Saturday, March 6, 2010

In case you forgot ...

Why we went to war in Iraq:

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. took the best deal they could get in Iraq last year when they won the largest oil contracts since addam Hussein was toppled in 2003. Oil companies may wait a long time to get a better one.


Western producers haven't had access to oil fields in southern Iraq since 1972, when the country nationalized production including concessions owned by the companies now known as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon.


Any other excuse is just so much bullshit.

Great thanks to our pal Nunya for the link.

Radical homosexuals ate my baby!

Friday Morford. Un-effing-believable. Worse. Maybe too effing believable.

Behold, an item known henceforth as the National Impact Survey of the Radical Homosexual Agenda in California Public Schools, as recently and furtively received/discovered by yours truly, your humble and sexually perverted and imperfectly liberal, very-straight-but-very-gay-rights-supporting satire columnist, in a roundabout manner I cannot divulge right now lest I might get shot waiting in line at Starbucks.

What is the NISRHACPS, you ask? Why, it's a document. It's a mailer. It's a survey of sorts, a short, wretched little questionnaire made entirely of sadness and bile and fear.

It's a piece of paper sent out en masse to particular members of the Republican party who are so openly terrified of all homosexual personages, they fully believe said gays are actively bewitching and recruiting your innocent children behind the locked doors of hugely perverted schoolhouses near you.

In fact, most liberals, moderates, chimps, garden gnomes and humans with intact brainstems have likely never seen this document, given how it is carefully targeted only at persons of dangerously limited consciousness, people who clearly think book learnin' is for elitists, the vagina was created by the devil and Sarah Palin is like, super-duper smart, and stuff.

You perhaps think I am exaggerating? I am not exaggerating. Behold:

There are 10 questions in the NISRHACPS. They are all, as you imagine, completely silly, front-loaded, leading questions along the lines of "Pimply spidermutants from planet Fukulon-7 like to devour the severed heads of newborn baby deer like popcorn. Do you support this practice? Yes [ ] No [ ] Don't Know [ ]"

Besides, it's nothing really new. This kind of shrill fearmongering and right-wing propaganda has been going on since Rush Limbaugh was knee high to Pat Robertson's gay bathhouse towel boy's coke spoon (my em). What's more, if you're reading this column, odds are extremely good you're already many, many times smarter than the target demographic of this survey.

But oh, what a target. Allow me to point up one aspect of the NISRHACPS I find particularly distressing. It is this: the document comes from -- and is aimed straight at -- women.

True. The survey is apparently the dark creation of a little D.C. splinter clan called Concerned Women for America (CWA), who in my imagination aren't really women at all, but are far more like bulky bundles of bad skin and beige polyester with only faintly female characteristics, such as thigh stubble, cankles and a creamy fondness for Jay Leno and lumpy pancake batter and cats.

This new campaign plays on the same sort of heartless fears, only this time it's targeting one of the weakest and most gullible of all American demographics: mal-educated conservative moms who don't know any better. Sad doesn't begin to cover it.

The NISRHACPS ends with a petition to Gov. Schwarzenegger to please put an end evil homosexual propaganda in our public schools, and instead help "promote views toward sexuality that support our nation's traditional moral values."

Do you remember those values? The moral codes that have helped shaped America lo these many years of joyful Christian goodness and open-hearted love? I bet you do.

From the top, they include: Unchecked sexual guilt, shame, hysteria, pedophilic priests, failed abstinence programs, banning birth control education in schools, dangerous illegal abortions, widespread teen pregnancy, the 50-percent divorce rate, and freaking the hell out over a single exposed nipple on primetime TV.

Also, by extension, unhappy marriages, sexual unfulfillment and a deep misunderstanding of God, love and simple human connection. You know, values just like mom used to enjoy. Thanks for reminding us, CWA!

I have nothing to add.

Sarah the Socialist

Do not miss this at The Political Carnival! Links and video.

Mystik is an exclusive engine oil sponsor for the 2010 Iron Dog Snowmobile Race and a sponsor of Team #22 Scott Davis and Todd Palin – past Iron Dog Champions.

"So what?" I hear some of you mumbling. "Big deal," I detect from afar. "Now what goofy name is Laffy gonna come up with for Sarah Palin?" I suspect you may be thinking.

Here's the big deal:

It turns out that Mystik Lubricants is owned by… wait for it … Citgo. Yes, that same Citgo that’s owned by Venezuela. Socialist Venezuela. Socialist, Hugo Chavez lovin’, Venezuela.

See? It was worth wading through that rinkydink ad just to witness Lubey McHypocrite step in it one more time.

My sides hurt...

