Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Search Engine That Runs on Leaded

H/T Gizmodo, who tip their hats to Boomerang, who tip their hats to FFFound. Do you know that in the eighties, it took the typical meme over three years to spread?

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Haz A Sad

It was mostly a nice weekend for me. YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU opened to decent audience response and everybody agrees that if there is anything wrong with it, it wasn't my fault. I got enough sleep. One of our local digital TV channels multiplexed to allow THISTV, which has a slate of MGM/UA movies, old episodes of THE PATTY DUKE SHOW and THE OUTER LIMITS (the first, less Canadian version) which is retro-cool. My only complaint? Some weasel stole my bike.

No, it wasn't Glenn Shadix. Not to my knowledge anyway. I chained my bike up on a rack near the theater for the Sunday matinee, went out to dinner with some cast members afterward, and when I came to retrieve the bike there was nothing left but a popped cable lock. I could have called a cab but I opted to walk home 2 and a half miles because after all, it's good exercise.

And an inconvenience. It's not like I need the bike to get around. I have a car, and work is only a mile away. Still, after I clock out today I'm going straight to the sporting goods place for another bike. I also considered a cross-country trek to search for the bike, perhaps leading to the basement of the Alamo, but it's just more convenient to replace it.

If I learned anything from the experience, it's this: cable locks are worthless, register your bike with the local police, and park where there are plenty of witnesses.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Elegant Enigma of Advertising Copy

I had dinner tonight at Koo Koo Roo, a chain of grilled chicken restaurants here in SoCal. They're known for healthy poultry-based meals. Anyway, I'm sitting facing the counter and I noticed something bannered across the wall over the heads of the cashiers:


I stared at for so long that my garlic roasted potatoes got cold. Because you know, it's a phrase that is appealing but at the same time doesn't mean anything. I defy you to nail down what they're saying with those four words.

Bachman Paranoia Overdrive

For those of you who contributed to Rep. Michele Bachmann's narrowly-won reelection after her brave fight to preserve our nation's incandescent light bulbs: you'll be pleased to see that she's fighting to preserve your right to contribute to her next relection campaign in good old American Dollars.

...This caused ... Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann to propose legislation banning the replacement of the dollar with any other currency … in the United States.

Should this legislation pass, that means we will never be able to trade yen or pesetas or Ron Paul’s dreaded Ameros in exchange for goods and services here in the US: a possibility that nobody has ever suggested might occur.
Whew! I was just itchin' to buy a latte with pesetas, so Bachman's bill may just save me from myself. Then again, the light bulb thing was framed as a vital freedom-of-choice issue... why shouldn't I whip out a roll of euros to buy my incandescent light bulbs with? You're confusing me, Mrs. B!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where You At?

I missed a day of blogging yesterday, rare for me. What happened? Well, I realized in the morning that my work computer had a popup virus. It kept bringing up a browser window that looked like a virus alert message, inviting me to clean the virus that it had found. Clicking on it would, presumably, install something even worse.

It's kind of fascinating to tell the truth, because the popup is tellilng the truth. If I hadn't already downloaded something, I'd have never gotten the popup in the first place because I'm setup to open no popup windows. And Symantec didn't catch it first, so I'm obviously in the market for something.

Anyway so I lost a whole day of productive work AND fooling around to virus elimination steps. Viruses, it turns out, are not hilarious. I don't like 'em.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Keeping Geithner

The US economy (and the world economy, for that matter) is like a patient with cancer, blood loss, blunt force trauma and third degree burns. It looks bad, and it's not likely to get better any time soon.

In a situation like this it's natural to blame the doctor if the patient gets worse or fails to get better, which is why they make you sign all those forms when you check in. And our metaphorical doctor here is Tim "deer in the headlights" Geithner. The patient is still on life support, and we're furious at the doctor. We want to replace him.

I don't think so. Neither does the market, today. Geithner unveiled the long-delayed details of his plan to pair with private investors to value toxic assets; the market responded by gaining over 400 points at this writing. But the market will drop again, and we'll still have Geithner.

If we replace him we'll have another doctor, but the same shakey patient. I'm coming to believe that there is no sense in swapping out Mr. G for another guy. A guy who will have to start from scratch. We need to have a little patience, and just hope that Geithner isn't as bad for the economy as Rumsfeld was for the war.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gadgetleib Uber Alles

So I'm driving to a little nosh with the actress who plays my wife in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU this weekend, and she says, "What do you think of the billboard?" A little context here -- in Los Angeles there is some anti billboard ordinance that they have circumvented by replacing the billboards with the million-watt Diamondvision signs. They're just like billboards, only they change every five minutes and you can see them from outer space. At high noon.

After a brief interlude of soul-searching, I had to admit that I love 'em. The colors are bright and sharp and their frequent resets mean that my limited attention span isn't taxed by them. What's not to like? Well, they're enormously annoying advertising media. And if you live within viewing distance, it's like living in the far north hemisphere, except you even even get the six months of compensating darkness.

But I realize that to me, these billboards are fantastic perfect GADGETS, like a giant iPod touch. Whatever bad qualities you might see in them, you can't deny that they do their jobs great, and great tech was used to accomplish the goal.

It's just a matter of time before I get myself beat up because I start rhapsodizing about Nazi architecture.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Racist Ex-Girlfriend Was Right!

