Archive for July, 2006

Brief Thoughts

1) Atrios sez: “Joe sez he won’t run as a Republican.”

Eli sez: Joe won’t admit to being a Republican.

2) It would be damn funny if Bush’s determination to make the presidency all-powerful ended up delivering said presidency to the Democrats. President Gore could really use some extraordinary powers if he’s going to clean up the Republicans’ mess…

3) I hope the shadowy and mysterious Codename V. has not been eaten by krill.

10 comments July 19th, 2006 at 06:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Lamont,Lieberman,Politics,Wankers,Weirdness

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

This week, the WWN explores the frontiers of psychiatry:

SEXPOT psychiatrist Dr. Cynthia Mesner turns timid and tittering geeks into swaggering studs with an exciting new psychiatric technique that relies on the Freud-like power of her 38-DD breasts!

“Deep-trance modification therapy with mammary adjunct” — or “nip-notism,” as the unorthodox doctor herself prefers to call the technique — “is useful” in lulling nerds, Weird Harolds and other girl-shy guys into an altered state.

As they continue to stare helplessly at her fully-exposed fun bags — that’s right, she works topless — Mesner breathlessly whispers a series of “post nip-notic” suggestions that her patients will obey long after she’s snapped them out of their trance.

“I tell them they’re ‘hunky’ and ‘stud muffins’ and say that everywhere they go, they’ll drive women wild with desire,” Mesner, of Columbia, S.C., told Weekly World News exclusively.

“The technique is far more effective than conventional hypnotherapy. Just getting these young men to look at my chest after I pop the buttons on my blouse is a major accomplishment.

(…)

The curvy 32-year-old doctor and former Watermelon Queen says she developed nip-nosis after noticing that men who asked for help with women often couldn’t bring themselves to make eye contact with her.

“One morning I was counseling a young man who wouldn’t stop staring at the floor so I walked around my desk and lifted his head up with my right hand and forced him look at me,” she recalls.

“He was fighting to turn away, so I ripped off my blouse and bra with my left hand and screamed at him, ‘Look! Look! They’re shirt puppies, yes — but they won’t bite you!

“He calmed down instantly and, believe it or not, his voice dropped two octaves, from a tittering falsetto to a rich baritone.

“I knew then and there I was on to something.

“So I went to work to develop the full nip-notic technique that I’m using today, which is a marriage of otherwise conventional hypnotherapy, psychoanalysis and ‘tough love’ techniques.”

The sizzling psychiatrist charges $250 an hour for her services and there’s a wait of up to six months for an appointment. She accepts insurance and, amazingly, most companies pay for nip-notic sessions.

“Dr. Cynthia took me from dud to stud in just one session,” testifies one ex-nerd.

“At the age of 24, I was a virgin who’d never even been out on a date. And now, just six weeks after she nip-notised me, I’ve got 18 ‘babe notches’ in the headboard over my bed.”

Dammit, where was Dr. Cynthia when I was in high school???
(Oh. Right. Grade school. Nevermind.)

2 comments July 19th, 2006 at 07:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Bonus Video Fun

Found on YouTube while looking for music videos.

Human Pong:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4ac5STw97I

Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager:

Enjoy!

1 comment July 19th, 2006 at 07:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

I’ll take “Things I Will Never Buy” for $400, Alex.


NO. Just… NO.

Be sure to read the product reviews…

2 comments July 18th, 2006 at 11:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Drawing Nearer…

Just a refresher on something I posted a couple of months ago. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the Republicans are going to make an absolutely huge deal out of the fifth anniversary of 9/11 as part of their campaign strategy.

Something along the lines of, “On this day five years ago, our proud nation was attacked by cowardly evil men who hate our freedoms. President Bush had the courage and resolve to take the fight to these terrorist criminals, and pour the sweet nectar of freedom over the hornet’s nest of the Middle East. The Republican Party has heeded the President’s call to arms, and we stand with him proudly to keep America safe from those who seek to destroy her. This November, vote for the party that stands tall, not the party that cowers in fear, seeking only to appease those who hate us.”

Okay, maybe not the nectar thing. And the reality will probably be much, much worse than I can possibly imagine, with all kinds of flag-waving and chest-thumping and tearful rhetoric about courage and sacrifice and how we cannot falter in this all-out war on Evil [with the unspoken message that we must not even let the Constitution stand in our way].

