31 March 2009

"How Come Babies Aren't Born Monkeys?"

If Atheists ruled the world (all script text was taken directly from online bat-shit crazy fundamentalist forums)...

Who Knew...

...that the state of California has scheduled a special election for May 19?

Ya know...I mean REALLY! Why the hell do we pay our legislators to represent us in Sacramento if they're going to keep throwing the hard stuff back at us in the form of ballot initiatives? This system of taking issues to the voters has been so abused that it isn't any wonder California is in such dire straits.

With all due respect, too many voters are just too damn stupid to make informed decisions on anything other than political offices. And even then they don't always get it right.

A Big Fat Zero

The Noose Tightens

The Spanish national security court is investigating junior members of the Bush administration on charges of torture. The criminal case stems from an investigation into allegations, sustained by Spain’s Supreme Court, that a citizen of Spain had been tortured in Guantánamo Bay.

The Spanish Court may now seek the arrest of anyone listed in the complaint if they travel to Spain or any of the 24 nations participating in the European Extraditions Treaty.

Among those targeted:
Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo
Former Department of Defense counsel William J. Haynes II
Former vice presidential chief-of-staff David Addington
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee
Former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith
The judge overseeing the criminal complaint, Baltasar Garzón, is no wimp. He is Europe’s best known counterterrorism judge. He rounded up a large number of Basque terrorists and, following the 3/11 attacks in Madrid, spearheaded the successful investigation of Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations.

It should be noted that Garzón did it without the use of extraordinary rendition or torture.

Perhaps this is why President Obama has decided to be more hands off on the issue of torture than I had hoped. If the international community applies enough pressure, things could start snowballing to the point where not just junior members are brought up on war crimes charges, but George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as well.

Is That a Torpedo In Your Pocket?

Hilarious ad from Quiznos...

A re-edited version is currently airing on TV.

Shitty Diddies - 1988

This one is beyond shitty...

(Shout out: Gil)

Special Election In New York

A special election is being held today in New York's 20th congressional district, an area that was a Republican stronghold until 2006, when Kristen Gillibrand won the seat during the big Democratic take over of Congress. Gillibrand is now a United States Senator, appointed to that chamber when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Today's election will determine who holds that House seat until the mid-term elections in 2010.

The Republican candidate, Jim Tedisco, was leading in early polling but his Democratic opponent, Scott Murphy, has taken the lead over the last week or so.

However...polling for House races is notoriously unreliable for special elections, when turnout is generally very low.

If Murphy pulls out a win, what's left of the Republican Party's stature will become a pile of shit dust. If Tedisco wins, then the GOP will hype the victory as some sort of repudiation of Obama administration policies.

This should be interesting.

30 March 2009

Is Michelle Bachman Being Investigated?

If the answer to that question is "no," then why the fuck not?

Give Me A Fucking Break

Rep. John Shimkus (Bat Shit Crazy-IL), during a congressional hearing on global warming...

Little Miss Chloe

Enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon at home...

Changing Minds

A step in the right direction...in Japan:
Japan has given the green light for its nationals to marry same-sex foreign partners in countries where gay marriage is legal, a justice ministry official said Friday.
Who would have thought the government of Japan as more progressive than the voters of the state of California?

Joe the Vice President

Quote of the Day:
...what has been striking to many in the administration has been how strenuously the president has worked to include [Vice President Biden] and, perhaps most notably, the influence Mr. Biden appears to be wielding.

Mr. Obama wanted his No. 2 to be a kind of über-adviser and interdisciplinary trouble-shooter...

Early indications are that the partnership has evolved as they had imagined. “I think he’s playing the role as ‘adviser in chief’ that he has foreseen,” [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton said of Mr. Biden, adding that he was “involved in the whole agenda of the president.”

When both men are in town, Mr. Biden regularly makes the 17-step walk from his West Wing office to the president’s. They speak by phone (communicating rarely if ever by e-mail), and Mr. Obama will spontaneously call and ask the vice president to join him in meetings.

Mr. Biden attends Mr. Obama’s morning briefings on national security and the economy. He has full access to the president’s schedule and is free to attend anything.
-Excerpts from yesterday's New York Times profile of Vice President Biden.

Biden was my first choice for the Democratic presidential nomination in last year's primary contests. Needless to say, when Barack Obama put him on the ticket I was thrilled. From what is reported in the NY Times piece, it sounds like Biden is a tremendous asset to the President's White House team.

Can you imagine Sarah Palin running around the halls of the West Wing handing out advice on Afghanistan?

Bat Shit Crazy

Really? With everything going on in the country right now, the right wing crazies are obssessed with President Obama's use of...a telempromter?!!

Perhaps George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan didn't use teleprompters for opening remarks at press conferences, but they certainly used note cards. (And do you REALLY want to compare Obama to Bush on any matter of public speaking?).

I mean really people! Is this the best you can come up with?

DailyKos TV reports on the current obssession from the bat-shit crazies...

Tim and Larry

Al Hunt:
In two months, [Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner] has unveiled sweeping initiatives - a stress test for big banks, a small-business lending program, a housing plan, a public-private toxic-asset investment program, and a massive financial-reregulation proposal. He meets with [National Economic Council Director] Larry Summers daily and the president almost every day, talks to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke multiple times a day, testifies before Congress on average about twice a week and has been the administration's lead person on the Group of Seven and G-20 deliberations. All with a department where the White House has failed to fill top posts.
I still have my doubts about Geithner and Summers. They were, after all, part of the problem that led to the current banking crisis.