Last year about this time, a woman I was dating warned me not to support Obama over Hillary Clinton. "Don't vote for him," she whispered, "he'll only help his own kind." I laughed it off and broke up with her over that and other issues, but today I read this.

The following comes from the official Friday schedule for President Obama, which was just released by the White House.

Later in the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will attend a reception with the National Newspaper Publisher Association in the State Dining Room, where they will be presented the Newsmaker of the Year award. This event is closed press.
Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

UPDATE: Actually, not as outrageous as it seems: I am advised by the White House that exclusive access was granted to the NPPA, a 67-year-old federation of more than 200 black community newspapers, on terms similar to the access granted regularly to lots of media organizations for exclusive interviews. The organization or its members are expected to make a record of the event.
So maybe she was right? I don't know. It's not like this is such a huge event or anything. Still, the people demand to know the truth! Why can't Joe the Plumber do a remote for this?

(h/t to Publius for the original tip)

The Fine Line Between Politics and Entertainment ***Updated***

Politicians LOOK like celebrities. They're famous, after all, and you see them on television all the time. There are whole cable channels devoted to political news, and whole cable channels devoted to entertainment. It's an easy mistake to make. But you want to avoid a remark like this if you're, say, the president.

...for all the obvious reasons. The thing is it makes perfect sense in the context of a talk show. If you're a movie star famous for bowling badly, you'll probably get a couple of piqued letters from Special Olympics reps. If you're the President, it dominates the news cycle for a day and makes people who say you use teleprompters too much demand that you use teleprompters more.

Can't we please say the late-night talk shows are off limits to people running for, or holding, public office? At least, off the entertainment shows. If a show is not entertaining, like Larry King's, it's okay.

I'm also fine with keeping politicians off ESPN. Come to think of it, maybe the problem is SPORTS and politics.

***UPDATE*** In the comments section I think I say something about these talk show appearances benefitting no one, but that's not true. Talk shows benefit.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Voting With Your Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Richard Mellon Scaife had better put a little money aside for 2010, because if he isn't prepared to buy up a lot of copies of DECISION POINTS, it probably won't make the best-seller lists.

Mr. Bush mentioned the book Tuesday in his first speech since leaving office, delivered in Calgary, Alberta... According to Robert B. Barnett, the Washington lawyer who negotiated the deal with Crown on Mr. Bush’s behalf, the book will cover Mr. Bush’s decisions relating to Sept. 11, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Barnett said Mr. Bush would also write about why he ran for president, his decision to quit drinking, his discovery of religious faith, and his relationships with his parents, wife and siblings.

Mr. Barnett said Mr. Bush began working on a draft two days after he left office.

“He’s already written 30,000 words,” Mr. Barnett said. “He has no collaborator, but he’s working with his former chief speech writer Christopher Michel.”
Added Bush, "he's not a collaborator, he's just the fellah who is writin' a book with me." No not really, but I'm trying to wrap my brain around that last sentence.

Gawker reports that the advance for the book was $7 million. or "$5 million less than Bill Clinton's advance for My Life, $1 million less than Hillary Clinton got for Living History, and $2 million less than the advance for the memoirs of Tony Friggin' Blair." But of course, we're even more post literate now than we were then so, you know, ROI.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving (To Conservative Pundits)

A few weeks back I wrote about the official gift that Barack Obama made of 25 classic American movies on DVD to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I didn't think it was as bad as other people made it out to be, because I'm film buff; but this hadn't occurred to me.

Alas, when the PM settled down to begin watching them the other night, he found there was a problem.

The films only worked in DVD players made in North America and the words "wrong region" came up on his screen. Although he mournfully had to put the popcorn away, he is unlikely to jeopardise the special relationship – or "special partnership", as we are now supposed to call it – by registering a complaint.

A Downing Street spokesman said he was "confident" that any gift Obama gave Brown would have been "well thought through," but referred me to the White House for assistance on the "technical aspects".
So I guess I can officially admit the gift sucked. Hopefully when Obama visits England in April his people will have had time to come up with something just as American but a little less problematic, like a monster truck with the steering wheel on the right side. Or George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

By the way, if someone at 10 Downing is willing to break the law, multi-region DVD players are pretty common in Europe. Don't give up on seeing VERTIGO, man! It's a little difficult but damn fine movie-makin'.

Inelegant, But A Step In The Right Direction

WASHINGTON - Acting swiftly, the Democratic-led House approved a bill Thursday to slap punishing taxes on big employee bonuses at firms bailed out by taxpayers.

The bill would impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses given to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at American International Group and other companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.

"We want our money back now for the taxpayers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Of course, ideally they should have blocked the bonuses in the first place; and the gesture is probably hollow because the senate will water it down to the point of inffectualism. But then again, the issue is more smoke than fire. And I understand 50% of the Republicans voted for it, so they can't take too much umbrage. On the whole, effective show governance. Quiet applause for all concerned.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Executive Compensation Pt. 2: Big Money in Politics

Oh yeah, the point I had wanted to make (it's busy around here today!) is that the government is going to keep making decisions that are better for business than for me, as long as businesses give government more campaign money. And politicians can't afford to turn it down because they buy expensive TV and radio time for their ads.

A 30-second spot is, clearly, the absolute worst medium to communicate a candidate's positions. In fact, it's barely adequate as a medium for trashing your opponent. I'm a free-speech advocate BUT it would solve a lot of our nation's problems if we banned TV and radio from accepting political ads. The only groups that would truly suffer are ad agencies and broadcasters, and for the sake of the nation we oughtta throw them under the bus.

