Monday, December 26, 2005

Nader: "Impeach the Sombitch!"

Well, more or less. On his blog, he did call for Bush and Cheney to resign, and he daydreamed of a congress with the balls to impeach: Talkin' About the "I"-Word.
By these legal standards and by the requirements of the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, the war-declaring authority), George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are probably the most impeachable President and Vice President in American history. An illegal war based on lies, deceptions, cover-ups and their repetition even after being told by officials in their own administration--not to mention critical retired generals, diplomats and security specialists--of their falsity should have prodded the House of Representatives into initiating impeachment proceedings.

...Other than his legal flaks in the White House and Justice Department making such transparently specious arguments as "good soldiers", the overwhelming position of legal scholars is that Bush and Cheney have violated grave laws protecting the liberties of the American people.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Chronic(what?!)cles of Narnia

Parnell & Samberg: Lazy Sunday
A really funny Chris Parnell rap (with new cast member Andy Samberg) on Saturday Night Live last week: "Lazy Sunday". Now available free for your online viewing pleasure at either the iTunes Music Store (Apple iTunes player required) or (under Videos).
Lazy Sunday, Wake up in the late afternoon
Call Parnell just to see how he’s doin’
Hello? What up Parn? Yo, Samburg what’s crackin’?
You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’? NARNIA—man it’s happ’nin’
But first my hunger pangs I’ll stick it like duct tape
We’ll hit up Magnolia And mac on some cupcakes
No doubt, that bakery’s got all the bomb frostings
I love those cupcakes like McAdams loves Gosling

Two no six no twelve — baker’s dozen!
I told you that I'm crazy for these cup-cakes cousin
Yo where's the movie playing? Upper West Side dude.
Well let's hit up Yahoo Maps to find the dopest route.
I prefer Mapquest. That's a good one too!
Google maps is the best. True dat, double true!

68th and broadway, step on it sucka!
What ya wanna do Chris? Snack attack, motha-fucka!

The chronic-what-cles of Narnia!
We love the chronic-what-cles of Narnia!

Yo stop at the deli, the theater's over-priced,
you got the backpack, gonna pack it up nice,
don't want security to get suspicious,
Mr. Pibb and Red Vines equals crazy delicious!
I reach in my pocket, pull out some dough,
girl acted like she never seen a 10 befo'
It's all about the Hamilton's baby!
Throw the snacks in a bag, and I'm ghost like Swayze.

Roll up to the theater, ticket-buyin while we're handling,
you can call us Aaron Burr, from the way we're dropping Hamiltons,
Punks in our seats Movie trivia’s the illest
What friends alum starred with Bruce Willis?
We answer so fast it was scary
Everyone stared in awe when we screamed Matthew Perry
Yo quiet in the theatre or it’s gonna get tragic
We ‘bout to get taken to a dream world of magic

The chronic-what-cles of Narnia! (X4)

Magical Victory Tour

Via A Tiny Revolution, a link to a great Rolling Stone article on the recent Bush "strategy for victory in Iraq" PR blitz, The Magical Victory Tour. This, my friends, is what political reporting -- nay, all reporting -- should be like, with awesome passages like this:
A few minutes later, I felt like a hooker who's just blinked under a blanket with a prep-school virgin. Was that it? Is it over? It seemed to be; Bush was off the podium and slipping down the first line of the crowd, pumping hands for a minute and then promptly Snagglepussing toward the left exit. By the time I made it five rows into the crowd, he had vanished into a sea of Secret Servicemen, who whisked him away, presumably to return him posthaste to his formaldehyde tank.

And this:
God bless George Bush. The Middle East is in flames, and how does he answer the call? He rolls up to the side entrance of a four-star Washington hotel, slips unobserved into a select gathering of the richest fatheads in his dad's Rolodex, spends a few tortured minutes exposing his half-assed policies like a campus flasher and then ducks back into his rabbit hole while he waits for his next speech to be written by paid liars.

If that isn't leadership, what is?

And last (but certainly not least), this:
Up until now this president's solution to everything has been to stare into the cameras, lie and keep on lying until such time as the political problem disappears. And now, unable to comprehend that while political crises may wilt in the face of such tactics, real crises do not, he and his team are responding to this first serious feet-to-the-fire Iraq emergency in the same way they always have -- with a fusillade of silly, easily disprovable bullshit. Bush and his mouthpieces continue to try to obfuscate and cloud the issue of why we're in Iraq, and they do so not only selectively but constantly, compulsively, like mental patients who can't stop jacking off in public. They don't know the difference between a real problem and a political problem, because to them, there is no difference. What could possibly be worse than bad poll numbers?

Okay, I've ruined some of the best parts for you, but there's lots more good stuff. Read all, I entreat you.