Democrats, are you ready? I recommend pointing out just how little the Republicans have actually done to make us safer. If Republicans want to play the fear card, then Democrats should do the same.

Tell the voters how wide open our ports are (and Dubai Ports World apparently still controls 22 of them).

Tell the voters how the Republicans have been resisting any legislation to harden chemical or nuclear plants, or to reroute trucks and trains with hazardous chemicals around population centers.

Tell the voters how much unsecured Soviet nuclear material is still out there.

Tell the voters about how the Taliban is making a comeback in Afghanistan.

Tell the voters about how the war in Iraq has been a recruiting and training bonanza for Islamic terrorists.

Tell the voters about how FBI resources have been wasted on false leads generated by indiscriminate wiretapping and torture.

Remind the voters that Osama is still out there, and why.

The Democrats are under no obligation to reassure the American people that everything is just fine and there’s nothing to worry about. Quite the opposite.

4 comments July 18th, 2006 at 06:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Favorites,Media,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Terrorism,Wankers

Vintage Grand Prix Photoblogging II

More fun from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.

Someone walked off the bus with my Treo because I’m a moron, so I won’t be around during the day until it’s returned or replaced. Sigh.


The interior of, um, something. All I know is that I was in the American Car section…


A Studebaker induces me to relax my “Never appear in my own photos” rule. Oh well.


One of Tucker’s less well-known and less successful innovations was to graft a crude compound eye onto all of his engines. He was unable to explain what purpose this served, beyond mumbling something about “flies are cool.”


In many ways, our cars are a reflection of ourselves. Posted by Picasa

5 comments July 18th, 2006 at 07:41am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

President George W. Badtouch

Oh. My. God. And you thought swearing with his mouth full was bad, how about sexually harassing a head of state? Photos courtesy of Mash, by way of Taylor Marsh, by way of Digby. I have helpfully added an unofficial transcript.


” ‘Sup, Angie? You’re looking mighty foxy today.”


“A little tense, though. You look like you could use a backrub.”


“No, No, I am fine, Mr. President, I- Oh, mein Gott.”


“That’s it, Angie-baby. Just relaaaax and enjoy it. Ohhh yeah, that’s nice…”


“Ah, yes, danke, Mr. President, that was most refreshingpleasegetthefuckoffofme!”


“Well, I guess I’d best be moseying along and see if anyone else needs to be relaxified. I’m the relaxer, heh-heh.”

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

UPDATE: Siun in FDL comments found a link to the actual video on the Bild website. Merkel looks really, really pissed.

4 comments July 18th, 2006 at 12:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Favorites,Politics,Wankers,Weirdness

Oh, For The Love Of-

Here I am, happily semi-watching ESPNews, when I see this commercial for Kayak.com, a travel company. A travel company, mind you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGQVHmNzsoI

On the other hand, there’s also this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6wOqj7HPCo

And this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc9Fhn9BgWc

Heh.

July 17th, 2006 at 10:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Monday Media Blogging

Godzilla Vs. Disco Lando.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfP-SDM7lkY
Very low-rent, but one of my personal favorites.

3 comments July 17th, 2006 at 07:47am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Monday Media Blogging

The Return Of Sunday Softball Blogging

After a long hiatus due to weather, vacation, holidays, and insufficient players, we finally got an actul game going this weekend… barely. We started out 5-on-5, and then progressed to 6-on-6. My team lost 13-10, which was pretty respectable considering the other team had all the power hitters. I went 6-for-11 with a double, 3 runs, and an RBI, and just missed a home run. My defense was shaky around the fence, but I made a nice running catch on a shallow pop fly, and made some nice throws. No photos – in a 6-on-6 game, there just isn’t time.

Current Stats: 13 games, .578 BA (48-83), .964 SLG, 10 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 30 runs, 26 RBI.

Career Stats: 40 games, .576 BA (160-278), .770 SLG, 27 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 91 runs, 66 RBI.

2 comments July 16th, 2006 at 05:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Vintage Grand Prix Photoblogging I

I spent a good chunk of Saturday afternoon wandering around, getting sunburned, and taking pictures of beautiful old cars at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. For sustenance, I had a corn dog, teriyaki-chicken-on-a-stick, a scoop of cherry ice cream, and some lemonade, all for a mere $17! Nutritious and economical! I did have a good time, even though I’m only a “car person” in the photographic sense.

I would have liked to see some Duesenbergs or Bugattis, though.