Senator Bunning’s Universe

The last few ¶ of a piece by Paul Krugman:

So, as I said, the parties now live in different universes, both intellectually and morally. We can ask how that happened; there, too, the parties live in different worlds. Republicans would say that it’s because Democrats have moved sharply left: a Republican National Committee fund-raising plan acquired by Politico suggests motivating donors by promising to “save the country from trending toward socialism.” I’d say that it’s because Republicans have moved hard to the right, furiously rejecting ideas they used to support. Indeed, the Obama health care plan strongly resembles past G.O.P. plans. But again, I don’t live in their universe.

More important, however, what are the implications of this total divergence in views?

The answer, of course, is that bipartisanship is now a foolish dream. How can the parties agree on policy when they have utterly different visions of how the economy works, when one party feels for the unemployed, while the other weeps over affluent victims of the “death tax”?

Which brings us to the central political issue right now: health care reform. If Congress enacts reform in the next few weeks — and the odds are growing that it will — it will do so without any Republican votes. Some people will decry this, insisting that President Obama should have tried harder to gain bipartisan support. But that isn’t going to happen, on health care or anything else, for years to come.

Someday, somehow, we as a nation will once again find ourselves living on the same planet. But for now, we aren’t. And that’s just the way it is.

Reality. Bipartisanship is somewhere over the rainbow near the big rock candy mountain.

Rock 'n Roll So Good It's Almost Country!

Live in De Boerderij Zoetermeer 2-12-2010
Rudy de Queljoe
Great Dutch/Moluks Guitarplayer
More on Arthur's Musical Journey

Rudy de Queljoe & Brainbox Mobilea

Thanks to arthurfromholland, Netherlands.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

For some unexplained reason I just got a great idea for a Gordon Club Sandwich...

Emmylou Linda and Dolly on a track from their Trio ll CD plus interview where they talk about the album. From 1999

The Trio : When We're Gone Long Gone + Interview
Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Listen ...

The "Pentagon gunman" didn't do what he did because he was a pothead. He did it because he was nuts.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Following Liz Cheney's Logic

Shopping day today. Spa day for the pups and shopping and errands in the big city for us. Big day, so I'll just leave you with Rachel's hilarious sendup of a right wing fearmongering sky-is-falling panic attack.

Note to Liz (Daddy's fifth deferment): There aren't enough morons who'll fall for your crapspin to save your daddy's evil legacy. I think Stalin's daughter tried it too.

Thanks to StartLoving2.

Quote of the Day

Our buddy CAFKIA via email:

"Tea parties are for little girls and their imaginary friends."

Free stuff!

Like the insects they are, the Palins storm the Oscars:


"They were like locusts," says one vendor at the suite, regarding Palin and her large group of hangers-on. "She showed up with like 20 people, and they immediately swarmed the place taking everything!"


Thank god it's Friday ...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is this really satire?

The World's Most Reliable News Source:

My Constituents Care Way More About Political Gamesmanship Than Jobs, Health Care, And The Economy

By House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)

I assure you, the last thing my voters need is some well intended, do-all-I-possibly-can-to-help-the-little-guy congressman running around Washington, working across the aisle, and fighting tooth and nail for jobs, health care, and financial reform to ensure their tax dollars never end up in the hands of banks capable of holding our entire economy hostage.

No, sir. My constituents deserve better.

They deserve a leader willing to roll up his sleeves and play the types of twisted, greedy political games that, by their very nature, tear apart the fabric of our democracy for the sake of assuring reelection. They deserve someone on their side who will ask the tough questions, such as how will painting Democrats as radical ideologues play in, say, Arkansas? Can we vote "no" on the health care bill and still make it look like we give two craps about the welfare of ordinary Americans? How can we twist positive news about the GDP into a negative for the Obama administration?

The fact is, if I ever worked across the aisle to help thousands of uninsured Ohioans receive health care, I wouldn't be able to look them in the eye. How could I explain to them that I abandoned the idiotic yet politically fruitful claim that Barack Obama is a socialist bent on destroying the American way of life? How could I admit to them that deficit spending is the only way to get us out of an economic crisis perpetuated by my party's disastrous fiscal ideology? How could I tell them I stopped obsessing over scoring petty political points right before the midterm election?

How could I stop being the greedy, myopic scumbag they elected me to be?

But in the end, of course, I can't take full credit for the Republican Party's utterly undeserved yet all-too-depressingly-real resurgence. That would be unfair to my Democratic colleagues, who, in their unwillingness to act like grown adults with any kind of backbone and exercise the largest majority any party has seen in decades, have let us get away with all of it.

Thank you, you cowardly pieces of shit.

Comes awfully close to the truth, as in hits it dead center. Much more.

