Thursday, May 31, 2007

Video Fun

I never knew there was a video for this song. Sweet Serendipity.

Life imitating art

It seems the President is taking the whole monkey comparison thing to heart.
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!"
I just hope he doesn't start throwing poo. That would be embarrassing.

Klassic Konservative Komment

Can you guess who said this?
But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you’re a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have.
You can find the answer here. At least he is being honest.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just a cool song

I was watching The Station Agent last night and I couldn't get this song out of my head. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

John is a tool...but...

I was doing a little bit of reading on the internetsto catch up on the news back home and I came across this article on Salon about Edwards' appeal to protest the Iraq war on Memorial Day. In short, the article is critical of Edwards for politicizing Memorial Day. I have to admit that I'm a little ambivalent about this whole thing. Not that I really think it's a "thing" the way the Alberto Gonzalas thing is a "thing." Certainly the Right and the media would like it to be a "thing," but I digress.

I agree wholeheartedly with Edwards' sentiments, but I think that Dem's chasing around the idea that you can't be against the war but still support the troops is a waste of time. Everyone with half a brain (and maybe even some with less) knows that you can still support troops but be against the war. Is this really the kind of fight that we need to invest any political capital in right now? I don't really think so. There are bigger fish to fry.

That said, I think John Edwards is a tool. I thought he was a tool during the debates in '04 and I still think he's a tool. He seems so eager to be the "good guy" that he comes across as someone who sees the world in shades of pink. I think he honestly believes that if you are just a nice guy with good intentions that should be enough to become president. It's a nice thought, and it would be a wonderful change from the vipers in office now, but I don't think that attitude will win the election in '08.

With that, his call to protest is an ill-conceived political stunt and I think it's these kinds of things that make Edwards a non-candidate, at least I hope so.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Perspective

In regards to the Democrat change on the Iraq supplemental bill, I am disappointed that we couldn't attach any timelines/benchmarks, but I think at some point we have to acknowledge the political reality. The Democrats simply don't have the votes to override a presidential veto and instead of pissing into the wind they correctly acknowledged that the situation was difficult. Unfortunately this hasn't stopped the purity trolls from exclaiming that the Democratic party is dead.

I really like kos's stance on this, so I am posting it in its entirety:
...there's nothing worse than the people who want to quit the game and take their ball home every time we face a setback. It's as if every word I've ever written about this being a long-term battle means zero. As if it's instant gratification or nothing.

We face a multiple-front war -- against conservatives, against an out-of-touch and corrupt beltway consultant class, against corporatist Democrats, or Democrats that long ago lost the fire in their belly, and against a compromised punditry elite. Those are tough opponents, and it'll be a decades-long fight.

Did any of you really think we won that war in 2006? I sure as heck didn't. 2006 was incremental improvement, just as 2008 will be. And hopefully 2010. Along the way, we'll likely lose some ground, but we must always remain focused on the long term.

The conservative movement spent three decades building up their machine and completing the takeover of their party. And some of you want to quit after one setback?

That's embarrassing.

Buck up. We still haven't completely lost this Iraq supplemental battle. And if we do, instead of crying and taking your ball home, resolve to fight even harder. We owe it to our troops in Iraq, to our families, to our neighbors, to ourselves.

We have a lot of deadwood to get rid of in DC -- both Democratic and Republican. We have to combat the lies of the right wing noise machine and its allies in the traditional media. We have to build an electoral machine that can go toe-to-toe against the GOP's machine and win -- even when Republicans aren't shooting themselves in the foot.

This movement is about fighting for what we believe in, doing the hard work to transform both our party and our nation. It won't happen at once. We'll have to do this incrementally one issue fight and one election cycle at a time.

If we want to build a movement here, this is the approach we need to take. Those folks that want to stammer and stutter every time we don't get our way are acting just like the President.

Friday, May 18, 2007

There is something wrong with him

My brother-in-law is a very good runner, but after seeing these pictures I am convinced he shouldn't run while suffering from intestinal issues. I mean good Lord, it looks like he is going to burst. He would probably feel better if he ran in a diaper. Just sayin'

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sen. Coburn is an ass

About 9 years ago I was fortunate enough to become a member of AmeriCorps as a VISTA volunteer. I moved away from my comfy home in Massachusetts to live in rural Montana in order to help teens and children avoid drugs, alcohol and pregnancy. It was easily the hardest job(s) I have ever had. With little formal training, I became a grant writer, community organizer, non-profit manager, juvenile justice counselor, risk management analyst and local celebrity. I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and got paid $11,000 for the year.

Working in Montana that year was an experience I still treasure. I made a measurable difference in the lives of hundreds of kids, made some wonderful friends and tested my intellectual/emotional limits.

