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May 25, 2007


Here's a fun new idea.  Taking the infection of a certain meme to its logical conclusion, I give you "LOLSentences":





Laugh out loud, damn you.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:01 PM

ah the misery

I hope that all of you kept well clear of the netroots yesterday.  Whether on the Internets or on the old-timey radio, the anguish over the passage of the deadline- and timeline-free war appropriations bill in Congress was palpable, audible even.  Much much wailing, threats of abandoning the Democratic Party, some stomping of the feet.  It is a bit mystifying that Congressional Democrats would cave after having invested so much political capitol into it, but I have a hard time thinking about it over the din of the heaving sobs coming from certain progressive online communities.

Not that the passage of the bill doesn't bum me out too -- I just don't so much like the public rending of garments.  First of all, it is not productive, and second of all, it gives the impression of weakness, inasmuch as "complaining" and "actually doing something" are pretty much mutually exclusive.

So, yes, I feel your pain, now shut up and drink your whiskey.

On the bright side, we were treated to the latest installment of George Bush Sez The Craziest Things, in which the President further advanced the notion that the reason we invaded Iraq is so that we could successfully contain the chaos that would be created by having invaded Iraq.  And out loud!  Poor reporters were rolling in the aisles.

And as bonus, in a nice catch by Americablog, the President tied his own brain into a pretzel, and choked on it:

So, in other words, if the Iraqi government asked us to leave, Bush would sacrifice your children and he'd even be willing to let the terrorists commit another September 11 here in America - remember, those were his words, that's what HE and the Republicans have repeatedly been saying would happen if we leave Iraq before "victory" - because what the Iraqi government wants is more important to Bush than the blood of "your children."

Hi-LARity!  Though I was taking his comments to imply that the Iraqis were only going to kill David Gregory's children.

Cuz if threatening David Gregory's children ain't presidential, I don't know what is.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:20 AM

May 24, 2007

prepare to get blowed up in the name of christ our savior

Jerry Falwell may be dead, but he's still producing.  Please glance over Max Blumenthal's article about the bomb threat and arrest that happened at Rev Falwell's funeral earlier this week.

Naturally, the bad guys were a cadre of Darwinians, about to get all Chem-101/secular on some God-fearing ass, yes?  Well, no.  Come to find out, the culprit was , one of the Forces of Righteousness getting a little carried away with the righteousness:

Uhl was [is?] an a devout evangelical Christian who advocated religious violence in the name of American nationalism. Uhl’s blog, featured on his Myspace page, offers a window into the political underpinnings of his bomb plot. In one post, Uhl implores Christians to die on the battlefield for “Uncle Sam.” He justifies his call to arms by quoting several Biblical passages and reminding his readers that the “gift of God” is eternal life.

So Uhl, this devotee of what some have called "muscular Christianity", decided to roid up and concoct a little homemade boom-boom to detonate in a crowd of people.  I may be a little left of the dial, but I would classify any dude caught attempting to blow civilians up as a terrorist.  I know, it's not like he was going to take out a 747 with a shoe, or storm Fort Dix, but still.  I guess white guys can only be terrorists to the extent that they train in a camp in Afghanistan and swear allegiance on a stack of Korans.

Blumenthal's piece also hints of a coming conflict of Liberty University evangelicals versus Fred Phelps' criminally insane gay-haters, as the latter was planning to protest Jerry Falwell's funeral and hence were the target of Christ's Mighty Firebomber.  This would of course tickle me to no end, and not only because of the "let's-you-and-he-fight" implications of the dispute -- the novelty of acolytes of Pat Robertson getting all, "You guys are a buncha zealots!" would be pretty much off the charts.

It'd be good for a larf, and I sure do like larfing.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:08 AM

May 23, 2007

nothing that a little bin laden won't solve

Man, I never get tired of being terrified.  I read the news today, and, oh boy:
President Bush released intelligence asserting that Osama bin Laden in 2005 ordered creation of a terrorist unit to hit targets outside Iraq, including the United States.

