Monthly Archives: July 2009

Naming Rights

By far my favorite suggestion inthis thread about Arizona basically having to panhandle, like, as astate, is the one about selling the naming rights. I don’t think they should sell the naming rights to the state buildings, though. I think you kick in enough cash to get millions through a budget crunch, you should get to rename the STATE.

I could become a resident of Chicago, Tostitos (TS) or Chicago, Bank of America (BOA).

A.

It Will Never Be Enough

Never:

Sullivandigs in:

I
want Obama to instruct the Hawaii officials to release the official
original document they say they have in their hands. Why not?

Release
it to who? Release it where? Could Glenn Beck and Geraldo Rivera have a
live primetime special with the birth certificate? Or should we mat it
on a nice American flag background and display it in the Capitol
Rotunda? Or maybe a train tour of major cities, and people could pay
$5.00 to view it. Or, we could spend 100 million dollars of the
stimulus money and mail everyone a color photograph. Or maybeACORN could just tack xerox copies on to telephone poles around the country.

You cannot convince wingnuts of anything. You could build a time machine and take a camcorder back into the delivery room and watch Obama actually being born and look out the window and see palm trees and wingnuts would just claim the date stamp was faked and anyway, we all know time machines can be faulty and maybe the kerning was just off.

You can’t convince them of anything because they’re not in this to be convinced. They’re in this to drive Obama out of office and that’s their goal. Anything less than that, no matter what evidence you provide, will not be enough to get them to sit down, take off the tinfoil, and have a beer already.

A.

Three Reporters

The Internet continues itsslaughter of serious journalism about serious things:

New York Times reportersHelene Cooper, Peter Baker andJeff Zeleny
live-blogged the so-called beer summit of President Obama, Professor
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the officer who arrested him in Cambridge
nearly two weeks ago, Sgt. James Crowley.

It took three of them to “live-blog” the “beer summit.” I mean, I’m sorry, but Puck and Willie B could have handled that assignment admirably and Puck just right now ran headfirst into a table leg, so.

A.

Friday Ferretblogging

The National Zoo’s ferretcam, guys. Baby black-footed ferrets and their mamas. I hereby apologize to all y’all’s bosses because you’re going to get nothing done for the rest of the day.

(Scroll down and click on the image of the nesting box to start the cam going.)

A.

I’m Rooting For Cannot Name Anyone

Gallup polls Republikkkan voters on their choice of a running mate for John McCain:

Cannot Name Anyone 31%
Other 21%
Mike Huckabee 18%
Mitt Romney 15%
Condoleeza Rice 8%
No Opinion 5%
Fred Thompson 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Rudy Giuliani 2%
Charlie Crist 2%
Joe Lieberman 2%
Colin Powell 1%
John Edwards 1%
Tim Pawlenty 1%
Newt Gingrich 1%
Bill Richardson 1%

Chicago Reader: It’s the Internet

That forced us to fire four of our best journalists:

Laying off these staff writers, which editor Alison True did at the beginning of this week, was surely one of the hardest acts of her life and certainly a low point in the history of this newspaper. “Over the years,” True said Thursday in a message to the staff, ” John, Harold, Tori, and Steve have produced some of our most important and exciting stories. Their achievements have included brilliant investigative work, prestigious awards, and possibly most important, spurring social change in a city that always needs it. . . . I can’t emphasize enough that this action in no way reflects a judgment on the value of the work of these particular writers, and in fact it’s my fervent hope that they’ll continue to work with us on a contractual basis.”

They’re gone because the Reader couldn’t afford to go on paying them their salaries — “As you might guess, this move represents a shift in the financial structure of our relationship with contributors,” True wrote. They’re gone because a few years ago Craigslist moved in on our classifieds section — and classifieds represented a huge portion of our income. They’re gone because the old Section One — the editorial section — was for decades the tail that wagged the dog here, and when revenues fell it became impossible to continue to allocate the same funds to it.

But the Reader’s readers see through the crap:

“They’re gone because a few years ago Craigslist moved in on our classifieds section”? I’m semi-sympathetic and a fan…but also a realist. The statement could well have read: “They’re gone because after Craigslist moved in on our classifieds section, we dithered and hoped that this emerging new business model would just go away.”


There were no other options than laying off four of their best writers – reporters who, said True “have produced some of our most important and exciting stories”? What about True cutting the entire staff’s salary, including her own, to help make Eason’s new budget?

