Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gee, I wonder whose hand was on the throttle?

And, of course, no 'train wreck' analogy would be complete without a few lines from the old gospel number "Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad":

Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that's brave.
We must make the run successful
From the cradle to the grave.
Watch the curves, the fills and tunnels,
Never falter, never fail.
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eyes upon the rail.

The only thing Bush has done is to hold his ideological wrongheaded fantasy WFO until it derailed us all at high speed.

A video of that number here. Caution: Watch yer blood pressure! These Methodists rock!

Yeah, those are real kneeslappers...


The laughs we missed: If only Jay Leno and "SNL" had been there for Nixon, Hoover, and Lincoln

The biggest yuks came when Carson leaned over and said, "With all due respect, Mr. President, what's really on that tape that your secretary accidentally erased?"

Replied Nixon: "I can finally tell the nation that....", and he continued to move his lips for about 45 seconds without uttering a sound, as the audience roared its approval.

Asked by Carson why he agreed to go on the late-night comedy show, Nixon replied: "Because you are completely nuts -- and we ought to know, because we just burglarized your psychiatrist's office!"

Bada bing!

But seriously, folks, I'm wondering how Americans ever elected a president before "SNL" arrived to put it all in the proper perspective for us.

Yeah, I wonder. Note: Under the terms of The Pundit Full Employment Act, the 2012 election coverage will start on November 5th.

More on Randi

Left Talk Radio has a pretty good analysis of Randi Rhodes' suspension by Air America. The video that started the ruckus has been removed from YouTube but you can see it at Green 960.

whore (hôr) n.

1. A prostitute.
2. A person considered sexually promiscuous.
3. A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.

from The Free Dictionary.

I see nothing wrong with Randi's use of the word 'whore'. Musta been the preceding adjective...

As for the Rhodes suspension, this is not a free speech issue. It's an Air America issue. While Rhodes made the comments at a live event for one of her affiliates (Green 960), she represented Air America. And Air America has worked hard to curry favor among many in Washington, particularly the Clinton camp. This is a face-saving issue, designed to minimize the damage a controversy can do. I'm also certain that at least a few of Rhodes' listeners were quite shocked at her diatribe, with language so course that Sam Kinison must be blushing in his grave. Even still, as with most controversies, look for Rhodes to return to Air America soon, after the heat has died down. That's par for the course. Nonetheless, perhaps Rhodes stepped over the line a bit. Even with the raucous San Francisco audience, the tirade may have been a bit over the top. And it's appearance on YouTube is likely to scare away some of her fans. But like other controversial media personalities, such as Imus, Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and others, these people have jobs because they're controversial. We expect them to say outrageous stuff. Anyone who expects otherwise is delusional.

Much, much more.

Law Professor: "The president ordered war crimes"

I'm glad somebody besides us commies has finally said it out loud where people can see and hear it: Bush is a war criminal.

BradBlog, with video.

Says Bush Ran 'Premeditated, Carefully Orchestrated Torture Program'

Constitutional Attorney Jonathon Turley Tells MSNBC Congress Refuses To Investigate Because They 'Do Not Want to Deal With That Fact'

Jonathan Turley: It really is amazing because Congress, including the Democrats, have avoided any typed of investigation into torture because they do not want to deal with the fact that the President ordered war crimes. But evidence keeps on coming out - the only thing we don’t have is a group picture with a detainee attached to electrical wires. I mean every time we see more evidence we have more and more high ranking people at the scene of this crime. And what you get from this is that this was a premeditated and carefully orchestrated torture program. Not torture, but a torture program.

Thank you, Professor Turley. You get my "#10 Can O' Balls" award for the week.

I have kind of an off-topic question: Can any of you techie whizzes tell me how to reduce the size of the videos? I've been seeing that a lot lately and it would come in handy sometimes.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mom steps on her weenie

Go see the video that got Randi Rhoads suspended from Air America.

"See? The liberals hate him. So it's safe for us to like him."

From The Nation, today's 'recommended read'.

