Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The N-Word. No, the Other One.

Diane McWhorter has a phenomenal essay up at on the valid comparisons to be made between the current administration and the lessons of Nazi Germany. It's very good and should give all sides food for thought.

Suck it, Godwin.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Caption Contest

Another caption contest featuring the Decider!

Just think -- only two more years of this tired schtick!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Now Playing

This past weekend, the lovely and talented Malibu Stacy and I had a chance to catch up on some recent new releases.

First up, Casino Royale. I know there was a whole lot of grumbling about Daniel Craig taking over the helm of the Bond franchise, but I've been rooting for him from the start. I loved his work in Road to Perdition and Munich, and especially his absolutely brilliant turn in Layer Cake. Not surprisingly, I thought Craig did a tremendous job here, bringing the rough tones needed for the origins story. (He'll bring the more polished appeal of Layer Cake to the next installments, so no worries there.) The real surprise, for me, was how they rebooted the whole franchise, dialing down the over-the-top gadgetry of the last couple films -- invisible cars? orbiting heat rays? -- and paring it down to the hard-edged, hard-nosed spy thriller at the heart of the Fleming novels. There's some terrific action -- including a phenomenal parkour fight scene -- and some actually decent acting as well. I'd have to say it's the best Bond film since Goldfinger.

Second, we had a chance last night to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I'd been a little wary about this one, since I wasn't sure how they could maintain the premise for an hour and a half without running out of steam. It did wind up getting a little old by the end, but that might have just been physical exhaustion I felt from laughing so hard for so long. I don't want to spoil any of the jokes here -- in the comments, maybe -- but I will say that there's a bit with former Republican Rep. Bob Barr that had me crying, and a piece with Alan Keyes that wasn't far behind. This one's going to involve multiple viewings, I think, and I doubt they'll disappoint.

Finally, I've got to join the growing blogospheric chorus in raving about this season of The Wire on HBO. I've been a tremendous fan of this show from the very first episode, largely because I saw it as a reincarnation of my all-time favorite cop show, Homicide: Life on the Streets. But The Wire is, in truth, even better. Not only is it a fantastic drama that includes a wide array of richly-drawn characters and some terrific acting; it's the only piece of entertainment I've seen that also carries a political message subtly and strongly. Each season has been a study in the deterioration of urban institutions -- the law, the unions, the political process, and now the schools. If you haven't been watching this show, do yourself a tremendous favor and start lining up Season One in your rental queue. You won't be sorry.

Feel free to drop your own thoughts on any of these in the comments below, or throw out your own recommendations for new shows in the motion picture theaters or coming out on that there teevee.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pay It Forward

Remember when the neocons said the fighting in Iraq would pretty much pay for itself? Turns out, they were right all along.
The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.

The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many of the insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says that $25 million to $100 million of the total comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry aided by “corrupt and complicit” Iraqi officials.

As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid to save hundreds of kidnap victims in Iraq, the report said. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments — previously identified by senior American officials as including France and Italy — paid Iraqi kidnappers $30 million in ransom last year.
Actually, on further review, they said our fighting in Iraq would pay for itself. They're sort of half-right, though, and that's as close to right as they've ever come.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Please note the following video includes thoroughly immature humor which may offend the following - Ghost Hunter fans and people suffering from IBS.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Random Ten

Due to tryptophan poisoning, there will be no Friday Random Ten this week. I'm sorry, but I'm so sedated from a day full of turkey, wine, and a stuffing that apparently included horse tranquilizers that I can barely type.

To make up for the musical absence, I offer you this gift of the White Stripes live in concert in December 2001. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Revenge of the Nerds

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

So, as you settle into your turkey slumber watching some silly pro football games, remember that this weekend marks a truly rare opportunity in college football.

Georgia Tech is the No. 15th team in the nation boasting a 9-2 record. They have clinched a shot at next weeks ACC championship in Jacksonville.

Up highway 316 in Athens GA, God's pride and joy (The University of Georgia) finds itself at 7-4 including 2 losses to Vandy and Kentucky. The university is still investigating why other signs of the apocalypse including the seas to blood and the stars falling from the sky didn't accompany this event. Experts (meaning me) have concluded that Georgia's experiment with fielding a team of players not on a pending academic probation or a criminal investigation commencing conveniently in January - may have backfired.

Mark your calendars for 3:30 EST on CBS for this year Georgia Tech may (pause...deep breath) have a shot at winning.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Ghost of Thanksgiving Future

If you'd like a guide to how a true American should celebrate Thanksgiving, check out Big Daddy Drew's forecast over at Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Did-Nothing Congress

Courtesy of TPM, I'm proud to present the last throes of the Republican Congress:
Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.

There's also no guarantee that Republicans will pass a multibillion-dollar measure to prevent a cut in fees to doctors treating Medicare patients.

The bulging workload that a Republican-led Congress was supposed to complete this year but is instead punting to 2007 promises to consume time and energy that Democrats had hoped to devote to their own agenda upon taking control of Congress in January for the first time in a dozen years.
These guys already accomplished the least amount of work in modern history and took the highest number of vacation days. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that they're abandoning ship before the job is done.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ku Klux Kramer

Recently, Michael Richards -- Cosmo Kramer from "Seinfeld" -- exploded in a full-blown, crazy-ass, really really racist tirade at a club appearance. Go take a look. It's so far off the charts into Crazytown that I've got to assume he owed Mel Gibson some money and he decided to pay off the debt by making Gibson's anti-Semitic comments seem sane by comparison.

