Friday, April 27, 2007

Fox “News” Unable to Differentiate Truth From Fiction

There is a certain form sociopathy in which a person becomes so accustomed to lying that he or she can no longer tell the difference between what's true and what's false.

You’d think that at a major “news” organization, there would be too many people to all be affected. Apparently not. Read about how Fox News spent all morning reporting on a parody.

The backstory: Last week in the town of Lewiston, Maine, a group of Somalian Muslim middle school students were the subject of a cruel prank when their peers placed a ham steak next to them in order to personally offend the students. School officials filed a report because the students considered the act to be a hate/bias crime.

This actual story was then spoofed by a parody site called Associated Content, which made up quotes and details, such as the school’s intention to “create an anti-ham ‘response plan.’”

On Tuesday, Fox & Friends reported these parody quotes and details as actual news. Poking fun at the students, hosts asked whether ham was “a hate crime…or lunch?” and showed screen shots of ham sandwiches, starving Somalians, belching, animal noises, and mock “reenactments” of the incident. Ironically, the hosts assured viewers several times, “We’re not making this up!”
Which makes this a good time to bring up one of my old favorites, when the right-wing nutjob blogger went berserk over an abortion story The Onion wrote that he believed to be real. You gotta love the right wing’s inability to recognize satire and their complete lack of a sense of humor.

Support the Troops, Mr. President

Congress has passed an “emergency” supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war. The word “emergency” is code for “not in the official budget so that I can pretend to be cutting the deficit” but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, congress has come up with the funds to keep the boys armed and dressed and fed. Whew! Wait, what’s that? Oh, the president is going to veto it because it includes a timeline for withdrawal. Wow. Poor kids over there are going to have to eat bugs, shoot rubber bands at insurgents and use cafeteria trays for body armor. And think of all the camels we’re going to have to steal for transportation once they run out of gas for the Humvees. Great. As if it wasn’t bad enough for them already.

Of course, I’m kidding. The funding doesn’t run out until like July or something. And even if it did - and this is key - the troops wouldn’t stay there fighting with potato guns. They would just come home. Cutting off funding is not abandoning 150,000 kids to wander the desert until they die of thirst. But once again, we’re off-topic. My point on this is - do you remember when Kerry lost an election because he voted against funding the war? Why is it that Bush gets a pass on this? Kerry’s vote was completely symbolic because the vote wasn’t close in the first place. So why can Bush veto the funding with one slash of his pen and it’s perfectly dandy?

Furthermore, ignoring the timeline aspect of this bill, Bush claims that he will not sign a war funding bill with unrelated expenditures (pork) in it. I mean, this is war we’re talking about here! What he meant was he won’t sign a bill with Democratic pork in it. As you can see from this article in the Washington Post every war funding bill has been chock full of unrelated spending, sometimes in the billions of dollars. So you know, same old pants on fire routine.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


What makes one a patriot? Is it respecting the “office” of the President? Is it honoring the troops? Is it saluting the flag? Putting a yellow ribbon on your car? Buying a Toby Keith album? Following men in turbans around airports?

I would suggest that patriotism comes from respecting the ideals upon which this country was founded. Honoring or even revering the document our Founding Fathers threw together in an unprecedented moment of wisdom - the Constitution of the United States. And contained in the Constitution is a tacit respect for the rule of law. It is here where I put forward my main thesis - Bush is not a patriot. Not only do Bush and his cronies have no respect for the rule of law, they hold the very ideals of this country in great contempt. You do not become a patriotic American by worshipping Jesus and making lots of money. It is born from a profound respect for what made this country great - freedom of expression and from tyranny, belief in the rule of law, adherence to the ideals of a republican democracy, inherent in which is a system of checks and balances and three equal branches of government. You either believe in those things, or you are, dare I say it, unAmerican. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that unAmerican is necessarily a bad thing. I’m just saying that the things I named are the fundamental principles upon which this country is founded and if you don’t believe in them, you don’t love this country. Love another one, it’s all the same to me.

It really doesn’t need saying at this point because it is now plain for all to see that Bush and his cronies do not respect our Founding Fathers, our Constitution, and last but not least, the people of this great land. But it’s just that this week and the last few weeks, they can’t even pretend to hide their contempt for those things. Today it comes up because Condi Rice says that she’ll be quite happy to answer questions the House of Representatives might have for her in a letter. Kids, for your edification, a letter is one of those things that your grandma sends on your birthday in a paper envelope. You know, with like a stamp on the front and it takes a week to get there? That’s right, Condi thinks that subpoenas are like so totally beneath her:

Rice said she respected the oversight function of the legislative branch, but maintained she had already testified in person and under oath about claims that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa during her confirmation hearing for the job of secretary of state.

