Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Go to Hell! Go to Hell and You Die!

I kind of wanted to give my take of Bush’s little press conference the other day. But I couldn’t bring myself to summon the rage necessary to cover it in the depth it required.

Factesque captures the rage nicely.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Science 1, Religion 0

Those activist judges are at it again.

Next up - is the earth flat? Same batshit crazy time, same batshit crazy channel...

Strike! Strike!

I didn't expect it, but the MTA and the workers union couldn't solve their differences.

I'm working from home today, but tomorrow I won't have that luxury, so here's hoping they work it out. But for those of you who had to walk in to work, please try to bear in mind that this is not the workers' fault, as much as the media and in particular Bloomberg and Pataki would have you believe. This is the MTA's attempt at fitting in with the current business-first culture that is running rampant across this country. Between Wal-Mart freezing unions out of their stores, the airlines cutting pensions, factories across the country being non-union shops, and the teachers going without a contract for years at a time, the union is a dying breed. This city has even made a law saying that a strike is illegal, which is in so many words saying that the union itself is illegal, because what other weapon does a union have in its arsenal?

If you voted for Bloomberg, you see now what is so bad about him. A Democrat would have stepped in. His goal is to break this union, entrenching himself firmly on the side of big business. Even a business as poorly run as the MTA who cook the books, who raise the fares every year while cutting service, who make their workers change their jobs from customer service to garbage collection, who tried to sell some sweet land to the New York Jets at half its appraised value. The MTA never made a real effort at negotiating because they didn't think the WTU had the balls.

Workers unite!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Sweet Sweet Freedom

The Senate blocked the extension of the Patriot Act. Hmmn... It makes me wonder if I have it all wrong about this fascism thing.



The government is allowed to spy on you now.

You see how it works? You don’t become a military fascist state overnight. They chip away at your civil rights little by little until the Constitution is merely a historical document.

Happy New Year to You… In JAIL!

Yet another Republican is going to prison. This happens so often that it’s not even exciting anymore.

It’s to the point where a Republican would have to be filmed smoking crack with a naked underage boy to actually get anyone’s attention. The current Republican party is so criminally corrupt, Charles Manson would be nervous about taking calls from them for fear of sullying his image.

I Voted For Torture Before I Voted Against It

Just take a stand on something, Mr. President.

Can you comment on an ongoing investigation or can’t you?

Should we be torturing people or shouldn’t we?

Flip flop! Flip flop!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Strike Contingency Plan

This is a completely self-indulgent post, but for those of you who don’t live in New York, it might be interesting to see what goes on out here.

You see, there is this possible MTA strike tonight at midnight. The MTA runs all the buses and subways in all five boroughs. So it’s a big deal. Few of us city-dwellers have cars, and even if we do, they can’t all be in the tiny little 23 square miles of Manhattan. And in fact, if you want to bring your car anywhere south of 96th street (which is like WAY uptown) during the strike, you have to have four or more people in the car.

Anyway, so everyone has to have a so-called contingency plan. “How am I getting to work tomorrow” sort of thing. Anyone with any sense of decency and does not have the very highest priority type job (doctor, fireman, stripper, etc.) should absolutely stay home. The streets would be so clogged, we don’t need to be gumming up the works driving into our job at the golf driving range when there are transplant surgeons trying to get to the hospital before the kidney goes bad. So my office, which shall remain nameless, sent out this email yesterday offering one of three options:

1) [The Office Manager] has gathered information about those who drive and have space for colleagues. If you need a ride, please email her so that we can arrange carpools tomorrow morning.
OK, fine. I guess if you absolutely have to come in to work tomorrow, whatever, come in. But I should stress I don’t work in a hospital or anything. I can’t imagine who here has to come in tomorrow. On a Friday. A week before Christmas. But whatever.
2) Staff who will have difficulty getting to work and whose work lends itself to it, may, with prior approval from their supervisors, work from home on Friday (the strike is not expected to go beyond the weekend).
Right on. And that is the option I’ve selected. But here’s the noggin-scratcher:
3) If neither of these options seems feasible, we have a few options for people who need a place to overnight. (If you think you might fall into this category, pack a bag tomorrow.)
Come again? Pack a bag? Am I sleeping in the conference room? Should I bring my sleeping bag and pajamas? Will we be telling ghost stories and making s’mores? Are they honestly going to suggest that someone’s job here in my office is so important that not only are they not allowed to work at home, but they’re not even allowed to go home tonight?

