Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Peter Gammons in Intensive Care

[link] ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons, 61, is out of surgery and in intensive care after undergoing an operation for an aneurysm in his brain.

Gammons was stricken earlier today near his home on the Cape. He was taken to a hospital on the Cape before being air-lifted to a Boston-area hospital. He is expected to be in intensive care for the next 10 to 12 days.

Gammons and the Globe were the trailblazers of the baseball notes format in the 1970s. From that time until 2000, save for a few interruptions in the 1980s, Gammons's unique take on baseball was a mainstay of the Sunday Globe's sports section.

Gammons was honored as the recipient of the 2004 J.G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing during the 2005 Hall of Fame induction ceremony July 31 in Cooperstown, N.Y. He was selected in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Peter Gammons needs no introduction to baseball fans or anyone who grew up in the age of ESPN. Apparently he is out of surgery and "resting comfortably."

Growing up in New England, I've been a longtime Gammons fan. I grew up looking forward to reading the big Sunday Globe column whenever I could (we didn't live in Boston, so it was harder to come by back then). So enjoyable was that column, I remember being totally pissed/dissappointed when ESPN made him go exclusive with them (broadcast) and it was the end of a newsprint era.

Since I'm a Sox fan, it never bothers me that he's totally AL East-centric and a Sox homer in a national analyst role. Yeah, at times his speculation has been wildly off the mark, and he has picked up some annoying habits as a TV guy, but I still have a soft spot for him, which is more than I can say about most of the clowns on ESPN. Plus, he loves Little Feat.

I'm assuming he'll need a stretch of time off for recovery, the trade deadline won't be the same without him this season. Get well, guru.

"Please Open Your Bag, Sir"

Yesterday, I was in the car, and when Jim Rome goes to commercial I dial down to Rush Limbaugh to keep up with the RWSM*. The local Triple-A rightwing loudmouth Paul W. Smith was called up to the big leagues from Detroit and was getting the start for Limbaugh on the national broadcast. This guy's actually even more interminable than Rush, so I quickly tuned out.

Now I find out why he was filling in...
Sources have confirmed to CBS4 News that conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs Monday evening.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when officials found the drugs, among them Viagra.

Limbaugh entered a plea deal back in April in a previous case where his charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions was dropped under the condition he continue undergoing treatment for addiction.

Limbaugh had admitted to being addicted to pain killers on his radio program and had entered a rehabilitation program prior to that arrest.

Let me be the first to say...

His lawyer claims that he had a legitimate prescription in his doctor's name for privacy purposes. Whatever. If he's travelling internationally with sketchy prescription drugs and getting detained for it in customs, the situation is more complicated than "just" Viagra with another name on the bottle.

The defense that this "was just prescription drugs" and a misunderstanding cuts no ice with me. Rush (nice name for a dope fiend, huh?) was addicted to prescription drugs and busted for doctor-shopping.

To me, the fact that he is travelling internationally with a variety of drugs tells me he still has an addiction. If he was jetting on down to the DR for a little sex party, he doesn't need to carry-on a medicine cabinet's worth of little blue pills. He brings what he needs and comes back empty, or has it waiting for him there. He's on fucking probation, fer crissakes! He's taking too many chances here. Something's up.

So, how do all of the conservative family values dittoheads square this island-hoppng, pill-popping and Viagra-chugging from a thrice-divorced, unmarried drug offender, anyway?

I don't wish that fat hypocritical bastard an addiction, but I will laugh my ass off and thoroughly enjoy his humiliation if it's forthcoming.

Schadenfreude's a bitch, Rush.

*Right Wing Smear Machine.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Music: Jack White Rules

No time last week for a Friday Random Ten, and I'll be out of town later this week, so there'll lkely be none again. But I can't go three weeks without a chance to talk about the new album from Jack White's (of the White Stripes) new side band, The Raconteurs.

