Saturday, September 30, 2006

Handling Iraq with Rubber Gloves

Bob Woodward's new book State of Denial hits shelves today, but a storm surge of information has already preceded it. It contains scathing information about Don Rumsfeld's decision making during the Iraq war, and Condoleeza Rice's incomprehension of the possible Al-Qaeda threat prior to 9/11.

Donald Rumsfeld, incapable? Responsible for the deaths of thousands of our young men and women? Condi Rice wearing blinders before 9/11 and acting as a shill afterwards? These are things we already knew but now Woodward has put his official seal on things. I'd be happy but it's all so sad.

Our President, of course, loves them both to death. Don's doing a good job, right? Condi's doing a good job. We're sending Condi to Israel to patch things up over there, etc. Bush has even turned to taking advice from Nixon's national security advisor Henry S. Kissinger. No, this isn't like Vietnam. No, this president is not like Nixon, right?

Check out the WP story on all of this.

I liked the part about Rummy being indecisive and paranoid and having a severe case of "rubber glove syndrome" not wanting his finger prints on decisions. And can you blame him? The guy makes baaaad decisions.

This November it's time for a change. Send as many of them packing as you can.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Visions of a Better America

The 2006 elections are almost upon us and things are closer than ever.

Votemaster says that if the elections were today the Senate would be evenly divided 50/50. The Democrats need to pick up six seats to gain a majority. On the House side, currently the Republicans lead 219-216.

The hottest race is in Virginia where incumbent George Allen is fighting for his life after welcoming an ethnic citizen to "the real world" after calling him "Makaka." Allen, once considered a shoe-in for re-election is down to a 5 point lead.

Come on, Virginia, you can do it!

Other close races (incumbent first):

Missouri: Jim Talent (R) vs Claire McCaskill (D)
Montana: Conrad Burns (R) vs Jon Tester (D)
New Jersey: Bob Menendez (D) vs Tom Jean Jr (R)
Ohio: Mike DeWine (R) vs Sherrod Brown (D)
Rhode Island: Lincoln Chafee (R) vs Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Pennsylvania: Rick Santorum (R) vs Bob Casey (D) (please, please, please....)

Get out and vote this fall, and put this country back on a reasonable course!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Clinton's Head Nearly Explodes During Interview

If you're like me you didn't see Clinton explode yesterday on Fox News Sunday. But if you're like me you get down on your knees and thank God for YouTube.

The interview starts off well enough, although you can tell Clinton is a little defensive since it's Fox. 3:30 into the interview host Chris Wallace gets down to it: e-mailers want to know why Clinton didn't do more to get Bin Ladden. But you can tell Wallace really wants to know too. You can tell he's nervous and excited all at the same time, it takes him almost a minute to get the question out, dramatic pauses included.

By 4:20 Clinton is visibly upset and at 5:45 he's wagging a finger in Wallace's face. The clip is long, but definitely worth watching.

Part 1

Part 2

These are the same people--Fox News--who wrap themselves in the flag and say we should respect the President. Yet former president Clinton is given no respect here. I just can't imagine Chris Wallace or anyone else on Fox News ever interrupting President Bush, or calling him "sir" in such a condescending tone (as in "Do you ever even watch Fox News Sunday, sir?"). If Democratic criticism of a standing president is disrespectful, then this is disgraceful. It's a nicely played lateral to distract you from the real news.

And another thing, why don't they turn on some lights over there at Fox News Sunday? They're both looming out of shadows and it's creepy.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bush's Actions (Accidentally) aid Terrorists? Oops!

Remember children: He who controls the past controls the future.

The Washington Post reported yesterday:

A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the "centrality" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda. Rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, it concludes that the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.

Read that here.

Compare this to what the administration (which knew about the report) just told you:

"Many Americans look at these events and ask the same question: Five years after 9/11, are we safer? The answer is, yes, America is safer. We are safer because we've taken action to protect the homeland. We are safer because we are on offense against our enemies overseas. We are safer because of the skill and sacrifice of the brave Americans who defend our people." - President Bush, Sept 9.

Check that out here.

But I think this one fits the best:

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'" - George Orwell, 1984

Friday, September 22, 2006

Germans Test High-Speed Train with Real People, 23 Dead

In a tragic story that could only happen in Germany the AP reports a high-speed magnetic train carrying 29 people went off a test track in during a test run in Lathen. 23 people are feared dead. Most of those people were in the front of the train when it crashed head-on with a maintenance wagon on the elevated track.

