Saturday, July 07, 2007

Heh. I Hate It When I'm Right

Yesterday, I made a rather disputatious claim over a news item that has been heralded as a "See? I told you so" moment, to-wit:
12) Men talk as much as women? This study is deeply flawed. They used college kids, which is a little like asking someone on cocaine to do a sleep study. Better they should have asked married men, who have learned to shut up if they want to have sex.
Never trust a scientist when you have me around, folks...

Today comes this little item from the University of Iowa:
NEW YORK, July 6 (Reuters Life!) - Men might still dominate most workplaces but a study has proven what many happy couples know -- the wife runs the roost at home and the husband is happy to let her.

A team of researchers from Iowa State University studied 72 couples and found that the wife's view on how to solve problems within the marriage or the home took precedence over the husband's opinion and he was happy to accept that.

"The women were communicating more powerful messages and men were responding to those messages by agreeing or giving in," Associate Professor of Psychology David Vogel, one of the leaders of the study, said in a statement.
In other words, the men were, um, shutting up because they wanted to have sex. *Ahem*

What's particularly gloating in this little iconoclast's demeanor today is the fact that any number of female conservative bloggers were dumb enough to swallow the original story whole, as if, *poof* somehow at 20, a boy becomes a man, and wringing their hands with glee. (Don't follow the link unless you're really in need of a laugh)

If they fucked this obviously flawed story up, is it any wonder they could swallow bigger fish stories that they were fed at the zippers of their patriarchs, like somehow, Iraq had anything to do with 9/11?

I will admit and give credit, of course, that the interactions of conservative women tend to be around conservative males, and that conservative males tend to be, well, less manly and more womanly, and then, too, there's the whole thing on the right about women being "seen and not heard" to be dealt with, but still, it's OK to hold two divergent thoughts in your head at the same time, ladies, and realize that maybe your personal experience is not how the world itself works.

For me, I've learned across the span of my life, from my mom and my sister to any number of partners, right down to my daughter, that on the whole, women are smarter and savvier than men, so I shut up and listen to them.

Because, you see, I am a man.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Music Blogging

In Honor Of Live Earth tomorrow....
David Bowie & Mick Jagger - Dancin' In The Streets

This was originally released as a special video for Live Aid in 1985.

Friday Kitten Blogging

Hm. Mr. Doggity's kid may be right. ThumbPer may not be a kitten anymore...
Last September

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) The uproar over 7/7/07 and being lucky seems a little silly to me. After all, one year, one month and one day ago, nothing evil happened, yet it was 6/6/6.

2) To give you an idea of just how bad the heatwave in California has been, over the last twelve months, Southern California has received less than one third the rainfall the Sahara Desert receives in a year.

3) Not entirely sure why you'd want to do this, but...AT&T can't be too pleased with it.

4) If you live in one of these towns, consider yourself extremely lucky. Also expect to be inundated with tourists. Welcome to the party, pal!

5) Apparently, even Congressional Republicans can't shut down Al Gore.

6) George Bush accusing Hillary Clinton of hypocrisy is like Satan accusing Job of impatience.

7) Speaking of the Libby commutation, I have yet to hear one responsible voice on the right wing of this country speak out against the hypocrisy of commuting a sentence for a convicted felon.

8) Ah, a good old fashioned Washington sex scandal will deepen. Remember when sex scandals were the obsession for years in DC? How quaint!

9) Speaking of which...she got money for sex? In DC? Pickings must be slim...

10) I may have to move to Belgium...

11) To quote Jon Lovitz' character..."ACTINNNNNNNNNNNG!

12) Men talk as much as women? This study is deeply flawed. They used college kids, which is a little like asking someone on cocaine to do a sleep study. Better they should have asked married men, who have learned to shut up if they want to have sex.

13) Barry Bonds will soon surpass Hank Aaron's career home run record, to go along with his single season mark. Much has been made of steroid use in sport. I'd like to add a couple of observations. First, if you're stupid enough to risk your life (and Chris Benoit stands as Exhibit A in this) for the pursuit of some silly record that will mean nothing in less than a hundred years (what WOULD be the extent of your lifetime), then I'm all for it. But don't come whining to America in ten years about your testicles falling off, or your man boobs. Second, Congress has no business spending hard earned tax payer money investigating this scandal. Period. Americans know what they're getting, no one is getting hurt except the athletes, who presumably know the risks going in, whether they take steroids or not, and those who interact directly with them, who also have a choice to opt out. Better you should impeach the motherfucker in the White House than spend a dime more grandstanding.

