Friday, March 28, 2008

March Meh-ness Update

So much for doing my bracket cold...

I entered the Sweet Sixteen with only six teams remaining. I am down to 454th place out of 467 entrants in my pool. The person who comes in last gets their $5 back, and I am left hoping to snag that fin away from a two-year-old. (Yes, the person currently last is a child. There are several OTHER children kicking my ass).

Dick(s) of the Week: Lubbock Airport TSA

Fucking outrageous.
Traveler says she was forced to remove nipple ring

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.

[...] Hamlin, 37, said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on February 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin's chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The agent called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney...

She said she heard male TSA agents snickering as she took out the ring. She was scanned again and was allowed to board even though she still was wearing a belly button ring.

[...] TSA officials said they are investigating whether the agency's policies were followed.

Unless her nipple was pierced with a functioning handgun, this action by the TSA is complete bullshit.

Setting off a detector is cause for a more thorough inspection, a hand/wand detector, a (same-sex) pat-down, and finally a same-sex visual inspection if needed. Once the metal "threat" was identified as a piercing, she should have been thanked for cooperating, apologized to for the inconvenience and sent on her way.

Seems clear to me that "policies were violated." Offering an opportunity to remove piercings in private to forgo a pat-down is the policy. Forcibly removing piercings already identified and established is not. Those sadists need to be fired, and this woman should sue the fucking pants off the TSA.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More and Better Democrats

Scott Kleeb is a 32-year-old history teacher and rancher running an upstart campaign for the Senate seat being vacated by Chuck Hagel (R-NE). He will face a primary with businessman Tony Raimondo, who initially joined the race as a Republican but is now running as a Democrat.

Um, a 68 year old wealthy businessman DINO or a young cowboy running a grassroots campaign? Read this guy's bio—he rocks! The choice is pretty clear to me.

Kleeb announced his run and asked for submissions for his logo last month (dammit! I saw that, and forgot all about it!). Well, the response was apparently overwhelming, and they've narrowed it down to the Final Four and are asking for a vote.

They are all pretty good. Vote for a logo here, and throw him a few bucks if your credit card is still out from your Obama donation...

More on Kleeb's primary opponent...Raimondo was on Bush's short list for "manufacturing czar", he is supported by noted turncoat Sen. Ben Nelson, and he relocated one of his Nebraska factories to China. Fuck that guy.

Read this and draw your own parallels...
For months it appeared no Democrat would run against Republican heavyweight Mike Johanns, but suddenly there's two. Columbus businessman Tony Raimondo's been running for two weeks, and now Scott Kleeb's in.

Action 3 News asked Kleeb why he thinks he can beat Mike Johanns, the leading Republican candidate. "People are frustrated with the status quo," Kleeb says. "He's not been able to get a farm bill through. That is critical to Nebraska. He's not been able to address food safety issues."

"Mike has been in government for 25 years," Raimondo points out. "I've been making change. I've been creating jobs."

The 32-year-old Kleeb, who touts his cowboy roots, has become a "young gun Democrat dream." He came out of nowhere two years ago, ran hard for Congress, but came up short in heavily Republican Nebraska.

On the other hand, until he switched parties in December, the 68-year-old Raimondo was a lifelong Republican. Even Johanns couldn't believe the switch. "He's a Republican," Johanns says. "He's supported Republicans."

Raimondo admits he wanted to run Republican, but didn't, claiming Johanns had the party's inside track. "He didn't think he could beat Mike Johanns in a Republican primary," Kleeb says. "He needs to say why he thinks he can beat Mike Johanns as a Democrat."

"Scott comes out of education. I come out of business. What has business had to do with the last two decades," Raimondo asks. "Change. Change. Change."

Democrats insist this Raimondo Kleeb battle will make the winner stronger and better prepared to take on Johanns in the fall. Meanwhile, Johanns can save his money and hope for a bloody Democrat fight.

Apparently Raimondo hasn't updated his campaign website since he began his run as a Republican. The word Democrat appears nowhere on the site. Yeah, I want to pick up seats this fall, but not with guys like this.

Kleeb has me fired up to challenge Stabenow...too bad I'm a combination of total introvert and loose cannon...

Easter Begins

The Prequel. Why he hates.

(Not as good as the original, which is here. And should be watched first...)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I had a hunch...
In the early 1960s, at a time when many young people were being radicalized by the Vietnam War, Wright left college and volunteered to join the United States Marine Corps. After three years as a marine, he chose to serve three more as a naval medical technician, during which time he received several White House commendations.

Six fucking years serving his country! By choice!

I hadn't seen specifics on this, but I suspected that Wright had volunteered to join the Marines based on his age and service time. Now I have confirmation. That's from a lengthy defense of Wright in The Chronicle of Higher Ed by a Professor Emeritus from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Just remember this the next time you hear some GOP fucktard or FOX News blowhard call Wright an unpatriotic, America-hating traitor. And do so with the absolute certainty that the loudmouth doing the insulting did no such thing.

Dear Jay...

[via Shakes] Last week on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno challenged Ryan Phillippe to do a little impromptu acting...
he asked the actor to look into the camera, pretend it was his "gay lover…Billy Bob," who "has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming (still milking the Brokeback jokes, I guess), and give it his "gayest look."

Phillippe responded, incredulously, "Wow. That is so something I don't want to do."

Phillippe declined, but I won't...How's this, Jay?

Visit the link to see the "gayest looks for Jay Leno" from across the universe...

Good Question...

Are health insurance mandates constitutional? They are certainly unprecedented. The federal government does not ordinarily require Americans to purchase particular goods or services from private parties.