Until the highest-paid news “executive” earns no more than his lowest-paid reporter, I don’t want to hear another word of their woe-is-me mouthing about “we had no other choice.” There are ALWAYS other choices. Sack up and just admit, “We had no other choice that I really felt like making.” At least then I’ll grant you the respect honesty is due.

A.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Wait A Minute, I ThoughtDana Peroxide Didn’t Believe I Evolution

Q Can I ask about Pakistan? Benazir Bhutto has said today that she won’t participate in a government with Musharraf, and that her party may consider dropping out of the elections if they’re held. The situation keeps sort of getting worse. What is — how are you guys looking at this? How do you see it? Do you see it as getting worse?

MS. PERINO: I would describe it as evolving and changing over — almost every hour, there seems to be a different development. And the call by President Musharraf to — that he would have free and fair elections was a positive one because it clarified for the Pakistani people that that would take place. But we remain concerned that the emergency order is still in place, and if confirmed by the supreme court to be President, then President Musharraf should be quick to take off his uniform, as he said he would do. We are hopeful that moderate elements can join together to have increased dialogue as they work through this political situation.

Situational Interest

Q At what point do you all have to make the calculation that the concerns about fighting terrorism in Pakistan — obviously real ones — but you have to make the calculation that those concerns — expressing such sort of mild condemnation of what’s happening there becomes — makes you all vulnerable to just being situational, having situational interest in democracy and situational interest in human rights? I mean, all of his promises come with a caveat that’s unacceptable to the White House.

MS. PERINO: And that’s why we are having to urge strongly President Musharraf to get back on the path to the constitution. And the other political parties that — in Pakistan should all be working towards that goal together. And we — it is not a tidy situation and something that we are continuing to monitor very closely, to be engaged in. And as I said, Deputy Secretary Negroponte will be traveling to the region later this week.

Revealing The True Cost Of Chimpy’s Vanity War = Politics

Q Do you have any reaction to the new report — it was in the Post — about the war cost $20,000 so far for American families, and $1.5 trillion more —

MS. PERINO: I haven’t seen the report, but it’s obvious the motivations behind it. This report was put out by Democrats on Capitol Hill. This committee is known for being partisan and political. They did not consult or cooperate with the Republicans on the committee. And so I think it is an attempt to muddy the waters on what has been some positive developments being reported out of Iraq.

Happy Democrat Photo: Kicking Ass Edition

With the CHAIR:

Key lawmakers, backed by party leaders, are drafting legislation that would effectively revoke the broad authority granted to the president in the days
Saddam Hussein was in power, and leave U.S. troops with a limited mission as they prepare to withdraw.

Officials said Thursday the precise wording of the measure remains unsettled. One version would restrict American troops in Iraq to fighting al-Qaida, training Iraqi army and police forces, maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity and otherwise proceeding with the withdrawal of combat forces.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., intends to present the proposal to fellow Democrats next week, and he is expected to try to add the measure to anti-terrorism legislation scheduled to be debated later this month. Officials who described the strategy spoke only on condition of anonymity, noting that rank-and-file senators had not yet been briefed on the details.

Democrats were talking about this from November on outward, and probably even before except nobody was paying attention because we had Macaca Allen and whichever pinhead Jon Tester ran against to talk about. (Man, that was fun. Remember that? Hee.)

It’s smart strategy. It forces people once and for all to put their votes where their speeches are, to live up to all their “wah, I was lied to” and “wah, I was misled” and “wah, it was a mistake and I was craven and awful and akseereded of Fux News and quite the puss was I.” And the fact that they did it after trying it the Republicans’ way, after trying to get Bush to pay attention to the ISG and trying to get a nonbinding resolution passed and trying to play nice, just shows how smart they actually are.

Because when hack Republicans come back with, “Wah, support our golden calf preznit, wah, you’re OMG MEEN!11!” somebody, preferably Nancy because I like imagining this said in her voice, can say:

“Listen, we tried to work with you. We tried to have bipartisan meetings but you all blew us off, we tried to get the adults involved but that shaved chimp you worship wouldn’t listen, we tried to give you gentle advice. All the while more soldiers died, you waved your little flags, and your kids went to Harvard instead of Sadr City, and you talked about sacrifice while the wounded recover in squalor and you cover yourself in their reflected glory.

