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October 15, 2004

stop calling me fag

Is it just me, or are the Cheneys protesting a little bit too much?  I mean, as long as we're getting all bunched up about outing the outed, shouldn't we maybe cast a queer eye towards the Cheneys?  Why all the hubbub, Dick, Lynne?  Is your kneejerk revulsion and backhanded paternalism only surfacing because of a terrible, murky secret?  Is there something we should know -- is there something you should know, Cheneys, explaining those strange dreams, those urges that fill your souls every time you lay eyes on our smooth, naked shoulder...

"How dare you call our gay daughter a lesbian?  Isn't it bad enough already that she had to grow up with us as parents?"

I remember when I was eight years old in Pittsburgh and the kids at my bus stop called me a fag and threw my lunch "inta the crick", and my mom and dad didn't do anything about it, let alone talk to newspapers about how angry they were.

And Kerry didn't even touch her lunch.

It's just another little manufactured scandal that will go away soon enough, but not until it gets wrapped around Kerry's throat by a press unwilling to ask the Cheneys, "Just what is so wrong about calling your gay daughter a lesbian?"

I'll just keep myself warm this afternoon by revising my opinion of the Vice President: from the evilest man in the free world to the evilest queen since J Edgar.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:58 AM

October 14, 2004

short play

[I wrote a play based on last night's debate.  It's not Shakespeare, but Shakespeare's been dead for hundreds of years, and who wants to be that?]

BOB:  I am Bob.  They make me follow rules, but I am still Bob.  I am capable of giggling.

(Enter JOHN and GEORGE.)

CROWD:  Can we yell now?

BOB: Yes.  Now stop.  Hey, John, is it fair for me to talk about security at a debate on domestic affairs?

JOHN:  Well, if you do, can I talk about terrorism?

BOB:  You go.

JOHN:  I will.

GEORGE:  Have you heard me speak yet of liberty spread?  It is my plan.  Also, think about 19 year old Afghani women.  And prostitution!  And gambling!

JOHN:  Umm, Osama bin Laden.

GEORGE:  Ex-ag-er-ashun!  Lying with funny sounding words make me chortle.

BOB:  Flu vaccine?

GEORGE:  Canada will help, but manufacturers are scared of getting sued, which is everybody's fault.  Also, no flu shot for you!

JOHN:  The flu is bad, especially when no one is insured.  Was I talking about the flu?

BOB:  Mr. President?

GEORGE:  A plan is not a litany of complaints!  Whatever a litany is.

JOHN:  I ignore you, Mr. President.  It is Presidential.

BOB:  How will you pay for this shit, homiez?

JOHN:  By paying for it, like back in the 90s, when we did.  Can I say "McCain"?

GEORGE:  His rhetoric dudn't match his record!  Did I say that right? Pay-go!  PAY-GO!  Is this mike on?  There go my wheels.

BOB:  Imagine you know a real person who lost their job.

GEORGE:  Hmmm.  Bob.

BOB:  I lost my job?  Oh shit.

GEORGE:  I mean another Bob.  I went to Washington to solve problems.  You know, hindsight, 40/40.

JOHN:  Being lectured by the President is like a big shout out to my buds at HBO.  And now, some truth, which is boring.

BOB:  It is.  If a train leaves Cleveland, doing 40 miles per hour...

JOHN:  Well, I would not tax that train unless it made more than 200 thousand dollars per year, or outsourced jobs.

GEORGE: Whooo!  He's smarter than I am, but that just makes me charming!  Oh, and "hunnerd" means "hundred".  I like trains.

JOHN:  No, Mr. President, you don't.

GEORGE:  You must answer to my rhetoric!  Ted Kennedy!  If you can say McCain, I can say Kennedy!

BOB:  What about lesbians?

GEORGE:  You asshole.  Now I have to say "sanctity", which has too many Ts in it for my liking.  Also, I am unlikeable.

JOHN:  I'm just going to reference the Vice Presidential lesbian and let it go at that, to appear deft and sane.

