Saturday, January 26, 2008

Toronto Weekend

The wife and I are traveling to Toronto this weekend (I hear the weather is a balmy 24°) to visit our friend Monica and see her in Dirty Dancing, so blogging will be nonexistent until sometime on Tuesday. It'll give me some time to recharge by blogging batteries - there's been so much to write about, but not a lot of time - so it'll be nice to step away from the desk, take a deep breath and get my thoughts in order.

I'm sure I'll have "the time of my life" while I'm up north. In the meantime, I'll finish up with a countdown quote a day or two early. Don't forget to watch the State of the Union (crappy) Address on Monday. I'll TiVo it.

T Minus 358 Days

"My views are one that speaks to freedom."

- Washington, DC, January 2004

T Minus 360/359 Days

"I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war."

- Charlieston, W.VA, January 27, 2002

One More Kick For Giuliani

I just re-read the NY Times endorsement of John McCain, the least unattractive of the Republican candidates in their opinion. Isn't it sad that a guy who said he would keep troops in Iraq for 100 years is the best choice? Anyway, I just had a shit-eating grin on my face while coming across the reasons they decided not to go with America's Mayor, so I thought I'd cut and paste for posterity.

NY TIMES: Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.
I never get tired of reading that. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They could have gone on and on (but only had limited space) about this authoritarian freak who once said, "...freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

Freedom is about authority? ... Yeah... that's the kind of guy I want running my country. Just get your sorry-ass debacle of a campaign over with and quit already.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New York Times Endorses Clinton and McCain

That liberal rag ,The New Tork Times, has endsorsed Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain as the presidential nominees for their respective parties.

In endorsing Clinton, they state that at this point for the Democrats, it's hard to get excited about a candidate in a usually "uninspiring pack" but that this year, that is not the case.

However, here is what they had to say about the Republican runners.

We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president. The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq. They are too wedded to discredited economic theories and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice.
Given the fact that the horribly liber-ul Times has endorsed McCain, I'm wondering if this is a bad thing for my friend, Mr. Straight Talk. Will Republicans now rally around a candidate who is the opposite of what the New York Times hates least? Will they be that stupid?

They voted for Bush... twice. So it's a possibility.

John Gibson Apologizes for Ledger Remarks

...Probably because his job was threatened if he didn't. He's still an asshole.

From Media Matters: ...I'm sorry that some took my comments as anti-gay and insensitive. I'm aware that Ledger has a family and many fans who were grief-stricken by his sudden death.

As I speak, a crowd is gathering at the funeral home where Ledger's funeral services will be held. Those who knew him say he was a good actor and a loving dad. And what happened to him was terrible, but was evidently an accident. Once again, to anyone offended by my comments, I'm sorry. But I'm also sorry that Heath Ledger is no longer alive and with us.

T Minus 361 Days

"See, one of the interesting things in the Oval Office - I love to bring people into the Oval Office - right around the corner from here - and say, this is where I office, but I want you to know the office is always bigger than the person."

- Washington, DC, January 2004

The GOP Florida Debate

Got home from work and prepared myself to watch the GOP Debate (I TiVo-ed it). So there I sat with my bottle of Tums and a waste paper basket next to me just in case.

Looks like Rudy "3% in the Primaries" Giuliani is front and center as I predicted he would be. At least MSNBC and the MSM plays fair and square in deciding who is to participate in these debates according to viability. I was wrong in my prediction that Ron Paul would be on the end podium.

  • Let's see... McCain wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent because people who are trying to figure out their budgets in 2010(?!) need to know sooner than later. I wonder if he knows that many Americans out there live paycheck to paycheck. He's worried about pork barrel spending and bridges to nowhere but doesn't mention the $11 BILLION we spend in Iraq. Each. Month.

  • Giuliani... there's that vomit feeling in the back of my throat - also wants major tax cuts for... wait for it... CORPORATIONS AND CAPITAL GAINS.

  • Huckabee: $150 billion stimulus package will be borrowed from China to buy Chinese products. Fix the infrastructure to fix the economy. The Huckster makes sense. He must have heard John Edwards say the same thing last week.

  • Mitt Romney also favors the tax cuts because according to him, that's what got our economy going the last time. According to me, that's what got us in trouble in the first place.

  • McCain: GOP lost the 2006 election because of their lack of restraint in spending. Silly me, I thought it was about the war.

  • Hey! Ron Paul was finally acknowledged by being asked a question 17 minutes into the debate.

  • Giuliani won't take blood money from a Saudi prince, but same prince can bail out the troubled US banks. Nothing like free trade, huh, Rudy? Actual Rudy quote: "How much can we sell to the rest of the world?" Well, products? I'm all for it. But selling our debt?

  • McCain claims that even though the GOP fucked up the economy over the last 7 years, America should vote for a Republican because you can't trust the Democrats when it comes to spending. Pass the Tums, please.

