Saturday, February 28, 2009

McCain, beaver management, mormon crickets, tattoos, and smelly pigs

John McCain is twittering. Also, he’s sending out messages on (see what I did there?). Currently, he’s posting the “top ten porkiest projects” in the spending bill, mostly ones that he thinks sound funny. Between them, they add up to only a bit over $10 million. One of the projects is $650,000 for beaver management. I understand he pulled his original tweet (let me say that again, just because it’s such a great phrase: he pulled his original tweet), which asked “how does one manage a beaver?” He also made fun of mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex) control, of a $200,000 program to remove tattoos from former gang members (“‘tattoo removal violence outreach program to could help gang members or others shed visible signs of their past’ REALLY?” – because John McCain can think of no choices he’s made in his own past that he’d want people not to be reminded of), a center for grape genetics, an astronomy project (“because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy” – in other words, he’s making fun of astronomers for not being average enough), and $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa. No mention of volcano monitoring.

McCain’s twitter feed has 110,327 followers.

But ours is a bond forged by shared bloodshed

Obama gave his Iraq speech yesterday. Most of what I intended to say has been written by Eli at Left I (in two posts) while I ate dinner, watched Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse, tried to fix a corrupted file, tried to figure out what was wrong with Haloscan, etc.

What pushed both our buttons was Obama’s praising of this godawful war. He told the marines (he was speaking to one of those captive military audiences Bush liked so much): “You have fought against tyranny and disorder.” He told the Iraqi people (who unlike the marines weren’t actually there): “Our nations have known difficult times together.” Together in the sense that lots of our troops were occupying your country. “But ours is a bond forged by shared bloodshed.” Mostly yours, of course, and not so much shared as caused by our, you know, bombs and bullets and things. “We Americans have offered our most precious resource – our young men and women – to work with you to rebuild what was destroyed by despotism...” Say, Barack, can you think of anything else in Iraq in the last few years, other than despotism, that might have created the need for rebuilding? An invasion and a giant frigging war, for example? “ root out our common enemies; and to seek peace and prosperity for our children and grandchildren, and for yours.” “In years past, you have persevered through tyranny and terror; through personal insecurity and sectarian violence.” Also, an invasion and a giant frigging war. Obama seems to keep forgetting about that war, which is odd considering he was supposed to be giving a speech about that very thing.

And from the way he describes it in those statements, you’d never know that we actually invaded Iraq. If all you had was this speech, you’d think we were invited in. Bond forged by shared bloodshed, indeed. Obama, a supposed opponent of the Iraq War, is as big an exponent of the myth of America’s innocence in the world as George Bush. “We can serve as an honest broker in pursuit of fair and durable agreements on issues that have divided Iraq’s leaders.” Yes, I’m sure if you ask the Iraqi people how they’d describe the US in relation to their country, the term they’d all use would be “honest broker.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A tougher job

John Boehner explains that while America is a “center-right country,” voters often “don’t see us as the center-right party. I think we have to be more effective in how we communicate our principles”. See, it’s not the policies – it’s never the policies – it’s just that they’re not communicated well enough.

“We have a tougher job than our friends across the aisle. They’ve been offering Americans a free lunch for the last 80 years, rather successfully. Those of us that believe in a smaller, more accountable government, we have a tougher time making our principles relevant to the American people.”

Yes, the Democrats have been offering a free lunch and the Republicans have been offering a shit sandwich.

And not even a free shit sandwich.

Put-Down of the Day. Nay, of the Week.

“Apparently the governor of Louisiana doesn’t remember any of the major volcanic eruptions in recent history.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The un-State of the Union Address: Nobody messes with Joe

And the State of the Union is... Obamalicious.


WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY: “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.” Better, stronger, faster...

IN OTHER... OH, WAIT: “In other words, we have lived through an era where too often short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity”.

YOU RECKON? “Well, that day of reckoning has arrived”.

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: “As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan... not because I believe in bigger government -- I don’t.”

WITH GREAT BAILOUTS COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY: “And with a plan of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right.”

YOU DON’T TUG ON SUPERMAN’S CAPE: “And that’s why I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead a tough, unprecedented oversight effort, because nobody messes with Joe.”

ON ANY GIVEN DAY: “Now, I understand that, on any given day, Wall Street may be more comforted by an approach that gives bank bailouts with no strings attached and that holds nobody accountable for their reckless decisions, but such an approach won’t solve the problem.” Well, not unless you think the problem is bankers and wall street types not getting rich enough.

THE FANCY DRAPES INDUSTRY IS DOOMED, DOOMED! WHERE’S THEIR BAILOUT? DO THEY NOT BLEED? “This time -- this time, CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks, or buy fancy drapes, or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over.”