Have I mentioned that I've grown weary of working here? Does anyone want to hire me? I’m shrap as a takk...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

He's So Cute

President Bush:

President Bush said Wednesday that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has done "a heck of a good job" and there are no plans to replace him.
Oh Georgie, will you ever learn?

That’s Why They Elected Him King

Did they elect him? What happened again? Those movies were so long!! They should make them into a book or something so I could take it on the subway.

Anyway, Aragorn has got a couple of things to say about our real-life king:

“I’m not anti-Bush; I’m anti-Bush behavior,” Mortensen told Progressive magazine. “In other words, I’m against cheating, greed, cruelty, racism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, treason, and the seemingly limitless capacity for hypocrisy shown by Bush and his administration.”
See, now what you need to do, Vigs (we’re tight), is cobble together a bunch of freaks with axes and swords or whatever, find Bush’s Precious and throw it in a chipper shredder or something.

Three hours is a long time to just sit there, people...

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watchin’ Me

Hey, anonymous. You want another example of what I’m worried about?

I’m worried about the fact that the Pentagon is “monitoring” peaceful protest groups and Quakers because they consider them a “threat” to national security. Hmmn... I wonder what sorts of governments of the past used the military to monitor citizens who might disagree with the government.

You know, someone should write a novel about that or something.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Remember Diebold making the voting machines with no paper trail while the CEO was promising to deliver Ohio to George W. Bush? Well, I hope you're sitting down, this is going to come as quite a shock...

The company is run by a bunch of crooks!

How long until Webster adds "criminal" as a synonym of Republican?

A Break from all the Bring-down Political Stuff

Christmas (bleh) is fast approaching. You can tell because every store you go to has a bunch of Christmas trees and wreathes and crap piled all over the damn place, you can't move more than a few feet in any direction because some Fertile Myrtle always has her double-wide stroller parked sideways in the aisles, and disgusting, otherwise-unemployable old men everywhere are stroking their flea-ridden beards, drinking their Old Crow, and scratching their scabby laps in anticipation of the arrival of your children. So to help you get that horrific image out of your head, check out this list of Seven Christmas Movies That Don't Totally Suck.

1. Bad Santa - Say what you will about Billy Bob Thorton. You know, that he's a crazy, emaciated redneck who's obviously some sort of powerful warlock, seeing as how he got Angelina Jolie to have sex with him. Never has there been a better portrayal of Santa Claus. I mean, he blows that douche from Miracle on 34th Street right out of the water. This movie has it all: drunkenness, sex, cruelty to children, swearing, a shootout... uh, John Ritter. The scene where Billy Bob drunkenly tears apart the weird little kid's beloved advent calendar and shoves all the candy into his mouth puts me in the Christmas spirit like nothing else can. And when he beats the skater punk with his own skateboard... I mean, who HASN'T wanted to do that?

2. It's a Wonderful Life - This isn't really a Chirstmas movie. I know everyone thinks it is, and they show it so many times around Christmas time that I can recite the damn thing verbatim, but it's really just a movie about a man's life, and the story just happens to end on Christmas. Die Hard takes place at Christmas time, does that make Die Hard a Christmas movie? Yeah, that's what I though, bitch.

So, I've seen this movie about six meeeellion times and I never get sick of it. Why? I dunno. Jimmy Stewart ROOLZ as always. The story is funny. And a litle sappy at the start. Then takes a crazy, dark turn into suicide and drunkness and sleaze, then builds to the feel-good ending of all time. Any movie that can go from The Donna Reed Show to film noir then back again in the course of 2 hours has gotta be good, right? Plus it has Mr. Potter, one of the all time great movie villians, the cranky old bastard. Also, he looks like Dick Cheney. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!" "Happy New Year to you... IN JAIL!!!"

3. Christmas Vacation - The best of the Vacation movies, and I'll fight any man who says different! Those two wretched kids from European Vacation are gone (what a couple of mutants those losers were. That son would have gotten his ass kicked by Anthony Michael Hall, easily. And that daughter... were we really supposed to believe that the bad guy from Karate Kid would go out with her?) and are replaced by that kid from Roseanne and Juliette Lewis before she went nuts. This might be the last good movie Chevy Chase ever makes, so savor it.

