Saturday, January 24, 2009

And I Thought I Was Busy?!?

Three days in, and let's look at a few of the things Obama's been working on...

• Shuttering Gitmo.

• Halting extraordinary rendition.

• Guaranteeing habeas corpus rights to detainees.

• Revived FOIA.

Yanked Bush's Executive Privilege.

• Reversed the international "gag rule"

• Halted a buttload of Bush's Executive Orders

• Closed since 9/11, he's re-opening the top of Statue of Liberty to the public.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Camera Eye: This Guy's Askin' For It...

'Cause I'm too busy to celebrate or to rant about anything—and there's plenty of each piling up—I'll stall with a shot from my collection of Warning Stickers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You Cannot Be Serious

This is not a snowfall. This is what happens to the kitchen counter when you brush off the ice cream carton.

Seriously. Kid F's school was canceled this morning. Not as a result of this apocalyptic blizzard, but in anticipation of it. Yes, the message this morning said, "Due to the weather forecast for tomorrow, school will be closed Tuesday, January 20."

School was canceled throughout the land on the threat of snow. No word on milk and bread supplies...

UPDATE: Mrs F agrees, and reminds you what a snow day SHOULD be.


The best part of all of this is the fact that after the years of waiting for this day, when it finally arrives, it's no longer about George W. Bush in any way.

The Mountaintop

I cannot think about Martin Luther King, Jr. without recalling this clip from the "Kid Logic" episode of This American Life...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Few Questions...

• How come AM radio reception is totally fucked at night? As soon as it gets dark, I lose reception for every AM station in Asheville except the Rush Limbaugh/Hannity station—BUT I can then pull in 770 from Manhattan?

• How many times will it take the detective, the D.A. and the husband on "Medium" to stop being total dicks to Allison, and just believe her the FIRST fucking time she tells you who the murderer is?

• How freaking crazy was that plane crash in New York? And how much of a bad-ass is that pilot?

• Who's getting a pardon from President Douche?

• Am I the only person in America who doesn't plan to treat Inauguration Day like a big deal? I celebrated Obama's win in November. This is just signing the paperwork...

• If I have to contend with single-digit temperatures in Asheville, I want some snow. Where's my fucking snow?

• Why can't I just go to sleep right now?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

(Un)Reality TV

Kevin Drum watched "24" last night, and comes away concerned...'s obvious that the show is going to deal head on with the subject of torture this season. Episode 1 opens with Jack testifying before a Senate committee about his past transgressions, which he wearily but defiantly confesses to, and then rolls through two hours of FBI agents wondering "how far he'll go" — because, you see, Jack's exploits with the dark arts are apparently the thing of legend in the hallways of the Bureau.

Is there any way for this end other than badly? After all, here in the blogosphere we opponents of torture like to argue that we don't live in the world of 24, guys. And we don't. But Jack Bauer, needless to say, does live in the world of 24. And in that world, there are well-heeled terrorists around every corner, ticking time bombs aplenty, and torture routinely saves thousands of lives. What are the odds that it won't do so again this season — except this time after lots of talk about the rule of law blah blah liberals blah blah it's your call blah blah?

It's clear the FOX has decided to have a fictional "debate" about torture in a widely viewed arena here—though I suspect only a fraction of the show's original season viewers have stuck with it. Bauer will be unashamedly portrayed as a hero subjected to second-guessing by a chamber of desk jockey pussies in D.C. You can be sure that any Congressman (or likely a faux-Pelosi Congresswoman) who questions Bauer in a hearing will be portrayed in the weakest pansy-ass liberal light possible. I can pretty much see this scenario working out with Jack getting to channel Col. Jessup, "You NEED ME on that wall!"—except without the plot twist that nails Jessup in the film.

My position has always been this: Torture needs to be illegal. Period. No allowances for "ticking time bombs" and "24-scenarios." And penalties need to be extremely harsh—the same as a kidnapper who tortured or killed a victim-harsh. If it is left in the toolbox for interrogators under ANY circumstance it will be reached for all the time. There needs to be the utmost deterrence for anyone involved in a potential decision.

Conjure up your worst Jack Bauer scenario...a nuclear bomb about to destroy L.A., and Jack needs to get those codes. Assuming torture works (which it doesn't), any Agent Bauer would need to gamble his own potential jail time versus saving millions of lives. If someone in that scenario actually believed they and everyone in a 20-mile radius would die, and there was no other course available, they'd sacrifice themselves for the cause, so to speak—"I'll spend the rest of my life in jail for this, but otherwise ten million people are dead in five minutes—I can live with that." But short of that, the knowledge they will rot in a cell would bring them (or an authorizing superior) up short.

