end run brought to you by ok soda
  
  June 12, 2006
Does That Also Go for Zarqawi?

"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed... They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."
- Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (Quoted by James Risen and Tim Golden, 3 Prisoners Commit Suicide at Guantánamo, The New York Times, June 11, 2006.)

  February 22, 2006
Delicately sneaking up behind his biggest fan, God decided to forcefully upbraid Little George once and for all

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Posted at 12:03 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 5, 2006
You'll see that an acknowledgment of failures in our policy was implicit in my statement, sir.

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Via today's AP: "Bodies lie in the street after suicide bomb attack in Karbala Iraq in this image taken from TV Thursday Jan. 5, 2006"

From "U.S. Has End in Sight on Iraq Rebuilding", the Washington Post, January 2, 2006:

U.S. officials say comparatively minor sabotage to distribution systems is keeping Iraqis from seeing the gains from scores of projects to increase electricity generation and oil production. To showcase a rebuilt school or government building, meanwhile, is to invite insurgents to bomb it.

If 2006 brings political stability and an easing of the insurgency, Americans say, the distribution systems can be fairly easily repaired.

"The good news is this investment is not in any way lost; they're there," said Dan Speckhard, the director of the U.S. reconstruction management office in Iraq. "They will pay off, they will be felt, if not this month, then six months down the road."

Your concerns will be addressed, people...a mere six months down the potholed, blood-spattered, bomb-shellacked road.

Posted at 4:07 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 12, 2005
"No nation in history has made the transition to a free society without facing challenges, setbacks and false starts."

The President's quote in the headline above comes by way of Bush Estimates 30,000 Iraqis Killed, the Washington Post, December 12, 2005...

Fair enough. And what, you may ask, defines a "challenge"? How about the experiences yet to be had by the young girl below, grieving over the corpse of her gunned-down daddy? She can at least always be thankful that he didn't die in one of Saddam's infamous torture rooms, because then, you see, she would be angry and bitter about his death at the hands of an all-powerful, violent government entity. It's so much better this way. Our way. The American way.

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"Setbacks"? Here's venturing a good guess that this kid below underwent quite a setback when his leg was blown off. Really, lad...no child will be left behind, we'll just expect you to work that much harder to catch up with the rest of us as you hobble along the streets of your newly-democratic Iraq.

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"False starts"? An improperly-timed beginning, as in the case of the boy pictured below. Wait, that's wrong. An improperly-timed end, e.g. this kid never really got to start his life because now he's fucking dead as a result of an invasion enacted under false pretenses.

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Remember, kids, keep those photos coming! We're compiling the best of them for our limited-edition "God Wanted You to Die" commemorative PDF.

Posted at 2:38 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 6, 2005
This holiday season -- I mean, Christmastime -- all I want is a constituency with whom I can speak comfortably

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An actual quote from our actual president at yesterday's White House Children's Holiday Reception:

"This is Laura; I'm George W. We hope you've had some fun here. I hope nobody pinched Rudolph on the nose. Nobody did? That's good. Rudolph is happy about that, too."

Because it's a novel endeavor to imply that President Bush is a sub-literate imbecile, get it? That's the essence of easy laughter.

Just ask top-tier comedy writers everywhere!

Posted at 5:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 22, 2005
At least the Vice President wraps himself in lies and deceptions, rather than blackface

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Hey, members of the rightwing cabal, chill out, my bible-totin' brethren. The whole hullabaloo over the vice president's visage being obscured by a giant black X on CNN's broadcast of his speech to the AEI yesterday? We got all worked up about nothin', man. It was merely a technical error, see?

Which is far, far better than an error in judgment.

Posted at 5:32 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 21, 2005
The highlight and crowning achievement of President Bush's federal taxpayer-financed, weeklong trip to Asia

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President Bush rides with members of the Chinese Olympic cycling team on the Laoshan Olympic Mountain Bike Course in Beijing. (Charles Dharapak, Associated Press)

The Washington Post's headline writers illustrate the success of his trip as follows, and somehow manage to be both more and less pointed in their commentary: "Bush's Asia Trip Meets Low Expectations" (Washington Post, November 21, 2005).

But you know what? We're at least proud to say he is so totally beating those Chinamen! You show them who invented bicycling, George! And we'll pretend it wasn't the French or the Germans. And that no one can ever, ever, ever pass you on the bikepaths. Or tell you that you're wrong. About anything at all.

And then there's this, which, as always, is unrelated...from "House Approves Spending Reductions", Washington Post, November 18, 2005:

The House narrowly approved a broad five-year budget plan early this morning that squeezes programs for the poor, for college students and for farmers, handing Republican leaders a hard-fought victory after weeks of resistance in GOP ranks.

No word yet on whether or not the Pointless-but-Pricey Trips Abroad Appropriations Bill (H.J.Res.27, H.R. 48) will be vetoed once it hits the president's desk.

Posted at 5:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 14, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 61

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Posted at 1:51 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  November 9, 2005
No, all they need is an inability to read, and a strong, well-defined dislike of colored folks

From "Texas Voters Approve Ban on Gay Marriage", the Associated Press, November 9, 2005:

"Texans know that marriage is between a man and a woman, and children deserve both a mom and a dad. They don't need a Ph.D. or a degree in anything else to teach them that," said Kelly Shackelford, a leader Texans For Marriage, which favored the ban.

Southern anti-intellectualism continues to thrive! It's almost enough to make one feel sorry for the faculty and students at a place like Rice University.

But not really. Fuck you, Texas.

Posted at 2:58 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 8, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 60

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Posted at 2:23 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  November 7, 2005
A man, (no) plan, a canal...

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U.S. President Bush speaks during a news conference with President Martin Torrijos at Casa Amarilla in Panama City, Panama. Monday, Nov. 7, 2005. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

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Residents of the Chorrilo neighborhood set tires alight during a protest against the visit of the US President George Bush in Panama City, Panama, Monday, Nov. 7, 2005. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

And half a world away...

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A man attempts to extinguish a burning truck in Ramadi, Iraq, Monday, Nov. 7, 2005. According to eyewitnesses the driver of the truck died after being attacked by a US convoy that suspected him as a suicide truck bomb. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

RELATED: Withdrawal Plans or Withdrawal Pains? Bush, Iraq, and his elusive timetable: Iraq Options, TPM Cafe, November 7, 2005

Posted at 2:44 PM in a Grave fashion.
An illustrated depiction of the discrepancy in campaign spending for tomorrow's New York City Mayoral Election between Mike Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer

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Mayor Bloomberg's ear-to-ear smile, as seen above? You can have that, at least, for free.

RELATED: Wrapping Up, Mayor and Ferrer Ask Voters to Ignore Polls, the New York Times, November 7, 2005

Posted at 12:42 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 3, 2005
These two must fuck like mad

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Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and his wife Joyce arrive for a social dinner in honor of Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Posted at 3:38 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 26, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 59

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Posted at 6:51 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
EXCLUSIVE! The indictments are in, and the wait is over!

After a long day of nervous waiting -- complete with capricious salivating and nail-biting -- by political pundits, the media and bloggers far and wide, "Plamegate" Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, we have just learned, has returned from the federal courthouse with four, count 'em, four indictments in tow. And, suffice it to say, this goes straight to the very top of the U.S. government...

plame_indictments_hadley.jpg White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley

A real wild card, the inclusion of Hadley in the mix...While he worked alongside Condoleezza Rice during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as well as during the White House's planning stages in 2001 and 2002, few longtime observers of the Fitzgerald investigation had ever really pegged Hadley as having much to do with the leaking of Valerie Plame's name to media sources. Though, according to documents, Hadley apparently played a heretofore unknown role in the subsequent cover-up, and has now been indicted for perjury.

plame_indictments_libby.jpg Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby

Libby, of course, had long been speculated to be one of the primary targets of the Fitzgerald investigation, so his indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice pertaining to the cover-up of the Wilson matter will come as no surprise to those who knew all along the degree to which he sought to protect his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, from being tainted by the grand jury's inquest. And, it seems, in sacrificing himself, he succeeded in saving his boss' hide, as Cheney seems to have safely skirted through the investigation unharmed.

plame_indictments_rove.jpg Deputy chief of staff and top presidential political adviser Karl Rove

"Bush's Brain", as he's been called time and again, was, alongside Libby, long determined to be one of the major architects of the White House smear campaign against Ambassador Joseph Wilson. So his indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice also comes as no surprise. Whether or not he will resign later today, and the damage such an action will do to Bush's presidency, remains to be seen.

plame_indictments_comerford.jpg White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford

Finally, the big gun...an indictment for criminal conspiracy in the effort to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative. Though Comerford was only recently hired by First Lady Laura Bush this past August -- a mere two months ago -- anonymous sources within the President's staff have reported that the first female to ever serve as the White House's executive chef had been a longtime problem for the administration. Starting with her efforts to discredit Joseph Wilson for making disparaging comments about the administration's making a deceptively inaccurate link between Iraqi heads of state and the acquisition of Nigerian uranium, sources say that Comerford's name has been revealed on transcripts from journalists Matthew Cooper and Walter Pincus as the primary source of the now infamous leak of Wilson's wife's identity. These sources also add that scribbled within Pincus' notebook were numerous references to "yellow cake" and "flame", which had erroneously been thought to reference Comerford's pastry recipes and sautee methodology.

When asked for comment by reporters covering the case moments ago, Comerford was weeping and defiant as she made her way through the White House's front gate, stammering, "I don't know what's going on...I don't know what I did wrong! I did nothing wrong!"

Sources had no comment on her strongly-worded denials.

Posted at 5:06 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
For Shame! Turning your backs on your biggest donors like this...

"Republicans Ask Oil Industry for Help With Fuel Prices", the New York Times, October 26, 2005

"Major Oil Company Profits Expected To Be $96B, Up From $68B Last Year...", the Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2005 (by way of the Huffington Post)

Posted at 3:58 PM in a Grave fashion.
When even President Bush seems to have stopped taking this war seriously...

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"Iraq war has taken a toll of 2,000 -- Latest death reflects a trend: Insurgency now flares up in areas U.S. thought safe", the Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2005

"Bush: Iraq war will require more sacrifice", Reuters, October 25, 2005:

As the U.S. military death toll in Iraq reached 2,000, President George W. Bush said on Tuesday the war will require more time and sacrifice, and rejected calls for a U.S. pullout.

"Each loss of life is heartbreaking, and the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission and lay the foundation of peace by spreading freedom," Bush said, his voice breaking with emotion as he spoke at a luncheon of military wives at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington.

That emotion that broke his voice? Fear...and the realization that four years of hypocrisy and deception regarding Iraq may very well be taking its toll on his beloved legacy.

Poor sap.

NOT IN ANY WAY RELATED: Mr. 3000

Posted at 12:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 24, 2005
Please, God, carry me through this time of great difficulty

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RELATED: Bushies feeling the boss' wrath: Prez's anger growing in hard times - pals, Thomas M. DeFrank, the Daily News, October 24, 2005

Posted at 4:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
In case you ever wondered what's wrong with privatized healthcare

frist_kfc_healthcare.jpgBuried deep within this morning's completely-not-shocking "revelations" that President Bush's handpicked Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) very likely knew what he was doing when he unloaded his soon-to-depreciate healthcare stocks, and may have been involved in some form of so-called insider trading, was this throwaway item:

Questions about his HCA holdings have been a staple of Frist's public life. The Nashville-based company, the country's largest chain of for-profit hospitals, was founded in 1968 by Frist's father, Thomas F. Frist, his brother, Thomas F. Frist Jr., and Jack C. Massey, the former owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Mmmm! That's quite a tasty, fattening little nugget of information for our liberal diets.

Posted at 11:55 AM in a Grave fashion.
Redactio ad Absurdum

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In anticipation of this "Fitzmas" nonsense due sometime this week, here's hoping special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's indictment(s) and/or reports are a little more nuanced and fleshed-out than this relevant historical document, the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq (July 7, 2004). Page 79, above, is from the section addressing Ambassador Joseph Wilson's Niger reporting.

You can see it's page 79 because, well, that's all you can see. That and some nicely-formatted, indeterminately-numbered bullet points and indentations.

Posted at 10:39 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 20, 2005
Now Playing: The Ultimate Film About the Downfall of Big Institutions (Fun with Tom DeLay's Mugshot, Vol. 2)

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(With the flashiest of thanks to James Reitano.)

Posted at 6:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
A message much clearer than the aspens, which turn in clusters out West

As anticipated, The Smoking Gun has posted Tom DeLay's mugshot, taken earlier this afternoon. The wire services, however, lack our EXCLUSIVE* Ultrrrra-Zoom technology, and seem to have missed out on the hidden story, the coded message that Rep. DeLay is sending to a particular subset of his would-be base:

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SEE ALSO: The blogosphere's semi-ridiculous Libby Writes IN CODE to Miller?, Daily Kos, October 1, 2005

*With all due reverence to Golden Fiddle. You go, boyfriend!

Posted at 3:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
At this rate, they'll become fully literate just in time to escape the calamitous effects of the polar ice caps' melting due to your equally-disastrous environmental policies

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President George W. Bush: colorblind, or blind to reality?

From Education Law Gets First Test in U.S. Schools, the New York Times, October 20, 2005:

Fourth-grade math students showed some of the most rapid progress in closing the achievement gap between black and white students, Mr. Kingsbury said. Extrapolating from those results, he said, black and white students would probably be performing at equal proficiency levels by 2034. Other results, like eighth-grade reading, suggest it will take 200 years or more for the gap to close, he said.

From President and Secretary Spellings Discuss Nation's Report Card, hurling forth from the straight-shooting mouth of President Bush (via the White House's Office of the Press Secretary), October 19, 2005:

This is an encouraging report. Thank you for coming, Madam Secretary, because it shows there's an achievement gap in America that is closing; that minority students, particularly in fourth grade math and fourth grade reading are beginning to catch up with their Anglo counterparts.
Posted at 3:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 19, 2005
Mr. DeLay!!! Mr. DeLay??!! What are you wearing?

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Embattled former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), looking sharp in a shirt-and-sportcoat combo by BCBG Max Azria ($2749)

Texas Court Issues Arrest Warrant for DeLay, the Washington Post, October 19, 2005:

A Texas court today issued an arrest warrant for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the powerful former House majority leader, ordering him to appear for booking at a county jail in his home district.

[...]

However, the defense reportedly had hoped to avoid submitting DeLay, formerly the second-ranking Republican leader in the House, to the fingerprinting and mug shot photography that accompanies a formal arrest.

Posted at 5:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 13, 2005
At least he's not requesting a bathroom break

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In this low culture EXCLUSIVE, we asked this young student at Delisle Elementary School in Pass Christian, Miss., to share with us the note that was passed to President Bush this past Tuesday. In greater detail below:

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RELATED: 'You are the best governor ever', Guardian NewsBlog, October 11, 2005

Posted at 1:25 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Yes, troops, it looks like that's a target on you guys. And, yes, the president's got you dead in his sights. And, yes, he's ready to wave goodbye. He's been waving this entire time, you see.

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President Bush waves goodbye as he finishes speaking via video teleconference to American troops from the 42nd Infantry Division on duty in Tikrit, Iraq, at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

RELATED: White House Iraq Group targeted by Fitzgerald probe for engineering attacks against the invasion of Iraq, Talking Points Memo, October 12, 2005

Report Says White House Ignored C.I.A. on Iraq Chaos, the New York Times, October 13, 2005

Because it's all about supporting the troops, gang.

Posted at 11:53 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 12, 2005
Give me grammar, or give me death

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The Guardian (UK) reports on the suicide, or rather, 'suicide' of a senior member of Syria's government earlier today.

Other notable Guardian headlines throughout history:

Nirvana frontman 'commits suicide'

Federal building 'bombed' in Oklahoma City

14 students 'killed' at a Colorado high school

Medicare bill 'passes' through Congress

Texas governor 'elected' U.S. president

And of course, this has been yet another 'brilliant' low culture post.

Posted at 10:16 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 7, 2005
Forget her lack of qualifications. Do we really want a Supreme Court Justice that dresses this badly?

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And if you're wondering what's going on in the photo directly above, here's the actual, honest-to-god caption, courtesy the Washington Post:

Court nominee Harriet Miers and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) discussed Vermont's foliage. Photo Credit: By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post
Posted at 10:28 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 26, 2005
After years of rebuffing your advances, George, I'm ready to admit...I love you.

From what can only be described as hailing from a zero-degrees-Kelvin circle of hell, the following news item has appeared:

Bush Urges Conservation as Retail Gas Prices Rise, the New York Times, September 26, 2005:

President Bush called on Americans to conserve gasoline and avoid non-essential driving today as the average national prices for retail gasoline climbed higher for the first time since they peaked over the Labor Day weekend.

Slowly but surely, you've been opening these floodgates of passion, my liberal, free-spending darling.

Let's do it, George. Leave your clown-faced wife. It's you and me, now. Just us. Let's roll around in the protected marshlands together. Let's run off to Northampton and get married. You and me, let's start hugging the trees when we're not too busy making sweet, gay love.

Posted at 3:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 23, 2005
Damage Control Watch: In the Bubble or Off the Wagon?

From Living Too Much In the Bubble?, Time, September 11, 2005:

On the Monday that Hurricane Katrina landed and the Crescent City began drowning, Bush was joshing with Senator John McCain on the tarmac of an Air Force base in Arizona, posing with a melting birthday cake. Like a scene out of a Michael Moore mockumentary, he was heading into a long-planned Medicare round table at a local country club, joking that he had "spiced up" his entourage by bringing the First Lady, then noting to the audience that he had phoned Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff from Air Force One. "I said, 'Are you working with the Governor?'" Bush recounted. "He said, 'You bet we are.'" But the President was not talking about the killer storm. He was talking about immigration, and the Governor was Arizona's.

From Bush's Booze Crisis, The National Enquirer, September 21, 2005:

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: "Stop George!"

Sure, it's a logical explanation for the last month's worth of public appearances -- but does this make the President the second man to appear before the United Nations General Assembly smashed out of his gourd?

Or the third?

Posted at 8:52 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 58

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Posted at 12:47 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 57

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Posted at 12:27 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  September 22, 2005
Lining Up for Good News: This Week in the Job Market

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Sony Corp. to Slash 10,000 Jobs Globally, Thursday, September 22, 2005

Delta Plans to Cut Up to 9,000 Jobs, Thursday, September 22, 2005

Philadelphia Newspapers cutting 100 staffers, Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New York Times Co. to cut 500 jobs, or about 4% of staff, Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fed raises interest rates for 11th consecutive time, Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Federal Reserve raised a key short-term interest rate Tuesday and suggested more rate hikes are on the way, saying it believes the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the economy would be temporary.

The central bank's policy-makers boosted their target for the federal funds rate a quarter-percentage point to 3.75 percent, the highest level in more than four years.
For consumers, the increase in the fed funds rate, an overnight bank lending rate, means higher rates for credit cards, car loans and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Posted at 2:58 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 20, 2005
low culture Exclusive: the Twin Towers Fell Fashionably Early!

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The Century 21 Department Store overlooking the wreckage of the World Trade Center at Ground Zero, September 18, 2005. A close-up below:

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Not only is Century 21, downtown's pre-eminent bargain-rate clothing store, discounting their prices on designer neckties and Polo boxers, but it seems they've taken to discounting the lives of nearly 2,500 New Yorkers who perished mere yards away from the site of the store's high-quality sale items.

Is there anything remotely funny or clever about "falling" into fashion as we stay the course in Iraq to defend the lives of those who perished that solemn day four years ago, as the city's iconic Twin Towers tumbled mercilessly to their molten demise??

We urge you to boycott Century 21 and abstain from purchasing their fine selection of men's Geoffrey Beene linen shirts.

EARLIER: low culture Exclusive: An Outrage Grows in Brooklyn!!!
low culture Exclusive: The Outrage Continues'Continuously!!!
low culture Exclusive: The Outrage Gets Outragously Obvious!!!

Posted at 10:34 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  September 19, 2005
September 2005: Black History Month for the White House

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From Bush Questions Reopening of New Orleans, the Associated Press, September 19, 2005:

"We have made our position loud and clear," Bush said. "The mayor is working hard. The mayor _ you know, he's got this dream about having a city up and running, and we share that dream. But we also want to be realistic about some of the hurdles and obstacles that we all confront in repopulating New Orleans."

Mayor Ray Nagin, for what it's worth, is a colored man.

Posted at 12:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
George Bush doesn't care about poor people

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President Bush, center, stops for a group photo as he greets visitors at the White House on his return from a two day respite at Camp David, in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In his televised address to the nation from New Orleans last Thursday night, President Bush inspired millions of Americans who had become concerned with what was perceived to be the federal government's belated and inadequate response to the Disaster That Was Katrina. Channeling the finest moments of FDR, he lifted our wounded spirits and explained how the wrongs that had inflicted America over the past several centuries were going to be corrected under his watch...the true, idealistic Compassionate Conservative.

As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality.

Stirring. Resonant. We saw this poverty on our flat-screen TVs in the White House situation room, and, fuck, we're going to fix this shit. We're going to throw cash your way. Cash. Money. Bills. You black people like that shit, right? Yeah? Yeah? Check this shit out, all these noble actions and understanding gestures we've got for you poor, penniless motherfuckers:

Sensenbrenner: Nix on Bankruptcy Delay, TPMCafe, September 14, 2005:

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, refuses to even consider a vote delaying bankruptcy law changes for Katrina victims.  The party line is, the law is, was, and always will be perfect, and why mess with perfection?

Medicaid Cuts to Continue Despite Hurricane Katrina, TPMCafe, September 19, 2005:

While legislation was delayed last week, House leaders are determined to introduce legislation cutting $10 billion from the Medicaid program once they can turn their attention away from the hurricane cleanup.

OK, but what does our First Black President Who Also Happened to Be Poor think?

Clinton Levels Sharp Criticism at the President's Relief Effort, the New York Times and ABC News, September 19, 2005:

"I think it's very important that Americans understand, you know, tax cuts are always popular, but about half of these tax cuts since 2001 have gone to people in my income group, the top 1 percent. I've gotten four tax cuts. They're responsible for this big structural deficit, and they're not going away, the deficits aren't. Now, what Americans need to understand is that that means every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina and our tax cuts. We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else."
Posted at 11:40 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 16, 2005
It's not the heat, it's the stupidity

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U.S. President George W. Bush boards Air Force One after speaking about Hurricane Katrina's damage to the nation on network television from Jackson Square in New Orleans, September 15, 2005. Bush believes the vision for rebuilding should be 'locally inspired,' but that the country as a whole needs to be committed to that longer-term effort. The president will continue to the White House following the speech. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Posted at 2:52 PM in a Grave fashion.
John Roberts, Fuck Yeah!

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Sure thing John Roberts (l.) and Team American Gary Johnston (r.)

(Big thx Martin...)

Posted at 6:46 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 15, 2005
Ergo, there is no "Federal" in "F.E.M.A."

From the first interview with the recently-departed Michael Brown since his 'resignation' on Monday, in "Ex-FEMA Chief Tells of Frustration and Chaos", the New York Times, September 15, 2005:

FEMA, he said, had no helicopters and only a few communications trucks. The agency typically depends on state resources, a system he said worked well in the other Gulf Coast states and in Florida last year.
Posted at 2:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
I think I may need to better grasp the degree to which the press has turned on me?

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What does it mean when Reuters' photo editor takes it upon his or herself to make the widely-linked photo above available through its wire service? Why, that the President was speaking to members of the United Nations yesterday, of course! Here's the caption:

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

So, the gist of the news-worthy nature of this event: Bush spoke to the United Nations. And, it seems, the President wrote "a note" to Condi at some point. But someone at Reuters understands that of late, Bush's popularity has been a bit worse for wear, and the usual "funny photo" of the President caught off guard just won't do...

How does Reuters, then, sieze the moment? By also making available a blown-up, zoomed-in version of the image above, solely to focus upon the note's most-certainly-not-classified subject matter.

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Good luck with piecing together your moving, inspirational Katrina backdrop for tonight's presidential address, Karl.

Posted at 11:17 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 7, 2005
We hold these truths to be self-evident, namely, that you're imbeciles

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Alaska: the largest state, and the biggest elected-official achievement gap

You Voted Me into Office, but I'm a Fucking Idiot, Round 1
Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, via the Associated Press, September 6, 2005:

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said the administration is "getting a bad rap" for the emergency response.

"This is the largest disaster in the history of the United States, over an area twice the size of Europe," Stevens said. "People have to understand this is a big, big problem."

Factual Refutation (fig. 1a):

Europe is about one-fifteenth of the world's total land area...Area: 4,000,000 square miles including adjacent islands

By Sen. Stevens' logic, that would make America's Gulf Coast region equal to roughly two-fifteenths of the world's land mass. That's some awesome Bush-Brand Science!


You Voted Me into Office, but I'm a Fucking Idiot, Round 2
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, via the New York Times, September 7, 2005:

"We are just in the beginning of the hurricane season," said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska. "What happens if there is another hurricane?"

Factual Refutation (fig. 3f):

Hurricane season officially descends on the Atlantic June 1st.

By Sen. Murkowski's logic, we get to re-experience our entire summer all over again! This means you can ask out that girl at the beach who was being all flirtatious and shit, but you were too cautious, too tentative. Thanks, Sen. Murkowski!


So, are they this stupid and misinformed because they're Alaskan, or is it because they're Republicans?

Posted at 11:43 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 6, 2005
Karl Rove's Photo-Op Coloring Book

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President Bush greets people receiving food and water at a Salvation Army relief area in a Biloxi, Miss., neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Friday, Sept. 2, 2005. Bush is touring the Gulf Coast communities battered by Hurricane Katrina, hoping to boost the spirits of increasingly desperate storm victims and exhausted rescuers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

So inspiring, the hope that is given from the President's magnanimous arms before the AP's cameras!

But, umm, wait...then there's this, from the office of Louisiana's Senator Mary Landrieu:

But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.

With President Bush "out of the picture," so to speak, so goes the show of support, it seems.

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Posted at 6:22 PM in a Grave fashion.
Recalcitrant on Rehnquist (A mutilated take on Labor Day's Weekend News)

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From "Public Begins Paying Respects to Rehnquist", the Washington Post, September 6, 2005:

The flag-draped coffin of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was carried up the long marble stairs to the Supreme Court's Great Hall this morning by eight former law clerks, including John Roberts, the man nominated to succeed him.

[...]

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and David Souter were absent from the ceremony.

And so it all comes together, by way of this handy Kanye West-derived interpretation of these events:

KENNEDY: "William Rehnquist hates black people. Motherfucker's dead now...Rehnquist got sonned."

SOUTER: "Please call...Wait, what the fuck, I was down in the Big Easy helping to evacuate the city. Shorty can't catch a break?"

Posted at 3:44 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 1, 2005
Given this is an oil company, does this count as "looting", "profiteering", or just cronyism?

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Gasoline customers check prices and leave at a BP station in Stockbridge, Ga., Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005. (AP Photo/Gene Blythe)

From "Looting chaos hits New Orleans relief effort", Times Online (UK), September 1, 2005:

President Bush has called for a "zero tolerance" policy against looters and profiteering today as New Orleans descended into lawlessness.

RELATED: "Looting" or "finding"? Bloggers are outraged over the different captions on photos of blacks and whites in New Orleans, Salon

Posted at 9:53 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 30, 2005
OK, you've snapped your fingers, waved a magic wand, and signed a bill into law...now what?

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From yesterday's "President Participates in Conversation on Medicare", El Mirage, Arizona, August 29, 2005:

"There's no way -- I wish I could just snap my fingers and lower the price of gasoline for you. The markets don't work that way. I'd be snapping if I could do it. (Laughter.) But we've got a strategy and a plan to help you."

From "President Speaks to U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Conference", Washington, D.C., April 20, 2005:

"A guy said, why don't you lower gasoline prices, Mr. President? (Laughter.) I said, I wish I could; I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow; I'd do that.

[...]

That's why one of the first things I did when I came to office four years ago was to develop a national energy strategy. My first month in office I sent Congress a plan to put America on the path to greater energy security. For four years, Congress has discussed and debated, but they haven't achieved any results. Today, members of Congress began debating an energy bill, and this time they need to give us one. The summer travel season is fast approaching. Gas prices are on the minds of millions of Americans. Members of Congress can send an important signal that they are serious about solving America's energy problems by getting a bill to my desk before the summer recess. (Applause.)"

From "President Discusses Energy Policy", Washington, D.C., June 15, 2005:

"But people got to understand our dependence on foreign oil didn't develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight. To solve the problem, our nation needs a comprehensive energy policy. (Applause.) That's why one of the first things I did when I came to office four years ago was to develop a new energy strategy for America. And in my first months in office, I sent Congress a plan to put our nation on the path to greater energy independence. For four years, that United States Congress has discussed and debated the plan -- with no result. So earlier this year, I sent a clear message to Congress: Get a good energy bill on my desk before the August recess. Now is the time for them to act."

Of course, a few weeks ago, the President's cure-all came through, just in the nick of time to save American consumers from gas prices that approach $3! Right?

Oh, wait.

Posted at 4:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
You see, if it's the "Western White House," it means he wasn't really on vacation for five weeks, and you liberals were being a bunch of nattering naysayers for naught

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President Bush makes a statement from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005, about the Iraq constitution process and Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Posted at 10:28 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 25, 2005
Quelle surprise! Iraqi women to be fucked over!

In the wake of news that the latest draft of Iraq's proposed constitution drastically curtails the rights of women, one can't help but consider that this scene from last fall's 2004 Republican National Convention seems remarkably prescient:

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Because whether you're a rapper or just part of the Republican base, bitches ain't shit, it seems, but votes and gimmicks.

Posted at 11:28 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 23, 2005
Maim All Christians!

robertson_bringiton.gif...because killing them, it turns out, would be, the Christian thing to do. And after the whole post-9/11 crackdown, we so, so, don't want to be confused with murderous zealots.

Via Robertson Calls for Chavez Assassination, the Washington Post:

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has suggested that American agents assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

[...]

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."

Posted at 12:37 PM in a Grave fashion.
  August 18, 2005
"Please, please...no cameras, please! No cameras!"

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(AP Photos/J. Scott Applewhite)

Ok, all right, all right...fine, you caught us manipulating the context in which these photographs were taken. Yes, quite simply, it's hot down there in Crawford, Texas. From the glare of all those lights and cameras!

Posted at 12:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
  August 3, 2005
Fox News: We Report Whatever the Bush Administration Wants Us to, and Then You Decide

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A screen capture taken from last night's edition of Fox News Live (August 2, 2005, 11:35pm)

Good God! A mere three years until the mullahs of Iran develop nuclear weaponry?

Meanwhile, from the rest of the news-reporting world, various accounts of this same news seemed to imply something entirely different. Not that Roger Ailes is fabricating news rather than spinning it as is customary, but, hey:

The following news, also reported yesterday, comes via "Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb; U.S. Intelligence Review Contrasts With Administration Statements", the Washington Post, Tuesday, August 2, 2005:

A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.

The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House.

Posted at 9:59 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 2, 2005
Finally, we begin to feel sorry for President Bush

bush_owner_texasrangers.jpgFrom Bush: Rove has 'my compete confidence' despite leak, Reuters, August 1, 2005:

"Karl's got my complete confidence. He's a valuable member of my team," Bush said in his strongest defense yet of Rove, the architect of his presidential campaigns.

From Palmeiro Suspended for Steroid Violation, the Washington Post, August 1, 2005:

"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him," Bush said in an interview with the Knight Ridder news service. "He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do."
Posted at 1:10 PM in a Grave fashion.
  July 25, 2005
And if you're not native-born, maybe you're better off wearing "Ban"

menezes_mitchum_man.jpg

RELATED: We shot dead an innocent man, admit terror police, Daily Mail (UK), July 24, 2005

AND, OF COURSE: First Rule for a Mitchum Man? Don't Read the Subway Rules, the New York Times, July 21, 2005

Posted at 11:04 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 18, 2005
Wow, it's getting hot in here. Is it just me? Rove, Wilson...whaaaat?

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Hey, guess what? It's getting closer and closer and closer and closer to the White House's expected announcement of their nominee for the recently-vacated Supreme Court seat.

Whew! Just in time!

GOP Allies Say Bush Is Close to Court Pick; Choice May Be Announced This Week, the Washington Post, July 18, 2005

Posted at 3:28 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 56

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Sigh. Best Practical Joke Ever! Rove Rocks!

VERY, VERY, VERY RELATED: "What I Told the Grand Jury" (And Why I Feel So Used), by Matthew Cooper, TIME Magazine.

Posted at 12:12 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  July 8, 2005
We all remember how much President Bush was laughing on 9/12

Yesterday Morning:

Mr. Bush displays his inability to grasp the irony of his statements in addressing his War on Terror™, collateral damage, and dead Iraqi children, as indicated by remarks taken from "G-8 Meeting's Focus Shifts to Terrorism", the New York Times, July 7, 2005:

"The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who have got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks," Mr. Bush said in remarks to reporters. "The war on terror goes on."
This Morning (after less than 24 hours had passed):

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In this handout photo provided by the White House, President Bush shares a light moment with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa during the morning session of the G8 Summit Friday, July 8, 2005, at Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland. (AP Photo/The White House, Eric Draper)

"Aw, Ben, 'Mind the Gap', huh? That is funny...but don't tell my boy Tony over there, OK? We all need to appear to be publicly grieving so as to justify our continued actions."

Posted at 10:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 7, 2005
Because, apparently, the New York Times continues to believe the invasion of Iraq was caused by 9/11

From Richard W. Stevenson's "G-8 Meeting's Focus Shifts to Terrorism", published hours after the subway bombings in London, comes this egregious renewal of the Bush adminsitration's age-old canard:

And it seemed perhaps fitting that the American and British leaders were together at the moment when Britain confronted its version of the 9/11 attacks that transformed the national security policy of the United States and ultimately led them to send their militaries together into Iraq.

RELATED: The Downing Street memo (a primer)

Posted at 4:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
  July 5, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 55

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(With proliferous thanks to Matt.)

Posted at 8:43 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  July 3, 2005
Best Practical Joke Ever! Rove Rocks!

rove'd.jpg
Karl The Kidder: You got Rove'd, Matt and Judy!

Related: The Rove Factor?, by Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, July 11, 2005.

Posted at 5:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 28, 2005
Weight Watch: Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie, and...Condi Rice?

condi_rice_thin.jpg
President Bush with Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and two other unidentified people settle in at Washington Nationals games against the Toronto Blue Jays at RFK Stadium, Friday, June 24, 2005, in Washington. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Posted at 10:11 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 20, 2005
Okay, Now I'm Definitely Against Human Cloning

bolton_clones.jpg
Army of Headless Clones: Protestors condemn John Bolton, via Yahoo/AFP.

Related: "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich."

Posted at 2:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 16, 2005
And later, when I google "Laden", "Jet", and "Crash", I'll reach this article

Via the brilliant headline writers at the Associated Press, Thursday, June 16, 2005:

Bomb-laden jet crashes in backyard

Phoenix ' A U.S. Marine Corps jet carrying four 500-pound bombs crashed into the backyard of a home during a training exercise, but the pilot ejected safely and only one person on the ground was slightly injured, authorities said.

Posted at 12:48 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Move on"? While we're at it, we'll also forgive and forget you and your cronies' innumerable past indiscretions, too

tschiavo_frist_video.jpg"Science", perhaps better known in academic circles as "the Grand Arch-Nemesis of the Bush Administration," has once again reared its ugly, evolved, ozone-reducing head to embarrass the White House and its henchmen. Specifically, the startling revelation from Florida that autopsy results from that ol' Terri Schiavo incident did, in fact, confirm the suspicion held by the vast majority of Americans that the martyr-in-question was, effectively, brain dead. No hope of revival. Like, dead. Doorknob. Et cetera.

From "Frist: Schiavo Autopsy Results End Case," via the Associated Press:

"The diagnosis they made is exactly right. It's the pathology, I'll respect that. I think it's time to move on," Frist said on CBS' "The Early Show."

EARLIER: "Frist views video, disputes Schiavo diagnosis: Senator’s comments raise eyebrows in medical, political circles", the Washington Post, March 19, 2005

OTHER SHIT WE'VE ALREADY FORGOTTEN ABOUT BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS BEST TO MOVE ON IN THE CULTURE WARS, THE WAR ON TERRORISM, ETC.:

The initially-proposed $15 million in aid for tsunami relief efforts
Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame
16 words (including "Niger" and "uranium")
Richard Clarke and Condoleeza Rice's 9/11 memorandum
The proposed modification of the Constitution to placate the religious right ("Gay Marriage" edition)
The proposed modification of the Constitution to placate the religious right ("Activist Judges" edition)
Last month's Downing Street memo
Paul O'Neill's account that the Iraq invasion was planned prior to 9/11
L. Paul Bremer's warning that the U.S. had troop shortages in Iraq
The war in Iraq

Et cetera. Ad infinitum.

And how does one say "immunity" in Latin?

Posted at 11:49 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 15, 2005
OK, Mr. President, then please explain why this image gives me more cause for alarm than it does comfort me

bush_community_safer.jpg

Posted at 11:22 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 9, 2005
Well, At Least One Base Won't Be Closing

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Gitmo' Money, Gitmo' Problems: Take down the sign, boys, we're back in business!

"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday that the Bush administration was not considering shutting down the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and he defended the treatment of its prisoners by their American military guards and interrogators as humane."
- Rumsfeld Says Guantánamo Isn't Being Considered for Closing, by Thom Shanker, The New York Times, June 9, 2005

Related: Pentagon to Release Data on Base Closings, AP/Guardian, May 28, 2005

Posted at 9:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 8, 2005
From sunrise to sunset; from one Turkey to another

Here's President Bush's schedule for today, by way of the Washington Post's White House Briefing for June 8, 2005:

Today's Calendar:

Bush met this morning with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Also today, he speaks about Social Security before a meeting of builders and contractors at the Capital Hilton, sits down for an interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News to be shown this afternoon, and meets with Republican congressional leaders.

Tonight he is scheduled to watch "Cinderella Man" at the White House.

Posted at 4:01 PM in a Grave fashion.
Think of it as another employee discount

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General Motors said Tuesday that it would cut about 25,000 jobs from its blue-collar work force in the United States by the end of 2008, in a broad move to reckon with its declining grip on the American car market.

The cuts, which represent about 22 percent of the hourly work force, would bring G.M.'s nationwide employment to 86,000 hourly workers, roughly the number it employed in the city of Flint, Mich., in the 1970's.
- G.M. Will Reduce Hourly Workers in U.S. by 25,000, by Danny Hakim, The New York Times, June 8, 2005.

Related: GM Employee Discount for Everyone Event

Posted at 3:48 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 4, 2005
Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah...

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A military inquiry has found that guards or interrogators at the Guantánamo Bay detention center in Cuba kicked, stepped on and splashed urine on the Koran, in some cases intentionally but in others by accident, the Pentagon said on Friday.
[...]
The investigation into allegations that the Koran had been mishandled also found that in one instance detainees' Korans were wet because guards on the night shift had thrown water balloons on the cellblock.
- Military Details Koran Incidents at Base in Cuba, by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, June 4, 2005.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Greetings from Camp X Ray where if the food doesn't kill ya, something else probably will! Ha ha ha. Just kidding.

I am having a lot of fun here and am meeting a lot of really, really nice people from all over the world. We do sports for one hour every day and we get to sing along to all kinds of music.

Our counselors are really crazy! One night they threw water balloons at us while we were sleeping! We all laughed a lot, but then we realized they got my Holy Koran wet and I got mad. But they apologized and promised all of us a pizza party! (Once a counselor accidentally splashed pee-pee on my bunkmate's Holy Koran and we had an ice cream party.)

Next week we're going to a petting zoo with real live animals! It's gonna be great! We might also go swimming, but I am afraid I might drown. Ha ha ha.

I miss you both a lot and I hope to see you soon. Can you please send me a care package with fresh water and some Band-Aids?

Love, Your Son

Posted at 9:32 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 31, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 54

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Victoria Leigh Tacconelli, left, reacts to receiving her diploma from President Bush, right, as she walks off stage during the United States Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony at the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Friday, May 27, 2005 in Annapolis, Maryland. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Posted at 10:21 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  May 26, 2005
The Middle Eastern Tsunami, or, Buying new Caterpillar bulldozers to repair the damage done by your older Caterpillar bulldozers

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From the Associated Press: White House Hopes to Boost Palestinian With Visit and Aid, May 26, 2005:

Bush also announced that United States will direct $50 million for housing and other construction aid to the Palestinian Authority to help Palestinians in Gaza once Israelis leave this August.

[...]

The $50 million in new direct aid is part of a $150 million package that Bush is seeking for the Palestinians from Congress. He said the money would help Palestinians settle into Gaza once the Israel withdrawal set for this summer is complete.

"America wants to help," Bush said.

Reacting to the announcement, Palestinian legislator and human rights activist Hanan Ashrawi said the $50 million was just a "modest beginning."

"I'm sure the U.S. is capable of giving greater support not only to Gaza, but to the West Bank," she told The Associated Press.

RELATED: US Senate approves 2005 Israel aid package - Israel will receive $2.2 billion in military aid and $480 million in civilian aid: "Each year, Israel receives the largest share of US foreign aid, which totals $17 billion in the current fiscal year. Egypt is the second largest recipient of aid, with $1.9 billion. Jordan receives $464 million, after the 0.59% deduction. In addition to the annual aid, the US has provided Israel with $9 billion in loan guarantees over three years, or $3 billion a year."

U.S. Financial Aid To Israel: Figures, Facts, and Impact: "Total U.S. aid to Israel is approximately one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world's population and already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes."

Posted at 3:32 PM in a Grave fashion.
Hydrogen, huh? This must be that energy initiative I'm half-assedly endorsing that will inevitably fail to knock my old oil cronies from their positions of power

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(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Posted at 2:49 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 25, 2005
Primo Product Placement, Vol. 2: FILA's marketing campaign goes into high gear

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A U.S. Marine writes an identification number on the forehead of an Iraqi man detained during a search in Haditha, 220 kilometers (140 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Wednesday, May 25, 2005.

RELATED: ellesse PRIMAVERA-ESTATE APPAREL SPRING SUMMER 2005

EARLIER: Primo product placement: I'm a pepper, she's a pepper...Wouldn't you like to pepper spray these Muslim savages, too?

Posted at 3:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 23, 2005
Iraq: Winning the War, but Losing the Battles -- again, and again, and again

10 Dead as Car Bomb Tears Apart Baghdad Restaurant, the Los Angeles Times
Car bomb kills 5 at Shi'ite mosque in Iraq, Reuters
Four Car Bombings Kill Dozens Across Iraq, Associated Press

OK, those are some pretty distressing headlines, but...what exactly does a car bombing look like?

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Nori Abdul Hussein, 4-years old, lies on a hospital bed in Baghdad's al-Yarmouk hospital after being injured when a car bomb blew up outside the Abul-Fadl Abbas Shiite mosque in Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people at about the time worshippers would go to a mosque for sunset prayers, in Iraq Monday, May 23, 2005. (AP Photo/Haidar Fatehi)

Posted at 4:18 PM in a Grave fashion.
This Week in Green Muslim Puppetry

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U.S. first lady Laura Bush, second right, and Egypt's first Lady Suzanne Mubarak, right, accompanied by unidentified Egyptian official chat with the puppet Nem Nem as they tour the set of Aalam Semsem, or Sesame World, the Egyptian version of the popular American children's show Sesame Street Monday May 23, 2005, in Cairo, Egypt. Mrs Bush was advocating childhood education during her visit to Egypt part of a Middle East tour. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, Pool)

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President Bush, right, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, walk off stage following their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, Monday, May 23, 2005, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Posted at 3:56 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 20, 2005
Now, this was clearly inspired by Newsweek...or was it?

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Iraqis leaving the al-Jumhuriyah mosque walk over U.S. and Israeli flags, heeding a call by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to paint Israeli and American flags on the ground in front of mosques for people to step on, in the southern town of Basra in Iraq Friday, May 20, 2005. Thousands of followers of a radical Shiite cleric staged protests against the U.S.-led occupation Friday. The protests follow Muqtada al-Sadr's call Wednesday to reject the U.S. occupation of Iraq by painting Israeli and American flags on the ground outside mosques to be stepped on in protest raids against holy places. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)

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Boulderite Dan Winters at the infamous mural of former President George Bush at the entranceway to Baghdad's 5-star Al-Rasheed Hotel. Not pictured, but right below Bush's face is written, in Arabic and English: "Bush is Criminal"

RELATED: Well, clearly this was all Newsweek's fault, which, way back when, was meant as a ridiculous joke. At least the White House laughed!

Posted at 12:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
A Majority amongst the Minority

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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., center, speaks as black religious leaders look on at a rally in support of Janice Rogers Brown, President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, at Russell Park on Capitol Hill Thursday, May 19, 2005 in Washington, D.C.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Wait, wait, that headline above must be wrong...right? How about, "The Minority amongst the Majority"? Or, wait, "A Minority amongst the Minority, alongside the Majority"? Hmm.

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Minority leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, center, answers questions at a news conference with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Senate Radio-TV Gallery on Capitol Hill, in Washington on Thursday, May 19, 2005.(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Wait, wait, what's this? God, this is all so confusing. As a reasonal, racially non-biased American — a white person — (though, you know, of course, race doesn't matter to me...), I need to know, once and for all: Who do these mysterious Black People I keep hearing about support?

Posted at 11:06 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 19, 2005
Filibuster be damned...There ain't no stopping us now!

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President Bush speaks at the Republican National Committee Gala in Washington Tuesday, May 17, 2005. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Posted at 11:31 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 18, 2005
You see, this is how we vote in L.A.

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Via the LA Times: Jose F. Aguilar marks his ballot in a booth on the showroom floor at Robertson Honda in North Hollywood. (Al Seib / LAT)

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Also via the LA Times: Voters cast their ballots at Harmon and Son Tire Center in Los Angeles.
(Mark Boster / LAT)

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Again, via the LA Times: Richard Anderson, 80, votes amid paintings on display at the Perk U Up cafe, espresso bar and art gallery in North Hollywood. (Al Seib / LAT)

RELATED: "L.A. MAYORAL ELECTION Villaraigosa Landslide: Voter Discontent Helps Propel Challenger to a Historic Victory", Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2005

Posted at 10:44 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 13, 2005
Meanwhile All Across the Country, Americans Also Salute DeLay

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(Above via Yahoo/Reuters; Below via Litlounge)

Posted at 2:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 11, 2005
Well, clearly this was all Newsweek's fault

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Afghanistan Sees Worst Anti-U.S. Protests Since Fall of Taliban, the New York Times, May 11, 2005:

Four Afghan protesters were killed and more than 60 were injured today in the eastern city of Jalalabad in the worst anti-American demonstrations Afghanistan has seen in the three years since the fall of the Taliban.