14) World's Funniest Obituary. You get the feeling the reporter got the clap from this guy. (h/t Agitprop)

15) Finally, courtesy of MissCellania, I have this for your entertainment:
Click on the image for full scale

Thursday, July 05, 2007

They Need A Study For This?

There seems to me to be an exceedingly simple answer to this admittedly trivial question:
The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a bill to establish a nonprofit public-private corporation to promote the United States as a tourist destination and clear up misperceptions about U.S. travel policies. It also would create a new office in the Commerce Department to work with other agencies on fixing visa policies and entry processes that discourage visits.

Visits to the United States from countries outside of Canada and Mexico totaled 21.7 million in 2006, down 17 percent from a peak of 26 million in 2000, according to Commerce Department figures. In the same period, cross-border travel around the world was up 20 percent.

"The global pie of international travel is steadily increasing, while the U.S. share has been slowly decreasing," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association.

Visits from the six countries that provide the most tourists -- Britain, Japan, Germany, France, South Korea and Australia -- have dropped 15 percent since 2000 while travel from those six to other countries was up a robust 39 percent. There were 4.2 million arrivals from Britain, last year, down 11 percent from 2000, and 3.7 million visits from Japan, down 27 percent.
Now, a 17% drop in tourism overall may not sound like much, especially if you live in Bugtussle, Alabama, but to cities like, say, New York or Washington, it's pretty significant. New York's economy was driven by tourism these past six years since September 11, and on the face of things (particularly when it came to elbowing through crowds of gawking foreigners), the city was thriving on it. What makes this odd little statistic loom so large is, given the abject weakness of the American dollar against other currencies, we ought to be a leading destination for travellers, who like a bargain as much as the next guy.

I, of course, as a candidate for NotPresident in 2008, have both the problem figured out and a solution:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

1776 - Signing the Declaration

"Comedy" in the old Greek sense of an uplifting ending.


As I pondered what to write for today, July 4, the celebration of our independence from England, I was struck by a subtle-yet-recurring theme of my blog over the past year: the distracted citizenry.

We each of us goes about our lives, trying to get one more day behind us: work, school, family. Hobbies. Sports. Television. The latest celebrity sightings. And yes, for a small percentage of us, politics.

Some few of us are activist, and by "activist," I mean anything from writing a letter to a Congressman up to helping a politician run for office. I despair when I think that, even at political blogs, even among those who write and rant and front a facade of caring and criticism, that percentage that take the next step and even just write a letter to the editor is tiny, a single digit percentage.

That despair deepens when I realize that the population as a whole doesn't even bother to read a political blog (right wing or left, doesn't matter). If, say, Crooks and Liars gets a half-million hits in a day, what's that compared to a population of 300 million people?

We who read these blogs, we obviously care, even if the percentage of people who voice that caring is so small (by my Sitemeter, I get about a five percent commenting rate versus the number of visitors I have in a day). We can't be the only people who care, though?

My despair deepens when I see a story like Bush's inevitable pardon of Scooter Libby hit amidst outrage and uproar, yet I know deep in my heart, this too shall pass with little to show that America lived up to its ideals.

How do you stop time, and grab every single American's attention, shake them, point to this story and say, "Do you understand what this means? This means that the ideals this nation was founded on, that we are ALL equal and that if one of us fucks up, he pays the same price as anyone else!" and make them understand that the very basis for their lives of muddled mediocrity-- their pathetic wage-slavery, their pitiful house still owned largely by their bank, their children's substandard education, their gas-guzzling, carbon emitting, 10 miles to the gallon birthright of a tugboat SUV-- are all in jeopardy from this small cabal of evil men?

(ed. note. run on sentence, I know, I'm sorry, I'm basically dictating this as I go)

In short, how do we get them to be citizens again?

Aristotle once said, "To take no part in the running of the community's affairs is to be either a beast or a god!” To put it in modern terms, we Americans, along with a Bill of Rights, should have had a Bill of Responsibilities handed down to us, to ensure that we'd maintain at least a minimal involvement in our community.

Without that, our community has grown so large and so interconnected that we've become less of a community and more of an agglomeration of subnations: blue states, red states, Progressive, Regressive Conservative, black, white, Latino, Asian.

We've forgotten what it means to be a citizen of the greatest society in the history of the planet, and as such, we've allowed these evil-doers freedom to tear the fabric of society asunder. Not ten years ago, America enjoyed its golden age: a decade, a decade, mind you, of unparalleled peace and unparalleled prosperity for all its citizens.

