Thursday, August 31, 2006

Update: Sen. Stevens Is the Sneaky Bastard

By Cassandra D

Turns out that Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is the one who put the hold on the federal spending disclosure bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Barak Obama.

And it turns out that Coburn had already outed him a few weeks ago, so it wasn't a big secret after all. But I didn't know it and I was right about that "R," wasn't I?

Furthermore, Sen. Stevens' office apparently has done its best to keep a lid on the Senator's nefarious deed, as well as on the legislation in question.

... a spokesperson for Coburn's office disputed the idea that Stevens had been open about the hold.

"This hold was a secret," Coburn spokesman John Hart said. "His office has ignored media and bloggers' calls about this issue for weeks. We had to ask Stevens if he was the hold. His staff has still not met with us."

"Senator Stevens sits on the committee where this bill was considered and never raised any objections because he skipped the hearings," Hart said. "His specific concerns were addressed at the hearings he skipped, and his office has yet to meet with us to discuss his concerns despite repeated requests."

Sex Tape Derby, Round 67

Today's clever match-up in Sex Tape Derby involves old geezer movie stars and their much younger and anorexic girlfriends. And so, let's get to the tiresome setup, shall we? You absolutely, positively must watch a homemade sex tape. Which of the following celebrities would you prefer to see get their mojo working? Post your selections in the comments section below.

Calista Flockhart or ...

Lara Flynn Boyle?

Back-in-the-day Harrison Ford or ...

Back-in-the-day Jack Nicholson?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Anchor's Away

By Larry Mondello

It's funny, it's embarrassing, and believe it or not, it doesn't involve GWB! During Katrina anniversary coverage, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips took a bathroom break and forgot to turn off her wireless mic. Live from the pot, we got to hear her insightful reflections not on the disaster, not on the President, but on her family dynamics.

A bitchy shot at the sister-in-law. NICE!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wishful Thinkin'

By Larry Mondello

Activist group The Yes Men dupe government officials, the media and the public in a New Orleans stunt, posing as HUD officials.

Hey, are you thinking what I'm thinking? I wonder...maybe for six years they've been fooling us...wouldn't it be funny if?...

I guess not.

Dirty Little Pictures

Let the more erudite blogs reflect on the one-year anniversary of the Katrina tragedy. Today, I have decidedly less important matters to discuss.

Here's a shout-out to precociousness. A friend and colleague was mortified this weekend to catch her 8-year-old son doing a Google search for naked pictures of Jessica Simpson. Evidently, the boy -- decorum precludes our using his name, so let's just call him "Porn Hunter" -- has been something of a tit man in the first place, at least according to his mother, but the dirty-picture search represents a new level in his Huckleberry Finn-like odyssey through sexualized self-awareness.

Now, aside from my disappointment at his conventional taste in cheesecake -- note to Porn Hunter: Google Mandy Moore next time -- I don't see what the big fuss is about.

I think I was roughly 8 or 9 when I saw my first porn magazine. My brother-in-law at the time -- for the purposes of this anecdote, we'll just call him by his inexplicable nickname, Dolphin -- had an impressive collection of Playboys and Penthouses, and, if memory serves, he freely allowed me to peruse the stacks of forbidden material. Dolphin was a different breed of cat, certainly a different breed of role model. The guy avoided work, was an amateur pornographer, sold great quantities of dope and fed an insatiable gambling addiction that eventually led to serious problems. My oldest sister ended up divorcing him for reasons that probably had something to do with his aforementioned proclivities.

Anyhoo, back to my tangential memory. When I was 8, I was very much into drawing anything and everything; I carried a trusty sketch pad with me everywhere I went. Dolphin, who apparently shared my artistic curiosity, taught me how to draw nekkid women, a skill for which I will be eternally grateful.

I remember distinctly that Dolphin would open to the centerfold in question and patiently explain to me the intricacies of capturing the female form.

My favorite sketching subject was Miss November 1974, Bebe Buell (left), the mother of one Liv Tyler) .

Who needed to draw crummy rainbows and unicorns and banal "I Love Mom" slogans to be plastered on refrigerators? I was creating art.

"Always start with the boobs," Dolphin instructed. "Always, always start with the boobs."

It was a lesson with applications that extended well beyond the parameters of sketch pads.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Secret Senator

By Cassandra D

Did you know that U.S. senators can put a "secret hold" on legislation to block it from coming to the Senate floor?

Some anonymous (and seemingly quite nefarious) Senator has done just that, in blocking legislation proposed by Oklahoma's own half-crazy, half-great Sen. Tom Coburn and by Illinois Sen. Barak Obama, that would shed light on the federal government's $2.5 trillion annual contracting business.

