapping for letting me steal the "Accordion Hero" joke.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Letters to Santa

Latest Newspaper Column:

Dear Santa:

The past couple of months have been pretty rough, as I'm sure you've heard. I know you've probably put me on the naughty list, but I really do need a new 9-iron. And a new SUV. And probably a new house. Help me out here, Santa.

-- Tiger, Boca Raton, Fla.

(Note to Staff: You're doggone right he's on the naughty list. But what can I say? I'm just an old softy. The way Tiger's been living, though, what he really needs is a case of extra-strength penicillin. See if we can make that happen. And as for that 9-iron, send it to Gov. Sanford's wife, with instructions. -- S.)

Dear Santa:

Hiya! Sarah here. Todd and the kids and I have been just all kinds of blessed with good things this year, you betcha. But since you're right nearby and all (I can practically see your place from my house!), if you'd like to swing by on your way out to make your deliveries, what we could really use is

(Note to Staff: Looks like part of the ­letter got cut off. Where's the rest of it? -- S.)

(Note from Staff: Nope, that's it. She apparently quit in the middle of it. -- Hermie the Elf)

Dear Santa:

All I want for Christmas is for people to know what Barack Obama is doing to this country. He's just remaking it into a place that's a kind of a hybrid between France and Venezuela. He's taking the beacon of freedom and turning it into an apologetic, hey, what can you do for me, wannabe European, spread the wealth, socialist wonderland. So I want people to be afraid about the economy. And then I want them to invest in gold. That's just because I love America so much, and not because I'm a paid spokesperson for a company that sells gold. Really.

--Glenn, Fox News

(Note to Staff: This letter was nearly impossible to read because it was soaked with tears. Next time, can we dry it off before it gets to my desk? And send Glenn some new antipsychotic medication. Whatever he's taking now isn't working. -- S.)

Dear Santa:

Greetings from the Senate Democrats! We'll be sending you a Christmas list as soon as Joe Lieberman says it's OK.

-- Harry Reid, Washington, D.C.

(Note to Staff: Can we get Harry a spine? -- S.)

Dear Santa:

Merry Christmas -- yes, that's right, I said Christmas, whether you like it or not -- from the Republican National Committee. We don't care what you bring us, as long as it makes liberals angry.

-- Michael, Washington, D.C.

(Note to Staff: I'd say send them coal, but they'd probably just set fire to it and chuckle about how mad that must make environmentalists. -- S.)

Dear Santa:

We're extremely unhappy with President Obama. He's not giving us the single-payer health-care plan we wanted, he's sending more troops to Afghanistan when we wanted them all brought home, he hasn't pulled all the troops out of Iraq yet, he hasn't legalized same-sex marriage or repealed "don't ask don't tell," and he's not giving the big banks and insurance companies the whipping we think they deserve. In fact, we really don't see any difference between him and George W. Bush. For Christmas, we'd like the Obama we thought we were voting for. And we're not going to stop having tantrums until we get him.

-- The American Left

Dear Santa:

We're extremely unhappy with President Obama. He's trying to force a nationalized socialist health-care plan down our throats, he's not sending enough troops to Afghanistan, he's cutting and running in Iraq, he's promoting the Secret Gay Agenda, and he's trying to regulate the financial sector out of existence. Plus, he bowed to an old Japanese guy. What we want is ... well, we don't know what we want, but we're really really mad. And indignant, also.

-- The American Right

(Note to Staff: Send the president a big-screen TV. If the guy's managed to tick off both the Far Left and the Far Right this badly, he may just be doing something right. -- S.)

Joyeux Noël, y'all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Do I wish the Senate health care bill had a public option? Yes.

Hell, I wish both the House and the Senate bills just said "fuck it, we're going single payer," but I knew that wasn't going to happen.

Do I wish the version of health care reform that seems to be coming out of this fight went further? Yes.

Do I think Joe Lieberman's an asshole who needs to have his committee chairmanship stripped from him and whose office space should be removed forthwith to a broom closet in the Senate office building? Oh, HELL yes.

Do I want any health care reform AT ALL killed because I don't get everything I want in this bill?


I realize that politics is the art of the possible. If you can't get everything you want, you get everything you can get, and regroup to fight another day.

But that's a position, voiced by Nate Silver and John Podesta, that seems to draw the kind of vicious attacks and accusations of betrayal that remind me of the shit that got thrown by the wingnuts during the run-up to Gulf War II. Read the comments to those linked posts if you doubt me.

I took this crap for eight goddamn years from the wingnuts, I'm damned if I'll put myself out there and take it from my own side. It makes me want to punch someone in the face.

I'm also sick to fucking death of the "Obama's No Different From Bush!" bullshit that I'm hearing more and more.

In short, I'm beginning to hate these so-called 'progressives' as much as I hate wingnuts.

So I'm backing away for a while. No political posts from me, other than the newspaper columns. I may just post about books and weird stuff I find. I may just shut the whole blog down.

Comments are closed for this post. I don't want to hear it any more.

"Liberal" ABC News Carries the Water for the Wingnuts. Again.

ABC News apparently thinks that it's wrong to bring terror suspects to a proposed Supermax-type facility on US soil because, among the 240 convicted and suspected terrorists already imprisoned here:
One passed messages to his followers, and another seriously and permanently injured a guard during an escape attempt.

Oh, and the headline goes even further in promoting wingnut talking points: 'Terrorists Beat the System in Federal Prisons."

Oh, well, then. I guess we should just imprison EVERYONE convicted of a crime, state or federal, away from the US, because gang members and Mob figures have "beaten the system" by passing messages to their followers and several prisoners have attacked and injured guards.


Liberal media, my ass.

Monday, December 14, 2009

XBox: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

Apparently there's a downloadable XBox game that's supposed to teach you how to talk to girls. Which -- so let me get this straight: playing a video learn how to talk to girls. Folks, you better put your foil helmets on, the universe is imploding.

That is either the funniest or the saddest thing I've read all year. I can't decide which.

