Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Dick of the Week" Returns

And Michael Crichton has it locked up. More to come.


If I ever take up mountainclimbing or museum burglary, I know what I'll use as a grappling hook. A giant set of iPod earbuds. These little bastards get tangled on everything. Forget trying to get them out of your bag or pocket, I just tried to pick them up off my desk and they snagged a big pair of scissors and wouldn't let go! Grrrr...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bush: "I Won't Be Rushed"

Yeah, take your fucking time, asshole. Not like this is a matter of life and death or anything.

You spent the whole fall telling us to wait for the Iraq Study Group Report. Now that it doesn't say what you wanted, and you are running out of places to look for an opinion that sounds like yours, you tell us (and the troops and Iraqis) that you "won't be rushed"

No fucking shit. We've been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II already. We know you won't be rushed, we also know you don't know what the fuck you're doing. The only question left is when you'll admit it.

Looking at that smiling group of sociopaths up there makes we want to go fucking ballistic. Where's Al Capone when you need him?

McCain: Check Your Shorts

Not two minutes ago, a coworker was in here, just giddy about Barack Obama, and ready to vote for him for President and annoint him the next JFK. I think Obama shows tremendous potential. I think he'd make a great President, but I do sort of wish he'd be Gore's Veep first.

Anyway, 2008 is a long way off. Not necessarily in terms of campaign time, after all, candidates have already started gearing things up, but in terms of what the country and the world will look like in two years. Iraq could be a full-on inferno with 10,000+ US troops dead or Bush may have declared victory and bugged out. There's no way to know.

One thing that does worry me is that the Dem nominee will have to face John McCain. Lots of folks have said McCain will never get the nomination, he doesn't have the religious right's approval. Well, he's been addressing that. And I suspect unless somebody I'm not thinking about comes on the landscape, no Republican is going to stop him from becoming the nominee. I think McCain is a formidable, if not insurmountable, candidate. He is immensely popular among voters from both parties and independents, and most importantly, the media just absolutely gushes over the guy. Maybe not Rush Limbaugh, but just about everybody else up to and including Jon Stewart. Meanwhile our guys get compared to the President of Iran and I'm sure people are warming up the next round of Gore-Robot jokes. McCain gets to parade around with his bullshit "maverick / straight talk" image as some kind of bulletprooof suit.

So, I summed up my conversation with my coworker by saying something bad (meaning coverage) has to happen to McCain. The press needs to finally wake up and stop being his PR department, or we're going to have a tough time no matter who we nominate.

Well, I turn back to my computer and the first thing I read is that "something bad" might be coming courtesy of Bush and his reverse-Midas "Everything Turns to Shit" Touch. There have already been hints that the White House might be angling for McCain to be Bush's successor—but I'm not so sure McCain wants to be endorsed by these fuck-ups. His appeal is his "outsider" status. His phony "truth to power" disagreements with the D.C. establishment. Sure, I suppose McCain would appreciate any backrooom string-pulling, but nothing out in the open. Nothing like adopting McCain's red herring Iraq strategy and actually using it...
As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to “double down” in the country with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite leader impeding development of the Iraqi government.

“I think it is worth trying,” a defense official said. “But you can’t have the rhetoric without the resources. This is a double down” — the gambling term for upping a bet.

As Steve Benen says:
This strikes me as a spectacularly bad idea. But for the sake of discussion, let’s put aside the fact that this hasn’t worked before, the fact that this will put an unconscionable strain on the U.S. military, the fact that military leaders on the ground don’t believe this will work, the fact that Iraqi violence is likely to worsen due to the unpopularity of U.S. troop presence, and the fact that the Bush gang hasn’t any idea what they’d do if “double down” doesn’t work, and instead look at the politics for a moment.

In this scenario, if Bush actually commits to 20,000 additional U.S. troops, John McCain will almost certainly be terrified. Bush is gambling by embracing the policy, but he’s also gambling with McCain’s presidential plans.

Just a few weeks ago, McCain insisted that “we will not win this war” without additional combat forces in Iraq. It appeared to be part of a calculated strategy whereby McCain could separate himself from Bush’s failed policy by calling for additional troops he didn’t expect the president to send. As Robert Reich explained last month, this is a way for McCain to “effectively cover his ass. It will allow him to say, ‘If the President did what I urged him to do, none of this would have happened.’”

Except now Bush appears poised to do what McCain has urged him to do. If it doesn’t work, McCain will be left in an untenable position going into the 2008 race — he’ll have a strong degree of “ownership” of an incredibly disastrous and unpopular war as voters are making up their minds about who to elect as their next president.

And Digby adds:
“McCain is positioning himself to be Lyndon Johnson in this thing without even becoming president.”

Sending in more troops is a crazy idea, but it’s the kind of crazy idea that Bush is looking for. And it is the kind of crazy idea that will make the country turn on John McCain. I seriously doubt he ever thought it anyone would do this — and I doubt he thought through the political ramifications of calling for 20,000.

He’ll be in big trouble if Bush decides to do what he wants. By ‘08, this war will be a dead albatross around his neck. But then, McCain has always been too cutesy by half on this — he deserves to be strangled by his own arrogant posturing. Who did he think he was, claiming that he could have “won” this thing if only the country had listened to him. It was always unwinnable and he’s a lying, opportunistic piece of garbage. If Bush sticks the shiv in St. John’s back one last time before he leaves office, it will be poetic justice.

I'm not sure if the White House cares one way or the other about McCain—positioning him for 2008 or as Digby says "sticking in the shiv," I think they are swingling blindly on Iraq right now, but McCain may be poised to be the one who pays the biggest (political) price.

UPDATE: Not to be taken tooo seriously, but I found this comment at Kevin Drum's interesting...
At the risk of getting lumped in with Bill Frist making diagnoses via video, McCain looks to be using tricks old men use to make it look like they still have it (ex. short bursts of energy when the cameras are rolling). This is obvious to healthcare providers now. We see it a lot when the patient senses we are about to recommend to his (it's almost always a man) family that they take his car keys). It will be obvious to everyone in two years.

We'll see...

What Not to Not Wear

A tie apparently. Or you're a terrorist. Or something.

CNN jackass Jeff Greenfield thinks that the way Barack Obama dresses on the road reminds him of somebody...
“The senator was in New Hampshire over the weekend, sporting what’s getting to be the classic Obama look. Call it business casual, a jacket, a collared shirt, but no tie.

“It is a look the senator seems to favor. And why not? It is dressy enough to suggest seriousness of purpose, but without the stuffiness of a tie, much less a suit. There is a comfort level here that reflects one of Obama’s strongest political assets, a sense that he is comfortable in his own skin, that he knows who he is.

“But, in the case of Obama, he may be walking around with a sartorial time bomb. Ask yourself, is there any other major public figure who dresses the way he does? Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, unlike most of his predecessors, seems to have skipped through enough copies of “GQ” to find the jacket-and-no-tie look agreeable.

“And maybe that’s not the comparison a possible presidential contender really wants to evoke…. [I]t’s one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread. Or is that threads?

Stupidest. Political. Analysis. Ever.

Yeah, that Jimmy Kimmel is up to no good, too.

[h/t Carpetbagger]

UPDATE: [via TPM] Apparently Greenfield was "joking" and cannot believe anybody would take him seriously... Well, Jeff, your boneheaded network cohorts did, and if it really was a joke, it wasn't funny, and I am pretty damn sure you would never have made it about any politician who didn't have a Muslim-sounding name. Dick.

Link Dump

Jack "The Bush-Ripper" Cafferty brings it on. Jack's packing an Olbermannesque editorial into caplet size on a nearly daily basis now. This one is worth a viewing.

Dollar Bill Jefferson. The corrupt Louisiana Democrat with ninety large in his freezer? Well, he won his House runoff election this past weekend and is ready to assume office once again, much to the dismay of the Democrats who DID run a candidate against him. There have been debates about how he should be handled—refuse to let him take office? Let him take office, then expel him? Do nothing? I think Mark Kleiman has it right.

