Friday, October 22, 2004

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

We're rollin' these doggie on over the Wordherders! So come on over for a visit on the new site- and check out the neighbors!

Teach your children well. Please.

Amygdala points out that there is precious little discussion about the situation in Darfur, and including virtually no mention of Nicholas Kristof's piece on the situation in Wednesday's NYTimes. (Guilty) It's a short but brutal piece. As Gary Farber points out: Never again!, Indeed.

Possibly even more depressing than the article itself is the window into the minds of America's youth that Kristof posts. More depressing because there is far more in these 'letters' than was probably intended, including, perhaps, an explanation of why nothing ever gets done when actual atrocities are being committed. Kristof posts:

A high school class in Indianapolis was given the assignment of giving President Bush’s response to my columns, asking him why he isn’t doing more on Darfur. Here’s a sampling of the responses – which don’t indicate much sympathy for Darfur:

    As the President of the United States, I have been very busy dealing with the war. I have not had time to think about what has been going on over there. It is not as important as what is going on in the U.S.
    We have our own problems and don’t have to worry about everyone else’s problems. I don’t want to hear any more about this topic.
    Do these monsters need to attack the U.S. before we help? I think we should stand up for the weak and save them from these terrors.
    If the Sudan conflict gets more threatening, let our European allies deal with it. At this time, the U.S. does not have the time or resources, due to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Before you start to criticize the president, think about what’s going on here, instead of out there.
    I, George Bush, have more things to worry about than some stupid little rebellion over in Sudan.
I’m afraid that these students reflect a much broader sentiment in the U.S., and that fundamentally is why we’re not doing more about the genocide.

We're glad to see that one in the middle- a conscience, by God, out there in the wilds of Indiana!- but this listing reminded us of the Sesame Street bit where you had to pick which one of a group "doesn't belong here." We would like to believe that the last one is some sort of nascent, high schooler political satire, but we fear it is not. It made us cry. Literally.

As we've mentioned in previous postings, Oxfam International is doing work in Chad with the refugees, as is Medecins sans frontiers and Care International. They could all use some financial support. You can also write to your senator, congressman or to the White House.

Alternatively, you could try raising your children better. But that's a longer term project. No worries, though, we suspect that the Sudan's problems are long term as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Mandate of Heaven Reads: Emporer Naked

The Spinmeister Alert Today Is:
Begonia*

For reasons beyond our ken John Kerry decided today that he would take an afternoon off from campaigning and saving his aides from certain peril and from tripping on the stairs (we note that no one had enough love for Karl Rove to extend him the same courtesy) to control the local geese population. You'll note, however, from the location he chose for this little jaunt into nature that he seems not to have forgotten Poland after all.

The administration was not long in sending out their own nature lover and killer of water fowl to show the disingenuousness of the Kerry Call of the Wild. The Veep derrided the hunting trip while at a campaign rally in Sylvania, Ohio. Yes, he noted that Kerry wore a new camouflage jacket, having not brought his old one on the campaign trail. Well, we sure think the Veep has a point there: what the hell kind of real fan, er, sportsman buys a brand new hat, er, jacket when he's going to a game, er, on a hunt. The kind looking for a photo-op with Mayor Twin Towers, er, a dead goose, that's who! Perhaps the Veep just knows that it ain't a real hunting trip unless you take along a Supreme Court Justice whose about to hear a case against you. That's how real men hunt foul, er, fowl: recused in a duck blind with your favorite judge.

Speaking of The Sultan of Scare, the Veep went on the Sean Hannity show where he said of his boss: "But he's great about allowing me to sort of stick my oar in wherever I think I can be helpful. Sometimes he asks me to take on specific problems and go solve them for him. And I'm delighted to do all that." We hope that Jon Stewart was watching: because this is what being a "butt boy" really looks like. Before sticking his oar anywhere, however, Hannity gave the Veep the opportunity to refute claims that the GOP is trying to disenfranchise black voters. Cheney answered "It's just fundamentally untrue. It's another one of those lies, distortions. I've tried hard not to use that that word. A clear misrepresentation. Just an out and out effort to scare people." Huh. That's funny. There's those Florida 'felon' rolls, which are mostly black voters. And there is the issue of a GOP official saying the Detroit vote had to be suppressed for a win in Michigan (as opposed to suppressing, say, the predominately white western Michigan vote). And then the shenanigans in Philadelphia in which the GOP attempted to have 63 polling stations in predominately black neighborhoods moved at the last minute. While the Veep is making denials, his own party members on the ground seem to disagree:

"Race played a role in at least five of the requests, according to Matt Robb, the Republican leader of the 48th ward in South Philadelphia. Robb said he allowed his name to be used because those polling places are in neighborhoods he doesn't wish to visit. "It's predominantly, 100 percent black," said Robb, who is white. "I'm just not going in there to get a knife in my back."
Yeah, that is a Philadelphia Republican leader saying he wants to move the polling station out of a black neighborhood to save him and all the other white voters from being killed by those murderous dark skinned people. But race isn't an issue, right Dick?

