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March 3, 2006

evil, banal

I thought it would be fun.  I heard on some radio program that the GOP actually has a webpage filled with talking point and marching orders for the faithful to get the message out to the various shining points of call-in shows.

So I went and found it.  I was rubbing my hands together like Snidely Whiplash, with a whiff of the scent of snark upcoming making my mouth water.

Nope, snark denied.  It's boring as hell.  Oh, the concept itself is all evil and everything, and I'd personally be embarrassed if I needed a cheat sheet to make my 15 seconds on Hannity memorable.  But as we become inured to the depths the GOP will plumb to game the system, a clearing house of talking points no longer rises to the novelty of rigged electronic voting machines or a congressman with a graft rate card.

Here are some examples of the more yawn-inducing points:

Accelerate student achievement with Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and State Scholars.

Support legislation providing mentoring for children of prisoners.

If that's the evilest you can do, GOP, then I am not liking your 2006 prospects very much at all.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:43 PM

coming soon -- DHS scrutiny

Yeah, I carry some debt.  "Non-secured" debt, as they call it, which should just be called "dumb-ass" debt considering that if you have it you got sucked in by the financial services industry offer of free credit and then you for some reason flirted with the maxes.  As I did.  Mostly for circumstances beyond my control, but still, it sucks, and I would very much like to remedy the situation.  In fact, I kind of figured out a way to pay a large portion of it off, which would make me happy.

But no.  According to this tiny news from the great ProJo, paying off your debt flags you as a person of interest to the Department of Homeland Security.  And once you're flagged, the payment that triggered the alert is frozen until the investigation is completed.  Oh, sure, it's ominous and what, but we're getting pretty used to that.

As I'm sure that the DHS has some staff paid to google "DHS" all day long, let me assure you, DHS dude, or DHS lady, that any increased credit card payments I may undertake will not be funded by the United Arab Emirates, or even some other terrorist financier that you might actually investigate.  So have yourself a nice day, DHS dude/lady -- maybe treat yourself with a strawberry margarita tonight at the Ground Round!

I swear to God this kind of tiny news makes you want to go off the grid just for the challenge of it.

[Via Americablog]

Posted by mrbrent at 11:17 AM

March 2, 2006

gramma weezie strikes again

A day or two I bemoaned new Congressional action to protect the food industries from intrusive rules and regulations.  I think I gave it a paragraph, which is inversely proportionate to the portion of braindrive I devote to worrying about it.

Thankfully, my old Representative in the House (from when I lived in Rochester, NY years ago) Louise Slaughter is not only also concerned, she is also a Dailykos diarist.

We visited her in Albany when she was in the State Legislature and we were high school students.  She is upstanding and a bit of a windmill-tilter, in the best possible way.  She's on the riht side of this issue, and she needs a bigger megaphone.

Why?  Because the giant agricultural concerns of the world aspire to fucking with our food supply until it rivals pet food -- cheap but with a high profit margin, and containing exactly enough nutrition to barely not kill you.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:54 PM

bush lying would be less scary

Much hoopla has been made of recent news of videotapes of officials advising the president of possible levee breaches.  Especially in light of Bush's quote from a few days after the breach of the levees: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

The audioclip of the quote is a fixture on the left-wing radio shows, and is usually accompanied by accusations that Bush is a liar.  Of course, the new video footage seem to support such a claim.

Sadly, I don't think it is necessarily so.

The president never says that no one anticipated the levee breach.  What he says is that he "don't think" that anyone did so.  I hate to take away a weapon that could be used to club the administration, but I gots to stay true to the language.  It may seem unfair to disqualify the quote as one hundred percent lie on the basis of something as antithetical to the president as language, but his malaprops don't stop him from habitually utilizing old fashioned wiggle language.

At the same time, the possibility of a lie still exists.  The veracity of the statement now rests on not whether Bush was told that the levees would fail, but rather if he actually did think that no one was anticipating such a possibility.  Unfortunately, we'll never know.  I find it not unlikely that the president actually did think so, given his incapability for introspection and his unwillingness to be told things of a near Alzheimer's level.

If it makes you feel any better, the possibility that the President was telling the truth and is that fucking stupid is a whole lot more scary than the possibility that the President is a fibber.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:34 PM

trader joe's is not trader vic's

You New Yorkers might have heard that Trader Joe's is opening a store in Our Fair City.  You other guys might have heard this too.  I don't know.  We should talk more often.

I've never been to a Trader Joe's, though I have seen merchandise from Trader Joe's in the homes of out-of-town friends.  The merchandise looked exciting.

But I want to know more about Trader Joe's, which is why I click on over to my friend Cardhouse's very useful Trader Joe's FAQ.

I am excited for the new food shopping experience.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:49 AM

March 1, 2006

we all live in a pynchon novel

Hoo doggie but there ain't enough leisure hours in the day to keep up with the tiny news!  For a while, I thought that this would be my recommended tiny news for the day -- what's more fun than taking everything the Administration has learned in destroying the enviroment and applying it to our food supply?  Nothing is more fun.  Step one in the Administration's genius plan to obviate global warming by poisoning us first.

But then I got distracted by a Dailykos diary detailing a letter that the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, sent to the Senate Judiciary Comittee, clarifying his previous testimony on the Administration's warrantless wiretapping of US citizens.  The diarist is very upset that the AG is nudging his previous testimony on President's authority to wiretap us.  Previously he testified that the Congressional "use of force" vote was the source.  His letter admits that they had decided that the President had law-breaking power before the vote.

