Friday, March 30, 2007

The Butcher's Bill

In 2005, the last year for which a complete FBI Uniform Crime Report is available, there were 14,860 homicides committed in the United States.

10,100 were committed with firearms.

If you isolate the 7,543 handgun murders from the 2,557 murdered with a different kind of gun, you still are left with one weapon of choice that outpaced knives, blunt objects, personal weapons (Using the body to hit, push, etc), poison, explosives, fire, narcotics, explosives, asphyxiation, strangle, or "other", which encompasses, automobiles, etc.

Spin that to make it sound like more guns on the streets are a good idea.

Go Wish David Holt a Happy Birthday!!!

You heard me! Wish this good friend of mine, this future good friend to all the voters of District 89, a happy 24th (Damn, I feel old) birthday.

Georgia's "Bring Your Gun To Work" Bill

The Georgia legislature is currently considering a bill that would keep companies from banning guns in their parking lots. It's an absurd piece of legislation pushed by--- No surprise here--- The NRA, who seems content with nothing short of creating a "wild west" world where everyone that walks the street does so with a pistol strapped to his leg.

But this bill goes so far that they've overplayed their hands.

The following is an email exchange from a voter who, among other things, seems incapable of discerning just what senate district he lives in, and a veteran legislator that has been a good friend to the NRA through the years, published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

From: Keith L.
Sent: Sat 3/24/2007 10:38 PM
To: Douglas, John
Subject: SB 43
I’m counting on you to stand up for me & get SB 43 to the floor & support it . It’s time to put a stop of having our Second Amendment rights played with.
Keith L.
Lyons, Ga.

From: Douglas, John John.Douglas@senate.ga.gov
To: Keith L.
Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:53 PM
Subject: RE: SB 43
Don’t count on me, I dont represent Lyons and am voting NO.
John Douglas

From: Keith L.
Sent: Sat 3/24/2007 11:21 PM
To: Douglas, John
Subject: Re: SB 43
Sorry to hear that. I’ll let others know how you feel. Thanks anyway.

From: Douglas, John [mailto:John.Douglas@senate.ga.gov]
Sent: Sat 3/24/2007 11:28 PM
To: Keith L.
Subject: RE: SB 43
While you are contacting others, contact the NRA and tell them their bullying, threatening tactics are backfiring. I have for the past two years earned an A+ and A rating from them and supported their efforts all the way. They are accusing every major company in Georgia of being anti gun, sending out their alerts every few hours naming more companies as anti gun and acting like a hysterical teenaged girl.
They are falling on their swords over this bill and so am I. There is no way I would vote yes with the way they are conducting themselves.
I am sorry we have come to this point and I look forward to supporting logical, rational gun legislation in the future, but not SB 43. I appreciate your efforts, but the NRA is making their supporters look foolish on this one.
By the way, Sen Tommie Williams is your Senator. He is an excellent, articulate spokesman for southeast Georgia. Feel free to call on him at tommie@tommiewilliams.com
John Douglas

Congratulations, Pesky Fly!

I was quite pleased when I went to the Memphis Flyer website and saw that Chris Davis won Green Eyeshade (Who came up with that name?* See update below) award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his two excellent pieces on the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast found here and here.
It's well deserved, my friend.

Another local winner was Memphis Magazine editor Marilyn Saler for a magnificent article about life in the 38126 ZIP code, one of the poorest in the country.

UPDATE: Trent, a previous Green Eyeshade winner, was kind enough to fill me in on the derivation of the award's name.

The "Green Eyeshade" term comes from the headgear that editors used to wear in the early part of the century during the glory "Front Page" days of the newspaper. Worn like a baseball cap, with the visor a sort of see-through opaque green, it made harsh light easy on the eyes for editors poring through reams of news copy.

I'm not sure when the Society for Professional Journalists started giving out the awards, but it stems from that.Hunter Thompson was known to wear one during his early adventures in journalism, for what it's worth.

-- Trent, a previous Green Eyeshade winner.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rove Double Feature - Wanksta, The Prequel

Pay attention to the Young Republican interviewed about four minutes into this clip. (Hat tip to Crooks and Liars)

W's Favorite Historian

It seems that Clueless Leader's favorite historian is about as well-informed as his science advisors. From Slate:

Roberts is as sloppy as he is snobbish. I am seldom bothered by minor errors from a good writer, but Roberts' mistakes are so extensive, foolish, and revealing of his basic ignorance about the United States in particular, that it may be worth noting a few of those I caught in a fast read. The San Francisco earthquake did considerably more than $400,000 in damage. Virginia Woolf, who drowned herself in 1941, did not write for Encounter, which began publication in 1953. The Proposition 13 Tax Revolt took place in the 1970s, not the 1980s—an important distinction because it presaged Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. Michael Milken was not a "takeover arbitrageur," whatever that is. Roberts cannot know that there were 500 registered lobbyists in Washington during World War II because lobbyists weren't forced to register until 1946. Gregg Easterbrook is not the editor of the New Republic. "No man gets left behind" is a line from the film Black Hawk Down, not the motto of the U.S. Army Rangers; their actual motto is "Rangers Lead the Way." In a breathtaking peroration, Roberts point out that "as a proportion of the total number of Americans, only 0.008 percent died bringing democracy to important parts of the Middle East in 2003-5." Leaving aside the question of whether those deaths have brought anything like democracy to Iraq, 0.008 percent of 300 million people is 24,000—off by a factor of 10, which is typical of his arithmetic. If you looked closely enough, I expect you could find an error of one kind or another on every page of the book.


Every day, in every way, this White House is led around by ideology rather than truth.

Wanksta Rap

All you playa haters, all you sucker MCs, you better step off and not be fronting or MC Rove will have to pop a collar and get Jam Master Cheney to bust a cap in your ass.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Other Cheap Labor

Stacey Campfield must have friends in the Texas State Legislature.

They are now considering the Rent-a-Womb Act, a piece of legislation designed to discourage abortion by giving money to women that put their children up for adoption.

And just what is the princely sum that is offered up to these women in exchange for four months of morning sickness, nine months of constipation, chronic back pain during the third trimester, an alarming need to urinate every five minutes (Brought on by an eight pound person doing a headstand on her bladder), nine months of unbearable hormonal mood swings, hemorrhoids, and high blood pressure which is then capped off by several hours of pain more excruciating than listening to the entire Britney Spears catalog as they attempt to push something the size of a watermelon out of their genitalia?

$500.

This isn't discouraging abortion. This is an episode of "Jackass" waiting to happen.

Strangely enough, it's being sponsored by the a senator from the same party that has built a culture of talking points around the idea that any form of public assistance de-incentivizes work ('Cause, you know, those welfare recipients are such high rollers). They're apparently not too worried that this massive payout will encourage women to supplement their incomes by squeezing out a pup every nine months.

Perhaps it's because they know the payout is too little to incentivize anything. It allows them to trun back to the anti-abortion zealots and pretend that they've accomplished something.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Now THAT'S What I Call A Testimonial.

Longtime Democratic Activist and Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee member Joe Young wanted to make sure I brought this here for you to read:

I rarely post comments on blogs. In fact, I've posted only one blog previously on my friend Steve's Leftwingcracker. There's always an exception and I recognize this as an exceptual exception. I can't and shouldn't be mute on this matter. I've known David for a few short years but recognized his value as a human being when I first met him. Through him a optimistic preview of what hopefully lies ahead for political leadership and community activism is possible. There are honest, dedicated, servant-leadership oriented, and hard-working young people out there. Such a person is found in my friend, comrade, and ally, David Holt. I went to work immediately when I heard the rumor that David was considering this step. When I called him and confirmed what I heard was true, I went to work in support of him that same hour. All readers of this blog should do the same. Find out what you can do to help David and Just Do It! No hesitation, no games,procrastination.

