Monthly Archives: July 2008

You Could Have Been A Grown-Up, John

So I’m dumb and naive, and for a few minutes there, I honestly thought we were gonna have a really cool presidential campaign between two genuine adults, butnot so much:

John Weaver, for years one of John McCain’s closest friends and confidants, has been in exile since his resignation from McCain’s presidential campaign last year. With the exception of an occasional interview, he has, by his own account, bit his tongue as McCain’s campaign has adopted a strategy that Weaver believes “diminishes John McCain.”

With the release today of a McCain television ad blasting Obama for celebrity preening while gas prices rise, and a memo that accuses Obama of putting his own aggrandizement before the country, Weaver said he’s had “enough.”

The ad’s premise, he said, is “childish.”

“John’s been a celebrity ever since he was shot down,” Weaver said. “Whatever that means. And I recall Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush going overseas and all those waving American flags.”

Weaver remains in contact with senior McCain strategists and, for a while early this year, regularly talked to McCain.

The strategy of driving up Obama’s negatives “reduces McCain on the stage,” Weaver said.

“For McCain to win in such troubled times, he needs to begin telling the American people how he intends to lead us. That McCain exists. He can inspire the country to greatness.”

He added: “There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn’t at Obama’s. For McCain’s sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop.”

Via TPM.

My interest in John Weaver chiefly stems from McCain’s 2000 run, during which hegot his ass kicked by Karl Rove and the same ten-a-penny fascisti who went on to run our government for the next eight years. Technically, he’s right: it would be possible for McCain to live up to his own hype. It would be possible for him to be the guy he says he is, to stop sucking and lying and bitching and jerking around on the national stage, flailing from one line of attack to another like a brain-damaged pit bull. It’s kind of sad, in that looking at this from the outside, here’s a guy whocould be decent, whocould very easily just be the guy everybody already thinks he is, and justwon’t.

McCain would still lose, of course, but he wouldn’t lose the way he’s losing now, as a kind of Lesser Dick Cheney, angry and whiny and snarly and mean. He would still lose, but he wouldn’t lose the way he’s losing now, as the last gasp of a dying party, unable to offer America anything but “the other guy’s prettier than me. BOO!” I feel Weaver here, a bit: “What thefuck, dude?” It’s got to be hard to watch.


Ray Nagin and The Mystery of The List(s)

Watch this Video. Seriously. It’s laughable.

Contrary to what an angry Ray Nagin says I think WWL’s Lee Zurik knows what he is doing. Investigative Journalism. The Mayor’s problem seems to be Zurik isdoing it.

Last week WWL aired an investigative report on possible irregularities in the list of homes remediated by the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership or NOAH. Mayor Naginslammed WWL for their report claiming it was based on an old intake list.

“The list that counts is the list where we paid for services, and that list was provided to you,” he said.

This week, using that list, WWL airedanother report which raised even more questions.

When I read that piece I jokingly thought to myself maybe Nagin will say there is another list. Nah he couldn’t, it would be laughable. But as you can see from the video Nagin still claims WWL doesn’t have the right list. No wonder Zurik at one point said this is humorous.

E at We Could be Famous blog has more.Jeffrey at Libarary Chronicles has a transcript of the portion of the video where Zurik asks about the 4th highest paid contractor by NOAH, Nagin’s brother-in-law.

Shorter Family Research Council


Last year, Sen. Larry Craig made an unforgettable visit to the men’s restroom in Minneapolis, and now Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is poised to join him in the hall of shame with allegations that America’s longest-serving GOP senator took hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from oil executives.

As Republicans try to claw their way back to respectability before an election cycle that could plunge them even deeper into the congressional minority, they’re instead pushed back into the familiar role of damage control. The news of Stevens’ indictment can undo any progress the party has made in rebuilding voters’ trust. Instead of purging corruption, Stevens’ debacle may do even more damage to the Republican brand.

As for how the Freepi are taking the Stevens sitch:

I never liked this guy. I could tell that he was a greedy, corrupt scumbag.

Seven charges of making false statements.

Politicans are legally allowed to lie. This goes nowhere, but Stevens is 86 and deserves to retire and go on the Veterans’ Dinner talk circuit.

Newsflash: There are leftists crawling all over Justice. Bush didn’t do nearly enough to fumigate the place.

If not for RINOs there wouldn’t be enough Rs to fill a city bus.