I was reading an interview with Jack Black (NAAACCCHHHOOO!!!!!!!) and he mentioned he was really into Jack White's new band. A quick trip to iTunes was in order...

The jury is still out on the whole album, it's definitely strong, but there are a couple of great songs worth highlighting. "Steady As She Goes" is the first song, and taking a page from the Foo Fighters playbook, it's the first single. Hooked me instantly. You can hear the whole thing by watching the video(s) here (It's a wacky faux-80s website, so there's no direct link to the videos. It's under "Media" -- the second video is more entertaining and features Paul Reubens as the villain).

But the early frontrunner for my song of the year is "Intimate Secretary." Phenomenal. No link to hear it beyond the 30-second iTunes'll give you, but trust me, spend the buck and buy it. You won't be disappointed. That song will be garnering a "9" the first time it comes up in an FRT, with a possible 10th point for the use of the word "kakistocracy."

Nothing against Meg, but it is great to hear Jack fleshed out with a whole band behind him. Particularly the addition of a really tight rhythm section.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

D.O.W: Joe Lieberman = Bucky Dent

If you grew up in New England over the last thirty years, you might know about a certain Yankee shortstop and a little October home run. No doubt uttered instinctively by many thousands at the moment, the reaction to that unlikely home run has evolved to become part of Boston lore and an unofficial part of the player's name — Bucky Fucking Dent.

Joe Lieberman is not only the Dick of the Week, he's making a run at eternal Dent-status.

[C&L] The GOP opening remarks against the Democrats amendments to get out of Iraq were given by Joe Lieberman. It's no longer a matter of just not voting with the party, but he publicly opened the debate for the GOP.

John Warner:
"I'd like to now offer the first fifteen minutes [of my time] to the Senator from Connecticut"

Holy Joe:
"Mr. President, I rise to oppose the amendments introduced by the Senator from Michigan and others and the other amendment introduced by the Senators from Massachusetts and Wisconsin--I remember in that debate quoting the biblical wisdom in warning that 'if the sound of the trumpet is uncertain-who will follow into battle.' I suppose in our time we might amend that to say 'if the sound of the trumpet is uncertain-who will stay in battle"

Rick Santorum:
"...and if I could also associate myself with the remarks made by the Senator from Connecticut. I agree with them wholeheartedly. I thought they were incredibly articulately made and hits on all the relevant points as to why these two amendments should be defeated."

You didn't just voice concern or disagreement with your Democratic colleagues, you literally went over to the other side and took shots at your own party!!

There's been speculation that if Ned Lamont beats Lieberman in a primary, he'd run as an independant candidate for CT Senator. Why wait, Joe? With this latest betrayal I don't even know how you can pretend to be a Democrat any longer.

After you both lose this fall, you and Little Ricky can sit around and console each other while you wonder why Bush doesn't kiss you any more and your Republican buddies never take your calls.

And your ad sucks too.

Dick of the Week: Joe "Fucking" Lieberman


• The Senate Republicans kill the minimum wage increase. A mere week after Congress gave itself a $3,500 raise. More to come on this...(Hint: it pisses me off)

Ozzie Guillen is in early this week for another run at Dick of the Week.

• I admit it. I don't care a bit about the World Cup. And, unfortunately, many of my favorite sites and bloggers do (looking in your direction, Pooh)

Bush's nominee to head the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has some serious D.O.W. upside.

Mac Attack: Over at slate, poor Seth Stevenson gets his panties bunched over Apple picking on PCs in their new ads. Ads which I happen to think are hilarious and brilliant. Yes. I use a Mac—one of the many reasons why I am so damn cool...

Here's To Beer: I know somebody who's going to ad this site to their links.

• Oregon unveils their ugly-ass new Nike Atari uniforms. Are the Ducks going to be playing football or Running Man?

• The Kung Fu Monkey hearts Jon Stewart. And for good reason. KFM makes a good point about hiring comedians as political consultants.