And until then, Nancy Pelosi is taking the proper first step.

What's Behind Door Number Four? Pelosi blew this one however... She correctly bypassed Bush-hawk Jane Harmon and one-time corrupt judge Alcee Hastings for the top spot on the House Intelligence Committee, but her choice of Silvestri Reyes looks like a bad pick.

Pierced Earmarks Maybe the do-nothing Republicans should have finished a spending bill or two before bailing. Because now they get nothing:
The announcement was made last night by the incoming chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, who also said they would impose a moratorium on new congressional earmarks, targeted appropriations for special projects in members' home districts. None would be part of the proposed funding resolution, killing hundreds that are pending in the unfinished spending bills.

Good for the Dems.

Drop By "The Neighborhood" Mike asks when is enough enough? A good discussion ensues...

12 Days... Clever T's fit in stockings...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just dropping by...

Yeah, I'm still kicking. Just been busy over the last couple weeks. Actually earning my paycheck during the day and spending time with the family (and my pillow) at home.

What's new with me? Well, my daughter and I walked in on a holdup, and my poor 8 months pregnant wife was already in the store. Nobody needs that shit. My daughter and I walked into the store just as this asshole pulled his gun out on the cashier—chaos ensues. Fortunately, we were able to back out the door moments later and escape to the parking lot, where my daughter was treated to the sight of the police also brandishing their weapons. Meanwhile (and unbeknownst to me at the time) Mrs. Furious was able to escape out the back of the store with a few other customers through the stock rooom, and she then had a panic-fueled run around the back of the plaza to try and catch us at the video store before we went to the supermarket to meet her. Of course had already left and were now huddling between cars in the parking lot (my wife had the keys). For a brief moment we each imagined the other trapped in the store with the gunman, when in fact we had all escaped. A passerby alerted my wife that we might be in the parking lot and we were reunited moments later. Since our car was directly in front of the store in the "expectant mom" spot, we were relegated to the coffee shop around the corner until the episode was over—all the while imagining "The Nine"-style standoffs, and hostage situations. In reality, the robber fled on foot (probably seconds behind me as I left the store), and was not apprehended.

Nightmare. My wife (and the baby) have had about as stressful a pregnancy as can be endured. A car accident, our daughter having two ambulance trips to the hospital, and now fucking shopping at the OK Corral. Sweet fucking Jesus.

On a much more positive note, we are currently mulling two major purchases. A serious digital SLR camera to replace our old POS* Olympus before the new baby arrives, it's down to the Nikon D200 or D80, and Canon D30 or Rebel XTi. I foolishly bought a Nikon 35mm SLR when Ruby was born, and now I have a drawer full of film yet to be developed... Time to take the plunge.

And it is finally time—I am retiring the Furymobile. I am looking used, a few years old, and maxing out the safety (about to double down on the Babies on Board). Unfortunately, I'm a Euro-snob, and/or have no interest in any of the current entry level new cars. And contrary to the advice I gave John Cole, I am at this point leaning European.

Current front-runners are 2001-'02-era Volvo S60 and V70, and VW Passats and slightly older Subaru Outbacks. I'm also a fan of the Pontiac Vibe and Mazda3 and Mazda6, but almost none of them have the optional side airbags...Why that shit isn't standard equipment is beyond me. If you're going to engineer that into a car, just make it standard. Inexcuseable. The American manufacturers are finally learning that lesson, but the only American sedans I like enough to buy (Ford Fusion, Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6) and have the full array of airbags but new (and used) are still out of my price range.

At this point anything will be an improvement over my current car—leaking moonroof, cracked windshield, crank windows, broken washer, a terminal condition regarding the radiator, a clutch about five feet deep... I refuse to put a dime into this thing—I won't even fill the tank for fear of it dying and me losing out on the gas.

So until I make those purchases, much of my time online will be spent on endless classified searches and trips to

NOTE: Anyone with pertinent opinion, info or expertise on these topics, I welcome the input. Also, anybody sprung for a CARFAX report before? Worth it?

*That's the technical term for obsolete.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The only thing you need to read about Michael Richards' racist freakout. [scroll down for the "update"]

Friday, November 17, 2006


Bo Schembechler dies
Former Michigan coach passes away after collapsing

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Bo Schembechler, who became one of college football's great coaches in two decades at Michigan, died Friday after taping a TV show on the eve of the Wolverines' No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with perennial rival Ohio State. He was 77.

And on the eve of the biggest game of the year between bitter rivals U-M and OSU. Even though Bo hasn't coached in years, he was still very much the father figure for football here in Ann Arbor. As the U-M head coach (and protege to OS's Woody Hayes) during the epic battles between these programs in their heydays, Schembechler took on particular stature during the third week of November every year. He had become very much the face of this rivalry for both sides. In Columbus there is a reknowned band called the Dead Schembechlers... Here in Ann Arbor, they sell Bo bobble heads, but I've never seen such a tribute to ten-year current coach Lloyd Carr...

I'm not going to pretend that I know much or care very much about Michigan (or college) football. I grew up watching Big East basketball, and what I know about U-M is only since I moved here in 2001, but it is readily apparent, even to a casual fan, how much Schembechler means to Ann Arbor and the football program. Bo Schembechler is larger than life in a small city like Ann Arbor, and when you live close enough to the Stadium to park cars on the lawn and hear the PA, like I do, you really can sense the energy that is gameday and 100,000 people descending on your neighborhood.

I'm sure this will cast a somber tone over tomorrow's game, and the broadcasts will be rife with tributes, but I hope it doesn't weigh too heavily on the minds of the Michigan players and coaches. This is the biggest game for these two schools in years, (and If I am correct the latest in the season numbers 1 and 2 have played anywhere in a long time). It was to be the country's biggest sports event of the week, if not the month, and while this adds some Hollywood drama I hope the game doesn't suffer because of it.

RIP Bo. And Go Blue!

[On a lighter note, entertaining (pre-Bo) previews can be found at everydayshouldbesaturday and Deadspin]

Muslim = Traitor

From Media Matters [video and full transcript at link]:

On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could "have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table." After Ellison agreed, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

Now, Beck couched this nauseating statement with plenty of "some of my best friends are Muslim"-type qualifying, but the truth is right there in his quote — "That the way I feel."

This tool just "hypothesized" that a newly elected member of Congress is a traitor on national cable news.

Liberal fucking media, my ass.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"He's Coming...He's Coming..."

Could Barack Obama Really Win?

Over at The Carpetbagger Report, guest-poster Anonymous Liberal has a terrific piece that looks ahead to what kind of Presidential campaign Obama would run.
Are you curious what a Barack Obama presidential campaign would look like? Well, anyone who lives in Massachusetts already has a pretty good idea. That’s because Deval Patrick, who just won the gubernatorial race there—becoming only the second black governor in U.S. history–did so by borrowing Obama’s chief political consultant, David Axelrod, and using the same playbook Obama is likely to use if he runs for president in 2008. Patrick ran a campaign promising a new kind of politics; he ran on the twin themes of hope and change, much like Bill Clinton did in 1992, and perhaps most notably, he capitalized on the widespread feeling among voters that his campaign represented an historic moment for their state and their country. All in all, it was an extraordinarily effective campaign.

I think there a lot of people waiting to cast affirmative, positive votes, not defensive, fear-based votes. Obama could really resonate with voters who are turned off by the last few cycles. Go read the whole thing, t's not long and really left me feeling upbeat about politics for a change.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Water is Wet...

...and Bob Knight is an intense guy who can be mean to his players. Since Coach Sociopath is in the news again for "striking" a player, I thought I'd share this video I saw over at Deadspin...

Good stuff. Say what you want about Knight, apparently he has a sense of humor...

ESPN link on the incident. Thanks for not giving me any video, you chumps. UPDATE: Video here. Not a big deal. But Knight's spin is bullshit. At least that's my completely uninformed judgement...

