Monday, January 30, 2006

But the exit polls said Fatah would win!

So, Condoleezza Rice and the administration were caught off guard by the Hamas victory in the Palestinian election. "I've asked why nobody saw it coming," she says. "It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse." Nice work.

And now she thinks cutting off aid will keep Hamas from winning more elections:

The total outside assistance to the Palestinians runs to more than $1 billion a year. Now Ms. Rice will meet in London on Monday with top officials of Europe, the United Nations and Russia to call on Hamas to abandon its vow to destroy Israel and to disarm and negotiate a two-state solution in the Middle East, or risk having this aid cut off.

If the Bush administration wants to get the results they want from Middle Eastern elections, cutting off aid isn't going to do it. In fact, I suspect that will result in more hostility toward the United States. Perhaps the administration should realize that those countries are watching the United States and its democracy. Maybe they should conduct themselves in a manner befitting a democracy. Maybe they shouldn't detain the wives of insurgents. Maybe they shouldn't mislead their population into launching preemptive wars. Maybe they should ask for the best intelligence, not just intelligence that supports their bellicose foreign policy. Maybe they should appoint people who are qualified, instead of appointing loyalists who will bend to their every whim. Maybe they shouldn't wiretap domestic calls without warrants. Maybe they shouldn't entrust religious groups to combat AIDS (or, to make a larger point, maybe they should look around the world to see what happens when religion drives governance). Maybe they should plan for worst case scenarios, not best case scenarios. Maybe they should build levees that work in New Orleans. Maybe they should be concerned that even Gawker sees right through their self-recriminations on Hamas.

Maybe the problem is that they only hear what they want to hear, for fear of having their pie-in-the-sky, faith-based theories and philosophies discredited by the reality on the ground.

Maybe Americans will help convince folks in the Middle East that we know the power of a democracy by voting out the charlatans in 2006 and 2008 (and replacing them with a slate of slightly less destructive charlatans).

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Disaster After the Disaster

So maybe to tell you all a little about me, I’ll tell you a little about some of the work we are up to in our office, and give you a little perspective on how things are unraveling with the aftermath of Katrina. We are currently managing a FEMA Crisis Counseling Program for Katrina evacuees who have relocated here. The State has secured a pretty solid project to provide services to evacuees who went through some pretty nasty experiences in the Gulf. What those people went through still boggles the mind. You know, like, watching your baby daughter slip off your rooftop into a cesspool of floodwaters littered with garbage and dead people and animals. Or watching an older family member die in front of you because he couldn’t get a kidney dialysis or meds. Not good stuff.

Well the State did pretty good in those first few months to offer services to evacuees who were literally marched at gunpoint into buses to come here. But the Federal response continues to be one bungle after another. Although close to half the states in the union received federal dollars to provide immediate services to evacuees for a 60 day period, as of today most of those states, including ours, have not received FEMA funds to continue providing crisis counseling for evacuees for the recommended 9 months of crisis counseling. Well hello federal government, Katrina hit on August 29 and now its February - support for a 60 day period is gone. And FEMA knows that leaving people hanging during the holiday season is the absolute worst possible time to delay support. And it does take people longer than 60 days to recover psychologically from a disaster. Especially if it’s a massive disaster the scale of Katrina and a significant portion of survivors had to deal with pre-existing social pathologies associated with living in abject poverty already.

So the situation now is – we wait. We wait until the feds make a long overdue decision (if they make a decision) to provide the states with additional funding to help these poor people out. And they say its going to be soon, which is good. And in fairness, the folks at FEMA and SAMHSA administering the program are overworked and overwhelmed with the scope of the disaster, and good intentioned. I can only imagine how the restructuring with the Homeland Security Department affected things on the resource and reporting front. As for the evacuees, some are doing better. Some. Some have returned, others have relocated across the country, but many are still in limbo, or breaking down rapidly. Considering the relatively large homeless and poor population who inhabited the area, in one sense the forcible evacuation has basically amounted to dispersing this population to other states where they will likely be homeless and poor again. And another thing we are slowly finding out, in an anecdotal sense, either the level of public education down there was not very good, or access to good education was poor. Its not easy to identify your meds, or apply for housing or a job if you’re a functional illiterate. And of course there is that minority of people who are going to try and numb the pain of the experience and are blowing FEMA checks for rental assistance on drugs and alcohol, which doesn’t help anything.

Well its nearly half a year after Katrina and things are so broke now I wonder how they will ever get fixed. And what the hell is up with the rebuilding plan for New Orleans? I’m not saying that its ALL the federal government’s fault. All levels of government failed. But the feds are the ones who have the purse strings and power to do something but of course the fixation has changed from Katrina to other things. They failed the people of the gulf once and are failing them again. And past experience dictates that if you happen to be a member of a subordinated race or ethnic group in this society, chances are likely you’ll continue to get screwed.