The truth about your immense weirdness

Who? Me? Mark Morford in a column about the proper way to warm sake and our astonishing array of personal quirks and peccadilloes:

In our fantastic uniqueness, we are unified. In those things we fear make us total freaks, we are the same. Religions and political parties work like demondogs to normalize and codify certain weirdnesses into collections, tribes, cults and voting blocs, in order to get our money and give them power. This is, quite naturally, utter bulls--.

It doesn't take much blasphemy to note how all religions are, across the board, brazen, synthetic freakshows, far stranger and more surreal in their oddball accumulation of fetishes and rituals than anything your average agnostic, atheist or Burning Man devotee could come up with in her happiest LSD-soaked dreamgasm. You ever been to a Catholic mass? A Mormon temple? A mosque? Disneyland on acid, people. And not in the good way.

Perhaps this is exactly what scares the rigid, the fearful, the conservative mindset most of all. If you really acknowledge our collective weirdness, if you look closely at what makes up the haphazard human spectacle, you are left with one overwhelming and totally awesome conclusion: If God really does exist, She is one deviously kinky, delightfully insane barrel of monkeys indeed. Hell, I'll drink to that.

Nah. If God really was a barrel of frisky monkeys, some Repug pol or fundie preacher'da been caught up to his beboops in it by now.

House Ways & Means Chairman Steps Down 'Temporarily'

Tony Peyser

It appears Charlie Rangel
Played one too many angle.


Presidential Reunion

In case you haven't seen this, DO NOT MISS IT! Many more or watch in a larger format at Funny Or Die or MSNBC.

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

Headline of the Day

Family Values GOPer Was At Gay Club Before Drunk Driving Arrest

Suh-weeeet! It's almost too bad he's termin' out...

Ouchy ...

Being an avid and frequent cruiser, this scenario is always in the back of your mind:

Two people have been killed and six injured as giant waves slammed into a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, the ship's owners have said.

The 26ft (8m) high rogue waves hit the Cypriot-owned Louis Majesty off the north-east coast of Spain.

A spokesman for owner Louis Cruises said three "abnormally high" waves broke windows in the front of the ship.


Holland America Line's Prinsendam was hit by a rogue wave some years back (we know crew members who were aboard at the time) and weathered it relatively well:

In March 2007, Holland America's cruise ship MS Prinsendam was hit by a 21-meter (69 ft) tall rogue wave in the Antarctic segment around the tip of South America.

And while I love going through storms at sea, I won't be sad if I don't experience this.


As Oliver said, it's nothing we didn't know before, but it's nice to see our theories proven:

The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to "save the country from trending toward socialism."


In neat PowerPoint pages, it lifts the curtain on the often-cynical terms of political marketing, displaying an air of disdain for the party’s donors that is usually confined to the barroom conversations of political operatives.

The presentation explains the Republican fundraising in simple terms.


Keep 'em stupid, scare 'em to death, and then take their money. Who says you can't fool all the people all the time?

Quote of the Day

Digby on the Bachmann/Grayson debate:

... This will be as if Lincoln had to debate Britney Spears ...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Dogs Will Eat You Because They Are Dogs

The Rude Pundit

In other words, no matter how much you love or care for your dog or cat, you don't know what it's thinking. You impose your human frame of reference on them, but at the same time, Fido is putting you into his canine one. And you are always just one can of Alpo away from becoming meat.

When the Rude Pundit read this week about the explosion of right wing extremist groups, he thought, "It's sad, really, how quickly an animal will turn when it panics." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009." This is not to mention the 512 "active" Patriot Groups, which foster antigovernment conspiracy theories and stand around bragging about how armed they are, like the Oath Keepers, which may just be a new peak of sublimated homoeroticism, a kind of gun fetish mixed with cock worship.

See, the reason they and the Tea Party are the dogs is because they have made the leap to wanting to overthrow the government if things don't go their way. They don't want to work within the existing American system. Because if their worst fears come true, and America becomes socialist, it will be because our elected representatives voted for it, not because it was done at the point of a gun. When George W. Bush was wrecking the nation, left wing groups talked in terms of organization for elections or of impeachment. These groups talk in terms of armed resistance. And we're here, in terms of our increasingly unhinged right wing nutzoids, after only a year of the Obama presidency. When people turned to revolutionary or radical acts in the past, it was after years of war or centuries of mistreatment and the failure of any systemic means of solving the problems. In other words, these people in all these extremist groups are greedy, selfish pussies who want what they want now and don't want to do the hard work to get there.

We could say they are delusional. We could say that they are victims of the cruel capitalist system that has only gotten crueler in the three decades. We could say they have been manipulated by a media that feeds off their fear.

Instead, as Mother Jones magazine says, they are flirting with actual, honest-to-god treason. Once you start talking about overthrowing the government through any means but elections, you have ceased to part of the conversation. Actual patriotism is believing that the American form of government can work, even if that is slow and frustrating. If you don't like it, then amend the Constitution to change the way the country works. Elect people who support you. Then, if that doesn't happen, you might want to consider other means. It takes some time, not one year after the black dude was inaugurated.

