Monday, October 31, 2005

S.O.L. Wonders, RUFNKM Tries To Answer

Hey there! S.O.L. wonders how many of you are getting effin' kidded in Cleveland. We now provide the means to discover that very information. Yes, it was only a matter of time before one of us (me, of course) was dorky enough to generate a Frappr! entry just for us. Click the link, add yourself and it'll tell everyone where you are (feel free to effin' kid us - we won't mind). The link is also on the sidebar under the new section called "Time Wasters".

They're Up To Something In Cleveland

Not sure how many of you out there are being effin kidded from Cleveland, but if you are, what the Ef' is going on here?

First off, Sunday night, nobody's here. Where are all the clevelanders? And what the hell are you people thinking?


There is some super freaky masonic shite going down in spades and the local vietnam veteran kill team homeless ramblers speak in more ridiculous riddles than elsewhere (oh, and they're from Baltimore, don't fret the local hustlers, blow hard and they fall, Knucklehead).

Seriously, there is public art that is wiggin me right the heck out (and I am stone sober).

First off, there is the 1860's monument to Soldiers and Sailors that has some truly bizzarro iconography. Wierder still is the city center monument (which, according to JJ the kill team bum, are connected by an underground toture tunnel) of a 25 foot queer aquaman leaping from a world fountain with a sea lion for a penis in mid layup.

Something is SERIOUSLY UP in CLEVELAND OH!!!

And I aims to get to the bottom!

S.O.L.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pastafarians Arrive In Hampden

Found just off Falls Rd. near 39th St.

Friday, October 28, 2005

So It's Shaping Up More Like Chanufitz

It's going to be a little longer before we discover what other "presents" Fitzgerald has in his bag, although I'd prefer 8 days over 2 years. What's important to remember in all of this is this: If at age 12 you were given some silly nickname only a blue-blood would get (no one who went to public school would have survived being named after a Muppet) and you continue to let yourself be referred to with it after the age of 18, you deserve whatever you get.

Update: Hah! via Gordon at the Brain we discover that Al Franken is stealing our jokes! Note how he cleverly inverts it to "Fitznukkah", a portmanteau we rejected because it's harder to say.

I got a CIA leak so bad I can taste it.

Better watch out all you white house leakers! The consequences for your actions might be terrible. As if getting indicted for purjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements wasn't bad enough, somebody's gone and kneecapped the poor bastard.

Superoceanlad contributed significantly to this report.

Another Poseur Alert

As Atrios likes to say, "time to convene a panel on blgger ethics." It's nice to see our home state getting a little action in this department. We won't bother defending Steve Gilliard; he's more than capable of defending himself against the racism charge - which initially came from none other than "classical liberal" Andrew Sullivan.

What we will do is note how eff'ed up Sullivan's sense of racism is. Below are some examples of Sullivan's racial calculus at work:

  • It is not racist to champion a book which uses erroneous statistics and faulty reasoning in an attempt to prove that black people are stupid - nor is it racist to insist that the book is "still important" even after it's most basic claims are debunked by experts in the relevent fields. Quite the contrary; this is an act in defense of "free inquiry" and "intellectual honesty".

  • It is not racist when, in a nationally syndicated comic strip read by millions, a black man mocks black people. On the contrary, it's really great! It is especially great when a culture Sullivan doesn't like is mocked, becuase they deserve it for being so stupid(see above).

  • When one black man with politics that don't match Sullivan's mocks another black man - one that's in a position of power and influence and shares Sullivan's politcs - then it's time to take umbrage.


Would it be cynical of us to assume Sullivan only cares about racism when it's something he can use to bash his imaginary "left" and thereby stroke his own ego? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? This is exactly how Sullivan operates - his instincts are those of a self-preserving phony. Notions like "racism", "free inquiry" and "intellectual honesty" are just so much putty to be molded to suit his ideological preferences and stroke his ego.

Dave G Is Cleverer Than Me

But I'll take the credit. Here's the thing. We haven't blogged Traitor/TurdBlossomgate nearly as much as everyone else. There are two reasons for this. One, since we're all, like, into evidence and stuff, it seems silly to speculate on things for which we lack the relevent information. The second reason, which we followed more as unspoken tendency rather than matter of policy, is best expressed by Dave G, who quotes a certain short Frenchman: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

Update: We do have some sympathy for those spending lots time on speculation, however. While searching for the correct attribution for the quote above, we came across a quote from a different master strategerist: "If your opponent is of choleric temperment, seek to irritate him."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

All my outs lie in between

The old, homeless man dragging the stick
Tied on a string attached to his belt.
I tried to look into his eyes but only managed to see what I felt.
He offered me peace and I waved
And I wavered,
consciously separated by auto glass.
-------
Please forgive me my home
My education, my beliefs, and my tone
The things I walk away from and the things I embrace
The smug look on my fat, white face

Everything I ignore and everything I abhor
Based on every lie that I’ve been told in every world I’m asked to hold

I see you with flaws and I see me with flaws
And I see you as human
Are you human?
Can look at me and call me human?

Please open your eyes.