David Holt has a great mind and moral compass. He's reliable and sees a thing through to completion. He is well-respected and has a quiet and unassuming dignity that I respect and admire greatly. He is a man of courage and honor. We have a blessing, gift, and advocate in David Holt!

Yours in service,

Joe Wm. Young, II

Vade in pace, Rome.

I know, I know. It's a couple of days late. But there are members of my family that I will miss less than I'll miss Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, so I was in no hurry to say goodbye.

There will be no more "Rome". Anything that is as expensive to film as that was is doomed. HBO, in conjunction with the BBC, literally rebuilt ancient Rome on a vast sound stage and used it as a platform for some of the most compelling TV to ever grace the tube. I've not read a budget estimate on the second season, but the first cost over $200 million.

In terms of historical accuracy, it was a hit and miss. Pullo and Vorenus were actually based on two soldiers mentioned in Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars, yet the writers never referred to the future Augustus by his proper name (Octavianus, not Octavian). And the timeline was anything but consistent. The entire war between Augustus and Mark Antony (Played masterfully by James Purefoy) spanned roughly nine years, yet the Vorenus children didn't age a day.

But at the end of the day, HBO set out to make an interesting TV show--- Not a historical reenactment. And this is where the show excelled.

It certainly suffered in its second season. You knew as you sat down to watch the first episode of the first season that it would culminate in the assassination of Julius Caesar. You knew that the most logical story for the second season would be the war between Octavian and Antony, but it took forever to get there. The stories seemed without focus. I can honestly say I would have written it quite differently.

But the end was satisfactory, and I'm certain I'm far from the only person mourning the fact that there will be no third season that involves Octavian building up the Roman Empire.

Farewell, Pullo. Farewll, Vorenus.

"I believe they want to kill the death penalty."

The quote above comes from Shelby County Commissioner Wyatt Bunker.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I certainly do.

The Shelby County Commission spent two hours last night debating a resolution urging the state legislature to continue the moratorium on Tennessee's use of the death penalty, set to expire in May. The resolution died, as those that opposed the resolution are just as firmly entrenched in their beliefs as those who support it. Two commissioners were absent, and two more abstained from the vote.

Allow me state this in the clearest terms possible--- I do support the resolution.


I don't support it because the unequal application of the death penalty implies that the life of a white victim is worth more than that of a black victim, although it certainly does. A multiple murderer is, statistically speaking, less likely to be executed than a black man that kills a white man.

I don't support the resolution or the moratorium simply because we have yet to find a way to carry out the punishments humanely--- Although that too is true.


I don't support the resolution and the moratorium because criminologists are near unanimous in proclaiming it absolutely useless in the deterrence of crime. Although they are.

I don't support the resolution and the moratorium because trying a capital case and carrying out an execution costs much more than keeping someone in prison for forty years, although that is true.

I don't support it because of some underlying belief that the person on death row is an innocent that has been railroaded by an out of control justice system. I find that to be the weak point of most anti-death penalty arguments. Worst of all, it shortchanges us out of the debate that really matters, sidestepping all questions of morality and guaranteeing that the fight must take place all over again every time a jury hands down a death penalty verdict.

I support the resolution and the moratorium simply because it's wrong on every level to say "Killing someone is bad. And to prove it, we're going to kill you."

Either premeditated murder is bad, or it is not. You have to choose. If you or I capture someone, strap them down, and inject a lethal dose of chemicals into their veins, we go to jail. If we killed a white person, we might even go to death row over it.

If the state does exactly the same thing, it's called "justice".

The people in favor of the death penalty are fond of using a religious argument. "If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Of course, it's worthwhile to note that the argument comes from the book of Exodus--- Well before God's own Son became the victim of the death penalty, the very son that refuted "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" during the Sermon on the Mount.

I urge everyone to support the moratorium--- Simply because it's the right thing to do.

Do I want to kill the death penalty, Commissioner Bunker? You bet I do.

Holt for 89

Get over here and see why you should support this young man. I've had the good fortune of knowing him for about three years, but not everyone is as lucky.

When he's ready to run for a full-time seat, I've got his back. If everyone gets to know him like I do, he'll win his race unanimously when that time comes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bush and his Scenery

During the presiden't nationally televised hissy fit in response to the House vote to set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq, I remarked to a friend that there was a very attractive woman in uniform standing behind Bush. For perhaps the first time ever, I understood what women see in "men in uniform". If this woman was used on the poster, we might be able to enlist enough recruits to form a second combat ready brigade.

Of course, that's not why she was there. She and the other military personnel in attendance served as props so the president could try and send the message "the military stands behind me" instead of "the military stands where I tell it to".

The president, to his credit, has a long history of standing behind the military. In fact, he typically stands about three thousand or so miles behind them any time there's a foreign deployment. As the best and brightest of his generation fought in Vietnam, he stayed home and formed a policy that would one day be known as "No Keg Left Behind" before deciding that Guard service in Alabama was far too close to the front lines for his taste. Thankfully, more diligent Guardsmen remained on duty to make sure that Charlie didn't invade Mobile.

But I digress. Was his use of the military as a prop entirely in accordance with DOD regulations?

3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:
...3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or
commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.
(Hat tip to AmericaBlog)

The Weekend In Brief

I took the weekend off and came back to find all this on the Freedonian Newsdesk:

Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose
And I still care just as little as when I speculated seven weeks ago that it was likely an accidental drug overdose.

It is now suspected that the failed hit on the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister was an inside job abetter by a bodyguard that allowed himself to be paid off.
This is some of the progress George W. Bush talks about. Back in the old days, the bodyguard would have been killed too.

A ten year Memphis Police Department veteran was just arrested on corruption charges.
Considering that a man with a job that pays $48,000 per year managed to deposit $43,000 in cash (With a strange odor) into the bank per month, built a large house on the golf course, drives a Hummer, a Mercedes, and a Corvette, owns two fast food restaurants and had been suspended for stealing drugs from a suspect, and bullied a desk sergeant into changing a story during an investigation, and no one suspected anything, the Memphis PD proves once again that its biggest problems run from the top down.

***UPDATE***
An anonymous commenter wished to point out that Director Godwin referred the crooked policeman in question to the FBI's "Tarnished Blue" investigation, and that Godwin has been more diligent than directors past. Fair enough. But considering that he really couldn't be bothered to cover up very well, I still have to wonder why this was not an IAD investigation.

The number of contractors killed in Iraq now stands at 770.
Which gives me a great idea. The only thing the Bush White House seems to like better than Operation Infinite Occupation is giving money to its friends. So let's bring the troops home and let Halliburton pay Blackwater to "Stay the course".

The Army's internal investigation found no "orchestrated" coverup in the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman.
First of all, it's hardly a surprise. Does the military in its present state seem capable of orchestrating anything? If a general even has the capability to organize cleaning up a barrack, George W. Bush tends to run them out.

The secret to the bond between George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani has now been discovered.
If you look at the drag pictures of him, he looks like Barbara Bush. And Dennis Hastert, really.

How many times were you married, Mrs. Giuliani?
I guess once you reach a certain number, they all tend to run together, much like Jake Ford's arrest record.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where Are the REAL Libertarians?

Abraham Lincoln was fond of asking people "How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?". Whoever he was talking to would usually say "Five". Lincoln would then say "No. Because calling its tail a leg doesn't make it one."