You can't read this and immediately not think of the Simpsons' monorail episode. Or the time Homer took Bart and Lisa to the Springfield Auto Show and Lisa observes a crash-test video by Fourth Reich Motors--and brings the demonstration to an early end when she points out the crash test dummies are real people.

Hey, those aren't dummies!

Thus far only China has been able to successfully tame and use the power of giant magnets for high-speed transportation. You win this round, China.*

*Someone smarter than me has pointed out that the train in China was built by the Germans.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Former Steroid User, Watchdog Comebine to Ponder A-Rod

What do you get when the Yankees aquire a expensive future hall of famer and then turn on him at the slightest sign of weakness? Certainly not news, right, unless you're Sports Illustrated.

Do you hate Alex Rodriguez? Take a number. Even The Onion now reserves ink for jabs at the Yankees' mysterious superstar. So, why should SI’s head baseball writer Tom Verducci miss out on the fun? His article featured in this month’s edition reveals Rodriguez to be a self-obsessed weirdo whose own teammates are more than happy to criticize behind his back. But, uh, what's the problem?

Baseball has done its part, producing compelling stories this year, but instead the focus is on A-Rod is doing wrong, and why people don't like him.

The best part is that A-Rod doesn't seem to care, which, of course, pisses people off even more. To me the story reveals the real problem: spoiled Yankess fans, candid teammates, and writers incapable of focusing on anything but the negative.

To get some insight into A-Rod’s mind Verducci taps Yankee slugger Jason Giambi for some good quotes. Giambi turns his insight and integrity onto Rodriguez; what ensues is a cathartic linty.

He says A-Rod displays a “false confidence.”

He told manager Joe Torre it was time to stop “coddling him.”

"We're all rooting for you and we're behind you 100 percent," Giambi recalls telling Rodriguez, "but you've got to get the big hit."

He ended by saying “Alex doesn't know who he is. We're going to find out who he is in the next couple of months."

You might remember Giambi as the guy who once used steroids. Now he’s busy making hey criticizing fellow teammate Rodriguez, a guy who has always put up better numbers without being on the juice. In-fact, without Giambi’s quotes there would be almost nothing to talk about in this article.

Ironically, Verducci has cast the brightest light on the steroid scandal and routinely talks about how it taints the game. With rhythmic timing he lobbs shells at Barry Bonds and now he’s using a former steroid user as his star witness?

But any hypocrocy involved is quickly absolved; Verducci is ready to grant a pardon: “For all the scorn heaped upon Giambi for his ties to the BALCO steroid scandal, he is a strong clubhouse voice because he plays with a passion that stirs teammates and even opponents. This season, for instance, he reprimanded his former Oakland A's teammate, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, for occasionally showing up late to games out of frustration over another losing Baltimore season. ‘You're better than that,’ he told Tejada. So Giambi's gripe about Rodriguez sounded an alarm with Torre.”


To read Giambi in the article you’d think he was some kind of champion. He speaks with the sense of authority, Yankee authority, I’d expect from three time world champion Derek Jeter. The Yankees hauled Giambi over from Oakland in 2002; he didn’t win anything in Oakland and he hasn’t won anything for the Yankees either.

Giambi World Series rings: 0

Rodriguez World Series rings: 0

Giambi ever on juice: yes

Rodriguez ever on juice: no

Verducci’s stance on steroids: ruins the integrity of the game

Verducci’s stance on quoting steroid users: Acceptable if their name isn’t Barry Bonds.

Verducci’s stance on the McGwire/Sosa steroid fueled 1998 home run chase: good for baseball.

Rodriguez won his first MVP award in 2003, the season *after* he hit 57 home runs and drove in 142 RBIs. His value was questioned because his team finished 4th that season. Rodriguez hit 47 home runs and drove in 118. He won his second MVP award in 2005, for the first place Yankees after hitting 48 home runs and driving in 130. His team loses and his value is questioned, his team wins and his value is questioned—nothing new to read here folks.

Essentially, here we have a player, Rodriguez, who—barring a Ken Griffey Jr-like tragedy—will be remembered as one of the greatest players ever. He’s just never been popular. We also have another player who has used steroids accusing another player of being disingenuous. Then there's a writer happy to put it all together for some good copy.