They Never Learn

You would have thought that the recent craziness in the stock market, where a lot of folks lost their shirts, would have thoroughly buried the whole Bushian idea of privatizing Social Security. But you'd be underestimating the sheer blockheadedness of the American Right. In a recent interview,  SC's own wingnut Senator Jim DeMint
 talks of reviving President George W. Bush’s failed plan to partially privatize Social Security by having workers put a small percentage of the current levy in a personal savings account...But let’s review. As a Center for American Progress Action Fund report found, under a Bush-style privatization plan, a October 2008 retiree would have lost $26,000 in the market plunge. If the U.S. stock market had behaved like the Japanese market during the duration of that retiree’s work life, “a private account would have experienced sharp negative returns, losing $70,000 — an effective -3.3 percent net annual rate of return.” And this doesn’t take into account the full plunge of the stock market, which dipped below 7,000 in March 2009.

Fail? They don't know the meaning of the word. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mother of Mercy, Is This the End?

Latest Newspaper Column:

Charles Johnson is trying to put me out of a job.

It doesn't seem so long ago that Johnson, the founder and editor of the right-wing blog Little Green Footballs, was a wingnut's wingnut. He was one of the ones who led the charge against Dan Rather after Rather's infamous story about George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard ­service (or lack of same).

He and his Little Green Footballers spent hours poring over fonts and something called "kerning" to justify their theory that the memos stating that Dubbya had used his Daddy's political connections to walk away from the Guard were faked because you could create something that looked just like them with Microsoft Word. Even though no actual experts ever declared the memos faked, Rather was fired over the incident for failing to verify his sources properly.

Johnson was also one of the founders of the right-wing online consortium Pajamas Media, which featured hard-right all-stars like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, et al. He was fond of describing left-leaning public figures as "idiotarians," and if he didn't originate the term "Islamofascists," he was certainly one of the people who helped spread it.

And after the Republicans lost ­control of the House and Senate in 2006, it was the good Americans at Little Green Footballs who called for the politically impure parts of America to be purged by fire, with commentators saying things like, "I just hope the nuke attack comes soon. Let it be on the East Coast, where it belongs."

So it was startling, to say the least, when Johnson went online on Nov. 30 to explain, in his words, "Why I Broke With the Right." His reasons provide a textbook definition of the word "wingnut":

-- "Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism."

-- "Anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)."

-- Support for "anti-government lunacy," "conspiracy theories," and "raging hate speech."

-- "Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide."

And Johnson names names: Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck, the "birther" movement, Sarah Palin -- pretty much the whole wingnut aviary. The American right wing, said Johnson, "has gone off the rails, into the ­bushes, and off the cliff."

Well, yeah. I mean, that sort of thing has given me material for more columns than I can count. What the heck am I supposed to do if more right-wing Republicans follow Johnson's lead?

What do I do if Sarah Palin comes out and says, "You know, I don't think Democrats are really friendly with terrorists. We have some honest disagreements, but gosh-darn it, we're all in the same boat here and all this talk about who's a real American and who's not isn't good for the country"?

How am I supposed to make fun of the Republicans if they actually start acting as if they have some sort of political philosophy other than "Everything Barack Obama does, right down to the mustard he orders on his burgers, is The Death of the American Republic, but everything's OK if you're a Republican"?

What do I do if Glenn Beck starts taking his medication and stops raving like Captain Queeg at the end of "The Caine Mutiny"? What's next? Wingnuts actually learning the meanings of the words "fascism," "socialism" and Marxism" and applying them correctly? It's almost too horrible to contemplate.

But then I read that some members of the Republican National Committee are trying to enact a conservative "purity test" into the party platform, under which moderate Republican candidates, or anyone insufficiently ideologically "pure," would be denied funding or support from the national party, and I realize that, in the GOP, the lunatics are still running the asylum.

I'll have enough material to be with you for a long, long time. I hope that makes you as happy as it makes me.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Holiday Research Question

Has anyone ever actually objected to you saying "Merry Christmas?" Have you ever actually seen anyone object?

I'd really like to know.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Christmas Present to the Wingnuts

Latest Newspaper Column:

I really do like writing this column, most of the time. But there are some annoyances.

Like, for instance, the snarky e-mails I get demanding to know why I haven't written about this or that supposed atrocity some supposed liberal has supposedly committed. "Why don't you write," they sneer, "about that thing that Alec Baldwin/Michael Moore/wingnut bogeyman du jour said or did? Huh? Huh?"

These annoy me for a number of reasons. For one thing, they most often turn out to be total fiction. Mainly, though, I'm annoyed by the implication that, because I'm not writing about something that has someone else's knickers in a wad, I'm some kind of partisan shill. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shills get paid much better than I do.

But, this being the season of loving and giving, I am going to give some of you what you most desire. I'm going to say something critical about Michael Moore and some of my fellow liberals.

Moore recently published an open letter to President Obama on his Web site, claiming that the president was betraying his supporters by ordering more U.S. Troops to Afghanistan.

"If you go to West Point tomorrow night," Moore wrote, "and tell us you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you."

And it wasn't just Moore. After Obama's West Point speech, the cry went up across the liberal blogosphere: "We are betraaaaayed!"

It wasn't coming from everyone (and anyone who thinks "liberals" all believe one thing should try actually reading the arguments that erupt on some left-leaning blogs sometime). But there were a significant number of comments like this one: "Mr. President, we elected you to end these wars, not continue them!"

It wasn't just liberals either. Some fellow who claimed to be an ex-Marine bravely accosted my wife and teenage daughter at a gas station over the holiday and began haranguing them about the Obama sticker on the car, saying, "How about all the broken promises, huh? He promised to bring all the troops home. How about that, huh?"

Uh, folks, I don't know whom you were seeing up there on the podium in the 2008 election, but the guy I voted for said this on the campaign trail:

-- "I will finally have a comprehensive strategy to finish the job in Afghanistan, with more troops." (Sept. 26, 2008.)

-- "We have seen Afghanistan worsen, deteriorate. We need more troops there. We need more resources there. ... I think we need more troops. I've been saying that for over a year now." (Sept. 9, 2008.)