• SportswriterChad Finn already had a great blog. Now better with comments.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Defense Only Wins in Sports

Paul Waldman at The Gadflyer (a great site I've sort of forgotten about) has a great post on Democrats actually getting some shots in instead of always being caught in the corner with their arms up...
So how do they get on offense? Simple: make it about Bush and the Republicans. When a reporter asks you, "The Republicans say you want to cut and run, what's your response?", do not - DO NOT - repeat the phrase "cut and run" in your answer. The answer should be about the Republicans, not about you: "The Republicans want to stay in Iraq forever. We want to figure out how we can redeploy our forces. While our troops are fighting and dying every day, Republicans tell us that everything in Iraq is going great. What planet are they living on? Do they have a plan to end our involvement there, or do they think our children and grandchildren should be dodging IEDs in Tal Afar, too?" Make it about THEM. Put THEM on the defensive. And when the reporter says, "Democrats are divided on this. How will you win in November if you're divided?", DON'T TAKE THE BAIT. Don't talk about how the plan you favor differs from other Democratic plans. Talk about the Republicans, for God's sake.

Pretty much.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dick of the Week: It's an Upset!

A complete dark horse came out of nowhere to take it. Sure Arlen Spector took a crap on the Constitution, and all the others are worthy candidates—Bush can have this any week he really wants it—but you gotta give it to the one-hit wonder.

[link] Photographer Anthony Goodrich claims Willis showed up at the popular restaurant -- where stars are known to frequent and paparazzi camp out -- and was making his way inside when Willis "stiff-armed" him, striking the lens of his camera, pushing it into his face. Goodrich says the impact broke the skin on his nose and chipped a tooth.

[...] TMZ obtained a copy of a police report Goodrich filed today at the Hollywood division of LAPD, alleging battery. Before filing the report, Goodrich went to St. Anthony Medical Center in Los Angeles.

TMZ spoke with Goodrich after he filed the police report. "Basically he smashed my camera into my face ... for no reason at all," Goodrich said. "All I was doing was taking his picture. I didn't say one word. I didn't get in his way."

Watch this video of the guy outside the police station laying out what happened. It looks bad for Willis...

So Bruce Willis is the Dick of the Week? Say it ain't so!

It ain't so! The Dick of the Week is this pansy-ass paparazzi photographer who makes a living tomenting people, who is clearly seeing dollar signs in pretending Bruce Willis pulled a Sean Penn on him.

There's one problem. There's video of the incident, and it's pretty clearly an accident, Willis bumps into the guy in the crush outside the restaurant, and even pauses to apologize and, seemingly, to ask the guy if he's okay. Watch it here.

The guy seems completely unfazed and uninjured, yet moments later is claiming, "Bruce Willis just hit me in the mouth, that's what happened!" He is so seriously injured that he hangs around outside the restaurant for the duration of Willis' meal so he can harrass him once again on the way out. then he scurries across the street, jumps in his freaking Cabrio, and runs home to cry. And call his lawyer. And his mommy.

Bruce Willis would now be justified giving this Flavor Flav pussy a little "Butch in the Pawn Shop" treatment.

Your Dick of the Week: Anthony Goodrich. Anthony, your fifteen minutes are over.

[h/t The Superficial]

FRT: The '80s Giveth and Taketh Away

Major upheaval on the iPod this week. Lots of new (old) stuff. It's been months with the old playlist and this is long overdue...

1. "Rough Boys" - Pete Townshend
2. "Slow An' Easy" - Whitesnake
3. "Torture" - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
4. "Kingdom Come" - Coldplay
5. "Fools In Love" - Joe Jackson
6. "Little Bird" - White Stripes
7. "Possum Kingdom" - The Toadies
8. "Say It Ain't So" - Weezer
9. "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" - The Power Station
10. "Walkin On A Thin Line" - Huey Lewis and the News

Go to the comments for the post-game analysis...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jefferson Off Committee

House Dems Strip Jefferson of Assignment
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 1 hour, 37 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - House Democrats, determined to make an election-year point about ethics, voted 99-58 Thursday night to strip Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record) of his committee assignment while a federal bribery investigation runs its course.