[...]

It was the second day of demonstrations by students in Jalalabad who were angered at a report in Newsweek magazine that United States interrogators at the Guantánamo Bay detention center had desecrated the Holy Koran by placing it on toilets, and even in one case, flushing a Koran down the toilet.

Please take this opportunity to join us, and let the editors of Newsweek know how disappointed you are by canceling your subscription.

Posted at 4:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 53

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Posted at 10:58 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  May 6, 2005
Lost in Transatlanticism: the Peace Duke and his Quest for Diplomacy

In anticipation of President Bush's diplomatic trip to the Baltic States this weekend, protesters in Riga, Latvia were out in full force today. Thankfully, these were literate types — you know, real Eastern European, Milan Kundera-reading coffeehouse denizens — and took the opportunity to demonstrate against Bush's arrival using that uniquely untapped Baltic brand of oblique irony.

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As you can see above, however, their protestation is so goddamned indirect that, well, the "Engrish"-esque point is nearly lost on an American audience. "Peace Duke?" The idea comes across, but just barely.

Some blunter, coarser suggestions for future demonstrations in Riga:

NO MORE NATO

Russians Out, and Bush, Too

Bush & Kalvitis: Ogres in Arms

FAIR TRADE: We Supply You with Pornstars, You Supply Us with War

RELATED: Google results for "peace duke", which you shouldn't bother clicking, as they're of no help at all

EARLIER: I'm sorry, I don't speak "European"...what exactly are you trying to say, here?

Posted at 10:54 AM in a Grave fashion.
Hold tight and buckle up, boys, cos it's time to Praaaaaaaaay!!!

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RELATED: Bush Marks National Day of Prayer, the Associated Press

Posted at 7:27 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 5, 2005
Re-Awakened Firefighter Donald Herbert's Personalized American History (from 1995 to the Present)

Courtesy of New York Times writer James Barron, and his account of brain-injured firefighter Donald Herbert's remarkable recuperation from his decade-long comatose state, we're treated to this handy, pocket-sized, sentence-length compendium of the events of the past ten years in American History (After Sudden Lucidity, Firefighter Is Less Animated, May 5, 2005):

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Dr. Ahmed said Mr. Herbert thought that it had been only a couple of months since the accident, not a decade - in which a president was tried for impeachment; e-mail and cellphones became popular; and his hometown football team, the Buffalo Bills, made the playoffs four times.

Clinton's impeachment, technology's growth and proliferation, etc...This seems to cover all the bases, for the most part.

Shit...Wait, wait, something's missing, right? What the fuck else has happened in the past ten years? Maybe George Pataki can help us out here:

"We will never forget the individual lives that were lost, the tremendous personal sacrifices and the countless acts of heroism that will forever mark September 11, 2001 as a day the world changed forever," Governor Pataki said. "Those heroes will be forever in the hearts and minds of people throughout New York State and around the world."

There you have it: Bills quarterback Doug Flutie, forever in our hearts and minds.

Posted at 4:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
Yes, We Tease Her, But We're Not Above Offering Her Some Baby Product Recommendations

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Hooked: Lynndie and Carter Allan England, left (via AFP); Ride 'N Stride 2-Way Safety Harness (via Baby Catalog of America).

Posted at 8:13 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 4, 2005
Primo product placement: I'm a pepper, she's a pepper...Wouldn't you like to pepper spray these Muslim savages, too?

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REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell

RELATED: Judge Rejects England's Guilty Plea in Abu Ghraib Case, NPR

EARLIER: Number 2 at the Box Office? "Man on Fire"

Posted at 4:52 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 2, 2005
From Left to Right: Mushrooms, pot, coke, and glue (or, "Jenna Watch, Vol. 3")

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President Bush's daughter, Jenna, bottom left, watches the game between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets with unidentified guests at RFK Stadium, Saturday, April 30, 2005, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari)

EARLIER: Jenna Bush and the oh-so-delicate return of the Associated Press' "unidentifiable male friend" and Young Love, Republican Style

Posted at 8:14 AM in a Grave fashion.
George, my son, I know you have it in you to (re)create social security in your image

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Posted at 8:04 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 30, 2005
Coming Soon: The Blue Collar Comedy Tour 2005, Featuring George W. Bush as "George The President Guy"

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Stand-up Guy: George W. Bush, captured by Reuters' Jason Reed, April 29, 2005.

Related: Blue Collar TV.

Posted at 12:28 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 27, 2005
If History's Any Guide, This Trip Will Change His Name, Expand His Definition of Brotherhood, Give His Biopic Its Final Act, And Lead to His Well Deserved Immortality

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Above, Vladimir Putin, Cairo April 27, 2005 (via Reuters); Below, Malcolm X, 1964 (by John Launois/Black Star)

Posted at 5:50 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 21, 2005
Brothers in Arms

want_you.jpgGood news, Jeff Gannon! According to today's New York Times' report, Pentagon Considers Changing the Legal Definition of Sodomy, by John Files:

The office of the general counsel at the Pentagon has proposed decriminalizing consensual sodomy among adults, a change to its 55-year-old policy on sodomy that would bring the military legal code more in line with laws that govern civilians, according to a memorandum sent to Congress.
[...]
The changes proposed by the Pentagon's lawyers would narrow the definition to prohibit acts of sodomy with a person under age 16 or acts "committed by force." Their memorandum says this would "conform more closely to other federal laws and regulations."

Recruitment will surely go up—or, at least, recruits will go down—now.

Related: Anyone else enjoying Sundance Channel's The Staircase, which also features a plot twist involving a military M4M escort? This documentary series is so good and so suspensefully constructed, it makes every iteration of Law & Order look like The Stick Figure Players Do Bad Twist Ending Theater.

Posted at 1:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 19, 2005
Cynicism Aside, We Hail The New Pope and Pray for World Unity

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Heil, Mary: Achtung, Ratzy!
New Pope Appears, Asks World for Prayers, Reuters, April 19, 2005.

Posted at 1:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
We salute war heroes, but draft dodgers? We just shake their hands.

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Up top, "Blake Sanford, 6, son of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, waits his turn to shake hands with President Bush, far right, as he arrives in Columbia, S.C. to deliver a speech on Social Security reform Monday April 18, 2005. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)" and at the bottom, well, that famous JFK, Jr. pose at his father's funeral.

Posted at 11:17 AM in a Grave fashion.
Big business, bigger humanity...which means we're the biggest motherfuckers around

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Yesterday, as Adobe Systems announced the acquisition of Macromedia, the primary reason for the merger of these onetime-rival multimedia software titans soon became clear: terrorism. Yes, terrorterrorterrorterroreconomyterror.

News reports clarified this stance:

"After 9/11, we both realized that being enemies didn't make sense," Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said in a conference call on Monday, referring to his discussions with Macromedia's then-CEO Rob Burgess. "We were no longer competing."

And in other coverage of the merger/acqusition, Chizen continued with his moving paean to an American tragedy, but this one a bit more "economic" in nature:

He acknowledged that combining the companies will lead to some lost jobs, but would not provide details.

"There will be some areas of redundancies, and that's where there will be some layoffs," Chizen said. "It will be difficult to quantify that until we get in and look at the integration."

A loss of lives, a loss of jobs...what's the big deal? We're all good people here. Working to overcome tyranny by making web-safe graphics. Annihilating the enemies of freedom by distributing American propaganda as Flash-based short films.

And your pink slips? Now available in the ever-popular PDF document format.

Posted at 10:19 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 17, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 52

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Posted at 6:06 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  April 15, 2005
Jenna Bush and the oh-so-delicate return of the Associated Press' "unidentifiable male friend"

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Via the Associated Press: "President Bush, lower left, sits in the Presidential Box with members of his family and guests at RFK for the home opener Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday, April 14, 2005 in Washington. Also sitting with Bush are Sue Selig wife of Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig, Tony Tavares, President, Washington Nationals, center, first lady Laura Bush, lower right, and daughter Jenna Bush, top right, leaning her head on the shoulders of an unidentifiable male friend. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)"

EARLIER: Young Love, Republican Style

Posted at 12:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
And this metaphor might as well be a fucking Daewoo

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As French citizens prepare to vote in their May 29th referendum on whether or not to approve the European Union's new constitutional charter, President Jacques Chirac took to the populace yesterday to stake his claim that it was imperative for the measure to pass. His driving point, effectively, being that for Europe to be unified and powerful (when translated from his native leftist French, this reads as "able to exist as a counterbalance to Bush's United States of Imperialism"), it was vital for France to support this burgeoning European Union, lest one of its biggest players be seen as stepping away from the table, thereby leaving a weak and disconnected shell of a coalition in its wake.

So, if that doesn't make sense, try this metaphor put forth by the French Interior Minister:

French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said Europe would end up being driven by a "tricycle" rather than a "hot rod" if the French vote the treaty down.

"With a 'no', there won't be anything left in the garage... At best, there will be a tricycle," de Villepin said. "With a 'yes', there will be a hot rod... It has to be admitted that it's better to get around with that."

The Renault sitting in my garage, by the way, has a meager 40 horsepower, for what it's worth.

Posted at 10:23 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 13, 2005
"Two Years Ago, This Country Had One Microphone. Last Year, It Had Three. Are We Making Progress? I Would Say So."

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Donald Rumsfeld and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Tuesday, April 12, 2005. [via Reuters/NYT]

Posted at 1:44 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 12, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 51

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Posted at 4:49 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
"OK, we're lost. Where'd you put the goddamned roadmap?"

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Via the Associated Press: "In this photo released by The White House, President Bush gives Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a tour of his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Monday, April 11, 2005. (AP Photo/The White House, Eric Draper)"

RELATED: Sharon Dismisses Bush on Settlement Growth, the Associated Press, April 12, 2004

Posted at 4:28 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 9, 2005
Kinda Makes You Wonder How Much God Paid Her to Write This

001galllagher.jpgFrom Maggie "Mo' Money" Gallagher's syndicated column, THE FUTURE OF CATHOLICISM, April 6, 2005, A.D.:

Pope John Paul the Great is not yet buried, but the divisions among American Catholics have already taken center stage on cable television: Will the next pope be Catholic?

Of course, JP II's critics don't put it that way. But the long-deferred hopes of this group (call them sexual liberals) -- that the Catholic Church is about to abandon its ancient teachings on premarital sex, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and, above all, birth control -- have burst out anew in the 24-hour coverage of the pope's death.

Sexual liberalism has a lot of powerful things going for it in terms of attracting adherents: passion, for instance, the difficulty of self-restraint, the attractiveness of choice as the highest moral good. But sexual liberalism's most powerful ally is the myth of progress. Sexual liberals, like Marxists of old, see themselves as the inevitable wave of the future. The Catholic Church is "out of step" with the future, they believe, and must eventually get in line with the poll numbers, or fade into irrelevance.

Ooooh, Marxists! Gay Marxists! Also, it's cute how she jumps the gun and calls him Pope John Paul the Great. (Okay, bad word choice.)

Posted at 8:39 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 7, 2005
There's Some Sort of Metaphor Here; Subtle, But Nonetheless Present

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Cracked: A car bombing near Abu Ghraib, March 30, 2005 (via Reuters).

Related: Fixing "Broken Windows"

Posted at 10:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 4, 2005
We Need a Montage

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Paging Mr. Eisenstein: The world mourns the the passing of the Pope and record high oil prices. (via Reuters Pictures)

Posted at 9:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 2, 2005
'A-' Shows Improvement

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Posted at 1:12 PM in a Grave fashion.
Luckily, We Can Read Vulpine Lips

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"I know, it's crazy, right? I'm basically a murderer thousands and thousands of times over and spent billions of dollars on a project that's not nearly over and which will deepen America's defecit for generations. Honestly, I can barely balance my own checkbook! Man, someone up there must like me."

Related: "You sendin' The Wolf?... Shit Negro, that's all you had to say."
(via Reuters)

Posted at 10:52 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 30, 2005
In which President Bush furiously solicits even more praise from otherwise unsuspecting fans

BEFORE:
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AFTER:
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Posted at 12:27 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 29, 2005
Feed Your Face

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You know 'em when you see 'em: The idealists, the dreamers, the home schooled children, and self-proclaimed Messiahs holding handmade signs that say "I need a miracle." They love to hug, yet their hungry, vacant eyes look a thousand yards past you.

They are, of course, the Not-Deadheads. And they're coming to a town near you.

The Not-Deadheads may seem freaky, but they're mostly harmless. They're just chasing bliss on the tail of Captain Trips, man. Don't kill their buzz, and they won't harsh your mellow.

Posted at 3:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
Your Privacy Is Important to Us

schindler-schiavo-parents.jpgDear Mr. and Mrs. Schindler,

As Terri Schiavo's parents, please accept this humble donation of $500 in support of your battle to keep your beautiful daughter alive. Our thoughts, prayers, and pocketbooks are with you in your time of need, and may God bless you in your support of the sanctity of Life.

Check here if you would like to opt-out of any mass-mailings and direct marketing plans.

RELATED: List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm, the New York Times, March 29, 2005

(Thanks to Jeff.)

Posted at 3:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 28, 2005
Lord of the Flies II: Piggy Sacks Jack

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The Hunters: Speak Crudely and Carry a Sharp Spear. (via college now live)

Today's New York Times features a story by Richard W. Stevenson that reads like a sequel to Lord of the Flies, if Piggy had been the shadow chief of the hunter tribe. As Stevenson writes in With Bush Safely Re-elected, Rove Turns Intensity to Policy:

Jack Kemp was causing problems for President Bush's drive to overhaul Social Security, and it naturally fell to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's strategist, enforcer and closet policy expert, to take him on.

Mr. Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee and a founder of a conservative advocacy group, was publicly attacking an idea floated by the White House to cut benefits in the retirement system and was rallying support for an alternative approach that, on paper, would be pain free. Mr. Kemp's statements exposed a split among Republicans and complicated the administration's efforts to prepare the public for possible benefit cuts.

After a ceremony several months ago in the White House East Room that Mr. Kemp attended, Mr. Rove sought him out, associates of the two men said. But their exchange was less a scolding by Mr. Rove, they said, than an assertive, detailed argument against Mr. Kemp's favored approach. Mr. Rove, they said, went through a point-by-point critique of the plan and left Mr. Kemp with the message that he considered it unworkable.

This has to be the first time in human history a football star has been tackled by a model U.N. nerd.

Posted at 2:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 27, 2005
In The Army's Defense, It Was a Very Strongly Worded Letter

letter.jpgFrom Pentagon Will Not Try 17 G.I.'s Implicated in Prisoners' Deaths, by Douglas Jehl, The New York Times, March 26, 2005:

Despite recommendations by Army investigators, commanders have decided not to prosecute 17 American soldiers implicated in the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, according to a new accounting released Friday by the Army.

Investigators had recommended that all 17 soldiers be charged in the cases, according to the accounting by the Army Criminal Investigation Command. The charges included murder, conspiracy and negligent homicide. While none of the 17 will face any prosecution, one received a letter of reprimand and another was discharged after the investigations.

Posted at 6:57 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 23, 2005
OK, OK...I admit, you sold me. Now I see the urgency.

You in the corner, with your long hair and nose rings, lobbying against privatization! There's no time to waste. Put your pickets and placards down. Hasten, you. Right this very moment, let us all clasp our hands together: the end is nigh.

One whopping year "nigher", if you will: take note of the Bush Administration's latest round of hysterical claptrap regarding the crisis-laden government program that is Social Security, by way of Trustees Foresee an Earlier Insolvency for Social Security, from the New York Times, March 23, 2005:

Beginning in 2017, not 2018 as previously projected, the revenue from Social Security payroll taxes will be less than the benefits the government will be paying out, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said, forcing the government to dip into reserves.

Moreover, those reserves, which have been built up by surpluses and will keep benefits at their normal levels even after payroll taxes are insufficient, will be depleted in 2041, not 2042, as previously anticipated, Mr. Snow said. After 2041, under the new projections, the government could pay only three-quarters of the promised level of benefits.

"The numbers published today leave no question that Social Security reform is needed, and it is needed soon," Mr. Snow said in a message accompanying release of the trustees' report. "Reform of this system, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and the financial future of our country, is a very real and pressing matter."

Posted at 5:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 22, 2005
TIME for Concern

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(I did this one by hand.)

Posted at 3:45 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Further proof there is no God

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RELATED: Judge Rejects Schiavo Appeal, FOXNews.com, March 22, 2005

Posted at 11:54 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 21, 2005
The Murderer Has Two Faces

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From Bush Signs Bill That May Let Schiavo Live, the Associated Press, March 21, 2005:

President Bush signed the bill almost immediately after its passage early Monday, vowing in a statement to "stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities."

"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life," he said.

From The Texas Clemency Memos, the Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2003:

On the morning of May 6, 1997, Governor George W. Bush signed his name to a confidential three-page memorandum from his legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, and placed a bold black check mark next to a single word: DENY. It was the twenty-ninth time a death-row inmate's plea for clemency had been denied in the twenty-eight months since Bush had been sworn in. In this case Bush's signature led, shortly after 6:00 P.M. on the very same day, to the execution of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded thirty-three-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old.

RELATED: George W. Bush: The Death Penalty Governor, by Alexander Cockburn, Common Dreams

Posted at 12:09 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 16, 2005
'Advise and Consent': I can do these things all day long

icon_222.gifNewsflash from the blogosphere! No, not another update on my stance regarding Paul Wolfowitz's nomination to head the World's (most powerful) Bank...Rather, consider this an update on the updates! It may come as no revelation to you, the loyal readers of this column, but it has come to my attention that this sophisticated web technology allows me to publicly pontificate multiple times daily, which is a major improvement over my last column-writing gig, whereby I was limited to weekly musings on Chechnya or socialized medicine or bankruptcy bills.

And as part of this exciting era of the 24-hour news cycle in which we live, it remains vital to understand that news happens constantly, consistently, and continually. As such, it stands to reason that we need quality, real-time analysis of the world's goings-on, right?

With that in mind, then, I continue to point you, the readers, to the smorgasbord of thought and opinion that exists out there on the world wide web. Since having posted my initial musings on Wolfowitz's anticipated ascendancy to the position of Chief Global Bankman, it has come to my attention that other pundits and news-analysts have also posted their thoughts on this matter. I particularly refer you to one Daily Kos, who, though prone to a bit of foul language here and there, seems to have a remarkable grasp of the dynamics of news analysis.

Furthermore, there is a website entitled Instapundit that is also covering this rapidly-breaking news story. Check it out! Our opinions, like a collective dab of potter's clay, await these opportunities to be shaped and re-formed!

Posted at 4:38 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
'Advise and Consent': Banking on the World's Trust

icon_stars_usa.gifGreetings, fellow moneymen! Today is a significant day on the global monetary front...with President Bush's announcement that he was putting forth Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's name as his choice to head the World Bank. By "putting forth his name", I mean to say, President Bush is pushing for this Wolfowitz fellow to preside over the banking conglomerate, and not merely his "name". That device is a staple of quality writing, rest assured.

I trust the president's judgment on this matter, and, more significantly, I approve of his choice. I myself once had the privilege of meeting Paul Wolfowitz eighteen months ago, after he presented a lecture at Harvard University's JFK School of Government on the Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq and topple that monstrous Saddam Hussein figure. There were a number of liberals in the audience that insisted on asking him many pointed questions regarding ill-advised intelligence briefings and bad military judgments, but he deftly brushed aside their trivial concerns with his proclamations that "Evil is as evil does, and Saddam Hussein was and is an evil man." That shut them up, I'll tell you. In Latin, I would say, this is a case of ad reducto absurdum, or, better yet, corpus christi.

But I digress. After his lecture, I made my way to the nearby Dunkin' Donuts on Eliot Street to sample one of their refreshing Caramel Swirl Lattes, a splendid coffee drink the likes of which I haven't seen outside of Cambridge. As I stood before the counter, clutching this caffeinated treasure in my hands, the clerk began to dole out my change and looked up behind me. I turned, and there he was. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz himself. The architect of the war with Iraq, and Richard Perle's chief partner in Middle Eastern crimesolving. I smiled at him as he made his way to the counter, and, after tugging delicately at the tie around my neck, I noticed I had inadvertently coated my cravat in the gentle white foam of the Latte in my hands.

Rather sheepishly, I addressed him: "Great speech tonight, Mr. Wolfowitz. Really, truly excellent. Remarkable." He, in turn, smiled back at me, and motioned towards the clerk behind the counter. "Don't forget your change, sir," he then said to me, for, in the midst of my excitement at being in the presence of such a mastermind of war and Western imperialism, I had neglected to gather the various coins that the Dunkin' Donuts clerk had been holding out for me to collect.

What an attention to fiscal detail this Wolfowitz fellow had that night! It is for this reason, largely, that I am confident that he will be able to responsibly manage and monitor the world's most significant moneylender and debt creditor. Kudos to you, fine sir, and those that had the courage to nominate you!

Posted at 12:34 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  March 14, 2005
Young Love, Republican Style

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Hmmmm...my American education taught me that girls can get pregnant from heavy petting, even when you're as furious about it as this guy is.

Posted at 1:07 PM in a Grave fashion.
'Advise and Consent': Social Security: Can we really afford this safety net?

icon_dollars.gifGreetings, all, and welcome to my new column for low culture. Since we've already been introduced, I'll just jump right into the fray: we're going to tackle the hot-button issues, here and now!

First and foremost on the lips of pundits on Capitol Hill is the matter of social security: White House aides will have you believe that it's in crisis, and needs to be reformed urgently, while Democratic leaders from across the aisle, such as former vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, are more temperate about this issue. So, tongues are wagging: what to do about this problem?

In my lecturing days, I used to examine the fallibility of this elaborate system of social-insurance in terms of the following analogy: If your house is on fire, you better get out! The students in my courses, after I would spring this on them with great aplomb, would often look quizzically at one another. The confusion and dismay on their university-trained faces was priceless. And then, of course, an outspoken student would inevitably question my analogy: "Professor Preminger, why would you assume going into the argument that the system is inherently flawed? Is there not room for debate on the solvency of the New Deal's greatest social legacy?"

While I was technically a guest-lecturer and not a full-fledged professor, I wouldn't take issue with the phrasing of their questions, and would instead drop the following pearl of wisdom: Social Security, I'd say while putting down my chalk and tugging delicately at my tie (an act which would often leave white marks across my chest), functions as a system of economic redistribution, whereby payments are guaranteed to those who contribute during the course of their lifetime. And what had we learned from the (then-recent) collapse of Polish and Romanian communism, other than that systems of economic redistribution must ultimately result in a subsequent economic collapse that in turn leads to said nation exporting its teenaged daughters abroad to appear in Western pornographic films? Is this the sort of legacy of social security with which we want to be burdened as Americans?

When making this last point, I would always be sure to peer directly at the various co-eds scattered throughout the lecture hall. I wanted them to understand that their livelihoods as future lawyers, doctors, and housewives were in danger if we didn't open our minds to the prospect of, say, privatizing our support network for the nation's elderly. (Also, I should add as an afterthought, women are perfectly capable of being lab technicians, programmers, and construction foremen, just to be clear. I don't want the low culture ombudsman to be over-inundated with anxious remarks from yippity feminists.)

So, returning to the point at hand, social security: is this a net that can afford to catch each and everyone of us, or has this system of public subsidies left the roping on this allegorical net dispersed so widely apart that we will all fall through the cracks someday in the not-too-distant future? And what is under this net, but the vast expanse of the Sea of Lonely Death?

That, my friends, lovers, and countrymen, is a pool in which I don't want to go swimming.

Posted at 11:21 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  March 11, 2005
Meet Sen. Jim Talent, American Idiot

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This never happened. Hey, look, over there...social security needs strengthening!

In the wake of yesterday's disavowal of any sort of Defense Department responsibility for anything and everything relating to that ol' Abu Ghraib fiasco from way back when, we encourage our readers in Missouri to become more intimately acquainted with their very own Senator Jim Talent (R). Look closely, folks...let the idiocy soak in. Bask in the impressive display of anti-logic. Get sodamnedclose that you're tempted to hit the guy in the face with a bunch of rolled-up newspapers dating back to last year, hoping he'll maybe take that opportunity to finally see what exactly introduced the term "Abu Ghraib" into the public lexicon:

"I don't need an investigation to tell me that there was no comprehensive or systematic use of inhumane tactics by the American military, because those guys and gals just wouldn't do it," said Senator Jim Talent, a Republican from Missouri. "Everything about the culture and the training in the military and at home works against that. That's why the terrorists are attacking us -- because we're not the kind of society that would do that."

This has nothing to do with anything, but Sen. Jim Talent is up for re-election next year, Fall 2006.

EARLIER: Rumsfeld's Rules: Donald's Photoblog, Vol. 1, and Rumsfeld's Rules: Donald's Photoblog, Vol. 2

Posted at 3:56 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 10, 2005
Staying on message, and keeping it consistent

How President Bush spent his Wednesday:

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How Sens. Barbara Boxer and Charles Schumer spent their Wednesday:

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Posted at 12:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 9, 2005
Somebody Up There Likes Dean

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Howard Dean, March 9, 2005 (via Reuters)

But does anybody down here?

NB: That's a rhetorical question. Please use comments to debate the following: Dogs are better than cats.

Posted at 11:18 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 8, 2005
Daddy's Little Churl

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President Bush and CIA director Porter Goss, March 3, 2005 (above, via Reuters); Former president George H. W. Bush, circa 1976 (below, via, True Conspiracy Links ).

Posted at 1:11 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 7, 2005
Got Milk?

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Milk makes Kofi go down easier. Milk helps makes me strong, so I can resist namby-pamby international coalitions. You need sturdy bones and teeth to go it alone in a world full of terrorists and assorted enemies. Chock full of calcium, milk helps make me more powerful than all those malnourished Third World famine babies and their communist and/or terrorist leanings.

Milk, it does a body politic good. (via Reuters)

Posted at 8:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 6, 2005
Canadians: Always The Funniest Guys in the Room

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Zap! George W. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, from November 2004 (via AFP)

Posted at 5:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 4, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 50

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RELATED: Bush Denies That Private Accounts Are in Serious Trouble, March 3, 2005, the New York Times

Posted at 12:54 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  March 2, 2005
Together Again: America's Favorite Vaudeville Team

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"After you, my dear Alphonse!"

"You first, my dear Gaston!"

Update: How on earth did I miss this?

[via Reuters]

Posted at 9:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 28, 2005
More Shocking Photos from the Colonial and Native Party

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Hotter Than His Wife: Prince Charles and a Hindu priest (via Reuters)

Black and white and red all over: Spinning the news out of Iraq

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Iraq Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 115, the Associated Press, February 28, 2005:

A suicide car bomber blasted a crowd of police and national guard recruits Monday as they gathered for physicals outside a medical clinic south of Baghdad, killing at least 115 people and wounding 132 the single deadliest attack in the two-year insurgency.

Election Shock Treatment: The Democrats try to get over Iraq's latest achievement, the Daily Standard/Weekly Standard, February 28, 2005:

WITH THINGS LOOKING UP for a change, this has been a rough patch of time for the Democrats. They have been suffering from Election Shock Treatment; which means the success of the Iraqi elections has shocked them into the realization that they may have to seek treatment, because of the trauma induced by the growing suspicion that President Bush has been right all along: right in the decision to go into Iraq; right in the decision to hang tough in Palestine; right in the belief that Muslims and Arabs may also want freedom; that elections there can be held, and succeed.
Posted at 11:54 AM in a Grave fashion.
Even Doug Wead knows this shit is non-alcoholic

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Virginia Governor Mark Warner, left, toast President Bush during a State Dinner for the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Posted at 11:50 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 24, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 49

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Posted at 1:52 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  February 23, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 48

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Posted at 2:26 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  February 22, 2005
I'm sorry, I don't speak "European"...what exactly are you trying to say, here?

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Oh, OK, wait a second...I think I get it.

It's a "polite" thing, and by invoking the "Mister", you're deferring to his title as a head of state. That's so impressively formal! We've got so much to learn from you Europeans.

Posted at 2:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
"On the other hand..."

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President Bush, in his public statements on matters of great and non-controversial import, often makes sense. Then again, he does not. The ideas expressed therein will usually be very clear, very concise. Also, they will be very, very hard to decipher. When, on occasion, a matter of controversy is introduced in these contexts, Bush will leave himself little wiggle room for getting out of his assertions. Except when he leaves himself wiggle room for getting out of his assertions.

From Bush Denies U.S. Plans to Attack Iran, via the Associated Press, February 22, 2005:

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," Bush said after discussing the issue with European allies.

And earlier this year, in a similar vein, from President outlines role of his faith, via the Washington Times, January 12, 2005:

"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."

RELATED: The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin on Bush's usage of "On the other hand" to convey variable meanings

Posted at 2:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
Agence France-Presse, welcome to the world of cynicism (though A.P. and Reuters have yet to join you)

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An actual caption for this wire service image, by way of Agence France-Presse (take note of the so-called 'snarky' quotation marks):

First lady Laura Bush thanked US troops based in Germany for their work in the war on 'terror,' as anti-war protesters across the country geared up for her husband's arrival (AFP/DDP/Martin Oeser)

RELATED: The A.P.'s more innocuous take on the same photo and event

EARLIER: War on Terror, War against Terror; War of Terror

Posted at 10:32 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 17, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 47

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Posted at 4:23 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
And with this announcement, the once-pesky C.I.A. flew away, gracefully, never to be heard from again

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"U.S. President George W. Bush answers a question during a press conference at a White House office building, February 17, 2005. Bush on Thursday nominated John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the new director of national intelligence who faces the tough job of improving the quality of intelligence from spy agencies that have been sharply criticized." (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

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"A Bird in Flight," from Hand Shadows to Be Thrown upon the Wall, by Henry Bursill

Posted at 1:12 PM in a Grave fashion.
Even a Stopped Clock Is Right Twice a Day

low culture applauds President Bush's nomination of Nicholas Negroponte to serve as intel chief. As founder and director of MIT's Media Lab, Mr. Negroponte has done much to further all forms of digital media. His 1995 tome, Being Digital is a remarkably prescient distillation of the computer revolution. Most recently, he has pursued the development of a laptop computer that would sell for under $100. While Mr. Negroponte's relationship to the intelligence community is as yet unclear, the President's choice deserves accolades.

Posted at 12:41 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  February 16, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 46

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Posted at 2:15 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  February 15, 2005
Nation-Building: So Much Cheaper than War

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The Associated Press has reported that, quite succinctly, "Bush Wants $82B More for Iraq, Afghan Costs". That's a pretty snappy headline, and more or less cuts to the quick on the president's supplemental budget request that was submitted to Congress yesterday. Because, realistically, when $75 billion of that request is slated to go to the Defense Department, it's reasonable to summarize the funds as going to cover the costs of our continued War on Terror™. Oh, and also the War in Iraq (nb: if, at this point in time, they are in fact now one and the same, please excuse our ignorance).

Regardless, after deducting the Defense Department's war costs, that still leaves the administration with a fairly large $7 billion worth of funds to disperse. And how! Let's take a look at some of the various line item expenses:

- $2.242 billion to counter drugs, pay for security, and support democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

- $60 million for Ukraine, which recently elected Viktor Yushchenko president.

- $660 million for construction of a U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

The lesson? Promoting American-style democracy costs a shitload. It's almost as though there's a correlation between our mania for capitalism and our mania for freedom and liberty. Thankfully, I can still buy heroin for cheap, however. Hamid, you're a grand ol' motherfucker! Love you!

Continuing:

- $400 million to reward nations that have taken political and economic risks to join the U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Uh-oh. That whole "coalition of the willing" thing from way back when? At least we know we never bribed them, right? Or had to shell out millions of dollars so we could play host to 32 Macedonian mess-hall workers on our bases in Iraq?

- $950 million to help areas affected by the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

In other words, that "$15 million in tsunami relief" figure that was quoted so long ago was, well, incorrect. It should never have been reported. $950 million. That's what we meant all along.

Finally, there's this:

- $200 million in education and border security aid for the Palestinians.

Fuck, we're so glad Yasser Arafat's dead!

Posted at 11:17 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 14, 2005
Did We Say "No" Child Left Behind? That Was Just, Like, Branding... Or Something

New U.S. Secretary Showing Flexibility on 'No Child' Act, by Sam Dillon, The New York Times, Feb. 14, 2005.

Posted at 3:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
Poli-Sci 315: Nuclear Arms Proliferation (The professor will now field questions from the audience)

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Posted at 12:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
Swearing-In Ceremonies: Special Valentine's Day Edition

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U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales smiles up at U.S. President George W. Bush during his swearing in ceremony at the Department of Justice, February 14, 2005. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 10, 2005
Rummy, Mr. Nice Guy

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See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil (background); evil (foreground), (via Reuters)

Posted at 9:09 PM in a Grave fashion.
Rice's Diplomacy: the Art of Backpedaling

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From North Korea Says It Has Nuclear Weapons, the Associated Press, Feb 10, 2005:

"The North Koreans have been told by the president of the United States that the United States has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea," Rice told a news conference in Luxembourg.

From The President's State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002:

North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

[...]

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.

[...]

And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.

Posted at 11:34 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 8, 2005
This is how a Republican President sits: surrounded by Money and War

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President Bush announces his 2006 U.S. budget, seated comfortably between Treasury Secretary John Snow and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
(AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

RELATED: Pentagon Budget Up; War Cost Is Excluded, the New York Times; Congress Unlikely to Embrace Bush Wish List; Experts Say Cuts in Farm Subsidies, Medicaid and Other Domestic Programs May Be Unrealistic, the Washington Post

Posted at 12:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
And just like that, with one brave budgetary blow, we set forth to destroy this planet and get the fuck out of here

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From a rather bluntly-sequenced series of sentences in President Offers Budget Proposal With Broad Cuts, the New York Times, February 8, 2005:

"The Environmental Protection Agency would cut by $500 million its program to help poor communities build wastewater treatment plants and other water projects.

The cuts would be offset to some extent by increased spending on programs Mr. Bush supports. NASA would get an added $400 million, or 2.4 percent, bringing its budget to $16.5 billion as it focuses on the administration's long-term goal of a manned mission to Mars."

Posted at 11:59 AM in a Grave fashion.
Scenes from a newly democratic Iraq

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Iraqi policemen in Najaf, Iraq on Monday, Feb. 7, 2005, living it up.
(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

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Iraqi policemen in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, dying it up.
(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

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US soldiers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq on Monday, Feb. 7, 2005, eating it up.
(AP Photo/Chris Tomlinson)

Posted at 11:16 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 6, 2005
Fuss Budget

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From the Idiots What Brung You Enron: 2006 Goverment Budget (via AP)

Line Item: Printing Costs, 2006 Federal Budget, first edition: $10 Million.

Posted at 2:56 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  February 5, 2005
Another Campaign Promise Broken

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My, what big teeth you have (via Kerwoodwolf)

From Wolf's Future in Wyoming, as Predator or Fragile Species, Is in Court's Hands, by Kirk Johnson, The New York Times, Feb. 5, 2005:

CHEYENNE, Wyo., Feb. 4 - Gray wolves have thrived in the West since their reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park 10 years ago last month. No one disputes that. There is also broad agreement among federal wildlife officials, ranchers and conservationists that the time is ripe to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act under which the wolves made their comeback.
[...]
The state argues that wolves are predators across much of Wyoming where they now roam and should be treated as such - residents should be allowed to shoot them at will, like other varmints.

What the fuck? Bush and Cheney promised they'd prevent the wolves from attacking us. They promised!

What's next? Social Security won't hit an iceberg?

Posted at 8:10 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 4, 2005
President Bush displays the costs of continuing with his current policies

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Wait, wait, wait, my mistake. This particular chart was prepared to demonstrate the dire failings of Social Security, and not the President's reckless federal budget.

Alert graph readers can make note of this by observing that the above chart depicts a spending deficit occurring sometime after 2020, whereas, with the President's budget, we've had a federal deficit since early 2002.

Posted at 12:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 3, 2005
State of the Union, 2005: Fun with Word Counts

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Arbiters of language and justice are seemingly obsessed with the issue of word count in President Bush's speeches – in particular, his noted recent over-emphasis on the grandiose notions of "freedom" and "liberty".

Well, then, this seems like an easy (if not excessively lazy) manner of proving any sort of ideological point, however disingenuous it may be in spirit...and with that in mind, we hereby are setting out to prove, through careful study of last night's 2005 State of the Union address, that while President Bush does in fact love the idea of spreading American ideals around the world, he nonetheless hates the people who clean his toilets.

Ok, now, you need proof? Take a look at this precise, scientific statistical breakdown of the President's address last night:

FREEDOM: 21 instances.
So easy. This indicates a devotion to America and all that for which it stands. Peace, justice, and the American way. Liberty. Democracy. Phrases that can appear on the back of coins. The president loves this shit.

POOR: 1 instance.
This noted depreciation in verbal occurrences, in turn, reveals a deep-seated desire to spit upon the nation's army of vacuuming and janitorial specialists. And those people that work at Auntie Anne's Pretzel Shack at the local mall? They, too, shall be subjected to the President's spittle, in an unusual reversal of the food server/servee relationship.

Oh, and there's one other remaining gem buried within this close reading of the President's address:

ASBESTOS: 1 instance.
That's right, Bush abhors people who live and/or work in homes or buildings constructed prior to the 1970s.

The White House, incidentally, was heavily redesigned in the 1980s, so it's totally "safe" in this matter. Contractors added this cute little balcony on the South Portico during the Reagan administration, and while uptight White House historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin readily insist this was done under President Truman's watch, we all know how Goodwin has herself been discredited time and again as a liar.

Ergo, asbestos...Reagan...Bush hates poor people.

Posted at 9:52 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 2, 2005
Mandate? Yeah, We Got That.

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Posted at 10:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
Presenting: The Worst Nerve Personal Photo Ever

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via AFP

Posted at 10:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
Previewing the State of the Union, 2005: The President practices his applause lines (all three of them)

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Posted at 5:42 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 31, 2005
Def Condi Jam

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Funny Lady: Secretary of State Rice on her first day at the State Department, Jan. 27, 2005 (via Reuters)

"Thank you, thank you. What a great audience out there. Really, I'm not just saying that: you're a great group. You wanna know another great group? The U.N. Or, as I like to call them, 'The United Colors of Benetton!'

"Funny thing about the U.N., and this is a true story! I was there a couple of days ago for a big meeting and one of the aides said to me, 'Do you know where Kofi is?' So, I looked her dead in the eyes and said, 'Listen, just 'cause my title says Secretary doesn't mean I'm gonna get you coffee!' Oh, boy! She turned green then red then blue: talk about united colors!

"I'm outta time. Good night folks, you've been great! Don't forget to tip your server."

Posted at 10:47 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  January 30, 2005
January 30th, 2005: This Birthday's Gonna Be da' Bomb!

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For a Man With A Whole Lotta Heart (Problems)

"Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates." - Iraqis Brave Bombs to Vote in Their Millions, Reuters, Jan. 30, 2005.

"Mr. Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 30, 1941 and grew up in Casper, Wyoming..." - White House bio

Last Year: Present Accomplished

Posted at 11:00 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 29, 2005
Ideological Corrections: For the Record

From "Corrections," The New York Times, Jan. 29, 2005:

Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about Condoleezza Rice's first day as secretary of state referred incorrectly to her coming trip to the Mideast. She will meet Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, not in Israel.

Posted at 6:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 28, 2005
On Sunday, would these six Iraqis have voted for the United Iraqi Alliance, or, maybe, the Assembly of Independent Democrats?

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I guess we'll never know.

RELATED: Major parties and alliances, the Associated Press

Posted at 5:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 27, 2005
Two Friends Talking: A One Act Play

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Blair Calls on United States to Cooperate With Rest of the World, by Alan Cowell, The New York Times, Jan. 27, 2005.

TB: Mr. President, you need to cooperate with the rest of the world, sir.
GWB: Aw, hoss. Why you ridin' my ass?
TB: Mr. Bush, I'm quite serious on this matter.
GWB: 'Quite serious!' Fah-fah-fah, I'm an Englisher! Spotted dick!
TB: Now listen here, Mr. President: I shan't allow you to mock my accent. The world needs unity.
GWB: Shan't. That's funny, hoss. You callin' me from a dang car phone, Tonesy?
TB: Busted, sir.
GWB: Now you know you can't be callin' me from no car phone, man! Ashcroft's got one of them scanners: Laura and I gotta turn on the bathroom sinks just to talk dirty. You can't be callin' me from no car phone, hoss.
TB: Yes, sir. Well, Mr. President, I'm almost to my destination. Please do try to cooperate with the rest of the world.
GWB: Alright, hoss. You know I'd do anything for you, Tone. You're my boy. You're my boy, Blue! You're my boy! You get that over there in Britland, Tony? Ya' get it?
TB: Yes, Mr. President. I saw Old School. Very amusing. I, um, must go now. I'm getting another call. It's Nelson Mandela.
GWB: Nelson? He's my boy, too—
TB: Breaking... breaking up, sir.
[click]
GWB: Tony? Tony? Damn dial tone. Get it? Tony, Tony, Tone? Ya' get that, hoss? Damn, I'm talkin' to myself here.

[with respect to David Rees: You're my boy, Rees!]

Posted at 11:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 26, 2005
Here's to a great second term!

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"America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

-- From President Bush's second inaugural speech, January 20, 2005
Posted at 1:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
I voted today. Did you? (Also, my mom took the crusts off of my sandwich.)

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Iraqi youngsters display an election pamphlet, as a British soldier on patrol in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, looks on, Wednesday Jan. 2005, as Iraq heads for national elections scheduled for January 30.(AP Photo/Odd Anderson, pool)

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Children examine election posters displayed on a campaign vehicle as Kurdish women's rights activists raise election awareness among poor and often illiterate women in suburbs of Arbil, Wednesday, Jan. 26. 2005. Kurds are expected to attend the forthcoming elections in Iraq in overwhelming numbers thus strengthening their position in the interim Iraqi parliament. (AP Photo/Sasa Kralj)

Posted at 1:05 PM in a Grave fashion.
You can't handle the truth!

bush_nicholson_truth.jpgFrom Powell gives bleak assessment of Iraq security problems, by Guy Dinmore in Washington for the Financial Times, January 13 2005:

According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr Bush recently asked Mr Powell for his view on the progress of the war. "We're losing," Mr Powell was quoted as saying. Mr Freeman said Mr Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave.

Or, directly from Mr. Freeman's mouth, by way of the transcript of his appearance at the recent Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle East Policy, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on "Terror", January 11, 2005:

Anyway, the other day I understand that someone went into the Oval Office - someone known to everybody here, a rather senior person who is on his way out of the administration - and was asked by the president what was going on in Iraq, and said, with his characteristic bluntness, we're losing - and was asked to leave the office forthwith and not continue the discussion.

So there's a question about what is going on in Iraq, and perhaps the competition between reality-based analysis, much disparaged in Washington these days, and hallucinatory optimism, which is the alternative.

Posted at 12:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
Debates 2004: "Exaggerations," "Lies," and "Mistruths" revisited

kerry_prompter_debate.jpgFrom the San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, January 26, 2005:

Bush adds $80 billion to wars' costs; Afghanistan, Iraq tally would pass $300 billion if OKd

But what to make of this, dated a whopping three months earlier (Friday, October 1, 2004), from the Washington Post's analysis of the first Presidential debate between candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry:

Few Factual Errors, but Truth Got Stretched at Times

Kerry suggested that the United States has spent $200 billion on Iraq, largely because it supplied the bulk of the troops. This was an exaggeration because it combined the amount already spent -- about $120 billion -- with money that is expected to be spent in the coming year or requested by the administration.

In case you're interested in researching more of Candidate Kerry's various lies and deceptions, rest assured that various media outlets displayed an eerie amount of non-prescience last fall. Why not comb through the following links, as well? They're each chock full of documentation of Kerry's $200 billion mendacity...

Distortions and Misstatements At First Presidential Debate, Bush and Kerry both have problems with the facts at their meeting in Coral Gables, (FactCheck.org)

A Primer for Tonight's First Debate, Both Bush and Kerry Have Set the Stage With Some Misleading Claims, (Washington Post)

Some key claims in debate and how they really stack up, (Knight Ridder/The Seattle Times)

Reality Check: Distorted Debates, (WCCO TV)

Posted at 10:01 AM in a Grave fashion.
Hope You Got a Poncho On - That Shit's Gonna Blow

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Posted at 10:00 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 24, 2005
Arrrrgh! Monster Hungry!

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So, So Mean: Viktor Yushchenko at his inauguration (via Reuters)

Posted at 10:11 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 22, 2005
Such a Little Trooper

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Dying on the Inside: John Kerry with Max Baucus, Jan. 20, 2005 (via, AP).

Always a bridesmaid...

Posted at 2:37 PM in a Grave fashion.
Cliffhanger in Op-Ed Land

From Bush's 'Freedom Speech', by William Safire, The New York Times, Jan. 21, 2005:

On his way out of the first Cabinet meeting after his re-election, President Bush gave his longtime chief speechwriter the theme for the second Inaugural Address: "I want this to be the freedom speech."
In the next month, the writer, Michael Gerson, had a heart attack.

SPOILER ALERT!!

With two stents in his arteries, the recovering writer received a call from a president who was careful not to apply any deadline pressure. "I'm not calling to see if the inaugural speech is O.K.," Bush said. "I'm calling to see if the guy writing the inaugural speech is O.K."
Posted at 10:09 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 21, 2005
Inauguration 2005: America's Elderly Reflect on Our 43rd Whippersnapper

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Highlights from "Americans View Bush Speech Differently", by Angie Wagner for the Associated Press, in which a wide swath of senior citizens' opinions are made available.

First up is Jim Swafford, 62, of Nashville, Tennessee, who sounds a bit, well, focused on the issues. Or at least one issue. One very closely guarded, paranoid issue.

"He's trying to take my Social Security away from me, and he's lying about it," said Swafford, a semiretired owner of a hair salon. "I don't like to listen to him anymore than I have to to find out what he's trying to take away from me."

How about an overarching sense of relativism?

In Rio Rancho, N.M., Bush's speech was on in the cozy recreation room of the Harmony House Residential Senior Living Home. Phyllis Cline sat smiling in her wheelchair, excited she made it back from a doctor's appointment just in time.

Or denial? Nihilism? The sense you're going to die soon?

Joan Keck, 72, wasn't having any of it.

"I'd rather sit and read this book about cats than listen to this," said Keck, gesturing to her book. "I could truly care less."

Posted at 1:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
The way to a woman's heart is through the manipulation of her nation's voters

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Posted at 12:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
A Series of Unfortunate Metaphors

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A Different Fire: An Iraqi man injured in a Baghdad car bombing, Jan. 21, 2005 (via AP)

"By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
- George W. Bush, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 2005

Related: 14 Killed In Explosion Near Baghdad Mosque, ABC News, Jan. 21, 2005

Posted at 7:58 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 20, 2005
Aiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!!!