Lame Duck Hunt

Russ Feingold warns about the danger of looking past the lame duck session. He's right. The Republicans have one last chance to shove the White house Wish List through. Number one on the agenda is Bush's Warrantless Wiretapping... there is no excuse for letting any of this shit pass. The Dems have to hold the line.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald with an excellent column on Feingold and the ineptitude of the Beltway punditry.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Walk the Walk

The lame duck session is underway, and after that, begins the Era of Honest Leadership and Open Govenment. Since we won back both Houses in no small part to the GOP's appearance, reputation and, indeed, practice of corruption—the number one objective of the Democratic leadership should be to set up a clean shop. And the faces out front need to be squeaky clean.

Throw chrome-dome Henry Waxman into that picture up there, and you are looking at an All-Star team of good-looking, honest-type faces, with reputations to match. Guys (and gals) you can trust to know what the fuck is going on and to do the right thing. Seriously, these guys could be the cast of a new Sorkin or Kelley drama. As opposed to the Dick Tracy Rogue's Gallery of Denny "Named after the restaurant or vice versa?" Hastert, Tom "Toxic Smile" DeLay, and John "Oompa Loompa Face" Boehner.

It's no surprise the party is going to invest heavily in Barack Obama and feature him whenever possible. Good. The GOP has no one who can cover him. It's not even close.

I've become an avowed Reid fan, and always love to recall the Vegas strangle story...
In July of 1978, a man named Jack Gordon, who was later married to LaToya Jackson, offered Reid twelve thousand dollars to approve two new, carnival-like gaming devices for casino use. Reid reported the attempted bribe to the F.B.I. and arranged a meeting with Gordon in his office. By agreement, F.B.I. agents burst in to arrest Gordon at the point where Reid asked, “Is this the money?” Although he was taking part in a sting, Reid was unable to control his temper; the videotape shows him getting up from his chair and saying, “You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me!” and attempting to choke Gordon, before startled agents pulled him off.

That shit is gold. Try to imagine that scenario playing out in Tom Delay's office... There has been some bullshit thrwon against the wall on Reid over the last year or so, but it seems to always be total crap and comes from the same AP reporter who must be related to Jack Gordon, judging by the grudge he bears Reid.

Pelosi has grown on me. and as much as I wish the new Speaker wasn't right out of central casting for the Republican sterotype of liberal Democrat, she is proving she can hold her own. Anybody who continues to call the President "incompetent" and sticks by it is okay by me.

With majority status comes Commitee Chairmanships and the power to not only set the agenda, but the players, and to lay out the rules and the field. This needs to be done carefully and with calculation. Not just because the Republicans are watching, but because the media is watching—they want nothing more than to latch onto the very first "Democrats are the same scumbags as the Republicans" story that pops up. And both of those groups will be working in concert to see that it happens.

And above all, becauser the people who put them in power are watching. I. Am. Watching. It's not good enough that my Party is in power. I actually have expectations of them, and I want them to do the right thing. First, last and fucking always. I am going to be every bit as hard on my Party, if not harder, because I expect and demand better.

Committee Chairs are supposed to go to the most senior ranking member on a Committee of the party in power. That's going to be a problem for the Dems: I've never heard of Rep. Alcee Hastings before this thread at Balloon juice. I'd like to keep it that way for everybody else...
In 1989, Hastings was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for bribery and perjury. The Democratic-controlled Senate convicted Judge Hastings of accepting a $150,000 bribe in 1981 in exchange for a lenient sentence and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He became only the sixth Judge in the history of United States to be removed from office by the United States Senate. (The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again, but did not do so.)

If this guy was GOP I'd be quick to assume the worst. Just because he's a Dem, I'm not exactly giving him a pass. there appears to be some doubt about his guilt and then there's the fact that he's kept his nose clean since, but to me that doesn't cut any ice with me. Hastings' history is a political nightmare for a Party trying to establish itself as an alternative to the "Culture of Corruption" of the GOP. Appearances count. Big time.

Put simply, former corrupt judges convicted of taking bribes need to be as far in the background as possible if they are even going to hold office. Good for Hastings (I suppose) for having a successful legislative career after whatever occured back in the day, and if the people in his district want to keep sending him to Congress, I guess that's their business. But elevating him to chair-level makes it the my business and everyone else's. The Democratic leadership has an obligation to protect it's political interest and the institution of congress and to serve as a brake for sitiuations like this.

What's good for Florida's 23rd District isn't necessarily what's good for the party or the country. Sorry, Alcee, keep doing a bang-up job serving your constituents, but you will not be holding a gavel ever again if it's up to me.

Everybody knows who Jack Murtha is, he's the grandfatherly former drill sergeant and Viet Nam vet who called Bush out on the War. He stuck his neck out at a time when no other Dem (in office) seemed willing to. He deserves a lot of credit for setting much of the narrative that swept us into power. Pelosi obviously feels indebted to him for that, and has endorsed him to be Majority Leader over current second-in-charge man Steny Hoyer. I don't know anything about Hoyer, but the fact that Murtha appears on this list is NOT a good thing.

While I suspect his larger than life anti-war Vet persona will overshadow any sketchy accusations of wrongdoings—much as McCain has escaped a legacy as one of the Keating Five—Murtha appears not to fit my squeaky clean requirements for leadership. I am hoping Hoyer prevails when that postition comes to a vote.

That's all I got right now, but I will be watching how these things play out, and I want to remind everyone who is drunk on the fact that we are taking back Congress to remember that it's now on us. Trust but verify.

UPDATE: I was under the (hopeful) impression that Pelosi's support for Murtha was a perfunctory gesture to repay him for his loyalty and work on the midterms...endorse him for Leader, and the debt is paid. Hoyer appeared to have the votes over Murtha. According to Josh Marshall, that might not be the case. If Pelosi is calling out the Party on this one, I respect her stones for the move, but I don't necessarily agree with her selection. I want the best (wo)man for the job, not a hand-picked insider. For unity's sake, I hope it all goes down smoothly. I don't want Pelosi effectively neutered right off the bat for backing the wrong horse. More than anything else I want a good Congressional term from the Dems, and I want good things done, and the party needs to be effective and united, not fractured.

UPDATE 2: The more I learn about Murtha, the less I like him as Leader [WSJ link, via John Cole]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That Was Fast...

Good. Fucking. Riddance.

And Bush is offering the job to former CIA Director (and Iran/Contra enabler) Bob Gates. Guess that means Lieberman is out of play, and so will be the Senate.

As to the rest of Bush's remarks today, he was much more conciliatory than I thought he would be, and acknowledged he and his party took "a thumpin'." I'll have more to say later after seeing a transcript, but from what I heard there were several remarks that would NEVER have come out of his mouth before the election. Things along the lines of "Democrats care as much as Republicans about protecting the country" and "supporting the troops."

More to come.

Getting Closer...

From the DSCC [via Kos]:

Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester's margin.

Montana Process: When the counting phase is completed, a canvass will verify the vote tallies. That process could take as long as 48 hours, and must begin within three days and end within seven. Unless the canvass shows the margin to be within ¼ of 1%, there is no recount. As the loser, Burns would have to request the recount. When the votes are all counted, we expect to be outside that recount margin.

Virginia Vote Situation: Jim Webb is up by approximately 8,000 votes and once the provisional ballots are counted, we expect Webb's margin to increase. (Please note that VA absentees were included in the tallies from last night.)

Virginia Process: A canvass is underway to verify the results and we expect that process to finish within a day or so. To be in recount, the margin needs to be less than 1% and Allen (as the loser) would have to request it. Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome. Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely.

Very encouraging indeed. The House was great, but the Senate is fantastic. Sort of the backhand follow-up to the forehand slap Bush got last night.

Good Morning, America

Say, this feels pretty good! Much as I'd love to gloat and ramble on about the kick in the balls we gave the Republican Party last night, I am swamped. I will leave you with a few links and photos for now...

First, this one...

"Sit the fuck down, Ricky." And...

(Hopefully) "Right next to Ricky, Macaca."