Op-Ed in the Christian Science Monitor [h/t: Sullivan]

The Pastor of Disaster

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton happily took the exit ramp marked "Low Road" when she sat down at a table with Richard Mellon Scaife (think Vito Corleone to Rush Limbaugh's Sonny) to put out a hit on Obama by wallowing straight into the Rev. Wright Controversy.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor made.

“He would not have been my pastor,” Clinton said. “You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.” […]

The Clinton campaign has refrained from getting involved in the controversy, but Clinton herself, responding to a question, denounced what she said was “hate speech.”

We're past kitchen sink territory, Clinton is now throwing Sub-Zero commericial appliances. After commendably passing on this controversy for over a week, Hillary, faced with a p.r. catastrophe of her own making, got desperate enough to pick open a scab that had just begun to heal.

But since she brought up a hypothetical "not-my-pastor" perhaps it's worth considering the opinion of the man who actually IS Hillary's pastor:
"The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader whom I have heard speak a number of times. He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. He has been a vocal critic of the racism, sexism and homophobia which still tarnish the American dream. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize. This is a critical time in America's history as we seek to repent of our racism. No matter which candidates prevail, let us use this time to listen again to one another and not to distort one another's truth," - Dean J. Snyder, Foundry United Methodist Church, March 19, 2008.

Perhaps Hillary should shop for a new church, as hers obviously supports "hate speech" just like Obama.

Modern Marvels

Condé Nast Traveler has looked at the year's best modern architecture and selected their "New Seven Wonders of the World."

It definitely seems like swooping amorphous shapes are all the rage. I think I like the Fortress of Solitude-like addition to the Royal Ontario Museum (above) the best. It's no surprise that one of the selections is in Dubai...that place is crazy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Salute Your Solution

The first single/video off the new Raconteurs album...

Hoping this is the "Broken Boy Soldier" (aka: weak-link track I skip). UPDATE: Already growing on me. Great riff. But I've been listening to more solo Brendan Benson than White Stripes lately, so I'm hoping for some more "Level"-style harmonies from the rest of the album—NOT a Jack White vehicle. Full review to follow.

Think of this song as the Toast-buffer. There's no way he likes this, and he can go straight to the Jack-bashing.

It's Not Personal. It's Physics

in·er·tia (ĭ-nûr'shə) n.
1. Physics The tendency of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.
2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change: the inertia of an entrenched bureaucracy.

David Brooks hits upon this in his column "The Long Defeat" today. Every once in a long while, Brooks gets something right.
[...] Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.

For nearly 20 years, she has been encased in the apparatus of political celebrity. Look at her schedule as first lady and ever since. Think of the thousands of staged events, the tens of thousands of times she has pretended to be delighted to see someone she doesn’t know, the hundreds of thousands times she has recited empty clichés and exhortatory banalities, the millions of photos she has posed for in which she is supposed to appear empathetic or tough, the billions of politically opportune half-truths that have bounced around her head.

No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic. The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.

Is it physics as much as anything? The Clintons have been building towards this race since they decided to move to NY and audition Hillary for Senator. This campaign is ten years in the making and every move, every decision, has been part of this goal—each step adding yet another car to this massive, moving train.

Maybe it just can't stop on a dime.

If a Baseball Season Opens Early in Japan...

...does it make a sound?

Last night (this morning? tomorrow?) in Tokyo, the Sox beat the A's in extra innings to win the first game of the 2008 baseball season. Manny provided the offense (4 RBI) and the big hit, and Jacoby the big leather...I'm looking forward to a season of that.

Kyle Snyder gave up a crucial home run and Varitek packed his sombrero for the trip—NOT looking forward to a season of that.

Oh, and welcome back to the majors Keith Foulke. The mostly unsung hero for the 2004 Sox who jeopardized his career that post-season by literally throwing his arm apart, resumed his career with Oakland, and retired the side.

Duck and Cover

I have nothing to add to what Olbermann and Alter have to say here except to wonder how the hell the complete disintegration of Hillary's "resumé of experience" isn't the final nail in her campaign? The dissection gets really good after the 5:00 mark. Alter just goes down a list of substantive lies on everythin from SCHIP to Ireland. I mean, seriously. She made all this shit up. And in this case, visibly, got caught. On video. Twelve-year-old video. Yet the campaign lives on.

Stop complaining about media bias, Hillary. Anybody else would have been buried weeks ago.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter's Over—Watch Your Back!

It's the day after Easter, and you know what that means...

Still my favorite YouTube video ever...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

4x4 Meme

4 jobs I've had: McDonalds (I did everything), car detailer, busboy, art director (current)

4 TV shows I watch: I seriously don't watch any television anymore. If I did it would be The Daily Show, Colbert, 30 Rock, and, um...The Shield. Is that still on?

4 places I have been: Texas, Brussels, Montreal, Bermuda

4 foods I like: donuts (my most serious food vice), pork tenderloin, beans and spaetzel, white grapefruit


4 people I tag: Mrs F, Deb, Rickey, Smitty

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In the Wright Context

You'll likely NEVER see these extended clips on television because it would really undermine the week-long conniption fit that everyone has had over the remarks of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and make plenty of media-types look like jackasses.

It also requires patience, open-mindedness, self-reflection and pretty much everything our current culture rejects...

Take the five or so minutes each it takes to watch these clips, so you understand the context of the snips that the media has been shoving down your throat.