I remember that first week of September, when the entire nation was outraged and sickened by the TV images. And the TV images were hardly capable of translating the horror of the entire experience. Where is that outrage now? Its all messed up. In short, it’s the disaster after the disaster.

Hi. I'm new here.

Thanks for the invite jay.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Why It's FunTo Be A Neocon...

You never have to make sense or hold a consistent position. Watch the Bull Moose bemoan the coming to power, via democratic means, of the type of regime he constantly advocates for the United States: religious fanatics promising "reform" and "an end to corruption". (See him also conflate Palestine with Iran, which is also nice polemics but not exactly useful). While he's willing to work for an organization (the Christian Coalition) that actively promotes the oppression of American citizens just for being born the way they are (and thinks the juxtaposition is "interesting"), no one better say anything about Isreal. If you removed the anti-Semitism, the Moose would probably love Hamas - he certainly loves everything else they stand for.

I point this out not to excuse the clear anti-Semitism of Hamas, nor am I claiming any solidarity with them. I'm simply drawing a distinction between what the Holocaust taught me and what it taught people like the Moose.

On this Holocaust Rememberance Day (and on most every day) my thoughts include the blood relatives I never met because a nation let itself blame its internal problems on a group of people that had the bad luck to be born with the "wrong" genetic makeup. On this day (and on most every day) I have to remind myself that ordinary people are capable of great evil when they allow a demagogue to prey on their fears and combine it with appeals to their vanity and entitlement due to their supposed inherent exceptionalism. On this day I have to remember that it's not just anti-Semitism that caused the Holocaust. It's jingoism, nativism, and the sense of one's identity being seperate from - and superior to - our common humanity. The lesson of the Holocaust is that while The Holocaust happened largely to Jews, holocausts can (and do) happen whenever those base impulses surface and are catered to. Bosnia, Kosovo, Rawanda and Darfur are just recent examples. When I say "Never Again", I mean it for all of us, and it's meant as a warning to be on guard against these impulses first of all in ourselves because we are all capable of them.

If you want to know why I despise what the Malkins, the Limbaughs, the LGF's and every other clueless jingo says, it's because they are actively promoting the impulses which lead to holocausts. I'd like to remind them, on this day in particular, that what makes America exceptional is our system of laws which - in theory - is supposed to prevent those impulses from gaining a foothold within the State. We are not an inherently more moral people - we were born lucky that our founders were smarter than most of us.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Secret Identities Revealed!

Well, this is truly a treat for our tens of loyal readers! I, SuperOceanLad, am going to reveal the secret identities of each of those who are Effin Kidded!

Here is a recent photo of Dave G snapped while on the job at a dig site. Notice the piercing gaze and take no prisoners attitude? He's deadly with a trowel and hard to miss.

Deep Cover was tougher to spot. If you'll notice in the photo, she's wearing a headset which allows her to broadcast a mighty shout of "Shhhhh!" deafening all who hear.

Disappearing Ink was toughest to spot. The cameraman was killed mere nanosecond after this photo was taken. The film was found on the corpse outside a Shinto temple deep in the heart of the Amazon.

Klipper is easy to find. Follow the drums and the billowing clouds of pot smoke. Don't let the photo fool you, though! He rarely wears a tie. Little known fact, Klipper has sworn his life to protect the Plumbers Code!

Juan Dixon's #1 Fan, interestingly, hates basketball! Born in the Basque region of France, he believed his given name Philip, was not American enough and changed it to his current moniker. He is easily distinguished by his huge frightening grin and his bushy yarn filled mustache.

Just Me Here is new to this board, but she knows how to make an entrance! A Jet Powered Entrance! When she's not breaking hearts, she's breaking the sound barrier! This photo was captured by the Hubble space telescope which, for some reason, was aimed at Columbia Maryland. The apparatus she's strapped into there is not actually a jet pack. It was her vain attempt at improving on the Sousaphone.

And finally, the straw that stirs the drink. That's Jayinbmore on the left. When he's not dispensing Incredipunditry! or waxing on (And on and on) about hotdogs, he's fighting crime and building robots!

Know you know the crew, and knowing is half the battle!


Hey We're Not The Only Backwards Folks!

It's easy when you live in The U. S. of A. to begin to think we've got a monopoly on backwards assed thinking. Sure, you'll hear of the occasional cargo cult that worships a lost shipment of Richard Simmons DVDs and think, "Well, we're not alone." But it's always exciting to learn when other nations armed with the bomb are just as simple as we are. Turns out not only do the Limeys (or British, as they aparently prefer to be called) drive on the wrong side of the road, forty percent believe in creationsim. They think this God guy had a week off and made it all.

I probably should be shocked and a little bit frightened. Instead, I feel a warm glow. We're not alone, and like the tradition where simple minded children inherit rulership, if it's good enough for the British, it's good enough for me!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Because He Is Trapped In The Dullest Place In Maryland (Again)

Incredipundit! suggests you read more Steve Clemons.