Pretty sure this is a Jag engine.


Quite possibly the most terrifying warning label I have ever seen.


Vroom! Vintage racers taking practice laps.


The most challenging thing for me about photographing vintage cars is keeping my own reflection out of the shot.

13 comments July 16th, 2006 at 12:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Scout prime just posted this great video at First Draft. It’s quite silly, but full of irrepressible joy.


I’m not sure if this guy is incredibly dorky or incredibly cool. Probably both.

5 comments July 15th, 2006 at 09:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Monday Media Blogging

Is Ned Enough?

First off, let me restate that I believe a Ned Lamont victory in the CT primary or, better yet, general election would be a hugely great and important thing, because it would establish the importance of the netroots as a force to be reckoned with in its own right, and not just a giant piggybank and pool of cheap labor. I believe that this realization is necessary for the salvation of the Democratic Party’s soul. But I’m not sure that it is sufficient.

The Democratic Party’s disdain for and fear of the netroots is a symptom of a larger problem, one that I will call “the DLC myth.” This myth began when Bill Clinton defeated George Bush I in 1992. Instead of drawing the trivially obvious conclusion that a charismatic and politically brilliant outsider can defeat an unpopular, out-of-touch incumbent, the Democratic cargo cult instead concluded that Clinton’s centrism was the secret to his success, and that a triangulating, Run-DLC strategy would secure Democratic supremacy until the end of time.

Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. Democrats-who-are-not-Bill-Clinton have suffered a steady string of humiliating electoral defeats against a Republican party that is inept, corrupt, and quite often nakedly evil. And yet, the Democrats, with the eager encouragement of the right-wing commentariat, not only cling stubbornly to the DLC myth, but actually see their losses as a vindication of it. Surely, they think, they are not losing because their opposition to godawful Republican policies and nominees has been intermittent and half-assed. No, they are losing because they can’t make all those salt-of-the-earth, middle American swing voters forget about Crazy Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan and all those other unhinged Bush-hating lefties who want to hug terrorists and and ban Jesus and force everyone’s kids to marry gay people. Surely, if they could just run to the center and appease the Republicans a little more, and convince Ma & Pa American Gothic that the barking mad hippie moonbats don’t speak for the Democratic Party, they would really start to get the votes in truckloads.

Personally, I think this is just stupid. Failure to consistently oppose Republican policies and nominees stamps the Democrats as spineless and unprincipled, not bipartisan and noble, and it costs them votes all the way across the political spectrum. But hey, what do I know? I’m not a highly-paid political consultant with a proven track record of losing elections.

So, to return to the subject at hand (Ned Lamont – I can’t blame you if you’ve forgotten by now): Would a Lamont victory do anything to expose the falsity of the DLC myth? Alas, I don’t believe it would. The same factors that work in Ned’s favor (solidly blue state, no Republican candidate to speak of) are the same factors that make his campaign a poor test case for progressive strategy overall. In other words, it doesn’t really prove anything to the Democratic leadership if a progressive Democrat beats a fake Democrat in a blue state. Now, if progressive Dems start winning in purple or even red states and districts, then the Democrats as a whole might just jump on progressivism like the 70s jumped on bellbottoms. They might even start to embrace the netroots willingly as partners, rather than grudgingly as yet another power base to be appeased. Caveat: This all assumes that the Democrats have embraced centrism because they sincerely want to win, and are just misguided. If they have embraced centrism as a cover story for doing the bidding of big corporate donors, then nothing will change.

My point is not that a Lamont win wouldn’t be the best thing to happen to the progressive movement in a long long time; it would. My point is that I have come to realize that it’s only part of the puzzle, and I need to pay more attention to the lower-profile progressive campaigns and candidates around the country, who may ultimately send an even broader and more important message than Ned can. Not just “The netroots are important,” but “Progressives can win.” And with the Republicans perhaps as unpopular as they have ever been, this may be the best opportunity progressives will have for decades. Unless, of course, Iraq and America continue to free-fall – but what are the odds of that, eh?

Question to ponder: If the progressive/oppositional candidates consistently overachieve in November, and the centrist/appeasing candidates consistently underachieve, will the Democratic leadership notice? And if not, how can we make them? How do we rub their noses in the reality of what works and what doesn’t? (Assuming that I’m right about what works, of course)

11 comments July 15th, 2006 at 03:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Favorites,Lamont,Politics,Wankers

Saturday I-Got-Nothin’ Car Blogging

Well, my political muse appears to have abandoned me so far this weekend, so I’ll just post some car pictures before I head out and take some more.