There is a move afoot to find the culprit. I'm betting the senator in question has an "R" behind his or her name. Just guessing.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Quote of the Day

“We are not going to boost every part of the morale.”

-- Exotic dancer Tanea Brooks, explaining to The New York Times why her dance troupe, the Purrfect Angelz, opted for less risque shows for U.S. troops in Iraq

Friday, August 25, 2006

Welcome to Springfield

By Conrad Spencer

Ever wonder whether you're more an Apu or a Mr. Smithers? Ever cringed at the similarities between you and Comic Book Guy? At long last, we have the definitive 5-question test that will, once and for all, identify which Simpsons character you are.

I am Barney:

"You could have been an intellectual leader...Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer. You will be remembered for: your beautiful singing voice and your burps. Your life philosophy: 'There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem.'"

If you don't like your Simpsons character, you can always see which alcoholic drink you are (beer) or how Machiavellian you are (somewhat).

Eventually, everyone will find the personality test that will tell them tell them what they want to hear.

Abortion Mania!

What you and I read in the newspaper: 'Morning after' pill gets final approval

What social conservatives read in between the lines ...

Friday Random 10

To paraphrase Greta Garbo ... iPod to be alone.

1. Lester Young, "Our Love Is Here to Stay"
2. Kanye West with Consequence and Cam'ron, "Gone"
3. Duran Duran, "Hungry Like the Wolf"
4. Junior Walker & the All-Stars, "Shotgun"
5. Ray Charles, "What'd I Say"
6. X, "Beyond and Back"
7. The Replacements, "Dope Smokin' Moron"
8. R.E.M., "Nightswimming"
9. E, "Nowheresville"
10. Ivy, "Let's Stay Inside"

Pluto, We Hardly Knew Ye

If so science is so flippin' infallible, why is Pluto no longer a planet?

After more than 70 years of suffering faulty textbooks, the International Astronomical Union has officially kicked Pluto out of the big leagues. AP reports:

"Although astronomers applauded after the vote, Jocelyn Bell Burnell -- a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings -- urged those who might be 'quite disappointed' to look on the bright side.

"'It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called "planet" under which the dwarf planets exist,' she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella."

These are scientists. These are scientists trying to be funny.

Not pretty, is it?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sex Tape Derby, Round 66

As any dedicated reader of this blog knows (assuming there are dedicated readers, but anyhoo), Thursday is Sex Tape Derby, a day to let your libidinous fantasies frolic outside in the backyard for a while -- provided your id avoids the sprinkler and doesn't track mud into the house. Here's the deal: You must watch celebrities get off. Given that dystopian future, whom would you rather be forced to sit through doing the boom-chickie-boom? Post your selections in the comments section below.

Nelly Furtado or ...

Sophia Bush?

"House, M.D."'s Hugh Laurie or ...

"Prison Break"'s Wentworth Miller?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oklahoma Voting Machines

By Cassandra D

Yesterday was runoff election day in Oklahoma. As I cast my vote, I thought again about what great ballots we have here. As is the case with nearly every Oklahoman, I have a large share of Oklahoma's trademark inferiority complex and self-loathing (fed by stories like this one), but I really do believe our ballots are the best. I have also lived and voted in California and Ohio, and Oklahoma's system is infinitely better.

You use a black marker to complete the arrow by your choice, then put the ballot into the machine. Your vote is scanned and tallied, and the ballot is stored. In short, we have a computerized voting system with an idiot-proof paper ballot for verification and recounts.

Our country could do a whole lot worse than make this the national standard.

So, since we have (in my clearly very scientific opinion) the best in the country, are we going to have others follow our lead? Apparently not.

We are, it seems, changing to touch screen voting.

I tried to find confirmation of this, but couldn't. I hope it isn't true. Otherwise we would be being faithful to the insecure Oklahoma way, dumping our system in the belief that if it's ours, it must be bad and must be exchanged for the crappy ways of, say, Florida.

Come on Oklahoma! We know we've got footballs, and now even basketballs. Do we have any other balls?

Perspective on the Immigration Debate, or: How to Use Political Issues as an Excuse to Post Gratuitous Pictures of Salma Hayek

By Conrad Spencer

Of the arguments advanced by the anti-immigration crowd, the least tenable has always been the cultural argument -- that immigrants refusing to assimilate are somehow a threat to the American way of life. The fear mongers base their arguments on the premise that a darker-complected or bilingual U.S. is sure to be inferior to what we've got now.

Last night my family and I had dinner in a local Mexican restaurant. I was enjoying a plate of chili verde and the mild euphoria that comes with 99-cent margaritas. I had to wonder at the fear some have of the culture that brought us chili verde, margaritas and Salma Hayek.