But, really, motherfuckers? Guns? And those, like Michelle Bachmann and Jim DeMint, who fan their flames are privileged enablers who will run away like panicked kittens as soon as the dogs tear into the body.

And will disavow any responsibility for their treasonous and lying hyperbole that whipped you into an ignorant frenzy and precipitated your actions and blame Obama and the Democrats. Or anybody other than themselves.

'Swift Boat' Funder Gets $51M Judgment Against Him

Ah, Grasshopper, ice-cold karmic revenge is sooooo sweet.

Guardian, links at site.

Bob and Jane Cull bought a house in suburban Ft. Worth, Texas in 1996 for about $233,000. It promptly started falling apart on them. They sued the builder. An arbitration ruling went for the Culls in the amount of $800,000.

The builder spent $1 million fighting the $800,000. And yesterday, a lower court in Texas awarded the Culls $51 million.

The builder is Bob Perry, the chief financial backer of the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and of various other right-wing outfits.

In entirely unrelated news, in the same column is a link to a story that is sure to make Fixer's head explode...

I suggest duct tape and Shoe Goo to repair it, F-Man. Or pre-wrap yer noggin with the duct tape before ya hit the link. Two layers. If ya really wanta be safe, don't cut out the eye holes. Heh.

The Difference Between Hollywood and Washington, D.C.

Jane Hamsher, links and many comments.

Everyone knows the joke — “Washington DC is Hollywood for ugly people.” But having done time in both places, I thought I’d offer up my impressions on how the two compare:

HOLLYWOOD: The villain is a guy who pretends to be helping the hero fight for the public good, but is secretly cutting back room deals that sell their interests out in order to enrich the company and increase their own power.

DC: The villain is a guy who pretends to be helping the hero fight for the public good, but is secretly cutting back room deals that sell their interests out in order to enrich the party and increase their own power.


The real difference, of course, is that the product of Hollywood isn't real and it's over when the credits roll. D.C.'s product is all too real, actually affects people's lives, and is never over.

Leave Uly Alone


Reporting from Washington - Ronald Reagan is honored by, among other things, an airport, a freeway, an aircraft carrier and -- ironically for a critic of big government -- one of the biggest federal buildings in Washington.

A 'critic of big government' who made it bigger. Sounds about right for the Repug hypocrite who started the country's slide.

Now, some of the late president's admirers are launching a new effort to add another honor: printing his likeness on a $50 bill in place of Ulysses S. Grant's.

But at least one Democrat who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, where the proposal has been sent, isn't ready to jettison Grant for "someone whose policies are still controversial."

"Our currency ought to be something that unites us," said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).

I went to school and worked in Sherman Oaks. Good on ya, Brad!

I like $50 bills. I carry them when I travel because they're 2/3 thinner in my wallet than the equivalent in $20s and $10s and easier to change than Benjies. If they put that asshole Reagan's face on them, I will still carry them, and I will wipe my ass with them at the point of purchase so the merchant's cash register will smell like a Repug and remind all of the deep doodoo that sonofabitch got us into.

On the flip side, why not put his face on them? The money ain't worth shit these days anyway. Might as well put his shit face on it. Fuck it, cut to the chase. Reagan started us swirling the drain and Bush damn near finished it, so go all the way and put the Chimp's face on it.

Ride For The Ta-Ta's

Click to embiggen

Me and Mrs. G are big supporters of anything having to do with breast cancer research and helping women in treatment. Mrs. G's sister is a breast cancer survivor and I just like ta-tas.

I thought the graphic for this upcoming motorcycle run was kinda cute. I saw a poster for it at Mrs. G's oral surgeon's office yesterday while she was having some stitches out. Doctor Rafe's wife Linda is also a breast cancer survivor whose hair is just growing back. Check it out at Ride For The Ta-Ta's. The ride supports Moms on the Run and props to Pinocchio's Bar & Grill for being behind the effort to help local women for ten years.

Just as an aside, the second listing at Google was Reno Harley-Davidson's Twitter page and the third was about Goodrich All Terrain TAs. Kinky. Heh.

Reconciliation = Nuclear Option?

Not so much. Maru:


2010: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-hurrrrr) says that using reconciliation to pass bills “would really be the end of the Senate[*]."
2003: Sen. Alexander uses reconciliation to pass a Bush bill.
2005: Sen. Alexander uses reconciliation.
2005 again: Sen. Alexander uses reconciliation.
2007: Sen. Alexander uses reconciliation.


The End Of The World As We Know It! Unless the Republicans do it. The GOP of the 21st Century, hypocrisy unbound.

