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May 20, 2005

short, sweet, etc.

By virtue of my linky recommendation, this is hopefully at least contending to win this.  [Via Gothamist]

Though, to be fair, I haven't looked at the other entries.  Usually arbitrary is good enough for me, but not today.  More TK.

[Later, that day...]  Okay, I sifted through a good bunch of entries.  This is "cute".  This one is pretty hilarious, but nothing else was likeable.  To me.  The lonely judge.

Ultimately, Crying While Eating is not only the best of the bunch, but also... dare I say it?  Moving.  Which is a tough thing for someone who has been described in print as "sarky" to admit, brutha.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:00 PM

mcclellan's publishing empire

No news is good news first thing in the morning, so it stands to reason that more torture reports are bad news.  Front page above the fold this morning is the story or reports obtained by the New York Times detailing abuse of prisoners of the Bagram detention center in Afghanistan in 2002.  The bad scary stuff the news of which Americans seem immune to.  Not me, man.  Makes me sick to my stomach, this hurried erosion of the idea that we are the good guys, the idea drilled into us as children.

For details, hit DailyKos, as the NYTimes gets no linky from me due to website practices.

Good news for Scottie McClellan, though, who has always wanted to edit the New York Times.  Go get 'em, Scottie!  All this truth is hurting Americans!

Posted by mrbrent at 8:56 AM

May 19, 2005


It's rare that I expend energy on a vid/audio clip.  I'm still a dial-up guy at heart.

Last night, though, I finally held my nose and plunged -- I had read so much about the testimony of George Galloway in front of a US Senate Panel investigating the oil-for-food tithe-dipping. I just hadda.  And then I was all like, hooooo, daddy.  It was the good shit.

Apparently, Mr. Galloway is "the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bo", which in some way translates to "UK Parliament Member".  I'm stepping all over the territory of Kev in the UK (who has graciously spent hours trying to explain the vagaries of British politics to me, for naught), but it's my understanding that Galloway experienced some disgrace for his agitations, and is not entirely considered a statesman in his homeland.  Could be wrong.  As usual.  But he knows how to beat someone with his fists by only using his mouth.  I only wish they would've included footage of Sen. Norm Coleman crying like a girl.

For the video and audio highlights, hit Crooks and Liars, and for the transcript, hit CNN.  If it's not worth your time, well, then, I guess anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan is my fault after all.

And as an extra special bonus, try to figure out what's missing from this [via Sploid], and muse to yourself how some persons are unafraid to commit acts of cowardice in the light of day.

Which is why we call them "fuckoes".

Posted by mrbrent at 2:22 PM

freedom on the crawl

Why on earth would I link to Wonkette?  That's like recommending "The Da Vinci Code" to your uncle as summer reading.

Well, the reason why is that the substitute Wonkette, Greg Beato, makes with funny charts and stuff, elevating the humor past the verbal and into that rarified visual/symbolic realm, what with its funny pictures and funny fonts and what.  Wot wot.  For example, this one posted today.

For bonus larfs, find the phrase "freedom on the crawl" somewhere in the post, and then daydream about the days of yore, when you had enough energy to actually make a stencil or a sticker using the phrase and then attach it to alllll the streetlights in your neighborhood.  Then sigh.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:00 AM

May 18, 2005

no newsweek today

Yeah, sorry about all that Newsweek yesterday.  I guess I got my dander up, which may sound icky but actually is not, as "dander" is one of those lucky words with no real definition outside of its idiom.  More than you want to know.  Let's just say that my panties were all in a bunch, and we'll skip over the difficulties of that metaphor as well.

Happily, one of the diarists at Daily Kos makes with a conspiracy theory explaining what with all the Newsweek and the military base closings and miscellaneous distractions.  It's a conspiracy theory of a really mild sort -- which is good enough for me, although the lack of any reference to Sasquatch is definitely a letdown.

I mean, really -- what sort of conspiracy theory isn't improved by Sasquatch?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:51 AM

May 17, 2005

for the big words, sound it out

My commute this morning was all like, "Newsweek a bunch a chumps, man."  Maybe you've heard of this Newsweek thing.  One or two fellas are talking about it.  So, yeah, once the retraction broke yesterday, all good will to Newsweek evaporated.  Not that there was a whole lot of good will to begin with.  Maybe I'm just not a weekly newsmagazine kind of guy, but I've always equated reading Newsweek (or Time) with sitting through a network evening news broadcast -- shallow and arbitrary.  But caving to White House seemed cheap and cowardly, and I thought that Newsweek would never be able to escape the stench of its master, the administration.

Unfortunately, I didn't read the retraction closely enough.  And it's not even very long:

Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Qur'an abuse at Guantanamo Bay.

Not very slippery at all -- I would call it plain english.  It recants one thing and one thing only, that "an internal military investigation had uncovered Qur'an abuse at Guantanamo Bay".  And that was all the original story was.  The story was not that copies of the Qur'an had been desecrated by US interrogators, or that this had happened at Gitmo, or even that a State Department report was going to allege this.  So then all of the possible iterations of the story not specifically recanted are just that -- not specifically recanted.  It is not a retraction of allegations of Qur'an abuse, or of any abuse at all.