This is life and this is how it works
ups and downs
flaws and quirks

We know with what we go
And learn from what we’re taught
Before the things our brain thinks and has thought

We make up the same lies and argue the same compromise

When all that’s done is done
The lord can’t keep us here no more
----------

There's a whole world of ignorance built up inside of me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Short Sweet and...

Believe it or not MaxSpeak demonstrates that Chomsky is the natural heir to Mencken. Only diff is H.L. would have thought it was funny.

Let's All Have A Doctrine!


So I was reading over my previous post, and the idea of Bush having doctrines just sticks in my craw (which, in a way, has been liberating. I'd always had suspicions as to what my craw was, now I know). If that prancing monkey man gets a doctrine, why don't I? For that matter, why don't you?

Well, we here at Are You Effin Kiddin' Me think it's high time you did!

Now's your chance, post your doctrine here and win a prize! Winner gets to bathe my dog (that is not an innuendo, I mean really, he needs a bath).

SO go for it folks and folk-ettes! Give us your best doctrine and you could be slathering this malamute in suds.

S.O.L.

Thank Heavens For Small Favors

Well, here's a spot of good news. It looks like the U.S. has dropped plans for research and the development of new classes of nuclear weapons. The plan had been to develop smaller, lower yield nukes, attach them to warheads designed to penetrate the Earth, and destroy underground bunkers (like the ones that dot North Korea).

I know concerns over nuclear weapons seem so remote, so very 80's, but this was some scary shite! The goal was to create a series of nuclear weapons that would some how be more palatable. I mean, we'd only be making very small glass parking lots. Now combine that with the Bush Doctrine (an idea that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, has the same gravitas as The Carrot Top Doctrine) of preemption and you've got a recipe for one scary goulash. Basicaly the idea was "Let's make it easier to start nuclear war!"

On one level, it makes a lot of sense. The nuclear threat provided lots of great entertainment. Who can forget such classic made for TV movies as The Day After or my personal favorite Damnation Alley (Jan-Michael Vincent was such a hunk!)? And what about the big screen? Without a nuclear winter there would be no summers with Mad Max, no The Road Warrior, no Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and, saddest of all, no one to run Bartertown and without all of these things, Christ would probably never have seen his passion reach the silver screen (Slightly off topic, if you read the Gnostic Gospels, you'll find that Christ was a man of many passions, being tortured on the cross was but one of them. He was also a serious fisherman, was a wine aficionado, and was apparently hell on wheels when it came to backgammon.).

Beyond that, the nuclear threat is way more productive as a societal bugaboo than car bombers and anthrax mailings (Remember those? Scary!). I mean, if you live in fear of terrorists, you might not go to the movies, or Disney World or that pro democracy rally. That's bad for the economy. A good healthy fear of nuclear annihilation on the other hand, that's something we, as a nation, can get behind. Where are you not going to go? You're never going to hear, "It was horrible, the nuclear weapon hit the theater but luckily I was safe across the street in the Bed, Bath & Beyond!" No reason to change your day's plans. Simply go about them with a vague toothache like terror.

Maybe I should rethink my nuclear non-proliferation stance.

Anyhoo, I think it's a good sign. With all the body blows the administration is taking, they seem to be giving up on some of these psychotic side projects (I've always considered Social Security reform as GW's Wings). Of course, the very idea, the hubris, the unmitigated gall and other huge words that essentialy mean brass balls behind this push to open a new arms race (with whom?) is at the very core of this administrations ideals. Embarking on this course meant violating treaties and agreements This Nation had agreed to and stood by, in some cases for decades. In the same spirit that didn't bring us the Kyoto Accords "The Buck Stops Here," has been replaced by "The Buck Starts Here and Stops Else Where, Hopefully On The Head Of Some Expendable Underling."


S.O.L.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rationality

The underlying premises of economic analysis: individuals have preferences, these preferences are transitively ordered, that we act to maximize the attainment of our preferences - you can do a whole lot with these.

I've heard many people, foreign and American, note how much less common it is to use mass transit in America than in foreign countries with similar levels of economic development/urbanization, such as the upper-tier OECD. Americans love their cars, we're told, they love to drive, and there isn't much we can do about decreasing this.

It's interesting, then, to note that in the face of rising fuel prices, Americans are, apparently, beginning to change their patterns of driving and commuting, and more are using mass transit. As gas price increases, and crosses a certain threshold (one figure cited in the article is $2.65/gallon), people are increasingly likely to use mass transit.

This seems to fit with a lot of thinking about why Europeans, Japanese, and Koreans use mass transit more - or at least are held to anecdotally (I haven't been able to find any comparative statistics on google after 10 minutes of searching). Rather than reflect cultural differences, it may reflect the higher gas prices in other countries. For the week of 10/10/2005, the US average gas price was 3.06 a gallon, compared to 6.19 (Belgium), 5.88 (France), 6.16 (Germany), 6.11 (Italy), 6.52 (Holland), 6.26 (UK).

Gas is not going to go back to being as cheap as it was anytime soon, especially given increased demand for fuel in the developing economies of Southeast Asia, China, and India. As fuel prices stay relatively high, or become higher, will we see increased demand and pressure for mass transit and non-oil based heat and energy production?

How do I get one?