Good for Pelosi. She tried to do this weeks ago and Jefferson was indignant. Once he realized he was going down today, he tried to go to Pelosi to quietly step aside, and she said, "Too late." And held the vote anyway.

Screw that guy. I hope he sees fit to step all the way down, and gives up his office... And the CBC ought to have their heads examined.

Quote of the Week

Steelers linebacker Joey Porter on motorcycles:
“If I fall off a Jet Ski, I hit the water, and I like my odds,” Porter said. “I’m going to get wet. What I say about motorcycles is that concrete is undefeated.”

If I was an NFL quarterback with my whole future ahead of me—MVPs, more Super Bowls, tens of millions of dollars (none of which is guaranteed, BTW)—I might refrain from activity that would jeopardize my career. And if I was compelled to ride a motorcycle, I'd wear a helmet. I guess that makes me a pussy and is reason number 4,326 why I'm not an NFL quarterback, but jeez, Big Ben, that was pretty stupid.

What is it with pro athletes doing stupid shit? A rider in every contract should include a sidekick whose sole job is to keep the athlete from doing stupid shit like: driving drunk, getting into knifefights, hosting "Cornhole contests", and sleeping with Paris Hilton.

Seriously? I hope Ben makes a full recovery, and takes the Steelers right back to the AFC Championship Game where they lose to the Patriots.

[UPDATE: Here's a great column that addresses a lot of the side issues of the accident.]

Dick of the Week: The nominees (thusfar)

President Bush—picks on blind guy. [link]
[UPDATE: video added]

[UPDATE 2: Bush apologizes

Ozzie Guillen—Goes ballistic on rookie pitcher for not hitting a guy. [links: Deadspin, South Side Sox]

"Brer" Tony Snow—On Imus: "Bush "snuck off" to visit Iraq, Carter “used to sneak off and fish on the weekends."[link]

Arlen Spector—Completely sells out. Proposes a bill that changes the Law, basically grants Bush a blank check, issue immunity for past crimes and guts FISA. [link]

J.J. Redick—Busted driving drunk. And for being J.J. Redick. [link]

I Visited Extremist Islamic Madrasas And All I Got Questioned About is a Lousy T-Shirt

While Canada is successfully rolling up actual terrorist cells and plots (see previous post), here's what the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is busy with...
[LA Times] Arriving at JFK from Dubai recently, I was stopped at customs by an officer from the Department of Homeland Security and directed to a drab backroom filled with Arabs, South Asians and Africans. I wasn't surprised, really, having just spent six months working and traveling in the Islamic world — Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan. If ever there were a DHS red-flag candidate, I was it, and I assumed this was just protocol.

Four of those months were in Pakistan, and I had just spent a week with a journalist friend going to different madrasas, including one Islamic school visited by one of the bombers in the July 2005 attacks in London. Possibly I caught their attention by poking around the Karachi Marriot's parking lot, across from the U.S. consulate, where a suicide bomber's attack had killed a U.S. diplomat just two months before.

How about the hundreds of phone calls I made from Pakistan to friends and family back home that inevitably mentioned the Taliban's resurgence and criticized President Bush. Was I wiretapped? Certainly Homeland Security, whose stated mission is to "lead the unified national effort to secure America … prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation," had detained me for such a reason.

Sounds like a well-oiled machine doing exactly what it should right? Picking out the high-risk passenger for extra scrutiny? Finding out what he's been up to in the farthest recesses of the fundamentalist Islamic world?

Not quite. They grabbed him and questioned him about his history selling bootleg Celtics and "Yankees Suck" T-shirts, then let him go without a single question about his travels. Because the DHS agents wanted to catch the Mets game.