It’s a hood ornament! And, um, lots of negative space.


That’s… lovely.


A view of the sky in Car-Reflection Bizarro World. Posted by Picasa

1 comment July 15th, 2006 at 11:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Friday Quote & Dog Blogging

This week’s quote is from Disco Godfather, starring the inimitable Rudy Ray “Dolemite” Moore as a disco club owner on a crusade against PCP.

He thinks he’s an unborn caterpillar. He claims it’s safer than being human.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s dogs…


It’s a pair o’ dogs. Posted by Picasa

7 comments July 14th, 2006 at 08:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Whalefare

A non-political happy story, courtesy of vicki at Louisville Drinking Liberally:

If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off that they must act immediately. The only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition. Just one slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually she was freed.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around, she was thanking them.. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

I would appreciate it if my fellow humans would stop killing them, please. Thank you.

8 comments July 13th, 2006 at 10:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Favorites

Josť What?

Apparently steroids have hallucinogenic properties:

Jose Canseco, baseball’s most famous whistleblower, took his turn before Mitchell investigation attorneys on Tuesday, giving up more names and making an offer the inquisitors probably didn’t expect: He wants to go to work for them.

“Until someone like Jose is part of the investigation as an investigator, they aren’t going to get much cooperation,” Canseco’s attorney, Rob Saunooke, said yesterday. “Jose could meet face to face with some of the individuals, use his own friendship with them and knowledge of them and talk with them comfortably. If Jose sits down face to face with you and reminds you of all the good times, then he says, ‘It’s time for us to come clean with these things.'”

Uh-huh. And later on, human growth hormone might fly out of my butt.

Really, does Canseco actually think that any steroid user is going to be swayed by the “Come to Jesus, my dear close friend” approach? More to the point, why on Earth would he ever expect a steroid user to even talk to him when he’s Steroid Whistleblower #1?Maybe that home run ball that bounced off his noggin did more lasting damage than anyone realized…

5 comments July 13th, 2006 at 09:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Sports

Initiate Craw Ejection Sequence

Just a couple of things that are still stuck in my craw about the CT Democratic primary:

1) Planned Parenthood’s media person explaining to CT Bob, apparently with a straight face, that they had no way of factoring Lieberman’s cloture vote on Alito into their “report card.” This is not just another vote that you factor into an overall rating. This is a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. If you are a single-issue, pro-choice organization, you should be launching a full-court press as soon as you realize that Bush has nominated a staunch pro-lifer. You should be leaning on every single senator you have influence with. This should be Thing One on your radar, and you should consider any betrayal to be a huge deal, not a minor and insurmountable bookkeeping challenge. The lack of seriousness and commitment that Planned Parenthood (and NARAL) display toward their own cause is just stupefying.

2) Apparently whenever Lieberman is running for re-election, he polls every single day (link by way of Jane). This means that he should be well aware that his Democratic constituents are fed up with his lack of representation. And yet, he always responds with inept campaign maneuvering, never with attempts to improve his quality of representation. And assuming he polls some when he’s not campaigning, he’s pretty obviously ignoring his constituents then, too. Or else he’s not polling at all, in which case he doesn’t even care what they think when it’s not election time. In either case, it is just further proof that Lieberman cares a lot more about hanging on to his job than he does about actually doing it.

3) Despite all his bragging in the debate about how much pork he’s brought home to CT with his Valuable Seniority, CT is ranked second-to-last in pork per capita (link via ifthethunderdontgetya). Now consider how many times Lieberman has helped out the Republican majority – surely he should have been able to call in some favors for his state in exchange for selling out his party? And yet, it looks like he didn’t even try. Either he believes so strongly in the Republican cause that he has supported it out of the goodness of his heart, or else he’s hoarding those Republican markers for election season, so he can cash them in on behalf of his true constituency: Joe Lieberman.

3 comments July 13th, 2006 at 06:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Democrats,Favorites,Judiciary,Lieberman,Politics,Wankers

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

This explains quite a lot, actually…

A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.

Huge hat-tip to smartypants.

5 comments July 12th, 2006 at 06:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Favorites,Monday Media Blogging

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

I sense a Sci-Fi Original Movie in the making…

CLARKE, Idaho — In a series of startling events, potatoes on farms in Idaho have suddenly developed intelligence and are on the move.