4. A Christmas Story - One of the few movies to accurately capture what it's like to be a kid, and what it's like to hope and pray you'll get what you want for Christmas. Then of course, you end up getting a bunch of socks and earmuffs and underwear and shit. This helps prepare you for the constant crushing defeats and disappointments you'll face in your adult life. Like, I always wanted an AT-AT, but did I ever get one? Noooooooo! Fuuuuuuuudge.

5. Die Hard - Hahahahaha, remember what I said earlier? Well, screw it, there aren't any more good Christmas movies, so here you go. How can you go wrong with a movie that features the line, "Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho?" Lots of 'splosions and wisecracks. Republican dipshit Bruce Willis actually still has a little hair in this one, too. And Alan Rickman is great, he's like a walking version of Mr. Potter. He kind of sounds like Mr. Potter too, if you really listen. Oh, and if you drink lots of whiskey.

6. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - this cartoon isn't really a movie, but it's Christmasy and it's seriously effed up. You've got this weird, Chernobyl-ized reindeer whose gross deformity makes him a social outcast. You've got an elf who's unjustly ostracized for his sexual orientation (sure, Hermie, those nazi elves hate you because you want to be a "dentist." You're not fooling anyone). You've got an anorexic Santa. You've got this crazy prospector who can't find any silver or gold (I'm guessing it's because rather than, oh, say, DIGGING IN THE GROUND, his method of searching for precious metals is to stick his pick-axe in the snow and then lick the end of it. Science!). And you've got this big gorilla-thing who gets all his teeth knocked out and seems to enjoy it. So, you've got mutation, bigotry, closeted homosexuality, eating disorders, axe-licking, and animal cruelty/sado-masochism. Merry Christmas, everyone!

7. That Charlie Brown Christmas Special Thing - Snoopy is cool. But I kinda question the logic behind this special. So, the message is that the commercialization of Christmas is bad, right? Yet we're getting this message from a cartoon that's interrupted every ten minutes by ads for Dolly Madison snack cakes? Also, how exactly did that shitty tree get so robust and healthy at the end? Was it the mighty power of Jesus? Or was it the power of Zingers? Does anyone besides me even remember what Zingers are?

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

There’s an article in Salon from yesterday about a new family package soon to be offered by cable providers. So much for the kick ass ala carte plan. Whatever. The only reason I’m writing about it is this:

For instance, Isett said cable providers' family plans should not include channels like ABC Family, which shows PG-13 movies…
Ha! ABC Family is too racy for these people? Have you ever watched ABC Family? Me neither. OK, bad example. But if I did, I’m sure it would be pukingly wholesome entertainment, wouldn’t it? I imagine some old-school Mary-Kate and Ashley stuff (you know, before the anorexia and rehab), a little Rodgers and Hammerstein action, a sprinkle of after-school special programming. PG-13? Might there be a woman in a skirt that falls above her knee!! Heaven forfend!!

You Can't Handle the Truth, Apparently!

Slate has a nice little article about the latest bullcrap doctored ad from the Bush administration.

The RNC's new Web video "Retreat and Defeat" starts with a flat-screen TV playing clips from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Sen. John Kerry. As they speak, a white flag waves over their faces while ominous music moans. Dean says the war in Iraq can't be won; Boxer says withdrawal should start after the Iraqi election; and Kerry says U.S. soldiers shouldn't be "terrorizing kids and children, you know, women." Then the camera pans back, and we learn that we've been watching these clips over the shoulder of a U.S. soldier dressed in desert camouflage, his service rifle strapped to his back. Candy canes hang on the wall just above the screen, which flashes the message: "Our soldiers are watching and our enemies are too."

The video conveys the impression that somewhere in Iraq, a soldier is having his mission and Christmas tarnished by weak-willed Democrats.

Of course, the soldier is really watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas! but why let a little bit of fact get in the way of a really bitchin' smear ad? The poor soldier's sorrow is probably genuine, however, since watching The Grinch undoubtedly reminds him that thanks to Bush, Dick, and Rummy, he's not going to be getting any schmendonkers, gerlonkers, or body armor this Christmas, either.

Bush has distorted images of U.S. soldiers before. During the 2004 campaign, he got into trouble when one of his ads, titled "Whatever It Takes," doctored the images of soldiers. The ad showed a crowd of soldiers listening to the president. But some of the faces appeared several times in several different places within the same crowd shot, the result of an attempt to increase the number of soldiers appearing to listen to Mr. Bush.