I'd like to echo the thoughts of Shakespeare's Sister here, in thanking Richards for ruining "Seinfeld" for me, forever. Asshole.

Caption Contest

Bring. It. On.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hindsight Not 20/20

People have different opinions. That's not interesting. What is interesting is when someone looks at the past and sees something entirely different from what I would have thought.

After getting the gas face from the nation and own party, President Bush pulled a play from the President 101 handbook and went international. The Chicago Tribune reports that when:
Asked what lessons the war in Vietnam offered for the war in Iraq, Bush's response suggested a need for patience and determination--a nod toward the U.S. decision to abandon Vietnam after a protracted and unsuccessful war there.

"We'll succeed unless we quit," Bush said.
There were two things that surprised me about the Decider acknowledging the parallel.

(1) Could we ever have won the Vietnam War?

(2) Even if we could have won, was it worth it?

My personal opinion is that the answer to both of these questions is "no." I'm curious if I am in a minority. I am more than happy to understand how the Vietnam War might have been won. Nuclear? Attack China? Arrest all protestors?

What are your thoughts?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Compare and Contrast

If you happen to know any Greens or Nader voters who think there's no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans -- and, surprisingly, there are still some out there in the wild after six years of Bush -- feel free to point out to them this small study in contrasts.

First up, consider Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma). Inhofe is a certifiably crazy man, who can be seen in this illuminating segment on "Fox and Friends" discussing his belief that global warming is "the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people" and reminding us that God's still up there. (As an aside, I'd like to see scientists study just how much dumber repeated viewings of "Fox and Friends" can make you. I watched thirty seconds and forgot my own name.) Anyway, why are Inhofe's ravings important? Well, for the last several years, this nutty little raisin cake has been the head of the Senate committee which determines federal policy on the environment. He's been a chief obstacle to any kind of government action on global warming, a champion of rolling back the Clean Air Act, and the Bush administration's point man on killing the Endangered Species Act.

Next, consider Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California). Because the Democrats retook the Senate, she's the new head of the aforementioned committee. She's already sketched out an ambitious agenda, one that seems just a little bit different from her predecessor's. She intends to introduce legislation to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution, to strengthen environmental laws affecting public health and to hold hearings on federal plans for cleaning Superfund hazardous waste sites across the country. And, in a sign that she's clearly a dangerous left-wing feminazi from gay California, she not only believes all the science about global warming, but also thinks we should do something about it! Crazy!

If that doesn't make the contrasts clear enough, then take a look at virtually any committee in the Senate. The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will no longer be led by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Tantrum), a man who thinks the internet is a "series of tubes" and who famously wasted $233 billion on his "bridge to nowhere." The Finance Committee will no longer be led by adminsitration water-carrier Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) but instead by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-SD), who just pronounced that Social Security privatization is "dead" with him on the watch. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) has kept all investigations of 9/11 and Iraq intelligence failures bottled up in the Intelligence Committee, but new chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is going to pry it all open.

The list goes on and on. Education now goes through Ted Kennedy, who's itching to revisit the failures of No Child Left Behind. Judiciary is now run not by Stepford Senator, Arlen Specter, but by Pat Leahy, an aggressive guy who reduced Cheney to profanity and who's already calling for investigations into voter suppression tactics in the midterms. And so on.

You'd have to be willfully ignorant not to see the real differences between the two parties here. Wait -- wasn't that Nader's 2004 slogan?

Friday Random Ten

There's nothing like seeing the eyes of a child delighted by the magical whimsy of music. And, indeed, this album is nothing like that.

I don't have much to add about this trainwreck, except for my fervent hope that that man is Deborah's father.

We might as well just move along to the Friday Random Ten.

1. Dead Kennedys, "Kill the Poor" -- One of Jello Biafra's subtler songs. I guess the ham-handed politics aren't surprising when you realize he wrote "California Über Alles" to mock the evil, right-wing, fascist tendencies of, uh ... Jerry Brown. Seriously? Governor Moonbeam? OK, then. 5/10

2. The Red Paintings, "Mad World" -- One of the many cover versions of the Tears for Fears classic. It's not the most well-known -- that would be the Sacre cover from the Donnie Darko soundtrack (and some new XBox ad, I think?) -- but all things considered it's almost as good. A little more emotion, but still in the creepy acoustic mood. Very nice. 8/10

3. Lou Rawls, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" -- What a great fucking song. Not much to add about this, except if you watch the commentary tracks for the movie Anchorman, you'll be treated to a ten-minute segment where they ignore the movie and just interview Lou Rawls. He spends half his time wondering why the hell he's there. Hilarious. 9/10

4. Thom Yorke, "Black Swan" -- This is from his recent solo album, which I found pretty underwhelming. This is one of the better tracks, one that sounds like a leftover song from Kid A. Eh. 4/10

5. San Francisco Seals, "Don't Underestimate Me" -- Some rollicking indie rock from Barbara Manning. Nothing too spectacular, but solid enough. 6/10

6. Groove Armada, "My Friend" -- I think I'd like this little bit of technopop a bit more if it wasn't currently being used in 90% of the ads on TV. They're approaching Bob Seger levels of commerical overexposure. 5/10