-- "This is a war that we have to win. I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan ... We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region." (July 15, 2008.)

So I have to say, I'm more than a little bemused by the people who are crying out that they've been sold a bill of goods by a Barack Obama that exists only in their heads. You can certainly raise concerns about the wisdom of escalating the war, but please stop trying to rewrite history. Leave that for the wingnuts, who were for troop surges before they were against them.

My opinion on the commitment of more troops? I think it's something that should have been done years ago, instead of invading a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. And I'm happy to see that the troop escalation also includes an escalation in the number of civilian economic and development experts going to that unhappy country.

That, more than anything else, gives me hope that this one will turn out differently from Vietnam. I do know that we can't just walk away like we did after the Russians pulled out, and leave Afghanistan to the mercy of religion-maddened hillbillies like the Taliban and nuts like Al-Qaeda.

In times like these, I feel like that guy in the old song: "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Jesus, Man, Buy the DVD and Get Over It

Arlington mayor fires at Obama online:
In the opinion of Arlington Mayor Russell Wiseman, President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night on the war in Afghanistan was deliberately timed to block the Christian message of the "Peanuts" television Christmas special.

Wiseman made the statements on his Facebook page, where he declared Obama to be a Muslim. Only people on Wiseman's "friend's list" had access to the post. He has more than 1,600 friends on Facebook.

"Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'...."

As you know, SWORS (Spasmodic Wingnut Outrage Syndrome) is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes impairment of higher brain function in some American conservatives. Sufferers from SWORS experience a near-total loss of any sense of proportion and become prone to manic outbursts of indignation over trivial events.

I think going ballistic and accusing the President of deliberately scheduling what was arguably the major policy address of this year just to pre-empt Charlie Brown is a sign that SWORS has permanently damaged this guy's brain.

As my friend BCB puts it: Good grief!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Panderin' Palin

Sarah Palin on Wingnut Talk Radio:
"I think the public rightfully is still making it [whether President Obama was born in the US] an issue," Palin said. "I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers."

Sarah Palin on Facebook a few hours later:

Stupid Conspiracies

Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask... which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.

So Sarah Palin, Ms. Roguey Maverick, Ms. "I'm just a hockey mom," talks like a "birther" when she's on right wing talk radio, then backs off it when she's not.

There's a word for that.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

None Dare Call it Treason, At Least Not Any More

Matt Lewis, Politics Daily:
[T]he fact that a former vice president -- possibly the most influential in American history -- chose to criticize the policies of the sitting president of the United States on the eve of his committing 30,000 troops to war strikes me as inappropriate.
Certainly, there is hypocrisy on both sides. Conservatives were incensed -- and had a right to be -- when Democratic leaders, including Harry Reid and Joe Biden, took verbal pot shots at George W. Bush while the president was on foreign soil. (Jimmy Carter was even tackier: Carter went abroad and criticized Bush.) We tended to view that kind of behavior as unpatriotic.

Let me help you out a little, Matt. it wasn't just described as unpatriotic. It was described as treasonous, and people who did it were threatened with death.

Dick Cheney, however, gets the mildest possible criticism, and a continued soapbox to try and defend his failed policies at the expense of the country.

Liberal media, my ass.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Betrayed By the Obama in Your Head

it seems that filmmaker Michael Moore has joined the chorus of people claiming that they've been betrayed if Barack Obama sends more troops to Afghanistan.

Well, Mike, as well as anonymous ex-Marine who began haranguing my wife and daughter at a gas station over their Obama bumper sticker, I don't know who you thought was running, but this is the guy I pulled the lever for:

"The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as President, I won't. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps, and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights." -Barack Obama, July 15, 2008

I've said since the beginnings of Dubbya's Wacky Iraqi Adventure that we needed to be concentrating on Afghanistan and that Iraq was going to be a long and costly diversion. And part of the reason I backed Barack Obama in the first place was that he felt the same way, and wasn't afraid to say so:

We need more resources in Afghanistan. I have been arguing for this since 2002, when I said that we should finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban instead of going into Iraq. I have called for at least two additional combat brigades to support our efforts there. "-Barack Obama, June 18, 2008

You can have disagreements as to whether or not this buildup is a good idea. Personally, I'm waiting to see the rest of the plan. By which I mean, "30,000 troops to do what, exactly?"

But for people to be weeping and wailing "OMG we are betrayed!" because Obama's sending more troops simply ignores history or worse, rewrites it to suit some image in your head. Leave that for the wingnuts.

UPDATE: The Rude Pundit provides even more Obama quotes on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Wingnut No More

Charles Johnson at the conservative blog Little Green Footballs has finally had enough. In his essay "Why I Parted Ways With The Right," he sets out point by point why "The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff". In the process, he defines exactly what I mean when I use the term "wingnut," including but not limited to: "bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism"; "Support for anti-science bad craziness "; and "Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech". And he names names.

It's particularly significant because this used to be one of the blogs that was Wingnut Central. Mr. Johnson and I would probably disagree on just about everything political, but it's nice to see a conservative denouncing the crazies who have hijacked his movement.

It's definitely worth reading in full, but stay out of the comments section unless you have a strong stomach.

And before anyone starts shrieking about Michael Moore or Alec Baldwin or whoever the right wing bogeyman du jour is, let me make two points:

(1) None of these people has done or said anything that's nearly as insane as the stuff Michelle Bachmann or Rush Limbaugh spouts every freakin' day, and, most importantly,

(2) They're not leaders of the Democratic Party. No one, for example, backpedals to kiss Michael Moore's ass the day after even mildly criticizing him.

Welcome to the ranks of the sane, Charles. Only problem is, you keep this up, and other conservatives follow your lead, I won't have anyone left to make fun of.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Correctness

Latest Newspaper Column (the director's cut):

Now that Thanksgiving is done and the shopping frenzy of Black Friday has passed, we are well and truly into the Christmas season.

At this time of loving, giving and maniacal consumption, let's not forget that there are some people for whom this time of year is particularly difficult. I'm speaking, of course, about people who suffer from SWORS: Spasmodic Wingnut Outrage Syndrome.