“I was cultivating the back row of taters when I saw them blinking their eyes and pointing their vines at me,” said noticeably upset farmer Floyd Haywood. “I ran and got my boys but by then the spuds had stopped moving. They figgered I’d been sippin’ potato moonshine until we went to harvest the crop. That was when those big Idahos — there was seven of ’em — just pulled themselves from the dirt and rolled into a gully to try and get away.

“We didn’t even have time to scratch our heads,” Haywood went on. “We chased them with a big burlap sack and overtook them before they could reach the road. Their roots were waving around like little fingers. We suspect they were gonna hitch a ride to Starchless County.”

(snip)

Local Idaho DOA bureau chief, Dave Bauman, told Weekly World News, “This is not an isolated incident. Potatoes around the country have mutated and are on the move. There have been more than 20 cases this week alone. Test results show that it’s likely the result of a new fertilizer produced by Chloro-Grow Labs.” Chloro-Grow spokesman Chip Plantagent denied the charges. “It’s true we are marketing a new fertilizer,” he said in a prepared statement. “But ‘Page Peat’ was designed to grow larger, tastier potatoes, not to make them smart.”

Speaking off-the-record, a Chloro-Grow scientist revealed that the secret ingredient in the new super-fertilizer was discarded periodicals and shredded textbooks — including many from districts that banned the teaching of evolution.

“We never thought the potatoes would use their eyes to actually read what they were eating,” the scientist told us. “The ‘digest-a-digest’ program was designed to be both economical and to recycle paper goods.”

Weekly World News was granted access to the potato leader, who goes by the name of Duncan. [Potatrios?] He was able to communicate by blinking Morse code with his eyes.

“We never wanted conflict with humans,” he told us. “We read about TV. We only wanted to see The Apprentice.”

Currently, the potatoes are being kept on a specially built couch at the USDA. They no longer read but watch television 24/7.

“I guess they weren’t so wise after all,” said Bauman. “Unless you mean the potato chips.”

Further proof that evolution theory is dangerous. The Apprentice, too.

8 comments July 12th, 2006 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Weekly World News

NARAL Or Never


Sigh.

Jane at firedoglake has a couple of great posts up about two huge national pro-choice organizations, Planned Parenthood and NARAL, both of whom have inexplicably chosen to endorse Joe Lieberman in his primary against Ned Lamont. Remember, this is the same Joe Lieberman who voted against the filibuster of pro-life Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation, and the same Joe Lieberman who said that it would not be a big deal if a Catholic hospital denied an abortion to a rape victim because it would just be a “short ride” to a more… accommodating hospital. Even the heads of the Planned Parenthood and NARAL’s CT organizations voted for Ned Lamont in the state Democratic convention.

This is as amazing as it is appalling. PP and NARAL are single-issue organizations. They are supposed to be all about a woman’s right to choose. Any time you have a single-issue organization, or blog, or individual, you expect them to be adamantine and unyielding about their one pet issue. For example, if Lincoln Chafee voted to end the filibuster of an anti-gun Supreme Court nominee, but then voted against confirmation, can you imagine the NRA giving him a pass on it and endorsing him over a solidly pro-gun candidate, or encouraging their members to send him letters thanking him for his vote “against” the gun-control bill? I sure can’t, and I’m very fanciful and creative.

I understand the need for compromise within the framework of a political party. A political party encompasses dozens, if not hundreds of issues – it is simply impossible to expect consensus on all of them, so party establishments, candidates, and voters alike must all make decisions based on what mix of positions they can live with that still advances most of their core goals. No-one ever gets to vote for a candidate they agree with 100%, unless they’ve been brainwashed.

But a single-party organization is dedicated to advancing the country towards a single goal – it has no rationale for endorsing a candidate who will work against that goal over a candidate who will work for it. I could understand not beating up a reliably pro-choice candidate over a minor transgression (we’ll pretend that I was able to think of a good example of a “minor” transgression) , but a lifetime appointment for a reliably anti-choice creep with all kinds of ethical issues is not minor. It represents an existential peril for the pro-choice cause, essentially putting the Supreme Court one 86-year-old heartbeat away from overturning Roe vs. Wade. Yet PP and NARAL not only took Joe’s betrayal in stride, they actually patted him on the back for it.