The President seems to have a whole lot of faith in them, and so I'll set aside my earlier calls for their resignations and reserve judgement until such a time that we can determine whether their policies are really working. But again...I'm skeptical.

27 March 2009

Rhymes with "Ditch"

trea·son (trē′zən)


1. the betrayal of trust; treachery
2. the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegience
3. see Michelle Bachman

Obama's Plan For Afghanistan

From the New York Times:
President Obama said on Friday that he plans to further bolster American forces in Afghanistan, increase aid to Pakistan, and for the first time set benchmarks for progress in fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban in both chaotic countries.

In strikingly ominous tones, Mr. Obama warned — just as President George W. Bush did repeatedly over the years — of intelligence estimates that al Qaeda "is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. The situation is increasingly perilous."
Some on the left will balk at the President's statement. It reeks of Bush-speak. However, had the previous president not taken his eye off the ball in 2003 the situation along the Afghan-Pakistani border wouldn't be so perilous. Our unnecessary venture into Iraq left a wide opening for al-Qaeda to regroup and the Taliban to return to power. (Don't let the right-wingers tell you that Bush won the "war on terror." Just because we haven't been attacked since 9/11 doesn't mean we won't be. And, God forbid, if and when we are, we'll all be able to point to Mr. Bush's stunning decision to focus on Iraq rather than al-Qaeda as the reason terrorist groups were able to carry out such an attack.)

Like the banking crisis and economic downturn, the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are big huge shitty messes - the result of extreme incompetence and mismanagement by the government of George W. Bush. President Obama and his team are working around the clock to try and clean things up and put our foreign policy back on steady footing. At first blush, this new policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan is a step in the right direction.


I hope the President, along with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, realize that success against these radical jihadists will not come from military ventures alone (the British and the Soviets tried...and failed). Non-military police actions, conducted by both American and Pakistani intelligence agencies, are the best bet to close down existing terrorist bases and to prevent future camps from opening.

Like his handling of the economy, most Americans will give the new president some wiggle room here. But if things begin to look Bush-esque - if the Afghan/Pakistan venture turns into a money-sucking quagmire - they will turn on a dime.

That said, I trust this team implicitly to adjust decisions and policies when the situation requires it. I'm just sayin'...

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Rachel Maddow takes on the Republican "budget proposal" (such that it is)...

End-of-the-Week Levity

And you thought President Obama had a nasty mess to clean up!


I hate this song with every fiber of my being, but when this cute little geek boy does it using sign language...well...how can you resist?

Watch him take on Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" here.

And Rhianna's "Disturbia" here.

26 March 2009

8 Songs

Eight songs to help get you through your Thursday...

Track Listing:
Dirty Little Secret - 54 Seconds
Sing the Changes - The Firemen
Take Me To the River - Talking Heads
Life Is Okay - Michael Johns w/ Brooke White
A Town Called Heartbreak - Patti Scialfa
To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High) - Ryan Adams
The Fox - Elton John
Be My Number Two - Joe Jackson

Zdravstvuyte, Gutentag, and How YOU Doon

A big hearty welcome to new regular readers in Moscow, Berlin, and Brooklyn. USW is an extremely minor player in the overall blogosphere, getting a mere 400 hits a day on average. So thank you for visiting. My appreciation truly can't be measured.


Light posting today. Back up to full speed sometime tomorrow.

Sorry, folks.

25 March 2009

The Second Time Around

President Obama held the second press conference of his 63-day-old presidency last night and once again came across as steady, unflappable, and up to the enormous task. He showcased his command of the issues confronting our great nation, reminded everyone that the pile of shit dust he is trying to clean up was left behind by the incompetents of the previous administration, and reiterated the fact that it is going to take a long time pull out of it.

After eight years of speeches and press conferences that were written and read as if by a C- junior high school student with lazy speech patterns, Mr. Obama's competence was front and center last night, reassuring Americans of all political stripes that he has command of things and that the grown ups are back at the helm.

Add to that the fact that the President ventured out into rough seas last night, calling on members of the press who could be labeled as a bit "unfriendly." The AP, the Washington Times, and even ABC's Jake Tapper have all been accused of having pretty strong right-wing leanings over the last couple of years, and their reporting has had a slight anti-Obama edge. And Obama went out of his way to call on them for questions last night. No male hooker press plants for this president, no sir. (In fact, President Obama shook things up further by not calling on such traditional media outlets as the New York Times and the Washington Post.)

The questions by these reporters weren't necessarily gotcha questions (although Chuck Todd's came from the far reaches of outer-space), but Obama handled them with ease none the less. I think only the bat-shit crazies on the far right could have come away from last night's press conference thinking Mr. Obama is unable to handle the enormous problems left behind by Hurricane George.

As for mainstream America, they know full well who is responsible for the mess. And right now they're willing to give the new president some time to figure it all out as he tries to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.


After getting pretty substantial answers regarding the AIG debacle and the current spending bill, CNN's Ed Henry tried to follow up with a rather idiotic question. He soon learned that you don't pull that shit with this president...

Changing Minds

Or, at least trying to change minds within her own political party. Meghan McCain "goes rogue"...

Ok...is there a reporter out there who has the cajones to ask her what she really thinks of Sarah Palin?

