31 December 2008

2009 !

Have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve, everyone!

The Best Songs of 2008

You'll see from this week's playlist that my taste in music runs the gamut. Electronic to rock, R&B to pop, and everything in between. I guess you could call it "eclectic."

For your enjoyment, here are my picks for the best songs of 2008 (done countdown-style).

First up: Honorable Mention - ten excellent tracks that didn't quite make the cut as part of the year's ten best. (Put on the playlist in no particular order.)
Kim & Jessie - M83
Love Sweet Sound - Groove Armada
4 AM - Kaskade
Fix It - Ryan Adams
Sing the Changes - The Fireman
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead
Can't Go Back Now - The Weepies
The Minnow and the Trout - A Fine Frenzy
I'm Amazed - My Morning Jacket
Squeeze Me - Kraak & Smaak
Gorgeous - Idina Menzel
And now, I present to you my choices for the ten best.

First off, positions 10 through 6...
10. Disco Lies - Moby
9. Mercy - Duffy
8. Hare Krisna - Thievery Corporation
7. Spiralling - Keane
6. How Deep Is Your Love - The Bird and the Bee
And finally, the cream of the crop...
5. Alex Boom Selector - Velella Velella
It's the Shins meet Jamiroquai meets the Sylvers on this electro-funk jam from one of Seattle's best bands.

4. 4 Minutes - Madonna/Justin Timberlake
For the first single from her "Hard Candy" album, Madonna teamed up with two of the biggest men in the music business - uber-producer Timbaland, and the always hump-a-licious Justin Timberlake. The result was this synthesizer-driven masterpiece.

3. Wave Goodbye - Bottle of Justus
With the release of "Say It Now," their latest CD, in January, this little-band-that-could proved beyond a doubt that they are aiming for the stars. "Wave Goodbye" is the pièce de résistance of the entire set; a track worthy of a place on radio playlists beside such bands as the Killers and Kings of Leon.

2. Like Any Woman Would - Patti Scialfa
The wife of Bruce Springsteen - a member of his E Street Band - released her third solo album late last year, and this track is positively killer. Street-corner, back-porch rock-and-roll at its best.

And finally...The best song of the year comes from the British band Morcheeba. Following several critically acclaimed albums in the late 90s and early 00s, the band jettisoned their sultry and popular lead singer Skye Edwards in favor of Daisy Martey. That unfortunate union produced 2005's lackluster "The Antidote," a CD that showcased Martey's absolute lack of vocal range. Many fans, myself included, feared the band had made a fatal mistake in dumping Edwards (who, by the way, went on to record one of the best albums of 2006 as a solo artist).

Realizing their mistake, the band dumped Martey almost immediately and returned to the studio in 2007 to record "Dive Deep." Rather than search for a new lead singer, however, the band made the conscious decision to rotate guest lead singers on each of the tracks. The result was a much needed (and very welcome) return to form. The first single from the set features veteran British songstress Judy Tzuke on lead vocals, and it is my choice for the Best Song of 2008...

1. ENJOY THE RIDE - Morcheeba

The Burris Pick

Quote of the Day:
Why did he agree to be used? Because he's desperate to return to the limelight. It's a sad end to a career that included numerous runs for governor, the U.S. Senate and Mayor of Chicago, plus a term as the state's Attorney General. The truth is, he wasn't much of an Attorney General -- the legal opinions that came out of his office in the early 90s were legally suspect and linguistically challenged -- but he has been a fixture in Illinois politics for years and he's escaped any hint of corruption.
-Dan Conley, on Roland Burris' agreement to accept Gov. Blagojevich's appointment of him to the U.S. Senate.

When I first heard that Burris was to be appointed all I could do was roll my eyes. Here's a guy who served three unremarkable, corruption-free terms in two statewide offices in the 1980s and early 1990s, who did nothing of real substance in those positions, and ended his political career with four consecutive election losses - three primaries for governor and a run for mayor of Chicago.

Conley is right...Burris has been out of the limelight since 2002 and accepted this appointment because he saw a chance to return to it. And return he will. But not as he thinks. This is going to explode in his face, thus ruining any chance he has at actually winning the seat outright in the 2010 election. It would have been better if he waited until the Blagojevich situation was settled. Anyone with an iota of self-respect would have rejected Blagojevich's offer. But, as I remember back when I lived in Chicago, Burris always struck me as someone in constant need of attention, always seeking office somewhere else.

Both Blagojevich and Burris said yesterday that this appointment should be considered without any linkage to the on-going investigation into dirty dealings by the governor. The thing of it is, that investigation deals with Blagojevich's attempts to sell this Senate seat to the highest bidder. Thus, anyone who accepts an appointment becomes instantly tainted, whether they were willing to play the governor's game or not.

And I'd bet a day's pay that Burris attempted to play.

30 December 2008

Welcome Home, Friend

If you don't tear up watching this, then you need to be checked for a pulse.

After 18 months in Iraq, catch the "welcome home" this guy gets as he walks in the door...

29 December 2008

Maverick Schizophrenia

Quote of the Month:
[John McCain] exited the campaign on his knees, all his dignity gone, having handed the White House to the liberals after spending the last months of the race with numb-nuts Sarah Palin on his arm and Karl Rove's cock in his mouth.
-Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi, in an essay that ran last month in which he rakes the McCain presidential campaign over the coals, over and over and over. Adult-oriented crudeness aside, it's a superb piece of journalism. I highly recommend you give it a read.

28 December 2008

Minimal Blogging This Week

Blogging will be minimal for a few days. Nothing's wrong, but since we're in between the holidays I figured it was a good time for a small break. I'll post a few odds and ends when the urge hits me, but things will be minimal until after next weekend.

From Symbol to Substance

New York Times columnist Frank Rich, says it's time to turn the page on the Rick Warren debacle and get set to judge Barack Obama's presidency on the actions he takes in office:
By the historical standards of presidential hubris, Obama’s disingenuous defense of his tone-deaf invitation to Warren is nonetheless a relatively tiny infraction. It’s no Bay of Pigs. But it does add an asterisk to the joyous inaugural of our first black president. It’s bizarre that Obama, of all people, would allow himself to be on the wrong side of this history.

Since he’s not about to rescind the invitation, what happens next? For perspective, I asked Timothy McCarthy, a historian who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an unabashed Obama enthusiast who served on his campaign’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council. He responded via e-mail on Christmas Eve. After noting that Warren’s role at the inauguration is, in the end, symbolic, McCarthy concluded that “it’s now time to move from symbol to substance.” This means Warren should “recant his previous statements about gays and lesbians, and start acting like a Christian.”

McCarthy added that it’s also time “for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.” And “for LGBT folks to choose their battles wisely, to judge Obama on the content of his policy-making, not on the character of his ministers.” Amen. Here’s to humility and equanimity everywhere in America, starting at the top, as we negotiate the fierce rapids of change awaiting us in the New Year.
As always, Rich is a joy to read. For this week's entire column, click here.