Better search through my emails and phone records again guys. Keystone Stasi indeed.

Canadian Bacon

[Started this post last week and got too busy. So it's a bit late now...]

Over the last weekend, the Canadian government busted a terrorist cell plotting to blow up a bunch of Canadian targets. It seems some monitoring of internet activity was part of the process.

Naturally, supporters of the President and the NSA going through everyone's personal lives were all over it. "See! Monitoring email, websurfing, phone calls, etc. works! These guys got caught before they could blow anybody/thing up! Liberal Democrats want to make sure the PResident and those serious about protecting our homeland don't have these tools because they are worried about protecting the civil rights of terrorists...blah, blah, blah"

That's not a quote from anyone, which by definition makes it a strawman, but I'm sure you, like me, can picture any number of righty blowhards on the internet, the radio, FOX or the White House lawn saying pretty much exactly that...

Here why that's bullshit. The Canadian government wasn't sifting through everyone's email or interent activity. Nor were they profiling people or pulling random phone records. This bust was triggered because the would-be terrorists ordered literally tons of fertilizer over the internet from the U.S. At that point, the Canadians got warrants, then monitored these guys' communications, set up a sting, and busted them.

So, let's review:

1. The Canadians stopped an attack before it happened.
2. They did it without casting a net of everyone in the country. They violated no one's rights. Didn't torture anyone. Applied for an obtained warrants. As a result have admissible evidence to charge and convict these guys in a real trial in an actual court.

How exactly is that in any way reminiscent of anything the Bushies have yet accomplished or what they want to do for the rest of our foreseeable "post-9/11" future? That's what I thought.


More analysis at Greenwald's.

The WaPo on what happens when the government gets overzealous in its prosecutions. (Hint: Suspects walk and the Fed prosecutor is under investigation)

Matt Welch wants to know where you draw the line.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dick of the Week: Mike Lieberthal

I've been meaning to start a recurring feature like this for a while now (oddly enough, it was another dick catcher, Jason Kendall, that was my original inspiration). This will not be relegated to the worlds of politics, sports or baseball, but I have to make a concerted effort to think outside the asshole box, or Bush and Cheney will have a stranglehold on the award...

Here is Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal going into the stands after a foul ball and swatting a little girl in the head with his big ole catcher's mitt, failing to make the play and then walking away without giving the girl a second glance. Yes he hits her. Yes, she's crying. And no, he doesn't even make the catch. What kind of a cold bastard steamrolls a little girl and then just turns around and picks up his mask...?

Runners-up? The umpire and firstbaseman also turn around and walk away, and the announcers continue to pretend nothing happened and "it scared her more than anything..." despite every replay showing Lieberthals glove clocking her right in the head. The ball is out of play now, you douchebags, would it kill you to apologize or pause for a second and see if she's okay? And Dodgers, what kind of a fucking fence is that? Who's brilliant marketing strategy was a deathwish section?

Nice job, Lieberthal you're the inaugural DOW.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Spoofiness? Truthiness? Or a Reality So Bad I want to Wretch

"Next week, the United States Senate will begin debate on a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman. On Monday, I will meet with a coalition of community leaders, constitutional scholars, family and civic organizations, and religious leaders. They're Republicans, Democrats, and independents who've come together to support this amendment. Today, I want to explain why I support the Marriage Protection Amendment, and why I'm urging Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification. [...]
Marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. [...]

In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives. And in a free society, decisions about such a fundamental social institution as marriage should be made by the people -- not by the courts. [...]

Unfortunately, activist judges and some local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage in recent years.... These court decisions could have an impact on our whole Nation....This national question requires a national solution, and on an issue of such profound importance, that solution should come from the people, not the courts.

An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our Nation with no other choice. [...] Democracy, not court orders, should decide the future of marriage in America."

