Thursday, September 30, 2010

Backyard Barnstormer

"Hello, Americans! Let me tell you, it is great to be out of Washington and here in this average American backyard, full of average Americans like yourselves, ready to talk about your average American issues and concerns. But first, let me give a shout-out to average American and Service Employees International Union President Emeritus Andy Stern! That's him manning the grill over there in the back! You flip those wagyu steaks, Andy! And don't hog all the sangria! Michelle brought that back from Costa del Sol for everyone!..."

[10 Minutes Later]

"And how about this artificial lawn, huh? It's made from 100% postconsumer recycled materials. It always looks great, and it never needs watering. Just looking at it makes you want to kick off your shoes and feel those fibers deep down between your toes, doesn't it? You know it does, because this is exactly the kind of green products and jobs that will fundamentally transform our nation and our economy, if we just keep making the necessary subsidies and investments. I can't believe nobody told me this was here!..."

[10 Minutes Later]

"Change is going to come! If we work for it! If we fight for it! And now is not the time to lose heart! Now is not the time to give up! Now is not the time quit! Because change happens from the bottom up! Change happens because of you! Change happens when you vote..."

[10 Minutes Later]

"What? Not even MSNBC is carrying this live? Son of a --"

[10 Minutes Later]

"-- which concludes my opening remarks. Now, who has a touching, personal story of how the health reform bill saved your child's life?... Anyone?..."

[10 Minutes Later]

"When I say hope, you say change! Hope and change! Hope and -- I can't hear you in the back, Andy Stern!... Andy?..."

[10 Minutes Later]

"So, ah, which union local are you guys from again?..."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Here's to You, Mr. Jefferson"

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Married Lament About Our Supermarket Club Card

"It's not that I mind our supermarket club card being in your name. I'm used to them calling me Mr. [Wife's Name] every time I buy anything. What I can't stand is that every time I buy anything, they call me Mr. [Wife's Name] and mispronounce it."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Sound of Obama: "Lonely RINO"

In Delaware is a lonely RINO
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
Lost to a witch with a sketchy bio
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Up in Alaska's a lonely RINO
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
Still can't believe that the base said, "Why, no!"
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Oho layee odllee-oo
Oho layee odl ay!
Oho layee odllee-oo

In Pennsylvania's a former RINO
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
Couldn't even win as a cynical DINO
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

In Florida is an "indie" RINO
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
Said a vote for Obamacare was just fine, oh!
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Hmm hmm hmm hmm
Ode layee
Ode layee-ee
Ode layee
Oh Oh Oh Oh layee odl layee-oo
Oh oh layee odl lay
Oh Oh Oh Oh layee odl layee-oo
Layee odllee-o hododlleeoay!


One little girl heard the lonely RINOs
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
She yodeled back that they all had to go
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Soon Mama Grizzlies started protesting
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
A RINO's sense of entitlement was just so vexing
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Oho layee odllee-oo
Oho layee odl ay!
Oho layee odllee-oo

The unbiased media rallied to the RINOs
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
Lamenting the fate of those they'd never cared a dime for
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

The Dems mocked "extremists" with typical braveness
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
As if trillion-dollar deficits were moderate saneness
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Oho layee odllee-oo
Oho layee odl ay!
Oho layee odllee-oo


Even Karl Rove got in on the action
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
Cried "The Senate's lost, stupid grass-roots faction!"
Layee odl, layee odl-oo

Yet happy were the little girl and the voters
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
'Cause they sent the message the Establishment is over
Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo

Ode lay-ee
Ode lay-ee
Ode lay-ee-ee
Ode lay-ee
Odllayee odllay
Odllayee odllay
Odllayee odllay
Odllayee odllayee odlayee odlayee odlay!


Ernie Thinks Bert Needs to Spread the Wealth Around

(H/T: Moonbattery)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Sound of Obama: "Thirteen Trillion Going on Fourteen"


Well, I just hope Obama doesn't get into any trouble.

Don't worry about Obama. He's the President of Hope and Change.

I know. I don't worry about him. [Music up.] The only one I worry about is his Speaker.

Me? Why?

What's the national debt again, Nancy?

Thirteen trillion going on fourteen. [Off Rahm's laugh.] What's wrong with that?


Red ink, little girl, is a tidal wave
That Fox has turned a light on
Your budget, little girl, is an empty page
Repubs will want to write on

To write on?

Thirteen trillion going on fourteen
How will we pay it back?
Raise income taxes on wealthy brackets
What do you think of that?

Of that?

Thirteen trillion going on fourteen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, we're on the brink

Thirteen trillion going on fourteen
Interest costs will only rise
Eager young Chinese won't be around
To buy up your T-bills now

Totally unprepared are you
To face this world of debt
Tea Party protests target you
Have you listened to that Glenn Beck?