The Price Is Exactly Right

For the first time in 36 years a "Price Is Right" contestant got the price of his showcase exactly right. For a game show geek like me, this was pretty cool...

The Gayest Thing You'll See All Week

Village Voice columnist Michael Musto as Sarah Palin...

26 December 2008

Eartha Kitt, 1927 - 2008

The legendary Eartha Kitt, the actress best known for her role as 'Catwoman' on the Batman TV series, and for her sultry, sexy version of "Santa Baby," died on Christmas Day at her home in Connecticut. She was 81.

24 December 2008

Happy Hana-Kwanz-Mas...

...from Brent, Chloe, and me. Be safe. I'll be back here on Friday.


Or, "Why I Hate Christmas"

Part 6: The Conclusion.


23 December 2008

Obama Will Take Oath on Lincoln's Bible

The symbolism should be lost on no one. From Taegan Goddard:
President-elect Obama will take the oath of office using the same Bible upon which President Lincoln was sworn in at his first inauguration, according to the Inaugural Committee.
The first black president, whose Electoral College victory includes three former slave states, will take the oath of office using the Bible of the president who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.

I got chills when I read that this morning. How truly stupendous!

Melissa Etheridge on Rick Warren

She makes a solid, heart-felt argument:
Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.
A few days after the election, when it was clear that Prop 8 would pass, I made the argument that the best way to reverse it would be to bring supporters of this amendment into our social circles...that letting them get to know us would be the best way to change minds and eventually overturn Prop 8.

I still believe that.

Maybe President-elect Obama and Melissa Etheridge are right in thinking that placing Rick Warren on that inaugural stage is a step in that direction. It makes sense. But still...I have to wonder why he has to be brought in on the one day that should be solely about the Democrats and the progressives who put them in power. Let Warren speak at church services the Sunday before taking office. Let him speak at other inaugural festivities. But the inauguration itself? I just don't know.


Or, "Why I Hate Christmas"

Part 6: The Del Rubio Triplets.

22 December 2008


I've been fighting a funky stomach bug for the last week or so, and right when I was beginning to think I had it beat it got the best of me. Home and rest today. More blogging later today or tomorrow...after a long nap.

Final Election Numbers

All 50 states have now certified their presidential numbers. Here is the final popular vote tally for the 2008 presidential election:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden

John McCain and Sarah Palin

Barr, Nader, McKinney, others
Third Parties, Independent
One last look at the numbers:

-Obama's percentage of the national vote is the best performance by a Democratic candidate since 1964. And it's the best performance by candidates of either party since 1988. While not a landslide, Obama's 9,622,083 vote margin over McCain is strong and decisive...and larger than many predicted.

-McCain's final tally is about 900,000 more than John Kerry's in 2004, while Obama's is almost 9 million more than George W. Bush's.

-Obama won women 56% to 43%, and even won men by a slim 49% to 48%. He also won every age group except for those over 65. (He won 18 to 29 year olds by a whopping 66% to 32%!)

-And the Democratic ticket won gay voters 70% to 27%. That's actually a decrease in gay support from John Kerry's candidacy in 2004, when 23% of the gay vote went Republican. I have a hunch that extra 4% were Hillary supporters who were still bitter. (But I digress...)

And finally, as I reported last week, the Electoral College met on December 15th and cast their Constitutionally required ballots in the presidential race. All votes were cast as projected. Here is the final result:

Obama/Biden: 365 electoral votes
McCain/Palin: 173 electoral votes
Others: 0 electoral votes
(270 needed to win)

One last look at the map:

-Barack Obama's victories in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida are tremendously significant, as they are three states of the old confederacy. Jefferson Davis and Jesse Helms are rolling in their graves at the fact that a black man has won the presidency in part due to victories in three slave states of the Civil War era.

-The Democratic ticket's victories in Virginia and Indiana, as well as in the 2nd congressional district in Nebraska, are the first for the party in those states since 1964.

-While the Republican ticket won 22 states, their support in all but one (Arkansas) decreased compared to 2004.

-Obama/Biden's 365 vote total is the best performance in the Electoral College since 1996. (Bush barely squeaked through in 2000 with 271 votes and in 2004 with 286 votes).


Or, "Why I Hate Christmas"

Part 5: Three words:

Very. Brady. Christmas.

(Warning: the segment from 0:54 to 1:16 will likely cause some major hurling.)


Dick Cheney, on Joe Biden's desire to return the vice-presidency to its proper place in American government:
If he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that's obviously his call. President-elect Obama will decide what he wants in a vice president and apparently, from the way they're talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I have had during my time.
Josh Marshall, on the out-going V.P.'s remarks:
...the very fact that we can even be having a conversation about the prerogative powers of the vice presidency is a testament to the world of Alice in Wonderland constitutionalism that has been a hallmark of Cheney's time in office.
Yeah...the over reach of the President and Vice-President these past eight years is beyond lawless. These guys essentially wiped their asses with the Constitution and as such they need to be punished. I understand the political motives of focusing on the future and putting the Bush years behind us. But at the constitutional level, we can't put them behind us. The way I see it, Obama and Biden can do the "looking forward" thing while the Justice Department, in cooperation with Congress, investigate exactly what these two fuckers did. Impeachment isn't necessarily off the table once they leave office. If anything, they'd have that "guilty" verdict forever associated with their term in office and they would lose their presidential pension (money neither one of them would really miss). But when push comes to shove, Bush and Cheney need to pay for their domestic crimes. And once that happens, they should be put under international arrest for their war crime atrocities in Iraq and Gitmo.

The point is, they need to be punished...severely. To let them go unscathed goes against everything our founding fathers stood for. Lincoln may be rolling over in his grave at the conduct of Illinois Gov. Blagojavich, but George Washington, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin have been rolling over in theirs at the conduct of these two criminals since January 20, 2001.

20 December 2008


Or, "Why Christmas Sucks"

Part 4: Cher, singing "Jingle Bells" with a midget holding a lesbian in his lap.

Alexis vs. Krystle

Quote of the Day:
It's driving him crazy. He's boxed in. He can't do anything except fume, and he is fuming.
-A confidant of NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, on the Attorney General's aggravation over the media frenzy at the possibility of the soon-to-be-open Senate seat of Hillary Clinton (wife of former President Bill Clinton) going to Caroline Kennedy (daughter of former President John Kennedy, niece of current U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy).

Evera-body hold to your seats...I smell one of those "Alexis vs. Krystle" dynasty cat fights comin' on!

Brown Urges Court to Void Prop 8

State Attorney General Jerry Brown has asked the California State Supreme Court to void the results of Proposition 8, saying the measure that amended the California Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman is itself unconstitutional because it deprives a minority group of a fundamental right. In a brief to the Court, Brown wrote:
The amendment-initiative process does not encompass a power to abrogate fundamental constitutional rights without a compelling justification. Proposition 8 lacks such a justification.
UPDATE: It seems the Fascist fuckers who wrote Prop 8 aren't through yet:
The sponsors of Proposition 8 on Friday argued for the first time that the court should undo the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters banned gay marriage at the ballot box last month. The Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief telling the court that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions. "Proposition 8's brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions," reads the brief co-written by Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine Law School.
Yes...THAT Kenneth Starr...he of "let's impeach the President over a blow job" fame...the guy who loves to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on creepy bedroom investigations into the private lives of American citizens that have absolutely nothing to do with the general public interest.

