28 February 2007

Cash Eternal

Kevin Russell walked into a Chase Bank in Hobart, Indiana on Monday intending to cash a check. Two things got the teller's attention:

1. The check was made out in the amount of $50,000.00, and...

2. It was signed by God! (Or as the signature line said, "King Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Servant.")

...along with "For miracles rendered" on the memo line, I'm sure.

The Story of the First Man Wounded In Iraq

ABC News tells the story of Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva:
As troops began to push into Iraq, on March 21, 2003, Alva was leading 11 Marines among 75 or so sailors and Marines in a 50- to 55-vehicle convoy on its way from the desert in Kuwait to Basra, Iraq.

It was a logistical convoy moving through the desert at night, lights out, night-vision goggles on. The sand was so kicked up it was nearly impossible for Alva to even keep track of the vehicle in front of him. At one of three stops along the way, Alva, who hadn't eaten for a full day, was heating up an MRE when he went to get something out of his Humvee.

"I took maybe a step or two," Alva said, "and that is when the explosion went off." It was a land mine. "I stepped on a land mine with my right foot," Alva said. "The explosion went off and threw me about 10 feet. I was in severe pain."

His hearing was temporarily lost, so he couldn't hear his own screaming. His hand was covered in blood; the tip of the index finger on his right hand was blown off, and the nerves had been damaged forever. Marines ran to him.

"They lifted my left foot and cut the bootlaces from the bottom, and they lifted my heel, and they took the boot off from the heel," Alva said. "And they never touched the right leg. So I remember even asking the chaplain, 'What is wrong with my legs? What is wrong with my legs?' And the chaplain - because we had chaplains with us - and he said, 'There is nothing wrong. You are fine. You are fine.'" But he wasn't. Evacuated to Kuwait by helicopter, Alva woke up hours later in the post-op recovery room. His leg was gone.
Alva - who received the Purple Heart for his actions - appeared in Washington D.C. today with Rep. Martin Meehan (Democrat-MA) and Rep. Christopher Shays (Republican-CT) and came out as a gay man. Both Meehan and Shays will introduce legislation today aimed at repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy currently in place - and allow gays to serve in the military without fear of dismissal.

Said Alva:
Who would have ever guessed that the first American wounded [in Iraq] was a gay Marine?
I would have, Staff Sgt Alva. And I thank you, from the very depths of my American soul, for your bravery on the frontlines in the sand over there...and in the halls of our Government here at home.

An Adult Conversation

Quote of the Day:
Ninety seconds to answer is designed largely to test glibness, memory, spontaneity and theatricality. What you should be testing is the person’s judgment, wisdom, experience. You don’t get that by hiding the questions from him and seeing if you can catch him by surprise.
-Former Gov. Mario Cuomo (Deomcrat-NY) on the "debates" held between major presidential candidates today, compared with how it was done back in the days of Abraham Lincoln.

Cuomo is set to join former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Republican-GA) this evening at New York's Cooper Union for a true adult discussion of the issues facing America today. The debate was arranged in part to encourage the 2008 presidential candidates to dump the 30-second soundbites that have become so common, and engage instead in a serious debate.

Gingrich:
The gap between the challenges we face as a country and the trivializing of politics as "Entertainment Tonight" is so stunning.
The former House Speaker suggested the presidential candidates should agree to nine weekly 90-minute debates after the party conventions in 2008 - each on a single topic - with a timekeeper but no rules.
The country gets to watch two adults have a conversation. By the end, the candidates would be different people.
I tend not to agree with Mr. Gingrich on much. But I must say such a series of debates would have me - and much of the nation, I think - rivited.

Once the debate is over, it is to be posted on Gingrich's website. I will provide a link tomorrow.

The Ultimate Dumb Down

Even the dumbing down of America is getting dumbed down.

The debut of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" on Fox last night scored the highest rating of any new show this season.

With our education system in the toilet (China and India are going to give America's next few generations a run for their money...and America could very well lose that race), this is what Americans tune into in "record numbers"?!?

What a sad (& rather scary) state of affairs.

Cuba Leads U.S.A. On Equal Rights?

First South Africa, the home of apartheid, legalizes gay marriage; and now the Communist nation of Cuba is thinking about doing the same thing.

Going Bat Shit

The Fascist wing of the Republican Party is going bat shit over Al Gore's win at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. Unable to bring arguments of any substance to the table regarding the effects of global warming, these idiots have gone after Gore's...

...electric bill.

The story, and Gore's response, here.

Sore Loser

About 20 minutes after Alan Arkin won the Best Supporting Actor prize at the Oscar ceremony on Sunday night, I noticed Eddie Murphy was no longer in the front row. I leaned over to Brent and said, "How much you wanna bet he's already left?"

Sure enough, ungracious in defeat, Murphy left in a huff, proving exactly why the Academy bypassed his name on their ballots.

According to his publicist, Murphy's early departure "was planned."

27 February 2007

Al's Second Act

Quote of the Day:
Gore would not have taken the United States to war in Iraq. He would have finished the job in Afghanistan -- it was al-Qaeda and its Taliban enablers who were responsible for the attacks on us on Sept. 11, 2001, not Saddam Hussein, no matter how vile he might have been. Gore would not have dealt with the Iranians and the North Koreans in such a juvenile fashion -- axis of evil, after all -- and all over the world, wherever you and I went, we would not detect such anger toward America....

Life is a series of little lives, and no one has proved the truth of this better than Gore. With an Oscar in his fist and triumph on his face, Al Gore is a man you can tell your kid about.
-Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, heaping praise on Academy Award winner - and Nobel Peace Prize nominee - Al Gore.

Please, Mr. Gore, for the sake of our nation...PLEASE RUN.

Misguided George

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb that was detonated outside the entrance to a U.S. military base in Afghanistan as Vice-President Dick Cheney conducted a surprise visit of the facility. The blast killed 23, however the V.P. was not injured.

The blast occured as Cheney was preparing to fly to Kabul for talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on how to defeat the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies.

So, let me get this straight...the two Afghan groups most responsible for 9/11 have been able to re-group in the four years since we took that unfortunate and unnecessary turn into Iraq; they have now come frightenly close to offing the Vice-President of the United States...

And the President wants our armed forces to prepare for an attack on Iran?

What is wrong with these people!!?

And IF we attack Iran...

...up to FIVE generals and admirals would resign rather than approve such a "reckless attack."

Full story, courtesy of the Sunday Times, here.

More Really Early Polling

Obama beats Giuliani (46% to 40%) and McCain (44% to 40%), but both Republicans beat Clinton and Edwards by slightly wider margins, according to a new Zogby poll.

IF the election were being held today.

Who Knew...

...that Harry had such a nice...uhhh...Potter?
(Not safe for work).

26 February 2007

The Murder of a Patriotic American

Andrew Anthos, 72, the senior citizen who waged a nearly-two-decade campaign to have the Michigan capitol dome lit in red, white, and blue, died over the weekend from injuries sustained in a brutal attack outside his Detroit apartment building.