Worth noting...

Minnesota's U.S. Congressman-elect Keith Ellison addresses a crowd gathered to celebrate his victory in Minneapolis. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.


LA Times:
... and the loser
President Bush wasn't on the ballot, but the election was a referendum on his divisiveness. Voters don't like it.

ON THIS MORNING AFTER, the Republican base seems less impregnable and the genius of Karl Rove less radiant. The president and his surrogates in recent weeks tried to emulate past successes by calling Democrats tax-raising, gay-marriage-loving, terrorist-appeasing clones of John Kerry. But their dog-eared playbook — bequeathed by Lee Atwater to "the architect" Rove — failed them. The center still matters.

So George W. Bush, the "divided we win" president, emerges as the day's biggest loser.

The outcome of this election -- even with the not-yet-fully-finalized Senate victories in Virginia and Montana -- is as resounding and clear as it gets.

[...] This is a shattering and humiliating defeat for the Republican Party. The excuse that it is just run-of-the-mill, standard sixth-presidential-year impatience is pure nonsense...

[...] when a President is deeply unpopular and his party perceived to be rife with radicalism and corruption, they lose. And when that perception is particularly strong and widespread, they lose badly. That is what happened here, and there is nothing mundane about. These results are extraordinary, and every Bush follower knows it.

Shattering the myth of the Dems "conservative" victory, Greenwald counters:
Democratic candidates won -- in every part of the country and regardless of their ideology -- by committing themselves to one basic platform. They vigorously opposed what have become the defining attributes of the Republican Party and they pledged to put a stop to them: unchecked Presidential power, mindless warmongering, a refusal to accept or acknowledge realities (both in Iraq and generally), and the deep-seated, fundamental corruption fueling the Bush movement and sustaining their power.

Virtually every Democratic winner, from the most conservative to the most liberal, in the reddest and bluest states, have that in common. They all ran on a platform of putting a stop to the radicalism, deceit and corruption that drives the so-called "conservative" political movement.

[...] Democrats didn't win by pretending to be anything. Democrats won because they emphatically and unapologetically vowed to oppose what the Republican Party has become and to put an end to its deeply corrupt and destructive one-party rule -- and that is what Americans, more than anything else, wanted.

[...] The notion that this is a victory for some sort of mealy-mouthed, Bush-lite, glorified centrism is absurd on its face. Democrats won by aggressively attacking the Bush movement, not by trying to be a slightly modified and duller version of it. The accommodationist tack is what they attempted in 2002 and 2004 when they were crushed. They won in this election by making their opposition clear and assertive.

Just as importantly, as far as I can tell, not single incumbent Democrat lost in Congress or in gubernatorial races. None. Think about that — every Republican challenger in the country lost yesterday. It's a dramatic historical rarity, if not an outright historical first. As Chris Bowers cleverly put it, "No one can ever do worse than they did this year."

With this in mind, yesterday wasn't just a defeat for Bush and the Republican Party; it was a repudiation.

And the Line of the Night? Otto Man:
11:17 pm: Fox News is so somber, they've done everything but break out the black armbands. They just called the House for the Democrats, and by their math, it came on Tom DeLay's old seat. Brit Hume looks like someone just shot his dog and then gay married the corpse.

That's all for now. Enjoy the day.

[It's worth noting that Blogger is surprisingly responsive this morning. I thought it would be a nightmare. Nice work, guys.]

Calling it a Night

Things are really looking good, and I must admit better than I anticipated. I am pleasantly surprised to say the least. the House is locked up with a 30-40 seat advantage. The Senate is down to three seats remaining. The Dems need all three to take the Senate and they are currently leading all three. They might pull this off.

McKaskill and Webb have announced victory. Premature perhaps, but I like it. Chris Matthews is lamenting the passing of the time-honored tradition of the loser conceding first. Get over it, Tweety. I like the aggressive stance on this by Dems. Heading into potential recounts, I think it helps to go in as the perceived winner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today's the Day

While walking the dog this morning I was greeted with this sign:


On the way back home, my neighbors and their baby piled out of the car, flashing their "I Voted" stickers at me.

I am exhilarated about voting today. I don't know what will things will look like tomorrow, but I cannot wait to do my part and cast the ballot. I was going to vote on the way home from work, but I'm not sure I can wait that long...

Oh, and those "Fire the Republicans" stickers I mentioned several weeks back? I gave some away, and put the rest all over my car. Even on the sides. Combined with the other stuff on my car, I'm cruising town like a NASCAR.

I'll make some predictions later on. I've already thrown out my Lieberman scenarios here. Others? John Cole & Co.; entertaining ones from TBogg;


UPDATE In a trumped-up display of "I don't care about fucking polls" Dick Cheney is going hunting today. Wow, that guys got fucking ice water Prestone coursing through his veins cyborg cooling system.

Nowhere could I find what he'll be hunting, but you can be sure Harry Whittington is on Mediterranean cruise. As for Cheney's trip, I'm hoping it turns out something like this...

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Simple, sober and convincing. Nice job, Chairman.

"October Surprise?" How 'bout "November Carefully Scheduled Event"...

It's only 9:00 a.m. eastern on Sunday morning, and I already know what every single Republican that shows up on the talk shows will be bragging about—as if it in any way justifies what this country has endured over the last four years...

Iraqi tribunal sentences Saddam to hang
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer 27 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town, as the ousted leader, trembling and defiant, shouted "God is great!"

As he, his half brother and another senior official in his regime were convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal, Saddam yelled out, "Long live the people and death to their enemies. Long live the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!"

In a surprising moment of class, Saddam issued this statement...
Later, his lawyer said the former dictator had called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and refrain from revenge against U.S. forces.

I would figure Saddam to be much more of a sore loser than that, calling for all sorts of retaliation...

As for the trial itself, I'm sure it was a relative sham, and all, but I am not interested in Ramsey Clark's complaints or anyone else who is going to bitch about the process. Saddam IS getting no less than he deserves. I just think the timing is suspect to say the least.

I'm sure the scheduling of Saddam's death sentence had absolutely nothing to do with Tuesday's election here in the U.S. I mean, seriously, Sunday, November 5 at 8:00 a.m.? What are the odds?

Here's hoping voters see this for the cynical ploy that it is.

Friday, November 03, 2006

FRT: Lazy-ass style

Listening to the iTunes shuffle as I try and make a deadline. It's late (crossing over to early), and I don't have time to give it the full treatment...Click the image to enlarge and read the playlist.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Kerry Problem

Just quickly, since I am swamped... I wanted to weigh in on theis whole "Kerry Bashed the Troops" bullshit. All of this stuff seemed to explode in a short time and people have already accused Kerry of costing the Democrats the election due to his comments. Here's what he said:
What Kerry said Monday at a campaign rally was this: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Firstly, even at their worst, those comments are simply bone-headed, and not worthy of much attention. They certainly should not be considered election-jeopardizing—but that's not the political atmosphere we all breathe in.

I know John Kerry wouldn't actually bash anybody in the military, despite the Right's accusations, but I really wondered what the hell he meant and why he opened his big pompous mouth. I basically thought to myself, "you're not even running, could you please shut the fuck up?"

That was last night.

An article this morning, entitled "White House—and Dems—want Kerry apology", caught my attention (emphasis mine). Of course, the "Dems" part of the headline is the reason it caught my attention—but buried deep at the bottom of the article is actually a clear explanation of what Kerry meant and what happened, but you have to read past the quotes of all of the Dems eager to throw Kerry under the bus, and the Republican histrionics, before you ever get there.
A Kerry spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, said later that the senator's prepared text had called for him to say: "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

That should BE the end of the story, not a small detail thrown in at the end of a story.

If Kerry had come out forcefully and explained that himself (not a spokewoman), and repeatedly, this might have been contained. Instead, Kerry put up the bravado front and lobbed a non-apology apology attack at the White House and others:
Kerry, who fought in the Vietnam War, shot back that the charge was a "crazy" distortion of what he said.