We like to think of the American right as a finely honed mechanism--a "conservative noise machine." And most times over the previous decade, the metaphor worked. But these days, the movement can no longer keep its stories straight. It reminds me of the McCain website the day after the New York Times lobbying exposé, the same day the RNC sent out its fundraising letter accusing the Times of electioneering for the Democrats. To anyone who might doubt that the good old conservative machine is overheating from the confusion and strain, here is proof that the noisemakers had clearly neglected to coordinate their anti-Times fundraising push with the McCain campaign. For there was the Times endorsement on its website that same day, bold as brass.

The gears of the contraption are jamming. Let the contortions of a Michael Reagan or a Newsmax attest to that, if nothing else. The whole machine had always been built on a series of bluffs: that once the malign hand of the liberals was removed from the executive, legislative and judicial branches, our new conservative Jerusalem would be achieved. But something remarkable occurred in the five years between 2001 and 2006: for the first time since the rise of the modern conservative movement with the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964, then the rise of Newt Gingrich's revolutionaries in 1994, the right had a chance to control all three branches of government--to actually run the country. Naught but obvious failures have been the result: a crashing economy, a rotting infrastructure, a failed war and a less safe world, more Americans saying their nation is on the wrong track than at any time since pollsters started measuring.

In the face of all this, the conservative movement has kept on trying to do the only thing it knows how to do: sell conservatism. Saner heads in the Republican Party, meanwhile, have done their darnedest to put forward a presidential prospect who might let the party distance itself, if only rhetorically, from the disaster that conservatism in power has proved to be.

But without "conservatism" as the core narrative, the Republican Party doesn't know how to tell any stories at all. Its confusion over how to talk about McCain is only the symptom. The conservative era is over--if you want it.

I want it.

Inappropriate Hottie Rundown: Racially Diverse Pundit Edition

One positive result of the face of the Democratic primary is that cable news networks are increasingly looking to women and people of color for political commentary. Said a media expert, "We haven't ever had as much talk about women as voters, except as soccer moms. Now there's talk about white women, African-American women, women over 60, and what about Latinos?"

Indeed. Cable news is casting such a large non-white male net that the modern TV watcher can't be blamed for not knowing whom to sexually fantasize about. 23/6 aims to help:

Just go see. Regular readers of the Brain will know which one I follow with my pants down around my ankles. 'Lesbinadian' indeed!

Check out the links at the bottom too.

The Puppy Party

Will Durst has a piece on how the Democrats wrote rules years ago that pretty much ensured the primary campaigns would go like they're going. This is my favorite part:

Poor Hillary. Everybody wants her to quit. Nancy Pelosi wants her to quit. Michelle Obama wants her to quit. Wouldn't be surprised to hear Fidel Castro thinks she's been hanging on too long. Even pundits who don't really want her to quit are calling for her to quit because the next vote isn't for three weeks and they're caught in the Primary Dead Zone Vortex and like an excited terrier piddling in the stairwell at the sound of the key in the door, just can't help themselves.

The media chorus is as insistent as a 3am car alarm: "Its time to go. Leave now while you have a shred of dignity intact. You're ruining it for everyone. How can we hug and kiss Barack when you're still wrestling with him, you sweaty old hag?" She, in turn, has put a brave face on her acknowledged uphill battle, comparing herself to Rocky Balboa, but seems to have forgotten, that in the first movie, Rocky loses. To a black guy.

The Left has long held a deep-seated need to fall in love with their candidate and while people may respect Hillary, she's as cuddly as a stainless steel teddy bear. Dora the Diaspora. A burlap banky. Besides, like her beloved Chicago Cubs, there is always next year. Say the GOP does bury Obama like a bone in the backyard of the 2008 election; she can run in 2012 on the "I told you so" ticket.

The Nanny Party, however, rewrote the rules to make sure nobody accidentally gets their feelings hurt. Because every one of us is special. You win a state, you get SOME of the delegates. And if you come in second, you get some too. Third? You bet. Have a couple delegates. Take one of the short ones. Fourth. Fifth. Sure, what the hell. And counseling is available. Everybody's a winner here. Because this isn't about electing a President, this is about sharing and caring and nurturing. Nobody goes away feeling like a loser in the Democratic Party. Except during the general election that is.

Comic, actor, soon-to-be author, Will Durst, thinks Hillary Clinton is this close to becoming a stalker.

As serious as the outcome of the general election will be, there's a lot of gritty and sarcastic humor in it.

