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October 5, 2006

hello rep don sherwood

Finally, an honest answer to the age-old rhetorical trap:

When did you stop beating your wife?  (Or actually, that woman you were fucking other than your wife.)

Reality is slowly putting satire out of business.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:36 PM

October 4, 2006

international day against drm

How lovely the opportunity to describe oneself as "a day late and a dollar short" yet again.  There is this thing called the International Day Against DRM.  This would be a day where all the good-hearted tech-savvy boys and girls band together to raise awareness of the content monoliths and their anti-copying technology.   As put by Cory Doctorow:
Remember, DRM doesn't stop "piracy" -- the only people who get DRM infections are people who don't pirate their media.  You get DRM by buying your movies, music, games and books through authorized channels -- the stuff you download from P2P or buy off of a blanket at a flea-market has already had the DRM cracked off of it.  They say that DRM "keeps honest people honest" -- but all it does is keep honest people in chains.

International Day Against DRM is much better than Talk Like A Pirate Day, by a long shot.

Unfortunately, International Day Against DRM was yesterday.

So mark your calendar for next year.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:38 AM

October 3, 2006

ag to scotus: just you try

Last week was a whirlwind.  I have never seen a political tideshift like that of last Friday -- the day before, progressives were on the ledge as the GOP bragged about shoving an immoral and law-breaking torture bill through the Congress.  Twenty-four hours later, it was volcano/earthquake/tsunami time courtesy of Woodward/Foley/Abramoff.

In fact, so many negative stories broke that you probably didn't hear about them all.  So I'd like to call this specific one to your attention: the Attorney General gave a speech at a Georgetown Law Center conference.  True, speeches are not in and of themselves newsworthy, but they are if therein the AG openly threatens the judiciary.  Here's a big taste:

"Respectfully, when courts issue decisions that overturn long-standing traditions or policies without proper support in text or precedent, they cannot - and should not - be shielded from criticism," Gonzales said.  "A proper sense of judicial humility requires judges to keep in mind the institutional limitations of the judiciary and the duties expressly assigned by the Constitution to the more politically accountable branches."

In short, do not check or balance us, because you do not have to worry about being reelected.  Yeah, there's not a whole lot of logic in there, but there are dorky attempts at menace.  And also the not-so-veiled threat:

And he said the independence of federal judges, who are appointed for life, "has never meant, and should never mean, that judges or their decisions should be immune" from public criticism.

In other words, the Administration has a couple hundred thousand conservative Christians that can be mobilized into "public criticism" at any time.  And if you wonder what could constitute "public criticism", google Dr. Bernard Slepian.

Gonzales and his feckless Justice Department had better hope that the intimidation works.  After a weekend to read/think about the new legislation, I really do not see how it will ever stand up to legal review.  The actions of the Administration were found to be un-Constitutional by the Supreme Court in two cases -- Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.  So the Administration pushes for -- and the Congress passes -- an ex post facto law, a law that goes back in time and retroactively legalizes what were then criminal offenses.  Forget judicial review, this doesn't pass the laugh test. And it's pretty clearly forbidden by the Constitution.

So yes, the passing of the legislation (dryly titled the Military Commissions Act of 2006) was a sad, sad day for anyone that believes in virtue and dignity.  But, this matter is by no means closed, and the bad guys are worried, as evidenced by the AG's hamfisted attempt at browbeating the judiciary into prior restraint.

Good luck with that.

For smarter words than mine on this issue, go here.  (Via Maud.)

Posted by mrbrent at 5:09 PM

roger ailes equals fat

This is good for a larf. I was surfing on TVNewser and I came across a short post -- "NewsBusters is tracking Countdown with Keith Olbermann's fat jokes (including the ones aimed at Roger Ailes)..."  I thought that there must be some hook in there somewhere, so I clicked on through.

And I was wrong -- there was no hook.  The entire post is just a chronicle of Olbermann calling people fat.  The lede:

Since last week, MSNBC's Countdown show has reached new levels in displaying personal insults as host Keith Olbermann, as well as regular guest Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly, have repeatedly made fat jokes about the subjects of their conversation.