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: “It’s not about helping banks; it’s about helping people.”

WADDLE, YES, WALK, NO: “I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.”

WHAT WE WON’T DO: “But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy.”

AND FALLING ASLEEP IN ENGLISH CLASS IS FALLING ASLEEP ON YOUR COUNTRY: “dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself; it’s quitting on your country.”

LINE THAT PROVOKED THE MOST MOCK-DERISIVE LAUGHTER FROM THE R CONGRESSCRITTERS: “Now, I’m proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks.”

LINE THAT PROVOKED THE MOST MOCK-DERISIVE LAUGHTER FROM YOUR BLOGGER: “I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture. We can make that commitment here tonight.”

Evidently one Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the obligatory little girl who wrote a letter, says “We are not quitters.”

BIG FINISH: “And if we do, if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis, if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity, if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then some day, years from now, our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, ‘something worthy to be remembered.’” And those children will say, Yeah, whatever, grandpa, and roll their eyes. These kids of the future today, they got no respect I tell ya.

Speaking of kids of the future, here’s the response of Slumdog Governor Bobby Jindal.

...No, I can’t do it. I made the mistake of looking at other blogs, and now I can’t get the Kenneth the Page thing out of my head.

Bobby makes fun of magnetic levitation high-speed trains and of a provision in the stimulus bill for “something called volcano monitoring.” He’s never heard of such a thing. Here’s Bobby Jindal’s idea of a knee slapper: “Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.” He is the future of the Republican party.

Caption Contest, now with more Clooney

George Clooney went to the White House yesterday. Although he met with both Biden and Obama, the White House seems only to have released this picture (I can’t be sure, because the search feature at the White House website is as sucky as it was under Bush, returning 0 hits for Clooney, but asking “Did you mean rooney?” No, I really didn’t).

So, what are they saying here? It probably won’t help to stimulate your comedic juices, but I guess I should mention that The Clooney was there to talk about Darfur.

Willy Pete and the paper of record

Ah, there it is. They tried to hide it, but today’s New York Times does mention Amnesty International’s report that the white phosphorus which Israel used to burn Palestinians last month was supplied by the United States. And when I say the NYT “mentions” it, what I mean is that they stuck it ten paragraphs into a story on page A7 entitled “Netanyahu Rebuffed Again in Efforts to Form Coalition,” and then said only
In a separate development, Amnesty International issued a report on Monday accusing Israel and Hamas of misusing foreign-supplied weapons to “attack civilians” during the recent 22-day Gaza war.

Amnesty called on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on both parties, and it urged the Obama administration to suspend American military aid to Israel.
Sort of kinda neglects to mention little details like what sort of weapons we’re talking about and which foreigners supplied them (there are plates with serial numbers and “manufactured in the United States” on the shells).

The WaPo mentions the Amnesty report in paragraph 9 of an AP story about Olmert firing his own negotiator. Here’s what it says: “Also Monday, a statement by the human rights group Amnesty International called on the United States to stop supplying Israel with arms that the group said were used in the killing of civilians in Gaza.” The words “white phosphorus” appear nowhere (and the LAT seems to skip the story altogether). We do get Israel’s response that the report is “unbalanced” (im fact, it does also condemn Hamas attacks on civilians and castigates its foreign suppliers, calling, as the NYT said, for an arms embargo on both sides) and ignores “the basic fact that Hamas is a terror organization”.

Compare this with the Guardian and the London Times, which seem to take chemical warfare (and American complicity) rather more seriously than the American press.

Far be it for this blog not to pass on fun facts. We all like fun facts, right?

From the White House blog: “Fun fact: the President loves scallops.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slooow news day contest

Another human-rights-whadda-ya-gonna-do quote from Hillary Clinton, from just before this week’s trip to China: “When you think about the drastic rise in unemployment in China, many would argue that that’s a human rights issue. There’s going to be a lot of suffering that will come from that.” So that puts those prisoners of conscience firmly in their place. It’s all about perspective, people.

So George Bush visited that hardware store in Dallas that offered him a job as a decider greeter, because he’s so very lonely. He wandered the store for an hour, talking to anybody who couldn’t get away fast enough, and bought, according to the AP, some flashlights, batteries, night lights and some WD-40.

Contest: what is he planning to do with those items?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

We pretty much know what they’re gonna say

The Obama administration, like the Bushies, says that prisoners held at Bagram have no rights and cannot appeal to US courts.