“We’re done with this now. We’re done pretending you deserve anything but the harshest condemnation, the most severe measures of accountability. We’re done pretending you’re people to respect, people to listen to, people whose viewpoints we should consider. We’re done pretending you deserve anything but orange jumpsuits and the scorn of history. Wer’e done pretending you’re anything but a cautionary tale, a campfire story to terrify children. America is done with your war, and it’s done with you. We did what you wanted us to do there. That you screwed up the aftermath and can’t unscrew it is not something for which other Americans deserve to die.

“They’re coming home. And when they do, I hope they come right to your offices, and I hope they demand the answers you couldn’t give us. I hope they demand the apologies you’ve never been men enough to make. Because from this day forward, as far as we’re concerned, if you’re not apologizing, you’re not talking, and we’re not listening. Not anymore.”

A.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Pony Blow openstoday’s gaggle by cracking on John Bolton.

Q John Bolton is up on the Hill, and he just said that the agreement — firstly, that he’s not a fan of the agreement, and that the North will be re-writing it every day it’s in existence, it’s a fantasy, it’s rewarding the North and sending a horrible message to the world about the U.S.’ stand on weapons of mass destruction.

MR. SNOW: Well, we stood by John Bolton in his time at the United Nations, including when he advocated the six-party agreement — the September 2005 agreement that, in fact, has been enacted today. One of the things that John Bolton did note is that there are carrots and sticks in the agreement, and as he said in October of ’06, which was just a few months ago, the carrots have been there, in a sense, for North Korea of the possibility of ending its isolation, ending the terrible impoverishment of its people. It’s the leadership that can’t seem to find the carrots that are out there. We think that the leadership has begun to find the carrots. We’re going to discover in due course whether they, in fact, are going to fulfill their part of the agreement. However, as we’ve already said up here, it is a trust-but-verify situation. This is not something where we are simply going to give things to the North Koreans on a timeline. This is all conditioned on their behavior.

Q In what way is this not rewarding the North for bad behavior?

MR. SNOW: Mainly because what we have said all along is, you guys have got to come back to the table without preconditions and, furthermore, you’ll have to agree to get rid of the nuclear program.

Obsession continues…

Continue reading

The Gulf

‘The country is so barbarously large and final. It is too much country . . . alternatively drab and dazzling . . . so wrongfully muddled and various that it is difficult to conceive of it as all of a piece.’ ***

I was looking at amap last night.

A satellite version of the hurricane map, showing the geology of the continent. The mountains and plains and rivers, the canyon shelves hidden by the Gulf’s surface, right underneath where that storm is sitting out there. It’s strange to contemplate something like a hurricane in relation to the immovable mass of the earth. It’s only another storm, the last of hundreds, thousands even. I’ve hung out with geologists, and they have an interesting perspective on things. Storms, wars, politics, human history, climate change? They acknowledge that stuff, they take it seriously, don’t get me wrong, but in general, I’d say they have an easier time “taking the long view” than most of us. The land, the rock of it, the continent is old and huge and worn down, and it’s going to outlast us all. 

But we, this country, this idea of an “us,” connected by blood, by heart, by ideals or just plain logistics, family to family, kinships and affiliations and cultures, over time and distance, this big sprawling living map of genetics, willpower, culture and circumstance, this “we the people?” We are such a very, very young place, and I think we forget that.

I found a ring in a box last night. 

I still have a few boxes I just never seem to get to the bottom of. Three or four of them, the ones marked FAMILY. Family stuff, my own family, the one my ex tossed me out of, and my larger family. My family of origin. That term, family of origin, it speaks to me. More as a writer than a family type person, though. There’s a lot of ambiguity in those words, and there’s a lot of distance, in every sense of the word, between my family members.

So this ring. It’s a wedding ring, a gold band, and I do not have a clue whose it was. The size tells me it was likely a woman. know it wasn’t my mother’s, or her mother’s. Whoever it was, she had small fingers, smaller than mine. Her ring fits my pinkie, and it’s there now. There are any number of aunts and great aunts it might have belonged to. If it’s any of the ones I knew, I imagine they’d be surprised to find I was the one that ended up with their wedding ring.  