Woolsey and his colleagues from Scoop Jackson circles are doing serious harm to America's national security portfolio -- and they will not stop, not ever -- until the Congress, rational parts of the Bush administration and Pentagon, civil society and the American public shut down these dangerous pundits.

Although he takes issue with the term "shut down", Incredipundit! still says "Indeed. Heh. And Amen."

You May Not Be Alone Much Longer

Well all you Homos out there can stop feeling so smug. Turns out you may have company on the family tree, or, at least hanging from a branch riding a tire swing. According to biologist Soojin Yi and his team at the Georgia Institute of Technology Chimps (and their randy cousins the Bonobos) are closer genetically to humans than the other apes differing by only three percent.

Turns out when chimps were first classified in Seventeen-Seventy-Five, they were homos, but by eighteen-sixteen, word got out and people who had seen our cousins the chimps hucking poo and consorting with carney folk insisted on a family split. Hence forth, chimps and their lot would be known as genus pan even though they displayed rudimentary flute playing ability at best.

So congratulations Homos! Now there's another homo to hang with!

Now try to prove I'm a sea monkey’s uncle.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

AquaPundit Abuses His Power

AquaPundit insists you look at these cute dogs. AquaPundit says, indeed, Hmmm, and what-a-cute-lil-puppy!


Monday, January 23, 2006

Call for comments

Why do you live in the city?

Not Even Incredipundit!try

Incredipundit! insists you read Steve Clemons today.

No Soup For You!

So what's the under/over on an invasion of Venezuela by the end of the decade?

The U.S. is again interfering with Venezuelan weapons purchases. The Venezuelan government is attempting to purchase twenty Brazillian made Super Tucano aircraft. The Tucano, pictured above, is a small propeller powered plane. We're not talking about stealth bombers here that can rain death upon the heartland. It's primarily used for training and border patrol though it can be used as an attack aircraft. Recently, the U.S. attempted to veto Spain's sale of twelve costal patrol/transport planes. This comes on the heels of the U.S. nixing a deal where Israel would upgrade and repair F-16 fighter planes Venezuela bought from the U.S. during the eighties.

I'm not one to support an arms race, but a U.S. State Department spokesman's claim that, "This planned buying spree is really out-sized, in the analysis of many, to Venezuela's defense needs," seems a bit disengenuous from a nation that has the biggest military budget in the world and outspends the next highest 22 nations combined. Add to that the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. weapons given to Venezuela's neghbor Columbia, it just doesn't add up.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Third In Syphillis

But number one in Horse Herpes! Go B-More! Go B-More! Go-Go Go B-more!


Friday, January 20, 2006

The Wierd Thing

So, there's a party at Chez 'G and we are celebrating his birthday, and we are arguing certain subtle interpretations of the Constitution and we are drinking lots of scotch. However, the amazing thing is that we have now drank at least 4 toasts to the Constitution and its authors how lots of scotch turns a certain blogger into a pretentious idiot. This is exactly the type of party I want to be attending every week why some of us ought not blog drunk.


huh. Some things I've recently googled:

Solomon Technologies, Inc.
Camel crickets
Colt 45 works every time
the flaming atheist
*world domination "how to's"
spray painting old furniture fabric
righty tighty lefty loosey
*how to rule the world in 5 easy steps
rapid city
armchair activism
*How to effectively manage your minions and still be loved
Toyota prius
Maryland call to artists

* Searches performed on public library terminals.

What rhymes with "alcohol-saturated dread"?

I'm about 100 pages into The Assasin's Gate and as I am reading it I grow more horrified than I thought possible at the people who architected the Iraq war. Our own Disappearingink wrote: "The War in Iraq is simply a tangible culmination of 20-year-old intellectual movement." I am more inclined to say that calling the movement "intellectual" is being far too charitable. What people like Perle believed would happen, and the rationalizations they made, is tantamount to a belief in magic - only with the power emanating from use of the military rather than a magician's wand. Someone let these people make life and death decisions? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Still, what better way to celebrate this new level of terror-inducing enlightenment than a new message from Osama Bin Laden?

What the arrival of this message points out is some people - pundits, specifically - need Bin Laden alive. For example, how else could that spewer of senseless conventional wisdom, Chris Matthews, keep pretending playground taunts against the Left are in any way relevent to our current situation? This sort of "in-depth" analysis is exactly what we don't need right now. I don't need a policial hack cum media dork to tell me what Bin Laden (if the message really is from him) sounds like. He sounds like a religious fanatic who has some pretty horrible ideas about how to enact his agenda. Chris Matthews, on the other hand, sounds like a four year old.

orange peels and tear gas?

Protestors in Ivory Coast want the U.N. out.

Peacekeepers fired tear gas canisters and what appeared to be stun grenades, but neither seemed to frighten the young men, who rubbed orange peels on their eyes to stop the tears streaming down their faces from the stinging gas.

Do orange peels really work against tear gas?

A Whale of an Idea!