As some of the FDL commenters have suggested or hinted at, the only possible explanations (other than just plain cluelessness) are either some sort of financial quid pro quo from Lieberman or his supporters, or a perverse fear that if they actually win the battle for abortion rights once and for all, they will become unnecessary and cease to exist (ironically, this may in fact be a mirror image of the Republicans’ approach to abortion as an electoral tool). Either way, it looks like both organizations have sold out their animating principles for the shoddiest of reasons.

UPDATES: The other popular explanation is that PP & NARAL don’t want to anger incumbents, because they might get vindictive or something if re-elected. If PP & NARAL are afraid of angering bad incumbents like Lieberman, then why even bother getting involved in electoral politics at all?

Matt Stoller (by way of Atrios) has an excellent post on the consequences of this failure to hold Lieberman accountable. Money quote: “In allowing Senator Lieberman to not filibuster Alito and still backing him for his reelection campaign against a reliably progressive candidate, the leaders of NARAL and Planned Parenthood have decided to throw away their political capital.” Pathetic.

6 comments July 11th, 2006 at 08:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Favorites,Judiciary,Politics,Wankers

Random Creatureblogging

Some interesting beasties I have encountered on my photographic travels.


You have angered The Inflatable Fish Of The End Times! Your puny lives are now forfeit!


The Ultimate Battle has just begun.


Aw, look at the happy family. I like the yellow-eyed one that’s about to wander off, and the happy one in the lower right.


I suspect that this may be a dancing squirrel. Posted by Picasa

5 comments July 11th, 2006 at 07:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh,Weirdness

Can It Be???

Please tell me I didn’t just hallucinate this Digby post…

All this handwringing amongst the cognoscenti about the barbarians at the gates ruining everything for the Democratic party (again) and what do I find in my mailbox but this strategy memo from insider Dem establishment polling outfit, Democracy Corps run by none other than Carville and Stan Greenberg. And lo and behold, here’s what they have to say:

The Democrats need to catch up with the country, which wants to vote for outsiders, is demanding change and ready to respond to the Democrats’ message and definition of the election. All things considered, this is not a bad problem to have, but it requires a new intensity and focus to grab ahold of the forces for change and take the Democrats to a new level.

[I’ll just give the first sentence of each “change dynamic” to save space – you should be able to get the general idea]

Change dynamic one: The Iraq war….

Change dynamic two: Washington is working for big corporations and the privileged, not the people or the country….

Change dynamic three: They’re not taking care of America….

Change dynamic four: This economy brings you high gas and health care costs and financial pressure for the middle class….

Change dynamic five: They’ve bankrupted the country….

The memo also emphasizes the need to push for accountability at long last. This is surprisingly good stuff – the only big thing I would add would be that the Republicans are losing the War On Terror and endangering our troops because they are placing profits and politics over American safety. Less big, but I would also like to see them address the Republicans’ use of fear and hate as tools of manipulation. Both issues are at the very core of the Republican campaign strategy, and if Dems can take those away, the Republicans won’t have much left: abortion, gay marriage, immigration…

So maybe Carville & Co. have seen the light and decided to listen to the netroots. The question is: Will the Dems listen to Carville?

4 comments July 10th, 2006 at 11:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics

Monday Media Blogging – Big In Japan

This week I have too much weirdness to be contained in a single video, and it all happens to be from Japan.First off, we have a combination aerobics/what-to-say-if-you-get-
mugged-in-America class.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY4XHXn5B9I
Watching the leotard ladies cheerfully pleading for their lives is… incongruous, to say the least. Courtesy of the shadowy and mysterious Codename V.

Next, we have a potty-training video/commercial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6-KrrIbAEs
There is just so much wrong here that I don’t even know where to begin. There’s the anthropomorphic excrement (and toilet), who all seem to really enjoy being flushed. There’s the, er, anatomical correctness of the wee pantsless kitty. There’s the dad wiping the butt of the wee pantsless kitty while they celebrate his potty success. And then there’s the real boy straining on the real toilet at the end. Again, I blame V. And The Soup.

Am I even capable of finding my own bizarre Japanese videos, you ask? Why yes. Yes, I am.


It’s actually… kinda catchy. And I love the guy in the Godzilla costume.

5 comments July 10th, 2006 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

What The Rabid Ham Hock Says.