If in retrospect, it somehow demonstrably worked, its likely they would be pardoned before any jury had a chance to (not) convict them.

Even that involves hypotheticals that have never occurred and likely never will, and no one in there right mind would think otherwise. Oh, wait...
"Scalia responded with a defense of Agent Bauer, arguing that law enforcement officials deserve latitude in times of great crisis. “Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles . . . . He saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Judge Scalia reportedly said. “Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?” He then posed a series of questions to his fellow judges: “Say that criminal law is against him? ‘You have the right to a jury trial?’ Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer?”

“I don’t think so,” Scalia reportedly answered himself. “So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes.” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Asshat. Even "Jack Bauer" himself doesn't believe it...
“You torture someone and they’ll basically tell you exactly what you want to hear, whether it’s true or not, if you put someone in enough pain,” Sutherland said last year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Worth the Wait

It wasn't out in time to make The Year in Review Review, but better late than never...


A sampling:
20. Joe the Plumber

The Che Guevara of bald, pissed off white men. In a lot of ways, Samuel Wurzelbacher really does represent the average American—basing economic opinions on unrealistic expectations of personal future success, blaming his failure to meet those expectations on minorities and old people, complaining about deadbeats getting his taxes when he isn’t actually paying his taxes, and advertising his own rudimentary historical and mathematical ignorance by warning of creeping socialism in a country whose highest income tax rate has dropped by half in thirty years. “Joe” indeed symbolizes the true American dream—to become undeservedly rich and famous through a dizzyingly improbable stroke of luck. As American folk heroes go, Wurzelbacher ranks somewhere between Hulk Hogan and Bernie Goetz.

Exhibit A: "Social Security is a security I've never believed in, don't like it. I hate that it's forced on me."

After blowing his fifteen minutes and all his money on coke and Thai hookers, an infirm, elderly Joe finds that social security actually is a joke, and is finally forced to snake toilets for a living.

Sheer awesomeness. Mr Furious wants to be the Buffalo Beast when he grows up.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dick of the Week: Corky Simpson

Who the fuck is Corky Simpson and how the hell did he nab D.O.W. over Harry Reid?

Corky Simpson is a retired sportswriter. One who will henceforth be known as "The writer who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson." Or, more generally, "the worst fucking sportswriter of all time."

Indeed, this is the first year that Rickey Henderson is on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Henderson is arguably the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, and unquestionably one the best, most exciting, players in my lifetime. There should be no question that he should walk straight into the Hall of Fame, and then easily steal whichever spot he chooses for his plaque. No writer with a ballot has any reason to leave his name off. None. Not based on actual baseball anyway. But here's the thing...
No one has ever received every vote in the history of BBHoF voting. Not Babe Ruth, not Ty Cobb, not Tom Seaver, not Willie Mays, not Jackie Robinson, not Nolan Ryan, not Cal Ripken, Jr., not Cy Young.

Uh Oh. Sounds like the perfect reason for some holier than thou jackass writer to "protect the legacy" of the Hall and leave Henderson off, just to keep him from being the first unanimous selection...
But every writer was putting Henderson on their ballot, usually followed by the words “no-brainer.” Could it be done? Could Rickey make HoF history? I was getting kinda excited.

And then, I got to the ballot of the Award-Winning Corky Simpson - who, you guessed it … didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson.

So, is Simpson deliberately playing spoiler and screwing Henderson? I mean, he must be. He even voted for the extremely-poor man's Rickey—Tim Raines. Obviously he must be making a point. Maybe he's one of those dicks who won't vote for guys the first year on the ballot...nope, he voted for Matt Williams—a guy who should buy a ticket to get in. (To Simpson's credit, he DID vote for Jim Rice.)

Writers get ten slots on their ballots, and Simpson wrote eight names down—and then he submitted his ballot. With two blank slots. And no Rickey.

Amazingly, worse than the omission, is Simpson's excuse...
I screwed up on the Henderson nonvote,” said Simpson, who detailed his choices in a Dec. 10 column for the Green Valley News. “You get to vote on 10 and I only picked eight. I probably did it too quickly.”

Take away his privileges. Right. Fucking. Now.

Seriously. Only a handful of people have the authority to cast HOF ballots. They should do so with due diligence and impartiality. This fossil employed neither. Clearly I spent more time on this blog post than he did considering his HOF ballot.

There are only three possible genuine reasons for this, because the "oversight" is a load of shit. A play for attention—and he's getting it; Deliberately spoiling the unanimous induction, but not having the balls to admit it; Or racism. I can't think of anything else.