McCain: Easy Rider

"An easy rider is a person that is not a pimp, but he lives off a woman; he lives off a whore. He's her easy rider. He's the one that she loves and she gives money to. He doesn't pimp her, but he's her easy rider."

I was reading this article about Cindy McCain being a multi-millionaire beer (well, OK, maybe not beer exactly. Budweiser.) distributing heiress, and I remembered this little ditty:

"I've got a girl,
Who could ask for more?
She's a millionaire and oversexed
And owns a liquor store."

Livin' the dream is the one thing I'll never hold against McCain!

Dr. King Revisited

Jeff Cohen

Last night NBC Nightly anchor Brian Williams enthused over new color footage of King that adorned its coverage of the 40th anniversary of the assassination. The report focused on the last phase of King's life. But the same old blinders were in place.

NBC showed young working class whites in Chicago taunting King. But there was no mention of how elite media had taunted King in his last year. In 1967 and '68, mainstream media saw Rev. King a bit like they now see Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

One phrase that I remember from those days was "uppity nigger that don't know his place". We don't hear that any more, or at least I don't, thank God. Today they would just call him a 'traitor' like we've all been called for telling the truth, or maybe a 'racial firebrand' for bringing up a subject that white people in particular don't want to think about.

Back then they denounced King's critical comments; today they simply silence them.

While noting in passing that King spoke out against the Vietnam War, mainstream reports today rarely acknowledge that he went way beyond Vietnam to decry U.S. militarism in general: "I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos," said King in 1967 speeches on foreign policy, "without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government."

If King had survived to hear the war drums beating for the invasion and occupation of Iraq -- amplified by TV networks and the New York Times front page and Washington Post editorial page -- there's little doubt where he'd stand. Or how loudly he'd be speaking out.

And there's little doubt how big U.S. media would have reacted. On Fox News and talk radio, King would have been Dixie Chicked...or Rev. Wrighted. In corporate centrist outlets, he'd have been marginalized faster than you can say Noam Chomsky.

In 1967, King denounced a Democratic-controlled Congress for fattening the Pentagon budget while cutting anti-poverty programs, declaring: "A nation that continues year after year to spend money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

The name of the party has changed is about all. Any spirituality in the running of this country died with the rise of conservatism after 1968.

St. Thomas

Shopping in St. Thomas is a regular thing for us. The ladies at the jewelry stores smile when Mrs. F comes in. This time though, I was the one who had a shopping bonanza. Amazingly, Mrs. F found nothing that blew her skirt up.

And let me tell ya about Gladys.

Heading home now. Two 'at sea' days before we make NYC but I'll be continuing my "Around the Queen" series until I use up my internet time. Later.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Real News

Go see some video news you probably won't see anywhere else.

St. Lucia

I wasn't impressed with St. Lucia at all. Yes, it's a quaint, pretty island, but it's getting like Jamaica (I'll do a post on that one day). If you want my advice about staying at a Caribbean resort, stick to the Dutch islands. If it's a stop on a cruise itinerary, it's not a deal wrecker, but I wouldn't bother going ashore the next time.

And just a note, I'm sorry about not commenting much but Cunard Line is charging me $30/hour for wifi and it's slower than shit to begin with. In St. Thomas today and we'll be heading back to NYC tonight, arriving Sunday. I'll be back in form probably by Monday or Tuesday depending on the logistical nightmare left for us after mom-in-laws' passing and getting dad-in-law squared away.

I'm Proud to Be One Too

I read at Think Progress that the asshole Feith says that anybody who equates torture with the loss of moral authority is "siding with the assholes". I was going to post on it, but Ornery Bastard did a way better job than I could, so - what 'Nucks said. Go see. He's got the links.

Note to Feith: Fuck you, you dumb sonofabitch. Come over here and call me an asshole if there's anything left of you after the Ornery Bastard gets done with you, you fuckin' prick. Fat fuckin' chance you'd have the balls, you chickenhawk jerkoff.

More Bush Legacy

Think Progress, with comments. Liquid alert!

SFist reports that the enterprising Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is looking to rename Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility to the “George W. Bush Sewage Plant.” The group explains it seeks to “select a fitting monument to this president’s work” and to “honor George W Bush for his eight years of honorable public service.” “No other president in American history has accomplished so much in such a short time,” the group notes.