On February 13 Anthos, whose family said he was gay, was singing while riding a city bus. A stranger was apparently displeased with his singing, asked if Anthos was gay, followed him off the bus, and beat him with a pipe. The attack left Anthos in a coma and paralyzed from the neck down.

As of today the assailant is still at large.

Read about Anthos' effort to light the Michigan capitol dome in red, white, and blue here.

Cheney: Democrats "forcing" Bush to fight terrorists

Of all the Fascist Republicans in George W. Bush's White House, none has done more to unfairly label the Democrats as "soft on terror" as Vice-President Dick Cheney. So when I read this in the New York Times this morning...well...is it any wonder I almost spit my coffee all over my keyboard?...
Vice President Dick Cheney made an unannounced trip to Pakistan on Monday to deliver what officials in Washington described as an unusually tough message Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda.
These guys slay me. They really do.

Time to Wake Up

Your Song of the Day is the Best Original Song winner at last night's Academy Awards.

"I Need to Wake Up" by Melissa Etheridge.

5 for 6

Well, I came up one short in my predictions of the six major categories at last night's Academy Awards ceremony. For the second year in a row I missed the Best Picture category, predicting "Little Miss Sunshine" to move ahead of "Babel" and the eventual winner, "The Departed."

Alas, that's part of the game. It's always fun for movie fans such as myself to sit down and try to figure out how that hodge-podge of film industry professionals will mark their ballots each year. And while I noticed a late surge toward "The Departed" heading into the weekend, something in my mind was telling me the film might be too violent for most Academy members.

No...what I need to remember going forward is that they never hand the top prize to a comedy. No matter how well done, no matter how much they all love it. Serious dramas only need apply for the Best Picture award.

And so I move into the new movie year happy in the knowledge that I predicted Alan Arkin's upset in the Supporting Actor category; that the Academy recognized the superb work of Helen Mirren in "The Queen"; and that they finally gave Martin Scorsese the recognition he so truly deserves.

Academy Award Winner Melissa Etheridge

Academy Award Winner Al Gore

Academy Award Winner Martin Scorsese

25 February 2007

Post-Oscar Brief

The decision to hold off on most of the acting Oscars until the end of the night was a major snafu. The telecast was tedious at best and the only thing that saved it from itself was Ellen DeGeneres. She was quite good as the evening's host, waking us up when things started to slow down. She kept the show moving along at key points when it seemed it was ready to stall.

The screenplay gimmic - where the presenters actually read passages from the nominated screenplays - was brilliant.

Otherwise the telecast was, as always, too long. So, once again I'll throw my annual Oscar idea out there...

Get rid of the production numbers and unnecessary screen montages, (keep the Best Song numbers, though) and throw a few of the technical awards (Sound, Sound Editing) into the batch of trophies handed out on the Scientific Awards night. Those few steps alone would take a half an hour off the length of the show. And finally, go back to the days when the first award of the night was Supporting Actress or Supporting Actor. It gets things started with a bang and then people are more willing to stay tuned.

24 February 2007

You Are Entitled to Your Wrong Opinion

Reader email:
You're crazy. "Little Miss Sunshine" won't win Best Picture of the year. It didn't even get a Best Director nomination. It really isn't all that good and I think it came off as self-important.
I disagree that the movie comes across as self important. But, for the sake of argument, let's say I agreed with you. By their very nature, the Academy Awards are a huge exercise in self importance. It would logically follow then that Hollywood might hand the Best Picture trophy to "Little Miss Sunshine."

I urge the reader to re-read my predictions essay. I said "Babel," "The Departed," and "Little Miss Sunshine" have an equal chance at winning the Picture prize. But, so as to make a prediction, I laid out how I think the category will swing.

I have about a 67% chance of being wrong. It ought to make the final award of the night pretty exciting.

23 February 2007

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl

"Sunshine" Day?

For the first time in a long while I'm not all that hyped about the Academy Awards. The excitement just isn't there this time around. So keep that in mind as you read my annual predictions...

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls" seems to have a lock on this category. Her performance was the best in the film, and her superb rendition of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" will likely have Academy members marking their ballot for the "American Idol" star.

Remember though that the Academy doesn't seem to have the soft spot for "Dreamgirls" that many Hollywood insiders think - as evidenced by their decision not to nominate it for Picture or Director. If voters decide to continue their slight of the film, then "Babel's" Adriana Barraza could win one of those out-of-left-field upsets this category used to be so famous for.

But in this case, I think the trophy will go to Hudson.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Eddie Murphy is considered the frontrunner for his performance in "Dreamgirls" as well...but I'm thinking not so much. Murphy's reputation in Hollywood is still a bit tarnished, and to top it off he pissed off the Academy when he declined to sing his nominated song at the ceremony (all the other original singers have agreed to perform). And let's not forget that the universally panned "Norbit" was released just as ballots were being marked. That alone could cost Murphy votes.

I think Murphy may have burned just enough bridges to deny himself this trophy. So, I'll go against the grain and predict Alan Arkin will win here for his wonderful performance in "Little Miss Sunshine." He was hilarious in the movie; I'd even say he was better in it than Murphy was in "Dreamgirls."

Mark Wahlberg was great in "The Departed," but he and the remaining nominees will have to be content with their nomination certificates.

Murphy may still win. But if he loses, he has no one to blame but himself.

BEST ACTRESS:

Helen Mirren will win. Period. Her performance in "The Queen" was phenomenal. Should she lose Sunday night, it could be argued that the Academy has lost its way.

BEST ACTOR:

There is an interesting parallel going on here. Peter O'Toole has slowly become a sentimental favorite since the nominations were announced last month. But remember...to make up for past slights the Academy gave O'Toole an honorary Oscar in 2002. So it could be argued that Hollywood will bypass him in favor of Forest Whitaker's strong performance in "The Last King of Scotland."

Now, flashback to 1980. With no wins to his credit, the Academy awarded Henry Fonda an honorary Oscar. They followed it up one year later with a "real" Oscar for his performance in "On Golden Pond."

So Peter O'Toole can't be counted out. As I see it, he is just as likely to win as Whitaker. But, while O'Toole is a legendary actor, the truth is he is no Henry Fonda.

Forest Whitaker wins.

BEST DIRECTOR:

My choice here would be Paul Greengrass for "United 93." It was the most important film of 2006 and I was shocked to see it left off the Best Picture list. Unfortunately, Greengrass doesn't have a chance. The fight here is between the two big guns.

Why the Hollywood punditry thinks Clint Eastwood has a strong chance is beyond me. Yes, his direction of two epics that told the same story from opposing views was quite admireable; and in another time that would have won Eastwood the direction Oscar. But he has two wins in this category - for "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby" - not to mention the two additional Best Picture statuettes he won as producer of those films. Four Oscars in 13 years is enough, I think.

No...I think Martin Scorsese's time has come. After losing Oscars he should have won for "Raging Bull" and "GoodFellas," the Academy will finally (finally!) give Scorsese this prize.