"I addressed these questions, almost the same questions, during my confirmation hearing," she said. "This is an issue that has been answered and answered and answered."
I guess I’ll say that to the judge next time I get one of those in the mail. In fact, I’m sitting on a jury duty notice right now. Perhaps I’ll just tell them I’ll send them a letter with my verdict.

The most blatant example, of course, was last week when Alberto Gonzales went before the Senate and lied and lied and lied to them, metaphorically holding his nose from the stench of having to be so close to the loathsome and despicable subhuman creatures who populate the disgusting underbelly of the United States government, also known as the U.S. Senate. The most contemptuous of all of that foul display of thinking and exploring was King George himself who heaped praise on his BFF, saying that he’s more impressed with Gonzales than ever. “How can that be?” you ask. Easy. Bush doesn’t respect book-lernin’, competence, ability to do a job, expertise, wisdom, or even honesty. He made that painfully - and fatally - clear during Hurricane Katrina and countless other tragedies worldwide. No, the only thing that impresses Bush is the ability to cover up his crimes and misdemeanors. Nothing gives Bush a bigger hard-on than the words “I can’t recall” spoken by one of his most trusted insiders.

Bush hates this country. He hates the Founding Fathers. He hates the Constitution. He hates the people you sent to congress to represent you, and most of all, he hates you. He loves his friends, and he loves making his friends money. Period. I’m reminded of a lyric from the brilliant new Nine Inch Nails album, (seriously, go buy it):
I'm sick of hearing ‘bout the haves and have nots
Have some personal accountability.
The biggest problem with the way that we've been doing things is
The more we let you have the less that I'll be keeping for me.
What will come of us now? How much farther can this go?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Pentagon Is Already Planning a Pre-Emptive Strike

Did you hear the news? They may have found another earthlike planet. Sure, its year is 13 days long, and it's 20 light years away, but hell, it's still pretty cool, right?

How hot the planet gets, Dr. Udry said, depends on how much light the planet reflects, its albedo. Using the Earth and Venus as two extreme examples, he estimated that temperatures on the surface of the planet should be in the range of 0 degrees to 40 degrees centigrade.

“It’s just right in the good range,” Dr. Udry said. “Of course, we don’t know anything about its albedo.”
And you want to know that in advance, trust me. You do not want to drive the 120 trillion miles out there only to find that she just wants to cuddle.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hizzoner Deserves Some Honors

As I'm sure you know, these pages have been rather merciless when it comes to attacking Michael Bloomberg, and for good reason. But the editors of DoG are not a closed-minded bunch. So I feel it would be irresponsible if I did not laud Bloomberg for his new proposal for a "greener, greater New York."

The one thing about this guy is that when he has an idea, a vision even, he goes for it full bore, unlike this president of ours who always tries to do things on the cheap, and with as little political damage as possible. In this case, Bloomberg has 127 different proposals to make New York more energy efficient and a cleaner, happier place. The best of the bunch is an $8 commuter tax on people who drive into the City. As much as I normally hate him, I love to see a man who has the balls to propose raising taxes in order to fix a problem as opposed to, again, our president who uses Enron bookkeeping to make it seem more palatable when in fact, he's just shuffling the costs to the next administration and/or generation.

He proposes to charge anyone driving south of 86th Street in Manhattan an $8 fee. Lots of people drive, and no one likes paying fees, so this stands to hurt him politically. But as he put it: "The question is not whether we want to pay but how do we want to pay. With an increased asthma rate? With more greenhouse gases? Wasted time? Lost business? And higher prices? Or, do we charge a modest fee to encourage more people to take mass transit?" Sounds like a man with vision, does it not?

Already there are faux-populist politicians trying to bring him and his plan down. Anthony Weiner, former Democratic candidate for Mayor was referring to this as another tax on the poor and middle class. No. You seem like a decent fellow, but this is not a tax on the poor like the cigarette tax or the lottery, which I'm sure you support. This is a tax on rich fucks who can actually afford $3/gallon for gas and absurd Manhattan parking costs. If you can't afford the $8 to go downtown, then you have the pleasure of taking one of the best mass transit systems in the world, like millions of us do every day. You can even drive your car that you love so much to a subway station in Brooklyn or Queens and leave your car there for the day. Don't worry, we'll watch it while you're gone.

As much as it pains me to say - in this one instance, Bloomberg fucking hit it out of the park. And he's the kind of dickhead mayor who just will not give a shit what people say and ram this proposal into law. And for that, I applaud him.

Now about that smoking ban, Adolph...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dead Men Tell No Tales

Did you know that the victims of the VT massacre were at fault for their own deaths? I didn’t. But thankfully, John Derbyshire of the toilet paper substitute esteemed publication National Review, was on the case to set the record straight:

As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren't very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can't hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren't bad.

Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It's true—none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.
See? This is the kind of bullshit I was dreading reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech yesterday. I thought I might chime in with my thoughts.