I applaud the sentiment, but I think they're missing the point. Sewage plants are supposed to turn wastewater back into clean water. Everything Bush has touched has turned to shit. He'd have to have a stste-of-the-art treatment facility hooked directly to his asshole, for that is from whence he speaks.

The Price At The Pump

Click to embiggen

Bad Voodoo's War

If you missed "Bad Voodoo's War" on PBS the other night, please watch it. Well worth a look.

The producer gave some National Guard troops a buncha video cameras and let them do the filming. Their duties consisted mostly of convoy escort, which is weeks of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.

There'll be another episode as the unit is in Iraq 'til May. Barring stop-loss, of course.


Belay 'There'll be another episode'. Bum scoop, my bad. Please read the nice 'comment' we got from the show's producer and bookmark accordingly to keep up with the platoon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An Impressive Display Of French Canadian Anti-Tank Technology


We took a couple tours, to a distillery and a brewery. You sense a pattern here? Heh ... It was nice to sample some of the local offerings.

Also, Queen Mary is a romantic, storied ship. We take advantage.

We're in St. Lucia today and tomorrow I'll tell you why you'd never get me back here unless a cruise ship we were on just happened to stop there. Wouldn't go ashore again though. Oy!

Movers and Sheikhs

Transcript of an online interview with Steve Coll during his book tour:

Steve Coll, author and president of the New America Foundation, was online Tuesday, April 1, at 3 p.m. ET to discuss his new book, "The Bin Ladens (review by Richard Clarke - G)," which was reviewed in Book World.

New York, N.Y.: Chances of ever catching Bin Laden? Zero or less than zero?

Steve Coll: I think the chances are better now than they have been for a while. His popularity in Pakistan has fallen dramatically because he is seen as responsible for a wave of suicide bombings on Pakistani soil. These hunts in Pakistan have ended in the past usually because somebody drops a dime on the fugitive. That seems more likely now, because of his falling popularity, but of course, you can't predict these things with any great confidence.


Washington D.C.: Biggest Bush mistake re: Osama?

Steve Coll: Giving Osama the narrative of total global war that Osama wanted.

Bush should have never been allowed to rise beyond Austin. Fucking Texas up is one thing, nobody cares, but his unbelievable arrogance and incompetence, not to mention an evil ideology, has fucked up the world. Bin Laden is no damned good either, but he's ten times smarter than our so-called president.

The End Of Empire?

This is pretty good. TomDispatch has excerpts from a new book by Howard Zinn along with an animated video and cartoon thumbnails.

In honor of publication day, Tomdispatch offers the equivalent of a little online extravaganza. Below, you can read Zinn's essay on how he first learned about the American Empire; and you can also click here for two special treats. You can view an animated video, using some of the book's art, with voiceover by none other than Viggo Mortensen. (Think of it as Lord of the Rings, Part IV: The American Mordor Chronicles.) Finally, if you look below the video on that same page, you'll see an autobiographical section of the new book, focusing on Zinn's early years. (Click on each illustration to view a single page of text.) Have fun. Tom

As with anything involving TomDispatch, take a lunch.

Free in-vagina Wi-Fi?

Mark Morford

A hooker for every senator
Imagine a world with more sexually open, sensual, happily libidinous politicians. Wait, can you?

Enjoy. On the off chance that politicians will overcome hypocrisy and rebel against 400 years of puritanism, and knowing how much they like to be on TV, I must go now and buy some stock in Clorox...

Mukasey Exploits 9/11. Maddow: "Bull Puckey!"

This could be big. I hope it lands Bush & Co. in the hoosegow. It probably won't.

Thanks to MSNBC for making these things easy to grab and for inviting us to do so.

Happy belated birthday to Dr. Maddow. She turned 35 yesterday. I'm 27 years older than her and not half as smart.


Glenn Greenwald on the same subject.

Michael Mukasey has conclusively proven himself to be an exact replica of Alberto Gonzales -- slavishly loyal to every presidential whim and unbound by even the most minimal constraints of truth while serving those whims.

The Clean Energy Scam

Good article in Time about the misguided rush to convert food into fuel. Today's 'recommended read'.

But several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it's dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it. Corn ethanol, always environmentally suspect, turns out to be environmentally disastrous. Even cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass, which has been promoted by eco-activists and eco-investors as well as by President Bush as the fuel of the future, looks less green than oil-derived gasoline.