7. Modest Mouse, "Bukowski" -- I've never actually read a single thing by Charles Bukowski and I can't say that this song makes me want to dive into his realm of assholery. Great tune, though. 8/10

8. Nina Simone, "See-Line Woman" -- Sweet. If I had to pick a paragon of musical coolness, Nina Simone would be at the top of my list. She could do it all, from heartbreaking ballads to funky soul numbers like this one. Such a great song I'm tempted to take the score up to eleven, but I'll respect the system. For now. 10/10

9. The Fugees, "Take It Easy" -- Well, there's a coincidence. Right after Nina Simone, I get a little bit of Lauryn Hill, a later-generation badass who once crooned, "So while you imitatin' Al Capone / I be Nina Simone and defecating on your microphone." One of the Fugees lesser songs, though. 5/10

10. Ray Charles, "What I'd Say?" -- I know this is a standard and one most folks might consider tired, but give it another listen. The organ work is absolutely blistering. I know subjects of Oscar-winning biopics aren't usually deemed cool, but I can live with your scorn. 8/10

Well, that gives me a 6.8 average. That means I'm more than two-thirds cool! I bet I could make Deborah happy. Well, two-thirds happy. Bemused, I guess.

Alright, let's see what you've got. Feel free to drop your own FRT in the comments, with or without the coolness self-audit. Or just mock me for my Bizzaro Ratings where the DKs aren't cool and Ray Charles is.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The announcement that Democrats held on to those two endangered congressional seats in Georgia is a good sign for so many reasons.

First and most obviously, it provides an even wider margin in the House. Second, it shows that the Democratic wave was strong even in the Deep South, where we ceded no ground.

But most importantly, it's an historic achievement. The Democrats pitched a total shutout this election. They not only made huge gains in the House, the Senate and the governors' offices, but they prevented the Republicans from picking off a single Democratic incumbent anywhere in the nation. Not one.

Political guru Larry Sabato of U.Va. predicted this a couple days before the election and noted that it would be historic:
Five days out, let's rephrase the question this way: when's the last time a major political party has failed to capture a single House seat, Senate seat, or governorship of the opposing party in a federal election year?

We bet it's never happened before, and it certainly hasn't happened in the post-World War II era. After all, even when a party suffers miserable net losses, it usually picks up at least several consolation prizes in the form of open seat pickups or an against-the-tide incumbent defeat.

Yet look at our 2006 predictions: at this moment, the Crystal Ball cannot identify a single election for Senate, House or Governor in which a Republican is likely to succeed a Democrat in office. Just imagine how devastating an absolute shutout would be in the eyes of history if this proves to be true!
This election was an historic defeat of devastating proportions. The Republicans were repudiated at every single level in every single state. And every single dime spent by the GOP and their voters to try and oust an incumbent Democrat was an absolute waste of time and money.


In your face, Flanders.

Miracle of Life My Ass

I know everyone's been standing around, arms raised, asking "Where's Poochie Thrillhous?" I'm happy to say Mrs. T gave birth to a healthy baby girl recently, and it's been all baby all the time. Pretty typical so far: baby eats, sleeps, and cries while parents stay awake, forget to eat, and cry.

We're holding out for a big fat contract from The Enquirer for the first photos, but I have commissioned this artists' rendering of what the baby looks like after about 5 minutes in my hands (the outfit is a little off; we tend to use a Windsor knot).

I can't promise I'll start posting more often just yet, but I'll try to try.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Laugh Riot

This past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine had an issue devoted to Hollywood humor. One of the smaller features was a running bit where they asked comic actors and directors to name their five favorite funny films.

The answers were interesting. Some replies were clearly tongue-in-cheek, with Judd Apatow selecting Terms of Endearment and David Cross selecting Rent. Some were on the borderline between sarcasm and sincerity, like Will Ferrell giving the nod to Weekend at Bernie's. And many more were going for old school comedy cred, with numerous selections of trailblazers like the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, and Buster Keaton and a disturbingly high number of Abbott & Costello and Laurel & Hardy flicks.

Anyway, I thought this might make for a nice time-killing exercise for the day.

What are your five favorite funny films? To start the ball rolling, here are mine:
Blazing Saddles
Dr. Strangelove
The Jerk
Raising Arizona
Waiting for Guffman
Drop your own favorite five in the comments, and/or your bewilderment over what I chose or ignored.


Conservative commentator Tony Blankley has an, um, interesting metaphor for the rebuilding process that the Republicans will have to go through:
Like the Berliners of 1945-46 who picked through the rubble to separate still usable bricks for re-building from that which was destroyed beyond repair, the Republicans now start the same lamentable process of finding something of value in the rubble that was their majority. And just as the Berlin of today is physically both similar to and different from the Berlin that stood before it was flattened during WWII, so, too, the new Republican majority that someday will be rebuilt will be similar but not identical to the one that was constructed in the Reagan-Gingrich era.
I guess it's alright to compare Republicans to Nazis if you do it in a positive way. Take note,!

The Un-Macaca

I know we were all thrilled to shove George Felix Allen Jr. out of the Senate and into the cold, cruel world of wingnut welfare, but I'm not sure how many people realize just what a terrific find his replacement is going to be.

Check out this brilliant op-ed piece by Jim Webb in the Wall Street Journal. He's going to be a great voice for economic populism in the Senate and a nice face for the party on these issues.