I’m no fan of Rodriguez’s; I could really care less. I just think it’s laughable that people like Verducci clamor for some good, drug-free athletes to celebrate and here we have one of the best pure baseball players….ever…and the focus is on why he's so hard to motivate. So he’s a loner? So he turns to God for support? So he wears suits in his hotel room at 1 A.M.? So what? I don’t know what any of that means but I think he’s better for baseball than those who criticize him.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reference to Violence Sparks Violent Protests

Muslims reaction to Pope Benedict’s quotation of a 14th century text which described Muhammed’s teachings as inhuman and violent has been heated and at times violent.

"The Pope's sentiments are part of the wrong misinterpretation against Islam by America, Israel, Britain and Russia," Sheikh Nur Barud, a senior Somali cleric said. "They insult the Muslim world, kill Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, their leader is (U.S. President George W.) Bush and the Pope is part of it."

Meanwhile offended and misinterpreted Muslims took to the streets, burning an effigy of the pope, and setting fire to churches in the region. The death of a 65 year-old Italian nun, Sister Leonella, has also been linked to the protests. Leonella was shot while working at a children’s hospital in Somalia.

“We are tired of Western oppression. We are tired of being misreprestented by Western leaders like George Bush, the Pope is involved too,” said Uzair Ahmed before joining an incensed mass of 18-35 year-old men dancing around an burning effigy of the pope.
After protests like this broke out across the region the pope quickly issued an unsatisfactory apology.

In Turkey, which the pope is due to visit in November, the state minister, Mehmet Aydin, said: "You either have to say, ‘I'm sorry' in a proper way, or not say it at all. Are you sorry for saying such a thing or because of its consequences?" The influential Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt initially greeted the pope's words as "sufficient" before later saying that it was not "a clear apology that can satisfy Muslims."

Al Quada in Iraq was less diplomatic. "We say to the servant of the cross (the Pope): Wait for defeat... We say to infidels and tyrants: Wait for what will afflict you. We will smash the cross... Islam or death," the Mujahideen consultative council said.

Iraq's parliament also rejected Benedict's explanation of his remarks, saying it was insufficiently clear. The parliament "demands the pope take practical steps to restore respect to the Islamic world and its religion, and a clear-cut apology for what he said," lawmakers said in a statement read at a press conference.

A previously unknown and now misinterpreted Islamic group calling itself "The Army of Guidance" pledged Tuesday to strike at Christian targets in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the remarks. "Every place relevant to Christians will be a target," said a statement from the group. "This will be until the accursed infidel, the Vatican, apologizes to Muslims."While denouncing violence, the pope said he hopes the killing "becomes the seed of hope to construct authentic brotherhood among peoples in the mutual respect for the

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fanboys Rejoice: LonleyGirl15 Legal

Fanboys of YouTube's smash hit LonleyGirl15 can now lust without the fear of legal or moral conflict since it was revealed that LonelyGirl15 is played by twenty-something struggling actress Jessica Rose. It was also revealed that the teen angst and frustration she displayed on camera were performances carefully scripted by 28 year old Ramesh Flinders. The show was also filmed in his bedroom.

But game on none the less. The number of subscribers to LonelyGirl15 has skyrocketed since it was revealed that the girl's personal struggles which so many seemed to relate to was actually a carefully crafted ploy by adults looking for a movie deal.

"I don't care what their motives were," said Shane Handly, 17, of St. Louis, MO. "LonelyGirl15 is hot, and at least eighteen."

"I think I speak for fanboys everywhere when I say there was a collective exhale," said Steven Mills, 32, of San Jose, CA. "A sigh of relief that all of our yearnings were indeed not directed at a lonely teenaged girl. That would be just too weird for words. But in this day-and-age how the hell is a guy supposed to know who to lust for? If a 20-year old can be so convincing as a 15-year old and vice versa?"

"I used to feel a little weird peering into the life of a pubescent teen airing her frustrations on camera while just trying to make sense out of life," said Albert Clifton, 35, of Spokane, WA. "But now that it's all fake, well, I guess it's all good."

"I'll admit, I was attracted to her. Hell, we all were," said Todd Alexander, 29, of Naples, FL. "But it turns out her sexual magnetism is just the product of great acting. That's cool. Women fake all the time right?"