Hella Cool Image of the Day

Four of Saturn's moons (and the shadows of two) crossing the planet's face at the same time (taken by the Hubble Telescope)...

Shitty Diddies - 1989

While far from masterpieces, the first two solo albums released by Phil Collins in the early 80s were pretty strong pop records. But somewhere around mid-decade he fell into the shitty diddy black hole, turning out pure crap that for some reason or another kept returning him to the top of the charts.

Here is the last of those #1s..."Another Day In Paradise"...

24 March 2009

In Case You Missed It

President Obama lets Dick Cheney have it...

Now...Mr. President...if you would just let your Justice Department investigate Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush for war crimes...

Officially, Royally Fucked

Quote of the Day:
AIG is what happens when short, bald managers of otherwise boring financial bureaucracies start seeing Brad Pitt in the mirror. This is a company that built a giant fortune across more than a century by betting on safety-conscious policyholders — people who wear seat belts and build houses on high ground — and then blew it all in a year or two by turning their entire balance sheet over to a guy who acted like making huge bets with other people's money would make his dick bigger.
-Matt Taibbi, poetic as always as he puts it all in perspective.

The Obama Generation

Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 went for Barack Obama last November by a stunning margin of 66% to 32%. Since taking office, the President's support with that age group has increased:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Approve 74%
Disapprove 17%
As for the Republicans, their hardcore fascism puts them "on the precipice of becoming irrelevant to young people," according to Meghan McCain, daughter of Mr. Obama's opponent last November.

The only age group McCain won were the over 65s. As they begin to dwindle in number, we could very well see a long term Democratic hold on the White House for a couple of decades or so, with a Republican term thrown in here or there for balance (similar to how the Republicans held the presidency for 28 of the previous 40 years).

Premature Harsh Judgments?

Was I a bit too apoplectic yesterday in my assessment of the Obama economic team? I don't think so, but for balance here are a couple of opposing views...

Andrew Leonard, tells antsy bloggers like me to calm the hell down:
...there is at least one crucial difference [between the Bush response to the banking crisis and Obama's response]. Geithner has delivered an actual, actionable plan to the American public and Wall Street. [Bush's Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson never achieved even that much.

In dealing with the economic crisis as a whole, the Obama administration has put into play a steady flow of initiatives that should, in theory, all work together. In addition to the stimulus, the housing plan and credit relief for small businesses, there's also been a budget proposal addressing long-term issues that even Paul Krugman found impossible not to praise...

All along, it has been universally agreed that the most glaring weakness of the Obama portfolio has been the lack of detail on how Geithner intended to tackle the banking system. But there is a difference between a lack of detail and utterly contradictory confusion. If we can hold our breath long enough to calmly assess the last two months, one can see that amid all the noise, the Obama administration has been moving carefully forward in one direction.
Andrew Sullivan makes the argument that Obama's got this and we need not worry:
If the rebound is as marked as the downturn was severe, the feelgood factor could kick in with a vengeance. Think of a president who, on facing the voters for reelection, can point to a recovery from the nadir of 2009, thousands of troops returning from Iraq and universal healthcare. Not too shabby a prospect.

Give him time. Then give him hell. That’s the philosophy most Americans understand – and they’d like this new president to succeed. They also know how deep this hole is and don’t expect it to disappear overnight. They won’t suspend judgment, but I suspect they won’t rush to it either. How’s he doing? As Koch might say: come back in a year and we’ll talk.

23 March 2009

Oakland's Frustration

Saturday's horrendous murders in Oakland are the latest in a sudden increase in violence in a city that is already violent enough.

That the victims were cops this time just adds to the frustration and sense of helplessness.

I drive through Oakland everyday to get to work in Alameda, and believe me...drive through is exactly what I do. No stopping for anything for any reason. Oakland has become the South Central of the Bay Area. And if things don't change soon, if the mayor and the police don't figure a way out of the morass, then Alameda County and the state of California will have one hell of a problem on their hands.

Paper Cuts


Is It Time To Dump Geithner and Summers?

In so far as the banking crisis is concerned, there doesn't seem to be a lot of confidence in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House Economic Director Larry Summers.

Paul Krugman, on the Obama administration's bank rescue plan:
This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair...

Right now, our economy is being dragged down by our dysfunctional financial system, which has been crippled by huge losses on mortgage-backed securities and other assets.

As economic historians can tell you, this is an old story, not that different from dozens of similar crises over the centuries. And there’s a time-honored procedure for dealing with the aftermath of widespread financial failure. It goes like this: the government secures confidence in the system by guaranteeing many (though not necessarily all) bank debts. At the same time, it takes temporary control of truly insolvent banks, in order to clean up their books.

That’s what Sweden did in the early 1990s. It’s also what we ourselves did after the savings and loan debacle of the Reagan years. And there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing now.

Mr. Geithner...proposes a complicated scheme in which the government lends money to private investors, who then use the money to buy the stuff. The idea, says Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, is to use “the expertise of the market” to set the value of toxic assets.
It is that sort of risky market manipulation that landed us in this fix in the first place. To use the same methodology to dig us out of this mess is like pouring a fountain of gasoline on an out of control fire.

I understand that this problem will take years to solve. But I expected a solid plan to be put in place by now and it seems President Obama's economic team is flailing.

Geithner and Summers are creatures of Wall Street. They've had their chance to offer a solid fix for the mistakes of the last decade, and they have failed. I believe it's time for the President to ask them to step aside and bring some solid liberal credentials to the table.

