Friday, March 31, 2006

Ziggy Fun

Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket

I am SO going to get a cease and desist order one of these days.

Let's get serious for a minute. Here's one which I think sums up every Ziggy cartoon that has been, and ever will be printed:

Image hosting by Photobucket

It fits with every single Ziggy strip. Check it out!
Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

This last one I didn't even doctor:

Image hosting by Photobucket

E&P, Atrios Agree: Cohen is a Wanker

Ahh, the joys of being frist, I mean first.

Yesterday, I opined that Richard Cohen, muffler-wearing, cocktail-weenie inhaling ding-a-ling from the Washington Post, should gargle my schwetty schwetty schcrotum for his latest editorial droppings, "Bush Wanted War."

As I never tire of pointing out, Rich was one of those "liberal hawks" who was certain war was necessary, until pretty much the day it started when all of a sudden he wasn't so excited.

The man pusilanimous wanker has never acknowledged or apologized for his [bent over on all fours with ass cheeks spread] position, or his sabre rattling. But now he thinks he can just jump on board.

Uh, no.

And I'm glad to see that atrios has him as Richard Cohen Wanker of the Day, with a lovely link to Editor and Publisher, where Richar Cohen is also derided as a wanker. And you'll have to pardon me if I pull a Gilliard and copy almost the entire article. It's really that good, and if Greg Mitcehll ever visits Philadelphia, I'm going to buy him a beer. Or eleven.

(March 30, 2006) -- Richard Cohen, the longtime Washington Post columnist sometimes accused of being a “liberal,” produced a strong column today, titled “Bush Wanted War.” In it he said he had long been skeptical of this idea, but now had come to accept it. That’s all well and good, but where was Cohen a little more than three years ago, when this fact was as plain as the smirk on the president’s face, and the columnist agitated for war anyway?

If there was an “I’m sorry for being so stupid” embedded in Cohen’s column I didn’t spot it.

This is the man who, on Feb. 6, 2003, after Secretary of State Colin Powell’s deeply-flawed testimony in New York, wrote: “The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise.”

A few more excerpts from his classic Feb. 6, 2003, column on the error-strewn and dishonest Powell presentation to the United Nations:

“The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge -- because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the messenger may have been more important than the message…. Here was a reasonable man making a reasonable case.

“[T}he case Powell laid out regarding chemical and biological weapons was so strong -- so convincing -- it hardly mattered that nukes may be years away, and thank God for that. In effect, he was telling the French and the Russians what could happen -- what would happen -- if the United Nations did not do what it said it would and hold Saddam Hussein accountable for, in effect, being Saddam Hussein.

“The French, though, are so far deaf to such logic. Their foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, said that the consequences of war are dire and unpredictable. He is right about that. But the consequences of doing nothing -- and mere containment of Iraq amounts to nothing -- are also dire and somewhat predictable….

“As with Tevye, there is no ‘other hand’' when it comes to Iraq. If anyone had any doubt, Powell proved that it has defied international law -- not to mention international norms concerning human rights -- and virtually dared

Mitchell hopes Cohen apologizes. Don't bet on it. He'll just wrap his muffler of invisibility a little tighter and flounce away for another cocktail weenie.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Mona, they're being mean to me again!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Post from Lexandromeda

Beer Update

We bottled IPA number 2 and the raspberry ale over the weekend.
Both look and smell really nice; the unconventional way we added the raspberries (at 15 minutes before the end of the boil, steeping at 122 degrees, adn then straining out, as opposed to pitching them into the secondary fermenter) makes the aftertaste quite subtle at this stage of the beer.

Of concern has been IPA number four. We used a hella lot of fermentables: 6.6 pounds of light malt; 1/2 pound crystal malt (50 degrees L); 2 pounds of orange blossom honey; and .67 pounds demerar sugar. The weather wa really cold two weeks ago, adn I ran out of oil. Not willing to pay winter rates for fuel oil when spring was around the corner (and it's been in the 50s-70s all week), the beer fermented really slowly at first, and remaining... well, slow and steady. In fact once I transferred to the secondary the fermentation seemed to speed up. Now, perhaps this is normal, but I'm just hoping that the cold weather hasn't contributed to off-flavors like fusel alcohols.

We shall see: I DID try a small glass of the green beer, and it already packed a pretty powerful punch.

New Bush Scandal: exclusively at Philly Bits

Now, I'm not one for nepotism, but here'a a very important article my borther discovered. It's extremely important, and may blow the lid off the whole BushCo operation.

Now Is Not the Time for Speculation

Via the All Spin Zone I lead you to this link at Occasional Epistles of of Grace and Peace, where Mac Ice writes of the Mary Winkler case,
There has been no shortage of speculation about Mary's motive, no shortage of commentary about Churches of Christ, no shortage of commentary about "conservative religion" and no shortage of rumors and baseless speculation. This hurts as well. Any time people you know and love are in the spotlight, in this kind of light, it is difficult. Any time your church is scrutinized, fairly or unfairly, it is difficult.

I don't know Mary's motive, but this isn't the time or the forum for me to add to the speculative discussion. Neither am I interested in getting into theological, sociological, or psychological discussions. This isn't the time for that. This is a time to hurt with the hurting, grieve with the grieving and pray.

Unfortunately Mr. Ice, your statement that "now is not the time for speculation" has been permanently waived by your comrades in Christ.


Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Sorry about your friends the Winklers, but Evangelical Christianity forfeited any special treatment last year.

And believe me, I'm speculating a lot, especially about whether Pastor Winkler liked to play "hide Daddy's salami" or something ugly.

Not so fun when you're on the receiving end, is it?

"The Last Blue State Skeptic": or "Why Richard Cohen Can Lick My Schwetty Schwetty Schcrotum

A schlemiel is taking his morning stroll when he happens upon a massive pile of what is obviously dogshit.

The moron scratches his head. "Sure looks like shit."
Sticks his nose in it. "Sure smells like shit."
Squeezes the wet turd between his fingers. "Sure feels like shit."
Finally, he takes a big bite of the poop. "Sure tastes like shit."
He's convinced. "It IS shit!" he exclaims.
"And I'm sure glad I didn't step in it."

With that joke in mind, here is the latest craptacular column from Richard Cohen. It's cute.
Because, y'see, Richard Cohen wants on the anti-war bandwagon!

Yes, after months of wiggling his teeny weeny peen-- I mean his RATTLING HIS SABRE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS-- Richard Cohen has decided that "Bush Wanted War." And it only took 3 freakin' years and Helen Thomas to convince him.

Richard says of his epiphany, "So common is the statement "Bush lied" that it seems sometimes that I am the only blue-state person who does not think it is true. Then, last week, the indomitable Helen Thomas changed all that with a single question. She asked George Bush why he wanted "to go to war" from the moment he "stepped into the White House," and the president said, "You know, I didn't want war." With that, the last blue-state skeptic folded."