You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am Chief of Staff for just one more month
I'll... take care... of you

Thirteen trillion going on fourteen
Health care must be reformed
We'll just cut welfare, make it a big scare
And blame the Republicans

Thirteen trillion going on fourteen
As if I really care
Tea Party racists, birther embracists
America needs me now

Totally unprepared are you
To face November 2
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of what you know I'll do

You need someone from a safe district
Leading you by the nose
Thirteen trillion going on fourteen
This... is just... the start!

It's Only Race-Baiting if You Say It in English

Really, when will those Vietnamese stop running candidates for election to Congressional seats that clearly belong to someone else?

Congresswoman Sanchez has since explained this as nothing more than "a poor choice of words that some people have taken as offensive" and apologizes. I have to wonder, though, whether she would have used this same "poor choice of words" if the interview had been for an English-speaking audience.

Incidentally, "anti-immigrant" Van Tran and his family "first came to America in 1975, evacuated by the U.S. Army a week before the fall of Saigon."

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Sound of Obama: "My Favorite Things"

Deficit spending and whiskers on kittens
Class warfare taxes and warm woolen mittens
Big reform packages tied with red strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Carbon cut mandates and crisp apple strudels
Weak sanctions and outreach and schnitzel with noodles
Troops that withdraw with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Government workers with stimulus sashes
Bailouts that stick to my nose and eyelashes
Silver-tongued photo ops all through the spring
These are a few of my favorite things

When the polls bite
When the gaffes sting
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel... so bad...

[Repeat all verses]

Pop Quiz: Explosive Testimony Edition

Which of the following explosive testimonies, both of which occurred earlier today, do you think will get the most attention by the media?

A) Christopher Coates, former Department of Justice voting rights section chief, who disobeyed instructions from his superiors to ignore a subpoena from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission regarding their investigation into the DOJ's dismissal a voter intimidation suit against the New Blank Panther Party:

Based upon my own personal knowledge of the events surrounding the CRD's [Civil Rights Division's] actions in the NBPP [New Black Panther Party] case and the atmosphere that has existed and continues to exist in the CRD and in the Voting Section against fair enforcement of certain federal voting laws, I do not believe the representations to this Commission accurately reflect what occurred in the NBPP case and do not reflect the hostile atmosphere that has existed within the CRD for a long time against race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act [VRA]....

I did not decide lightly to comply with your subpoena in contradiction to the DOJ's directives not to testity. I had hoped that this controversy would not come to this point; however, I have determined that I will no longer fail to respond to your subpoena and thereby fail to provide this Commission accurate information pertinent to your investigation. Quite simply, if incorrect representations are going to successfully thwart an inquiry into the systemic problems regarding race-neutral enforcement of the VRA by the CRD -- problems that were manifested in the disposition of the NBPP case -- that end is not going to be furthered or accomplished by my sitting silently by at the direction of my supervisors while incorrect information is provided. I do not believe that I am professionally, ethically, legally, much less, morally bound to allow such a result to occur. In addition, in giving this testimony, I am claiming the protections of all available federal whistleblower statues.
B) Funnyman Stephen Colbert, who testified (in character) before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Security:

(Hint: For one of the few times in my life, I find myself sympathetic toward John Conyers.)

(Update Hint: I take back my sympathy for John Conyers, who after the testitomy said he thought Colbert actually was "pretty profound.")

Question of the Day

"If the Feudal System was so bad, why are Renaissance Faires so popular?"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two Minutes and Twenty-Six Seconds of Unadulterated Awesomeness

The best show on television returns this Tuesday:

All they really need to keep me hooked is Young and Rush together in the same room, but don't tell them that...

Muslim Support for Molly Norris. In Public. Finally.

Currently on The American Muslim (TAM) website:

We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.

We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.

We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.

We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.
Thank you.

Incidentally, as of this posting, "bridge builder" and Park51 mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has devoted his life to "peacemaking," is not included in the list of signatories.

"Hashtag Over!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Christine O'Donnell Gets Wiccan-Served!

You knew it had to happen. The "Wiccan community" is now taking Christine O'Donnell to task for defamation, misinformation, ridicule, and disrespect:

Last Friday, remarks emerged from an appearance the Delaware Republican made during a 1999 taping of "Politically Incorrect," in which she acknowledged that she had "dabbled into witchcraft" but "never joined a coven." O'Donnell immediately distanced herself from the quote, asking whether it was fair to hold candidates responsible for the "questionable folks" they hung out with in high school. The clarification may have been the only sane political move for O'Donnell to make. But it had the side effect of angering an already politically sensitive pagan community.

