Archive for August 2nd, 2007

Broder-Wan Senses A Great Disturbance In The Force

…As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

It is rare that a retirement announcement by a single back-bench member of the minority party in the House of Representatives sends shock waves through the whole chamber. But that was the reaction last week when Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois put out word that this would be his final term.

…[H]e embodies the characteristics that make the House work as an institution. He takes care of his constituent duties, he carries more than his share of the legislative workload, and — most important — he cultivates the kind of personal relationships that build trust across partisan and ideological lines.

In this era of polarized politics, fewer and fewer members of the House fit that description. So when LaHood, who is only 61, announced that he is leaving after seven terms, it signaled trouble for the House — if not for his Republican Party.


This is a man so thoroughly schooled in the rules of procedure, and so trusted by both Republicans and Democrats, that he was the natural choice to preside over the House during the explosive days when it was debating the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

That seems a rather strange endorsement of his bipartisan civility… On the other hand, I’m pretty sure Broder thought Clinton’s impeachment was a good thing…

[A]fter 30 years on one House payroll or another, LaHood said, “The tone is very negative and disheartening. The decibel level is the highest I’ve heard in politics.”

Soon after he became a member, LaHood served as a Republican sponsor of a bipartisan family retreat — a weekend get-together for House members and their families. The idea, he said, was that “if you befriend somebody, you’re far less likely to quarrel.”

Two years ago, when he and a Democratic friend tried to revive the idea, they found so few people willing to participate that they abandoned it. “That was my biggest disappointment,” he said.

LaHood has kept his own friendships across the partisan divide, with Illinois Democrats such as Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama– and with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “But people at home are so disenchanted with Congress because all they see is us yapping at each other.”


To [LaHood’s mentor], the harsh, personal rhetoric of ideological warfare had no place in his office, no place in the House and no place in American politics.”

It is a shame when the House no longer holds on to a member such as Ray LaHood, who understands and lives that lesson.

I blame the liberal bloggers for poisoning the tone in Washington with all their whining about “Oh, we should respect the Constitution,” and “Boo hoo, we should get out of Iraq just because our troops are getting killed and maimed for no good reason.” If you can’t say anything nice…

August 2nd, 2007 at 11:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Wankers

The Wit & Wisdom Of Ichiro

I’ve never really been much of an Ichiro Suzuki fan, not since he insisted on being called only by his first name. But at least he’s a character:

Three weeks ago, the Seattle Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki to a five-year, $90 milion contract extension. It didn’t take long for the 33-year-old outfielder to give the Mariners reason to believe that they might have made a bad decision. When Ichiro held a press conference earlier this month to discuss the deal, he divulged that a key advisory role in deciding to remain in Seattle was played by his dog Ikky. “He said, ‘Woof, woof, woof,’ which meant, ‘Stay, stay, stay,’ ” Suzuki told reporters in Japanese. “Of course, I listened.”

It was a curious revelation, and not just for the obvious reasons. When he first arrived in the United States in 2001, Ichiro would not even share his pet’s name with a curious reporter. “I do not have the dog’s permission,” he explained. Ichiro was an odd fit in the American sports media culture: He would always be available for reporters, engage them politely, and yet never really answer their questions. Refusing the easy banalities embraced by other major leaguers, Ichiro approached the media with a Rumsfeldian mix of impatience and amateur epistemology. After starting this season with a run of multihit games, Suzuki was asked whether he found his performance surprising: “It’s not surprising. At the same time, it’s not that usual. It’s somewhere between usual and surprising,” he said.

…This season, however, instead of offering quotes notable for their remote serenity, Ichiro’s statements have turned gonzo. Before facing off against Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka in April, Ichiro said, “I hope he arouses the fire that’s dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger.” Asked recently about a road trip to Cleveland, he admitted: “To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.” And about Tiger Woods, he said, “Tiger is a great golfer, but – when you say athlete, I think of Carl Lewis. When you talk about [golfers or race-car drivers], I don’t want to see them run. It’s the same if you were to meet a beautiful girl and go bowling. If she’s an ugly bowler, you are going to be disappointed.”

Alrighty then.

August 2nd, 2007 at 10:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Sports,Weirdness


So I assume by now that you’ve all heard by now about that bridge that collapsed in Minnesota. During rush hour. Absolutely horrible, and thank God only two lanes were open, or it would have been even worse. Minnesota Monitor has a great roundup post of blog reaction to the tragedy – it appears to be due to structural deficiencies that the MN DOT never got around to repairing (actually, they were so bad that engineers recommended that the bridge be replaced), possibly due to Republican budget-cutting to avoid tax increases. (News flash for Republicans: This is what taxes are FOR.)

Aside from the conservabloggers who think that the collapse simply must have been due to a terrorist attack (they were very shaken by the Nefarious Blowtorch Plot), there are a bunch who are outraged, simply outraged that Democrats and liberals would have the nerve to score cheap political points by asking whether the bridge collapse was an inevitable outcome of defunding the infrastructure. You know, much like the drowning of New Orleans and the contamination of our food supply were also inevitable consequences of defunding essential government functions.