People with SWORS have it tough during the holiday season. Even the mention of the word "holiday," however innocent, can trigger an attack of SWORS:

NORMAL PERSON: Happy Holidays, Mr. Gundermeyer!

SWORS SUFFERER: You mean "Merry Christmas."


SWORS SUFFERER: Say it! Say Merry Christmas! SAY IT! SAY IT!

NORMAL PERSON: OK! OK! Merry Christmas! Just don't hit me, please!

Good will toward men, indeed.

Like the shopping season, the SWORS season seems to begin ­earlier every year. This year, the first company to be attacked was that mainstay of the American ­shopping mall, The Gap. The American Family Association, a hotbed of SWORS infection if ever there was one, got cranky about not seeing any mentions of "Christmas" in Gap advertising. Perhaps the fact that it was early November may have had something to do with it, but nevertheless, the AFA called for a boycott.

A few days later, The Gap responded by releasing one of those ads that seems destined to go down as one of the most annoying ever, the kind of ad that makes you dive for the remote and fumble for the "Mute" button. "Go Christmas!" chirps an insanely peppy group of dancing teenagers, dressed, of course, in Gap clothing.

Now, you'd think that mentioning Christmas right up from there would serve to soothe the riled-up nerves of the SWORS-afflicted. A SWORS sufferer, however, looks at every olive branch as if it contains a nest of tarantulas. And in this case, the fact that the group also chants "Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanzaa, go solstice!" seems to have nullified whatever palliative effect was intended. "It seems like a desperate attempt to get every possible demographic to shop in their stores," sniffed The Dallas Republican Examiner.

Now, to the non-SWORS-infected, it would seem obvious that the whole point of having a store would be to get as many people as possible in the door. And most normal people realize that when they hit the stores to do their shopping, they'll be right there alongside "every possible demographic," including Jews, African-Americans and the sort of person who likes to go on and on about "solstice."

One of the tragic things about SWORS, however, is the feeling of deep resentment and bitterness that its victims experience at the very thought that someone may look, feel, or believe differently than they do, coupled with a paranoid certainty that those "other people" are getting more of life's goodies than they are.

While it's certainly easy for a nonsufferer to be annoyed by people with SWORS, it's important to keep in mind that these are people with an illness. They just can't help themselves, and the problem is only made worse by the plethora of high-profile wingnut media figures who, like crack dealers, make themselves fat and rich by feeding other peoples' disease.

It is a shame that SWORS spoils people's appreciation of the things that all people, whatever their beliefs, celebrate during this season. Things like peace, hope, good will, generosity and reflection on what's really important in life.

It seems even more a shame that they have to inflict their lunacy on the rest of us. But in this time of comfort and joy, take a moment to talk to someone who suffers from SWORS. Put your arm around them, look into their angry, troubled eyes, and say those simple words that mean so much at this time of year:

"Lighten the hell up, will ya?"

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Resigning Woman Strikes Again

Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news:

Sarah Palin visits Washington State and bails out again:
Palin had announced on Twitter that she would be running the 5k race organized by the Benton-Franklin Chapter of the Red Cross.

She didn't finish the race, opting to leave the course early to avoid more crowds at the end. About 40 minutes into the run, word started trickling out to people gathered at the finish line that she was gone.

A few days ago, she reportedly left a book signing early, leaving angry crowds chanting "quitter!' and "sign our books!"

Has this woman ever finished anything other than a pregnancy?

A Simple Explanation (Updated)

After a pair of uninvited guests crashed a State Dinner at the White House, there's been a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing, a lot of accusations and questions about how something like this could happen.

The answer is simple, and illustrates one of the undeniable truths of life:

a hot blonde can get in anywhere. Anywhere. it's like having an all-access pass to the entire world.

UPDATE: More proof of this point here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who Among Us Does Not Love Zombies?

Have Fun With The Zombie Outbreak Simulator!

Set the number of civilians, police, and zombies, decide whether you want your zombies fast or slow, and watch the zombpocalypse play out! Click around the map to watch the unsuspecting civilians go about their day as the undead horde bears down on them! Fun, fun, fun for the entire family!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Surrender

Latest Newspaper Column:

Boy, there sure are a lot of people these days who want to give in to the terrorists.

I remember back in those dark days after 9/11 when people were affirming that America was going to stand tall, that we weren't going to let ourselves be intimidated by maniacs who were trying to kill us.

But lately, it seems like there are a lot of politicians, on both sides of the aisle, who want to let fear of terrorist attack, or even terrorist's words, ­dictate how we run our ­country and how we bring the people responsible for the attacks to account.

Recently, the Obama administration announced that some terror suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged "mastermind" behind the 9/11 attacks, were going to be brought to New York to face trial (and possibly the death penalty) for their crimes. Predictably, the protests against the move took the form of dire and occasionally hysterical warnings about what the terrorists might do.

Even Rudy Giuliani, who distinguished ­himself by his coolness under pressure as mayor of New York in the days after 9/11, proved disappointingly craven. "It gives an unnecessary advantage to the terrorists," he said, " and it poses risks for New York."

This is in marked contrast to Rudy's pronouncement in 1994 that the conviction of the people who tried to bring down the Twin Towers the first time "shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead." But hey, he's a former Republican presidential candidate. No one expects consistency from them.

Rudy's hand-wringing was also in marked contrast to the current Republican mayor of New York, who appeared with his police chief to assert that the city of New York wasn't afraid of trying terrorists there. "It is fitting," Bloomberg said, "that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered."

Perhaps the silliest objection to the trial of the terrorists is that -- horror of horrors -- they might actually say stuff in public. Rep. Peter Hoekstra claimed that a civilian trial will allow the accused terrorists to turn such proceedings into a "circus" and "use them as platforms to promote their ideology."

Yeah, because without a courtroom, they've been as quiet as church mice. And so what if they start babbling jihadist nonsense in court? How do you think that'll play to a jury of New Yorkers sitting in judgment a few blocks from where the Towers fell?

