Belated hat tip to Spear and Magic.
2 comments November 30th, 2005 at 08:30pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Coolness,Weirdness
Belated hat tip to Spear and Magic.
2 comments November 30th, 2005 at 08:30pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Coolness,Weirdness
A week after writing a great column about how our terrible foreign policy is making us hated around the world, David Ignatius returns to the wank mines with a rave review of Condi’s brilliant performance as Secretary of State. Oookay.
High praise indeed:
Colleagues say… that she’s as good at administering her own agency as she was bad at coordinating interagency disputes when she was national security adviser.
If only everyone in the Bush administration could be as competent in their second term as they were incompetent in their first…
4 comments November 30th, 2005 at 11:34am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Media,Republicans,Wankers
Funny, this sort of thing never used to bother them before…
Must be something in the water.
Like Their Own Blood.
2 comments November 30th, 2005 at 12:35am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans
Well, tonight was the maiden voyage of my new Slik Sprint tripod, and what did I use it for?
Creepy light-up nativity photos!
3 comments November 30th, 2005 at 12:34am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh
My blog is not just the top result, but the top TWO results if you Google light up codpiece.
My entire life has meaning now.
(Must not dwell on why someone was searching for light-up codpieces, must not dwell on why someone was searching for light-up codpieces, must not dwell…)
3 comments November 29th, 2005 at 08:28pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google,Favorites
I have just been informed that chimney sweeps will be coming to my apartment sometime in the next week or two, despite its advanced state of non-fireplace-havingness.
I am not making this up.
It’s something to do with checking the heating vents, apparently. Alas, I will not be home at the time, so I won’t get to see if their breath is all sooty like in the FedEx commercial.
1 comment November 29th, 2005 at 06:14pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Weirdness
Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges and tearfully resigned from office, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators.
Cunningham answered “yes, Your Honor” when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties.
Later, at a news conference, he wiped away tears as he announced his resignation.
“I can’t undo what I have done but I can atone,” he said.
“He did the worst thing an elected official can do — he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there,” U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said….
The case began when authorities started investigating whether Cunningham and his wife, Nancy, used the proceeds from the $1,675,000 sale to defense contractor Mitchell Wade to buy the $2.55 million mansion in Rancho Santa Fe. Wade put the Del Mar house back on the market and sold it after nearly a year for $975,000 — a loss of $700,000.
The last paragraph is my favorite:
Cunningham’s pleas came amid a series of GOP scandals. Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas had to step down as majority leader after he was indicted in a campaign finance case; a stock sale by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is being looked at by regulators; and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff was indicted in the CIA leak case.
I hope this is a sign that the Republican teflon is finally wearing off, but we need more like this. Much more. I want congresscritters to be a lot more wary about whose money they take and what they grant in return, and I want ethics rules with some teeth. Frankly, even if some Democrats go down, I don’t really care. I just want someone to clean House. And Senate.
3 comments November 28th, 2005 at 04:32pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans
Ugh. Yet another reminder of why I can’t stand conservatives.
Today’s NYT has an op-ed piece by National Review writer John J. Miller, who starts out eulogizing the conservative, recently-liquidated Olin Foundation and what structural and strategic lessons it offers the liberal foundations trying to emulate it.
Okay, so far, so good. But then he abruptly puts the wank pedal to the metal:
So, is it possible to create a liberal version of the John M. Olin Foundation? I have my doubts. The success of any idea certainly depends to some extent on whether it can muster financial support, and it may also benefit from effective marketing. But in the end, not all ideas are equal. Some are simply better than others. After all, if money were everything, then liberalism would have nothing to worry about: the Ford Foundation’s coffers alone dwarf the combined resources of the conservative grant makers.
Conservatives never would have risen to prominence without their compelling critique of the welfare state, their faith in the power of free markets to create economic prosperity, and their belief that religion can play a constructive role in the public square.
The economist Thomas Sowell once joked that Hank Aaron was a lucky man, because he was always stepping up to the plate when a home run was about to be hit. Likewise, conservative ideas took flight not because wealthy philanthropists were suddenly willing to finance them, but because they identified actual problems and offered sensible solutions.
If liberals now want to create a counter-counterintelligentsia, it’s going to take more than money; what they truly need is a set of really good ideas.