Just how clueless is Richard Cohen? Well, let's look at the evidence his own column provides:

For the past 3 years, he didn't believe Bush wanted war from day one, even though
"We have it from Richard Clarke, formerly the White House's chief anti-terrorism official, that within a day of the attacks Bush was inquiring if Saddam might have had a hand in them. When told no -- "But, Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this," Clarke told him -- it became instantly clear that this was not the answer Bush wanted."

Nor did Cohen believe it when
"Bob Woodward says in his book, "Plan of Attack," that not only was Bush fixated on Iraq, but by Thanksgiving of 2001, he already had told Don Rumsfeld to prepare a plan for the invasion of that country. "Let's get started on this," the president said, cautioning the defense secretary not to tell anyone."

Nor did this set off the alarm bells in the empty firehouse Richard Cohen calls his cranium.
"As for myself, I was told by a European intelligence official that after flying to Washington right after the 9/11 attacks, he was stunned to discover that talk had already turned to Iraq."
Because you know, Europe is just jealous of us and our freedoms.

Dick, and I DO mean it in the sense of "penis", tells us
"This was particularly true at the Pentagon, where Paul Wolfowitz was obsessed with Iraq, and that seems to have been true of the White House as well. And now we know from various British accounts that close aides to Prime Minister Tony Blair recognized early on that Bush was going to go to war -- and that Blair, his poodle at obedient heel, would follow along. More recently we learned -- again from British sources -- that even though Bush went back to the United Nations for yet another resolution condemning Iraq, he was determined to make war almost no matter what."
But none of this was convincing enough. We know because Richard tells us so: "None of this necessarily means that Bush doctored U.S. intelligence to make a purposely false case that Iraq was seething with weapons of mass destruction."

Oh sure, Dick Cheney's a liar who "in particular -- exaggerated such that their pants must have caught fire, but nothing so far proved that Bush knew he was making a false case." That must have been why they sat together, neither under oath when they testified, right Richard? And "Colin Powell, you may recall, soiled his stellar reputation with a United Nations speech that is now just plain sad to read. Almost none of it is true," but Bush, the man who runs the tight ship, the guyw ith the incisive questions, didn't know ANYTHING AT ALL about this, right? Cohen begins to be a parody of himself: he reminds me of no one else but the defense attorney in the old Cheech and Chong routine, "Stoned in Court." Pardon me while I paraphrase:

"Your honor... sure, my client was apprehended byt he police with 3 lids of marijuana; 6 sheets of blotter acid; dozens of qualuudes, uppers, downers, and hallucinogens. But your honor. This is not as it seems. My client simply...FOUND these drugs, and was on his way to turn them into the police."

Richard leaves us with this final stool sample. "There remains, though, the little matter of what was in Bush's gut -- not his head, mind you, but that elusive place where emotion resides. It was there, in the moments after 9/11, that Bush truly decided on war, maybe because Saddam had once tried to kill George H.W. Bush, maybe because the neocons had convinced him that a brief war in Iraq would have long-term salutary consequences for the entire Middle East, maybe because he could not abide the thought that a monster like Saddam might die in his sleep -- and maybe because he heard destiny calling."

Or maybe he knew that his family stood to earn a bundle through their Carlyle Connections. Or that Dick stood to earn a bundle at Halliburton. Or that he knew that going to war would be good for his polls, like it was for Reagan and his Daddy before him.

So let me boil down Richard Cohen's column for you: "I am a day late and a dollar short. Everyone listen to MEEEE!"

Image hosting by Photobucket
Richard Cohen: Schmuck

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Honestly, Who Gives a Shit?

Look, I dislike Crazy Tony Scalia as much as the next guy to the left of Ivan the Terrible, but other than the obvious opportunity to mau-mau him for flipping the bird or whatever after receiving communion, I just couldn't give a shit.

I mean, I spent 2003 and a good part of 2005 hearing about priests raping children in the church, one of them a five-year old in a confession booth.

And I'm supposed to give a shit that Tony gave someone the finger? No, I'm more worried that the corrupt motherfucker won't recuse himself from Hamdan, among other things.

Ooh, big news. Tony Scalia is rude as well as corrupt.

How to Make Anything Funny

Just add "For Dummies".

Image hosting by Photobucket

Right? Isn't this episode of Ziggy (and by "episode", think "seizure" or "spontaneous catatonia") just the funniest fucking thing you have EVER SEEN IN YOUR WHOLE MISERABLE FUCKING LIFE?

I have been to the top of the mountain friends, and Ziggy was waiting at the Bar For Dummies. I can now throw myself in front of the Market Street El knowing that I have seen the funniest strip in the whole goddamn world.

Image hosting by Photobucket

This is where Ziggy goes to pick up Cathy when Irving's out of town, or can't get an erection.
Not that Ziggy's hung like a horse, but Cathy uses his nose as a Sybian

Comics Abuse

Image hosting by Photobucket

Not only have I been to Canada a number of times, it's a fact that an inordinate numebr of Canadian performers are on US radio, from old farts like Bryan Adams, to the Bare Naked Ladies, to System of a Down. I don't know what Lynn Johnson is talking about with the "matching shirts", because rock bands haven't worn matching outfits since the freakin' Beatles.

Now, with a change of just one little word, the comic makes much better sense:

Image hosting by Photobucket

If there's ever been a genre that embraces matching shirts, it's bluegrass.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

...and so on.

In other news, Fox Trot actually has a point today, even if Bill Amend's attempt to emulate MacGruder's style is primitive, at best. Still, when you're right, you're right!

Image hosting by Photobucket

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bad. Just Bad.

Riverbend today. A blogger in Iraq.

Caspar Weinberger: Nothing to See Here

Has anyone else noticed that there's no detailed
mention of Iran Contra and Weinberger's role in the
scandal in the NY Times or Washington Post obituaries?
All we're offered, in each obituary, is the same scant 8 words, missing the word "a" or "the" for that matter:

"Caspar W. Weinberger, who served in the Cabinets of both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and was central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, died Tuesday at the age of 88."

Got that? "Was central figure in the Iran Contra scandal."

Beyond that? Nothing. Not one word about what the scandal meant, or how George Bush Senior pardoned everyone involved days before Cap went to trial. Not one word about the people slaughtered in Central America thanks to "central figure in the Iran Contra scandal", or how some of the other major players like John Poindexter and John Negroponte are
mAjor players in the current Bush adminsitration (with Negroponte back on the death squads beat, and Poindexter the designer of Total Information Awareness). No, nothing to see here.

From wikipedia, and no not a single mention of this is in the Times or Post obituaries. Down the memory hole we go...