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Devil Spawn: Jenna Bush at the Inauguration, Jan. 20, 2005 (via, Reuters)

Update: The aptly titled, "Come to Daddy," by Chris Cunningham and Aphex Twin.

Posted at 6:08 PM in a Grave fashion.
What, No Over-Sized Novelty Severance Check?

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Thanks a Million: Powell says goodbye to, well, everyone. (via AFP)

Posted at 2:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 19, 2005
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, Vol. 7

(By way of the BBC News):

On Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, the website of the British Broadcasting Corporation's News division ran an infographic and featurette entitled At-a-glance: 'Outposts of tyranny' that focused on incoming U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's announcement during her Senate confirmation hearing earlier this week that there were six "outposts of tyranny" around the world. The following chart accompanied the feature:

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Due to an editing error, the infographic (as featured, above) was incomplete and therefore inaccurate, and we have uploaded a revised, corrected image in its place (attached below). We apologise for any confusion that may have ensued, and thank you for reading BBC News.

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Posted at 4:20 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 45

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Posted at 3:33 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  January 18, 2005
RSVP: 'Regret'

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No Laughing Matter: Not every soldiers' homecoming is a Bush/Cheney photo op. (image via The Memory Hole)

"This year, nine inaugural balls are scheduled, including the Commander-in-Chief Ball, a soiree hosting troops who are heading to—or who have returned from—Iraq or Afghanistan," CNN, Jan. 17, 2005.

The favor of a reply is requested by the Eighteenth of January, Two Thousand and Five.
( ) I Will be able to attend The Commander-in-Chief Ball.
(X) I Will Not be able to attend.

Related: "The acknowledgement of misgivings—Mr Bush hesitated to use the word 'regret' —was a departure for a leader who repeatedly has refused to admit to any mistakes while in office," 'I wish I hadn't said that': Bush admits self-doubt, Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian Unlimited, Jan. 15, 2005.

Posted at 4:57 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Unforeseen circumstances" (or maybe she meant "unacknowledged warnings"?)

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Neo-con monster: Condoleezza Rice does her creators' bidding, molding ineffective policies out of thin air....it's magic!

Confirmation time! Let's hurry up with this and get President Bush's second-term cabinet in order, eh, so we can begin the momentous task of laying the groundwork for peace in the Middle East. To assist in this endeavor, the American people have the wisdom and good judgment of faithful troopers like Condoleezza "Ex Post Facto" Rice, who, in today's Senate confirmation hearing unironically announced that "the time for diplomacy is now," in terms of working with allies to resolve the crisis in Iraq ("Crisis"? Shit, wrong word. I meant, umm, "problem". Social Security is the "crisis," and Iraq merely a "problem." Ok, wait, I'm getting all confused here. Let's move on.)

When asked by Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware about the strength (or lack thereof) of the current U.S. troop levels in Iraq, Rice countered, or rather, deflected:

"I would not presume to try to give the president military advice, but I do believe that he got good military advice and I do believe that the plan and the forces that we went in with were appropriate to the task," she said.

"We did meet with some unforeseen circumstances," Rice acknowledged.

Oh, dear..."unforeseen circumstances?" (Etiquette question: Is it bad form to call this woman a goddamned close-minded imbecile? Because "unqualified fucking idiot" seems so much ruder.)

Let's take a look back. Patriots from California to Maine so fondly recall those optimistic days in October 2002, when we all had faith that there was surely going to be an overthrow of the tyrannically unsafe-for-Americans Iraqi governing body...and our war plans seemed so efficient, so reasonable! We knew our nation's leaders were listening to experienced veterans of combat, and were shrewdly calculating how to achieve the lofty and noble objective of ridding Iraq of its WMDs...

Fuck it, I can't continue with this sarcastic bullshit anymore. Some things transcend the classic model of asshole-ness, and disparaging the ineptitude of others is one of those things. Let's instead try channeling some constructive hostility of the "We-told-you-so" variety:

What follows is a (lengthy, but necessarily so) selection by Michael T. Klare from "War Plans and Pitfalls", from the October 21, 2002 issue of The Nation.

However, while there appears to be unanimity among top Administration officials on the need for a military assault on Iraq, there has been no such consensus regarding the precise form of such an attack. Senior military commanders with experience in the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict have argued for a Desert Storm-like engagement involving hundreds of thousands of US combat troops, while civilian strategists in the Defense Department and some conservative think tanks have advocated a more daring and innovative approach, employing a relatively small contingent of ground troops backed up by the massive use of air power and precision-guided munitions. It appears that President Bush--under pressure from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney--has accorded primacy to the unconventional approach.

Bush favors this approach for several reasons. To begin with, the unconventional approach allows for a much earlier assault on Iraq than would be the case under the conventional one. Any replay of Desert Storm, however scaled down, would require the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops (plus all of their heavy equipment) from the United States and Europe to the Middle East. This task could not be completed until next spring, and so would require US forces to commence combat operations at the onset of the blistering desert summer. The unconventional plan, on the other hand, would entail fewer troop deployments and could be set in motion by early winter--the optimal time of year.

Adoption of the bolder plan also helps the United States get around the problems created by the reluctance of some friendly Arab countries, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to allow the use of their territory as a staging ground for the US invasion of Iraq. An army of 250,000 combatants would almost certainly require the use of bases in Saudi Arabia, as was the case during the 1991 conflict; a force of 50,000 can be assembled in Kuwait, Qatar and some of the other small Gulf kingdoms.

But it is ideology, most of all, that appears to govern the President's choice of strategic options. By starting the war in January or February, the Administration would escape more than the summer heat--it would short-circuit the diplomatic process at the UN and undercut any international effort to rely on UN arms inspectors to complete the "disarmament" of Iraq. Even while pushing for a favorable resolution at the UN Security Council, US officials have warned that the time for diplomacy is rapidly running out. "We're talking days and weeks, not months and years," President Bush said of the time that should be given to Saddam Hussein to comply with UN demands for the disclosure and destruction of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) remaining in his possession.

The more innovative plan would also give armchair strategists in the military academies and think tanks an opportunity to test innovative, "out of the box" techniques that have been gaining favor in recent years. These include the use of commandos equipped with laser target-designators who can infiltrate deep into enemy territory and pinpoint targets for attack by laser-guided bombs and missiles. Such attacks are intended to "decapitate" an enemy force (kill or immobilize its top leaders, or otherwise impair their ability to transmit orders to combat units in the field) and to pulverize its "centers of gravity" (e.g., presidential palaces, major military headquarters, communications centers, fuel depots). Another approach to be tested is "effects-based" targeting--that is, attacks intended to produce a desired effect (here, the disintegration of the current Iraqi regime) by targeting the assets, properties and institutions most valued by the enemy leadership.

Finally, you'll recall "coalition forces" subsequently invaded Iraq in March 2003. March. No longer near the height of the cool season which had at one point seemed so important. Which means the Administration fucked up the invasion and occupation on all fronts.

It's reassuring to consider, however, the degree to which Team Bush was held accountable for their dishonesty and poor judgment in last fall's elections, right? (Shit, there goes that goddamned sarcasm again. Enough, enough, enough.)

And our apologies to Miss Manners, but "unqualified fucking idiot" seems to be the way to go here.

Posted at 3:39 PM in a Grave fashion.
Occupation Training Manual, page 62: Educating The Iraqi Police Force

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Posted at 12:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 15, 2005
Charles Graner, You Were Just Convicted of Abusing Iraqi Prisoners in Abu Ghraib. What Are You Gonna Do Now?

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"I'm going to Disneyworld!" (via AFP)

Posted at 2:11 PM in a Grave fashion.
One Happy Fat Cat

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Top, Dick and Denny verify the election, Jan. 6, 2005. (via, Reuters);
bottom, the Cheshire Cat, from Alice in Wonderland

Posted at 11:43 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 13, 2005
I'm So Excited, and I Just Can't Hide It (I'm About to Lose Control, and I think I like it)

Aide to Top Iraqi Cleric, and 5 Others, Are Killed in Attack, the New York Times, January 13, 2005:

Ayatollah Sistani's representative, Sheikh Mahmoud al-Madaini, was killed along with his son and four guards after leaving sunset prayers at a mosque in Madain, about 12 miles south of the capital, said an official in Ayatollah Sistani's office.

In further pre-election violence that is predicted to escalate, seven Iraqis were killed and a Turkish man was kidnapped in front of a Baghdad hotel by a group of gunmen today, according to an employee of the hotel.

Gosh, what sort of downbeat attitude is that? Why would such violence be "predicted to escalate"? What we, the American people need, is some goddamned optimism! You know, the kind of peppy good cheer we heard one short week ago:

Bush Rejects Growing Pessimism on U.S. Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, January 7, 2005:

"The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict," Scowcroft said at the New America Foundation luncheon, expressing a view increasing shared by both Democratic and Republican foreign policy specialists.

Asked if he shares Scowcroft's concerns, Bush told reporters today, "Quite the opposite. I think elections will be such a incredibly hopeful experience for the Iraqi people."

[...]

Bush said in response to a question, "I think we're making great progress" in Iraq. He added, "And it's exciting times for the Iraqi people. And it's so exciting there are some who are trying to intimidate people from going to the polls."

Posted at 5:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 12, 2005
...But the search for Ron and Nicole's killer continues

US gives up search for Iraq WMD, BBC News, January 12, 2005:

Intelligence officials have confirmed the US has stopped searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

President Discusses the Future of Iraq, the White House, February 26, 2003:

In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world -- and we will not allow it. (Applause.) This same tyrant has close ties to terrorist organizations, and could supply them with the terrible means to strike this country -- and America will not permit it. The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away. The danger must be confronted. We hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm, fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. (Applause.)
Posted at 2:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
Do as I say, and as I do, which is what I think, and do, not say. I think.

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In today's Washington Times (one of those "conservative" papers read so, so regularly around these parts each day, before we roll them up early in the afternoon to beat the heathens preparing our food), President Bush unloads on the paper's editors and reporters about his true calling, espousing the usual rigmarole about "moral philosophy" this and "God's will" that. In other words, American moralists have been graciously treated to yet another reminder of the man's esteemed sense of nobility and right and wrong.

Anyway, amidst all the God-love, the story offers up this puzzlingly opaque gem of Bush's legendary anti-logic:

"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."

It's good to be good, but it's better to be God, apparently. Or at least down with Him. Because, you know, He's more important than laws, or history, or judicial precedents. Even if you're not exactly saying that. Like, maybe, you're just implying that. But, you know, you never did say any such thing.

Hey, come on now, why's everyone getting all angry all of a sudden?

Posted at 12:38 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 11, 2005
Pyramid Scheme

Credit Guy Womack (no relation) for even further lowering the bar on the bullshit we can expect from defense attorneys. As lawyer for Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, Womack yesterday offered a defense that managed to be at once offensive, incredible and troglodytic. From Reuters:

Graner's attorney said piling naked prisoners into pyramids and leading them by a leash were acceptable methods of prisoner control. He compared this to pyramids made by cheerleaders at sports events and parents putting tethers on toddlers.

"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial.

Outrage was registered in all the expected outposts, but what of the slander to cheerleaders? Surely the Pyramid Defense doesn’t do the spirit industry any favors. I contacted Sheila Noone, editor of American Cheerleader magazine, for her thoughts.

Continue reading...
Posted at 1:10 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 8, 2005
Paging Don DeLillo

"Hundreds of people were kept from their homes Friday in Graniteville, S.C., because of chlorine gas that was released after a train crash early Thursday. Bulldozers began moving the derailed cars."
-Cloud Rising From Train Wreck, Then Death and a Ghost Town, The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2005.

"Finally, after 'a night of dream-lit snows,' an 'airborne toxic event' originates in a rail accident at a nearby train yard. The dark billowing cloud is full of Nyodene D..."
-Summary of Don DeLillo's White Noise.

Related: Don DeLillo and the Towers

Posted at 6:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 7, 2005
Positive numbers, fuzzy math, and well-spun figures

bush_smiling_green.jpgThere's an undeniable buzz in the air as January 30th, the date of the upcoming Iraqi elections, rapidly approaches. It's much akin to that feeling of excitement one gets around the holidays as you watch presents slowly accumulate underneath the family Christmas tree, and they just keep accumulating, and you're all, "Wow, how many of those presents are for me, and what did I get?"

And since you're such a simpleminded bastard, you hold a press conference, and you talk about how excited you are about your presents. You prattle on and on about how you "think elections will be such a incredibly hopeful experience for the Iraqi people." And you add that

14 of Iraq's 18 provinces "appear to be relatively calm." The four remaining provinces "are places where the terrorists are trying to stop people from voting," [you] said. "So I know it's hard. But it's hard for a reason. And the reason it's hard is because there are a handful of folks who fear freedom."

And then this Grinch-like Brent Scowcroft asshole, who served under your dad as his national security adviser, and who just now apparently decided to fucking betray you, starts trying to take a bunch of the presents away and opens them up and shows you that there's coal inside the sloppily-packaged boxes. And then you go, "Wow, 'coal' is a bad metaphor for 'dissent and civil war', and the gift boxes are an even worse metaphor for 'free and stable elections!'"

So, anyway, Scowcroft goes on:

"The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict," Scowcroft said. He said he expects increased divisions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims after the Jan. 30 elections, when experts believe the government will be dominated by the majority Shiites.

Scowcroft predicted "an incipient civil war" would grip Iraq and said the best hope for pulling the country from chaos would be to turn the U.S. operation over to NATO or the United Nations -- which, he said, would not be so hostilely viewed by Iraqis.

But you? You're sticking to your guns; you're a stubborn, close-minded simpleton, after all. You're staying with those numbers you cited above, how 14 of the 18 extant provinces are "safe" and "calm." And, yeah, there are those four troubled regions, but you know what? Four out of eighteen, thats less than a quarter of the Iraqi geographic spectrum.

But your math, as usual, fucking sucks, and is distorted to no end, and doesn't accurately take into account the depth of the problem. Because what you've left out of your simpleminded assessment of reality is the key fact that, get this, those four troubled provinces together contain more than half the population of Iraq.

When even Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the commander of your ground forces in Iraq acknowledges this issue, it might help to pay attention. Particularly when he adds,

"I just can't guarantee that everyone will be able to go to a poll in total safety," he said. "I cannot put a bubble around every person walking from their home to the polling site."

Because, while we're dealing with tired clichés and bad metaphors, that "bubble" General Metz is talking about is so obviously wrapped around you, chump.

Posted at 12:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 6, 2005
Insensitive Headline of the Day

Residents Trickle Back, but Falluja Still Seems Dead

[The New York Times, Jan. 6, 2005]

Posted at 2:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Things are seriously fucked up here, bro. Can you maybe take me outta here when you leave? I'll do anything: I'll sit in baggage, I'll work as a Steward. Anything."

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Small Talk: Indonesian Social Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab confers with Colin Powell (Reuters)

Posted at 12:50 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 5, 2005
I just don't know which conservative mouthpiece to believe anymore

From KOGO AM 600 Radio's "Uniquely Conservative Talk Radio-", the Steve Yuhas Show, Jan. 3, 2005:

"Tsunami Aid Packages Grow into Billions: Sri Lanka Refuses Most Israeli Help"

...and from the conservative Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2005:

"Sri Lanka requests more medical aid from Israel"

Posted at 4:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
We all dislike it when the Bush family meddles in international and diplomatic affairs

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And, yes, this is totally taken out of context. "Giving aid", "saving face", blah blah blah. We just love us some good old Colin Powell, that's all.

Posted at 3:42 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 4, 2005
Now That There Aren't Any Cute White Kids Left, At Least We've Got Cute (White) Cats

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Feline survivor : A cat who survived the tidal wave, walks among the debris in search of food on the worst hit Thai island of Phi Phi. (AFP/Saeed Khan)

RELATED: One-year-old Hannes Bergman of Sweden

ALSO RELATED: Tween Karl Nilsson of Sweden

ALSO, ALSO RELATED: German baby, another German baby, German Nickelodeon fans, and brave, brave Petra Nemcova (practically German (Czech) and likely developmentally disabled (super-attractive)).

Posted at 9:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 3, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 44

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Posted at 10:01 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Meanwhile, In Bizarro World...

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We Got Spirit, Yes We Do: "If you love Jesus, cheer real loud!" [via Reuters]

After his landslide defeat by John Kerry, former president George W. Bush returned to his first career as a male cheerleader.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and several others in the President's inner circle were arrested on war crimes charges.

Bagels no longer fattening...

Related: Are these the most covered-up cheerleaders you've ever seen?

Posted at 8:25 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  January 2, 2005
Hey, Colin: Don't Burn the Bridge on the Way Out, Okay?

002powell.jpgThere's a big difference between a slip of the tongue and an unconscious dig. Check out Colin Powell's remarks on Meet the Press this weekend, and tell me if there's any love lost between Powell and big Dick Cheney:

MR. RUSSERT: Were you worn down or frustrated by the philosophical differences with Secretary Rumsfeld or Vice President Cheney?

SEC'Y POWELL: I work for the president of the United States. He's always allowed me to present my views. More often than not, the views of the senior leadership of the administration, myself, Secretary Cheney—excuse me, Vice President Cheney; I still remember him as my secretary when I was chairman—Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Dr. Rice—more often than not we agreed with one another.
Damn! Put away the claws, man.

But, mistakes aside, I assume Powell still considers Cheney a fiend. I mean friend. Whoops: my bad.

Posted at 4:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 28, 2004
How you, too, can earn a paltry $15 million

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RELATED: "US to Pledge $15 Million for Tsunami Aid", and "Powell: U.S. is not 'stingy' when it comes to aid"

ALSO RELATED: The Cost of the War in Iraq, currently hovering around $200 BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS

ALSO, ALSO RELATED: "Julia Roberts: $20 Million Woman?"

ALSO, ALSO, ALSO RELATED: Fuck you, America.

Posted at 12:31 PM in a Grave fashion.
Super Fun "Building Wreckage and Loss-of-Life" Quiz: Evildoers or Act of God?

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ANSWER: Act of God, as evidenced by the Indonesian survivors' wearing shorts, which implies some sort of divine justice wreaked upon those enjoying good weather right now

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ANSWER: Trick question! Act of God, though manifested in that "terrorists seeking spiritual redemption and/or the annihilation of the West" manner

RELATED: Human tragedy unfolds even further as Czech Supermodel Injured in Tidal Wave, and swimsuit-issue fans collectively wail louder than the deaths of 40,000 people could have ever caused

EARLIER: Super Fun "Military-Incursion Home Destruction" Quiz: Iraq or Palestine? and Super Fun "Ski-Mask-Wearing Iraqis" Quiz: Insurgent or Police Officer?

Posted at 11:53 AM in a Grave fashion.
  December 24, 2004
low culture Exclusive: Christmas at the Rumsfelds'

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O, Christmas Tree: The jolly man with the beard said this man was "a bad guy."

Yes, Don and Joyce Rumsfeld had an absolutely stunning tree this year. And the duck was so juicy, it practically melted in your mouth. The party was a lot less crowded than last year—no Powells, no Tenets, no Ashcrofts, or Keriks—but it was wonderful.

Merry Christmas, everyone! And a happy, healthy New Year!

Posted at 3:04 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  December 22, 2004
Man, My Parents So Should Have Hired That Caricaturist For My Bar Mitzvah

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Demonstrators hold posters of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (L) and former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin during a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, December 22, 2004. Demonstrators protested against China's policy towards North Korean refugees, who face forced repatriation and severe punishment when they return to their impoverished country. [via Reuters]

Posted at 10:50 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 21, 2004
Does Music Piracy Aid Terrorists?

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Yes. Yes, it does.

OK, OK...you're right. Sorry about that bit of woefully-miscontextualized usage of news photography. If you're a stickler for accuracy in reporting, here's the AP's actual take on the events depicted in the above image:

"An Iraqi policeman checks for compact discs made by terrorist groups with instructions on how to make improvised explosive devices in Baghdad Tuesday Dec. 21 2004.In continuing violence, five American soldiers and an Iraqi civilian were wounded when the Humvee they were traveling in was hit by a car bomb near Hawija, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Tuesday.The bloodshed came a day after Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi blamed the upsurge of violence on a campaign by insurgents to foment sectarian civil war as well as derail the legislative elections set for Jan. 30 (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)"

Posted at 4:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 20, 2004
This, Of Course, Comes From a Guy Who Got "Gentleman C's" At Yale

"President Bush strongly defended Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today, declaring that the Pentagon chief is doing 'a really fine job'..."
-Bush Defends Rumsfeld, Saying He's Doing 'a Really Fine Job', by David Stout, The New York Times, Dec. 2004.

Related: If you google "gentleman C's", almost all the hits are for Bush. Maybe William Safire or Jesse Sheidlower can give us the full etymology.

Posted at 10:05 PM in a Grave fashion.
Portraits of Liberation (from an inexhaustible series, natch)

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Posted at 1:45 PM in a Grave fashion.
Because, apparently, Sec. Rumsfeld's usage of an automated-signature device is the single greatest reason to call for his stepping down

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From "Grieving Families Outraged over Rumsfeld Condolence Letters", The Christian Broadcasting Network, December 20, 2004:

A deadly weekend in Iraq could spell more trouble ahead for next month's elections. And the President's defense chief is at the center of controversy, this time over condolence letters to families of military soldiers killed in action.

[...]

But relatives of the deceased soldiers, and even some congressional leaders, are outraged that Rumsfeld used a machine to stamp his signature on more than 1,000 letters that have already been mailed.

And now for the completely unanticipated A.P. followup: "Bush Comes to Rumsfeld's Defense"

Posted at 12:58 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 19, 2004
Thanks Again to Lynndie England, Charles Graner, et. al. for Giving Everyone Who Hates America the Ultimate Christmas (or "Holiday") Present

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Image War: Cuban anti-American billboard, as seen by AFP in two, views.

Related: All this over Christmas decorations.

Posted at 11:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 14, 2004
Three Stooges Receive Presidential Medals of Failure

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Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck: Bremer, Franks, and Tenet.

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Posted at 7:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 12, 2004
low culture Exclusive: The Outrage Gets Outragously Obvious!!!

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Loud and Clear: They sure look like buildings now.

Ever since low culture first posted about the shocking Cingular billboards that subliminally play upon the collapse of the Twin Towers, numerous websites have commented that we must be out of our minds.

It was a stretch, they argued, to equate the image of cellular phone 'signal bars' with buildings, specifically the Twin Towers. low culture was taking post-9/11 sensitivity to an absurd new height (or low, as it were). low culture isn't funny. Etc.

Yes, it was clearly a stretch. Why on earth would someone think that those signal bars looked like buildings?

Submitted for your approval is an un-retouched Cingular ad that runs in national magazines (above). It sure looks like the ad agency behind it is trying to make a connection between the rigid, parallel signal bars and rigid, parallel buildings.

So, how absurd was the post now? How sensitive? And, tell me, how unfunny? Very: These ads are very, very unfunny.

Earlier: low culture Exclusive: An Outrage Grows in Brooklyn!!!; low culture Exclusive: The Outrage Continues'Continuously!!!

Posted at 10:39 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  December 9, 2004
Four (More Years) on the Floor

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In the White House's Roosevelt Room earlier this morning, President Bush announced Jim Nicholson, current U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, as his nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. This is the ninth cabinet replacement since Bush's re-election, and as each new cabinet member has been introduced to the media, the announcement game plan's been identical in each instance, as the President peers studiously at his newly-nominated staff members (examined earlier in "Didn't America Vote Against the Gaze?").

Of course, it turns out this "game plan" has been part of a larger "master plan" carefully choreographed by Dan Bartlett and his staff...Here's an exclusive "floor plan" slipped to low culture by a White House operative.

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RELATED: White House Roosevelt Room

Posted at 12:16 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  December 8, 2004
Just a wild guess, here, but...is this some A.P. photo editor's way of saying "quagmire"?

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From the AP wires: "A U.S. military helicopter lands at Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone at sunset Tuesday Dec 7 2004. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)"

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From L to R, the posters for the Vietnam-themed Miss Saigon and Apocalypse Now, Redux

Posted at 3:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
And the human collateral fades gently into the background as their leaders take center stage

From the wire services, portraits of military personnel and their civilian bosses, taken Tuesday, December 7, 2004:

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Posted at 11:44 AM in a Grave fashion.
  December 7, 2004
Why Do We Have to Choose?

"For years now, liberals and leftists have been unable to decide whether they dislike George W. Bush because they think he's a doofus or because they think he's evil..."
- DUBYA: A RUTHLESS, ELEGANT PRESIDENT, John "Norman's Son" Podhoretz, The New York Post, Dec. 7, 2004.

Posted at 4:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
We're just as fucking sick of this Ukraine thing as you are, comrade

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Posted at 4:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
Black children love us!

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Posted at 11:18 AM in a Grave fashion.
  December 6, 2004
Super Fun "Ski-Mask-Wearing Iraqis" Quiz: Insurgent or Police Officer?

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ANSWER: Insurgent, as evidenced by his being situated near graffiti, which is illegal!


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ANSWER: Policemen, as evidenced by their being surrounded by toys, which are jolly!

EARLIER: Super Fun "Military-Incursion Home Destruction" Quiz: Iraq or Palestine?

Posted at 12:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
This is where we un-ironically invoke the theme song to Team America

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Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Bernard Kerik and President George W. Bush? They're real fucking patriots, you know?

RELATED: "America, Fuck Yeah", from the Team America: World Police Soundtrack, with lyrics by Trey Parker

Posted at 11:46 AM in a Grave fashion.
What you're really hearing is the sound of the U.S. dollar collapsing

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Bon voyage! US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, above, can be seen craning his neck to make out the muffled cries of "Help, help!" coming forth from the global marketplace. (Deficits, trade gaps, and subsidies may be awesome party favors, but no one wants their event dampened by a bunch of ne'er-do-well whiners in the back room, right?)

This week, Zoellick sets out to embark on a luxurious five-nation tour of Africa, in which he'll visit Senegal, Benin, Mali, Namibia and Lesotho. In case you're wondering, not one of these nations has been adversely affected by American trading stances or WTO antics. This is because the U.S. economy is ragingly successful right this moment, and we're spreading that good cheer like it's fucking democracy or something.

See you in Najaf, motherfuckers! It's flat-tax time!

RELATED (well, in that it involves 'money', which, apparently, makes the world go round): Dollar Clobbered By Euro Again, Dec. 6, 2004 (CBS/AP)

Posted at 11:26 AM in a Grave fashion.
  December 4, 2004
Catch That Masked Man

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"For the life of me... I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do."
-Tommy Thompson
(U.S. Health Chief, Stepping Down, Issues Warning, by Robert Pear, The New York Times, Dec. 4, 2004.)

Killing Americans through the food supply? Dude, that's their fucking job. Yet another American industry, outsourced, I guess.

Related: Fire up your shitty "Bush ♥s Huckabee jokes now, suckers.

Posted at 5:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 3, 2004
Didn't America Vote Against the Gaze?

Our nation's first "soft focus" president, parading his various cabinet nominations before the media in the White House's Roosevelt room:

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Department of Homeland Security nominee Bernard Kerik, alongside President Bush in the background.

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Secretary of State nominee Condoleeza Rice, with President Bush, again, in the background.

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Yes, there's a trend here: Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzalez, with President Bush in the background.

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Department of Commerce nominee Carlos Gutierrez mixes things up a bit, while nonetheless retaining those sharp-focus good looks.

Posted at 2:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
God, Everyone's Fleeing to Canada Now That Bush Won

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Triumph, The Insult Comic President in Canada

Earlier (And Strikingly Similar Visually): Breaking: Insult Comic Dog Causes Civil War in Canada

Posted at 9:47 AM in a Grave fashion.
  December 2, 2004
Support the ribbon industry

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Posted at 4:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
  December 1, 2004
Recent Events in the World About Which You or I Care Not, Though They Nonetheless are of Great Import to Someone Somewhere

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"Let's just clamp down on this shit, ok?"

Toll in China Mine Explosion Reaches 166

Plane veers off Indonesian runway; 31 die

Typhoon Bears Down on Flood-Hit Philippine Towns

UN Says May Have Spotted Rwandan Troops in Congo

Ukrainian Parliament Votes Out Prime Minister's Government

Holy fuck, that shit's so boring, right? And I don't even know what any of that means, really. Where the fuck in Africa or wherever is this so-called "Indonesia", and why are they flying planes there? While I try to wrap my head around this global primitivism, let me instead focus on this bit of American news (finally!) that came to my attention.

And, yeah, it did most certainly come to my attention because it's American news:

Rumsfeld sued for war crimes over Abu Ghraib

Oh, I totally, totally get this, given I read all the big papers each and every morning...It looks like a consortium of human rights lawyers are trying to bring attention to the various illegalities (mis)used in the Americans' detention of suspects in Iraq. Boy, this shit gets me so angry! I cannot tell you how RILED UP this sort of stuff makes me! And to think we elected this Bush guy for another four years? What is wrong with this country?????

Also: if any alert readers get any more information on what happened with that voting fiasco in Ohio earlier this month, please, please, drop us a line.

Posted at 11:28 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  November 30, 2004
Entertainment Alert: Orange

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Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture: Um, again.

Posted at 5:46 PM in a Grave fashion.
Don't Invite Bush to Your Wedding

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While it may be unrealistic to have expected former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal to be anything but partisan when he was asked to write a behind-the-scenes "commentary" on the recent opening of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock earlier this month, some of the various quotes and anecdotes which appear in the resulting piece in the UK's Guardian Observer are, well, rather incriminating in their indictment of the current Bush administration, to say the least.

So, here we are then...reporting from the library's opening ceremonies, Blumenthal puts forth the following top-notch, choice, and oh-so-prime snippets (in that order):

Scene 1, in which the President tips us off to his penchant for reading Ian Fleming spy novels before going to bed at 9pm each night:

Bush appeared distracted, and glanced repeatedly at his watch. When he stopped to gaze at the river, where secret service agents were stationed in boats, the guide said: "Usually, you might see some bass fishermen out there." Bush replied: "A submarine could take this place out."

Scene 2, in which the President reveals his disregard for Israeli politicos not named "Sharon", as well as his adherence to a low-calorie drink diet:

At the private luncheon afterwards, in a heated tent pitched behind the library, Shimon Peres delivered a heartfelt toast to Clinton's perseverance in pursuing the Middle East peace process. Upon entering the tent, Bush, according to an eyewitness, told an aide: "One gulp and we're out of here." He had informed the Clintons he would stay through the lunch, but by the time Peres arose with wine glass in hand the president was gone.

Scene 3, in which the President's chief adviser (née "Brain") shows off his sardonically conservative mindset, all while failing to make anyone laugh (because, frankly, this shit's not that funny, and it's really quite sad that this nation's going to hell, but, hey, who are we to judge, and let's just get on with the Blumenthal documentation, shall we?):

According to two eyewitnesses, Rove had shown keen interest in everything he saw, and asked questions, including about costs, obviously thinking about a future George W Bush library and legacy. "You're not such a scary guy," joked his guide. "Yes, I am," Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: "I change constitutions, I put churches in schools ..."
Posted at 4:03 PM in a Grave fashion.
Dude, They Stole My Band's Name!

"The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba..."
-Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo, by Neil A. Lewis, The New York Times, Nov. 30, 2004.

Not cool, Red Cross. Well, there's always my backup band name: The Motoboys.

Posted at 9:13 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 29, 2004
And he can order all the stationery he wants, as long as it's limited to one box

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Buried within a much larger discussion of the reconfiguration of President Bush's second-term economic program, comes this ominous little nugget of semantics regarding future cabinet shake-ups, from "Bush to Change Economic Team", the Washington Post, November 29, 2004:

One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long.
Posted at 4:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
Law & Order: Insurgent Destruction Unit

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From the Associated Press: "Iraqi National Guard members arrests petrol black marketeers in Baghdad Monday Nov. 29, 2004. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)"

Posted at 12:59 PM in a Grave fashion.
I want to fuck you like an, umm...wait. How exactly does one fuck an insurgent?

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A US marine outside of Fallujah, 2004, as photographed by AFP/Mehdi Fedouach; Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, 1994, as photographed by "Closer" music video director Mark Romanek

Posted at 12:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
low culture Exclusive: The Outrage Continues—Continuously!!!

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(Ground) Zero Tact: Another offensive Cingular billboard, Lafayette St. and Astor Pl.

On November 19, this website published a revelation so important, so earth-shattering, our comments database promptly crashed due to the overwhelming feedback we received.

I am referring, of course, to low culture Exclusive: An Outrage Grows in Brooklyn!!!, about Cingular's insensitive Twin Towers-themed billboard on Fourth Avenue and 9th Street in Brooklyn.

Since then, the post has richocheted around the internet, spread like wild fire, grown like kudzu, and just kept going and going like one of those battery-operated toy rabbits.

If our comments were any indication, America was just as outraged by Cingular's billboard as we were:

"so clearly ... the twin towers"
"Advertising is subliminal. They want gut reactions."
"... those are the Twin Towers..."
"...these are obviously ... supposed to be the towers. i think anyone ... can figure that out."
"When the twin towers were still standing, they were the same size, which is why they called them the twin towers..."

And, most damning of all:

"i work for cingular and thought this was hilarious."

Hilarious, huh? Well, apparently Cingular is upping the ante by putting up not one, but several of these offensive billboards on the corner of Lafayette and Astor Place, a few blocks north of the World Trade Center! Yes, it's true: The outrage continues. Worse yet, the representation of the Twin Towers crumbling, falling apart, appears almost exactly where the towers themselves would appear when looking downtown. Out-freakin'-rageous!

Please, we urge you once again to boycott Catherine Zeta Jones, despite her endorsement of T-Mobile. Boycott her because she married that slimy Michael Douglas! This outrage must be stopped!

Earlier: low culture Exclusive: An Outrage Grows in Brooklyn!!!

Posted at 12:21 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  November 26, 2004
Please Tell Me I'm Misunderstanding This Photo and They're Not Eating Ham in a Mosque. Please.

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U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry soldiers relax near a space heater after a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and ham was delivered to their outpost in Mosul, Iraq Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004. Insurgents rose up this month in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, during an offensive by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Fallujah. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)

Related: Somebody Tell Lt. Brandon Turner That He's Insane [Under The Same Sun]

Posted at 10:54 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 24, 2004
The Haunting of the President, 2004

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The Spirit: "Why won't this damn ghost stop followin' me around?"

One of 1,229.

Earlier: Thanksgiving 2003: The Mourn of Plenty

Posted at 8:27 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 23, 2004
At least the media's finally admitting that there's a "Pravda"-like element going on with this whole Iraq thing

As today's Washington Post covers American troops' latest movements into the war-ravaged region surrounding Baghdad, there seems to be a new element of self-doubt and, dare we say it, anti-patriotism creeping into the paper's coverage of the war in Iraq. In other words, that unique sort of "what the fuck is happening here?" angle that we thought only Michael Wolff wasn't afraid to touch! To wit, take notice of the following bit which appears at the outset of "Offensive Launched South of Baghdad", focusing on the second and third paragraphs of the news item by Anthony Shadid:

BAGHDAD, Nov. 23 -- More than 5,000 U.S., British and Iraqi troops launched an offensive Tuesday against a swath of territory south of Baghdad where armed insurgents have roamed through the streets, imposed stringent Islamic law and carried out kidnappings and summary executions at checkpoints along the main roads.

The campaign began with a series of raids this morning in Jabala, a town east of the most restive region, which Iraqis have dubbed the "Triangle of Death." The U.S. military said in a statement that it had detained 32 men believed to be insurgents. In the past three weeks, it said, U.S. and Iraqi forces have arrested nearly 250 insurgents.

The military statements were impossible to confirm independently. The territory, inhabited by a mix of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, has become too dangerous for foreign reporters to visit.

Also impossible to confirm was Post executive editor Leonard Downie's newfound sense of doubt in administration propaganda. Because, as we all know, in March 2003 it was far too dangerous for American news reporters to congregate around independent booksellers and alternate news outlets while engaging in research on reasons as to why the invasion of Iraq may have been a bad idea at the outset...

I mean, responsible journalism? What the fuck is that?

Posted at 2:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Welcome to Colombia, May I Take Your Order?"

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"I'm Lovin' It": President Bush meets the future outsourced workers for the only jobs left when he leaves office.

Posted at 9:41 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Sybil War

001sybil.jpg"After enduring a brutally fought election campaign, Americans are optimistic about the next four years under President Bush, but have reservations about central elements of the second-term agenda he presented in defeating Senator John Kerry, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll."
- Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda, by Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder, The New York Times, Nov. 23, 2004.

"President Bush is heading into his second term, with his job approval rising to 55 percent, a new poll shows.

"Bush's post-election bounce and growing public support come at a time when 72 percent of Americans say the country is deeply divided, according to the nationwide Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll."
-W. SOARS IN POST-VOTE POLL, Deborah Orin, The New York Post, Nov. 23, 2004.

And they say there's no consensus in this country.

Posted at 8:31 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 22, 2004
Yeah, But You Still Have to Deal with Your Student Loans and Credit Card Payments

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Life and Debt (Less of Both, Actually): Finally, they'll be able to own a home.

"The world's leading industrial nations agreed Sunday to cancel 80 percent of the nearly $39 billion debt owed them by Iraq, a critical step in rebuilding the country's devastated economy and an important precedent for its other creditors to follow."
Major Creditors in Accord to Waive 80% of Iraq Debt, by Craig S. Smith, The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2004.

Related: Life and Debt, which is a fantastic film.

Posted at 5:21 PM in a Grave fashion.
Pricks


Many Who Voted for 'Values' Still Like Their Television Sin
, by Bill Carter, The New York Times, Nov. 22, 2004

Posted at 8:20 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 21, 2004
D.H. Pufnstuf

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Posted at 5:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
Chile the Fuck Out

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"He's not worth it, man." "C'mon, bro, let's just get another beer and forget about it."

Posted at 4:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 19, 2004
Getting to know you...

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Coming Soon: America, meet your 52nd State!

Getting to know all about you.

Related: Iran readies uranium for nuke enrichment - diplomats

Posted at 2:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
low culture Exclusive: An Outrage Grows in Brooklyn!!!

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Cingularly Bad Taste: Twin Towers-themed billboard, 4th Avenue and 9th Street Subway Station in Brooklyn

This is outrageous! Outrageously outrageous! In fact, we are outraged!

In a city still reeling from the 9/11 attacks—an event so painful, there isn't a bowl of cereal large enough to drown our sadness—Cingular has decided to put up this tasteless, insensitive billboard on an overpass on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn that shows the burning Twin Towers. This is wrong on so many levels, especially since so many of us New Yorkers were without cellular service on that dark day and could not speak to our friends and family members, regardless of our "whenever minutes" or roll-over plans!

What's worse is that this isn't the first time advertisers have exploited 9/11 to sell a sub-par product. Shouldn't they know better by now?

We urge you to boycott Cingular! Mostly because Catherine Zeta-Jones is incrementally less hot than she used to be. (So, boycott Ocean's 12, too!) This outrage cannot be ignored!

Update: An alert reader and concerned citizen tells us that Ms. Zeta-Jones flaks for T-Mobile, not Cingular. You can run, but you can't hide, Catherine! So, boycott Cingular's non-threatening, pansexual spokescreature, Pit-Pat!

Posted at 11:07 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Every Picture Tells a Story

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Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: Clintons and Co. in Little Rock.

Bill: "First Ken Starr, now this shit... Man, I'd so do Mary... Fucking Arafat. I coulda been a god in the Middle East. Do they have gods in the Middle East?"
Hillary: "Gee, Ted and Mary look nice today... My library is gonna be twice as nice as this crap... A photo op with Dubya: whose bright idea was this?..."
Chelsea: "Three hours at the salon and now this... God, Ted got bald... Would it be really tacky if I Blackberry'd right now..."
George: "Oh, no. Who's that with mom from Elf? Is it that turkey followin' me?... I sure hope there's ice cream after lunch. Condi promised me ice cream... Mandate. Man-date. Yeah, I guess I get it now. It is sorta funny."

Posted at 7:47 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 18, 2004
No civilian deaths? That's because all the Marines think these people are just laying there, pretending to be dead

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As captioned by the AP: "U.S. Marines of the 1st Division pass by dead bodies in the western part of Fallujah, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004."

From Several Insurgent Bases Found in Falluja, U.S. General Says, the New York Times, November 18, 2004:

The American death toll from the Falluja operation, which began Nov. 7, now stands at 51, with 425 wounded, General Sattler said, although an unspecified number of the wounded have returned to duty. Eight Iraqi soldiers have died and 43 were wounded, he added.

From 25 to 30 Iraqi civilians were treated for wounds, but there have been no reported Iraqi civilian deaths yet, the general said.

Posted at 5:29 PM in a Grave fashion.
They've got the world on a string

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European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet tries to get his yo-yo "Around the Third World".

In this week's hottest economic news (though – full disclosure – I'm not Lou Dobbs, and am in no way to be confused with someone of that level of expertise, and nor would I ever recklessly fund a dotcom venture like Space.com), the G20, or so-called "Group of 20", is slated to meet in Berlin on Friday. Here, the world's 20 financial superpowers will gather around flaming piles of cash as they try to cook up ways of explaining to United States representatives that the Bush Administration's unchecked deficit spending is, hmmm, how to put this excessively simply, on the verge of fucking the world up. In a totally bad, unproductive way, I mean, unlike that successful prosecution of the War on Terror™, which, as we all know, made the world more secure. And then Treasury Secretary John Snow will presumably respond, "Fuck if we care."

RELATED: Bruce Almighty, and One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy, by Thomas Frank

Posted at 4:12 PM in a Grave fashion.
Grrrr! Secretary No Like Economic Imbalance!

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Treasury Secretary John Snow in England, before throwing that little girl with the flowers into the river.

Related: Richard Kiel

Posted at 12:28 PM in a Grave fashion.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Colin Powell, who famously took "conclusive evidence" to the U.N. stating that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, is now claiming that Iran is on the same path.

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We're looking forward to a U.N. performance by Condaleeza Rice to convince the world that this time we mean it, for real.

Posted at 9:54 AM in a Grave fashion.
Despite Key Evidence Cited by Alberto Gonzales, The President Pardoned Biscuits the Turkey

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Gentle Touch: "If you was in Texas, I'd fry you."

Posted at 9:44 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 17, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 42

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Posted at 2:30 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
This year's Pentagon fundraiser: the 2004 "Marines in Iraq" Calendar Boys

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Say hello to the lads of November, 2004.

Posted at 11:13 AM in a Grave fashion.
What happens in Fallujah, stays in Fallujah

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Look, shit happens when a bunch of young guys roll into a city for the weekend. ("Fallujah, baby!") Sometimes in the heat of the moment, you just go blank, man, and shit happens, all right? But a buddy doesn't videotape it, and he sure as hell doesn't post it on his website: That's guy rule #2. (#1, Bros before hoes.) Remind me not to invite Kevin Sites to my bachelor party next month. ("Mashhad, baby!")

RELATED: US braces for outrage following shooting

Posted at 11:09 AM in a Grave fashion.
Won't You Help, Please?

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Never Say Goodbye: Homo sapiens, one of the 15,589 animal species threatened with extinction.

"A total of 15,589 species of animals and plants are threatened with extinction, according to the so-called Red List of endangered species produced by the IUCN World Conservation Union.

"Almost an eighth of birds, a quarter of mammals and a third of amphibians are now classified as either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered, categories that indicate there is a threat of extinction, the conservation group said in the report on its Web site. Species on the list range from the Bengal tiger to the giant Hispaniolan galliwasp lizard."
-Extinction Threatens 15,589 Animal, Plant Species, IUCN Reports, Bloomberg News, UK.

Posted at 9:46 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 16, 2004
Replace "Tom Wolfe" with "David Brooks" and "Novel" with "Non-Fiction Pop Sociology Tome" and Then Call it a Day

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I'll Be Your Mirror: Maya Deren's mirror that reflects nothing.

"It's easy to write a negative review of a Tom Wolfe novel; hundreds of people do it every few years. First, out of the thousands of sociological details Wolfe gets right, you pick out some he gets wrong (thus establishing your superior hipness). You mention that he obsesses over the superficial details of life while you ignore his moral intent (thus hinting at your own superior depth). Then you graciously allow that many of Wolfe's scenes are hilarious, while lamenting that his characters are not fully developed. Then you call it a day."

'Moral Suicide,' à la Wolfe, by David Brooks, The New York Times, Nov. 16, 2004.

Posted at 8:58 AM in a Grave fashion.
Captain Quagmire

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Man Sets Fire to Himself Outside White House

And they say this isn't Vietnam, the sequel.

Posted at 8:19 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 15, 2004
Finally, Her Ship Comes In

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A Crude Likeness - oil tanker named for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Harper's, July 2001

Bush Plans to Tap Rice...

Yeah, in her dreams.

Posted at 7:45 PM in a Grave fashion.
Victory in Fallujah (or, Colin Powell: certain to be remembered fondly by 9-year-old boys worldwide)

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War mementos, by way of the Associated Press: "U.S. Army critical care nurse Cpt. Marvetta Walker checks on a 9-year-old Fallujah boy who was wounded in the face and stomach, while at the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq Monday, Nov. 15, 2004. The boy was in critical condition. The hospital has been treating both American wounded as well as civilians from the Fallujah fighting. (AP Photo/John Moore)"

SEE ALSO: "U.S. Planes Bomb Falluja as Rebels Battle On"

Posted at 4:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
Imagery like this seemed so much more acceptable when we were merely waiting for the eruption of Mount St. Helens, rather than a regionwide movement of anti-Americanism

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Posted at 3:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
Happy Trailers

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White(water) Trash: If your Presidential Library is on cinder blocks, you might be a red neck.

Does anyone else find it just a little bit insensitive that the soon-to-opened Clinton Presidential Center looks like a double-wide trailer?

I mean, yes, Clinton famously came from humble Southern origins, and, sure, his nickname is 'Bubba', and yes, he was sometimes called 'trailer trash,' but this is just mean.

I wonder what our current president's library is gonna look like: How 'bout this?

Then again, this may be more appropriate, since highfalutin' books ain't really his thing after all.

Posted at 12:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
Un-Impacted Colin

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Goodbye Yellow Cake Road: The band is totally breaking up

Secretary of State Powell Resigns

He already has a job lined up here.

Posted at 9:50 AM in a Grave fashion.
Oh, Those Values Voters in the Morally Superior Red States

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More Unmarried Women Giving Birth In Indiana*


*Not that we think having a child out of wedlock is wrong: That would be mighty un-Christian of us.

Posted at 9:05 AM in a Grave fashion.
Finally, Someone Restores the Democrats' Dignity

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Gotta Break a Few Eggs: James Carville, Democratic strategist and splosh enthusiast.