Schadenfreude is bad for the soul. Still. Today's schadenfreude moment is brought to you by Bill O'Reilly from his new book for kids. "And guys, if you exploit a girl, it will come back to get you. That’s called “karma.” Yeah, Bill, that is just the dictionary definition of karma. Thankfully "falafel" doesn't appear in the index.

Coming hard upon Ron Suskind's really frigging scary article about the Bush administration's rejection of empirically tested reality, Bush ally and 700 club wingnut Pat Robertson felt it necessary to clear the air by confirming that Dubya does, in fact, live in a fantasy world. Robertson told an interviewer on CNN that just before the Iraq invasion he felt compelled to warn Bush that the conflict was going to be messy. (Robertson says God told him so. Uh, yeah. Well common sense told us. We kinda think that medication might help with the voices, but whatever). Bush's answer? "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties. First of all, anyone out there who said Bush didn't "mean" it when he said, post-9/11, that the war on terror was a "crusade" will kindly go eat their own shoe. Next up, one wonders how he reconciles that pre-invasion MASH note from The Big Guy with the mounting casualties that just keep happening in the real world.

But what the hell do we know? We're part of the "reality-based community." Apparently we should just sit back and listen to the White House Chia Pet, Scott McClellan when he tells us "Of course the president never made such a comment." Of course. Because the PoTUS has such a long history of having any clue about what the hell is going on outside of the bubble.

What gives us extra willies is that despite Robertson saying he "wished Mr. Bush would acknowledge his mistake," he continued to say about Bush: "I think God's blessing him, and I think it's one of those things that, even if he stumbles and messes up — and he's had his share of goofs and gaffes — I just think God's blessing is on him," Robertson said. "And you remember, I think the Chinese used to say, you know, it's the blessing of heaven on the emperor. And I think the blessing of heaven is on Bush. It's just the way it is."

Yes, Pat Robertson thinks Dubya has the mandate of heaven. Check it out Pat, you're right that China's emperors used to claim to have the mandate of heaven. But look where it got them: commiepinkoland. So cut that shit out, okay?

In a completely unsurprising move, Walmart has decided to pull Jon Stewart's best selling mock text books from their shelves when they discovered there were naked bodies shown inside. Because no one that shops at Walmart lives in the corporeal world, and they were afraid that if their employees opened the books to the page purporting to show nude supreme court justices the sight would cause them to burst into flames.

Finally, this is almost funny enough to make us watch television. Almost.

* All Spinmeister Alert colors for the last two weeks of campaigning will be filched from the color names for underpants found in a certain catalog.

Red Sox!!! Whoo-hoo!!

Whooo!!! Yankees suck!!!! Whooo-hoo!!!

Okay, now the agony begins anew.... Oh, will it be 1986 all over again? We can't take it! Put us down quickly, please, have mercy....

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Reality-based community cries uncle

Today Bush said that Kerry doesn't understand the war on terror. But according to an article in last Sunday's NYT Magazine by Ron Suskind, Bush and his administration don't understand reality. More to the point, they don't believe in it:

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Yes, you did read that right: one of PoTUS's top aides is claiming not only that the Bush administration doesn't have to bow to empirical reality, he is claiming that they freaking control it. This is like the lost chapter from Orwell's 1984. If you aren't peeing your pants in fear right now you might want to go find a defibraltor, because we think maybe your heart has stopped beating. Regardless, click to the link and read Suskind's article right now.

Market Adjustments

Couple of burps on the market made us raise an eyebrow. Seems that Sinclair Broadcasting's stock plummeted in response to their decision to air the anti-Kerry film. When they decided today not to air it in its entirety (to avoid FCC penalites for an illegal campaign donation) the stock shot back up. Huh. Meanwhile, Deibold, maker of touch screen no paper trail voting machines, whose owner told a GOP fundraiser audience that he would deliver Ohio to the PoTUS, took some pretty serious losses. In a year when states are buying machines to be up to standards with HAVA. It's almost like the market is self-regulating. Except not so much. Mostly because we doubt it's the Robber Barons who'll be feeling this one. More likely it's the employees of Diebold who just got laid off that'll feel this adjustment.