Well, there are whales wandering London. Apparently this is rare, and I have no trouble figuring out why. The British are terrible hosts. This poor whale shows up, does a bit of bumping around during the day (probably recovering from the famed London nightlife) and suddenly he's public enemy number one. They're trying to shoo him away like Prince Harry from a masquerade.

I don't get it. The whale is apparently mature, more than capable of making it's own decisions, and apparently it's come along way for his European vacation. Why can't we let the poor beast be? British marine biologist Paul Hale, who is most renowned for his work on the sometimes subtle relationship betwixt fish & chips and the effects when humans introduce vinegar to the equation, said, "Getting that to do anything it doesn't want to is going to be extremely difficult...It's not going to go anywhere it doesn't want to so we have to persuade it to swim back out." Well, Paul, you've just said it doesn't go anywhere it doesn't want to, so here's a whale of an idea, why not leave it the 'ef alone?

So their are boats trailing the thing and people lined up to chase it away if it gets to close to anything, and while the whale is, "Quite healthy and quite relaxed, "everyone is worried that they might, "Stress the animal out."

OK, first off, I understand the concern, but as monarch of six of seven seas, let me assure you, whales have been plying the Ocean Sea for literally decades. They've figured this stuff out. I know everybody worries about whales beaching themselves, but for every whale that beaches it self, like eight or nine don't. Can't we give this beleagured leviathon the benefit of the doubt.

I know you JAFOs (for those of you who have not read the essential tome by Hodgeman The Areas of My Expertise: Just Another F'ing Air Breather) tend to dismiss the work of we aquatic folk, but I've consulted famed merman biologist Finn Damptrousers (interesting window to my undersea world: While you might call Finn a "marine bioligist" we simply call him a biologist. Were he to study "land cows," dry Earth cousins of the manatee, we would call him a "land biologist").

In his seminal work, How Not to Stress Out a Bottlenosed Whale, Finn says, "First off, don't follow the whale around in a rubber raft shooting it wary glances. They find that really stressfull. Secondly, if a bottlenosed whales arrive on holiday, please don't develop contingency plans to shoo them back to sea. This makes them feel like unwanted guests and feeling like an unwanted guest is really stressy for bottlenosed whales. Finally, if bottlenosed whales gets close to stuff, don't wallop them with oars and the like. They really hate that. Avoid these three key faux pax, and you will have a whale so stress free, you'll be heard pressed to tell he's not Wavy Gravy." (Interestingly, that's the entire book. Merman books rarely exceed seven sentences and most novels take the form of a short exclamatory phrase. The average merman publishes tens of thousands of books a year. Wierdly, mermaid books [like mermaid speach] are remarkably verbose prattiling on and on until mermen's eyes glaze over and they think abou jumping onto a bridge.)

All these sea huggers lament the fact that the ranges and numbers of these animals are declining, so what's the response when they show up? "Holy Christ! Some fool heardy whale has swam into the river? We've got to save it! Smack it with your oar 'til he heads back to sea!"

What I'm saying is, just once can't somebody say, "Oh, a whale has showed up, aren't we lucky? You know, whales used to come here all the time, but have mysteriously vanished from these waters." Instead of, "Ack! A misguided cetacean! What the heck is he doing there, swiming around like that! Somebody tie a firehose to his tale and drag him out to sea before he becomes too stressed!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Philadelphia Freedom

Mrs. Klipper and I are on vacation this week so we shot up to Philly for a little getaway. Actually, we went up to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Franklin Institute. I work for Marriott and they gave us two free nights at the Marriott downtown. We checked in around 3:30pm, got settled, and went for a bite to eat. (Incidentally, Philadelphia’s City Hall is about the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen lit up at night!) We ended up atMcGillins Olde Ale House, the oldest pub in Philly ... Dogfishhead 60 minute IPA on tap, Tullamore Dew on the rocks, and a corned beef on rye ... I call that heaven.

The next morning we walked in the rain to the Reading Street Station, an indoor market reminiscent of the markets in Mexico. There were butchers with fresh meat and fish sellers, candy and cookies, and, most importantly, several Pennsylvania Dutch eateries. We sat on a stool at one and ordered breakfast (fresh-squeezed OJ, bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a kaiser roll for me; two eggs over easy, turkey-bacon, wheat toast and coffee for Mrs. Klipper). The food came in less than five minutes (are you effin’ kidding me!), cost less than $12, and we were on our way.

The rain was pouring, the wind was blowing, and the bust-ass umbrellas given to us by the bell stand had long since stopped stopping rain. Mine simply broke in half, Mrs. Klipper’s broke all it’s limbs and looked like a parka on a stick. People looked at us funny as we walked through the pouring rain, getting soaked, carrying our umbrellas at our sides. I complained, Mrs. Klipper was a trooper, soldiering on, calling me a wimp and saying things like, “Good Lord! You lived in Oregon for Christ’s sake! Suck it up!” Eventually, we made it to Independence National Historical Park, home of the Liberty Bell and “...a more perfect union”.