Posted at 8:40 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 14, 2004
Perhaps the Most Important Below-the-Fold New York Times Frontpage Story Ever

These Days, the College Bowl Is Filled With Milk and Cereal, by Lisa W. Foderaro, Nov. 14, 2004.

Somehow, yet again, they've ruled out terrorists.

Posted at 12:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 12, 2004
Coming Soon to an Unmarked Grave (Or a Six-Figure Security Consulting Gig)

Bin Laden expert quits CIA to keep speaking out

Posted at 12:21 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 11, 2004
Reuters' photo editors oftentimes pick the perfect images to illustrate their news stories. This is not one of those instances.

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From "Clinton Says Arafat Missed the Chance for Peace," Reuters:

"Clinton, who helped broker a Middle East peace plan with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, will not attend either his memorial service or his funeral, the former president's office said."

Posted at 12:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
No Comment

001smokin.jpgYour Page One photograph of the Marine hit me between the eyes ("Smokin'," Nov. 10).

This guy is all-GI.

That dirty face, the whiskers on his unshaven face, the cut on the bridge of his nose, the dangling cigarette and the 1,000-yard stare in those battle weary eyes tell the story of what's really going on in Fallujah.

His features are reminiscent of the renowned World War II GI that Mattel replicated to make its GI Joe.

Forget about these Pentagon generals with their spotless dress uniforms, spit-shined shoes, $100 haircuts and shiny, manicured nails.

This guy's nails and hands are laced with blood. His sweaty body smells from sleeping in the sand. His breath stinks from eating field rations.

As the winds of November blow across Indiana, I sit comfortably drinking coffee as this guy, and thousands of other GIs, bravely and valiantly battle throughout the filth and stench of these Fallujah neighborhoods.

You are the best, and we think of you in the spirit of Veterans Day.

Earl Beal
Terre Haute, Ind.

Related: Everybody's smokin'.

Posted at 8:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 10, 2004
I'm Really Freaking Out Here, Man

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Stoned statisticians offer a less biased, more tie-dyed, vision of red state/blue state America.

[via Sully]

Posted at 12:44 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 9, 2004
His Very First Patriot Act

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Later, Ashhole: John, Done

Attorney General and Commerce Secretary Resign From Cabinet

Posted at 6:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
1 Hectare = 1 Vote

After reviewing the election results by county, the Bush administration is looking into amending the U.S. Constitution to apportion votes by hectares rather than utilizing the Electoral College:

2004countymap-final2.gif

If that fails to pass the stringent process for amending the Constitution, variations such as "1 Bible = 1 Vote" will be considered.

Posted at 5:24 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
And fuck if it doesn't look pretty on our computer monitors!

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It's dark, and far away, but this appears to be a depiction of some sort of assault on Fallujah.

From Madeleine Bunting's "Screams will not be heard", the Guardian, November 8, 2004:

In an age of instant communication, we will have to wait months, if not years, to hear of what happens inside Falluja in the next few days. The media representation of this war will be from a distance: shots of the city skyline illuminated by the flashes of bomb blasts, the dull crump of explosions. What will be left to our imagination is the terror of children crouching behind mud walls; the agony of those crushed under falling masonry; the frantic efforts to save lives in makeshift operating theatres with no electricity and few supplies. We will be the ones left to fill in the blanks, drawing on the reporting of past wars inflicted on cities such as Sarajevo and Grozny.
Posted at 12:58 PM in a Grave fashion.
The view from our new bedroom terrace is wonderful; on a clear day, you can see the ocean! I mean, when we're not being subjected to American bombing raids, that is.

Images of the Iraqi skyline on Tuesday, November 9, 2004, as shot by various AP photographers:

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Posted at 11:17 AM in a Grave fashion.
Everyone enjoys making a mess at the toga party on the weekend, but no one likes cleaning it up when you return to work

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Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004
US Marines of the 1st Division stage a chariot race reminiscent of the Charlton Heston movie-complete with confiscated Iraqi horses at their base outside Fallujah, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 6 , 2004. For U.S. Marines tapped to lead an expected attack on insurgent-held Fallujah, the bags have been packed, trucks have been loaded and final letters have been sent, leaving one final task - the 'Ben-Hur.' (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004
Army Nurse supervisor Parrick McAndrew tries to save the life of an American soldier by giving him CPR upon arrival at a military hospital in Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004 but the soldier died. The soldier was fatally wounded in a Baghdad firefight with insurgents. (AP Photo/John Moore)

Posted at 10:41 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 8, 2004
Baby Steps

"I didn't have to convince him or anything... Without me prompting him, he brought it up," [emphasis, mine] White House communications director Dan Bartlett on the president's press conference last week. (From, President Feels Emboldened, Not Accidental, After Victory, by Elizabeth Bumiller, The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2004.)

"Letting the Child Train Himself
"A very forward, independent, and imitative child would be a good candidate for this method, and self-motivated children (who are also ready) usually train easily.

* Give the child a potty,
* show him what it's for,
* tell him he can use it instead of diapers when he wants to.
* Then wait without prompting or pressure until the child asks to use it, and give help as requested.
* This works nicely for easygoing parents/caregivers who can be patient with what might be a long process, or whose priority is minimizing struggles between themselves and the child." [emphasis, again, mine] (From, Potty Training, Nanny.com)

Posted at 3:38 PM in a Grave fashion.
The liberal media covers the ramifications of last week's election

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Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
Getting the Most From Their Advertising Dollar

It's common to place ads in articles or TV shows to reach a target demographic, but this in-line advertisement which is embedded in a story in the Washington Times about a Georgia man who killed himself at the site of the World Trade Center might be a little too targeted:

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The President is probably assured of a filibuster-proof Senate after the next mid-term elections if all the Democrats kill themselves, move to Canada, or secede.

Posted at 11:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
President Enrages His Base

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Some of His Best Friends: President Bush and Justice Clarence Thomas

BUSH CONSIDERS CLARENCE THOMAS FOR CHIEF JUSTICE, XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN NOV 07, 2004 19:02:37 ET XXXXX

Bush may tap Hispanic and black for key jobs, Stormfront White Nationalist Community

Posted at 10:53 AM in a Grave fashion.
If I Told You You Had a Lovely Body Politic, Would You Hold It Against Me?

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Election Night at MCCXXIII: Women are from red states, men are from blue.

Which might explain what's happening next to the TV on the left.

Posted at 8:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
Got to Admit, It's Getting Better

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"They are cheap, easily concealed, small enough to hoist on a shoulder and can shoot a passenger jet out of the sky. And now, it appears, terrorists may have access to another 4,000 of them..."

More missiles for terrorists?
, USA Today, Nov. 7, 2004

Posted at 7:53 AM in a Grave fashion.
  November 6, 2004
Brooks in Paradise

David Brooks lectures his liberal colleagues among the "commentariat" today for fostering simplistic narratives about the slim majority that voted Republican last Tuesday. As Brooks explains, things are more nuanced: "there is an immense diversity of opinion within regions, towns and families," he says, and "the values divide is a complex layering of conflicting views."

So that means that grossly simplified socioeconomic stereotypes are not accurate or useful, and are, in fact, sloppy social analysis used by lazy journalists looking to make a buck? Talk about lowering the scales from our eyes! Thanks for disabusing us of our unsophisticated illusions, Mr. Brooks. Gee, I wonder where we ever got them in the first place...

Posted at 4:32 PM in a Grave fashion.
  November 4, 2004
I'd like that Iraqi council member "to go", please

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Posted at 2:55 PM in a Grave fashion.
Meet your mandate

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Posted at 2:03 PM in a Grave fashion.
Expatriation: So hot right now!

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Posted at 1:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Brain dead" versus "physically dead": it's all just semantics, right?

By way of the Associated Press' breaking coverage of Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat's death-but-not-death, it's come out that:

French television station LCI quoted an anonymous French medical official as saying Arafat was in an "irreversible coma" and "intubated" - a process that usually involves threading a tube down the windpipe to the lungs. The tube is often connected to a life support machine to help the patient breathe.

In other words, "brain dead, but not physically shut down."

Cursed word games! It's much like trying to pick apart the distinction between, say, a "security fence" and an "imprisoning wall".

Posted at 12:12 PM in a Grave fashion.
You're saying it like you mean it (...this time, at least. And it's not like you're a lying cunt, right?)

From Bush Wins Second Term: Kerry Concedes Defeat; Both Speak of Need for Unity, Washington Post, November 4, 2004:

An elated President Bush claimed a reelection victory yesterday after a tumultuous night of vote counting and a gracious concession by challenger John F. Kerry, and he pledged that he would seek to earn the trust of those who did not back him during the long, contentious campaign.

In an explicit appeal to those Americans who voted for Kerry, Bush said: "To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation."

From For Bush and GOP, a Validation, Washington Post, November 3, 2004:

President Bush, his fate for winning a second term still officially uncertain, commanded the popular-vote majority that eluded him in 2000. And in an impressive run of battleground states, he seemed to win validation for a campaign that unabashedly stressed conservative themes and reveled in partisan combat against Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.

[...]

Although final judgment is still to come, yesterday's balloting did in several instances validate important elements of the Bush political model. This strategy has been based from the outset of Bush's term on carefully tending to the Republican Party's conservative base, and a governing strategy based more often on trying to vanquish political adversaries rather than split the difference with them.

Posted at 11:25 AM in a Grave fashion.
A nation united, at least in our appreciation for primary colors and coastal schisms

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TOTALLY DECONTEXTUALIZED FUN WITH ELECTION MOTIFS: John Edwards and his campaign's "Two Americas" theme

Posted at 10:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
Welcome Back

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Four More Years: Powell, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Card, Tenet (resigned), and Rumsfeld

I can't believe we almost lost you guys. It would've been a shame for you all to creep back into the primordial military-industrial ooze from which you came, but luckily for America—and the world!—you kept the band together and the hits will just keep on coming. (POP STAR. That's rich. Why not THE BOSS?)

Here's to another fun-filled term. We promise to keep doing our best if you promise to keep doing your worst.


P.S.: Ladies, have your abortions now. Even if you're not pregnant, have a few while you still can.

Posted at 10:07 AM in a Grave fashion.
Welcome to the New World You've Created

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Have a nice decade.

Posted at 7:59 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 29, 2004
Conspiracy-A-Ga-Ga

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It's such a powerful revelation, The New York Post had to bury it in its gossip page where it pushed aside the latest on Pharell and Mick Jagger's daughter. While the blurb itself is larded with legalistic caveats, the headline says it all: CONSPIRACY THEORY: KERRY 'TIE' TO OSWALD.

Conspiracy theorists are buzzing about John Kerry's connection to Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassina tion. While no one in the lunatic fringe has gone so far as to suggest Kerry helped kill Kennedy - yet - they make much of the fact that a cousin of Kerry's, Michael Paine, was a close friend of Oswald who frequently had the assassin as a house guest.

Whoa. Do you really want to play this game, Page Six? Crumple up that tin-foil hat before someone reminds you that "conspiracy theorists" have been "buzzing" for years that John Hinckley's brother, Scott, was allegedly scheduled to have dinner with Bush's brother, Neil, the night John shot Reagan in 1981!

If we are to believe these shoddily-designed websites from people with even shoddier worldviews, the Bushes and the Hinckleys were supposedly best friends forever! (Imagine the barbecues at the Bushes: Hinckleys, Saudis, the Oak Ridge Boys: "Pass me another Coors Light, Poppy. More Ribs? You know it!")

Some dude even went so far as to tie Hinckley's attempt on Reagan with Kennedy's assassination by claiming that Reagan was "shot from the Bushy knoll"!

Wow. See how fucking stupid I sound saying this stuff? Elevating these wackadoos to even the most carefully vetted legitimacy, lowers a writer to, well, a fucking idiot.

Let's all learn from the recent obituaries for Kennedy Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, whose otherwise impeccable career in public service was marred by his late life promotion of a conspiracy theory he'd learned on the internet—that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a missile.

If the foolish promotion of an unfounded conspiracy can cling like the smell of shit to a smart man with integrity, what do you think it could do to the writers of a gossip column for a ridiculous, unprofitable newspaper?

Nothin'. You're probably right.

Posted at 8:27 AM in a Grave fashion.
Denver Waffle

What follows are excerpts from the Denver Post editorial page, endorsing George W. for president. Kind of.

...Since 2001, Colorado has lost more jobs than we've gained, and the ones we've gained pay less than the ones we've lost. We pay less in taxes, but our household and medical expenses have skyrocketed. Ninety thousand of us have lost our health coverage. Washington is ringing up record deficits and sticking the next generation with the bill. In Iraq, Colorado-based military units and reserves are deployed in a hostile environment for questionable purpose and uncertain result...

...So the president has our endorsement for a second term, even as we call on him to steer a more moderate course that is in keeping with his campaign appearances, but not his first-term performance.

It's no secret that we part company with the president over many issues. Two glaring sore spots are his obsession to cut taxes even while piling up record deficits, and his mishandling of all things Iraq. He squandered global good will by taking a "my way or the highway" approach to matters of global warming, international law, Iraq weapons inspections and ultimately the Iraq invasion. He bows to corporate preference in matters of energy and environment, and his education funding levels leave far too many children behind.

Kerry has infused the 2004 campaign with energy and gumption, offering fresh ideas on health care and sensible plans for our tax structure. His are the superior proposals on environmental protection, on stem-cell research and judicial nominations. Sure, we've seen Kerry bend to the political winds over his long career, but we wouldn't mind one bit if more Washington politicians would reconsider their past judgments and ideological certainties. Kerry's growth on the campaign trail gives a glimpse of his potential.

Our support for Bush is tempered by unease over the poor choices and results of his first term. To succeed in his second-term, Bush must begin by taking responsibility for U.S. failures in Iraq, admit his mistakes and adjust U.S. strategy. Big time, as his running mate might say.

...But respect for his leadership was sharply diminished by U.S. missteps in Iraq and evidence that the president had ignored frequent warnings of Osama bin Laden's murderous ambition. Even so, there is opportunity for Bush to make adjustments that will validate the sacrifices of coalition forces and Iraqis themselves.

We believe George W. Bush is up to the challenge.

Well of course, that couldn't make any more sense, now could it? Oh wait, it could - the Denver Post's parent company, MediaNews Group, is owned by William Dean Singleton, a major donor to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

[via, yes, fine, I admit it, The Al Franken Show]

Posted at 12:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 28, 2004
Positive campaigning on the international front

Hey, fellas: What've you been listening to lately? Brian Wilson's newly-revised and -released SMiLE? We thought so.

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Frankly, it's rather impressive that Arafat was able to get ahold of a copy of this album after being holed up in his compound by Israeli tanks for two long years. You see, there is a practical application for those smuggling tunnels everyone's always going on about.

Posted at 3:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
Crooked Letters Flock Together

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"W" at a Saginaw, Michigan campaign rally... The good people who drained your 401(k)

Earlier: We've Been Hammering Away at His War Record, But Let's Not Forget Enron, Okay?

Posted at 3:42 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even," Muhammad Ali

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Rumble, Young Man, Rumble: Muhammad Ali defeats the dreaded Sonny Liston

Just five more days 'till we shake up the world...

Posted at 12:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
Jim Rutenberg is Dumb

There has been a recent rash of pieces by journalists bemoaning the nasty tone of the letters they've been receiving from their readers. Personally, I think the real issue here is not that the tone of discourse of people who have traditionally written to journalists has taken a turn for the worse, but rather the convergence of two issues:


  • The Internet makes it very easy to send feedback to journalists.
  • The issues of the day have made many more people than usual take an interest in public affairs.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that telling Adam Nagourney that you hope his son gets killed in a Republican war is a pretty nasty thing to say, although I would counter that Adam is a semi-public figure who gets to go on the Charlie Rose Show, and the unfortunate downside of being a semi-public figure is that people might write you really nasty e-mails. But I really have to take issue with today's piece in the New York Times on the same topic:

"Most of us now realize that this is a constant conversation, and I think that largely that part of it is good," said Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek. "Some of the stuff includes very personal and nasty things about people - they go after people's physical characteristics, they'll say somebody's ugly - and you just have to ignore that."

Still, he said, "I would be lying if I didn't say it could be hurtful."

[...]

Bob Somerby, a comedian who runs a Web site called The Daily Howler that often accuses the news media of being shallow, lazy, bullied by Republicans and unfairly critical of Democrats, said a more genteel approach would not be effective. (He has referred to this reporter on his Web site as "dumb" and in "over his head" for being blind or turning a blind eye to Republican spin.)

It's certainly infantile to call people ugly and dumb when you disagree with their reportage, but I think it's equally (if not more) infantile to use your privileged position in the paper of record to whine about it. How thin-skinned are these people? Do they go to their mamas and cry whenever the mean bloggers call them names?

'Cause we've heard a few things about their mamas, too.

Posted at 11:28 AM in a Grave fashion.
After having already wrapped up your home state, this is how you alienate swing-state voters and lose Missouri's 11 electoral votes, jackass

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RELATED: MISSOURI POLL: Missouri reflects tight race, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2004: "A new poll for the Post-Dispatch shows the race in Missouri tightening. President George W. Bush's earlier lead has slipped among the state's voters. But the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, has so far been unable to close the gap, in part because the poll shows a growing number of Missouri voters view him unfavorably."

ALSO RELATED: Red-Faced: Boston wraps up sweep, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2004

Posted at 11:07 AM in a Grave fashion.
We've Been Hammering Away at his War Record, But Let's not Forget Enron, okay?

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Old Friends: Indicted and not yet indicted (r. to l.)

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Click to see larger version

April 14, 1997

Dear Ken:

One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older – just like you!

55 years old. Wow! That's really old.

Thank goodness you have such a young, beautiful wife.

Laura and I value our friendship with you. Best wishes to Linda, your family, and friends.

Your younger friend,

George W. Bush

When you go to the polls, don't forget Grandma Millie.

Posted at 10:21 AM in a Grave fashion.
Col Allen's Show of Restraint

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I guess the editors couldn't include "LOL!!!" and a bunch of smileys in the headline like they wanted to.

Posted at 7:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 27, 2004
The 'W' Stands For "Will Work 'Till 80 if Social Security is Privatized"

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Related: Planned Parenthood guide to birth control

Posted at 10:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
A Handy Guide to Bush's Supporters (As Seen From Front and Back), Vol. 3

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Earlier: A Handy Guide to Bush's Supporters (As Seen From Front and Back), Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Posted at 10:08 PM in a Grave fashion.
Super Fun Military-Incursion Home Destruction Quiz: Iraq or Palestine?

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ANSWER: Iraq, specifically Fallujah!

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ANSWER: Palestine, specifically Gaza!

Be sure to check in again a few days from now when we have our next round of Super Fun Military-Incursion Home Destructions with which to work!

Posted at 3:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 41

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Posted at 12:10 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Hey, come on now...there are millions of Americans living and breathing right this very second! And several of them are probably smiling or laughing, too

cheney_smiling.jpgGolly gee. Who'd have ever thought that a few hundred tons of weapons gone missing in some Middle Eastern nation-state would have such an effect on the waning days of the race for the White House? Certainly not the American military unit that apparently wasn't told to search the weapons-storage facility from which these munitions were presumably taken. Realistically, if their bosses had known there were weapons floating around Iraq, they'd have been on high alert over this sort of thing, right?

From "Spokesman: Unit Didn't Search Al-Qaqaa", Associated Press, October 27, 2004:

The Kerry campaign called the disappearance the latest in a "tragic series of blunders" by the Bush administration in Iraq.

Vice President Dick Cheney raised the possibility the explosives disappeared before U.S. soldiers could secure the site, and he complained that Kerry does not mention the "400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that our troops have captured."

OK, there you go. This is how war works, and politics, too. It's that classic Cheney tactic: accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. To wit, regarding the administration's now-very-clearly-fucked-up invasion of Iraq, the Vice President said in June:

"After decades of rule by a brutal dictator, Iraq has been returned to its rightful owners, the people of Iraq," Cheney said in a speech in New Orleans, which made the case that Bush had reversed a terrorist threat that grew unchecked before he came to office. "America is safer, and the world is more secure, because Iraq and Afghanistan are now partners in the struggle against terror, instead of sanctuaries for terrorist networks."

You see how that works? He plays up the good things that have come from the invasion and overthrow of Iraq and Afghanistan, and doesn't act like a certain senator from a certain state in the Northeast might, by focusing on, say, the fact that 3,000 Americans died three years ago, or that well more than a thousand American soldiers have died in military action since then, or that much more than ten thousand Iraqis and Afghans have perished at the hands of American weaponry in that interim...see, that's meaningless, folks.

Because at the end of the day, those hundreds of millions of Americans who don't fall into those "irrelevant" categories of deaths detailed above are, of course, safer. It's about positivity. Optimism. And that's the Cheney way.

At least I think that's how it works. Though I'm probably overlooking something. I can just feel it...

Oh, shit, I've got it! This, right here!

"The biggest threat we face now as a nation,'' he said, "is the possibility of terrorists' ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us - biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind - to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.''

"You have to get your mind around that concept," he added.

You go, Dick! For a few fleeting moments up there I'd somehow managed to convince myself that you'd gone all Disney, all "hakuna matata" and "circle of life" and shit, but thanks for grounding us in the bare necessities: Vote or die.

Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
Fittingly, this more or less captures our feelings about next Tuesday's results

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It's 4th and 10 with six days on the clock and hundreds of electoral votes to go...and John Kerry hopes that his Hail Mary Cheney play works!!!

And please take note that sports metaphors will never again appear on this site. Ever.

Posted at 10:40 AM in a Grave fashion.
A Little Child Shall Lead Them

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American Taboo: War Planning is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things

From In Deepest Ohio, I Was Embedded in Bush Bunker, by Philip Weiss, The New York Observer, Oct. 27, 2004:

In my hotel that night, I read a piece being given out at Crunch's headquarters in Butler County. It's called "Don't Close Your Blinds" and is an unsigned parable supposedly narrated by a war vet's mother. (It has also been on the Internet.) A 9-year-old kid asks his parents why we're at war, and the father brings him to the window and tells him to pretend that the neighbors' houses are other countries and that "our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."

Then the father tells the boy to pretend that the man across the way is Saddam, who comes out with his wife, "he has her by the hair and he's hitting her." She is "bleeding and crying then he starts to kick her to death." The man's kids come out but are afraid to stop him. "What do you do, son?'

I call the police, Dad.'"

But the police are the U.N. They say it's not their place or the son's to get involved. The woman dies.

"Now he is doing the same thing to his children," says the father.

"He kills them?"

"Yes, son, he does."

The son wants to call the neighbors for help, but the father says the neighbors refuse to help.

"WHAT DO YOU DO, SON?' Our son starts to cry," the mother says.

Next the man goes into a neighbor's house and kills the old lady there. He sees the son through the window and puffs out his chest and smiles.

The son tells his father he wants to close the blinds and pretend he's not there. O.K., but then the man is at his door.

Now the son tells his father that he's going to fight.

"He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes," the mother recounts. "Without hesitation he says, I DEFEND MY FAMILY, DAD! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER . ' I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek, and he grabs our son to his chest. He hugs him tight and cries, It's too late to fight him. He's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door, son. You should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone."

And here we thought the adults were in charge.

Posted at 10:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 26, 2004
Hitch Your Wagon

Slate, in its noble but hopeless effort "to emphasize the distinction between opinion and bias," allows contributors to reveal their picks for President. And while the legion Mia-philes will be fascinated to learn that arts writer Mia Fineman is voting Kerry, it's Christopher Hitchens' endorsement that is likely to raise eyebrows - Hitch, per Slate, is voting Kerry.

Nevermind his recent endorsement of Bush in The Nation (titled "Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush"), nevermind his defenses of the Bush administration that occasionally border on the absurd, let Hitchens explain his choice, with the clarity and concision for which he is known. From Slate:

The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan's anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry's pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at MoveOn.org. I can't compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.

So his Slate endorsement is ironic, but his Nation endorsement is sincere? Or he's not interested in voting for Kerry for ironic reasons, but for obvious reasons? Or what the fuck? I'll bet that piece from the Nation will clear things up, where this Merlot-fueled master of the mot juste really gets to lay out his case. To wit:

Sometimes it's objectively not so bad that the "other" party actually wins. Thus I ought to begin by stating my reasons to hope for a Kerry/Edwards victory.

...

I can't wait to see President Kerry discover which corporation, aside from Halliburton, should after all have got the contract to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry. I look forward to seeing him eat his Jesse Helms-like words, about the false antithesis between spending money abroad and "at home" (as if this war, sponsored from abroad, hadn't broken out "at home"). I take pleasure in advance in the discovery that he will have to make, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a more dangerous and better-organized foe than Osama bin Laden, and that Zarqawi's existence is a product of jihadism plus Saddamism, and not of any error of tact on America's part.

OK, so that was totally ironic. Totally. But then what to make of what follows?
Should the electors decide for the President, as I would slightly prefer, the excruciating personality of George Bush strikes me in the light of a second- or third-order consideration.
That's totally sincere (aka un-ironic), right? So then what's with the thing in Slate? Did he change his mind in the four days between the publication of his Nation piece and his Salon rumblings? Maybe Hitchens has run out of things to be a contrarian about and he now has only himself to debate. Or maybe someone should just lay off the sauce this close to the big day. God knows I'm confused.

Posted at 10:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
See? This is why you don't hire Hilary Duff to attend White House press briefings

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So, like, yesterday the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency announced that a whole lot of explosives were missing or gone or something from an Iraqi weapons facility. This, like, looks so so bad for President Bush, who's been campaigning non-stop on the perceived strength of his, like, handling of this war on terror thing. We're, like, fighting terrorists, and if they have weapons that they shouldn't have, it's so totally bad for our troops.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan fielded questions on the munitions - which are, like, missing - from reporters aboard Air Force One.

Q: Are U.S. troops under any kind of higher alert because there's enough munitions for like 50 car bombs? Is there, like, any kind of alert going on for them? Are they on any kind of higher standard?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you need to look at what we have done in terms of destroying munitions. As I point out, we've destroyed more than 243,000 munitions, we've secured another nearly 163,000 that will be destroyed.

OMG those numbers totally shot you down, anonymous White House pool reporter! Or should I say...Ms. Lohan!

Posted at 4:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
George W. Bush sports his "Poppy" mask just in time for Halloween

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Soon enough, they'll both be aged ex-presidents, after all, so it's only fitting that they've begin to look like one another. And by "soon enough," we mean, January 2009, unless certain American voters get their shit sorted in time.

EARLIER: Bush 41 and 43 in happier years, when little W. was content to merely drink Barbara's milk while wearing a Yale sweater, as opposed to his later-in-life consumption of JD while disingenuously sporting a cowboy hat.

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Posted at 12:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
Toke the Vote

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Doobie Brother: Dude, don't bogart the platform.

Posted at 9:38 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  October 25, 2004
Dozens may have died, but we nonetheless learned a valuable lesson in the process

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Life lessons on how to navigate through the hellhole that is Iraq, gleaned from "New Violence Flares in Iraq, After Executions Leave 49 Dead", the New York Times, October 25, 2004:

"In the future, we will try to be more careful when the soldiers leave their camps," he added. "We will provide them with protected cars that can escort them home."

Phew! We can all rest assured, then, that slaughters of this magnitude will never happen again. I mean, the guy said, in the future, they'll try to be more careful about it.

Posted at 5:45 PM in a Grave fashion.
John Kerry for President

We here at low culture pride ourselves on several things: our good oral hygiene, our minimal use of 'and/or', and our scrupulously non-partisan coverage. We have a little motto around the office that we have hanging right above our collection of Jamaican jerk sauces: We Bring You the World, We Don't Spin It.

But now, at the end of one of the bitterest, most divisivest presidential campaigns in recent memory, we feel it is essential that we drop the veil of objectivity and endorse John Kerry for President.

Unlike some satirists who openly endorse the re-election of George W. Bush, hoping for four more years of amusing malaprops and even more amusing enlisted and civilian deaths overseas, low culture stands firm in the belief that there will still be things to make fun of when John Kerry becomes president after the drawn-out legal battle that will bring this country to the brink of civil war beginning November 3rd. Watching Kerry, his running mate John Edwards, the return of several funny Clinton cronies (as well as Clinton himself), and especially that batshit wife of his, we look forward to the next four years with not only confidence, but a feeling we'd all but abandoned years ago: hope.

Furthermore, we believe that despite their absence, we will still have George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their cabinet to kick around after the election. We look forwardagain, with hopeto Vice President Cheney's return to the private sector and the amazing pay-out he will no doubt get from Halliburton. We can't wait for President Bush, a man near-universally derided as one of the worst public speakers to ever hold an elected office above PTA co-chairman, to receive six-figure speaking fees and team up with Rudy Giuliani on a book or DVD-ROM project. We're excited for John Ashcroft to finally molt his skin and reveal that he is an evil lizard monster in the vein of a David Icke nightmare gone awry, and rampage through the streets of Washington biting children and spitting venom at police. Poisonous venom.

None of these things will be possible if George W. Bush is re-elected next week.

As fans of unsigned editorials written by committee know, you cannot endorse a candidate merely by focusing on the flaws of his competitor. You must make the case convincinglyand quicklyand save room for the brassiere ads and other crap that appears at the base of page A18. So, these are the reasons low culture endorses John Kerry:

1. John Kerry will discard the simplistic Terror Alert color system and truly make the country feel safe from terrorism the only way we can feel safe. No more opportunistically selected heightened alerts around events like the Democratic National Convention. Kerry will make Terrorism like your grandmother's birthday: All but forgotten, but nagging at the back of your conscience from time-to-time. This is a good thing.

2. John Kerry will work hard to reunite the world community and rebuild alliances lost since the disastrous invasion of Iraq. He will do this mostly through saying things like, "Look, World Community, I know you all got screwed by my predecessor. But I'm not my predecessor and I'm not going to try to be. I'm just a guy, standing before you, asking you to agree with me that my predecessor sucked. Now, who wants ice cream?" (Terry McAuliffe enjoys pistachio, we hear.)

3. John Kerry has shown us that not all Vietnam vets have mustaches or are scary and reminiscent of some character from Jacob's Ladder. And despite hitting us up before the Democratic National Convention, they don't all beg us for money.

4. John Kerry will not privatize social security and will work to reform the health care gap in this country. This might not seem important to you, but one day you will be old or sick and we guarantee you, you're going to want ice cream. There is enough ice cream for the World Community and you. John Kerry will see to that, unless Terry McAuliffe acts like an asshole again and takes the bins of pistachio we've left out for Burkina Faso. Terry McAuliffe, incidentally, hates third-world debt relief. 001bra.jpg

5. Have you seen John Kerry's wife? John Kerry promises that she will do shit to make you laugh your ass off: crazy, out-of-the-box, next level shit that none of us can even imagine right now. Okay, we'll imagine it: She'll speak at a convention for kids with spina bifida and correct some kid's posture. John Kerry promises she'll do stuff like that all the time.

6. John Kerry will not make signs that boast "Mission: Accomplished" and then watch that mission spin completely out of control as thousands die and billions are spent on preemptive wars: John Kerry hates those signs.

There are many, many more reasons to elect John Kerry, but we need to make room for a bra ad.

Please do the right thing for the nation, the world, and yourself and elect John Kerry for President on November 2nd.

Now, who wants ice cream?

Posted at 12:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
A handy guide to Bush's supporters (as seen from front and back), vol. 2

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Earlier: A handy guide to Bush's supporters (as seen from front and back)

Posted at 10:03 AM in a Grave fashion.
Coming Soon To A Town Near You!

Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq
by James Glanz, William J. Broad, and David E. Sanger, The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2004.

Worst case scenario: A deadly manuscript bomb set off in an American city.

Posted at 8:29 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 24, 2004
Return of the Wolfman

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Canidae Rovus: The North American Rove Wolf
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The Wolfman's drawing: "How did the wolves get up in the tree?"

I dreamed that it is night and I am lying in my bed (the foot of my bed was under the window, and outside the window there was a row of old walnut trees. I know that it was winter in my dream, and night-time). Suddenly, the window opens of its own accord and terrified, I see that there are number of white wolves sitting in the big walnut tree outside the window...

So recounted Sergei Pankejeff, AKA "The Wolfman," to his doctor, the original Dr. Funkenstein himself, Sigmund Freud.

I thought about the Wolfman recently, since Freud might just be the man to decode Wolves, the new scare ad from the Bush/Cheney camp, released just in time for Halloween (Oooh, Veddy Scary!). There's a raw, hypnopompic quality to the spot: it has the sweaty, blurry feel of a nightmare. (A not dissimilar feeling to this entire gut-wrenching campaign season.)

Continue reading...
Posted at 7:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 22, 2004
Sir, If I May Say, You Bomb Cambodians Like No Other. And I Find You Very Attractive.

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Naked Without My Peace Prize: Henry Kissinger's body politic, 1974 Playgirl parody

Everybody loves Henry!

Well, at lease they used to, according to In Calls to Kissinger, Reporters Show That Even They Fell Under Super-K's Spell, by Scott Shane, The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2004:

"The only reason for this call was to tell you that despite all appearances to the contrary in this city you still have some friends."—CBS correspondent Marvin Kalb.

"It has been an extraordinary three years for me, and I have enjoyed it immensely. You are an intriguing man, and if I had a teacher like you earlier I might not have been so cynical"—Ted Koppel.

"I couldn't agree with you more, my friend... I will make a call and see what I can do"— James Reston, New York Times columnist.

Related: Long out of print, but partially online: Kissinger: The Adventures of Super-Kraut by Charles Ashman.

Posted at 2:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
New York Post Really, Really, Really Endorses Bush. Really. For Real.
tell (n) A mannerism that gives away your holdings. Smiling when you have a big (very good) hand is an obvious tell. More subtle tells include iris dilation, a throbbing pulse, or acting in a certain manner in a given situation.

subtext (n.) The implicit meaning or theme of a literary text.

These are not strong words of endorsement:

...quite good enough for us...

...Not flawlessly, not by a long shot, but competently enough...

...worry....

...No Child Left Behind act may mark the beginning of true reform...

...Quite well...

...enormous headway in eliminating threats...

... Iraq, of course, remains a work in progress. But all wars are "two steps forward, one step back" propositions; this one is no different...

...it is true that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq...

...Yes, Osama bin Laden if he is in fact alive remains at large...

...Again, WMDs were not found....

...U.S. efforts in Iraq are not finished. More than 1,000 troops have died, and billions have been spent. And pockets of strong resistance remain....

...New York, by the way, benefited disproportionately from Bush's tax cuts because they were geared, in part, to aid Wall Street...

Wow, with endorsements like that, who needs endorsements?

But perhaps the key phrase—typed with hams on fist by an unreliable narrator worthy of Nabokov—is this withering appraisal of Osama bin Laden:

[H]e is increasingly a general without an army, and he is off-balance and on the run.

Really, really, really sounds like someone else, doesn't it? Really. For Real.

Posted at 2:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
...And they paint beautiful handmade signs, too

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Posted at 11:04 AM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 40

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Posted at 10:58 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Hooray for Charts!

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God bless you, Mr. Tufte.

Posted at 8:35 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 21, 2004
God is the Biggest Flip-Flopper of Them All

From Robertson Says Bush Predicted No Iraq Toll, by David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2004:

"In the CNN interview, [Pat] Robertson reversed himself on one prophecy. On his '700 Club' television program in January, he declared that Mr. Bush would win re-election 'in a walk,' and added, 'I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be a blowout election in 2004.'

"On Tuesday, however, he conceded, 'I thought it was going to be a blowout, but I think it's razor thin now.'"

How much can we "trust" in God, if He can't be held a simple, clear point of view? Does God have the experience, the know-how, and the can-do attitude this country needs right now? Is God truly a uniter, or is He the worst divider known to man? It's time to send God and the other fat cats from heaven a message on November 2nd. Vote God out.

I'm the anti-Christ, and I approve this message.

Posted at 3:49 PM in a Grave fashion.
We thank you for dutifully informing us of the past 24 hours' noteworthy injuries

Prince Harry? M'led! Crikey, the young lad was totally gutted about the face with a camera amidst some fracas with photogs!
("Prince Harry in nightclub scuffle", BBC News, October 21, 2004)

Fidel Castro? Yeah, he was hurt, too. Tripped and fell, and broke some bones. Hope he gets better!
("Castro Says He May Have Broken Bones", Associated Press, October 21, 2004)

Iraqi airline workers? Yep, 14 women were wounded, and one killed, when those troublesome insurgents opened fire on a bus carrying the women and, like, shot them and shit. The guns were totally fucking blazing, I bet.
("Iraqi air employees attacked", Associated Press, October 21, 2004)

Oh, and while we're on the subject, what are Prince Harry's thoughts on the American and British occupation of Iraq? He's never been as good-looking as his older brother, so I'd wager he's got this younger-child syndrome, and is all, "Wah wah, Iraq distracted us from Afghanistan."

Posted at 12:46 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 20, 2004
This election season, be very, very, very afraid (of asinine accusations dropping from left and right)

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One lucky terrorist clutches the Bush Adminstration's greatest nightmare, the uranium-equipped Vaccinatron 2000, which threatens to carry black-market flu vaccines into America's largest cities, thereby obliterating all old people

From "Bush Defends Himself Against Kerry's Charges", the Washington Post, October 20, 2004:

President Bush pivoted sharply to domestic issues Tuesday, parrying Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's charges that the president had bungled the flu-vaccine program and would undermine Social Security in a second term.

With two weeks to go before Election Day, Kerry, fighting to reduce a small deficit in opinion polls, condemned Bush's policies on health care and economic matters. Bush largely dropped the offensive he started Monday against Kerry's credentials on security issues, moving quickly to defend his domestic record and charging that Kerry was willing to make outlandish assertions to win election.

[...]

Kerry aides said that in shifting to domestic concerns, Bush was responding to recent polls that show him with a narrow lead over Kerry but also show majorities of Americans saying the country is headed in the wrong direction. Bush aides said the president was not being defensive on domestic matters but rather tarring Kerry as a fear-monger using "old-style scare tactics" and as a candidate who would say anything to get elected - a charge Bush used effectively against Al Gore four years ago.

From "Kerry Discovers Flu Vaccine Shortage in Battle Against Bush", Bloomberg, October 20, 2004:

Bill Pierce, a spokesman for Thompson, defended the Bush administration's handling of the flu-vaccine issue. "What we don't need people to do is scare seniors,'' he said. "Senator Kerry has been doing that.''

And, finally, the coup de grace, from "Cheney, Invoking the Specter of a Nuclear Attack, Questions Kerry's Strength", the New York Times, October 20, 2004:

Vice President Dick Cheney cast doubt Tuesday on whether Senator John Kerry was strong enough to fight terrorism, and asserted that the nation might one day face terrorists "in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us,'' including a nuclear bomb.

As he toured southern Ohio by bus seeking to energize Republican supporters, Mr. Cheney hit hard on a central theme of the Bush campaign: that the president has a better grasp than Mr. Kerry of the threats facing the nation, and the will to stymie terrorists. As in previous campaigning, the vice president invoked the specter of terrorists' attacking an American city.

"The biggest threat we face now as a nation,'' he said, "is the possibility of terrorists' ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us - biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind - to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.''

Posted at 5:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
Kerry Not a Heretic

Just in case you were wondering, it looks like John Kerry is not a heretic after all. And he got cleared by the No. 2 guy at the Inquisition, no less. From The New York Times:

BOSTON, Oct. 19 - The Roman Catholic Church's official news service quoted an unnamed Vatican official on Tuesday as saying John Kerry was "not a heretic" for his stance on abortion rights.

The article by The Catholic News Service also quoted an unnamed Vatican official as saying Mr. Kerry was not about to be excommunicated because "you can incur excommunication" automatically "only if you procure or perform an abortion."

[...]

But on Tuesday, Father Di Noia, an American priest who is highly influential in his position as under secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, took steps to distance himself from the letter. He told The Catholic News Service that "the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has had no contact with Mr. Balestrieri" and that Mr. Balestrieri's "claim that the private letter he received from Father Basil Cole is a Vatican response is completely without merit."

Father Di Noia's remarks to the news service seem to reflect a reluctance by at least some Vatican officials to be perceived as trying to meddle in an American presidential election, experts on the Vatican said.

Way back a long time ago, there was an ugly sentiment in this country that the Catholic Church was a foreign organization whose leadership went out of its way to control the decisions of its members, and that its members, therefore, could not be trusted to be good American citizens. Of course, that view was just used as a pretext by Americans who were simply anti-immigrant. But it seems to me that the (admittedly very few) bishops who are going around saying that it's a sin to vote for pro-choice candidates are playing into exactly that stereotype.

Continue reading...
Posted at 2:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
Attack of the Weasel Vaccines

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Courtesy, Asthmatic Weasels Blog.

From the BBC:

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said on Tuesday that vaccine manufacturer Aventis Pasteur would be able to produce an extra 2.6 million doses.

What Secretary Thompson neglected to mention was that the so-called Aventis is the result of a merger between a French (Rhône-Poulenc) and a German (Hoechst) company. Does the Bush Administration not realize that this company practically personifies the Axis of Weasel? Is it not possible that these vaccines could secretly contain defeatist chemicals intended to weaken our country's resolve? Should they not, at least, label these vaccines such that patriotic Americans can be aware of the origins of the vaccines being injected into their (equally patriotic) children?

Posted at 12:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 19, 2004
Speed Bump on the Campaign Trail

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Thrown Under the Bus: Karl Rove, in an un-doctored photo, below Air Force One

For many of us, it's a dream come true: Bush Adviser Lays Under Air Force One.

Sadly, the plane was motionless: Rove lives to scheme another day. I guess it's just another example of what a wacky card that Rove can be! (No, not that Card, wiseguy.) Wanna know Rove's next hee-larious joke? Wait 'till November 2nd: It's on you... and you... and you... and you...

Related: Anyone else notice that this photo has an uncanny visual symmetry with this famous shot?

Posted at 7:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
God Plays His Hand

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From The New York Times, Letter Supports Anti-Kerry Bid Over Abortion:

A canon lawyer seeking to have Senator John Kerry excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church because of his support for abortion rights said on Monday that he had ammunition in the form of a letter issued at the request of a senior Vatican official.

Although the "senior Vatican official" is not named by the Times, draw your own conclusions.

Posted at 11:09 AM in a Grave fashion.
The Real Team America: World Police

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America—Fuck Yeah!

The New York Review of Books' excellent caricaturist David Levine one-ups Trey Parker and Matt Stone in this week's issue.

Also, for political views a bit more cogent than those dudes' "dicks-pussies-assholes" analysis, check out this special section featuring Kwame Anthony Appiah, Norman Mailer, Michael Ignatieff, and others on the election.

(Thus concludes our extensive Team America coverage for the day.)

Posted at 10:49 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 18, 2004
Well, That's One Way Around the McCain-Feingold Regulations

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"George W. Bush" robs a bank in Pennsylvania and The Smoking Gun has the security camera stills. Not pictured: Rumsfeld behind the wheel of the getaway car.

Earlier: Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon rob several California banks.

Posted at 4:09 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 17, 2004
Reality Used To Be A Friend of Ours

From Ron Suskind's Without a Doubt, The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004:

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

Donald Rumsfeld on whether wrestling has helped him in his current job (earlier on low culture, via Brendan Bernhard in The LA Weekly):

It does... First of all, the friendships, the discipline, the reality that you have to produce and make a contribution. So I feel very fortunate that I was able to wrestle for all those years."

Posted at 10:23 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 15, 2004
She's Spunky! Well, Actually, She's Probably Not

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From the idiots what brung you Rove & Rover

EARLIER, indelicately: John Kerry, Debate 2004: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gaygaygaygay

EARLIER, sanctimoniously: "Mention of Gay Daughter a Cheap Trick, Lynne Cheney Says", Washington Post

Posted at 11:21 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Flawless

001podhoretz.jpgOne of my favorite games as a kid was to have my dad read me the headlines of op-ed columns and let me guess what the writers were going to say. We used to call it "The Great American Thesis Guessing Game," and we'd pass many joyful hours this way, usually as I waited for my various spelling bees and model U.N. to begin or on the train to an educational weekend trip to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, or Colonial Williamsburg (where I learned all about early American trucker hats). It was my absolute favorite game after memorizing every state comptroller and listing all the elements on the periodic table in weight order.

Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for those bygone days (the humdrum accomplishments of being an "adult" are so boring compared to the achievements I enjoyed as an adorable, opinionated child genius), since this morning I decided to play my favorite game with John "Norman's Son" Podhoretz's latest New York Post opus (Popus?), BUSH'S BIGGEST FLAW.

Ooh, ooh! I can guess! I can guess!

·He loves too much?
·Lips move when reading?
·Adult-onset backne?
·Doesn't like cats?
·Cannot—simply can not—change printer toner?
·Obsessed with reality TV?
·Lacks "salty" taste-buds?
·Memory wipes clean every three minutes like a goldfish?
·Never washes hands after going to the bathroom?
·Right so often, he makes everyone around him look bad?
·Loves Maroon 5?
·Never cries at the end of Titanic?

So, Pod-man, what's Bush's "biggest" flaw?

"His capacity for complacency."

Damn. How could I have missed that one? My dad's gonna be so disappointed when we go to bird-watching this weekend.

Posted at 8:10 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 14, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 39

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(With thanks to Chris M., again.)

Posted at 2:37 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
"Profiling the Elusive Undecided Voter," or, "When teenagers who can't vote are smarter than the nimrods who can"

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These people might benefit from President Bush's repeated invocation of "education" as the great social cure-all in last night's debate.

In today's New York Times, we elite-coasters finally get to meet - up close and personal - that rare breed of imbecilic American voter who hasn't been able to glean a fucking difference between Candidate A and Candidate B (perhaps better known as President George "God says I can kill people" Bush and Senator John "You may want to reconsider the implications of engaging in such an act of wanton destruction, for acts of such nature rarely lead to success, and more often bring us down the path of national woe and angst, which is German for despair" Kerry).

While we wait for the poll tax to be re-jiggered such that one needs to pass a fucking news-reading test in order to exercise their precious right to vote, here are some tragic highlights of the Times' "After the Final Debate, Some Voters Are Still Sitting on the Fence":

The Great Undecided Masses, on Kerry's indelicate reminder that the Vice President's daughter is a homo:

"That is very unfair," blurted Patsey Farrell, 64, one of a handful of undecided voters gathered here to watch the final presidential debate Wednesday night. "I'm sorry, that's too personal. That's too hurtful."

Painful, hurtful, Mrs. Farrell? Not unlike the idea that President Bush wants to introduce a galvanizing amendment to the U.S. Constitution that alienates an entire class of citizens? You dimwitted bitch.

The Great Undecided Masses, on discomforting moments in the debate:

Mr. Uhde cringed when Mr. Bush made an attempt at a joke about "credible news organizations" - and also when Mr. Kerry defended himself against Mr. Bush's accusation that he voted 98 times to raise taxes by saying "everybody knows" you can play with the votes.

