Monday, April 25, 2005

What you all really want to see

By the way, this has nothing to do with this picture, but it's been reported that Keanu Reeves and Diane Keaton are an item. Didn't think it was worth it's own post, but I still wanted to put it out there. Now read the political stuff!

Growth = Bad? Not in America, you Commie!

Here's an interesting read that takes all those neoclassical-economists-who-live-in-a-bubble-where-growth-is-the-ultimate-goal-despite-the-fact-that-their-mathematical- models-are-purely-hypothetical-and-really-do-not-take-into-account-the-real-world (they ignore a little something I like to call "reality") to task. You find the article here.

Speaking of credit cards

Guess who just got the final nail in the coffin that is his political career due to not one, but two of those little plastic babies?! Why, Tom DeLay of course! Thank you, Washington Post:

The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.

DeLay's expenses during the same trip for food, phone calls and other items at a golf course hotel in Scotland were billed to a different credit card also used on the trip by a second registered Washington lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, according to receipts documenting that portion of the trip.

House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists. DeLay, who is now House majority leader, has said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper. He has also said he had no way of knowing that any lobbyist might have financially supported the trip, either directly or through reimbursements to the nonprofit organization.
Let's see if your God helps you now, asshole!

Click this link. . .

to see polling statistics detailing Bush's failure in the eyes of the American people. Personally, I don't put much stock in polls, especially ones done by newspapers, but hey, if it's your bag, by all means click here.

He's Baaaaaack!

Just when you thought the Gannon/Guckert controversy had been successfully swept under the rug by the GOP and the MSM, the Secret Service has just been forced to release the security logs pertaining to the male escort/WH reporter, and it ain't pretty. From The Raw Story:

Guckert made more than 200 appearances at the White House during his two-year tenure with the fledging conservative websites GOPUSA and Talon News, attending 155 of 196 White House press briefings. He had little to no previous journalism experience, previously worked as a male escort, and was refused a congressional press pass.

Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits.

Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House. On other days, the president held photo opportunities.

On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.

In March, 2003, Guckert left the White House twice on days he had never checked in with the Secret Service. Over the next 22 months, Guckert failed to check out with the Service on fourteen days. On several of these visits, Guckert either entered or exited by a different entry/exit point than his usual one. On one of these days, no briefing was held; on another, he checked in twice but failed to check out.
How are the Democrats so ineffectual that haven't been able to capitalize on this shit at all?

Gays, in the military?

I missed this article in the NY Times last week, but I'd like to take this opportunity to address/make fun of it.

Here's a little excerpt for those of you who still have not registered with the Times (go to, they have usernames and passwords for just about every free site you can think of).:

The office of the general counsel at the Pentagon has proposed decriminalizing consensual sodomy among adults, a change to its 55-year-old policy on sodomy that would bring the military legal code more in line with laws that govern civilians, according to a memorandum sent to Congress.

Under Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, it is a crime to engage in "unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex," even with mutual consent.

The changes proposed by the Pentagon's lawyers would narrow the definition to prohibit acts of sodomy with a person under age 16 or acts "committed by force." Their memorandum says this would "conform more closely to other federal laws and regulations."

Recent rulings by the Supreme Court and the United States Court of Criminal Appeals for the Armed Forces have raised questions about the constitutionality of the military's ban on consensual sodomy.

While the change would not alter the military's policy against gay men and lesbians in uniform, advocates for gay rights said that recent court decisions and the proposed changes to the military code could have broader implications for gay men and lesbians in the armed forces.

"Pentagon leaders can no longer justify banning gays because of private, consensual conduct if the military sodomy statute is repealed," said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay rights group.

If you ask me, the whole thing is a backhanded set-up by the Army. They know that they need more soldiers, and they lose a number of damn good ones to this little "don't ask, don't tell" policy each year. By changing one law under the pretense of updating to the common standard in our society at large, they know that they are laying the groundwork for any semi-intelligent lawyer to use the law to overturn the Army's ban on gays in general. Therefore, they can get more soldiers without pissing off the Christian right because they can just shrug and point to those hated "active" judges as the real culprits. It's a smart move, I'll give them that.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Back from the dead

I really should be doing work right now, but I've decided to return to my old haunts and put up some interesting and often frustrating articles. Check them out, they'll blow your mind. BLOW IT!!!

According to Slate, Americans may be actually be wising up. No, no, they haven't called for Bush's impeachment, that would be too wise. No, they have begun to pay off their credit card debts at a growing rate. What? Americans actually curbing their spending and taking their futures into account? That's simply not the American way! We should be spending and wasting, giving nary a thought to where we'll be five, ten, fifteen years from now!

. . . All is not tulips and nectar over at MBNA, the largest independent issuer of credit cards. Yesterday it reported a poor quarter and ratcheted down earnings expectations for the year. Its stock sank to a two-year low. Credit card giant Capital One Financial had a better quarter, but its stock has been slumping lately, too. Bad news for the credit card companies may be better news for us. There are signs at both companies that consumers may be responding to higher rates by doing something almost completely unexpected and practically un-American: paying down credit card debt.