Though he claims to have been opposed to the sale on principle, Weinberger participated in the transfer of United States TOW missiles to Iran during the Iran-Contra Affair. By 1987, the disclosure of the Iran-Contra Affair and increasing difficulties with Defense budgets weighed on Weinberger. When he resigned on November 23, 1987, Weinberger cited his wife's declining health as the reason, but the press speculated that he was unhappy with the prospect of a successful conclusion of a U.S.-Soviet INF arms control agreement. He specifically denied that he was opposed to the INF treaty, scheduled to be signed in Washington in December 1987. In fact, he took credit for proposing the substance of the treaty early in his term at the Pentagon.

Following his resignation as Secretary of Defense, Weinberger was placed under indictment by Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh. The formal indictment charged Weinberger with several felony counts of lying to the Iran-Contra independent counsel during its investigation. Weinberger received a Presidential pardon from President George H.W. Bush on December 24, 1992, just days before his trial was scheduled to
begin. It was thought by some that the purpose of the pardon was to keep Weinberger's diary, which was said to have contained confirmation of President George H.W. Bush's knowledge of and involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair from being introduced as evidence at trial and therefore becoming a public record that could be used against him.

When I was coming of age, there was a band called MDC, which stood for "Multi Death Corporation, Millions of Damned Christians, and on one particularly visceral and relevant album, "Millions of Dead Children," which included the song "Death of a Nun":

Death of a Nun

There seems to be a problem
The people won’t behave
They seem to fear our power less
Than what’s beyond the grave

The clergy won’t preach
All the doctrines we ask
We’ll have to round them up
So we can take them to task

We’ll blame the guerillas for what has been done
Burnt church of Jesus, the death of a nun

The church has preached resistance
For what the poor hold dear
Stronger than the army
We sent to instill fear

A US torturer, designed just for you
Agony guaranteed, they know what to do
CIA assassins are coming with guns
The people will mourn for dead priests and nuns
Kill with no mercy, men and women of the cloth
Ineffective martyrs for the God they brought forth

Is their retribution only time will tell
Agents don’t believe and the people live in hell
We’ll destroy their faith
In their God and his son
A plain wooden casket destined for a nun

We will not compete
With religious belief
Burn the church, kill the priest
Leaven them in grief
Unlike their saviour they’ll die with no cross
Shown their mortality they’ll know who is boss

Destroy their faith in their God and his son
Show what we will do
For our power and money
A blood spattered habit Amen
The Death of a Nun

This is what the Iran Contra money funded. Death squads in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Nuns raped and murdered by thugs trained at Fort Benning, the so-called "School of the Americas". "I was deeply disturbed to learn of the death of a great American and a dear friend," said former Secretary of State Colin Powell. "Cap Weinberger was an indefatigable fighter for peace through strength. He served his nation in war and peace in so many ways." He sure did, Colin, he sure did.
This is shameless revisionism on the part of the Times and the Post. Shameless.

Ned Lamont

Ned Lamont is running against Joe Lieberman, the Republican's favorite Democrat, for Senate.

Joe Lieberman who supports the Iraq War and the way Mr. Bush is handling it.
Joe Lieberman who doesn't support censuring the George Bush for breaking the law with his illegal wiretaps, but was the first Democrat to support impeaching Bill Clinton.
And the same Joe Lieberman who supported the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore in 2000.
The man who stood up first, before even the Republicans, toa pplaud Mr. Bush's handlign of the war at the most recent State of the Union Address.
Joe also supported cloture in the matter of Alito, and he voted for John Roberts AND the Bankruptcy Bill as well.

In short, Joe Lieberman needs to be sent home. So if you have some time today, drop by Ned Lamont's site and if you like what you see, sling him a couple of bucks and make Joe Lieberman soil himself.

Monday, March 27, 2006

What's With All the White People?

I looked out my window this Sunday morning and saw more white people in my neighborhood than I have ever seen in the entire three years I've lived here. They were all volunteers for Philadelphia Green, and they were planting trees along the Kingsessing and on the grounds of the recreation center.

Not that I mind the trees, but since March 2003 I have essentially been the white guy on the block (I'm also the youngest: I think Kelvin from the IRS is a couple years older. Maybe.)

Last summer my neighbor Carolyn, who's been here thirty years remarked, to me from the front porch we share, "When I was a girl, I couldn't even come in this neighborhood. That pool?" she added, pointing across the avenue to the rec center. "That was for white people. We lived southeast of here."

The third time I used that pool was the last: I was harrassed by ghetto kids.

"Yeah, back in the day this block was something. You know that rosebush in my backyard? Back in the day, each of these houses had a rosebush in the front yard and one in the back." She was right: on my southwest corner, the thorny remains of a bush were barely hanging on underneath the raspberries and trumpet vine. George, my neighbor to the west, has remains in his backyard too.

"So you know, when they made the highway, Whitey he decide to get out, because when the Black move in, Whitey get scared and leave." "Whitey. The Black. She said it as if referring to monoliths. "I always said, Whitey gonna come back at some point, I've been here thirty years and said Whitey was coming back to get his land back sometime." From the direct way she addressed me, I honestly didn't know if I counted as Whitey or not. I paid $35,000 for my house. A house smaller than mine, in worse shape, with a tree about to crash on the roof, but on the eastern side of 49th street is asking $130,000. Am I Whitey? I bought my house to live in, not to flip in a get-rich-quick scheme. (But oh, if things get difficult the temptation is there...)

So I looked out my window on Sunday, scratched my head and said "What the fuck are all these white people doing here?"


Buck Owens died this weekend, and in Philadelphia at least, country music didn't notice. I listen to 92.5 WXTU every day, and while I'm not awake or near the radio for 24 hours at a time, I didn't hear a single mention of Owens, who scored 19 #1 hits and racked up 14 other top 10 albums during my drive into or home from work, and I work 9-5. Nothing. How much would you bet that when Jimmy Page dies, you'll hear Led Zeppelin on every station from light rock to the heaviest of metal stations? When Joey Ramone kicked it, his music was everywhere. I would be willing to wager The Ramones were even on some oldies stations!

You may think you don't know Buck Owens, but if you've heard Ringo Starr sing "Act Naturally", you've heard a Buck Owens song. If you've wondered when or why country music acquired it's rock-n-roll edge, you need to listen to Buck Owens, one of the first performers to embrace the drums. Yet if you were a contemporary country music fan, you wouldn't know one of contemporary country's original innovators had passed on.

That's shameful.

Image hosting by Photobucket

I'll be leading a Buck Owens tribute at the Tritone in April.

Holy. Flurcking. Schnit.

Courtesy of the All Spin Zone, I learn that the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is here!!!

Bow down, o ye faithful, with eyepatch low, and sabre in hand, and be touched by His Noodly Appendage!
Image hosting by Photobucket

Endorsed, in theory, by George W. Bush, John McCain, and several others!