"Yes, this was 11 years ago she said that," said Reverend Selena Fox, the High Priestess & Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting paganism and nature spirituality. "But the kinds of things she is saying now, saying 'well in high school you are with despicable characters' or some such thing, she is actually defaming Wiccans. Whether she intends to do that or not as a way to try and get herself out of this political problem she has created for herself, the fact is America really needs to be a place where you can celebrate diversity and practice your religion without getting ridiculed or defamed."
Does Selena Fox really believe the young man who took Christine O'Donnell to a movie and a Satanic midnight picnic was an honest-to-goodness, sincere, true-believing Wiccan who just wanted to celebrate diversity and share his own deeply held spiritual beliefs? Or is her gut also telling her, deep down, that we're more likely talking about a horny teenage boy with a bitchin' Black Sabbath t-shirt who just wanted to get Young Christine skyclad?

And is Christine O'Donnell's comment about hanging out with "questionable" witchcraft-dabblers in high school really opening up Wiccans to ridicule and disrespect? Because personally, I find the idea that "25 years of work" by "Wiccan and pagan civil rights and religious freedom groups" will somehow be undone by one Senate candidate's response to a comment from more than a decade ago, on a show called Politically Incorrect, about something that happened in high school to be a much greater invitation to ridicule.

I'd wager that Christine O'Donnell has endured far more ridicule in recent days for her own religious beliefs about masturbation and abstinence than the pagan community has endured because of Christine O'Donnell. But like High Priestess Fox says, celebrating religious diversity in America only goes so far.

"Gone Vertical"

(Via Political Calculations)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lisa Murkowski Takes Alaskan Voters to School. Literally.

Because when it comes to plumping the poll numbers of an establishment politician who just lost her own party's primary, nothing works better than portraying voters as actual children:

From the Comments

"We are providing ladders to the middle class ... especially if you are rich."

More from recovering political commentator Sonicfrog here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Is This My New Reality?"

I'm not sure which is more telling, that an Obama voter in a prescreened audience asked this question or that President Obama's first response to a supporter now "exhausted of defending him" was, yes, to laugh...

President Obama's rambling, not-quite-answer can be viewed here. I'll admit, I found myself exhausted about the time he started describing all the billions of dollars we're supposedly saving by nationalizing the student loan industry. Because government bureaucracy is so much leaner and more efficient than the private sector. Or something.

And how she shouldn't worry about her family losing ground economically, because now credit card companies are required to notify her before they raise her interest rate.

Or something.

(H/T: Memeorandum)

Overheard While Passing on the Sidewalk

"I really want him to be my best gay friend, but he's straight."

Rachel Maddow Gets Her Hands, Um, "Dirty"

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC gets her hands, um, "dirty" as she delves into what truly matters in the Delaware Senate race between Republican Christine O'Donnell and Democrat Chris Coons:

Did you see that outfit?! And that hair?! Oh! My! Gawd!

Christine O'Donnell looks about nineteen in this video. Maybe next time, Rachel Maddow can go all the way and unearth a home movie of Toddler Christine reveling in the hate crime of calling someone a "poopy-head."

Seriously, Rachel, I don't care whether Christine O'Donnell thought masturbation was a sin back in her younger days. I don't even care if Christine O'Donnell, personally, thinks that masturbation is a sin today. I care about her views on taxes, spending, and economic and foreign policy. Maybe I'll end up agreeing with them, and maybe I won't.

Rachel Maddow, however, is apparently afraid that a future Senator O'Donnell is going to cast a spell on the entire U.S. government and legal system, so that her supersecret bill to outlaw self-pleasuring will pass, be signed by President Obama, and then find itself declared constitutional in this Lawrence v. Texas judiciary of ours. Because in her high school days (even before the video embedded above), Christine O'Donnell did, in fact, dabble into witchcraft by going to a movie and then having a picnic with this really hot guy who liked to pretend he was this wicked awesome rebel Satanist, because that helped him get all the chicks who hadn't grown up enough yet to see through to his inner loser. Scary!

Honestly, Rachel, I don't know many people who have the same views in their forties as they did back in their teens or early twenties. I know I don't. And even among those who do have similar views in their forties, I don't know many people who don't look back and somewhat cringe at how absolute those views were in their teens and early twenties. But maybe Rachel Maddow is one of those rare people who got it all right back in her own youth, and she just hasn't needed to grow, or even mellow, in her own views since then.

Or maybe Rachel Maddow actually knows all of this, has a show on MSNBC, and just doesn't care.

(H/T: I Hate The Media)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Sarah Palin's Gentle Shade of Purple in a Cobalt Blue State"

It's always a banner day when a friend and fellow writer cracks a new and bigger market. So congratulations to blogger friend Tim Daniel of Left Coast Rebel for his first Pajamas Media piece, "The Battle for America 2010: Sarah Palin's Gentle Shade of Purple in a Cobalt Blue State," which follows Tim's travels through his hometown to see if Sarah Palin's endorsement helps or hurts Senate candidate Carly Fiorina.