It wouldn't limit free speech because there are plenty of alternatives, such as publishing and the internet, which are available to all candidates. But what it might do is put less emphasis on telegenics in politics, and more on message. It would likely also reduce voter turnout but I'm not sure that more badly-informed people voting is such a worthwhile goal. Let 'em stick to American Idol for their voting needs.

Executive Compensation

Yeah, I'm not thrilled with those AIG bonuses either. It's frustrating to see the very people who ruined our economy behing the only ones who make out from it. Again.

My feeling is if we're putting money into AIG we're investors, and as investors we should be able to name some terms. Remember in early February, when a handful of pundits went on Fox to ridicule that 500k salary cap that Obama was proposing? Those people may not be on this week.

Still, the bonuses are an ugly but tiny portion of the whole bailout and therefore are getting much more attention than they deserve.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When You're Drunk, The Whole World's Irish

I thought I'd open with a cultural slur for the title today. Hi Paddies!

I'm pretty sure that the excessive drinking that will happen tonight (and probably right now, and well into tomorrow morning) is solely the province of Americans. Much like Pizza, St. Patrick's Day is a foreign thing that we have taken and so made into our thing that the foreigners who are supposed to be behind it wouldn't even recognize it. I have never been to Italy, but I understand that pizza is a curiosity there, as opposed to the staple diet of slackers that it is to us. And even when they prepare it, it isn't bread stuffed with cheese that's wrapped around other cheese.

Anyway, take a moment today to treasure your Irish brethren. Mourn the loss of Patrick McGoohan and James Joyce; be thankful for whiskey made with peat moss. Watch an episode of BALLYKISSANGEL if you get a chance. Say a prayer of thanks for their knack of combining corn and beef. Note the similarities in the Jamaican and Irish accents. Dance to the string-based music of Celtic Woman. Consider donating a little cash so that the Pogues can get their teeth fixed.

And in the best way possible, always, ALWAYS, be after their lucky charms.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Silver Lining

Joe Klein writes a few kind paragraphs about the passing of his friend, Ron Silver.

He was among the best read people I know--voracious doesn't begin to describe it. He never took a position on an issue that he hadn't studied front-to-back. He spoke Spanish and Chinese. He was president of the Actors Equity union. He was a co-founder of the Creative Coalition, even though he pissed off most of his fellow members when he turned to the right after 9/11--and, in truth, well before that, with regard to Israel... He was incredibly loyal to his friends--especially those who stuck with him when his politics caused Hollywood, a town as shallow as Ron was deep, to turn its back on him.

I Don't Swallow Everything

Someone was asking me the other day if Obama could do anything I disagree with. Here's one.

Remember yesterday's post about how the Obama administration had refused to release the details of a secret copyright treaty because doing so would compromise "national security?" Well, it turns out that there are plenty of people who are cleared to be privy to this "sensitive" document -- strangely, they all seem to work for giant copyright companies!

Of course, they're allowed to know what's in the treaty -- but the public, activist groups, consumer rights groups, and the artists whom this treaty is supposed to protect are all forbidden from knowing what it says.
This bugs the hell outta me. Release the damn text of the damn treaty already.

Jim Cramer Is Getting A Raw Deal

As if American journalism needed any more bruises lately, last Thursday saw the spectacle of a Financial News Organization (CNBC) being surgically eviscerated by a comedian with a better research staff (Jon Stewart) than CNBC apparently was using.

Of course, Stewart didn't have CNBC on the show as his guest. He had Jim Cramer, the comically bellicose host of MAD MONEY, a soon-to-be canceled show on CNBC. Cramer has the misfortune to be a perfect symbol of financial reporting on televsion - entertaining, shallow, and misleading. Thus ruining him feels like ruining all the people who kept telling you that Bear Stearns was a safe investment.

The interview was an awful lot like that episode of CROSSFIRE a few years back, when Stewart went similarly non-comic on their asses; berating the show for promoting an artificially binary argument between the left and right rather than just featuring real discussion. And I suspect the fallout will be the same here: Crossfire was canceled, the artificial argument lived on. Symbolic attack, symbolic victory. It only makes sense.

By the way, here's something a little wierd for you style-points people. On THE DAILY SHOW Cramer appeared as he does on his own show, with his sleeves rolled up. Earlier in the day Cramer also did a guest show on MARTHA Stewart's show, and his sleeves were rolled down and buttoned. Even though he was pounding dough. What the hell kind of message does that send? Who gets more dressed up to cook?

Okay, aside from Martha Stewart, who?

Hidden Agenda Watch - Poor Eyesight Edition ***Update***

This is the first of a series, in which I try to decipher the weirder talking points to get to the meat. I'm glad I didn't come up with this idea when they were making such a ruckus over the gay teletubby, because THAT was a stumper.

Today I'm going to tackle the continuous shreiking about President Obama's use of teleprompters. It kind of strikes me as a no-brainer that you READ your prepared statements rather than memorize them; and if you're going to be on camera a teleprompter is as good a way to read as from a sheet of paper. It takes little more trouble than setting up a podium. Seems like a non-issue, or at best an interesting curiosity, that this president might use teleprompters more than previous ones. He also uses a Blackberry more than previous presidents.