"The Departed" isn't his best work, but it's a tremendous return to form after such weighty, Oscar-baiting films as "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator."

BEST PICTURE

Whoooo...what a tough category this year. "Babel" and "The Departed" seem to have frontrunner status, but neither seem to have Hollywood's heart. As such, I have a hunch both will lose.

"Letters From Iwo Jima" could pull out a surprise win, but again...the Eastwood thing. "The Queen?" Perhaps. But I don't think so.

"Little Miss Sunshine" is said to be a big favorite of Academy members, however they usually like to give more serious films this prize. Enter "Babel" and "The Departed." The way I see it, each of the three has an equal chance at the top prize.

How do I think it will go down? "Babel" and "The Departed" cancel each other out, and by doing so will carry "Little Miss Sunshine" to a surprise win on Sunday night.

Then again, what do I know?

There you have it. To Ben, Daryl, Gil, Larry, Trevor, Jan, and Randy...see you on Sunday. To Susan, Jeff, Laurie, Beth and the gang...we wish you could be here. To the fam...miss you buckets.

Enjoy the show.

(Illustration: Chicago Sun-Times)

Vilsack Out

Not only are presidential wanna-bes throwing their hats into the ring earlier and earlier, the second and third tier candidates who can't compete are forced to bow out just as early.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (Democrat-IA) will announce this morning that he is dropping out of the race for his party's nomination.

I'm not surprised. I just didn't think it would happen so fast.

22 February 2007

USA Today: Bush Is Worst President Ever

Geez! Take a three day weekend and I totally lose touch. Another missed item...this one from last Friday...

About a year ago Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton (Democrat-NY) when she called the Bush administration the worst in history. He rated five presidents as worse: Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon; adding that it was highly unlikely Bush would make the cut.

Well...Mr. Neuharth has had a change of heart:
I was wrong. This is my mea culpa. Not only has Bush cracked that list, but he is planted firmly at the top.

Oh No She Di-int!

Sen. Hillary Clinton (Democrat-NY), Monday at Allen University in South Carolina:
To underscore a point, some people may be running who tell you we don't face a real threat from terrorism. I'm not one of them.
I've often said that Sen. Clinton would make an excellent president, while at the same time staying on the fence as to whether or not she should be the Democratic nominee next year.

But if she's going to play the game like George W. Bush - by calling her opponents soft on terrorism - then as far as I'm concerned she can bow out now. What next? "A vote for Obama is a vote for the terrorists?!?"

I expect a spirited debate in presidential politics but damn it, the Democrats have had to fight these sort of bogus charges from the Republican side for years. That Hillary is pulling this sort of Rovian shit is reprehensible.

As We Escalate...

...the insurgents turn it up a notch. From the New York Times:
A truck bomb that combined explosives with chlorine gas blew up in southern Baghdad on Wednesday, and officials said it might represent a new and deadly tactic by insurgents against Iraqi civilians.

It was at least the third truck bomb in a month to employ chlorine, a greenish gas also used in World War I, which burns the skin and can be fatal after only a few concentrated breaths.

Blake & Stephanie

I'm not usually a fan of the reality shows - they tend to dumb-down an already dumb-downed America - but as someone who loves good music I am beginning to warm up to "American Idol." (I think it became official when Elliott Yamin sang "Song For You" last year.)

To be sure, I couldn't stand the early audition episodes (they're a lawsuit waiting to happens if, God forbid, someone offs themselves), but now that the show is in Hollywood and the contestants are trying to prove themselves, I'm sort of into it.

There are way too many no-talents in the mix this year, but stuck in between all the flat voices and mediocore lounge performances are a few gems, and in this first week of the real competition two stood out:

Blake Lewis' rendition of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" was the perfect song for him and he blew the other guys out of the water.

And last night Stephanie Edwards proved she might just win this thing when she belted out "How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore."

"I need something to rely on..."

Your Song of the Day is the tune Blake Lewis blew out of the park on Tuesday night's "Idol."

Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know"

21 February 2007

Alone In the World

It seems our global friends are becoming fewer by the day. Rather than redeploy troops from the south up to Baghdad to assist U.S. forces with insurgents, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced to Parliament his plan to withdraw 7,100 troops from Iraq by the end of the summer. That was followed by Denmark and Lithuania delcaring their intentions to remove their small contigents.

And now Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has resigned following his government's defeat on a foreign policy vote in that country's Senate. One of the major issues on the defeated measure...plans to expand a U.S. military base in northern Italy.

President George W. Bush: Turning the United States into a pariah by burning what few global bridges we have left.

Say it with me: The. Worst. President. Ever.

NBC Pulls "Studio 60"

I don't know how I missed this...

NBC announced on Monday that it is putting the Aaron Sorkin drama "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip" on indefinate hiatus following two consecutive weeks of pretty anemic ratings. Its final airing was this past Monday.

"Studio 60" wasn't Sorkin's best show by any stretch. But it was well written, and compared to the cheap, brainless shit that network executives keep on the air these days, it was a breath of fresh air.

Six episodes remain unaired. NBC hasn't announced when - or if - they'll air them in the future.

Note to Mr. Sorkin: Take your next show - or hell, even this one - to HBO. Well written shows like yours thrive there.

The Walter Reed Travesty

Soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital face neglect, rat-infested facilities, and are sometimes forced to take care of each other. Some have even reported unintentional overdoses by the medical staff.

The entire Washington Post series exposing the horrendous conditions at Reed can be read here. Be prepared...it will make your blood boil.

In true Bush fashion, the White House refused to take any responsibility for the situation at Walter Reed and placed blame on the people who "work on the other side of the river." That would be the Pentagon, Mr. Bush. And they are part of your administration.

Amazing! This asshole doesn't shoulder the blame for anything. How long before he and his mouthpieces at Fox News start blaming Bill Clinton for the Walter Reed mess?!

Liberty's Decline

This (and the Walter Reed story) should be saturating the cable and network newscasts (note to NBC...Anna Nicole and Brittany are NOT NEWS!!)...

A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the U.S. government can hold prisoners at the American military facility at Guantanamo Bay indefinately without once seeing a judge and without knowing the charges they are being held on. "Cuba - not the United States - has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay," wrote Judge Raymond Randolph in the 2 to 1 majority ruling.

Uhhh...no, Judge. Guantanamo is actually American soil and therefore America is responsible for what happens there.

This, my friends, reeks of old-fashioned Soviet-style tactics. The appeals court judges declared war against our Constitution with this ruling. And America as we know it continues her speedy decline under George W. Bush.

Note: The second judge who ruled with Randolph to form the majority opinion is none other than David B. Sentelle, the guy who overturned the conviction of Oliver North and fired independent council Robert Fiske when Fiske couldn't find anything of legal substance to pin on President Bill Clinton. Sentelle replaced Fiske with a guy named Kenneth Starr.

No, Sentelle isn't partisan at all! He's perfectly suited to be fair and impartial.

Gimme a break!