Reading up on conservative principles on the internet, one would be led to believe that there are only a dozen actual Republicans in this country. The people who back this administration up on its every abuse of power pretend to be Libertarians, in some misguided notion that feigning third party allegiance gives them a credibility that they simply do not deserve.

Do you support the president's warrantless wiretapping? Sorry. You're not a Libertarian. If the government was shrunk to the levels that you claim to support, it wouldn't have the manpower required to listen in.

Do you support gross abuses of power such as the National Security Letter? So much for that "no government intrusion" thing, huh?

Before I started this blog, I ran a political debate forum for about three years. I noticed a pattern there that I notice here--- Every time the Libertarian Party and the Bush White House are at odds with one another, the faux Libertarians side with the White House.

To real Libertarians--- Please quit letting these counterfeits stink up your party. They're giving you a horrible name. Their presence undermines the principles that you've spent thirty-six years building.

To the Faux Libertarians --- Believe me, I understand your shame at having to admit to being Republican. I would be embarrassed too. I would hate to have to admit that "The Decider" was the apex of my political ideology.

But calling yourselves Libertarians when you disagree with the principles? Do you actually need to read the platform sometime? Freedom of communication? Freedom of religion (Which, in turn, means freedom FROM religion and freedom for ALL religions)? How about the right to privacy? How about keeping the government out of the abortion fight?

Frankly, I'm more Libertarian than most of the people claiming to be Libertarian. Unlike them, I make no pretense.

Number 47 Said to Number 3...

Another day, another jailbound Bush administration official.

J. Steven Griles pled guilty to obstruction of justice today in the Abramoff matter. It was part of a plea bargain from the more serious charges levelled against him when he gave false testimony to the Bureau of Indian Affairs twice on Abramoff's behalf.

As I read CNN's coverage of it, I couldn't help wondering what has become of this nation. Once upon a time, high-ranking government officials had enough of a sense of shame to their misdeeds that they actually bothered to cover up their corruption.

For example: Griles co-owns a vacation house with Sue Ellen Wooldridge who, until January, served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of environment and natural resources. The third partner in the vacation home is Donald R. Duncan, a lobbyist for ConocoPhillips. Nine months after they went in on this $980,000 house, Wooldridge signed an agreement giving ConocoPhillips more time to clean up air pollution surrounding their refineries.

Whatever happened to the good old days? Politicians used to at least hide their corruption.

Draft David Holt!


So I was talking to a few friends last night, and we were discussing good people to get the interim appointment to fill the District 89 seat recently vacated by Beverly Marrero now that she's a state senator.

The Shelby County Commission chose wisely to pick someone that wasn't going to be running for the office when they had to appoint someone to fill Steve Cohen's seat until a special election could be held. Shea Flinn represented District 30 so well that it was really a shame to see him go.

They should do it again. Kevin Gallagher and John Farmer will be running for the seat in the special election. So who can best serve District 89 in the interim?

It's my honor to recommend not only who I consider to be the best man for the job--- But THE man for the job. My good friend David Holt.

He's a fellow blogger, so it's not difficult to find out what this man is about. You can read his words. He's the sitting Vice Chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party and sits on enough committees that I could probably do two posts naming them.

Furthermore, whether you agree with him or disagree with him, you can count on his unerring honesty and his strong sense of ethics.

If this man announced his presidential candidacy tomorrow, I would be out pushing for a change in the law allowing a guy his age to serve. And when he graduates law school in two years, there will be no stopping him.

District 89 will be incredibly well served by my friend, my brother, David Holt.
UPDATE: A photo has been added at the request of Tom Guleff. It's a little out of date, and perhaps the first campaign promise for him to deliver on is getting me an updated photo like he said he would this weekend.
I think we'll all agree that he would do better if we just used a photo of his lovely wife.

Never Too Early to Start the 2008 Race Baiting, Huh?

The Memphis Flyer brought us this article from Roll Call yesterday about opposition to Steve Cohen forming up for 2008. The most striking thing about it--- Most of the old familiar faces are back, and they're still not any more creative than they were during last year's primary.

Ron Redwing claims that that several black community, business and religious leaders had reached out to him about the 2008 race and that he is "keeping his options open." Why they would do this--- No one has any idea. His 2006 campaign consisted of telling voters "Pick me or the white guy gets the seat".

Ed Stanton is back in. No word yet on whether or not's "Throw the Jew Down the Well" will be his campaign theme again.

Julian Bolton, who insisted that Steve Cohen was trying to join the Congressional Black Caucus not because he represents a majority black district, but so he can "send money to Israel", plans on taking the lackluster leadership he brought to the county commission to the House of Representatives.

Nikki Tinker's old traditions die hard. The woman who ran for over a year but thought "I'm not prepared to talk about the issues at this time" was an acceptable answer for most of the campaign has no official comment for The Hill. However, LaSimba Gray says she's running, and Ramona Oliver from Emily's List (Who sent out a slanderous piece of campaign literature on Tinker's behalf last year) has said that Tinker told them she's running again. All bloggers should brace themselves for yet another round of semiliterate rants from the Tinker Trolls.

***UPDATE*** 2006 Republican congressional candidate Tom Guleff has a great take on Tinker that should be seen by all. Click here to read it.

And dear god, Jake Ford has said he's running again. No word yet on whether or not he has the guts to run a primary this time. Word through the grapevine is that Harold Ford Sr. considers Nikki Tinker to be the official "Ford Party" candidate, so it's unclear who will tie Jake's shoes next year.

Ironically, the only people that aren't talking about running again are the candidates that behaved honorably last year. Joe Ford Jr., who endorsed the Democratic nominee after the primary, will not be running again. Tyson Pratcher announced that he will be endorsing Cohen. Lee Harris, who ran one of the most honorable campaigns I've ever seen, isn't even mentioned in the article.

Oh Happy Day!

The House just approved a bill tying withdrawal from Iraq (Provided that the Iraqi government doesn't meet benchmarks) by September 2008 to a bill funding the war.

216 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted for it. 198 Republicans and 14 Democrats voted against it. Two Democrats and one Republican abstained.

This bill is about something the White House hates--- Accountability. It tells the Iraqi government that we will not coddle them forever. In fact, it won't even meet the goal of this White House, which is coddling them just long enough to make it the next president's problem.

The bill has an uphill battle. It will most likely be revised in the Senate, and the president is threatening a veto. However, he can't veto this one without vetoing war funding.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Even a Cat In Heat Hits the Right Note Once In a While

One of my exes used to live in the Dakota. She used to tell tales about what an unbearable neighbor this woman was.

And if you've not heard her singing voice--- How can it be described? Think of Geddy Lee from Rush. Now imagine the sound he might make as he gets his testicles waxed. You're just about there.

But in at least one aspect of her life, Yoko Ono deserves praise.

She has waived all royalties for an album of cover songs of her late husband's music called Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur. (Hat tip to Sharon Cobb)

The basic $19.98 CD has 20 John Lennon covers, including the title track by U2, Working Class Hero by Green Day (a video is also expected), Mother by Christina Aguilera, Power to the People by the Black Eyed Peas, Love by The Cure, Jealous Guy by Yousou N'Dour, Imagine by Willie Nelson and Real Love by Regina Spektor. Tunes by Big & Rich and Jack Johnson also are due.
Half the 40 tracks will be available overseas or as bonuses on CD tailored for online and big-box retailers. Give Peace a Chance is interpreted by Aerosmith with Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars and by a Japanese ensemble in the vein of We Are the World. All will be sold as individual downloads. Artists donated recordings and Ono waived publishing rights to Lennon's catalog. - USA TODAY


Sounds like a great lineup, but they should definitely include Keb Mo's version of "Imagine". I realize he's not the big name that some of the others are, but come on, there's got to be something to say for musical merit.