What th--!  Bin Laden seeks to strike inside the United States?  That is some alarming shit.  After bin Laden's long history of striking only Switzerland, finally he's turned his turbaned crosshairs on the US of A?  The President is right -- if bin Laden is targeting the US (!!!), we should definitely reinvade Iraq.

I hope that our American security specialists -- you know, those guys who type up the Presidential Daily Briefings -- will keep in mind that bin Laden seeks to strike inside the United States.

Also notable (in the sense of watching those who watch the watchmen), two of the final paragraphs of this article deconstruct the entire news event in a manner not so kind to the Administration: Democrats and other critics have accused Bush of selectively declassifying intelligence, including portions of a sensitive National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, to justify the U.S.-led invasion on grounds Saddam Hussein's regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.  That assertion proved false.

I can't recall seeing such a bald and concise summary of the sins of the Bush Administration is forcing this invasion/occupation down our throats in any of the mainstream media, and the kicker ("The assertion proved false") I want on a T-shirt.  Very strange to see the Associated Press flirt with the truth so. [Edited 5.24.07 for clarity.]

Posted by mrbrent at 11:56 AM

the dudes

It's certainly not the name that got me.  But I'd like to enthusiastically recommend a band that I stumbled across on the Internet radios last weekend.  They are called The Dudes, which has to have been the name of some hundreds of rock bands that didn't make it past high school graduation.  But they are Canadian, and therefore smarter than we are, which means that the name is good in ways my Yankee brain cannot fathom.

Plus also they kick my ass.  I don't have their album yet, but they have some of their songs looped in an embedded player in the upper right corner of their site, and I've been leaning on it.  "Dropkick Queen of the Weekend" is a single I can't stop replaying in my head, and there's a little spoken word piece on their tour diary (also available here), the last bit of which ("I want to say that I love these friends of mine/I miss home/See everyone soon") made me weep.

Like every band you fall in love with, they remind you of other bands you love -- the easy pick would be to say the Barenaked Ladies, but I do not so much love the Barenaked Ladies, so I will go with the left-handed choice and say they sound like Trip Shakespeare with a little more Rawk and beer and a little less flouncy shirt.  Also, mentioning the Replacements would not be unfair (as a Canadian critic already has done).

Posted by mrbrent at 10:28 AM

May 22, 2007

greg palast agrees about the election rigging

Below please find two interesting links.  The topic of this post is "Bush Administration Rigs Elections".  This topic will probably be repeated until such time as the Bush Administration stops rigging elections.

First, a bit of the old-time muckraking from Greg Palast on the implications of the oddly-timed firings of the US Attorneys:

Prosecutor-gate is not about Gonzales' incompetence. It's not about appointing "loyal Bushies." It's not even about firing A Few Good Men.  It's about the 2008 election and changing the Department of Justice --- the agency charged with protecting voters --- into an army of Rove-bots...programmed to attack them.

Palast has been working stories from the fringe for years, and is an old crony of one of the fired US attornies.  Plus also he writes like he's wearing a fedora, which makes for good eatin'. And second, a very nice piece from Slate's Richard L. Hasen, which tells the sad story of the ungainly disappearance of the American Center for Voting Rights:

Presidential adviser Karl Rove and his allies, who have been ghostbusting illusory dead and fictional voters since the contested 2000 election, apparently mounted a two-pronged attack. One part of that attack, at the heart of the current Justice Department scandals, involved getting the DoJ and various U.S. attorneys in battleground states to vigorously prosecute cases of voter fraud...  But the second prong of this attack may have proven more successful.  This involved using [the American Center for Voting Rights] to give "think tank" academic cachet to the unproven idea that voter fraud is a major problem in elections.  That cachet would be used to support the passage of onerous voter-identification laws that depress turnout among the poor, minorities, and the elderly—groups more likely to vote Democratic.

Basically, in order to suppress Democratic votes, the political cover of "voter fraud" needed to be invoked.  As voter fraud does not so much exist these days, it need to be created.  So a fake think tank was ginned up -- the ACVR -- whose sole purpose was to legitimize the "voter fraud" issue.  And now that there is pushback against the concept of voter fraud, meticulously detailed by Hasen, the ACVR has up and fucked off -- no goodbye and no forwarding address.