Oh yeah, those conservative ideas are great. They’ve worked out really really well for us. Much better than silly liberal notions like Medicare and Social Security and not blowing up other countries for no damn reason. Arrrrgggh.
1 comment November 28th, 2005 at 09:12am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers
Last night I dreamt that I was walking home and I saw this absolutely spectacular view of the full moon lighting up the clouds in the night sky like they were a stage. I ran the rest of the way home to grab my camera to get the shot, and when I got there, I realized that my camera was sitting face-up with its lenscap off. When I took a closer look, sure enough the lens had all kinds of crud on it, and when I tried to gently brush it away, it left greasy streaks so that the lens would need a thorough cleaning, by which time the beauty moon/clouds shot would be long gone.
It. Was. HORRIBLE.
(Look at me; I’m so traumatized I can’t even make a joke about shudder speeds…)
And before anyone asks why I didn’t have my camera with me, there are certain occasions where I don’t bring it along, like if it’s raining, or I’m getting groceries, or I’m snooping around a secret underground complex trying to copy data about aliens onto my USB flash drive.
November 28th, 2005 at 07:25am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Weirdness
I have a movie title that I know will be box office dynamite if anyone decides to run with it:
I don’t believe any further explication is necessary.
5 comments November 27th, 2005 at 01:02pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Movies,Puns
This week’s quote:
And then two small bladders came out of their mouths. Just as she was starting to hum, too.
From The World Of Henry Orient, where two teenage fangirls sort-of-stalk concert pianist Peter Sellers.
I have no idea what the quote means.
And, of course, there’ll be other people’s cats…
4 comments November 25th, 2005 at 10:29pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging
A bit of Friday meta-cat-blogging: my blog is the first result if you search Google for scientifically cats reasons why having mustaches…
Good to know.
3 comments November 25th, 2005 at 08:40pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google
The shadowy and mysterious Codename V. has some extremely compelling and important thoughts to share on the subject of Robot Monkey Heads.
YOUR VERY LIFE COULD DEPEND ON IT.
November 25th, 2005 at 07:37pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Weirdness
The President peered into Marshmallow’s eyes and stroked the bird’s fluffy white feathers with a tenderness usually reserved for members of the Saudi royal family.
It has been my observation that the NY Daily News trends a wee bit to the left of its Post-y counterpart…
November 25th, 2005 at 04:42pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Media
I seem to recall him saying some jerky things about war critics recently, but David Ignatius is almost completely spot-on in his latest WaPo column:
When I lived abroad, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. It was a chance to scrounge up a turkey, gather foreign and American friends, and celebrate what America represented to the world. I liked to give a sentimental toast when the turkey arrived at the table, and more than once I had my foreign guests in tears. They loved the American dream as much as I did.
(Okay, that’s laying it on a little thick, but stay with me here)
I don’t think Americans realize how much we have tarnished those ideals in the eyes of the rest of the world these past few years. The public opinion polls tell us that America isn’t just disliked or feared overseas — it is reviled. We are seen as hypocrites who boast of our democratic values but who behave lawlessly and with contempt for others. I hate this America-bashing, but when I try to defend the United States and its values in my travels abroad, I find foreigners increasingly are dismissive. How do you deny the reality of Abu Ghraib, they ask, when the vice president of the United States is actively lobbying against rules that would ban torture?
Of all the reversals the United States has suffered in recent years, this may be the worst. We are slowly shredding the fabric that defines what it means to be an American.
(I snipped some good stuff about how torturing and disappearing people used to be what other countries did)
The United States must begin to replenish this stock of support for America in the world. I would love to see the Bush administration take the lead, but its officials seem not to understand the problem. Even if they turned course, much of the world wouldn’t believe them. Sadly, when President Bush eloquently evokes our values, the world seems to tune out. So this task falls instead to the American public. It’s a job that involves traveling, sharing, living our values, encouraging our children to learn foreign languages and work and study abroad. In short, it means giving something back to the world.
We must stop behaving as if we are in a permanent state of war, in which any practice is justified by the exigencies of the moment. That’s my biggest problem with Vice President Cheney’s anything-goes jeremiads against terrorism. They suggest we will always be at war, and so it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of our behavior. That’s a dangerously mistaken view. We are in a long war but not an endless one, and we need to begin rebuilding the bridges to normal life.