Meanwhile, by diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. [...]

Biofuels do slightly reduce dependence on imported oil, and the ethanol boom has created rural jobs while enriching some farmers and agribusinesses. But the basic problem with most biofuels is amazingly simple, given that researchers have ignored it until now: using land to grow fuel leads to the destruction of forests, wetlands and grasslands that store enormous amounts of carbon.

The article talks a lot about Brazil, but it goes into the political reality of why corn ethanol is being touted in the U.S. as well.

If biofuels are the new dotcoms, Iowa is Silicon Valley, with 53,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in income dependent on the industry. The state has so many ethanol distilleries under construction that it's poised to become a net importer of corn. That's why biofuel-pandering has become virtually mandatory for presidential contenders. John McCain was the rare candidate who vehemently opposed ethanol as an outrageous agribusiness boondoggle, which is why he skipped Iowa in 2000. But McCain learned his lesson in time for this year's caucuses. By 2006 he was calling ethanol a "vital alternative energy source."

Please read the rest.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Letter From Iraq

The Washington Independent

'It Becomes Almost Impossible To Find A Purpose In What We Do.'

A friend of a friend just received the following email from a junior officer serving in Iraq. It makes for especially powerful reading in the wake of the Second Sadrist Intifada. Reprinted with permission.

[Name redacted],

I agree that the war was a great strategic mistake. The way I see it, Saddam Hussein was a secular leader and therefore a huge stumbling block to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East. Yes, he was an evil person and he was our enemy (since Gulf War I) but he was also an enemy of Bin Laden and the Shia extremists etc. If he did have WMDs, he would have used them for regional influence. He never would have given them up to terrorists or risked provoking the US by using them against us. Now, with Saddam gone we have a vacuum that can only be filled by Shia extremists who are more of a terrorist threat than Saddam.

So I agree that coming here was a big mistake for those reasons and others. As far as things on the ground, the outlook isn't much better. In my opinion, what everyone fails to realize is that this is not a counterinsurgency. If we wanted to stay in Iraq, then it would be a counterinsurgency. But it is clear that our goal is to turn over power and pull out. So, in building our strategic endstate, it's pointless to set goals that relate to our presence in Iraq. If the "insurgency" is a function of our being there, then it is not an insurgency in terms of our endstate. For example, if one of our goals is to stop IED attacks on US forces, that is pointless. When we leave, there will be no more IED attacks on US forces. So our endstate needs to be different. We need to ask "if we left tomorrow, what would happen in Iraq?" and from there, we need to determine which of those anticipated results are unacceptable to us. Then we must aim our efforts on making sure those unacceptable results do not occur.

When I look at the problem that way, it becomes almost impossible to find a purpose in what we do. Regardless of what we do, the Shia are going to take control. They have completely infiltrated all the security forces. The only kind of leader who could keep them in check was a tyrant like Saddam. And when the Shia take control, as soon as we leave, they are going to be as brutal as they like against the Sunni and there will be little we can do about it. That is what will happen whether we leave tomorrow or in ten years. As far as the foreign fighters, they will leave Iraq when we do. So what are we trying to accomplish here? Train the Iraqi forces? History shows that training forces in the Middle East can backfire. Any training we offer these people will find its way to our terrorist enemies.

Things are heating up as well. The Shia are getting more aggressive. We lost a man the other day and another was seriously wounded a week or so later. We're facing a high risk with very little potential payoff. We are able to make a difference at the local level. Some of the people are very kind and appreciate our help. That is the only positive thing I can see coming out of this.

Very Respectfully
Junior Officer XXXX

Time to go. Way past time. The Iraqis will settle this themselves.

Point to Ponder

If disaffected Democrats from either side of the primary battle decide to express their pique by supporting John McSame for President and do it in numbers sufficient to give the general election to McSame, progressives lose control of the Supreme Court for a long, long time. I know that some of you out there are/will be royally pissed off by real or imagined slights no matter who gets the Democratic nomination. Think past the tip of your nose, folks, before you act.