Campfield = Plagiarizing Hack

WHEREAS, Stacy Campfield passed this drivel off as his own work,

WHEREAS, Roger Abramson's sharp eye points us to the original source of Campfield's "creativity",

WHEREAS, the brilliant and lovely Brittney Gilbert brought it to our attention,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE that Representative Stacey Campfield is recognized as the blight on the 18th district that he is.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State of Tennessee strongly condemns plagiarizing hacks.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State of Tennessee recognizes the word "Campfield" to be used as a verb, meaning "to screw up incessantly due to sheer nuttery and/or a lack of intelligence", with alternate definition "to pass someone else's work off as your own".

Edwards Is Still In.

Elizabeth Edwards has been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. I looked up the survival rates, and they're not incredibly good. There's roughly a 20% chance she'll still be with us in five years.

But John is still in the race. You've got to know that's her doing-- She wouldn't want to be the reason a president that can serve the public good is derailed.

It's hard not to salute these two. The ultimate troopers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lady O - Political Heavyweight

After having missed much of the last three weeks due to illness, State Senator Ophelia Ford has come roaring back with a piece of legislation that will enrich the lives of all of her fortunate constituents---

A resolution honoring Justin Timberlake.

Sad to note that on the list of his accomplishments, she left off "Dick In a Box".

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we hereby honor and commend Mr. Justin Timberlake on his highly successful music career and for his meritorious service to the State of Tennessee and extend to him our best wishes for every future success.

Read the full resolution here.

Hat tip to Kleinheider

The Timberlake Resolution, sponsored by District 29's Lady O, was on the consent calendar--- Meaning it would be automatically approved unless someone objected to it.

Well, someone has, so it comes up for a roll call vote tomorrow.

Personally, I've had a change of heart. I can support this bill---Just as soon as they add the "Dick In a Box" amendment.

Again, hat tip to Kleinheider

UPDATE- The "This is Huge!!!" Edition

Vibinc has done us the honor of writing the "Dick In a Box" Amendment.

It is resolved by the Members of the House, Senate and recognized by the citizens of the great state of Tennessee, that the following steps outline a path to greatness.

Step 1. Cut a hole in the box
Step 2. Put your junk in that box
Step 3. Make her open the Box.
That's the way ya do it
It's my dick in a box!

These steps are a testimony to the ingenuity, creativity, and can do attitude of our citizens, and truly captures the spirit of Christmas.

Zach Wamp and the Lewis Amendment


It's really not too much to ask, is it?

Would we send a policeman out to patrol the streets with inadequate training and no bulletproof vest?

Absolutely not. The very idea is ludicrous. The patrolman would end up dead and on the front page of the newspaper for days, and his grieving widow would be the lead story on every newscast for days, wondering why the government was so sloppy that it led to her husband's death.

Would we send a firefighter into an inferno without a fireproof coat and an oxygen mask? That's absolutely insane.


Furthermore, why does Tennessee's own Zach Wamp go along with it? Does he wish to endanger American soldiers? Or does he simply lack the testicular fortitude to stand against the Republicans on Appropriations that voted unanimously to endanger American soldiers?
Wamp recently said "Failure is not an option" regarding Iraq. Is a fresh stack of bodies his definition of "success"?
What's next? Shall we modify all military uniforms to put a bullseye on the chest?

You Cannot Do This to the English Language.


Courtesy of Blue Collar Republican, I saw this email sent out by TeamGOP. Gentlemen, ladies, proofreading is not just one of a number of options, but a terrific idea.
But beyond their efforts to rage at the "establish", there's something else going on.
Shirley Ward is facing criminal charges for having voted in the wrong district. A criminal act, to be sure--- You'll never catch me saying otherwise.
But if she's facing charges for voting out of district, then why did Sir Isaac Ford not face the same charges?

The Few. The Proud. The Oh Dear God...


The military ain't what it used to be.

Recruiters are desperate. They're granting record numbers of "moral waivers" to felons, placing automatic weapons in the hands of people that can't buy a handgun at home. As mauch as 20% of last year's recruiting class was there on some form of waiver.
Aryan Nation graffiti has been appearing in Iraq for months, and the military is resisting all external pressure to enforce its own "zero tolerance" policy for screening out members with known racist organization ties.

There's even been gang graffiti spraypainted onto military building and equipment, and gang members are picking up weapons in Iraq and sending them home.

There have been several well known recruiting scandals. Recruiters have been caught encouraging potential enlistees to create fake high school diplomas and teaching them how to cheat on drug tests.

"Integrity. Honor. Respect." Indeed.

Now, what would you think we would get in return for relaxing standards? There are 43 brigades in the United States military. Of the twenty brigades not currently serving in Iraq, how many are actually combat ready?

The answer is ONE. And that unit is not located in the United States, but permanently deployed to South Korea. If a new crisis arose, our only options would be to take brigades out of Iraq, or send the brigade that comprises Kim Jong Il's sole reason for not marching south.
The party that promises a strong military had unchecked power for six long years. Is this what they had in mind? A military so absurdly overburdened that we are incapable of a swift response? How long will it take to rebuild a strong military?

Our Sympathies

We now interrupt this regularly scheduled snark to offer our heartfelt sympathies to the family of Bishop G.E. Patterson and all the members of Church of God In Christ on the death of Bishop Patterson yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Iraq War Anniversary Vigil

The light from over seventy candles lit the Midtown sky Monday night as members of the Memphis chapter of MoveOn came together at the intersection of Union and McLean to mark the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.

"We're here as persons of conscience to note that this is the fourth anniversary of an enormous wrongdoing," said vigil organizer John Madsen. "There have not been just the 3,200 or more American GIs killed, there have been, at a minimum, fifty to sixty thousand Iraqis killed. We're not making progress. It's time to admit that a mistake was a mistake and end the bloodshed."

Madsen's comments echo those of the American public. A recent Newsweek poll showed that 69% of the American public disapproves of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, and that only 29% of the public believe we're making any progress in Iraq.

The antiwar movement has grown up, forever shattering popular media notions of what a protest looks like. The drug-fueled "hippie" in a tie-dyed shirt has been replaced by the professional that would be welcomed in any home. The passersby honking their horns in agreement made more noise than the vigil's participants. The boisterous "hell no we won't go" chants of yesteryear were replaced by somber, earnest prayers from the clergy on hand.

"May He who makes peace in the heavens bring peace to all the earth," an older man prayed in Hebrew before translating for the crowd in attendance.

Vigil organizers hope that Monday's event will be the beginning of a more unified antiwar movement. Last year's anniversary vigils were put together by different organizers across the city, and only one managed to draw more than a handful of people.

"One of the things I'd like to see is more coordination between the various subgroups of the community," said Madsen, former owner of the Dylan Blue shop in Midtown. "There seems to be, unfortunately, amongst liberals, a tendency to cluster into smaller groups. I hope that this will emerge as part of a larger coalition."

Monday night's event was one of two anniversary-themed demonstrations in Memphis this year, following on the heels of Mid-South Peace and Justice's 350-strong march through Downtown. Nationally, it was one of the 1,194 vigils organized by MoveOn's three million members.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What You Need, You Don't Get. What You Get Ain't Worth...