The credit card industry presumes, based on happy experience, that Americans will borrow more money each quarter to support their spending habits, regardless of the direction of interest rates, and that enough consumers will be happy simply to pay off just enough debt to allow them to borrow more. But last quarter MBNA, to its apparent shock, found that "results were further impacted by unexpectedly high payment volumes from U.S. credit card customers," and that "the payment volumes were particularly higher on accounts with higher interest rates."

In other words, customers didn't respond to rising rates by continuing to pay the minimum and going deeper into debt; they paid down the principal more rapidly than expected. A detailed breakdown of MBNA's business shows that between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005 (i.e., between Dec. 31, 2004, and March 31, 2005) domestic credit card loan receivables—balances outstanding—fell from $13.9 billion to $10.9 billion in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, U.S.-managed loans—balances outstanding plus receivables that MBNA has securitized and sold—fell sharply from $80.2 billion to $74.8 billion, down 6.7 percent.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I'm a little late on this

But if you haven't seen what Sen. Cornyn, a Republican from Texas (of course) said the other day regarding the Schiavo controversy, then you're in for a treat. Basically the man was justifying attacks on judges due to their sometimes "active" judicial rulings. Here's the money quote:

I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.

Just to let you know, Cornyn is a former District Court judge, a former member of the Texas Supreme Court, and the former Texas Attorney General. Talk about forgetting your roots.

Finally someone says it. . .

Andrew Sullivan is back (not really) and better than ever (not really). But check this shit, yo:

Last night on Hardball , I said what I think needs to be said. Under John Paul II (and his predecessors), the Roman Catholic church presided over the rape and molestation of thousands of children and teenagers. Under John Paul II, the church at first did all it could to protect its own and to impugn and threaten the victims of this abuse. Rome never acknowledged, let alone take responsibility for, the scale of the moral betrayal. I was staggered to see Cardinal Bernard Law holding press conferences in Rome this week, and appearing on television next to the man who announced the Pope's death. But that was the central reaction of the late Pope to this scandal: he sided with the perpetrators, because they were integral to his maintenance of power. When you hear about this Pope's compassion, his concern for the victims of society, his love of children, it's important to recall that when it came to walking the walk in his own life and with his own responsibility, he walked away. He all but ignored his church's violation of the most basic morality - that you don't use the prestige of the church to rape innocent children. Here was a man who lectured American married couples that they could not take the pill, who told committed gay couples that they were part of an "ideology of evil," but acquiesced and covered up the rape of minors. When truth met power, John Paul II chose truth. When truth met his power, John Paul II defended his own prerogatives at the expense of the innocent. Many have forgotten. That's not an option for the victims of this clerical criminality.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I Know It's Calling the Kettle Black. . .

But come on people, where's all the news? Pope this, Pope that. I understand the deathwatch that took over the news channels and such, but at this point I think we can start focusing on other news. How's Iraq doing, anyway? Michael Jackson? Gary Condit?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

NY Times' Stellar Pope Coverage

First of all, there's this (my bold):

Even as his own voice faded away, his views on the sanctity of all human life echoed unambiguously among Catholics and Christian evangelicals in the United States on issues from abortion to the end of life.

need some quote from supporter

John Paul II's admirers were as passionate as his detractors, for whom his long illness served as a symbol for what they said was a decrepit, tradition-bound papacy in need of rejuvenation and a bolder connection with modern life.

And then there's John Paul II's headshot:

I hear JP II is trying to land the role of Judas in Heaven's production of "Jesus Christ, Superstar." I'm just afraid he doesn't have the pipes for it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

No More Domestic Violence


A judge has ruled that Ohio's new constitutional ban on same-sex marriage prohibits unmarried people from being able to file domestic violence charges, a decision that has prompted an immediate appeal by prosecutors.

Judges and others across the country have been waiting for a ruling on how Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage, among the nation's broadest, would affect the state's 25-year-old domestic violence law, which previously wasn't limited to married people.

Wednesday's ruling by Cuyahoga County common pleas judge Stuart Friedman changed a felony domestic violence charge against Frederick Burk to a misdemeanor assault charge.

Burk, 42, is accused of slapping and pushing his live-in girlfriend during a January argument over a pack of cigarettes.

His public defender, David Magee, had asked the judge to throw out the charge because of the new wording in Ohio's constitution that prohibits any state or local government from enforcing a law that would "create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals."

Prior to the amendment's approval, courts applied the domestic violence law by defining a family as including an unmarried couple living together as would a husband and wife, the judge said. The new amendment banning same-sex marriage no longer allows that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Brando to Reprise His Role as Jor-El, Christopher Reeve to Remain Dead

You heard it here first-ish: Marlon Brando will be in the new Superman movie. Don't ask me how or why, just read this.