  • Actually Romney quote: " When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses." He says this regarding our economy after the GOP and Bush has sucked the treasury dry. Russert also prefaced the question by saying when Bush took office, we had a surplus, lower unemployment, lower inflation, and lower gas prices.

  • McCain dismisses a question asking how we're supposed to stay in Iraq indefinitely (as he has suggested) with a broken military and the impossibility of keeping it up financially by stating that the military isn't broken and that we are winning in Iraq. Then takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton who would "raise the white flag of surrender." Romney jumps in on the Clinton bashing.

  • Q: Was the war in Iraq a good idea and worth the blood and treasure?
    McCain: Good idea at the end of the day; badly managed.
    Rudy: Hillary was in favor of it; "I'm for it"; Islamic terrorist war -Boo!
    Ron Paul: Bad idea, not worth the sacrifice and treasure; Al-Qaeda wasn't there before, but NOW they are; no WMD. (Applause during his answer.)
    Huck: We owe George W. Bush our thanks. Just because we didn't find WMD doesn't mean they weren't there.
    Mitt: The surge is working. I'm for the war and will always be for the war.

I can't take it anymore. Taking some Advil for my headache, Tums for my stomach and going to bed. I'll most likely have nightmares about one of these chumps in the Oval Office. Now that's one scary-ass nightmare.

Maybe I'll watch the rest tomorrow... but it's highly unlikely as I value my health and sanity.

Amy Winehouse in Rehab? Yes, Yes, Yes

"Amy decided to enter the facility today after talks with her record label, management, family and doctors," Universal Music Group said in a statement.

"She has come to understand that she requires specialist treatment to continue her ongoing recovery from drug addiction," the statement said.

Good luck, Amy.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Douchebag John Gibson Defends Mockery of Ledger Death

What a classless asshole that John Gibson is. Not only did he make fun of Ledger's death and claimed he had a serious drug problem even before an autopsy was conducted, but then after the public outrage over his comments (thanks Dan Abrams, Keith Olbermann and GLAAD)... he defends them!

GIBSON: "Yeah, I mean, I feel bad about his death, but that’s…That’s no point in passing up a good joke."

I will be counting the days until that pasty-faced bastard kicks the bucket and have a good chuckle as I piss on his grave. Yeah, yeah, I know that's pretty classless in and of itself, but truthfully tell me he doesn't deserve it.

Bob Cesca's Bush Graphics

Bob Cesca updated an actual Fox News graphic of our pResident.

As Bob himself would say, "Awesome!"

Dennis Kucinich Bows Out

Breaking news from MSNBC asserts that Dennis Kucinich has told the Cleveland newspaper "Plain Dealer" that he is ending his presidential run for the White House.

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his "transition" tomorrow.

Thank you Dennis for bringing to the forefront, controversial issues that probably would not have been addressed, had you not led the way.

Senate Rejects Judiciary Version of FISA Law

(Updated below.)

The Senate has just voted to kill the Judiciary Committee's version of the FISA reauthoization law that excludes retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that illegally wiretapped citizens at the request of the Bush administration. The vote was 60-34.

There were immediate requests for amendments to be attached to the Intelligence Committee version by Senators Feingold and Rockefeller. Senator Dodd wanted to weigh in as well and there was an obection by Mitch McConnell.

I guess it's time for Chris Dodd to do some filibustering.

UPDATE: Feingold was interviewed by Huffington Post and disagreed with Reid on his initial procedure. But Reid says, "Senators Dodd and Feingold will seek to strike the immunity title entirely. I oppose immunity, and will support their amendment," said Reid. "If this amendment is not adopted, there will be other amendments to limit the immunity provisions in the Intelligence bill... As I have said before, if there are senators who don't like these amendments and think they should be subjected to 60-vote thresholds, these senators are going to have to engage in an old-fashioned filibuster."

By the end of Thursday debate had been postponed to Monday, after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell moved for a vote on cloture on the Intelligence committee version and Reid objected.

The Downfall of Rudy Giuliani

Good op-ed from Timothy Egan in the New York Times.

From "Goodbye Rudy, Tuesday":

...It’s worth stepping back for a moment to recall how far and how quickly Giuliani has fallen. For most of the summer and well into the fall, he was the Republican frontrunner. His campaign consisted of a hagiography: the hero of 9/11. His fundraising was strong. Now the campaign is all but broke and he’s getting his clock cleaned in some states by Ron Paul – Ron Paul! – the 97-pound libertarian who thinks the war on terror is bogus.

...More broadly, you can summarize Giuliani’s problems in the line he no longer uses. When the World Trade Center towers came down, he turned to his loyal sidekick Bernie Kerik, and said he was glad George Bush was president.