"Not everybody does know that," Mr. Uhde said, annoyed at being made to feel stupid. "Not everybody understands when you say, 'play with the votes.' He's not explaining why he did it."

Here's some credible news for you, Mr. Uhde. You are, in fact, pretty fucking stupid.

The Great Undecided Masses, on irony and their inability to get a fairly well-crafted joke:

Mrs. Farrell said that Mr. Kerry had proved himself a better debater, but that she was turned off by his comment about "marrying up," perhaps because his wealthy wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has left a bad taste with her blunt comments during the campaign.

"I think I trust Bush more than I trust Kerry," she said after it was over.

Christ, Mrs. Farrell, you're really testing our patience here. Try reading some topical news for once instead of inundating yourself with Bush campaign ads while you watch reruns of Hannity and Colmes.

The Great Undecided Masses, on being a selfish American:

Phyllis Bobb, 68, a member of the church, said of the president, "He's not responding well." Ms. Bobb, 68, said she would vote for "the person who will help seniors."

Good going, Mrs. Bobb. It's really impressive how you're able to winnow down the needs of a nation of hundreds of millions of citizens (many of whom will likely be subjected to a bankrupted Social Security system, a widening class-system divide, and an environment on the brink of destruction) to the concerns of a smattering of near-death people in walkers. That's some considerate shit.

The Great Undecided Masses, on skipping biology class in high school:

And during a discussion on abortion, Mr. Brokenborough, 52, turned away from the television to say, "Who is going to be the advocate for the baby?"

That's a powerful question, Mr. Brokenborough. And who will be the advocate for my fingernails, which I just trimmed, or my hair, which I just had cut at a delightful salon on the Upper East Side, or perhaps the formerly functional legs and arms of several soldiers who subsequently lost limbs in the past few days of bombings and attacks in Iraq?

The Great Undecided Masses, on the merits of statistics:

But Mr. Kerry's performance left Jay Edmonds, 77, wishing for a little more clarity. After the Democratic candidate cited the number of job losses in Arizona and the lower pay of the jobs created in their place, Mr. Edmonds shook his head.

"I don't know about all those numbers," he said. "I can't add them up that fast."

Well, Mr. Edmonds, I don't think you add job losses to lower wages. In mathematical terms, this might be considered to be two different equations or aspects of the same problem - though nonetheless fundamentally linked. Sort of like an x- and y-axis, you fucking idiot.

The Great Undecided Masses, on senior citizens' sleeping habits, taking into account the fact they often inexplicably get up at dawn:

Although several residents dozed off about 20 minutes into the Bush-Kerry show, Mrs. Small continued to watch intently.

Good for you, Mrs. Small. You may be uncertain as for whom you're going to be casting a ballot in a few weeks, but at least you're able to stay upright in your chair, all the while subjecting yourself to the theatrics of this third and final debate.

The Sun-Sentinel newspaper in South Florida, meanwhile, went another route and interviewed, get this, teenagers for their thoughts on the debate they'd just witnessed. You know, teenagers. Those young Americans who are old enough to be executed, yes, but not to vote. And, sadly, in contrast with the intelligentsia-stragglers profiled above by the New York Times, Florida's population of the under-18 set comes off like a bunch of aspirationally-observant geniuses.

From the Sun-Sentinel's "Reaction from teens to the presidential debate":

"Although this debate proved to be the most entertaining, the candidates' contentions have surpassed repetitive and reached mind-numbing. There is a significant difference between using colloquialisms to appeal to the nation and simply conveying sheer ignorance. The president crossed that line."

Anjali Sharma, 15, Pine Crest School

"Overall I think Bush gets a C-. At least he's consistent with his Yale grades. Kerry presented a persuasive alternative to the spiral downward that the incumbent has (mis)lead us into."

Bret Vallacher, 16, St. Andrews School

"Tonight's final debate solidified much of America's position on the upcoming election. From a debating standpoint, George Bush was constantly on the defensive while Kerry, for the third time, acted as the more presidential of the two. Bush failed to provide significant backing for his statements, instead resorting to childish defensiveness against legitimate political attacks."

Eric Perelman, 16, Spanish River High School

"Since the second debate both candidates have grown hostile toward each other. But now both of them have seemed to even out the playing field. Unfortunately for Bush, his political growth is too little, too late. Overall, these debates have turned out to be quite a debacle for Bush's campaign."

Shivam Upadhyaya, 13, Stranahan High School

Note that this last kid is fucking 13 years old. Someone ought to introduce young Shivam to the Uhde family mentioned earlier.

Posted at 12:21 PM in a Grave fashion.
Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 1

lies.jpgWe hold these lies to be self-evident...

Several prominent psychologists speculate that if Bush wins the election, the national suicide rate will increase by as much as 35%.

George Bush wrote a poem in high school called "Little Me, in Poppy's Shadow."

Teresa Heinz was a back-up singer for Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

As a young man, Donald Rumsfeld used to run numbers with Malcolm X, then known as "Detroit Red."

John Kerry keeps all of his kids' baby teeth in a satchel in his pocket. He rubs them when he's nervous.

The Bush twins were conjoined at birth, sharing a liver. This is why they get drunk so easily.

John Edwards's battle with a childhood illness formed the basis of the 1976 after-school special, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble starring John Travolta.

It has been proven that electronic voting machines are essentially the same technology as the Simple Simon light game.

Condoleezza Rice had a small speaking part in the film version of Hair.

Laura Bush is allergic to most root vegetables.

Posted at 11:48 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
O, what a manly man! As an undecided voter, I admit that I might be swayed by his powerful aura of masculinity

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And, hey there, swing-state voters, don't forget that Senator John Kerry used to be in a rock n' roll band.

Posted at 10:34 AM in a Grave fashion.
Debate 2004: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gaygaygaygay

kerry_pointing_debate.jpgFrom last night's third and final debate in Tempe, Arizona, between Democratic Sen. John Kerry and Republican President George W. Bush, a line uttered by Kerry in response to a question by moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News about whether homosexuality is a "choice," or genetically ingrained, or something that one ill-advisedly buys in the check-out line at Target:

"We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

EARLIER: V.P. Candidate John Edwards on the gaygaygay issue

EVEN EARLIER: President George W. Bush on the gaygaygay issue.

Hopefully, the reminder that a cruel and offensively dehumanizing constitutional amendment is at stake puts all this in perspective for Democratic partisans who may have grimaced in awkward discomfort at last night's utterances by John Kerry, as sampled above.

Posted at 10:12 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 12, 2004
Cherish the Memories: Iraqi Yearbook Photos (8x10 blowups available via Jostens)

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(both images via AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Posted at 4:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Fine, Daddy, I'll Talk to the Goddamn Kiwanis Club for you... Oh my god, are those Buffalo Wings Free!?!"

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Posted at 8:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 11, 2004
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 5

Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, October 12, 2004:

Because of an editing error, an article in yesterday's International News section by Terence Neilan about the release of Yaser E. Hamdi, an American citizen who had been held in U.S. prisons for three years without having charges filed against him (until a Supreme Court ruling in June found the detention to be unlawful), "U.S. Returns Detainee to Saudi Arabia After 3 Years", was both erroneously titled and published too early. The corrected article was slated to run in late January 2005, and should have been titled "U.S. Returns President to Texas After 4 Years". The Times regrets the error.
Posted at 5:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
Campaign 2004: David Cobb for President (Only kidding. Sort of.)

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We loves us some nuance when it comes to saying whether or not invading Iraq was a good idea. Or maybe just endorsing the resolution approving the matter. Or whatever. We hate nuance.

George W. Bush, October 9, 2004:

"Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision. The world is safer with Saddam in a prison cell."

Dick Cheney, October 7, 2004:

Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in Miami Thursday that the report justifies rather than invalidates Bush's decision to go to war. It shows that "delay, defer, wasn't an option," Cheney told a town-hall style meeting.

John Kerry, August, 2004:

Asked by a reporter, he said he would have voted for the resolution - even in the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction - before adding his usual explanation that he would have subsequently handled everything leading up to the war differently.

John Edwards, October 8, 2004:

Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said last week's Central Intelligence Agency report confirming the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq hasn't convinced him it was a mistake to authorize President George W. Bush to take military action.

"The vote on the resolution was the right vote, even in hindsight,'' Edwards, a first-term U.S. senator from North Carolina, said in an interview aboard his campaign plane on Oct. 8. "It was the right vote to give the president the authority to confront Saddam Hussein,'' he said. "That's what would have given the president the power that would have allowed the weapons inspectors back into Iraq.''

RELATED: Cobb/LaMarche 2004, "Vote Green for Peace"

Posted at 3:06 PM in a Grave fashion.
Campaign 2004: How do the candidates treat their youngest supporters?

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President Bush bestowing kisses upon a baby in Chanhassen, MN, Oct. 9, 2004. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Hannah Palcic, 5, inadvertently being forced to re-enact a Vietnam P.O.W. ritual at a Kerry rally in Albuquerque, NM, Oct. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Posted at 11:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 8, 2004
Democracy in Action

From The New York Times Letters page, Thursday, October 7:

To the Editor:
The debate on Tuesday was really a debate between substance and fluff.
...
If you enjoy fluff, John Edwards won. But if you want substance and a clear understanding of the issues, Dick Cheney won by a landslide.
Jason Richard Hochstrasser
University Place, Wash.
Oct. 6, 2004

From a mass email from Bush Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman, received Wednesday, October 6, 6:13 am:

Dear Guy,
Edwards failed as a credible advocate for John Kerrylast nightand Dick Cheney proved that substance will always trump spin.
...
Write letters to the editors of your local papers.
...
Sincerely,
Ken Mehlman
P.S. Even as one of the nation's best trial lawyers, John Edwards failed as a credible advocate for John Kerrylast nightand Dick Cheney proved that substance will always trump spin...

Sorry Jason, but we checked - if you live in University Place, Washington, your local paper is actually the Seattle Times Tacoma News Tribune. You've made this mistake before, let's not do it again.

(And dude, getting a perfect Math League score ain't much of a chick magnet.)

Posted at 12:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 7, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 38

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Posted at 5:00 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
An art-history undergrad's C-plus critique of the occupation of Iraq

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(Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)

O, what beauty has been sown from destruction! As with Picasso's famed "Guernica," art aficionados once again have the opportunity to witness anew the innermost depths of visual purity that have arisen from the turmoil and despair of some mysterious "other."

Ostensibly having undertaken a photographic portrait of today's rocket strike upon a hotel in central Baghdad, the artist, Anja Niedringhaus, has done an exceptional job of framing the composition in such a manner that the merits of using the classical painterly technique known as chiaroscuro become, well, painfully obvious. Notice the interplay between light and dark in Niedringhaus' image, the way in which the otherwise abstract notion of "Iraqi rage" billows outward and takes on a life of its own amidst the spiritual and political darkness of the Western world - here represented by the image's being set at nighttime.

Furthermore, be sure not to disregard the inherent conflict between "nature" and "mankind" as it is displayed herein; take note of the image's striking left-and-right contrast between the fluidly burning palm trees and the sharp, jarring architecture of the civilized world. Or the usage of the color yellow as the portrait's focal point; one is literally drawn into this veritable heart of fiery Baghdad, where, hopefully, the viewer will be able to partake of the wonderfully restored social services (e.g. the reconstruction of fire stations and water pipes) that have been restored by Halliburton and Bechtel. What? Am I missing something?

Posted at 2:55 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 6, 2004
"Goddammit, why did you have to go and bring that up?"

cheney_debate_frustrated.jpgNEWS FLASH FOR GOD-FEARING MIDDLE AMERICANS WHO DON'T FOLLOW THE NEWS VERY CLOSELY (by way of John Edwards' deft placement of this small nugget of information within the context of last night's vice presidential debate): Vice President Dick Cheney has a homosexual daughter.

EDWARDS: ...Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing.

Yes, Senator Edwards, and it's also a wonderful thing that you were able to remind the Republican Party's conservative base that Cheney, their chief standard-bearer in oppressing the oppressed, was clearly a very bad parent by right-wing Christian fundamentalist standards, in that he raised a daughter who is now a homosexual. In addition to being a homosexual, Mary Cheney is also purportedly a lesbian or dyke, or whatever labels or epithets conservatives would like to use as they harass and/or beat up gay people in cities and towns across America.

Oh, Dick, Dick, Dick...where did you go so wrong? And what else have you not been forthright about in terms of a possible penchant for supporting and encouraging sinful acts? We'll never know, as the Vice President was able to skillfully conclude this line of uncomfortable (and far too revealing) questioning rather abruptly:

IFILL: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds.

CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter.

I appreciate that very much.

IFILL: That's it?

CHENEY: That's it.

IFILL: OK, then we'll move on to the next question.

Posted at 11:35 AM in a Grave fashion.
I'm very forgetful...when did you say the last debate took place?

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From the transcript of last night's sole vice-presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio:

"What the vice president has just said is just a complete distortion. The American people saw John Kerry on Thursday night. They don't need the vice president or the president to tell them what they saw."

"The AIDS epidemic in Africa, which is killing millions and millions of people and is a frightening thing not just for the people of Africa but also for the rest of the world, that, combined with the genocide that we're now seeing in Sudan, are two huge moral issues for the United States of America, which John Kerry spoke about eloquently last Thursday night."

"I agree with John Kerry from Thursday night, that the danger of nuclear weapons getting in the hands of terrorists is one of the greatest threats that America faces."

"And the American people saw for themselves on Thursday night the strength, resolve, and backbone that I, myself, have seen in John Kerry."

"John Kerry made clear on Thursday night that -- I'm sorry, I broke the rules. We made clear -- we made clear on Thursday night that we will do that, and we will do it aggressively."

Wait, I get it. John Kerry won that debate quite decisively, and you're reminding the public of that fact. Nicely done, and none-too-subtle!

Posted at 10:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 4, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 37

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Earlier: How to Replace Your Lesbian Daughter

Posted at 8:56 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Biting the (Invisible?) Hand

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It's often observed of George W. Bush that, per the old saw, he was born on third base but he thinks he hit a triple. On the other hand, like him or loathe him, Dick Cheney came from humbler circumstances, and must be given some credit for the sharp elbows and all-American ambition that led him to success. But don't let's get too misty-eyed prasing Dick for his enterprise, because he's not all that different from Dubya when it comes to admitting that he may not have done it all by himself.

As we await the vice-presidential debate, this exchange from the 2000 VP debate comes to mind:

LIEBERMAN: I think if you asked most people in America today that famous question that Ronald Reagan asked, "Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?" Most people would say yes. I'm pleased to see, Dick, from the newspapers that you're better off than you were eight years ago, too.

CHENEY: I can tell you, Joe, the government had absolutely nothing to do with it. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)[emphasis added]

Oh really? This lone-wolfish insouciance comes from a guy who has been working in government since the late 60's and whose father and father-in-law were both federal civil servants. He seems more than happy to accept the largesse that comes with being a public servant, including free, world-class health care, a government pension, and free trips in a Gulfstream jet to go duck-hunting with pals. Now, all of these goodies probably don't mean much to a man with a net worth of $50 million, but as far as we know, he hasn't forsworn any of these perks, nor has he offered to pay for them himself. Guess big government isn't always so reprehensible. (But maybe he can't help it -- it's just that pernicious "culture of dependency"...)

Most of Cheney's fortune, of course, comes from his tenure at Halliburton, and while we must all tip our hats to the chutzpah of a man who appointed himself to the positions of CEO and running mate, could Halliburton's abrupt decision to hire Cheney -- who had no prior experience in business management -- have had anything to do with the Cheney's work in government, or, specifically, the fact that, as Secretary of Defense, he'd awarded lucrative contracts to Halliburton as part of a program to outsource military functions to private contractors?

Nah.

Posted at 8:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 2, 2004
An old Rove mind trick

Karl Rove meets the press.

From the New York Times:

But in a sign that the Bush campaign suddenly found itself on the defensive, the president's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, who is normally elusive to the press, sought out reporters to push the campaign's argument that Mr. Kerry was a walking contradiction on Thursday night and that Mr. Bush was focused and pensive during the encounter, not peevish.

Rove: You don't need to see Bush's qualifications.
Press Corps: We don't need to see Bush's qualifications.

Rove: Bush was focused and pensive.
Press Corps: Bush was focused and pensive.

Rove: Kerry is most likely a pedophile.
Press Corps: Kerry is most likely a pedophile.

Posted at 5:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
  October 1, 2004
Morning-after cockiness, manifest on the airport tarmac

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And he'll remain this cocky all weekend long, until Karl Rove implies that Kerry is a pedophile. Or so we heard.

Posted at 5:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
Debate 2004: "Daddy's really fucking up, isn't he?"

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Posted at 1:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
So safe, it hurts

From George W. Bush's unofficial opening arguments in last night's first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry:

"In Iraq we saw a threat and we realized that after Sept. 11 we must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell. America and the world are safer for it."

Visual reinforcement, from A.P. wire service images taken over the last 48 hours, of America's steady progress in President Bush' War on Terror™ or however it's being billed at this moment. I'm guessing that the "safety zone" is located well outside Baghdad's notorious "Green Zone" enclave.

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An Iraqi soldier, Ahmed Ali, breaks down after seeing the dead bodies of several children when two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession in the al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004 killing 35 children and seven adults. The bombs in Baghdad's al-Amel neighborhood caused the largest death toll of children in any insurgent attack since the conflict began 17 months ago. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

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The dead bodies of four children are seen at a hospital in Fallujah, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004. The children died when the car they were travelling in allegedly came under fire from U.S. forces, whereby the driver lost control and the car fell into a stream near Fallujah, Thursday . Eyewitness Hussein Alwan said that the U.S. military personnel stopped locals from assisting the drowning people, leading to the death of the four children along with two other women travelling in the car. The wounded driver was later rescued. The U.S. military media liason personnel said in Baghdad that they were unaware of any such incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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An unidentified mother waits by her daughter's bedside after two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession at al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004. At least 37 were killed, of which 34 are children and nearly 137 got wounded in the attack. (AP Photo/Samir Mizban)

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Women cry as they await for news of the fate of their children, outside Yarmouk hospital, after two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession at al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004. At least 37 were killed, most of them children, and 137 were wounded in the attack, hospital and military officials said. 10 U.S. soldiers are amongst the wounded. (AP Photo/Samir Mizban)

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A U.S. armored vehicle waits near the site of car bomb attack in Abu Ghraib, Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004. At least three died and 60 were reportedly injured in the attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Posted at 12:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
The news networks covering the debate, the best they know how

Selected highlights from the cable news networks' coverage of the buildup to last night's first presidential debate between Pres. George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, as aired September 30, 2004:

CNN, PAULA ZAHN NOW: Zero Hour Nears For Presidential Debate, WOLF BLITZER, noted company man, 8:48 PM:

"Fascinating, indeed. Our viewers will be fascinated, no doubt. We'll be watching very closely. Bill Hemmer, we'll get back to you.

For our viewers who are really interested in politics and want answers to a whole range of questions, go to CNN.com. Incredible amount of information on this presidential race, the history, the current status, CNN.com. That's the place you want to be for politics."

MSNBC, Pre-Debate Countdown, hosted by Chris Matthews, TUCKER ASKEW, Bush White House communications adviser and noted grade-school punning champion, 8:18 PM:

"...Kerry's a master debater..."

FOX News, FOX Report with Shepard Smith, SHEPARD SMITH, news anchor, fearmonger, and ratings whore, 7:59 PM:

"Stay tuned, as the war on terror continues on FOX..."
Posted at 11:12 AM in a Grave fashion.
An analysis of the president's idea of hard work

I know what you're saying. This is too easy, but nonetheless...

"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard."

Which is why my back is clenched up so tight it's ready to snap.

"I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job...There's a lot of really good people working hard to do so. It's hard work."

I'm not really sure what any of this shit means, but I refuse to tell people to go to georgewbush.com

"It's-and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work."

Watching TV is really hard, yeah, especially the one at the White House with the TiVo. Have you tried to operate TiVo? It's really hard. And Cheney is always stealing the damn remote.

"The plan says we'll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are."

And it was really hard to think up a plan, we wouldn't want to waste all that hard work just because it doesn't work.

"We're making progress. It is hard work. It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. It's hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off or executed to a place where people are free."

It's hard work to go from a televised quagmire to speeches about progress, we're running out of material.

"And, you know, I think about Missy Johnson, fantastic young lady I met in Charlotte, N.C., she and her son, Brian. They came to see me. Her husband, P.J., got killed-been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq. You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can knowing full well that the decision I made caused her, her loved one to be in harm's way."

Wait a minute! Is the president admitting an affair here? Whoa, bombshell!

"Yeah, we're the job done. It's hard work. Everybody knows it's hard work because there's a determined enemy that's trying to defeat us."

And that enemy is John Kerry, no wait, Saddam Hussein - no, that's not it. Warmer?

"We've done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years."

Well, mostly I watched it on television, but you get the idea.

Posted at 9:22 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 29, 2004
The Manchurian Debate

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"...and that's where the snipers will be perched."

Posted at 4:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
Fools / Russian

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George W. Bush, left, and Vladimir Lenin, right (and probably the only time these two can ever be said to be approximating these respective positions, mind you).

Posted at 4:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 28, 2004
Highlights of John Kerry's recent attempts to grapple with humor, or, the newly-introduced "Laughter Initiative 2004"

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Just an ill-informed guess, but Presidential candidate John Kerry appears to be scouring the latest issue of The Onion for ideas pertaining to "what is funny" and "what to do at the Mercury Lounge later this evening"

The Associated Press, in the wake of other reports on the success of the Bush camp's usage of humor at political rallies earlier this week, has now provided equal time to the president's opponent in a rote assessment of John Kerry's skills at invoking laughter.

Literally - the piece is rote and by the numbers.

According to the piece's writer, Nedra Pickler, "even while speaking on the very serious topic of Iraq last week at New York University, Kerry made the audience laugh six times at President Bush's expense." Did you get that? Six laughs, to be precise. Furthermore, the subject matter of Iraq is deemed to be "very serious" for some inexplicable reason, though Sen. Kerry has been able to invoke "laughs" and "chuckles" from audiences who have been treated to his riffs on the President's disavowal of bad news in our latest colonial acquisition. Later, we learn that audience members have also "guffawed" at these events, but it remains unsaid whether or not anyone may have ventured so far as to "chortle", though that's a definite likelihood if they were treated to Kerry's time-tested "Bush is sooooo stupid, that..." routine. Seriously, that bit kills every Tuesday night at the Laugh Factory.

Thankfully, Pickler assists politically-minded stand-up comics everywhere by detailing some of the senator's signature lines:

Kerry said the occupation of Iraq is riddled with problems, "yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way." Kerry paused for affect before asking sarcastically, "How can he possibly be serious?"

Oh, fuck, that snide sumbitch! He pulled the asshole card right there! (Full disclosure: I, too, am an asshole.) Hmmm. This quandary creates some sort of mid-post smug-asshole-dilemma, I suspect, that can only be resolved by a battle of humorous invocations of colloquialisms:

Kerry used an idiom likely to be heard among teenagers in a shopping mall, but not on the Senate floor.

"You're going to hear all this talk, `Oh, we've turned the corner, we're doing better, blah, blah,'" he said, running on the phrase as his Wisconsin audience erupted in laughter. "You know, blah and blah and blah."

Damn, he really has been polishing his material by watching a great deal of MTV2 and Fuse...since my initial instincts, as a recreational reader of Lingua Franca and Congressional Quarterly, were to recommend that Kerry try something more traditional, along the lines of: "You will proceed to hear a series of speeches emanating from the President's operatives, henceforth declaring, 'We have turned the corner, we're doing better, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.'" The senator from Massachusetts, on the other hand, clearly knows his shit.

To demonstrate this, we've got this nugget of merriment:

Kerry was cracking up his partisan crowd by telling Wisconsin voters they shouldn't be wary of changing horses midstream when the horse is drowning. He tied the metaphor to reports that the Bush campaign insisted that podiums in Thursday's debate be set relatively far apart to obscure Kerry's five-inch height advantage.

"May I also suggest that we need a taller horse?" he said. "You can get through deeper waters that way."

From an objective standpoint, even I can admit that qualifying this bit as "funny" is a stretch that even Olympic medalist Carly Patterson wouldn't attempt to make (Ha, ha...see you next week at the clubs, suckas!!!).

Posted at 11:10 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 27, 2004
"I've got a debate...this week. This week. People will hate me. They already do. I'm boring, they say. Fuck them! And my wife, my wife...she still loves her dead husband. Hey, you, get me another Sam Adams right here. This one'll be gone real

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RELATED: "A Beer with John Kerry," GQ, September 2004, by Michael Hainey. An actual excerpt:

GQ: Beer good for you?

JK: Sure.

GQ: [to bartender] Two Buds.

GQ: Cheers, Senator.

JK: I had a tough day. Damn hot.

Posted at 12:56 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 24, 2004
You mean, they have journalists in Iraq too? Shit, you're kidding right?

A whole lot of back and forth has gone on in the realm of media bias critiques, punditry and the like claiming that FOX News is too conservative and the NY Times too liberal, etc. In particular, analysts have wondered whether media bias has filtered out good news from Iraq or if, like Vietnam-era journalism, war is simply an ugly story to cover. Of course, it is.

Mistake or not, Iraq is supposed to be an emergent democracy now and all of this bias bickering - which is truly nothing new in America - obscures Iraqi journalism and the development of a free press. Of course, how could those childish and crazy Iraqis possibly have any clue how to write anything objective?

Maybe, just maybe... the Iraqi weekly Al Zawra answers the question "Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?" as well as providing "An Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups," translated for American consumption here through the Project on Government Secrecy site. While pundits bicker, most resistance stories in the American press focus on beheadings and terror masterminds, searching for Al Qaeda links. Al Zawra gives us the lowdown on the growing organization and scope of the actual resistance movements, where they come from, and how they're structured.

Sorry, it's "grave." Just grave, nothing more.

Posted at 5:28 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Hey, good luck in Iraq, you guys...You've got it easy. My advisers tell me it's getting better over there. Wait, what?"

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Via Agence France-Presse: "US President George W. Bush shakes hands with some of the 292 US soldiers aboard a charter jet at Bangor International Airport in Maine. Bush boarded the jet in an impromptu event shaking hands with all the soldiers before they flew to Iraq to serve (AFP/Stephen Jaffe)"

Posted at 10:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 22, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 36

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Posted at 4:10 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  September 21, 2004
Loose lips sink Freudian slips

bush_leaning_counter.jpgFrom "Quick exit from Iraq is likely" by Robert Novak, appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times, September 20, 2004:

"Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush's decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials. An informed guess might have Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz as defense secretary and Stephen Hadley as national security adviser. According to my sources, all would opt for a withdrawal."

From the President's Remarks at Ask President Bush Event in Derry, New Hampshire, September 20, 2004, notably, a mere few hours after Novak's column appeared:

"It's tough as heck in Iraq right now because people are trying to stop democracy. That's what you're seeing. And Iraqis are losing lives, and so are some of our soldiers. And it breaks my heart to see the loss of innocent life and to see brave troops in combat lose their life. It just breaks my heart. But I understand what's going on. These people are trying to shake the will of the Iraqi citizens, and they want us to leave. That's what they want us to do.

And I think the world would be better off if we did leave -- if we didn't -- if we left, the world would be worse. The world is better off with us not leaving. It's a mistake to pull out."

Posted at 1:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 20, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 35

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Posted at 6:09 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
An orator crafted from stone

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Marcus Tullius Cicero, left, and John F. Kerry, on the right.

According to today's Washington Post, the respective teams for the Bush and Kerry campaigns have agreed to a package of three presidential debates in the upcoming weeks, after months of delays on the part of President Bush's re-election crew. According to the Post:

Matthew Dowd, the Bush-Cheney campaign's chief strategist, said in an interview earlier this month that Kerry "is very formidable, and probably the best debater ever to run for president." "I'm not joking," Dowd added. "I think he's better than Cicero," the ancient Roman orator.

Dowd's comparison to the classic orator of yesteryear initially comes off as quite a stretch, but upon closer examination, he may indeed have a point: both men have a certain notoriety for being, shall we say, excessively verbose. Witness Cicero's thoughts on aging, from "On Old Age":

"For the present I have resolved to dedicate to you an essay on Old Age. For from the burden of impending or at least advancing age, common to us both, I would do something to relieve us both though as to yourself I am fully aware that you support and will support it, as you do everything else, with calmness and philosophy. But directly I resolved to write on old age, you at once occurred to me as deserving a gift of which both of us might take advantage. To myself, indeed, the composition of this book has been so delightful, that it has not only wiped away all the disagreeables of old age, but has even made it luxurious and delightful too."

Good luck making sense of that and translating those words into English from the current Latin incarnation that's been reproduced above.

Now, let's see how Kerry fares, with similar subject matter, in this quest for circumlocutory language (from the text of a speech given September 6 in Racine, West Virginia):

"At that convention in New York last week, George Bush actually promised the American people that after four years of failure, he now had a plan to get health care costs under control. Well, if you weren't suspicious of a plan announced just two months before an election, you got a quick dose of reality the next day. George Bush socked seniors with a 17 percent increase in Medicare. What's right about that? That's the biggest increase in Medicare premiums in the history of the program. Raising Medicare costs -- that's W and that's wrong. Wrong choices, wrong direction.

It's time for a president who will lead America in a new direction.

[...]

At that convention in New York last week, George Bush said that he actually had a new idea. And you know what it was? The bad, old idea of privatizing social security -- and cutting your benefits. That's W and that's wrong. Wrong choices, wrong direction. It's time for a president who will lead America in a new direction."

OK, so Kerry seems to repeat himself a bit more than his highly-esteemed counterpart, but we'll give him points for clarity. Relative clarity, and relative to words that have aged a full two-thousand years. When compared with the pithy lines and snappy soundbites of the sitting President, however, Kerry does have a way of coming off a bit, well, wooden, if not stony-faced.

RELATED: John Kerry's "A Plan For Stronger, Healthier Seniors"

Posted at 4:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
Photo Ops Gone Awry, Vol. 2

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Posted at 12:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 17, 2004
The Associated Press' funniest caption ever

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According to the Associated Press: "Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va. Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards made a brief stop at the airport as he concluded his two-day bus tour to locations in West Virginia and Ohio. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder)"

Posted at 7:43 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 16, 2004
I Love These Countries!

Colin_Powell.jpg

In response to a string of terrorist acts by Chechen rebel groups, Russian President Vladmir Putin has formally announced plans to concentrate power through direct appointment of regional governors and the elimination of individual district elections for the Duma.

In response to these sudden moves, Colin Powell said "This is pulling back on some of the democratic reforms as seen by the international community that have occurred in the past. So yes, we have concerns about it, and we want to discuss them with the Russians." But the democracies of the world are having trouble urging Russia to see things their way and the Bush administration is concerned that too-severe criticisms might only act to diminish any possibilities for further alliances, especially when it comes to cooperating in the war on terror.

But all of this is good news for Ukrainian-born funnyman Yakov Smirnoff who made a career with his "What A Country!" routine in the mid-80's, appearing in guest spots on TV's Night Court. You might remeber some of Smirnoff's more memorable lines, such as:

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In Russia, if a male athelete loses he becomes a female athelete.

or, this biting media critique:
In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.

and, of course Smirnoff's offbeat takes on Russian comedy:
Many people are surprised to hear that we have comedians in Russia, but they are there. They are dead, but they are there.

After 13 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, the comic has fallen on some hard times. However, Smirnoff is apparently working on some new material to update his act. Here are some ideas found in Smirnoff's trash can more recently:

In America, terrorists come from other side of world. In Russia, they live next door.

In America, you can lose popular vote and still be elected president. In Russia, you can be president and just get rid of popular vote.

In Russia, state controls health care for people. In America, health care controls state. I love this country!

Posted at 5:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
A handy guide to Bush's supporters (as seen from front and back)

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Via Reuters, "U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at a campaign rally in St. Cloud, Minnesota, September 16, 2004."

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From director Victor Salva, the monstrous villain in his monstrous film, Jeepers Creepers.

Posted at 3:43 PM in a Grave fashion.
The new nickel: Thomas Jefferson's greatest makeover since being portrayed by Nick Nolte in 1995

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Posted at 2:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
You see that wolf over there? It's from Iran. Seriously. There's a wolf. An Iranian wolf. I'm not kidding, this time.

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Satellite images over Iran

Via Reuters, mere hours ago: "U.S. Says New Images Show Iran Plans Nuke Bomb"

A prominent international expert said on Wednesday that new satellite images showed the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran may be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons. Iran denies having an atomic bomb program.

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Satellite images over Iraq

From U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's egregiously dishonest presentation to the United Nations in early February 2003, on Saddam Hussein and Iraq's purported possession of WMDs and whatnot (via CNN.com):

Powell then showed satellite photos that he said indicated the presence of "active chemical munitions bunkers" disguised from inspectors.

The first photo showed was from a weapons munitions facility, which Powell said was one of 65 such facilities in Iraq. He said the photo contained "sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions," including a decontamination truck and special security.

Posted at 1:56 PM in a Grave fashion.
Bill O'Reilly, still reviled...but Al Franken? Mostly just ignored by subway riders

Most media-minded people are aware of last year's imbroglio at the 2003 BookExpo in Los Angeles between vitriolic Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and his mealy-mouthed liberal arch-nemesis Al Franken. And, of course, there's a fair amount of awareness of last fall's lawsuit-and-taunting exchange between the two media figures over the distribution of author Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

But what of the battle occurring underground? Earlier, we examined the treatment conservative firebrand O'Reilly has received at the hands of those with the inclination and opportunity to deface Fox News posters sporting his fleshy visage in New York's subway system. Now, the gauntlet has been thrown...and another network, the Sundance Channel, is littering the city's subway walls with advertising for Al Franken's new television series.

The scorecard? It's been several weeks, and Al's face is still looking pretty pristine, in contrast to the "Nazi"-themed abuse heaped upon his Republican-leaning counterpart. Witness our representative sampling below:

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But there's always an exception, right?

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So, wait...what happened with this image? Admittedly, the one sampled above is in the extreme minority, but are there still RNC delegates lurking in Manhattan? And are they sporting razor blades and Sharpies alongside their patriotic hats and neckties? Or maybe they're simply carrying cages filled with crows, who are periodically released to peck out the eyes of liberal ideologues?

Posted at 8:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 15, 2004
Election 2004: Let's get ready to rummmmble!

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OK, scratch the boxing reference. Looking at the embarrassingly camel-toed Dick Cheney in action, so to speak, it seems as though some candidates are best-suited to coaching from the corner instead of "fighting the fight."

Posted at 3:09 PM in a Grave fashion.
It's all relative

From the "It's not breaking news per se, but good old-fashioned press-release analysis" department at the New York Times, we've got Adam Liptak's "Fewer Death Sentences Being Imposed in U.S." in the September 15, 2004 edition of the paper. The article is largely culled from data gleaned from a report put out by the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group that "says it takes no position on capital punishment, though it has been critical of the way the death penalty is applied."

But the report's thesis - that exonerations play a major role - as well as its data on the number of people exonerated are the subject of debate. The report says that 116 innocent people have been released from death row since 1973, after serving an average of nine years each.

[...]

Prosecutors said the report overstates the number of innocent people who have been released from death row. They said 20 to 30 is more accurate. "You're talking about an extremely small, microscopic number," said Ward A. Campbell, a supervising deputy state attorney general in Sacramento.

Fair enough. No word, however, on an as-yet-unannounced bill going through the California state legislature right now calling for the indiscriminate and unjust execution of 20-30 members of this Ward Campbell fellow's extended family. Seriously, it's an extremely small, microscopic number, and he probably won't notice.

Posted at 2:37 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 14, 2004
Coming Soon: The Even More Greatester Communicator—To The Extreme!

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Posted at 11:39 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
"Only seven weeks left to try to win this election? Oh, dear."

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Posted at 10:17 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 13, 2004
Despite his sagging poll numbers, this is not the sort of pose Sen. Kerry ought to be making at gun control rallies

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From the Associated Press: "Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, listens to gun control advocates speak at a campaign stop in Washington Monday, Sept. 13, 2004."

Posted at 3:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
Photo Ops Gone Awry, Vol. 1

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"Yeahhhhh! Look at me! Look Rummy, no hands!"

Posted at 3:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 6

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From "Bush Stresses Commander-in-Chief Role", the Washington Post, September 13, 2004:

Administration officials disclosed plans yesterday that show the many ways Bush will try to emphasize his role as commander in chief. He will interrupt his swing-state travel in just over a week to go before cameras at the United Nations with the interim president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. Two days later, Bush will welcome Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, to the Rose Garden.

[...]

The Bush-Cheney campaign's focus on safety and security pervaded the Republican National Convention, where prime-time speakers repeatedly portrayed Bush as a steady and steely commander in the war on terrorism, with little attention to domestic issues.

From "Key General Criticizes April Attack In Fallujah; Abrupt Withdrawal Called Vacillation", also in today's edition of the Washington Post, September 13, 2004:

The outgoing U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of western Iraq said Sunday he opposed a Marine assault on militants in the volatile city of Fallujah in April and the subsequent decision to withdraw from the city and turn over control to a security force of former Iraqi soldiers.

[...]

The comments by Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, made shortly after he relinquished command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force on Sunday, amounted to a stinging broadside against top U.S. military and civilian leaders who ordered the Fallujah invasion and withdrawal. His statements also provided the most detailed explanation -- and justification -- of Marine actions in Fallujah this spring, which have been widely criticized for increasing insurgent activity in the city and turning it into a "no-go" zone for U.S. troops.

Posted at 12:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 11, 2004
Summary of the 9/11 Commission Implementation Bill

Responding to the majority of the 9/11 Comission's 41 recommendations for intelligence reform, legislation was introduced into the Senate by a bipartisan group.


A .pdf of this lengthy, complex 280 page bill is available here. But for the sake of our readers who are not yet up-to-date and in-the-know concerning all things intelligence, Low Culture has obtained a document from the CIA which succinctly describes the ramifications of the new bill, putting together a simple and fun reference tool to guide you through your government's new configurations.

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Simple, really.

Posted at 9:47 AM in a Grave fashion.
  September 10, 2004
September 10th: On this day in history

1846: Elias Howe received a patent for his sewing machine.

1926: Germany joined the League of Nations.

1940: Buckingham Palace was struck by a German bomb.

1941: Celebrated evolutionary theorist and former Harvard University professor Stephen Jay Gould was born.

1955: Gunsmoke premiered on CBS.

1961: Mickey Mantle tied a major league baseball record for home runs when he hit the 400th of his career.

1990: Iran agreed to resume full diplomatic ties with its former enemy Iraq.

1993: NBC aired its final episode of Late Night with David Letterman.

2001: President George W. Bush twiddled his thumbs while leafing through a stack of unread memos and intelligence reports.

Posted at 1:21 PM in a Grave fashion.
MISSED CONNECTIONS > Angry man at MSG last week - w4m - 26

rnc_missedconnections.jpg(Via Joshuah Bearman)

you: curly haired, right wing zealot. me: cute, defenseless liberal...

i saw you when i whipped out my anti-Bush banners on the floor of the RNC last week and tried an impromptu bit of protesting. you restrained me, and then you started kicking me on the floor...i mean, yeah, it hurt a bit, and my ribcage is sort of fucked up now, and that's why it's taken me so long to post this missed connection, after my being in jail and then the hospital and then recuperating at my parents for a few days, but i think we shared a special moment, all circumstances aside. i keep thinking how clever it was of you to wear that green "monster" shirt while you hovered over me. i like that cleverness, and i liked your loafers. very casual, very firm.

if you're interested...wanna get some coffee some time?

this is in or around Midtown
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Posted at 12:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 9, 2004
Zell Miller Challenges Hurricane Ivan to a Duel

story.zell.miller.jpgLast week, in a heated interview with Chris Matthews on Hardball, Senator Zell Miller told Matthews, "I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel."

This week, Miller has challenged Hurricane Ivan to a duel somewhere off the coast of Jamaica to "protect the homeland" from high winds and potentially disastrous flooding.

And in a related note, Miller is expected to introduce legislation to make dueling legal. The ghost of Alexander Hamilton is expected to filibuster. But the ghost of former Republican (now the Democratic party) turned Federalist (the elitist party of the early 19th century) Aaron Burr is expected to pop a cap in Hamilton's ass. Again.

Posted at 2:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 8, 2004
You know that scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 where the military uses the promise of a music career to lure new recruits?

colonelabrams.jpgFrom "U.S. Planes Hit Rebel Stronghold in Falluja; 6 Reported Killed", the New York Times, September 8, 2004 (emphasis mine):

"There are no negotiations," said Col. Robert B. Abrams, the commander of the First Brigade of the First Cavalry Division. "Sadr needs to disband and disarm, and then we can talk."

"If they don't disarm," Colonel Abrams said of the Mahdi Army, "we will be back at this every month, forever."

UNRELATED: Colonel Abrams, the MCA recording artist who released a small handful of top-ten singles in the mid-1980s, including "Trapped", whose chorus is reproduced below:

Can't you see I'm so confused? / I can't get out / You see I'm trapped

Like a fool I'm in a cage. / I can't get out / You see I'm trapped

Posted at 2:39 PM in a Grave fashion.
The art of insidious spin (Or is it a science? We never pegged these guys as creative types)

1000iraqdeathtoll.jpg

Congratulations are in order to the United States military for finally crossing that all-important milestone the press has apparently been all-too-eagerly awaiting: 1,000 military personnel killed in Iraq! Judging by the likeminded headlines devoted to this phenomenon, it's unclear which milestone was more excitedly anticipated, the one measuring the American military death toll or San Francisco Giants' slugger Barry Bonds' attempt to reach 700 career home runs. (Good luck, Barry, natch! We hear that one PFC Larry Gutierrez from Alameda is pulling for you from his base in Najaf.)

While cynics may charge that the idea of hyping or heavily reporting our nation's having reached a four-figure death toll pertaining to the invasion of Iraq cheapens the equally tragic deaths of, say, numbers 997, 998, and 999, Americans can rest assured that the president is equally supportive of each and every death, or more significantly, what those deaths "represent" or "stand for." In this vein, President Bush, noted disciple of Clement Greenberg that he is, warmly embraces symbolism by way of his henchmen. To wit, from the New York Times:

Mr. Bush never mentioned the figure on a bus tour across Missouri. But at the very moment he was criticizing Mr. Kerry as having flip-flopped on Iraq, his press secretary, Scott McClellan, told reporters that the 1,000 men and women had died "so that we defeat the ideologies of hatred and tyranny."

For what its worth, we're guessing that the more than 11,000 Iraqi civilians who have died in this same time period as a result of the invasion also gave their lives for such grandiose, abstract notions as "statehood" and "better prisons" and "a capital-punishment-free nation".

Posted at 12:21 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 7, 2004
Celebrating the Bush administration's successful domestic policies, vol. 1: Less Traffic

From "Study: Traffic costs billions of hours a year", CNN.com, September 7, 2004, which examines the general trend of increasing traffic congestion in the nation's largest urban areas, but which contains the following caveat:

Traffic in some cities has actually gotten better -- but that's because their economies have done poorly.

"In a lot of the places in the past we've seen success in cities suffering job declines -- Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland," Pisarski said. "Unemployment is a great solution."

(With thanks to Jeff.)

Posted at 10:22 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 34

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Posted at 8:05 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  September 3, 2004
Truly, There's a New World Coming

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From, There's A New World Coming [via: Filthy Hippy Speak]
bushesrapture.jpg

"Generations will know if we kept our faith and kept our word. Generations will know if we seized this moment, and used it to build a future of safety and peace."
— George Bush, Convention Speech, Sept. 2, 2004

"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
1 Thessalonians 5:2,3; KJV)

[A special thanks to Javier]

Posted at 2:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
RNC 2004: Ahh, the memories...(An Infiltrator's Scrapbook)

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Um, yeah, I don't think this needs a caption, right?

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See, the joke is that this RNC worker looks just like Santa Claus, so Robert Smigel, as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, can crack wise about outsourcing elves to India or somesuch routine.

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See, the joke is...nevermind.

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Who said conservatives don't have a flair for the creative when it comes to their wardrobe? These delegates from Montana are sporting a beret and a green frilly shawl type thing. That means they're the craftsiest conservatives out there.

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Christ almighty, lord Jesus. You can't see from here, but those badges and buttons sport a plethora of pro-life phrases.

Continued below...after the so-called jump.

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:55 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 2, 2004
RNC 2004: Fun with signs, AKA who the fuck are Nick and Stef, and why wasn't I invited?

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Posted at 2:52 PM in a Grave fashion.
  September 1, 2004
Because the loveliest ladies shop at Brooks Brothers

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Posted at 12:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
Compassionate Hypocrite

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Long, May It Wave

"As long as I live, I will never forget that day 21 years ago when I raised my hand and took the oath of citizenship.

"Do you know how proud I was? I was so proud that I walked around with an American flag around my shoulders all day long." —Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's GOP Convention speech, Aug. 31, 2004

4 USCS 8 (2004)
8. Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of
America....

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or
drapery.—Title 4 - Flag and Seal, Seat of Government, and the States, Chapter 1, Sec. 8- Respect for Flag

[Thank you, thank you, Dave!]

Posted at 8:03 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 31, 2004
RNC 2004: From the folks that brought you "Escape to New York"

presidentevilbush.jpg

"George W. Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is, and he will remain consistent to the purpose of defeating it while working to make us ever safer at home." Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the RNC Convention, Monday, August 30, 2004.

Wow, the city's former mayor is so right:

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." (January 29, 2002, The President's State of the Union Address)

"This is an evil man that we're dealing with, and I wouldn't put it past him to develop evil weapons to try to harm civilization as we know it." (November 6, 2001, Bush warns of potential 'evil weapons')

"Your government is alert. The governors and mayors are alert that evil folks still lurk out there. As I said yesterday, people have declared war on America and they have made a terrible mistake. My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers." (September 16, 2001, Bush vows to rid the world of 'evil-doers')

"The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule. The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war." (September 17, 2001, Remarks by the President at Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.)

Posted at 3:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
  August 27, 2004
RNC 2004: NYC's first responders attend their dress rehearsal and take the opportunity to study the other stage props

rnc2004_fdnydress.jpg

Posted at 12:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
Stagey

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Now, isn't that special?

Not since Bono glided through concert arenas in a giant lemon for U2's POPmart tour has stagecraft been so far in the forefront as it is for next week's Republican National Convention.

Today's Times reveals some of the excellent bells and whistles we'll be witnessing when President Bush delivers his speech before literally many, many delegates in New York. (For the President, Special Setup Is Planned at Convention, by Michael Slackman.)