The now-infamous "God DAMN America!" Sermon:

Wright spends several minutes talking about the fact that God does not change, then contrasts with the rise and fall (the "failure") of man's empires through history. He then gets to America, and lists the litany of, yes, damnable actions of the American government—which Wright acknowledges DOES change, for better and for worse—and concludes with the preposterous notion that America's oppressed people should sing "God Bless America" by invoking his now infamous line...Can't say I blame him, or that I disagree.

Post-9/11 "Chickens Come Home to Roost" sermon

Will anybody point out that the words Wright is getting pilloried for are those of a white, Reagan-era Ambassador on FOX News? Yeah, that's what I thought...

After watching these clips, I'll say this. Wright is fucking electric. He's a damn good preacher if you're into that sort of thing. Is he over the top? Yeah. Does he subscribe to a little too much conspiracy theory? Probably. But I don't think he said anything that out of bounds, or even incorrect. I'm glad Obama stuck by him to the degree he did, and in fact, I think he might have been too hard on him.

While I'd like to see Wright's name and reputation cleared, and for Obama to continue to support the man and the church, the unfortunate truth is, the sooner this goes away the better for Obama. Adding context will do nothing to convince a great many Americans who cannot handle the truth, self-introspection or brook ANY criticism of the country. The five-minute critique is the same as the five-second clip—Wright hates America.

If this trumped-up bullshit is the thing that costs us a President Obama and gives us George W. McCain, then God Damn America, indeed.

[h/t: laderrick's diary at Kos]

UPDATE: For more "context" please read this post from Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings. Rev. Wright was the same age as Emmett Till. Yeah, I can see how that might have an influence on someone...

Worst. Cops. Ever.

This is ridiculous almost to the point of unbelievability. I kept waiting for the Onion News Network anchor to come on. If Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown ran the Minsk Road Police...

[h/t The Agitator]

March Meh-ness

For the first time in I can't remember how long, I am not doing an NCAA bracket. I haven't watched a single game all year, and don't have a clue about college hoops this season beyond the fact that Bob Knight* retired.

On the one hand that puts me at the advantage of ignorance enjoyed by receptionists and accounting nerds everywhere who win office pools by picking games by mascots or random chance—but I can't even summon the energy to do anything close to due diligence to fill out a bracket. And I can't rightly enter into a pool with the competitive likes of Toast's Crew or my long-time traditional pool populated by actual ESPN professionals and other sports-obsessed maniacs without making an effort to protect my pride and hard-earned reputation.

Better to lay low...

* an event marked here, but unacknowledged in the comments despite the hilarious video [link]...

UPDATE: Fuck it. I relented. Here's my bracket I got into the pool just in time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dave Grohl: Lead Vocals and Vice President

In the latest issue of Harp, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl announces his independent run for the presidency. The Grohl platform:
On drugs: I'm just going to come clean, I have inhaled bags of 'shrooms. I haven't done drugs for the past 20 years, to be really honest. I've smoked, fuck, like six hits off a joint in the last 20 years. I have never done cocaine, ever in my life. I have never done heroin, I have never done speed. I have had my share of acid and mushrooms and I have smoked fields of marijuana, but by the age of 20 I realized, if I don't stop now, I'll never have the chance to be the President of the United States of America.

On immigration:
Let me make a musical analogy if I may: I look at America as if it were Wembley stadium—it’s only so big but you can fit a lot of people in it. As president of the United States of America, I promise to rock the fucking house—and everyone’s invited.

On getting out of Iraq:
When I'm elected President, my cabinet and I would come up with an exit strategy that would involve no killing, no bloodshed, a safe return home and some sort of compensation...

On family values: You know what it takes? It takes a barbecue. I think that what the country needs now is a good, smoky barbecue—family style, at least once a week, winter months included. Every Sunday. [...] And that’s where I really get to share and learn with my family and fellow Americans. It’s around that grill. It’s two beers, it’s three beers, it’s four beers, it’s 10 beers. This is what America needs—beer, and barbecue. It’s the red, white and barbecue, there it is.

Sounds good. Call him up, Barack, get him working on those barbecues. Put Jack White, David Ortíz, George Clooney, Bono and Angelina Jolie in your cabinet and you've got every Rolling Stone and People and ESPN reader's votes locked up.

Let McCain counter with Ron Silver, Dennis Miller, Ted Nugent and Curt Schilling and see where that gets him.

[h/t Sullivan]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A More Perfect Union

Wow. Barack Obama just delivered a phenomenal speech that should more than undo the damage done by his pastor. If that guy's not ready to lead a nation, no one is.

His tone/delivery was dialed down a bit, and I'm more used to seeing him speak from the center of a crowd rather than on a stage of flags, but the words were powerful, and should speak to everyone but those that will always remain beyond his appeal.

Get with it America. Our new President is ready. Are we?

UPDATE: Text of speech

YouTube has it...

When I watched the speech live I joined at about the 3:20 mark, so I missed the early Constitution/slavery part he opened with. It seemed a bit awkward, and the fact that he points out the flaws in this country's history might be the only thing that the Right can grasp at to criticize ("But, but...America is Perfect!"). It also might make it more challenging for skeptics to get drawn in long enough for the speech to take off, which it does right at that moment when he declares he is the "son of a black man."

UPDATE 3: The rush to find the nugget or soundbite is already on, even at sites like Talking Points Memo which is disappointing. (Though, I suppose obvious when you realize the name of the site). One of the better things I've seen so far was this comment at John Cole's:
Whether he wins or not, the man has garnered my respect and admiration. That speech was not beautiful or eloquent, it was HONEST. And that, “MY FRIENDS”, is what makes all the difference. Not some trite greeting, not some BS shrilling, but an in your face, look at your country and realize that while America is great, it still has problems that need to be solved.