Cutting to the Chase: Covering today's issues from every angle.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Disaster by Any Other Name ...

Dumbya says that pulling out of Iraq now would be "a disaster."

Presumably, he means a disaster other than the disaster of staying in Iraq.

The Washington Post's Michael A. Fletcher and Glenn Kessler report that the president, in a rare nod to a big fancy word, acknowledged yesterday that the Iraq War is "straining the psyche" of Americans:

"Resolute and at times exasperated during a 56-minute news conference, Bush cast the war in Iraq as part of a broader struggle against Islamic extremism that holds serious implications for the security of the United States. Bush's defense of his Iraq policy touched on familiar themes, but his passionate and lengthy plea to keep fighting was striking in light of the plummeting support for the war among the public and -- more worrisome for the White House -- among Republicans.

"Many Democrats, and some Republicans, have called for a fixed timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Also, an increasing number of conservative commentators who once agitated for the invasion are now critical of Bush's handling of the war ...


"Turning back to Iraq, Bush was adamant in arguing that the conflict is crucial to the broader battle against terrorism. 'If you think it's bad now, imagine what Iraq would look like if the United States leaves before this government can defend itself and sustain itself,' he said."

First, let's get the obvious sophomoric commentary out of the way. Despite my belief that Iraq has been a costly and grievous mistake, I am not sure that I support pulling out. Pulling out is hardly foolproof. And I've got the bundle of joy to prove it.

But neither is there necessarily shame in withdrawal, or "cut and run," as the Rovian talking points put it. I remember many years ago receiving this sage advice about turning my back on a relationship that wasn't working out (it helped that the woman was a cheating ho, but that's immaterial at the moment):

"It's important to know when to leave an impossible relationship."

Defense hawks love to talk about how the specter of Vietnam has dampened Americans' zeal for a lengthy war, and I suppose there is some truth in that observation. Whether a presumptive opposition to war is necessarily a bad thing is something I will leave for greater minds to ponder. But I would add that the legacy of Vietnam cuts both ways; the miserable experience of that war also fuels the view of many that "never again." In this case, "never again" means "never again will we cut and run; never again will we do a job half-assed; never again will we fight a war without resolving to win it."

That can be counterproductive and dangerous. Make no mistake; cut-and-run is an option. It might not be the ideal option, but it is an exit strategy, certainly as much a strategy as fighting until there's one man left standing.

Why am I reminded of the black knight scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

Cut-and-run might not be a great option, but it just might be the best one we've got.

Hooray for the War on Terror

By Cassandra D

When things start to go bad for President Bush, they really go bad. Now he and the War on Terror are being blamed (rightfully so?) for the wave of gun violence that is spreading across our country.

"Explanations vary -- from softer gun laws to budget cuts, fewer police on the beat, more people in poverty and simple complacency. But many blame a national preoccupation with potential threats from abroad.

"'Since September 11, much of the resources that were distributed to crime-fighting efforts in Boston and other major cities were redistributed to fight terrorism,' said Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University.

"'The feds had supported after-school programs. They had supported placing more police officers in crime hot spots in major cities. These federal efforts were reduced,'" he said.


"'The Bush administration has scaled back funding for federal cops program,' said Jens Ludwig, a criminal justice expert at Georgetown University. 'From 1993 to 2000 we saw an impressive run-up in the number of law enforcement people patrolling against crime. That has really slowed down.'


"From the expiration of a federal ban on assault rifles to tougher restrictions on databases that identify gun owners, gun laws have weakened in the past five years, said Daniel Vice, an attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Middle Names

By Cassandra D

Have you ever noticed that the only group of people whose middle names we consistently hear are murderers? Suspected, accused, or convicted murderers?

Latest example: John Mark Karr.

And then there's John Wayne Gacy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sara Jane Moore, Henry Lee Lucas, and, of course ...Jack The Ripper. Do you suppose that is what gives murderers their country charm? That Billy Ray Cyrus feeling?

I'm bad with names. Got any more?

My God.

By Cassandra D

It is rare these days for me to see a story that makes my jaw drop in disbelief. There has been bad news upon bad news upon more bad news. But just when I think I've become numb, here comes another kick in the teeth.

From the AP, via Crooks and Liars:

"More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams."

What the hell is going on in our country?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Crabby Friday: Bush, Again

By Cassandra D

Bush says our judges should look to the world we live in, rather than the rule of law, when they make their decisions.

"President Bush said those who agree with a federal judge that his warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional 'simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live.'