Don't Call It a Comeback

Oh, the good news for liberals just keeps on coming.
Sen. Trent Lott, ousted from the top Senate Republican leadership job four years ago because of remarks considered racially insensitive, won election to the No. 2 post Wednesday for the minority GOP in the next Congress.

Lott returned to the center of power by getting the position of vote-counting GOP whip, nosing out Sen. Lamar Alexander. Sen. Rick Santorum told reporters that Lott beat Alexander by a 25-24 vote.

After an intense evening in which both men lobbied colleagues during floor votes, the Republican caucus elected Lott, a one-time whip and majority leader, by secret ballot. Lott will be the GOP's second-in-command to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who was elected unanimously to be the Senate minority leader in the new Congress.
This is great on so many levels. Obviously, McConnell and Lott are a terrific combination to have leading the Senate Republicans, since they combine a particular brand of right-wing Southern insanity that the voters are clearly clamoring for. They're going to make Harry Reid look incredibly rational and moderate in the next two years and should do a wonderful job of helping tee us up for what should be a Democratic landslide in the 2008 Senate elections.

Alexander is also a Southerner, and even though he comes from a state sandwiched between Lott and McConnell's, he's fairly sane. By Republican standards. He would've injected a level of reason and civility into the GOP leadership, which would've been disastrous for us.

So thanks, Republicans!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Atomic Wedgie

Some times you read a news story and feel better about yourself. Sure, you're looking at news stories killing time while your pr0n downloads, but some people are not as cool as you.

Take these guys, for example. They started camping out Monday, November 6 outside a Best Buy to be the first kids on the block to own a Playstation 3. (This would be the Playstation 3 that goes on sale November 17.)

They quit jobs and postponed buying engagement rings for their imaginary Canadian girlfriends in order to stay unwashed and uncovered in a parking lot. All this to have a Playstation 3 a full 8 - 12 hours before the rest of America does.

They're dorks, right? Well, what would you say if after sleeping on the sidewalk for four days Best Buy kicked them off their property with nothing to show for it.

I feel cooler now, don't you?

Caption Contest

As Dick Cheney always says, there's no better time to kick a man then when he's down. Have at him.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tom Cruise Use Your Witch Powers! Save Me!

Remember two weeks ago when the GOP continued the party line that this conservative "thought revolution," which was 40 years in the making, was here to stay. Started at the grassroots level, it had a solid, balanced vision and with its powerful fundraising and "get out the vote" machine - unconditional surrender was the only option.

Well, the Reich which was to be here for 1000 years is no more. In a remarkable domino effect, the Grand Old Party has seen the House, the Senate, the head of the GOP Ken Mehlman, Rush Limbaugh's backbone, and now their hope for their "shining star" (Liddy Dole) all disappear....

Privately, there've been Republican grumbles for the past year about Dole's fundraising. Although she raised 12 percent more money in the past two years than her committee did in the previous election cycle, she collected far less than did her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.

The difference hurt candidates in the trenches, some Republicans said.

Ha. Ha.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Close Encounters

Yesterday's "Guardian" reported that Nick Pope, formerly of the Ministry of defense UFO project in the UK had warned:

"Britain is wide open to alien visitors and a department meant to look into UFO sightings is virtually closed down."

So this got me thinking. What would be the pros and cons of an alien invasion? I will assume they are friendly. If they are not, I imagine we simply die in some very efficient, very quick fashion.

  • Answer to "What would Jesus Do?"
  • Creationist Christians heads explode trying to rationalize God's other family.
  • Someone else for Madonna to shock.
  • Rush Limbaugh no longer needs to "carry the water" for this human race.
  • Tom Cruise vindicated for kookie-ass religion.
  • Joan Rivers look alike contest bigger than "American Idol"

  • Alien basketball team beats Atlanta Hawks by 213.
  • Laws need to be established to prevent gays marrin' Aliens.
  • Aliens constantly make comments ending with "I crossed the galaxy for this?"
  • Branson, Missouri is chosen as first contact. Aliens reconsider.

Please feel free and add your ideas. Perhaps, we can convince the British government that they need to stop tracking their local terrorist cells and focus toward the sky....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Random Ten

I thought this album cover would be a fitting tribute to the ascension of our new Democratic overlords. As all of the Republican talking heads warned us, the reign of Nancy Pelosi (D-Faaaaaabulous!) would force all Americans to get gay married, to gay Mexicans, in a gay Islamic ceremony, in a gay poorhouse, with totally gayed-up hors d'oeurves made out of snowflake babies and the pages of a Gideon Bible.

Get used to it, people. You're here, you're queer, you don't want any more bears.

Alright, time for the first Friday Random Ten of the Glorious Gayed-Up Revolution.

