« April 17, 2005 - April 23, 2005 | Main | May 1, 2005 - May 7, 2005 »

April 30, 2005

sometimes, the words they slap like little open hands

I generally avoid discussion of social security.  I care pretty deeply about it, but the spongy thinky thing behind my eyes has a hard time reducing the arguments surrounding it into anything resembling coherency.

And then Josh Marshall makes with the words so I don't have to:

Social Security is also, I'm willing to concede, an abysmal hair dryer.

No, really.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:18 PM

April 29, 2005

an imaginary story

I had planned on watching the president's press conference last night.  Heck, I was even gonna DVR it and watch it in the middle of the night, with the sound off, so as not to freak out my sensible and sleeping wife.  But I didn't.  Turns out, when it comes to the intersection of the president and my leisure time, I am selfish and greedy -- just like the American people!

But just because I didn't see the press conference doesn't mean that I cannot report it to you.  (And I don't mean that in a Rick Bragg kinda way.)  Below please find the highlights of last night's press conference, as I imagined it.

•  The event started out with an announcement that press conferences would from now on be called "pageants", and could everyone take their places, please.  Remember: smiles, everyone!

•  The president informed the American people that he was forceful, and decisive, while gesturing with both hands like he was massaging the muscular back of an invisible german shepherd.  That is, forcefully and decisively massaging.

•  Everyone was very impressed with the president's new gown, except for James Dobson, who thought it made the president look "hippy".  Oh, and queer.

•  The president busted out his "Bushak the Magnificent" act, where he would hold each reporter to his forehead and then answer the question before it was asked.  The press corps agreed that the president performed forcefully and decisively, and could he please put them down now.

•  Musical entertainment for the evening was Jerry Reed performing his classic "If You're Hot, You're Hot".  The president joined Jerry on stage for the part says, "Ninety days, Jerry!" and then air-drummed for the remainder of the song.  Sadly, pundit consensus was that the press corps questions and the president's answers thereto were much better rehearsed.

•  There was a lighter moment when a reporter from The Oregonian asked for a "follow-up", at which point everyone laaaughed and laaaaughed...  My goodnes, what a hoot!

•  In response to the issue of high fuel costs, the president trotted out the "magic wand" metaphor, at which alarms and whistles went off and confetti dropped from the ceiling.  Yes, administration staff was commemorating the CiC's hundreth use of the "magic wand" phrase.  The president was sheepish, but pleased.  And forceful, and decisive.  Concurrently, somewhere that was not the East Room of the White House, James Guckert heard "magic wand" and then giggled, uncontrollably, and then sobbed, uncontrollably.

•  As the presdient described the dire and imminent threat of the bankruptcy of the social security system, a black cloud of fog and dread crept across the East Room.  Thunder crashed as the sails tattered on the mizzenmast, blowing hard from the East.  Many prayers were muttered as the East Room pitched hard to starboard, as the president ordered, "Avast ye, mateys!  Throw yer retirement accounts at the free market, and on the double!"  Then later, many pleasurable sea shanties, telling the pleasures of concubines and rum.

•  Major network analysts agreed that the president seemed relaxed and in command.  Oh, and forceful and decisive.  On a lighter side, the president at the end of the press conference decided to spare the lives of the press corps for another day.  Except for Helen Thomas, of course, whose spirit and indomitability have foiled the president at every turn.  The president will get you yet, Helen Thomas!

Posted by mrbrent at 3:02 PM

real quickly now

I'm working on a little thingie about last night's press conference.  No, it's not done, but it's been started.

Til then, this is worth a big old, day-cheering partisan larf.

And if you've ever wondered what the word "autodefenestration" would mean, were it a word, over here is a pretty apt illustration thereof.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:43 AM

April 28, 2005

bwooo ha ha ha ha

Today's mood: extra cranky.  And all that cranky doesn't grow on trees, I tell you.

So you may feel as expensively cranky as I do, I give you the worst comic strip evah.  Go ahead, click around.  It's like a laff riot in a vacuum.  And it's not the politics of the strip that are so offensive.  There are hundreds of successful right-wing comic strips.  Oops!  My bad.  I meant none.  But at least the art is refreshingly bad -- crayon/paper bag bad.  Like, your kid's scribble hanging on the fridge blows this shit outta water.

And the funny?  Not there!  Not just that the punchlines are bad.  In some strips, there is a total absence of punchline.  Like the creator couldn't be bothered to squeeze his muddleheaded rightie pap into any kind of structure actually resembling a comic strip.  Don't make me give you an example.  We'd both feel icky then.

Hey, no need to protect anyone here -- the creator's name is Carl Moore.  I tried to get some background on him, but the Internets were not so full of information on this fellow.  But, Mr. Moore, please remember: day jobs are not for quitting.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:30 PM

April 27, 2005

florida is even saferer

Good news for you retired Forces of Righteousness!  It's now easier than ever to defend yourself in your native state, Florida.  Oh, and you crackers (as you call yourselves), too!  Go get 'em!