In this day of fake Patriotism, and loyalty tests, this man can actually get up and speak about what people really think. I don’t know if he would make a great President, but he makes me proud as an American. That someone finally has the balls to actually talk us like adults and not 10 second attention deficit disorder kids.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mark Your Calendars...

And I JUST Filled Up!

Greeting me on my Yahoo! homepage is the following headline, so I click through...
Oil plummets on economy worries

By JOHN WILEN, AP Business Writer 2 hours, 55 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Oil prices fell sharply Monday, pulling back at least temporarily from record levels as investors feared that the financial crisis that forced the sale of Bear Stearns Cos. is a sign of deep economic troubles.

[...blah, blah, blah...]

Oil's steep decline — falling $4.17 to $106.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange — came hours after futures rose to a new trading high of $111.80 on the Federal Reserve's surprise Sunday move to lower a key interest rate by a quarter point. In the past several months, Fed rate cuts have fueled rallies in oil prices.

When I see a headline that shouts "Oil Plummets!" I expect an actual, I don't know, decline! So, what this story actually says is that within hours of peaking at a record high it settles back to the same outrageous price it was the day before?

Gas is still 73 cents/gallon more than it was a year ago. Break the glass on the word "plummet" when we're back in that neighborhood.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reading Assignment

Still working on my big post I mentioned yesterday, but in the meantime, go read this post by Hilzoy.

It's far better than what rattles around in my head and falls on the keyboard.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

While You're Waiting...

A month or two ago, I Watch Stuff had a clip from an upcoming film called "Pineapple Express." It's the next Seth Rogan/Judd Apatow vehicle. That clip was all about smoking pot—literally, it was just two guys buying pot and getting high. As the only person alive who went to art school for five years in the late 80s without ever smoking pot, I was dubious as to how enjoyable I'd find the movie if I'm not in on the joke...

Well the new trailer is out and let's just say, I'm looking forward to it. A perfect role for Rogan, and James Franco is the best stoner since Brad Pitt's Floyd from "True Romance." Throw in Gary Cole as the bad guy and I'm sold.

An R-rated for language version of the trailer is here, and worth a couple extra laughs...

Stay Tuned

I'm baking a big-ass post, but I just stuck the toothpick in, and it's not ready to come out of the oven.

Hillary "Apologizes"

Today's New York Times:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did something Wednesday night that she almost never does. She apologized. And once she started, she didn’t seem able to stop. […]

Her biggest apology came in response to a question about comments by her husband, Bill Clinton, after the South Carolina primary, which Obama won handily. Bill Clinton said Jesse Jackson also won South Carolina when he ran for president in 1984 and 1988, a comment many viewed as belittling Obama’s success.

”I want to put that in context. You know I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive,” Hillary Clinton said. ”We can be proud of both Jesse Jackson and Senator Obama.”

”Anyone who has followed my husband’s public life or my public life know very well where we have stood and what we have stood for and who we have stood with,” she said, acknowledging that whoever wins the nomination will have to heal the wounds of a bruising, historic contest.

That's an apology? Are you fucking kidding me?

Sincere apologies don't start with "I want to put that in context..." Excuses do.

She then employs the classic passive/aggressive non-apology apology. Break it down:

"You know..." Puts the responsibility squarely on the recipient. You're expected to know that the Clintons could NEVER be racist, and if you don't, that's not Hillary's problem, it's yours.

"...I am sorry if anyone was offended..." This never apologizes for what was said. It doesn't acknowledge that it was offensive coming out of Bill Clinton's mouth, only that it was offensive to some other people's ears. And that, by the way, is also their problem.

"...It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive...” This part is true. It was meant to be a dogwhistle and a wink. It was supposed to fly over he heads of anyone who might be offended. But it's no apology.

"...We can be proud of both Jesse Jackson and Senator Obama.” I'm not sure what this means...I guess she'll give them stickers when she's President?

Finally, let me add what great people my husband and I are and how dare you question us. You must not have been paying enough attention to us. Oh, and the bruises and wounds to the party? That's all me. Hopefully the rest of you can get over it and support or forgive me.

The Fake Apologalooza then turned to the more recent offensive statements of Geraldine Ferraro:
”I certainly do repudiate it and I regret deeply that it was said. Obviously she doesn’t speak for the campaign, she doesn’t speak for any of my positions, and she has resigned from being a member of my very large finance committee.”

I don't think she regrets that it was said at all. She was happy to have central PA mull that one over for a couple days...She's sorry the wrong people paid attention she paid a price for it in the media.

And finishing with "...he has resigned from being a member of my very large finance committee.” is the not-my-fault cherry on top. Another excuse. You can either run a campaign or you can't, Senator. If your committee is too big for you to control, that's your fucking fault.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Inside the Clinton War Room

Hillary Crosses The Threshold

And earns herself a 'Special Comment' from Keith Olbermann...

"But in fact, Senator, you are now campaigning as if Barack Obama were the Democrat and YOU were the Republican.

As Shakespeare wrote, Senator, that way madness lies."

He actually goes easier on Hillary than he should, giving her an "out", and going harder on Ferraro and her advisors. Transcript.

If you never saw KO's FISA "Special Comment' watch it now

Olbermann wrote a diary at Kos last night as well. It's mostly block-quoted excepts of the transcript, but with some additional commentary mixed in. Like this...
There is much in the decisions made by the Senator and her strategists that was obvious, mistaken, and damaging.