Friday, December 23, 2005

An Equation For Our Time

Nixon minus brains equals Bush
Tom Tomorrow provides a succint yet hilarious summary of our current "President", now that the absolute corruption brought on by his absolute power is coming to light. Available, as all good political statements should be, on bumper stickers, mugs and t-shirts.

P.S. Reading it as "Dick minus brain equals Bush" just helps it work on a whole 'nother level.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ebenezer Scrooge, Republican

Last year, as you will probably not recall, I outed Mr. Potter, the villainous banker from It's A Wonderful Life, as just the kind of guy who would subscribe to most, if not all, of the Republican social agenda.

This year another, even more famous, bad guy - who redeems himself in the end, unlike Mr. Potter - strikes me as Republican: Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. Not the one at the end of the story, who overflows with generosity and finally starts giving his employee a raise, vacation time and some healthcare coverage. No, of course I mean the former Scrooge, a person so mean-spirited and miserly that his name came to be a regular noun, meaning "a mean-spirited, miserly person".

Here, for example, is his exchange with a gentleman seeking charitable contributions before Christmas:

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.
“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”
“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.
“Both very busy, sir.”
“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”
“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”
“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.
“You wish to be anonymous?”
“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

That excerpt is from the Project Gutenberg copy of A Christmas Carol. (It's worth reading the whole thing; there have been so many remakes and retellings of the story, that it's easy to overlook the original. It's really quite a well-written story, with a suprising amount of humor.)

It's easy to guess which party's platform Scrooge would endorse, if he lived in twenty-first century America instead of nineteenth century England. Easing the tax burden on the rich, cutting social services, holding commercial interests above all others, etc. If only there were enough Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future to go around, to make transformations like they did for Scrooge.
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Onion - Dec. 21

I'm none too happy about the Onion not publishing volume and issue numbers. Where do they get off, is what I'd like to know. On the plus side, this week's is another good one!
  • Rove Implicated In Santa Identity Leak
    The identity of the mythical holiday gift-giver, previously known only in grown-up circles, was published in the popular Timbertoes cartoon in the December issue of Highlights For Children. Jean Abrams, a conservative firebrand known to have close ties to Bush appointees in the Department of Education, revealed "Santa" to be a code name for anonymous parental gift-giving.

  • U.S. Troops Draw Up Own Exit Strategy
    In a striking rebuke of the assertions of the Pentagon and the White House that a swift exit is neither practical nor possible, soldiers of varying rank have outlined a straightforward plan of immediate disengagement, dubbed "Operation Screw This."

  • CIA Chief Admits To Torture After Six-Hour Beating, Electrocution
    "I did it. We did it. We all did it. The president knew. The president did it. Please, God, please stop," said a voice identified as Goss' on recordings produced by CIA auditors. "Stop, please stop. I'm sorry. I won't do it again. The president won't do it again. Please let me die."

  • American Voices: Michael Schiavo Starts PAC
    • "Nice to see that a Schiavo is being persistent about something other than their vegetative state."
    • "Like we need another organization looking out for the little guy. Thanks, but no thanks."
    • "It's going to be an uphill battle, but if there's anyone used to seeing little to no progress, it's Michael Schiavo."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

DeLay's Deluxe Lifestyle

Bad old Tom - he's come a long way from killing roaches in Houston. Check out this article from the AP: Donors underwrite DeLay's deluxe lifestyle.
Over the past six years, the former House majority leader and his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.

Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.

To save you the requisite Googling, I have pre-Googled the websites of all the fancy-ass places the article mentions as destinations of Tom and/or his entourage. You have to click through to at least a few of these - some pretty damn nice looking spots. Hopefully his next secluded getaway will be more of the cinderblock and steel bar variety...

Help Protect ANWR in 4 Easy Steps

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Step 1. Understand that the Republican-led Congress is - once again - desperately trying to sneak oil rigs into ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), an area of million acres of pristine wilderness in Alaska. (Step 1.A. (optional) Read about ANWR on Wikipedia.)

Step 2. Read Rep. Dennis Kucinich's essay "Dancing with ghosts," which points out that preserving ANWR is about more than saving wild lands and caribou. It's a chance to not make the same mistakes America made with the rest of our indigenous peoples. As he says:
The history of the United States' relationship with our native peoples has been one shame-ridden chapter after another of expropriation, humiliation and deception, theft of lands, theft of natural resources, destruction of sacred sites and massacres. The U.S.' relationship with our native peoples has been an endless cycle of exploitation and contrition. Massacres and apologies.

Who in the future United States will apologize to the descendants of today's Gwich'in tribe, whose humble, natural way of life, religion and culture is threatened with extinction by the plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? The Gwich'in tribe has lived on its ancestral lands for 20,000 years in harmony with the natural world.