The more I read about Golden Parachutes, the more I want to go get fired from somewhere. I wonder how you become part of the class of people , apparently including university presidents, who get fabulously rich just by fucking up. I bring up this particular case because I am not the only RUFNKM contributor with a stake in the fortunes of AU. We can, of course, include Brownie in this class along with countless CEO's who have run their stock prices in the toilet. The last time I got fired, they just stopped putting me on the schedule. Next time I'm gonna get what's comin' to me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Drugs

I always thought it was a bit strange when we were told that the reason why we pay much higher prices for prescription drugs than other countries do is because of the cost involved in production - I remember a commercial saying it takes 20 years and $700 million, or $900 million, to develop a new drug - but we were daily bombarded with ads hawking the newest pharmaceutical wares. These ads are puzzling themselves - essentially, they encourage you to self diagnose: Do you feel X, Y, Z? You may have this - see your doctor. And then, when your doctor asks about symptoms, you'll say, Well, I have X, Y, and Z...and you might even ask about their product.

Drug companies spent, last year, 4.1 billion on advertising; equivalent of developing between 4 and 5 wholly new drugs, give or take. That was over a 25% increase from the year before. This year, up to July, they'd spent just 2.34 billion - down 1.5 % from the previous period.

It's all a little strange - we pay more for drugs than other countries, developing and non-developing, and we're told we pay more because they're expensive to develop, or because (the Bush argument) we can't trust those dad-gummed Canadian drugs - I mean, there are French people there! - but they sure as shit can spend money on ads.

According to one report I found, in 2002, Fortune 500 drug companies spent 30.8% of their money on advertising and administration, and 14.1% on R&D. Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson spent more on ads than Coca Cola, McDonald's, or Toyota.

Why is so much money spent on advertising to consumers? Why not rely on advertising in medical and trade journals that physicians read, and will then use to formulate their treatments?

If you measure directly by profits, according to the report, each dollar spent on advertising to consumers raked in $4.20 in sales. Pretty good bang for your buck, I suppose.

In effect, though, what it means is that we aren't paying higher prices on drugs simply because of R&D costs, but because the companies are spending lots of money getting us to buy their drugs.

As to why they're so much cheaper in other countries...well, I guess they're just not safe there.

Actually, not quite - prices vary according to what goods can be sold for in markets - that is, the more sensitive consumers are to price, the less that price tends to be for a good, and if there are two markets, one with high and one with low price sensitivity, the low sensitivity will get high prices, high sensitivity will get low - so long as they're separate:

"There is no doubt that one of the major explanation of drug price differentials between our two countries is market separation to reflect the fact that Canadians cannot pay as much as Americans for their drugs. From an economic point of view, this makes perfect sense. Every separate market will have a profit maximizing price that represents that market’s maximum sustainable contribution to the R&D effort of the pharmaceutical industry, as well as covering the hard costs of producing the actual medicines consumed.

Note something very important: If a company is selling at a high price in a well-off market and a lower price in a less well-off market, and separation of the markets ends so they find themselves having to charge the same price in both markets, both the company and at least one set of consumers will be made worse off as a result.

If it raises the price in the lower-priced market, because the demand is more elastic in that market (which is why the original price was lower there), even though the price will now be higher in that market it will lose enough sales to cause its profits to fall (since the original price in that market was the profit maximizing one in that market, any other price, higher or lower, must yield a lower profit than did that original price). If it cuts its price in the higher priced market, because demand was relatively inelastic there (which is why the price was higher there in the first place) it will lose revenue as a result of lowering its price, and not pick up enough in the way of sales to compensate, so its profits in that market will fall. If it adjusts both prices, settling on a common price somewhere in between the original prices, it will lose profits in both markets."

First point: if large portions of revenues/profits are being put into advertising, we shouldn't feel too bad about pharmaceutical companies making less money by charging less for drugs in the US. After all, they're paying, it seems, about as much on advertising as they do R & D, so it's tough to see that loss in revenue, compensated for by diminished advertising, will crush R & D.

Second point: markets don't just stay "separate" for goods that can be moved easily. If you can buy a car in Canada cheaper than in the US, you'll buy it there if you live near the border; automakers in the US stopped honoring Canadian warranties as a result. Meaning, markets don't just stay separate unless the state steps in to keep them separate, or firms do so. And that's precisely what we've seen happening with opposition to importing Canadian or Mexican drugs, which are cheaper. (See this report on drugs in Vermont.)

Now, click over to Open Secrets: in 2004, the pharmaceutical industry gave $17,803,205 to candidates at the federal level, $11,821,283 to Republicans, or 66%. That put them at a rank of 21 in terms of 80 different industries. For the 2006 cycle, they've thus far given $4,436,015 - that puts them at 13. This time around, 71% of the money goes to Republicans.

If memory serves me right, it's more often Republicans that oppose allowing the importation of Canadian or Mexican drugs.

Anyway, just some random thoughts before I hit the sack.

Delay Mug Shots!

God Bless the White House! If you haven't seen Tom Delay's mug shots, they've already got T-shirts, sweat shirts, mugs and more, but lets talk about those photos!

Man oh man!