[*] Not that it would be a bad thing.

Blame ...

Yeah, we all see our tax money wasted, but only conservatives think we should be in jihad against the IRS:


But in my wildest resentful nightmares I would never imagine that it's some clerk, some typist, some middle manager, some auditor, event, at the local IRS office would be to blame for my plight, and would go on the attack against a place where those people work. You know, this is what the "leaders" of the teabagger resentment fest don't get. To them, stirring up tax rage is a completely abstract thing they're doing. To the people listening to them, though, it's disturbingly concrete.

Indeed! There are just as many Christian Mujaheddin as there are Muslim ones willing to go blow themselves (and others) up at the behest of their leaders.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Moonbeam's in!

This is good news as far as I'm concerned. Click the link just below and read about him. Moonbeam knows what's going on in California better than anybody and he's a good Librul as well. He's also a Native Californian and not a carpetbagger like Whitman, Poizner, Reagan, and Schwarzenegger. I set store by that.

Of course, so was Nixon...

Attorney General Jerry Brown will announce his Democratic candidacy for governor this morning, launching what promises to be a hard-fought battle against a well-funded Republican rival.

"Well funded" is an understatement. Whitman will spend $140,000,000 of her own money in this campaign, according to reports.

Brown, 71, will make the announcement at 11 a.m. on his Web site and has no planned public events today. He's scheduled to speak to the media Wednesday and Thursday.

Brown will be the sole Democratic candidate for governor. In the general election, he'll likely face either Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of the online auction firm eBay, or Steve Poizner, another wealthy former Silicon Valley CEO who officially filed for governor Monday.

California needs a megarich Repug CEO as governor like it needs another itchy asshole. We have enough of those already.

Go read what Jon Corzine has to say about this. Basically, you can tell people who work for you what to do. If they don't, not so much.

Later. Gotta get my bumpersticker toot de sweet!

Rainbow Stew

Garrison Keillor on unreality:

Unreality remains pretty much the same, and its appeal in politics is as strong as ever. Look at the recent powwow of the conservative choir in Washington. Their goal is to reduce government to where it was in Coolidge's time. They are sticking to this, though their presidents, Reagan and Bush II, only succeeded in enlarging government.

As for their foreign policy, it's the old Flag In Your Face, Nuke The Whales, Talk Loud, Walk Tall, Proud To Be Dumb & Who Gives A Rip Anyway, Republican bravado that's all for domestic consumption and makes perfect sense if you're a shut-in and your TV is locked on Fox News but not if you are ambulatory and able to read English.

Meanwhile, our president, who is more or less forced to live in the real world, has seen his numbers drop alarmingly because unreality is so beautiful to so many people, such as the tea baggers.

To be fair, there's a certain unreality on the left as well that's contributing to his drop in numbers: where are the unicorns and free Bubble-Up and rainbow stew they think he promised o those ages and ages ago?

The conservatives should, in all decency, lie low for a few years. When you've driven the car into the swamp -- up to our eyeballs in debt, fighting two wars in behalf of shaky regimes, trying to keep a lid on Iran, Congress in a frozen stupor -- and then you throw mudballs at the tow-truck driver, you are betting on the electorate having the memory of a guppy.

There's no decency to Repugs. Period.

Just as an aside, I like the tow truck reference. I've been on backcountry retrieves with a couple of our local hookers and if any fool ever gave those guys any shit like throwin' frozen mudballs at 'em, they might as well send for their stuff and live right there because every tow truck driver in radio range will know about it in about one minute and will just be too busy to come help.

State of the Union: A Status Report on the Far Right

A very interesting 'must read' piece at Cognitive Policy Works.

“There’s another group of people that are actually more interesting right now,” Chip explained. Dr. Robert Altemeyer, who did the original research on right-wing authoritarian followers, found that there’s a second slice of the American populace—about the same size as the first one, or slightly bigger—who are conservative by temperament, but don’t live full-time in that same overwrought, hyper-vigilant, paranoid space that the ultra-right wing authoritarian 10 percent do. This group, Chip said, usually hews closer to the political center-right, keeping themselves at some distance from the really wild-eyed True Believers in the next cohort farther out.

But according to Altemeyer, I pointed out, these people tend to move away from the center and embrace hard-line conservatism if they’re under extreme social or economic stress, right? Exactly right, said Chip. It’s happened several times before in American history. (One example: In Nixonland, Rick Perlstein documented how, back in the mid-1960s, conservative suburban homeowners were driven into the arms of the far right by their fear of neighborhood integration in the wake of fair housing laws. The political careers of both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan where launched on the resulting tide of rage). And it’s precisely what’s happening again now.

I could quote from this piece 'til the cows come home. Go read.

The writing ...

On the wall.