When the media was taken on a tour of Walter Reed Hospital after it received a fresh coat of paint in an effort to whitewash the whole scandal away, Lt. General Kevin Kiley explained to the media "We needed to do a better job on some of those rooms, and those of you that got in today saw that we frankly have fixed all of those problems. They weren't serious, and there weren't a lot of them."

Of course, while the reporters were waiting in the lobby, people were walking around in Hazmat suits. On the "signs of a major problem" scale, I would place "people are wearing Hazmat suits" quite high.

Circumstances never really merited the wearing of hazmat suits on the battlefield in Iraq. But once inside the hallowed halls of Walter Reed, they're apparently a good idea.



Now I'm reading about the VIP suites at Walter Reed. I wouldn't say they're quite up to the level of a four star hotel, but I certainly have a tough time believing that the residents of these rooms were expected to breathe in mold and mouse droppings. Infections die in such rooms--- Not cockroaches lying belly up on the floor.

It is simply an outrage that a general can recover from hemorrhoids in a place like this while a wounded soldier recovers in a room where the wallpaper collapses under the weight of the mold.

President Bush routinely brags of visiting the wounded at Walter Reed, as though stopping by to say hi absolves him of any blame in sending them there. Did he not visit the soldiers in Building 18?

It's hard not to think of the utterly forgettable movie Article 99. Its characters have a motto that they often repeat in the halls of a VA hospital: "What you need, you don't get. What you get ain't worth shit."

Really, if our soldiers are to be used as a political shield ("You just don't support the troops"), can we not get them better treatment than this?

Four Years

The Iraq War turns four today. And I'll be damned if it's not acting its age.

A four-year-old child has no capacity for long term planning. Once it decides on a goal, it can be distracted by something shiny lying on the ground.

A four-year-old child has no problem with walking into someone else's house and making a mess. Why would it? It will walk among the filth for years before cleaning it up.

A four-year-old has no concept of time. You can say "six days, six weeks, I doubt six months" to a four-year-old, and it's all the same. It never questions why a problem that was supposed to be taken care of so briefly is still ongoing four years later. All time runs together.

A four-year-old has no concept of death. It walks through life knowing that people who were once there no longer are, but never really stops to consider why.

A four-year-old has limited problem solving capacity. It has yet to figure out that trying something that didn't work means you should try something different the next time.

A four-year-old is an expensive creature. Whether it's a doctor's appointment, clothes that it has outgrown, or a carpet that needs replacing, there is always some expense incurred by a four-year-old. Only a foolish parent doesn't incorporate those expenses into the family budget.

A four-year-old child wanders through its existence with no sense of direction. One day it wants to be president. The next day, it wants to be a fighter pilot. But don't ask it to plan for something that may be a year down the road. Whatever the circumstances, it has no exit strategy.

But if you think four-year-olds leave a path of destruction... Just wait until they turn five.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This Is What $206 Million Looks Like...

I saw this article in the LA Times about a Mexican meth bust today. Authorities raided a meth dealer in one of Mexico City's most upscale neighborhoods and 4,500 pounds of genuine American Benjamins.

America's drug habit is a pricy one. This article got me thinking about other expensive things. For example, this amount of money, massive though it may be, would only pay for about eighteen hours of the war in Iraq. We've spent $410 billion there so far. Divide that by 1460, and you realize we're spending $280 million there in every 24 hour period.

The $206 million could have provided exactly 10,000 four year scholarships to state universities. The amount we've spent in Iraq could have funded just under twenty million scholarships.

The $206 million could have funded 3600 additional schoolteachers for a year. The Iraq war could have funded seven million additional schoolteachers for a year.

The $206 million could have provided health insurance for 123,000 children for a year. The Iraq war could have funded health insurance for 245 million children for one year.

The United States government spends a lot of money on a lot of stupid things. But left to our own devices, so do we. If this much money can be found by busting one meth ring, then how much are we throwing away annually to put poison into our own veins?

Friday, March 16, 2007

How Kind!

I talk about it an awful lot when the Bush White House screws up. So it's only fair that I mention it the few times they actually get something right.

They're really much more considerate than I gave them credit for. As they were planning the politically motivated dismissal of all US attorneys that didn't want to launch partisan investigations designed to throw the 2006 midterms in the Republican Party's favor, they knew that their defenders would proclaim "Clinton did it too!" It's what they always do. It's knee jerk at this point. Apparently, they've decided that the best way to defend the conduct of this White House is to compare it to the White House they've hated most in all of history.

But the Bush team are honest crooks, and actually launched a proactive defense of the Clinton administration.

This was in the email dump they just issued. It's a communication between DOJ Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson and Harriet Miers dated 1/9/06:

In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not [Emphasis in the original email] seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys they had appointed whose four-year terms had expired, but instead permitted such U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely.

See? How nice of them to undercut their own talking points like that.

(Hat tip to Ana Marie Cox)

Rove and the Push Poll

This is the moment that I lost all respect for John McCain. See, if you look closely, you'll notice that George W. Bush has all of his teeth, and he's not lying on the ground in a daze.

See, that's the natural response of a man whose family was dragged into the epicenter of a political tactic so nasty that it made the antics of Richard Nixon look downright saintly by comparison.

In 2000, the Republican primary looked like it was going to be a close one. Bush took Iowa. McCain took New Hampshire.

And then, they reached South Carolina--- A state that had, by that point, flown the Confederate flag over all state buildings for nearly four decades. The state's stance on race relations had been clear since its inception--- An anti-slavery clause was removed from the Declaration of Independence by a delegate from South Carolina who insisted that his state, North Carolina, and Georgia would fight on behalf of King George if the new government infringed on their right to own and exploit others for economic gain. The state seems to be shameless about racism--- To this day, a statue of Benjamin "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman stands on the grounds of the state capitol, a monument to a long dead governor who boasted of taking part in the Hamburg Massacre and proudly told delegates at a state constitutional convention "We have done our level best [to prevent blacks from voting]...we have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminate the last one of them. We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it."

The idea that a race baiting push poll could gain traction in the state was far from a foreign concept. Richard Hand, a professor at South Carolina's Bob Jones University (Most famous for being one of the last schools in America to break the color barrier, and with a rule against interracial dating that was still in effect at the time) had spread a vicious email rumor that McCain had fathered a child out of wedlock.

The push poll, while there's no evidence indicating that it was coordinated, seemed custom designed to build on Hand's rumor-mongering. Not only was McCain the father of an out of wedlock child, but--- Gasp! She was black! The question was always a variation on "Are you less likely to vote for John McCain because of his out of wedlock black daughter?"

The child in question did exist. But not quite as they said. The McCains had adopted a baby girl out of Bangladesh. Her skin was just dark enough to make "half black, half McCain" plausible. When Cindy McCain found her, the baby's cleft pallate was so severely deformed that she couldn't eat. She was mere weeks from a slow, agonizing starvation death when the McCains adopted her and brought her to the United States for a series of life-saving surgeries. And as any proud father running for the presidency would, he took this beautiful little girl with him when he made campaign stops across the country. Including South Carolina.

Karl Rove was put on the hot seat yesterday while making an appearance at Troy University in Alabama. And as usual, he attempted to tar the people that questioned him.