20 February 2007

Republican Operative Charged with Terrorism

President Bush, 26 August 2003:
If you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists.
News Item, 20 February 2006: Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to charges that he financed terrorists in Afghanistan.

In American political circles Ali Alishtari is also known as Michael Mixon...who, it turns out, has donated $15,000 to the Republican Party over the last three years, and was on the White House Business Advisory Committee in 2003.

George W. Bush and his Republican Party: Harboring, supporting - and just as guilty as - the terrorists.

"You Gotta Know It...It's Electric!"

Richard Silver, the inventor of the "Electric Slide," an idiotic dance from 1976 that has become a tragic staple at wedding receptions all across America, is having a bitch fit! In an attempt to get America to do the dance correctly (several steps are apparently left out in its current incarnation), as well as an attempt to get compensation for public displays of the Slide (he apparently copyrighted the thing), Silver (no relation to the Sylvers singing family of the same era) is considering a lawsuit to protect the "artistic integrity" of his dance.
"I don't want future generations having to learn it wrong and then relearn it as I am being faced with now because of certain sites and (people) that have been teaching it incorrectly and without my permission."
Dude...seriously...it's the Electric Slide! The term "artistic integrity" really doesn't apply here. No?

Dog Is Their Co-Pilot

Rescuers from the Clackamas County, Oregon sherriff's office credit the survival of three Mt. Hood climbers, following a fall and a night in freezing temperatures & howling winds, to two things: an emergency radio beacon...and Velvet, a black Labrador mix who kept the three climbers warm as they huddled under sleeping bags.

(Photo: Don Ryan/Associated Press)

Scary As All Hell

With decisions due this term on the issues of race, religion, and abortion regulation, the L.A. Times profiles the influence Justice Antonin Scalia will have a the Supreme Court's new conservative majority.

Talk about scary as all get out.

Labour & the Republicans

A new poll of British citizens by the Guardian shows that if a general election were called today Conservatives would win a massive victory: 42% to 29% for the Tony Blair-led Labour Party, with the Liberal Democrats getting 17%.

It is widely expected that Mr. Blair will resign this year, and it would seem the rather liberal (pro-environment, pro-gay) Conservative leader, David Cameron, is on course for a landslide win when the next elections are called.

If the Brits schedule their vote before our 2008 presidential contest, watch the results. If Conservatives have a massive victory there, it will probably scare the crap out of the Republicans here. Blair's unwavering support of George W. Bush's Iraq debacle has cost the Labour Party heavily in Britain. And with Mr. Bush's current approval numbers in the toilet here, the 2008 Republican presidential ticket will have a heavy row to hoe if things in the Middle East don't improve drastically.

Why Does George Hate Our Troops?

John over at AmericaBlog is on a roll this week, outlining incident after heart-wrenching incident of poor veteran care at V.A. hospitals around the country. One example:
A year ago on Thanksgiving morning, in the corrugated metal pole barn that housed his family’s electrical business, Timothy Bowman put a handgun to his head and pulled the trigger. The bullet only grazed his forehead. So he put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger again.

He had been home from the Iraq war for eight months. Once a fun-loving, life-ofthe-party type, Bowman had slipped into an abyss, tormented by things he’d been ordered to do in war...
Vets are denied treatment because "beds are full" or their benefits don't cover mental health care. In some areas V.A. hospitals are having a tough time finding doctors to join their staffs.

And now there is news that the Pentagon is misrepresnting the number of Americans injured in Iraq.

George W. Bush and his Pentagon: Not giving a rats ass when American troops are mamed or mentally destroyed.

Say it with me...The. Worst. President. Ever.

Swampscott's Burden

The war seems to have hit the small seaside town of Swampscott, Massachusetts a bit unevenly.

Robert Jalbert perished on one of the hijacked planes on September 11, 2001. Journalist Michael Kelly, a Swampscott native, was killed in Iraq just weeks after the war started there. Army Specialist Jared Raymond was killed last September when his tank was hit by a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq.

And last week the town buried Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, who was piloting a helicopter that was shot down by Iraqi Sunnis northwest of Baghdad on February 7.

(Photo: Stephan Savoia / The Associated Press)

While We Escalate...

...so does the other side.

Happy Hoodie Hoo Day

File under "untraditional holidays"...
On this winter day (February 20), people go out at noon, wave their hands over their heads and chant "Hoodie-Hoo".

It is a day to chase away winter and bring in spring. After all, everyone in the northern hemisphere are sick and tired of winter at this point and a little crazy being cooped up inside all winter and not seeing the sun.

"Running With Scissors"

Watched the movie adaptation of Austen Burrough's "Running With Scissors" last night. Clumsy, uneven, and tedious.

Don't bother.

Back to the Blogosphere


Following some computer issues on Saturday, and an extended weekend with friends in Napa County, I'm back.

The babbling will continue shortly.

16 February 2007

Equal Time

Rep. William Jefferson (Democrat-LA), who has been under investigation by the federal government since $90,000 in cash was found stashed in his freezer last year, has been appointed to a seat on the House of Representative's Homeland Security Committee.

While he hasn't even been indicted yet (let alone convicted), this is a disappointing appointment. For the last 12 years, the Republican-controlled congress was about as corrupt as they come. Now that they are in charge, the Democrats should do everything they can to avoid even the most remote comparisons.

Until the case against him is concluded, Rep. Jefferson should not be seated on any of the House committees or sub-committees.

"Upon you by the moonlight side..."

It's been a long, tedious week at work and I'm looking forward to the three day weekend.

Tomorrow night...B-man, Don, Mark, Ryan, Blossom, and I head over to the EndUp for 80's night!

Lincoln Fabrication

Washington Times conservative columnist Frank Gaffney, Jr., attributing a quote to President Lincoln in his column this past Tuesday:
"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." — President Abraham Lincoln.
Turns out...Mr. Lincoln never said it and that Gaffney wasn't the first one to use the quote nor the first to attribute it to Lincoln.

Republican House candidates used it last fall against Democratic opponents.

Lincoln would NOT recognize his party today.

15 February 2007

Olbermann Re-Ups

MSNBC announced today that Keith Olbermann has signed on for 4 more years as anchor of their "Countdown" show. In addition to hosting duties, the deal (estimated at $4 million a year) also names Olbermann as Managing Editor and allows him to contribute occasional essays to the main network's "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."

Since debuting on the cable franchise in April, 2003, "Countdown" has seen its audience grow by an astonishing 91%

Preposterously Yours

President Bush, on the subject of Iran, yesterday during his news conference:
The idea that somehow we're manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous.
The Bush administration?

Manufacturing weapons evidence?

Where, oh where, would we get such an idea!?

US Military: Felons, Yes. Gays, Hell No!