18 March 2009

Blogger Break

I am off to visit family for a few days, and have decided to use the opportunity to take a blogger's break. I'll be back Monday morning.


Shitty Diddies - 1981

Ummm...oh my god...my ears...MY EARS!!

"All I Have to Do Is Dream" - Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal (Believe it or not, this highly toxic hunk of junk made it to #51 in 1981)...

U.S. Will Sign U.N. Gay Rights Declaration

From the AP, via MSNBC:
The Obama administration will endorse a non-binding U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that former president George W. Bush refused to sign.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a war criminal like Bush wouldn't sign a non-binding resolution (ie: the declaration doesn't have the force of law) such as this. The man was a divider, not a uniter.

17 March 2009

Thinking of Grandma

Forget Christmas and New Years, Easter and the 4th of July...my grandmother lived to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. She was so proud of her Irish heritage (her maiden name was McCrandall), one might have thought she belonged in Boston or Chicago, rather than Michigan, where she spent 70 years of her life.

She passed away on January 10, 2006, but every March 17th she is heavy on my mind. In her memory I wish all of you a very happy St. Patrick's Day.

The Dumbing Down of America Continues

The dim-bulb standing in front of me at Safeway last night:
I was, like, running real late so I didn't have time for a ticket, so I told the cop, I was like, "Oh my god, I really need to go, so can we, like, maybe hurry this up?" And he got all up in my face and was like "You should have thought of that before you broke the law."
[Insert high screeched giggle here.]
I was like, I wasn't breaking the law I was speeding.

Lying Liars and the Fucking Fuckers Who Tell Them

Faux News has absolutely no shame.

No credibility and no shame.

Watch the first video and you'll think Vice-President Biden has changed his tune about the economy. But then watch the second video...from September!

"Streep," "Walters," and Patsy

The movie was only so-so, but this comic take by the Saunders-French-Lumley trio is absolutely fabulous...

Shitty Diddies - 1985

One of the biggest piles of stinking, steaming crap ever...

Fireside Chats 2.0

John Dickerson reports:
In an effort to educate the public on the state of the economy and his plans for improving it, President Obama is considering a series of short televised addresses similar to Franklin Roosevelt's fireside chats. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has told the television networks that the administration may request more time than usual for a president. Gibbs did not provide a schedule but described the addresses as lasting about 10 minutes each.

Self Destruction

The firing squad has completed its circle and the triggers are being pulled:
The approval rating of Republican Party leaders among Republicans has plummeted 12 points in a month, down from 55% in February to a minority of 43% now.

Hillbilly Breakups

Or, "He's Just Not That Into Her Right Now"

Michael Palin Steele

RNC Chair Michael Steele:
We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right?
Well, actually...wrong.

16 March 2009

Manic Monday Buffoonery

Knock down, bellyache hilarity. You'll never look at Grover or the Count quite the same again...

(Shout out: Gil)

Dicks and the Cocksuckers Who Interview Them

Other than John King, does anyone really care what this war criminal has to say about anything?!?

(For the record, Human Events is a radical fascist right wing rag.)

Little Miss Chloe

...spending Saturday afternoon out at Fort Funston with Maggi.

Changing Minds

Quote of the Day:
Over the last seven years, boredom has never been a part of our relationship. Empathy has been a part, as has anger at times. But a hard-earned love for each other is finally the basis of it all. I can’t imagine my life now without Brandon in it.

The Family Center suggests spending alternate weekends with each other, for a total of six to 10 hours a month—though Brandon and I usually spend more time together than that. We’ve gone to museums and the movies, played basketball, and ridden miles and miles of bike trails. During the early years, I ate more fast food than I’d ever eaten before—until Brandon learned his new favorite word: brunch. Now he’d rather eat eggs Benedict than Egg McMuffin.

...We were having dinner the other night on the way to see Daniel Radcliffe in the play Equus when I asked Brandon’s permission to write this story. I was curious about what his favorite memory was of the seven years we had been spending time together. Would it be one of the Yankees or Knicks games we had attended? Would it be the time, in my role as a celebrity interviewer, I’d persuaded Mariah Carey to sing “Happy Birthday” to him on my tape recorder? Or when I introduced him to Marisa Tomei at my local flea market in Chelsea? How about the first time I took him on an airplane? The first time he beat me at bowling? His first horseback ride on Cape Cod, where he comes to visit me for a week each summer?

“I think it was the first time we played that board game Clue when I was a little kid, and I suddenly had an accident in my pants,” Brandon said. “You didn’t make fun of me. I had really bad diarrhea. And you took care of me. That’s it. You just took care of me.” He paused, knowing he had surprised me with that answer. “I tell you things I don’t tell nobody else,” he said softly. “I’d have a lot more pain inside me if you hadn’t been around.”
-Kevin Sessums, in a moving essay on how being a mentor to a teenager in NYC changed both of their lives.

The entire piece is well worth your time. You can read it by clicking here.

Hella Bat-Shit Crazy

Anita Bryant is back, and up to hella-scary, treasonous no-good:
...the entire fourth floor of [Bryant's offices were] filled with defense contractors involved in the machinations of war... Down below tourists walked along the water canal or ordered chicken wings in a restaurant, while just above them secretive merchants of death were networking with Native American tribal officials and using them as minority-preference fronts in order to obtain multi-million dollar contracts with the United States Department of Defense.
Uhhh...can you say holy fuck!