A very special president deserves an extra-special stage. (It goes without saying that if Mr. Bush had participated in this year's Olympics in Athens, it would've been a Special Olympics, indeed.) As the article points out, to create a sense of "special intimacy" (there's that word again!), a centrally-located in-the-round stage will be erected.

What other special theatrics are in store for the convention?

President Bush will descend on a harness from the rafters wearing 25-foot angel wings.

Vice President Dick Cheney will enter dressed as a gladiator and slay an animatronic tiger affectionately nicknamed "Edwards."

The 1.5 million gallon water tank from Cirque du Soleil's O will be assembled in Madison Square Garden so that Condoleezza Rice may lead synchronized swimmers in a routine set to Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries."

Four cannons loaded with indoor fireworks that spell out "LOWER TAXES" will be fired at the ceiling

Those hilarious stunt-dunking guys in gorilla suits will go buck wild!

The living Beatles—all two of them—will reunite to sing "Fixing A Hole" with new lyrics about Iraq

A CGI-assisted video will show John Ashcroft at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

Donald Rumsfeld will smile for five seconds

Delegates arriving by swift boats and yachts and walking a pink carpet lined with photographers and writers from The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, and The National Review asking "Who are you wearing?" and "Do you think Britney is rushing into marriage?"

Live, via satellite, Jesus will bless the delegates

Twenty uniformed members of the armed services will form a pyramid, and a trained elephant will lift a veteran of the Iraq war out of his wheelchair and place him on the top so he can wave an American flag with his remaining arm

A (taped) speech by Ronald Reagan about how much he loves America and apple sauce and swimming and how his male nurse is stealing from him and someone is coming into his room and using his phone and can he have some more apple sauce please, mommy?

Paris Hilton and Haylie Duff will speak together, putting an end to any rumors that they're in a feud

Alan Keyes will deliver a speech ten times better than what's his name's and then sing Outkast's "Hey Ya" with new lyrics about compassionate conservatism.

Karl Rove will sit behind an enormous green curtain doing... things. Don't worry about what he's doing. Really—it's fine.

Donald Trump, closing the convention by pointing at John Kerry and saying "Ya fired!"

And, if that's not all, it's free bat day! Well, for the cops outside it is.

Posted at 11:39 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  August 25, 2004
Doin' the Lynndie Hop

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An officer at the Department of Defense "delivers final reports of the Independent Panel to Review Department of Defense Detention Operations...A four-member panel headed by [former Defense Secretary James] Schlesinger issued a report accusing the chain of command from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on down of leadership failures that created conditions for the abuse of prisioners late last year that sparked anti-American outrage across the world."

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The image that initially started the abovementioned investigation.

Posted at 3:05 PM in a Grave, Versus fashion.
And just like that - SNAP! - this election is so totally over

From Remarks by the Vice President and Mrs. Cheney Followed by Question and Answer at a Town Hall Meeting, Davenport, Iowa, August 24, 2004:

QUESTION: We have a battle here on this land, as well. And I would like to know, sir, from your heart -- I don't want to know what your advisors say, or even what your top advisor thinks -- but I need to know what do you think about homosexual marriages.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, the question has come up obviously in the past with respect to the question of gay marriage. Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue that our family is very familiar with. We have two daughters, and we have enormous pride in both of them. They're both fine young women. They do a superb job, frankly, of supporting us. And we are blessed with both our daughters.

With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People ought to be able to free -- ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to. The question that comes up with respect to the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction, or approval is going to be granted by government, if you will, to particular relationships. Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that basic fundamental decision in terms of defining what constitutes a marriage. I made clear four years ago when I ran and this question came up in the debate I had with Joe Lieberman that my view was that that's appropriately a matter for the states to decide, that that's how it ought to best be handled.

Posted at 11:12 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 24, 2004
Yes, that's the title they give to the runner-up in the race for "Mr. White House"

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Posted at 5:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
Stealth Bombing the Stage: 2004's Hottest New RNC Design Motif

With captions taken from original sources:

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Stagehands work on the main stage for the Republican National Convention in New York City's Madison Square Gardens, Tuesday, August 24, 2004. The Republicans will meet August 30 through September 2. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

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The B-2 can respond from domestic US bases to conflicts anywhere in the world within hours.

Posted at 3:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
Election 2004: Your Handy Guide to the Issues that Matter Most at this Precise Moment in Time

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An aerial view of Najaf, which for some reason appears to be shaped like the Millenium Falcon.

FUN FACT #1: According to Reuters, mere hours ago, the American-led team of Iraqi security forces "moved to within 400 meters (yards) of a holy shrine in Najaf on Tuesday, just hours after the government warned Shi'ite rebels inside they would be killed if they did not surrender...An aide to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said his Mehdi Army militia was ready to negotiate to end the fighting, which has killed hundreds, driven oil prices to record highs and touched off clashes in seven other cities."

FUN FACT #2: "Najaf" means "dry river." Of course, there's no way to maneuver "swift boats" in a so-called "dry river". What, then, do swift boats have to do with the important developments taking place in Najaf right this very moment? Oh, wait, wait, wait..."swift boats" have nothing whatsoever to do with Iraq, the U.S. economy, healthcare, the American class system, or other issues pertaining to a race for the presidency of the United States. Hell, swift boats don't even have anything to do with gay marriage or constitutional amendments.

It all finally makes sense! God bless you, American media! God bless us, everyone! This is Tiny Tim, signing off from Darfur.

Posted at 12:31 PM in a Grave fashion.
  August 23, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 33

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(Thanks to Michael.)

Posted at 5:37 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  August 19, 2004
RNC Protests 2004: Two noble ideas that effectively cancel each other out

Blue New York: (from their website) "All New Yorkers should put blue in their windows. Simple as it may be, the image of an entire city blanketed in blue, building to building, window to window, will be the most powerful and poignant protest imaginable. Rather than flooding the streets with placards and bumper stickers, an image of New York draped in one single color will demonstrate to the world a clear message: we, as one city, want a change for our country."

Light Up the Sky: (by way of The Nation) "Milton Glaser, a longtime friend of The Nation and the designer behind the "I Heart NY" campaign, is back with a new idea: He proposes that New Yorkers welcome the GOP in August with a display of light." (More information, by way of the Village Voice:) "Glaser has organized a protestone that requires no permit and can receive no complaints of crushing grasscalled 'Light Up the Sky.' On August 30, from dusk to dawn, those who wish to participate can leave the lights on in their apartments and/or congregate in the streets with candles, flashlights, and glow sticks."

Posted at 1:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
  August 18, 2004
RNC Protests 2004: The official outlet for NYC children who dislike Bush, globalization, and sticky candy

peacefulactiv_icecream.jpg

From "Just Keep It Peaceful, Protesters; New York Is Offering Discounts", the New York Times, August 18, 2004:

Law-abiding protesters will be given buttons that bear a fetching rendition of the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that reads, "peaceful political activists." Protesters can present the buttons at places like the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Sex, the Pokmon Center store and such restaurants as Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too and Applebee's to save some cash during their stay.

A "fetching rendition of the Statue of Liberty"? Try "patronizing" and "childlike" instead.

Posted at 12:47 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  August 17, 2004
The underexploited art of positive self-affirmation

chavez_selfhugging.jpg

Though, admittedly, it is easier to hug yourself when you pull in 58 percent of the vote after facing a presidential recall initiative.

Posted at 4:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
This guy's got the edgiest onstage routine since Paula Poundstone joked about endangering her adopted children

In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank reflects on the re-emergence of that old staple of Campaign 2000, the "Bushism". And included in his anecdotal sampling (not to be confused with Jacob Weisberg's voluminous take on this phenomenon over at Slate) was the following rather strikingly non-humorous bit of insensitivity from a campaign event in Florida last week.

From Remarks by the President at "Ask President Bush" Event, Okaloosa-Walton College, Niceville, Florida, August 10, 2004:

But we've got some strong allies, staring with the Prime Minister of Iraq, Prime Minister Allawi. They tell me the story of him. He was in London, England. He was in exile from his country because Saddam hated him. He wakes up one night and an ax-wielding group of men tried to hatchet him to death, or ax him to death. I guess, you don't hatchet somebody with an ax. (Laughter.) And you don't ax them with a hatchet. (Laughter.) He wakes up, the glint of the blade coming at him, and he gets cut badly, escapes. The guy hit his wife who never recovered, really.

Reading the transcript, it's unclear whether he kept the crowd of rancorous Republicans "laughing" with some horribly asinine quip about an "axe wound that never healed." But one can imagine. And we do.

Posted at 12:29 PM in a Grave fashion.
  August 16, 2004
When William was young, he had to stand in the sun for hours and walk three miles to school to do what you kids do today. Oh, he still does.

From Chavez Appears to Survive Referendum, the Washington Post, August 16, 2004:

The opposition also had to outpoll the millions of Chavez supporters who flocked to the polls Sunday, eager to retain a president who has used the country's soaring oil revenue to provide health, education and food programs for the nation's poor majority.

William Sutherland, 40, a university student, was among those who rose before dawn and stood in line for hours under a punishing sun to back Chavez.

From Ignorance Is No Longer Bliss, Smartmoney.com, August 11, 2004:

Young voters have stayed away in droves in the past, despite high-profile attempts by the likes of Rock the Vote, founded in 1990, and others to drum up electoral interest. In 2000, just 36.1% of eligible voters ages 18 to 24 even bothered to cast ballots.
Posted at 10:34 AM in a Grave fashion.
Bill O'Reilly, the most-reviled media figure on the New York Subway System

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A Fox News ad at Rockefeller Center, located roughly one block from the network's studio and headquarters. Hume, Hannity, Van Susteren, and the other guys? Their visages were left unmarked. Maybe these acts of defacement just mean that O'Reilly is a bad boss?

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No, scratch that. Witness poor Bill, seen here in detail from a number of ads from stations all over Manhattan. And yes, in case you're wondering, those rectangular shapes used to be swastikas on the guy's forehead.

Posted at 9:46 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 12, 2004
Meta-Viral Farkesque Video Link of the Day for People in Their Twenties Who Read The New Republic

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A mock/mook President Bush surrounded by his mock/mook cabinet, after being excused from class at their East 86th Street prep school

Brought to you by RNC Not Welcome and Counter Convention.

Posted at 5:43 PM in a Grave fashion.
Breaking: Jim McGreevey, Ruck Star

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey plays rugby.

Posted at 4:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
Reading (deeply) between the lines

cheney_dayton_small.jpgIn CNN.com's reporting that "Cheney blasts Kerry over 'sensitive war' remark", the story opens with the following lead (emphasis ours):

Drawing derisive chuckles from the crowd, Vice President Dick Cheney Thursday blasted Sen. John Kerry for a remark the Democratic presidential candidate made last week about fighting a "more sensitive war on terror" if elected.

The White House's official transcript of the event, however, hardly makes mention of the 'derision' expressed in the audience's laughter, which is instead more succinctly conveyed as follows:

Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a "more sensitive" war on terror. (Laughter.)

"Laughter"? What the fuck is that? Boring — and not derisive enough — is what it is. And if there's one thing that drives this devoted newsreader crazy, it's the posting of an incomplete and inaccurate transcript on the White House's website. With that in mind, we've taken it upon ourselves to provide you with the complete and unedited script of events as they ensued at the Dayton Convention Center during the Vice President's controversial speech.

[Heavily, heavily revised take on] VP's Remarks in Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Convention Center, August 12, 2004:

Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a "more sensitive" war on terror. (The gathering of large white men starts snickering, a delicate trickle at first, until three men in the back of the room begin to guffaw, which in turn leads to the audience's eruption into a hooting, snorting catcall of scornful, disapproving laughter directed at that fucking pansy Senator Kerry. Can he be any more of a faggot?) America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. (A man in a navy-blue business suit yells out, "You're damn right!" and nearby members of the audience stand up to give him high-fives.) President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare — nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur. ("Those were real presidents...they kicked the terrorists asses!" barks out an overweight and undereducated woman. The entire audience laughs merrily, because they know that George Bush is a real man, and a real president, and wouldn't be caught having gay sex like that swishy Senator from Massachusetts.) A "sensitive war" will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans and who seek the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more. The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity. ("I'm heading down to Bath & Body Works to torch that fucking place! Who's with me?" queries a furious, bespectacled man.) As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and murderers that we face, but our attitude. Well, the American people know better. ("You tell those Democrats, Mr. Vice President, sir! I may not know how to read, but the USA is number one in my book!" intones a middle-aged man waving a copy of the Wall Street Journal in the air.) They know that we are in a fight to preserve our freedom and our way of life, and that we are on the side of rights and justice in this battle. Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. ("Let's go beat our bitch wives!" cries out a cadre of supporters in the middle of the crowd, and the audience collectively hollers back approvingly. Someone else adds, "And our mistresses too!") They need to be destroyed. (Applause, followed by a bearded man yelling out, "I'm going to go attack some black homosexuals!")

Posted at 3:57 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
And 'N' stands for no comment required

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Posted at 10:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
This picture is totally making all the rounds, and like Teenage Fanclub, we're bandwagonesque

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George Bush on the playing field: reminds us of another jock. And, rugby...isn't that sort of gay?

Not that's there's anything wrong with it! It's not as if the President were, say, a cheerleader, too. Oh, our bad.

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"Push 'em back! Push 'em back!
Push the poor waaaaaaaay back!"

(Thanks to Michelle.)

Posted at 10:09 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 10, 2004
Fat Cats in the Hat

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Finally, the big-ticket endorsements for President Bush are coming in. Or, is this Bush's endorsement of another successful nepotism baby? Well, either way, hats off to you!

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He did always say his favorite book was Hop on Pop...

Posted at 2:38 PM in a Grave fashion.
Things to do in D.C. when your boss and colleagues are away

001powell.jpgAccording to MSNBC News, Colin Powell will not be attending the Republican National Convention at the end of August.

What will he be doing instead?

-Washing his hair.
-Organizing Top Secret Files either in chronological order or from "best to worst" depending on his mood.
-Spending a little 'me time.'
-Four words: "Calgon, take me away!"
-Scowling.
-Crying, interrupted by scowling, then more crying.
-Calling friends in 'old Europe' and apologizing.
-Working on his Monster.com resume.
-Baking pies, mostly apple, but some cherry.
-Practicing guitar: He's almost got the first half of "Wooly-Booly" down.
-Scowling. Did we mention scowling?

Posted at 2:29 PM in a Grave fashion.
Civil Rights Now...It's Playtime!

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The new and improved Woolworth's sit-in lunch counter

In today's New York Times, writer Shaila K. Dewan examines a newfound impetus among white southerners to begrudgingly reflect on their communities' roles in the civil rights movement which occurred many decades earlier. Is this due to a changing of the guard? An effort by younger generations to atone for the sins of their parents? Nah, come on, you're entertaining some pretty feeble guesses there...the correct incentive is, of course, greed.

It has not been easy for communities to embrace a past laced with shame and violence. "Tourism has been forced on these places," said Jim Carrier, a writer from Montgomery, Ala., whose "Traveler's Guide to the Civil Rights Movement" was published by Harcourt in January. "It's not like they put out a sign one day and said, 'Come on down and see our civil rights history.' It's in response to people coming down here, lugging big history books, looking for these places."

The lure of tourism money has helped overcome the shame.

As a result, a handful of various groups in these areas have been putting forth initiatives for museums, monuments, and such that pay tribute to the era's struggles and, oftentimes, to specific landmarks that played a prominent role in the movement, such as the bus stop where Rosa Parks famously held her ground.

Museum gift shops bring in a good business, of course, so we're not knocking their ambitions in that regard, but think of the piles upon piles of cash that could be brought in by a goddamned Six Flags Civil Rights Memorial Park!

Included in this hypothetical RFP for a Six Flags-themed entertainment and water park spectacular:

Special "sit-in"-themed lunch counters, where you can dine on the finest in period-correct malts, shakes, and fries, so long as you drink from the properly-labeled "Colored Only" fountains

I Have a Dreamland, modeled after Disney's giant EPCOT globe, wherein visitors are taken on a guided tour of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's notable exploits, culminating in a thrilling assassination outside a mock hotel

Ride the 'Back of the Bus'-coaster, the wild up and down ride to freedom! And remember, they say with roller coasters, the biggest thrills are always in the back!

Experience the exploits of actual walking and talking Animatronic White Racists...for the first time ever, you, too, can feel what it's like to be called a n*gger, or to have this term impolitely muttered under robotic breaths as you enter or leave the room

Oh, and don't forget the water park:

Enjoy our climate controlled wave pool for the Brown vs. the Surf Board Experience!

And don't forget to leave before getting your very own Fire Hose Blast! What a thrill!

Posted at 11:06 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  August 9, 2004
Keyes Players

alan_keyes_senate.jpgSo, it's now official. After the embarrassing downfall of Jack Ryan a few months back, the Republican Party in the state of Illinois has finally found someone to step up the plate and face the seemingly-impossible task of running to defeat the Democratic Party's up-and-coming superstar Barack Obama (have you heard of this guy? He's handsome! And elegant! And, oh my god, black!) in the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat. And who's his new opponent? Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who technically hails from Maryland, but, you know, these things are all relative as far as state representation at the federal level is concerned.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, Illinois' very own conservative firebrand and current Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, clarified some of the lesser-known aspects of the just-concluded grueling selection process.

"I spent five weeks trying to find good people," said Mr. Hastert, who said he approached state legislators and the former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka and Gary Fencik, an Ivy Leaguer who was a hard-hitting safety.

"I got down into last week interviewing a 70-year-old guy who was a great farm broadcaster in Illinois," Mr. Hastert said. "He decided because of his health problems he couldn't do it. You know, we were down we needed to find somebody to run, somebody who wanted to run. And, you know, Alan Keyes wants to run, and I hope he's a good candidate."

Mike Ditka, a "hard-hitting safety", and an elderly broadcaster...what a way to winnow, I mean, win!

While we're still waiting for Tim Russert to release the full, unedited transcript of yesterday's NBC taping, an on-set source was nonetheless able to provide us with some additional details regarding Rep. Hastert's list of potential candidate recruits, each of whom sadly passed on the opportunity:

Shannen Doherty, who withdrew after an embarrassing sex scandal of her own, involving her former husband being fellated by Paris Hilton on videotape. Paris Hilton has very nice breasts.

Abigail Fleck, child prodigy/inventor of the "Makin' Bacon" healthy bacon preparation device. Regrettably, she is still a teenager and therefore ineligible for the seat.

Richard Jewell, exonerated Olympic Pavillion security guard, passed on it, opting instead to do the voice of Chauncy, the talking cat, on the new season of The Family Guy.

Eric "Butterbean" Esch, the boxer and American patriot. Esch decided to return to his prior vocation as an adjunct professor of prose composition at Harvard.

Hiroyuki Nishigaki, creator of the stress-relief via anus-constricting regimen, was ruled to be ineligible because of his repeated references to "malarkey."

Farnsworth Bentley, P.Diddy's former manservant accepted the role but changed his mind when he was forced to sign his real name on the application: Ira Silverman.

Dave Eggers, noted autobiographer and meta-novelist, who withdrew from consideration after being told that his high school classmate Vince Vaughn could not be appointed by a hypothetical Sen. Eggers to a position in his office, due to Mr. Vaughn's noted tendency to smooth talk the pants off thirty-something-aged female lobbyists, which would of course compromise the ethical integrity of an Eggers administration, which would be An Act of Extreme and Utter Contempt for the Hallowed Halls of Congress, and These Are Things Which We Do Not Do, for They Are Not Honorable, and I Have Been Orphaned

Posted at 9:46 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  August 8, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 32

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Posted at 10:03 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  August 7, 2004
President Bush's most flattering, least-confrontational pose ever

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Posted at 5:20 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 6, 2004
I'm Academy Award-winning actor George C. Scott, and I'm reporting for duty

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Presidential candidate John Kerry, who renounced his Vietnam war medals in the early 1970s.

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General George S. Patton Jr., as played by actor George C. Scott, who renounced his metal Oscar in the early 1970s.

Posted at 2:31 PM in a Grave, Versus fashion.
Gloria Emerson, 1929-2004

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Gloria Emerson

Speaking of the fall of Saigon...

If female journalists were as lionized as their male counterparts, Gloria Emerson would've already gotten the full All The President's Men treatment by now. I see a young Ali MacGraw or Diane Keaton circa Looking For Mr. Goodbar, or, if it were made today, Parker Posey as the compassionate, fearless Vietnam war reporter for The New York Times who died this week.

Of course, we'll probably never see such a movie, since female journalists only get the biopic treatment if they're martyred or the "based on a true story" treatment if they're beautiful and tragic. Meanwhile, this asshole has a film about him, and this schmuck is about to, despite the fact that neither of them has half the talent, bravery, or impact as Emerson had.

Unlike those pishers, Emerson actually reported her stories, even going so far as to risk her life in war-zones like Vietnam and Gaza. But while Emerson's male colleagues seem to have had a jones for the danger, the rugged manhood and camaraderie in the theater of war, Emerson brought uncommon compassion to her reporting. As Craig R. Whitney's Times obit pointed out:

War as she wrote about it was not ennobling but debasing, a misery that inflicted physical suffering and psychic damage on civilians, children and soldiers on both sides.

Emerson wasn't merely the war's reporter, she was its conscience. She probably wouldn't say that about herself, but she almost did when she said:

Vietnam is just a confirmation of everything we feared might happen in life. And it has happened. You know, a lot of people in Vietnam—and I might be one of them—could be mourners as a profession. Morticians and mourners.

She was such an important figure of that era, Richard Avedon gave her the full icon treatment with one of his myth-making portraits, which caught her mid-word, mid-thought, and mid-smoke, looking very much the model of forthright intelligence and intense focus.

As it turns out, there sort of is a movie about Gloria Emerson, or, at the very least, a movie that features her in her prime. In the 1988 documentary Imagine: John Lennon, Emerson pops up in a hilariously confrontational interview with the ex-Beatle who was then embarking on his anti-war "give peace a chance"/bed-in phase. Emerson chastises Lennon for his attention-grabbing antics and his Rolls Royce, repeatedly calling him "my dear boy," and cutting him off again and again. Lennon, knowing he's up against his rhetorical better, can only roll his chewing gum in his hand, make jokes about "the moptops" and act like a petulant child.

The only other person who got up in John and Yoko's shit more in that film was cartoonist Al Capp, but he came off like a crotchety oldster, Bob Dylan's out-of-touch Mr. Jones, whereas Emerson came off like someone who told it like she saw it, and knew exactly whereof she spoke. She stole the scene in John Lennon's very own film. I guess she got her movie after all.

Gloria Emerson was 75.

Posted at 10:25 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 5, 2004
Don't Abandon the Mission

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Curious Kerry photo op in Grandview, Iowa, via Reuters and AFP

Oh, no! Kerry's having a Fall of Saigon flashback!

Posted at 10:45 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 4, 2004
Dick Cheney, I See You!

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Boo!

Related (?): Is Cheney standing in a grassy knoll?

Posted at 10:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 7

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Bush and Carl Anderson: We do chicken right (wing).

With restrictions on campaign 'soft-money' contributions, Bush and Cheney turn to crispy money—extra crispy if you prefer.

Can a cabinet post for this guy be far behind? No? What about this guy?

Posted at 10:36 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
If anything, this headline clarifies why Bill Keller left me chained to a bedpost in Chelsea last week

Appearing in the August 4, 2004 edition of the New York Times, as part of their sly, witty, and oh-so-blunt coverage of the trial of the soldiers responsible for the abuse of Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison last year:

"Woman With Leash Appears in Court on Abu Ghraib Abuse Charges"

Couldn't they have phrased this in some other fashion? Really, you know, just bump around a few clauses....it's that simple.

Posted at 12:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
  August 3, 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry Watch (Unscripted AM Talk Radio Session)

am-talk-radio.jpg...Aaaaand we're back. Boy, folks, we've got another Heinz attack. Senator Kerry...assuming you're capable of it, and I understand if you're not, since she controls the purse strings in your family...get that woman of yours to stop shooting her reckless mouth off! It's this sort of disrespect that she's been purveying lately that really cheapens this race for the White House and, I'm telling you, will cause you to lose the election this fall. Regular listeners of this show will recall that it was just last week that the billionaire ketchup heiress told a prominent and respected reporter to "shove it," totally unwarranted, I might add, and, it turns out, the woman-who-might-be-first-lady has done it again, folks.

Yesterday, at a campaign stop for her husband, Teresa lashed out at several people who had gathered to support our president. You know, a counter-measure of sorts, to combat all the attacks on Bush. These supporters were at this Kerry event, out demonstrating their right to free speech — it's called the first amendment, folks — and gently shouted some cheers of "Four more years! Four more years!" And Mrs. Heinz turned to the crowd, a bunch of Democrats, and said, "They want four more years of hell." And these Democrats in the crowd totally ate it up.

They're all Bush haters, but we knew that. Sen. Kerry added to the fray when he laughingly expressed support for his wife's anti-Christian insults, and called these protesters a bunch of "goons." Unbelievable, folks. Unbelievable. Do they not have God down there in Africa, where this woman's from?

Also, need I remind you, folks, I hate homosexuals.

Posted at 5:07 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 31

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Posted at 4:32 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
A brief reminder that yesterday's terror warnings were not politically motivated

Each of the following four photographs was taken on Monday, August 2nd, 2004, after the Department of Homeland Security issued an urgent alert late this weekend that certain financial institutions may have been targeted by al Qaeda.

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On an unrelated note (and when we say that, it of course always means we're being predictably sarcastic), it turns out the documents which served as the source of these cautionary alerts date back four years or so.

From "Intel that sparked alert dates to 2000", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 3rd, 2004:

At a news conference Monday, [Fran Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser] denied that political considerations affected the timing of the intelligence disclosures, which came the week after Democrats nominated John Kerry as their presidential candidate. "It had nothing to do with the Democratic National Convention," she said.
Posted at 11:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 30, 2004
Noteworthy salutes by today's top newsmakers

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Presidential candidate John Kerry firing up the crowd at last night's Democratic convention

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Presidential candidate (and occasional President) George W. Bush at Andrews Air Force base this morning. Military custom apparently requires that the commander-in-chief salutes with his right hand, while holding his dog Barney with his left hand.

Posted at 11:05 AM in a Grave fashion.
Wow, you really did explain this just the other day

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It may be the week of John Kerry's ascendacy to the Democratic nomination for the President—a period of time during the presidential campaign where the opposition candidate traditionally lays low—but that doesn't mean the incumbent executive branch's Number 2 isn't hitting the road and campaigning for local candidates. For the past few days, Vice President Dick Cheney (whom we've poked fun at before for his inability to stray from the rote lines of his standard stump speech) has brought his unique form of existential musings out west. Here, the veep ponders the idea of an alternate universe, five discrete times in twenty-four hours:

Remarks Followed by Q&A by the Vice President at a Reception for Congressional Candidates Goli Ameri and Jim Zupancic, Portland, Oregon, July 26, 2004:

But I explained to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for that victory by Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and how he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)

The Vice President Delivers Remarks at Luncheon for Congressional Candidate Roy Ashburn, Bakersfield, California, July 26, 2004:

And I explained to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's victory in 1952, Lynne would have married somebody else. She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)

Remarks Followed by Q&A by the Vice President at a Luncheon for Gubernatorial Candidate Dino Rossi, Kennewick, Washington, July 26, 2004:

But I explained to a group the other night, if it hadn't been for that tremendous election victory by Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, Lynne would have married somebody else. And she said, right, and how he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)

The Vice President Delivers Remarks at a Reception for Senatorial Candidate Bill Jones, Riverside, California, July 27, 2004:

I explained to a group the other night if hadn't been for Eisenhower's great victory in 1952, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.)

Remarks by the Vice President at a Luncheon for Congressional Candidate John Swallow, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 27, 2004:

I explained to a group the other day that if hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's election victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)

EARLIER: Dick Cheney (repeating a different aspect of his stump speech), George W. Bush, and John Kerry

Posted at 9:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 29, 2004
Highlights and noteworthy policy points from John Edwards' acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention last night

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Posted at 11:42 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 27, 2004
We're Just Like Us

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As part of our continuing coverage of this year's exciting race for the White House, we asked noted "celebrity body language expert" Patti Wood to provide her unique brand of insight on the "hidden" feelings of politicians as indicated by their physical gestures and maneuvers, but she declined, claiming to be too busy working on an in-depth body language piece for Us Weekly on the recent split between Spiderman 2's Kirsten Dunst and yesterday's it-boy Jake Gyllenhaal.

Ms. Wood's less-successful sister, Cathy, agreed to step in and help us analyze and assess the inner workings of this year's political love lives and goings-on, explaining that she had learned a lot about this process from her older sister. (She did, however, express some dismay about not being able to studiously examine photos of "that total hottie, Jake. I want to touch him.")

Continued after the jump.

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:35 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  July 26, 2004
Skeet, Skeet, Vote

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When you're MTV, and you're inexplicably working with the GOP to galvanize the youth vote, and you're all, "Let's get some kids voting and shit," and they're all, "Bitches, let's get a program going, and we'll get busy on our website, the front page and shit," and you say, "Fuck yeah, we've got this shit right here, check out this fine-ass agendum," then you give 'em an essay contest for young people on "how President Bush's call to service resonates in their lives":

Choose or Lose 2004: "Stand Up and Holla!"

Not having taken part in this inspirational program, we can only take a gander at additional elements and events from the MTV/RNC "Choose or Lose" Program Guide:

"GOP 2004: Get All Up in this Peace"

"Gippa, Please"

"Off the Hizzy, GOPizzy"

"Rock the Hizzouse of Representatives"

"Kerry's Bunk in the Crunk"

"Bust a Cap(ital Punishment)"

"Like Junk in the Trunk? Ni**as get Sunk"

"Niger, Please: I Wanna Sex You Up"

"Please, Hamid, Don't Hurt 'Em"

"Bush 41 got Sonned"

"The Roof, The Roof is on Fire! And the Fire Department's Underfunded!"

"Don't Believe tha Hype... Actually, Believe It. Please."

"Compassionizzle Conservatizzle"

"If I Ruled The World, Actually, I do, so go Fuck Yourself"

"We Skeet on Welfare Bitches, too"

"No Homo"

"Stand Up and Hola! (We welcome Latinos, though)"

And, finally,

"Vote or Die"

Posted at 3:52 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
They must have used all the letter W's for signs about some other fellow

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Offered up at yesterday's Rock the Vote event in Boston: Jerry Springer, Biz Markie, Natalie Portman, Lauryn Hill, Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, and creative usages of an upside-down letter M.

Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
If he loses, there's always 2016

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Via Reuters: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry speaks to Gracie Sabo during a front porch visit in Columbus, Ohio, July 25, 2004.

Why, hello, there, Gracie! Your mommy was very thoughtful for allowing us to host this event here in your front yard, despite the current President's policies on home ownership and property taxes. In fact, if you add up the true costs of this President's economic policies, you get a Bush Tax of higher property taxes, higher fees, higher health care costs - at the same time middle class incomes are going down. In 32 states, state and local property taxes have gone up. This Bush Tax - Boochy-koochy-koo! - can take $3500 or more from the pockets of America's middle class.

"Awwww, don't cry, little Gracie. Oh, no, no, no. Be a big girl. Think of your mommy: She can't afford four more years of Bush. You know what, though? If this President wants to make this election about taxes after he's cut billions for billionaires and squeezed middle class families, we're ready for that fight. Coochy-coochy-coochy-coo."

Posted at 11:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 22, 2004
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 5

From the Remarks by the President at the 2004 President's Dinner at the Washington Convention Center, July 21, 2004:

It's now been three and a half years since the Vice President and I took office. We've faced significant challenges. We have met them head-on. I believe it's the President's job to confront problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. (Applause.)

From the President's State of the Union Address, January 20, 2004:

In two weeks, I will send you a budget that funds the war, protects the homeland, and meets important domestic needs, while limiting the growth in discretionary spending to less than 4 percent. (Applause.) This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending, and be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years. (Applause.)

According to the Congressional Budget Office, by way of Calpundit, this still means a deficit of anywhere from $240 to $500 billion in 2009.

2009? That means that this deficit is a "problem" that President Bush (regardless of the outcome of this year's election) will certainly not be around to confront.

Applause, please.

Posted at 5:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
  July 21, 2004
She's got her mother's face, and her daddy's respect for the media

jenna_bush_tongue.jpg

This image was taken from the focal point of the Washington Post's most important news story EVER (eclipsing coverage of Samuel Berger's resignation from the Kerry campaign, tomorrow's report by the 9/11 commission, and the Palestinian leadership's current disarray):

"Jenna Bush Sticks Tongue Out at News Photographers"

Posted at 11:39 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 20, 2004
How does he pull the strings while thumbing his nose like that?

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July 15, 2004: Karl Rove "gestures with his hand during a speech saying that Sen. John Kerry thumbed his nose to U.S. troops in Iraq".

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July 16, 2004: Op-Ed cartoon by Stuart Carlson

(This remarkable confluence via Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing, the Washington Post, July 20, 2004)

Posted at 3:11 PM in a Grave fashion.
  July 19, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 30

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(With thanks to Chris M.)

Posted at 3:14 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
The perfect right-wing explanation: Perhaps all these Iraqi police casualties have something to do with their choice of armored vehicles

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An Iraqi Police Service vehicle, after having been spruced up by the insurgency

From the Iraq Ministry of Interior's office, "Security Forces Information Packet":

IPS officers drive blue and white vehicles, of various makes and models.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Convoy is on alert on dangerous road":

To the left are the Iraqi police in their white Hyundais with blue painted doors.

Then again, maybe it's not just their choice of vehicles...

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An American Humvee, after having been hummed and veed by an explosive device

From the U.S. Army's Weapons Fact File, "HMMWV":

The HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) is a light, highly mobile, diesel-powered, four-wheel-drive vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission. Based on the M998 chassis, using common components and kits, the HMMWV can be configured to become a troop carrier, armament carrier, S250 shelter carrier, ambulance, TOW missile carrier, and a Scout vehicle.

From MSNBC's "Frantically, the Army tries to armor Humvees: Soft-skinned workhorses turning into death traps":

The cost of an armored Humvee, built from scratch, is $150,000. That's $1.8 billion to replace every Humvee in Iraq with one that offers armored protection. Or, looked at through the windshield of a Humvee on the Baghdad-Tikrit highway, that's less than 2 percent of the $99 billion the Air Force is spending on the F-22 fighter it insists it needs.

RELATED: Iraq Coalition Casualties

Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 16, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 29

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Posted at 11:54 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  July 15, 2004
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 6

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Hey, he's totally grounding the rhetoric! (Ba-dum.) Four (more years) on the floor! This guy is totally trampling over American values! Talk about carpet bombing!

Posted at 5:56 PM in a Grave fashion.
Dan Bartlett must have missed this "photo oppertoonity"

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The wire services and Wisconsin-area local news outlets eagerly covered President Bush's "unscheduled" campaign stop at Mitch's Candy Store in West Bend, Wisconsin, yesterday, but amidst all the hullabaloo over his caloric consumption as he purchased some of the shop's "delicious bearclaws" was one "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" detail.

Wisconsin, a state Bush lost by a mere 6,000 votes in the 2000 election, ranks a respectable eleventh in the nation in education spending, though, somehow, the Bush-supportive candy store that his aides chose for this impromptu photo-op was staffed by people who can't spell the very item that the Secret Service had to have taste-tested beforehand:

bush_bearclaws.jpg

Not to harp on spelling-related issues too much, but it's bearclaw, B-E-A-R-C-L-A-W, bearclaw.

Posted at 1:32 PM in a Grave fashion.
He'll probably work on it in earnest for a few months and then drop it like a hot potato and run when it gets too hard

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From The New York Post's Book Beat, July 15, 2004:

"Paul Bremer, who stepped down as Ambassador to Iraq two weeks ago, has begun meeting with New York publishers about writing a memoir of his life and his experiences in the Middle East.

"Marvin Josephson, the founding chairman of International Creative Management and the agent on such books as Colin Powell's 'My American Journey' and Tommy Franks' upcoming 'American Soldier,' confirmed that interest in the book is 'very, very high.'"

As are the people who think anyone will buy this bilge, b-i-l-g-e.

Posted at 11:21 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 28

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Posted at 9:30 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  July 14, 2004
What are you wearing, honey? A gown by Karl Rove and shoes by Karen Hughes

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Bovs all over your tees! Sigh. Cokie Roberts has indeed been proven to be correct in her weekend prediction that the heretofore invisible Bush daughters would be increasingly whored out as visual props by the incumbent President's campaign masterminds.

Witness the immaculately staged and perfectly-lit photograph taken by primo fashion shutterbug Patrick Demarchelier, sampled above, and slated to appear in the August issue of Vogue, alongside an additional photo of the twins in more casual attire (see below). Perhaps more significantly, the glossy images are accompanied by what can only be considered a kiss-blowing puff piece/article in the grand tradition of the magazine's fawning coverage of politically peripheral luminaries such as Kirsten Dunst and Salma Hayek (both of whom, we hear, are wicked supporters of animal rights and the Reform-Party movement).

As the Washington Post states, the profile was written by one Julia Reed, who "describes herself as an 'acquaintance of the family' and has spent significant time writing about it." Presumably, these writing projects on the First Family have nothing to do with Ms. Reed's hard-hitting pieces on food ("Kebabing Along", "Giving a Fig", "Classic From a Can") for the New York Times' Magazine Desk.

In fact, she's probably referring to her article in London's Sunday Telegraph, dated November 5, 2000, which opens with the lead,

The only time I ever met George W. Bush during his drinking days, I was drunk and stoned myself. I was all of 15 and a guest at the wedding of Donald Ensenat, Bush's Yale classmate and current adviser.

After we were introduced, I emptied the contents of my glass on to the shoe of the future governor of Texas, prompting my father to throw me into the back of his car and take me home.

Oh, wait, wait, wait...maybe it was this piece in the August 2, 2000 edition of Newsweek, entitled "Suddenly, Republicans are Crazy About Everybody: Likability is the convention's most potent political attribute", in which Ms. Reed writes, "'Likability' has apparently become a more potent political attribute than, say, having a firm grasp of issues or possessing formidable speaking skills...Republicans apparently find it more appealing to appear brain dead than engaged in the issues that often divide the party."

Wow, Julia, honey, it's amazing the First Lady even let you interview her daughters at all! Unless, maybe, you swore off any such opining or commentary...? According to the Washington Post, again, Reed's current piece in Vogue presents such vital nuggets as:

...the daughters' post-graduation plans include Jenna's desire to work for a charter school and Barbara's interest in working with AIDS-afflicted children in Eastern Europe and Africa. Both girls have surrounded themselves with a group of good friends who say such nice things about them that readers might be led to believe these young women have never burped publicly, let alone had a grumpy day.

The story's headline promises that the daughters are about to "give the country a glimpse of who they really are by joining their father on the campaign trail." But those who spend any time on such trails argue that the goal is not to reveal one's real self but a perfectly polished and eloquently scripted facsimile.

But, of course, such low-key anecdotes aren't the news, here. The news is these stunning photos! Thankfully, the Post's Robin Givhan goes into greater detail on the real substantive issues:

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Jenna's ruby red dress is by Oscar de la Renta, a designer favored by her mother. Barbara is wearing a similar ivory gown by Calvin Klein.

[...]

The second photograph has the twins dressed in more casual attire. Barbara wears an Alberta Ferretti camisole and Max Mara skirt. Jenna is in a Moschino top, Tommy Hilfiger jacket and trousers from Joe's Jeans. (The twins wear Italian and American labels but no French.) They are walking toward the camera, perfect teeth lighting up their pretty faces. Here they play the roles of chic girls about town. The setting is Schiller's Liquor Bar, one of those downtown New York restaurants where town cars idle out front and the menu is voyeuristically working class, with a wine list that is cheap, decent and good.

They wear another kind of uniform, one that speaks of youth, hipness and moneyed polish. The clothes tease the viewer, offering the faintest whiff of the twins' personalities. Is Jenna in jeans and jacket because she is more casual? More urbane? One wishes that the caption said something like: Jeans, model's own. The restaurant is empty. It was closed for the shoot. There's none of the liveliness that makes it such an enticing place. No "cheap" or "decent" wine on the tables. It's just a tidy backdrop for two perfect smiles.

They'll wear American and Italian, but no French? And come on, gals, Tommy Hilfiger?

Just so you know, ladies, as a bit of closing advice, French Connection U.K. is a British clothier, despite their misleading name, and you can and should feel comfortable supporting our most important ally in the War on Terror. Maybe next time, you darlings can sport one of those endearing "FCUK BUSH" T-shirts?

Posted at 11:49 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 13, 2004
Cokie, you left out the part about how today's kids loooove bellbottoms

bushtwins.jpg
From L to R, Jenna Bush and her father, July 9, 2004; and Barbara Bush and her father, July 13, 2004

From the back-and-forth banter between Cokie Roberts and Chris Matthews, The Chris Matthews Show, July 11, 2004:

Ms. ROBERTS: Well I was going to talk about Michael Moore, but I'll switch and say I think the Bush twins will be out on the campaign trail with midriffs showing and that they will...

MATTHEWS:Will they be for Edwards or what?

Ms. ROBERTS:...they will be after that youth vote as well.

Posted at 3:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
The glaringly obvious joke would be, "Would you like freedom fries with that?"

wketchup.jpg

As that old "uniter-not-divider" canard strikes anew, a handful of conservatives with their eye on the upcoming presidential election have (very, very, very predictably) earmarked the corporation at the source of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's wife's fortune as the target of their ire. Yes, Theresa Heinz Kerry, or rather, Heinz, the ketchup giant she inherited from her deceased Republican husband, is slated for a round of negligible victimization with the release of W Ketchup. From their site:

"W Ketchup is made in America, from ingredients grown in the USA. The leading competitor not only has 57 varieties, but has 57 foreign factories as well. W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American. Choose Heinz and you're supporting Teresa and her husband's Gulfstream Jet, and liberal causes such as Kerry for President."

All good points...and I know I prefer American-flavored ketchup to its various alternatives. And while a 24-ounce bottle of traitorous Heinz-brand ketchup runs a measly $1.69 at FreshDirect, compared with W Ketchup's steeper $3 price tag, bear in mind that "a portion of every W Ketchup sale will be donated to to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for the children of active duty service members killed in the line of duty."

In other words, the more ketchup your kids buy to cover themselves in lieu of blood while pretending to be shot or maimed in childish war games, the more children of actually-killed soldiers benefit! (It's a win-win scenario, save for those troops who were merely maimed, in which case, the kids get nothing.)

Well, there's nothing wrong with freedom, liberty, or American-grown tomatoes. And there's nothing inherently wrong with selfishly looking after your own interests, either. So, please, please, be generous and open your wallets to purchase some of the progressively-minded alternative products below, which we'll be making available shortly.

Lefty brand rifles and shotguns

Earth-First unfarmed and recycled tobacco and cigarette-paper products

"Kerry" brand army transport vehicles

Li-burn-all brand gasoline (developed at our wide variety of Liberal-owned Alaskan oil refineries)

Abortionist brand fetus jars, not to be confused with...

Do-It-Yourself Stem-Cell Kits—FOR KIDS! (also safe for old people)

Green toxic waste

Porsche minivans and sport utility vehicles (as a Euro-loving alternative to the Ryder truck used to blow up Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building)

Oh, and lots and lots of Dijon mustard.

(Thanks to Jeff.)

Posted at 11:13 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 9, 2004
John-John battles the pink robots

kerry-edwards-anime2.jpg

This election just got a little more anime-ated!

Posted at 2:18 PM in a Grave fashion.
America, we are all little girls now

The three stages of Kerry-Edwards support amongst the Democrat-leaning American populace, as indicated by little Amy Campbell-Oates, age 3, in the red shirt:

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1. Curious...

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2. Wait, wait...totally freaked out.

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3. Resigned to a Bush-Cheney victory in November.

Posted at 10:57 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 8, 2004
Wanted, Dead or Alive...and preferably on the 26th, 27th, or 28th of July

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Time to whip out your summertime advent calendar and take a look at the delicious candy we have in store for us this month (I hope it's butterscotch!). The New Republic's latest issue features a piece about the Bush Administration's interaction with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency in their collaborative search for so-called High-Value Targets, i.e. villains in the War on Terror™, excerpted below.

From "July Surprise", in The New Republic's July 19th, 2004 issue:

This spring, the administration significantly increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the Taliban's Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan. A succession of high-level American officials--from outgoing CIA Director George Tenet to Secretary of State Colin Powell to Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca to State Department counterterrorism chief Cofer Black to a top CIA South Asia official--have visited Pakistan in recent months to urge General Pervez Musharraf's government to do more in the war on terrorism.

[...]

A third source, an official who works under ISI's director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed tnr that the Pakistanis "have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must." What's more, this source claims that Bush administration officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: "The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such comment." But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Despicable. Conspiratorial. Unbelievable. The byline says John Judis, Spencer Ackerman and Massoud Ansari, but, seriously...will the influence of Stephen Glass ever wane amongst the purveyors of mistruth at The New Republic?

Late July? They clearly meant late October.

Posted at 4:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
  July 7, 2004
Honey, I'm taking the kids out for I-C-E C-R-E-A-M

bill_oreilly_bilge.jpg

The wonderfully droll Bill O'Reilly, as featured in last night's "O'Reilly Factor", FOX News, as it aired July 6, 2004:

"The left wingers on the radio were saying Edwards was born in Bethlehem and is very near the baby Jesus.Now I ask you, how much of this bilge, B-I-L-G-E, bilge, can we take?"

Bear in mind, as you see above, this rant was accompanied by an on-screen graphic with the word "bilge" prominently featured.

Posted at 5:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
Leno-caliber Fun with Screenshots

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Click here for the full-sized enlargement, and here to actually read the article, the latter of which seems mind-numbingly boring after such juvenile screenshot antics, but hey.

Posted at 5:19 PM in a Grave fashion.
He's right! Bermuda and India are doing quite well

From Remarks by the President on the Economy, the White House, July 2, 2004:

"We've got an economy which is changing. The nature of the job base is changing. And all that means it's been a difficult period of time. Yet we're strong, we're getting stronger. We're witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that's important.

From Return of consulting lifts Accenture: First growth in consulting operations in 2-1/2 years boosts firm's profit above Wall Street's views, CNN/Money, July 7, 2004:

Accenture Ltd., one of the world's largest consulting firms, said Wednesday its quarterly profit rose sharply thanks to strong demand for outsourcing and the first real increase in consulting revenue in 2-1/2 years.

[...]

For the fiscal third quarter ended May 31, the Bermuda-incorporated company posted earnings of $210.4 million, or 37 cents a share, up from $132.1 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier. The figures were in line with preliminary results the company provided last month.

Posted at 4:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
  July 6, 2004
Opening November 2004 in Union-Free Theaters Nationwide

kerry edwards gephardt ticket taker

Posted at 12:33 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  July 2, 2004
Saddam Hussein's point-by-point guide to pointing

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First, unveil your fist...and get ready. This will be your "pointing hand."