'This country of ours is at war,' the president said Friday. 'And we must give those whose responsibility it is to protect the United States the tools necessary to protect this country in a time of war.'"

Hmm... Does he remember the oath he took?

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

What John says, dammit.

Friday Random 10

Play that funky iPod, Chasey.

1. Stereolab. "The Noise of Carpet"
2. Eels, "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues (Untitled)"
3. Jonathan Richman, "Abu Jamal"
4. Pretty Girls Make Graves, "Interlude"
5. The Dead Milkmen, "Gorilla Girl"
6. The Hollies, "On a Carousel"
7. Hot Hot Heat, "Oh Goddamnit"
8. Me First & the Gimme Gimmies, "Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard"
9. Elvis Costello, "13 Steps Lead Down"
10. OK Go, "Invincible"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

America's Sweetheart

"I'm ugly. My jaw hurts. Unnnh. Urrp!"

Bush: Protect Only ME

By Cassandra D

Here's a rather annoying bit of news, via AMERICAblog (from The Boston Globe):

Apparently the White House already uses the liquid explosives detector that is not yet in place at our airports.

"Since the early 1990s, AS&E has made SmartCheck, a $50,000 low-intensity X-ray scanner that can spot a bottle of organic compounds in a passenger's pocket.

But is the liquid an explosive, or a batch of baby formula? Ahura says its $30,000 handheld laser scanner, the First Defender, can answer the question. The device can ``see" through glass or plastic bottles and identify any of 2,500 different chemical compounds in about 15 seconds. The FBI and New York City police already use the Ahura system, which went on sale about a year ago.

Joe Reiss, AS&E's vice president of marketing, said his company's SmartCheck systems are used at the White House and the US Supreme Court. But they're not widely used in airport security. TSA agreed last year to conduct tests of the system. But Reiss said those tests had not yet begun."

The good news: At least you can take your lip gloss when you go on the White House tour.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 65

Happy Thursday, everybody, and welcome to another edition of Sex Tape Derby. You know the rules: When you absolutely, positively have to get your freak on, via the magic of a homemade sex videotape or DVD, who would get top billing? Post your selections in the comments section below.

Heather Locklear or ...

Denise Richards?

Richie Sambora or ...

Charlie Sheen?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

A succinct case against rushing to judgment:

"Based on what happened to us, I don't think it's proper that we speculate or discuss the case. It's important that justice be allowed to run its course and do its job."
-- John Ramsey, to KUSA-TV in Denver

Hakuna Macaca

Hey, George Allen!

Welcome to America ...


Justice at Last?

After all this time -- an arrest is made in the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

The Rocky Mountain News reports that the suspect, being held in Thailand, is a 41-year-old onetime second-grade teacher from Conyers, Georgia:

"[A] source said that authorities had been focusing on him for some time and that Patsy Ramsey had been made aware prior to her death on June 24 that his arrest was being pursued.

"Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy today confirmed the arrest,without naming the suspect. She said it followed several months of a focused and complex investigation. 'John and Patsy Ramsey both were consulted during the course of the investigation,' Lacy said in a brief press release this afternoon."

Regardless of what ultimately happens in this case, it is heartbreaking that the girl's mother, Patsy Ramsey, died with millions of people still convinced that she was somehow involved in the beating and stangulation death of her own child.

The media-saturated lynching of John and Patsy Ramsey will forever be a testament to the most ugly impulses of a news media that values speed and sensation above credibility, a news media moving far too quickly to worry about the repercussions of what they do.

The list of those wronged by the media is extensive -- Richard Jewell, Gary Condit and Raymond Donovan are but a few who leap to mind -- but there is a special place in Yellow Journalism Hell for those who excoriated the Ramseys without shame or reservation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Joined at the Hip

I have a confession to make. There are two manifestations of physical abnormality that turn me into a squeamish little baby. I'm not proud of such weak-kneed reactions, but hey, it takes a big man to admit he's a pussy. Or at least that's what I tell myself. Often.

Anyway, the first issue I have is with hermaphrodites, a longtime fear that probably dates back to when I was 14 and rudely seduced by a pictorial I had come across in a heavily guarded issue of Hustler, a pictorial that then pulled the rug out from under me on the following page. Suffice it to say, I didn't appreciate The Crying Game to the same degree as some movie critics.

But I digress. Let me address my hermaphrodite phobia some other time. For now, I have a whole other point to make (there's a very clumsy and childish double entendre in the aforementioned line, if you happen to care).

The other phobia has been an inability to deal with news accounts of conjoined twins. The topic would flip me out. I couldn't handle news stories of this or that latest pair of conjoined twins who happened to be from Guatemala or Peru or the Appalachians, or wherever. Hell, I even had problems handling make-believe conjoined twins, like in the movies Sisters or Stuck on You.