The Milagro Beanfield War

I am so sick of the wall-to-wall coverage of the Democratic campaign. For once David Brooks is right: "...they couldn't manage a bordello in a gold rush", and all the rest of the news is same shit, different day, so I decided to do something a little different today until my brain quits throwing up. This isn't actually all that different from what we usually do around here in terms of railing against social injustice, corrupt politics, and Big Biz.

I was reading earlier about the increased use of food stamps in the current recession, and I got to rememberin' a hilarious scene in The Milagro Beanfield War where el anciano Amarante buys bullets for his ancient .44 hand cannon with them. He does this in the local cantina and general store after a few shots of mezcal while the bartender/storekeeper tells him in exasperation, "you can't do that!". He does, though, and then proceeds with an amazing display of marksmanship, somewhat to the dismay of the other patrons.

I looked at YouTube to see if I could find that particular scene, but I din't, so here's a vid of clips from the movie. Amarante is the old gentleman in the black suit and he appears a coupla times. A true revolutionary, and an inspiration to us old farts.

I've read the book and seen the movie (many times) and I highly recommend both. I think the movie has an amazing cast. Please go read about the video.

And lest I forget, I think Sônia Braga is gorgeous! Enjoy.


Bonaire yesterday. Didn't do anything but shop, but I tossed up a couple random snaps anyway. We just backed into Barbados a few minutes ago using a maneuver that was amazing. I'll do a post later in the week on how Queen Mary 2 handles like an Formula 1 car of the sea.

Someday the bastards in Washington . . .

. . . will be brought to justice. For this:

Tracking a Marine Lost at Home

and for the tens of thousands of other crimes that they've committed.


Monday, March 31, 2008

"Take yer wheelbarrow fulla dollars elsewhere, Yankee pig!"


[...] The almighty dollar is now no better than a third world currency you've never even heard of. From Reuters:

The U.S. dollar's value is dropping so fast against the euro that small currency outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists seeking to sell their dollars for local money while on vacation in the Netherlands....

That's because the smaller currency exchanges -- despite buy/sell spreads that make it easier for them to make money by exchanging small amounts of currency -- don't want to be caught holding dollars that could be worth less by the time they can sell them.

Imagine if Bill Clinton had done this. Imagine the Republican talking points. Come on, Democrats - think strategically. This is the kind of insult that regular Americans can appreciate.

Indeed. I think we can blame everything on Bush like the Repugs do to Clinton, only with more basis in fact, not that that ever matters.

I need to go to the bathroom. Damn you, Bush...

Can you say "PIN-O-CHET"?

Words of Power on the role of Alternative Media:

Can you say "PIN-O-CHET"? Those three syllabes should become a sacred mantra to US patriots.

Yes, Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Rice, Fieth, Wolfowitz and the others should be looking over their shoulders for what happened to Valerie Plame, for what happened to New Orleans, for what happened to the US military, for what happen to US honor and prestige, for what happened to the DoJ, the EPA, and other vital federal agencies, etc. Presidential pardons might be able to insulate the principals from US law, but they cannot insulate them from international law.

And what must we do to make sure that Bush, Cheney, et al, like Pinochet, have to look over their shoulders at potential legal woes for the rest of their lives?

I appreciate the sentiment, but I think they should be looking out between bars for the rest of their lives whilst undergoing serial trials.


Let Them Eat Cake

Two of my favorites, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, talk about the administration's attitude toward the people affected by the 'housing bubble' on This Week. From Think Progress.

Politics Aren't Us

Will Durst on why him and me and Fixer wouldn't be very good politicians:

You can't say I didn't give it a go, either. Politics, that is. Not prostitution. But then, they're easy to mix up. [...]

Oh sure, I've made a halfway decent living mocking and scoffing and taunting our various elected officials, but what most of us fail to appreciate are the necessary complement of specialized growths our beleaguered civil servants are forced to sprout. Slippery skills, like appearing way too happy to see people you don't even know. How to wear clothes so boring, tailors weep in your presence. Or saying stuff you don't really mean for fear of inflicting possible offense upon potential contributors you wouldn't be caught dead with in a zombie infested chemical lab sub-basement huddling from rampaging mutants. And yes, I am talking about pollsters.

And who among us could hold our tongues like Chelsea Clinton did after some cretin wondered about her mother's response to Monica Lewinsky. My retort, "Blow it out your butt, dirtbag," would have garnered equal time with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright on a FOX News loop. [...]