From the Huffington Post, via AmericaBlog:
The New York Times and Associated Press reported today that the number of felons allowed to serve in the military has surged since the invasion of Iraq nearly four years ago. The data, which were obtained by...UC-Santa Barbara, show that the military is letting in more recruits with serious criminal backgrounds, records of drug abuse...to don a military uniform and deploy to the frontlines.
However...
Under its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, it has fired over 11,000 capable troops, including nearly 1,000 considered mission-critical and over 300 foreign linguists, just because they're gay.
Note to the 2008 Democratic nominee: There is a Willie Horton-type ad in there somewhere.

Another Republican Sexual Deviant

Former Rep. Joseph McDade (Republican-PA) has been charged with exposing himself to two women at a Florida beach.

Perhaps he was down there counseling Mark Foley.

Marines at Center of Yale Attacks?

Could it be that San Francisco Police have been slow to move on the investigation into the New Year's Eve assault on the Yale University Baker's Dozen singers...because U.S. Marines were the main assailants?

Details here.

14 February 2007

Al Franken Will Run For Senate

Al Franken, the comedian and former Air America talk show host, announced today that he will run for the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, challenging incumbent Republican Norm Coleman.
Minnesotans have a right to be skeptical about whether I'm ready for this challenge...I want you to know: Nothing means more to me than making government work better for the working families of this state, and over the next 20 months, I look forward to proving to you that I take these issues seriously.
...said Franken, author of the best-selling book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

Coleman is a Democrat-turned-Republican in a very Democratic state (the last time Minnesota went for a Republican presidential candidate was 1972). If Franken wins the Democratic Party's nomination next year, he'll be a very formidable candidate.

Don't Believe the Hype

In an interview with the Voice of America yesterday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace said he did not believe that the Iranian government was behind the distribution of roadside bombs to insurgents in Iraq.

This morning on CNN Gen. William Caldwell, the spokesman for the Multi-National Force in Iraq, disputed the Bush administration's claims that the government of Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents:
I think people want to make an inference. I think people want to hype this up.
The Bush administration? Hype up weapons evidence? I don't believe it. Not for a minute.

Ahem.

The President has scheduled a press conference for 11am ET this morning. I certainly hope someone has the cajones to put this question to him.

Driving In Hostile Territory

Quote of the Day #2:
People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. [The militias] control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory.
-Brutal honesty from 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Baghdad's Sadr City.

Republicans: It's about us, not the troops

Quote of the Day:
If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.
-Republican Congressmen John Shadegg (AZ) and Peter Hoekstra (MI), in a memo to GOP colleagues regarding this week's House debate on President Bush's planned escalation of the Iraq War.

At this point in the mismanaged war, shouldn't this be about the troops, as opposed to Republican congressmen and their incompetent president?

And let's be clear...a much needed debate won't cause the Republican Party to lose on this issue; Mr. Bush has already done that for them.

Sweeter Than Ever

Happy Valentine's Day, B-man.

13 February 2007

The Day of the Dolphin

It's come to this? The United States Navy has announced that it needs to bolster security at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base at Puget Sound.

The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by "terrorist swimmers."

To prevent these "swimmers" from reaching Kitsap-Bangor, the Navy has started training new recruits whose specific mission would be to fight off these water-based attacks.

And who are these few, proud, brave souls?

Anti-terrorism dolphins.

An Attempt to Right Bush's Wrongs

Sen. Chris Dodd (Democrat-CT) and Sen. Bob Menendez (Democrat-NJ) plan to introduce a bill today that would reinstate habeas corpus and ban the use of torture.

If it passes, I am sure the President will veto such a measure. But it's a step in the right direction.

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Following the election defeat of some ultra-conservative fascists last November, the Kansas Board of Education is preparing to take up the issue of evolution vs. creationism today. Back in 2005 the previous board essentially outlawed the teaching of evolution in the state's school system.

Religous fanatics are up in arms, claiming that evolution can't be proven and is not in accordance with the Bible's teachings. (For those of you not paying attention, this is what an "American Taliban" would sound like.)

The way I see it, this is pretty cut and dry. Evolution is a science and should be taught in science class. Creationism is more of a religous belief and therefore if parents want their kids to weigh both sides it should be discussed in church.

End. Of. Story.

12 February 2007

Mary's Conception

Mary Cheney in a New York Times piece from last month:
This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue.
Seattle columnist - and gay dad - Dan Savage, goes in for the kill:
Yes, it’s a baby, not a prop. My kid isn’t a prop either, but that never stopped right-wingers from attacking me and my boyfriend over our decision to become parents. The fitness of same-sex couples to parent is very much part of the political debate thanks to the GOP and the Christian bigots that make up its lunatic "base." You’re a Republican, Mary, you worked on both of your father’s campaigns, and you kept your mouth clamped shut while Karl Rove and George Bush ran around the country attacking gay people, gay parents, and our children in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. It’s a little late to declare the private choices of gays and lesbians unfit for public debate...

And so long as your party insists on making the fitness of homosexuals to marry or parent - or, hell, exist - a subject of public debate...your decision to become a parent is germane and very much fit for public discussion... The GOP’s selective embrace of some pregnant dykes (only knocked-up lesbians with powerful connections will be treated with respect) is a disconnect that demands answers. From you, from your father, from your venomous mother, from the idiot president you helped elect. Is that fair? Maybe not. Want to blame someone? Go look in the mirror.

Take it from me, Mary: Explaining to your child, after he heard something hateful on the radio, that his family is very much "real"... and that his parents are, in fact, fit to be his parents is as distressing and emotionally exhausting as it is unnecessary. And I blame you.

Abe vs George

On the birthday of our nation's 16th president, Andrew Sullivan found this quote from President Lincoln that should have been mandatory reading for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney:
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object...But [the opposing] view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.
The administration of George W. Bush: Destroying everything our founding fathers fought for.

Bogged Down

At least 90 people were killed today in three massive explosions that devastated central Baghdad.

As I said on 9 January...President Bush's escalation of this war is being done with just enough troops, deployed in slow motion, to keep us bogged down and on the losing side.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Doh!

Doug Feith, Undersecretary of Defense, yesterday on Fox News Sunday:
Nobody in my office ever said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. It's just not correct.
Doug Feith on 27 October 2003:
Osama bin laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction...
In this, the day and age of "the Google," administration hacks really ought to know their words can come back to haunt them.

(Courtesy: War and Piece)

'scuse me?

Australian Prime Minister John Howard denounces Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to withdraw American combat troops from Iraq by March, 2008.

With all due respect, sir...kindly keep your nose out of our election process.

Johnson Slowly Returning to Work

From the Political Wire: Sen. Tim Johnson (Democrat-SD) is slowly returning to work following a brain hemorrhage in December. He is having work sent to him at George Washington University Hospital, and "actively making decisions about his health care and expressing opinions about his daily activities."

Good news.

11 February 2007

Grammys Gone Wild

I haven't really watched the Grammys for years, but tonight Brent was flipping back and forth between the awards ceremony and his HGTV, and I have a question: When did they move from a semi-respectable formal event into an unruly Hollywood party?

At the very least I noticed that recipients of the lifetime acheivement awards no longer get the courtesy of making acceptance speeches, and instead get to smile into the camera and wave.