What neither party has done—until now—is inject the idea that the other party is undermining our troops overseas. The RNC is pimping a mute and unnamed soldier not just to defend the Iraq war but to imply that Democrats are white-handkerchief-waving cowards who want the United States to lose.

Yeah, so we all know that stuff. The Republican party whips up a big batch of bullshit, and their base eats it up like it was chocolate pudding. But here's the part that I really wanted to emphasize:
This is not the president's official message, at least in classier settings. "There's an important debate going on in our nation's capital about Iraq," he said last week at the Council on Foreign Relations, "and the fact that we can debate these issues openly in the midst of a dangerous war brings credit to our democracy."

And the fact that your party runs these ads brings nothing but same to our democracy, so I guess it all kinda balances out. Basically, Bush is too much of a pussy to actually call out the people who oppose him, so he has all the little trolls who toil in his Workshop of Evil create these bitch-ass fake ads attacking his opponents, and then he acts all above the fray when he does his little soft-shoe dance and says that debate and dissent are important (I seem to recall some sort of swift boat something something). Quick poll: Raise your hand if you think Bush really thinks that debate and dissent are important. If your hand is currently raised, use the other hand to click this link.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh, It’s On!

George W. Bush is the world’s highest profile proponent of freedom and democracy, right? He ousted an evil dictator in the Middle East on that principle alone.

Well, in our most-favored-nation trading partner China, democracy is rearing its pretty little head, only to have it shot clean off by Chinese security forces.

How will Bush react, I wonder?

Ignorance Is Bliss

One of my favorite playwrights, Harold Pinter, won the Nobel Prize for Literature recently. He delivered a brilliant acceptance speech, and it would appear that he is opposed to United States’ foreign policy, to put it mildly. Some excerpts to whet your appetite:

Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words "the American people" provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the U.S.

It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.

I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speechwriters but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.

"God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad, except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don't you forget it."
And if you read the entire piece, you see that he’s not criticizing the Iraq war specifically as much as everything we’ve done since the end of World War II. And he makes a great point – it’s time to face the fact that we are as vicious a brutal tyrant as any of the last century, but we use our clever propaganda techniques to wrap ourselves up in the concept of freedom and democracy, thus fooling the world (some of the time) and ourselves that our actions are righteous and just. What he doesn’t discuss is that even we (as U.S. citizens) can see our lost freedoms and democracy. It is well-documented that Al Gore won the 2000 election. It is well-documented that oil and pharmaceutical companies write their own bills specifically designed to make them richer at our expense. It is well-documented that we torture and murder innocent people. It is well-documented that our government claims every right to search/take/hide/listen to whatever or whomever it likes. It is well-documented that we have invaded a foreign land based on nothing other than it is what we wanted to do, again under the guise of protecting ourselves.

When is it time for us to swallow our pride and accept that we are an empire in the style of Ancient Rome where our military and intelligence agents are free to murder at will; where life does not matter except for that of American life, and often not even that; where we will take what we want and destroy you if you get in our way? That is the America in which you live. And don’t get me wrong, while Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld represent the epitome of this evil, the Democrats are no different. Which Democrat is going to win an election by talking about global peace and cooperation? Hillary? Kerry? I don’t think so. The Democrats might win, and if they do it will be because they out-hawked the hawks. It will be because they spoke of protecting America with our massive arsenal of advanced weaponry and utilizing our unbounded wealth to reach our goals (bribing nations who cooperate, starving those who do not).

This is not justice. This is not freedom and democracy. It is global domination through violence. True, we don’t have concentration camps. Instead we have secret torture centers with tens of thousands of unknown “ghost” prisoners who are at this very moment pleading for mercy from their sadistic captors. Is it better if we drown a prisoner instead of putting him in a gas chamber? Is it better if we strap him to a crucifix and he suffocates? Is it better if we beat him to death with a flashlight? Is it better if we leave him outside to freeze to death? Tell me, what manner of death is the most just? What manner of torture proves that we’re more righteous than past totalitarian regimes? Tell me. I want to know.

I want to know.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy December Wintertime!

I’m a liberal elitist so naturally, I am trying to eliminate Christmas and ideally Christian Americans as well.

Look who's fighting the good fight with me.