The latest monologue from "The Colbert Report"? I wish, that's the actual President of the United States. At times it almost seems the whole thing is some brilliant, elaborate parody—a five year joke being played on the world, where "President Dubya" reveals himself to be a genius of a comedian, and all of the fools who have been lapping up his bullshit are revealed for the chumps thay actually are.

Alas, he and his cult of personality are very much reality.

For him, of all politicians, to wrap up his case with: "Democracy, not court orders, should decide..." is the best/worst part.

Excuse me while I go vomit for my country.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Since I just wasted my lunch hour on laser pointers, I now present far more important topics in an abbreviated compilation that belies their outrage factor...

Bush and DHS Still Don't Know Ass From Elbow
After years of criticism for doling out too much anti-terrorism money per capita or per actual threat-assessment to the likes of South Dakota at the expense of NYC, LA, DC and the like, Michael Chertoff and the DHS promised to come up with a new formula that would better distribute funds to areas actually at risk from terrorism. what did the new formula come up with? New York City officially has "zero" national monuments or icons and they slashed funding by forty percent. Feel safer yet? Read this WaPo Article if you think your blood pressure can handle it.

AP Still Swinging at Reid
The AP's bounty hunt on Harry Reid takes another sordid turn. The Carpetbagger has been all over this (parts one, two and three), along with TPM. The AP should be ashamed, and John Solomon out of a job (or at least working at FOX, which was probably what this story was an audition for...). It's hard to believe Reid is left with little or no recourse to this.

Glenn's Special Unabridged Outrage
Of course there's much more at Greenwald's than laser pointers... Is Arlen Specter just teasing us again? [link]; two posts on the latest ethics-impaired White House hire [here and here]

Whither Democrats?
A great post by Jane Hamsher on Hayden making it out of Committee. Of course, since then he was overwhelmingly confirmed. Sigh. Pooh had a great follow on that topic.

File Under: Outrageous Lawsuits
"PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - An Oregon man has filed a $1.6 million "loss of companionship" claim against a neighbor who ran over his family's 13-year-old dog, Grizz." [story]

A Bone for Comic Geeks
Not outrageous, but rather enjoyable, I stumbled across a link to this old NPR piece that is relevant again with the release of X3. Which of course reminds me of this great "This American Life" episode [click "Our Favorites" on the left and scroll down to "Superheroes"].

Permanently blind opposing free-throw shooters!*

While perusing the bevy of excellent posts over at Glenn Greenwald's, I was struck by a blogad on his site for military-grade laser pointers. Does anybody not up-to-no-good really need something like that? The blogad boasts, "Used by the US Army! Slash, Cut Tape, Pop Balloons, Ignite Matches, Light Cigarettes, Sizzle Plastic, and Start Fires!"

Yeah, as if the merely annoying laser pointers at concerts and basketball games isn't bad enough we need dangerous ones?!? I clicked through to find out more...

The site includes a chart of features (see right) with some cute little "international-style" icons for "pop balloons" and "Make holes in trash bags." Disposable 99¢ Bic lighters are bleeding you smokers dry? Not to worry, your two thousand dollar laser can light your cigarette, but be careful holding it up to your face, as it will also "melt plastic" and "heal open cuts"...

And, of course, after giving you ideas for all sorts of trouble, there is the requisite disclaimer that this product is for legitimate uses only.

To their credit, the company links to a rather funny Wired testimonial:
" Why do I need a laser pointer with a range of 14 miles that can melt a garbage bag? Look, if you have to ask, you'll never understand me, baby. I mean, I might have to give a PowerPoint presentation at the Rose Bowl. Or what if we go hiking? I could be all, "No, no -- not that alp. I climbed the other alp..."

The bright (ahem) side? The more powerful lasers that pop, melt and light stuff on fire cost $999-$3499, hopefully keeping them out of the hands of all but the most wealthy degenerates.

Have fun shooting down the giant moon at your next Bowie concert...

(*Slight exaggeration.)