I'll give Harold Ford this; he's got someone on his staff who can read it:

ALBANY - Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has decided against mounting a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Ford announced his decision Monday in a New York Times Op-Ed piece after spending about two months on a "listening tour" of the state. His move is a relief for Democrats worried a bitter primary would harm the winner and possibly give the seat to Republicans.


There was rejoicing throughout the land.

Harold Ford is welcome to visit my beautiful state any time he wants, but we'll never consider him a New Yorker.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I seem to be on about movies today. There must be something coming up in Hollywood.

Paul Clarke

Indeed, the Hurt Locker does have a message of the impact on the individuals involved. The movie opens with the quote "war is a drug" from Chris Hedges book War is a Force That Gives US Meaning. Hedges suggests that war seduces societies, a concept echoed in the writings of retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich, who fears that America has fallen in love with militarism. And certainly, some members of the team are seduced by war, but the canvas of this film is much broader.

The film depicts the human cost of this conflict. We see the physical cost on the team members, and we see the toll on their families. While Iraq has largely fallen of the front page, the conflict continues and 100,000 US servicemembers remain in country. Because of the nature of our all-volunteer military, most Americans are immune to the war's real impact. In the Vietnam conflict, a whole generation of American males were subject to the draft and more than 8 million men and women served during the Vietnam Era. It was this commonality of experience that made the opposition to the war so powerful.

Of course, now we have a professional fight force and embedded journalists, so we turn away from what the war is doing to us as individuals. While we honor our servicemembers, we rarely have to look at the brutality of multiple deployments, of broken bodies and spirits and families pushed to brink. The Hurt Locker believes it is its mission to take you there. We see something of the Iraqi populace too, and their portrayal is nuanced, for while there are insurgents, the more common sense is that they are victims of the circumstances of war.

We like our heroes to be two-dimensional, and our military members have in recent years been given the same treatment. We salute their service, have a parade and close the door to the details. For five years, news about Iraq occupied our national conscious. But it has faded into the background, prematurely I think. The Hurt Locker returns us to the point where we need to be -- examining the impact upon those we ask to serve.

I have nothing to add to that other than the biggest Hurt Locker our troops will have to endure is apathy here at home for where they've been and what they've been through in an ignoble cause that was not their fault.


If you're a fan of my homeboy Jeff Bridges, you'll want to read this.

Bridges captured the transitional spirit of the '70s in films like John Huston's Fat City, the whimsical Rancho Deluxe and Hearts of the West, Stay Hungry and the conspiratorial Winter Kills, with John Huston playing Bridges' big business father in a cautionary tale about the danger of health care conglomerates made three decades ago. In 1980s, Bridges broad range went from dark in Cutter's Way to light in his lovable Starman. Jeff, his brother Beau and Michelle Pfeiffer were intimate, delightful and delicious in The Fabulous Baker Boys.

In the last decade of the 20th century, Bridges contends with Robin Williams' Holy Fool in Terry Gilliam's wild and extraordinary The Fisher King, does some of the best acting of his career in Peter Weir's Fearless and gets a lot of laughs in The Big Lebowski while telling it like it is. In the new millennium he has played a president in The Contender, Kevin Spacey's shrink in K-Pax and Seabiscuit's dedicated owner, who helps the equine hero restore hope to America during the Great Depression. Crazy Heart ties the room together with Jeff's nuanced and powerful performance, which Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan calls "the capstone role of his career." Even if you are turned off by hard-drinking country musicians, don't miss Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, which will fire up your heart and soul.

How could the author, a supposed Big Deal Hollywood Insider, have managed to leave The Last American Hero and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, amongst a gazillion others, off that list? Yeesh.

The Enthusiasm Gap

Robert Reich with a recommended read:

The Democratic base is lethargic because congressional Democrats continue to compromise on everything the base cares about. [...]

These waffles and wiggle rooms have drained the Democratic base of all passion. "Why should I care?" are words I hear over and over again from stalwart Democrats who worked their hearts out in the last election.

The Republican base, meanwhile, is on a rampage. It's more and more energized by its mad-as-hell populists. Tea partiers, libertarians, Birchers, birthers, and Dick Armey astro-turfers are channeling the economic anxieties of millions of Americans against "big government."

Anyone with an ounce of sanity understands government is the only effective countervailing force against the forces that got us into this mess: Against Goldman Sachs and the rest of the big banks that plunged the economy into crisis, got our bailout money, and are now back at their old games, dispensing huge bonuses to themselves. Against WellPoint and the rest of the giant health insurers who are at this moment robbing us of the care we need by raising their rates by double digits. Against giant corporations that are showing big profits by continuing to lay off millions of Americans and cutting the wages of millions of more, by shifting jobs abroad and substituting software. Against big oil and big utilities that are raising prices and rates, and continue to ravage the atmosphere.