The ultimate irony is that teen ager usually feel frustrated that no one takes them seriously or wants to listen to them. Here, thousands tuned in to watch a fake teen enact scenes written by a 28 year old guy.

Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls
It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world
except for LonelyGirl15

American schaddenfraude:
You Got You Tube Punked

German angst:
Hey LonelyGirl15, ich mach dich auch bekannt!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

McConaughey Sick of Celebrities like McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey was ready for the big game Saturday versus #1 Ohio State. The one-time actor turned super-Longhorns fan, even gave the pre-game speech before the game.

"A very good team is coming to our house and wants to steal something that we own," McConaughey began, ". . . a national championship . . . when the University of Texas Longhorns play for the love of his brother lining up next to him, for the pride of giving his personal best every down, for the honor of every grandparent that could AND could not be at the game, the final whistle will blow and we will be victorious . . . the wannabe thieves will be sent home hurting, humbled, and with a respect for our character. "

The 'Horns went on to lose to Ohio State 24-7.

McConaughey addressed the press after the game. "I told [coach] Mack [Brown] I'd handle the post-game. This loss is not his fault. It's not the team's fault. It's my fault. Let's face it, my pre-game speech was flat and uninspired and my sideline effort was phoned in like McConaughey in The Wedding Planner. People like me who suck at what they do and still can't get enough attention make me sick."

McConaughey then admitted he takes his job as Texas' #1 fan very seriously. "You can rest assured that I will be back in week four with a better performance. I owe it to the team, the fans, and to Texas."

Any given Saturday during the college football season McConaughey can be found at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium tossing the pigskin in the parking lot, before roaming the sidelines in a towel. He has become a fixture at games ever since the Longhorns started competing for the national championship, a quest which culminated in their victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl. McConaughey was there, wedging himself into team photos, touching the championship trophy, and hugging many of the large, sweaty players who earned the vicotry.

"It's a good thing I'm a celebrity because those tickets were hard to get," he said. "I have this dream that one day they'll call my number and I'll get to run one play with the Horns. Man, just one play."

McConaughey has joined the ranks of Jack Nicholson of the Lakers, Spike Lee of the Knicks, and Stephen King of the Red Sox, as one of the nation's top celebrity sports fans.

"I take that role seriously too," he said. "Other teams have their big-shot celebrity, I'm proud to be with Texas. Those egomaniac celebrities using their celebrity status to get special tickets are just a bunch of jock-sniffing posers. Where were they when their team wasn't playing well? It's easy to be a Laker's fan when Kobe is running up and down the court. Celebrities who use their privilege to get in sideways with a team make me sick. They're not fooling anybody. Any more questions, guys?"

McConaughey plans to take week three off to go mountain biking with pal, and fellow Texan, Lance Armstrong. Texas will be on the road against rival Rice. McConaughey vows to be ready for game four, at home, versus Iowa State.

Others who are sick of McConaughey:


Page 2

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Paris Hilton Arrested for Excessive Blonde Alcohol Content

Another one from the "while you were sleeping, in California..." file, Paris Hilton was arrested for driving under the influence early this morning. Police pulled her over after discovering she was shooting a music video for her new album, “Paris.”

“Paris Hilton thinks she’s some kind of rock star? How drunk was she?” An onlooker wondered.

Hilton, 25, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI and later released. She said she only had one drink at the sessions.

"The officers observed that Hilton exhibited the symptoms of intoxication,” an officer said. She was returning from shooting a music video for her new album, a field sobriety test was conducted at scene, and the officers determined she was indeed under the influence.

“We received an anonymous tip that Paris was not only working on an album but shooting videos for it,” explained a police department official. “We determined this was reckless and a possible compromise on public safety. We took appropriate action.”

Hilton was picked up at the station by her spokesman Elliot Mintz.

“This is what I do,” Mintz explained cheerfully. “It’s not a problem. Paris has such a lively personality, she has a naturally high BAC, one drink can send her over the edge.”

BAC is what experts in the field refer to as a Blonde to Alcohol Content. Mintz says Hilton plans on spending the rest of the week recovering in an opulent Palm Springs spa.

"She's quite shaken up," Mintz said. "But she'll be back on schedule by Monday. Her self-titled debut album is right on track."

First blog with the news:

First non-Paris Hilton fan-site with the news:

Best blog headline:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Anniversary Near, 9/11-Iraq Connection Rises from Ashes

The president is on a public relations offensive this week, reminding the country that we are still at war on terror and at war in Iraq.