Nim gives the dishonest pro-Lieberman pundits what-for:

As you are so fond of explaining to the rabid pre-teens on the internets what is really good for them, let me explain what’s good for all of you: NOT calling the exercise of democracy “fascism” or “purging.” Some people with websites do not hold the reins of governmental power. They do not direct party funds. They don’t run the military. They have, in other words, no actual power. What they have are opinions and some facts. Sort of like yourselves. When they advocate the election of Ned Lamont, the only ability they have to effect this is to convince people that he is a worthy candidate. Worthy of votes, donations, and word of mouth to Connecticut voters. The voters of Connecticut will decide whether they agree. This is the point you seem to be missing. If enough voters in Connecticut decide that their views will be better represented by Ned Lamont than by Joe Lieberman, he should be elected. Right? This is how democracy works. If you disagree, you are just as free as Markos, or Jane Hamsher, or Atrios, to make your argument why Joe Lieberman is the better choice.

Let me suggest, however, that “Joe follows his conscience” and “Joe is bipartisan” may not be compelling reasons for a voter who does not agree with Mr. Lieberman on the substance of his beliefs. And when you attack the rabid lambs of the blogofascisphere, you’re insulting and denigrating not the purported kingmakers of the internet, but the people who read and contribute to these sites. This is the second mistake you’ve been making. Markos, Atrios and the rest do not have monopolies on truth any more than you do, and their audiences are quite aware of this. What the popular bloggers provide is not the shining light of truth, but fora. They’re basically glorified party hosts, and if the party ends, or the host starts acting like an ass, the party will go elsewhere. But it won’t go away. It could even end up back on your doorsteps, if you had opinions and information that were of interest.

(snip)

Stop focusing on the messengers, and focus on the message. If you believe that Ned Lamont’s campaign is misguided, and the voters of Connecticut should have fewer choices on election day, explain why on the substance of the candidates’ positions. I’m glad Joe Lieberman has a conscience (which I sincerely believe he does), and that he is willing to break with his party when he does not agree with them. If, however, Joe’s conscience causes him to cast votes that make his constituents unhappy, he runs an electoral risk. See the difference? Joe is not being challenged because he has a conscience and does not toe the party line, he is being challenged despite those traits. Because he breaks with the party on issues of importance to lots of people and lots of voters.

“Lieberman deserves support, because he votes against your beliefs and interests.” That’s basically what you’re saying. Think about it.

This is perfectly spot-on. The only thing that I would add would be to point out that there are races where the party establishment is backing a challenger against an incumbent. Progressive Dem Akaka in Hawaii has been targeted with a centrist challenger, and moderate Republican Chafee in Rhode Island has been targeted with a conservative challenger. And yet none of the pundits who bemoan the “purging” of Lieberman for insufficient purity have any problem with it when it comes from the actual party power structure.

I guess as long as the challenger is to the right of the incumbent, everything is as it should be.

2 comments July 9th, 2006 at 08:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Lieberman,Media,Politics,Wankers

Minimum Movie Violence Requirements

This is… odd:

…Amir [Muhammed], 34, is one of this country’s leading independent filmmakers, and from the point of view of the authorities, something of a pest. His newest film, “The Last Communist,” is, as he puts it, “a semi-musical documentary road movie” based on the life of Chin Peng, once the leader of the outlawed Malayan Communist Party. (Mr. Chin, now 84, is an exile in Thailand.) It was to have been the first local documentary to open theatrically in Malaysia. Instead, it is the first Malaysian film to be banned at home.

(snip)

After a screening was held for Malaysian members of Parliament, the home minister, Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, said the real problem was that the absence of violence in the documentary could create the misconception that Chin Peng was not himself violent. “It will be like allowing a film portraying Osama bin Laden as a humble and charitable man to be screened in the United States,” Mr. Radzi told a local newspaper.

Mr. Amir said, “I think this is the first time a film has been banned for not being violent enough.”

Only in not-America.

July 9th, 2006 at 07:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Weirdness

“Grover’s Not That Likable.”


Likable.


Not likable.

Jonathan Singer at MyDD writes about an interesting Washington Post article that claims, rather unconvincingly, that powerful and creepy anti-tax, anti-government activist Grover Norquist is losing influence due to his entanglement with criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

WaPo:

Over the past six years, Norquist has been a key cheerleader and strategist for successive White House tax cuts, extracting ironclad oaths from congressional Republicans not to even think about tax increases. And even before President Bush’s election, he positioned himself as a gatekeeper for supplicants seeking access to Bush’s inner circle.