But something appears to have changed for me, a development I realized when I began to take interest in the plight of the conjoined twins in Utah, Kendra and Maliyah Herrin. The 4-year-old girls were joined at the hip, sharing one pair of legs and a single functioning kidney. They were separated through multiple surgeries last week at a Salt Lake City hospital.

The post-surgery recovery appears to be going remarkably well, according to a report in Salt Lake City's Deseret Morning News:

"They've given their parents high-fives, have laughed at their big sister's jokes and are 'doing great.' That's the update on Maliyah and Kendra Herrin, formerly conjoined twins who were separated during a 26-hour surgery a week ago.

"The 4-year-old twins, who share a room at Primary Children's Medical Center, have reached out in an attempt to touch each other, Erin Herrin said at a press conference Monday, but their beds can't be moved quite close enough. So the Herrins have had to be inventive, holding mirrors in front of the twins so they can see each other, Erin explained.

"Maliyah and Kendra are still 'pretty heavily drugged,' their father, Jake, said. But when they're awake they've blown bubbles, listened to stories — and wished out loud that they could eat a real breakfast. The girls have been upgraded from critical to serious condition.


"Potential problems include pneumonia and the twins' skin breaking down (their skin had to be stretched so it could be used to cover wounds from the surgery). And then, Erin said, 'we're going to be coming to the emotional things. But we'll get through those, too.'"

I first ran across a photo of the Herrin girls in the local newspaper a few weekends ago; to my shock, I did not vomit and run screaming to my mommy. I took note of the girls' smiling faces and read on. As it turns out, they're -- get this -- real flesh-and-blood children.

The Deseret Morning News profiled the pair prior to the separation:

"Kendra loves to play games on the computer, while Maliyah would rather play with her Barbies. But the Herrin twins have had to form a cooperative team not often found in 4-year-olds.

"When Kendra wants to dance, Maliyah pitches in to help her. When Maliyah wants to go outside, Kendra's usually happy to go along. They have to work together to get up and down the stairs or play video games or put on their shoes."

To my dismay, I found myself interested -- and actually moved by the girls' plight.

A lot changed for me when the wife and I had a baby (who turned 8 months old last week, by the way). While we are fortunate that our Apple Rosebud is healthy (aside from a screwed-up father, that is), parenthood definitely spurred a paradigm shift about having a child with a physical defect.

If an ultrasound ever suggested that my wife were pregnant with conjoined twins, I'm no longer sure what I would want to do.

Years ago, I would have said without hesitation that I'd want the pregnancy to be aborted. Now, I'm not so sure.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Little Miss Brilliant

So I went into Little Miss Sunshine somewhat predisposed to be disappointed.

And, for a while, I was. The dysfunctional American family long ago became indie cliche, and the movie -- while often very funny in its first 30 minutes -- is not exactly immune to its own quirky formula.

But then something wonderful happened.

I fell in love with the movie. Seriously fell in love with it.

I think the thunderbolt hit me in the scene that finds Olive (Abigail Breslin), our 7-year-old wannabe beauty pageant winner, resting her head on the shoulder of her angst-ridden brother, Dwayne (Paul Dano). They are in the California desert, and Dwayne has had something of a mental breakdown (a number of characters seem to have quite a few of 'em in the film). But then Olive and Dwayne share a silent moment of affection, and all is forgiven.

It is a subtle moment in a film that doesn't particularly revere subtlety, but for me it encapsulates the overriding truth of the movie. Families are Petri dishes of pettiness, resentment, slights, fears, old grudges and insecurities. And yet it is such stuff that makes families so alive and essential.

There is so much more in this movie -- comedy, poignancy, power, outrageousness, humanity -- but that one scene is when I realized I had fallen madly in love with Little Miss Sunshine.

And it wasn't because the movie has brains or personality. It's because it's so beautiful.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Crabby Friday: Hypocritical Critics

By Cassandra D

Have you heard about the anti-Al Gore editorial in Wednesday's USA Today? Here's the summation paragraph:

"The issue here is not simply Gore's hypocrisy; it's a question of credibility. If he genuinely believes the apocalyptic vision he has put forth and calls for radical changes in the way other people live, why hasn't he made any radical change in his life? Giving up the zinc mine or one of his homes is not asking much, given that he wants the rest of us to radically change our lives."

The author, Peter Schweizer, is a fellow of the conservative Hoover Institution, and author of "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy." That should give you some clue as to where his politics lie.