Maybe now they can make an "Oh God Four" starring John Denver and George Burns. We can only dream.

O.C., Oopsy

Ever see magumbos on a skeleton? You have now (nsfw). Thanks Mischa!

Bush in Stages

Flash imagery of our president courtesy of the Economist:

“INTELLECTUAL” is hardly the first word that springs to mind when you contemplate George Bush. Mr Bush glided through the best education that money can buy without acquiring much in the way of “book learning”. At school, he formed a stick-ball team called the Nads (providing him and his pals with a chance to shout “Go Nads”); at Yale, he was famous for doing the alligator, a dance that involved falling on the floor and rolling around; at Harvard Business School, he wore cowboy boots and chewed tobacco, a strutting provocation to the lefty penseurs who dominated Harvard Yard.

Because I can. . .

Oh how the mighty have fallen. This serves all you people right for worshipping a talentless hack just because she looks good in a red-leather jumpsuit. Now look at your precious queen. Look at her!

UPDATE: Link is broken, go here. And upon further thought, it's not that she looks bad necessarily, just that she looks so plain. What's next, we're gonna find out that our pop singers are only average singers?

A Few of My Favorite Things

And they're all rolled into one. First off, we've got the GAP, unfortunately my coiture of choice. Then we've got an aging-yet-still-hot Sarah Jessica Parker in a catfight with an aging-yet-still-not-legal Joss Stone. Top that off with the allure of big advertising bucks and we've got what I like to call a dream come true.

It seems that although SJP is viewed as one of the fashion mavens of Hollywood these days, that is still not enough to convince GAP to keep her aboard as their spokesmodel. Instead, they're going for a younger, slightly thicker though perhaps more talented (so I hear) star (so I don't hear, but maybe someday soon) whom they hope will attract more people from the right demographics. I didn't realize that the GAP's prime demographic was 17-year-old girls, what with their new business-line and all, but then again in this economy it's only a matter of time before teenagers are back in the workplace, with Lewis Hine close behind.

Well, I promised you a catfight, so here it is:

"Sarah's spring campaign for Gap has only just started and she felt the announcement of her replacement in the same week that the new ads are appearing is a bit of a snub," one friend said.

"Joss is not only a teenager, she's also a virtual unknown. Had her replacement been a big star, perhaps Sarah wouldn't have minded so much."

Ok, not so big a catfight, but come on, SJP!

You can check some of the financial stuff behind the issue (I'm in an Econ. class, so sue me) here.

Target is the new Tiffany

I never really understood the idea of registering at stores when you get married. I always kind of thought it is was a little bizarre for a couple to tell people what to buy them instead of having faith in your friends and family's gift-choices (though my girlfriend just told me it's to avoid getting "like" thirty blenders, which I suppose is true). Anyway, apparently more and more people are registering at (shudder) Target and (vomit) Wal-Mart. That's the new America for you. From Reuters:

About a third of brides reported registering at specialty stores like Crate & Barrel and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., while another third registered at stores with a broad scope of discounted products, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target.

The remaining third registered at department and national chain stores including Neiman Marcus Group Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl's Corp..

"They cover such a wide variety of products," Peter Greene, general manager of NPD Houseworld said, referring to the popularity of discount stores such as Target as a place to register. "A lot of it has to do with what's available" in terms of the wide variety of products sold there.

Couples on average register for bridal shower and wedding gifts at 2.5 stores, but the registry captures only about 33 percent of wedding and 35 percent of shower gifts, according to the survey.

The average wedding guest spends about $59 for a shower gift and about $126 for a wedding gift, the NPD poll showed.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Back from Vacation. . .

Just to get into this shit. Instead of writing my own piece decrying the brainless, gutless, and unconstitutional act by Congress yesterday (which I don't really have time to do at the moment), I'll let Digby speak for me. I think he nails it pretty damn well.

By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law . Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.

This is why we cannot trust the mainstream media. Most people get their news from television. And television is presenting this issue as a round the clock one dimensional soap opera pitting the "family", the congress and the church against this woman's husband and the judicial system that upheld Terry Schiavo's right and explicit request that she be allowed to die if extraordinary means were required to keep her alive. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism.

This issue gets to the essence of the culture war. Shall the state be allowed to interfere in the most delicate, complicated personal matters of life, death and health because a particular religious constituency holds that their belief system should override each individual's right to make these personal decisions for him or herself. And it isn't the allegedly statist/communist/socialist left that is agitating for the government to tell Americans how they must live and how they must die.

One of the things that we need to help America understand is that there is a big difference between the way the two parties perceive the role of government in its citizens personal lives. Democrats want the government to collect money from all its citizens in order to deliver services to the people. The Republicans want the government to collect money from working people in order to dictate individual citizen's personal decisions. You tell me which is the bigger intrusion into the average American's liberty?