So why all the comments?

Here's my best guess: a guy who prefers to read things at a distance rather than close up may be far-sighted, and perhaps needs reading glasses for that 8.5 x 11 sheet of ultra-white. So the agenda:

They're trying to force Obama to appear in public wearing reading glasses.

I don't blame 'em - seeing Obama in reading glasses will surely put his approval number in Bush territory. Clever bunch o' ferrets, those neocons.

Update - visual evidence!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Netbooks: They Suck Just Enough

Last week I was perusing GIZMODO and as I always do, I checked into their Dealzmodo post. Every day they track down the best deals they can find on electronics, software, and oddball items like lingerie and sandwiches. You know the other day, when I got a free Quizno's sub? I have Dealzmodo to thank for tipping me off.

That particular day they were featuring $100 off a Dell Inspiron mini, the very netbook that was featured in a WIRED article I'd read the previous week. Netbooks, you may know, are the future of a shrinking world. They're half the size of a notebook, 3/4ths the processing speed, they eschew such niceties as a DVD drive or in my case even a hard drive (relying on flash memory, it's like running your OS off a bank of thumb drives) but they can access the internet cloud and they are light and a third of price of your typical laptop. And what would you use that laptop for? Going to Starbucks and checking your email.

It's a terrible computer if it's your only computer, but it's just right as your other one.

So as I write this I'm in the waiting area of my local Sprint Store, waiting for them to diagnose the bizarre phantom who lives inside my Centro and turns it on for no reason. Look, I'm bloggin'! Only I can't upload until I get home, because there is no WiFi access in the Sprint store. I was hoping I'd be able to use the phone as a modem and maybe I still can, but I have to do a little research. Which I can't do in here.

You could run XP on this thing, but I opted for Ubuntu Linux because it sounds like fun. Indeed it has been so far. Linux is still a little bit wild west for my tastes, but not nearly as bad as it was two years ago. The great thing about Linux is you can preload with all kinds of free open source software. Then, if you don't like what's already on the box, you can download something else completely for free. God Bless Linus Torvalds.

My only complaint with the device after two days is that the apostrophe key, which I use a LOT, is in a weird place -- next to the space bar, under the period. The return key is where the apostrophe should be. Tiny keyboards are hard to adjust to!

Well, I look forward to taking this out to cafes more and seeing if it




...it is a chick magnet.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Elephant Code

These inexplicable talking points I've been worrying for the past couple of days... I think I'm starting to understand why they're inexplicable. The problem isn't Pelosi's frequent flier miles (Hastert put in more) nor is it Obama's teleprompter use. It's what these things MEAN.

I invite Republican readers to come out from behind the veil and plainly state what the talking points are implying, so we can argue about something sensible. I'd suggest a format like "Nancy Pelosi is a capricious bitch." We can work from there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Snark Of The Day

As some of you pointed out, the comments thread on that Fishbowl DC post we just linked to has some the best punditry we’ve seen the election. At least 75% of them make some scathing reference to the fact that Barack Obama uses teleprompters to deliver prepared speeches, like all Presidents and leaders and speakers have done since the invention of teleprompters and before that, when they read speeches from paper. There is literally no way that someone using a teleprompter to deliver a speech can be construed as controversial. Ha. But did you also know that pretty boy over there in the White House also wears “shoes” on his feet, like a retarded pussy? CAN’T HANDLE THE TERRAIN ON YOUR BARE FEET, HUSSEIN?

Air Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi's use of government funded air travel has infuriated the people who write the talking points memos, and therefore everyone at Fox. Guess whose use didn't infurate as much? At all, actually.

In fact, it appears that Pelosi uses military aircraft less often than her predecessor, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

The documents cover the period from January 2007 to November 2008 and show that Pelosi made the equivalent of 20 round-trips between Washington (Andrews Air Force Base) and San Francisco. That's an average of less than one round-trip per month. In contrast, former Speaker Hastert traveled home to his Illinois district virtually every weekend and, his former aides tell ABC News, he would almost always travel on military aircraft. Like Hastert, Pelosi also occasionally leads Congressional delegations on foreign trips (the documents show six foreign trips: one to Asia, three to the Middle East and two to Europe).

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also disprove another frequently repeated rumor about Pelosi's travel: that she regularly flies home to San Francisco in an Air Force C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737. According to the documents, Pelosi did not make any domestic trips on a C-40 during the 23-month period from January 2007 to November 2008. Her trips to San Francisco have all been on smaller executive aircraft, usually an Air Force C-20 (the equivalent of a Gulfstream G-3) or a more plush C-37 (a Gulfstream G-5).
This is what's so entertaining about Republican talking points - they'll go rushing out with some insane accusation like "Dimocrats spend MONEY for HAIRCUTS!" and no one stops to think, "might there be a sensible counter-argument for this?" And here it is, 2009; every time they do it their approval ratings drop a little, and THEY STILL KEEP DOING IT! That's real conservativsm - Old Ways are the Best Ways.

A Guy I Can Use to Demonize the Republicans With

There is much about James G. Cummings for the right-wing base to admire. He's a millionaire, he hated Barack Obama, and he had the courage of his convictions. His only crime is that he went a little farther than most on a couple of things.

After local police attended the scene, the FBI moved in and sealed off the building. Men in protective suits descended on the home but police refused to comment about what they found. Mrs. Cummings was taken into custody.