Ignatius hones in perfectly on the mentality that has led to America’s flirtation with The Dark Side, but I’m skeptical about his prescription for what we, the people can do about it. Sure, raising our kids as world citizens wouldn’t hurt, but I don’t think it would be much of a counterweight against a malevolent, out-of-control government.
The only way it could solve the problem would be indirectly, by spawning a new generation of American voters raised with a global, big-picture, humanist perspective who would vote the crazies out. Of course, the rest of us have to hold the line against the nation-at-war-so-anything-goes mentality enough so that we still have meaningful elections by the time the new generation is old enough to vote.
3 comments November 25th, 2005 at 01:27pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Iraq,Terrorism,Torture,War
It always amazes me that Republicans can maintain a straight face when they say this sort of thing. In this case, they’re referring to Bush’s tumbling poll numbers (especially on honesty and integrity) following Democratic accusations that the administration lied us into Iraq:
“I do think that it demonstrates that if you spend enough money and repeat the charge enough, the old political axiom in Washington can come true: that charges left unanswered can stick,” he said. “That’s why we felt it important to marshal a vigorous defense by calling out our critics and the transparency of their charges.”
Well, yeah, Dan. You guys wrote that chapter of the textbook. I wish Kerry and Shrum had bothered to read it…
1 comment November 25th, 2005 at 11:17am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Politics,Polls,Wankers,War
From the NYT review of the new Usher movie, In The Mix:
“In the Mix” is rated PG-13 (Parental guidance suggested). It has strong language, sexual situations, considerable gunfire and one unfortunate accident involving a shiny disco ball.
Do not taunt Happy Shiny Disco Ball.
November 25th, 2005 at 09:49am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Quotes
South America’s latest beauty queen won’t be campaigning abroad for world peace any time soon, unless, of course, she’s granted early parole.
Angelica Macua, a statuesque Angolan serving five years on international drug smuggling charges, on Thursday was voted Miss Penitentiary 2005 after a six-hour contest pitting 40 women inmates from 10 prisons around Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo.
“People told me, ‘You’re tall; you should enter the contest,’ so that’s why I entered,” Macua said. “I’ve always been interested in fashion.”
I just watch it for the jumpsuit competition.
November 25th, 2005 at 09:09am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Weirdness
Yes, I am a happy happy blogger today. Not only did the WSJ release the most encouraging poll numbers ever, not only was my blog the number one Google search result for both an althouse batshit crazy and hot liberal blogger, but The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin has winked kindly upon me. The very last item in his WaPo online chat session this afternoon:
Pittsburgh, Pa.: Longtime huge fan — your column is one of my favorite reads.
My question is, as all these revelations [come out] about how the administration gamed the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, why haven’t the Downing Street Memos resurfaced? Not necessarily as a story in their own right, but as more of a data point, or an old story that has now been vindicated? I haven’t see any mention of it in either the conventional media or the blogosphere.
Dan Froomkin: I do think it’s about time for a retelling of the whole story, and from what I can tell, most of the facts support the Downing Street Memo version of things. (I have yet to see a single piece of evidence that Bush or his aides were, privately, even contemplating not going to war, for instance.)
Senator John Kerry mentioned the memo the other day, actually, which I suspect was a first for him. So maybe that’s a sign.
Woohoo! Okay, I’m done grinding my wee axe. I think. For now.
I’m pretty sure I’ve also set a new personal record for most links in a single post. Huzzah!
5 comments November 23rd, 2005 at 06:20pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Downing Street Memo,Eli's Obsession With The Google,Iraq,Media,War
“A majority of U.S. adults believe the Bush administration generally misleads the public on current issues, while fewer than a third of Americans believe the information provided by the administration is generally accurate, the latest Harris Interactive poll finds.”
Overall, 64 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration “generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends” — including 91 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 28 percent of Republicans.
The Journal also reports: “When asked about former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, who has been indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements, more than half of U.S. adults say the situation indicates ‘a larger problem in the Bush administration,’ while 35% say it was an ‘isolated incident.’ About 82% of Democrats say it indicates a larger problem, while 70% of Republicans feel the Libby case is an isolated incident.”