Hillary Clinton says that issues like Tibet and human rights “can’t interfere with [engaging China on] the global economic crisis, the global climate-change crisis and the security crises.” I’m sure the political prisoners in Beijing dungeons and provincial re-education-through-slave-labor camps, the parents arrested for asking why the schools that crushed their children were built so shoddily, the Buddhist monks nursing broken bones in Llasa, etc. will be happy to hear that they won’t be interfering with the really important items on Hillary’s agenda – they’re very polite that way.

Anyway, Hillary says, there’s really no point in bothering talking to China about human rights because “we pretty much know what they’re gonna say.” I don’t know if the Chinese authorities know what Hillary is gonna say, but they certainly now know that they won’t have to pay very close attention to it.

Friday, February 20, 2009


A Pentagon report says that Guantanamo is really all humane and shit. So that settles that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We have a budget! An awful, awful budget! Um, hooray?

So the California Legislature has finally reached a budget agreement, because the Democrats agreed to the demands of Republican State Senator Abel Maldonado to eliminate funding for new furniture in the state controller’s office.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wherein your blogger, of all people, complains about someone else’s lack of sensitivity and good taste

Headline of the Day: “Lost Boy Found in Crocodile.” Did the London Times really use the story of the horrific death of a five-year-old to sneak in a Peter Pan reference? (Headline is on the Times’ world news contents page; the story itself has a different one.)

Everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all

Doesn’t this picture of Bristol Palin at the Republican convention (hijacked from the Dependable Renegade)

make her look like she belongs on the Juniper Creek Compound in “Big Love”?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The NYT did a whole story about Bush’s plans to build a new presidential helicopter, which has become so expensive that Obama may cancel it, talking about its capabilities to deflect missiles, resist EMPs, etc., without mentioning the main selling point for Bush: a higher door, so he wouldn’t have to duck coming out of it – doesn’t look preznidenshul and dignitudinous, you know. Definitely worth $400 million plus per whirlybird. (Obama, two inches taller than Bush, has already bumped his head once.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

In the extreme minority

First line of a story in the London Times (it’s kind ofdownhill from there, so don’t bother reading it): “A man who found a 20p coin showing the Queen wearing what appears to be a pair of ear muffs thought it must be counterfeit.”

The NYT quotes Republican whip Eric Cantor: “I talk to Newt on a regular basis because he was in the position that we are in: in the extreme minority.” He said it, not me.

The article contained the interesting fact that Cantor is the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives.

The cat just got her head stuck in an empty Kleenex box. Like that time she licked the soap dispenser, I don’t think she’ll be doing it again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The discretion of those who possess such expertise

Prince Harry, after being caught on video calling a fellow officer a “Paki,” is to be sent on an equality and diversity course. It must be some course, if it can teach an inbred twit who is third in line to inherit the throne because he happened to be born into a long line of inbed twits the importance of equality and diversity. I’m guessing hand puppets are involved.

Federal judge Gladys Kessler decides not to decide a case about the forcible feeding of hunger strikers (and the use of “restraint chairs” to facilitate such feeding) because the only people really qualified to decide whether it amounts to torture are, you guessed it, the torturers: “Petitioners insist that the use of the chair on a compliant detainee amounts to such unnecessary and painful restriction that it is tantamount to torture. Resolution of this issue requires the exercise of penal and medical discretion by staff with the appropriate expertise and is precisely the type of question that federal courts, lacking that expertise, leave to the discretion of those who possess such expertise.” Discretion – is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another contest I’m probably gonna regret

An Indian Hindu nationalist group is developing a “healthy” soft drink based on, you guessed it, cow urine. It will have enormous health-giving powers. They will call it Gau Jal (Cow Water). Such a bland name. Surely the WIIIAIverse can do
better: names and/or slogans in comments, please.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Everybody needs to grab a hose

I passed my smog check today. And so did my car.

As Berlusconi raced to get a law through to stop the clinic letting that woman who had been in a coma for 17 years die, she died. Guess she won’t be incubating any of Silvio’s babies. Berlusconi immediately accused President Napolitano, who had refused to sign his decree (on the grounds that they really shouldn’t be overturning court rulings) of murder.

Name of the Day, mentioned by Barack Obama during a town hall meeting in Ft Myers, Florida (the foreclosure capital of America): Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

Obama was accompanied by Charlie Crist, who talked about the importance of being bi... partisan. Obama added, “And when the town is burning, you don’t check party labels. Everybody needs to grab a hose, and that’s what Charlie Crist is doing right here today.”

HAS HE EVER MET AN AMERICAN?: “I know that all that people are asking for is a chance to work hard.”