Kitty Dukakis, Redux

File under "news you can use":
Robert Joseph Barie, 56, of Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested after a Wal-Mart employee called police in reference to a "drunken dispute."

According to the police report, an officer arrived at the store at 1 a.m. Monday and found Barie locked in a bathroom stall drinking Listerine mouthwash. When Barie refused to open the door, the office forced himself in, but not before Barie finished the bottle of mouthwash.
Because...you know...nothing says "Par-TAY" like a Listerine martini at Wal-Mart at 1:00 in the morning.

19 December 2008

End of the Week Levity

The audio in this clip isn't necessarily safe for work. Use earphones or play it at home. The always adorable Andy Samberg, along with Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone have a slight..uuuhhh...well, they tend to...eerrr...wellll...why don't I let them tell the story:

(Guest appearances by Jamie Lynn Sigler and Justin Timberlake)


(Shout out: Ben)


Or, "Why Christmas Sucks"

Part 3: Because America gets really, really lame. Princess Leah?! Signing Christmas carols to Chewy, Han, and R2D2 ?!! Are you freekin' kiddin' me with this crap?!?

Jesus Gawd! No wonder Carrie Fisher turned to booze!

UPDATE: The earlier clip has been removed from YouTube and as a result it wasn't playing here. I found another clip and reposted. Sorry if you tried to play it earlier and weren't able to view it. Because...you know...this shit is Christmas gold!

One More Thought On Warren

At the risk of sounding schizophrenic...While I respect President-elect Obama's decision to ask Rick Warren to speak at his inaugural at a political level, I don't necessarily have to like it at a personal level.

Here's the thing: Election Day was a rather two-sided affair. At 8pm California time, we were celebrating the election of Barack Obama. The previous eight years of fascist drama had come crashing down. Hugs ensued and tears of joy were shed here in my home. And then, as the night wore on, we were sucker-punched. Prop 8 was winning, and within 24 hours the votes to defeat it were no longer there.

We protested, we rallied, we got up and dusted ourselves off... On to the courts! Put that sucker on the ballot again and overturn it!!

Inauguration Day was supposed to be a day where we could forget about the right wing zealots. It was to be a day to celebrate the great and sweeping victory that Barack Obama won for progressives around the nation - a nation that rejected outright the previous eight years of hate and divisiveness. Our spirits were on the rise again. As the change of power approached, we began to think that, eventually, this new president would guide the way out of the bigoted morass.

And now, again, we feel sucker-punched. We were looking forward to a great celebration. And while it may still be, there will be a cloud over it. An asterisk, so to speak. Just like Election Day.

The Bastard Actually Meant It !

Quote of the Day:
...you can't say Obama didn't warn you. He talked about reaching out, about expanding our politics and that crazy bastard actually meant it. Nobody on the left or right quite knows what to make of it. We want to cram Obama into our old, divisive, two toned ideological and political frame and if he doesn't fit, we'll attack him too. Attacking is what we're used to doing.
-The Huffington Posts's Lee Stranahan, talking his fellow liberals off the ledge regarding the Rick Warren affair.

Larry, Ben, and I have been in one of our email loops about Warren, as well as Obama's commitment to gay rights. Here is part of what I wrote to them this morning:
Look...I'm just as disappointed as you are. Even this morning I'm reading that Obama bypassed a lesbian who was more than qualified for the post of Labor Secretary in favor a congresswoman from L.A.

But then I'm old enough to remember Clinton's first term. The very first thing on his plate when he took office? Gays in the military. It hobbled him from Day 1. And the Republicans took over congress two years later.

Americans are hurting more than ever right now. Millions have been knocked on their asses by this economic crisis. Millions more will be knocked on theirs next year. If Obama started putting gay rights front and center, the backlash would be horrible. Not only against him, but against us. It would set us back a decade.

We just need to grit our teeth and bare it.

Now...if, during his first term, he doesn't overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," repeal DOMA, and at least try to pass a bill granting civil unions at the federal level, then I'll start in on him.

But right now, the man has one hell of a mess to clean up.

We 'mos need to give him a little bit of room to work before we start blasting him. Because whether we have gay marriage or not, it ain't gonna matter much if we're all unemployed and shivering under a cardboard box in the Tenderloin a year from now.

NBC Moves Todd to White House

NBC News announced yesterday that political director Chuck Todd, who currently provides on-air analysis for both the main network and their MSNBC cable franchise, is being reassigned. Beginning in January, Todd will cover the Obama administration as NBC's Chief White House Correspondent.

I must say, this is not a move I saw coming. Todd is more of an analyst than a reporter. And, quite frankly (and I know I'm in the minority here), his analysis was a bit off during the general election campaign. (For the record, so was mine. But I'm not the Political Director of NBC News.)

Todd consistently predicted a close election, calling states like Pennsylvania and Colorado "too close to call," when polling showed obvious and comfortable tilts toward Obama, especially in the last month of the campaign. When sites like FiveThirtyEight and Pollster were showing the Democratic ticket heading to victory with over 310 electoral votes (it won with 365), Todd was always predicting a squeaker, with the winner getting just over the 270 needed.

Anyway, I hope he does well. I'm sure NBC sees something the rest of us don't. But, quite frankly, his demeanor is best suited for the original role of moderator of "Meet the Press" (not the Tim Russert model, but the original, where the moderator oversaw a panel of 3 or 4 journalists who asked the guests questions).

UPDATE: Todd wasn't "reassigned." According to Gail Shister, he was offered a contract extension for four more years. He'll continue as the network's Political Director, while at the same time serving as its Chief White House Correspondent, as well as Contributing Editor for "Meet the Press."

More Cabinet Picks

More cabinet picks from President-elect Obama:
Secretary of Labor: Rep. Hilda Solis (Democrat-CA)

Secretary of Transportation: Rep. Ray LaHood (Republican-IL)

U.S. Trade Representative: Mayor Ron Kirk (Democrat-Dallas)

Director of National Intelligence: Admiral Dennis Blair
For those who have been asking where the Republicans were, there ya go. LaHood at Transportation. That's the post Bush gave his token Democrat in 2001. (Although, it can be said that Norman Mineta's performance on 9/11 was stellar. Especially when compared to the deer-in-the-headlights performance of the Prez that day!) But Obama did go a bit further than Bush, keeping Bob Gates at Defense (I wouldn't have, but I'm not the President) and installing James Jones as National Security Adviser.

18 December 2008

President-elect Obama on Rick Warren

On Rick Warren

So, President-elect Obama has asked Rick Warren, the pro-life, anti-gay pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, to speak at the presidential inaugural on January 20. Warren fought very hard FOR Proposition 8 last month, the state ballot initiative that banned gay couples from marrying. He also backed the McCain/Palin ticket in the election.