This really is huge. Public perceptions that the Bushies or Republicans in general are lying on a specific issue are damaging, but as long as they’re seen as isolated incidents rather than part of a pattern of Republican behavior, the damage can be contained. But now, even without any high-profile Democratic effort to frame each scandal as part of an underlying pattern of Republican dishonesty and incompetence, that message is clearly getting through to all but the most diehard and unreachable of the Kool-Aid drinkers. I think it’s telling that these questions were even asked, and by the WSJ, no less.
I can’t understate this enough: Even as Bush’s approval rating slouches toward 30%, this is the most encouraging poll result I’ve seen in the 5 long years of the Bush II Dynasty. There is one last remaining step that I am eagerly awaiting: for the cancer on the presidency to metastasize and begin rupturing red cells outside the White House. It would be the first time cancer ever made its host healthier.
6 comments November 23rd, 2005 at 03:21pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Downing Street Memo,Libby/Plame,Politics,Polls,Republicans
Maybe there’s more to this story that Tim Smith is leaving out, but this sure does sound pretty weak:
When the fund-raisers were soliciting contributions to help build the new Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, they contacted prominent professional athletes – Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal. The answers all came back the same: “Sorry, but I’m all tapped out.”
It was one of the few disappointments for Lonnie Ali when she talked about the long road to getting the center for her husband completed.
…What does it say about the modern American millionaire athlete that he can’t reach into his pocket and peel off a couple thousand for a good cause? These guys spend more money settling bets on the golf course.
…I’m sure they get hit on for charitable contributions all the time. And I know they all have their own foundations that do charitable things. But when someone calls from the Muhammad Ali Center you take the call. You do some homework. Then you write a check. It’s tax-deductible.
Come on! It’s Muhammad Ali, for crying out loud.
I could see if you disagree with his politics or his religion and you didn’t want to contribute on moral grounds. The athletes who didn’t contribute don’t fall into this category. They’re just cheap.
How many of them would take the kind of stand for a moral principle and sacrifice financial gain the way Ali did in the prime of his career? Perhaps the same number that contributed to his center.
“If Muhammad Ali didn’t stick by his goals and his religion, a lot of athletes wouldn’t be where they are today,” [boxer Lennox] Lewis said.
Lennox Lewis was the only athlete who contributed, and he isn’t even American.
1 comment November 23rd, 2005 at 01:15pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Sports,Wankers
It’s been a while since I’ve seen any really interesting incoming searches hitting my blog, but today I got one that was incongruous in the extreme, and another that was just flat bizarre.
Yes, my blog is in fact on the second page of results if you search Yahoo for irony of being a mom (I bet someone was pretty darn disappointed there) and on the first page of Google results for…
Wait for it…
Alrighty then. I’ll just be over here if anyone needs me. You know how to find me.
3 comments November 22nd, 2005 at 06:17pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google
As a political junkie and blog addict, it’s often hard to put on my Everyman hat and remember that the news stories the general public is seeing are not the same as the ones that we’re seeing, nor are they necessarily interpreting them in the same way.
However, with the latest frantic hysteria over the weekend, with Rep. Murtha’s great speech at the center (increasingly stepped-up dissent-is-treason/cowardice rhetoric and attempts to weasel out of it after the fact; the sham withdrawal resolution; another indictment looming on the horizon), it looks like the Republicans are becoming increasingly desperate. It feels to me like things are about to come to a head, that all but the most diehard true believers are on the verge of realizing just how horribly this country has gone astray under Republican rule.
It would be interesting to see just how much damage such a realization would do to the Republican party in the short-term and long-term, as well as to the corporate media and right-wing pundits who serve as the Republicans’ censors and memory-scrubbers. Also, what happens if the Republicans’ last hurrah is to get Alito or someone similar confirmed to the Supreme Court? What happens if we have a Democratic executive and legislature, but a resolutely Republican judiciary? Will the Democrats be able to use the Republicans’ “judicial activism” rhetoric against them when the courts start striking down Democratic legislation?
But I digress a bit from my intended point, which is to ask the question: As more and more revelations about dodgy intelligence surface (Curveball, al-Libi, discrepancies between the intelligence the administration saw vs. the intelligence they showed Congress), why haven’t the Downing Street Memos made a comeback? Maybe I’ve just missed it, but I haven’t seen a single post about them since midyear, when the Big Brass Alliance was hammering away at them relentlessly. I think they usefully crystallize what this country is just now learning, that the intelligence was “fixed around the policy,” and that it was a nudge-nudge-wink-wink open secret. The memos reinforce the more recent evidence of fixed intelligence and vice versa, and I think we should start reminding people about them again.
