Monday, December 20, 2004

Bush: TIME's "Man of the Year"

It's worth mentioning that getting on the cover of TIME this time of year isn't necessarily like winning an Oscar...
The winner must be "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse," he said.

Past notables include: Hitler, Stalin and Ayatollah Khomeini. Everyone acknowledges that bin Laden should have "won" a few years back, but TIME was afraid to make him the selection.

I guess Georgie is a fitting "Man of the Year" after all.

[UPDATE: James Wolcott has a great piece on TIME's Special Presidential Ass-Kiss Issue. MORE: Wolcott references this NY Press column. It's worth a read on it's own.]

Bush: Running the Asylum?

Digby thinks that Bush is calling his own shots now. the proof is in the screw-ups:
All we need do is look to the Kerik debacle to see that Bush himself is now making decisions and he is doing it against the will of his advisors. It is obvious that Kerik appealed to Bush as a man's man. It was a sympatico relationship --- a pair of testosterone cowboys, one blue, one red, in love with their images as tough guys who take no shit. Bush saw in Kerik the man he now believes he is --- self-made, salt of the earth, leader of men, killer of bad guys. The empty frat boy and the crooked bureaucrat teamed up as adventure heroes.

The minute I read about this I knew that this had been a case of Bush saying "I take the man at his word, Alberto, now make it happen." This wasn't sloppy vetting. It was Junior issuing an edict based upon his vaunted "gut" with the predictable result. And I have no doubt that rather than blame himself for this mess, the Preznit blames Kerik for not being the man that Bush wanted him to be and blames the others for being right. (And I imagine that Bush will stick with Rumsfeld no matter what for the simple reason that so many want him out. That's the way dumb megalomaniacs think.)

This is the big story of the second term. Bush himself is now completely in charge. He did what his old man couldn't do. He has been freed of all constraints, all humility and all sense of proportion. Nobody can run him, not Cheney, not Condi, not Card. He has a sense of his power that he didn't have before. You can see it. From now on nobody can tell him nothin. It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, doesn't it?

Actually, I see it as good news. Bush is clearly incompetent, and the more often he ignores advice and freelances, the more he will fuck up and screw his "legacy" and his Party in '06 and particularly '08. That is as long as someone besides a few lefty blogs is pointing it out.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall chimes in.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Shopping: Blue Christmas

[via Altercation] If you are doing any Chistmas shopping this year, it's a good idea to support the companies that support progressive causes. I don't mean you have to buy everybody something from Heifer (though that would be nice), I know people still want to give and receive some "regular" gifts. So when shopping online or in actual stores, reward the company that supported Democratic candidates over Republicans this past year. Buy at Barnes & Noble (or better yet, Powells) instead of Amazon. (though you can feel free to use my wishlist for a reference to take elsewhere). When in doubt, support your local merchant (always a way to combat the Wal-Marts)

Here is a site that links to blue retailers. Here is the site that allows you to search companies contributions. Some of the criteria are confusing, some are based on executive. And here is a site with a handy list and printable pdf.

A couple of surprises on the lists? The surprising "red" corporation? H.J. Heinz Company--[2% Democrat / 98% Republican] I guess Teresa has no pull at all. And suprisingly "blue" – Amerada Hess--[94% Democrat / 6% Republican] I am astounded there is a major oil company with a breakdown like this. If you live on the East coast, buy all your gas at Hess stations! And buy every kid one of these (always a favorite of mine). Everyone else go to BP or Amoco (slight republican support as opposed to every other company that donates to Republicans in numbers similar to octane ratings).

You can feel good about supporting/shopping with: Barnes & Nobel; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Crate & Barrel; CVS; J. Crew; fly JetBlue; L.L. Bean; Mattel toys; Progressive Insurance; Sharper Image; Sony; Whole Foods; Toyota

Boycott: Applebee's; Ace Hardware; Brooks Pharmacy; Domino's pizza; ExxonMobil (special consideration among oil companies for atrocious environmental and human right record); Wal-Mart (surprisingly donated 22% to Dems, but still an evil empire)

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Politics: The Rude One says it best

The Rude Pundit has the best takedown on the whole "Bush Administration Pushes the Supreme Court to Allow Ten Commandments in Public Buildings" bullshit.
Here's what the Rude Pundit wants hangin' in every courthouse, in every statehouse, in every outhouse in Uhmerka: a big, bloody, flesh-stripped, weeping Mel Gibson-approved Jesus, nailed to that motherfuckin' cross. He wants it to be there next to the flag in the IRS offices, in the Homeland Security offices, every fuckin' public building, every school, everywhere. It'll be mandated: flag, portrait of Bush, bleedin' Jesus, yowling in pain 'cause those fuckin' nails hurt, motherfucker. That way, every time someone walks into a government building, oh, that person'll know the score: this is a Christian nation, asshole, get used to it

Read the whole thing.

Baseball: Now starting at second base...Nomar Garciaparra!