I understand Obama's desire to bring both sides of the political spectrum together...to reach out to the other side in order to work on issues where they find common ground. I also understand his argument that the way to help bring the other side around is to bring them into your circle from time to time in an effort to persuade them.

My argument against having Warren speak at the inaugural isn't directly related to the Prop 8 issue (although you have to admit, it's a poke in the eye by Mr. Obama to his gay supporters). My problem with this pick is that January 20th (Inauguration Day) is the one day where I don't think it's bad form to exclude the opposition. Put Republicans in your cabinet, bring conservatives to the table when debating the issues, sign Republican-backed legislation if you really feel it's in the country's best interest.

But January 20th is OUR day, man! It's the day Democrats and progressives should be able to celebrate the biggest presidential win by a candidate of either party since 1988; it really is the one day where Washington and America can leave the opposition party out in the cold wet snow, looking in at our party as we celebrate our huge win while they contemplate their devastating loss.

Let Warren speak at church services the Sunday before you take office. But to have him up there on that podium on the biggest day for progressives since Johnson's landslide of 1964...well, Mr. President-elect...you've poked us all in the eye.

Update: The Inauguration will also involve Reverend Joseph Lowery, who will be delivering the official benediction at the Inauguration. Reverend Lowery is a giant of the civil rights movement who boasts a proudly progressive record on gay-related issues, and has been a leader in the struggle for civil rights for all Americans, gay or straight.

This, But That

Quote of the Day # 1:
I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.
-President Bush, in an interview with CNN yesterday.

Quote of the Day # 2:
Just as he used torture to defend freedom. And occupied a country in order to liberate it.
-Andrew Sullivan, calling the President on his pathological flippy-floppyness.

All the Presidents Meet...and Eat

President Bush will host a luncheon for President-elect Obama at the White House on January 7, 2009. In attendance will be all of the former living presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

This is the first time an event of this sort has taken place. There have been rare events where all of the former living presidents at the time have been together (another president's funeral, presidential library openings, foreign missions), but never before have they all got together in honor of a newly elected president who has yet to take office.

It will be interesting to see if this becomes tradition during transitions of the future.


Or, why Christmas sucks.

Part II: The gaudiness of it all...

17 December 2008

Mid-Week Brain Break

Eleven tracks to help get you over that mid-week hump...

Is It Any Wonder - Keane
Totally Fucked - Cast of "Spring Awakening"
Think I'm In Love - Beck
Woman - Barrabas
Bailamos - Fergie
Sail On - The Commodores
Magic - Bruce Springsteen
Like Any Woman Would - Patti Scialfa
Saint - Texas
Come On Home - Indigo Girls
Lay Me Down - Crosby & Nash

Picture of the Year

Feds Drop Interest Rate to Near Zero

The Fed reduced the federal funds rate to between 0% and 0.25% yesterday. I'm no economist, but how can this be considered healthy? Especially since the previous drops, most of which I thought brought the rate way too low, have done nothing to stop the economic downturn. Obviously the problem has nothing to do with rates. (If I remember correctly, Japan tried this in the 90s and look where it got them.)

It is obvious to me that the folks running things (White House, Treasury, Wall Street) have no idea what they're doing. Panic has set in, and rather than think things through everyone is just throwing whatever it can find at the problem, hoping something will stick.

My gut tells me they're just making things worse. Putting out fire with gasoline, so to speak.

I've said it before, I'll say it again...this is bigger than any of us can imagine. And it's only just starting. We're all - every single one of us - about to get knocked on our asses...hard.

The Gayest Thing You'll See All Week

RuPaul's Christmas card, where he portrays both President-elect and Mrs. Obama...


To me, Christmas has become such a sanctimonious holiday...completely and utterly idiotic. Peace on Earth, my ass. The American public becomes unbearable during the holiday season.

And so, between now and December 25th I'll be posting clips highlighting why I hate the holidays.

The next four words will make your skin crawl...

"Last Christmas by Wham!"

16 December 2008

First Gays Serve In Electoral College

Former "Amazing Race" contestant Chip Arndt became the first openly gay man to be elected to the Electoral College last month, when voters in the state of Florida awarded their 27 electoral votes to Barack Obama. Joining Arndt at the state capitol in Tallahassee yesterday was Gena Keebler, the first openly lesbian elector to serve in the body.

Arndt won season 4 of "Amazing Race" with his then partner, Reichen Lehmkuhl.

President Fuck-Wad

Little Boy George to ABC's Martha Raddatz, on her statement that al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq until after the American invasion:
So what?
Raddatz called the President on his lie when he attempted to use al Qaeda's presence in the country as justification for the 2003 invasion.

Ya know...January 20th can't get here soon enough! In fact, my brain keeps envisioning scenarios that remove him from office prior to that date. My favorite:
It's the morning of January 20, 2009...about 5am...when the phone in the White House residence rings.

It's U.S. Attorney Peter Fitzgerald. "Mr. President, this is a courtesy call. Officials from the War Crimes Tribunal are downstairs at your front door waiting to take you into custody on charges of war crimes. We'd like to keep the press at bay and would rather not disturb your family. Kindly get dressed and proceed downstairs."

Little Boy George rubs his eyes, sits up, and mumbles, "Heh! What is this? Some sort of joke? You can't arrest me, I'm the prezdint."

Fitzgerald assures the President that it's no joke. Secret Service enters his bedroom and hands him his pants.

Five minutes later, the President is being escorted to an unmarked federal police vehicle and whisked off to an undisclosed airport.

Meanwhile, in other parts of D.C., Vice-President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former White House adviser Karl Rove, are being arrested by Fitzgerald's team. They eventually join Mr. Bush at the airport.

As they are all loaded onto a plane for the 6am journey to the Hague, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at the White House and takes the oath of office as the nation's 44th President.

She issues a brief statement, and then prepares for the arrival of Barack Obama. She briefs the President-elect on what transpired earlier in the morning, Mr. Obama walks to the residence and visits with Laura Bush and her daughters, and then proceeds with President Pelosi to the nation's capitol. At noon, ET, seven hours following the arrest of former president George W. Bush, six hours after the swearing in of President Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama is sworn in as the nation's 45th President.
Ok, ok...a guy can dream, though..can't he!?

Obama Wins the Presidency...Officially

Meeting in state capitols around the country, members of the Electoral College cast their constitutionally required ballots for President and Vice-President yesterday. Initial reports indicate that all 538 members voted as per their state's popular votes, giving Barack Obama and Joe Biden 365 votes, and John McCain and Sarah Palin 173 votes. 270 are required to win.

The signed and certified ballots will now be sent to the President of the Senate (in this case, Vice-President Dick Cheney), who will preside over a joint session of Congress, where the Certificates will be arranged and unopened in alphabetical order on January 6, 2009.