BOB:  The Pope's all over you.  Are you afrighted?

JOHN:  As a Catholic, yes.  As a playa, no.

GEORGE:  Karl Rove told me to tie this issue to the word "hospitable".  Though I am scared of hospitals.  And my opponent is out of the mainstream!  I'm smiling like I'm actually happy!

BOB:  Why are my legions of fans not affording health care?

GEORGE:  Heh heh heh.  Information technology!  There go the wheels!

JOHN:  Wow.  All I have to do is look in the camera and not jibba jabba like a monkey.

BOB:  Urb--

GEORGE:  Oh no you don't!  I have talking points!

JOHN:  I tire of correcting the President.  Also, "wrong".  Shudder, bitch.

BOB:  Where's the beef?

JOHN:  I will give you facts.  And you are getting sleepy, very sleepy...

GEORGE:  This is the worst party ever.  I can say, "Our health care system is the envy of the world," and look no more shifty than usual.

JOHN:  VA benefits, sucka.

GEORGE:  This won't be fact-checked, right?

BOB:  Ah, God.  Social Security.

GEORGE:  I will not rob old people.  But, youngsters...  I may have to rob them.

JOHN:  I call bullshit.  "Youngsters"?  Come on.

GEORGE:  If I turn my body towards you while you are speaking, you will be scared of me.

BOB:  Ooh, this could be good, so I will quote Greenspan!

JOHN:  Yeah, well.  That surplus?  I was there.  I knew that surplus.

GEORGE:  He forgot to tell you about votes.  Now, I infuriate you with lies!  The monkey flying out of my ass will solve the recession!

BOB:  People e-mail me.  Electronically mail me.

GEORGE:  I love those wetbacks who will vote for me.

JOHN:  I correct you, and your leaky borders.

BOB:  Oh geez.

GEORGE:  Borders?  He doesn't have any borders!

JOHN:  He's wrong?  I am tired of saying that.

BOB:  Minimum wage?  I am relevant,

JOHN:  Pig in shit, am I.  What's the time limit on this one?  Please say two hours.  Family values?  Value families!  Thanks, Jesse.

GEORGE:  I will preface with a useless fact, that you will please not fact-check.  Now, rote!  My wheels!  Syntax, context!  Never met em!

BOB:  A question about Roe v. Wade.

GEORGE:  I will not answer your question.  Oops.

JOHN:  I get 90 whole seconds after that?  Is this my birthday?  Oh.  Yes.  It.  Is. 

GEORGE:  I should talk more!

JOHN:  Sure, whatever.

BOB:  There is blood on the stage, can someone clean that up?  And now, backdoor draft!  I am not picking sides!

JOHN:  Um, if I offer specifics, then is character not fate?

GEORGE:  More Liberty Spread, please.  Also, two people said they liked me.  Now I switch gears.  This might take a bit.

BOB:  Senator?

JOHN:  Uhhh, Bob?

GEORGE:  My spatial-temoporal sense is fuuuuucked.

BOB:  Please have some assault weapons cake, and eat it too.

GEORGE:  Urm.  This won't work well.

JOHN:  Dude, I own guns.  Fuck all y'all.  Law enforcement back it.  This is too easy.  Also, Tom Delay.

BOB:  Affirmative action.  Still relevant?

JOHN:  You are too glib.  Also, Bill Clinton was the blackest President, yes?  I will be the second blackest.

GEORGE:  Here come the half-truths!  Or there they go?  My shitty education plan is color-blind!

BOB:  Mr. President, are you Jesus' bitch?

GEORGE:  Yes.  I stutter, and my catchphrases are getting worse.

JOHN:  Everything is a gift from the Creator!  I can be philosophical!  I was raised by a pack of Jesuits!  Only a fool would not fear me!

BOB:  Who squandered togetherness?

JOHN:  I will compliment George, because it is disarming!  But, "unifier"?  Pfeh.  Also, I can define "bipartisan".