I will not quibble with the idea that a person who is an advocate for a cause or belief has greater moral authority when he or she has made major life changes to support that cause or belief. What I do take issue with is Mr. Schweizer's not appearing to have asked Mr. Gore what he is, in fact, doing.

His arguments amount to this: "Gotcha! Nyah nyah nyah! You aren't perfect so I don't have to listen to anything you say!"

The problem with Mr. Schweizer's crusade against hypocrisy is that we are all hypocrites. It is part of the territory of being human. There are very rare people who truly live by their beliefs: Jesus (who may or may not have been human, and might therefore be excluded from the list), Gandhi, Mother Teresa. How many people on the "religious right" in our country have given up their worldly goods and dedicated their entire lives to serving others? None that I know of, and that certainly doesn't stop them from advocating a Christian life. Should we discount the contributions of Martin Luther King because of his infidelity? Or of Thomas Jefferson because of his slave ownership? Do people have to be perfect in order for us to take them seriously?

It is their imperfection that should give the rest of us hope and inspiration. We do not have to be perfect to make an impact. Who among us is good enough? God chooses imperfect people to be his instruments and his messengers. There aren't any other options.

Few things in life are all or nothing propositions. We can and should decrease our impact on our planet, and we need not throw up our hands in despair or denial if we can't go completely green. Every little bit helps, and it is a lot better to do something than to do nothing. Isn't that the message we need to preach?

Mr.Schweizer cites examples of what Gore is not doing, and then says, "Maybe our very existence isn't threatened." Do I understand him correctly? If Al Gore isn't an environmental saint then the science he quotes is false?

I am so very tired of these sorts of arguments from conservative circles. They can't debunk climate change based on the science, so they attack it by attacking its messenger.

Straw man arguments and sleight of hand attacks are hallmarks of the debate coming from the political right. It's all based on deception rather than substance, and I am sick and tired of it. I just hope that the American people have learned to smell the stench of that style of argument, whether it comes from the right, the left, or the middle, and will throw out the bastards who peddle it.

Friday Random 10

iPod. Don't dream it. Be it.

1. Billie Holiday, "God Bless the Child"
2. Cake, "Wheels"
3. Dale Hawkins, "Suzie-Q"
4. LCD Soundsystem, "Tribulation"
5. Ween, "Hey There Fancy Pants"
6. The Flaming Lips, "Christmas at the Zoo"
7. King Missile, "Mr. Johnson"
8. Screaming Trees, "Transfiguration"
9. Willie Mabon, "I Don't Know"
10. Sonic Youth, "Tunic (Song for Karen)"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sex Tape Derby, Round 64

Sex Tape Derby beckons. If you care to indulge America's favorite incarnation of "Woul'ja?," here's the easy-to-grasp premise: The fate of the free world hinges on your viewing of a no-holds-barred, yowzah homemade sex tape. Whom would you rather see "gettin' it on," under such circumstnaces? Let us know in the comments section.

Brittany Murphy or ...

JohnTucker Must Die's Britany Snow?

Jessica's daddy, Joe Simpson, or ...

Jessica's ex, Nick Lachey?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Freedom ... on the March!

The latest CNN poll indicates that a whopping 60 percent of Americans now oppose the Iraq War, with a majority supportive of a partial withdrawal of troops by the end of the year.

Reuters reports:

"It was the CNN poll's highest number opposing the war since fighting began in March 2003, a figure that has risen steadily since then, according to the Opinion Research Corp. survey conducted last week on behalf of the cable network."

Hmm. Who would've thought that so many people hate freedom?

The Silver Lining

By Cassandra D

A Daily Kos diarist finds cause for optimism in the workings of the Bush administration, saying that if it works for evil, it will work for good.

All for the Red, White and Oomph

What a trooper! Lindsay Lohan says she wants to visit U.S. troops in Iraq. It's a hunch, but something tells us that U.S. troops would like her to visit them. Talk about the rocket's red glare ....

Lohan tells Elle magazine it's all part of her overall desire to emulate Marilyn Monroe. "It's so amazing seeing that one woman just going somewhere, this beautiful sex kitten, who's basically a pinup, which is what I've always aspired to be," she said.

Aspiring to be a pinup. Yes, kids, idealism is alive and well and beating in the oversized breasts of Lindsay Lohan.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


OK, so he's out of the race (at least as a Democrat). Now what?