Obama Appointments Continue

Steven Chu has been nominated to become Barack Obama's Energy Secretary. Winner of 1997's Nobel Prize for physics, Chu is currently director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and a professor at UC Berkeley. In announcing the pick, President-elect Obama essentially gave the current administration the back of his hand:
His appointment should send a signal to all that my Administration will value science, we will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action.
In addition to Chu, Mr. Obama named Carol Browner as White House "energy czar" (real title: Energy Coordinator). Browner was head of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993 to 2001 (under President Clinton). This is a new position that will oversee the smooth cooperation among the different energy and climate entities (Energy, Interior, EPA).

Signaling that he wants the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to take part in his economic recovery plan, President-elect Obama nominated New York City housing official Shaun Donovan as the department's secretary. Donovan, a 42-year-old Harvard-trained architect, oversees a $7.5 billion program in New York tasked with creating or preserving 165,000 affordable housing units as commissioner of the city's housing preservation and development agency.

And today, Mr. Obama will nominate Arne Duncan, the CEO of the Chicago Public School System, as his Secretary of Education.

I am surprised at this one. I thought for sure the President-elect would nominate Colin Powell for the post. Powell has a passion for education; and moreover, he would be a prominent Republican in a new administration that promised bipartisanship, but has yet to put a key Republican in any top posts (outside of Defense).

However, Duncan has turned the Chicago school system around, earning himself a reputation as a strong leader who is able to push for strong accountability while at the same time keeping the teachers union and the parents happy. Transition officials say Duncan has been tapped to try and bridge the deep national divides between education advocates, teachers unions, and civil rights groups over how to fix America's schools.

All in all, the difference in Obama's approach to government (experience, competence) couldn't be starker to the Bush administration's (cronyism, inexperience, failure). Our new president has made some stellar choices (for the most part) thus far.

Blagojevich to Face Impeachment

Gov. Rod Blagojevich (PottyMouth-IL) is to face impeachment in the state legislature. State lawmakers voted 113-0 to form a bipartisan committee that will review the evidence and recommend whether the body should move forward with impeachment proceedings.

Yeah...it really is time for him to resign.

15 December 2008

It's Election Day!

Well, not for us. But the 538 members of the Electoral College will meet in the 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C. today to cast their constitutionally required ballots for president and vice-president. If all goes according to the results of the November 4th election, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will receive 365 votes from Democratic electors. John McCain and Sarah Palin will receive 173 votes from Republican electors.

Above the Law

I am running late this morning and don't have time to comment more, but take some time to view Bill Moyers' interview with Glenn Greenwald in the three clips below. The Republicans harped on and on about the rule of law when Bill Clinton lied under oath about a fuckin' blow job, but they (and many of their Democratic counterparts) have been extremely quiet while George W. Bush and his minions wiped their asses with the Constitution these last eight years.


The contempt for this man at the international level is tremendous.

12 December 2008

End-of-the-Week Levity

The 12 Gays of Christmas...

The Bush Depression?

Paul Krugman is terrified:
Another day, another terrifying economic report, this time on unemployment claims.

So are we now losing jobs at the rate of 600,000 a month? 700,000? If fiscal expansion takes, say, 8 months to kick in (and that’s optimistic), where will that leave us?
In the mean time, President-elect Obama's economic team is bracing for the worst. Marc Ambinder:
It's quite unsettling to talk to members of Barack Obama's transition teams these days, especially those who are helping with the economics portfolio. Without going into details, the sense I get from them is that they are very worried that the economy will get a lot worse before it gets better. Not just worse... a lot worse. As in -- double digit unemployment without the wiggle factors. Huge declines in aggregate demand. Significant, persistent deficits.

...Where the discussion isn't going, at least in public, is the possibility that the first foreign policy crisis the administration will face will be the complete economic collapse of a large, unstable nation. To be sure, Pakistan is nearly broke, and U.S. policy makers seem to be aware of that; but a worldwide demand crisis could lead to social unrest in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, Singapore, the Ukraine, Japan, Turkey or Egypt...
I have enormous faith in the ability of "Team Obama" to right the wreck Bush will leave behind. But it's going to take some time to untwist the metal and set it all upright. Things WILL get way worse, I believe, before they get better. In fact, this downturn may shock the hell out of those of us who see the Great Depression as something only from the pages of our history books, or who don't remember the big downturn of the 70s.

But through it all, I want every one of you to remember one thing. This financial collapse is due almost entirely to the incompetent leadership of the current Republican administration. Obama's team should be able to pull us out of the tail spin before we slam into the ground, but they'll need time and a whole lot of breathing room.

Strap yourselves in. It's going to be a long, very bumpy ride.

Republicans Kill Auto Bailout

From the NY Times:
The Senate on Thursday night abandoned efforts to fashion a government rescue of the American automobile industry, as Senate Republicans refused to support a bill endorsed by [President Bush] and Congressional Democrats.
Republican senators demanded steep cuts in employee pay which the Democrats, the White House, and the unions were unwilling to put in the bill.

I am on the fence with this issue. I think the domestic auto companies are cry-babies who have been stuck in 20th century group think for way too long, and have thus run their businesses into the ground. My gut tells me that the failure of one or two of the big three would serve as a tremendous reset moment that would put the entire industry back on track. If the others see Ford and/or Chrysler go down, they would bend over backwards to become more innovative - and therefore more competitive and perhaps even lucrative.

At the same time, the Republicans in the Senate, it seems to me, are using this as way to bust the unions. After the shellacking the GOP received at the polls last month, the only thing they seem to know how to do at the moment is play to the base. And that base hates the auto unions with a passion. The gall of these fascists to ask American blue collar workers to take a pay cut as the nation begins what promises to be a long, deep recession. A pay-freeze? Sure. But don't lecture Americans about cutting the pay of workers by way of a tax increase, and then turn around and demand that those same workers take a real-wage pay cut.

As always, the Republicans are letting their hypocrisy flag fly at full mast!

Update: Josh Marshall asks a good question. Why this key national decision was left in the hands of lame duck senate Republicans.

Did Jesse Jr. Play Ball?

The Chicago Tribune lays out the facts.

It seems to me the long time Chicago congressman may be deeper in the Blagojevich debacle that he has been letting on.

11 December 2008

Wanda Rocks

Little Miss Chloe

Brent has been in Boston for work this past week and Chloe has been absolutely beside herself. After her evening walk and some play time, her nightly routine consists of joining Brent on the sofa and draping herself across his leg (she's quite the Daddy's girl). During a quick trip to the laundry room last night, our dear girl - in Brent's absence - found herself a surrogate father...

The Illegals

The Bush team insists on proving they were unworthy of their jobs right up to the time they leave office. From the Washington Post: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the nation's top immigration official, has been using illegal immigrants to clean his home.

"Now here I go again...

...I see the crystal visions, I keep my visions to myself"

Your Song of the Day is an extension of yesterday's Mid-Week Brain Break. When dance group Deep Dish produced a track that sampled Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," they presented it to Stevie Nicks and asked for her thoughts. She loved it, but asked if the group was open to her re-recording the vocals. They agreed, and the result was this dance club hit from 2006.