Now that the presses are sufficiently stopped, let's go into this.   The slogan of Newsbusters, as contained in the banner of their site, is, "Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias."  However, the only bit of ideological taint identified in the post is that the people Olbermann calls fat -- namely Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and House Speaker Denny Hastert -- are conservatives.  That's really about it.  Everything else is just transcripts of the fat jokes.   It is dry and obsessive.  Also hilarious, in that way that you laugh at and not with someone.  I just hope this story does not get out in the light of day, because once your average citizen sees it, the whole conspiracy of liberals against fat people will have been exposed.

Newsbusters, if you'd like to see some liberal bias on "Countdown", maybe you should look into this little segment he does called "The Worst Person In The World".  There's not always fat jokes, but hey. Keep up the good work!

And for the record, Ailes and Hastert are both very fat.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:02 PM

they'd like their smug back, please

Today is the day of the year on which I complain of my birthday hangover.  So, please, no sharp, sudden noises, flashing lights, etc.  Also, no imagining what business a gentleman my age has getting drunk.  The indignities suffered in the name of celebration.

However, throbbing head did not prevent me from catching a few minutes of the talk radio on the way to work.  There was a fascinating call from a Midwestern Rebpublican, referring (indirectly, ultimately) to the Mark Foley Inappropriate Contact scandal.  This fella was very solidly anti-Foley and anyone who knew anything about it, but he wanted to remind the listeners that You Democrats got yer skeletons in the closet too.  He sounded cheesed that people were talking about Foley as a systemic issue at all.

Yes, basically, we dislike Rebublicans for their corruption and immoral and naked aggregation of power for power's sake, and they dislike us because we hurt their feelings.

Don't worry, Republican guy, you're never, ever not wrong, as usual!

Posted by mrbrent at 11:45 AM

October 1, 2006

biscuits and gravy

For some weeks now, many of you have been asking me about biscuits and gravy. Not all of you, of course.  Just the smart ones.

Well, let me tell you about biscuits and gravy.

Biscuits and gravy is just about the most important meal of the day, no matter when you have it.  In fact, as far as the universal love index of foods goes, biscuits and gravy is the second most beloved menu item ever.  (Right behind bacon.)

You might infer from my willingness to champion biscuits and gravy, heedless of all the hatas, that I was born in Charleston, WV.  You would be correct, and, geez, how'd you guess that?  People born in other cities south of the Mason Dixon line that are not Charleston, WV, would probably tell you that Charlestoners, and West Virginians in general, don't know what they're talking about, biscuits and gravy-wise.  Do not listen to these people.  They are from the South.  They lie.  I know the biscuits and the gravy.  My Mom taught me.  And I have my Grand-ma's cast iron skillet.  I am not fooling around.

Some of you residing in the general vicinity of North Brooklyn have wondered out loud to me, "Is there somewhere we can eat biscuits and gravy on a weekend morning?"  The answer is yes.  There are a number of establishments that offer the biscuits and gravy.  However, you do not want to eat these.  These establishments (who I will not name -- they are fine places, they just don't know biscuits and gravy) just don't know biscuits and gravy.  If you eat these biscuits and gravy and then think of those biscuits and gravy as the biscuits and gravy that you've heard so much about, you will wonder why all the fuss?

The trick is in the gravy.  And in the biscuits.  If your gravy is watery, you have a problem.  If the sausage is bland, or undercooked, also a problem.  If the biscuit is crunchy, then that is a bad biscuit.

So basically, people of North Brooklyn, your best option for biscuits and gravy is to invite me into your home so that I may make biscuits and gravy for you.  Because, really, the feeling you get after eating and paying for (seven freaking dollars?) second rate biscuits and gravy is not a feeling of happiness or fulfillment.

And the beating heart of biscuits and gravy is just that: happiness and fulfillment.

I hope you have enjoyed a weekend biscuits and gravy interlude. Thank you.  Bye.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:53 PM

fake id use bla bla bla

I bet you all thought I was lying.  That I was making up the West Chelsea information campaign, that I was imagining things so that I would have something to write about.

Well, not so.  It was true all true, as confirmed by Gothamist.  Even with photos.  How 20th Century.

Welcome to a month and a half ago, Gothamist.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:52 AM