I still envy your time management skills, Tim!

Exclusive Video: Young Christine O'Donnell Caught Dabbling into Witchcraft

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charles Blow, Grand Illusionist!

I love reading Charles Blow in the New York Times. Whether he's unmasking the "minstrel show" that is the Tea Party or promoting Justin Beiber for President (because unlike adults, children aren't "bubbling over with anger, anxiety and frustration"), you can always count on Charles to present the Preferred Narrative with both panache and flare. In his latest column, for instance, Charles takes on the "grand illusion" of that impending electoral blow-out facing the Democrats this November:

Let me be clear: the idea of an inevitable Republican landslide in November is not a foregone conclusion. It’s a self-perpetuating bit of wishful thinking that’s gaining currency through the force of being recycled ad nauseam by overzealous pundits.
Pay no attention to all those polls, Democrats! They're just illusions of overzealous pundits and that noted wishful thinker and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs!
It’s no wonder then that Democrats with defeatist tendencies have bought into it. They are morose and slumped, prematurely assuming the crestfallen posture of a party rejected, rending their garments like a PETA spokeswoman in a meat dress.
Think it was actually Lady Gaga, "the most judgment-free human being on the earth," who wears a meat dress and PETA that criticizes her for it? Illusion! Like that impending electoral blow-out facing the Democrats this November!
Sure, some seats will change party control, but a landslide is hardly certain, particularly if Democrats can change their tune and energize their base. A New York Times/CBS News poll released this week asked respondents whom they would vote for in their own districts if the midterms were held today. Among those the poll determined to be likely voters, Republican candidates held a small edge. (Likely voter models are used to make predictions about the midterms.) However, among all registered voters, Democrats held a larger edge.
That whole difference between "likely voters" and "registered voters"? Illusion! Like that impending electoral blow-out facing Democrats this November!
The Democrats’ strategy of highlighting the scary Tea Party-supported candidates isn’t working for them. Fear factors don’t provide much traction. They turn off instead of turn out.
All that traction Democrats experienced over the years by saying Republicans are going to take away your Social Security/your Medicare/your Civil Rights? Illusion! Like that impending electoral blow-out facing Democrats this November!
These [new Obama] voters came to the polls in 2008 because they were inspired and hopeful, not angry and scared. They need to be inspired anew. Democrats must ignite their fealty, and they must do so with a positive, idea-based message.
Think anger over eight years of George Bush and two wars, the financial crisis, the Great Recession, and fear of a Second Great Depression had anything to do with new voters flocking to Obama? Illusion! Like that impending electoral blow-out facing Democrats this November!
They must stop running away from their legislative accomplishments — many of which directly benefit blacks, young people and women — and start running on them. And they must talk more about new proposals to jolt the economy out of stagnation.
Think the Stimulus didn't stimulate? Think financial reform left out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their subprime mortgage meltdown that helped get us into this mess? Think health reform is raising the cost of health insurance already? Think we've added $3 trillion in new government debt in just two years? Think blacks, young people, and women care about any of these things? Illusion! Like that impending electoral blow-out facing Democrats this November!
Regardless of what Republicans and Tea Party supporters would have us believe, voters have not abandoned the Democrats. The Democrats have abandoned their voters. Democrats must romance the base that delivered their majorities.
Think Obama won because independent voters flocked to him rather than to McCain/Palin? Illusion! Like that impending electoral blow-out facing Democrats this November!
As the saying goes, you have to dance with the one who brought you.
Very true. But "the one who brought" Obama (and those big Democratic majorities in Congress) wasn't the Democratic base, Charles. Not by any means. And thinking that it was is the grandest illusion of them all.

(H/T: Memeorandum)

President Obama at that $30,000-a-Plate Fundraiser: The Lost Footage

"Voters, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, it's increasing health insurance premiums and further exploding an already exploding deficit. If we get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about it not even mentioning Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If we get a trillion-dollar stimulus bill through -- oh, the unemployment rate went way above that eight percent you promised it wouldn't top after I agreed not to pay much attention to what was actually in the stimulus. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about that net spending cut we promised, either! (Laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker, like when you promised me it would! (Laughter.) Or that you would actually do what you said that you would do! (Laughter.) And actually do it when you said that you would do it! (Laughter.) You know who you are! You're the ones who should be saying thank you! (Laughter.) So tell me, are you getting your $30,000-a-plate's worth here tonight or what?! (Cheers.)"

(H/T: Memeorandum)

The One Conversation My Professor Wife Suffers Through Every Semester

Friday, September 17, 2010

Molly Norris Goes to Ground

Cartoonist Molly Norris is no more. Sort of:

You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the [Seattle Weekly] this week. That's because there is no more Molly.