And we, Americans, gave it all back: "Here, this is too much for us to handle! You guys take it!" We elected Bush, and despite all the signs of stolen elections, gave in with nary a whimper. Don't blame Al Gore or any one Senator: we could have, should have, as a people, made a bigger stink. Democrats would have lined up to co-sponsor that challenge in Congress to the Electoral Congress if they believed there was a bigger risk in silently assenting to this coronation than in challenging it.

And you'll notice, I'm not talking to the small percentage of us here who actually DID register a protest, did write a letter, did make a call, but to the cowards here, and in the population in general, who couldn't be bothered to be heard out of fear of...what? Sticking your neck out?

We're all going to hang now, when we should have hung together then. Then, we would have hung as free men (and women), making the point that our citizenship meant more to us than "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor". Now, we hang as slaves, lynched from the tree of indifference.

It's all for naught if we don't have freedom. And I, for one, would trade all the days that have passed since that cold January morning for the chance to stand up and let the world hear us, with one voice, say "No, our freedom is not for sale, will not be bartered and cannnot be stolen!"

We are citizens, and by whatever deity you believe in, it is our god-given duty , our natural born responsibility, our birthright, to stand up now and be heard, lest the hangman's noose of history's judgement tighten around our necks. Ask a German what it feels like to have lived Pastor Niemoller's lament:
"When Hitler attacked the Jews
I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics,
I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church --
and there was nobody left to be concerned."
More, it's our honor and our challenge to go out and make people care. We need, on this July Fourth especially, since it falls midweek and people aren't going to completely disconnect from the world around them, to stop being polite about getting into a confrontation (while being polite IN that confrontation) and start speaking out.

The temptation is great to just ignore differing opinions, particularly when they are extremist and hate-filled: what good can come of it? Heinlein once wrote: "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

We need to annoy the pigs. We need to present, not to those who hold irresponsible opposing views, but to the vast majority of people who hear both sides, shrug, and walk away, the passion that we feel about this country and about our freedoms, both of which are so desperately in trouble now. Don't be concerned if some right winger throws out a "fact (read: talking point)" that you can't answer: challenge him on it. Make him prove it. ADMIT YOU DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING, but that in your heart, you know that you're right.

Every poll ever taken in the past seven years tells us the American people as a whole more generally favor the liberal agenda to the conservative agenda. We have that on our side, but what we don't have is an army of passionates, apostles, and disciples, who will show people that it's not only church that is a calling.

It's the Fourth Of July. Today, with one voice, with one thought in mind, we declare our independence. We will not vanish without a fight. We will be Americans.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Keith Olbermann Squares It Up

The protection of the environment is turned over to those of one political party, who will financially benefit from the rape of the environment. The protections of the Constitution are turned over to those of one political party, who believe those protections unnecessary and extravagant and quaint.

The enforcement of the laws is turned over to those of one political party, who will swear beforehand that they will not enforce those laws. The choice between war and peace is turned over to those of one political party, who stand to gain vast wealth by ensuring that there is never peace, but only war.

And now, when just one cooked book gets corrected by an honest auditor, when just one trampling of the inherent and inviolable fairness of government is rejected by an impartial judge, when just one wild-eyed partisan is stopped by the figure of blind justice, this President decides that he, and not the law, must prevail.

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.

I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.

I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

I accuse you of handing part of this Republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that Vice President, carte blanche to Mr. Libby, to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to Grand Juries and Special Counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation, with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison, and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.[...]

It is nearly July 4th, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a King who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them—or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them—we would force our independence, and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time—and our leaders in Congress, of both parties—must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach—get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.

For you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.


And give us someone—anyone—about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

Taking A Libby-eral Interpretation

Who said this?
My opinion is I will -- should I decide to grant pardons, I will do so in a fair way. I'll have the highest of high standards.
Yes, George W. Bush said that.

Thus, we have learned this morning that those "highest of high standards" are about as high off the ground as a burqa. But let not my words speak. Let's let the highest of high (*snark*) authorities speak on this:

"When he was running for president, George W. Bush loved to contrast his law-abiding morality with that of President Clinton, who was charged with perjury and acquitted."

"For Mr. Bush, the president ... untarnished ideals are less of a priority than protecting the secrets of his inner circle and mollifying the tiny slice of right-wing Americans left in his political base."

Mr. Bush's assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it's committed by common folk ... As president, he has repeatedly put himself and those on his team, especially Mr. Cheney, above the law."


"There were mitigating factors in this case. After two years of investigation, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking (CIA operative Valerie) Plame's name; he never demonstrated that a crime occurred."

