Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eat the Fruit of Ignorance

A new museum dedicated to the fable of Creationism opened recently. I know I shouldn’t let it bother me when people are so stupid as to willfully disregard science in favor of a storybook, but I just can't help it. My favorite, and the most telling, line is this:

"I don't care how long it took to make the Grand Canyon," he tells me. "It's not how old it is that matters to me. What matters is being right with God. Darwin's theory has no God. It can't be right. I don't know if this story is truer than Darwin's theory, but I do know it's better."
Makes sense to me. If you like a particular tale better than you like the facts, then ignore the icky, confusing, brain-requiring truth.

In that light, I present to you an incomplete list of must-be-truisms that feel better than reality.
  • They hate us for our freedom.
  • The insurgents are in their last throes.
  • Ice cream causes weight loss.
  • Torture works.
  • The U.S. doesn’t torture people.
  • Saudi Arabia is our ally.
  • Size doesn’t matter.
  • Jesus Christ is protecting me.
  • George W. Bush cares about me more than he cares about his corporate masters.
  • If I’m not doing anything illegal, I don’t need my civil liberties.
  • God hates fags.
  • No one can tell it’s a toupee.
  • Owning a gun protects my family.
  • They would never interfere with voting procedures.
  • I’m sure it’s not cancer.
  • 9/11 had nothing to do with our foreign policy.
  • Anyone with “Reverend” as their title must be an honest, moral human being.
  • She’s just stuck up.
  • We have an all-volunteer army.
  • We're safer now than before 9/11.
  • Other people are causing global warming, not me.
  • There’s probably no such thing as global warming anyway.
  • Bush will never invade Iran after the shitstorm he created in Iraq.
  • The cab driver knows what he’s doing.
And let us not forget the granddaddy of all lies we tell ourselves; the Big Lie that precipitated the downfall of the American Empire - Bush won fair and square in 2000.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Takes One to Know One

Bush still believes in his BFF Alberto despite (because of?) his class-A fuckup status. He goes on to say:

"And I, frankly, view what's taking place in Washington today as pure political theater. And it is this kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates.

"I stand by Al Gonzales, and I would hope that people would be more sober in how they address these important issues. And they ought to get the job done of passing legislation, as opposed to figuring how to be actors on the political theater stage."
Because if anyone can spot and identify political theater, this is the guy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Shut Up and Sign the Fuckin’ Form

This Comey thing is a real jawdropper, innit. It never ceases to amaze me that every time I get numb to the iron-fisted tyrannical rule of the Bush regime, another story will leak out putting their past transgressions to shame; doing things that would make any brutal despot green with envy.

This time, in case you’re unaware, it’s a tale told by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey. Ashcroft was the AG, but he was in the hospital recovering from serious surgery. Comey was placed temporarily in charge of the Justice Department. Bush was running his secret domestic wiretapping program, and Comey told the White House that the program was illegal and Justice would not sign off on it. So Bush’s Chief of Staff Andy Card and then head White House council, Alberto Gonzales jumped in the Batmobile and raced over to the hospital to try to trick the drugged-up and recuperating-in-the-fucking-intensive-care-unit John Ashcroft into overriding Comey’s decision. Someone tipped Comey off and he hustled over to the hospital basically to protect Ashcroft from being browbeaten into submission by Bush’s henchmen.

The super-freaky part of the story, to me, is that Ashcroft, even through his haze of ether basically told Card and Gonzales to suck his crank and get the hell out of there - Comey is in charge. I mean, you know you got some pretty fucked up shit when Ashcroft is the hero of the story.

Of course, no one is paying much attention to this, in the same way the “liberal” media hasn’t paid much attention to any of the steps towards fascism Bush has taken over the years. But when discussing why we should be paying attention, I like Dahlia Lithwick’s take in Slate yesterday - it’s not so much about the image of Bush dispatching his goons to go and hover over a dying man’s bed as much as it is about Bush’s complete and utter contempt for the constitution and the rule of law.

The psychodrama in Ashcroft's hospital room boils down to a rift between the people at Justice (Ashcroft, Comey, and Goldsmith) who believed even the president can cross a line into lawless behavior and those who simply don't. Glenn Greenwald contends that "the President consciously and deliberately violated the law and committed multiple felonies by eavesdropping on Americans." The Wall Street Journal insists that no law was broken because the surveillance program put the president above the law. Greenwald believes in an immutable legal architecture that binds even the president. The White House contends the president answers to nobody. There is no midpoint between these two arguments. The president is either above the law or he isn't.

As it turns out, almost everyone who espoused the latter view has fled DoJ. The most underreported moment at Comey's hearing this week was not, as the Journal claims, the Comey-Specter colloquy, but Sen. Chuck Schumer's Freudian effort to swear Comey back into office when he was supposed to be administering an oath. As Ben Wittes puts it today, "the bad guys won."