Heh. Indeed. That would be the printable version of my response as well.

Dream Ticket

Chicago Sun-Times

But look at it this way. Obama's mother was white and Richardson's father was white. Together, you get one whole white man. And you get black, white and Hispanic rolled up together like an all-American burrito.


High and to the right... Bush always is.

President Bush delivered the first pitch tonight at the new Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to a resounding chorus of boos. After being announced, Bush was showered by boos as he strode to the mound. Even after Bush delivered the pitch, the jeering did not let up until the President disappeared from the field. Watch it:

The Dilbert Strategy

Paul Krugman nails it:

Anyone who has worked in a large organization - or, for that matter, reads the comic strip "Dilbert" - is familiar with the "org chart" strategy. To hide their lack of any actual ideas about what to do, managers sometimes make a big show of rearranging the boxes and lines that say who reports to whom.

You now understand the principle behind the Bush administration's new proposal for financial reform, which will be formally announced today: it's all about creating the appearance of responding to the current crisis, without actually doing anything substantive.

So, will the administration's plan succeed? I'm not asking whether it will succeed in preventing future financial crises - that's not its purpose. The question, instead, is whether it will succeed in confusing the issue sufficiently to stand in the way of real reform.

Please read the rest.


We were in Willemstad, Curacao yesterday and we fell in love with the beautiful little island. The place is so ethnically diverse it reminds me of my neighborhood on Long Island, though much prettier. There are 54 different ethnicities that make up the people of Curacao and though 80% Catholic, all the major religions flourish and all are tolerant and live in harmony with one another. Shame it can't be done elsewhere.

We then took a tour of the Holunda Museum, documenting the history of the slave trade here, in which Curacao was a major transit hub. You know, I've been all over the world, to concentration camps and killing fields and one constant transcends race, religion, and ethnicity. We all have a great capacity for inhumanity toward others.

We then went on to visit the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere, built in the 1600s. A touchstone for Mrs. F for more than the religious connotation. Mrs. F's parents visited here years ago and mom-in-law used to tell us the story of the little synagogue with the sand floor. It was moving for her to visit there.

And I put up some more random snaps from around Willemstad. We're in Bonaire today and I'll have a post or two up from here later.

And just an anecdote: We stopped at the Golden Lion Pub after dinner last night. On the big screen, President Bush was giving a speech. Quite inadvertently (I had a few drinks under my belt) I said "turn that asshole off; do you want me to leave my dinner here on the bar?" I got a buncha "hear, hear" from the Brits, a "jawohl" from a German couple, and the three crazy Russians next to them raised their vodka glasses. Heh ... The couple from San Antonio gave me dirty looks, but after 8 years of an idiot Texan in the White House, fuck 'em.

Point to Ponder

There should be a way for the voting public to remove a criminal administration without depending on Congress to do it for them.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Other than that, how'd yer day go?

QM2 entering Frisco Bay

This is from a reasonably unique vantage point. About the time ya think Big Mutha Mary shoulda done went on by by now, she ain't.

She looks like ne plus ultra of ocean travel until they can get Disneyland, or maybe Las Vegas, to float!

Sunday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

I'm sure this has happened to all of us!

Miss UAE


More than 10,000 camels from across the Gulf will be competing for millions of dollars in prize money at a beauty pageant for the "ship of the desert" in Abu Dhabi next week.

I wonder if the winner had to sleep with the judges?

USAF to power jets with coal

That's what McClatchy is saying,

Well they gave him his orders at Langley, Virginia,
Said: "Steve, you're way behind time,
"This is not 38, this is Ol' 97,
"Drop it on Tehran on time."

Then he turned around and said to his black, greasy fireman,
"Shovel on a little more coal.
"And when we cross that Eye-ran border,
"Watch Ol' '97 roll."

Or from another song,

Flyin' that plane, high on cocaine...

Sometimes this shit almost writes itself...

The tour ...

It continues. In Willemstad, Curacao today but I put up some more pics from the Queen as the Mrs is arranging to have a coffee IV installed in my arm. Shouldn'ta stayed out so late last night. Oy!

And another thank you to our readers. Sometime over the past few days, we got our 250,000th hit. Thanks to all of you who stop in. As I always say, without our readers and commenters, the Brain is nothing more than graffiti.