How insulting!

Update: The Recording Academy redeemed themselves quite a bit by having the cajones to name "Not Ready to Make Nice" as Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

November, 2021

Thirty-four years of presidents named Bush and Clinton?

National ID cards with tracking chips?

An "axis of evil" war with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea?

Chelsea vs. Barbara & Jenna?

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin looks into her crystal ball...and makes you cringe.

From the Land of Lincoln

Quote of the Day:
It's humbling, but in my heart I know you didn't come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union.
-Sen. Barack Obama (Democrat-IL), announcing his candidacy for president yesterday in Springfield, Illinois.

(Photo: Noel Terrill/Noel Terrill Photography)

Almost Thinking About a Possible Run...Maybe

Taking the political-speak of D.C. to a whole new level, presidential candidates of both parties can't seem to bring themselves to actually say they're running. For the last few months Americans have got a hodge-podge of half declarations: Candidates are unofficially thinking about it, or they are forming exploratory committees in advance of an official announcement at a later date, or they are conducting "listening tours." (What the hell IS that, anyway?)

Bottom line...they're running.

Yesterday the New York Times put together a graphic listing the major candidates and where they are in the "process" of announcing their candidacies.

I'll make it easy. Here are the major candidates of both parties, to date:

Democrats:
Sen. Joe Biden (Delaware)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York)
Sen. Christopher Dodd (Connecticut)
Sen. Barack Obama (Illinois)
Former Sen. John Edwards (North Carolina)
Gov. Bill Richardson (New Mexico)
Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (Iowa)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio)

Republicans:
Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas)
Sen. John McCain (Arizona)
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (New York City)
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Arkansas)
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Massachusetts)
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (Virginia)
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (Wisconsin)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (California)
Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colorado)

09 February 2007

The Dumbing Down of America Continues

Breaking news out of Florida this afternoon...

Anna Nicole Smith is STILL dead.

Come on, America. Your interest in this is pathetic. On CNN last night, Ms. Smith's name was mentioned 141 times! Iraq? 27.

No wonder we're the laughing stock of the globe.

Think Progress shows just how pitiful the whole thing is here (press the play button on the video screen and watch the circus).

Gratuitously Chloe

The Dumbing Down of America Continues

Insurgents have increased their attacks on American helicopters (six have been shot down over the last three weeks).

Question: With news like this coming out of Iraq, why are the mainstream media outlets so focused on Anna Nicole Smith?

And a follow up question: How much increased coverage do you think this helicopter story would have received had it happened under a president of the Democratic Party?

The Cure


(Courtesy: Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

First Thing In the Morning: Political Wire

Because I keep relatively early hours at work, I do the bulk of my blogging first thing in the morning. I crawl out of bed at 5am, pour the first of way too many cups of coffee, and turn on the computer to scan the news. My first stop? Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, without fail.

Straight and to the point, Goddard publishes each day's political news without the vitriol found on many other websites (in all honesty, this one included) and without getting too bogged down in the tired, wonky details of government. Know-it-all commentary from the author is refreshingly absent, and Fox News would do well to take a look at the site's "Southpaws" and "Wingers" pages (news summaries from the left and the right), for their presence on the Wire epitomize "fair and balanced."

Political Wire has been listed on the blogroll to the right since the San Francisco Journal - and it's predecessor, the South Coast Journal - began publishing. But I take time this morning to give them a special shout out; to thank Taegan Goddard for his passionate contribution; and to suggest you give the site a look, if you haven't already.

"Je Veux de la Tendresse"

Your Song of the Day is one terrific piece of music from Elton John's 1981 album "The Fox" (an overlooked gem if there ever was one). The first single off that album, "Nobody Wins," tells the story of lost love, backed by swirling synthesizers and a haunting piano hook. The track took off on radio upon release in 1981 and raced up the lower half of the Hot 100 singles chart at break-neck speed before stalling quickly at a disappointing number 21.

You can listen to this superb track here.

Planning For War With Iran?

Craig Unger has a brilliant piece in the new Vanity Fair detailing what the Bush administration is planning when it comes to dealing with Iran.

Meanwhile, a second naval carrier group is moving into the Persian Gulf.

What they're planning seems pretty cut and dry to me.

08 February 2007

GOP Threatens Impeachment...But Not Over Iraq

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Fascist-CA) has threatened President Bush with impeachment hearings if two border patrol agents who are currently serving prison terms are harmed or killed while serving their sentences.

Their crime? Shooting an unarmed drug smuggler along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Now, I'm not "pro-drug smuggler" and I think the nation's immigration laws have serious flaws...but the guy was unarmed. The agents deserved to go to prison.

The President committed the ultimate act of deception in order to invade a country that did nothing to us - a scenario that is the picture perfect example of what the founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the impeachment clause of the Constitution - and this border patrol thing is what gets Republican panties in a wad? Give me a break.

THEN AGAIN...if this is what it takes to get the Republicans behind impeachment...

Sully Goes There...

...and suggests that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case against Scooter Libby could lead to the impeachment of Vice-President Cheney:
"It was the danger that journalists or skeptics ... could get closer to the much bigger truth of WMD deception. This is a huge deal for one single reason: if true, it means that the White House acted in bad faith in making the case for war. There is no graver charge than that. In fact, if true, it's impeachable."
(My italics.) In his post, Sullivan gets to impeachment by way of raking Ambassador Joe Wilson (the guy who called the administration on their bogus WMD claims) over the coals, calling him a "two-bit, irrelevant jerk in the grand scheme of things."

Yes, Andrew. Just as two itty bitty reporters named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were "irrelevant" in the Watergate matter.

His Wilson comment aside though, I'm glad to see the WMD subject being discussed on one of the more widely read conservative political blogs. There were a few of us in the center who, from the early planning stages of this war, suspected that the WMD claims didn't hold water. When those suspicions came true we argued with all our might that the President, Vice-President, and their Defense Secretary at the time tricked us into war.

As Andrew says, there is no graver charge than that. And, Bush and Cheney's incompetent war management just makes the whole matter all the more tragic.

Many of us argued these points during the 2004 presidential election, but there weren't enough of us to make a difference. Slowly and surely, in 2007, more Americans are coming to grips with the fact that their president bamboozled them. And the more we hear by way of the Libby trial and congressional hearings, it becomes quite obvious...

If ever there were a reason to impeach and remove a president (and in this case his vice-president) from office, this is it.

Fascist Faces

On Tuesday, the United Nations got representatives from 57 countries to sign a treaty prohibiting governments from holding people in secret detention (or making them "disappear").

The President of the United States declined to sign.

The most dangerous president in history...George W. Bush...changing the name of our beloved country to the Fascist States of Amerika!

Still Playing Their Games

Congressional Republicans are getting their panties all up in a bunch over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's use of an Air Force jet to transport her back and forth between Washington, DC and her congressional district in San Francisco.

Never mind that Dennis Hastert, the Speaker in the last several Republican-led congressional sessions, had an Air Force jet that flew him home to Illinois.