"If anybody thinks that a veteran would somehow criticize more than 140,000 troops serving in Iraq and not the president and his people who put them there, they're crazy," he said at a news conference in Seattle, Washington.

"If anyone owes our troops in the fields an apology, it is the president and his failed team and a Republican majority in the Congress that has been willing to rubber-stamp policies that have done injury to our troops and to their families," Kerry said.

I'm glad he learned how to punch back, but in this case it was actually the wrong play. He DID fuck up. He fucked up his own joke. A joke I'd contend should never have made it to the podium. But it did and he botched it. His own exact, in context quote skewers him without any help or "distortion" from Republicans. Therefore he does own an explanation. If he properly explained what he meant, an apology "to the troops" would be unnecessary.

Get the record straight. Kerry should be appearing on every forum that will have him and making a clear, simple explanation of what he was supposed to say. Period. Once that is out there and established, you can come back and punch back against stuff like this:
Vice President Dick Cheney at a Montana campaign rally, scolded Kerry for taking "another swipe at the U. S. military."

"Of course, now Senator Kerry says he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it," Cheney said in a line meant to recall Bush's skewering of Kerry in their 2004 race for saying he had voted for war funds before he voted against them.

GOP Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran and possible 2008 contender, said Wednesday he wasn't sure "how you could construe" Kerry's comment as a joke.

And White House spokesman Tony Snow said Kerry's apology on Imus didn't pass muster. "He's insisting on pointing fingers at the president," Snow said. "Just say you're sorry. It's not hard."

As for the Dems that came out and asked for an apology (Harold Ford and Jon Tester among them), absent a clear explanation from Kerry I can hardly blame them. If Kerry sets the record straight however, they should back off.

Kerry is in a tough position. If he sits on his hands and doesn't help campaign for Dems in the midterms, he'll be criticized for it. He should be stumping, and to his credit, he is. And it appears, by the number of cancellations today, he had an aggressive schedule planned. Good for him. He is after all the party's past-Presidential candidate. That said, he needs to be smart, and safe in what he does. Standing alongside another candidate actually IS the time for carefully planned and calculated comments—something he was criticized for in his own campaign. Instead, he tried to get cute, and it blew up on him and everyone else. When you're a fucking stiff, stick to the script. And keep the script simple.

The best thing Kerry can do now is take some of his now-free time and get out there and attempt to "catapult the propaganda" He should make the rounds on tv and issue his mea culpa, briefly explain exactly what he meant to say, and finish with "I hope that makes perfectly clear that I never meant any insult to our brave troops, and I never would insult them, nor would I make a joke at their expense. End of story. Anybody who continues to insinuate that from this point going forward, is a liar."

UPDATE: Olbermann

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wait 'til Next Year...

Well, that wasn't pretty. The post-season for the Tigers played out just like a condensed version of the regular season—the bats falling silent just like the last few weeks of September. Over the last month of the regular season, the Tigers had an annoying habit of scoring a few runs early in the game, very early, and that's it. Against even teams like Kansas City, if you let the opposition hang around, you're asking for trouble. Do that in the playoffs? You will lose most of the time.

The Tigers still pitched well, but holding the other team to three runs a game only works if you can score more than two. The Tigers couldn't. And to make it worse, the Tigers gave the Cardinals half their runs with Steve Sax throws to first and third.

The patience at the plate the hitters showed against the Yankees and A's disappeared. Credit is due to the Cards pitchers throwing strike one, but clearly the Tigers hitters were unable to adjust. It was late September all over again. They won't use it as an excuse, but I will. I was worried about the week off before the Series started, and I believe it had a lot to do with the problems at the plate. I thought the Tigers still pitched well, but their hitting was screwed. And the inexperience and youth of the team showed in the fielding miscues. Nearly every error by a pitcher was a straight-up yip due to nerves.

I don't have a lot of second-guessing. I thought pulling Casey for a runner would end up costing the Tigers last night, but in the end it didn't matter. Not starting Rogers last night? Irrelevant. I do think Bonderman and Verlander should have been flipped in the rotation, but over the Series, starting pitching really only cost this team Game 1. Leyland's lineups? Aside from the inexplicable lack of ABs for Marcus Thames, no complaints. Leyland did his job, the players didn't do theirs. The hitters didn't hit, and the defense was brutal.

The good news? This team is young. Very young. All of the pitchers except Jones and Rogers are under 30. Bonderman, Verlander, Miner and Ledezma are all 25 or under. Zumaya is 21. Most of the position players are between 27 and 32—the prime of most careers. Everybody but Casey is signed for next year.

I've been saying it all year, this team, with its pitching, has the makings of a contender for years to come. Yes, they have some holes, but the only glaring one is the lack of a lefty power hitter, but Detroit is now an attractive free agent destination, and they can now compete for those players.

They've had their taste, and next year they'll be hungry.

RANDOM SHOTS: Yadier Molina looks like some kind of a weird drag queen... I cannot stand Eckstein. I hate the whole forced hustle act and the oversized hat schtick. FireJoeMorgan is all over G. David Eckstein (the G. stands for Grit)... I've always really like Edmonds, and I am glad to see him get his ring. Same for Pujols. It would've sucked for him to become the next Marino, Bonds, etc.—great player who never won the big one... St. Louis fans are dorks, but they know how to make some professional-ass signs... The Tigers have the best looking road jerseys in baseball... Fernando Rodney is closer to taking over for Todd Jones than Zumaya... Billy Ray Cyrus? Are you kidding?... For some reason, the Ann Arbor radio station was giving me the ESPN radio feed, so I listened to a lot of John Miller and Joe Morgan. I enjoy those guys immensely. It's too bad I can't synch up the radio with the DirecTV so I don't have to endure McCarver.

photo: Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press

Friday, October 27, 2006

Are You Part of This Kakistocracy?

Got an email from the Raconteurs today:

Hi Everyone,

From now until November 1st, you can watch The Raconteurs' performance at the Electric Ballroom in London for Radio 1's John Peel Night by visiting: BBC Electric Proms

You can also watch a live webcast of The Raconteurs set at Vegoose tomorrow at 3:50 pm PST by visiting: ATT Blueroom

The Raconteurs newsletter team

Listening to the first show right now. Sound quality isn't too great, but the boys are tight.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can't You Feel the Recovery?

Today's headlines...
Home price drop is largest in 35 years
WASHINGTON - The median price of a new home plunged in September by the largest amount in more than 35 years, even as the pace of sales rebounded for a second month.

The Commerce Department reported that the median price for a new home sold in September was $217,100, a drop of 9.7 percent from September 2005. It was the lowest median price for a new home since September 2004 and the sharpest year-over-year decline since December 1970. The weakness in new home prices was even sharper than a 2.5 percent fall in the price of existing homes last month, which had been the biggest drop on record.

Jobless, wageless, now your over-mortgaged home is worth less. Exactly who is the "great economic recovery" working for?

Oh, thats right...
Exxon posts $10.49B profit; shares up
DALLAS - Oil industry behemoth Exxon Mobil's earnings rose to $10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. Its shares briefly rose to a 52-week high.

The report Thursday comes as high crude prices this year have fueled record profits in the oil industry, triggering an outcry from consumers who were being asked to pay about $3 a gallon for gasoline in early August.

The largest quarterly profit ever was Exxon Mobil Corp.'s $10.71 billion profit in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The company may beat that next quarter, said Howard Silverblatt Standard & Poor's Senior Index Analyst. "Then in all likelihood they will be at that $40 billion mark for the year."

That would put the company on track for the highest annual profit ever by a U.S. company. Exxon Mobil holds that record with a 2005 profit of $36.1 billion.

BONUS CONSPIRACY THEORY: I disagree with that projection by the way. They will exceed the $36.1 billion record, but they will fall short of $10 billion for the 4th quarter and $40 billion for the year. Why? Because I really think they've agreed to take a hit for the GOP this fall, and lower gas prices. ExxonMobil has maintained it's $10 billion margin for over a year now, if the next quarter comes in "short" at $8 or $9 billion, still huge, I think it proves my point.