The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, "going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.
So, Molly Norris, for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed, is forced to literally disappear from her life and career, and all on her own dime. At the same time, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, for insisting on building a $100 million mosque complex two blocks from Ground Zero, calling America an accessory to the attacks of 9/11, refusing to name Hamas as a terrorist organization, and drawing a moral equivalence between those who peacefully oppose the current location of the Park51 mosque complex and "extremist" Islamic suicide bombers, is forced to give interviews on CNN and ABC, make a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, travel on a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of the Middle East, and continue going about his promotional and fund-raising activities without hindrance.

Remember that, the next time you hear someone lamenting the raging Islamophobia of America.

UPDATE: As Steve Miller reminds me in the comments, even though Molly Norris came up with the idea for "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day," Molly didn't actually draw Mohammad himself. She drew a spool of thread, a cherry, a domino, and several other everyday items claiming to be the true likeness of Mohammad. Which, as Steve says, just makes this "all the more infuriating and disgusting."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Exclusive Video: Vice President Biden Demonstrates America's New High-Speed Rail System

(Video gleefully stolen from Sonicfrog.)

It's All In The Graphic

The old logo of the Democratic National Committee:

The new logo of the Democratic National Committee, unveiled yesterday "in hopes of taking on a sleeker, less bureaucratic perception among voters":

I can't really say that an American flag background and a kicking ass have ever inspired visions of bureaucrats in my head. Any ass that can still kick has more energy than just about every bureaucrat I've ever dealt with. And the new logo may, in fact, be "sleeker," but it's also about as inspiring as an "Inspected by Number 27" sticker.

Then again, I can think of one group of people who actually will find this logo inspiring. Unfortunately, these are the same people who also believe that removing the American flag from your national political party's logo will be a real vote-getter come November.

(H/T: Mary Katherine Ham)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time Off

No blogging yesterday. No blogging today. No blogging tomorrow.

See you again on Wednesday. (I think.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Ago Today

Friday, September 10, 2010

Five Things to Remember as You Watch This Video

Five things to remember as you watch this video:

1) At this point, I honestly have no idea if the Rev. Terry Jones' Koran-burning protest for tomorrow has been cancelled, is on hold, will happen unless he can meet with the Park51 organizers, or will happen anyway. Or if the Rev. Fred Phelps will go ahead with his own bonfire of piety if the Rev. Jones bows out. Or if this pastor in Tennessee will go ahead with his hearth of heathenness whether or not the Rev. Jones and/or the Rev. Phelps do it too or hang it all up and go home.

2) Sarah Palin has this one absolutely right:

Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.
3) As a Christian myself, I try never to judge the state of another Christian's relationship with God. But Rev. Jones and his P.T. Barnum moment of Koran-burning attention-whoring, and Rev. Phelps using the funerals of fallen soldiers to rage at grieving families that God is punishing this country for homosexuality, make me understand what a truly awful Christian I really am, because I judge their relationships with God in the harshest (and most expletive-laden) manner possible.

4) John Hinderaker also has it absolutely right:
The amount of pressure that was brought to bear on Jones and his parishioners (I assume he has some) was remarkable. President Obama made a personal appeal; virtually every political leader in both parties begged Jones not to burn the Korans; religious leaders unanimously denounced Jones's plan; and he was visited by the FBI. The result, I suppose, is a good one, but it is hard to feel positive about any aspect of this story. We now have firmly established the principle that you can kick Bibles and other scriptures around all you want, but no one in the world can act disrespectfully toward a Koran. It is, perhaps, a watershed moment.
5) If, weeks and months ago, even a fraction of the effort to persuade the Rev. Terry Jones from burning the Koran had been used to persuade Imam Rauf and the Park51 developers to locate their $100 million, multistory mosque complex a bit farther away from Ground Zero, we would all be in a much better place today.

Now, enjoy the fun. Because as far as I'm concerned, this is one case where the two religious "leaders" in question deserve every bit of skewering they get.

(WARNING: Given the initial image below, do you really need a warning? But just in case, the following video contains foul language, foul gestures, foul images, and really just about every other bit of well-deserved offensiveness that you can possibly imagine.)

(H/T: Video via the always readable Sonicfrog)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Irony Time, with Time

This is the current cover of Time magazine:

This is the cover story ("Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace") to go with the cover shown above:

Heli and Eli sell condos on Exodus Street, a name that evokes a certain historical hardship in a neighborhood that suggests none at all, the ingathering of the Jews having entered a whole new realm here. The talk in the little office is of interest rates and panoramic sea views from handsomely appointed properties selling on the Ashdod waterfront for half what people are asked to pay in Tel Aviv, 18 miles (29 km) to the north. And sell they do, hand over fist — never mind the rockets that fly out of Gaza, 14 miles (22.5 km) to the south. "Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell!" says Heli Itach, slapping a palm on the office desk. The skull on her designer shirt is made of sequins spelling out "Love Kills Slowly." "What the people see on the TV there is not true here," she says. "I sold, this week, 12 apartments. You're not client, I tell you the truth."