But that's not quite right. The bad guys were winning for a while because they picked the teams, set the rules, sidelined the referees, and turned off all the lights in the stadium. Congress has some work to do. It needs to drill down on what this mystery eavesdropping program was (and which worse mystery eavesdropping program it replaced) and to get to the bottom of the Yoo memos and what else they've authorized. Let's call the Comey testimony the halftime show. With the refs in and the lights finally on, this might just prove to be an interesting game after all.
I wrote about this last month asking how much longer can this go on. That was well before I knew Bush had a team of pipe-hittin’ thugs at the ready to run off and twist arms as necessary. His own imperial guard from the inner sanctum. Furthermore, consider the fact that after John Ashcroft didn’t give Bush the leeway he needed to wipe his ass with our constitution, Bush fucking fired that no-dancin’ religious Bush-freak (Ashcroft) to replace him with someone more obsequious and cocksucking (Gonzales).

Think about that! He had to fire Ashcroft because Ashcroft wasn’t into Bush enough. Is there any wonder why Bush is lovin’ on Gonzales more than ever after Al’s massive brain fart on Capitol Hill? Loyalty literally above all else. Maybe that works in your banana republics and your military juntas, but it’s no way to run a successful democracy, or frankly any nation as large and as complicated as ours. And it shows, don’t it…

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

God Punishes the Wicked

Call me a monster if you like, but I’m full-on prepared to say good riddance to Jerry Falwell. Salon reminds us why:

In reference to 9/11: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."

"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals."

“If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being”

“Textbooks are Soviet propaganda”

“The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews”

“[homosexuals are] brute beasts...part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”
Well, we’re celebrating down here today. Too bad we didn’t get to see his face when he discovered either a) there is neither a god nor an afterlife, or b) God exists, and He’s pissed at how unchristian “Reverend” Falwell has been his whole life.

See you in hell, Jerry!

(Find your own favorite Falwell quote here.)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Don’t Forget to Pack a Lunch

Interesting item of note in Wonkette yesterday.

Hey guys, a bunch of breast-feeding women will be breast-feeding on the Cannon Terrace today. It’s a stunt for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s “Breastfeeding Promotion Act,” which would reward employers who provide a breast-feeding area with a suck on the federal teat.
Aside from the fact that I just do not get who gets all bent out of shape by seeing a baby eating and that my completely uneducated opinion is that this act is probably a good thing, I only mention this because Representative Maloney happens to represent my district (big ups to my peeps in Astoria, muthafuckas!!), and because I wanted to brag that I had the pleasure of meeting her at a small luncheon a few weeks ago. She liked the salmon.

And you know for a congresswoman, she’s got a decent rack.

God Bless This Post

Deadspin hits it out of the park when they say the Yankees suck!

OK, OK… That’s not what it says. It says that God Bless America is a totally overly sentimental, terribly-written song and it is fucking annoying as hell that they still play it during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.

That said, we kind of can't stand the song "God Bless America." Putting aside the church-vs.-state discussions, [Ed. - personally, I’d prefer not to put that aside] it's just a poorly written and constructed song, sugarly, stupidly sentimental, not Irving Berlin's happiest moment as a songwriter. (He even admitted this late in his life.) All told, "America The Beautiful" is a decidedly superior song. And we really can't stand how Yankee Stadium still plays the song every seventh inning stretch; the pomp reeks of "We Are More Patriotic Than You Are" self-congratulation.

Oh, and also, you're not allowed to leave your seat while the song's on.
This in addition to the Yankees epitomizing exactly what’s wrong with baseball and the fact that they let you smoke at Shea but don’t at Yankee Stadium explains why I prefer the Mets and will never attend another game in the Bronx, even when my beloved Tigers come to town.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals

It’s the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Anaheim Ducks. Let’s explore the matchup, shall we?