Then on Jan 12 Wikileaks revealed a confidential FBI field intelligence report on the incident as part of a Presidential inauguration threat analysis.

According to the FBI report, Cummings had four lots of one gallon containers of bomb-grade hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium (also radioactive), lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium (radiation booster), boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon.

While the radiation levels from Cummings initial device would have not have been physically significant compared to its explosive and toxic effects, had Cummings set off the device in Washington DC, during Obama's Presidential inauguration, its psychogenic effect may have hospitalized thousands.

The FBI states it also seized literature on how to build “dirty bombs” and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60 and other radioactive materials.

There was also evidence linking Cummings to white supremacist groups, including Cummings' membership application to the US National Socialist (Nazi) party.

Local tradesmen who worked at the Cummings home told Maine reporters that Cummings was an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler and had a collection of Nazi memorabilia around the house, including a prominently displayed flag with a swastika. Cummings claimed to have pieces of Hitler’s personal silverware and place settings.
See, it's wimpy to just "hope Obama fails." That's pretty weak sauce, dude. It takes the can-do spirit of an American Millionaire to try to assemble a dirty bomb and prevent the inauguration itself! And what stopped him? Wasteful government spending on Law Enforcement, that's what. Okay, and Amber Cummings, who admits to shooting him after years of so-called "domestic abuse."

By the way, I'm not going to call the late Mr. Cummings racist, because I know how sensitive you guys are about stuff like that. He just disagreed with Obama's policies, obviously.

Hey. aren't we supposed to invade America now? We were harboring a terrorist after all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Congress Less Unpopular Than Before

Comfort for me AND Madeline's Dad: the latest Gallup Poll notes that Congress is at "the most positive assessment of Congress since February 2005."


"Americans who identify themselves as Democrats are mostly responsible for the improved ratings of Congress measured in the March 5-8 Gallup Poll. After showing a 25-point increase in their approval of Congress from January to February and a further 14-point increase in March, a majority of Democrats (57%) now approve of the job the Democratically-controlled Congress is doing. Independents also show improved ratings of Congress, but not nearly to the extent that Democrats do. Republicans' evaluations of Congress have changed very little this year."
So I'm happy because approval for the Democratically-controlled body is rising sharply since the stimulus package passed. And even Republicans don't hate them much less! Madeline's Dad is happy because approval isn't where it was when Republicans were running the joint, waaaay back at the turn of the century.

Again, I aver that the reason for the rising popularity is that Republicans can no longer block most legislation and therefore Congress can actually achieve something. MD says it's still low because America hates the Democrat agenda.

I report, you decide.

Quotes of the Day

"My attitude is that if we capture an enemy combatant in the battlefield -- or we can use Osama bin Laden -- who may have information about a pending attack. You know what, I don't have any problem taking his head sticking it underwater and scaring the living daylights out of him and making him think we're drowning him and I'm a Christian"
-Sean Hannity

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
- Ghandi

Another Candidate for the Leader of The Repu Party

Victoria Jackson!

A Puzzling Critique

Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO and apparent Alec Baldwin character basis, appeared on Morning Joe yesterday.

JACK WELCH: This guy is locked in another world. And he’s throwing all these initiatives into this game in the middle of a crisis. Focus on the crisis! Focus on the economy!

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: You could argue all these initiatives are inter-related–energy, health care –

WELCH: Get out of here! They’re not related at all!

BRZEZINSKI: Did he just say that?

WELCH: Right now they’re not related. Right now it’s the economy, Mika. It’s the economy. It’s getting the banks going. It’s a clear message to everybody: all hands on deck. We have a crisis: let’s deal with this. Not one day, carbon tax. One day, take the kids out of the Washington schools. I mean it’s, it’s crazy!
This is puzzling on a couple of levels. For starters, one of the reasons that Obama won the election so handily is that he made a conspicuous point of being able to do "two things at once" in September, while McCain dropped everything to help push through that bank bailout. How'd that work out for you, gramps? So if this is just a talking point and not a sincere criticism, then it's pretty ill-advised.

But even weirder, General Electric? What does that company specialize in? What product has their laser-sharp focus? Light bulbs? Appliances? NBC? Medical equipment? Publishing? Surplus question marks?

Hell no! They do ALL that stuff, and as a result they're one of the strongest companies in America. They're diversified, and they can synergize and maximize to degrees that un-integrated companies can only dream of. I wonder what it was like when Jack ran it?

(By the way, I've still got another hundred question marks left from this post that I'm putting on eBay. Want one? Wait, 99.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Information Technology Has A Liberal Bias

To be fair, it may just be an anti-Michael Steele bias.

Steele has proposed revamping the RNC website, as follows:

...bottom line is if we haven't done it — let's do it. If we haven't thought of it — think of it. If it hasn't been tried — why not? If it's going to be 'outside the box' — then not only keep it outside the box, but take it to someplace the box hasn't even reached yet.

Flash interfaces can often make mundane tasks exciting, and having Flash developers who understand user behavior will make the site more user-friendly.

No limitations on design; the RNC will be in on the entire process and will ensure everything is to our exact specifications.

How does the Vallywag commenter community view this?

This simply, truly, awesomely can't be real... A client who wants a website in 45 days, yet will be part of the design process the entire time, ensuring specification compliance? Project management 101: FAIL.

If they get a site as current as when "out of the box" might have meant something, it should look a lot like Prodigy.