The truth? In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They're otherwise engaged; they're making money; they're enjoying the rays of late summer.
So, the real stumbling block to Mideast Peace isn't Hamas and its regularly scheduled rocket attacks. Or Palestinian insistence on the "right of return." Or those Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Or the fact that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority probably don't even have the authority to implement any peace deal in the West Bank, let alone in Gaza (see Hamas). The real problem is that sun-bathing, tackily dressed Israelis are too concerned with making money to care about peace.

Incidently, Time is selling copies of this cover (a "piece of history" suitable for framing) starting at just $15.95.

Quote of the Day

"I prefer self-deprecating humor because I'm really, really good at it."

Burn, Baby, Burn!

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome back to my exclusive interview with President Barack Obama. Mr. President, thank you for doing this.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, thank you.

OBAMA: No, really. Thank you.

STEPHAOPOULOS: Moving right along. Mr. President, even though the vast majority of Americans, and even residents of New York City, feel deeply that the proposed Park51 mosque two blocks from where 3,000 people were slaughtered in the name is Islam is extraordinarily insensitive and should be built elsewhere, you've vigorously defended the constitutional right of Imam Rauf to do so. You've also steadfastly refused to take a position on the wisdom of building the Park51 mosque at that location. As a President known for Muslim outreach and still popular with Muslims throughout the world, why won't you use that credibility and seek a compromise by asking Imam Rauf to reconsider the location, as a statement of the very religious reconciliation and interfaith harmony he says the Park51 project is meant to promote?

OBAMA: That's a long question, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you need me to repeat it?

OBAMA: No, that's fine. By the way, did you know that something like one in five Americans think I'm a Muslim?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're not going to answer my question, are you?

OBAMA: I have no regrets.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Moving right along. Mr. President, as a related question, what is your position on the Rev. Terry Jones of Florida, and his plan to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9/11 this weekend?

OBAMA: George, this country was built on freedom and religious tolerance.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And doesn't the Rev. Jones have the same Constitutional freedom to burn the Koran, however distasteful that might be, that Imam Rauf has to build the Park51 mosque two blocks from Ground Zero? Even Mayor Bloomberg says he does.

OBAMA: George, just because we have the right to do something doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do. We have to be sensitive to the deeply held feelings of others. I want Rev. Jones to understand this stunt that he is talking about pulling is not only unhelpful, but unwise. It won't advance religious reconciliation or interfaith harmony, and it will put our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in danger, at least until I finish withdrawing them. I just hope the Rev. Jones listens to those better angels and understands that this is a destructive act that he's engaging in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: An "un-American" act, as the State Department calls it?

OBAMA: Exactly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you see no inconsistency or double standard here?

OBAMA: Double standards are the hobgoblins of politically unsophisticated minds, George. That's why I've suggested a truly American compromise to the Rev. Jones that will spare the deeply held feelings of Muslims everywhere yet still allow him to hold his little protest.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that compromise protest be?

OBAMA: That the Rev. Jones simply burn a flag instead. You just can't get more American than that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Amazing, that one in five Americans think that you're a Muslim.

OBAMA: I know. All things considered, you'd really think it would be more by this point, wouldn't you?

(H/T: Memeorandum)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CNN Hires Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway

An "exclusive first peek" at Parker Spitzer, or Spitzer Parker, or whatever they end up calling CNN's latest attempt to halt its ratings freefall:

Am I the only one who kept thinking this was actually the promo for a Woody Allen movie?

Okay, maybe that's not entirely fair. Eliot Spitzer isn't quite as nebbish as Woody Allen. Plus, Eliot resigned as Governor of New York because he got caught on a federal wiretap hiring expensive prostitutes of legal age, not because he was dating a 17-year-old girl before falling in love with his friend's mistress, like Woody did in Manhattan.

And whereas Mariel Hemingway just writes "books about my life, yoga, nutrition and well-being," Kathleen is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post who highlights the "danger" of conservative rhetoric involving words like reload and targeting, then likens anonymous posts she disagrees with on the Internet to "terrorism," because "you don't know who to go after." You know, like how we still don't know who flew those planes on 9/11. Could Mariel come up with an insight like that? I don't think so. And I'm sure Kathleen Parker will bring the same level of analysis to Parker Spitzer, or Spitzer Parker, or whatever they end up calling it, that she brought to Glenn Beck's recent "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial: "Conspiracy theories and paranoia are not unfamiliar to those who have wrestled the demon alcohol." Now that's analysis I want to see on a 42" flat screen!