“This is a typically superfluous response from Barack Obama. Like most
celebrities, he reacts to fair criticism with a mix of fussiness and
hysteria,” says McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, before trying to link
the attack back to offshore drilling

…these guys make me want tolink back to Katrina post this everyday til November…


Happy Obama Family

I keep thinking I’m going to run out of these, but the Internets are much more advanced in their provisions of political pr0n than they were four years ago.


Get Some

No that title is not a reference to Generation Kill. (though I would recommend reading Virgotex’s recent post atNewPack blog)

Rather it looks like Richard Perle, the Prince of Darkness, is looking toget in on an oil deal in Iraq

Four US soldiers charged with shooting detainees in Iraq

FromStars and Stripes:

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Four Germany-based soldiers charged with conspiracy to
commit premeditated murder in Iraq allegedly took male detainees to a canal and
shot them, according to details released by the Army on Tuesday.


The charges in Cunningham’s case, for example, specify: “Premeditated Murder
of male detainees of apparent Middle-Eastern descent whose names are unknown,
and in order to effect the object of the conspiracy … SSG Jess C. Cunningham and
members of his unit took the male detainees to a canal and members of his unit
did shoot the male detainees with firearms.”

In the specifications released Tuesday, the same wording is used for each of
the other three accused soldiers, with only the names changed.


“Preliminary findings indicate the deceased detainees were not persons
detained in a detention facility,” the Army’s January release read, indicating
the people were killed on the battlefield and not taken for processing at a
detention facility

Maybe it is what it is…

I don’t know whysomepeople can’t just leta-so-low-I-weep campaign ad art wash over them. I mean the meaning is obvious and logical and nothing more–Obama is a celebrity and that is Bad so McCain hates celebrity and as The Leader, he will do something about it. He may have already started…


Kate and Lance had a nice little romance going until this past weekendwhen

It was at the conference that Hudson and Armstrong decided to go their separate ways, a source tellsUs.

Andwho was at that conference?


My Friends it would be irresponsible not to speculate…did thepresumptuous John McCain break up Kate and Lance in his war on celebrity?

( seriously now…November can’t come soon enough)

Declare, or Shut the Fuck Up

Guess what, bigots?

You’re just going to have to say it now.

You don’t like the idea of two people being allowed the same civil protections guaranteed you and your wife/husband by our Constitution because Teh Buttsecks freaks you out. Yes, you’re exactly that absurd, and yes, you’re going to have to say that with a vote. You’re going to have to punch a card that says, “I don’t want somebody else to be protected under the law because I have a childish squick and a deeply unhealthy obsession about how other people live their lives.” You’re going to have to pick up your little pen-thing and poke a screen next to the answer that declares that you, Voter, are abigot. End of story. End of argument. End of credibility. End of this fiction that says you’re not really hateful, you’re not really mean, you’re not really what you really, really are. End of it all.

No more weaseling around, no more “well, I’d be fine with Teh Ghey if Rosie O’Donnell would just shut up,” no more “I like gay people fine so long as all they do is decorate my house and don’t shove things down my throat,” no more “why can’t they just leave me alone with their demands for equality and justice, huh, their stupid humanity is pissing me off.” No more.

You’re going to have to admit what you don’t want to admit, which is that you just don’t like gay people. And you’ve lived long enough in this new world of ours to know that bigotry, no matter how good your Republican buds over in the Malkin comments tell you it feels, is a really shitty thing. You know you’re not supposed to want to discriminate, but for the last dozen election cycles or so you’ve had all kinds of code language to hide behind, all kinds of “protect marriage” bullshit to make you feel like you’re not abad person, you’re not like some member of Klan or something, you just want to make our society anice place, like Pleasantville on acid, pretending it’s not about bigotry at all.

Hell, you’ve barely had to mention “gay” or “equal” or “same-sex” or “Constitution” at all as you march around like the Dolores Umbridge of American matrimony, enforcing sweetness and light with your tight little smiles and your euphemisms. You’ve been able to be encouraged to be the asshole that you’ve always wanted to be, because you haven’t had to bemean about it or anything. Well, guess fucking what? That’s done now, that fiction. That served nobody, not even you. And guess fucking what else? That twinge in the back of your throat that makes you uncomfortable with the “harsh language” of that amedment?

THAT’S YOUR GODDAMN CONSCIENCE. Sorry if the heat’s toasting the back of your neck a bit. Get used to it, though, because you’ve cut down all the trees, and there isn’t any shade to hide in anymore.