REALLY, HAS HE EVER MET AN AMERICAN?: To someone complaining about working at McDonald’s because he can’t find another job: “the fact that you are working as hard as you’re working at a job that I know doesn’t always pay as well as some other jobs, I think that’s a source of pride for you. That shows that -- that you’re doing the right thing.” A crappy job serving unhealthy food which Obama would never eat himself, that’s doing the right thing? Right for whom?

Or else

The town hall meeting still isn’t really Obama’s format. It came across as not much more spontaneous than any of Bush’s town hall meetings (although I’m sure no homeless person was ever allowed into one of those), mostly because Obama insisted on doing almost all of the talking, giving long answers and not really interacting with his questioners.

Everything You Need to Know About the Stimulus Package (STIMPY) You Can Tell By the Expression on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s Face

Monday, February 09, 2009

Obama press conference: So what I’m trying to underscore is what the people in Elkhart already understand


He talked a great deal about his visit to Elkhart, Indiana, which is for him what Joe the Plumber was for McCain and Palin. Evidently Elkhart, Indiana has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America, and is the RV capital of America. TV stations “have started running public service announcements to tell people where to find food banks, even as the food banks don’t have enough to meet the demand.” So the tv stations are really just screwing with them. So cruel.

UH OH, THE DUDE’S GETTING DELUSIONS OF BEING AN ECONOMIST: “What I’ve said is what other economists have said...”

WORST DISNEYLAND RIDE EVER: “If you delay acting on an economy of this severity, then you potentially create a negative spiral”.

We don’t want to lose a decade, like Japan. Actually, Japan was just giving us a head start. They’re just very sporting like that.

WE’RE SPECIAL: “So what I’m trying to underscore is what the people in Elkhart already understand, that this is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill recession.” Actually, the people in Elkhart understand that in recessions the mills don’t actually run, that’s kind of the problem.

BUT IT WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE FOR IRAN TO BE BITTEN BY A RADIOACTIVE SPIDER: Iran should “recognize that, even as it has some rights as a member of the international community, with those rights come responsibilities.”

Puppies! No one is asking about the White House puppy! What sort of reporters are these people, anyway?

Says putting three Republicans in his cabinet “unprecedented.” Actually, I’m pretty sure Bush did that too.

Comes out firmly in favor of weatherization. As a Californian, I have to ask – what is this “weather” of which you speak?

Evidently we have the most inefficient health care system ever in the world. They’re still using paper, for chrissake! Paper!

He regales the press with a story of how he once visited a school in South Carolina built in the 1850s. They all gasp: South Carolina has schools?

Puppy! We were promised a puppy!

He didn’t come into office “ginned up to spend $800 billion.” Oddly reminiscent of Bush saying he hadn’t planned on being a war president. Only with Bush it was tequila and cocaine rather than gin (or beer with Sean Hannity).

HA, HE SAID BANG: With TARP, “we didn’t get as big a bang for the buck as we should have.”

He doesn’t have a crystal ball. George Bush always said he didn’t have a magic wand. Someone give these guys a gift certificate to a magic store.

Puppy puppy puppy!

Will you lift the ban on showing coffins returning from Iraq? O: Well, that’s a very timely question, that I have no intention of answering...

I think he just said that the Afghan elections will be meaningless.

A Fox reporter asks about something or other Biden said last week – so what the hell was he talking about? Obama: Fuck if I know – you think I actually listen when Biden is talking?

Now they’re asking about some baseball player’s use of steroids, but nothing about the puppy? COME ON!

Helen Thomas (and if there’s anyone you’d think would ask about our puppy): Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons? Obama: “I don’t want to speculate.” But we don’t want an arms race in the Middle East. Although evidently not as much as he doesn’t want to piss off Israel by acknowledging that they are a nuclear power. When Helen tried to follow up on the nuclear question, he talked over her and called on another reporter. Wimp.

Evidently the people of Elkhart, Indiana can’t afford partisanship. Not even off-brand partisanship at Wal-Mart.

WORK A BIT MORE ON THAT JESSE JACKSON RHYMING THING: “I’m not sure they have a lot of credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility.”

YEAH, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: “I think that, over time, people respond to civility and rational argument. I think that’s what the people of Elkhart and the people around America are looking for.”

You know what else the people of Elkhart and the people around America respond to? Puppies!

Hannity, minus the Colmes, but with beer

Obama held a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana today, making a point, for some reason, of saying that audience members had not been screened. One of them told him, “I’m one of those that thinks you need to have a beer with Sean Hannity.” And snort some blow with Bill O’Reilly. And do some meth with Rush Limbaugh.