The Spinmeister Alert Today Is:
Luscious Rose

Cause the spinning is just gonna keep on coming. As are the attorneys. Actually, we think that there must be some concern going on in Bushworld, cause they've sent out Condi Rice of the Magical Helmet Hair to mesmerize the masses, convincng the lumpenproletariat that they're all not nearly as loony as you suspect they are, and that they like black people. (When they have oil tankers named after them). We wonder if things are not, in fact, say coming to pieces? We only ask because it kind of looks like something is going to pieces from this picture of Karl Rove throwing himself beneath the wheels of a plane. Maybe he got a glimpse of reality? (Hat tip to Wonkette)

Well your great aunt Edna isn't the only one who won't get a flu shot this year. Seems the vaccines will be by-passing army bases as well. We think we detect a war plan here: they'll win the war on terror by sending flu infected soldiers and their blankets to Iraq. We know this worked really well in the sixteenth century, but that was a) the clap and b) its seems doubtful that the Iraqis are working with the evolutionarily isolated immune systems of, say, Hispanola circa 1510. Nice try, though.

Bush wants to be the 'Ownership' President- but we're a little confused about who he means the owners to be. Apparently not anyone who might need help getting the dough together to buy a house. But mortage debt isn't so bad, says Alan Greenspan. So we guess we're supposed to just suck it up and overextend ourselves into an $800,000 shack in Berkeley. And while we're at it, why not get a few more student loans? You'll be taking out more if you're at a public university. Because public university educations are like a jobs program if you think about it. As long as you have a job to pay for the rising tuition. Debt- it's the American Way!

Looks like being informed on the issues, as opposed lost in a sea of partisan hackery, means you might be more likely to vote for Kerry. But if you're a kid you're also apparently more likely to vote for Kerry- perhaps because you are able to escape the sea of partisan hackery. Of course, being a grown up doesn't mean you are more likely to act like one.

We know that the polls are just bunk, but we must admit to be addicted to Electoral Vote. We are glad to find we are not alone. Someday, when all this election stuff is over, we'll organize a support group or whatever. In the meantime, check our New Mexico.

And finally, the tragedy of Candyfloss Lord Milton. And we thought Best in Show was a mockumentary. Does this mean Nigel Tufnel is out there sniffing the glove?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Dictators Weigh In

The Spinmeister Alert Today Is:
Rhubarb

Oh, the spin machine must be spinning and spinning, because people, despite the fact that there are US Generals are saying Baghdad needs another 10,000 police officers (think may be a late addition to yesterday's theme of shortages), the head of Care International's Baghdad office has been kidnapped, and that recent analysis says that the wealth gap between white families and black and Hispanic families has grown, we're still hearing all about Mary Cheney. You would think that Kerry had said the woman has sex with goats for money the way these people are carrying on. Is anyone paying attention to the fact that Brent Scowcroft, the national security advisor under Poppy Bush, has made public note of the son's shortfalls in the foreign policy area? Well he did. Bush camp response? Dick Cheney again said that a Kerry election would result in "terrorists bombing US cities." This just a day after Bush said Kerry was using "shameless scare tactics" in his campaign speeches. Golly, if saying "elect my opponent and die" isn't a shameless scare tactic, we're kind of afraid of what a shameless scare tactic would look like. Does he think Kerry kills a kitten on stage and then says 'vote for me or the dog gets it next'?

Meanwhile Sinclair broadcasting has fired their Washington bureau chief for voicing a criticism of their decision to broadcast the anti-Kerry sock-you-mentary, "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal". (Which maybe should be retitled: Lost Sanity: The Grudge that can never be Let Go) Glad to see that "media" outlets are being run like BC04 campaign rallies. Guess he must be giving succor to the enemy, as they say. Who needs the First Amendment when we can have Dubya?

Oh yes, and Bush has gained a new supporter- Putin has weighed in as a Dubya man for the election. Too bad the polls in Moscow seem to be closed. Especially if you want democratic polls that allow you to vote for governor. It's good to see the world's dictators out there, getting into the swing of things. We wonder how the rest of the dictators will fall out between now and Nov. 2nd. Gaddhafi? Probably pro-Bush- after all, Dubya keeps touting the Libyan strongman 's re-entry into the market system as a Dubya 'win' so why shouldn't Mohmar? Burma's General Than Shwe? Well, the General's a real with-us-or-against-us kinda guy, so we figure they might see eye to eye on some things. Besides, BC04 sent some much needed (especially with the embargo!) cash flowing the way of the Orwellian military dictatorship when they had some Made in Burma campaign gear made up. But Kim Jong Il- that's all Nader/Camejo, baby.

And please, the voter registration shenanigans have just got to stop. Problems with destroyed Democratic registration applications in Oregon and Nevada, while Ohio has crackheads registering Mary Poppins. Don't these idiots realize that Julie Andrews is British? Seriously, this is just disgusting. Is this Nigeria? Is this Cambodia? Is this Haiti? One stolen election andthis is what our democracy has come to? Partisan disenfranchisement and crackheads registering imaginary characters? Thank you, to the Commander in Thief, for showing us that our democracy is, in fact, a house of fucking cards. It must be heartening in Zimbabwe to know that we have something in common.

