Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I have the SOTU on in the background as I do some freelance work. I wasn't planning on watching, since it would likely piss me off, but I'll pay half attention and throw some thoughts down as we go...

It's been on for a while when I tune in, Bush is now talking about social security. He gets a decent joke in about his dad's two favorite people—him and Clinton. But the Dems get the last laugh with a raucous ovation when Bush scolds Congress for "failing to join him in saving social security." Oops.

Boilerplate about "nobody out-competing/producing the American worker"...

Bush breezes through his health care stuff and tosses out simple talking points that sound good at a glance; portability of health plans (good) and ability to buy individual plans at group rates (already exists for many—at least in Michigan). Really he barely gets into this, and hardly even mentions HSAs by name. Hardly a centerpiece, barely a mention. And only those in the know realize Bush is essentially throwing you to the wolves with his plan. Probably why he barely gets into it. For him, the less said, the better.

He's smoother than usual, but extra smirky.

Some crap about medical malpractice. And passing reform.

Declares that America is addicted to oil. My wife mentioned that he'd say that. His energy plan talks a good game, but I know better than to trust him. His boast "over the last five years, America has invested over $10 Billion on alternative forms of energy" is less money than Exxon's profits last quarter. He hypes new types of ethanol (promising), and zero-emission coal plants (a fantasy?).

He's filled with "I will propose..." followed by "doubling" or some massive increase or another of "spending" or "investing" throughout the speech. We all know none of this stuff will ever actually be appropriated or funded. Yawn.

Some stuff about immigration. They show Homeland Security honcho Chertoff clapping like he's the Swedish chef from 'The Muppet Show.' Are those his arms? Yikes.

Abortion at lowest level in decades. A lie? Does he mean for the duration of this speech?

Teenage moms down for twelve years? Sharing credit with Clinton?

"Activist courts redefine marriage..."

Reference to the "pessimists"

Thanks to O'Connor—she's not in attendance...

Human/animal hybrids? Is that on anybody's radar? What the fuck? I guess Dr. Moreau is the new Osama.

Ethics reform. Wasn't sure he'd go here.

Talking about Katrina reconstruction when the TiVo wants to change to record "The Closer" for my wife. I let it.

Whatever. From what I saw, I'd say it was a good performance by Bush with fairly empty material. I didn't get to see any Iraq, Iran or foreign policy stuff. Did he kiss Lieberman again?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Mr Furious—Now with 50% Less Wisdom!

Well, a sudden trip to New York for an interview [which I feel went well], and then oral surgery [which went as well as could be expected] has left me out of the loop: Are we filibustering Alito or not? Did the Sox make a dumb trade? And boy, the New York papers sure had a field day with the Palestinian elections...

If you ever want to ensure you don't get too nervous for a job interview, just make sure you have surgery lined up the next morning. At least it worked for me. I was far more worried about that, rendering the interview relatively painless...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

No Excuses. Call NOW!

I work in an office with no long distance, that is the usual hurdle for me calling my representatives. No longer. CALL 1-800-426-8073 or 1-888-355-3588 AND TELL YOUR SENATOR YOU EXPECT THEM TO OPPOSE THE ALITO NOMINATION, AND SUPPORT A FILIBUSTER IF IT COMES TO THAT. Do it now. It took me less than thirty seconds.

If you only call your Senators once in your life, this is the time. I cannot think of a more important issue than opposing this lifetime appointment. This isn't about "a judge in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor" or even Roe v. Wade anymore. Alito or any subsequent nominee from Bush will oppose Roe, but this nominee subscribes to such a broad view of Executive Power that he is a threat to the very Constitution and the Separation of Powers. I don't care if the Committee Dems failed to "damage" Alito in the hearings, and if that raises the political risk. It's time for the opposition party to oppose. As I said last week, this is the time to make the stand.

UPDATE: There are countless petitions sites up and running, I like this one, it gets right to the point. In the comments section, this is what I added:
Samuel Alito is a threat to the very Constitution and the Separation of Powers. He represents total fealty to the Executive Branch and is the greatest threat that President Bush could send up for nomination. I expect any judge nominated by Bush to oppose Roe, but Alito will do far more, and worse than that. The creation of an all-powerful Executive is too grave a risk. This nomination must be stopped now. By filibuster or any means necessary. If Alito still ends up on the bench because the Republicans break the rules of the Senate, so be it, but I expect you as my Senator and all of your colleagues to oppose this nomination with every possible effort. You will not cast a more important vote in my opinion, and I, and everyone I can tell, will be watching.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Republican "Democracy" in Action

Bill Frist won't allow Senators to speak on the Senate floor about Alito...
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) tried to secure time this week to speak on the Senate floor about Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito. But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist would not allow any time for speeches until January 25, a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Alito's nomination.