From CNN:


"Do you think people of South Carolina find it attractive to hear that kind of charge made against John McCain," Rove asked at the Troy University event. "Or do the people of South Carolina respond to it as they should have, 'What a remarkable thing that John and Cindy McCain adopted a child from Asia, took him into their home as an act of compassion and kindness.'"...
"The Bush campaign had nothing to do with it, and the Bush campaign endeavored to stamp out those kinds of things because they hurt George Bush and helped John McCain, not the other way around," Rove added. "Either I'm a genius, or I'm an idiot. Only an idiot would spread trash like that and expect to do their candidate any good."
Okay, I'm voting for "idiot". At Karl Rove's instruction, I'm now rethinking my original position that he was an evil genius. It now appears that he's a complete moron who stumbles his way from victory to victory, the political equivalent of Shaggy and Scooby, who usually catch the bad guy not by cunning or guile, but by virtue of having accidentally knocked the bad guy out while trying to escape.

I suppose it comes from having seen their devotion to honest campaign rhetoric. In 2004, we all saw the Swift Boating of John Kerry. But let's not act like it was anything new--- John McCain was "swift boated" in 2000, dogged by J. Thomas Burch, who tried to rally Veterans For Bush by standing on the dais with Bush and announcing that McCain came home from Vietnam and "ignored veterans", an accusation so absurd based on McCain's legislative record that it would be like accusing Paris Hilton of dressing conservatively. And just like he would again in 2004, when asked by his opponent to condemn false statements, Bush did nothing. The scale was smaller, but the inaction was the same.

Rove's tactics always involve astroturf movements. Whenever the Bush White House tries to promote something unpopular in its agenda, the fake grass roots groups always turn up. "Concerned Women for Harriet Miers", among many others. The only real question is whether the Bush 2000 campaign did it themselves or used an astroturf group to keep their hands clean. After seeing them in action through two campaigns now, I think the answer should be clear.

The outrage should be directed not at those who expect better of our leaders, as Rove proclaims, but at those who cynically take advantage of the most poisonous aspect of the human condition for political gain.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

GWB43.com ???

Several emails were recently released in the course of the investigation into the politically motivated dismissals of several US attorneys, including the one that was investigating Jack Abramoff.

One of the emails to the recently dismissed DOJ Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson came from White House Deputy Political Director J. Scott Jennings, who was conducting official business not from his White House email address, but from SJennings@GWB43.com .

This is what comes up with when you do a domain search:

Registrant:
Republican National Committee
310 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
US

If there was nothing untoward about the communications, why not use the regular White House email addresses for official communications? And how complicit is the Republican National Committee in an ongoing criminal enterprise?

"You Are Healed!" Part II

A while back, I wrote about Ted Haggard allegedly being "cured" of his homosexuality in the course of just a few weeks.

And now comes word that homosexuality may someday be "cured" in utero. The man who advocates this is, of course, not an established scientist, but a Southern Baptist minister.

First, I would imagine he would have to perform a test to see what the sexual orientation of the baby is. I'm a little fuzzy on what this involves, but I would recommend loading a Cher song onto the iPod, placing the headphones against the belly of the pregnant woman, and seeing whether the embryo dances or vomits. On the downside, if he's not gay, then you've tortured the baby for nothing.

And then--- Who really knows? It's all he's developed on this brilliant theory.

One of the greatest problems this nation faces is that rather than accepting individuals for who they are, this cretin and others like him are bound and determined to explain it. They're either biologically doomed to it, they didn't have strong enough of a father figure, or they just like "sinning".

But all this accomplishes is sidestepping the real issue: Why are evangelicals so obsessed with gay sex that they forget all about gay people? Do their Bibles tell them to withhold compassion until they ascertain the sexual orientation of the person in question?

The New Face Ass of Feminism

There's an interesting social experiment going on on TV right now. Interesting in the sense that it's like a thirty car pileup on the expressway with really bad music playing in the background.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the show was how many of the contestants defined their drive to become members of the burlesque troupe turned singers as an act of "feminism". So many did that I thought it would be interesting to watch it with someone of the opposite sex. So when CW reran the pilot, I recorded it and asked a young lady that was at my house for dinner to watch it with me. She has chosen to remain nameless, but for the sake of the article, I'll call her Miss Congeniality.

Particularly amusing was when a young woman on the show, a twenty-year-old named Brittany, said that the Pussycat Dolls appealed to her feminist side because she had "worked all her life and never had to depend on a man for nothing."

Me: Um, sweetheart, you're twenty. What has that life really amounted to thus far? And is shaking your tits really feminism?

Miss Congeniality: The never depended on a man part is stupid, but is shaking her tits by her own choice not feminism in its own way?

Me: If it is, the definition has changed. Is she trying to impress women by shaking her tits? She dances like a stripper (It came out later that the young woman in question had already worked as an exotic dancer, and was eventually bounced from the show because she danced too much like a stripper even for the PCD)!

Miss Congeniality: Isn't it possible to be a stripper and a feminist?

Me: If your job involves pulling out the waistband of a g-string so a man can put a dollar bill into it, then no, I don't see that as feminist. Women who are already doing it may eventually come to see it as somehow empowering, but really, I think they're just telling themselves the consolation prize is better than the blue ribbon so they can sleep better at night.

Miss Congeniality didn't really have an answer for that. I would imagine that it's most likely because she's never really seen the inside of a strip club and didn't realize that it's more like it's portrayed in every b-movie in the world (Isn't it amazing how all criminal investigations in movies end up at the topless bar sooner or later?) than the temple of female empowerment that the girls on HBO's "G-String Divas" would have us believe.

Not that Brittany was the only one. Woman after woman on that show kept talking about feminism and female empowerment in the context of competing for the privilege to dance half naked on TV. Maybe it's me--- Perhaps I'm old fashioned. But isn't the overt marketing of feminine sexuality the problem rather than the solution?

Perhaps the structure of the PCD record deal could shine a new light on some of this. Rather than the typical contract where the performers get paid a royalty on albums sold, there by giving them an incentive to market themselves by any means necessary, the Pussycat Dolls are salaried employees of Geffen Records, meaning that there are no incentives beyond the fact that any of them can be replaced at any time.

Miss Congeniality: Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like her?

Me: I wouldn't be upset.

Miss Congeniality: Dontcha wish your girlfriend was a freak like her?

Me: How freaky are we talking?

For the record, men, when you're asked those questions, the answer should be uncategorically "no". Trust me. It's a trap.

The YouTube Controversy

In 2001, RCA Records did something smart, something I thought, perhaps naively, that other record companies might decide to use as part of a new business model. They made the Dave Matthews Band's song "Everyday" available as a download on Napster a month before the new Matthews CD came out.

Just like in the days of old, back when singles were still a viable marketing strategy, I downloaded the song, liked it, and bought the album the day it came out. I know many of my friends did the same thing.

But other than making a "song of the week" from an unknown artist available from the iTunes music store, no one has followed that strategy yet. The labels have seen fit to approach the internet as an adversary rather than make it their ally.

But they're not entirely wrong, are they? Even after the demise and rebirth of Napster as a responsible company, the "tubes" are clogged with internet sites devoted to the trade of torrent files which are designed to circumvent copyright law. Every time the entertainment industry closes one down, two more torrent sites open in the wake.

Earlier this week, Viacom filed a massive copyright infringement suit against YouTube. Just last month, they asked YouTube to remove all the clips that were copyrighted properties of Viacom. YouTube complied, which technically puts them in compliance with the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the Digital Milennium Copyright Act. As long as a hosting company removes the material upon request, they're in compliance.

But within minutes, users had reposted almost all of them. In the same week that the suit was filed, I went to YouTube and searched on one of the most commonly purloined Viacom properties, "The Daily Show". The search came back with 2,400 hits. Viacom can request yet again that the clips be removed--- But how much time and money are they supposed to devote to tracking down violations of their copyright? And how would a smaller company without the resources stand a chance? Should they not be compensated for the man hours spent running down YouTube clips?