Ironically enough, while my clan has never been adept at the family thing, there were a few of them, my parents included, that were obsessed with our family origins. My European ancestors got here a long time ago, and my native forebearers, of course, were already here by then. Nobody ever seems to have gotten very rich or powerful but they were on hand for a lot of history. I wonder what they would make of us now. I wonder if they did what they did with the future in mind, or whether they were just poor slobs slugging away trying to get by, like most of us. Maybe a little of both. Would they be disappointed with us, the children of the children of their children? With this country we built, the one we’ll leave for those who come after us?

I think most of us have more than one family of origin, communities, cultures, maybe just friends, that helped form us every bit as much those who contributed to our genetic structure. And those families–our radical ancestors, our suffragettes, our queer-shouldered poet peaceniks, those ancestors who stand in line behind all of us dirty fucking hippies and handed down this spirit, or hope, or vision or whatever it is we all share now — what would they think of where we are? What would they want us to do in these next few months?

Ancestors, Edith Frost

***Opening lines of Billy Lee Brammer’sThe Gay Place, one of the best books about politics ever written.

Friday Cat Blogging

This is from an email I received that I think is making the rounds but it’s Friday and it made me laugh so…

Excerpts from a Dog’s diary

Dog…

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite
thing!
12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My
favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat’s Daily Diary :

Cat…

Day 683 of my captivity:
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little
dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other
inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I
make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of
escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the floor.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless
body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their
hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little
hunter” I am. The audacity!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices
tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of
the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food.
I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to
assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was
walking. I must try this again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are
flunkies and snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded!

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell,
so he is safe… for now…

Teddy_in_pillow

Progress!

Smell it.

“The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working,” said Alastair Campbell, the outgoing defense attache at the British Embassy in Baghdad May 20. According to Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, Campbell also disclosed that U.S. commanders had decided that the criteria for “success” would be only a reduction in violence to the level prior to last year’s bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra. That means 800 dead Iraqis a month – a figure that the Telegraph admits “few would regard as anything remotely approaching peace.”

Serious Business

Political distractions just happen all on their own, with no help at all from the press:

A dispute over their behavior when Crowley investigated a potential burglary at Gates’ house exploded into a national debate onracial profiling, fueled further when Obama said the police “acted stupidly.”

The episode has come at a political cost for the president, stealing attention from his agenda and drawing negative public reviews on how he handled the matter.

Stealing attention from his agenda. All by itself. You know, I’m not ignorant of the fact that Obama jumped into this on purpose, but what drives me wild is this political reporting that assumes that media “firestorms” simply “break out” and “distractions” appear out of nowhere fueled by absolutely nothing. It’s not like the nonstop cacophony of the Republican noise machine and the willingness of political opportunists to glom onto this in order to hawk their books on TV had anything to do with it. It’s not that editors and producers made editorial decisions to focus on this at the expense of the health care overhaul, it’s that it just became a distraction, all on its own. Amazing how that happens.

Obama, Gates and Crowley are expected to have their beers at a table near the Rose Garden. Gibbs said they will make no statements in the presence of the media. Reporters, photographers and video crews will be kept out of earshot. The wholepublic exposure may last less than a minute.

It should be just in time to get positive pictures of the men on the nightly network newscasts.

OH SNAP. You really got him there.

A.

The Best Health Care in the World

Keep in mind that I have the best insurance possible in our system, a fact for which I am grateful every single day. This is a conversation that took place in my doctor’s office at 6:15 this morning:

“You have a balance here of X dollars.”

“I sent in a check for that. You sent the bill to my house.”

“Do you have a copy of it?”

“The check?”

“The bill.”

“No. I don’t generally drag my household files around in my purse.”

“Do you know when you sent the check in?”

“Not off the top of my head.”

“Do you have your checkbook with you?”

“No.”

*puzzled look*

“I didn’t think I needed it.”

“Would you like to pay the balance now?”

“I sent a check in so that I wouldn’t have to pay it here.”

“Yes, but we’re not showing we received it, so …”

“So I should pay the same bill twice and trust you to mark it as a credit when the check does finally show up?”