So, okay, fine, let’s stipulate that only a terrible, awful, ghoulish person would use a tragedy to push a political agenda. I give you our Commander-In-Chief:

I spoke to Governor Pawlenty and Mayor Rybak this morning. I told them that… Secretary [Peters] would be there. I told them we would help with rescue efforts, but I also told them how much we are in prayer for those who suffered. And I thank my fellow citizens for holding up those who are suffering right now in prayer.

We also talked about — in the Cabinet meeting talked about the status of important pieces of legislation before the Congress. We spent a fair amount of time talking about the fact that how disappointed we are that Congress hasn’t sent any spending bills to my desk. By the end of this week, members are going to be leaving for their month-long August recess. And by the time they will return, there will be less than a month before the end of the fiscal year on September the 30th, and yet they haven’t passed one of the 12 spending bills that they’re required to pass. If Congress doesn’t pass the spending bills by the end of the fiscal year, Cabinet Secretaries report that their departments may be unable to move forward with urgent priorities for our country.

This doesn’t have to be this way. The Democrats won last year’s election fair and square, and now they control the calendar for bringing up bills in Congress. They need to pass each of these spending bills individually, on time, and in a fiscally responsible way.

This is the same kind of dishonest verbal sleight-of-hand that the Bush administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Just as they juxtaposed talk of 9/11 and al Qaeda with talk of Iraq to imply blame, here Bush juxtaposes talk of the bridge collapse with talk of Democrats holding up the budget to make it sound as though the bridge collapse was the result of those foolish, stubborn Democrats withholding money. But of course, the federal budget had absolutely nothing to do with the collapse, since bridge repair/replacement would have come out of the MN state budget.

It’s the mirror image of the non-denial denial: The non-accusation accusation. I bet Dubya’s pissed that no-one thought of it after New Orleans’ levees crumbled.

(Cross-posted at Greatscat!)

August 2nd, 2007 at 08:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Live Free Of DiFi


What is DiFi’s problem??? I just don’t get it. She’s a Senator for one of the most liberal states in the entire country, and she votes in favor of another one of Bush’s insane reactionaries for the judiciary? What possible rationale could she have for this?

It’s not like she’s a red-state Senator who can claim that she’s only trying to represent her constituents and ensure re-election. I have lost ALL patience for these worthless “centrist” Democrats who believe that Dubya is entitled to nominate whoever he wants to the judiciary for life. Especially now that we’re seeing just how much damage the Roberts Court is inflicting. Hell, even Chuck Schumer has issued a (probably insincere) mia culpa for facilitating its creation.

Can we please start getting rid of Democrats who are not Democrats?

2 comments August 2nd, 2007 at 08:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Judiciary,Politics,Wankers



It’s a robotic singing Elvis head! AWESOME!!!!

If there is a rash of Elvis sightings later this month, it may be because of the arrival in stores of the WowWee Alive Elvis, an animatronic Elvis bust with infrared eyes and lips that sync to music.

This Elvis can look you square in the eye, tilt his head and croon “Love Me Tender” through the speakers in his shoulders.

This is WowWee’s second robotic bust, the descendant of a chimp released last year. Both were created by George York, an inventor who used forensic reconstruction techniques and guidance from Graceland to conjure up Elvis in his prime. Beneath the rubbery skin are nine motors for head movements and facial gestures, including four levers dedicated to the upper lip for that signature sneer. A microphone-shaped remote lets you adjust volume, choose tunes or toggle between modes like talking and singing.

Alive Elvis, which will initially be available at Sharper Image stores and at Graceland for about $300, includes one plug-in cartridge with eight songs and 37 phrases voiced by an Elvis impersonator. There are three audio jacks, either for playing music through the speakers, or to patch in a microphone just in case you want to sing along and work on your own sneer.

I think $300 is a small price to pay to own The Most Awesome Coolest Thing In The World.

Also, I refuse to believe that robotic Elvis heads are descended from robotic monkey heads. Indeed, robotic Elvis heads may be the most conclusive proof we have of the existence of God.

5 comments August 2nd, 2007 at 11:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology,Weirdness

Final Coney Island Photoblogging

This is the last of the Coney Island photos for quite some time, although I do intend to go back after they make it over, just to see if they’ve stayed true to Coney Island’s lurid spirit.

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Some sort of arcade game, of the non-video variety.

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Oh dear.

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I think this is an appropriate note to close on.

This is by no means the last of my NYC photos, and then I have DC and CA photos after that, still yet to be processed…

August 2nd, 2007 at 11:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coney Island,NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Thursday Media Blogging

Because this is just too cool to wait.

Tetris like you’ve never seen it before. I think this proves that geeks are pretty much the same no matter where you are – not that that’s a bad thing…

Chain O’ Hat Tips: ::matthew -> Gizmodo -> English Russia

1 comment August 2nd, 2007 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

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