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June 15, 2006

generic dismissal of president

I just can't figure that darn President out.  Bush sneaks in and out of Iraq like he's meeting his mistress or something, and then people with certain media-type jobs get all excited about a Bush comeback, like he's actually accomplished one damn thing.

It is as if the President is much more concerned with being liked than anything else, demonstrating his capacity to visit people and look people in the eyes.  Assuming they can see, of course.  Dude is going to try to kiss babies his way into the history books -- "Most Likeable Failed President Ever".

Actually, the trip to Iraq was not so much a midnight tryst with a mistress as it was a midnight tryst with another country.  President Bush is cheating on us.  He is seeing another electorate on the side.

In which case, obviously, I want a divorce.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:18 AM

June 14, 2006

and they called him the flash

FIFA World Cup news from the Yahoo! Saucy Headline Box of Fun:
• Fan on field exposes World Cup security flaws

My understanding was that's not what fans on the field customarily expose.

It's a brave new soccer world, and less naked.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:22 AM

June 13, 2006

palate cleanse

Time to wash the taste of the rants out of the mouth for the brief moment.  And what better to make you forget your relative shitty political perspective than a nice heady dose of linguistics and cognitive science.

I'm an amateur at these disciplines -- only a very basic understanding.  A pre-collegiate understanding.  But this story is approachable by us laypersons.  Basically, the hook that researchers have found a language that reverses the space-time relationship (i.e., past is behind, and future is ahead) that all other known languages share.  The language is that of the Aymara, an indigenous population of the Andes in South America.  And according to the researchers, the Aymara physically (metaphorically) locate time in reverse, in both language and gesture.  When talking about something that happened a time ago, an Aymara will gesture in front of their person, and vice versa.

Which of course conjures up all sorts of question about how we (and I guess it's a big we) physically locate temporal questions, and why, and whether it makes any sense to try to express aspects of times in a three dimensional world at all.

It's a big thinking question.  So please stop working and start thinking.

As a bonus, the Aymara also have another peculiarity:

The Aymara place a great deal of significance on whether an event or action has been seen or not seen by the speaker.  A "simple" unqualified statement like "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" is not possible in Aymara – the sentence would necessarily also have to specify whether the speaker had personally witnessed this or was reporting hearsay.

I only find this interesting because I too have this evidentiary quirk, which has been enraging my friends for years.  I find it difficult to answer a commonplace vague question if I can't summon up a concrete answer.  For example, "How was your vacation?" in your basic phone conversation would send me into vaporlock, as it is a question that requires more than a one sentence, or even one page, answer.  Same with questions regarding the welfare of someone you just e-mailed -- "How is he?"  Generally, the answer I give is, "The e-mail didn't say," or some other nonsense which makes my friends not want to talk to me on the phone.

So, yes, sign me up for Aymara night classes, please.

[Brought to attention by Ellis.]

Posted by mrbrent at 11:21 AM

karl rove, still a free man

I will not be pulling my hair out today fretting about the non-fate of Karl Rove.  If the big GOP victory of the week is that of a suspected criminal escaping indictment, then that goes a long way to characterize the moral depth and utility of said GOP.  So, please, celebrate, that wouldn't be out of place at all.

And one minor side point.  Where exactly does the news of Rove's non-indictment come from?  His lawyer.  From the A.P. story by John Solomon:

[Rove's] Attorney Robert Luskin said that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald informed him of the decision on Monday, ending months of speculation about the fate of Rove.

First of all, would it not be the common journalistic practice to obtain confirmation from the prosecutor before running the story?  I doubt that Luskin is lying, but he's a lawyer, and he's Rove's lawyer.  He is not a disinterested source.

Of course, this is not so hard to believe, as the journalist in question is John Solomon.  The big surprise is not the questionable nature of the scoop; the big surprise is that the scoop does not mention Harry Reid.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:50 AM

June 12, 2006

everyone, your soul needs a shower

The Yahoo! Headlines-In-A-Box secretly thinks you're creepy.  Lead headline for a Monday morning:
• Zarqawi lived for 52 minutes after strike

I have many thoughts about the murder-by-500-pound-bombs of Zarqawi (including a thought about how Zarqawi was less Public Enemy Number One and more a two bit Jordanian thug happy to take public credit for a movement), but I think the bigger question is this:

When did we as a society become a big honking Death Cult?

I've seen more pictures of this dead guy's face (both cleaned and uncleaned versions) in newspapers and on television this past weekend than I've seen of most dead guys, ever.  I'm not opposed to military victory, and whether Zarqawi was Lex Luther or Peter Braunstein, fucker had a lot of innocent blood on his hands.  So, yay, less murders.  But do we need to be fixated on his corpse?  Do we need to obsess about how long Zarqawi survived after the bombs fell?  He's dead.  He's one in a long line of dead guys.  Let's move on, to the World Cup, or Pale Male, or, hey!  How about a viable plan for an independent Iraq?  Just cool it with the morbidity.  I've got friends with kids, and I don't wanna have to explain the reasoning about dragging a cadaver out for a song and dance.

As long as I'm going here, is there anything about us as a society that is redeeming and not nauseating?  Anything?  A love of poetry?  Even the beginnings of a generosity of spirit?

Rhetorical question.  Move along.  I'm sure that the day will bring some new atrocity to burn our grits.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:06 AM

get the fuck out of my car

Last week I let the Tom DeLay and the Anne Coulter incidents pass without comment.  This would be out of character for me, as usually when everybody else is posting about a specific topic, I'm right there with my e-two cents.  Plus also I been haterizing on Tom DeLay since waaay before it was fashionable (1998, and I got an audience full of witnesses), so how could I not give him one last literary kick in the nuts on the day of his retirement?

Basically the reason is that I am better than they are.  No, not "better" in the sense of "not willing to lower myself to that level".  I'm more than willing to lower myself to their level.  Tom DeLay is one of those lucky idiots who stumble into a world where meanness of spirit is an advantage, and Coulter has the kind of raw sexual presence that makes castration look like a happy alternative.

I mean better in the sense of "quantified goodness".  I'm better than they are intrinsically.  They are beneath notice, and each of them thrives on notice.  Each of them can attribute their success to provoking and outraging.  Coulter stepped on the toes of a nation and laughed all the way to the bank; DeLay used his outrageous tactics (impeaching the President over a perjury trap) to mask his more insidious efforts (gerrymeandering the GOP into a permanent majority).  Without an audience, each of them loses relevance. 

And so, back when these matters were "breaking", no notice for them.  DeLay can fade away to a wealthy Texas existence (once he's out of jail), as his body waits for the day to be forever separated from his pernicious soul.  Coulter can retire to the life of the skanky ho-bag who haunts the airport bars with tales how she used to be on TV, don't you know who she is!?!

And both of them can sleep soundly in their individual material wealth with the knowledge that it came at the expense of the continued viability of the Republican party.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:29 AM