Breaking News: Nit-Wit Twigs Go Mad

Give me a break:
Pandemonium erupted outside of an "America's Next Top Model" casting call at CW Studios in midtown Saturday when an overheating car triggered a stampede of catwalk-craving cuties. Screaming as they ran for their lives, hundreds of hotties in heels toppled over barricades along W. 55th St. after several people in the crowd started yelling, "There's a bomb!"

One can only hope this will mark the beginning of the end of reality TV.

It won't.

But a guy can wish, can't he?

15 March 2009

The End Is Near

Quote for a Sunday:
...being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence.
-Michael Spencer, writing on the coming evangelical collapse, in the March 10 edition of the Christian Science Monitor.


That's my score (out of a possible 400) on the Progressive Quiz given by the Center for American Progress. That makes me "extremely progressive."


Take the quiz and find out your own score by clicking here.

13 March 2009

Stewart vs. Cramer

Jon Stewart hands Cry-Baby Cramer his ass, and in the process does the job NBC, the Wall Street Journal, and the rest of the corporate media failed to do: Demand accountability.

The 2008 election was a much needed turning of the page. No longer will Americans roll over for epic-scale failures by our leaders (both political and non-political) without consequences. It's time to pay the piper. And if it has to start with Cramer, so be it. Now let's move on to Bush and Paulson and Cheney and Rove and Gonzales and...

(Warning: This "non-bleeped version" throws a few F-bombs.)

End-of-the-Week Levity

From his reaction, you would think this guy just won a huge tournament of some sort. But, no. Make sure to catch the last five seconds of the video.

Republicans Hate America

As Americans stare into the abyss, as we struggle to regain our footing after being driven off a cliff by George W. Bush, the Republicans want to make life harder for us all:
Gov. Rick Perry (Fascist-Republican, TX) will announce today that he is blocking the state from accepting $550 million for expanded unemployment benefits.
That's fine, Gov. Perry. President Obama will gladly take your state's 34 electoral votes in 2012. You keep up the good work!

The Challenges We Face

Up front and honest. And the polar opposite of his incompetent predecessor...


First, the demise of Marshall Field's, and now this?

From the Chicago Tribune:
Willis Group Holdings, an insurance broker based in London, is consolidating its American offices into 140,000 square feet of office space at the Sears Tower. The deal will allow them to change the name of the landmark building.

Come this summer, it will be known as the Willis Tower.

I haven't lived there in about a decade, but I can imagine how Chicagoans feel right about now. And the Willis Group better hope they have the thick skin to ride out the major shit storm coming their way.

Rhymes With "Witch"

Only in Orange County. This skank held up the drive-thru while she called 9-1-1 (9-1-1 !! ) to report that Burger King gave her the wrong burger order. Because...you know...she just picked her kids up at Tae-Kwon-Do and they're hungry and she's totally not gonna cook for them when they get home because she has to drive on the freeway and that sort of concentration makes her so tired and besides she's too busy soaking her rich husband of all his money.


Listen to the sorry exchange with the emergency operator here.

(Shout out: Toddney)

12 March 2009

U.S. Senate - California 2010

Since his landslide re-election in 2006, Republicans have been hoping beyond hope that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for the United States Senate against the Democratic incumbent, Barbara Boxer, in 2010. The GOP eye her seat with lust each time she stands for re-election, yet each and every time they fall flat on their face (she won re-election in 1998 by ten points, and in 2004 by twenty).

A new poll from Rasmussen indicates that not even the star power of "Ah-nuld" can derail Sen. Boxer:
Boxer (D) 50%
Schwarzenegger (R) 34%
It's way too early of course (remember...the front runners for the presidency in 2007 were Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani), and if this economy doesn't stabilize by the mid-term elections all bets are off, but this is a very nice position for Boxer a year-and-a-half out.

And outside of the Governor, the Republican bench in California is pretty empty.

Went-With-the-Wind Barbie

Would it be too gay for me to say I want one!?

For those readers who aren't as antiquated as I, here is the classic skit from "The Carol Burnett Show" that provided the inspiration for the new Barbie...

Part 1:

Part 2:

(Shout out: Joe Jervis)

Bat-Shit Crazy

A committee in the Georgia state senate advanced a bill on Monday that would halt all embryonic stem cell research in the state, despite President Obama's executive order allowing such research. Alabama and South Carolina have introduced similar bills in their legislatures (calling them "personhood bills"), which seek to apply the word "persons" to all human life, irrespective to biological development (inlcuding, apparently, microscopic goo).

Next up in these backward, bat-crazy states: Murder charges against women who have their monthly period and men who masturbate.

Cheney's Secret Assassination Ring

During a Tuesday night town hall event with former vice-president Walter Mondale, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh let slip a key story he was set to release in a new book:
Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command...It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to [Cheney]...

Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially...

Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.
President Obama has put a stop to these secret assassination missions.

If Hersh's reporting is true, then the list of war crimes against the previous administration just got gravely longer. And justice will not be served until both Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are tried and punished by the International War Crimes Tribunal.

Shitty Diddies - 1984

With lyrics like "she's as heavy...as a chevy," it's obvious that Kool and the Gang had lost their way by 1984, when this steaming piece of crap reached #10. (And what is with the video, anyway?)