Nothing else of interest occurred. Though Reuters did get this nice Obama-propeller picture out of the trip.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jobs you don’t need a brain for (prime minister of Italy, f’r instance)

Italy is having its Terri Schiavo moment, with Silvio Berlusconi intervening to prevent implementation of a court ruling allowing a 38-year-old woman in a vegetative state since 1992 to die (although the president is refusing to sign Berlusconi’s decree). According to Berlusconi, although she is in a coma, she should be kept alive because she is “in the condition to have babies.” So that’s okay then.

We can’t expect relief

In Obama’s weekly address, a sentence in which the word “relief” can be read two different ways, both true: “Let’s be clear: We can’t expect relief from the tired old theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first place.”

Friday, February 06, 2009


So Obama’s version of Bush’s “faith-based initiative” will include the goal of abortion-reduction. How does that work? Will the government pay people to tell pregnant women they will go to hell if they have an abortion?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me

Naturally, I signed up for email at Sarah Palin’s PAC. Today I got a... be still my heart... personal email from Sarah herself. “With your help,” she says, “I’ll be able to speak out.” I’m betting all her support comes from bloggers and late night comedians needing material. She signs off, “With an Alaskan heart, Sarah.” An Alaskan heart? What would that be? Snow? Whale blubber? Meth?

(Later): ah, the Alaskan heart is of course shooting wolves from airplanes, a practice Palin is again defending, against Ashley Judd and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which she accuses of “twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans struggling with these rough economic times.” Did I mention Sarah is asking for contributions (from innocent and hard-pressed Americans) to her PAC? Palin says that wolves need to be shot from airplanes because “Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations.” By cultural practices, she of course means recreational killing. Wolves hunting for food should be killed because they’re interfering with humans hunting for fun.

That’s what she looks like when she’s outraged

Palin also gave an interview to Esquire magazine in which she claims, mysteriously, “Sweat is my sanity.” And that “Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me.” Well, speaking on behalf of all the bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie, the feeling is mutual, Sarah.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Many people are focused on the little negatives that occurred

Alberto Gonzales was interviewed by CNN’s Campbell Brown or, as he called her when she insisted on bringing up the US attorneys scandal, “Campbell, Campbell, Campbell.”

WHAT MANY PEOPLE ARE FOCUSED ON: He expressed a forlorn hope that “history will reflect the fact that during my tenure both at the White House and at the Department of Justice we did a tremendous job in protecting our country,” but complained that “many people are focused on the little negatives that occurred”. Yes, Gonzo, that’s exactly how history will remember you: as one of the little negatives that occurred.

THIS LEVEL = WAY OVER HIS HEAD: What did he learn? “Well, what I learned is that at this level you’re going to make mistakes.”

WHY SOME EMPLOYERS ARE GOING TO BE VERY HESITANT: So why can’t you get a job, Gonzo? “With respect to employment, listen, I can understand in a very tough economy, some employers are going to be very hesitant about bringing someone like me on when you have ongoing investigation.”

WHAT HE STILL HAS: “I feel like I still have a lot to contribute to our community and to our country and I want to do so.”

CONTEST: What exactly does Little Negative still have to contribute to our community and to our country? License plates?

Monday, February 02, 2009

I know you people actually like hesitation, repetition and deviation,

but this week’s “Just a Minute” (available until sometime next Monday) is especially good.

Well then who can we rebuild into a Jeffersonian democracy?

Interviewed by Matt Lauer yesterday, Barack Obama talked about the alleged difficulties of shutting Guantanamo: “No, because we’ve got a couple of hundred of hardcore militants that, unfortunately, because of some problems that we had previously in gathering evidence, we may not be able to try in ordinary courts –- but we don’t want to release.” Sigh. So he’s giving us the same “worst of the worst” line we used to hear from Cheney, as if the “problems in gathering evidence” might not suggest that some of the people the Bushies swept up are not actually guilty of anything.

By the way, Pentagon, how about an update on how many of the Gitmo prisoners are still on hunger strike? The number was up to 45+ on inauguration day.

On “Obama’s War,” Afghanistan, he decided to lower expectations: “We are not going to be able to rebuild Afghanistan into a Jeffersonian democracy.” Although women will be kept as slaves and fucked by their owners.

So what are his goals for Afghanistan? Just these two: “make sure that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for al Qaeda.... make sure that it is not destabilizing neighboring Pakistan”. So totally worth it.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Is the Bowl game racist?

Does anyone else think Puppy Bowl features too many pure breed players and not enough (or indeed any) mutts?

Also, if Puppy Bowl is the best show on Animal Planet, wouldn’t Puppy Bowel be the worst?