And while we're at it, is anyone other than Sarah Palin delusional enough to think there's even a small chance that these people are going to be acquitted? If you really think there's a possibility that a New York judge or jury is going to let them walk, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

(Actually, I did have this fantasy of the judge saying: "The Court has decided that the case against the defendants must be thrown out because the evidence is irrevocably tainted. You're free to go. Now let's see you make it to the corner, you [really bad word]." )

Some people, including Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, say the suspects should be tried by military tribunals despite the fact that their acts occurred in the United States, because the 9/11 attacks were an "act of war." An attractive definition, to be sure, and one I myself used back in 2001.

In fact, I hear Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asked to admit guilt in front of a military tribunal and to be executed. (Tell you what, Bubba, we'll meet you halfway on that.)

But as Attorney General Eric Holder pointed out, we don't let them define the rules or pick where they get tried. They don't get to puff themselves up to the status of "warriors." They're mass murderers, and they deserve to be treated like murderers.

No one has yet come up with a universally accepted definition of terrorism. But most definitions of the term have one thing in common: Terrorism is the use of violence or the threat of violence by a small group to intimidate a larger one. And right now it seems that people like Giuliani, Hoekstra and their ilk are pretty intimidated by worries of what KSM and his buddies might do.

Prudence is one thing. But compromising American ideals like the rule of law isn't prudence; it's surrender. It's giving the terrorists exactly what they want. Don't give in.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Thuggery Starts Early

Mary Matalin "slaps" one on Sarah Palin | Crooks and Liars
Time is the most valuable commodity on a campaign and you just can't waste it thinking about how to choose your words carefully or get your job done more diplomatically. If someone isn't in tears every day, that day wasn't all it could be advancing the campaign. I once witnessed an experienced (big) man slap a professional female colleague across the face over an ad buy... and no one thought anything of it, starting with the woman. In fact, she would have been insulted if anyone told her she should have been insulted.

So violent criminal assault is no big deal in a Republican campaign, huh? This explains a lot.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We Ain't Talking About Barney Fife Here

The "geopolitical intelligence" website STRATFOR  gets past all the fearmongering and looks at the resources the New York City Federal Courts and the City itself already have  in place for security during what will inevitably become known as the "Gitmo Five" trial.

Remember, they've dealt with terrorist trials before, not to mention high profile Mafia trials. And also remember, as others have pointed out, the people we're dealing with aren't  Magneto and The Joker.

Thanks to Randy Ellison for the link.

Quote of the Day

From Talking Points Memo:
"How is it that it will take 'decades' for history to judge the Bush administration yet we know already that the Obama administration is a failure?"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Principles Whatsoever

Rudy Giuliani, 1994:

The verdict [against the first World Trade Center Bombers] ‘demonstrates that New Yorkers won’t meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon — the law.’

“I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead."

Giuliani, 2009:

“[Trying the "911 mastermind" in a civilian court] gives an unnecessary advantage to the terrorists and why would you want to give an advantage to the terrorists, and it poses risks for New York.”

“We wouldn’t have tried the people who attacked Pearl Harbor in a civilian court in Hawaii.”

“I’m concerned that we no longer believe we’re at war with Islamic terrorists when they’re at war with us.”

Why the hell does anyone take this hack seriously?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Party of Love, Again.

A wingnut shows his Christian love when he asks us to "Pray For Obama," then quotes Psalms 109:8 as a suggested text:

May his days be few; may another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

But don't ever forget, it's the liberals who are filled with hate.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Insurance Coverage For Abortion: IOKIYAR!

Leading up to passage of the House health care reform bill last week, 176 House Republicans joined 64 Democrats in voting for the so-called Stupak amendment, a measure that prohibits federal funds from being used to buy health insurance that covers elective abortions.

But the Republican National Committee’s health insurance plan covers elective abortion – a procedure the party’s own platform calls “a fundamental assault on innocent human life."

Informed of the coverage, RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told POLITICO that the policy pre-dates the tenure of current RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

The current policy has been in effect since 1991, and we are taking steps to address the issue,” Gitcho said.

Wonder if the Blue Dog Dems who voted for Stupak have coverage for elective abortions in their goverment sponsored health care policies as well?

The mantra of the opponents of Health Care Reform: "coverage for me, but not for thee."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The GOP crackup continues:

On Monday, the Charleston County Republican Party’s executive committee “took the unusual step” of officially censuring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The local GOP committee admonished Graham for stepping across party lines to work with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on a bipartisan clean energy bill and other pieces of legislation. The censure stated that Graham’s “bipartisanship continues to weaken the Republican brand and tarnish the ideals of freedom.”

Looks like they haven't taken all of St. Ronald Reagan's words to heart. He used to say the 11th Commandment was "thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." Now it seems the wingnuts can't do anything else. Let the Stalinist GOP purge continue!

The Stimulus Comes to Your Neighborhood

The Stimulus Tracker from tracks spending on the stimulus package right down to the county level. In my case, it shows a pretty hefty contract going to the paving company owned by a nice older gentleman who lives down the street from me, and who I know is hiring a lot more people now than he was last year. It's an intriguing look at where the money goes. Check it out.

(Wonder if SNL will do a skit about it?)

Monday, November 09, 2009


Looks like the wingnut "Club For Growth"  is ready to do for the Republicans in Florida what they did for them in NY-23,  namely, turn a Republican seat over to the Democrats:

It's official: the Club for Growth has endorsed conservative upstart Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate race, over moderate Gov. Charlie Crist (R).


The Club is in the business of supporting fiscally conservative candidates, sometimes in primaries against incumbent Republicans. In the 2008 election cycle, they launched an offensive against Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), who, thanks to the Club's efforts, lost his primary to conservative Andy Harris, and the seat eventually went to the Democrats.


But now, the Club's moment seems to have arrived. The conservative grassroots have been swept up in fiscal conservatism, and they're fresh off a semi-victory in NY-23, where the Club backed Conservatve Party candidate Doug Hoffman and became one of the central financial players in the race, spending almost on par with the big boys--the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee--adding just over $1 million to the race, including bundled donations.