Thanks to my coworker who put this idea in my head, and wants to see the Democrats rub the Republicans’ noses in it every time they prattle about how “the Democrats saw the same intelligence and drew the same conclusions.”
2 comments November 21st, 2005 at 12:00pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Downing Street Memo,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,War
Some more photos from Light-Up Night, capturing a bit more of the Core Festiveness.
1 comment November 19th, 2005 at 10:03pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh
Okay, so, there’s this annual tradition in Pittsburgh called “Light-Up Night,” where all the office buildings downtown are supposed to leave their lights on, and there’s all kinds of other lights and festiveness, and the Pittsburgh Christmas Tree gets lit up while kids ice-skate around it. I’ll probably post those pictures later on, but for now I’m just going to focus on some of the more peripheral festiveness.
This was also supposed to be the big test for my tripod, which could lead to more night photography. Sad to say, it failed miserably. The legs wouldn’t stay extended, but they wouldn’t collapse all the way either, not without lots of cajoling and beating, and the thought of repeatedly tinkering and wrestling with something vaguely rifle-shaped in the low-light situation seemed like kind of a bad idea. I managed to get pretty decent hand-held results at 1/30 of a second, and even 1/15, but I still plan to get myself a Slik Sprint Pro tripod, which seems to strike a pretty good balance between portability and non-crapness.
3 comments November 19th, 2005 at 06:26pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh
Once again, a quote from Dan Simmons’ Olympos (sequel to Ilium):
Thinketh, he made the ____ _____ out of sweet clay for His son to bite and eat, add honeycomb and pods, chewing her neck until froth rises bladdery, quick, quick, till maggots scamper through my brain.
Gotta love Caliban.
And of course, there’ll be other people’s cats:
2 comments November 18th, 2005 at 07:43pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging
From an NYT article about a preserved cadaver exhibit at South Street Seaport (which sounds way cool, by the way):
“This is not a freak show,” Dr. Glover said, standing beside the musculature of a man who is holding hands with his own removed skeleton.
1 comment November 18th, 2005 at 09:53am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Quotes
Incredibly alarming Newsday sports headline:
Unfortunately, the article itself has a more mundane headline, but that’s the one that’s on the front page of the sports section.
5 comments November 17th, 2005 at 04:41pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Great Headlines
Dan Savage has a very good common-sense suggestion in today’s NYT:
Problematically, however, a right to privacy is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. The majority in Griswold held that it was among the unenumerated rights implied by the Constitution’s “penumbras”…. The Griswold case didn’t settle the matter, and the right to privacy quickly became the Tinkerbell of constitutional rights: clap your hands if you believe.
Liberals clap. We love the right to privacy because we believe adults should have access to birth control, abortion services and pornography as well as the right to engage in gay sex. Social conservatives hate the right to privacy for the very same reason, as they seek to regulate private behaviors from access to birth control to masturbation.
Well, if the right to privacy is so difficult for some people to locate in the Constitution, why don’t we just stick it in there? Wouldn’t that make it easier to find?
If the Republicans can propose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, why can’t the Democrats propose a right to privacy amendment? Making this implicit right explicit would forever end the debate about whether there is a right to privacy. And the debate over the bill would force Republicans who opposed it to explain why they don’t think Americans deserve a right to privacy – which would alienate not only moderates, but also those libertarian, small-government conservatives who survive only in isolated pockets on the Eastern Seaboard and the American West.
I think this is a great idea. Not only would such an amendment reinforce the Bill Of Rights, but, as Savage notes, the effort to pass it would put Republicans on the record as opposing something that I believe most people consider eminently reasonable (much like election reform, which is why I’m baffled that the Democrats don’t make a bigger deal about it).
Ironically, I suspect that the defense that the Republicans will use is that the right to privacy is already in the Constitution, and an amendment to further codify it would just be unnecessary clutter to This Great And Hallowed American Document. That approach sure would make future judicial confirmation hearings entertaining…
4 comments November 16th, 2005 at 09:07am Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Constitution,Democrats,Politics,Republicans
More fun with night (or at least early evening) photography…
November 15th, 2005 at 09:13pm Posted by EliEntry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh
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