Step 3. Use this completely - almost ridiculously - easy web form provided by the League of Conservation Voters to tell your senators to cut the shit. The vote may occur tomorrow (Wed., Dec. 21), so don't wait. Do it now.

Step 4. Sleep peacefully tonight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Onion Vol. 41 #50

Or at least I guess that's what the volume and number of today's Onion would be. It doesn't show either, so maybe they're ditching the premise of a weekly issue . Anyway, some funny stuff up now.
  • Activist Judge Cancels Christmas
    Across America, the decision of the all-powerful liberal courts was met with shock and disappointment, as American families quietly took down their holiday decorations and canceled their plans to gather and make merry.

  • New Video Game Designed To Have No Influence On Kids' Behavior
    To avoid any appearance of suggestive or adult situations, the graphics consist entirely of rectangular polygons rendered in shades of brown against a simulated gray cinderblock wall. The game is free-roaming inside the warehouse environment, meaning that no goals are set for stacking a certain number of boxes, nor is there a time limit for the stacking. The health-level bar remains at a constant peak, and the first-person perspective avoids the problem of players identifying too closely with the main character, whose name is never specified and to whom nothing actually happens.

  • Dope Just Galumphing Where Life Takes Him
    "Sometimes Jeff will come by, hang out for a bit," said friend Dan Werner, who graduated from high school with Koegle in 1989. "We'll maybe watch hockey or go get a bite to eat if one of us is hungry. After a while, he'll say, 'Well, guess I ought to get going,' and he'll take off."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Holidays To All Christmas-Haters

Several bits on the tempest in a teapot that right-wing crank loyalists are trying to whip up: the "attack on Christmas". Start with an in-depth discussion at WorkingForChange: Christmas under attack: A manufactured crisis.
"About 95 percent of the whining from the far right" has more to do with fundraising than Christmas, Boston pointed out. "They're trying to get people worked up so they will think Christmas is being removed from public life. There isn't any evidence that's happening."

Meanwhile, Bob Harris wonders, Why Is Bill O'Reilly Trying To Destroy Christmas?, with evidence of hypocrisy on O'Reilly's website (note the yellow arrow). Note that this has since been changed on O'Reilly's site, prompting me to wonder if that screenshot was a Photoshop fake; easy enough to do. But I went to Google's cache, and viewed the source, which includes the JavaScript for that menu. It included this, at line 368:
Menu4_1=new Array("Recommended Holiday Gifts", "/pg/jsp/general/buylist.jsp;jsessionid=55CFA467C9A8F0AA69C52F4858FC8779","",0,20,170, "" , "", "", "", "", "", -1, -1, -1, "", "");

Lastly, This Modern World sums it up well:
Leaving the question of different faiths and holiday traditions aside... the majority of people in this country will be celebrating two holidays within the space of a week — Christmas and New Year’s. Contra O’Reilly, et al., “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings” are mostly a shorthand way of conveying best wishes for the holiday cluster.

Onion Vol. 41 #49

Get yer ice cold Onion here!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lieberman vs. Lennon

Seen on Billmon's Whiskey Bar: Strawberry Fields. Contrasting Sen. Joe Lieberman's comments on Iraq:
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood...

...with John Lennon's psychadelic lyrics:
Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.
Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields. Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about. Strawberry Fields forever.

Read all, I entreat you. If nothing else, it will get "Strawberry Fields Forever" stuck in your head, which is good for you.

Saturday, December 03, 2005
WAY back in July, I posted a t-shirt for sale (If Evolution Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Evolve), mentioning it was featured on a t-shirt website some friends I were just "polishing". Well, it took a lot longer than we thought (big surprise), but is finally done!

Well, not really "done". In fact, we have more changes, fixes and upgrades on the list than ever before. And of course we'll be adding more and more designs. As coincidence would have it, we now have exactly twice the number of designs as in my July post; we're at 202 now. But we reached the point where we feel like it's presentable. We've taken out a few little Google ads, and we had special shirts made for ourselves with the store logo on the backs, that we can now wear without shame. And, in case you haven't noticed it yet, I've put a big and hopefully hard to not notice logo over there in the right-hand sidebar. Click through, look around, buy 'em up, move 'em out, bring a buddy, tell a friend, wake the kids, call the neighbors, etc.

I'll only post shirt designs on this blog if they're super-duper exceptionally relevant and/or hilarious. If you want to keep tabs on all the goods - and we have a lot of great ideas on the drawing board - you should tune in to the Insani-Blog.

Christopher Hitchens vs. Reality

By Jonathan Schwartz: A Short Play Starring Christopher Hitchens. Nice and short, it also features the VAST MAJORITY OF HUMANITY and REALITY, and has a great punchline.