Happy Obama Photo: Crowded

But he lured them with free music! And puppies!And beer!


Scratch Your Head

WTFWJD about this?

Reader Hell Kat sends us today’s head-scratching moment.

It’s an abstinence thong.



That’s right. An abstinence thong. 

By way of reply to this affront to logic, I point you to theGospel of John, chapter eleven, verse thirty-five.


Sen. Ted Stevens Indicted…

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the
U.S. Senate and one of the chamber’s most powerful members, was
indicted Tuesday in Washington, a result of a year-long investigation
into corruption in Alaska politics.

Irena Sendler

About whom we postedhere, is honoredby Congress, who might take a lesson:

Whereas on May 12, 2008, Irena Sendler, a living example of social justice, died at the age of 98;

Whereas Irena Sendler repeatedly risked her own life to rescue over 2,500 Jewish children in Poland’s Warsaw ghetto from Nazi extermination during the Holocaust;

Whereas inspired by her father, a physician who spent his career treating poor Jewish patients, Irena Sendler dedicated her life to others;

Whereas Irena Sendler became an early activist at the start of World War II, heading the clandestine group Zegota and driving an underground movement that provided safe passage for Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, who were facing disease, execution, or deportation to concentration camps;

Whereas Irena Sendler became one of Zegota’s most successful workers, taking charge of the children’s division and using her senior position with the city’s welfare department to gain access to and from the ghetto and build a network of allies to help ferry Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto;

Whereas Irena Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo on October 20, 1943, tortured, and sentenced to death by firing squad;

Whereas Irena Sendler never revealed details of her contacts, escaped from Pawiak prison, and continued her invaluable work with Zegota;

Whereas in 1965, Irena Sendler was recognized as `Righteous Among the Nations’ by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel;

Whereas in 2006, Irena Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize;

Whereas Irena Sendler was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest civilian decoration;

Whereas Irena Sendler’s life has been chronicled in the documentary film, `Tzedek: The Righteous’ and `Life in a Jar’, a play about her rescue efforts;

Whereas Irena Sendler, a woman who risked everything for the lives of others and whose bravery is unimaginable to many of us, expressed guilt for not being able to do more for the Jewish people; and

Whereas Americans, as well as the world community, are reminded not only of the horrible cruelty at the time of the Holocaust, but also the incredible difference one person can make by knowing Irena Sendler’s story.


The Commissioner Gordon Movie

Post contains spoilers. Scroll on by if you’ve been hiding under a rock and don’t want to know anything.

The love for Heath Ledger in the new Batman movie doesn’t surprise me. That you can tell, just by looking at the line of criminals in the opening scenes, which one he is just from the way he carries himself, just from the set of his shoulders … it’s remarkable, he’s remarkable, you’ve all heard it.

It’s usually the tertiary characters who wind up making a show or a film or a book or a whatever for me, somebody whose story isn’t all the way there, somebody who I can see a way in with. With Batman Begins, it was Alfred, so quiet and devastated, and Gordon, who worked, head down, and was decent because decency was what he had decided to do. When it’s three weeks later and it only then occurs to me that it wasGary Freaking Oldman as Gordon, I mean like I sat up one night while Mr. A and I were watching TV and said, out of nowhere, “Dracula?” and it scared him a little, you know an actor’s done his job. I was, if at all possible, more excited about seeing Gordon become commissioner in this sequel than I was about seeing if Christian Bale would oblige us and take his shirt off and do push-ups some more.

So I’m pleased to see Gary Oldman getting some love in amongst all the OMG HEATH flying around the Internets:

This is not your father’s Gary Oldman, the actor who built his reputation on such characters as the prince of punk-rock anarchy, Sid Vicious, presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald or Dracula himself.

In fact, Oldman has kind of become your father – a pillar of paternalism, a symbol of saintliness. The man you want covering your back, rather than the one you would never turn your back on.

With his second turn as Batman ally Gordon in “The Dark Knight,” Oldman, 50, feels as though he has finally broken ranks with the bad boys and put to rest his typecasting as a go-to guy when filmmakers needed a villain.

“No, I don’t hear it anymore. I mean look, Rolling Stone said, ‘Oldman is so skilled he makes virtue look exciting,’ ” Oldman said in an interview with The Associated Press, quoting the magazine’s review of “The Dark Knight” from memory. “You know what? That’s the best review I’ve ever had. . . . I’ll put that on my tombstone. ‘Makes virtue look exciting.’ That’s pretty good.