"Dreams" by Deep Dish, featuring Stevie Nicks:

By-the-Bible Marriage

A comment, posted by a DailyKos reader, outling what the law should say if the Mormons and their fascist buddies on the far-right really want to apply biblical rule:
A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)
And if you missed it, I highly suggest you watch Jon Stewart's Tuesday interview with former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Fascist-AR). The "Daily Show" host calls the Huckster out on the blatant hypocrisy of the christianist right. You can see the clip by clicking here.

Barack Star!

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows huge majorities of the American public approve of how Barack Obama is handling his transition thus far:
Approve 73%
Disapprove 13%
Meanwhile, the current President (yes...he's still there) looks to leave office in horrible shape:
"Do you approve of the way President Bush is handling his job?"
Approve 27%
Disapprove 67%

"Will you miss the Bush presidency?"
No 79%
Yes 9%

Urban Outfitters: Anti-Gay

New York Magazine reports that Urban Outfitters has pulled t-shirts from their store shelves that support marriage equality. Could this possibly be because Richard Hayne, the CEO at Urban, is a right-wing fascist fuck who gives enormous amounts of money to the Republican Party?

Jeremy Hooper's investigative work suggests that is the case. He has compiled Hayne's political donation record:

Rick Santorum? That's all I need to know.

Update: Look, I don't care if Haynes gave money to Republican candidates. As an American that is his right, and I applaud him for taking part in our nation's political discourse. However, if he gave money to Yes on 8 then his employees and his customers, large majorities of which are liberal, gay, and/or pro-gay, have every right to call him on his shit and to boycott his stores.

10 December 2008

Stewart vs. Huckabee

Jon Stewart takes the former Arkansas governor to task over the weak, feeble arguments he and his fellow fascist hypocrites spew regarding the issue of marriage:

Mid-Week Brain Break

Two segments from "The Making of Rumours," the VH-1 documentary that tells the story behind the classic Fleetwood Mac album. Four members of the band - two couples - were in the midst of break-ups during the recording (which, by the way, took place here in the Bay Area at studios in Sausalito). In these two segments, band members and the album's producer tell the stories of how two classic tracks were written and produced.

In addition to the stories told by the band, the way the producer plays with the mixing board is really cool, turning off certain vocals or instruments in order to showcase others. Neat stuff.

The first segment is about "You Make Loving Fun" (written by Christine McVie, who was in the process of divorcing John McVie, about her new boyfriend)...

The second is about "Dreams" (written by Stevie Nicks about Lindsey Buckingham)...

Update: The sound on these clips seems to be a bit off from the actual video. Sorry about that.

"Name That Goon"

Benjamin Sarlin lists ten quotes and asks you to identify the speaker - Tony Soprano or Rod Blogojevich:
1. "Unless I get something real good...shit, I'll just send myself, you know what I'm saying."

2. "What the fuck am I, a toxic person or something?"

3. "Log off, that "cookies" shit makes me nervous!"

4. "They're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them."

5. "You got no fuckin' idea what it's like to be number one. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fucking thing."

6. "I've got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and I'm just not giving it up for fuckin' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there."

7. "That motherfucker's full of shit. He's shaking me down."

8. "Our recommendation is fire all those fucking people, get 'em the fuck out of there..."

9. "I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year. If they don't perform, fuck 'em."

10. "Jesus Christ! The money I've been dropping in here, I could've bought a fuckin' Ferrari."
Tony Soprano: 2, 3, 5, 7, 10
Rod Blagojevich: 1, 4, 6, 8, 9

In Illinois

[Note: This post rambles quite a bit. Forgive me. My thoughts were all over the place and I needed to get out of the house.]

The Illinois Governor's Mansion can't seem to catch a break. The last chief executive, Republican George Ryan, is currently serving a prison sentence related to a scandal involving the illegal sale of drivers licenses and government contracts during his tenure as the Illinois Secretary of State. (In Illinois that post deals with drivers licenses and other related issues, as opposed to dealing with election issues, as is the case in most other states.) In the mid-90s, a truck driver with one of those illegal licenses got behind the wheel of his semi and caused a horrific traffic accident in suburban Chicago in which six children burned to death in their family's mini-van. That event started the ball rolling on a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

I used to live in Illinois and voted for Mr. Ryan twice - in 1994 for the Secretary of State post and again in 1998 for Governor (both votes were cast before the scandal was made public). That 1998 vote, despite the charges that came down the pike later, is still one of the votes I'm extremely proud of. A pro-life Republican, Ryan still had the more progressive position on social issues than his downstate Democratic opponent (who was also pro-life and therefore made that particular issue moot). Toward the end of his one term, following reports from university students that several death row inmates had been convicted and sentenced by mistake (based on advanced DNA testing), Gov. Ryan cleared out death row and placed a statewide moratorium on carrying out the death penalty. For an anti-death penalty guy like me, the Governor's brave actions (a REPUBLICAN Governor, at that) made me admire the guy even more. Despite his later conviction, that admiration still holds. Stupid deeds done by underlings seemed to overtake things and he is now paying the price.

The same can't be said for the current governor, Rod Blagojevich (bluh-GOY-uh-vich). This guy is just a fuckin' slimy weasel who abused his office up one side and down the other, leaving those of us who knew he was a bad seed slack-jawed at the depth of the charges filed yesterday by the U.S. Attorney.

Many of the charges in the complaint are political old hat: Shaking down contractors for private financial gain, demanding political contributions for his campaign coffers in return for signing off on state projects. But the peace de la resistance are two-fold:

1. The parent company of the Chicago Tribune was looking to sell the stadium (Wrigley Field) of its baseball franchise (the Cubs). The Governor told the paper's editorial board (who have never been kind to Blagojevich, and for good reason) that in order to get the sale over typical state hurdles, they would need to fire members of that editorial board. If not, they could kiss the sale goodbye. Rod's exact words: "Fire those fucking people. Get them the fuck out of there. Get us some editorial support."

2. This one is the biggie (I am still slack-jawed and amazed at the stupidity of this one): Blagojevich tried to SELL the empty U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama to the highest bidder. "I've got this thing and it's fucking golden. I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing. I'm not gonna do it. I can always use it." And when the President-elect's team wouldn't play ball, the Gov is recorded saying, "They're not willing to give me anything but appreciation? Fuck them!"


Blagojevich has been under investigation for wrong doing since 2005. In fact, I was surprised at his re-election in 2006 (too bad...his Republican opponent, Judy Baar Topinka, is the type of liberal Republican many progressives could live with). But alas, ol' Rod was returned to office for a second term and therefore able to dig himself deeper into his hole. The state legislature had been entertaining impeachment, a fact that led Blagojevich to entertain the idea of appointing himself to Obama's Senate seat (if no one else paid his price, that is), thinking that a change of jobs would clear his name and...get this...repair his reputation enough so that he could run for president in 2016.

The man is truly psychotic.

Following his arrest yesterday, the Governor was able to post bail and return home. Many questions remain: Will he appoint Obama's replacement? And if he does, would the appointee accept it? (Coming from this guy, I can't see how any appointment would be seen as above board.) If he appoints himself, will the United States Senate refuse him the seat (apparently they can do this)? Will the state legislature vote to hold a special election for the seat and override the Governor's ability to appoint?