This would have been so crazy, I'm almost curious enough to wish it happened...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Politics: You can't make stuff like this up

Bush introduced Mike and Sharla Hintz, a couple from Clive, whom he said benefited from his tax plan.

Last year, because of the enhanced the child tax credit, they received an extra $1,600 in their tax refund, Bush said. With other tax cuts in the bill, they saved $2,800 on their income taxes. They used the money to buy a wood-burning stove to more efficiently heat their home, made some home improvements and went on a vacation to Minnesota, the president said.

"Next year, maybe they'll want to come to Texas," Bush quipped.

Mike Hintz, a First Assembly of God youth pastor, said the tax cuts also gave him additional money to use for health care. He said he supports Bush's values. "The American people are starting to see what kind of leader President Bush is. People know where he stands," he said. "Where we are in this world, with not just the war on terror, but with the war with our culture that's going on, I think we need a man that is going to be in the White House like President Bush, that's going to stand by what he believes.

and today...
Des Moines youth pastor is charged with the sexual exploitation of a child. KCCI learned that the married father of four recently turned himself in to Johnston police.

Rev. Mike Hintz was fired from the First Assembly of God Church, located at 2725 Merle Hay Road, on Oct. 30. Hintz was the youth pastor there for three years.

Police said he started an affair with a 17-year-old in the church youth group this spring.

Love those moral values...

Politics: Oh, you mean there are Democrats in Congress?

You know the Democratic Party is completely marginalized when NPR can spend ten minutes (back to back news stories) on the passage of the Intelligence Bill and not utter the word 'Democrat' once. Seriously, I am not exaggerating. Listen to them. It is as if the Democrats don't even exist.

People who have been paying attention know that Democrats overwhelming supported various version of this bill all along in both Houses. The only reason this even came to a vote was the pushing of the Democrats and a few Republicans against the ridiculous partisan "leadership" of Dennis Hastert, and the sitting-on-his-wallet-fat-with-political-capital President.

Republicans get credit for another thing they dragged their feet on all along. Democrats are less than afterthoughts. Is this the bold, new "opposition party" we have to look forward to? Nice going, you bunch of freaking jackasses.

Baseball: $60 million over four years? No thanks. I'll take my chances...

Nomar Garciaparra - SS - Cubs
Cubs re-signed shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to a one-year, $8 million contract. The 31-year-old Garciaparra remains a premier offensive shortstop, but the questions about his durability and his defense led him to pursue a one-year deal this winter. He'll try to rebuild his value in 2005 and get back some of the money he's missing out on after turning down $60 million and $48 million contracts from the Red Sox.

I hope Nomar can survive on $8 mil... Seriously, I wish Nomar the best; hope he's happy in Chicago, has a huge year and gets himself a nice contract next year. Oh, and he really needs a new agent next time around.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Politics: Screw Granholm

Bush's reelection was obviously the worst thing that happened on November 2. But I was braced for that. The result I actually took the most personally, or felt more disappointing, was the passage of Michigan's Proposal 2 – one of the many bigoted, gay-hating Amendments. I had to go to work the next day and see my coworker try and keep a brave face after two-thirds of her fellow Michiganders made clear their hate/fear of her and legislated her a second-class citizen. I am just so completely ashamed that our society feels the need to so personally rebuke and reject a segment of the population and go out of its way to legislate discrimination.

There's a whole story that unfolded over the last week about a Republican lawmaker (from a town called Gaylord of all places! Suppose that might keep him up nights?) who wanted to start pushing this crap right away. He wants the State to remove from an already negotiated labor contract a provision for same-sex partnership benefits for state workers. I wanted to write about this all week, but I was too busy. Kevin Drum beats me to it. (Andrew Sullivan also started on this, but he stupidly referred to this as an Ohio issue. Get your shit together, you of all people, Andrew.)

Well, it's over before it even got started. Governor Jennifer Granholm, the supposed "bright, rising star in the Democratic Party", caved after one day and axed the benefit.

Pushing for this kind of [bullshit] erosion of any semblance of minority rights was inevitable after the passage of the Proposition, and the Governor likely faced an eventual court loss under the new "law of the land," but I don't understand her rationale for rolling over so quickly. Just once I want to see a Democrat face some heat and fight for something just because it's the right thing to do, even if it's hopeless.

This might turn out to be some brilliant political jujitsu that Granholm uses to surprise me and everyone else with. Let's hope so. But from where I sit right now, she caved at the first chance. I have no use for that shit. Screw her.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Misc: Dictionary for Dummies

You're probably already aware that "blog" is 2004 Word of the Year based on online lookups at Merriam-Webster. But did you know that "incumbent" and "electoral" were #2 and #3?

No wonder Bush got reelected.

Politics: The Case for Dean

Joe Trippi makes the case for his old boss as DNC chair in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. Read the letter on his blog, here. Trippi also contributes at the 'Hardball' blog, and he's pissed at Kerry and again stumps for a Chairman Dean. Dave Neiwart expands on that thought, and supplies two links to convince the good doctor to step up: Driving Votes and DraftHoward. Go sign the petitions.