1. Catherine Wheel, "Strange Fruit" -- Well, here's a band I haven't thought about in several years. Some nice overly-strummy, very-catchy, mid-90s Britpop. No, no, it's not the Billie Holiday song. But you have to admire the king-sized huevos it takes to give a song the same title as a sad dirge about lynching. 8/10

2. Black Keys, "She Said, She Said" -- No, this is a cover, a rendition of the Beatles classic. The raw vocals and distorted geetars add some nice touches here. I like it. 7/10

3. Joe Tex, "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" -- Joe Tex always seemed like the poor man's Otis Redding, in that he always had pretty good vocal chops, but his tendency to record songs with titles like "Ain't Gonna Bump No More With No Fat Woman" sort of made him seem a little less legit. This is a fairly solid soul number, though. 9/10

4. Wanda Jackson, "Let's Have a Party" -- Some classic rockabilly from a pioneer riot grrrl. Even if you're not a fan, you may have seen this song in the semicrappy Dead Poet's Society when the nerdy kids build a radio to rock out and stick it to the man. It's very, very sad. 6/10

5. Wilco, "Jesus, Etc." -- One of my favorites off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I can never decide if Jeff Tweedy is a genius or just a self-obsessed douche, but this song is one that makes me vote for the former. Any thoughts on this? 8/10

6. Dinosaur Jr., "Just Like Heaven" -- J Mascis does a kickass cover of the Cure classic here, complete with a screaming fit that, to this day, scares the shit out of me. Nice work, indie geeks! 7/10

7. Leonard Nimoy, "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" -- Anyone want to take Leonard up on this offer? Anyone? 2/10

8. The Hives, "A Get Together to Tear It Apart" -- Eh. This band is sounding more and more like a one-album wonder. Well, a one-hit wonder. Would you believe, a one-hit mediocrity? 4/10

9. Outkast, "B.O.B." -- Damn. Saddam may be heading to the gallows, but he'll always have the funk. 9/10

10. The Kinks, "Sitting by the Riverside" -- A fairly forgettable tune from the hit-or-miss album, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. Eh. 4/10

Well, I was off to a nice start there, but ended up poorly. Rumsfeld knows what that's like, I guess. Final average: 6.4.

I don't want to end the first FRT of the brave new era on such a down note, so let me recommend this excellent clip of Eddie Vedder, singing a rendition of Phil Ochs' "Here's to the State of Mississippi" that's been updated to pay tribute to the administration of George W. Bush. Great stuff.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Still Miss Republicans

John Rogers has just put up a sequel to his brilliant "I Miss Republicans" post, and it's just as good. Enjoy.

Secretarial Skills

Well, elections have consequences, and the first one seems to be the delightful announcement that Donald Rumsfeld is finally being sent packing. Even though President Bush proclaimed his undying love for the man just a week ago and promised to keep him in office forever and ever, amen, the Decider has flip-flopped and shown him the door.

We here at LLatPoN have a soft spot for Rummy, and would like to do everything in our power to help him find a new job. But what?

Maybe he'd be a nice Wal*Mart greeter, given his age and predilection for pointing. Plus, we all remember he gives a warm and hearty handshake to even the most unruly of customers. Sure, he'd probably want to drop napalm on the Housewares aisle, but can you blame him? Those lardass housewives are begging for it.

Maybe he'd be great writer of fiction. Given the intricate fantasy world he lives in, he'd sure be a natural for it. Of course the entire book would consist of rhetorical questions. "Did John walk down the street? Of course! Did he open the door to the bar slowly? Goodness, yes. Did he pull up a stool and order a beer? Certainly!" Not exactly Pulitzer material.

Or maybe, just maybe, he can put his love of torture and violence to good use and become a high-priced gigilo on the S&M circuit. Actually, on second thought, scratch that. If Rummy dressed up in leather, he'd look like this.

Let's help this good man out. Drop your own suggestions in the comments below.

The Triumph of Yacht Rock

I'm surprised that he was electable after appearing on that album cover.
John Hall, leader of the rock group Orleans that recorded such hits as "Still the One" and "Dance With Me," has won a stunning upset in his race for Congress in upstate New York, narrowly defeating Republican incumbent Sue Kelly 51%-49%.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mock the Vote

This will be a rolling post on tonight's election returns. I'll update it semi-regularly as events and my own sobriety warrant, because I know that our seven regular readers would expect nothing less.

7:30 pm: CNN is operating a high-tech, fancy-pants war room for the election coverage, and they seem to have spent as much money on it as Wolf Blitzer does on maintenance of his precious, precious beard.

Anyway, they've just reported that Ken Blackwell just got his ass handed to him in the Ohio gubernatorial race. They announced his loss the second the polls closed, it was so bad. For anyone who remembers Blackwell's helping hand in screwing over black and urban voters in the 2004 presidential election, this is a moment of pure, unadulterated schadenfreude. Sit your ass down, Ken, and save a seat for Katherine Harris.

8:00 pm: And here's Kathy! Go sit down in the loser's circle with Ken, sweetheart. Maybe the two of you can become a warning to future GOP hacks -- mess with our elections and we'll destroy you the first chance we get. Also, I'm so glad to know you blew about $10 million of your own cash on this race. That's $10 million you won't be able to spend on further plastic surgery horrors.

8:12 pm: Looks like the Democrats picked up the governor's office in Massachusetts. I haven't heard much about Deval Patrick, but what I've seen suggests he could be a rising force. In any case, Mitt Romney didn't get to hand his office over to a Republican heir, and that's got to be a nice dent in his presidential aspirations.

8:27 pm: CNN has called the Democrats' first House pickup, with Ellsworth beating Hostettler in IN-08. And Daily Kos is saying Paul Hodes beat Charlie Bass in NH-02. So two down, and thirteen to go.