"The Senate needs collegial moderates who work across party lines. It's the only way to stop the really bad stuff. And the revival of the romance of the antiwar left is a potential disaster for the Democrats. That's what gave the world Richard Nixon in 1968, when ideologically pure liberals who had backed Eugene McCarthy in the primaries refused to rally around Hubert Humphrey because Humphrey was 'complicit' in the Vietnam War machine."
-- Jonathan Alter in Newsweek

Alter's sentiments are both right and wrong. Yes, bipartisan moderates are desperately needed; they might be the only people in politics who ever really get things done. And granted, the hardcore left is again in danger of jinxing what should be a slam dunk. The "Clean for Gene" crowd ended up with a PC and a domain name, and they're loving the Democratic Party so much, it's starting to resemble autoerotic asphyxiation.

But let me get this straight: Collegial moderates are needed because "it's the only way to stop the really bad stuff?" Are you f-ing kidding me? If a war based on wrong information and apparently without end doesn't count as "really bad stuff," then my heart goes out to the nightmare world of Jonathan Alter. Buck up, little buddy.

Pregnant? Here's Something Else To Worry About

By Cassandra D

Because pregnant women never have anything to worry about, there's this:

In recent years we have heard about the increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism. One possible cause may have been thiomersal, a mercury-based preservative, in vaccines. This possibility generated a lot of controversy, as well as a reformulation of the vaccines. Early evidence shows that the rate of autism may be dropping after the change was made.

But is there something else that has increased in use in pregnant women? Something else that we could blame, based on limited and almost, but not quite, non-existent data?

Why not blame ultrasound?

Thanks, ABC News!

By Cassandra D

Thanks to ABC News for stepping up to the plate to report on the challenge to some propaganda coming our way. This time it was the anti-Gore YouTube feature brought to us by the PR folks who represent Exxon. Too often the major networks have not reported the little bit of investigative reporting that gets done these days. It is as if the label, "Liberal media!" is their equivalent to Congress's "Soft on terror!". Heaven forbid they get that label, so they had better not rock the administration's boat. Unless, of course, it is with something like this.

On a related note, what, exactly, do oil companies have to fear by acknowledging climate change? Or from alternative energy development? Do they really think we will be able to stop using their products? If so, they are a lot more optimistic than almost everyone else. "Peak Oil," anybody?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dirty DemocRats!

In the latest New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg takes issue with one of the stranger irritants of partisan sniping -- the insistence by some Republicans that the proper adjective is Democrat, not Democratic:

"There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. 'Democrat Party' is a slur, or intended to be — a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but 'Democrat Party' is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams 'rat.' At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it’s an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation. During the Cold War, many people bridled at obvious misnomers like 'German Democratic Republic,' and perhaps there are some members of the Republican Party (which, come to think of it, has been drifting toward monarchism of late) who genuinely regard the Democratic Party as undemocratic. Perhaps there are some who hope to induce it to go out of existence by refusing to call it by its name, à la terming Israel 'the Zionist entity.' And no doubt there are plenty of others who say 'Democrat Party' just to needle the other side while signalling solidarity with their own—the partisan equivalent of flashing a gang sign."

Hertzberg's observations would be absurd if he didn't also happen to be very accurate. Pay even glancing attention to the output of the Republican PR machine and you'll find examples aplenty of this tortured linguistic oddity. Typically, however, the wordplay -- if it can really be called that -- has been limited to the hardcore partisan GOPers.

Leave it to the uniter in the White House to join the fun. Hertzberg writes:

“'It’s time for the leadership in the Democrat Party to start laying out ideas,' [President Bush] said a few weeks ago, using his own personal mouth. 'The Democrat Party showed its true colors during the tax debate,' he said a few months before that. 'Nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for actually getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program,' he said a week before that. What he meant is anybody’s guess, but his bad manners were impossible to miss. Hard as it is to believe from this distance in time, George W. Bush came to office promising to 'change the tone.' That he has certainly done. But, as with so much else, it hasn’t worked out quite the way he promised."

Just another indication that, even in the wake of 9-11 and a war of choice in Iraq, our current presidential administration is the most partisan in recent history.

Be Anything...You Can Be, Just Don't Be Gay

By Cassandra D

So the military is taking the mentally challenged, taking white supremacists, taking people with criminal records, raising the age allowed for enlistees, and making boot camp easy, all to fill the ranks for our multiple wars.

And yet they are getting rid of honorably serving, highly skilled, Arabic-speaking personnel because they are gay? (video here)

That's screwed up priorities for you.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

School Board Boobs

By Larry Mondello

Texas school district on the warparth against cleavage

I sure hope they spend as much time discussing and are as concerned about other things, like quality of teachers, books, buildings, etc. Give it a rest with the morality police actions, please.

Where I went to school, St. Hugh Beaumont Catholic High, cleavage wasn't much of a problem. No school board to waste time discussing, studying, voting.

It was just Sister Demetrius with her rubber-tipped pointer! She got the job done.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Random 10

What're you looking at, Sugar Tits? It's just an iPod shuffle.