And there is the grimmer prospect. That these, as Howard Fineman suggested on Countdown last night, were not mistakes at all.

I agree. I think there is a pattern that is inescapable. These "regrettable" things just keep happening...

Moron of the Week: Tim Couch (the Congress one)

Obviously frustrated that everytime he comments on a blog people assume he's a failed back-up NFL quarterback, rather than a failed back-bench Congressman, Rep. Tim Couch of Kentucky wants to ensure that everyone knows exactly who everyone else online is...
Kentucky Lawmaker Wants to Make Anonymous Internet Posting Illegal

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted.

If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying. He says that has especially been a problem in his Eastern Kentucky district.

Action News 36 asked people what they thought about the bill.

Some said they felt it was a violation of First Amendment rights. Others say it is a good tool toward eliminating online harassment.

Representative Couch says enforcing this bill if it became law would be a challenge.

I don't think you'll have to worry about enforcing it, Representative Moron.

Interesting that this whole article never mentions this idiot's party. You know he's gotta be a Republican because this is so fucking stupid. So I checked, and he is. Oh, congratulations, Congressman, this IS stupid enough to get you on "The O'Reilly Factor" or wherever...

Next up for Representative Couch? He's sick of walking down the street and not knowing who everyone is—what the hell is up with these anonymous citizens? His solution? A law requiring everyone must at all times wear one of these...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Necessary Roughness

Experienced. Tested. Ready.

Those are the qualifications that this country needs in its Commander in Chief in this time of danger and uncertainty.

John McCain has crossed that threshold.

Hillary Clinton has crossed that threshold.

And certainly THIS MAN has crossed that threshold. The man with whom Hillary went to Hell and back...stood shoulder to shoulder staring death in the eye...the hero who risked it all to help Hillary bring peace to a war-ravaged part of the globe...International Statesman, Global Asskicker and Peace Negotiator...

You might recall that Hillary tried to use this Bosnia Trip to inflate her international creds on "The Today Show" and got confronted by Meridith Viera (see my post and the video from January). Hillary bluffed and bullshitted her way out, emerging battered, but intact. And apparently undeterred...

Never content not to push the boundaries when it comes to truthiness regarding her accomplishments, Hillary has continued to go back to that Bosnian well to puff up her "Commander in Chief Threshold-Crossing."

On the campaign trail she recounts her 1996 trip to Bosnia as "a harrowing international experience" that makes her tested and ready to answer a 3 a.m. phone call at the White House on Day One™..." She elaborates and describes arriving "on a plane that made a tight corkscrew landing to avoid potential attacks. "Somebody said there might be sniper fire," she said, adding tartly, "I don't remember anyone offering me tea on the tarmac."

That's true, Hillary, but don't was because that grizzled Delta Force of Sinbad, Sheryl Crow and a teenage Chelsea were forced to jettison the tea set during your dogfight with the Serbian Air Force...right?

Well, Sinbad is having none of that bullshit.
Harrowing? Not that Sinbad recalls. He just remembers it being a USO tour to buck up the troops amid a much worse situation than he had imagined between the Bosnians and Serbs.

In an interview with the Sleuth Monday, he said the "scariest" part of the trip was wondering where he'd eat next. "I think the only 'red-phone' moment was: 'Do we eat here or at the next place.'"

[...] Threat of bullets? Sinbad doesn't remember that, either.

"I never felt that I was in a dangerous position. I never felt being in a sense of peril, or 'Oh, God, I hope I'm going to be OK when I get out of this helicopter or when I get out of his tank.'"

In her Iowa stump speech, Clinton also said, "We used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady."

Say what? As Sinbad put it: "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"

As you may have guessed by now, Sinbad isn't supporting Clinton for president. He's an Obama guy. All because of Clinton.

"What got me about Hillary was her attitude of entitlement, like he messed up her plan, like he had no reason to be there," Sinbad said. "I got angry. I actually got angry! I said, 'I will be for Obama like never before.'"

So, Sinbad, is it safe to say Hillary is living in "A Different World"?

3:00 A.M. Was a Long Time Ago

Remember that little sleeping girl in the ad that "needs President Hillary Clinton to pick up Jack Bauer's 3 a.m. phone call or Suburbington gets suitcase-nuked?" Turns out that's old video footage and she'll be 18 in the fall and voting for Obama.

"I Drink Your Morning Joe! I Drink It Up!"

I'm not really sure if this was some commercial break, off-camera banter or part of the actual "Morning Joe" broadcast, but this is pretty good—Chris Matthews engages Scarborough on the GOP v. Dem patriotism/security double-standards...

Oh, Chris, why do you have to be such a moron the other 90 percent of the time?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nelson Award: Client 9

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.

The wiretap recording, made during an investigation of a prostitution ring called Emperors Club VIP, captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a room. The person briefed on the case identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

The governor learned that he had been implicated in the prostitution probe when a federal official contacted his staff last Friday, according to the person briefed on the case.

My first thought when I saw the headline was that this had to be some old thing coming back to bite him now that he's Governor...Then when I see that this just happened last month, all I can think is, "What the fuck is the matter with these fucking guys?"

I mean, seriously. 1. You're in public life and have everything to lose. 2. You are the goddamn Governor of New York. 3. You were a world-renowned prosecutor and asskicking Attorney General fer crissakes! More from the Times (and this is the part that absolutely cinches the Nelson "Ha Ha"):
[...] As attorney general, [Spitzer] also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

”This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. ”It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”

High-flying Democrat on the rise? So fucking what. By your own measure, Governor, you are nothing more than loser john, cruising the boulevard. Just so happens you were a loser john scheduled to appear on "Meet the Press" the next morning.