“The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are men without conscience, but they’re not madmen,” Bush said. “They kill in the name of a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil but not insane.”

Speaking before a crowd of military officers and diplomatic representatives Bush pressed home his thoughts about terrorists.

Bush cited a “grisly al Qaida manual” found in 2000 by British police which included a chapter called 'Guidelines for Beating and Killing Hostages.' He said the manual bore an eerie resemblance to a 2002 Justice Department memo advising the White House how to legally torture al Qaeda terrorists.

“It is obvious what this means,” the President said. “The terrorists are trying to use our own tactics against us. They will fail.”

Bush then began the precarious task of trying to connect 9/11 and Al Qaida with the current effort in Iraq. The politically essential connection between Iraq and 9/11 took a serious hit on August 21 when Cox news reporter Ken Herman asked the president what Iraq had to do since 9/11. “Nothing,” Bush defiantly answered.

That clip can be seen here.

Since then the White House as worked very hard to make sure Iraq has something to do with 9/11.

On August 28, Vice President Dick Cheney tied the two together while attacking Democrats. “They overlook a fundamental fact. We were not in Iraq on September 11, 2001, but the terrorist hit us anyway.”

On September 2 Bush declared the war in Iraq to be vital to the war on terror as part of the strategy to fight terrorists abroad.

Yesterday Bush cited what he said was a captured al Qaida document found during a recent raid in Iraq. He said the document described plans to take over Iraq's western Anbar province and set up a governing structure including an education department, a social services department, a justice department, and an execution unit.

A hostile take over? Standing-up a governing body? Creating education, services, and instilling justice? Bush’s point was clear: the terrorists want nothing less than to reshape Iraq in their own image.

Bush’s speaking tour comes during the White House release of a 23-page summary of the U.S. approach to combating terrorism which declares “America is safer, but we are not yet safe.”

The President, like the document, will offer no fresh plans about how to turn things around in Iraq or the war on terror or how they're related.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Internets Remember Crocodile Hunter

First the Grizzley Man and now this! The shadowy world of daredevil animal protectionists took another hit today as Steve Irwin was killed in the line of duty. I was sleeping while news spread around the world, but bloggers were on the internets within minutes...

The blog has issued a
kakhi shirt day while freshvideo posted a series of Irwin featured shorts, including his Sportscenter commercial.

Here's the youtube video of
Australian television covering the news.

Irwin, 44, was killed by a string ray off the Australian coast while filming a documentary.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

83rd No. 2 Al-Qaida Leader Brought to Justice

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Authorities on Sunday announced the capture of al-Qaida in Iraq's No. 2 leader, accusing him of "brutal and merciless" terror operations, including the bombing of a Shiite shrine that touched off the sectarian bloodletting pushing Iraq toward civil war. Iraq's national security adviser said Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was arrested a few days ago as he hid in a residential building southwest of Baqouba.

This represents the 83rd second ranking Al-Qaida leader that has been either arrested or killed during the global war on terror. Experts attribute this unusually high number to A-Qaida's very flat command structure.

"Bin Laddin is at the top," explains a senior terrorist expert, "In the middle you have all these number two guys, no one really knows how many. And then you have the guys they send out to blow themselves up. We refer to them as number three guys."

The Bush administration believes the recent arrest Abu Humam represents a turning point in the war in Iraq. "This is definitely a turning point," a top aide commented. "We're definitely turning a corner after ending this no. 2 operative's reign of terror."

Read the whole story here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

On the Eighth Day God Created Legos

Ever wanted to experience the sweeping, epic story of the Bible with cute, tiny legos? Well, uh, now you can! Yes, thanks to The Brick Testament. This site has painstakingly recreated 233 Bible stories with 2,710 illustrations. Check out the ratings guide for which stories have nudity, sex, violence, or cursing (The story of Jesus has all four!).

The FAQ answers all of your questions. No, the Brick Testament was no divinely inspired. It was created entirely by
The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith who builds all the characters and settings out of LEGO bricks, then photographs them to create the illustrated stories found on The Brick Testament website and book series.

God only knows how many hours of labor it took to create such a work. It must have been akin to the building of Zerubbabel’s temple. And that means laborious to you Amalekites! A plague on your house!