Bigger questions still: Will Blagojevich take the advice of just about every citizen of Illinois - and virtually every member of state government - and resign? Or will he continue to be pathological, dig his heels in, and fight this? If so, will the state legislature meet before the end of the year and move for immediate impeachment? Or will they leave it for the new legislature to take up once they are sworn after the holidays? Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told WGN-TV last night that if impeachment doesn't work, she will petition the Illinois State Supreme Court, under the state constitution, for a court-mandated removal from office. Would the Supremes make such an unprecedented move?

There are too many pieces to this puzzle still up in the air. My take is that Blagojevich should resign immediately and let Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn take the reins of government - and make the appointment for the U.S. Senate seat. If the Governor doesn't resign by noon on Friday, the state legislature should be laying in wait in Springfield, ready to impeach the son-of-a-bitch at 12:01pm. Bypass the hearings and red tape. Just put a basic bill on the floor that would remove this no-good goon from office before it's too late.

Side note: While it doesn't look like President-elect Obama has anything to do with this scandal (it's restricted to the Gov's office, AND Obama has never really liked Blagojevich), his skirting of the issue during a brief news conference yesterday was a bit disconcerting. Mr. President-Elect...we're about to get rid of an administration that was notorious for its "we can't comment on that" answers to important questions. No one is expecting you to lay everything you may know or not know on the table, but a strong rebuke to the Governor's actions would have gone a long way in my book.

The Republicans are going to try their best to hang this around your neck. Bush-esque answers to questions are only going to fuel their fire.

I'm sure you are far removed from this crap. But, man, just watch your back.

Side note 2: For constant updates and hard-hitting investigative journalism regarding the Blagojevich scandal, make sure and check in with Talking Points Memo. They're all over this story.

09 December 2008

Illinois Governor Arrested

Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Democrat-IL) has been arrested for trying to SELL Barack Obama's senate seat. More later, but there has always been a real scummy feel to this guy. I hope he goes down...and hard.

"Sweet, Wonderful You..."

Happy Anniversary my sweet man.

The Gayest Thing You'll See All Week

PG-13 Warning: There's a little bit of his under-roos showing at the end. Or are those Garanimals?? (Either way, can you say "underwear that's fun to wear?")

And how SWEET is this boy's mother, I ask you? (You'll know what I'm talkin' 'bout at the end of the clip.)

(Shout out: Andy Towle)

Obama and the Left

Chris Bowers, on the administration Barack Obama is putting in place:
...once Obama is sworn in and then over the next four years, policy discussions will almost always dominate. There will be rare exceptions when major staff or cabinet changes need to be made, but almost all the time the focus will be on policy. When it comes to policy, I anticipate a fairly high level of agreement with the direction that Obama pursues.
Eschaton, on the same subject:
The Obama campaign didn't exist to make me feel good, and the Obama presidency won't either. I don't especially like his people punching the dirty fucking hippies under the bed, but on the other hand if they manage to convince people that Obama is a sensible centrist who wants to do sensible centrist things like build SUPERTRAINS, get out of Iraq, not torture people or invade random countries, strengthen labor protections, reduce income inequality, improve education, provide health care for people, and reduce poverty, while those DAMNED DIRTY HIPPIES just won't shut up about their magic ponies, it's fine by me.

For years we've had Democrats railing against those crazy hippies as an excuse to not do all of those things. If Obama's people are going to rail against the hippies and use it as an excuse to do them, fine with me. If.
There are other progressive bloggers out there, as well as a liberal TV host or two (ahem...Rachel Maddow...cough!) who seem to think that President-elect Obama should be lurching far left with his cabinet picks. Apparently they saw a different candidate that I did during the campaign. The Obama I saw was indeed a liberal, but he campaigned on the promises of restoring competence to government and repairing our battered reputation abroad, and that meant placing people in key posts who know what they're doing. Hillary Clinton at State and James Jones as National Security Adviser, among other appointments, give the new administration a solidly centrist feel. But more than that, they exude competence. Right now, at least for me, that's all that matters.

Something else Obama promised all along: Placing people in White House posts who will add to a vigorous debate over issues and policy. For the last eight years we've had the "Group of Yes" running the country - men and women who wouldn't dare give the President an opinion different from his own. They'd be fired if they did. The result is the worst presidency in 150 years, an economy in ruin, and a global reputation in tatters.

I never expected to be 100% happy with Obama's presidency. No American is ever 100% happy with any president. And I don't expect him to be right on every single issue every single time. No president ever is. But I trust Mr. Obama implicitly to listen to all sides of an argument and then make a decision based on his evaluation of the pros and cons. After eight years of "shoot from the hip" governing, won't that be breath of fresh air!


The Associated Press, on the announcement by some newspapers that they'll drop the AP and begin using CNN's newswire service:
The CNN wire [is] remarkably, abysmally written.
The AP's entire piece on the promotion of David Gregory to "Meet the Press":

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC names named David Gregory as new host of “Today” program.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APNP 12-07-08 0753MST
Hmmm...why do the terms "remarkable" and "abysmal" come to mind?

Huh! I can't figure it out.

National Disaster

Quote of the Day:
An Obama job approval rating of 79% -- that's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster.
-CNN's Bill Schneider, on the record approval ratings his network's polling division have measured for President-elect Obama.

Seventy-nine percent of Americans approve of Obama's transition performance thus far, while 18% disapprove. That 79% rating is 14 points higher than the approval rating for President-elect George Bush in 2001 and 17 points higher than President-elect Clinton's rating in 1992.

Understatement of the Year

Hell...it's the understatement of the last eight years:
I'm just a simple president.
-George W. Bush, accessing his presidency in an interview with ABC's Cynthia McFadden.

A simpleton, at a time when the United States needed someone with a strong sense of gravitas and a proven record of leadership, neither of which Little Boy Bush had when he ran for his first term. I warned all of you in October of 2000, but nooo...enough of you voted for this imbecile to pull him over the finish line (no matter how he got there), and now we're in one fine mess.

"I told you so" goes without saying.

Heck of Job, Wolfie!

Wolf, uhh, Blitzer is stepping down as host of its Sunday morning talkfest “Late Edition.” Blitzer, uhh, who has hosted the show for 10 years, has, uhh, signed a contract extension to remain as the network’s chief anchor for "The Situation Room" and, uhh, [swoosh] breaking news, and political coverage with the, uhh, best political team on television. Uhh, Jon King, CNN’s chief national correspondent, will, uhh, take over the Sunday show, in a revamped format.

Gregory to Take Over "Meet the Press"

While I admire NBC's David Gregory for confronting the White House on a host of issues, I find his ascension to moderator of "Meet the Press" as a bad move by the network. During the campaign season he spent most of his time over on MSNBC playing "gotcha" journalism and blurring the line between opinion and news anchor. My fear is that he'll turn "MTP" into some sort of Fox-like shout fest.