This is why I am so pissed off after reading this. Sen. Coburn (R-OK) has decided to hijack a symbolic senatorial resolution which praises the efforts of AmeriCorps members. Instead, Coburn has the bill on hold and will only release it if he can make substantial edits to the bill. Those edits include, open criticisms of the program for wasting government money and taking out any language which heaps too much praise on previous volunteers (you can read the proposed edits here).

Now I am quite certain that my fellow AmeriCorps members and I will be able to get on with our lives, with or without this resolution. We chose to serve because we thought it was the right thing to do and we wanted to do our part. What makes me mad is that Coburn is full of shit. As you will note above, the government paid me $11,000 for my service. On grant writing alone, I brought my community over $50,000. The idea that this program is a waste of government resources is ludicrous. And then, to temper any praise which he believes as effusive is petty (although this is the same man who got mad at NBC for showing an unedited version of Schindler's List because there was some nudity in the movie). I am very glad this party is no longer in the majority.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell Lovefest


Jerry Falwell died today, and good riddance. There's some very 'interesting' comments on Falwell in the comments section of his unofficial obituary here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The press and the salt of the earth

I have had a fun time watching this debate play out over the past couple of days. Glenn Greenwald has been taking David Broder (and the Washington press corps) to task for pretending to believe that Broder represents 'the people'. Joe Klein, from Time magazine, has consequently come to the defense of Broder and the Beltway press for what he perceives as honest journalism.

On the whole, Greenwald is definitely on the right side of the issue:

My point is that Beltway pundits are far too insulated and detached from the people whom they baselessly claim to represent, not that leaving the Beltway is bad. The fact that it is supposed to be some sort of commendable or distinguishing attribute that Broder goes on field trips to America in order to study how the "ordinary people" think -- much the way a zoologist travels to the jungle to observe the behavior of different species -- illustrates that point.

Yet, I think he misses out on the larger problem, which Digby articulates quite well. The problem with Broder's thinking is that he has mythologized the average American. He, and the journalists/pundits that follow him, have created an idea of America that just doesn't exist. The Beltway press likes to believe that once you escape the confines of city-life you will find a land of hearty hairy chested church goers. These mythical Americans possess unfailing moral compasses and a sophisticated cynicism of government.

As someone who has spent the majority of their time living in the communities Broder likes to dream about, I can say without hesitation that he is 100% wrong. Don't get me wrong, I love where I came from, but there is definitely a darker side to these 'salt-of-the-earth' working-class communities. My own experience has been that these places are shockingly racist, sexist and openly hostile to 'others'. There may be ham and bean church suppers, but at the same time, there are far too many stories about people who had to leave town because they dared to express their sexual orientation openly.

Yet Broder and his ilk, don't want to deal with this inconvenient reality. He would like to continue with the charade that there is a magical place where average Americans live. As such, we (the 'actual' average Americans) will continue to suffer the consequences of a modern punditry obsessed with capturing the pretend thoughts of fairy-tale Americans.

What happened to Johnny?

I recently watched 16 episodes of the Daily Show downloaded from iTunes and I have to confess something...and I hate to admit it...but...uh...how to put this delicately...it sucks. The show sucks. What happened to my favorite show? Who are these correspondents? Who is writing these jokes?

Is it possible that the situation with the current regime has gotten so bad that it's impossible to even laugh about it anymore? Is the Daily Show suffering from Bush fatigue too? I dunno what any of these answers are. I do know, and I'm no comic genius, but being able to predict a punchline is not such a great thing in comedy. Maybe with the run up to election '08 they can get funny again.

Will someone here let me know when that happens so I can buy another multi-pass? PR thanks you in advance.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nut'n equivalent

The hazelnut is apparently the Norwegian equivalent to the peanut. Just thought you'd like to know.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Nice View

I caught this picture by my friend Caralyn on her Flickr account. It is from my friend Mike's deck in Center City, Philly. It may very well be the greatest deck in the world. This is just part of the view.



Sunday, May 06, 2007

My legs hurt

Spent the morning running the Broad Street Run today. I would have won but because I am so awesome they made me run it backwards.

It is really hard to run 10 miles backwards.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bush Fatigue

I haven't gone through all of the coverage of the latest Republican debate, but in the few quick glances I have had, not one news source has suggested that the GOP nominee would have to fight against President Bush's negative image.

Let's compare that to 2000. When Al Gore was running there was the widespread belief that he would need to distance himself from President Clinton in order to win. The conventional wisdom was that the country was suffering from 'Clinton fatigue' and the American people were sick of his administration. What was the rationale for this belief? With impressive approval ratings, our strong economy and equally strong international reputation, there was nothing to base this belief on.

In tonight's debate, there was little talk about how the candidates could rehab the GOP image. No one, to my mind, brought up the fact that the current Republican president is wildly unpopular. Instead, the real question was, how fast can you run towards G.W.B. Contrary to all available evidence, the GOP candidates are trying their damnedest to be the next President Bush.