GEORGE:  My unctuousness is not my fault.  It is JFK's fault.  You are not surprised.  Also, I lost the majority vote in 2000.  No wheels left!

BOB:  My wife is watching.

GEORGE:  I can tell jokes now?  I have learned nothing from my wife.

JOHN:  If I answer your questions, will the judges deduct points from my score?

BOB:  Closing time!

JOHN:  "Ideer" is humanizing, yes?  I forego an actual speech in order to answer attacks willy-nilly.

GEORGE:  No wheels!  No wheels!  Sunrise!  Moutains are tall!  I'm not slurring, I'm talkin fast!  "Armies of compassion" is exactly as scary as I mean it to be!

BOB:  Don't hate me because I'm the moderator.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:53 PM

debate hangover

Now the debates are over, and I am sad.  Props to the corner bar, for being civic minded and showing the debates with full volume.  And you proud regulars of the corner bar are all upstanding citizens, and drunks.

And as the debates depart, so too departs the President's secret plan to win the election: lie about stupid shit.  Yes, there is no shit too stupid to lie about, no lie too stupid to get caught in.  Someone had a theory about the Big Lie, but I forget who it was.

Lie on, you lying President!  And may your lying continue to obscure the fact that your lying is the least troubling of your Presidential deficiencies!

Posted by mrbrent at 12:23 PM

October 13, 2004

if the WMD don't fit

New fave metaphor to describe the efforts to reelect the President: OJ Simpson making a televised appeal to "find the real killers".  Yes, only through a pathological reluctance to even admit to his own Presidential self his fuck-ups has he hope to sway the jury of the American electorate.

Admittedly this was inspired by Matt Taibbi, who uses the OJ metaphor to describe the brazenness of the reporting of Howard Fineman, in his series "Wimblehack", available on the streets of NYC or online (for now) on the NYPress website.

But you're already reading that.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:25 PM

fcc 9-11

It is my contention that the only person worse than a holocaust denier is a person who uses "holocaust denier" in a simile, badly.  Fuckwit similes are bad enough, no need to waive the H flag around, unless you are trying to move up from "asshole" to "super asshole".

The super asshole, of course, is Mark Hyman, the unfortunately-named spokesman for Sinclair Broadcast Group, and the other half of the simile is "the networks", who choose not to air a propagandical docu about how all the real Americans had their feelings hurt when John Kerry testified in front of Congress about Vietnam back in the 50s or whenever that was.  Of course, since the networks chose not to broadcast, they are "supressing" the "truth".  Ya know, like holocaust deniers. 

I feel like it would be giving super asshole Hyman too much shrift to address his contention head on, but I'm all amatuer writey, so, there you go.  I actually know a thing or two about the broadcast of motion pictures over the airwaves, thanks to the Dayjob Archipelago.  When a movie, docu or not, is shopped around networks, the owners of this movie are usually seeking compensation.  Even that grisly 9-11 docu got paid some green stuff for the license to air it.  Perhaps this propagandumentary that Sinclair wants to air wasn't even looking for a fee -- "please air our work, for free, even."  Irrelevant.    None of the nets bit.  That is a business decision made by business entities.  The networks were saying, in essence, "We do not wish to air your propagandumentary, because we feel that the revenue we would receive from advertising would be less than the revenue we would receive from our normal, crappy programming."

That is not supression.  That is the Way Things Work.  The networks are not obligated to air the propu.  And to assert some obligation to air it is a dangerous place for Sinclair and super asshole Hyman to be, because, under the FCC, public interest in the airing of the propu requires equal time given to the opponents.  Which would the not the outcome desired by Sinclair, but, petards are for hoisting.

Maybe Hyman was thinking that, by using a group of people we blue staters dislike, like holocaust deniers, he could construct a metaphor of such craft and cunning that our moral confusion would stun us out of commission for two to three weeks, at least.