On Saturday March 25, I posted this entry, in which I argue that by the pro-life ideology, abortion is premeditated murder and that women who obtain them are no different from any other killer. I asked my pro-life readers (there are a few of you) to explain ("affirm" would have been a better word) your support for life imprisonment or execution for women who obtain abortions.

Not one response. Bupkes. Even after I was linked at the much-more-widely-read Suburban Guerilla.

Either you can't defend to its logical end the ideology you espouse (or pretend to espouse, as the case seems to be) or you're cowards. Maybe both.
You can't have a crime without a penalty.

What Jane Smiley says

Bruce Bartlett, The Cato Institute, Andrew Sullivan, George Packer, William F. Buckley, Sandra Day O'Connor, Republican voters in Indiana and all the rest of you newly-minted dissenters from Bush's faith-based reality seem, right now, to be glorying in your outrage, which is always a pleasure and feels, at the time, as if it is having an effect, but those of us who have been anti-Bush from day 1 (defined as the day after the stolen 2000 election) have a few pointers for you that should make your transition more realistic.

1. Bush doesn't know you disagree with him. Nothing about you makes you of interest to George W. Bush once you no longer agree with and support him. No degree of relationship (father, mother, etc.), no longstanding friendly intercourse (Jack Abramoff), no degree of expertise (Brent Scowcroft), no essential importance (Tony Blair, American voters) makes any difference. There is nothing you have to
offer that makes Bush want to know you once you have come to disagree with him. Your opinions and feelings now exist in a world entirely external to the mind of George W. Bush. You are now just one of those "polls" that he pays no attention to. When you were on his side, you thought that showed "integrity" on his part. It doesn't. It shows an absolute inability to learn from experience.

2. Bush doesn't care whether you disagree with him. As a man who has dispensed with the reality-based world, and is entirely protected by his handlers from feeling the effects of that world, he is indifferent to what you now think is real. Is the Iraq war a failure and a quagmire? Bush doesn't care. Is global warming beginning to affect us right now? So what. Have all of his policies with regard to Iran been misguided and counter-productive? He never thinks about it. You know that Katrina tape in which Bush never asked a question? It doesn't matter how much you know or how passionately you feel or, most importantly, what degree of disintegration you see around you, he's not going to ask you a question. You and your ideas are dead to him. You cannot change his mind. Nine percent of polled Americans would agree with attacking Iran right now. To George Bush, that will be a mandate, if and when he feels like doing it, because...

3. Bush does what he feels like doing and he deeply resents being told, even politely, that he ought to do anything else. This is called a "sense of entitlement". Bush is a man who has never been anywhere and never done anything, and yet he has been flattered and cajoled into being president of the United States through his connections, all of whom thought they could use him for their own purposes. He has a surface charm that appeals to a certain type of American man, and he has used that charm to claim all sorts of perks, and then to fail at everything he has ever done.

Click to read the rest.

More Trouble at the St. Pattersons

Image hosting by Photobucket

Yeah, it's a low blow.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Since When Does the President Have the Power to Interpret the Law?

Glenn Greenwald is amazing today as usual.

Yesterday, I received numerous e-mails from people asking why I had not written about this report from the Boston Globe, which reported:

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

The reason I didn't was because, as extraordinary as this signing statement is in one sense, it really reveals nothing new. We really do have an Administration which believes it has the power to break all laws relating, however broadly, to defending the country. It has said this repeatedly in numerous contexts and acted on those beliefs by breaking the law -- repeatedly and deliberately. They are still breaking the law by, for instance, continuing to eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by FISA.

This is not theory. The Administration is not saying these things as a joke. We really do live in a country where we have a President who has seized the unlimited power to break the law. That's not hyperbole in any way. It is reality. And the Patriot Act signing statement only re-iterates that fact.

In response to the Republicans' question (number 27) about whether President is exceeding his power by not just executing the laws but also interpreting them, the DoJ said this:

In order to execute the laws and defend the Constitution, the President must be able to interpret them. The interpretation of law, both statutory and constitutional, is therefore an indispensable and well established government function. . . .

The President's power to interpret the law is particularly important when he is engaged in a task -- such as the direction of the operations of an armed conflict -- that falls within the special and unique competence of the Executive Branch.

The "unique competence of the Executive Branch," to them, encompasses pretty much everything of any real significance, including what can be done to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. With regard to all such matters, the President not only executes the law, but interprets it, and Congress is without power to do anything to restrict the power in any way. Here they are -- saying exactly this, again.

Put another way, the Administration has seized the power of Congress to make the laws, they have seized the power of the judiciary to interpret the laws, and they execute them as well. They have consolidated within themselves all of the powers of the government, particularly with regard to national security. This situation is, of course, exactly what Madison warned about in Federalist 47; it really is the very opposite of everything our Government is intended to be:

From these facts, by which Montesquieu was guided, it may clearly be inferred that, in saying "There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates," or, "if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers," he did not mean that these departments ought to have no partial agency in, or no control over, the acts of each other.

His meaning, as his own words import, and still more conclusively as illustrated by the example in his eye, can amount to no more than this, that where the whole power of one department is exercised by the same hands which possess the whole power of another department, the fundamental principles of a free constitution are subverted. This would have been the case in the constitution examined by him, if the king, who is the sole executive magistrate, had possessed also the complete legislative power, or the supreme administration of justice; or if the entire legislative body had possessed the supreme judiciary, or the supreme executive authority.

As usual, the most amazing aspect of all of this is not that the Administration is claiming these powers. It is that even as it claims them as expressly and clearly as can be, the Congress continues to ignore it and pretend that it still retains power to restrict the Administration by the laws it passes. And the media continues to fail in its duty to inform the country about the powers the Administration has seized, likely because they are so extreme that people still do not really believe that the Administration means what they are saying. What else do they need to do in order to demonstrate their sincerity?

George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life. George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.George W. Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

Yenny in Spanish

Yenny gets more perverted every single day. Not that that's a bad thing.

The difference between the English and Spanish versions of "Yenny" is that in the Spanish version, Alvarez is actually soliciting young women who think they look like Yenny.
Image hosting by Photobucket

For you monoliguals out there, the line on the bottom reads "Do you think you look like Yenny, or know someone who does? Go get your camera! Contest details coming soon!"

Suuuure, there's a contest. Riiiight.
First prize is you get to blow Alvarez.

Davis's Writer's Lose the Plot

Josh is right: something has gone wrong at Jim Davis's studio.

Keep in mind the strip you're about to click on isn't the Sunday edition of Garfield. It's two day's worth. That's right, Friday was nothing but insane laughter carried over from Thursday.

Methinks Davis's writers need a trip to Crazy Acres Home For the Not-So-Sane.