If there was ever a time to connect the dots and make the case for government as the singular means of protecting the public from these forces it is now. Yet the White House and the congressional Democrats' ongoing refusal to blame big business and Wall Street has created the biggest irony in modern political history. A growing portion of the public, fed by the right, blames our problems on "big government."

What the Big Business Right has successfully managed to do is to convince a very loud minority of mouth-breathers that regulation of Big Biz's thieving ways is exactly the same as government intrusion into their own bedrooms where Big Biz is busy fucking them like crazed weasels.

Please God, let there be, and how I hate this term, a Silent Majority that will not be swayed by ignorance come election time and put the rapists, pillagers, and plunderers back in power.

The Democrats are weak, but they are our only defense. God help us.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Fears its ideals could fall into wrong hands.

Navy to Put Women in Submarines
And sell it as reality series.

"20,000 Jersey Shores Under The Sea"?

Microsoft, Yahoo Team Up To Fight Google
As predicted in Revelations.

Marijuana Use on the Rise Among Seniors
“It helps me remember where I hid the stash,” explains one.

I fail to see the irony...

Rahm Emanuel
White House Chief of Staff

To pass meaningful healthcare reform it was always assumed bipartisan support would be necessary. And, to that end, we at the White House, along with Democrats in the House and Senate, extended our hands across the aisle to the Republicans to join us in this collaborative effort. Instead, time and time again, we were rebuffed.

As a result, we've decided to stop trying to appease these stubborn, sanctimonious, self-serving schmucks and instead shove whatever fucking bill we want down their scum-sucking throats.

Thank you.

Note to Rahmbo: If you'll actually say that, you can stay a while longer.

Attention spans ...

How many times have I said that Americans have the attention spans of 3 year olds? Digby hit's it on the head:

... It's an article of faith among the Villagers that Bush will eventually be vindicated as Truman was ...

I know people who look at the Nixon administration with nostalgia. Bush will be a hero in 10 years.

We don't need ...

No stinking bipartisanship. Greenwald:

One of the strangest prongs of conventional Beltway wisdom is the lament that there is not enough bipartisanship. The opposite is true: many of the most damaging acts inflicted on the country by Washington are enacted on a fully bipartisan basis -- the most destructive political act of this generation, the invasion of Iraq, was fully bipartisan, as were most of the post-9/11 civil liberties abuses and other Bush-era initiatives-- and, at least in certain areas, the harmonious joining together of Republicans and Democrats continues unabated:


One day, the Dems will realize that being afraid the Republicans will call you names is no reason to support bad legislation and water down the good.

Whoa, sonny ...

We ain't as young as we used to be. If ya can't do the job, get the fuck out!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic Drinking Games: Why Vancouver Gets the Gold

Time via Yahoo!News

The city of Vancouver, and the ski village of Whistler, are terrific hosts for these Olympic Games. In Vancouver, the air is clean, the public transit is scarily efficient, and the harbors, with the snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, are picturesque. Whistler, two hours to the north and home of the skiing, sliding, and Nordic events, is a winter wonderland. But let's face it: if public intoxication was an Olympic sport, Vancouver and Whistler would own the podium.

I'm not saying this because of the photographs of a few Canadian women's hockey players sipping champagne (and chugging Molsons) on the ice after winning the gold medal. Those images, however, seem to encapsulate the spirit of the host country. Throughout the Olympics, drunken revelers have overrun the streets of Vancouver. Local hospitals are reporting spikes in emergency room visits for alcohol-related sicknesses and injuries; most of the intoxicated patients are males between the ages of 15 and 24. In Whistler, the partiers have turned what should be a cozy village into rows of frat houses in need of soundproofing.

Yes, the mood is festive. And for the most part, law and order is being maintained. In Whistler, police have said arrests are lower than they would typically be during New Year's Eve or, for that matter, during your average, rambunctious summer weekend. Still, while walking through downtown Vancouver after a long day's work, you can't help but think to yourself: "These must be the drunkest Olympics ever."

Bonnie D. Ford, who is covering the Games for, has been to every Winter Olympics since 1998 in Nagano. "There's no second place," she said when asked where Vancouver ranks on the booze barometer. (In fairness, you can pretty much strike from this debate Salt Lake City, the abstemious host of the 2002 Olympics.) Her hotel is near Granville Street, close enough to hear the "Can-a-da, Can-a-da" shouts at 3 am. "It's been a two-week tailgate," she said. "I've covered a lot of college football, and this is like the Dante's Inferno version of tailgating."