And you know, no offense to the ADL, but I feel that society is served better by letting this super asshole Hyman, and other assholes who aspire to someday be super as well, talk their freakin heads off, in public, in front of people, where everyone can hear it.  Let the assholery see the light of day, so that its utter wrongness can have the chance to become common wisdom.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:21 AM

October 12, 2004

i call bullshit

Paul Krugman is a columnist for the New York Times.  He also frequently appears as a guest on television shows where guests sit in one place and talk, instead of eat bugs or flirt with Flav.  I hear he's also some kind of economist, but, I'm an English major, so, I hear dat.

His column today was a dead solid keeper -- basically a cheat sheet for responses to current fave Bush Relect Squad accusations and gloats.  I'd link it, but, his columns are frequently linked in other amateur writey places of gathering, and it's on the NYT site, with all its reg. requirements and content vanishing behind a wall of pay-me-money.

But I will recount (in my own words, natch), because it is a public service, and the information, it wants to be free.  So, below, bullshit underlined, and calling bullshit therafter.

9/11 caused the deficit.  No it didn't, at least according to the Congressional Budget Office.  They say that tax cuts caused two-thirds of the deficit.  What 9-11 caused was the blurring of the moral high ground and the inability to ever again guage messurable levels of insufferability.  So, it's a big old lie, unless you are splitting truth hairs and asserting that 9/11 was one of the causes of the deficit, and therefore "9/11 caused the deficit" is not an untruth.  It is, however, a weak turn of phrase to hide your candidate butt behind, unless your electorate is dumb like sack of hammers.  Only time will tell.

1.7 million jobs have been created since 6/03.  Not so much a lie as an obfuscation.  Population growth requires that 1.6 million jobs be created annually just to stay even.  So 1.7 million jobs means that you're only 100 thousand jobs up, which would be a bad thing to brag about.  Unless, of course, you're the first President to lose jobs over your term since Hoover.  Which we've all heard, but it's the misdirection inplicit in the boast that is the more galling.  It's like bragging to the boys in the locker room that you've had sex once in the past fifteen years, and it was a nervous fumbling that resulted in no culmination, with a girl you had a crush on who then never spoke to you again.  A specialized hypothetical, for specialized times.

The unemployment rate has dropped in the past year.  Again, not so much a lie, but the statistic has lost its ability to reflect reality.  Because we are a compassionate society, any "unemployed" who cease to look for work, or otherwise drop out of the labor force, they also cease to be counted as "unemployed".  So, a drop in the unemployment rate can be caused by three factors: (i) decrease in population; (ii) increase in employment; and (iii) increase in departures from the labor force.  So, it's a specious claim unless you can back it up with some causes.  Maybe if we all started calling the "unemployment rate" the "rate of unemployment among people who are looking for work because they haven't yet given up" instead, maybe we won't have these problems in the future.

And there's more, in the much more level-headed Krugman prose, in the column -- available at newsstands for the next few hours, and on the web for seven days.  But mad props to Krug.  Support his website, and wonk your ass up, by visiting.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:09 PM

yes, it's apt

Today's link is to an excerpt from a comic book.  It is self-explanatory, and was, oddly enough, found on the online research journal of the writer of said comic book.


Posted by mrbrent at 1:09 PM

October 11, 2004

thank you, scary button man, my friend

We take our inspiration where we can.

This week, I'm taking mine from Nazareth, PA, a small town between the small towns of Easton and Bethlehem.  I was recently driving through, and fearing that my Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker might invite some "accidental" rear-ending (and not that kind, no).  While stopped at a red light, I noticed in the rear view mirror a vehicle approaching with a K/E04 sticker on the front bumper.  Odd, I thought, that there is blue state support there in the Slate Belt.  As I stared into the rear view, the driver, a man of indetermintate age in tinted aviator glasses, stares back at me coldly and raises his right hand.  Which is holding a K/E04 button.

Which is just about the coolest thing that's happened to me while driving in the state of Pennsyltucky.

Go... Eagles?  Nittany Lions?

Posted by mrbrent at 1:04 PM