It took a while to find the right security entrance, and another little while to actually get through the airport-like security. We had to take off our soggy jackets, belts, watches and jewelry; empty our pockets and put our bags and bodies through an x-ray machine and metal detector. Nobody thought my sparkling wit was either sparkling or witty as I commented on the irony of the situation: a strip-search, pat down to view the birthplace of liberty. There was private security and armed state policemen everywhere! “Move along, sir!” they said with their eyes, “Freedom isn’t free”.

The liberty bell was eh. It’s a cracked bell and it didn’t do much for me. Independence Hall, on the other hand, kinda sucker-punched me and made me all teary eyed. This was the building where it all started! I stood in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed! In that same room 11 years later, the constitution of the United States was written! They had the actual chair that George Washington sat in while delegates from every state argued, cajoled and brain-stormed the piece of paper that represented the culmination of Western Political thought and created the best government seen by humankind so far.

The tour guide had cute stories about Ben Franklin looking at the rising sun on Washington’s chair and commenting that the sun was rising on a new nation. He told us how the delegation from Connecticut saved the day by proposing a bicameral legislature, and all kinds of other historical sound bites. But for me, standing in the room where this famous group of rebels plotted the overthrow of a powerful government and created a better one, gave me hope beyond measure. It made me think about freedom, liberty, and justice, and reminded me that these words mean something beyond the heart and soul-less rhetoric vomited from the mouth of our own King George. The people that met in the room where I was standing worked harder than any of us can imagine and were willing to give their lives for the cause they believed in. The work they did, the government they created, makes it possible for all of us to strive for something better. They provided the framework for us to improve our lives and the lives of others. They created a government to look out for the interest of the people. The people ... it echos in my head.

But I digress. Mrs. Klipper and I did the history thing and moved on to the dead bodies. It was fascinating and I’m glad we went. When we moved back to the east coast a couple of years ago we thought about moving to Philly, but when I came back to check it out I was unimpressed. It felt big like New York but without the charm and I thought “If we’re gonna live in a big-ass city it might as well be New York, where at least we’ll be in New York”. I felt the charm in Philly this week, I felt the history and I certainly felt the cheap, delicious food! I don’t think I’ll be moving there any time soon (B-more’s been pretty good to us) but I’ll definitely head back for a visit!

Fightin' the good fight

Once, again, a group of oppressed, rich white guys with the best education that state tax dollars can buy are striking a blow for downtrodden wingnuts everwhere. These poor guys -who, as a rule, are highly protective of their own free speech - are worried some college professors are saying stuff they don't agree with, and they're going to make them stop, by god. Best part is, they're gonna make use of the greatest tool available to any red blooded (but oppressed) American - the free market. Fortunately, we are able to praise this forward thinking patriot through the technological miracle of email.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Year of (local) Crime

If you haven't already check out Baltimore Crime's year in review post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This week's Incredipundit!ry

Larry Johnson on Paul Bremmer's attempt to wash his hands. In one section, Johnson describes how he tried and failed to get Bremmer to meet with one Pat Lang before Bremmer was sent to Iraq.

If Jerry had listened to Pat he could have learned very important things about Iraq. Just one week before Bremer’s named surfaced as the new CPA Administrator, Pat Lang circulated an email (April 23, 2003) commenting on an article in the Washington Post by Glenn Kessler and Dana Priest, U.S. Planners Surprised By Strength of Iraqi Shiites. Pat, referring to Kessler and Priest, wrote:

These two folks have really "cracked the code" on this. I was told several weeks ago by European academic and Intelligence sources that a large scale infiltration of Iranian Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) into Iraq was underway with the ultimate aim of pre-positioning Shia forces for the day when armed resistance against the US may be necessary. I subsequently mentioned this on Wolf Blitzer's "Late Edition" and the "Lehrer Newshour" as well as in a number of radio and newspaper interviews. I mention this because it should be pathetically obvious that if one FORMER intelligence person could know this, then the US government with its vast sources of knowledge should easily have known it. It seems that the government did not, or at least the policy people in the government did not.

Why is that?

The answer lies in a statement that was made to me this morning by a deeply bitter and now alienated Arab World Intelligence expert still serving in the US Government. "Hey," he said, "You can't inform people who already know it all." This man has given up on trying to tell the geo-strategic geniuses now running American foreign policy the hard truths of what the Islamic World is really like. Why? Because they won't listen. They seem to believe that the idiosyncratic cultures of the rest of the world are largely irrelevant and are merely nostalgic fictions dear to the hearts of area "Experts" who are invested in them and who are obstacles to the imposition of a "modern" culture and psyche modeled on that of the United States.

Read The Whole Thing. It becomes clearer by the day that any failures of imagination about the results of invading Iraq were willing failures. It seems that if you have a grasp of "great politics", you don't need to be versed in the particulars of policy. Thanks again, Leo. Or, as Larry put it:

From George Bush to Medal of Freedom winners Jerry Bremer and George Tenet, choices were made where alternative information and expertise were ignored. This deadly combination of arrogance and hubris has produced a policy in Iraq that is killing American soldiers and Iraqi civilians and is weakening U.S. influence and prestige in the Middle East.