8:51 pm: Sherrod Brown's been declared the winner in the Ohio Senate race. I liked Paul Hackett, but it's nice to see a fairly liberal voice get the nod here. Given the general anti-GOP trend nationally and the wave of local scandals in the state, we might just see the entire slate flip from red to blue at this rate. Which would be huge for the 2008 presidential race.

9:00 pm: Rick Santorum. Dead, dead, DEAD! Alright, I'm breaking out the bourbon.

9:12 pm: Just realized that Olbermann is co-hosting the MSNBC coverage, so I'm switching to them. (I'm intentionally saving Fox News for the late night crying.)

Sadly but not surprisingly, I see that Lieberman is projected to pull out the win in Connecticut. Despite the initial excitement over Nedmentum, this has seemed likely for months. We'll see if he really caucuses with the Democrats. I bet he does so in name, but continues to stab the party in the back -- perhaps even more so. All the more reason to hope this thing doesn't end up 50-50.

9:20 pm: MSNBC has called Maryland for Cardin. Woohoo! Michael Steele was supposed to be a rising star in the Republican ranks, so this is a big one. If you listen closely, you can hear the violent sobs of Ken Mehlman. In a sign that he hails from Bizarro World, Chris Matthews just said that Steele ran a really classy campaign. Yes, a campaign filled with lies about getting pelted with Oreos and flyers meant to trick black voters into thinking he's a Democrat. Very classy.

9:33 pm: They're calling KY-03 for the Democrats, too. This is another race I thought was a bellwether one, so this is good news. Stay tuned.

9:43 pm: And now it looks like Count Chocula is going down in Indiana, too. These are very good signs for a big wave in the House.

10:03 pm: Rick Santorum is conceding on MSNBC. Our hatred for the man runs so deep that my wife, the lovely and talented Malibu Stacy, went so far as to mock his daughter and "her stupid little doll." (She's normally a very sweet woman. Santorum just brings out the evil in us.) Anyway, Ricky just thanked God, and I'd like to second the motion. Truly, with this loss, we all know that He is a just and righteous God.

And now, Rahm Emanuel is on with news that the Democrats have swept the three contested races in Indiana, and knocked off Nancy Johnson in Connecticut.

10:15 pm Just switched over to Fox News in time to watch Brit Hume have to announce the loss of Republican seats in Bob Ney's old district in Ohio and Don Sherwood's seat in Pennsylvania. The analyst is dismissing these pickups as "scandal seats." Yeah, lucky for the GOP those were the only two scandals this year.

10:43 pm: CNN has just called it for Joe Sestak over corrupt Curt Weldon in the Philadelphia suburbs. I'm really hoping we can run the table on the three collar-county districts around Philly, and this is a good start.

10:48 pm: And now Heath Shuler has taken NC-11 from the Republicans. Here's hoping he fares better in Washington this time around than he did when he played for the Redskins. We're now halfway to picking up both the House and the Senate.

10:55 pm: And Don Sherwood's gone down. Apparently, acknowledging an extramarital affair and getting sued by the mistress you choked is not a winning strategy. Take note, politicians!

11:07 pm: More and more great news, with longterm Republicans John Sweeney and Clay Shaw both going down. Mark Foley's seat has fallen, too, and a pickup in Arizona.

And CNN has just called it -- the Democrats have retaken control of the House of Representatives. That means committee chairmanships for John Conyers, Henry Waxman, Alcee Hastings, and Charlie Rangel. Bend over, Mr. President, because here they come!

11:17 pm: Fox News is so somber, they've done everything but break out the black armbands. They just called the House for the Democrats, and by their math, it came on Tom DeLay's old seat. Brit Hume looks like someone just shot his dog and then gay married the corpse.

11:31: MSNBC is reporting that the Virginia Senate race is likely to come down to the wire. 97% are in and Allen has a 6,000 vote lead. But the parts that haven't come in involve Democratic areas in Richmond and Fairfax County, so this is going to be incredibly close. I think we're looking at a recount here, Macacas.

11:52 pm: CNN is now giving Ensign and Kyl the wins, which is sad since I thought Pederson had a chance in Arizona. But good news in Virginia, as Webb takes the lead 50%-49% with 99% of the precincts in. This is going to be incredibly close. If the margin of victory is less than 0.5%, the loser can demand a recount.

12:06 am: According to TPM, the Democrats have unseated conservative Jim Ryun in Kansas and troglodyte J.D. Haysworth in Arizona. Blue wave, baby!

12:18 am: With the House clearly going Democratic, all attention is now focused on the last four Senate races in Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Montana. I'll go out on a limb here and predict that the Democrats lose Tennessee and take Montana, and pull out razor-thin wins in Virginia and Missouri. There will be recounts in both of those, but I think we could hold the leads. And if so, it's a 51-49 Democratic Senate, assuming Lieberman sticks with the winning team, as always.

12:40 am: Good news in the Virginia race. Chris Matthews is now reporting that 33,000 votes haven't been counted yet in Fairfax County, a suburban stronghold for the Democrats. Webb might be poised for a last minute surge here. It could still go to a recount, but increasing his lead would be huge.

12:52 am: Alright, I'm calling it a night. Things are looking good, but we'll know a little more by morning.

Please feel free to keep adding updates in the comments.