Still not convinced? Then maybe this second "exclusive sneak peek" of their first panel discussion will change your mind:

Spitzer Parker, or Parker Spitzer, or some show with Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer, coming this October on CNN!

(H/T: Memeorandum)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Dog Responds to President Obama

"They talk about me like the President, and said I have to wear this thing so I'd stop scratching at my economy and finally let it heal... Summer of Recovery, my --"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Things I've Learned from Real Journalist Dan Joling

The now-infamous Vanity Fair profile of Sarah Palin by Michael Joseph Gross had barely been published before even reliably Palin-unfriendly reporters, writers, pundits, editors, sources, and even -- believe it or not -- Newsweek were taking issue not just with its accuracy, but also with the utter shamelessness of its personal attacks and other insinuations. As Julia Baird, deputy editor of Newsweek, wrote, "[L]et’s stick to a desperately needed scrutiny of [Palin's] inflammatory politics and steer clear of this kind of rubbish."

When even the magazine that "triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and other countries in which at least 15 people died" because of its own inaccurate reporting calls you out for "shameful" journalism, that's pretty much game over. Fortunately, however, Real Journalist Dan Joling with the Associated Press has come to the rescue of Palin critics everywhere who aren't content simply to disagree with her politics be done with it:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sarah Palin can take down the fence. Palin's neighbor of three months on Wasilla's Lake Lucille, author Joe McGinniss, is packing his bags and notebooks and leaving Sunday for his home in Massachusetts to write the book he has been researching on the former governor and GOP vice presidential candidate.

His arrival in May made headlines and drew an indignant reaction from Palin and a visit from her husband, Todd. The Palins even tacked an extension onto an 8-foot board fence between the homes, leaving only a part of their second-story home visible from McGinniss' driveway.
I learned many things from reading this piece by Real Journalist Dan Joling. Let me share a few:

1) The Associated Press does not provide its Real Journalists with a telephone. Because if they did, a Real Journalist like Dan Joling would have picked it up and called the Palin camp for their response to Joe McGinniss' claims and accusations. Instead, those AP penny-pinchers limited Real Journalist Dan Joling to sending a single e-mail, on the Saturday of a holiday weekend, to the Palins requesting their comments for an article that was being published that same day! Give your Real Journalists a phone, Associated Press!

2) Joe McGinniss didn't "seek out" the rental home next door to Sarah Palin, the subject of his current book. The homeowner "sought him out" and, apparently, made Joe an offer he couldn't refuse. Joe McGinniss had no choice but to move in next door!

3) Joe McGinniss, a best-selling author who has admitted putting words in the mouths (and thoughts in the minds) of people he has never even interviewed (to "distill an essence") and who is making you the subject of his next book is no different than any other average, run-of-the-mill neighbor. Former Governor Palin, tear down that board fence!

4) Sarah Palin has an actual button she can press that creates hate among her followers. Or maybe just the distilled essence of a button. Either way, Joe McGinniss has received ugly, vile e-mails from Sarah Palin supporters, which is telling, because Sarah Palin has certainly never been on the receiving end of any vile ugliness, or Real Journalist Dan Joling would have mentioned that for context. America cannot afford Sarah Palin's finger on the button!

5) Thirty-five years ago, Joe McGinniss lived in Alaska. Since then, however, he has been mysteriously prevented from ever returning to the "place he loves" unless he wrote a book about Sarah Palin, which is Joe McGinniss' only interest in her. Joe McGinniss just wants to see his beloved Matanuska-Susitna Borough again, Sarah Palin!

5) Unlike Todd Palin, Joe McGinniss is awesome!

I can't wait for Real Journalist Dan Joling's next piece.

Record Territory

Sunday, September 5, 2010

No Green Card Required

A few posts ago, I mentioned that my favorite brother-in-law came from Argentina and that my wife is a Canadian citizen with permanent residency here in the United States. So I pay closer attention to the debates about immigration policy (and enforcement) than most people do. This issue isn't just a question of values or American ideals to me. It forms the very basis of my family.

The way the Obama administration has handled immigration -- particularly in terms of Arizona -- has always had a "through the looking glass" quality to me. Ignore sanctuary cities but sue Arizona for an anti-illegal immigration bill that not only mirrors the federal law but also provides even more protections than my wife has with the Feds? Federal agents don't even need "reasonable suspicion" and an encounter for another issue to ask my wife for documentation, which she's legally required to carry with her at all times, to prove her immigration status. (Small wonder the union representing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agents voted unanimously that the ICE leadership has "abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for policies and programs related to amnesty.")

Even so, I never thought that one morning I would actually be reading this:

Employers who hire illegal immigrants can be fined, but the Obama administration warned this week that they also can be fined for asking legal immigrants to show their green cards before hiring them.