That's kind of good.  A little dry.

But what I like is that you have a sitting Attorney General testifying to Congress about alleged crimes committed by a presidential administration that the AG himself was, at the time, counsel to.  Which is sorta ironic, not as ironic as the fact that the AG is kinda the head of US law enforcement.  Which would presumably have jurisdiction over something like illegal wiretapping.

I know that the idea of recusal is old fashioned, maybe even defeatist.  But come one.  No, really.  Come on.  Even Ashcroft was known to recuse himself on occasion.  Even Justice Scalia has recused himself.

The Administration has not just solidified its power -- it has juntastized its power.  The ghosts of the Kremlin look on in approval.


Posted by mrbrent at 3:38 PM

goodbye pervert 081805

Remember pervert 081805?  Back in the heady times of August, 2005, this dude got cameraphoned while jerking off in the general direction of a fellow straphanger.  It was a big hoot; links were dropped and clicking ensued.

He was kind of like Peter Braunstein without the fireman costume.

News broke yesterday that pervert 081805 will not be doing time, as one would expect if one imagines some dude like pervert 081805 waggling his johnson at one's wife or female child.  No, instead he'll get a nice dose of probabtion and some proscribed therepy.

Probably influencing the sentence was time served as glaring asshole of the Internets.  Which must have been comforting, just to know that at any given moment a couple hundred people are looking at a picture of you naked and thinking you're contemptible.

So please wave goodbye to pervert 081805, and wish him a long, anonymous life of keeping his hands off his business.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:28 AM

February 28, 2006

cuban/hit song

Today we add some links.  Because it's the sporting thing to do.

First, Number One Hit Songs, which friends of mine have been telling me I'd love if I ever stopped wasting time reading about bird flus and sasquatches and started surfing.  My friends were right, damn their eyes.

And I also add Blog Maverick, which is the online presence of Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks.  No, I am not a Mavs fan, nor am I a fan of linking billionaires on general principle.  I link Cuban solely on the merit of this post right here [via Deadspin].

For a billionaire, Mr. Cuban is all right.

As is Number One Hit Song.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:51 PM

oil spill still news thirty years later

It's always fantastic when your neighborhood makes the Yahoo! Box of Headlines:
• Residents fed up with Brooklyn oil slick


Yes, one could quibble and say that Greenpoint is not my actual neighborhood, as I live in neighboring Williamsburg.  But really, a mile and a half is not so far when talking about a toxic oil spill.  Which, by the way, I am not fed up with.  I think it gives the neighborhood(s) excitement!  And you can't hardly smell it, as the stench from a) the waste transfer stations on the East River, and b) the sewage treatment plant really do cover up the benzene/methane nicely.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:24 AM

February 27, 2006

dude, i've been stalking america for 15 years

Do I love America?  It's not a question that I want to ask myself, but I've noticed some wifflebatting going on, accusations that those that criticize the president, or the administration, just don't love America enough.

I criticize the president.  I criticize the administration.  Do I love America?

Man, I got naked pictures of America in my wallet.

In fact, my love of America is so strong, it could beat up all the other loves of America, at the same time.

Actually, those who go around questioning my love of America, or anyone's love of America, are in fact overcompensating for their tiny, shriveled, little dill pickle of a love of America.

So please, go about your bizz.  Me and my love of America are gonna get some work done.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:18 AM

February 26, 2006

are you there, bush? it's me, margaret

Slow news day over at the Yahoo! Box of Headlines:
• Some Republicans question faith in Bush

Ahh, remember the days when the snark on such a headline would be a simple silly dirty joke, invoking "rug-munching" or some such?

Such an intricate story evoked in five easy words.  Longer version: "An indeterminate portion of Republicans still have faith in the President, but wonder if it's wiser to be among the first off the sinking ship, or among the last?"

Any headline containing the word "some" should be sent to its room without dinner, and any headline containing the phrase "question faith" should be made to purchase a thesaurus once it has untied itself from its syntactic contortions.

As the headline stands now, I suggest this rhetorical response: "Is there really a Bush, and, if there is, why does he let bad things happen?"

Posted by mrbrent at 2:14 PM


This is a weird juxtaposition.  Both Don Knotts and Darren McGavin passed away this weekend.  Not that the two were related in any way -- it's just that each of them kind of stood on opposite ends of the cultural playing field of my youngsterdom.

Way down there was Don Knotts, or Barney Fife, or Walter Mitty, with his Daffy Duck consternation and double- (and triple-) takes.  And across the field is McGavin, or Kolchek the Nightstalker, the rumpled and unflappable city boy, popping the flash camera at the improbable vampires and zombies.

Really, Knotts and McGavin were the polar opposites that stood over me, and they were much more interesting than your dimestore heroes and the garden variety sports stars.  Growing up to be a loveable misfit or an intrepid misfit seemed possible.

Plus also the final scene of "A Christmas Story", when McGavin and Melinda Dillon have a glass of wine and look out the window as the snow falls is the most heart-rending scene of domestic contentment I ever did see growing up.  I weep just thinking about it.

Plus also Don Knotts is from West Virginia, just like me.

Rest in Peace to both.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:19 AM