  • Detroit: Original Six team, founded in 1926, originally named the Detroit Cougars. They have won 10 Stanley Cups, second in the NHL only to the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Anaheim: Founded in 1993 as a marketing arm of the Walt Disney Corporation. Originally going to be named The Little Mermaids 2 of Anaheim until that project fell through forcing Michael Eisner to settle on The Mighty Ducks. They have won zero Stanley Cups in their 14 years of existence.
Notable Players and Coaches
  • Detroit: Gordie Howe, Sid Abel, Terry Sawchuk, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Mickey Redmond, Nicklas Lidstrom, Dominik Hasek, Steve Yzerman - the longest serving captain of any team in NHL history. Scottie Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history, won nine Stanley Cups in his famed career as a head coach. He retired after leading Detroit to its three most recent Stanley Cups, but still serves in an advisory capacity to the team.
  • Anaheim: Kenan Thompson, Joshua Jackson. Emilio Estevez, head coach.
Connections Between the Teams
  • Sergei Federov, an all-star center on the Red Wings, decided that he’d had too much winning after claiming his third Stanley Cup, moved to Anaheim and has since become a shell of his former self, never scoring more than 65 points in a season. He now plays defense on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Team/City Relationship
  • Detroit: Nicknamed Hockeytown because of the long history of the Red Wings, the love and knowledge of, and devotion to the game by its residents and fans. Joe Louis Arena has sold out every game since 1996, and when on the road, Red Wings fans often outnumber the home team fans, selling out arenas wherever they go.
  • Anaheim: A suburb among a maze of suburbs, there being no real city to be found, the Ducks are the sixth most popular team in Los Angeles behind the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, and Kings. There will no doubt be johnny-come-lately celebrity fans in attendance at the Ducks games, but only because the Kobe Bryants Lakers were eliminated from the postseason in embarrassing fashion.
City Landmarks
  • Detroit: Archetypal art deco structures such as the Fisher Building, the Penobscot Building, and the Fox Theater meet the future with the Renaissance Center and Comerica Tower. The Joe Louis Memorial. The Spirit of Detroit. Greektown.
  • Anaheim: Disneyland.
  • Detroit: A tradition in Hockeytown is to hurl an octopus onto the ice after a goal or victory. This tradition dates back to the Original Six days when it required only eight victories, represented by the eight legs of the octopus, to win the Stanley Cup. While it is technically against the rules to bring any dead animals into Joe Louis Arena, let alone tossing objects onto the playing surface, arena officials tend to look the other way.
  • Anaheim: An Emilio Estevez movie. Didn’t we already go over this?
I am not necessarily predicting a Red Wings victory in this series. I am only questioning how any self-respecting hockey fan could be the least bit interested in these Mighty Ducks, and pointing out the absurdity of the legendary Red Wings having to play these clowns.

Let’s Go Wings!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Politics in the Information Age

Hey, look at me! My latest column is the lead over at The Y. Read it. I like this one.

Politics in the Information Age or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Never Give Peace A Chance

With an expected grandiose flourish (not that grandiose in the grand scheme, mind you), Bush vetoed the "emergency" supplemental war funding bill because it places a date that we're going to get out of that hellhole. Didn't see that coming...

But you know, it got me to thinking. It has become a standard construct to categorize people into one of two categories. For example, you can either be a Beatles person or an Elvis person. A person who listens or a person who waits to talk. PC or Mac. And all of us fit into one or the other. Well, something that's been weighing on me lately is the idea that when confronted with a physical attack, there are two types of people - one who wants to try to talk his way out of it and the person who hopes he possesses a bigger weapon than the attacker.

Frankly, each of these approaches can have its advantage. If a mugger comes at you with a knife, pulling out a gun is probably going to keep your wallet on you better than asking him to reconsider his actions. But maybe not. What if he's got a gun too and has a quicker draw? Or in other situations. What if you catch someone hitting on your girlfriend in a bar? Does it make more sense to whip out your gat or to drop some well-chosen words? What about a loud asshole in a movie theater? The problem with becoming accustomed to going for the kill each time brings to mind that other cliché - when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

People are people, so differences in opinion on how to approach problems would be fine. Except for the fact that much of our country (and the world) is populated by people with less access to education and as such become defensive around people who are smarter than they are. They liked to pick on the "nerd" in grade school, and that mindset follows them throughout their entire adult lives. This is how we ended up with a halfwit simpleton for president - the people would rather have a beer with Bush than with the insightful scholar who makes them feel like a dum-dum.

This method of securing the White House (Vote for me, I'm as much of an incurious ignoramus as you!) leads to further problems when Bush tries to maintain his political popularity by using tactics that involve stoking the anti-intellectual fire that burns inside his supporters. Thus he takes scientifically untenable positions (there is no global warming, creationism) and beats the drum against the scientists saying, in so many words, "Who you gonna believe, a buncha eggheads, or your pal down the street who likes to clear brush and shoot guns like y'all?"

Which leads us back to our initial hypothesis. There are two types of people - people who want to talk their way out of problems, and those who want to fight. Bush is clearly a fighter. And hell, after 9/11, the Taliban needed to be fought. Everybody concedes by now that Iraq didn't warrant fighting, but that ship has sailed. Now the question is how to deal with it, and still Bush is holding that hammer looking for more things to hit with it, but there is nothing left to nail. Meanwhile, the only way he can attempt to maintain that tiny sliver of credibility among his most ardent supporters is to degrade the "talkers" by calling us "appeasers," "Chamberlains," "surrender-monkeys," etc. Wimps, sissies, losers, nerds!

And therein lies the basis for his little speech yesterday. If you support diplomacy, you're a nerd and a loser. If you'd rather talk than bomb, you're a pussy. If you want to pull out of Iraq instead of fighting to the death, you're a coward. The fact is - we're going to pull out. The "war" is already lost. The question is simply a matter of when we're going to decide to stop letting our brave young men and women be slaughtered by the dozens each week and start letting our words and brains, instead of our fists, do the talking.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Boy! It hardly seems like four years have passed since we won the war in Iraq. Wow. I mean, time sure flies when democracy is busy spreading across the Middle East.

On the other hand, when I think how long it’s been since I’ve seen the president’s junk,

I realize it has been a long time...