"It's true that the felony conviction that remains in place, the $250,000 fine and the reputational damage are far from trivial. But so is lying to a grand jury. To commute the entire prison sentence sends the wrong message about the seriousness of that offense."


"By failing to issue a full pardon, Mr. Bush is evading responsibility for the role his administration played in letting the Plame affair build into fiasco and, ultimately, this personal tragedy."

"This ... will stand as a dark moment in this administration's history."

"Mr. Bush's commutation statement yesterday is another profile in non-courage ... Mr. Libby deserved better from the president whose policies he tried to defend when others were running for cover."
(ed. note: and that's BEFORE Murdoch owns this rag!)
Unfortunately for jurisprudence and for the future of American democracy, this action cannot be undone. The authority to grant pardons and commute sentences rests with the President, and no authority in this country can overrule him.

One has to ask oneself why Dumbya suddenly decided to take such a liberal interpretation of the legal system and a verdict that was fair, and a sentence that, while harsh, was not unduly burdensome to Libby. I mean, Paris Hilton served a whole three days before she was released from prison and that was for merely driving with a suspended license. You mean to tell me that a man who lies not only to the FBI, but to a Federal prosecutor, even if that lie was to cover up no crime (he was convicted for lying about how he knew Plame was a covert CIA operative, not for lies related to the leak of her name to the press), deserves less than three days in the hoosegow?

Apparently. Remember that this is a man, Dumbya, who was loathe to pardon anyone after a 1998 pardon, while governor, of a cocaine dealer blew up in his face. This is a man who laughed while Karla Faye Tucker was killed in a Texas execution room.

A "tough on crime" man, right?

When did Republicans suddenly become the soft-on-crime liberals they chided and derided for forty years? When did Republicans suddenly become the "mommy party," filled with sympathy and empathy and compassion? And when will they finally drop the facade of being tough old birds and start showing some of that compassion to the people who really need it: the poor, the sick, the war-torn victims of the nations they've raped and pillaged?

The one bright spot in all this is it will force the GOP Presidential candidate in 2008 to step up and excuse and explain yet another Bush corruption, thus neatly tying the entire party to an administration that it was enthralled to like crack addicts.

The overarching question though is, why would Bush do this? Is this an admission on his part that the ballgame's over, and that he has to work now to protect what pitiful legacy he'll leave (I think when the dust settles, Bush will be rated somewhere on a par with the Roman emperor Nero as a leader of a great power)? Is it simply an acknowledgement that he is so out of touch with the average American that he can do as he pleases and remain secure in his delusion that history will bear him out (see above)?

Decisions like this are more troubling for what they don't say than what they do say.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"I Believe The Title Was...."

Just remember, your tax dollars pay these idiots:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Monday played down a report al Qaeda was planning a big attack on the United States, saying there was no credible information about an imminent threat.

As British police investigated two failed car bombs in London and a fiery attack on Glasgow's airport by a fuel-filled vehicle, U.S. officials tightened security at transport hubs without raising the country's overall alert level.

"We do not currently have any specific threat information that is credible about a particular attack on the United States," Chertoff told Fox News.
First off, notice he said it on Fox News, which is about the only network whose viewership is sheeple enough to open wide, and swallow this load whole.

But let's see what else Secretary Chertoff had to say...
"Al Qaeda and its affiliates do intend to carry out further attacks against the United States and the West," Chertoff said.

"We also know that they tend to want to do attacks that are spectacular or high-profile, so it's not surprising to have analysts comment on the fact that this kind of an attack is a very definite possibility," he said.

"But again I want to say that's more general analysis that is not based on a specific piece of information about a particular attack."
Sounds somewhat familiar, wouldn't you agree?:
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns ofsuspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations forhijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance offederal buildings in New York.
Oh, but of course, this was a historical document and did not delineate current investigations or current specific threats against the United States! No sirree!

And then four weeks later, the walls came a-tumbling down.

How stupid do you have to be to see how cynically idiotic this administration has treated, and continues to treat, its citizens?

Apparently, this stupid...we in the United States ought to have one of those signs that roller coasters have, but instead of saying "You can ride this coaster if you're at least this tall," it ought to have a picture of Bush with the advisory, "If you are at least smart enough not to have voted for this man, you can be a citizen."

Sunday, July 01, 2007


To my friends and readers in the UK, particularly London and Glasgow:

As a New Yorker, I want to express my sympathy and solidarity with your ordeal and your situation.

As an American, I want to apologize for dragging you into our fight. You should never have been in this, and I'm sorry that you're paying the price that America should be paying for electing a cowardly moron. Twice.