1. Elvis Costello, "Talking in the Dark"
2. Lyle Lovett, "If I Had a Boat"
3. Nick Drake, "The Thoughts of Mary Jane"
4. John Lennon, "Woman"
5. The Stills, "Oh Shoplifter"
6. Smashing Pumpkins, "Zero"
7. Billy Idol, "Dancing with Myself"
8. The Doors, "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)"
9. Grandaddy, "Where I'm Anymore"
10. John Wesley Harding, "Here Comes the Groom"

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sex Tape Derby, Round 63

It's time for another whimsical waltz with Sex Tape Derby, the only blog feature with the guts to tell it like it is. You know the drill: You absolutely, positively must watch a homemade sex tape (just for the sake of argument, let's say someone is holding a gun to your head); whom would you rather watch get all hot n' bothered? Post your selections in the comments section below.

Condoleezza Rice or ...

Hillary Clinton?

The Trix Rabbit or ...

The Lucky Charms Leprechaun?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

And Ye Shall Know Them By the Email They Forward

By Cassandra D

I still haven't learned my lesson and, once again, I opened email from a casual friend whom I hadn't heard from in a while. It had been long enough, in fact, that I thought that perhaps there was something really important in that forwarded message, or in that untitled email with the attachment.

Wrong on both counts, but rather enlightening about my friend.

The first email was the usual sappy, gag-enducing chain mail with the mercenary twist at the end. But this one added a little brow-beating:

"There are more than twenty angels in this world. Ten are peacefully sleeping on clouds. Nine are playing. And one is reading her email at this moment. Send this message to ten of your friends including me. If you get 5 replies, someone you love will surprise you. Happy days. Don't break this; it's working!"

The second was an offer to let me lend my name to a petition to President Bush:

"Had an interesting conversation with a lady of Hispanic origin last week. She told me that she planned to come down to St. Mary's and get a job in Admissions (where I work). When I pointed out that we didn't have any openings, she advised me that "soon" current employees will have to be fired to hire bi-lingual employees. According to this lady, the Spanish speaking people of the US are going to demand that all public facilities - like hospitals, courthouses, etc. - be staffed by people who read, speak and comprehend Spanish.

We hear about the silent majority but I think we are going to have to speak up or find ourselves a conquered country. That would be an interesting historical note - greatest land in the world conquered by Mexico without ever firing a shot! Think about it.

A. Petition to require citizenship to be eligible for social services in the United States
B. And learn to speak English.
C. No amnesty
D. No free services for illegal immigrants.

Agree or Delete: Instructions to sign are at the bottom.

...(several hundred names here)...

If you don't forward the petition and just Stop it, we will lose all these names. If you do not want to sign it, please forward it to everyone you know. "

Isn't it funny that you can define a huge swath of the Republican faithful by their belief that 1) magical things will happen if only we forward enough email, and that 2) Mexicans are trying to conquer the United States?

Do you think I should let my friend know my political beliefs? I have decided to just keep my mouth shut and my keyboard silent (except here, of course, where I can vent). I will merely risk her wrath for breaking the angel chain.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ABC Shoahs Mel the Door

By Daniel Gale-Grogen

Following Mel Gibson's reported anti-Jewish tirade during a drunk driving arrest, ABC has now canceled a miniseries it had in development with Gibson's production company, Icon, about -- get this -- the Holocaust.

According to the Time-Warner-owned entertainorazzi site, Gibson was pulled over last Friday and blew .12 into the hose, which meant he was drunk enough for himself and half of Danny Glover. But it was his slurry epithets spewed at law enforcement officers that launched the star of Max Max, The Year of Living Dangerously and especially Tequila Sunrise and Conspiracy Theory from his status as "Opus Dei member and son-of-an-Anti-Semite" to "David Duke with a SAG card."

Here are some highlights from the account by L.A. County Deputy James Mee:

"Fucking Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?"

"You motherfucker. I'm going to fuck you."

And, of course, this classic, directed at a female officer:

"What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

You'd think Mel would have learned that that's not What Women Want. At any rate, now the Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, has pulled Gibson's miniseries based on a World War II memoir by a Dutch Jew. In a statement, the company said the project had been in development for two years and no script had been delivered, so it was canceling the miniseries. Which, of course, had nothing to do with Gibson's alleged statements.

Strangely enough, Gibson is also the executive producer of "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man." Does he know?

Today, Gibson issued a statement saying "I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a D-U-I charge."

"I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."

Well said, sugar tits. Apparently, the standard for bigotry is higher for a man who claimed, according to the deputy, that he "owns Malibu."