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Pentagon agreed to provide the Speaker of the House - whoever he or she may be - with a military plane for trips to and from their home districts. If something were to happen to the President and Vice-President, the Constitution dictates that the Speaker assume the presidency. Thus the military's push for extra security while in the air.

Apparently the Republicans are having their tantrum over the size of Pelosi's jet. It's bigger than Hastert's was. (I always figured he had a small...uhh..."plane.") The thing is, Hastert flew from DC to Illinois...a relatively short trip. Speaker Pelosi has to travel across the country and therefore needs a jet that can get her there without refueling.

The Republican Party: Once again putting America's most important issues front and center.

Girrrrl !

A cross-dressing, Trump-kissing Republican presidential candidate?

Jones On Haggard

Quote of the Day:
That's the quickest therapy I've ever heard of. Y'know, it's hard for me to imagine someone who is performing oral sex and saying that he's straight. That just doesn't jive.
-Mike Jones, the male escort hired by evangelical Bush buddy Ted Haggard, on Haggard's three week turn from gay to straight.

07 February 2007

Virtually Unbeatable?

Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton? It seems many Republican political operatives are bracing for the possibility. From the Politico:
In GOP circles, the Democratic front-runner is seen as so strong, and the political climate for Republicans so hostile, that many influential voices ... have grown despairing...

Even some well-connected outside advisers to Bush... are advising Republicans that it will be next to impossible to win the White House if Bush's popularity remains so low, and public disgust with the war so high. Beyond the polls, some said there are gaps between the organizational prowess of the Clinton operation and any of the Republicans currently competing for the nomination.
The election is 21 months away. It would do everyone well to remember that in February 1991, 21 months before the 1992 presidential election, George H. W. Bush was riding high with approval ratings in the 80% range, and that potential Democratic opponents were opting out of the race because he looked unbeatable. The elder Bush would go on to lose that election with only 37% of the popular vote.

Granted, this is a different time and this George is a different Bush. But let's see where things stand a year from now before we start making crystal ball predictions.

"Looking Back On When I...

...was a little nappy headed boy."

Last night's episode of Classic Albums on VH1-Classics highlighted the making of "Songs In the Key of Life," Stevie Wonder's superb 1976 double set. The LP featured such classics as "Isn't She Lovely," "Sir Duke," "As," and this one...

Your Song of the Day is "I Wish" by Mr. Stevie Wonder.

Vice and Virtue

In honor of Charles Dickens' birthday, your Quote of the Day...
Vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess.

Bitch, Please!

Ted Haggard, the disgraced evangelical Bush mouthpiece who fell from grace by hookin' up with a male prostitute (and enjoying a little crystal meth in the process), has an announcement to make.

After three whole weeks of "intensive counseling"...drum roll...

He's straight again!

Betty Bowers must be relieved.

06 February 2007

Initiative 957

Quote of the Day:
For many years, social conservatives have claimed that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation ... The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who cannot or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage.
-Gregory Gadow, of the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, commenting on a proposed ballot initiative that would require straight couples in the state of Washington to have kids in three years or face anulment.

(Hat tip: Ben)

1 / 31

Lite-Brite humor courtesy of Mathew Gross.

Untraditional Holidays

Happy Lame Duck Day!

When Gay Sheep Come Out...

From the diary of "Troy," a gay sheep:
[M]y dad...flew into a blind rage, yelling that he had no son, and that if I was lucky I’d end up as a cheap Peruvian cardigan worn by a truck-stop hooker in Alaska. And so I ran away, and I went wild. I experimented with everyone and everything. Bulls. Mules. Duck, duck, goose. I found out exactly why they’re called the Three Little Pigs. Call me Old McDonald, because I had the farm. I even made some adult films, and maybe you’ve heard of them: “Wet Wool,” “Lassie, Come Here,” and the mega-selling “Hoof and Mouth.” Then, one morning, I woke up next to a horse, a hen, and an ear of corn - that’s right, all the food groups. And I was disgusted with myself. What was I, livestock?

And so I re-joined my flock, up on Brokeback.
ROFLMAO!!

Houston, We Have a Problem

So, you might think from the looks of her mug shot that this is your typical street crack whore. But no. She's a NASA astronaut!

Armed with a BB gun and pepper spray, Lisa Marie Nowak drove 900 miles from Houston, Texas to Orlando, Florida to confront a woman she believed to be dating fellow astronaut William Oefelein.

Apparently Nowak and Oefelein had been having a physical relationship.

Oh. And apparently Nowak drove the 900 miles wearing astronaut diapers. That way, you see, she wouldn't have to waste time with rest stops and such things.

Nowak, who is married and has three children, is now charged with attempted murder.

And nursing some pretty nasty diaper rash!

One Last Look


The Queen Mary 2 departed San Francisco last night for points west. I didn't get a chance to see her up close but got a good, long look as I was driving over the Bay Bridge last night.

The pictures really don't do her justice. She is "GI-NORMOUS!"

(Photo: KGO-TV)

Partisan and Spineless

Senate Republicans have filibustered the non-binding resolution denouncing President Bush's escalation of the Iraq War (a blocking tactic in which the chamber needs 60 votes in order to move the measure to a full vote). Among those backing the filibuster are several key Republicans who have said publicly that the President's war management is incompetent...Sen. Gordon Smith (OR), Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), Sen. John Sununu (NH), and Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE).

Let's make one thing clear...despite being "non-binding" (ie: the President doesn't have to entertain the Senate's vote), every Senator who voted "no" to ending the filibuster essentially voted FOR Mr. Bush's escalation and war management.

If anything, the fact that the resolution was "non-binding" gave every one of these Senators enough cover to vote with their gut. Instead, as they did in the previous Congress, they put loyalty to party and to a failed president above America, above Americans, and above correcting the incompetence of this pathetic administration.

The Republican Party: Spineless and partisan to a fault.

05 February 2007

Untraditional Holidays

Happy Disaster Day!

Rudy's Running

It's almost official: Guliani will run.

I don't care what the current Republican polls say. I still don't see how a social liberal like Rudy gets through the GOP primaries next year. And if by chance he gets the nomination, then the Fascist wing splits and runs a third party candidate in the general election.

And Rudy has to know this. Doesn't he?

Scorsese Wins First DGA Award

After losing the Directors Guild of America Award (as well as the Oscar) for such superb films as "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," and "GoodFellas," Martin Scorsese picked up his first DGA Award this past weekend for "The Departed."

This makes him the front-runner for the Best Director prize at the Academy Awards on 25 February.

More QM2





(Photos: San Francisco Chronicle)

04 February 2007

Beautiful Sunday

It was absolutely gorgeous here in San Francisco today, with the sun shining bright and beautiful in the sky and a temperature up around 70 degrees. Brent and I took Chloe for a nice walk down the street and around the corner and discovered one of the city's many hidden parks.