When I asked one reveler if there's too much public intoxication in Vancouver, he responded: "There should be more." A roofer by day, he told me he had just consumed eight to ten beers - and he looked like it. "The police are too strict," he said. "One of them poured out my beer - and I wasn't even drunk yet." At 2 a.m., Granville Street was still packed, and there were plenty of drunks wandering about. Vancouver appeared to have more morons per square foot than the Jersey Shore house.

Impossible! If true, that's definitely some Gold Medal-worthy moronics!


The Biggest Bordertown

This one's for Fixer.

Thanks to jlnoames, France.

Good News About The WSJ

Paul Krugman

Brad DeLong and Felix Salmon both point to evidence that the Murdoch effect is degrading the Journal’s news coverage. Indeed.

Frankly, there was a time when I thought the Journal was better on business/economic news than the Times. But no longer; and it’s not just things like referring to the estate tax as the “death tax” in news stories. Overall, coverage is getting cruder, with more tendency to report opinions as if they were news, and substitute prejudices for real analysis.

And this bad news is good news. There’s a pretty good chance that we will end up with only one great national newspaper. And I know which paper that should be …

Update: I suppose I should explain that a single national paper isn’t what I want — but it’s the way things seem to be going, so it matters who ends up as the last paper standing.

The NYT is no day at the beach sometimes, but it beats the pants off anything controlled by Murdoch.

The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged

Daddy Frank on CPAC, the Teabaggers, and the batcrap crazy far right's exhortations to violence in the wake of the Stack attack. A recommended read, many links.

What made that kamikaze mission eventful was less the deranged act itself than the curious reaction of politicians on the right who gave it a pass — or, worse, flirted with condoning it. Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a “Tea Party terrorist.” But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner. That rant inspired like-minded Americans to create instant Facebook shrines to his martyrdom. Soon enough, some cowed politicians, including the newly minted Tea Party hero Scott Brown, were publicly empathizing with Stack’s credo — rather than risk crossing the most unforgiving brigade in their base.

The leaders embraced by the new grass roots right are a different slate entirely: Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. Simple math dictates that none of this trio can be elected president. As George F. Will recently pointed out, Palin will not even be the G.O.P. nominee “unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states” (as it did in Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Waterloo). But these leaders do have a consistent ideology, and that ideology plays to the lock-and-load nutcases out there, not just to the peaceable (if riled up) populist conservatives also attracted to Tea Partyism. This ideology is far more troubling than the boilerplate corporate conservatism and knee-jerk obstructionism of the anti-Obama G.O.P. Congressional minority.

A co-sponsor of CPAC was the John Birch Society, another far-right organization that has re-emerged after years of hibernation. Its views, which William F. Buckley Jr. decried in the 1960s as an “idiotic” and “irrational” threat to true conservatism, remain unchanged. At the conference’s conclusion, a presidential straw poll was won by Congressman Paul, ending a three-year Romney winning streak. No less an establishment conservative observer than the Wall Street Journal editorialist Dorothy Rabinowitz describes Paul’s followers as “conspiracy theorists, anti-government zealots, 9/11 truthers, and assorted other cadres of the obsessed and deranged.”

Such violent imagery and invective, once largely confined to blogs and talk radio, is now spreading among Republicans in public office or aspiring to it. Last year Michele Bachmann, the redoubtable Tea Party hero and Minnesota congresswoman, set the pace by announcing that she wanted “people in Minnesota armed and dangerous” to oppose Obama administration climate change initiatives. In Texas, the Tea Party favorite for governor, Debra Medina, is positioning herself to the right of the incumbent, Rick Perry — no mean feat given that Perry has suggested that Texas could secede from the union. A state sovereignty zealot, Medina reminded those at a rally that “the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

In the heyday of 1960s left-wing radicalism, no liberal Democratic politicians in Washington could be found endorsing groups preaching violent revolution. The right has a different history. In the months before McVeigh’s mass murder, Helen Chenoweth and Steve Stockman, then representing Idaho and Texas in Congress, publicly empathized with the conspiracy theories of the far right that fueled his anti-government obsessions.

In his Times article on the Tea Party right, Barstow profiled Pam Stout, a once apolitical Idaho retiree who cast her lot with a Tea Party group allied with Beck’s 9/12 Project, the Birch Society and the Oath Keepers, a rising militia group of veterans and former law enforcement officers who champion disregarding laws they oppose. She frets that “another civil war” may be in the offing. “I don’t see us being the ones to start it,” she told Barstow, “but I would give up my life for my country.”

Whether consciously or coincidentally, Stout was echoing Palin’s memorable final declaration during her appearance at the National Tea Party Convention earlier this month: “I will live, I will die for the people of America, whatever I can do to help.” It’s enough to make you wonder who is palling around with terrorists now.

Much more.

Sunday morning ...

Frogophile music blogging. A beautiful song and a video from my favorite French city next to Paris.

Patrick Fiori and Jacques Venaruso - Marseille