Adíos, Governor, you are NOT above the law, yet clearly you think that you are. Get the fuck out. This ain't the GOP.

And for the love of God, why do these assholes take to the podium with their wives next to them? Could there be any more humiliating form of abuse you could heap on someone than to ask them to stand up there with you? We know you have testicles, Governor—they clearly control your actions—could you make use of them now and face the fucking music on your own?

At least you got your ass stung now instead of in the middle of a confirmation hearing in the Obama Administration...

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald begs to differ. No, Glenn, in the grand scheme of things, this shouldn't be a big deal, nor even a crime if you take it that far, but the fact is that it is a crime. And in Spitzer's case, his booty call became a Federal case when he flew her from NYC to DC. As a guy who made his bones as a tough prosecutor and put plenty of other people behind bars for the same thing and used prostitution convictions to build cases, and moralized about it loudly and publicly—he gets exactly NO sympathy from me (though I feel horrible for his wife). In many ways, his biggest crime, in my eyes, IS hypocrisy.

Oh, by the way, how much does the Governor of NY make that he can spend $5,000 an hour on a call girl and pay for her to travel from NY to DC? Just wondering...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday Absurdity

My Perfect TV Girlfriend
The "Boyfriend" version of this was passed onto Mrs F over at her place, so I figured I'd give it a shot in the other direction...

Curious who else might be a match, I tweaked some answers slightly, and despite repeated attempts, only once did it deviate from Lana...Chloe O'Brian the computer hacker from '24'.

FYI: Mrs F's first result was House, and then Jim from "The Office" much to her dismay. I told her Jim was probably a good catch, while House's curmudgeonly drug-addicted ass should be thrown back...We don't watch "The Office" so I am guessing on Jim, but to complete the match, I was kind of hoping I'd get Pam from "The Office" or maybe Tina Fey from "30 Rock"...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Coming Soon

Since I need a breather from the politics (clearly) and movies have been a hot topic over the last week, I thought I'd point to a few films I am eagerly anticipating...

There have been a LOT of comic-based movies over the last several years, and in nearly ALL cases the trailers look cool. Unfortunately the payoff hasn't been there for most of them. I'm hoping Iron Man follows through. The armor looks awesome, the music is rocking and Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark might be the best casting for any character ever. RDJr is Tony Stark—rich, smug, alcoholic, substance abuser, wiseass...

If nothing else, this movie gets my seal of kickassness for the best poster I've seen in years. I freaking LOVE this poster (click to embiggen). I haven't actually seen Statham in anything but "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" but I've seen trailers for everything else plus this and something tells me I'm a big fan waiting to happen. See the trailer here.

Like I need to write anything else here? Teaser.

I must be a sucker for the Euro-caper movies. Trailer

Why the hell not? The first one was supposed to be good...Trailer

Looks very good, but don't watch the trailer...spoiler.

Canadian Government and Mr Furious Issue Retractions

Here is a CBC video that breaks down the whole NAFTA flap that very well may have screwed Obama over yesterday (especially in Ohio). Seems it was all a big misunderstanding/set-up. Either way, Obama got a raw deal.

Oh, and in the video the CBC has a clip from the Ohio debate which very closely resembles the "Muslimized-blackened" Obama from the Clinton ad. [NOTE: image added at right] Perhaps it is a case of source video rather than malevolence from the Clinton campaign. I'm not quite ready to drop it, but I'm open to other possibilites...

UPDATE: Here's a new diary at Kos discussing the variations that occur when uploading video, converting to Flash, etc... This might explain things (or not) but raises enough questions that I will concede benefit of the doubt on this issue for now. I'd be curious to see actual tv footage of the ad rather than multi-generational online YouTube footage. Though it should be noted that Clinton website's video also exhibited the "problem." I added the CBC image above, and it appears washed out and the color desaturated, perhaps as a result of the factors noted in the diary.

UPDATE 2: Using the two highest quality sources I could find, MSNBC's stream of the debate, and a hi-res Quicktime version of the ad from Hillary's website (no youTube factor in either case) there is still a clear color shift.

It is not as dramatic a difference as the examples presented in many places earlier, which are all open to a biased selection to fit the argument (NOTE: I used those images in my post yesterday as well). While not a light (or lightened?) as examples provided yesterday, Obama's debate image is noticeably warmer and less high-contrast, while the HRC ad remains shifted in hue and contrast.

It is my opinion as a person who edits photos as part of their job (and used state of the art equipment, software and the best available originals) that Obama's image was altered—whether this is a result of the standard practice employed to present a political opponent in "an unfavorable light" or a deliberate attempt to capitalize on Obama's race and distort his appearance because of that is unclear. But to pretend this was all incidental and can be blamed on uploads and an unfortunate (or happy) coincidence like the Kos diary link above does is ludicrous. It was deliberate. It indicates either negligence on the part of the Clinton campaign to realize that when your opponent is a different race, perhaps you don't mess with their skin, or, a conscious decision to disregard that and use it as an intentional strategy.

They get a one-time pass for this on the chance that the political ad chop shop did it unthinkingly. If it happens again, they should be fucking nailed to the wall for it.

I took the MSNBC original (far left) and tried to replicate the HRC ad (far right). My file in the center.

It took dramatic shifts in hue, saturation, brightness and contrast to approach what the HRC ad looked like. I am having a harder time believing it was an accident. It may not have been the malicious race-baiting intent, but I think it was deliberate.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Are We Sure the GOP Race Is Settled?