Execute Them or Imprison Them For Life

Wendy says, of the South Dakota abortion ban, "y'know i'm really starting to think it shouldn't be repealed, and let's just let the showdown happen already."

I agree. The penalty for murder in South Dakota is the death penalty.

To my pro-life friends: you have argued, time and time again, that abortion is murder, the deliberate killing of innocent life before it even has a chance to be born. Now is the time my friends to stand up for your beliefs. In South Dakota, there is no exception for rape or incest victims. Have some balls: print your name and email in my comments and tell me why you support the death penalty or life imprisonment for women who obtain abortions. Manslaughter is not an option: abortion is always premeditated. Believe me, I know: three of my friends and one girlfriend had abortions, and all of them thought about it for days, agonizing over the consequences, weighing the pros and cons. Just like a common killer.

"She's a victim too" is no argument in South Dakota, including those abortions that aren't the result of rape or incest. Indeed, most of you argue that in situations in which rape or incest is not the cause of the pregnancy, the pregnant woman is choosing to kill the fetus for no reason other than that she doesn't want to have a baby. And though she doesn't wield the cannula or curette herself, by your ideology she's the equivalent of Manson, conspiring with others to kill innocent life.

You cannot have a crime without a penalty, and prosecuting only the doctors makes no legal sense when it is the woman who is guilty of hiring the doctor to kill the unborn baby. Otherwise, you might as well let Manson out of jail: he only ordered the murders, he didn't actually do any of the slashing.
Seriously cats, defend this.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Trouble At the Pattersons

Looks like that vacation in Mexico didn't do the trick.
Run Elly, run!

Image hosting by Photobucket

New on the Roll

I just added a few sites to the blogroll.

I've been meaning to add Susie Madrak's indispensible Suburban Guerilla for a LOOOOONG TIME, and finally got aroudn to it. Give her a read, you'll be glad you did!

Also added is Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory, one of my favorite new voices online. I read him every single day, and you should too. I cannot recommend Greenwald highly enough. Seriously, go there NOW (I'll wait), and then come back and tell me that guy's not just fucking brilliant.

Also added is another daily read, the marvelous Firedoglake, by Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith. Super duper on the NSA stuff. Awesome on Alito. Real fuckin' firebreathers.

Steve Gilliard is also on the list. I am of two minds about Steve's blog: I love his opinions, but I'm not a fan of publishing entire articles. He's always fun to read, especially when he gets on his high horse (deservedly so, i might add).

And finally, I cannot leave without mentioning the blog that inspired me to begin abusing comics, The Comics Curmudgeon. Josh obsesses even more than I do about For Better or For Worse, and his running analysis of Rex Morgan MD's closeted homosexuality is hilarious.

So there you have it: you lost attytood, but got 5 different blogs to replace it. A good deal if you ask me, considering it's as free as James Musty's testicles. [That's an in-joke I don't expect you to understand].

Good News Everyone!

I've been hired as a blogger for the Washington Post, to publish an online column called "60 Minutes"! I came up with the name myself.

I'd like to share with you the first piece I'm working on.
It's called "A Tale of two Cities". I came up with that title myself too! (I thought my other piece, "The Adventures of Huckeberry Finn" was a little too edgy for Deborah "Lovey" Howell to deal with. Oh, did I mention that "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a book I wrote? It's true!)

Anyway, here's some of the introductory paragraph of my new piece for the Post, that I wrote all by myself!

Chapter 1 - The Period

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.

France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of "the Captain," gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, "in consequence of the failure of his ammunition:" after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles's, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fir on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures- the creatures of this chronicle among the rest- along the roads that lay before them.

Whaddya think? Personally, I believe it's easily as good as anythign that Ben "Augustine" Domenech could come up with, and has the added advantage of making fun of France, without the baggage of calling Coretta Scott King a commie a long time ago, and by "a long time ago" I mean this past February. 2006, not 2005.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Done with Attytood

I am no longer visiting Attytood, and I'm removing it from my blogroll. The administrator allows right-wingers to spread lies, and when someone like me proves through emails that the right-winger in question is lying, my posts are deleted and I'm threatened with being banned.

It's a bit of a long story. A one DB Cooper and I had a truce in which we agreed to debate civilly and honestly with each other. During this truce, Mr. Cooper attempted to deflect my criticism of the Bush admisnitration's mishandling of the disaster by stating that a barge had broken the levees, not the storm itself. When I asked him,politiely and in the spirit of comity, for articles backing this up, he failed to respond for three or four days. When I told him the truce was off since he'd blown smoke up my ass, he sent me an article in which Jesse Jackson, of all people, was saying the Army Corps of Engineers had it all wrong and that a barge had broken the levees. Not only is Jesse Jackson the only person saying this, the idea that a self-described conservative Republican would be citing Reverend Jackson, a bete noire who is routinely decried by the entire conservative movement, is a sign of clear desperation.

I was away from Attytood for some time after that: the commentary there is awful, and there is only so much one can take. I think the writers at the All Spin ZOne would agree. But I returned a week or so ago, and found Mr. Cooper spreading the same lies. When I called him on it, he said I was crazy, said he had already answered the question, and that I hated him. Unfortunately for Mr. Cooper, aka George Connor, I had the emails to back it up, and posted them. This brought on a case of the vapors from the staunch rock-ribbed WATB (whiney ass titty baby). And it brought on an admonishment from the administration.

I ws told that posting personal emails is a violation of policy and netiquette, no matter how germane to the topic. That's the first I've heard that personal emails are a violation of netiquette, and I've been blogging a lot longer than the administrator. Also, here's their comments policy:

...but not with racial slurs, potentially libelous allegations, obscenities or other juvenile noise. Such comments will, at our discretion, be deleted in their entirety, and repeat offenders will be blocked from commenting. ALSO: Any commenter advocating killing any government official will be immediately banned.


You'll note nothing about personal emails.
Will Bunch is a good writer, but his right-wing commenters get away with murder with no redress. If I'm not allowed to use everything in my arsenal to destroy someone's bullshit, I'm not interested.
So fuck that.
Sorry Will, and unlike Mr. Connor who ends each week by threatening to leave and never return, I will continue to be honest. In other words, when I say I'm gone, I'm not coming back.

A Question About the Law for Review

Does the country of Mauritania represent all Muslims?
My thesis holds: Islam is not a monolith anymore than Christianity or Judaism is a monolith. if it was a monolith, then the Shi'ites wouldn't want to kill Sunnis and vice versa. For that matter, there would be no difference between the quietist school of Shi'a Islam, which believes in separation of mosque and state, and the activist school of Shi'a Islam, a/k/a Iran.

When the Anti-Choice Choose: the Only Moral Abortion is MY Abortion

I try to avoid "What He Said" posts, but this is too good to pass up. Click the link for the entire piece.