“In the past, I’ve had my share of good reviews, but it’s always the crazy, scary, weirdo guy. I don’t even know how it happened. Look at me. I mean, when I’m naked, I look like a bald chicken. How did I get to be a scary bad guy?”


For The Love of Steve

In much the same way that we don’t need the Internet to kill journalism so long as CEOs keep robbing their companies blind, we really don’t need political bias to ruin newspapers so long as we have the utter dumbassedness best demonstratedhere.

Stories like that make me grateful for the many afternoons spent deciphering Ron Fournier’s various fuckups in campaign coverage, because at least … it’s campaign coverage.



Chew on this today:

BEREA, Ky. — Berea College, founded 150 years ago to educate freed slaves and “poor white mountaineers,” accepts only applicants from low-income families, and it charges no tuition.

“You can literally come to Berea with nothing but what you can carry, and graduate debt free,” said Joseph P. Bagnoli Jr., the associate provost for enrollment management. “We call it the best education money can’t buy.”

Actually, what buys that education is Berea’s $1.1 billion endowment, which puts the college among the nation’s wealthiest. But unlike most well-endowed colleges, Berea has no football team, coed dorms, hot tubs or climbing walls. Instead, it has a no-frills budget, with food from the college farm, handmade furniture from the college crafts workshops, and 10-hour-a-week campus jobs for every student.

Berea’s approach provides an unusual perspective on the growing debate over whether the wealthiest universities are doing enough for the public good to warrant their tax exemption, or simply hoarding money to serve an elite few. As many elite universities scramble to recruit more low-income students, Berea’s no-tuition model has attracted increasing attention.

This interests me mostly because I’ve seen my own great state university suckle ever more enthusiastically at the corporate teat in the last 40 years as backwards-ass lawmakers starve it for public funding on the basis that education makes y’all liberal, and some prof somewhere said something mean about the flag, and fuck ’em, basically, we’ve got banks to run. There was a part of me that couldn’t exactly blame an educational institution for finding funds where it could get them, and if the public won’t support a public university, well, then fuck it, we’ll take what we’ve got even if what we’ve got is money to endow a chair in I Love Theory that’ll go unfilled while scholarship funds languish.

But this place turns that whole equation on its head. You can have my Badger hockey team when you pry it from my cold dead fingers, there’s a place for the glory and grace of human sport, but if that’s one end of the spectrum where what we spend on merchandise could curedeath, we need to know where the other one is, and this looks like a really good example of it.



Today on Athenae’s Obsession with the Freepi

You just knew the threads about the Knoxville shooting were gonna be winners:

This is a symptom of a culture that feels free to spew venomous hatred and bigotry against people of faith. There is no doubt we will begin to see more of this.


A bright spot in the bad news is that America is remembering how to fight back!

Thank God you’re able to find the silver lining. I’m so pleased Knoxville could take time out of its busy schedule to brighten your day.

What place does “Annie” have in a worship service. I’d have probably shot up the place too.

Quick! Go kern some stuff and find out if any of the dead deserved it!

“Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.”

In other words, a NEW AGE church.

What do you expect? God is NOT in the center of this church. Human beings are.

Well, if it’s allexpected and shit, I guess the dead are that much less so!

On Page Two, we get some people talking sense:

Do we have to drag politics into this?

Regardless of what you think of the faith and its tenets, the fact that a gunman attacked a bunch of parishioners practicing for a children’s play is a shocking tragedy.

Another Freeper wants to SEE your gun, if you really do have one:

Why are you sitting safely in front of your monitor? You (and all the keyboard Dirty Harry’s) should be out there, ready to draw down on the next shooter, who is getting ready, right now.

They’re quickly shouted down. Once these human cooties learn the shooter had a hard-on about liberals and gays, though, they start to worry:

Blames Liberals, ex-military, attacked a Unitarian Church, killed a heroic church officer, AND he’s alive to talk. Definitely a “worst case scenario” for conservatives and gun-owners (i.e. us).

Your selflessness is so moving.


Book Reading in New York July 23

And the book tour continues on to the East Coast!

On July 23 I’ll be reading/signing at an event with theBig Apple Badgers in Manhattan. Come out and say hello. Bring your book. Bring friends! Details:

When:Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 7 p.m.

Where: Mad River Grille
1442 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10028
Second Floor Party Room