Because Obama seems to be facing two Republican campaigns...

I want to follow up on something Rickey mentioned in a previous comment, "...the Clinton smear tactics are a warm up for the vicious attack ads the beleagured GOP party will unleash on Obama."

Well...I'm not so sure the GOP can be any more insidious than this.

Can the GOP be more obvious and clumsy? Yes. But how much more disgusting can it get?

This example has flown around the blogosphere as "the Clinton ad that makes Obama more black" (ala the TIME magazine OJ cover). But I think kos nails it when he says "more Muslim." They didn't just make Obama's skin darker they changed tone, hue and contrast to make him look more like an Arab. I'm surprised the copy doesn't just refer to him as "B. Hussein Obama."

I've been biting my tongue on this example for a day or two, because this blog has been a goddamn "Groundhog Day" of Anti-Hillary, and I was hoping for a rejection of Clinton by the voters, but instead her Rovian tactics have brought her back from the grave—and continuing, even increasing them seems her only possible strategy.

This shit cannot stand.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign fucking disgusts me. It is now at the point that I won't be in the same party as her. She is running a Republican slash and burn campaign through her own party's future—and I mean beyond Obama.

If the craven Democratic Party establishment or the stupid fucking sheep of an electorate validates this, I won't be a part of it.

If Hillary Succeeds...

...the results are clear.


Well that sucked. The thought of the Clintons, Mark Penn and Terry McAwful all high-fiving and drawing up the next round of disgraceful and dishonest attacks makes me want to wretch, but the fact of the matter is that looking solely at the delegates (which is all that matters) Hillary didn't win jack.

In fact, as of 27 minutes ago, as more results have finalized, Obama has actually increased his delegate lead after yesterday.

MORE: Andrew Sullivan has a comforting analysis, "Yes He Can"
Obama has a tougher, nastier opponent in the Clintons than he does in McCain. If he wins this by a long, grueling struggle, he will be more immune to the lazy, stupid criticism that he is some kind of flash in the pan, he has more opportunity to prove that there is a great deal of substance behind the oratory, he has more of a chance to meet and talk with the electorate he will need to win in the fall.

I think the argument for Obama is easily strong enough to withstand the egos of the Clintons. The more people see that her case is almost entirely a fear-based one and his is almost entirely a positive one, the more he will win the moral victory as well as the delegate count. In the cold light of day, the bruising news that the Clintons are not yet dead seems less onerous.

Know hope.

• The increasingly annoying Kevin Drum tries to use 1968 as a reason to "Chill Out" Sorry if I don't draw much consolation from what one could argue was the death spiral for the Democratic PArty and the rise of the GOP for forty fucking years...

• Josh Marshall has some good "Final Thoughts"

• John Cole "already hates being a Democrat" I don't blame him...agonizing self-destructive behavior is much more difficult than being a GOP robot.

Must-read post by The Atlantic's James Fallows.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to drive down I-23 and take a leak across the state line...fucking Ohio.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I am shitting my pants today like it's actually Election Day...and this is why:
Ohio, Texas could decide Democratic race

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton contested primaries in Ohio, Texas and two other states on Tuesday, the front-runner and his pursuer in a riveting race for the Democratic presidential nomination. John McCain reached out for the Republican delegates needed to secure his nomination after a decade's struggle.

In all there were 370 Democratic delegates at stake in Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio and Texas, which uses an unusual primary-caucus system.

After 11 straight victories, Obama had the momentum and the lead in the delegate chase in The Associated Press count, 1,386-1,276.

[...] That left Clinton in desperate need of a comeback with time running out — if it hadn't already.

Some of her supporters, her husband, the former president among them, said she needed to outpoll Obama in both Texas and Ohio to sustain her candidacy.

Without conceding anything, Obama's allies said even that wouldn't be enough, given his lead in the delegate count and party rules that virtually assure primary losers a significant share of the spoils.

It takes 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination, and slightly more than 600 remained to be picked in the 10 states that vote after Tuesday.

It's not the math that worries me, it's the stupid fucking media. Expectations and pressure have been unfairly raised for Obama, and the headline above is a perfect example. A knockout by Obama is not likely, and Hillary needs to win like 60-40 the rest of the way to catch Obama—and that's simply not going to happen barring some unforeseen event. But narrow victories or split results today allow Hillary to effectively declare resounding comeback status and climb back into a race she really still has little chance of winning fairly/cleanly.

Anyway, the reason I'm getting an ulcer over this is simple—Obama's my guy, and over the last couple days, HRC has released a barrage of attacks and they seem to have had an impact. A week ago, I felt pretty comfortable with today—not that Obama was a lock to win, but that expectations all around were more tempered, and that he could win Texas, and perhaps even Ohio.

Now that seems to be in some doubt, and the media has shifted the pressure from Hillary to save her campaign to Obama needing to seal the deal today.

Anyway, this is so nerve-wracking for me because I don't want Hillary to be rewarded for her tactics, and I will have a really hard time stomaching her as the nominee should that somehow come about. That wasn't true a month ago, but since then Hillary "found her voice" and it turned out to be Republican.

New 3:00 a.m. Phone Ads Spoofed

By Adam at The Jack Sack™.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Movie Quotes Meme

This is the greatest meme yet. I love this thing, fun to guess on the other blogs, and fun to compile. Fridge tagged me.
Instructions: Look up 15 of your favorite films on IMDb and take a quote from each. List them below. When someone guesses the quote correctly, cross it off the list. Leave a comment with your answers. And NO CHEATING (Googling).