If that were a private enterprise the people responsible for putting out that RFP would all be fired immediately.

IT: totally in the tank.

Finally, A Twitter Worth Following

The Mime.

A Thing I Like Coupled With A Thing I Can't Stand


I cannot watch reality shows - they make me break out in hives. But if I could, I'd give Dancing With The Stars a try this season, just to check the progress of the brains behind Apple Computing, Steve Wozniak. A geek with a lot of extra weight on him, Woz is the original dancin' bear: it's not that he dances well, it's that he can dance at all without mauling the judges and stealing their food.

After being so mistreated by Steve Jobs in his youth, one wonders if the dancing and the Kathy Griffin fling signal a mid-geek crisis for Woz. I say, viva la crisis!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Republicans: Taking Their Ball And Going Home

“We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010...Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

-Patrick McHenry, in the National Review

To me, this seems a lot like puncturing the life raft when the rest of the passengers refuse to follow your directions to paddle north, especially after they've been paddling north a long time and now there are just more sharks.

Change We Can Ignore

For fans of politics and inept art: Bad Paintings of Barack Obama! If you like the one you're looking at, refresh the page until you get one that really, really sucks.

I Believe The Children Are The Future

All right, if Rush isn't the leader of the Republican Party, who is? Not Roger Ailes, as I suggested last week. God knows it isn't Michael Steele - they probably won't even let him be a Republican by the end of the month. I'd like it to be Warner Todd Huston or Madeline's Dad, if only to keep me from having to set new browser favorites. Sadly, no.

Truth is, the party is leaderless these days, as they struggle to redefine themselves after a particularly bad 2 years. They need a voice fast! And I got just the guy.

You may recognize Jonathon Krohn as the 14-year-old wunderkind who set CPAC on fire with his rhetoric, or as the author of DEFINE CONSERVATISM. What's more, the Robinson Agency helpfully reminds us:

Jonathan has been performing on stage since he was eight. Inside Edition's Debora Norville named him “Atlanta’s Most Talented Child” in 2006.

As a veteran actor, Jonathan has had three call-backs for the Broadway part of Michael Banks in Mary Poppins, and has played leading roles in a variety of plays, including Peter Pan, Dear Edwina, Children of Eden, The Secret Garden, as well as parts in The Wizard of Oz, Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, and Alice in Wonderland.
So he's got the camera chops that Bobby Jindal apparently lacks. Republicans, this is your guy. Since he's home-schooled, traveling won't be a problem. And if he is caught trying to entice underage kids to have sex, no big deal. He doesn't smoke. He doesn't drink.


Best of all, when he inevitably has to apologize to Rush, it'll just be kinda cute.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Gift Of Sloppy Journalism

"His son is working for the Daily Mail; it's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer"

-The Beatles

The Daily Mail's Ian Drury (not to be confused with the deceased Stiff Records sensation) covered Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent visit to Washington. Mr. Drury isn't thrilled with the Obama administration's choice of ceremonial gifts.

As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment.

Because all he got was a set of DVDs. Barack Obama, the leader of the world's richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films - a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.

...Perhaps pertinently, given Britain is floundering in an economic slump, the DVD collection was thought to feature the movie of John Steinbeck's Great Depression novel, 'The Grapes Of Wrath'.

The gift also included the Oscar-winning boxing biopic 'Raging Bull' starring Robert Di Nero and Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Psycho - maybe a comment on the PM's notorious short fuse?

And he will hope that at a General Election the British public do not shun his imploration for another term in office by thinking at the ballot box of the famous line from another of the movies, Casblanca: 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.'
I bow to no one in my love of snark, but this is just inaccurate snark. Even Amish babies know that "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn" is from GONE WITH THE WIND, not CASABLANCA. The quotable line from that Humphrey Bogart classic that applies here is "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Below, Drury's best guess at the contents of the DVD extravaganza. I have seen 21 of 'em, which is probably about 20 more than Drury.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Never, Ever, EVER Give Up, Never Ever...Give Up, Ever. That is, Never Give Up

Judge assails cases doubting Obama's citizenship

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship, lambasting the case as a waste of the court's time and suggesting the plaintiff's attorney may have to compensate the president's lawyer.

In an argument popular on the Internet and taken seriously practically nowhere else, Obama's critics argue he is ineligible to be president because he is not a "natural-born citizen" as the Constitution requires.

In response last summer, Obama's campaign posted his Hawaiian birth certificate on its Web site. But the lawsuit argues it is a fake and that Obama was actually born in his father's homeland of Kenya, even though Hawaiian officials have said the document is authentic.

"This case, if it were allowed to proceed, would deserve mention in one of those books that seek to prove that the law is foolish or that America has too many lawyers with not enough to do," U.S. District Judge James Robertson said in his written opinion.

The lawsuit didn't even use Obama's legal name but called him "Barry Soetoro," the name he went by while attending elementary school in Indonesia. It's one of many that has been filed claiming Obama is ineligible to serve as president.

Robertson ordered plaintiff's attorney John Hemenway of Colorado Springs, Colo., to show why he hasn't violated court rules barring frivolous and harassing cases and shouldn't have to pay Obama's attorney, Bob Bauer, for his time arguing that the case should be thrown out.

Some would call this kind of acitivist judging a setback, but the law has a well-known liberal bias. I encourage Hemenway to keep fighting.