I have only one thing to say in response. Thank you.

IOKIYAR

Remember a couple of weeks ago when CNN was all a tither over Nancy Pelosi visiting Syria? Some on CNN thought the trip meant that Pelosi was not only putting her job as SotH in jeopardy, but also the safety of this country.

Well...Condi Rice is visiting Syria, and what has CNN got to say about that? Do you think they brought up the fact that very recently the Bush administration was scolding Pelosi for visiting Syria?

As you might expect---crickets.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I know this is long...

I was under the impression that we had moved beyond a certain ugly chapter in American history; like slavery and the show Full House, we as a society had seen the error of our ways and did away with the chain e-mail. Unfortunately, I have an old friend who still doles these out from time to time, and what's even worse. He is a conservative. I usually ignore these emails, but today I got one that really annoyed me. Here it is, and while I know it is ungodly long, I thought you should read all of it:

JAY LENO...."HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD"

Pretty asstitute for a comedian, I'd say! Go Jay!!!

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90
percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe
from terrorist attacks?

The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative."

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno

Not content to let this one go, I figured I would offer a retort and spammed him right back. Here is what I had to say:

Alright…my thinking on this is that since Tom is well aware of my political leanings he sent this to provoke some sort of response. I am happy to say that I will not disappoint him and I count myself fortunate that Tommy sent me this essay; as it isn’t often you encounter this kind of stupidity in your everyday life. It’s like watching someone cook on a charcoal grill indoors or cut their toenails with a chainsaw…

First off, Jay Leno may be an absolute hack as a comic, but he is off the hook when it comes to writing this article. The guy who wrote this is an even bigger hack named Craig Smith who is an adjunct Professor of Law at Santa Barbara/Ventura College of Law. You can see the original article here and it was published on a far-right website that would make Ann Coulter blush. I found this all out by using the ‘Google’.

Anywho…

What is Mr. Smith’s larger point? From what I can gather, he wants Americans to stop reading, watching and listening to the news. He seriously believes that everything would be wonderful if the U.S. populace would all just collectively put their heads in the sand. Instead of a citizenry that is actively engaged and interested in pressing national matters, he wants the sort of blind allegiance you find in religious cults and herds of sheep.

This kind of thinking might work if you live in a third world dictatorship or are a Fox News viewer; but in a democracy, the system doesn’t work if those being governed aren’t well informed. Fortunately, our country’s founders were smarter than Mr. Smith and knew that this country would fail miserably if there wasn’t an independent press.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of problems with the way the press operates in this country. There are far too many stories about missing/dead white women (e.g. Anna Nicole Smith, Natalie Holloway, the runaway bride) and things that go bump in the night. Yet I, and other sane people, don’t jump to the ridiculous conclusion that the way to solve this problem is to only focus on the good news. While Mr. Smith would like to hear about all the wonderful lemonade stands, magical ponies and schools being painted in Iraq, I would like to know what is really going on in the world and with our government. Why? Well…because that’s what it means to be patriotic.

For all of the wonderful things that our country offers, there are also some disturbing trends that we as citizens cannot afford to conveniently overlook. The 67% of us who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction have good reason to feel this way. Over the last 6 years in this country, we have seen infant mortality increase, bankruptcy filings increase, poverty increase, income inequality grow and homicide rates increase. Worldwide, we see increases in political unrest, terrorism and spread of infectious disease. It is for these reasons, and a slew of others, that the majority of the American public worries about where our country is headed.

In addition, the majority of us can plainly see that the man living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is an abject failure. George W. Bush, during his tenure has presided over not one, not two but three of the greatest catastrophes in American history. First, when faced with the exhortations of this country’s intelligence experts in early 2001, he decided to ignore their warnings about the threat of terrorism and instead wanted to focus on creating a missile defense shield and vacationing in Texas. Second, when faced with the evidence that Saddam Hussein did not represent a threat to national security and that Iraq would likely decay into chaos if we were not careful during the reconstruction; he decided to ignore their advice and instead rode on a fighter jet to declare himself victorious. Lastly, when faced with the sobering television coverage of New Orleans being systematically destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, he decided to quietly sit that disaster out.

In some way, I wish I could be as blissfully ignorant as Mr. Smith and the remaining 33% who think things are just peachy. Life would be easier if I could love the president as a dog loves its master. Yet, if we all felt this way, we would be abdicating our responsibility to both our nation and our fellow countrymen. This country rose in prominence and offered hope to the rest of the world precisely because so many of those who came before us refused to stick their heads in the sand, they demanded more out of their leaders, their neighbors and themselves. I only wish Mr. Smith felt the same.

I don't think he is going to be very happy with me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007