Now, that line is a triple loser. Kerik, his police commissioner, is under federal indictment, in a sea of troubles. Bush is despised by two-thirds of Americans, and even a majority of Republicans want to go in a different direction. As for the big scare, give Senator Joe Biden credit for writing what may be Giuliani’s obit: “There are only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11.”

Yet Giuliani still wants to frighten people into voting for him...

T Minus 362 Days

"He was a state sponsor of terror. In other words, the government declared, you are a state sponsor of terror."

- Discussing Saddam Hussein in Manhattan, Kansas, January 2006

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Giuliani's Strategery

Rudy Giuliani has been campaigning exclusively in Florida on the bet that a win there could propel him into the lead and deliver the prize of the Republican Presidential nomination. There's just one problem. He's getting shellacked in the meantime and becoming increasingly irrelevant... which is fine by me.

Rudy's been consistently getting his ass kicked by Ron Paul. Even Fred Thompson beat him on a regular basis... and he's already quit the race!

Wolfrum over at Shakesville has a great take on the whole thing:
MIAMI -- After stumbling through a 1-15 season in 2007, the Miami Dolphins have announced that they will play in, and win Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3 in Phoenix, Ariz.

The stunning announcement came after Dolphins officials emerged from a two-hour meeting with GOP Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani. The former mayor of New York has been campaigning almost exclusively in Florida, and Miami officials credit him for creating the plan that will make them Super Bowl champions.

...Giuliani, a one-time favorite for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election, has stumbled badly in the state primaries, though has insisted all along that his plan for victory is intact.

"It’s playing out the way we thought it would," Giuliani said after polls showed that his one-time 33-point lead in his home state of New York is now a 12-point deficit.
Keep it up, Rudy - it's working out perfectly... for the rest of us.

Why John Gibson is a Fucking Asshole

Opening his radio show with funeral music yesterday, Fox News host John Gibson callously mocked the death of actor Heath Ledger, calling him a “weirdo” with a “serious drug problem.”

Playing an audio clip of the iconic quote, “I wish I knew how to quit you” from Ledger’s gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, Gibson disdainfully quipped, “Well, he found out how to quit you.” Laughing, Gibson then played another clip from Brokeback Mountain in which Ledger said, “We’re dead,” followed by his own, mocking “We’re dead” before playing the clip again.

WTF, Harry Reid?!

(Updated below)

Listed among Senator Harry Reid's accomplishments is his boxing past when he was a young man. Well, it looks like any fight Reid had left in him remained in the boxing ring all those years ago because he has done nothing but capitulate and kowtow to the Republican minority since becoming Senate Majority "Leader."

The latest insult comes in the form of Reid's insistance that the current FISA bill up for consideration including telecom immunity of the illegal wiretapping that was done on the behalf of the Bush administration, be finished this week, and threatening that filibustering the bill would be a true filibuster. Not like when he licks the boots of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell whenever he threatens a 60 vote majority or filibuster to almost every single bill to which the Republicans are opposed. If that's the case, then Reid just whines and moans and gives in anyway.

Glenn Greenwald: That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year -- in order to dramatize their obstructionism -- but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration.

This bill more than any other in recent history puts the country at a Constitutional crossroads. If the telecom industries receive retroactive immunity for illegal eavesdropping at the behest of George W. Bush, it will destroy any chance of investigation and accountability of this corrupt White House and deny any US citizen their fourth amendment rights.

While on the Senate floor, Reid warned against filibustering the bill on the false argument that the current bill will expire on February 1st (there's no chance of the new bill passing so quickly) and due to scheduling, Congress is going to recess again and no one wants to miss their retreats.

Aww, poor Congressional leaders...

Hopefully Chris Dodd will ignore the warnings and come to the rescue again. We'll soon find out.
UPDATE (1/23): C&L - Sen. Chris Dodd is coming out to demand that the retroactive immunity be stripped from the FISA bill, no thanks to Harry Reid. It’s a little confusing, but from what I gather this is NOT the filibuster but will lead up to the filibuster tomorrow.

Meanwhile Reid stated that the true filibuster threat he made was directed at Republicans over a 60 vote majority, not to his Democratic allies, which seems unlikely. He probably received tons of emails and calls saying, "Senator Reid, with all dur respect, What The Fuck?!
UPDATE III (1/24): Kos - Dodd will filibuster if necessary - " If after debate, the Senate appears ready to pass legislation granting telecom providers retroactive immunity I will use any and all legislative tools at my disposal, including a filibuster, to prevent this deeply flawed bill from becoming law. More and more, Americans are rejecting the false choice that has come to define this administration: security or liberty, but never, ever both. For all those who have stood with me throughout this fight, I pledge, once more, to stand up for you."

T Minus 363 Days

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."