As callous and cynical as this sounds, my actual first thought was that the media is going to have another feeding frenzy for us to obsess over and pick apart for a week until the next Anna-Nicole Smith revelation or racist DJ incident happens. Frankly, as much as I wanted to learn about this yesterday, I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the news because the thought of seeing the reporters’ earnest gravitas belied by the delight in their eyes was too soul-crushing for me to bear. I decided to wait for the Times this morning.

Then, of course, I thought about my own time on campus, and how horrible of an experience this must have been for those poor kids, their families and the needless tragedy of it all.

Finally, I started thinking how this was going to play out longer term. I’ve already seen calls from politicians about stricter gun control laws because of this incident. Now, you are not going to find someone who is more in favor of gun control than I am. I think they should be illegal everywhere in all circumstances. An incident like this one perfectly makes that argument - dude gets a gun, starts wasting kids = very bad. But, you know, as with the feeding frenzies, I’ve grown tired of politicians and pundits appropriating tragedy to make their political cases for them. Obviously, if you take a look at my work on Hurricane Katrina, I’m not claiming to be above it. I’m just tired of it. An illegal immigrant kills a person, illegal immigrants are bad. A fat ex-model gets crazy high on drugs, drugs are bad. And so on and so forth. Examples provide excellent illustration when we are trying to make a point as long as we ignore the examples that contradict our desired end. But it’s high time that we as a people start making our cases with words and logic instead of relying on death and destruction to make our points for us.

Yes, we should get rid of guns, but let’s not make this tragedy worse by turning it into Terry Schiavo.

Bought & Souled makes a very important point as well. If we make this about guns instead of this (and all other) disturbed person’s reason for doing this, then we are addressing the symptoms and not the disease. What turns people into killers? Let’s solve that one.

(And also get rid of guns but not because of this; because they have always been dangerous and unnecessary.)

In all seriousness, my thoughts are with the families of the injured and deceased, with the Virginia Tech students, and with all students everywhere. It’s hard out there for a 18-22 year old, you know?

Monday, April 16, 2007


The sound of one hand slapping against the other makes a wonderful welcome for the newest addition to the blogosphere and my good friend Ben Peters as he brings us Bought & Souled, an excellent addition to any living room or den. Now stop that insipid clapping and get your ass over there.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the debt that I owe to Mr. Peters. He may live on that other, quite inferior coast these days, but before he made that tragic mistake, he was the person who formed my interest in politics and honed my critical thinking with long and fascinating discussions over many beers back in the day. I’m certain that there would have been no Delusions of Grandeur had I never met Mr. Benjamin Peters.

So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Punk Ass Bitch or Bitch Ass Punk?

Earlier this week, there was another high profile so-called defection from within the Bush administration. I guess he’d had too much damned Kool-Aid, and it just didn’t taste as sweet anymore.

A top strategist for the Texas Democrats who was disappointed by the Bill Clinton years, Mr. Dowd was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington. He switched parties, joined Mr. Bush’s political brain trust and dedicated the next six years to getting him to the Oval Office and keeping him there. In 2004, he was appointed the president’s chief campaign strategist.

Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership.
Is that the whole story? As Sidney Blumenthal points out in today’s Salon, it is not.
Dowd has much to add to history as an eyewitness. What was Rove's involvement in the independent expenditure negative campaign against Sen. John McCain in the Republican South Carolina primary of 2000? White House chief of staff Andrew Card said in 2002 about the propaganda campaign for the Iraq war, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." What was the marketing done to hone various rationales for the invasion of Iraq? In the 2004 campaign, exactly how was homosexuality targeted? What were the links between the Bush campaign and the Swift-boating of John Kerry? What polling was performed to determine how to discredit Kerry's war record? After the indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, what polls did Dowd take to inform White House positioning? These are only a few of the questions that Dowd can illuminate with his special knowledge. But so far, his conversion lacks a confession.
The crux of Blumenthal’s column is that this is not just a case of disillusionment and redemption by speaking out against your former master. This is Dowd reading the polls, seeing that being associated with Bush is not as good for business as it used to be and coming out against him in the most tepid way possible. Now he expects to move on with his life, gain riches with his new consulting firm and leave his life with Bush behind - there was nothing more to be squeezed out of that unpopular stone.

Best of luck, Matthew. You helped the King of the Fuck Ups and his minions destroy this country. I hope your little therapy session with the Times keeps the night terrors at bay.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Lopper!

This picture of Cheney lurking there in the shadows just cracked me up.

If you like, Wonkette has the video in which they dramatically zoom out from a close-up of Vader in the trees and pan directly to the robot he has programmed to tell his lies for him. The symbolism within the camera motion is so hackneyed and on-the-nose, I hear Joel Schumacher is developing a script around it.