[h/t Armando at Kos]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Republican's Propose Lobby "Reform"

In the spirit of "Clear Skies," "Healthy Forests" comes "Leave No Politician Behind Empty-Handed...
[link] According to lobbyists and ethics experts, even if Hastert's proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel the world on an interest group's expense and eat steak on a lobbyist's account at the priciest restaurants in Washington.

The only requirement would be that whenever a lobbyist pays the bill, he or she must also hand the lawmaker a campaign contribution. Then the transaction would be perfectly okay.

So, if a free steak or round of golf wasn't enough, now you get a check to drive the bribe home. What did I just say about laugh tests? You couldn't make this stuff up. Foxes and henhouses indeed.

Time to Go 'All In'

Brilliant playwright/screenwriter David Mamet lays it all out. He wrote this in the LA Times months ago, but it applies NOW on Alito. I am on-board with a filibuster for this nominee.
In politics as in poker, the only way to win is to seize the initiative. The Democrats need to make bold wagers or risk being rolled over again.

By David Mamet

ONE NEEDS TO know but three words to play poker: call, raise or fold. Fold means keep the money, I'm out of the hand; call means to match your opponents' bet. That leaves raise, which is the only way to win at poker. The raiser puts his opponent on the defensive, seizing the initiative. Initiative is only important if one wants to win.


If you are branded as passive, the table will roll right over you -- your opponents will steal antes without fear. Why? Because the addicted caller has never exhibited what, in the wider world, is known as courage. In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt.

For example, take a player who has never acted with initiative -- he has never raised, merely called. Now, at the end of the evening, he is dealt a royal flush. The hand, per se, is unbeatable, but the passive player has never acted aggressively; his current bet (on the sure thing) will signal to the other players that his hand is unbeatable, and they will fold. His patient, passive quest for certainty has won nothing.

The Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country.

Committed Democrats watched while Al Gore frittered away the sure-thing election of 2000. They watched, passively, while the Bush administration concocted a phony war; they, in the main, voted for the war knowing it was purposeless, out of fear of being thought weak. They then ran a candidate who refused to stand up to accusations of lack of patriotism.

The Republicans, like the perpetual raiser at the poker table, became increasingly bold as the Democrats signaled their absolute reluctance to seize the initiative.

John Kerry lost the 2004 election combating an indictment of his Vietnam War record. A decorated war hero muddled himself in merely "calling" the attacks of a man with, curiously, a vanishing record of military attendance. Even if the Democrats and Kerry had prevailed (that is, succeeded in nullifying the Republicans arguably absurd accusations), they would have been back only where they started before the accusations began.

Control of the initiative is control of the battle. In the alley, at the poker table or in politics. One must raise. The American public chose Bush over Kerry in 2004. How, the undecided electorate rightly wondered, could one believe that Kerry would stand up for America when he could not stand up to Bush? A possible response to the Swift boat veterans would have been: "I served. He didn't. I didn't bring up the subject, but, if all George Bush has to show for his time in the Guard is a scrap of paper with some doodling on it, I say the man was a deserter."

This would have been a raise. Here the initiative has been seized, and the opponent must now fume and bluster and scream unfair. In combat, in politics, in poker, there is no certainty; there is only likelihood, and the likelihood is that aggression will prevail.


One may sit at the poker table all night and never bet and still go home broke, having anted away one's stake. The Democrats are anteing away their time at the table. They may be bold and risk defeat, or be passive and ensure it.

It seems Harry Reid is auditioning for the lead these days too. Certainly on the Abramoff affair, but Reid's been upping the rhetoric on alito as well.

Waiting for a sure-thing "we know we have the votes" filibuster or a worst candidate is pointless. In my mind, it doesn't get worse than Alito. He is worse than a bonafide religious zealot, because at least that zealot might answer to someone other than Bush. Alito is a made man and a sure vote for whatever Bush wants. Alito stands for an all-powerful Executive—and if that comes to pass, we have more to worry about than just Roe.

Laugh Test or Smell Test? Republican's Fail Both

''A year ago most people around Congress couldn't tell you who Jack Abramoff was.''
Speaker of the Freaking House Denny Hastert—Abramoff? Never heard of the guy...

"Well, I don't know what you mean by Senate liaison to the, quote, "K Street Project." I'm not aware of any Senate liaison job that I do for the K Street Project."
Senator Rick Santorum—The guy who personally ran the K-Street meetings and determined strategy. Also gets more re-election money from lobbyists than any other incumbent senator.

Abramoff had "a few staff-level meetings" at the Bush White House, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday. But he would not say with whom Abramoff met, which interests he was representing or how he got access to the White House."

Just go to The Carpetbagger Report and scroll. Steve's on this stuff like, er, a carpet...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The NEW New Orleans

Mayor Nagin's vision for New Orleans in a thirty second video. Link.