Choice For Me, But Not For Thee

"The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion"

When the Anti-Choice Choose

By Joyce Arthur

Copyright © September, 2000

Abortion is a highly personal decision that many women are sure they'll never have to think about until they're suddenly faced with an unexpected pregnancy. But this can happen to anyone, including women who are strongly anti-choice. So what does an anti-choice woman do when she experiences an unwanted pregnancy herself? Often, she will grin and bear it, so to speak, but frequently, she opts for the solution she would deny to other women -- abortion.

In the spring of 2000, I collected the following anecdotes directly from abortion doctors and other clinic staff in North America, Australia, and Europe. The stories are presented in the providers' own words, with minor editing for grammar, clarity, and brevity. Names have been omitted to protect privacy.

"I have done several abortions on women who have regularly picketed my clinics, including a 16 year old schoolgirl who came back to picket the day after her abortion, about three years ago. During her whole stay at the clinic, we felt that she was not quite right, but there were no real warning bells. She insisted that the abortion was her idea and assured us that all was OK. She went through the procedure very smoothly and was discharged with no problems. A quite routine operation. Next morning she was with her mother and several school mates in front of the clinic with the usual anti posters and chants. It appears that she got the abortion she needed and still displayed the appropriate anti views expected of her by her parents, teachers, and peers." (Physician, Australia)

"I've had several cases over the years in which the anti-abortion patient had rationalized in one way or another that her case was the only exception, but the one that really made an impression was the college senior who was the president of her campus Right-to-Life organization, meaning that she had worked very hard in that organization for several years. As I was completing her procedure, I asked what she planned to do about her high office in the RTL organization. Her response was a wide-eyed, 'You're not going to tell them, are you!?' When assured that I was not, she breathed a sigh of relief, explaining how important that position was to her and how she wouldn't want this to interfere with it." (Physician, Texas)

"In 1990, in the Boston area, Operation Rescue and other groups were regularly blockading the clinics, and many of us went every Saturday morning for months to help women and staff get in. As a result, we knew many of the 'antis' by face. One morning, a woman who had been a regular 'sidewalk counselor' went into the clinic with a young woman who looked like she was 16-17, and obviously her daughter. When the mother came out about an hour later, I had to go up and ask her if her daughter's situation had caused her to change her mind. 'I don't expect you to understand my daughter's situation!' she angrily replied. The following Saturday, she was back, pleading with women entering the clinic not to 'murder their babies.'" (Clinic escort, Massachusetts)

"We too have seen our share of anti-choice women, ones the counselors usually grit their teeth over. Just last week a woman announced loudly enough for all to hear in the recovery room, that she thought abortion should be illegal. Amazingly, this was her second abortion within the last few months, having gotten pregnant again within a month of the first abortion. The nurse handled it by talking about all the carnage that went on before abortion was legalized and how fortunate she was to be receiving safe, professional care. However, this young woman continued to insist it was wrong and should be made illegal. Finally the nurse said, 'Well, I guess we won't be seeing you here again, not that you're not welcome.' Later on, another patient who had overheard this exchange thanked the nurse for her remarks." (Clinic Administrator, Alberta)

"We saw a woman recently who after four attempts and many hours of counseling both at the hospital and our clinic, finally, calmly and uneventfully, had her abortion. Four months later, she called me on Christmas Eve to tell me that she was not and never was pro-choice and that we failed to recognize that she was clinically depressed at the time of her abortion. The purpose of her call was to chastise me for not sending her off to the psych unit instead of the procedure room." (Clinic Administrator, Alberta)

"Recently, we had a patient who had given a history of being a 'pro-life' activist, but who had decided to have an abortion. She was pleasant to me and our initial discussion was mutually respectful. Later, she told someone on my staff that she thought abortion is murder, that she is a murderer, and that she is murdering her baby. So before doing her procedure, I asked her if she thought abortion is murder -- the answer was yes. I asked her if she thought I am a murderer, and if she thought I would be murdering her baby, and she said yes. But murder is a crime, and murderers are executed. Is this a crime? Well, it should be, she said. At that point, she became angry and hostile, and the summary of the conversation was that she regarded me as an abortion-dispensing machine, and how dare I ask her what she thinks. After explaining to her that I do not perform abortions for people who think I am a murderer or people who are angry at me, I declined to provide her with medical care. I do not know whether she found someone else to do her abortion." (Physician, Colorado)...

More at the link, if you can stand the utter hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy.
To date, none of my pro-life friends have ever answered the question, "If abortion is murder, how should we punish the women who obtain abortions?" They evade, they dodge, they answer other questions, but the fact remains: if abortion is murder, then a women who obtains an abortion is a murderer. She is no different from someone who hires a contract hitman.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How to Tell When You've Won a Debate with a Right-Winger

They drop the subject, without any admission that they were wrong or have been bested.

Which is what happened in an email debate with my friend in N. Carolina who stated, in reference to Abdul Rahman, the Muslim who converted to Christianity, that "Any Muslim who doesn't believe that this guy should be killed really does not believe in Islam."

It's just not true. Yes, SOME Muslims believe that, but many do not. The same way that SOME Christian sects believe that homosexuals are going to burn in Hell, and many do not. Or the way that SOME Jewish sects require their women to wear wigs or headscarves, and many do not.

I stand against fundamentalists of all stripes. And I stand for religious tolerance as well. If you want to defend freedom of religion, you must also defend freedom FROM religion.

And God Bless Thomas Paine, although Tom himself would kick me in the ass for saying so.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tired, grumpy, kinda low

Didn't sleep well last night, and now I have that odd sour taste in the back of my mouth. I didn't have enough coffee either, that certainly didn't help. Couple of grants here at work are stalled, waiting for letters of support, adjusted budgets, the whole nine yards.

I am in the doghouse again with Sam's mom, probably because I told her that unless a job opens up that pays at least what I make now, there is no way I'm moving up to Vermont for a repeat of 2004.

You may recall I was either unemployed, working for a temp agency, or (at my lowest point) working in kitchens.

You may also recall that one of the reasons Melissa elected to stay in Montreal was she didn't want to be in a situation in which I had no money, besides all of the promises Mcgill University made to her, which I have conceded was a better deal than Penn was offering.

You may also recall that it was this period of unemployment and underemployment that convinced her parents that I was a jerk.

So unless there's a job waiting for me that pays AT LEAST as much as I'm making now (about $32K, with benefits), I'm not moving up there. And of course on top of that there's the goddam weather and the isolation of Vermont, even in a city like Burlington, which is about the size of west philly, maybe smaller.

I explained my debts: that were it not for the income from my housemates, I couldn't pay what I pay now for child support; that even with the housemates, after I pay my bills I only have a couple of hundred to tide me over for two weeks at a time (some of this is because I always overpay on my credit cards, and to absorb this I've cut down on my beer intake by 50% to save some money). Her response the other night was "get a second job" and then a diatribe about how she works 20 hours as a coach, 35 hours at the restaurant, and has Sam on top of that.