The BBC, just as RCA did before, seems to have stumbled onto a better idea. They've decided to take advantage of the promotional potential of YouTube, making clips from their entertainment shows and news shows available through YouTube. Earlier today, I watched the first portion of a BBC sitcom called "Bottom" and enjoyed it. Based on the strength of that clip, I will either watch the show when it comes on BBC America, or I'll order the DVD. Just like when I heard the Dave Matthews song, the clip I saw today makes me want to see the rest of the show.

It's a shame that Viacom and YouTube can't seem to come to a similar understanding.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One Of These Days, Everyone Will Learn To Listen To BroCracker

He warned us all that it could be a close one. The votes are in now, and only 1000 votes separated Beverly Marrero from Larry Parrish in what is easily the safest liberal seat in the state senate. The dynamics of a special election make close battles out of what would be lopsided squashes if there was a seat higher up the food chain being decided.

One more special election left to go...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's Official--- Jack Bauer Has Jumped the Shark


Okay, perhaps "Jumped the Shark" is a bit too kind. More accurately, Joel Surnow loaded him onto the ramp, shoved him off, and let him be shredded by a great white.

In the past several seasons, Bauer has busted an evil president that took part in the assassination of a former president (A murder for which Jack was framed and, as always happens in stories written by hacks, he cannot clear himself unless he finds the real killer); He's been kidnapped by the Chinese government and totured daily for two years; He's been released with no fanfare when the writers couldn't figure out a way to build a story around it; He's found out that his brother is the bad guy we've been seeing for the past two seasons; He's reacquainted himself with an ex-girlfriend that also happens to be said brother's widow (Her child looks an awful lot like Jack); He's found out that his father has played a role in so many governmental cataclysms that I fear they're working on a way to make him the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll; He's been killed more times than the cheerleader from "Heroes"; He now seems to be headed for a standoff with a vice president that's one fluffy white cat away from being a James Bond villain and has orchestrated an attempt on the president's life so that he can herd all Muslims into concentration camps; He's watched his wife die for reasons that make no sense in the context of telling a good story; His daughter has decided several times that she doesn't want him in her life (And apparently stuck to her guns last season); He's survived two nuclear attacks on America; And along the way, he's killed more nameless, faceless bad guys than Rambo while torturing more people than a Celine Dion boxed set could.

Have I missed anything? Is there any kind of personal pathos that the incompetent writers of this show haven't tried to mine? Or for that matter, any cliche they won't beat to death? You can always identify a poorly written comic book; All new villains are someone from the hero's former life under a mask. A bully that beat him up as a kid. The long-lost best friend from childhood. A family member. So how pathetic is it that the writers of this show have every member of Jack's family tied to terrorism?

I can only imagine what the future might bring:

Season 7: Jack is suffering from burnout. He goes into the swamps of Louisiana and meets up with a near-mythical former CTU agent, a midget with large ears who talks back-to-front. "Excitement... Adventure... A CTU agent craves not these things" he admonishes Jack. With the help of his new mentor, Jack races back to Los Angeles to keep Osama bin Laden from stealing the Lost Ark of the Covenant.

Season 8: Jack hits the ground running in pursuit of a terrorist ring, but eventually finds out that... Nothing is going on. Desperate for an adrenaline fix, he ends the season by torturing and killing a guy that won't shut off his car alarm.

Season 9: Kim shows up on the doorstep at CTU, acting strangely... Jack unravels the state his daughter is in, culminating in a pitched battle atop a skyscraper against the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.

If Joel Surnow sees this, one of two things will happen. Either he'll say "Damnit! Who leaked?" or he'll offer me a contract.

Unless the latter happens, count me out. I give up on this show.
Also approaching the ramp: "House" has degenerated into complete incoherence this season. And as much as I like "Heroes", there's a bad moon rising--- The additions of Eric Roberts and Malcolm McDowell to the cast of any show cannot bode well.

This Week's Ivins Award Winner... Sharon Cobb


I usually give this to someone that has made an incredibly snarky or bold comment somewhere along the line. But if Molly Ivins was all about one thing, it was courage in journalism.


The kind of courage that Sharon Cobb showed by recently sharing the story of her own rape at the hands of a schoolteacher and how that drives her to make the world safer for children so that no more lose their childhood to a monster.


I think Molly would have been particularly proud of this one.


We now return to our regularly scheduled snark.

Peace March This Saturday



I'll be unable to attend, but I thought I would pass this along:



From Baghdad to Binghampton....From Fallujah to Frayser. The People Have Spoken: Support Our Troops - End the War - Bring them Home Now. Too many, in Memphis across the country and in Iraq, are suffering from a war that should have never happened.

Location: National Civil Rights Museum, gather in the outside courtyard. March route is approximately 2miles. We will make a loop starting at the Civil Rights Museum, east on G.E. Patterson, north on Danny Thomas to the King Labor Center at Danny Thomas and Beale (where we will honor Dr. King with a symbolic action.) We will then proceed west on Beale to Main and back to the Museum. The King Labor Center is the halfway point of the march. We will have plenty of water available here and will pause to rest. We are working on transportation to take those unable to make the whole march back to the start. If transport is unavailable we recommend that groups park one car at the King Labor Center and carpool.



Contact:Jacob Flowers
http://www.midsouthpeace.org

This Week's Golden Campy - The Nevada Democratic Party


Let us speak plainly here--- Fox News isn't quite as "fair and balanced" as Tara Reid's badly botched boob job. The only way for a Democrat to appear on that channel and not be piled onto by the air staff is to insult his fellow Democrats (We call that "Harolding" around these parts. Such people can also be called "Liebertarians").

So the idea that the Nevada Democratic Party would even consider allowing Fox News to sponsor their debate is about as wise as holding a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in a crack house.

Of course, like a good massage, this story has a happy ending.

John Edwards was the first out of the debate, and it was the smart thing to do. Fox News will spend enough time trying to stick a foot in the ass of every Democratic presidential candidate--- Edwards simply chose not to bend over and make it easy for them.

But only one thing could match the Nevada Democratic Party's sheer insanity when it came to booking this debate--- The reason they officially stated as their reason for severing the ties with Fox News:

Roger Ailes, at a broadcasting dinner, told a joke that bombed so excruciatingly that frankly, he sounded like he belongs on Fox News' "Half Hour Comedy Hour". He said that when President Bush was advised "Obama is on the move", President Bush replied "Why can't we catch him?"

There are two things about that joke that make it noteworthy: 1) The joke was at the expense of President George "Duhbya" Bush, not Barack Obama. 2) He stole the joke in the first place.

The episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Justin Timberlake (Most notable for being the episode that featured the brilliant "Dick In A Box" Digital Short featured the joke during "Weekend Update". In fact, nearly the only difference was that when SNL ran the joke, it was, you know, funny.

So, for piling questionable judgment on top of questionable judgment, I hereby give the coveted Golden Campfield Award to the Nevada Democratic Party.

Monday, March 12, 2007

More On Campfield

I think everyone who reads this blog knows by now that I'm nofan of Stacey Campfield's. I think he's a fine example of what happens when you vote for a Freeper.

Thanks to Kleinheider at Volunteer Voters, I saw video of Campfield being treated a bit more roughly than I would have imagined on the floor of the House. I'm relatively neutral on the bill Campfield was proposing--- I'm certainly not a big fan of legislators sticking their own names on anything that sits still too long, but I can think of about fifteen thousand legislative priorities I would place ahead of it. So I can certainly relate to the representatives that kept asking "Are you getting constituent calls about this?"