8:01 am: Beautiful morning, despite the rain here. Woke up to find out that Claire McCaskill took down Jim Talent in Missouri, and we're just waiting to see about Jon Tester and Jim Webb. I like our odds of taking the Senate, and I'm thrilled to see we picked up 28 seats in the House.


Evenly divided Senate. Ultimate victor? Lieberman.

Election Day

Come on Charlie Brown!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Subpar = Above Par?

Pet peeve time: Subpar is one of those saying that makes absolutely no sense to me. When you call something "subpar" -- literally "below par" -- you mean to call it "bad." But anyone who plays golf knows that if you go out and shoot below par, you are jumping out of your shoes with joy.

Give me a subpar round on the links any day. Out on the course with some beers and a cigar away from the wife and kids for four hours. Now that would be subpar.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Homeland Security - Studiodave's Battle

It started harmlessly. Mrs. Studiodave asked if I had left several hundred raisin sized poops in the basement. I tried to recollect the previous night's events - Fresno State decided that loosing by 27 was unacceptable, so they had to buckle up for a last field goal to lose by 24.

There goes $25.

Upon further review of the basement scat, it wasn't the cute field mouse my wife hoped it would be. It was more ominous - Rat (Bin Ladenous Ratus). And much like Cheney's lazer like (and emotionally irrational) focus on Iraq, my wife proposed we burn the house and move permanently into a hotel.

Luckily, the time was 9:55pm so Home Depot would be closed. We "discussed" it and my wife agreed that burning the house was not a viable financial option - although perfectly understandable (*hug*). (Editorial - single men - you must understand that there are moments where women folk act irrationality you have to step up and be a man. e.g. Extra hugs).

The next day the wife picked up $30 worth or traps and the like and waited for me to come home to bait and set them. Done and done. At 5:15 the next morning, I want downstairs to fine 2 rats DOA. I tossed them in the trash confident I can conquered - Mission Accomplished. Only cost me $30; I proved my manhood to my wife and kids.

But now, much like Iraq - this has proven far more costly and humbling.

This morning while delicately balancing myself in the attic a rat ran across my hand. I screamed like Michael Jackson - but not quite that butch a sound.

Now, we are up to 11 dead rats. And the cost to plug the holes in the eaves of the roof to stop this armada - $1700.

The wife is now asking questions about regime change. I need a hug.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chicks and football

I like football, and I like girls. And that's why I think you should vote for Bob Corker.

Friday Random Ten

Normally, I make some snarky comment about the album cover of the week, but this time ... I've got nothing. Nothing except a growing sense of being really, really creeped out.

It's probably best if we just move on to the Friday Random Ten. Let's do this thing.

1. Fugazi, "Waiting Room" -- What a nice start. The very finest in Do-It-Yourself punk, from a band that defined fast, cheap and out-of-control. It's starts with a killer bass line and only gets better from there. 10/10

2. Billy Bragg and Wilco, "California Stars" -- From the fantastic Mermaid Avenue album. This is a song that somehow sounds sunnier than anything either Bragg or Wilco would do on their own. 8/10

3. Irma Thomas, "Time is on My Side" -- I forgot to include this in yesterday's post on original songs that were better than the more popular versions, but this predecessor to what would become a Rolling Stones' classic is just phenomenal. She belts out the lyrics like a woman scorned, a woman that Mick Jagger could never be, no matter how much lipstick and hot pants he tries on. 9/10

4. Radiohead, "Everything In Its Right Place" (live) -- Normally, live albums are fairly weak reflections of the original work, but the excellent I Might Be Wrong strikes a nice balance between capturing the quality of the album versions and livening them up before an audience. Great stuff. 8/10

5. Carl Cox, "Phuture 2000 (Deepsky Mix)" -- I have no idea where this boring bit of techno came from, but I'm pretty sure it was delivered by a rave kid dressed up in a fur hat and glowsticks, with enough Ecstasy in his system to stroke out the whole crowd an Oakenfold concert. Get a job, spazz! 1/10

6. Yo La Tengo, "Cherry Chapstick" -- Hoboken's finest deliver the goods here on a nice strummy bit of indie rock. I think the entire And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out CD is terrific, and this song is certainly no exception. 7/10

7. Dresden Dolls, "Pretty in Pink" -- A terrific song and a horrible cover. 1/10

8. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, "The Rest Will Follow" -- Not surprisingly, a band with the balls to use that as their name also throws a wall of sound at you too. Two drummers and what sounds like a half dozen guitars lead to a nice driving rocker. Solid stuff. 8/10

9. Blackalicious, "Powers" -- This song has everything you'd expect from Blackalicious, a driving beat and mile-a-minute vocals, but it also has something a little different for them, some tongue-in-cheek sassiness. Daddy likey. 9/10

10. Allen Toussaint, "Soul Sister" -- And a nice finish. A sweet bit of New Orleans soul, even a little poppier than Toussaint's normally catchy stuff. Excellent all around. 10/10

Alright, that gives me a 7.1 average. Yet another installment in a string of mediocrity. At this rate, I'm a shoo-in for a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I'm sure you folks can do better, so drop your own Friday Random Ten in the comments below, with or without the Coolness Self Audit.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Heckuva Job, Rummy!

More evidence that the president hails from Bizarro World:
President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain in his administration until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-criticized members of his team. ....