That first one is sort of scary. He looks just like Batman super-villain Clayface. Of course, I think I find the smile on his twisted noggin in the profile shot even scarier. Does he think this is all an elaborate ruse to throw him a surprise party? What is going on off frame to make him grin like that? Perhaps to make up for bringing him in the Texas Rangers are burning Cindy Sheehan at the stake over a pyre made from endangered Brazilian cherry wood and ignited with The Constitution. I don't think Delay has smiled like that since he received his first virgin sacrifice from the Young Republicans club. He looks like the twisted love child of Bob Dobbs and Grand Moff Tarkin. Actually, I think he might be.

S.O.L.

You know,

Let's Hope Delay Is A Sports Fan Too

If you're feeling bad about yourself, doubting some decision you've made, think about this guy. Eric James Torpy of Oklahoma City was about to be sentenced to thirty years in prison, but that wasn't good enough for this life long Celtics fan! Larry Bird wore number thirty-three and by gum, if Eric James Torpy's gonna go down, he's gonna go down Bird Style! Make that thirty thirty-three!

I hope Delay is a HUGE Gretzky fan. If I ever end up in court, I want everyone to vouch for how much I LOVE Warren Moon.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Groom Reaper

John Waters will host a series on Court TV about domestic murder mysteries called "Till Death Do Us Part."

No comment.

I.D. Is A Scientific Theory....

If you first remember to change the definition of theory.

New Scientist is covering Scopes Two Moron Boogaloo and has a great recap of neo-creationist Michael Behe's testimony. The National Academy of Science defines a theory as "“Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”

Well, not only is the scientific method not good enough for Behe; apparently neither is the dictionary. After admitting that neo-creationism, or I.D. as it's proponents refer to it, doesn't meet the criteria to be a theory because, in his words, "I can’t point to an external community that would agree that this was well substantiated," Behe went on to challenge not only accepted science, but accepted vocabulary. Behe chooses to use a "broader" definition of theory, one that is applied, "A lot more loosely than the NAS defined it.”

Behe's definition describes a theory as, "A proposed explanation which points to physical data and logical inferences,” which sounds a lot like the N.A.S. definition of hypothesis. According to the lawyer cross-examining Behe, astrology fits that definition.

So, as far as I can tell, in order to swallow neo-creationism, you must first disregard tested and accepted tenets of science. This, however, won’t be enough! You must further disregard the accepted usage of the English language, which, frankly, I'm all about. If they'd just said that at the beginning I'd have been all over this one.

First off, I will change the definition of mortgage payment to mean, "Something Oceanlad pays when he damn well feels like it so you can suck it, bank!" Next I will change the definition of success to mean, "one who eats macaroni and cheese 5 nights a week." Hmm, this is fun! Finally I will change the word moron to mean Michael Behe. My favorite quote from the article is this one from a Robert Slade who has been attending the trial regularly, "You've got to admire the guy. It’s Daniel in the lion’s den, but I can’t believe he teaches a college biology class."

If you're going to call your "Theory" Intelligent Design, shouldn't you use some intelligence in the design phase? Well, unless you've changed the definition of intelligent to mean idiot, still fits the same initials.



S.O.L.

Update (from jay): Looks like Behe also has a somewhat nuanced definition of the phrase "rigorous peer review".

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hang 'em high

Only this.

Who'da Thunk It?

Dig Dick's new getup at Oliver Willis. For those who don't get the joke, it's a Bawlmer thing, hon, but you can see the origins here (although it's a Denver paper).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lets Sick Some Boo Birds On Bush!

I’m a bit early on this one, as we haven’t even had the World Series yet, but I’ve got a plan. Let’s all get tickets to opening day for the Senators next year. Pack the place with 50,000 boo birds! When the president gets up to throw out the first pitch, we let him have it.

That’s a clip that would be hard to ignore. That’s a sound bite I’d like to see played to death. It’s a ways off, but if you tell two friends, and so on and so on, by opening day we can get thousands of Baseball Loving Lefties (not Southpaws, mind you, I’m speaking politically here) to pack the place. Then we reward ourselves for a job well done and a statement well made with delicious hotdogs and some cold cold eight dollar Budweisers.

Now that’s political action I can get behind!


S.O.L.

Baseball Been Very Very Bad to Me

When I was a boy, my dad used to get seats a few times a season to Orioles games. The tickets were from work, The American Can Company, way back when it made cans, not Bloomin Onions. Usually the good games would get swept up by the big wigs, so we'd go to see the Blue Jays or the Angels or some other team nobody in Baltimore cared about. Man it was great. Dad would walk us down to the dugout for autographs and once the Blue Jay's left fielder even rolled a ball to my best friend Greg.

When they opened the Safeway at the Rosedale shopping center, Brooks Robinson came to sign baseballs and tussle heads. Jim Palmer came to my school. He gave a speech which, as far as I know he is still giving 24 years later. My soccer team in 3rd grade had 3 Brookses and I know 2 couples with baby Cal's. I don't think there are going to be too many baby Raphes and even fewer baby Angeloses.