Monday, January 16, 2006

We're Only Supposed To Be Goofy On Friday...

But, well, couldn't resist.
Baywatch Hasselhoff

You are Baywatch Hasselhoff. You're up for running around on the beach with hotties, as well as tanning, smiling, and being as buff and sexy as being Hasselhoff will allow. You also like to think that you've actually saved a few lives as a lifeguard; but that's just the product of some other, far more sinister, psychological "quirk."

Take this quiz at

(via metacomments.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

living wage

Whoa! Huge feature in the New York Times on the living wage movement.

What's good about this for the left politically is that it's a simple concept with a moral engine. There is a decent argument against a living wage, but it's complicated to explain to the general public. The idea that someone working full time should not live in poverty is simple, intuitive, and appealing.

It's just like the right's gay marriage argument. The argument for gay marriage is (shouldn't be, but is) complicated for the general public, who is used to thinking of marriage as a man and a woman. The argument against it is simple, intuitive, and appealing.

In the article, Jen Kern, who researched living wage for ACORN, says, "This is what moves people to the polls now. This is our gay marriage."

So has the left got something here?

Tribute to a Truly Hoopy Frood

Well, May Tenty-Fifth is Towel Day. In honor of Douglas Adams you're encouraged to carry your towel with you all day. Of course, with towels being so eminently useful, I can't imagine anyone needing further reason to carry their towel. Even here, deep beneath the ocean waves far beyond any hope of drying off, I carry my towel for beyond any practical applications, the drying, the lying upon at the beach, the playfull smacking of a friend or ally's behind, a towell gives a man hope.


Musings and A Poem

Well, it's been a good year to be a Baltimore football fan. For those of you who follow the NFL but aren't Baltimorons, that might be a strange statement. "The Raven's blew this year," you'll surely say. "How can that be a good year?"

Well you see, there are three kinds of seasons for a Baltimoron. There's a great season. That's when the Ravens win the Super Bowl. Next there's a good season, that's any season where the Colts don't. There is a third variety and that's the perfect season. A perfect season entails the meeting of The Ravens and The Colts in the AFC Championship game where Peyton Manning is given a non-life altering, career ending injury and the Colts are so mercilessly pounded they give back the uniforms and records at the end of the game. The Ravens gratefully accept, then go on to win the Superbowl. There is also a Super-Perfect season, that's identical to the perfect season except SuperOceanLad has seats on the fifty.

You see, it's about destiny. Even with a few horrible calls and a concerted effort by the officials to get Peyton into the Superbowl, Indianapolis lost. Their are forces at work more powerfull than the referees. I think John Unitas gets an assist on Ben Rothlisberger's game saving tackle. I'm pretty sure the ghost of my dad was hanging on to Vanderjagt's leg when he shanked that kick.

In conclusion, I have written a poem that I call Suck It Indy.

Suck It Indy

Suck it, Indy.
Suck it, suck it suck it.

Indy, you suck, so I request that you suck it,


Adendum: Comedians have been suggesting it for a decade, now it's happened. A professional football player has blamed God for a loss. Mike Vanderjagdt of the Colts said, "I guess the Lord forgot about the football team."

Friday, January 13, 2006

like, culture and stuff

Check out Peek Review for some Baltimoreans' "top tens" for 2005 arts and culture, including a contribution from yers truly.

The Abridged Bush

The New York Times reported yesterday on President Bush's visit to New Orleans. I present here an abridged version, containing only quotes from the President, with all other reporting removed.

I do this with some trepidation, because I am violating one of my own tenets, one I violate daily. That tenet is not to satirize the Bush administation.

Bush is kryptonite to satire; his misdeeds, follies, and fumbles are so outrageous that you need only observe them. Any commentary is simply piling on--the hypocrisy, the feeble, arrogant rhetoric, and the cruelty are self-evident. The entire administration is such a circus that our clowns are no match for theirs.

Time spent making fun of George Bush is better spent on other things, such as the development of an intellectual framework from which to combat stateless terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The War in Iraq is simply a tangible culmination of 20-year-old intellectual movement. It is tragically flawed, but I have not seen the opposition present, in public at least, a comprehensive plan of their own.

That being said, here is, some of what George Bush said in New Orleans, and a quote from his chief of staff, as quoted by Maria Newman in yesterday's New York Times:

"From when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to visit. It's a heck of a place to bring your family.

"For folks around the country who are looking for a great place to have a convention, or a great place to visit, I'd suggest coming here to the great city of New Orleans."

Chief of Staff Andrew Card: "I had to manage his expectations this morning, because while there has been great progress, there continues to be great need - indescribable need."

Again, Bush: "I will tell you, the contrast between when I was last here and today is pretty dramatic.

"There have to be strong levees to encourage investors to New Orleans."