But Representative Ben West carried it to a new level when he made a motion to have the bill voted on in Savannah's town square on July 4th.

That kind of behavior has no place on the floor of the legislature.

There is a time and place for that kind of display of disrespect. The time is now, and the place is here. For if we allow legislators to just goof on Stacey Campfield at will, what will those of us with functioning brain stems do on our blogs? Are they not playing in our sandbox at that point?

When Bad Legislation Happens To Good States

Everybody hates a child molester. Except, presumably, child molesters. They're an easy and convenient political target because really, who's going to stand up for them? Certainly not me...

So with that being said, Senator Doug Jackson (D-Dickson) is prepared to propose a piece of legislation that, if passed, would endanger the life of every child in this state. Not that it's not intentional--- But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and bad legislation.

From The Tennesseean via Braisted:

Tennessee could be one of six states that allow child rapists to face the death penalty if lawmakers pass a bill sponsored by state Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, which would allow capital punishment for repeat offenders.

I'm all for tough sentences for repeat offenders, but the death penalty?

For the moment, I'll set aside all questions about whether or not the death penalty is right. We'll pretend, if only for the moment, that I believe the best way to put the exclamation point on the phrase "Killing is wrong!" is to whack somebody.

How shortsighted do you have to be to believe that the sentence for raping and killing a child and the sentence for raping a child should be the same? What possible motive would someone that rapes a child have for leaving their victims alive at that point?

Statistically speaking, somewhere out there, a man has just raped a child. He knows he might get caught. As it stands right now, the penalty for being a child killer is much steeper than the penalty for being a child rapist, so he doesn't kill the child.

If this shortsighted piece of legislation passes the Tennessee State Senate, he has no such assurances. He has absolutely nothing to lose by killing the child--- In fact, it would make it easier for him to get away with it if the victim is dead and can't identify him.

I certainly admire the drive to protect children. In fact, I felt compelled to write this by my own drive to protect them--- From bad legislation that would leave their very lives dependent upon the good nature of someone that's raped a child.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Does This Affect Their Ability To Get No-Bid Contracts?

Iraq War mega-contractors Halliburton have announced that they will be moving their corporate headquarters from Houston, Texas to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

There can be little doubt that they would have remained in Houston had the Republican Party held onto the legislative branch of the United States government--- What would they have to fear?

Their profits are down--- That's to be expected when you've run scam after scam at the expense of the American taxpayer, and those who aid and abet you lose their jobs. The president and vice president that gave them handouts are now not quite as popular as turds in a swimming pool and, for the first time, have a Congress that is ready and willing to fulfill its role as watchdogs.

So yes, profits are down--- But Halliburton will be certain to save money, as the relocation of their corporate headquarters means that they no longer have to pay taxes on the contracts they're already not fulfilling.

Halliburton seem to be eager bedfellows with a nation with significant ties to al Qaeda, do they not? Remember when we passed up a chance to take out pre-9/11 bin Laden with a missile strike at his favorite hunting camp? We couldn't launch the strike without possibly taking out a member of the UAE royal family, and when the Clinton government told the UAE government about it, they dismantled the hunting camp.

Remember that day that a bunch of religious zealots decided to make 3000 people on American soil the exclamation point in their insane political statement? Well guess which country played no small role in bankrolling the entire al Qaeda organization, from building training camps, to bankrolling the operation itself, to allowing the hijackers to use their banking and passports to cover their tracks. If you said "United Arab Emirates", you got it right.

The Halliburton contracts have to end and end immediately. A company that we know we can't trust has relocated to a nation we know we can't trust. If Iraq had a fraction of the connection to the 9/11 attacks that UAE had, attacking them would have been the right thing to do.

I'm not advocating attacking UAE. But they've already proven their willingness to take any investment we make in them and make it pay dividends in blood. Our government has a responsibility to the American people to not help fund the next attack on them.

UPDATE: Nice to see that TIME's Karen Tumulty is thinking along the same lines: "Is this about tax breaks? Getting beyond the reach of congressional subpoenas? And what about all that sensitive information that Halliburton has had access to? At a minimum, reincorporating in Dubai would mean that Halliburton will be paying less taxes to the U.S. Treasury, even as it collects billions from government contracts."

Also in Tumulty's report is a piece of music to my ears: Henry Waxman is planning hearings on the move.

President Pazuzu

"Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. Remember that - do not listen. " - Father Merrin, The Exorcist (1973)

I just happened to think of that when I read this:

Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.


Our first 42 presidents, including the reviled adulturers among them (You know, like Ronald Reagan) have all managed to travel abroad without priests of ancient cultures feeling the need to exorcise the ground once they're gone.

Not this president.

He's being as well received abroad as he is when he appears in front of any audience that's not pre-screened at home.

Can we invite those priests back for Inauguration Day in January 2009? Not saying I believe the evil spirits thing, but hey--- Better safe than sorry, right?

Deep Throat Guy vs. Hat Lady...

... and according to my good friend Leftwing Cracker, this one isn't the shoo-in we believed it would be.

...The Goopers have put on a stronger campaign than expected, and there have been more early votes from Republican areas than OUR area. It is no longer unthinkable to suggest that the term SENATOR LARRY PARRISH could be heard in the most Democratic and liberal Senate district in Tennessee.

Why? As much as we all love Beverly Marrero, she is at best a mediocre campaigner, and it has seemed since the primary that many in her camp thought that her name would carry her through, just as it has in the smaller (and more liberal) District 89, where no Republican has reigned since 1972...

I'd love to disagree with him, but I simply cannot. Frankly, with as little election-related activity as there is in my area (And I like in District 30), if my friend and neighbor Sarah hadn't emailed me a reminder last week, I would have indeed forgotten that there was an election going on.

That's not to say this is the first time I've been pessimistic about Marrero's chances. I didn't really think she was running to win during the primary, and when David Upton called me the week before the election, I told him as much. Of course, the day after the election, with Marrero pulling in three times as many votes as Robert Spence, he called me to say "I told you so".

The name of the game in a special election is voter turnout. In the Senate District 29 special election, Republican Terry Roland pulled off an upset over Democrat Ophelia Ford (And I say he beat her because the cemetary vote and relatives voting from outside the district helped push her over the top) by driving turnout among the tiny Republican base in a senate district with a roughly 85% Democratic baseline vote. When they faced off again, there were bigger races to draw out voters, and Ophelia won handily.

There is no such luxury this Tuesday. This race IS the top of the ticket.

Perhaps it was Spence's extensive advertising that hurt him so badly in the primary. One couldn't drive past a bus stop without seeing some reminder that there was an election going on, and it reminded the people that opposed him to vote as much as it reminded his supporters to vote.

With Larry Parrish, we're not seeing that. I've seen two yard signs for him on Poplar. I saw one for Marrero as well, but I'm a little fuzzy on where I saw it.

If it's base vs. base with no actual effort to draw out regular voters, this could be a close one indeed. Larry Parrish is known for one thing--- He prosecuted the cast and crew of the porn movie "Deep Throat" for obscenity charges in Memphis, which worked against us as we tried to convince the rest of the nation that we weren't a city of ignorant, theocratic idiots.

Can he get enough traction from the theocrats to put him in the Senate? If none of the liberals show up... Maybe.

Ah, Brazil...


To all my friends at Drinking Liberally Memphis, with whom I was discussing naked protests from the perspective that they're really not all that effective:


I was wrong. Horribly wrong. I kinda like this one.


For everyone wondering why she didn't go for the obvious joke regarding our president's name, let me remind you--- She's Brazilian.