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OK, shoot. Whip the index finger out, and aim it pointedly at your accuser. You might even consider gesticulating with your other hand. It certainly adds flair.

Continue reading...
Posted at 11:46 AM in a Grave fashion.
  July 1, 2004
At least he's still got his sense of humor, that lovable old bear!

hussein_charges_court.jpgWe've already used our patented Scientific Joke Assessment Technology® on United States President George W. Bush, but now's our opportunity to wield this same tool of analysis in the direction of Saddam Hussein. Today marked his first semi-public appearance since, well, being deposed last year, as he faced an Iraqi judge and was read the list of charges against him for his arraignment and impending trial. The verdict? He's a regular funnyman!

Really, these examples of his sardonic wit blow away even the notoriously jocular Slobodan Milosevic and those on trial for war crimes in Sierra Leone.

Asked if he could afford a lawyer, he became jocose.

"The US says that I have millions stashed in Geneva . Why couldn't I afford a lawyer?"

[...]

And he feigned ignorance of the 1988 gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, telling the court: "Yes, I read about that in the press - they said it happened in the time of Saddam Hussein."

The Iraqi Todd Barry, as we like to call the deposed leader, will hopefully be making his next appearance in the coming days. And in unrelated comedy news, which has nothing whatsoever to do with brilliant timing and/or joke execution, the current government of Iraq has reinstated the death penalty.

Posted at 11:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 26

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(This very special German governmental zombie edition comes courtesy of one Christopher Mohney.)

Posted at 10:32 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  June 30, 2004
And just like that, donations to his campaign stopped pouring in from Hollywood and Madison Avenue

From President Bush's speech in Turkey on June 29th, in which he defended democratic ideals:

"In some parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, there is wariness toward democracy, often based on misunderstanding. Some people in Muslim cultures identify democracy with the worst of Western popular culture, and want no part of it. And I assure them, when I speak about the blessings of liberty, coarse videos and crass commercialism are not what I have in mind. There is nothing incompatible between democratic values and high standards of decency."
Posted at 12:32 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 29, 2004
Am I Veep Or Not? Vol. 2

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For weeks, the media has been breathlessly scouring internal reports leaked from the Democratic camp, trying to winnow down a hypothetical list of presumptive 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's picks for his vice-presidential candidate.

This just in! You heard it here first! Based on preliminary analysis of the above wire service photo, it looks like the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee is...let's see...Senator Paul Sarbanes from Maryland!

Wait, who the fuck is that? Wow, this really comes a surprise. We'd been lead to believe that Kerry would go with someone who could bring him some very key electoral votes or inaccessible voting blocs in the so-called swing states, such as Bill Richardson in New Mexico, or Bob Graham in Florida, or even perennial runner-up Dick Gephardt from Iowa.

Well, to be sure, though Sen. Sarbanes may seem to be somewhat of a surprise pick, the Kerry camp must be confident that...hold on, wait, a correction. We've been so breathless from all this expectant websurfing and newsreading that we failed to notice that the photo was accompanied by a caption reading, "Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, left, is introduced by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., at a fund-raiser in Baltimore on Monday, June 28, 2004."

Shit, are we embarrassed. Well, it's back to the Edwards Watch for us!

Posted at 11:07 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  June 28, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 25

kerry_bighead.jpg

Posted at 5:28 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  June 26, 2004
Wait, aren't the French supposed to be rude, and the Irish merely drunk?

Five highlighted responses by President Bush from his interview with the Irish press during his trip abroad this weekend (culled from "Interview of the President by Radio and Television Ireland", June 24, 2004):

1. "Let me finish. Let me finish. May I finish?"

2. "Let me finish. Let me finish, please. Please. You ask the questions and I'll answer them, if you don't mind."

3. "Let me finish, please. Please. Let me finish, and then you can follow up, if you don't mind."

4. "Let me finish."

5. "Please. Please. Please, for a minute, okay. It'll be better if you let me finish my answers, and then you can follow up, if you don't mind."

Posted at 9:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 25, 2004
On a Positive Note, the Hot Dog Vendor on the Corner of 38th and Broadway Will Likely Double His Sales

As a benefit to residents of the city of New York, as well as fans of urban planning and economic development in general, we at low culture are providing this quick-and-easy tear sheet/scorecard entitled, "Holding the 2004 GOP Convention in New York City."

PROS
Source: the New York Post, May 29, 2004
    A positive economic benefit of $184 million to the city of New York.
CONS
Source: the New York Times, June 25, 2004
    "The transportation plan calls for one lane of avenues directly outside Madison Square Garden to remain open to motorists, except during the approximately 13 hours the convention will be in session...

    It also imposes parking restrictions and reroutes bus service...

    Streets bordering the convention to the north and south would be closed for several blocks...

    A restricted area around the arena will be controlled by checkpoints, where police will demand identification from anyone seeking entry...

    Cars entering the area, including those carrying delegates and dignitaries, will be screened for explosives and other contraband by devices that provide real-time video images of their undercarriages...

    Between 6,000 to 10,000 officers have been assigned to patrol the streets and subways around the convention...

    [Penn Station] riders could face delays, but no shutdowns, officials said...

    Preliminary plans call for state and city police officers -- armed with bomb-sniffing dogs and hand-held chemical detection devices -- to board commuter and subway trains one stop before they reach Penn Station during the hours of the convention. The trains will be swept for suspicious packages and terror suspects before being allowed to continue into the station, officials said...

    The Lincoln Tunnel, just to the west of the convention site, and the city's other tunnels and bridges will be heavily guarded, but open to usual traffic, authorities said."

Well...for all practical purposes, it seems as though the residents of the city of New York come out roughly even in the end, there, huh?

Thanks, Republican Party, and thanks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg! And at the very least, all of this inconvenience finally gives people something to get all riled up about (in the designated protest areas, of course).

Posted at 4:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
Vote for the New World Order...Vote John Kerry '04!

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Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry, beckoning his Illuminati and Freemason cronies to rise forth from the dead, or however the fuck that conspiracy shit works.

Posted at 12:55 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  June 22, 2004
Oh, and the theme song to Titanic, too...

celine_dion_power_of_love.jpgFrom President Bush's faith-based initiative-oriented "Remarks by the President in a Conversation on Compassion", Cincinnati, Ohio, June 21, 2004:

I know that many a good soul makes a mistake in their life and ends up in prison. And it seems to make sense to me to spend taxpayers' money to help these prisoners realize a better tomorrow when they get out of prison, give them a second chance. And I want that second chance to be done not only in kind of the traditional way, but also through faith--based and community--based programs. I mean, I can't--frankly, can't think of a better reentry program for somebody to be there with open arms saying, I love you, no matter what you may have done in the past. I want you to succeed, and here--and we're here to help.

If the White House's Office of the Press Secretary has the gall to call this speech a series of "Remarks by the President in a Conversation on Compassion", what, then, does the local Ohio media have to say on the matter? Let's check in with the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"Bush praises power of love"

Well, now that the Enquirer mentions it, the President's speech on rehabilitating prisoners does bear a very, very loose metaphorical resemblance to Celine Dion's lyrics:

'Cause I am your lady/And you are my man/Whenever you reach for me/I'll do all that I can

We're heading for something/Somewhere I've never been/Sometimes I am frightened/But I'm ready to learn/Of the power of love

Ah, prison jokes! Truly the lowest common denominator of humor. Well, that and films about Dodgeball.

Posted at 3:09 PM in a Grave fashion.
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 5

kerry_strongereconomy.jpg

Posted at 12:09 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  June 21, 2004
Hi! My name is... (what?) My name is... (who?)

Yet again, the War on Terror rubric serves as an effective justification for nearly anything that might infuriate libertarians, however tangential such a connection may be.

From "High Court Rules on Police ID Requests", the Associated Press, June 21, 2004:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that people do not have a constitutional right to refuse to tell police their names.

The 5-4 decision frees the government to arrest and punish people who won't cooperate by revealing their identity.

The decision was a defeat for privacy rights advocates who argued that the government could use this power to force people who have done nothing wrong to submit to fingerprinting or divulge more personal information.

Police, meanwhile, had argued that identification requests are a routine part of detective work, including efforts to get information about terrorists.

Posted at 12:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
Well, he's certainly not being sworn in as the Minister of Interior Decorating

greenspan_cheney.jpg

From Yahoo! News: "Vice-President Dick Cheney swears in Alan Greenspan for a fifth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank said in a statement. (AFP/White House/David Bohrer)"

Posted at 11:25 AM in a Grave fashion.
This Saudi crackdown on terror sure has been effective

saudi_gas_prices.jpg

From "Snow: Saudis Intent on Terror Money Cuts", the Associated Press, June 20, 2004:

"I think the two biggest exports of Saudi Arabia have been oil and terrorism, and that one of the ways in which they supported terrorism was by their support for the schools in which hatred was taught of the West, the so-called madrassas," [Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.] told CNN.

"Now, I think they finally have been hit at home, so they realize that what they have helped to unleash in the world is coming back to bite them as well. And so I'm hopeful that they'll take stronger action now," Levin said.

"But until now, I don't see that they have taken strong actions in many areas. And that's part of the problem that we've had."

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said that unless Saudi Arabia better protects Americans and other foreigners working in the kingdom, "they're in deep trouble with regard to the oil business."

Yes, Senator Lugar, Saudi Arabia is and will be in "deep trouble with regard to the oil business." Which in no way effects American consumers and the prices they pay for gasoline...

RELATED: John Kerry's campaign website (and this is their typo, not mine) on the matter of "Skyrocking Gas Prices and the Impact on America's Families, Industry and Economy"

Happy skyrocking! Me, I'm off to go spacedancing with my renewable-energy beatbox.

Posted at 10:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 17, 2004
Am I Veep Or Not?

kerry_vp_watch.jpg

Odds of a Kerry/McCain 2004 Candidacy: 0/1,000,000
Odds of a Kerry/Kucinich 2004 Candidacy: 1/1,000,000

(cf. McCain, Bush Begin to Mend Ties; Senator Wooed by Kerry but Will Appear With Former Rival, Washington Post, June 17, 2004)

Posted at 4:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
I thought I could, I thought I could

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From the imagined ramblings of an alternate-universe George W. Bush, best-selling author of inspirational children's books, in response to the actual, real-world ramblings of the actual, real-world President Bush mere hours ago:

Right past that mountain, right over there, are the Iraqi people.

They await liberation. They await the gift of democracy, which we have in great supply aboard our train. They await our presence as liberators.

Over that mountain, there, are weapons of mass destruction, and a terrorist named Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi. He's being harbored by Saddam Hussein, right over that mountain there.

Please, United Nations, and please, Democratic leadership, help me bring the gift of democracy to the people of Iraq, right over that mountain there.

There is a link to al Qaeda. There is a link to al Qaeda.

It's right over that mountain, there.

Posted at 12:15 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  June 16, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 24

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Posted at 1:24 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  June 15, 2004
God's Omnipotent Smite List (3rd edition)

god-smite.jpgChrist, God's a busy sumbitch, so please forgive Him for neglecting His editorial duties here at low culture for the past several months. When He was last made available to us to proffer his eminent Smite List, things were going quite poorly in Iraq, there were genocidal concerns in Sudan, and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had failed to establish a concrete position on the United States' role in international and domestic affairs.

Thankfully, things have changed for the better since then, and now that his Son has become a major box office draw, and continues to command the interest of the electoral masses as his Holy Vessel (Catholic Division®) is paid visits by the American President, God has more time for Himself with which to erupt and set forth His metaphorical Vesuvius.

Hear ye, cretins, this be the word of God!

Thee Who Shalt be Smitten (on this, the Third Day)
penned by He who remains embedded in the Pledge of Allegiance

1. Vice President Dick Cheney: Richard, my forsaken son, you have lied in my name time and again, and I have turned a blind eye. I even hoped you'd have taken the hint regarding this matter when I made clear that there has never been worthwhile evidence for your conflation of the al Qaeda operation and Saddam's regime. But then, just yesterday (many months, if not years, after I dispelled this nonsense, or thought I had), you lied again, in public, to actual, living people, and said, regarding Saddam, "He had long established ties with al Qaeda." Richard, this was June 14, 2004, and you said this in the context of a campaign speech. In keeping with this insouciance, Richard, I condemn thee to an eternity of being bound and tied to Osama bin Laden, once I find him.

2. Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: Seriously, Donald, though you rarely, if ever, invoke me by name, I'm nonetheless sick to fucking death of these needless wars you've embarked my people upon. And your title! You're like the Secretary of War, with Ridge more appropriately staffing the Defense position. Come the fuck on. After the photos of torture in Abu Ghraib and other anonymous leaks that I brought to my good friend Sy Hersh (while wrapped in angel feathers and standing atop a fire-borne chariot so as to not draw attention to myself amidst the melee that is Washington), I was certain you'd resign, or perhaps be fired, the latter of which would have allowed you and your family to partake of six months of unemployment checks. Instead, despite your superbness, I shall have to smite thee.

3. Sec. of State Colin Powell: Come on, Colin, I've sat on my jewel-bedecked couch with bated breath (and quills in hand) on many occasions over the past months, confident you'd come forth and spill those secrets about the Bush Administration's dishonest and criminal behavior that only you, me, and your bosses know about, but since it would be considered bad form for me to use Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill as mouthpieces yet again to get this information out (though I did enjoy it the first two times, I must admit), I'd been relying on your supposed conscience to take care of things. Alas, you've proven yourself to be quite the noble tool, subtly implying that you'll be leaving the Administration next year, but not going so far as to give American voters reason to force this process upon you, say, were they to vote your boss out of office this fall due to information you might have shared with the populace. So noble, you simpering coward.

4. Insurgents, Terrorists, Fedayeen et al: I've said this before, chumps, but cut this shit out, and I mean it this time. You're not just taking out contractors and soldiers who are a part of the Occupying Powers, you're harming innocent civilians, too, which doesn't make you any better than the American armed forces who drop bombs on wedding parties or whatnot and then try to justify it post-haste. Regardless, I'm going to have to force the whole lot of you to consort for time immemorial with my boy Richard, mentioned above.

5. Kevin Shields: Hey, I like discordant music, OK? A deity can only listen to well-tuned harps for so long, and as I fear that Armageddon approacheth, I would hope that you would hurry up with those My Bloody Valentine rarity box sets you've been promising fans for some time now. Their having to wait until 2005 or 2006 is inexcusable, however. I understand that I could remedy this myself through various means, of course, but after my experience with the years-in-the-making -- but nonetheless rushed-feeling -- New Order Retro box set, I learned it was best to stay out of such things. Creative genius does not come from above, contrary to conventional wisdom or whatever you may have learned from Grammy acceptance speeches.

6. President Ronald Reagan: What, am I missing something here? Why are you looking at me like that?

Posted at 4:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
In John We Trust

fbi_arrest_nuradin.jpgAfter last week's embarrassing revelations by the U.S. State Department that key data had been "creatively" edited out of a year-end report that claimed to document the "success" of the War on Terror (which, had the data been included, would have instead conveyed a sharp rise in terror-related attacks), fans of terror-themed prosecutions can rest assured that Ashcroft and Co. are back in business with yesterday's announcement of the indictment of Nuradin M. Abdi, 32, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Somali native, according to the FBI's Cincinnati office, allegedly planned to blow up an unspecified Columbus-area shopping mall, and has thus been charged with misusing immigration documents, fraud, and supporting terrorist activity. Furthermore, according to WABC-TV in New York,

Authorities say they have linked Abdi with Iyman Faris who is a convicted Al-Qaeda member who tried to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

The details of this alleged plot are being kept secret. In fact, investigators say plans to blow up a Columbus mall were in their earliest stage. They have also acknowledged they have found no bomb making materials and they don't have evidence to prove Abdi actually went for any terrorist training in Ethiopia.

Well, that's comforting, particularly in the wake of the FBI's resounding success in prosecuting University of Buffalo art professor Steve Kurtz, whose work as an artist explores the politics of biotechnology, for violating the USA PATRIOT act, and Brandon Mayfield, the lawyer in Oregon who had been arrested for his supposed involvement in the Madrid commuter train bombings earlier this spring, after his fingerprints allegedly (and, more significantly, only fleetingly) matched up with those found on a bag used in connection with the attacks.

With those feats of idiocy in mind, it's likely that the FBI's evidence in the mall-bombing case likely consists of some nonsense akin to the following, e.g., this hypothetical letter to home:

Cousin Akbar! I am missing you and the family very much, but I am liking America. I am making friends, and I am even learning to speak the cool vernacular. For instance, I played miniature golf, which was quite dope. I am also planning to blow up the spot later this week at the mall...It will be hot! Smoking, even!
Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 14, 2004
The End Times

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(Click here to see Time's actual cover for this week's issue.)

Posted at 2:42 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
No respect! Seriously, I don't get any respect. I mean, no one respects me.

bush_speech_father_birthday.jpgThrough the benefit of fine films such as Journeys with George, it's long been established that our current President is a jocular, fun-loving guy. We've even paid tribute to his chummy tenor ourselves on a few occasions using our tried-and-true Scientific Joke Assessment methodology. However, bestowing nicknames like "Scrappy" or "Shruggy" or whatnot on White House press correspondents or members of your cabinet only goes so far, and at some point a truly engaging president must rely on clever speechwriters to amuse a crowd.

Let's get going, then. To wit, here are the opening quips from Bush 43's remarks at his father's 80th birthday tribute event this weekend.

"Thank you all. As you can see, I have been given the high honor to represent my three brothers, my sister, and our respective families at the 80th birthday party for our dad, our Gampy."

OK, not a bad start. Cute, even. It cuts to the point, with the inclusion of "Gampy" gently invoking a bit of familial interplay. The president continues,

"You're probably wondering how I got to be the family spokesman. (Laughter.)"

Again, pretty funny, all thins considered. He's riffing on the fact that he's the sitting President of the United States -- the most powerful man in the world -- and his father's eldest son. It also bears noting that one of his brothers is merely a governor of some state that juts off from the continental United States, while another brother is an established crook and scam artist from the savings and loan bailouts of the late '80s and early '90s. Much like the "Gampy" line above, he's delicately playing on issues of love and familiarity in a larger, broader context. Continuing,

"Well, we polled the family. And rumor has it, somewhere in our large family, the tiebreaking vote for tonight's speaker was cast by a fourth cousin by the name of Chad. (Laughter and applause.)"

Hmm. Well, OK, we'll give him this one as an act of good faith. He's using the family angle again, which is good, given the setting, though obliquely embarking on this "Chad" tangent may be a bit dicey. After all, it's not really relevant to his father's 80th birthday in any direct form, and it seems ill-advised to reference an issue that many people consider a black mark upon his own supposed presidency, that is to say, that whole Katherine Harris/Jeb Bush/illegal removal of thousands of black voters from the election rolls fiasco. But, yeah, we'll concede the point here. Seriously, it's at least partially clever to go out and make up a fictitious family member in the act of telling a good joke. Continuing, then,

"While holding his son above the crib, Chad's father reports that the lad burped, and it sounded like, "George W." (Laughter.)"

Umm, yeah, he's treading into some poorly-considered territory here. The recount joke/fictitious family member's role has been elongated an extra beat, but now with the addition of a semi-juvenile burping gag. Ugh. Continuing, and really, maybe, he shouldn't,

"Once again, my life was affected by a dangling chad. (Laughter and applause.)"

Oh, fuck! He actually did it! He went back and more or less made stark the otherwise subtler implications of his earlier lines. At this point, it's a wonder he actually moved on in the speech and began to speak about the funeral for his surrogate papa, Ronald Reagan, rather than continue with even more painfully drawn-out jokes about the fictitious baby in the crib also being named Chad, just like his father, and having the cutest dimples this side of the twins' baby photos, ad infinitum.

Here's to you up in heaven, ol' cowboy...Thank you, Ronnie, for enabling us to be spared any jokes about Jews for Buchanan.

RELATED: About.com's Florida Recount Jokes website

Posted at 1:03 PM in a Grave fashion.
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 4

From the White House's Fighting Corruption Fact Sheet: Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency from the G-8 summit last week, dated June 10, 2004:

U.S. Actions: The U.S. has taken the lead in the global fight against corruption. On January 12, 2004, President Bush issued a proclamation to deny entry into the United States of corrupt foreign officials, their dependents, and those who corrupt them. The U.S. also led international efforts to gain agreement on the U.N. Convention Against Corruption.

From White House Officials and Cheney Aide Approved Halliburton Contract in Iraq, Pentagon Says, the New York Times, June 14, 2004:

"In the fall of 2002, in the preparations for possible war with Iraq, the Pentagon sought and received the assent of senior Bush administration officials, including the vice president's chief of staff, before hiring the Halliburton Company to develop secret plans for restoring Iraq's oil facilities, Pentagon officials have told Congressional investigators.

The newly disclosed details about Pentagon contracting do not suggest improper political pressures to direct business to Halliburton, the Houston-based company that Vice President Dick Cheney once led.

But they raise questions about assertions by Mr. Cheney and other administration officials that he knew nothing in advance of the Halliburton contracts and that the decisions were made by career procurement specialists, without involvement by senior political appointees."

Posted at 11:43 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 11, 2004
Like father's boss, like son

"Bush makes it a point to emulate Reagan", Reuters, June08, 2004

"Reagan's Failure: A scathing report on Iran finally forces Regan out. But can the president recover?", Newsweek, March 9, 1987:

That private signal made it harder to establish that any decision had been made, and easier for the president to forget what he had done. Regan still insists that the president did not approve the August 1985 Israeli shipment in advance. Reagan himself first told the Tower panel that he had approved it; then, after staff briefings, he said he hadn't. Finally, in a letter to the board, he said he might have allowed others to influence his recollection: "The simple truth is, I don't remember -- period." The flip-flop, his aides said, was humiliating to Reagan; if he couldn't remember when he made a decision to sell weapons to Iran in exchange for U.S. hostages, his critics wondered, what could he remember?

"Bush: U.S. Expected to Follow Law On Prisoners; President Is Pressed On Interrogations Memo", Washington Post, June 11, 2004:

Pressed repeatedly during a news conference here about a Justice Department memo saying torture could be justified in the war on terrorism, Bush said only that U.S. interrogators had to follow the law.

Asked whether he agrees with the Justice Department view, Bush said he could not remember whether he had seen the memorandum.

Posted at 11:24 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 10, 2004
The least-interesting angle from the N.Y. Times' panoramic-camera coverage of Reagan's wake at the Capitol today

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Posted at 1:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
The least-interesting angle from inside Reagan's casket at the Capitol today

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Posted at 1:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
Pimp My Ride (Iraq edition): Leather seats, CD changer, and an interim government

iraq_bush_g8_driversseat.jpg

Showing off his new toy: "U.S. President George W. Bush drives Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar past photographers after their meeting at the Group of Eight Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, June 9, 2004." (Reuters)

Posted at 11:49 AM in a Grave fashion.
You should see the third side of his mouth

From "Post's Woodward: Journalists should have been more skeptical about Iraq war buildup", Associated Press, June 9, 2004:

''I believe we have a duty to free people and liberate people,'' Woodward said Bush told him during interviews for his book ''Plan of Attack.''

From Condoleeza Rice's remarks to the Republican National Convention, August 1, 2000:

"[George W. Bush] recognizes that the magnificent men and women of America's armed forces are not a global police force. They are not the world's 911."
Posted at 11:24 AM in a Grave fashion.
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

bush_kerry_chartpoll.jpg

(Incoherent chart taken from Yahoo News/Los Angeles Times)

Posted at 10:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 9, 2004
Swingin' Summit: G8, live from Orange County

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g8_swingers01.jpg

Continue reading...
Posted at 3:27 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 23

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(Though it may be a bit hard to tell, that is indeed Tony Blair at the G8 summit.)

Posted at 3:03 PM in a Grave fashion.
Politicking in the age of America's "most popular modern President"

reagan-bush_website.jpg

For those of you who don't regularly visit George W. Bush's campaign website and official weblog and Meet-Up site, you may not have known that for the past several days, the site's front page has been overtaken by the gargantuan, one-thousand-pixels wide layout sampled above. (Constructive note to the G.O.P. web team: It's doubtful that the majority of Republican Middle American visitors to your website have screen resolutions greater than 800x600. Just a tip for any future pandering ideas you may have.)

In case you'd forgotten, President Bush has claimed over and over again to have modeled his presidency on Reagan's, and many articles made available this week have reified this point nicely, if not a bit sardonically. You know, tax cuts, deficit spending, reduction of benefits and social services, increased arms spending, etc. Oh, and patriotism. That last thing comes in handy when you consider the 24/7 orgy of Reagan-worship television viewers have been subjected to since news of his death on Saturday. Notably, many commentators have gone so far as to iterate the idea that Ronald Reagan was the most beloved and popular president of modern times.

In that vein, then, here's some additional information on The Deity That Was Reagan:

"As measured by Gallup polls, Reagan on average had a 53 ... Reagan's highest job approval rating was 65 percent...His average approval rating was 48 percent in 1987 and 53 percent in 1988, though, like most presidents, he got a final lift in his last month of office, getting a 63 percent approval rating in December 1988."

Here, as well, is some additional information on The Shame That Was Clinton:

"The president leaves office with 61% of the public approving of the way he is handling the job, combined with a surprisingly lofty 64% favorability rating (up from 48% in May 2000)..."

On that note, John Kerry's official campaign website is expected to soon post the following splashpage:

reagan-clinton_book.jpg

Posted at 12:43 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
You're Not Following Orders, Soldier!

In today's Los Angeles Times: "Prison Interrogators' Gloves Came Off Before Abu Ghraib"

"I said, take the gloves off, soldier!"

abu-ghraib_orders-slice.jpg

Posted at 12:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 8, 2004
Double feature with Fahrenheit 9/11

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(Original photo of Iraqi children part of this Reuters article.)

Posted at 1:35 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Tear down this velvet rope! (I can't see him from here)

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Members of the public solemnly view their fallen leader in Simi Valley, CA, June 8, 2004.

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Members of the public solemnly view their fallen leader in Red Square, Moscow, undated.

(Thanks to Choire.)

Posted at 12:18 PM in a Grave, Versus fashion.
  June 7, 2004
No, look down, down, buried under the beaches of Normandy

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Though you may have missed it while gazing up to the heavens in hopes of getting a glimpse of a fallen leader, President Bush was interviewed by NBC's master interlocutor Tom Brokaw this weekend amidst the events commemorating D-Day's 60th anniversary. At least, I think this was the case, as I was honestly too busy trying to decide which Sunday-evening activity would qualify me as a Better American™: watching cable news network tributes to Ronald Reagan's life of honesty and virtue, or tuning in to see how this season's Sopranos resolved itself.

And, fuck, I ended up watching the other Tony, that awards show.

But here's a notable selection from what President Bush had to say re: the whole Iraq boondoggle in this weekend's chat with Brokaw:

BUSH: I think it's fair to say that, you know, that the enemy didn't lay down its arms like we had hoped.'

BROKAW: And you were not greeted as liberators like Vice President Cheney said that you would be.'

BUSH: Well, I think we've been -- let me just -- I think we've been thanked by the people of Iraq. And I think you'll hear more of that from people like Prime Minister Alawi and the foreign minister, who both have repeatedly, Thank you for what you've done, and by the way, help us.'

Also this weekend, two Americans and two Poles were thanked by the people of Iraq. Well, maybe "thanked" was a poor choice of words.

Posted at 4:59 PM in a Grave fashion.
  June 3, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 22

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Posted at 12:27 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
"Fool me once, shame...shame on...you. Fool me - can't get fooled again!"

bush_shame_fool.jpgFrom "Bush Finds Lawyer to Use if Called in Leak Case", the New York Times, June 3, 2004:

President Bush has met with a private lawyer whom he intends to hire to represent him if he is questioned as part of a grand jury investigation into the public disclosure of a C.I.A. undercover officer's identity, the White House said Wednesday.

[...]

Mr. Wilson and some Democrats have charged that the White House leaked Ms. Plame's identity as a way of retaliating against Mr. Wilson.

From Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney's address to the Republican National Convention, August 2, 2000:

"George W. Bush will repair what has been damaged. He is a man without pretense and without cynicism. A man of principle, a man of honor. On the first hour of the first day...he will restore decency and integrity to the oval office. He will show us that national leaders can be true to their word...and that they can get things done by reaching across the partisan aisle, and working with political opponents in good faith and common purpose."

From Condoleeza Rice's remarks to the Republican National Convention, August 1, 2000:

"George W. Bush will work with Congress so that America speaks with one voice. He has demonstrated in this campaign that he will never use foreign policy for narrow partisan purposes."
Posted at 12:12 PM in a Grave fashion.
And from his concession speech next fall, "John Kerry will make a superb president"

President Bush on CIA director George Tenet, upon learning of his resignation, June 3, 2004:

"He's been a strong and able leader at the agency, and I will miss him. I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people."

President Bush on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, upon learning that a number of people were calling for his firing, May 10, 2004:

"You are courageously leading our nation in the war against terror. You are doing a superb job. You are a strong Secretary of Defense and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude."
Posted at 11:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
  June 2, 2004
Dubya, Dubya, Too

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In today's commencement address to recent graduates of the Air Force Academy, President Bush sought to make his modern-day War on Terror analogous to the heroic fighting of World War II. And in the grand tradition of Bush's prior usage of black-and-white absolutism, the speech framed the current struggle in the Middle East in terms of very clear and sharp contrasts: right and wrong, good and bad, democracy and fascism, father and son, etc.

His speech was notably short on specifics, however. Admittedly, his communications director Dan Bartlett is probably very overworked right now, having to fend off an increasingly combative press and increasing dissension in the ranks of the Bush White House, so we thought we'd help and compile this list of additional WWII analogies Bush might have invoked this afternoon, had his writers and researchers been given more time.

World War II War on Terror™
United States criticized for being a bit late to begin fighting United States criticized for being a bit, well, early to begin fighting
Fighting against the Axis Powers Fighting against the Axis of Evil
The Germans? Not so cooperative. The Germans? Not so cooperative.
The French? Pussies. The French? Pussies.
Franz Ferdinand? So three decades ago. Franz Ferdinand? So three months ago.
Born from the ashes of the first W.W. Born from the loins of the first H.W.
Band of Brothers Band on the Run
Greatest Generation Greatest Generation (of capital for Halliburton and Bechtel)
No gay soldiers No gay soldiers, save for those who coordinated massive pile-ups of Iraqi prisoners and photographed their bare asses
A president confined to his wheelchair A president confined to Crawford, Texas
Green camouflage, and great uniforms Tan camouflage, and not enough Kevlar jackets
The War to End All Wars ...
Posted at 3:35 PM in a Grave, Versus fashion.
D.C.-beat writers die of pun overdose

bush_umbrella.jpg

NASTY WEATHER
SHIT STORM
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
HURRICANE GEORGE
STORMY WEATHER
A GATHERING STORM

....ack

Posted at 10:25 AM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 21

uh_bush_compassion.jpg

Posted at 10:14 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  June 1, 2004
Quelle surprise!

From "Choice Breaks Deadlock on New Government; Council Disbands", the New York Times, June 1, 2004:

After the announcements [of appointments to the new prime minister's cabinet], a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said the body would immediately dissolve rather than remain in office until the June 30 transfer of sovereignty.

Younadam Kana, a member of the council, told reporters that 20 of the 22 members of the American-appointed body agreed to disband.

TOTALLY UNRELATED LINKS:

"Council member ambushed in Najaf", CNN.com, May 27, 2004

"Head of Iraqi Governing Council Killed", the Guardian, May 17, 2004

"Iraq governing council member shot", CNN.com, September 20, 2003

Posted at 11:00 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 27, 2004
He should hire that prison's publicist

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Lakhdar Brahimi, meet Lizzie Grubman

If you had begun to wonder how well things were (or weren't) going in our efforts to establish full Iraqi sovereignty before the Bush administration's June 30th deadline, consider the subliminal grammatical clues put forth by reporters covering the matter for the New York Times. Specifically, for this one exercise, we'll look at Christine Hauser's "Top Candidate to Lead Iraq's Interim Government Says He Doesn't Want the Job", May 27, 2004:

Dr. Shahristani, a Shiite, had established his credentials by breaking with Saddam Hussein over his plans to develop an atomic bomb and spent several years in Abu Ghraib as a result. He escaped to the West in 1991, during the Persian Gulf war, and led an exile group from London in the intervening years.

[...]

A spokesman for Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations envoy who has been leading the effort to build a new government, said Wednesday afternoon that Dr. Shahristani had "clarified that he would prefer to serve his country in other ways."

That's right, one of those newsworthy figures received a qualifying clause while the other did not. In other words, it's assumed that we already know who or what "Abu Ghraib" is, while we need to be reminded who or what this "Lakhdar Brahimi" is or signifies.

Sadly "abuse" will beat "reconstruction efforts" everytime, although in childhood, the opposite always held true: "paper" beats "rock", right? (This was how the game was played, correct? I honestly don't recall there being a comparable schoolyard triptych for "mask/women's underwear/dogs".)

Posted at 3:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
The low culture Subtext Finder, Vol. 2

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"Seriously, vote for Bush. I'm fucking serious."

Yesterday, Attorney general John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, held a news briefing/press conference/photo-show-and-tell to alert the American public of the possibilty that al Qaeda, our arch-nemesis in the War on Terror™, may be planning summertime attacks on the U.S.

While perhaps a few jitney riders and resort-goers may experience some inconvenience due to these quasi-anticipated attacks, rest assured, dear nervous Americans, that the motives of our Great Enemy transcend mere discomfiture.

From the transcript of Ashcroft's briefing to the press:

"After the March 11th attack in Madrid, Spain, an Al Qaida spokesman announced that 90 percent of the arrangements for an attack in the United States were complete.

The Madrid railway bombings were perceived by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida to have advanced their cause. Al Qaida may perceive that a large-scale attack in the United States this summer or fall would lead to similar consequences."

Perhaps a translation is in order:

"After al Qaeda attacked hundreds of Spanish commuters shortly before an election, the voting populace in Spain suprised us all by electing an opponent of the U.S.-led war on terror into national office, thereby replacing an official who had stood by President Bush's side during his unpopular invasion of Iraq. Thus, al Qaeda 'won'. Furthermore, this means that they shall 'win' again if you, the American public, were to elect John Kerry this fall, since he, too, has at times spoken out against the way in which Bush has been embarking on this particular war on terror. But then again, if the attacks take place before the election, do we stop them, and hope that, as with the Spanish example, 'no attack' means the re-election of the pro-war candidate? Or do we let the attacks happen and make Spain an example in 'what not to do'? Fuck. Bush/Cheney 2004!"

Of course, that's just one reading of the material presented at the press briefing. And it's not like anyone else has a similar take on yesterday's event.

Posted at 2:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 25, 2004
Pete and Repete were in a boat and Pete jumped out. Who was left?

cheney_ibid.jpg

The third in a series of posts delicately pointing out the mindless repetition inherent to the political 'stump speech'. This week's target, Vice President Dick Cheney. (EARLIER: George W. Bush, John Kerry)

Remarks by the Vice President at a Reception for 2004 State Victory Committee, Little Rock, Arkansas, May 24, 2004:

And some of you may know that my only job as Vice President is to preside over the United States Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, but they got down to the end of the convention, and they remembered suddenly they hadn't given him anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made him the President of the Senate, the presiding officer.

It's not quite as exciting as it used to be. My predecessor John Adams actually had floor privileges. He could go down in the well and engage in the debate. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) They've never been restored.

Remarks by the Vice President at the Diamond Casting and Machine Tool Company, Hollis, New Hampshire, May 10, 2004:

My only real job as Vice President is as President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they got down to the end of the convention, they'd created this post called Vice President, but they hadn't given the guy anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made him the presiding officer of the United States Senate.

And my predecessor John Adams, our first Vice President, also had floor privileges. He could actually go down into the floor of the Senate and participate in the debate. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) And they've never been restored.

Remarks by the Vice President at a Reception for Gubernatorial Candidate Mitch Daniels, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 23, 2004:

My only real job as Vice President is to preside over the United States Senate. When they wrote the Constitution and created the post of Vice President, they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention and suddenly realized they hadn't given the Vice President any job. He didn't have anything to do. So they made him the President of the Senate, said, you get to preside over the Senate, cast tie-breaking votes.

And my predecessor John Adams, our first Vice President, also had floor privileges. He was allowed to go down into the well and actually engage in the debate of the day. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) They've never been restored.

Remarks by the Vice President at a Luncheon for Congressional Candidate Sam Graves, Kansas City, Missouri, April 23, 2004:

My only official duty as Vice President is to preside over the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, and they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention, they figured out they hadn't given him anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made him the President of the Senate to allow the Vice President to preside over the Senate, also cast that tie-breaking vote when the Senate is 50-50 on a proposition.

My predecessor John Adams, our first Vice President, also had floor privileges. He could go down into the well of the Senate and actually join in the debate and argue the issues of the day. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) They've never been restored.

Remarks by the Vice President at a Luncheon for Congressional Candidate Kevin Triplett, Roanoke, Virginia, April 19, 2004:

My only official duty is as President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President. But they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention, they realized they had not given him anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made him the President of the Senate, the presiding officer. And you get to preside over the United States Senate, cast tie-breaking votes when the Senate is tied.

And my predecessor John Adams, our first Vice President, also had floor privileges. He could actually go into the well and engage in debate and talk about the issues of the day. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.)

Remarks by the Vice President at An Event for Congressman Jon Porter, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 15, 2004:

Most people don't realize that my only real job is as the President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, and then they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention and realized that they hadn't given anything to do. (Laughter.) So at the least minute they cobbled together this job called the President of the Senate, and made it possible for the Vice President to actually be called the President of the Senate -- I actually get paid by the Senate; that's where my paycheck comes from -- to preside as the presiding officer of the Senate, cast tie-breaking votes when the Senate is deadlocked.

And my predecessor, John Adams, our first Vice President also had floor privileges. He could go down into the well of the Senate and engage in the debate of the day, and actually participate in the exciting debate on the major issues of the day in the Senate, itself. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) And they've never been reinstated.

Sadly, the Vice President hasn't quite perfected his delivery and comic timing when addressing an international audience. Here he is speaking to a crowd of students at China's Fudan University:

Remarks by the Vice President at Fudan University Followed by Student Body Q&A, Shanghai, China, April 15, 2004:

The role of the Vice President has evolved over the years. When our Constitution was written in Philadelphia at our Constitutional Convention, they created the position of Vice President. But when they got to the end of the convention, they decided that they hadn't given him anything to do. He had no work. So they made him the President of the Senate, that is the presiding officer over our upper house of our Congress and gave him the ability to cast tie-breaking votes.
Posted at 4:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
Media scorecard: Old news is new news

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Ah, Newsweek. You've got the Ahmed Chalabi story on your cover this week, as might be expected of any arbiter of mainstream journalism. It's quite a tale you've got, there...except, much like last summer's Joseph Wilson/Robert Novak story, the lowest-common-denominator media is playing catchup once again. And, as before, a few-too-many months after the fact.

From "The Rise and Fall of Chalabi: Bush's Mr. Wrong", Newsweek, May 31, 2004:

Much of Chalabi's dubious intelligence was funneled to the DIA through top Pentagon civilians. Under Secretary Feith himself signed a long and detailed summary of the intelligence linking Saddam to terrorists and WMD. The Feith memo, stamped secret, submitted to Congress and leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard magazine last summer, reads like a conspiracy theorist's greatest hits. Interviewed last week by NEWSWEEK, Feith was a little defensive about his relationship with Chalabi. "The press stories would have him as my brother. I met him a few times. He was very smart, very articulate," Feith said. Feith allowed he has always been drawn to the stories of exiles who come back to save their countries. But he rejected the idea that he had been Chalabi's tool or dupe.

From "Blind Into Baghdad", by James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2004:

On a Friday afternoon last November, I met Douglas Feith in his office at the Pentagon to discuss what has happened in Iraq. Feith's title is undersecretary of defense for policy, which places him, along with several other undersecretaries, just below Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in the Pentagon's hierarchy. Informally he is seen in Washington as "Wolfowitz's Wolfowitz"that is, as a deputy who has a wide range of responsibilities but is clearly identified with one particular policy. That policy is bringing regime change to Iraqa goal that both Wolfowitz and Feith strongly advocated through the 1990s.

[...]

"This is an important point," he said, "because of this issue of What did we believe? ... The common line is, nobody planned for security because Ahmed Chalabi told us that everything was going to be swell." Chalabi, the exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress, has often been blamed for making rosy predictions about the ease of governing postwar Iraq. "So we predicted that everything was going to be swell, and we didn't plan for things not being swell." Here Feith paused for a few seconds, raised his hands with both palms up, and put on a "Can you believe it?" expression. "I meanone would really have to be a simpleton. And whatever people think of me, how can anybody think that Don Rumsfeld is that dumb? He's so evidently not that dumb, that how can people write things like that?" He sounded amazed rather than angry.

What's cooking for the major weeklies, the national dailies, and the cable news networks in the coming months? Judging by the fleet of alt-weekly trendspotters with whom we consulted, odds are in favor that we'll see a scandalous news cycle or two about President Bush's alliance with the Christian right.

Posted at 3:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
The tongue-in-cheek Times

From "C.I.A. Bid to Keep Some Detainees Off Abu Ghraib Roll Worries Officials", the New York Times, May 25, 2004:

The Central Intelligence Agency's practice of keeping some detainees in Abu Ghraib prison off the official rosters so concerned a top Army officer and a civilian official there that they reached a written agreement early this year to stop.

An undated copy of the memorandum was obtained by The New York Times. It was described as an agreement between the Army intelligence unit assigned to the prison and "external agencies," a euphemism for the C.I.A., to halt practices that bypassed both military rules and international standards.

[...]

The memorandum criticizing the practice of keeping prisoners off the roster was signed by Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, and a James Bond, who is identified as "SOS, Agent in Charge." Military and intelligence officials said that they did not know of a Mr. Bond who had been assigned to Abu Ghraib, and that it was possible that the name was an alias.

Gosh, you think so?

On a tangential note, it's slightly amusing to imagine the sense of identification various male government officials seem to have with Agent 007. Not only international-oriented figures, as with the CIA instance cited above, but domestically, as well, as this pose by the FBI's top cop suggests. Although what Johnny would do with all those mysterious temptresses, we have no idea...though he's got the gun thing down pat.

aschroft_bond.jpg

Posted at 11:54 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 24, 2004
Dubya: the endorsements keep coming in

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(With thanks to Jeff)

Posted at 10:35 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 21, 2004
Rumsfeld's Rules: Donald's Photoblog, Vol. 2

After having prepared Volume 1 not too long ago, it's rather upsetting that there's even a need for a second round, but, alas, more Abu Ghraib prison torture photos and video clips have been released, courtesy of the Washington Post.

And a handful of these, sadly (though containing less of the jubilant thumbs-up mentality which we've seen in other leaked photos), are even more dehumanizing than the images with which most of us have become familiar by now. One caption which the Post has sensitively given to one of the photos (which you'll see below) reads simply, "A baton-wielding U.S. soldier appears to be ordering a naked detainee covered in a brown substance to walk a straight line with his ankles handcuffed." A brown substance, indeed. Why, that must be mud from the banks of the River Euphrates, right?

Again, as before, all captions come from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's notorious leadership tract of January 29, 2001, "Rumsfeld's Rules: Advice on government, business and life," which appeared in the Wall Street Journal when Rumsfeld initially took office three years ago. Captions continue below...

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"Don't accept the post or stay unless you have an understanding with the president that you're free to tell him what you think with the bark off' and you have the courage to do it."

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
Lose 15lbs. by June 30th!

bush_fitness.jpg

Total duration of President Bush's public address to the media on matters pertaining to the situation in Iraq, Palestinian deaths in Rafah, and domestic energy concerns, after his Cabinet Meeting on May 19, 2004 (from "President Discusses Iraq, Economy, Gas Prices in Cabinet Meeting", whitehouse.gov):

7 minutes, 12:04 - 12:11 PM EDT

From "Physicians report Bush in 'unbelievable' condition", USA TODAY, August 6, 2002:

Bush's good health is no accident. The president, a teetotaler since age 40 and a non-smoker except for an occasional cigar jogs 3 miles, mostly on a treadmill, at least four times a week. He works out with free weights for 45 minutes at least twice a week.

And to think some left-wingers consider this guy an out-of-touch fat cat.

Posted at 11:05 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 20, 2004
Inappropriate (and very, very decontextualized) "gallows humor"

From "Pentagon Finds More Prison Abuse Photos", Associated Press, May 20, 2004:

Photos of two American soldiers posing with thumbs up near a body packed in ice at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison were shown on ABC-TV.

The photos showed Army Sgt. Charles A. Graner Jr. and Spc. Sabrina Harman, both of whom have already been charged in the prisoner abuse scandal.

The detainee, whose badly bruised corpse was in a body bag packed with ice, died in the prison's showers while being interrogated by the CIA or other civilian agents, ABC reported Wednesday. It said the Justice Department is investigating the death.

[...]

[Graner's lawyer, Guy Womack of Houston,] told ABC News the photo of his client represented inappropriate "gallows humor."

Ohhhh, I get it. Let me give it a try, too! (But below the fold, I mean, cos it is "inappropriate.")

Continue reading...
Posted at 10:53 AM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 20

unint_bush_prayer.jpg

Posted at 10:21 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  May 19, 2004
Baby, it's just you and me against the world

israel_gaza_demonstration.jpg

From President Bush's address to AIPAC (President Speaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 18, 2004:

The Israeli people have always had enemies at their borders and terrorists close at hand. Again and again, Israel has defended itself with skill and heroism. And as a result of the courage of the Israeli people, Israel has earned the respect of the American people. (Applause.)

The very next day, from "Explosion rips through crowd of Palestinian demonstrators, killing at least 10", San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, May 19, 2004:

An Israeli missile and four tank shells ripped through a large crowd of Palestinians demonstrating Wednesday against the Israeli invasion of a neighboring refugee camp, killing at least 10 Palestinians. Hospital officials said all the victims were children and teenagers.

Israel's military acknowledged that soldiers fired four tank shells, a missile and machine guns to stop 3,000 Palestinian demonstrators it said were heading toward a battle zone in the Gaza Strip.

"There were armed men in the midst of the demonstration," Brig. Gen. Ruth Yaron, the army spokeswoman, told Israel TV's Channel One.

For what it's worth, there are some additional reports indicating that some of the demonstrators and protesters were throwing rocks, which I guess makes the whole "missiles" and "tank shells" response fair enough.

Posted at 12:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 18, 2004
Hysterically blinded by the Sun

abe-rosenthal.jpgOn some indeterminate date between A.M. Rosenthal's leaving his position at the New York Times in 1999 and subsequently penning his column for the Daily News, Crazy Abe really lost it. I mean, totally, completely, lost it.

