Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things to Come *

Headline from today:

Scientists find fossil of enormous bug


Headline from the future:

Scientists find evidence of enormous twit

If I don't post anything tomorrow, have a nice holiday.
Meet My Demands or the Foot Gets It

Now if this had been the Hillary Clinton campaign planting a question, then it would really be a major story...but, nah, it's just Mitt Romney possibly trying to slime he could play the victim.

Nope, not really newsworthy at all...
More Catastrophic Success

Thomas Ricks isn't my favorite, but I guess at some point you read the mainstream journalists you've got, not the ones you want...anyway, last night on the Terry Gross NPR show he again confirmed my suspicions that the "turnaround" and "success" in Anbar is, well, surrender or at least truce with various tribal warlords who have in the past and might well in the future decide to kill American soldiers.

So much for the "you're either with us, or..." rhetoric flowing like so many breached levees from Team Bush.

Meanwhile, another bastion of "democracy," our Saudi Arabian allies, defend their own version of Lamebone 'fraternity pranking,' that is, the doubling of the sentence handed out to the VICTIM of a brutal sexual assault. I guess they want to add genuine physical scarring (if not death) to the victim's emotional turmoil.
10-4, Good Buddy

The Decider has made his decision, and it's...NOT GUILTY!

President Bush yesterday offered his strongest support of embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying the general "hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."

Because, you see, Musharraf "believes in democracy," so I guess it's ok...sort of like how Tom DeLay believes in Jeeeesus so it's ok that, deep down, he wants to "bitch-slap" Paul Krugman.

And here are some more words of wisdom from El Decider Magnífico (or Das Großartige Decider, if you think German is more appropriate...thanks Babelfish!)

"He's been a loyal ally in fighting terrorists. He's also advanced democracy in Pakistan," Bush said. "He has said he's going to take off his uniform. He's said there will be elections. Today he released prisoners, and so far I've found him to be a man of his word."

"Advanced democracy" staging multiple coups. That's a real trick.

I wonder how far away we are from hearing Lamebone insist that "he's just letting off some steam," or that it's "all a fraternity prank."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Who Would Jesus Bitch-Slap?

Maybe he'd bitch-slap Tom DeLay

The former Majority Leader and possible future jailbird offers his own, somewhat unique, interpretation of Christian thought and behavior.

And some odds and ends here: first, looks like my Thanksgiving sojourn WILL be of the Plan B variety, as I-10 won't likely reopen for a couple of WEEKS. Cudd or Crudd Well Control, depending on your source or mood, is in charge of capping the well.

And...this is NEVER a good idea, trust me:

FOND DU LAC, Wis. - A would-be mugger apologized to his victim, saying he had the wrong guy. The man, 36, pulled a knife on a man unloading groceries outside his home, according to a Fond du Lac Police Department report.

I don't know, maybe this is a Wisconsin thing, but...

Many years ago, I got a late night call from...the Madison Police. They began to ask me questions about a a way that made me a little, I answered, but didn't volunteer anything. Then they asked me to walk over to their cruiser and identify my friend, which I did...whereupon they thanked me and directed me to return to my apartment.

After about a half-hour, my friend FINALLY was let out of the cruiser, and I invited him inside. What had happened was...he'd been walking, had seen someone whom he thought was me--it wasn't--approached from behind, and by way of "creative" greeting, said, "Hey fucker, give me all your money."

Um, you'd have to know my friend, and no, he was not the mugger-type.

Nonetheless, he apparently scared whoever it was quite nicely. That person fled (with my friend futilely trying to explain), then called the cops, who didn't have too much trouble finding my friend, who'd just chalked it up to a that eventually cost him something like $120 bucks on a disorderly conduct citation.

Well, at least it didn't cost him a night or more in jail.

So, be careful who you mug, want to mug...or just want to say hello to creatively...

$98 dollars for a barrel of oil, and $3.10 for a gallon of gasoline. I'm glad I drive a small little as possible.

Seriously. It's three years old, and I'm just barely over 18,000 miles. Let's mileage ranges from around 20 to 25 miles per gallon (a/c isn't optional for a BIG part of the year, and I don't do a lot of highway driving), that's...well, let's split the difference and say about 830 gallons of gasoline.

At $3.00 a gallon, that'd be $2,940 bucks. At $2.50 a gallon, $2,075. $865 dollars isn't chump change, at least not for me.

And I'm by no means an average driver. I guess "normal" annual mileage is about are the costs.

About the ONLY sort-of good thing is that the state will see a bump in revenues...if I remember right, about $13 million for each dollar increase (sorry I don't have the exact figure. I think that's what I saw in the dead tree edition of the local rag, and the web site is presently down). Well, we can use it.