I'm guessing these must be exciting times for investigative reporters not afraid to commit to expending a little shoe leather, what with the Bush Administration and their election-rigging.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:31 AM

May 21, 2007

dilbert or cathy? you decide

Finally, someone asks the question that I thought was too venal to ask.  Well, not venal, so much as "Andy Rooney" -- a valid question that betrays a little too much of my innate crankiness to be comfortable.  (Though obviously, not so uncomfortable as to prevent me from writing about it publicly -- ah, the little ironies of the Internets.)

The question is, "Is a one-word "thank you" email necessary?"  Or, better yet, is the one-word "thank you" email a kind-hearted utter waste of everyone's time?

While I guess my answer is tipped off above, this is it in full -- if the target of your thanks is someone you would call a friend, then "thanks!" gives disappointment when you open the email and find noting more than the one word previewed.  Disappointment makes me sad.  So don't do that.  However, with strangers, manners first!  (Though, as far as manners go, a one-word "Thanks!" fails to clear the bar of polite business communication, I would argue.)

Oof.  Looking at the comments to the post, I see one response that truly is a good-intentioned paving stone:

"Thanks" should be a 'Subject line only' email, IMHO.

That may be the case, but subject line-only emails should be employed only by the very very old or the very very young.  Basically, if your English is competent enough for polite conversation, you can manage both a subject line and an email.

Later, we will keep this exciting conversation going by discussing whether or not this bathing suit makes me look fat.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:05 PM

newt who?

There this dude named Newt.  He experienced some amount of political success in the 1990s, which was immediately followed by his career striking the ground, like a dart dropped from a dirigible.  In the intervening years, he has been attempting to resurrect his career, Kissinger-like, into that of an elder statesman of the Grand Old Party -- or at least an elder statesman with a series of scandalous divorces and assorted marital misbehavior.

These days, Newt is hovering around the periphery of the 2008 presidential campaign, hoping that every other candidate drops out and he can ride in, triumphantly, as the Only Republican Dumb Enough to run for president.  Part and parcel of this hovering is smiling for the camera, and making the occasional commencement speech.  Why, just this weekend Newt sent forth the young men and women of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University with some curiously chosen sentiments, for a man who wants to be president of all the states and not just four or five of them.

These are the words of the Gingrich in question:

"Basic fairness demands that religious beliefs deserve a chance to be heard," he said during his 26-minute speech. "It is wrong to single out those who believe in God for discrimination. Yet, today, it is impossible to miss the discrimination against religious believers."

The natural response, deftly put by TPM's Steve Benen, is that the "impossible" of which Mr. Gingrich speaks must be a word that used in this context means something other than "impossible".  Maybe a Liberty University equivalent of opposite day?  The answer to the question of discrimination of conservative Christians is, yes, they are being discriminated against in the same way that those civil rights activists discriminated against southern white men for the first two-thirds of the last century. 

I know, playing the victim card is cute and all (who can't remember the first time they played the victim card as a two- or three-year old?), but, the fuck are they talking about?  Could there be any social subgroup less discriminated against than conservative Christians (other than Captains of Industry, though I'd argue that the two sets overlap).  Maybe we would discriminate against them, but we have no chance to, thanks to our difficulty swallowing with their righteousness shoved down our throats.

However, since Mr Benen put it so well, let me leave that argument behind and say that any alleged discrimination is not what's important here.  What's important here is that, whether conservative Christians are being singled out for their views or not, they now whine like spoiled schoolchildren.  In fact, with the amount of finger-pointing and boo-hooing, it would be fair for any reasonable person to question their manhood, or at least their gender assignment.

Though maybe I've forgotten that part in the Bible where Jesus preached the Virtues of Peevishness and Mopery.

BTW, I am terrified that Mr Gingrich might actually enter the race.  His wit, intellect and charm would crush any Democrat who ran against him.  So, Mr Gingrich, please, please do not run for president.  We godless hordes beseech you.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:45 AM