Personally, I would have named Chuck Todd moderator and revamped the format to look like it did in the show's early years: A panel of 3 journalists asking the questions with the moderator as the show's anchor. But hey...I don't work for NBC.

I'm not a fan of George Snuffaluffagus, either, although I think his round table discussions are always fun. So it looks like I'll becoming a "Face the Nation" guy for a half-an-hour each Sunday, before tuning into ABC's discussion panel, and finishing off with "The Chris Matthews Show."

Meanwhile, in becoming Tim Russert's permanent replacement (Tom Brokaw signed off as interim moderator this past Sunday), Gregory has some awfully huge shoes to fill. Only time will tell if NBC made the right move.

Leno In Primetime

Just stick needles in my eyes right now. Ugh!

08 December 2008

Little Miss Chloe

Last month, showing us why Larry calls her "C.C." ("Clingy Chloe")...

De-Dicking the Veep

Vice-President-elect Joe Biden's spokesperson:
Vice President-elect Biden [has] no intention of continuing the practice started by Vice President Cheney of regularly attending internal legislative branch meetings — he firmly believes in restoring the Office of the Vice President to its historical role.
The Democratic caucus is set to officially ban the Vice-President from such meetings.

That sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief among true patriots, who are WAY happy that our Constitution is being repaired and restored.


Barack Obama's nomination of Eric Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs is not only a brilliant master-stroke (the man is more than qualified to head the department), but a small "in your face" to the current administration and their Fascist-Republican enablers.

In the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, Shinseki had the temerity to tell Congress that it would take hundreds of thousands of troops to fight the war correctly. That went against then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's opinion that it would be a short conflict fought with minimal troops. Shinseki was removed from the military in short order, and we all know how things went in Iraq after the fall of Baghdad.

As President-elect Obama told Tom Brokaw on "Meet the Press" yesterday...
[Shinseki] was right.
Video from that exchange below:

Penn, the Putz

Mark Penn, the former strategist to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, on documented correspondence where he calls Barack Obama unelectable:
Huh. No. It doesn't say that at all. Those memos, right, that came out, were really ... er, were really, I think, show you, you know, just a piece, because... a small part, a piece of how we were looking to, I think, set up or solve the fact that he was a very strong candidate.
Wow! It seems to me Mr. Penn has been taking his "truthiness" lessons from ol' turd-blossom himself, Karl Rove.

Here's what the memo, penned by Penn himself, said:
[Obama's being born in Hawaii]...exposes a strong weakness for him – his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.
The candidate herself told Gov. Bill Richardson (Democrat-NM) that Obama was unelectable when Richardson called to tell her he'd be endorsing Obama:
He cannot win, Bill! He cannot win.
Gee...I wonder where she got that from!

The first Democrat to win over 50% of the vote since 1964; the first Democrat since that year to win Virginia and Indiana (and part of Nebraska, for that matter); the best showing by candidates of either party since 1988; and an Electoral College tally that is very similar to Bill Clinton's in 1992.

Yeah, Bill! He can't win.

Rep. Jefferson Defeated

Although the presidential election in Louisiana took place on November 4 without incident, state rules allowed for a one month delay in two U.S. House races due to Hurricane Gustav (never mind that the storm hit land on September 1st - those crazy cajuns!).

Yesterday, in the state's 2nd congressional district (which includes New Orleans), nine-term Democratic incumbent William Jefferson went down to defeat to his Republican opponent Joseph Cao, 50% to 47% (with an independent candidate getting the remaining 3%).

This is one of those extremely rare instances where I'm glad to see the Democrat go. Rep. Jefferson has been caught up in a corruption investigation where it is alleged that $400,000 in bribes were paid to him via a fake company that was maintained in the name of his spouse and children. In a subsequent raid on his congressional office, $90,000 in cash was found stashed in his freezer.

Had the Democrats in this district had any brains, they would have denied Jefferson renomination in the primary election. But he remained the Party's nominee and he deserved the beating he received at the ballot boxes yesterday.

Yes...that puts a Republican in the seat, but so be it. Jefferson needed to be removed from the House of Representatives. This is an overwhelming Democratic district and, if the Party nominates the right candidate, Joseph Cao can serve simply as a place holder until 2010 (ala Michael Patrick Flanagan in Chicago, circa 1994).

05 December 2008

"Compromisin', enterprisin', anything but tranquilizin'..."

After turning them down in prior years, Bea Arthur ("Maude," "The Golden Girls") has accepted entry into the TV Academy Hall of Fame.

'atta Girl!

The Vicar of "Spudly"

A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) I worked for a small hospital in Illinois, where, one summer night, a local arrived in the E.R. with a Pepsi bottle stuck up his back side. He was in the backyard painting his house, he said, when he fell to the ground, whereupon he landed, with perfect aim, directly onto the Pepsi bottle.

Not a soul believed the guy. But the bottle was removed and he was discharged without incident.

Imagine my fit of laughter this morning when I read this little tidbit from the U.K.:
The clergyman, in his 50s, told nurses at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital he had been hanging curtains when he fell backwards on to his kitchen table and got a potato stuck up his rectum. He happened to be nude at the time of the mishap, said the vicar...[who] had to undergo a delicate operation to extract the vegetable.
According to hospital officials, who apparently decided that this was the perfect time to bring up other such incidents, the E.R. staff at Sheffield General have removed a number of foreign objects from the backsides and genitals of people up and down the U.K. A can of deodorant, a cucumber, a Russian doll, and a carnation are among the items that have been stuck.

A word of warning to those visiting Sheffield: Don't drink the water! (Or, for that matter, eat the potatoes!!)

The Clinton Constitutional Dilemma

The right-wingers are at it again...trying to take the Clintons down the road of yet another "Constitutional crsis."

Apparently there is an obscure clause in Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution that prohibits members of Congress from being named to federal offices (like the President's cabinet) if a pay raise went into effect for the federal job while the congressman was in office.

This past January, President Bush issued an executive order raising the annual salary for Secretary of State from $186,600 to $191,300. When that raise went into effect, Hillary Clinton was a sitting United States Senator. According to the Constitutional verbiage, she is therefore disqualified from heading the State Department.

I'm no scholar on matters of constitutional law, but two things are clear to me:

1. This is an antiquated clause that disqualifies too may competent, qualified candidates, and it should be repealed by amendment. In this day and age it isn't uncommon for federal officers to receive pay raises every year or two. Moreover, many House and Senate members hold their seats for decades. Conceivably, countless pay raises could have taken place when a president taps them for a cabinet or other government job.

2. If the Republicans are going to make this a problem then, upon taking office, President Obama should repeal Mr. Bush's executive order and return the Secretary of State's salary to $186,600.

A rather simple fix, no?

What is obvious to me, a guy who railed against the Bush administration's sullying of the Constitution, is that if the pay for State Secretary can not be reduced to its original level, then, according to Article I, Section 6, Sen. Clinton's nomination needs to be reconsidered.

But I hope this can be fixed, and then the Constitution amended to change this 18th century rule.