In the meantime...the extra money it takes to fill the tank is bad enough. Heaven knows what the cost's going to be to heat your house.
Support the Troops, Wingnut-Style: An Ongoing Series

Taking blame-the-victim to a whole other degree, re-enlistment bonuses apparently are strictly performance-based. No excuses, like, oh, I don't know, getting caught in a roadside/IED blast, losing an eye, and injuring your back.

This from an Administration that somehow can't find money in an almost $500 billion dollar defense budget to pay for war.

Oh, and if anyone took a listen to NPR earlier today, you might have heard that GI Benefits--an exceedingly small token of appreciation offered to those who've given so much--are being nickel and dimed as well by this administration...for instance, money for college now MUST be matched by the individual soldier via payroll deductions if he or she is a reservist.

Just wait...before long, wingnuts will be petulantly bitching about soldiers who don't have "the courtesy" to get killed before their enlistments are up...
"They're Definitely the Ones, Officer. All of Them"

Scott McClellen, as classic a "life of quiet desperation" case as there ever was, tries to pick up the straws and splinters that were once his dignity:

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

"There was one problem. It was not true.

"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."

My suspicion is that the word "unknowingly" doesn't belong, but long ago I learned that you're not supposed to mock or ridicule chronic stammerers, so I'll give McClellen a pass this one time...

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Great Communicator Southern Strategist

Krugman insists we, no pun intended, call a spade a spade when it comes to the Gipper, the GOP, and the modern conservative movement:

More than 40 years have passed since the Voting Rights Act, which Reagan described in 1980 as "humiliating to the South." Yet Southern white voting behavior remains distinctive. Democrats decisively won the popular vote in last year’s House elections, but Southern whites voted Republican by almost two to one.

The G.O.P.’s own leaders admit that the great Southern white shift was the result of a deliberate political strategy. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization." So declared Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaking in 2005.

And Ronald Reagan was among the "some" who tried to benefit from racial polarization.

True, he never used explicit racial rhetoric. Neither did Richard Nixon. As Thomas and Mary Edsall put it in their classic 1991 book, "Chain Reaction: The impact of race, rights and taxes on American politics," "Reagan paralleled Nixon’s success in constructing a politics and a strategy of governing that attacked policies targeted toward blacks and other minorities without reference to race -- a conservative politics that had the effect of polarizing the electorate along racial lines."

Thus, Reagan repeatedly told the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen -- a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud. He never mentioned the woman’s race, but he didn’t have to.

There are many other examples of Reagan’s tacit race-baiting in the historical record. My colleague Bob Herbert described some of these examples in a recent column. Here’s one he didn’t mention: During the 1976 campaign Reagan often talked about how upset workers must be to see an able-bodied man using food stamps at the grocery store. In the South -- but not in the North -- the food-stamp user became a "strapping young buck" buying T-bone steaks.

Now, about the Philadelphia story: in December 1979 the Republican national committeeman from Mississippi wrote a letter urging that the party’s nominee speak at the Neshoba Country Fair, just outside the town where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. It would, he wrote, help win over "George Wallace inclined voters."

Sure enough, Reagan appeared, and declared his support for states' rights -- which everyone took to be a coded declaration of support for segregationist sentiments.

Reagan’s defenders protest furiously that he wasn’t personally bigoted. So what? We’re talking about his political strategy. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.

And who can forget Lee Atwater--who, as creepy as he was, at least should get some credit for honesty:

You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' - that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
OPEC No Likey Wal-Mart, I Guess

Weak Currency for Low Prices

OK, so the rumors about certain Brazilian supermodels might not be true (and here's the de rigeur cheesecake link), but when both Jay-Z AND OPEC decide to ditch the dollars, it can't be a particularly good sign...

So much for a European vacation...hell, so much for a Canadian one.
Shorter Tom Friedman

I'm as crazy as Dick Cheney.
This Little Light of Mine...

Few things illustrate the mixed blessing of oil reserves more succinctly than the image above. Meanwhile, as the holiday approaches, I-10 remains closed and won't open until Wednesday at the earliest.

And this picture might give you a better idea why traffic's been rerouted

I saw where Dangerblond took the south-around way (Hwy 90) this weekend; I'm hoping this will get cleared up before my own brief sojourn westward for the holiday. Of course, who knows when the CLEAN up will commence.

By the way--if anyone really wants to get an excellent visual representation of what hell must surely look like (if there was a hell, of course), you couldn't do much better than what must be either the Conoco or Citgo refinery just outside of Lake Charles a little further westward along the highway. The flare pipe is conveniently located just around a turn on the interstate...on days they're off-gassing, you first can hear the menacing hiss, then as you make the curve...Dante's Industrial Inferno. Yeesh.