-Nashua, NH, January 2000

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thompson Is Done

So much news, so little time to blog. Fabulous Frederick of Hollywood has ended his bid for President of the United States. I suppose the rigors of the campaign trail interrupted his naps one too many times.
Its a good thing too. If he had actually won for some reason, I don't know how anyone would have understood his State of the Union addresses in Huttese.

Heath Ledger Dead at 28

NY TIMES: Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain” earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan with sleeping pills near his body, the police said.

... The chief police spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the police did not suspect foul play.

“There was no indication of a disturbance,” he said, adding that there were no signs that Mr. Ledger had been drinking. Nor were any illegal drugs found in the loft, which neighbors said Mr. Ledger had occupied for several months.

Police officials said that a bottle of prescription sleeping pills were found on a nearby night table, but that they did not know whether the pills had anything to do with Mr. Ledger’s death. Officers who checked the apartment found other prescription medications in the bathroom. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be conducted on Wednesday.

Mr. Browne said no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.

UPDATE (1/23 11:05am): An autopsy of the actor... was performed on Wednesday morning, but the results are inconclusive...
Additional blood and tissue testing needs to be performed before the manner and cause of death can be determined... the process could take 10 days to two weeks.

UPDATE II (1/24 8:45pm): Pretty in depth coverage of the Ledger story.

CNN Debate in South Carolina

Quick note. I just finished watching the debate in Myrtle Beach, SC. I thought I would like the freer form... and I did! But I must say that Wolf Blitzer is absolutely useless as a moderator. There was really no reason for him to be there except as emcee.

It was nice to hear the candidates get passionate and defend their policies and positions against the rhetoric that's been thrown around... I suppose Barack Obama did the best in that sense since most of the arrows were aimed at him regarding his "present" votes in the Illinois legislature and his recent quotes on the Republicans and Ronald Reagan.

Two questions were completely idiotic (paraphrasing): 1- Asking Obama if Clinton was the best black president we ever had and 2- asking if we should withdraw from Iraq or win. Who the hell submitted that question, LIEberman? McCain? Giuliani? Karl Rove?

And once again, just like MSNBC and ABC, CNN excluded Dennis Kucinich from the debate presumably on the opinion that he is not a viable candidate.

So help me God, if MSNBC or CNN or any other "news" organization carries the next Republican debate and INCLUDES Rudy Giuliani, after Mr. 9/11 has gotten trounced in every primary so far by almost every candidate including a continual ass kicking by Ron Paul, I'm going to stick an ice pick in my eye. Let's see how serious these supposed serious news organizations are when the time comes to pick who will debate then.

I predict as always, they will kowtow to the corporate demigods and all six, SIX!, remaining Republican candidates will be on the stage. And just like they did with Kucinich and Mike Gravel early on (when they were still included), they'll place Ron Paul on an end podium and have Ghouliani dead center. And why? To have a man with a vote count average 3% seem like he has any shot at actually winning this thing? Please.

Enough of the media deciding for us who the viable candidates are. One more lackluster finish for John Edwards, and I can see them excluding him from the next Dem debate as well.

Armadillo Joe: ...I fear that [Edwards] is suffering from a tacit conspiracy to exclude candidates who could actually shake-up a system (for better or worse) that works really well for the people who run it; Kucinich and Paul also come to mind. Edwards is just the most high-profile, successful and legitimate of the group.
Time will tell soon enough.

T Minus 364 Days

"Then I went for a run with the other dog and just walked. And I started thinking about a lot of things. I was able to - I can't remember what it was. Oh, the inaugural speech, started thinking through that."

-US News & World Report, January 22, 2001

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"
April 30, 1967, Riverside Church, New York

This seems to be an edited audio recording of the entire transcript. But on this day, take the time to listen to it. Substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam" and this speech rings as true today as it did over forty years ago.

It's a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war... is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.

...change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support and all the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us... the real enemy.

...I oppose the war... because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and

... I call on every man and woman of good will all over America today. I call on the young men of America who must make a choice today to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. The book may close. And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.

T Minus 365 Days

"One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end."

- Washington, DC, January 2003

Superbowl XLII: Patriots vs. Giants

Wow! What a shock to see the Giants make it to the Super Bowl.

Tynes’s 47-yard field goal 2 minutes 35 seconds into overtime gave the Giants a 23-20 victory in the National Football Conference championship game. The Giants will next head to Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., where they will be two-touchdown underdogs to the undefeated New England Patriots on Feb. 3.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette Dies at 70

LOS ANGELES (AP)Suzanne Pleshette, the husky-voiced star best known for her role as Bob Newhart's sardonic wife on television's long-running "The Bob Newhart Show," has died at age 70.

Pleshette, whose career included roles in such films as Hitchcock's "The Birds" and in Broadway plays including "The Miracle Worker," died of respiratory failure Saturday evening at her Los Angeles home, said her attorney Robert Finkelstein, also a family friend.
Pleshette underwent chemotherapy for lung cancer in 2006.