Steele Cajones

Embattled Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele on a woman's right to choose:
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice.
And, Mr. Steele on whether homosexuality is a choice:
Oh, no. I don't think I've ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there's a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can't simply say, oh, like, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being gay.' It's like saying, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being black.
Yeah...but after those two comments, tomorrow morning you may stop being the RNC chairman.

The Return of Sanity and Common Sense, Part II

Quote of the Day:
President Obama's decision to reopen negotiations with the Syrians is about much more than bilateral relations between the two countries. Syria's cooperation is integral to initiating game-changing policies toward Iran and to achieving progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track.
-Steve Clemons, at the Washington Note, on an announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the United States is ready to chart a new path in Middle East diplomacy, and will begin talks with the government of Syria.

Despite ties to Hamas and Hizbullah, Syria has been signaling that it is ready to give peace with Israel a chance. That won't happen without America's help. And with the grown-ups back in charge, it's time to get to work on a workable agreement.

In Case You Missed It

This past Sunday's "Peter Goes Gay" episode of "The Family Guy"...

And read about the the bat-shit wing-nut head explosions over the episode here.

Happy Birthday...

...Homeland Security color coded advisory thingee.

You turn 7 today. In Bush years that's 112, and your age is showing. President Obama has ordered a complete check-up and, if necessary, having you humanely euthanized.

11 March 2009

Just For Kicks

"Little Gordon Ramsey"...

Will A Second Stimulus Be Required?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks so.

Noxious Gas

With juveniles like this running things, no wonder our cities are falling apart...


Sen. David Vitter, the hooker-loving Republican senator from Louisiana, seems to have a problem with his temper.

Remembering Edmund

Five years ago today, the singer Edmund Sylvers passed away following a battle with lung cancer. Sylvers and his brothers and sisters scored several chart hits in the 70s and 80s, but are most remembered for the #1 platinum single, "Boogie Fever."

One of the more under-appreciated groups in the genre, the Sylvers recorded some of the finest R&B songs of the day, including "Fool's Paradise," "Wish I Could Talk To You," "Don't Stop, Get Off," and "Come Back Lover, Come Back." Their music provided me with a certain escape when I was growing up. As such, their library will always hold a place near and dear.

It's not much of a tribute, as I was limited to what was offered on YouTube, but click here for a few of the Sylvers' greatest (and, to be fair, one or two not so greatest).

10 March 2009

New Marriage Ballot Measure Takes Extra Step

The California Secretary of State's office has authorized the circulation of a petition for a ballot initiative that would overturn Prop 8 and replace the term "marriage" with "domestic partnership" under California law:
The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure: SUBSTITUTES DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP FOR MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA LAW. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. Replaces the term 'marriage' with the term 'domestic partnership' throughout California law, but preserves the rights provided in marriage. Applies equally to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. Repeals the provision in California’s Constitution that states only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: This measure would have an unknown fiscal effect on state and local governments. (09-0003).
The measure was submitted by Ali Shams and Kaelan Housewright, two heterosexual college students from southern California, and requires 694,354 signatures by August 6, 2009 in order to get on the ballot.

Low Blow From Equality California

The sign allegedly seen outside the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco last week may have been a fake. It seems the only photo taken of it was by the folks at Equality California, the hapless saps who ran the No on 8 campaign. Dan Savage has the story...and some questions:
Equality California sent it out last night along with a fundraising pitch. "Imagine that kick-in-the-gut feeling I got when I saw a sign that said 'Dan White: Hero. Killing a Queer' in front of the Supreme Court building last Thursday," writes Equality California ED Geoff Kors. Then asks for a donation.

I have some questions about this sign: Who took the picture? Where? When? Is the person holding the sign standing inside a building? Weren't the demonstrations outside? And who is holding the sign? Why is the picture cropped the way it is? Why was the person holding the sign cropped out of it? If someone was carrying that sign at the massive demonstrations outside the California Supreme Court's hearing last week about Prop 8, wouldn't dozens of people have taken pictures of it? Wouldn't it have been all over gay blogs and news website right away? Why did it take nearly a week for this picture—seemingly the only one taken of this sign—to surface? And it surfaces not on blogs or news websites, but in a fundraising email for the group that fatally mismanaged the "No on 8" campaign?

If we heard about a gay person carrying an outrageously incendiary sign at a large, public demonstration ("Kill All the Christians and Let God Sort 'Em Out!" or whatever) and a picture didn't surface until days later, and the person carrying the sign was carefully cropped out, and it wasn't entirely clear that the person carrying the sign was even at the demonstration, we would be skeptical, to say the least. We'd be screaming bloody murder, actually, and demanding proof.
I've removed the link to Equality California's donation page from the blogroll to your right. It's been replaced with a link to the Courage Campaign. EQCA doesn't deserve another cent of your money, and should have absolutely no roll in overturning Prop 8. Their mismanagement of the No on 8 campaign, and their subsequent refusal to take responsibility for the proposition's passage, are absolutely abhorrent. And if the story behind this sign is even remotely true, they can't be trusted.

Update: Apparently the sign is real. That said, I stand by my criticism of EQCA. They failed us at just about every turn.

Reagan Praises Obama

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan (you know...wife of the Republican patron saint, Ronald Reagan):
I’m very grateful that President Obama has lifted the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward. I urge researchers to make use of the opportunities that are available to them, and to do all they can to fulfill the promise that stem cell research offers.
Rush Limbaugh just swallowed a couple of Oxycotin tablets and kicked his dog across the room.