By the way, if you have the sinking feeling that your neighbors, co-workers, friends and acquaintences might not have that good of a handle on the issues of the campaign, well, you're right. We're betting that Tennessee is probably representative. Hap tip to The Votemaster for this one.

In response to Jon Stewart pointing out that the Crossfire crew are partisan hacks who refuse to actually engage in discourse or provide useful information to the people who watch their show while still pretending to have a useful role, James Carville said yesterday that Stewart was a "pompous ass" for attacking Ted Koppel. We assume we missed that part of the interview, though we think it's curious that "Ted Koppel" appears nowhere in the transcript from last Friday's show. We think James Carville is a pompous ass in general for being on Crossfire. Robert Novak noted that he didn't think Stewart was funny, but that he did think he was uninformed. It's funny, because we think Jon Stewart is hilarious and obviously well informed. But then again, we also think Robert Novak is an asshole. We also think that The Poor Man has inaugurated the best title for Tucker Carlson, besting even Stewart's "big dick" call. We are still chuckling.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Because Tucker Carlson IS a Dick

If you haven't already seen it you should head over to Random Foo to check out the Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Crossfire. It is great to watch because 1) those of us left on this planet whose brains have not been sucked out by the onslaught of mindnumbing Britney Spears videos, "Survivor," Fox "News" and the partisan hackery that passes for "journalism" have been saying the same thing Stewart says for ages, we just say it to our mothers, partners, friends and pets; 2) he means it. Really. 3) Tucker Carlson is a dick, and it needed to be said. The fashion-challenged Carlson wasted no time confirming that he is, in fact, a total weenie, by trying to recast (some might say spin) the entire interlude. Listen, Tucker, you're thirty-five years old and my grandfather has more flavah than you. You look like someone who should be selling ice cream from a white van circa 1952. Clearly the reason why no one actually debates on your show is that you can't take someone with a brain who is actually invested in what they are saying. Besides, how can anyone be taken seriously on a show that actually pays money to Robert Novak?

The Spinmeister Alert Today Is:
Lemon Yellow

Other than Tucker Carlson, the spin was just humming along as usual. The theme today seemed to be shortages. Seems a top commander over at the Pentagon complained last winter that the troop shortages were causing problems in Iraq. Could that be the same troop shortages Paul Bremer was talking about and then tried to pretend it wasn't as bad as he said it was? Hmmm. Seems like there is also too much work and not enough man- and woman-power in police departments such as the perpetually alerted DC area. Wonder if the shortage there has anything to do with reservists, who are disproportionately represented in police and fire departments, being called up for duty in Iraq in response to shortages there... Speaking of shortages, have you seen the lines for flu shots? Whoo-wee. If you aren't over 95 with a compromised immune system, your best bet to deal with the shortage is the lottery.

Speaking of shortages, Bush today accused Kerry of using scare tactics. Which tells us that somebody in the Bush camp reads the Sunday Times. But, uh, guys, it was your Veep who said that if your opponent wins we risk a "devastating" terrorist attack. Nothing scary about that, eh? So we're thinking shortage of memory.

Seems undecided voters are a 'mystery.' And not just because one wonders how they could have held out this long.

Already problems with voting in Florida. Not only is Florida already having problems, but it seems that a Republican group in Nevada and Oregon who were registering new voters may have destroyed registration cards filled out by people who checked Democrat. Not only is this unconscionable, it's also a felony. Glad to see the GOP working hard to set the standard. We would roll our eyes, but watching our democracy get trampled on is too depressing even for cynicism. Looks like this election will be a doozy.

Shock and amazement! Seems that the Texas high court might have something to say about Mr. Delay's redrawing of district maps. Not Mr. Delay! My, my, my, but he has just such a perfect record.

The "filmmakers" who put together the anti-Kerry sock-you-mentary that will be airing on Sinclair networks have been slapped with a libel suit. And not from someone in the Kerry camp. We're shocked, shocked! We never would have guessed.

Dubya may think that things are going better in Iraq- but there seem to be some soldiers who beg to differ.

Kerry warns of Social Security privitization. Bush denies this is what he plans. We wonder if he can explain what he means when he says he wants an "ownership society" where 'young people' will pay into their private social security accounts? Funny how the sound comes out even when his lips aren't moving, innit?

Hmmm. It took three decades to track this guy down. Must be because he was so inconspicuous.

Britney Spears announced today that she will be taking some time off from being a vacuous pop star. She left us with these words of wisdom: "My prerogative right now is to just chill and let all of the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment .... good luck girls!"

Yeah.