Democrats and Republicans alike have called for Rumsfeld's resignation, arguing he has mishandled the war in Iraq where more than 2,800 members of the U.S. military have died since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Cheney has faced sharp criticism for his hardline views and is viewed favorably by only about a third of Americans in polls. Bush said that "both those men are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them."
Listening to the soft bigotry of Bush's lowered expectations, I'm reminded of a nice old post by John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey:
One of the great mysteries of the last six years was how and when the Bush Administration turned public policy into Special Olympics. "Oh, I know Donny knocked over all the hurdles, but HE LOVES THE RACE, so you SHUT YOUR FILTHY, CYNICAL MOUTH." Jesus H. Christ.
While the vast majority of the country thinks Rumsfeld should go, Bush isn't alone in insisting Rumsfeld is doing a heckuva job. In a notable example, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Permatan) agrees that the buck stops squarely with the generals in Iraq. Very brave of you, sir. Very brave.

Whatever happened to all that Republican talk about personal responsibility? Did that only apply to blowjobs?

The Crystal Ball

I tend to get nervous about bold predictions of a Democratic tidal wave -- I remember the talk from 2004 a little too well. But Prof. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia has a decent track record and he's worth listening to. Via TPM, his latest post is a doozy:
Just how Democratic a year is 2006?

Five days out, let's rephrase the question this way: when's the last time a major political party has failed to capture a single House seat, Senate seat, or governorship of the opposing party in a federal election year?

We bet it's never happened before, and it certainly hasn't happened in the post-World War II era. After all, even when a party suffers miserable net losses, it usually picks up at least several consolation prizes in the form of open seat pickups or an against-the-tide incumbent defeat.

Yet look at our 2006 predictions: at this moment, the Crystal Ball cannot identify a single election for Senate, House or Governor in which a Republican is likely to succeed a Democrat in office. Just imagine how devastating an absolute shutout would be in the eyes of history if this proves to be true!

Sure, we could easily be fooled by more than a few outcomes in this regard on Election Night, and we would probably place the odds of this historical unlikelihood's occurrence at no better than 50/50. But the very notion such a scenario is within the realm of possibilities is a testament to the lopsidedness of this year's theaters of battle.
Check out the rest of the post for his breakdown of all the races. Right now, he's predicting that the Democrats will pickup 6 seats in the Senate and 23 in the House and retake both chambers. Wow.

I'd love to believe him, but I'm going to be sweating out these last five days, waiting for the coincidental release of another Osama Bin Laden tape or the sudden discovery of stockpiles of sarin gas in downtown Baghdad.

This thing isn't over yet. No matter where you live, odds are good there's a tight House or Senate race nearby. See what you can do to get involved and get out the vote. Because I'd love nothing more than to hang a shutout on the GOP and really, really rub it in.

The Reckoning

Looks like the party's almost over:
A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The American people aren't idiots. Sure, as Rove knows all too well, you can trick them for a little bit with a combination of scare tactics and outright lies, but in the end they have a pretty good sense for bullshit. And when they realize they've been conned, look out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

No Soldier Left Behind

If you've had the misfortune of turning on CNN today, you'll note that they and the rest of the mainstream media is getting itself worked into a full-blown circle jerk over John Kerry's latest botched speech.

It's completely understandable that they'd prefer to regress to their 2004 campaign mode, which didn't require any actual reporting on the major issues of the day -- which are, of course, booooooorrrrrrringgggg -- and only required a mastery of junior high school gossip skills. Who gives a shit about Iraq or the economy or national security, when John Kerry is on the loose mangling the English language? Won't someone please think of the children?!?!

Even though you wouldn't know it from the nonstop coverage of the willfully ignorant outrage of the White House, there is actual, disturbing news out there. Andrew Sullivan has the scoop:
The commander-in-chief has abandoned an American soldier to the tender mercies of a Shiite militia. Yes, there are nuances here, and the NYT fleshes out the story today. But the essential fact is clear. In a showdown for control of Baghdad, the Iraqi prime minister took orders from Moqtada al-Sadr, and instructed the U.S. military to withdraw from Sadr City. The American forces were trying both to stabilize the city but also to find a missing American serviceman. He is still missing. Money quote from the WaPo:
The move lifted a near siege that had stood at least since last Wednesday. U.S. military police imposed the blockade after the kidnapping of an American soldier of Iraqi descent. The soldier's Iraqi in-laws said they believed he had been abducted by the Mahdi Army as he visited his wife at her home in the Karrada area of Baghdad, where U.S. military checkpoints were also removed as a result of Maliki's action.

The crackdown on Sadr City had a second motive, U.S. officers said: the search for Abu Deraa, a man considered one of the most notorious death squad leaders. The soldier and Abu Deraa both were believed by the U.S. military to be in Sadr City.
The U.S. military does not have a tradition of abandoning its own soldiers to foreign militias, or of taking orders from foreign governments. No commander-in-chief who actually walks the walk, rather than swaggering the swagger, would acquiesce to such a thing. The soldier appears to be of Iraqi descent who is married to an Iraqi woman. Who authorized abandoning him to the enemy? Who is really giving the orders to the U.S. military in Iraq? These are real questions about honor and sacrifice and a war that is now careening out of any control. They are not phony questions drummed up by a partisan media machine to appeal to emotions to maintain power.
Yep, that about covers it. While Bush is out there complaining that the Democrats are denigrating the troops, his administration is literally abandoning an American soldier in the field. Which is worse?