Lest we forget, the NY-23 "semi-victory" divided the GOP, pissed off the locals, and gave the NY-23 election to a Democrat.

This is a definition of "semi-victory" with which I am not familiar.

 A classic symptom of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But hey, why do you think they call them "wingnuts"?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Man's Gotta Have a Hobby...

This fellow's hobby just happens to be blowing anvils hundreds of feet in the air.


Heath Care Bill Passes House

Bill Owens (NY-23) cast the 218th vote that put the bill over the top.

The Governors of Virginia and New Jersey did not vote.

Yeah, the 2009 election was a huge defeat for Obama, all right.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Drama-Queen Media (The Director's Cut) UPDATED

Latest Newspaper column, as it was originally written before the weak sisters at The Pilot apparently decided I was being too mean to poor Michelle Malkin, Sarah Failin' the Resigning Woman, and Blubberin' Glenn Beck.

A “referendum on Barack Obama". A "bellwether" of how the elections of 2010 and 21012 were going to go. That was the prevailing narrative in the so-called "liberal" media right before this past week's off-year elections.

Among those supposedly "bellwether" elections was the special election in New York's 23d District, which pitted Republican state assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava against Democrat Bill Owens. Scozzafava, however, wasn't nearly ideologically pure enough for the angry, bitter, sky-is-falling wing of the GOP.  Fox news-harpy Michelle Malkin repeatedly referred to Scozzafava as a "radical leftist." Malkin, wingnut pinup girl Sarah Palin,  and Cryin' Glenn Beck came out strongly in favor of a third party candidate, Doug Hoffman, who doesn't even live in the district. When Newt Gingrich tried to reason with the raging right wingers, Malkin, showing the same kind of party solidarity you'd expect from a rabid Shih Tzu,  turned on him. "Perhaps it is time to go your own way, with Al Sharpton and Nancy Pelosi," Malkin sneered at Gingrich. The wingnut attacks got so vicious that Scozzafava eventually dropped out of the race--and endorsed Owens.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the battle for the governorship was waged between a Democrat, incumbent John Corzine, who apparently was about as popular in New Jersey as the swine flu, and whose campaign message seemed to be mostly centered around allegations that his Republican opponent, Chris Christie, is fat. In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell vied with Democrat Creigh Deeds, who ran a ham-fisted campaign that made John McCain's desperate floundering look positively Machiavellian in comparison.

By Wednesday morning, the results were in: Republicans won the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, but Bill Owens was the first Democratic House member from NY-23 since the Civil War.

You'd think that these would be reported as, at best, mixed results. But you'd be wrong. "Republican wins deal blow to Obama," blared the supposedly 'liberal", claiming that winning two governorships "inflicted a double blow on President Barack Obama's Democratic Party". They went on to say: "The Republican victories Tuesday in Virginia and New Jersey are a setback for Obama as he struggles to overhaul the U.S. health care system, win passage of climate change legislation, and build political support for his handling of the war in Afghanistan." Because, after all, the governors of New Jersey and Virginia have so much influence on those issues.

Meanwhile, a Democratic win in a district that hasn't elected a Democrat since the 19th century, one in which stars of the wingnuttosphere threw their weight behind a teabagger third party candidate and drove the Republican nominee out of the race for being too liberal, one in which Barack Obama gave his endorsement to the Democrat who eventually won...not such a big deal.

In short, the so-called “liberal” media hyped this as a huge test of the popularity of the Obama administration, then blew off the Democratic win, one that, lest we forget, increased the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. They chose instead to gush over Republican wins that stand to have little or no effect on President Obama's national agenda.

Yeah, those are some liberal media, you betcha.

Not that I'm saying the media are conservative. No, the problem with 21st century "news" as it's practiced by the so-called "serious" journalists is that it's not about liberalism or conservatism any more.  It's about drama. It was foreordained that the media was going to spin this as a huge challenge to the President who's been in office for less than a year. Because otherwise, the off-year election would be like most off-year elections: boring. And they hate boring. That's why the gun-toting Tea Party nuts and birther loons get so much coverage. They may not make much sense, but look how colorful they are! Look, a Nazi flag! Hey, does that one have a gun? Let's go see what pearls of wisdom he has to offer!"  By the same token, "Huge setback for Obama! Can he ever recover? Who will save us now!?" is a much more sexy narrative than "things are really complicated right now." So guess which story gets told?

With its predetermined narratives, nutty characters, and obsession with gaudy trash talking, modern journalism is becoming harder and harder to distinguish from professional wrestling.

God help us all.

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

UPDATE: several days later, it suddenly dawns on the NYT that Tuesday might not have been such great news for the Republicans after all.

"give me the money in the draw"

Bank Notes: a collection of Bank Robbery Notes
Some are funnier than others. I particularly like:

I have a gun in my bag.
Give me $5,000 please.
Thanks a bunch.

And there's a certain simple beauty to this one:

Bank Robbery.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

Friday, November 06, 2009

More Scenes From the Capitol Health Care Protest
....[A] man standing just beyond the TV cameras apparently suffered a heart attack 20 minutes after event began. Medical personnel from the Capitol physician's office -- an entity that could, quite accurately, be labeled government-run health care -- rushed over, attaching electrodes to his chest and giving him oxygen and an IV drip.


By the time it was over, medics had administered government-run health care to at least five people in the crowd who were stricken as they denounced government-run health care.

Heh. It's easy to denounce "government health care" till you need it. Then it's "gimme gimme gimme..."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Under God"--Vitally Important "Indivisible"--Not So Much

Think Progress:
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) had the honor of leading the anti-health care protesters on Capitol Hill today in the Pledge of Allegiance. To show his fervent devotion to the Pledge, he gave a short speech about the importance of the phrase “under God.” However, when it came time to actually recite the Pledge, he was so excited about that one phrase that he forgot to say “indivisible” before “with liberty, and justice for all.”

Think Progress seems to be treating this as just an amusing gaffe. I think it speaks volumes.