The Justice Department's civil rights division sued the Maricopa County Community Colleges in Arizona, seeking damages from schools for having "intentionally committed document abuse discrimination."

Prior to this year, the local colleges in the Phoenix area asked job applicants who were not U.S. citizens to show a driver's license, a Social Security card and their permanent resident card, commonly called a green card.

The Justice Department said a valid driver's license and a Social Security card are usually sufficient to show that a person is authorized to work. Requesting a green card amounts to "immigration-related employment discrimination," said Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Federal law forbids treating "authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status," Perez said. He said the department's Office of Special Counsel would bring legal actions against employers who impose "unnecessary and discriminatory hurdles to employment for work-authorized noncitizens."
Let me see if I have this right. If I hire a non-U.S. citizen and ask for verification that the person is legal to work in this country, I get sued by the federal government, because that's "document abuse discrinination." But if I hire a non-U.S. citizen and don't ask for verification and that person turns out not to be legal to work in this country, I get fined. So either way, I'm toast. Does that about cover it?

Then again, I'm heartened to read that the Department of Justice is also seeking damages on behalf of those who were so unfairly discriminated against because they were asked to show their green card or other work authorization by the Maricopa County Community Colleges before being hired. Because when my wife had a job lined up at a community college, Citizenship and Immigration Services never got around to processing her temporary work authorization, which we should have had a week or two (or three) after filing her paperwork, so the college wouldn't put her on the payroll until the actual green card came through months (and months) later. So maybe this is a happy day, because I never thought we had a chance to recoup those five-figures of lost income, but now Thomas E. Perez and the U.S. Department of Justice have our backs.

Oh, wait. My wife and I don't live in Arizona.

Never mind.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"The Bomb," Iranian Vesion

Apologies to Sir Tom Jones.

(H/T: No Sheeples Here)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nature Attacks!

Sometimes, my life is like an old slapstick movie. Especially when Nature decides to attack.

Work has slowed to a more manageable pace this week, so I've had a chance to catch up on my share of the household duties. A Golden Retriever in the summer means near-constant vacuuming, for instance. And living in the San Bernardino Valley ("The Other Valley," as we call it) means a steady accumulation of smog residue on the balcony. Which is precisely where Nature decided to attack.

It started with a hanging flower planter that had been sitting on the balcony floor for weeks. I'm sure my wife has told me repeatedly why that particular hanging flower planter wasn't hanging. It's just one of those things my brain tends to repeatedly misfile. And little did I think that non-hanging hanging flower planter would be home to a swarm of ants, none of whom appreciated my picking up the planter so I could sweep under it and so became the first wave of Nature's attack.

Have you ever seen a literal explosion of ants? They were like the debris flying out of an asteroid impact crater, nothing but little wriggling arcs soaring in all directions. Mostly, though, they managed to land on my summer-clad (meaning bare) legs. And mostly, they decided to bite.

One ant biting you is annoying. Twenty or twenty-five biting you is enough to make you shout an expletive I won't repeat here, to drop the non-hanging hanging flower planter (unfortunately setting off a second explosion of ants as it hit the balcony floor), and to make you bolt upright from where you had been crouching down -- and smack your head into the hanging flower planter you had forgotten was hanging right above you.

And which you didn't know was also full of ants.

That second wave came like an angry rain, falling into my hair and down the front and back of my shirt, and sending me stumbling backward as I slapped at myself, and slapped hard, killing some but only making the survivors even angrier, which is when I banged my shin into the rather old and rickety table holding my wife's many potted plants. Most of these plants are low and wide, and their pots are also low and wide, and therefore stable. Not so the lone tall one, with its center of gravity at much too great a height for the narrow little pot that still contained it. First, the narrow little pot wobbled in the corner of my vision as I shouted a second expletive from the pain the table had caused, and then, it fell over in a blur. Which is when instinct kicked in, and I reached out, and I successfully snatched the plant in mid-fall.

Only then did I realize the plant was actually a cactus.

For one brief moment, I stood there, realizing that I had ants biting my legs, still more ants biting my torso, and now just as many prickly spines embedded in my left palm and fingers.

I did the only thing I could do, of course. I screamed. And I shook my hand without thinking, dislodging the cactus and most of its prickly spines from my flesh, and sending the narrow little pot to shatter on the balcony floor. Not that I really cared just then. I only had eyes for the blood flowing from six different spots in my hand.

Honestly, if the floor of our balcony hadn't already been concrete, I would have gladly paved over the entire thing.

By the time my wife got home, I had killed all the ants, removed the final spines from my hand, cleaned and dressed my various wounds, and cleared away the broken shards of both planting pot and cactus. My wife didn't mean to laugh when she heard the tale, but she just couldn't help herself.

It's taken me another day, but now I can laugh at this, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Many Reasons to Vote Green

(H/T: Moonbattery)