“Well …”

“I know this isn’t your fault and I don’t mean to be bitchy, but: Last month I paid the balance here and then got a bill in the mail, so this month I paid the bill in the mail and now I have a balance here. Something is clearly not working right and I don’t know what it is, and quite frankly I doubt I could solve it if I did. It sounds like the computer that sends out your bills and the computer that prints out the bills that you give me when I show up here need to maybe go to counseling or something. Whatever. The point is that as usual by this point in the paycheck waiting period, I won’t have any money to give you until I get paid on Friday. On Friday, you will get your money if it doesn’t arrive by then. Now that I’ve had to explain that in front of an entire office full of people presumably judging me as a cheapskate or at least as a pain in the ass, can you understand why I’d prefer you just send the bills to my house and I’ll pay them there without the scrutiny of a dozen strangers and you looking at me like I’m a very naughty child doing this on purpose to make your life difficult?”

“Yes.”

“Cool. Can you do the blood draw from my hand? The bruises don’t show as easily there. Last month when you kept using my arm my co-workers suspected me of IV drug use.”

A.

It’s a Family Affair

From2Millionth Web Log

Diaper Dave insists he is the embodiment of“core conservative values,” not “wishy washy moderates” like (R-OH) George Voinovich.

Just as an aside, Vitter has a very weird public image. His communication “style,” is a cross between robot and dullard, although I get the feeling this is to hide a tempermental and arrogant persona…anyway…

More of this, please:
Louisiana Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Franck e-mailed us a fun comment. “Last time I checked, you don’t find core Southern values in the places David Vitter has been found,” said Franck. “If David Vitter can lead his party back to their conservative values, maybe Larry Craig can give them tips on bathroom etiquette and Mark Sanford can recommend a really good restaurant in Buenos Aires.

I wish more Democratic party leaders and spokespersons would make statements like Franck.

And…looks like next year’s Senate race down here isheating up inmore ways than one.

Roger Simon, Tool of the Century

Via reader LW, herecomes Roger Simon, trying to be funny and I’m sure very edgy and “non-PC” in a way:

Here are “The 21 Things You Cannot Say to the President after a News Conference”:

1. Hey, we hear the Golf Channel is going to carry it next time. Well, actually, only the Golf Channel is going to carry it next time.

2. Don’t worry. We’ll get ’em next year.

3. Professor Gates called. He can’t find his house keys.

4. You want to take a mulligan on this one?

5. We did try to plant a question about Bo, but nobody would go for it.

6. Saying, “I don’t know all the facts . . . but the police acted stupidly” is a little like saying, “I don’t know if there are weapons of mass destruction . . . but let’s invade Iraq anyway.”

Because what you totally want to do in a cheap column about stuff Jay Leno passed on because it was oldsauce is make cracks about how getting thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead is JUST LIKE pissing off a couple of racist fuckwads in Boston. It’s totally the same thing. I see the connection, don’t you?

ASSHOLE.

A.

It’s the Ownership, Stupid

Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Kammer, in an interview with John Temple:

The closing of Copley’s DC bureau
(which at the end was the bureau of Copley’s flagship paper, the San
Diego Union-Tribune) means that San Diego has no eyes to concentrate on
its congressional delegation in DC. It means the paper would have
missed the Cunningham scandal had it developed a few years later. But
there are some fine reporters and editors who remain in San Diego after
the brutal downsizing. I’m pulling for them. I’m also pulling for my
old colleagues at the Arizona Republic. We had a great I-team there,
back in what we Old Timers will always think of as a golden era, when
we had a sense of mission and the money to carry it out. But that era
started to fade well before the recession, craigslist and the
Internet-writ-large began tossing neutron bombs into the newsroom. When
Gannett bought the paper, they turned Arizona into a colony. As history
shows, the purpose of a colony is not to provide for the well-being of
the natives; it is to generate profits for the home country, which in
this case was Gannett corporate headquarters. In the relentless pursuit
of a greater return on investment, they siphoned off resources that had
previously been spent on reporting, on making the paper the ARIZONA
Republic and not just the Metro Phoenix News You Can Use If It Doesn’t
Piss Off the Real Estate Industrial Complex. (Thanks for that name to
Jon Talton, the tremendously talented columnist let go by Gannett
because he kept on pissing off the REIC). The staff suffered layoff
after layoff, and the quality of the paper declined in tandem.

There’s nothing stopping newspapers from being great except newspaper owners.

Via Romenesko.

A.

Sorry, Minnesota

You cannot HAZ a Favre:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) —Brett Favre has handed theMinnesota Vikings one more loss.

The 39-year-old Favre called Vikings coach Brad Childress on Tuesday to
tell the coach he won’t be coming out of retirement to play for
Minnesota.

A.