In her opinion, I should "get a restaurant job", never mind that the restaurant schedule doesn't fit with the 9-5 world, never mind that I'm THIRTY SIX FUCKING YEARS
OLD and I've earned the right to have one job that pays enough to cover me. Never mind that the bills that put me in a hole are a result of overpaying so i won't have higher debts down the road.

Look, I am pissed off that McGill welched on the job offer, but for her to claim the coaching position is just bs: she wanted that position, and that was another main reason for staying in Montreal. She described it as "her dream job", this is what she wants to do with her life. It's like me getting the bass slot for Tom Petty. or Slayer, and then complaining that I'm never home.

For every decision Melissa made, I begged, BEGGED her to do the opposite. But I'm the one who doesn't get it. I'm the guy who fucked everything up.

Frankly, I'm not sure what I don't get. That she's overwhelmed and working her ass off? I get that. And I also get that if she hadn't decided to stay in Montreal, I'd be there 24/7 to split the chores, the childcare, and the income. That she wishes she had more free time on her hands? I get that. And I also get that if she hadn't decided to stay in Montreal, she'd have a fulltime father to watch Sam whenever she needed a break, and it wouldn't cost a dime.

I don't like it that she's overwhelmed. It makes me really sad. If I could, i'd go up to Montreal and beat the living crap out of the guy who welched on the Mcgill job, beating him until he gave in. But I can't do that. It would be illegal.

But maybe there's something else I don't get.
I don't get it.

This is just scary looking

This is George Bush at today's pres conference.
Tell me his eyes don't look fucking scary, like he's lost any semblance of sanity he may have had:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Caption this photo.

I miss Jim Krewson

One of his latest installments:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Monday, March 20, 2006

Comics Abuse

Image hosting by Photobucket

Mike Patterson's 5-year-old wants him to give her a french kiss. One question: what the hell happens when she walks in while Daddy's taggin' Mommy doggy style?

And here's Sunday's Yenny strip. And I DO mean "strip".

Image hosting by Photobucket

I think I need to go to the men's room for a few minutes...

OK, I'm back. I'd also like to mention Yenny's well-detailed cameltoe (or is it simply bulge?).

Image hosting by Photobucket

Alvarez doesn't so much draw his characters as his pen pretty much leers over them slobbering and pawing. And I'll bet for $50.00, he'll send you all sorts of pix of Yenny in various states of total nudity, instead of the softcore stuff he draws for the funny pages. I have this distinct impression that Alvarez's desk is covered with unusable pix of Yenny covered with stains that still have that whiff of fresh jizz.

And speaking of the men's room,

Image hosting by Photobucket

...does anyone really need the image of Ziggy hunched over the bowl, his face contorted in pain as he deposits the 8th burning hershey-squirt in as many minutes?
Not me.

Yo Pauly

Everybody gets
what you should've got
Everybody takes
your opportunities
Everybody gets
The breaks that belonged to you
Everybody takes
your just deserts

Life's not been good for you
It's just not fair
I've got some news for you
I wisht here was a way
to make it all better
I pray for a way
to make you happy
'Cause I'm sick and I'm tired
of your whining, complaining, and bitching, and moaning.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Krauthammer: Nitwit

Writing on polygamy for the Washington Post (aka Pravda on the Potomac), Charles SauerKrauthammer point out that "I'm not one of those who see gay marriage or polygamy as a threat to, or assault on, traditional marriage. The assault came from within. Marriage has needed no help in managing its own long, slow suicide, thank you. Astronomical rates of divorce and of single parenthood (the deliberate creation of fatherless families) existed before there was a single gay marriage or any talk of sanctioning polygamy. The minting of these new forms of marriage is a symptom of our culture's contemporary radical individualism -- as is the decline of traditional marriage -- and not its cause."

This may be, but you'll notice reading the article that Mr. Krauthammer makes no mention of the Republican cult of "radical individualism" that fuels cuts social programs, that fails to subsidize childcare or provide health insurance to the public, and that forces both parents to work outside the home, fraying the bonds of marriage.

Republicans always want it both ways. This is why they're STUPID.

Philly was a tough town???

Thomas Paine: Founding Father and Genius

Image hosting by Photobucket

I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit...

EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.

Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some observations on the word 'revelation.' Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.

No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.

Click Tom's picture to read the rest!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Country Music

I've been listening to a LOT of contemporary country these days, and my scorn for the genre has in many instances become, if not quite admiration, sheer pleasure.
Here're a few names to keep in mind: Shooter Jennings, son of the late great Waylon Jennings. Shooter's got a great song on the radio called "Fourth of July," featuring a vocal by thelegendary-but-today-largely-ignored-like-all-the-rest-of-the-classic-artists-of-country George Jones. Also, the djs can't say the name of Shooter's album, Let's Put the O Back in Country, which is very funny because the album's a hit and getting some heavy rotation.
Dierks Bentley has two good songs getting rotation, What Was I Thinkin' and Lot of Leavin' Left to Do. Gretchen Wilson does great stuff: Redneck Women, When I Think About Cheating, My Give a Damn's Busted, and of course, Home Wrecker. She is probably the best of the lot these days.
Faith Hill's Mississippi Girl is reminiscient of Loretta Lynn's Blue Eyed Country Girl in theme and in the phrasing of the words.
Brad Paisley's "Alcohol" is some great country music.
Even Toby Keith, whose songs are more typically jingles than actual songs (c'mon, anyone can hear I Love This Bar reworked as an ad for Bennigans, and all American Soldier needs to be complete is a quiet voice under the fadeout saying "Paid for by the U.S. Army"), has a good one out with As Good As I Once Was.

The sad part, especially here in Philadelphia where 92.5 WXTU has for all practical purposes a monopoly on the country music market: you will never hear the legends of country music on the radio. WXTU plays ONLY contemporary pop, even cutting performers like Garth Brooks' rotation by gradual percentages as newly created acts hit the market. The irony that a genre based on "tradition" goes out of its way to ignore and even bury its own history is as acrid as chewing on tin foil.

Consider this email exchanged with a dj at WXTU with a great sense of humor. I had written him about a band I used to play with, UncleFucker the heavy metal bluegrass extravaganza.
[Writer's note #1:Actually, upon rereading the email, I can tell that Izzy wrote this one and I just put my name on it.] [Writer's note #2: Izzy insisted we all have "band names". I was "Snikkas" because of my perverted snicker. Our drummer was known as Freeball because... well, I don't want to get into that. Read One of our adventures on the road here]

Here's the series of letters.