A list of all the HOF votes cast so far.

MORE: Deadspin, Flannel Boy, Pinto.

I came across a fantastic photo of Henderson's outstretched 1982 Oakland A's gloves hitting second, and a Bill James quote, so I combined 'em...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Get On It!

Are you voting?

Mrs. Furious is getting pummeled by the worst most inexplicable blog I think I've ever seen. And being in the same bracket as and her HUGE readership is certainly a tough draw, but Mrs. F kicks her ass in quality and quantity—Armstrong's just mailing it in these days...

Makes me wish I'd learned some web design, and gave Mrs. F template worthy of her content.

Pick me up. Vote every day from home and work. My audience of six can close that gap!

UPDATE: I'm NOT hatin' on dooce—I like Heather (and Jon) quite a bit—but that blog should be in one of the large-size categories. Honestly, except for a vastly superior site design and earning potential, dooce has got nothing on Mrs F.

UPDATE 2: Removed a link and toned down the rhetoric. Just because I'm not "getting it" doesn't negate somebody else's hard work blogging, or their readers.

Monday, January 05, 2009

My Better Half...


The 2008 Weblog Awards

Mrs. F has moved up in the world from a "Best New Blog" finalist to "Best Diarist" finalist in this year's Weblog Awards.

As they say in Chicago, "Vote early and vote often."

UPDATE: Plus, if you read Mrs F's blog it's like a "Furious: Behind the Music" episode...all kinds of crazy shit I never reveal goes on over there daily. On second thought...

Drink Me

Hilzoy has an excellent, but disturbing and outrageous, follow-up post on that Valdez on the Tennessee spill...
[from the NYT]: Though the E.P.A., the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the authority have spoken daily about their efforts to monitor air, soil and water quality, complete results have been released for only two samples, both taken from a drinking water intake site that is upstream of the spill. The water there met drinking standards.

Heckuva job. Those samples from UPSTREAM should make good "before spill" comparisons to the water supply actually affected by 2.2 million pounds of toxic materials.

Independent testing done by environmental groups and a university are looking a little more bleak:
According to the tests, arsenic levels from the Kingston power plant intake canal tested at close to 300 times the allowable amounts in drinking water, while a sample from two miles downstream still revealed arsenic at approximately 30 times the allowed limits. Lead was present at between twice to 21 times the legal drinking water limits, and thallium levels tested at three to four times the allowable amounts.

Granted, that's straight from the river and untreated, but how many people in rural Tennessee get their water from wells? They're fucked. And for everyone else, I'm not sure even a municipal water treatment facility can cope with contamination at those levels.

And of course acres of this shit is still laying around leaching into the soil, washing into the rivers with every rainfall, and soon will begin to dry up and blow around in the air.

Can we stop hearing about "clean coal" now please? At least the waste from a nuclear plant fits in a barrel and is regulated.

UPDATE: Per the photographer's request, I've removed the pictures. They are incredible pictures—Antrim Caskey has captured some hauntingly beautiful images of the utter destruction wreaked on this area. There is a slideshow at the end of this article.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Year in Review Review

Because Mr. Furious can (still) never get enough hatred and harsh judgment...

John Cole is counting votes on the Dumbest Thing Said By a Politician in 2008. I went with, “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you. It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.” Not the worst or most offensive thing to pass a politicians lips by any means, but perhaps the most unintentionally honest and revealing, and marked the beginning of the end for McCain in my opinion.

The Guardian's list of The 19 Worst Americans of 2008.

Andrew Sullivan's Annual Daily Dish Awards

The New York Times' Year in Pictures

Seemed Important at the Time...The Top Nontroversies of 2008

Peter Travers' Best and Worst Movies of 2008. I didn't see ANY of them.

Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2008. 50? Don't you guys have editors? You certainly have no taste—putting the Raconteurs at #44—behind the fucking Jonas Brothers.

Alas, the two of the best year-end lists from 2007 (The Beast's Most Loathsome List and Bill Maher's Dickheads of the Year list) either went behind a pay-wall or don't seem to exist for 2008. Losers.

I also did a worse job this year on Dick of the Week. Pick your favorite from a whopping field of five...'s Best Political Cartoons of 2008.

WaPo's What's In and Out for 2009

ESPN baseball man Jayson Stark compiles his Strange But True Year in Review

Sports Illustrated's Best Photos of the Year

Deadspin's Best of 2008 Jamboroo: The Year in...Substance Abuse...Horrifying Injuries...Bad Officiating

• Hillary's Downfall. Yet another hilarious Hitler subtitle video. These fucking kill me every time...