The Church of St. Derek

Something smells alright, and it's not citrus and sandalwood.

We all know that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver hold each other gently while crying themselves to sleep in their king-size Holiday Inn bed because the Yankees and Mr. Driven are sitting at home and they have to stoop to once again covering a World Series outside the Bronx.

We all know how happy that makes me. That the Tigers eliminated the MFYs and went on to the Series is just icing. So what do I have left to get pissed off about? The forthcoming Derek Jeter Coronation and Awards Spectacular.

Everyone pretty much concedes that Jeter will win his first MVP this season. He had a fine season. Arguably an MVP caliber season. But I think he wins this award more on reputation and less for what he actually did, and for what happened around him—namely the Sox imploding and David Ortiz literally putting his heart into the game, and the fact that the two other (more?) deserving candidates, Joe Mauer and Travis Hafner toil in relative obscurity. To reiterate what I've already stated...
FOX continued to hype this Yankees team as one of, if not THE greatest lineup in history. If that's true, Jeter does not deserve the MVP. Even with the loss of Sheffield and Matsui. Sorry, they still had five guys score a hundred runs. Jeter is an MVP caliber player to be sure, and this may have been his best season, but I still think Joe Mauer deserves it more. He hits in a lineup with one other big stick. He won the batting crown over Jeter. People talk about the grind of Jeter playing short. Mauer plays catcher. Shortstop is a physical and mental vacation compared to catching.

But apparently, Derek deserves the 2006 MVP as some bullshit Lifetime Achievement Award. As if his rings and undeserved Gold Gloves aren't enough. But, this season, they say, he had to "carry" a team through the "adversity" of only six other All-Stars and MVPs in the lineup instead of eight. Please. And his leadership? Please. I think it’s pretty clear that Jeter left A-Rod hung out to dry and continues to do so. His behavior over the last season or two regarding A-Rod should pretty much unravel the overhyped captain myth.

And as Seth Mnookin points out...
The endless articles celebrating Jeter’s desire to play in the World Series are ridiculous. Yes, we know Jeter likes the Series; that’s about as far from unique as is possible. And yes, we know he, along with the rest of the Yankees, he thinks of the Series as more of a right and less of a privilege; that’s the unique part. If you want to point something out, focus on that.

Nicely put, Seth. And this one from Chad Finn bears repeating as well...
It's hard to pin any of this on Teflon Jeter, who at least looks like he sincerely gives a damn and always plays his ass off 'til the last drop . . . but at some point, doesn't all the talk about the "businesslike" clubhouse and the 25 players, 25 private planes mentality reflect a negative light on the Yankees' captain? Rather than unifying this team, in tough times he always seems to go out of his way to make the point that this is a "different group" than the 4-time champs, almost as if he's disingenuously distancing himself from the mess. He's a wonderful player, but the more I see, the more I believe his leadership is entirely by example - at best.

As we all know, the MVP votes are already counted, but we won't find out who wins 'til next month. If yesterday's announcement of Derek Jeter winning the Hank Aaron Award is any indicator, Mr. Driven has it in the bag. Let me point you to this breakdown of the top AL hitters and where Jeter fits in the list. There are a slew of stats to back up this conclusion:
Travis Hafner is a better hitter than Derek Jeter. So are lots of other people. Jeter might deserve the MVP, because he put up his very very good stats from the SS position, which makes those stats very very valuable. But the Hank Aaron Award is not the MVP.

So there you have it, folks. Derek Jeter. Winner of the Hank Aaron Award for being the first-or-second-best-hitting SS in the AL, and probably like the third- or fourth-best hitter on his own team.

That's what we give the award out for, correct?

I don’t even know what the fuck "SecA" and "IsoP" are, but I know Jeter sure as hell didn’t deserve this award. There is nothing “intangible” about the Aaron Award. It is hitting and stats. Period. Jeter didn't actually lead the League in anything except perfume sales. And looking closely at the obscure stats as that post does, choosing Jeter as the winner looks even worse. This is the one award where a guy like Ortiz should be able to say, “So what if I’m a DH. Hand it over.”

I guess Jeter should just clear a space on his mantle for his MVP now. At this rate, leave room for another undeserved Gold Glove and, what the hell, give him the Cy Young and a freaking Grammy as well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I'm Back

I've been on vacation for a week and blissfully unaware of the events of the outside (non-Disney) world.

It does a body good.

Not until the last couple things I saw at Epcot did politics begin to reenter my mind... Little things just kept creeping in like how all of the good things and advances in our civilization seem to come from a liberal mentality rather than capitalist or conservative. It all hit home after watching the "Circle of Life" video hosted by Simba the Lion channeling Al Gore, that Republicans might, in fact, be evil. At least as evil as a Disney villain anyway...

I am now slammed with backed-up freelance work, so posting might continue to be light for a while. But I am back

Monday, October 16, 2006

Corrupt Republican of the Day

You don't even need to read the article. The photo caption pretty much sums it all up...

In this Feb. 15, 2005, file photo, Lester M. Crawford talks to FDA employees in Rockville, Md. Crawford, the former FDA chief, was charged Monday with lying about his ownership of stock in companies regulated by his agency. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Boitano)

He's pleading guilty, so I guess we'll miss the round of right-wing whines about how George Soros and the Dems are really behind this. The way things are going, immediate guilty pleas may be the best thing Republicans can do. Try to get it out of the papers before anybody notices...

[h/t Balloon Juice]

Saturday, October 14, 2006

They're Grrreat!

The Tigers finished off the sweep of the A's tonite. It was a tight game with plenty of tension and a dramatic walk-off finish. During the Rogers game last week against the Yanks, it just seemed like the Tigers might not lose again. They haven't. They've now won seven in a row and await the winner of the NLCS. The way the AL has dominated the NL lately, plus the way this Tigers team is pitching, hitting and picking it, I think they will make a meal out of whoever they face in the World Series.

Psycho Babble

Apparently there is a line that talking heads at FOX cannot cross. No, not Hannity, "Five in the Noggin" Gibson or O' only applies to sportscasters... The annoying Steve Lyons was fired by FOX after Friday's game when he made a "racially insensitive comment" in the booth...
Later, Piniella said the A's needed Thomas to get "en fuego" -- hot in Spanish -- because he was currently "frio" -- or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.

Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" -- butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" -- and added, "I still can't find my wallet."

"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.

FOX executives told Lyons after the game he had been fired.

That sounds pretty bad. And that's the way I read the news at David Pinto's site, but there is actually a plausible excuse for what Lyons said. Sort of...
In the second inning of Friday's game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A's infielder Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro's production to "finding a wallet on Friday" and hoping it happened again the next week.

Without the context of Piniella's earlier wallet analogy, it looks pretty bad for Lyons. But I believe him when he says he was kidding...
"If I offended anybody, I'm truly sorry," Lyons said in a phone interview. "But my comment about Lou taking my wallet was a joke and in no way racially motivated."

It was a joke about Piniella, not a joke about Hispanics being pickpockets. I won't miss Lyons in the booth because I found him annoying (though his replacement today was actually worse), but he deserved to be fired for being a tool and a shitty analyst, not for being a trumped-up racist.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Night Videos

Here's the video for what will presumably be the next single from The Raconteurs—"Level." Good choice. It's one of my favorite songs off the best album of the year. Quicktime link

I've already watched/listened to this video at least five or six times today. It's everything I want in a music video. Namely, the band playing. And instead of synching to the album, the boys just invited some fans to an old warehouse and played live for the cameras. My only complaint is too much Jack and Brendan and not enough drummer. You can never show too much drumming.

My great regret is that I bought this album on iTunes instead of the physical CD. Otherwise, I'd have mailed everyone I know a copy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

FRT: Read it and Weep...