Perhaps most hilarious of all is the lede from the Reuters version of the news story:

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a new anti-crime law on Tuesday that allows people to kill in self-defense without first trying to flee.

Now you can kill first and flee later, just like God intended!

I gotta get me to Florida.  Here, in backwards old New York State, the main thing that stops me from defending myself is fear of conviction.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:38 PM

April 26, 2005

the president never loses

Not that these political brush fires matter.  Still, I just gotta be free.

What follows is a paragraph from a LA Times article ruminating on growing conflict between moderate Republicans and the White House: 

The signs of insurrection have reached a point where some conservatives believe the White House must confront the dissenting voices more forcefully — especially as some Republicans' doubts about Bolton threaten the administration with its first defeat on a top-tier executive branch appointment.  [emphasis mine]

Um, since when did Bernard Kerik not count as a defeat?  The president nominates some yutz for Homeland Security chief whose only qualification (other than overwhelming tendencies towards appearances of impropriety) was that he didn't die on 9-11, said yutz falls on his sword after investigative reporters starting whispering that he was mobbed up, and this does not constitute a defeat?  Is it only a defeat if the nomimee gets owned by a congressional committee?  That was some kind of tie, I guess?

I don't know who should be keeping score on these things, but it sure ain't you, LA Times.  Now, tell us more of this undeniable mandate the current adminstration is operating under.  Because, really, the weight of it is just crushing.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:59 PM

because joe mccarthy is unavailable, and dead

Some days I must be dreaming.  Like, today is one.  The last five nights have brought a spate of nightmares, each one a coldly efficient sleep-fucker.  Maybe today is the universe's payback.  Cue the Yahoo Box O'Headlines:
• Bush Adds DeLay to Social Security Tour

Holy hot-damn, them are two great tastes that taste great together.  Hell, three tastes, actually, if you count social security.  I'm sure that the powers-that-be are smarter than I am.  But I'm failing to see the logic in this.

Let's run it down hypothetically.  Second term president pushes poorly veiled social security phase-out plan and his numbers plummet.  Meanwhile, back in Congress, a feared and reviled majority leader with a hubris problem learns that, ethics-wise, gravity works.  In spite of helping himself to armfuls of travel and in-kinds, he hamstrings the ethics committee and pleads victim to anyone with hearing.  Plus also, he is one ugly mo-fo.  The president, famous for his allergic reaction to anything resembling concession or accountability, decides to buoy his grand-jury-mired and infamy-bound majority leader by designating him wingman for a couple of scripted and closed-to-the-public rallies for social security termination, which vibe great for the invited crowd but lead balloon for the general public.  So the social security jihad gets the benefit of association with the Inmate of the Year 2007, and the majority leader gets the boost of connection with an unpopular and doomed campaign.

Perhaps the thinking is that by overloading the stage with negatives, a culture-of-life positive will emerge ensuring that you pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  In fact, screw private accounts!  Just give your social security money directly to Tom DeLay, and then Jack Abramoff will fly you all over the world!

On the deepest level, though, this story was generated by the universe purely to give me a big old chuckle.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:58 AM

April 25, 2005

sorry, heidi, reviews should make people cry

I don't read Thomas Friedman.  I don't read op-ed columns much as a general rule -- Freidman is on the NYTimes roster of talking-in-print heads -- as by the time I get to the end of Section A, my arms are tired.  Friedman's rep in the half of the blogotopia we reside is nothing to crow about.  I remember a steady diet of "Huh?"s and "Wuzzat?"s in response to Friedman's recent body of work.  You may already know this, and maybe one of the "Er?"s or the "Urm, wha?"s I recall was actually yours. 

But there is a review of Freidman's latest book that is so brilliant and vicious, I'm planning on reading everything Freidman ever wrote.  The review is written my Matt Taibbi of the NYPress, who always makes with the words that make me wish I had written them first.  Probably most impressive is that Taibbi eschews the ad hominem which passes for discourse these days and goes in for healthy doses of textual analyses.  Short version: no one would want to trapped on a deserted desert island with Freidman's rhetorics.

Really, if you ever wondered what a review would be like if the reviewer hung the object work in a burlap sack, beat it with a nine-iron, played it "The Chicken Dance" for a couple hours and then sent it on the back of a rocket straight into the fiery nuclear furnace of the sun, click and read.  That is some seriously entertaining bad-ass shit.

Posted by mrbrent at 7:27 PM

in theaters May 13

This morning I saw a big old poster (one-sheet, as they call it) for a major motion picture, coming to theaters this May.  It's called "Monster-In-Law".  It has a website, but why on earth would you want to go there?  The image that dominates the poster is Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez, in profile, hands on their (own) hips, squaring off.  Grrr!  I assume the photo is supposed to be the characters they play in the movie, and not the actual celebrity-personality-constructs themselves, though I am admittedly easily confused in that way.

Two thoughts.

First, I find it implausible that the Fonda-character would marry someone young enough to be the son of the Lopez-character.

Second, it's sad that Charlize Theron was unavailable.  Sequels are always better that retain the original cast.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:16 PM