Clearly, Nagin is trying to go big time by going toe to toe with Bush for dumbest MLK speech of the day. More here, here and here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alito: Does CAP Really Matter?

It's confirmation hearing time, and the best part of that is a week of Dahlia Lithwick. There's been much hand-wringing from the left on Alito's membership in a crazy-ass "Keep Princeton White and Male" organization back in the 70s, and why he would highlight that on his resume when he got his job in the Reagan White House.The Republicans want to dismiss all of this simply because Alito wasn't "on the board, or a major contributor." Depending on who and what you read on this it's easy to think both sides are off base. Is this really that important?

It takes a good writer to draw out the reason that this issue, while old and small, matters. From Lithwick's Wednesday report:
But as trivial as the screaming over CAP may seem, it matters. Not because it proves the nominee hates women or minorities or criminal defendants or immigrants. That's a caricature of a conservative judge. It matters because CAP was code in 1985 for all the things Alito refused to write on his application and refuses to discuss before the committee now. Instead of being forthright about his convictions, Alito hides behind the fiction that there is only one way to decide cases. Instead of proudly bearing witness—as he has done throughout his career—to his opposition to the Warren Court's rulings, his disdain for the reasoning in Roe, his preference for states' rights, strong police powers, and "traditional values"—he pretends that all those amassed thoughts and ideas are irrelevant. He pretends—as do his supporters in the GOP—that every one of those thoughts has absolutely no bearing on how he decides cases. And that is just not true.

I recognize why Judge Alito can't talk openly about his convictions. I keep waiting in vain for that brave conversation to take place. I suppose I understand why he cannot stand before this committee and say, "Yes, I believe that most employment discrimination claims are probably bogus; that most cops are honest and that most death-row prisoners deserve to die. Period." That would require a hell of a sales job. But if we cannot have an honest conversation about Alito's legal views and preferences, his coded messages become doubly important.

Membership in CAP and using that to burnish your creds as a angry white conservativeIs this worth three days of hammering? Only if the hearings were a month long, and this was week three... While that shit is worrying, the biggest reasons to keep Alito the hell off the bench have nothing to do with what kind of an ass-kissing bigot he tried to sell himself as to Ed Meese.

But Dahlia's right. If no one is allowed to get a straight answer on matters of actual importance or substance, the stupid shit starts to matter. By not giving an answer, Alito forces us to fill in the blanks.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The 700 is His Score From 1-10 On Being a Dick

Now, I'm no fan of Ariel Sharon, but, he and his family (and Israel) are certainly going through a tough time. That doesn't slow Pat "Smite 'Em When They're Down" Robertson at all:
Robertson: Sharon punished for dividing Israel

The Rev. Pat Robertson said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being punished by God for dividing the Land of Israel. Robertson, speaking on the “700 Club” on Thursday, suggested Sharon, who is currently in an induced coma, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by an Israeli extremist in 1995, were being treated with enmity by God for dividing Israel. “He was dividing God’s land,” Robertson said. “And I would say, Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations or the United States of America. God says, This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.”

He's fucking crazy. Seriously. And the only bigger asshole than Robertson is the "God" that resides in his head.

[h/t Josh Marshall]

UPDATE The guy running this church is giving Pat a run for his money. Now we know "What's the Matter with Kansas." [link from the comments at The Talent Show]

Monday, January 02, 2006


Still alive. Still outraged. Just got other shit to worry about.

Ranting about politics and stuff has had to move to the back burner for a bit. As those of you who know me know, I've been trying to solve my underemployment problem with a massive nationwide job search. I've come close a couple times, but the "sure bet" that I thought was about to pay off for me (us), just fell through.

So, my idle time online has been spent on mediabistro and hotjobs, and I've been cranking out the resumes again. Spent the break spiffing up the portfolio, and I have to enter the new year with reckless job-hunting abandon. I'm talking Jesse Ventura in "Commando" fearlessness with overwhelming firepower-type hunting (hopefully with better results for me).

It's disappointing that I have to let things slide a bit when it seems people might actually drop in to read, but priorities have to take over. Unless some Pajama Media-type is going to lavish me with some serious cash to do this, I've got shoeleather to wear out...

On that note, here's the deal. I am an experienced magazine Art Director languishing in a marketing job I'm vastly overqualified (and underpaid) for, supplemented with a steadily declining freelance base. I need to get back in the game. Fast. And if that means moving back to New York or anywhere else, I am ready to jump. What I really want is a good gig back on a title, but I will take any freelance I can get in the meantime. If anybody who wanders in here has lead on anything, leave me a comment or send me an email.

I'm not quite ready to tie my true identity to the profanity-laced, opinionated-jackass personality I've cultivated here, by linking to my online portfolio—you never know who might be offended or pissed off. So, I'm going to maintain the slight veil of anonymity I have left for now.

That's all. Hopefully something will break for me, and I can get back into blog-form soon.

Happy New Year.