Orioles Baseball has been a part of the fabric of Baltimore since 1882 and this, my fellow Baltimorons is the worst moment to be an Orioles fan since the end of the 1902 season when large market pressure forced Wee Willy Keeler's NL Orioles to move from The Land of Pleasant Living to NY NY and spawn the hated Yankees.

For the first time in my life, people don't care about the O's. It wasn't too long ago; nearly everyone in this city could name at least a few Orioles. Kids wore orange, not Yankee pinstripes. At one point this year I literally couldn't give away box seats.

It's strange to say with local ownership but the team doesn't feel part of the city. A seemingly unending series of moves have driven the team away from the average fan and, to some, it seems a lost cause.

I wanted to write something profound. I wanted to make a point about what the decline of the O's means to this town. It hurts too much to do anything but lament. I really hope Cal Ripken and Peter Angelos read this blog. Peter, sell the team to Cal. You are killing baseball in this city.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Actually Mr. Teachout...

In the midst of a piece, which both complains about the politicization of the Nobel Prize and justifies Pinter winning it, our favorite conservative writer wrote:

All this notwithstanding, it's clear that the Nobels are frequently given for purposes less aesthetic than political, though more often it's the peace prize with which the Nobel committee gets stuck on stupid. (Two words: Henry Kissinger.)

See, that's why he's our favorite conservative writer. He can really set aside ideology in favor of good sound judgement. Sadly, no! I AM EFFIN' KIDDING YOU.

He actually wrote "(Two words: Yaser Arafat.)"

Not that I'm Arafat's biggest fan - but Arafat failed to entirely destroy three countries and Kissinger did not.

But at least, on the blind-ideology-driving-you-bonkers front, Teachout does better than our least favorite conservative writier.

I Must Admit to Mixed Emotions On This One

So elements of the Christian Right are talking about seceding I must admit, I don't think it's a bad idea. It would be nice if we, as a nation, could contract out all of our snake handling to one centralized location. We could also send in teams of loon wranglers for some Effin great reality T.V. My problem is they want to take over South Carolina. I kind of like South Carolina.


Isn't there a better state we could pawn off on them? Who would miss Texas? What has Arkansas done for me lately? I'm all for giving them New Mexico. That would shut them up for a while as all the New Agers would give them a healthy supply of witches to burn. Oooo! How about Idaho? Idaho really sucks. It's perfect for them. I'm willing to go this far. We give them 2 states, Arkansas AND Idaho. That way they've got a choice of climates. Wait a minute, they want to legislate against choice. I say stick em with Idaho.

S.O.L.

Assignment: Backyard


DSCN0056
Originally uploaded by Megananopod.
Having grown up in Bmore, I'm never really surprised to hear gunshots, but I can't say that I often hear full-on gun battles a quarter mile from my house. This morning however, as I walked the dogs down to the park, I heard just such a thing. And then I heard it again. And then I saw a big yellow sign that said The Wire . "Ah Ha!" I thought, "that explains everything," as if somehow a real shootout wasn't an adequate explanation.
Then a young, eager person, most likely an intern, politely told me to take my dogs and go away.

So I went home and got my camera and crept, Peter Parker-style back over to the set, where somebody stopped me and told me, politely, not to take any fucking pictures of the set. Fair enough. I guess y'all will just have to be satisfied with the knowledge that there will be a gun battle in the woods in the Season 4 of the Wire.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Arendt you worried?

I've been reading Hannah Arendt with some friends this week . Her work , written in the decade after the Holocaust, carefully traces the varied and subtle course of the rise of fascism from the mid-19th century, and delineating the ways that (without ever meaning to) Europe's monied classes, imperialists, and nationalists worked to bring about the rise of totalitarian governments in the 1930's.

I feel compelled repeat a few of her thoughts on power and imperialism here.

"...power left to itself can achieve nothing but more power, and violence administered for power's (and not for law's) sake turns into a destructive principle that will not stop until there is nothing left to violate.

This contradiction, inherent in all ensuing power politics, however, takes on an appearance of sense if one understands it in the context of a supposedly permanent process which has no end or aim but itself. Then the test of achievement can become meaningless and power can be thought of as the never-ending, self-feeding motor of all political action that corresponds to the legendary unending accumulation of money that begets money. The concept of unlimited expansion that alone can fulfill the hope for unlimited accumulation of capital, and brings about the aimless accumulation of power, makes the foundation of new political bodies, - which up to the rea of imperialism always had been the upshot of conquest - well-nigh impossible. I fact its logical consequence is the destruction of all living communities..."

Hannah Arendt - Origins of Totalitarianism

Putting The Friday Random Ten In Order


  1. Mission of Burma - Fun World

  2. Treat Her Right - Factory Girl

  3. Toiling Midgets - Destiny

  4. Rolling Stones - Paint It Black

  5. The Versatiles - Teardrops Falling

  6. Autechre - Gnit

  7. Butterfly Child - Gringo

  8. Durutti Column - U.S.P.

  9. Harmonia - Notre Dame

  10. The Minutemen - There Ain't Shit On T.V. Tonight

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Even the photo ops are going badly...

Wow, the press is just chomping at the bits with Bush lately - where have they been? Has some event occurred, some spirits in the ether shifted, to cause the new-found treatment of Bush in the press as if he were Bill Clinton?