"[New Orleans is] a great place to find some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun."

Can I Get A Hell Yeah?

One more reason (other than our state sport) that makes Maryland superior to other states. And no, this has nothing to do with partisanship. The "Fair Share Act" is good legislation (and was supported local businesses too, by the way). Of course, some people will argue that our state legislature "caved to special interest" or something like that, but let MaxSpeak!you listen:

A less unradical idea: the working class is not a special interest. In its Becoming, it is the national interest.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So, Uhm Why Did We Need Those Wiretaps?

Insurgents spill to N.Y. Times

This article seems to come out of nowhere. The New York Times reports that Iraqi insurgents are ready to cooperate with American and Iraqi officials in fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. They set the scene on a street corner, where Iraqi insurgents get into a beef with Al Qaeda operatives. The insurgents accused Al Qaeda of killing two of their own.

The encounter ended angrily. A few days later, the insurgents said, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the Islamic Army fought a bloody battle on the outskirts of town.

What is this, a Bruce Springsteen song?

Anyway, the Times uses intelligence from American and Iraqi officials, corroborated by accounts from Iraqi insurgents, to report an increase in the frequency of violent skirmishes between Al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents and an growing resentment by Iraqis of Al Qaeda, "whose extreme religious goals and desires for sectarian war against Iraq's Shiite majority override Iraqi tribal and nationalist traditions."

This story smells a little fishy to me. First, why are insurgents suddenly opening up to the Times?

Second, this is a portrait of neoconservative wish fulfillment: Sunnis see a democratic Iraq leaving them behind, so they go to the resistance to demand that they protect Sunni voters. Then Sunni insurgents start turning on Al Qaeda because of their religious extremism. In other words, the common enemy drawing Iraqis together is no longer the United States, but Al Qaeda.

Third, the sourcing isn't convincing. They talked to Western diplomats, American and Iraqi officials, a handful of resistance fighters, and an "insurgent leader." Who knows what the motives of the insurgents would be for talking to one of the newspapers that helped mislead America to war against them? We know the diplomats and officials would love us to believe that the Iraqi resistance wants to cooperate with America against Al Qaeda. But the reporters didn't see anything themselves.

Lastly, some of the dialogue is suspiciously Bruckheimerian. Here's insurgent Abu Lil talking about a meeting he had with Al Qaeda fighters two years ago regarding what the insurgents saw as a high civilian death toll resulting from an Al Qaeda bombing.

The discussion dragged on for seven hours, he said, but did not go well. The local insurgents demanded that the foreigners from Al Qaeda leave Iraq.

"They said, 'Jihad needs its victims,' " Abu Lil said. " 'Iraqis should be willing to pay the price.' "

"We said, 'It's very expensive.' "

The meeting ended abruptly, and Abu Lil and his associates walked out, feeling powerless and angry.

"I wished I had a nuclear bomb to attack them," he said. "We told them, 'You are not Iraqis. Who gave you the power to do this?' "

Would that it all were true! I hope it is. But this article really seemed to come out of nowhere, and it read like a screenplay.

Incredipundit! Says Ho Hum...

We were gonna get to this bit about the "Academic Liberal Bias Trials" yesterday, but No More Mister Nice Blog beat us to it.

If the Liberal International is really hell-bent on brainwashing the next generation of America's youth, shouldn't we be working harder than that?

Read The Whole Thing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pulling an Alito

Friday, January 06, 2006


I've written about John my neighbor once before. He was looking for a new cat because his old one was wearing out the floor. It didn't make allot of sense at the time. Now it does.

John is seventy-nine years old. Yesterday, John put his cat in a box and carried her the mile distance to he humane society. It was cold and on the way, he'd be walking up hill. She was very sick, she'd lost control of her bowels and that's how she was wearing out the floor.

John has a friend who's younger who does his yard work. He thought about letting him take his cat to the pound, but he said he didn't want to bother anybody else with it. He told me they wanted twenty dollars, he didn't have it. They took her anyway.

"They prob'ly gave her a needle, had her go to sleep, then through her in a fire," John told me yesterday. "They asked me if she ever bit anybody, I says no. She bit me once when I cut her trimming her nails. I didn't know I'd hurt her, she never bit no body. She was a good cat." I asked him her name and how old she was. After doing some math, he replied, "I had her eighteen years. She didn't have no name. Feller told me, you should call that cat 'Missy' so I did, called the other one Missy Two, Missy, Missy Two, see?"

It was tough listening to him. I really didn't know what to say. I told him I know it's hard. I looked down at my dog, Loki, and said, "I don't look forward to when it's his time." John agreed and said that would be tough.

Today I saw him again. Usually, if we talk, it's about something that happened out front or who isn't putting out their trash or Westerns or his Caprice Classic. It was a captain's car in the police. Today, he told me, "I sure do miss that cat. She's got this toy she plays with at the bottom of the stairs. Meets me in the morning. Toy's still under the table. She's smart. Goes down stairs until I tell her to come up and she does. She knows I don't like her in the closet and she don't go in there. She sits on my lap. She always had weight to her, that cat, but not no more. Her hips, she's something wrong with her."