But in the aftermath of reports that Norquist served as a cash conduit for disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the irascible, combative activist is struggling to maintain his stature as some GOP lawmakers distance themselves and as enemies in the conservative movement seek to diminish his position.

“People were willing to cut him a lot of slack because he’s done a lot of favors for a lot of people,” said J. Michael Waller, a vice president of the right-leaning Center for Security Policy who for several years was an occasional participant at Norquist’s Wednesday meetings. “But Grover’s not that likable.”

On the other hand…

For now, Norquist’s well-publicized financial links to Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with prosecutors, have had little obvious impact on Norquist’s prominence. Nor have they affected his signature event: the meeting every Wednesday morning at Americans for Tax Reform, where officials of conservative organizations, activists and lobbyists gather with Republican politicians to swap notes, make plans and coordinate messages. The June 28 meeting in downtown Washington was packed.

“I don’t think he’s lost one iota of influence in conservative circles,” said Cesar Conda, a Republican lobbyist and a former top aide to Vice President Cheney.

(snip)

…[T]he apparatus he has created for conservatives — with fundraisers, social dinners and weekly meetings not just in Washington but in 43 states and even Europe — has become too important to destroy.

“Grover supplies grass-roots power, which is why lobbyists want him on their side,” said John Feehery, executive vice president of the Motion Picture Association of America. “He senses where he can get activists around the country riled. He’s a master organizer on specific issues.”

As for Wednesday mornings at ATR, Feehery added, “I still think it’s still the place to be.”

There are some examples of Republicans gearing up opposition and staying away from his meetings, but until I hear Bush and Rove have turned their backs on him, I’m not impressed.

Singer:

Now the overall tenor of the Weisman article is that Norquist’s influence is diminishing, and to the extent that is true, Republicans are doing the right thing.

But the fact remains that top Republican lobbyists and activists continue to go to Norquist’s meetings and pay homage to the corporatist leader enabling him to continue to wield at least some power in Washington. And Republicans’ willingness to tolerate Norquist even after it has become clear that he was an integral player in Abramoff’s power scheme serves as yet more proof that the Republicans have no intention whatsoever to change.

Certainly, Republicans will put out the word that they are sending Abramoff and Norquist out to pasture (there are a number of quotes to this effect in the Weisman piece, and the article, in and of itself, evidences and effort to undercut Norquist). But when push comes to shove, Republicans continue to welcome him as a key ally.

And while this might seem like a little too much insider baseball for most Americans to pay attention to, the fact that many Republicans continue to embrace on of Jack Abramoff’s closest allies is plain enough for any voter to understand.

Unfortunately, I think the plain truth is that most Americans still have absolutely no idea who Bush’s dodgy pal Grover is, although I suspect if they were properly introduced, they would not find him very likable either. Any such introduction should include not only his Abramoff involvement, but also some selections from the Grover Norquist Quotation Hall Of Fame, like the one about drowning government in the bathtub, and the one about bipartisanship being date rape, and the one about how Democrats will be much more docile after they’re neutered.

I hope the Democrats really do have plans to shine some light on this bearded cockroach, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

3 comments July 9th, 2006 at 12:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Aaaarrrrgggghhh.

I continue to be helplessly swept away by the Atrios/Poor Man/Sadly, No! video wars…

“I would like to read from a short prepared statement…”

Surely everyone remembers this, yes?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp7hEh4padQ

This might actually DQ me by being a little too cool.

Are we having fun yet?

9 comments July 8th, 2006 at 03:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Now How Much Would You Pay?

I know I should stop, really…

But how can I not share this faaaabulous Beatles tribute with the world?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ghGlOVJCoU

Or this joyous celebration of our shared love of animals?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blmgNWIjVAw

Let’s see if we can find anything interesting overseas…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCAFl_tqw1w

No, that’s okay, no need to thank me.

July 8th, 2006 at 02:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

But Wait, There’s More…

I really was just going to do the one post, but then eire1130 posted this in the Eschaton comments…

Oh my. Be sure to stick around for the “Apache boy” chorus towards the end…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTKL8MNH95Q

All praise (or something) to Attaturk for unearthing this classic from Batman & Ryydman, although I’m still not entirely sure what I’m looking at…
A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.

And I can’t believe that all these mighty video warriors could have overlooked something so painfully, blindingly obvious…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNsb4zP76gE

It may be time to seek professional help.

5 comments July 8th, 2006 at 12:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

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