1. "Crooked Teeth" - Death Cab Pretty good tune. I'm happy to see a solid band like this make headway into the crapstorm that is popular music. 7

2. "Street Fighting Man" - Stones Since this is a "Hot Rocks" and radio staple it's easy to dismiss this song as overplayed. It's been a while since I've heard it, and, damn, this is good shit. Songs like this are the reason why I always rank the Stones ahead of the Beatles. 10

3. "I Walk the Line" - John Cash The Man in Black. 'nuff said. 8

4. "Dollar Bill" - Screaming Trees The Guinness Book Twins back for an encore. 7

5. "Ball and Biscuit" - White Stripes Is it blues? Rock? Whatever. It kicks total and complete ass. Jack and Meg at the top pf their game. 10

6. "Perfect Strangers'" - Deep Purple For the crunchy blues riffs of "B&B" to transition straight into Jon Lord's majestic keys? "Oh, yeah..." 9

7. "Oh!" - Sleater Kinney Always a big fan of good chick-rock. File under Magnapop. Another one from the well-stocked AA library. 7

8. "4 Degrees" - Tool Starts out eerily like a Stone Temple Pilots tune, then shifts into typical Tool. Which is a good thing. 8

9. "Juicebox" - The Strokes Another fake-out. Opening bassline fools me into thinking it's Tad's "Jack Pepsi" every time.... 7

10. "Police and Thieves" - The Clash When you hear a song like this, it's easy to forget this was considered a punk band. Sort of. Well, they had mohawks. At least Joe Strummer did... 9

8.2 average. Kneel before Zod.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Let's Go To The Videotape..."

Watch this. One of those (many) clips that leaves me cringing, "I cannot believe this fucking moron/penis is our President." No wonder everything's so screwed.

Seriously, after watching something like that I can almost understand why, and forgive the press for not asking Bush the tough questions. It's quite clearly a fucking waste of time, and has to be immensely frustrating. Malveaux doggedly keeps after Bush, yet he just leans over the podium, takes cracks at her, lies, and then makes utterly no sense at all.

If I were her, I'd have thrown my mike at him and walked out of the room after about ten seconds of his bullshit.

[h/t C&L]

UPDATE: When checking the link, I realized this exchange took place in July. His moron/penisness still stands. And since then he's been proven wrong as well.

Test a Dud? Doesn't Matter.

It seems to some experts that certain signatures of the "event" in North Korea indicate a failed rather than a successful nuclear test [link]. There was an exposion, radiation and a meaasurable seismic impact, but none of those was as big as it should have been. This is undoubtedly good news, for now, but we are unlikely to get much confirmation one way or another, since all parties concerned are served by the scare factor of a nuclear NK: Obviously Kim Jong-il want everyone to think he was successful—badly enough to blow up a giant pile of "dirty" TNT to claim a nuke? And on this side of the ocean, a high-profile pursuit of nukes by NK plays right into Bush's rhetoric, and will be a major plank for him in his bullshit platform supporting Congressmen for the rest of the election cycle—he certainly won't be walking the "threat" back. When all you have is fear, use fear itself...

If North Korea's test was a fake or a bust, you might expect me to calm down from my post yesterday. Not blood-y like-ly. Everything I wrote still holds true regarding Bush's failure, and even if the North Korean half of the equation is postponed, I'd just be writing the same post in another 12-18 months. Once the election passes, Bush will stop his tough talk and go back to fucking off in regards to North Korea, and no progress will be made as a result of this event.

This latest foreign relations "opportunity" will be a washout just like all the rest.

UPDATE: Title modified. Cartoon added to replace previous art.

Monday, October 09, 2006

This Year's Boogey-Man: Now With Nukes!!

By now you probably know that last week, North Korea announced it would test a nuclear weapon sometime "in the future."

Well, the future was last night.

Much of what I've read online this morning is "awaiting confrimation" on this nuclear test. On my way into work, the BBC said the Russians have confirmed it. Exact time, location and exposive yield. It is "definitely nuclear."

Otto Man over at LLPON points us to a good post by Josh Marshall...
For the US this is a strategic failure of the first order.

The origins of the failure are ones anyone familiar with the last six years in this country will readily recognize: chest-thumping followed by failure followed by cover-up and denial. The same story as Iraq. Even the same story as Foley.

[...] President Bush came to office believing that Clinton's policy amounted to appeasement. Force and strength were the way to deal with North Korea, not a mix of force, diplomacy and aide. And with that premise, President Bush went about scuttling the 1994 agreement, using evidence that the North Koreans were pursuing uranium enrichment (another path to the bomb) as the final straw.

[...] All diplomatic niceties aside, President Bush's idea was that the North Koreans would respond better to threats than Clinton's mix of carrots and sticks.

Then in the winter of 2002-3, as the US was preparing to invade Iraq, the North called Bush's bluff. And the president folded. Abjectly, utterly, even hilariously if the consequences weren't so grave and vast.

Threats are a potent force if you're willing to follow through on them. But he wasn't. The plutonium production plant, which had been shuttered since 1994, got unshuttered. And the bomb that exploded tonight was, if I understand this correctly, almost certainly the product of that plutonium uncorked almost four years ago.

So the President talked a good game, the North Koreans called his bluff and he folded. And since then, for all intents and purposes, and all the atmospherics to the contrary, he and his administration have done essentially nothing.

[...] The bomb-grade plutonium that was on ice from 1994 to 2002 is now actual bombs. Try as you might it is difficult to imagine a policy -- any policy -- which would have yielded a worse result than the one we will face Monday morning.

[...] The Bush-Cheney policy on North Korea was always what Fareed Zakaria once aptly called "a policy of cheap rhetoric and cheap shots." It failed. And after it failed President Bush couldn't come to grips with that failure and change course. He bounced irresolutely between the Powell and Cheney lines and basically ignored the whole problem hoping either that the problem would go away, that China would solve it for us and most of all that no one would notice.

Do you notice now?

Marshall is right on. Something similar to this (but far more concise) should be be flowing freely from every Dem today. They should try and get out in front on this as much as possible and HAMMER Bush. He dismantled a successful accord that had been keeping NK's program inactive simply because Bill Clinton had brokered it. They then spent the last four years alternating between ignoring the problem, calling Kim Jong il names, and making bellicose, but empty, threats.

Remember the "Axis of Evil?" When Bush made that ridiculous speech, NONE of those three countries was actually a threat to the U.S. Now? Iraq is in complete turmoil, Iran is thumbing its nose at the world and we can do nothing about it, and now the worst of the three actually seems to have nuclear weapons. From
North Korea's own interests in getting a bomb are clear, and they have little to do with the fact that its leader is a bit of a flake. Kim's diplomats have clearly said for years that they learned a lesson from the wars in Iraq (those of 1991 and 2003): If you want to keep America from attacking, get some nuclear weapons. They also learned much from Pakistan's nuclear test in 1998, after which the country was transformed in American eyes from "outlaw state" to "strategic partner." In other words, Kim may think that he can wait out the pressure.

Exactly. A nuke is the ultimate trump card.

What has also gone unsaid in every thing I've read is what is actually the worst part of this story—proliferation. North Korea is a desperate country with a proven history of selling whatever they can. At this point they have no way to deliver a nuclear weapon via a missle, but they now have the technology an material for the true nightmare scenario—selling a weapon to terrorists.

This cycle will quickly turn and Bush has the bully pulpit—he could go on TV tonite before Monday Night Football and lie his ass off, blame Clinton, and pretend only the Republicans can protect us. As Bush likes to say, "Make No Mistake..." the Republicans will be out in force declaring the world an even more dangerous place and the Democrats cannot be trusted to protect us.

Democrats have one chance to define this as a Bush failure and pin it on him, and the window is already slamming shut.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

". . . And Whoever's Playing the Yankees"

There's an old T-shirt you'll see in New England that declares, "My two favorite teams are the Red Sox and whoever's playing the Yankees." Those are words I live by. But for this series, I actually have a genuine interest and connection to these Tigers, so this was so much more than just rooting for the Yanks to go down in flames...