Since moving here, we would drive past Grand View Terrace on many occasions and notice nothing out of the ordinary (small victorian homes, apartment buildings). But we have to thank our dear friend Jan for urging us to take the few steps around a small bend in the road and down a small hill. For there we found a peaceful, well tended park hidden right smack in the middle of this urban jungle, the elevation of which is high enough to enjoy breathtaking views of the Castro and downtown SF.

Unfortunately we didn't have our camera and this picture, taken with my cell phone, doesn't do the view - or this beautiful Sunday - any justice.

But a visit to this park was the perfect way to cap off an absolutely lovely weekend. Thanks to Ben, Daryl, Jan, Steve M., Gil, Jose, and Jim for being part of it.

Majestic & Stately

The Queen Mary 2, the majestic luxury liner of the Cunard line, sailed into San Francisco Bay this afternoon, becoming the largest ship to ever sail under the Golden Gate. The stately liner will cruise around the bay this evening before docking for a 24 hour stay here in our grand city.

She's quite a sight, isn't she!?

(Photo: Brant Ward/San Francisco Chronicle)

Fighting Chance

Reader email:
I really don't understand how you can support candidates like Biden or Clinton. No matter their party affiliation, they're hawks. Period! We need a nominee who promises to pull the troops out of Iraq at 12:01PM on January the 20th, 2009. Why can't you see that?
The latest news out of Iraq is why (click here). Unfortunately a straight-out dove is not going to win us the White House next year. In order to have any chance at all, the Democratic nominee will have to prove their toughness by taking a hawkish approach to FIXING the problems in Iraq. And those of us who were against this war from the get-go are going to have to come to grips with that fact.

The only way the Democratic ticket has a fighting chance is to take a Roosevelt-Truman-Kennedy style tough-guy approach to righting President Bush's wrongs in Iraq. Otherwise, we can all start preparing for another four years of Republican rule in the Executive Branch.

The American people don't want us in Iraq anymore but believe me...they don't want us to wimp out. Moreover, I don't know that the world would forgive us if we simply pulled out at this point. Granted, they didn't want us there to begin with, but now that we've made a shit storm out of the place they'd like someone with a little competence to begin the process of putting it all back on track.

03 February 2007

Global Warming

They'll try, but the Fascist wing of the Republican Party really can't deny it anymore. The sobering details here.

"Hero"

With the world in such a state of destruction, when you hear a story like Hero's you realize there is still a little bit of hope out there.

Read the stray German shepherd's story here.

02 February 2007

It Was a Lite Brite !

Enough said.

"Yesterday's Favorite"

Your Song of the Day is an under-rated classic from 1986. The track is one of the more incredible of the decade; brilliant & atmospheric. Absoulutely incredible.

The video is a bit on the funky side, so minimize your screen and turn up the volume for...

"Life's What You Make It" by Talk Talk

In the Race to Stay?

I have said previously that I thought Sen. Joe Biden (Democrat-DE) should be considered a top tier presidential candidate. I still do. He's brutally honest when it comes to foreign policy and he's the only government official out there who has put together a coherent, grown-up plan on how to deal with the Iraq War.

Had Biden thrown his hat into the ring in 2004, or had John Kerry put him on the Democratic ticket, George W. Bush would be unemployed and sitting in Crawford today.

But despite being what I consider a top tier candidate (ie, someone with substance as opposed to someone with star power), Biden had his work cut out for him when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic nomination this week. The star power of Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, and former Senator John Edwards seem to be overpowering Biden's experience and elder-statesmanship at this early stage of the game.

So it didn't help matters when, on the day of his announcement, Sen. Biden called Sen. Obama a "mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean."

It was a compliment that came out the wrong way; and therein lays Biden's problem. He has "foot-in-mouth syndrome." The guy doesn't know when to shut up. When he gets going on a subject he keeps running his mouth and sometimes doesn't think before he speaks.

The comment probably ended his 2008 presidential run on the same day that it began. But as a voter in his party's primaries, I really hope the good Senator stays in the race as long as he can.

His criticisms of Iraq plans by Ms. Clinton ("nothing but disaster") and Mr. Edwards ("I don't think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about"), while harsh, are legitimate in the debate that needs to take place during the Democratic nominating process. Sen. Biden's presence in the race will help force the party's nominees to focus on what will be the #1 issue next year: the Iraq War and its effect on the international fight against terrorism. (Like it or not my fellow liberals, it should and will be THE issue of the campaign.)

And when all is said and done, and the party has its ticket in place, and should that ticket win the White House, Joe Biden would be a superb choice for Secretary of State. (Or, if things are still a mess, a special envoy to Iraq.)

So, forgive the Senator his bumbling Obama comment and let him add some substance to the debate as the party weighs its presidential options. Believe me, we need Mr. Biden to be part of what Hillary calls the "conversation."

More On Newsom

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom made a public statement yesterday saying that the allegations of an affair with his campaign manager's wife were true.

Ok, fine. He had the affair; and by having it with the spouse of his re-election chief Newsome proved his judgement is a bit lacking. But, as Arianna Huffington said yesterday, is it really "Breaking News?"

On a day when things in Iraq continued to spiral out of control, and on a day when ingelligence reports show the U.S. having very little control of Iraq, the Newsom affair is considered "breaking news?"

I can almost understand if the local San Francisco stations did it, but CNN?

Give me a break!

01 February 2007

An Oscar Curse?

A Reuters reporter asks the question. It's actually something I've been mulling over lately.

I mean, how much solid work have Cuba Gooding Jr, Adrian Brody, Mira Sorvino, Halle Berry, Gwenyth Paltrow, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and even Julia Roberts really done lately?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Harry Potter and the Full Monty

I really don't get all the madness surrounding "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe's decision to bare all for his new West End play, "Equus."

Never mind the fact that in Britain - where the play will be staged - the age of consent is 16. Radcliffe is 17, so his nudity is within the realm of "legal." But the play is about a teenage boy's apparently senseless mutilation of horses (Radcliffe's character blinds six horses with a spike).

Once again parents have stepped up on their soapboxes and misplaced their anger.

"We as parents feel Daniel should not appear nude. We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes," said one parent.

Please. As Robert Best once said, "You are entitled to your wrong opinion."

But, these holier-than-thou parents really need to grow up.

Meanwhile, In Other "Potter" News...

It was announced this morning that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final installment in the series, will be published on 21 July.

Gavin and Ruby

Quote of the Day:
I'm not making any public comment. I'm just not.
-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, on allegations by his re-election campaign manager Alex Tourk that Newsom had an affair with Tourk's wife (and Newsom's secretary) Ruby.

To have an affair with your secretary is one thing, but to turn around and ask her husband to run your re-election campaign?

My, my...Gavin was certainly feeling the guilt, wasn't he?

Lights Out

California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (Democrat-Van Nuys) has introduced a bill that would ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs (the old, everyday kind we grew up with) by 2012. If Californians switched completely to the newer compact fluorescent bulbs, it would save as much carbon dioxide as shutting down one or two gas-fired power plants or removing 400,000 cars from the road.

A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the governor had not seen the bill and has no stance on it.