These people LIKE America divisible. They like us chopped up into little segments, red here, blue here, "real American" there, "socialist Marxofascist" over there...each afraid of the other, so they can exploit the fear.

Wingnut Carpetbaggers Not Welcome in NY-23

Watertown Daily Times columnist Jeffrey Savitksie describes why right wing candidate Doug Hoffman lost in the election that gave New York's 23d District its first Democratic congressman since the Civil War:
Hoffman's cash didn't come from somebody in Hermon or Hopkinton or Adams Center or from anywhere that cares about the north country. It came from folks who know so little about the north country that they would likely believe it if you told them Alexandria Bay was an exotic dancer. They know the 23rd Congressional District only as a place they might be able to make a political point for their team nationally. They might know where it is exactly, but I doubt it. They probably just describe it as “somewhere in New York.”

It is somewhere, by the way, where their handpicked Hoffman robot doesn't even live. A minor concern, I suppose, if you have your eyes on a bigger prize and aren't worried about the little people who actually do live in the district. Hoffman and his moneybaggers might be pro-life, but they sure aren't pro-north country life.

One thing the people of NY-23 weren't going to stand for is a bunch of out of staters telling them who they could vote for. I guess the wingnuts don't understand small town America the way they claim to.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Your Liberal Media At Work.

So a Democrat wins a House seat that's been Republican since the 19th century, after wingnut stars like Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty throw their weight behind a teabagger third party candidate and drive the Republican nominee out of the race for being too liberal, and after Barack Obama gives his endorsement to the Democrat who eventually wins...

...and the night is reported as a huge setback for Obama and the Democrats because of two governor's races.

The Republican victories Tuesday in Virginia and New Jersey are a setback for Obama as he struggles to overhaul the U.S. health care system, win passage of climate change legislation, and build political support for his handling of the war in Afghanistan.

Yes, because the governors of Virginia and New Jersey have so much power over those issues.

Liberal media, my ass.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


A forklift driver in a liquor warehouse has an unthinkable accident:

It is to weep.

In a comic book, after a disaster like that, he'd probably rise after weeks in a booze-soaked coma to discover he'd transformed into a superhero or something.

Hey, is it my imagination, or does the newsreader sound like she's had a couple of stiff ones as well? Drinks, I mean.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Lazy Way to Successful Punditry

Latest Newspaper Column:

I tell you, folks, I'm weakening. I'm about to do something I thought I'd sworn off forever.

I'm considering joining the Republican Party again.

Some of my long-term readers may recall my joining the GOP back in '05 and '06 and writing about it in this column. Not because of any ideological change of heart, but precisely because the GOP had no actual ideology other than IOKIYAR: It's OK If You're A Republican.

Back in those days, the knee-jerk Republican defense of everything from adultery to sexually propositioning teenagers to shoplifting suggested to me that whatever I did, I'd always find a host of defenders so long as I had the correct political affiliation. Not that I was going to do any of those things, mind you, but it was just nice to know.

Well, I left the party, but I have to say, I'm sorely tempted to join up again. Not just for the complete lack of moral accountability (even though the David Vitter and Mark Sanford cases show that that's still alive and well), but because it would make writing this column so much easier.

See, I'm basically a lazy person. It's a real drag sometimes when I'm writing this column to go back and actually check various sources to make sure that the things I'm saying about people have at least some basis in fact.

But if I were a conservative Republican, I wouldn't have to do any of that stuff. If I saw something that looked outrageous enough, I could write about it without having to check around and see if it actually happened. And if it turned out not to be true -- hey, who cares?

As an example, let's take de facto Republican Party leader Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh recently went on the air with a real blockbuster of a story: Time magazine reporter Joe Klein had uncovered a thesis written by Barack Obama while Obama was a student at Columbia University.

The thesis was supposedly harshly critical of the U.S. Constitution, stating, "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

Only problem was, as Limbaugh was informed almost immediately, the story was a complete hoax, a satire posted on an allegedly humorous blog called "Jumping In Pools."

Joe Klein himself denied ever writing such a piece. "It is completely false," Klein posted on Time's online blog "Swampland." "I've never seen Obama's thesis. I have no idea where this report comes from -- but I can assure you that it's complete nonsense."

Rush, as the kids say, had been punk'd.

No matter, Limbaugh smoothly stated in his very next radio hour. He repeated the false quotes, then admitted that they were probably fake, but -- and this is the cool part -- he still stood by them because (a) he himself had been misquoted recently, and (b) he "knows Obama thinks it."

You can see how, to a lazy person such as myself, this would be very attractive. As a liberal, I can't get away with, for example, saying Sarah Palin once actually claimed she had foreign policy experience because she could "see Russia from her house."

As a liberal columnist, I'd have to point out that Palin never actually said that, but that that quote was instead from "Saturday Night Live" performer Tina Fey's hilarious impression of Palin. If I didn't, you can bet there'd be a deluge of letters lambasting me for making something up. And the defense "Well, it's a lie, sure, but I know Sarah Palin thinks that way" just wouldn't cut it.

But if I were a wingnut -- boy howdy, anything goes. I could make a crazy accusation, find out it's false within the hour, and stand by it anyway. Even after it's shown to be a lie, I could circulate the story on the Internet via chain e-mails that circle around in the Internet forever.

It's really tempting. Someone talk me out of it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beer...Is There Anything It Can't Do?

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley Spotted Together -
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police Sergeant James Crowley were spotted at a pub in Cambridge Wednesday night.

The owner of "River Gods" told WBZ the two sat in a booth together and talked for about an hour.

Over the summer, Crowley arrested Gates for disorderly conduct while responding to reports of a possible break-in at Gates' home. Gates accused the officer of racial profiling.

The incident led to a nation-wide debate over racial profiling and race relations, when President Barack Obama commented on the situation - coming to Gates' defense. All three men later sat at a table outside the White House in what became known as the 'beer summit.'

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You Paid WHAT?

Latest Newspaper Column:

Recently, tequila maker Jose Cuervo ­decided to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the company by making a very special "Extra Añejo" blend, which would go for a ­whopping 2,250 bucks a bottle.