Shitty Diddies - 1986

Careful...this one will make your ears bleed.

09 March 2009

Otherwise Known As the "Terrible Twos"

Quote of the Day #2:
My two-year-old daughter has hit the Republican phase of her life: her two favorite words are "mine" and "no!"
-Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos.

The Return of Sanity and Common Sense

From the NY Times:
Pledging that his administration will “make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology,” President Obama on Monday lifted the Bush administration’s strict limits on human embryonic stem cell research.

At a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, before an audience that included lawmakers, scientists and patients, several of them in wheelchairs, Mr. Obama announced that he was issuing an executive order intended to advance the research.
How refreshing! With the stroke of his pen, the President brought sanity, logic, and common sense back to America.

The evil empire really is gone!

15 Songs

Fifteen songs to help get your work week started. Just press the play button, sit back, and enjoy...

Take a Chance - The Magic Numbers
Picture Book - The Kinks
Shining Light - Annie Lennox
More of This - Vetiver
The Sea - Morcheeba
Fool's Paradise - The Sylvers
Octopus's Garden (From "Love") - The Beatles
Learning How to Live - Lucinda Williams
Magic - Bruce Springsteen
Ben's Letter - 54 Seconds
Saint - Texas
Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics
Back Home - Bottle of Justus
Spiraling - Keane
Insider - Tom Petty & the Hearbreakers w/ Stevie Nicks
Side note: That last track from Tom Petty was originally supposed to be a Stevie Nicks song. In 1981, when Nicks was recording her first solo album, she approached Petty and asked him to write her a song. He gave her "Insider." As they arranged vocals during the recording session, Petty realized he loved the song too much to give it up. Stevie understood, sang harmony on the track, and in return Petty gave her another song - something he had already written but had yet to record. Some of you may have heard it - a little diddy called "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."

Obama's Inheritence

President Obama, addressing the question of whether his programs constitute "socialism," while taking questions from reporters on Air Force One late last week:
It wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement, the prescription drug plan, without a source of funding. We’ve actually been operating in a way that has been entirely consistent with free-market principles, and some of the same folks who are throwing the word socialist around can’t say the same.

By the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system. The fact that we’ve had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk taking has precipitated a crisis.
And, let's not forget, incompetent governance by the Bush administration.

The bat-shit wing-nuts aside, most Americans understand the current mess has nothing to do with President Obama or his policies. The deeper the economy spirals out of control, the more Mr. Bush's legacy as the worst president in American history solidifies.

Andrew Sullivan:
Most Americans understand what this man inherited.

He didn't borrow and spend in a boom, as Bush did. He is borrowing and spending to counter a downturn more pernicious than any in memory. He isn't bailing out the banks with an invisible and unaccountable slush-fund, as Bush did. He's doing so transparently and bending over backwards to keep as many banks in private hands (not socialist enough for many, even on the right).

Little Miss Chloe

Posing in front of the flowers in her Aunt Laura's backyard this past Saturday...

Hurricane George

Are lower wages next?

It looks like that may be the case:
With "no end in sight" for U.S. job losses amid a recession that could stretch into 2010, American workers will soon have to contend with another blow to their confidence: stagnant, or even falling wages.

Job seekers — already coping with the highest unemployment rate in a quarter century — can also expect lower pay once they land a new job, labor market experts say, because the current downturn shows no signs of turning around anytime soon.

"There's no end in sight," said Tig Gilliam, chief executive of Adecco Group North America, the third-largest U.S. employer behind Wal-Mart and the postal service.

"March is going to be the same, and I don't see anything that will make April better." Lower wages, in turn, could further erode the outlook for the U.S. economy by hurting consumers' spending power.

Just For Kicks

TV commercials in Europe rock...

"Mother Nature Doesn't Do Bailouts"

Quote of the Day:
We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese ...

We can’t do this anymore.
-Tom Friedman, in yet another spot-on essay, in yesterday's NY Times.

Friedman argues that the current recession (depression?) will be remembered as the "great disruption" - the moment when the United States and her global neighbors realized that the trajectory they were on was financially and environmentally unsustainable.

Personally, I think it would do today's younger generation a world of good to be knocked off their cushy, materialistic perches.

07 March 2009

Sobriety, Patience, Hope

The President's weekly address:

The Incompetence of the No on 8 Campaign

The campaign received an open letter from Barack Obama last year that read, in part:
I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states ... Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.
What a difference that letter would have made in the black community, where increased turnout for Mr. Obama, combined with an overwhelming vote within that community for Prop 8, ensured passage of the amendment. Publishing such a letter could have moved enough votes to the other side to make a difference. But...

What did the incompetents running the No on 8 campaign do with the letter?


The mind reels.

Disgusting and Beyond Vile

Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill.
-Republican party leader Rush Limbaugh.

06 March 2009

End-of-the-Week Levity II

Steve Perry and Journey? Or, Rod Blagojevich and the Indigo Girls?

I report. You decide.

(Shout out: Mark)

McCaskill In 2016?

Definitely worth thinking about...

Breaking News: Obamas Are Swingers

Not what you think...but you never know how the trolls at Fox News will cover such a story.

Disgusting and Beyond Vile

Sign seen outside the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco yesterday:
Dan White: Hero For Killing A Queer
I mean really...what can you say in response to such vile hatred?

End-of-the-Week Levity

Shitty Diddies - 1986

Definitely one of those songs you listen to today and think, "What the fuck were we thinking?"

"Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco

Common Sense Goverment

Attorney General Eric Holder announced earlier this week that the federal government will stop raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in states where the plant is legal. The move essentially makes pot legal in, I believe, thirteen states that have passed medical marijuana laws.

Unlike cigarettes and other tobacco products, marijuana isn't lethal and, in fact, has been proven to relieve pain and depression (among other ailments).

Eventually, it will be legal in all 50 states. And a regulated pot industry would be a jackpot of tax revenue for state governments (and the feds, too). In fact, if it were possible to legalize and collect taxes on it today, I bet the revenue would pay for the stimulus package that was passed last month by years end.

Hurricane George

The unemployment rate spiked to 8.1% in February, the highest rate since 1983.

I expect it will reach 10% or more before this is over.

Prosecute Now

Rachel Maddow talks with Sen. Patrick Leahy (Deomcrat-VT) about setting up a truth commission to investigate George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the criminals who made up their administration, without offering immunity to anyone.

Regulating Tobacco

From Reuters:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would gain new power to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products under legislation passed by a U.S. House of Representatives panel on Wednesday.

...[The bill] would authorize the FDA to oversee the controversial, multibillion-dollar tobacco industry, including its advertisements and product designs. The FDA already oversees drugs, devices, most foods, cosmetics and animal drugs.
This could be the first step to an outright ban on the nasty drug. And I'd be in full support.

05 March 2009

Split Decision?

From the San Jose Mercury News:
The California Supreme Court today appeared inclined to uphold Proposition 8, but showed obvious reluctance to void thousands of same-sex marriages already in place when voters restored a ban on gay marriage last fall.
Kind of what I expected.

The underlying problem here is the ease with which voters in California can amend the state constitution. It takes a simple majority (50% +1) to make a change, the result being well over 500 amendments to the document.

By contrast, it takes a 2/3 vote of both houses of congress plus 3/4 of the state legislatures to amend the United States Constitution. Because of that high hurdle, it has only been amended 27 times.



If the judges rule as I think, it will be because they feel they don't have the power to overrule the voters on the issue of a constitutional amendment (last year's ruling that allowed marriage was made regarding an initiative...there's a difference).

If the Supremes rule against marriage, then two things will need to happen:

1. We wait a couple of election cycles and put a repeal amendment on the ballot in 2012. But we don't spend that time resting on our laurels. Instead, we set out to change minds. We lost Prop 8 by a very small margin last November. Another four years and we should be able to reverse that result. Time is on our side, so long as we don't waste it.

2. At some point a constitutional convention is going to need to take place. Amending the constitution should not be something that can be done so easily. It is dangerous, it ties the hands of judges, and it's un-American.

Changing Minds

Whatever the verdict by the state supreme court, marriage equality will eventually come to pass. The younger generation support it overwhelmingly.

Strong case in point...meet Sam:

Prop 8 Goes to Court

The California State Supreme Court will hear arguments in San Francisco today on the validity of Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative that banned same sex marriage.

As they weigh the arguments and make their decision (which is due within 90 days), the justices of the court would do well to remember 1964's Proposition 14, a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to allow landlords the right to reject rental applications based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, and physical handicap.

It passed that year with an astounding 65% of the vote.

But the State Supreme Court, and later the United States Supreme Court, ruled that Prop 14 violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I'm not holding my breath, but if a majority of the current court has half a brain, they'd apply the same thinking to the Prop 8 case being argued before them today.

25 Things About Facebook


The Great Realignment

Karl Rove's wish for a permanent Republican majority seems to have gone up in smoke, hasn't it? Rove's former boss, so incompetent and divisive, handed his successor and the opposition party a greater chance for political realignment than Rove could have ever wished for his Republican Party.

Damon Link takes a look at the turning point the last election gave the Democrats, and how the Republicans look to spend some serious time in the political wilderness.

Key take-away:
...the party's embrace of the insufferable Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher is such a perfect expression of what the anti-government impulse that led to Reagan's victory in 1980 has become after 28 years in power. Having badly bungled a war, shown gross incompetence in responding to a natural disaster, and presided over the near-total collapse of the nation's (and the world's) financial system, the leadership of the Republican Party thinks it's a good idea to follow the advice (or rather, to pretend to follow the advice) of some guy who (to put it delicately) has no fucking idea what he's talking about. [The current Republican Party] has no business getting within a stone's throw of the White House any time soon.

For the moment, a majority of Americans seem to agree.
The main problem with Bill Clinton's first two years as president is that he mistook his anemic 43% victory as a mandate to lurch left. Sure, he won the popular vote against the first Bush (37%) and Ross Perot (19%), and he won a strong Electoral College victory (370 to 168 to 0), but still...57% of Americans voted against him. While he eventually respected the result, Mr. Clinton's popularity during his first two years in the White House sank quickly as he attempted to push liberal policies through the congress that most Americans disagreed with at the time.

President Obama doesn't have that problem. The mess the second Bush leaves behind is mountainous compared to the minor recession his father left Clinton, and the current mess includes two mismanaged wars and a crippling national debt. Most Americans are done with right-wing governance.

No one knows for sure if the ambitious Obama agenda will put America back on firm footing. But with a strong 53% share of the vote last November, an Electoral College tally that was far and above either of Bush's anemic totals, and a robust 71% approval rating, the President has the wind of American support at his back as he moves ahead on an agenda that could very well shift the course of American government to the left.