As part of the never-ending effort to show that the war in Iraq is going great, Bush had an "unscripted teleconference call" with 11 soldiers, 10 American, and 1 Iraq. Bang up job there, commander in chief, was the theme - and no, no, no, it was NOT choreographed, slithered and slathered McClellan at today's press conference.

Turns out that like any other piece of propaganda, it was indeed choreographed to achieve a desired effect - namely, that everything is honky-dory in Iraq and those troops (who were hand-picked and fed questions, in addition to being told what order they should go in) love and support their commander in chief.

Caligula made his horse a senator - but at least he was qualified, quipped someone in a piece the Economist had this week on Miers. It seems as if, with Bush, we've moved from tragedy to farce; it's almost hypnotic, sitting back and watching him commit blunder after blunder, grinding his teeth and fidgeting while his popularity drops, his allies get indicted, and his erstwhile propaganda minister sweats about his potential indictment.

But fun as it is to watch Bush flail, one thing should be at the top priority of every person who is a Democrat and left-of-center, with a blog, a column, or an elected office: link every single Republican in every single district with Bush, Rove, and Delay. Bring up every vote; trace every dollar taken and given; this is a tremendous opportunity, with elections not too far off. One hopes that the Democrats won't prove themselves adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Still, the opportunity is ripe:

"In addition, with 13 months until the 2006 congressional elections, 48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question. "

The problem is that this is not the result of anything the Democrats have done - sitting back and watching the implosion is fine and dandy, but that nine point lead could be a lot bigger if certain leading Democrats (for instance, one with the initials HC) would get out in public and take more aggressive anti-Bush stands. For instance (not that this needs to be the kind of stance taken), only dear Russ Feingold, the coolest Senator I ever met (granted, the only other one I've met is Herb Kohl, who was wearing a purple and green outfit to match the Milwaukee Bucks) has come out strongly against what's going on in Iraq and proposed a plan to do something about it. If they're running scared - and they're beginning to - it's time to give chase.

Speaking of Gates...


Sorry it's been a while; busy with the new line of work.

But if we're going to talk about "gates," how about Church-gate? Or Pander-gate? Or something to that effect - I'm talking about Bush's astonishingly obvious and poorly executed effort to pander to the basest of his base by saying this on why people should appoint Miers, AKA "My little Crony":

"People ask me why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush said when reporters asked about those assurances. "They want to know Harriet Miers' background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion. Part of it has to do with the fact that she was a pioneer woman and a trailblazer in the law in Texas."

Could he be any more obvious? The "faith based" crowd cries foul because they aren't convinced she shares their views, so Bush throws them a bone; in doing so, he'll continue to alientate them - nothing pisses off those who try to be religious more than patronizing hypocrisy and lip-service to their faith - and, quite likely, the Democrats who looked like they might be amenable to her nomination.

It's kind of funny watching the whole thing - apart from the sociopath Dobson, who claimed to be privy to internal information (I think he may also have said God told him to back Miers), there's been far more hostility to Miers on the right than there has been support. Take George Will, who despite his demi-Straussian status, I quote:

"It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks."

Indeed. Now, it's amusing to point out all the ironies - those who, with Roberts, were saying he shouldn't have to answer questions about his philosophy are now saying that Miers should, whereas those who wanted to ask Roberts a question about his philosophy are now less concerned, etc. That's politics - no one is against legislating from the bench, whatever that means, but they're against the other side legislating from the bench.

What's interesting, though, is how, all of a sudden, when it rains, it pours with the Bush administration - a whole lot of people were pretty damn pissed for about the first 4 years of his presidency - what lies and deception could he not get away with? What brazen hypocrisy was too great for him to commit without being punished because he nicknames journalists? Then, the shit started to hit the fan - Iraq, where major combat operations have been over for over 2 years, continues to make progress, evident in the large number of people getting killed in the US military and among the Iraqi civilian population (after all, they only attack because they're desperate, and once we have these elections/constitution/elections, the attacks will die down); an astonishingly incompetent and unqualified crony nicknamed Brownie did a heck of a job mishandling the disasters on the Gulf Coast and destroying the crown jewel of the bureaucracy under Clinton; Rove and Libby may well be indicted soon - remember when Bush said he'd fire whoever leaked?; Delay has been indicted; Frist may be indicted; and most tragi-comic of all, Bush can't even get his base to back his Supreme Court nominee.

Have we reached the tipping point? Has the rest of America (or at least some of the third estate) finally realized what left of center types have been saying for 4 years - that the emperor has no clothing? 39% approval rating; only 28% think we're going in the right direction...not such good numbers. One wonders where the political capital went.

So the Miers sop - dadgum, she sure does go to some church and love her some Jesus - may be the sign that Bush's presidency has hit the tipping point. If you're so desperate to get backing for a Supreme Court nominee from you BASE that you pander to it unsuccessfully (and, for the sake of argument, lets say he is successful - he'll piss off just about every moderate Republican and Democrat, and may well violate the Civil Rights Act and Civil Service Reform Act) and your chief sycophant spends an entire press conference not answering the same question incoherently, you've got to ask yourself: is it time for another vacation?