So where I once called asshole, I now say, "Recant, schmecant."  Newsweek got burned by a source, and then retracted only the portions of the story they were not willing to stand behind.  And make no mistake -- Newsweek's retraction has not one thing to do with the relative truth value of the news in the story.  Newsweek heard the story, ran it by sources, printed it, and then backpedaled when the source(s) got cold feet.  Reporting something don't make it true, and retracting something doesn't disprove it.

Basically, Newsweek corrected themselves in the barest manner possible.  The retraction contained no hint of hysteria, of towing the line, of carrying anyone's water.  While falling short of defiant, the retraction is a message to the White House.  "You can squeeze our sources all you want, but we will never retract more than we have to." : And I'm also pretty sure that the word "sorry" did not appear, even "based on what [they] know now".

And many are the numbskulls bouncing up and down in their little "blogs", menacingly shaking what they think is the head of Newsweek on a pike, singing nerdy songs of victory over the liberal conspiracy.  To them I say: reading is fundamental.  Go ahead and examine for yourself Newsweek's twenty-four word retraction, or have Rush read it to you, and realize that your little sprints to righteous judgment are actually proportionate to your guilt, just like any old dimestore psychopath.  Word.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:55 PM

keith swings away

I've been an Olbermann fan for a while now.  To the dismay of some of my friends, who assumed he was a bit too married to the middle of the newsfotainment complex to be of any value.  (He's also getting a big advert push from MSNBC, in the wake of their reconfiguring, which could be Keith's ticket, or Keith's writing on the wall.)

Well, last night he distilled what all the good little boys and girls were thinking.  Read now, you.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:00 PM

welcome to the topic for the rest of the day

The Yahoo! Tinderbox O' Headlines provides the intro:
• W. House: Newsweek retraction 'first step'

Wha!?  First step?  That implies steps beyond the first step, like a second step and maybe even a third!

So, here they are, the next seven steps required of Newsweek by the White House.

1.  Also apologize to the American people, for single-handedly forcing the rest of the world to hate us.

2.  Meet your new editor-in-chief -- Bernard Kerik.

3.  Some comp subscriptions would be in order, I believe.

4.  No more writing about anything unless you run it by Karl Rove first.

5.  Tell the world that not only are you delicately retracting a sentence from your story, but also that you know for sure that nobody ever did anything bad at Guantanamo, and in fact each detainee's Koran was placed in a special protective humidity-controlled case every night.  There, that should do it.

6.  Maybe Newsweek could admit some culpability in the Administration's lack of job creation?  As long as Newsweek is over a barrel.

7.  Un-invade Iraq.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:37 AM

May 16, 2005

polite request

I've been having a little idiomatic trouble lately.  There's some Big Political Questions out there that I've been attempting to approach with words, in that way that people who are better than I am do.  You know, the same topics of the blogosphere shrillathon -- Social Security privitization, Trent Lott's nuclear option, Jesus Christ's Good News, etc.

Wait.  You haven't heard Jesus Christ's good news for you?

Anyhow, the concept central to my dimestore hypotheses is that of a "tar baby".  You know, the entangling object one is goaded into fighting with.  Unfortunately, past use of the phrase makes me want to avoid it.  Not that I'm politically correct or anything.  I'm just squeamish.

So, has anyone devised a metaphor for the concept of "tar baby" that has never been used as an epithet?

I would very much like one, thank you.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:17 PM

who are these germans and what do they want?

A weird German meme has popped up in my own personal life.  Yeah, that's right -- "meme".

The first element is most obvious.  For the past three days, it's raining spam, and this spam is written in German.  I realize that spam historically waxes and wanes, as scumbag e-marketers come and go.  But never has a new wave of spam been in a foreign language.  And of all the foreign languages, why the only one (other than English) I partially comprehend?  Most importantly, why are the Germans all of a sudden interested in my re-fi and my virility?  Do I own a house in Germany I don't know about?  And w/r/t my virility -- ew.  [Aha!  Explained.]

Then last night, out and about on the streets of Brooklyn, I came across a group of adults eerily reenacting a vived memory of my time as an exchange student in Germany twenty years ago.  The adults, dressed in what one could call the style of Europeans, were standing next to a parked car, staring at the distorted reflections of themselves in the finish of the car and laughing.  A lot of laughing.  Like it was the funniest thing they had ever seen.  (Which it may well have been -- a creepier possibility.)  The same thing happened to me in the parking lot of a German amusement park/movie studio.  The exchange family of a co-exchange student stopped, as one, at the door of some small Euro vehicle, and laughed uproariously.  It was at that exact point that my teen self became a cynic.  And to relive it two decades later filled me with all sorts of the heebie-jeebies.

Finally, we go back to my recent wedding.  It took place in a brewery with a decidedly German theme, like a "Breuhaus" or a "Bierhall".  It even had old Europeon knick-knackery all over the walls and ceilings (!?!).  Even the other businesses in the town that contained the brewery had a German thing going on, with the bar attached to our hotel displaying authentic posters from Germany -- in German!  There was also a discrete and dignified German tone in our invites, which was, I am told, a favor to me and my "obsession with Germany".

Which obsession was news to me, but apparently a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So keep on groovin', my friends, and keep the Germans at your back.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:12 AM