I have to say, I was a little taken aback. In the days of my misspent youth, I was known to ­partake of Señor Cuervo's product on occasion, and "premium" is not the word that comes to mind when I reminisce about it. The words that do come to mind are ­"hurling," "psychosis," and, "Oh, God, just let me get through this and I swear I'll never drink again!"

Nevertheless, the pricey tequila, aged in oak barrels for three years, blended with "select aged tequilas from the family's reserves," then aged 10 more months in used Spanish sherry casks, is reported to be a near-religious experience by one drinker. "A beautifully balanced tequila with an elegance you'll find in few sipping ­spirits," wrote Tony Sachs of the Huffington Post.

Well, maybe. But $2,250 a bottle? For that kind of dough, I want more than smooth taste and a good buzz. I want it to make my teeth whiter, my hair shinier and my eyesight better, and give me a singing voice like Van Morrison. And not just to my own ears.

But it got me thinking about conspicuous ­consumption: the quest for not just the best ­product, but the most expensive one. There's just a special cachet that attaches to products that make people go, "You paid what?!"

Take, for instance, the world's most expensive car, the Bugatti Veyron. You might think that $1.5 million is a lot of money for a car. But when you consider that it packs a 16-cylinder engine generating 1,001 horsepower, goes 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, hits 252 mph top speed in less than a minute, and can be ordered with an interior by Louis Vuitton...

OK, it's still a lot of money for a car. So go for one of life's simpler pleasures, like the world's most expensive bagel. Concocted by Chef Frank Tujague of New York's Westin Hotel, the bagel is "topped with white truffle cream cheese and goji berry-infused Riesling jelly with golden leaves."

As it turns out, those white truffles are the ­second most expensive food in the world (with caviar being No. 1). So if you've got a hankering for a nutritious breakfast featuring a tree ­fungus dug up by pigs, hop on up to the Westin. It'll only set you back a thousand bucks.

If want to gloat to your poorer friends and relations that you just dropped a grand on ­breakfast, why not do it on the world's most expensive cell phone? The Swiss company Goldvish SA sells a phone made of 18k white gold and set with 20 carats of fine diamonds. The phone also features Bluetooth, 2 GB of ­storage, FM radio, a digital camera and MP3 playback. What, no bottle opener?

Of course, you're not going to wash a ­breakfast like that down with Sanka. No, you want the worlds' most expensive coffee, the $600-a-pound brew made from the Kopi Luwak beans found in Southeast Asia.

The Kopi Luwak is cultivated, if you can call it that, in a somewhat unusual way. The raw beans are eaten, but not fully digested, by a weasel-like critter called the Asian Palm Civet. Something in the little beastie's digestive tract alters the chemistry of the beans and apparently creates extra deliciousness. When nature takes its course, the natives gather up and sell the beans, then presumably retire to their homes and ­chortle that they just charged some Westerner a premium price for weasel poo.

It just goes to show: There is nothing so ­outrageously priced that someone, somewhere, won't pay for it. Because as it turns out, the Cuervo referenced above isn't even the world's most expensive tequila. That honor goes to a ­bottle of "Super Premium" tequila made by a company called Tequila Ley .925. Price: $225,000. For a bottle of booze.

P.T. Barnum was right. There's one born every minute.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh, For God's Sake...

Charles Krauthammer:

The White House has declared war on Fox News.

Oh, bullshit.

Can we stop with the drama queenery for five seconds? Please? No one has "declared war" on anyone, and no one is trying to "shut Fox News down." A couple of administration officials have pointed out, rightly in my opinion, that Fox News toes the Republican Party line and repeats their talking points verbatim, while making up new and ever more bizarre pro-GOP talking points of their own. Remember when the Fox news-bimbo called the Obama's congratulatory fist-bump the "Terrorist fist jab?" Remember the "Obama attended a Muslim terrorist school" story that Fox "broke" and which was almost immediately debunked by every news organization that wasn't asking "how high" when Karl Rove said "jump"?

But pointing that out is not "going to war," and it's not "trying to shut anyone down." It's criticism. That's all it is. You know, free speech?

Presidents have been bitching about the media for years. The Bushistas bitched about MSNBC, not to mention freezing Helen Thomas out for eight years despite the fact she was the most senior member of the White House Press Corps. Nixon bitched about Dan Rather, and so on and so on. Get over it.

As for this whine about "Obama won't come on Fox News shows": The President of the United States is not obligated to go on any one network. His obligation is to talk to the American people. If he wants to do that via NBC, MSNBC, the Mutual Radio Network, the Daily Planet, or by releasing 250 million goddamn carrier pigeons, it's his call.

So spare me your fucking sense of entitlement, Fox News. President Obama doesn't owe you an appearance, any more than he owes one to CBS, ESPN or the Food Network. Grow the hell up and accept that your relentlessly anti-Obama stance means the administration may not always pat you on your head and tell you how wonderful you are. You're not above criticism any more than the President is. Dry your eyes, put on a new pair of Pull-Ups and try not being such a bunch of whiny pricks all the time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beyond Parody, Part II

Glenn Beck:
Celebrities are coming together to make it cool to volunteer. Disney gives you a free day at the park. This is all fine, but doesn't it seem a little bit convenient that all of this comes out now at the same time the Obama administration is calling for it? Obama controls the message through the media he holds in his pocket. Or in his little hand. And soon if you disobey, he'll just go [Beck slaps his hand]. Now the message will be embedded in television shows. Isn't this great? Aren't you proud of what we're doing? Oh, this certainly is change.

So let me get this straight. Encouraging people to volunteer to help their community or their country is now a bad thing because Barack Obama and "celebrities" are doing it? Click through and watch the Beck video, if you can stand it. Listen to the tone of Beck's voice. You'll see a conservative spokesman actually sneering at the idea of volunteerism, before claiming that "this is like living in Mao's China" and comparing Ashton Kutcher to Karl Marx for encouraging it.

This is what conservatism has come to. They only have two principles: IBIODI and IOKIYAR. (It's Bad If Obama Does It and It's Okay If You're a Republican).