"Allot of life left the house with her gone," John said after a pause.

I really didn't know what to say. John seemed ready to cry. I know I was. It's hard. I don't think he knows how to open up, and I'm not really sure I want him to. I feel for the guy, I really do. He wants a new cat, maybe. Their eighty dollars at the pound, and his niece tells him he's too old to have a new cat. "But I can take care of the litter box, ain't no trouble," he tells me.

I told him he could find a cat in the paper or the penny saver. I'm sure he'll give it allot of love while he can. I wish there was somebody there to be with him and listen and watch westerns. I feel bad that it isn't me, but it isn't.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

They Wouldn't Know The Far Left If It Put Their Backs Against The Wall...

Just a quick reminder for all them whut calls MoveOn or Krugman or even Alterman and Atrios (or any effin' Democrat) part of the "far left". Sir, I was on the far left and they are no far leftists. Let us compare and contrast.

Atrios uses "the grownups" to describe the group of former secretaries of state Bush met with today. Then there's David Peterson at Z Net. Big difference. Just sayin'.

I Am Horshack

Atrios invites speculation as to what the reaction of the Bigtime ChitChat Journos will be if it turns out that the administration has been spying on journos. Allow me to sit at the back of the class and yell "OoOhh! OoOoOh!" My guess is not much. If Christiana Amanpour isn't actually of Arabic descent, she had it coming anyway for kinda looking like one. Plus, these guys know there's nothing of interest being transmitted on cell phone calls between Nantucket and DC. Discussions on how to reach consensus on which think tank talking points will make up the day's news are probably the least of the NSA's concerns - which is too bad, because that kind of thing really is a threat to the nation.

George W. Bush Cannot Be Trusted With National Security

A regular reader emailed to tell me I need to be more concise. Hence the title. It's a bald statement and deserves some justification. For that, check out his latest recess appointments and note that Julie Myers is now head of the branch of DHS in charge of what amounts to border security - you know, making sure people who don't belong here - like Al Qaeda members - don't get here, especially if they are carrying things - like small nuclear weapons - that we'd prefer not be here. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? (and we promise never to link to Malkin again). This is political cronyism (and arguably nepotism), and the job is way too important for that. By making this appointment the President demonstrates that, for this administration, homeland security is a joke. When the choice is "reward a crony or stick a finger in the eyes of perceived enemies in congress (politics)" or "appoint someone competent using the standard channels (doing the job)" he picks the first option. Do you really want someone who thinks security is at best just another political tool and at worst a joke to have the power to subvert existing laws, promise to re-interpret laws he signs (link via the Poorman) and protect the nation? Eff no.

I don't know about anyone else, but I think Jr. has sat at the grown-ups table for too long. It's far past his bedtime and he keeps supping at the wine and throwing tantrums. Send him back to the playroom where he can't hurt anyone (including himself) anymore. Oh yeah, and vote Clark in 2008.

He's Done It Again!

George Bush is a miracle worker! He and his policies continue to turn the seemingly impossible into the soul crushingly real. George and his posse have managed to create gas lines in Iraq. What's next? Perhaps cheese rationing in Wisconsin? Maybe an Idaho potato famine or an embargo on corruption in the G.O.P. ?

Seriously, we're talking about an oil shortage in Iraq! They're sitting on the second largest deposit in the world. Kids sinking battleships strike oil there. Saddam Hussein couldn't get his people shoes, but, when he wasn't busy gold plating kalashnikovs and decorating his palaces with art a seventies van muralist would be embarrassed by, he made sure everybody had gas! People still don't have shoes, which doubly sucks because now they can't drive. Man, even Mussolini could work this out.

Gas prices were increased five to seven fold in a move that caused Iraqi Oil Minister Bahr Al-Ulourn to resign saying, "This decision brings an extra burden on the shoulders of citizens and caused an increase in the prices of all essential materials." That means anything that needs to be transported will be costing more. It means local businesses, bakeries, for instance, which often run on gas powered generators, will be quintupling the prices of their products. If you think people get angry when they can't afford gas, wait until they can't afford to eat.

You know, I've said it before and I'll say it again, George Bush is a miracle worker. Unfortunately his miracles ain't of the rainbows and unicorn variety. More often it's frogs and locusts. Oh, but at least if you've got the money for other options the recruiter will skip your house and send your neighbors kids to the Middle East.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

In Your Face, Arizona!

This ought to make Klipper much happier to live in Bmore. Via the Shank, we learn that mooning is legal in the (rightly named) Maryland Free State. I predict protests (and, for my money, the Mayor's Christmas Parade) will become much more interesting. A no-prize will be awarded to the best "moon pun" left in comments (I'd do one myself but given my vocation I am statutorily forbidden - under pain of massive head trauma - to make puns of any kind).