As I read these on the other blogs (Angelos, Toast, Chemist, Tart) I would scroll down and guess as many as I could without reading anybody elses' guesses. It seemed to require a group effort in most cases. I have no idea how hard my list is, I tried to pick based on my favorite(ish) movies, and use a not quite "signature" quote, but not too obscure—memorable to me.

There are fifteen different movies represented, but because I'm so damn indecisive and the quotes are too freaking good, I doubled up on a couple. Have at it...

1. "Wow, I didn't know we'd become such good friends, because if we had, you'd know that I give head before I give favors and I don't even give my best friends head so your chances of getting a favor are pretty fucking slim."

2. "Is this moron number one? Put moron number two on the phone."
("Midnight Run"—Angelos)

3. "The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end."

4. "Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend."

5. "Don't be tellin' me about foot massages. I'm the foot fuckin' master."
("Pulp Fiction"—Tart)

6. "Don't condescend me, man. I'll fuckin' kill ya, man."

"I'm the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you."

("True Romance"—Rickey)

7. "Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?"
("Reservoir Dogs"—Rickey)

9. "If hate were people, I'D BE CHINA!"
("City Slickers" Toasty Joe) Not really one of my favorite movies, but one of my favorite quotes...

10. "Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up."
("The Natural"—Angelos)

11. "Some folks call it Hell, I call it Hades."
("Sling Blade"—Rickey)

12. "My wife deserves revenge, whether I know about it or not." ("Memento"—Adam)

13. "What the fuck are you carrying a gun for? What, in case somebody steps to you, Snoop Dogg?"

14. "And I'd like to point out that these tapes have not been faked, or altered in any way. In fact they have a time code, which is very difficult to fake." CLUE: See the comments for the full exchange, but here's an additional quote that should give it away: "My brother and I used to say that drownin' in beer was like heaven, eh? Now he's not here, and I've got two soakers... this isn't heaven, this sucks."

15. "Luther said I could learn some things from you. I already know how to drink." ("The Sting"—RSB)

Ah, hell...I can't leave this movie out, so here's a bonus quote:

16. "I got no spit."

This one is more time-consuming than most so I am reluctant to tag, but I'll give it to Mike (here, and it's a high degree of difficulty, check it out), since I think he'll get into it, along with Rickey (done) and Adam (done).

Sunday, March 02, 2008

BREAKING! I'm About to Defend Hillary

Friday, the blogosphere was going crazy over Hillary's "Parents better not fall asleep on Obama's watch" ad the other day. I found it objectionable as a Dem on Dem ad, and already said my piece on it (scroll down to read, and see the video). But Ann Althouse took a closer look and found something else [emphasis mine]...
"Why are the letters 'NIG' on the child's pajamas?"

Asks a commenter — "Tom" — on my post about the new Hillary Clinton commercial, the one that shows several children sleeping and then Clinton taking a national security phone call in the middle of the night. You can see the commercial at the link, and the pajamas in question are on display during seconds 11 and 12. On pausing, staring, and thinking, I believe these are pajamas that say "good night" all over them, but the letters "NIG" are set apart by a fold in the fabric.

Is the campaign responsible for sending out a subliminal message to stimulate racist thoughts in the unsuspecting viewer? It is either deliberate or terribly incompetent. There is no other writing on screen until the very end of the commercial, and if letters appear in any place in a commercial, they should be carefully selected letters. Certainly, each image is artfully composed and shot and intended to deliver an emotional impact...

Here it comes...Althouse is nuts and this story is complete crap! There is a simple explanation for why this is NOT subliminal racist messaging—THIS IS STOCK FOOTAGE! Hillary and her ad team didn't "artfully compose and shoot" this, this is footage purchased from a stock photo/video source and assembled into an ad.

How do I know this? Because it's what agencies do. It is cost- and time-prohibitive to cast, set-up and shoot stuff like that. It's why Obama's response ad uses the SAME footage of the house exterior and the other kids at the beginning—they both bought the footage. I suspect the only reason Obama's ad doesn't show the same pajama shot is that his ad has already cut away to footage of him.

I am not aware of any stock video houses that offer a category of "subliminal N-words for use in campaigns against black candidates." This is simply a coincidence that the word NIGHT is partially obscured.
[...] nothing compared to "NIG" isolated on a sleeping child's shoulder in an ad intended to create doubts about a black man's ability to take an urgent phone call at 3 a.m., an ad authorized by a candidate who has already heard accusations that her campaign is slipping racial material into its attacks on her opponent.

This is either a revolting outrage or shocking incompetence.

More projection there...I'm not sure the message of this ad has anything to do with Obama being a black man answering the phone, just that he's inexperienced, according to HRC.

Althouse and anybody else making any kind of deal out of this are looking through a delusio-microscope to find shit that simply isn't there. Althouse is the same columnist who dissected the stupid Clinton "Sopranos" ad a couple years ago and found vaginas in every plate of onion rings and carrot-penises ready to dive into them. Ridiculous.

[via Benen]

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Question of the Week

What is your favorite bad movie?

Once upon a time I actually used the old two-VCR technique to dub a copy of Who's Harry Crumb, because for some reason I thought it was a movie I needed to always have available. With John Candy and the D-list support of Jeffrey Jones, Annie Potts, Tim Thomerson, Barry Corbin and Shawnee Smith, it's easy to see why...

I'm sure you've always wondered what the Pink Panther films would be like minus the talent of Peter Sellers...well, wonder no longer...

And yes, I just wasted twenty minutes watching YouTube clips...which just proves the point. I can't resist it.

[stolen from Tart]