(By the way, note to Publius - I think Pickler of the AP IS betraying a liberal bias here. Point to you.)

ADDENDUM - I didn't see THIS yesterday!

Fifteen Republican members of the Missouri General Assembly have signed on to a state constitutional amendment that appears aimed at advancing the claims of the fringe movement that doubts President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president.

The language is contained in a proposed "voter’s bill of rights," which would serve "as a defense against corruption, fraud, and tyranny."

The proposed amendment states:

For candidates who are required by the Constitution of the United States to be natural born citizens, the secretary of state shall request an official copy of the candidate’s birth certificate. Other certifications, such as a certificate of live birth, shall not be accepted. Should any candidate fail to provide an official birth certificate within thirty days of the request by the secretary of state, his or her name shall not be placed on the ballot.

The Birthers, as they're known, have focused on the State of Hawaii's refusal to release the original of Obama's birth certificate, as opposed to official copies; Hawaii state law bars the release of the original.

More Fun With Hate Mail


Re Stephanie Miller's treason remark on Larry King - a couple from NewsBusters:

Liberals are so intolerant

Liberals are so intolerant of opposing ideas. You will never hear a conservative advocate the killing of anybody unless maybe it is a child-molestor, a rapist or a serial killer. But keep your ears open and you will find that liberals are very angry, violent, irrational people.


Another liberal broad who should be hanged to prevent reproduction and the spread of stupidity.

Rush execution

I agree with Ms. Miller but let's get in line. Let's execute Rush immediately after we execute Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, and first and foremost George Soros. It seems to be, a lowly member of "we the people" that if what the Messiah, B. Hussein Obama, says is true and we are in dire financial straits in this country, why are he and is ilk attacking private citizens and using taxpayer dollars to do it? Let's face it, the voice of the president George Soros, who bought and paid for Barry, is calling the shots. I assert that affirmative action, on the job training is absurd for the president of the Peoples Republic of America and that Obama be recalled. I further assert tht the financial difficulties we are now facing began on 01/22/2006 when control of congress was seized by the left. They will not be able to blame Bush much longer as the stock market slides into oblivian. REMEMBER THE COLE - IMPEACH OBAMA.

...I'm including the next one, from a blog, because the page has a link to the Asian Babe Of The Week. Yummy!

Liberal retard: Execute Rush Limbaugh

It didn't take long for the liberal Democrats to change their tune when it comes to criticizing a sitting President. Just a few short years ago Hillary Clinton screeched to an approving audience that dissent was patriotic and that she and all Americans had every right to question and criticize President George W. Bush and his policies. But of course those sentiments only exist with liberal Democrats until they are in charge. Now dissent isn't patriotic, now it's treasonous. So treasonous that you should be executed for speaking against President Obama.

Man, Generating Hate Mail Takes Forever

I'm listening to the Stephanie Miller show right now (which I have to get over the internet because it's the AM station in LA which I can't receive) and she is having the time of her life reviewing all the hate mail she got as the result of a remark she was careful to insert during her Tuesday appearance on the Larry King show.

You know who is it good for? Rush Limbaugh. He loves this attention.

If I could say something tonight that gets me that kind of attention, like maybe Rush Limbaugh should be executed for treason. How about that?
She spent most of yesterday's show lamenting the lack of attention she had gotten for the remark, which she points out, isn't a call to execute Rush Limbaugh. She's merely posing the question, Fox-style.


But all day Wednesday, no outrage from the right! She was very disappointed. However, the good people at Newsbusters didn't pick it up until yesterday. It meant the blogosphere had all day yesterday to write Miller's show for her.

Liberal trash like Stephy Miller are getting everything they have ever wanted and it is going to be an EPIC FAIL.

Anybody have this Stepanie Miller’s address? How about the names of her husband and children?I think it is time her personal information was published online.

How someone who earns a living exercising the 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech could advocate treason for another exerciser of that same right is beyond belief. What a hypocrite!

There's more, and I'll try to find 'em during lunch. Maybe by then there'll be more Hitler analogies!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Sensible Bod Mod

BBC reports that a previously blind man has been sucessfully outfitted with a bionic eye.

Ron had the experimental surgery in summer 2008 at Moorfield's eye hospital and has made good progress since. Ron, who lost his sight in his 40s due to retinitis pigmentosa, now has the ability to see flashes of coloured light and dark.

His treatment is part of an international trial carried out be an American company called Second Sight and he is one of the 18 patients across the world who taking part in the experiment.
Reportedly he can now discern the white lines on asphault and sort socks. Doesn't sound like much, but if you've been blind for 30 years it's nothin' to sneeze at. And the BBC isn't at all snippy about the fact that the eye still isn't good enough for him to enjoy Dr. Who reruns.

The Leader Of The Repus

This guy at Real Clear Politics thinks there IS no leader right now. I think, despite the crazy blogging going on, that it isn't Rush Limbaugh either. And yeah, I'm including my blogging there. Anyway, it's not Rush.

It's Roger Ailes. (If you don't trust Wikipedia, it's Roger Ailes.)

Ailes produces Rush, and runs Fox News. The guy who pushes the talking points is the leader. When our so-called elected "officials" apologize to Rush, they're actually apologizing to Ailes because they're going off the message he has spent so much effort on.

Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes.

I'd like to apologize to Rush now, because I might have put him in dutch with the boss. Sorry dude.