I moved here to Michigan when the Tigers sucked. Sucked hard. But I still followed this team fairly closely. More closely than the Sox over the last year or two simply because I listen to most of the games on the radio. I've followed these young players as they've come up. And this season, until the last month, was one of the most exciting baseball seasons I can remember. It's an extremely likeable team. A gorgeous ballpark. And there are real Tiger fans here in Michigan. They've waited a long-ass time for this, and happy to be here to be part of it.

Going in, the way the two teams were playing, I didn't give the Tigers much of a chance. I thought my boy Nate Robertson might steal one, and then the Yanks would get pissed and steamroll. After game one, I was worried about a sweep. Should-be ROY Verlander was gutty in the rainout game, and the bad-ass bullpen finished the job.

I'll confess, Kenny Rogers scared the shit out of me for Game three, but he shocked me along with everyone else. He gave the most dominating pitching performance I've seen against the Yankees since Pedro's 17K one-hitter. Rogers made them look positively silly. He somehow came up with a fastball in the 90s to go with his usual slop. He was blowing guys away. Talk about redemption for Rogers. I can only imagine the smack the Vinnies in New York were talking going into that game. Rogers answered that.

After that game, I knew the Yanks were done. And, man, did I smile today when I saw that A-Rod was hitting in the 8-hole. Panic in Detroit, indeed.

After I filled my yard with cars for the Michigan/Michigan State game, I came inside to park myself on the couch. Watching Bonderman mow down the first six hitters it was clear he was on, and this "lineup for the ages" was checked out. In the 4th inning, Bonderman had thrown only 36 pitches, 30 for strikes. Damon, Jeter and Abreu alone often see that many pitches in any given inning. I actually started to think Bonderman was going to throw a no-hitter. That's how feeble the Yanks looked.

Good pitching does indeed stop good hitting.

A couple things...FOX continued to hype this Yankees team as one of, if not THE greatest lineup in history. If that's true, Jeter does not deserve the MVP. Even with the loss of Sheffield and Matsui. Sorry, they still had five guys score a hundred runs. Jeter is an MVP caliber player to be sure, and this may have been his best season, but I still think Joe Mauer deserves it more. He hits in a lineup with one other big stick. He won the batting crown over Jeter. People talk about the grind of Jeter playing short. Mauer plays catcher. Shortstop is a physical and mental vacation compared to catching. Sorry, Mr. "Driven", but you will still walk straight into Cooperstown with plenty of hardware and a fresh, citrus-y scent. Be satisfied with the couple Gold Gloves you don't deserve, your four rings (and not counting) and your ROY trophy.

That said, Jeter and Posada are the only guys who showed up in this Series. New York is going to be killing A-Rod, and deservedly so. But everyone else sucked too. Randy Johnson and Mussina did not earn their combined $35-Mil this week. The pen is just brutal, and the defense was awful.

Next year, I will be shocked if A-Rod is in pinstripes. He was 1-for-the Series and failed in spectacular fashion. Sriking out with the bases loaded, grounding into an almost-DP today when the Yanks had a chance to get back into the game. He tossed in an E to go with his collar. He was terrible. I do not think he can ever redeem himself in that City. If he comes back, they will be selling A-Rod jerseys with ".071" on the back.

As for my adopted Tigers? Bring on the A's.

UPDATE: Seth Mnookin piles on ... Go here to gloat ... Nomar failed to have his Kirk Gibson moment—Mets advance. ... Surviving Grady

SECOND UPDATE: Chad Finn weighs in, and really calls Jeter out:
It's hard to pin any of this on Teflon Jeter, who at least looks like he sincerely gives a damn and always plays his ass off 'til the last drop . . . but at some point, doesn't all the talk about the "businesslike" clubhouse and the 25 players, 25 private planes mentality reflect a negative light on the Yankees' captain? Rather than unifying this team, in tough times he always seems to go out of his way to make the point that this is a "different group" than the 4-time champs, almost as if he's disingenuously distancing himself from the mess. He's a wonderful player, but the more I see, the more I believe his leadership is entirely by example - at best.

He's right.

Here's a great column from ther Bergen (NJ) Record that lays out the A-rod sitch perfectly. [via TATB] ... Torre to pay the ultimate price? ... This is cool: Nate Robertson, Cliff Floyd and Barry Zito have playoff blogs ... Oh, and don't forget these:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

FRT: Don't Call it a Comeback

Was the Last FRT really in June? I guess I was reeling from all the abuse I took for giving the Power Station a "9." It took all day for me to hear ten songs today, but here they are:

1. "Big Train" - Mike Watt
2. "Across the Universe" - Rufus Wainright
3. "Prophets of Rage" - Public Enemy
4. "Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago" - Soul Coughing
5. "The Hardest Button To Push" - White Stripes
6. "Give Blood" - Pete Townshend
7. "Divorce Song" - Liz Phair
8. "Monkey Man" - Stones
9. "Living After Midnight" - Judas Priest
10. "Julie Paradise" - Screaming Trees (pictured)

Mr. Speaker, Welcome to the Pasture...

Hey, Big Denny, you can put on a brave face and keep fighting it, but the more we find out, I don't see how you can avoid it...
Aide says he reported Foley 2 years ago

By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office in 2004 about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) with teenage pages — the earliest known alert to the GOP leadership.

Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene."

The conversations took place long before the e-mail scandal broke, Fordham said, and at least a year earlier than members of the House GOP leadership have acknowledged.

[...] The longtime Capitol Hill aide said he would fully disclose to the FBI and the House ethics committee "any and all meetings and phone calls" regarding Foley's behavior that he had with senior staffers in the House leadership.

"The fact is even prior to the existence of the Foley e-mail exchanges I had more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene when I was informed of Mr. Foley's inappropriate behavior," Fordham said.

Hole. Dig. Repeat.

While reading the WaPo article on the Foley press excuse conference, a couple things jumped out at me. First, this:
"I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he [Foley] would violate the trust of the citizens who placed him in office," Bush said at an elementary school during a campaign swing in California.

President Partisan Douchebag will never be accused of "feeling anybody's pain." Read that statement carefully. Foley only betrayed the Republican voters of his district, Mr. President? Or, how about, he violated the trust of parents and citizens everywhere regardless of political affiliation. He abused and betrayed the trust of children entrusted to work in his office. He violated the trust of society

Like everything else in this disgusting scandal, these shitheads cannot see beyond their own party and interest. Ever. Even after the fact, in supposedly thoughtful and conciliatory statements. They cannot help themselves. Throw. Them. All. Out.


Here's another interesting and disturbing wrinkle inspired by a comment in the thread at The Carpetbagger Report...

We all know Foley's lawyer announced yesterday that 1. Foley is gay. 2. Foley was molested as a child by a priest.

Of course that information struck me initially as crap. Impossible to prove or disprove, and a poor attempt to garner sympathy for Foley and excuse his behavior..." He was drunk!, and molested as a child!"

Now, I am aware that molestation as a child often has far-reaching effects and does make one more likely to repeat the abuse. But is that really what Foley, his lawyer (and Republican handlers) are getting at? OR are they trying to conflate Foley's childhood molestation with his being gay?!?

In other words, Being molested by a priest isn't an excuse for Foley later molesting others, rather, it's the reason he is gay. And once that happened, the next thing you know, he molests boys...'cause those gays can't help themselves...

I suspect the information was released/framed that way, because they are only too happy to let some jump to that conclusion.

Of course, in the final analysis thinking about this too hard only makes the cover-up look worse. Molestation and sexual abuse does have a profound effect on children for the rest of their lives, and can lead to continuing the cycle of abuse. And if you follow their warped logic, even if it meant "turning some pages gay." Which, of course, if followed to their illogical conclusion, guarantees Foley's victims go on to molest children themselves. And so on.

Yet they were willing to look the other way. All to protect one House seat. Now that is a violation of trust, Mr. President.

Corrupted absolutely, indeed.

[Cross-posted as two posts at]

UPDATE: Welcome Daou Report readers, and thanks for the vine, Steve.