Traitor Gate Contest

Since Watergate, American scandal has been marked by one common thread. It ain’t a scandal 'til it's a gate. We've had Iran-Contra-gate, Travel Gate, Monica Gate, and yet, in the last five plus years, we've had no gates. What up with that? Come on, liberal media.

If screwing a fat chick is a gate, shouldn't screwing the nation be too? Why was there no election-gate? No AWOL-gate? No Rita-gate? Why hasn't Tom DeLay gotten a gate? He seems eligible for several. Gerrymandering-Gate is too local (though sending 5 additional Republicans to congress definitely was a scale tipper), how about his current scandal? Laundry-gate? Ancient-Texas-Secret-Gate? If firing the White House travel agents gets a gate, shouldn't sacrificing a valued U.S. intelligence resource and possibly her life to penalize her husband for saying something mean about you get a gate? How about Treason-gate?

As we all know, the media is a rabid liberal pitbull with a mindless desire to chew on the President's leg. I mean, the same people who told me I'm pro-abortion, not pro-choice, that I don't support the troops cause I don't support the war, that I'm an anti-business tree-hugger because I'd like to breath clean-air, that if I don't want clean air, I should support the Clear Skies Initiative, that neo-creationism (oh, I meant Intelligent Design) is science told me the media is liberal. It must be true.

So, since the media is so virulently liberal, the fact that none of these scandals, especially Ol' Rove-ey and DeLay's don't have a gate after them must be because they haven't thought of a catchy title yet. So here's the contest. We need something witty. We need something concise. We need it to roll off the tongue. If we come up with it, man, it's gonna take off. So let's come up with a Gate.

Enter your submissions. The winner will get an all expenses paid trip for 2 from the Baltimore Travel Plaza to the Back River WasteWater Treatment Plant. Oh, and the appreciation of our tens of loyal readers.



S.O.L.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New contest!

Let's call it, "My boss is the biggest crackpot cuz...". I'll start.

1. Yesterday, a crackpot sent me an email with a link to an article about body mass index and why I should be interested in it. Though I refuse to disclose my place of business, I will let loose that I certainly do not work in a gym, a doctor's office or any other location that is concerned primarily with obesity, fitness, weight, et al. Yes, this crackpot was my boss and yes, he did want all of the staff to calculate our BMI and report back to him with the results. Needless to say, I deleted the email and tried to pretend I'd never seen it. Last time I checked, my boss has never no need for knowing how much body fat is shakin over here.

2. Started Capt. Crackpot's "required reading" for this semester. First book: "One Nation Under Therapy". Co-written by Christina Hoff Sommer, author of sellout bestseller, "Who Stole Feminism?". Admittedly, I've only read the preface, but the tome got all danged messy from the puke that I discharged while reading. So as to not spoil the ending (of the preface) for you, let me say that this "scientific" analysis of years of psychological theory is performed by resident scholars of the American Enterprise Institute. Search inside!

I've said too much. The glare from the unblinking eye is keeping me awake. Tread lightly.
Anybody else?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Great Hunter With A Friday Random Ten

Because we love you, we put our player on shuffle and post the first ten that come up.


  1. Big Black - Kitty Empire

  2. Pink Floyd - Candy and a Current Bun

  3. Black Flag - American Waste

  4. Duke Ellington - Rem Blues

  5. Lungfish - Unfold the Leg

  6. dark water transit - refridgerate the neighborhood

  7. Felt - Dismantled King Is off the Throne

  8. Poster Children - Cancer

  9. Toiling Midgets - Clinging Fire/Claims

  10. The Fall - C.R.E.E.P.

What's happening to my government?

Assisted suicide is so obviously a state’s rights issue!

Medical marijuana is so obviously a states right’s issue!

Justice Scalia is so obviously a hypocrite.
How can a supreme court justice scream “STATES RIGHTS” so loud for so many years and
IGNORE THEM SO BLATENTLY when the political winds shift?

Our government is being overrun by a faction. What’s up Madison?
Whachu got on this?

“If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under forms of the constitution.” (from Federalist #10)

Ok, thanks.

But the minority has the presidency, the legislature, and it’s working on the judicial. How’d that happen?

The administration is clogged; society is practically epileptic; and the faction is perpetrating its violence under forms of the constitution (can anyone say Nuclear Option?), masks of mass media punditry expertly trained in doublespeak, rampant consumerism, and fear.

We’re not even supposed to have Bush. We’re supposed to be electing wise and good men, the best of America! Come on now! This isn’t even close!

Now, our President and Congress, in their wisdom and goodness, are nominating and confirming judges (or lawyers) possibly more beholden to their faction than the constitution.

Something is wrong.

I hope it can be fixed.

I’d love to see John Roberts come down hard on the side of federalism, spanking Gonzales and Ashcroft back to loony town. There is no room in the constitution for the federal government to force their ideology down the throats of people who voted twice for Death with Dignity!

From now on, I’m going to think positive:

John Roberts is a good judge, he will make decisions that reflect the constitution and benefit the nation.

and

The Democrats, under Howard “hide the salami” Dean (I LOVE that!), will get their act together and take back the congress in 2006 ... and that will be a good thing.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

NYC terrorism/Iraq link, finally

A plot to bomb the New York City subway system is tied to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Is this what Dick Cheney was talking about?

NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York City's subway system went under heightened alert Thursday after officials received information from the FBI about a "specific threat," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

A well-placed U.S. military official told CNN on Thursday that the same intelligence also led to a raid against suspected al Qaeda operatives in Iraq.

Nice to know we're fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to deal with them here.

The Catholic Church Has Impecable Timing

While it's been the teaching of the Catholic Church for quite some time, it's nice to see them come out now to say that The Bible doesn't always get the facts right. It's always good to see people of faith who don't let it keep them from thinking. Check out this article over at the Times UK.


S.O.L.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Yer Daily Hegel

"The sciences, however, are not to be found anywhere in the field of opinions and subjective views. Their exposition is not a matter of clever turns of phrase, allusiveness, half-utterances and semi-reticences, but consists in the unambiguous, determinate, and open expression of their meaning and purport. It follows that they do not fall under the category of public opinion. "

- G.W.F. Hegel Hegel's Philosophy of Right

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm Sorry Gale Sayers, I was forced to ask Rhetorical Questions

Like most of you out there, I was stunned by this weeks big news. Nicholas Cage has named his son Cal-El. This of course makes Nicholas Cage Jor-El, the wisest man on a doomed planet. If I was forced to pick one of those to be true, I'm not sure I could choose. Both seem too horrible to be true, and yet it seems more and more within the realm of possibility. How would you describe a world where the most powerfull person in it asks God for advice and doesn't assume he got a wrong number when The Lord suggests nominating that pretty lil' filly who ran the Texas Lottery to The Supreme Court? Sounds like a doomed rock rife with the kind of thinking that would put creepy aging actors near the top of the think chain.

I once bought a Texas lottery ticket, can I be secretary of the interior? Do we still have one of those? Oh, and how do these big appointments go down? What's the thinking behind em? "Oh yeah, he's a good guy. Met him at a kegger in 79, heck of a wing man, got my nob pollished. Think I'll make him Archduke of Connecticut. What do you mean, there is no Archduke of Connecticut? I'm the God Damn president andI say there is! What's that Dick? You sure I can't make him Archduke? OK, how about Secretary of Defense. He played Linebacker at Yale."

Maybe I'm beind naive considering this appointment illconcieved. Both sides were lined up for a knock-down drag-out poli-scrum and now we're all just confused. Right and Left just stairing stupidly like a pair of Jack Russel pups and the president just turned off the laser pointer. This guy's like a presidential Gale Sayers makes moves so far out of no where he's faked us all of our shoes. It's these oddball in your face convention be damned maneuvers that make him such a great politician and such a terrible president.

S.O.L.

Hooray!

Someone's finally doing it. By it I mean HitchWatching. It should be on the blogroll any second now.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Quantified!

Down in the inner sanctum sanctorum of the offices of RUFNKM, we got a big kick out of listening to our President outline Harriet Miers' qualifications for Supreme Court Justice. We hadn't really thought much about who Bush would nominate because we just assumed it'd be a White House political crony with very little relevent experience. Or, to put it the way the lovely and talented jaynieinbmore did when we heard the President say, "Over the past five years I've spoken clearly to the American people about the qualities I look for in a Supreme Court justice": "They gotta be one ah mah friends!" Were we suprised when she turned out to be right? Of course not. So our usual urge was briefly suppressed.

Then we heard that among her vast achievments in government was a stint on the Dallas City Council. "ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?" echoed throughout the offices. It's not that there's anything silly about serving in city government. Quite the contrary; if there's a government position less deserving of scorn than Senator, City Council Rep is it. But if you've got to reach back to that for a political resume, you are padding. And just so's we can show off that we do the "someone else thinks the same thing as us so we must be right" thing as well as Malkin or Powerline, we note that MaxSpeak speaks the same thing.

Not Japanese but Red State

A few months ago an old friend from SF told me that after 3 years below the Mason-Dixon I've started demonstrating some "hickitude". Evidently, via Snay, I discover the interwebs think so too.


You are Lawrence.

You're pretty laid back. Just a few beers, a few
buddies and the breast exams on channel 9 are
all you need to feel content.


Which Office Space Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, October 02, 2005

'effin Clinton!

Ok,

Remember a while ago I wrote a post about my cousin the navy pilot? We talked about the "liberal vs. patriot" theme?

Well, he got married this weekend and we went to his wedding. So did many Navy people. They're all very nice, some of their minds, however, are filled with nonsense.

My brother, the best man, was in the limo with the other groomsmen when he heard this gem from a pilot:

"Well, if Clinton had the balls to finish the job he started in Iraq, we wouldn't be in this mess now!"

My brother said something to the effect of "Clinton wasn't president during the gulf war."

"Sure was! Bush's father had to come in and clean up his mess."

My brother smiled sadly and enlisted the help of another groomsman, a 20 year Army man (a good friend and liberal who'd rolled his eyes when the first remark was made). Together they managed to convince the guy that Daddy Bush was president at the time. It took some work, but they finally made the timeline connect

This is the kind of ignorance the GOP thrives upon.