At Last Rove Has The Opportunity To Clear His Name

For Immediate Release
March 04, 2009

WASHINGTON (DC) – In an agreement reached today between the former Bush administration and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury. The committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers. It was agreed that invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.

In addition, if the committee uncovers information necessitating his testimony, the committee will also have the right to depose William Kelley, a former White House lawyer who played a role in the U.S. attorney firings.

The committee will also receive Bush White House documents relevant to this inquiry. Under the agreement, the landmark ruling by Judge John Bates rejecting key Bush White House claims of executive immunity and privilege will be preserved. If the agreement is breached, the committee can resume the litigation.

'Bout time too! Rove and Miers have been living with the cloud of treason hanging over their heads long enough. Their voices will at last be heard! Too many people (me, for example) have assumed that their silence meant they were hiding crimes. This oughtta clear that up once and for all.

Snark aside, Rove can talk his way around anything so I wouldn't worry about him. Miers, on the other hand, I'm not so sure. She's a Gonzalez-caliber mind and if anyone winds up taking the fall for the whole administration, I bet its her. And Scooter, of course. Dear old unpardoned Scooter.

Jesu Presidentia!

(H/T Publius)

Well it could be worse. I don't mind if a handful of Obama supporters think that God speaks through Obama. The time to worry is when OBAMA thinks God speaks through him. Like certain recent presidents I could name.

I Demand Recognition!

Won't somebody give me props for not once using the title Rush To Judgement? Come on, people.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Practical Consideration

It just occurred to me after reading this (and this, about RON PAUL!) that there's a valid practical reason to not take marching orders from Rush Limbaugh: if Republicans ever regain power, there will always be a day's lag time before they take action on anything. The "president" won't be speaking before Rush's opinion is known, right? Otherwise he'd risk wasting valuable press conference time apologizing to Rush. Until that 9-12 broadcast of official talking points you're better off keeping your thoughts to yourself. And after, you're still better off.

And God forbid Rush doesn't cover a topic you need to speak about - you either wait a day, or guess correctly and it's all fine, or you misread Rush and then your career is over.

Look, it's not all downside. Rush is, after all, never wrong. I just hope Jindal and Palin can keep their egos in check.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Clearing Up The Confusion

Man, I'm really surprised that this took as long as it did.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”
Well Mr. Steele, good for you for knowing your place. Wouldn't want to see an uppity chairman of the RNC now would we? After all, there can only be one leader of a party, and we wouldn't want it to be John McCain or Michael Steele. We want it to be the guy who doesn't do any, you know, governing. After all, a firm grip on realism is what has kept George W. Bush wildly popular to this day.

I'd be a little creeped out by Rush's behaivor if I were... well, come to think of it, if I were me. I know a lack of humility is part of his schtick; but for God's sake, you either want the reins and you have to behave responsibly, or you don't and you defer to the real leaders of your party. It's rude of me to go for a weight metaphor here, but Rush is going to like a 500-ton anchor on a 100-pound boat, and he's going to pull the Republican party straight down to the bottom of the Saragasso.

Why not Ann Coulter instead? She's just as entertaining and incindiary, and has the added advantage of being a white WOMAN, which is more in line with recent big tent rhetoric. Or hey, let's have Michelle Malkin writing policy. She's a woman and not white! Rush Limbaugh LOOKS like capitalism. Give him a top hat and monacle if you're going to make him your face.

Hey maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the nation is mostly dittoheads. Secret sleeper dittoheads, just waiting to activate when needed. Very clever of so many of them to vote for Obama, to throw people like me off the track. It must have been hard of them, holding back their extreme disgust, but the did it anyway; that's why they're so powerful.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Drugs Won

The War On Drugs, is starting to look like the Wars on Vietnam and Iraq: unwinnable, expensive and frankly we're wondering why we started 'em in the first place. Speaking personally I've been wondering about the efficacy of the war on drugs for years. I come from a gene pool with a tendency toward addictive behaviors and some of my relatives have hurt themselves with legal drugs like alcohol, while others have hurt themselves with illegal drugs, and the availability and damage has been roughly the same in either case. Furthermore, fear of the breaking the law hasn't had any effect.

Except for me, by the way. It seems to have skipped a generation in my case, though I've got a jones for sugar that even I can't believe.

Anyway, making certain drugs illegal has only had the effect of raising their price while depriving the state of a chance to earn tax revenue from them. For this reason cash-strapped California is throwing around the idea taxing marijuana sales; further ideas about this can be found here. It would be great if nationally we could just relax drug laws and make them legal and safer. We'd have more resources to devote to violent crime, and more luxury tax money besides.

Would it cause an increase in drug use? Don't think so. People who don't want to smoke crack now aren't going to say, "well, now that it's legal maybe just this once." People who don't drive while they're drunk around going to smoke joints on their commute home. Besides, I'm perfectly fine with the idea of THAT being illegal. If we use alcohol laws as the template to regulate ALL recreational drugs, I bet we'll be a much stronger country.

If You Love Joe The Plumber So Much, Why Don't You Buy His Book?

Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher signs his new book at the Borders at 18th and L streets NW, where only about a dozen people came to hear him read and only a few stayed afterward to get their copies signed. He says he's done with plumbing and plans to get into construction.

Gee, you'd think being an archetypal symbol would count for something in the publishing world, but you'd be wrong.