I'm Snikkas, bass player for the band UncleFucker, the
worlds first (and only) Bluegrass Thrashmetal Punk
band, based out of Brooklyn, New York, except for me
and I live in Philly.
Visit us online at

We've recently finished "Usurpers of the Tradition",
our first record and just got back from a full US
national tour rocking out to 500-2000 17-year-old punk
rock kids every night, and selling a lot of CD's,
successfully and actively bringing the twang to a
brand new generation.

With the release of our new record, we are now
pursuing or first indie radio campaign which is of
course why I'm writing you. I am hoping that you are
someone who might be able to help us get our music
played on your station, or at least listened to by
your djs.

I think I may know what you're thinking right now, and
I will address this directly:
We are aware that the issue of us being difficult to
place as far as genre, is only compounded by the fact
that our name maybe downright illegal to say on the
radio. I'd like to assure you that this is not a hoaky
kids band. We are serious, topnotch musicians who have
been immersed in bluegrass and country for years. We
also just happen be Punk as hell. So please give an
open ear as the music stands on it's own (as does our
troupe of 6 dancing girls, The Fuckerettes). Second,
we have aliases which we will gladly go by for radio
sake. Our preferred are:
UncleFugger, UncleFrigger, or simply U.F. The bottom
line is we think our music is superb and the world
should hear it even if it goes unannounced altogether.

I will be happy to send a CD at your request. Check
our website to get a better feel for the band at: you can suck down our MP3's at:
UF's MP3's . I know you probably won't play MP3's on
air but if you want to scout 'em, they're there.
Thanks for your time. Your response is appreciated.

Image hosted by

His response:

Checked out the site....I don't Uncle fucking think so!

Good luck.

[name withheld]

HAH! I wrote back in our defense.
Hey XX,

I didn't expect a wholly positive reaction from WXTU,
a station that plays Kenny Chesney and that "One Hot
Mama" song (that's the Adkins guy, right?) over and
over, so your taste is, by definition, questionable.
It is true that UncleFucker is not exactly material
for your target market, the soccer moms.
Waylon woulda loved us though, god rest his soul. Oh
wait, you don't play Waylon either. I'm glad you
checked out the site though.
PS: is Toby Keith bald under that giant hat or what?
Cus I saw him on some CMT special and there was a
brief live clip that made his blonde locks not so
lush. Inquiring speedmetal bluegrass minds want to

So far, so silly. A little banter. And then, an odd confession:

Actually, taste has nothing to do with radio. It is all about $$$. And
Waylon doesn't appeal to our target demo. Tests show that the majority
do not like your dads 'country music.' Hence the reason you can count on
one hand how many stations play classic country. Can't make $$$.
[emphasis mine.]

Oh, and yes Toby is as bald as Chesney and McGraw. That's why you will
never see them without hats...unless they have to go to court because of
altercations with police over stolen horses.

Again, good luck with your music. Maybe you are just too advanced for
your time.


A few years ago I was in Nashville, reading the Scene, when I came upon a serious article about the commodification and market emasculation of country music.

songwriter Darrell Wayne Perry concurred: "I think radio is to blame for [losing our core country audience], because radio has put small parameters on songwriters. Now when I sit down, in order to make a living on country radio, I have to write the same song over and over again. They will not let me be a creative person."


This question of what to play on country radio goes hand-in-hand with an equally important, and confounding, question: Who's listening? The core audience at country, statisticians say, increasingly resembles the audience for Adult Contemporary music: mother-age to middle-aged women. Steve Mitchell, program director of WYAY-FM, an ABC/Disney-owned station in Atlanta, says, "We use research to get a visual image of who our listener is. For us, it's late-30s soccer moms. I tell my jocks, 'Imagine a mom and dad driving along with kids in the car. That's who you're talking to.' "

There is nothing wrong with marketing songs and music. Like any other business, you have to determine who your audience is, and give them what they want. So why is it that rock and roll stations manage to play the flavor of the day alongside acts that never seem to go away like ZZ Top, and country radio can't? Why does Johnny Cash get more airplay on WMMR than on WXTU? Why is Kid Rock doing Conway Twitty style duets with Sheryl Crowe, sounding more country than anything Cheli Wright has ever done in her entire career, with country music picking up the song a year after it appeared on rock radio?

One may argue that older rock musicians find a niche in classic rock formats, and that is undoubtedly true. But some bands, the true legends like Zeppelin, the Who, Aerosmith, are never rotated out on so-called "modern rock" stations.

There is also nothing wrong with music that is targeted to one gender or the other. But when artists get shut out of rotation because they're deemed "too old" or "not appealing to the demographic", there is something out of balance.

All country music is addictive if you ask me, from the bluegrass and old time I first fell in love with, to 1950s honky tonk, western swing, the Nashville sounds, Bakersfield, the Outlaws. Even some of the stuff I turned up my nose at during the punk rock 80s now actually sounds OK in retrospect. As I've made clear earlier, I like a lot of the contemporary songs out there too. I just can't understand why a station like WXTU, which has a monopoly on the country fan's ear can't squeeze a little George Jones in there with the Shania. Is it too much to ask for even a 10-midnight Sunday night Classic Country slot?

And this gets to I really believe. Classic country doesn't deserve to be shunted to a Sunday night ghetto. Everything needs to be jumbled together in a mishmosh, Flatt and Scruggs following Lonestar following Toby Keth following Waylon following Shania. There's a fine station, 101.3 near Syracuse NY that plays a fine mix of classic and contemporary country.

There is no comparing dreck like "Mr Mom" to Patsy Cline's "Crazy", but you never hear Patsy on WXTU. NEVER. "Crazy" is a damn classic song; it should be getting played every day, in the regular mix. Same with Hank Williams (all 3 of them), George Jones, Bill Monroe. In short, play all of it, everything from Alan Jackson to the Stanley Brothers. And the Louvin Brothers. God bless the Louvin Brothers.

Image hosting by Photobucket

I don't have any argument with the bottom line. Radio is, at its roots, a business, a commercial venture. You can't keep your venture going if you're not offering something people want to buy. To my mind, country music is more than just a genre: it is a matter of our national heritage, as much as rock and roll is. Rock radio does more honor to its heritage by keeping elder statesmen like The Stones, Dylan, Zeppelin, and hundreds more in the regular mix than country, ostensibly the music of tradition, does to honor its icons. And for those groups too old for rock radio, there are oldies stations. The same cannot be said of coutnry music, at least not in any state I've ever lived in.

Sam Fest

Warning: if you don't like pictures of other people's kids, scroll down to the next article, where there's plenty of snark and politics.
Me, I'm voting for Sam in 2008. His platform is "Cracker! Pretzel! Elmo!"

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket
yes, yes, my pretty: keep playing that guitar. It won't ruin your life...

Image hosting by Photobucket
More guitars, yes yes....

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket
hey look, I'm almost smiling!