How else to explain the tormented editorial screed appearing (via Romenesko) in today's New York Sun? In reading Rosenthal's psychotic litany, we're privy to the Times' former executive editor's musings on the media's coverage of the prisoner-abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib and, in particular, the manner in which the media failed to provide proper context for the abuses and the concomitant photos.

What context, you ask? Perhaps some Sy Hersh-esque examination of abuse-related directives having come from the top down? No? Well, maybe some broader examination of a climate of governmental deception, in the tradition of Rosenthal's own 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning Times coverage of Poland's misdeeds? No, you are soooo wrong, young whippersnapper!

That prisoner-abuse context that the media failed to provide over the past few weeks was Saddam Hussein and his since-toppled government's having used "poison gas on civilians they wanted to eliminate, like the Kurds." Thank you for the refresher course, Abe Rumsfeld.

Furthermore, Rosenthal continues, "We are uneasy even at the very idea of bringing up the mass Iraqi torture and murder. That is an insult to all those murdered masses of Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Jews, and Iranians. It is essential that we remember, ourselves, and the young members of the American armed forces know that they are fighting a government that is fascist in organization and in its slavering sadism."

Bear in mind, then, that the next time you see images of prisoners of war chained to bedframes with panties on their heads, the reason these sundry havoc-wreakers, as well as uncharged shopkeepers and wives of Ba'athist officials, are naked and/or have undergarments covering their visages is due to Saddam's having gassed 100,000 Kurds during the Reagan and Bush I administrations fifteen years earlier. And on a factual basis alone, please disregard Rosenthal's assertions that America's armed forces (his tense, not mine) "are fighting a government", contrary to the image of American forces having helped to famously topple Saddam's statue one year ago, and their current occupation of the Republican Palace in Baghdad.

And back to that "litany" idea again, Rosenthal repeats, "Since the latest torture story, many editors have failed to present background stories about the millions killed by Saddam." That's right, "millions", even though the heretofore-most-liberal estimates of deaths under Saddam's regime maxed out at 300,000 or therabouts. But, much like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's being drastically off the mark a few weeks ago in his own detailing of the number of American military casualties in Iraq, numbers are notoriously flexible when you're trying to provide support for an otherwise reprehensible idea.

Finally, there's this indignant gauntlet from Rosenthal: "In the years before World War II, officials of the New York Times shamed the paper by squeezing stories about millions of Europeans suffering and dying in the Nazi concentration camps, into meager and insufficient space. Years later, the paper tried to find out exactly who made those decisions. It could not, but it published an apology from its heart." Except, as far as "context" is concerned, those were current events at the time.

Dear, sweet, Abe: perhaps newspaper editors can feel comfortable about revisiting the events of the late 1980s on their front pages as they pair those particular Kurdish history lessons with coverage of that era's U.S. government support for both Afghanistan's various insurgencies and Saddam Hussein himself in his war with Iranian Shiite fundamentalists.

See, that's the problem with "context" and "history": unlike President Bush's war of Good-vs.-Evil, there are no absolutes.

Posted at 11:50 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 17, 2004
Man, what a year

bush_time_manyear15.jpg

(Click here to see Time's actual cover for this week's issue.)

Posted at 1:17 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  May 12, 2004
Superstar Inquisitor: Tony Snow

tonysnow_hearts.gifFrom "Telephonic Interview of the Vice President by Tony Snow, Fox News," a.k.a, "Speed Dating with Tony Snow and Dick Cheney," The Vice President's Office, 11:08 A.M. EDT:

SNOW: Thirty seconds. Why is Ted Kennedy so mad at you?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Me personally?

SNOW: Yes.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I didn't know he was.

SNOW: Okay. Vice President Dick Cheney, I want to thank you for joining -- and by the way, is "Red River" really your favorite movie?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) Well, it's right up there at the top of my short list.

Click here for another stellar interview with the Vice President.

Posted at 3:49 PM in a Grave fashion.
We're so sorry we doubted you, Mr. President

iraq_berg_family.jpg
Father, and son: Nick Berg and his family

While the media reacts with outrage over the release of videotaped footage of the beheading of 26-year-old civilian contractor Nick Berg in Iraq this week, the bigger story seems to have fallen through the cracks.

Namely, we've finally found that elusive connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda that the American public heard so much about from the President and his advisors for the past two years.

"An Islamist Web site posted a videotape Tuesday showing the decapitation of an American in Iraq, in what the killers called revenge for the American mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

The Web site said the man who carried out the beheading was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant linked to al-Qaeda who the Americans believe was behind some of the deadliest terrorist attacks here."

Admittedly, America-hating lefties may point out that this new connection technically falls under the rubric of a "post-Saddam Iraq", and, furthermore, the occupying American army more or less created the terrorist-supporting circumstances which lead to this connection, but regardless: Well done, guys!

In tribute to this development, and to our baseball-loving commander-in-chief, I'm off to go watch a film about the American pastime, Field of Dreams. You know the movie..."If you build it, they will come."

(NOTE: This entry has been 'corrected' from its originally-posted form. See comments for more info.)

Posted at 12:56 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 10, 2004
"See, I never said Iraqis would govern themselves after June 30th..."

negroponte_iraq.jpg
John Negroponte, newly-appointed President of Iraq, erm, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

From today's statement by President Bush at the Pentagon:

"In the next few weeks, important decisions will be made on the make up of the interim government. As of June 30th, Iraq's interim government will assume duties now performed by the coalition, such as providing water and electricity and health care and education."

Maybe he meant to add "...and governing Iraq" at the tail end there, and carelessly left it out?

No, wait, that would contradict Article 26 of the Iraqi Constitution recently implemented by the occupying Coalition:

"(A) Except as otherwise provided in this Law, the laws in force in Iraq on 30 June 2004 shall remain in effect unless and until rescinded or amended by the Iraqi Transitional Government in accordance with this Law.

(C) The laws, regulations, orders, and directives issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority pursuant to its authority under international law shall remain in force until rescinded or amended by legislation duly enacted and having the force of law.

Posted at 3:49 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 7, 2004
Rumsfeld's Rules: Donald's Photoblog

All captions come from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's notorious leadership tract of January 29, 2001, "Rumsfeld's Rules: Advice on government, business and life," which appeared in the Wall Street Journal when Rumsfeld initially took office three years ago.

As you're surely well aware by now, some of the Iraqi prison torture images from Abu Ghraib are rather, well, foul, so the captioning continues below...

ip_leash.jpg
"Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life."

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:50 PM in a Grave fashion.
OK, we admit it, again: Republicans are right

Fidelacusa.jpgIn preparation for our enthusiastically volunteering at this fall's Republican National Convention in New York City, we've begun heartily agreeing with a number of Republican opinions of late, including obsessive madman Dick Cheney yesterday, and, today, Representative Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has decried the Bush administration's latest efforts to clamp down on Cuba's government as the continuation of an historically ineffective methodology of dealing with our petite Communist neighbor to the south, and little more than primitive election-year antics targeted to Florida's Cuban voters. Specifically, Flake is addressing administration plans to further impede the ability for Americans to visit the island nation, while increasing funding for flying U.S. military C-130 aircraft over Castro's homeland while broadcasting pro-American and pro-democractic messages.

From the May 7, 2004 Washington Post:

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is a leading proponent of congressional efforts to lift ever-tighter restrictions on travel to Cuba, a proposal that won majorities in the House and Senate last year. He said trying to use a C-130 to defeat Cuban jamming of U.S. government broadcasts is laudable but insufficient.

"If we're really serious about letting Cubans hear a voice other than Castro's, why not let Americans travel there?" Flake asked in a written statement. "After all, Castro can't scramble a firsthand conversation."

Posted at 12:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 6, 2004
OK, we admit it: Cheney is right

t_allbaugh_POST2.jpg

From "Remarks by the Vice President to the 16th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner", Hilton Washington, Washington, D.C., May 5, 2004, 7:12 P.M. EDT:

"And I'm told Joe Allbaugh is in the audience tonight. Joe shouldn't be hard to spot. (Laughter.) He -- that's Joe."

Earlier, as part of this rare moment of kinship with Dick Cheney, we, too, had already ragged on this Allbaugh guy, but, again, he deserves it.

Posted at 11:06 AM in a Grave fashion.
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 3

cheney_firefighter.jpg

From "Remarks by the Vice President to the 16th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner", Hilton Washington, Washington, D.C., May 5, 2004, 7:12 P.M. EDT:

"Tonight, we honor firefighters and emergency personnel in communities across America, who are the first line of defense against all hazards...As you meet your responsibilities, the federal government must do its part in providing the resources that our firefighters need. The past year brought many successes on Capitol Hill, thanks to the leadership of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. These successes include robust funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which received nearly $750 million this fiscal year for direct grants to local fire departments and to support to fire safety programs. (Applause.) This funding is on top of the more than $8 billion that the Department of Homeland Security has allocated or awarded to state and local governments under a variety of domestic preparedness grant programs, many that directly bolster the capabilities of first responders including firefighters. In addition, Congress reauthorized the United States Fire Administration, passed the Firefighting Research and Coordination Act, to develop new safety standards, and passed the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefit Act. And all of these measures were proudly signed into law by President George W. Bush. (Applause.)"

Earlier...from "Union delegates denounce government hypocrisy over September 11", 21 August 2002:

Delegates to the convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), representing more than 240,000 professional firefighters and emergency medical personnel in the US and Canada, voted August 14 for the union to boycott an upcoming appearance by President George W. Bush at a memorial honoring firefighters killed in the September 11 attacks. The president has been invited to address the October 6 annual ceremony of the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation in Washington DC, which will pay tribute to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City, as well as more than 100 additional firefighters killed responding to other emergencies.

[...]

The unanimous vote by the 2,000 union officials at the IAFF's annual convention in Las Vegas came the day after Bush announced his rejection of $5.1 billion of supplemental spending that included some $340 million for fire department funding. Congress had voted for $90 million for long-term monitoring of the health of rescue and recovery personnel at the World Trade Center site, where workers were exposed to intense toxic fumes and dust. It also voted for $100 million to improve emergency communications systems, whose failures were blamed for as many as 200 of the 343 deaths of firefighters on September 11, and $150 million for equipment and training for 18,000 fire departments nationwide.

And more recently...from "No permit for protest at GOP convention", MSNBC.com, April 29, 2004:

Separately, a coalition of unions representing police officers and firefighters has requested permits to demonstrate during the four-day convention, beginning Aug. 30. Union members claim they are underpaid compared to their counterparts in other cities and are underfunded for fighting terrorism complaints they plan to voice when Republican come to town.
Posted at 10:57 AM in a Grave fashion.
  May 5, 2004
Please Kill Me Now: Campaign Quips 2004 (Ohio edition)

bush_stumpspeech_cincinnati.jpg

Finally, a solution to that most basic of Rove-ian electoral issues: how to make a connection with a completely vapid voting populace? Pick an asinine point and make it. Then, do it again. And again. And again. (God, those poor Secret Service agents. At least we now know those dark sunglasses function largely to shield the public from frequent bouts of eye-rolling.)

Ten points to whomever can correctly identify the recurring theme of the quotes sampled below:

Remarks by the President at Pancake Breakfast, Lucas County, Ohio Recreation Center, Maumee, Ohio, 9:30 A.M. EDT:

I'm sorry Laura is not here. Yes, I know. She was on the bus trip yesterday, but had to go back to Washington because, like me, she is -- she works for the country. She's got something to do. She's got a scheduling conflict. (Laughter.) But I tell you, she sends her love and her best. She is a fabulous First Lady. One of the main reasons -- (applause) -- one of the main reasons to put me back in there -- (laughter) -- is so that Laura has four more years as the First Lady. (Applause.)

Remarks by the President at "ask President Bush" Event, Hara Complex, Dayton, Ohio, 12:32 P.M. EDT:

The good news is, Laura W. Bush wants to serve for four more years, as well. (Applause.) I regret she's not here. I talked to her on the plane earlier this morning. She said to send her very best. She is a -- I'm a lucky guy. She's a great wife, a wonderful mother, and a fabulous First Lady of the United States. (Applause.)

Remarks by the President at the Golden Lamb Inn, Lebanon, Ohio, 2:43 P.M. EDT:

I regret that Laura is not here today. I know it. You drew the short straw. (Laughter.) You know, I really got lucky when she said, "yes." She is a fabulous wife, a great mother, and she's doing a wonderful job as the First Lady of this country. (Applause.) I think she deserves four more years. (Applause.)

Remarks by the President at Ohio Rally, Cincinnati Gardens Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, 6:48 P.M. EDT:

I wish Laura were here to see this crowd. (Applause.) Listen, a good reason to put me back in there is so she will have four more years as the First Lady. (Applause.) She's a great First Lady. She's a fantastic wife and a great mom and a wonderful First Lady. I'm really proud of her. She sends her best. She sends all her best. She sends her best to all her friends here in Cincinnati.

SPECIAL BONUS ROUND, MICHIGAN EDITION:

Remarks by the President at Michigan Rally, Jerome-Duncan Theatre at Freedom Hall, Sterling Heights, Michigan, 8:44 P.M. EDT:

We've had a fabulous day today. It's been somewhat diminished by the fact that Laura had to go home early. No, I know, you drew the short straw. (Laughter.) There's a lot of reasons why I think I need to be reelected. But for certain, one of the most important reasons is to make sure that Laura is the First Lady for four more years. (Audience interruption, inaudible.)

Why is it that after seeing all the "(Laughter)" and "(Applause)" inclusions, I suspect "(Audience interruption, inaudible)" is code for "Get off the stage, you fucking hack?"

Posted at 3:45 PM in a Grave fashion.
Number 2 at the Box Office? "Man on Fire"

iraq_mean_girls_prison2.jpg

From "The Torture Photos," the New York Times, May 5, 2004:

By now, the images of uniformed American men and women gleefully brutalizing prisoners in exactly the manner most horrific to Muslims has been seared into the minds of television viewers around the world.

Posted at 2:50 PM in a Grave fashion.
  May 4, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 19

alan_greenspan.jpg

Posted at 5:45 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  April 30, 2004
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 2

iraq-prisoner.jpg

Regarding that whole "Mission Accomplished" fiasco of May 1, 2003, from "Bush speech anniversary draws scrutiny, commentary", CNN.com, April 30, 2004:

Bush defended the speech as he talked to reporters Friday during a Rose Garden appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we had accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein," Bush said.

"And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail.

Regarding the broadcast of photos of American soldiers and contractors torturing Iraqi prisoners, from "Bush expresses 'deep disgust' at prison photos", CNN.com, April 30, 2004:

In the face of international outrage, President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted by photographs that apparently show American soldiers abusing detainees at a prison outside Baghdad.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said. "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America."

[...]

"I didn't like it one bit," Bush added during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Not to belabor the completely blunt irony or anything, but both of the abovementioned remarks were made at the exact same appearance by the President this morning.

Posted at 2:41 PM in a Grave fashion.
Fine, this just means 40 extra minutes of Jimmy Kimmel

koppel_thumbnail.jpgIn "Stations to Boycott 'Nightline's' List of the Fallen", the Washington Post is reporting that seven local ABC affiliates owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group have chosen not to air tonight's episode of Ted Koppel's nightly newsmagazine, which will be comprised solely of the anchor reading the names and displaying the photos of the 737 American troops who have perished thus far in Iraq.

In a statement on their website, the Sinclair Broadcast Group explains the "boycott" decision thusly:

Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.

There is no organization that holds the members of our military and those soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in service of our country in higher regard than Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Likewise, there is no organization that holds the members of the free press and those journalists who have embedded themselves (and befriended subsequently-fallen troops in Iraq) in higher regard than we do here at low culture, so, in fitting tribute, we are hereby displaying the names and station ID's of those affiliates that have "fallen" in the war on fair and accurate reporting.

WSYX, Columbus, Ohio

WEAR, Pensacola, Florida

WLOS, Asheville, North Carolina

WXLV, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

WGGB, Springfield, Massachusetts

KDNL, St. Louis, Missouri

WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia

Posted at 11:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 29, 2004
We rewrite, you decide

bush_commission.jpg

From "Bush Says He Answered All Questions From 9/11 Panel", the New York Times, April 29, 2004:

"Mr. Bush chuckled at the suggestion that he and Mr. Cheney had chosen to be interviewed together so they could prop each other up or prevent discrepancies in their answers. "If we had something to hide, we wouldn't have met with them in the first place," he said."

From Tim Russert's interview with Condoleezza Rice, NBC's "Meet the Press", March 14, 2004:

MR. RUSSERT: Will you testify under oath in public about September 11?

DR. RICE: Tim, this is not a matter of preference; this is a matter of principle. It has long been a legal and constitutional principle that assistants to the president, the presidential staff, do not testify before legislative bodies. But this is not a matter of preference. I have spent more than four hours with the commission going through the details about 9/11. I'm prepared to spend more time with the commission in discussion about whatever they'd like to know about September 11, but as a matter of principle, we cannot breach this wall between the legislature and the executive.

MR. RUSSERT: On September 11, there is a commission now in place which the administration originally resisted and also resisted extending the deadline. They now want to interview the president. He has said he'll only sit down with the chairman and co-chairman of the committee for one hour. Will the president meet with the full commission and will he do it for longer than an hour?

DR. RICE: The president, of course, is the president, and he does have a schedule to keep, but he has said that he will sit with the chairman and with the co-chairman and that he will answer whatever questions they have. And I'm quite certain he will take as long as they need to answer those questions.

MR. RUSSERT: Several hours, a day if they need?

DR. RICE: Well, I would hope that they would recognize that he's president and that people would be judicious in the use of his time.

MR. RUSSERT: John Kerry said, The president has time to go to a rodeo but not spend time with the commission.'

DR. RICE: As I've said, Tim, I believe the president is prepared to spend whatever time they need to answer their questions, but I hope that people will be judicious with his time.

Posted at 3:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 27, 2004
How to revive flagging interest? Redesign!

iraqflag_trans.gif
By way of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, today's Washington Post features a story about the dishearteningly negative reception the "new and improved" national flag has been given by Iraqi citizens, who question why it was changed in the first place, and even if that were necessary, why the new design lost the traditional Arab-affiliated colors of red, green, and black.

Oh, and this last point apparently didn't help things much, either: Iraq's new flag is in many ways a dead ringer for Israel's flag.

According to the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, the new flag is the work of an Iraqi artist named Rifaat Chaderchi, and was selected from a pool of a whopping 30 entries.

Most aesthetes agree: worst product redesign since the old Brawny Man was reinvented as the new, de-gayed Brawny Man (who, incidentally, now looks suspiciously like an Israelite).

Posted at 5:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
The old standby

kerry_stand.jpgIn response to a foolishly hypocritical (and, of course, highly manipulative, and, therefore, effective) media campaign of Republican party attacks on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's record as a Vietnam War veteran, including Bush communications mastermind-cum-housewife-cum-communications mastermind Karen Hughes' nonsensical "did he or didn't he" questioning of Kerry's disposal of military "ribbons" or "medals" after returning home in 1971, the war veteran came out with his swift boat's fifty-caliber machine guns metaphorically blazing.

His weapon of choice? The declaration that "I'm not going to stand for it," which, unfortunately, Senator Kerry seems to stand for all too often when it comes to defending his Vietnam war record.

April, 2004:

"This is a controversy that the Republicans are pushing," Mr. Kerry said on "Good Morning America" on ABC. "The Republicans have spent $60 million in the last few weeks trying to attack me, and this comes from a president and a Republican Party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. I'm not going to stand for it."

February, 2004:

"If they're going to try to question my commitment to the defense of our country, then I'm going to fight back," Kerry said at a February campaign event. "Because they did that to Max Cleland ... and I'm not going to stand for it."

February, 2004:

"Defense of nation is exactly that. Yes, that's exactly what they did. They put Osama bin Laden's photograph up with Max Cleland Cleland and suggested he was weak--Max Cleland, weak--on the defense of our nation. Now here's a man who left three of his limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam. To have someone who, you know, has never served suggest that someone who has is weak on defense is simply unacceptable, and I'm not going to stand for it."

And in the interest of the "equal time rule," Bush, too, has been known to wield this same principled "stand" on occasion, including in his remarks on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security at the National Republican Senatorial Committee Annual Dinner.

September, 2002:

"Unfortunately, some senators -- not all senators, but some senators -- believe it is best to try to micromanage the process, believe the best way to secure the homeland is to have a thick book of regulations which will hamstring this administration and future administrations from dealing with an enemy that could care less about thick books of regulations. Unfortunately, some in the Senate -- not all in the Senate -- want to take away the power that all Presidents have had since Jimmy Carter. And I'm not going to stand for it."

Come on, guys, mix it up a bit.

"I will not tolerate that." Or, "I gaze upon these mistruths, and I see that which battles honesty, and I do declare myself to be decidedly antagonistic towards this selfsame deception, such that I verily seek to destroy, nay, annihilate said behavior." Or maybe just "I am so against this shit."

Posted at 11:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 20, 2004
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 4

rove_scaring.jpg

From the Associated Press, "Bush Touts Patriot Act, Raises GOP Funds", April 20, 2004:

President Bush speaks in support of the Patriot Act at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, April 20, 2004. Listening to President Bush, from left to right, John Moslow, Chief of Police, Amherst, N.Y., Michael Battle, U.S. Attorney, Western, N.Y., Larry Thompson, former Deputy Attorney General, James McMahon, Director of Public Security, N.Y., Peter Ahearn, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Buffalo, N.Y.
Posted at 3:09 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Escalation of the Unwilling

coalition_map.gifWhat a week, eh? It's not yet "Humpday," but in the past 48 hours, the Bush administration has had to endure three distinct diplomatic blows at the hands of international allies. The term "allies", of course, refers to nations that at one point agreed with the U.S. administration's ideology on issues of global relations - that is, until they realized they'd been manipulated, lied to, and disingenuously dealt with.

SPAIN: "Spain's new leader firm on Iraq"

Spain's new leader is standing firm in his pledge to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq, despite U.S. and British pressure...Last week, Zapatero rejected an appeal from U.S. President George W. Bush to stand by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

HONDURAS: "Honduras to pull troops out of Iraq"

The US-led coalition in Iraq suffered its second defection in 24 hours yesterday when Honduran President Ricardo Maduro said he would withdraw his nation's 368 troops "as soon as possible".

JORDAN: "Jordan's King Delays Bush Meeting, Cites Mideast Stance"

Jordan's King Abdullah postponed a meeting with President Bush scheduled for tomorrow, citing concerns about Washington's position on the Middle East peace process, officials said yesterday.

Wait! Don't forget this extra-special bonus round of glum spirits and/or outright defections:

THAILAND: "Honduras to pull out troops, and Thais look shaky"

The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said of his troops: "If we get hurt or killed, I will not keep them there." The Thai Senate began a debate yesterday on a resolution calling for the troops to come home.

THE PHILIPPINES and SOUTH AMERICA: (also from "Honduras to pull troops out of Iraq", referenced above)

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said she was "unlikely" to withdraw 100 soldiers and police officers stationed in Iraq. Mrs Arroyo, who faces a tight election on May 10, has been slammed by opposition politicians for the Iraq commitment.

"She loves President Bush more than her countrymen," Senate candidate Juan Ponce Enrile said.

[...]

The Honduran troops are attached to the Spanish regiment in Iraq, along with 374 Salvadoran and 302 Dominican troops who are due to go home in July. Nicaragua's 115 troops left Iraq in February and were not replaced.

These weak-willed foreign leaders, so clearly cowering in their boots, having been influenced by the Madrid terror attacks...Oh, wait, that was just Spain, and their voting population was already 90 percent against their nation's policy in Iraq before last month's presidential election, and that was before former President (and Bush ally) Jose Maria Aznar's administration lied to the public about Basque separatist responsibility for the terror attacks.

The American public, meanwhile, can rest assured that we must be getting the "correct" news, as opposed to all this discouraging foreign nonsense about dishonesty and deception, since a CNN/USA Today poll released Monday shows President Bush leading presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry by 51 percent to 46 percent in a survey of likely voters taken this past weekend.

Posted at 12:18 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 19, 2004
Profiles in Coverage (Uppage)

bush as kennedy

Posted at 12:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 15, 2004
"If I had prepared, my answer would be 'You are dead, young lady'"

cheney_speech_china.jpg

During today's visit to Red China, Vice President Cheney spoke at Shanghai's Fudan University, using the opportunity to praise China's economic reforms that have enabled the monstrously large nation to be less "red" and more, well, "red" in their approach to free markets and capitalism.

Oh, there was also some stuff about the need to bring a genuine democratic movement over there, as well. As we've seen, spreading democracy, of course, is the central theme of the Bush 43 Administration, even though this leitmotif may not have effectively seeped into the mindset of those students handpicked to engage in the eventual question-and-answer session:

The students, asking polite and respectful questions, did not pick up on Cheney's theme of democracy, choosing instead to ask about economic and regional issues, such as the U.S. sales of arms of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.

To laughter, however, one student showed a keen understanding of inter-administration politics. "It is said you are the the most powerful vice president in U.S. history," she asked. "I ask, how do you play a role in the Bush administration?"

"That is not a question I had anticipated," Cheney said.

Posted at 3:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
How to replace your lesbian daughter

cheney_china.jpg
"Yay! Souvenirs!"

...bring back a newly-adopted daughter from your trip to China!

Or per VH1's "Best Week Ever": Upgrade? Downgrade?

Posted at 11:09 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  April 14, 2004
Bush's Iraqi Playbook/Playbill

iraq_punch_judy.jpg

From President Bush's televised press conference, April 13, 2004:

We're at war. Iraq is a part of the war on terror. It is not the war on terror; it is a theater in the war on terror. And it's essential we win this battle in the war on terror. By winning this battle, it will make other victories more certain in the war against the terrorists.

And for a rational, in-depth, and nuanced take on these theatrics, read Fareed Zakaria's piece in Newsweek, April 19, 2004:

The date, June 30, is less important than the entity to which power is transferred. If that new government is seen as an American puppet, then challenges to it will persist, and America will find itself propping up an unpopular local regime that is doomed to fail. And that dilemma reminds one not of the British in Iraq, but of the United States in Vietnam.
Posted at 5:27 PM in a Grave fashion.
Murdoch Mashup Madness!

bush_post_conference.jpg

As with any good remix, this record comes with multiple tracks...

Trimming Bush
Cut and Paste Press Conference
Right Wing Slash Fiction

Posted at 10:11 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 13, 2004
Insert pregnant pause for full dramatic contrast

bush_iraqstateunion.jpg
ABOVE: Bush explains the need to invade Iraq in his 2003 SOTU address

From "An Iraqi intifada: Now the war is being fought in the open, by people defending their homes", by Naomi Klein for the Guardian, April 12, 2004:

But as the June 30 "hand-over" to Iraqi control approaches, Bremer now sees Sadr and the Mahdi as a threat that must be taken out - along with the communities that have grown to depend on them. Which is why stolen playgrounds were only the start of what I saw in Sadr City this week.

In al-Thawra hospital, I met Raad Daier, a 36-year-old ambulance driver with a bullet in his lower abdomen, one of 12 shots fired at his ambulance from a US Humvee. According to hospital officials, at the time of the attack, he was carrying six people injured by US forces, including a pregnant woman who had been shot in the stomach and lost her child.

Ten days earlier...

bush_unbornlacisigning.jpg
ABOVE: Bush signs Laci's Law into effect

From "Bush Signs 'Laci and Conner's Law'", FOXnews.com, April 02, 2004:

WASHINGTONPresident Bush on Thursday signed into law a bill that would make it a separate crime to kill or harm an unborn child during an assault on the mother.

"As of today, the law of our nation will acknowledge the plain fact that crimes of violence against a pregnant woman often have two victims," Bush said before the signing of the measure.

"The death of an innocent unborn child has too often been treated as a detail in one crime but not a crime in itself," the president said.

Posted at 10:34 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 12, 2004
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 2

Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, April 13, 2004:

Because of an editing error, a portion of former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's op-ed (For Ralph Nader, but Not for President, April 12, 2004) was printed incorrectly. The article stated: "Everyone expects this year's presidential election to be decided by razor-thin margins in a few battleground states. Everyone also expects the candidacy of Ralph Nader to make the race between John Kerry and George Bush even closer. As I know from experience, however, voters have a way of proving everyone wrong."

The last sentence, in its completed form, should have read in full, "As I know from experience, chickenshit voters have a way of trouncing on your dreams, spitting on your convictions, stabbing you in the back, pussying up with your peers who have stolen your message, and kicking you in the balls because they're cowards, and dullards, and good for nothing. They can all go to fucking hell for all I care." The Times regrets the error.

Posted at 4:12 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Gravitas (or lack thereof)

bush_smiling.jpgThis is why they put Cheney on the ticket, right? Anyway...

Lines spoken by George W. Bush during which he smiled, grinned, or laughed (I've exempted instances of "chuckling" and "guffawing" out of ideological fairness):

April 12, 2004, defending the contents of his August 2001 PDB:

"Had I known there was going to be an attack on America, I would have moved mountains to stop the attack. And had there been actionable intelligence, we would have moved on it."

October 11, 2000, discussing his lack of support for a Texas hate crimes bill, during the second Presidential debate:

GOV. BUSH: No -- well what the vice president must not understand is we've got hate Crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment:

MR. LEHRER: But they were --

GOV. BUSH: -- the death penalty.

MR. LEHRER: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not?

GOV. BUSH: Well --

MR. LEHRER: In Texas

GOV. BUSH: -- all -- in this case, when you murder somebody, it's hate, Jim. The crime is hate. And they got the ultimate punishment. I'm not exactly sure you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty.

Wow, George, that's some funny shit. Try and save some material for the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner next year!

There is going to be a "next year," right?

Posted at 10:19 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 11, 2004
Creatively Ideological Ellipsing

classifieddocument02.jpgFrom the recently-declassified PDB (president's daily briefing) of August 6, 2001, which was received (and, presumably, read) by President Bush while vacationing on his ranch in Crawford, Texas:

Ellipses (or "dot dot dots" for all you non-grammar geeks) indicate either a) material omitted due to extant classified status, or b) material omitted to make this memo look way more deceptively damning than it already is in its original form (which, admittedly, is pretty portentous in and of itself, but still...).

"[G]overnment...reports indicate bin Laden...was planning...a terrorist strike in the U.S. ...and...maintains a support structure...in California...and...New York...for attacks.

...We have...been able to corroborate...reporting...that bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft...for...attacks...of...buildings in New York....[A] group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks...

[E]xplosive."

Posted at 11:20 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  April 9, 2004
Perhaps the ark of the covenant can reveal his undisclosed location?

cheney_raiders_toht.jpg

Posted at 3:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 8, 2004
(Not) Separated at Birth

separatedbirth_not.jpg

With all due respect to former Senator Bob Kerrey.

KERREY: Dr. Clarke, in the spirit of further declassification...

RICE: Sir, with all...

KERREY: The spirit...

RICE: I don't think I look like Dick Clarke, but...

(LAUGHTER)

KERREY: Dr. Rice, excuse me.

RICE: Thank you.

Posted at 11:18 AM in a Grave fashion.
Identify Bush's Republican Party supporters

bush_onstage_old.jpg

OR

bush_onstage_young.jpg

ANSWER: The top photo, only because the little brown folks in the bottom photo with Dubya aren't old enough to vote!

(Thanks to Matt at 1115.org for the "compassionate" photo link)

Posted at 10:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 7, 2004
One pitches, the other catches (no flack)

cheney_baseball.jpg

This is surreal...even more surreal than former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer's ability to deliver press conferences from Bizarroland in which reporters' questions were asked, only to be deftly deflected by irrelevant non-answers. Flipping the tables a bit, and following the lead of his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, after throwing out the opening pitch for the Chicago Cubs-Cincinnati Reds game, spent a few minutes on Monday being interviewed from the radio booth by sports announcers Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall - while the game was in progress - resulting in perhaps the most bizarrely irrelevant back-and-forth to be made available on the White House's press transcript page since, well, ever.

Cheney on life at the White House:

Q: Is this a welcome break for you?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It really is. I've got to go on tonight. I was in the White House this morning with the President. I've got a speech in New Orleans tonight, and I'll be back in the White House tomorrow. But, sure, to get a few hours out here at the ball park, it doesn't get much better than this.

Q: Kerry Wood at the plate, and a diving jab at the ball and knocked down by Castro. If he doesn't touch it, Larkin fields it, a run scores and it's a 5 to 2 ball game. So if Castro doesn't touch the ball, Larkin is right there. But he doesn't know that.

Cheney on current events, uncluding, presumably, the election and the situation in Iraq:

Q: A ball and a strike to Grudzielanek, and the stretch and the pitch: breaking ball drops in for a called strike, and a 1-2 count to Mark Grudzielanek. He is one for two this afternoon, has scored a run.

Q: Busy year for you folks, huh?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Looks that way.

Q: It sure does. (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: A lot of work going on, a lot of stuff happening around the world, and then, of course, the campaign on top of that.

Cheney on his campaign itinerary:

Q: So now you're in New Orleans tonight?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: In New Orleans tonight, and there's a Senate race down there next year, or this -- come November. And as I say, I'll be back in Washington late tonight, and then be in the office tomorrow. I'm out on the road usually a couple days a week. And then on Friday, I take off for Asia for a week.

Q: Lidle delivers, and Patterson a swing and a miss. And it's a 1-2 count to Corey Patterson.

Cheney on the economy:

Q: Are you pleased with the way things look as far as the economy is concerned?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am. I think all the signs are headed in the right direction.

Q: One-two pitch, swung on and missed. And Lidle picks up his second strike-out.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And, of course, the employment numbers are looking good. We got those out last week. We've got some 400,000 jobs created here in the last couple of months, since the 1st of the year. So everything is, I think, moving in the right direction.

(via Al Kamen's article in the April 7, 2004 Washington Post)

Posted at 5:06 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 6, 2004
Playing catch with items lobbed in your direction

bush_openingday.jpg

Regarding events of April 5, 2004, by way of the St. Francois County Daily Journal in Missouri:

ST. LOUIS (AP) - President Bush is getting the hang of throwing out first pitches. He tossed one in from the mound at Busch Stadium Monday, ceremonially opening the 2004 Major League Baseball season, and the catcher hardly had to move his mitt.

Bush said, in advance, "My wing isn't what it used to be."

But when he reared back and threw, the pitch was right in there. He also had said he planned to throw a "hopping fastball" to open the Brewers-Cardinals game, but it looked more like an off-speed pitch. The Cardinals' Mike Matheny caught it easily.

"It just goes to show you a guy can get lucky occasionally," Bush said afterward.

Regarding events of April 5, 2004, by way of the Washington Post:

In Baghdad's Kadhimiya district, meanwhile, three members of the Army's 1st Armored Division died in combat Monday and Tuesday.

One died from wounds received Tuesday when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Another was killed Monday when his convoy was attacked with small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The third died later in the day Monday during a firefight, the military announced Tuesday.

Posted at 3:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
Paul "Bang-Bang" Bremer clears up some discrepancies

bremer_bangbang.jpg

From the New York Times, "7 G.I.'s Killed in Iraq Fights Since Weekend, U.S. Says," April 6, 2004:

Mr. Bremer, in an interview on CNN today, vowed to arrest Mr. Sadr.

"He believes that in the new Iraq, like in the old Iraq, power should be with the guy who's got the guns, and that's an unacceptable vision for Iraq," he said.

Posted at 2:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 5, 2004
Time to testify? Time for the fluff pieces

condi_fluffpiece.jpgOK, it's happened before when, during the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, Newsweek ran a puff piece on Condi Rice in its December 16, 2002 issue, under the headline "'The Real Condi Rice' The Most Powerful Woman In Washington Is Black, Brainy and Bush's Secret Weapon." That cover story, however, had at least a semblance of dignified and topical news content, unlike Maki Becker's "20 things about Condie: You probably didn't know this about Condoleeza Rice" in the April 4, 2004 New York Daily News.

Selected lowlights:

1. She's a fitness buff who likes to unwind by working out to music by heavy-metal legends Led Zeppelin, according to People magazine. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and hits the treadmill right away.

4. She loves to shop. "On a Sunday, don't be surprised if you see me at one of the malls in Washington, D.C.," she once told Glamour magazine.

7. While in high school, she was a competitive ice skater (l.).

13. She's a huge football fan and loves the Cleveland Browns. She's said her "dream job" would be NFL commissioner.

17. In February 2001, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters he was distracted the first time he met her. "I have to confess, it was hard for me to concentrate in the conversation with Condoleezza Rice because she has such nice legs."

Oh, and Maki? If you're going to christen the devil in shorthand like that, it's Condi and not fucking Condie. At least, that's how she signed my holiday greeting card.

Posted at 2:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 18

bush_shooting_light.jpg

Posted at 12:06 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  April 4, 2004
We're sorry, chump, but "arable land" < "oil" and "Middle Eastern outpost"

rwanda_president_wide.jpg

From Reuters, "Rwanda's Kagame Scolds Outside World Over Genocide", April 4, 2004:

Rwandan President Paul Kagame accused the outside world of deliberately failing to prevent genocide on Sunday, opening a week to mark the tenth anniversary of the killing of some 800,000 fellow countrymen.

The United Nations, the United States and European countries have all faced criticism for failing to intervene during the three-month genocide in Rwanda, which ended in July 1994 when Kagame seized the capital at the head of a rebel army.

"We should always bear in mind that genocide, wherever it happens, represents the international community's failure, which I would in fact characterise as deliberate, as convenient failure," Kagame told the start of a genocide conference.

"How could a million lives of the Rwandan people be regarded as so insignificant by anyone in terms of strategic or national interest?" he told the meeting at a hotel used 10 years ago as a base by military planners directing the massacres.

RELATED:
Worldbank Data for Rwanda
CIA Factbook, Rwanda (Natural resources: gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land)
Official Website of the Government of Rwanda (www.rwanda1.com...at what point did nations start having to adopt the equivalent of AOL usernames for their WWW domains?)

Posted at 8:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 31, 2004
And the hosannas, where are they?

iraq_bridgedeaths.jpg

From CNN.com, "Four U.S. civilians killed in Iraq: Residents hang bodies from bridge", Wednesday, March 31, 2004:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Suspected insurgents killed four American civilian contractors in a grenade attack Wednesday in central Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Cheering residents in Fallujah pulled charred bodies from burning vehicles and hung them from a Euphrates River bridge.

Crowds gathered around the vehicles and dragged at least one of the bodies through the streets, witnesses said.

Residents pulled another body from one of the cars and beat it with sticks.

From CNN.com, Crossfire transcript, November 4, 2003:

JACOBUS: You just seem to want to forget what he said in the very beginning when we went into this war, when we went into Iraq. He didn't say that this would be easy and pretty and have smooth edges.

CARVILLE: We found all those nuclear bombs over there, did we?

JACOBUS: So what he told us, James, was that this was going to be hard.

CARVILLE: He did?

JACOBUS: This was going to be drawn out. This was going to be painful. They were very up front with us, and I think most of the American people understand that war is not going to be pretty. I think they're...

CARVILLE: Dick Cheney said we'd be greeted with roses. And Paul Wolfowitz said we'd pay for the reconstruction with oil revenues of $100-200 billion a year. They were dissembling the truth.

JACOBUS: The polls in Iraq show that the people of Iraq are behind us. They don't think this is going to be easy. It's only people on your side that want this...

CARVILLE: Wolfowitz said it would be a bed of roses.

From "Live From Iraq, an Un-Embedded Journalist", Robert Fisk, March 25, 2003:

Perle, Wolfowitz, and these other peoplepeople who have never been to war, never served their country, never put on a uniform- nor, indeed, has Mr. Bush ever served his country- they persuaded themselves of this Hollywood scenario of GIs driving through the streets of Iraqi cities being showered with roses by a relieved populace who desperately want this offer of democracy that Mr. Bush has put on offer-as reality. And the truth of the matter is that Iraq has a very, very strong political tradition of strong anti-colonial struggle. It doesn't matter whether that's carried out under the guise of kings or under the guise of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath party, or under the guise of a total dictator. There are many people in this country who would love to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I'm sure, but they don't want to live under American occupation.
Posted at 2:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 3

rove_bush-flagbigger.jpg

(Click the image above to see the original undoctored photo, and/or click here. Or you can read more about these heinous backdrops by Dan Bartlett and Scott Sforsza here.)

Posted at 11:14 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  March 30, 2004
Tastes Great! Less Filling!

From "Mass. Gay Marriage Ban Passes Hurdle" by Jennifer Peter (Associated Press), March 30, 2004:

BOSTON (AP) -- Legislators approved a constitutional amendment Monday that would ban gay marriages while legalizing civil unions. If passed during the next two-year Legislative session, the measure would go before voters in November 2006.

[...]

The constitutional convention took place in front of thousands of citizens, who crowded the Statehouse each day to watch from the gallery and protest in the hallways.

After each intonation of "Jesus" by gay rights opponents inside the building Monday, gay rights advocates tacked on "loves us." The two opposing sides then shouted "Jesus Christ!" and "equal rights!" simultaneously, blending into a single, indistinguishable chant.

Oh, and for what it's worth, this tastes awful, and leaves me feeling rather empty inside.

Posted at 12:44 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 29, 2004
R.O.V.E.: Rolling Over Valued Entitlements

You know how it sounds so much more palatable to go scuba diving than to, say, strap on a "Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus?" In that same vein, legislators on the Hill caught on to this a few years ago, and began packaging their now-commonplace rollback of civil rights in grandiose acronyms.

This began most notably with Congress' October 26, 2001 passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism." USA PATRIOT sounds far better than the proposed alternative, KAFKA, or the "Keeping Americans From being Killed by Airplanes" Act.

Following on the heels of their success with that bill, the Bush administration and likeminded legislators brought forth Operation TIPS, or "Terrorism Information and Prevention System," which would have enlisted the help of postal workers, meter readers, truck drivers, and other workers in the public sphere in an elaborate effort to look out for "suspicious" activity. Again, better than the alternative, SPY, or "Subtly Prying Youths," which would have brought America's toddlers on board in the campaign to root out terrorist educators. This iteration of the bill never made it out of the House judiciary committee, of course.

And now the acronym brigade is at it again, according to Wired News. In the wake of Johnny Depp's Oscar nomination, and their subsequent downloading of that relevant film, Americans are bracing for PIRATE fever:

[O]n Thursday, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced a bill that would allow the Justice Department to pursue civil cases against file sharers, again making it easier for law enforcement to punish people trading copyright music over peer-to-peer networks. They dubbed the bill "Protecting Intellectual Rights Against Theft and Expropriation Act of 2004," or the PIRATE Act.

The bills come at a time when the music and movie industries are exerting enormous pressure on all branches of government at the federal and state levels to crack down on P2P content piracy. The industries also are pushing to portray P2P networks as dens of terrorists, child pornographers and criminals -- a strategy that would make it more palatable for politicians to pass laws against products that are very popular with their constituents.

Meanwhile, civil libertarians across the nation are eagerly awaiting this fall's ELECTION, or "Eliminating Leaders Elected to Congress To Impugn Our Nation".

Posted at 5:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
Compare and Contrast (lots of Bombast)

From the White House's "Iraq Fact of the Day" propaganda (a.k.a. "press release") series, March 22, 2004 (by way of Ward Harkavy's Bush Beat at the Village Voice):

Free Press in Iraq

Free press is flourishing in Iraq and providing the Iraqi people with access to a variety of news sources. More than 646 journalists have credentials for the new international press center in Baghdad. Many of the journalists write for more than 200 Iraqi newspapers now in circulation across the country. This burgeoning free press is encouraging debate and democracy in Iraq.

Source: Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad

From the New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman, March 29, 2004:

G.I.'s Padlock Baghdad Paper Accused of Lies

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 28 American soldiers shut down a popular Baghdad newspaper on Sunday and tightened chains across the doors after the occupation authorities accused it of printing lies that incited violence.

[...]

The letter ordering the paper closed, signed by L. Paul Bremer III, the top administrator in Iraq, cited what the American authorities called several examples of false reports in Al Hawza, including a February dispatch that said the cause of an explosion that killed more than 50 Iraqi police recruits was not a car bomb, as occupation officials had said, but an American missile.

Many newspapers and television stations have sprouted in Iraq since the fall of the Hussein government. But under a law passed by the occupying authorities in June, a news media organization must be licensed, and that license can be revoked if the organization publishes or broadcasts material that incites violence or civil disorder or "advocates alterations to Iraq's borders by violent means."

But the letter outlining the reasons for taking action against Al Hawza did not cite any material that directly advocated violence. Several Iraqi journalists said that meant there was no basis to shut Al Hawza down.

METAPHYSICAL NOTE TO SELF: I'm beginning to wonder if it's not a better idea to go the Dennis Miller route and start defending the Bush administration, because criticizing it has started to become far too easy. You know, try and have a go at something challenging for once.

Posted at 1:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
Bush et al., valiant defenders of liberty

From "Rice Defends Refusal To Testify" by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, in the March 29, 2004, edition of the Washington Post:

Rice gave no ground on the administration's decision that she will not appear in public before the panel or testify under oath because Bush officials believe doing so would compromise the constitutional powers of the executive branch. The renewed refusal came despite the panel's unanimous plea for her testimony.

Republican commissioner John F. Lehman, who has written extensively on separation-of-power issues, said that "the White House is making a huge mistake" by blocking Rice's testimony and decried it as "a legalistic approach."

"The White House is being run by a kind of strict construction of interpretation of the powers of the president," he said on ABC's "This Week." "There are plenty of precedents that the White House could use if they wanted to do this."

[...]

Rice said she has "absolutely nothing to hide" and "would really like" to testify but will not because of the constitutional principle.

Gee, guys, this whole "Constitution" document sure comes in handy when you need it most, huh? That is, when you're not too busy covering your ears to cries of "Hypocrisy!" and otherwise obliterating the fucking thing, like you've been doing for the past two-and-a-half years.

RELATED (and very much worth reading): Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo discusses the issue of Constitutional precedent here and here.

Posted at 12:58 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 26, 2004
Under-reported Factoid of the Week

Worth mulling over as the Bremer, I mean, Bush administration's self-imposed Iraqi sovereignty deadline of June 30th approaches:

From Dexter Filkins' profile of Iraqi exile (and purveyor of bad WMD-related intelligence) Ahmad Chalabi in the March 26, 2004 New York Times:

"In a nationwide poll conducted by ABC News and the BBC, 10 percent of Iraqis listed Mr. Chalabi as someone they 'don't trust at all,' a higher percentage than any other Iraqi leader. According to the poll, conducted from Feb. 9 to 28, 3 percent said they did not trust Saddam Hussein. In the poll, 2,737 randomly selected Iraqis age 15 and up were interviewed. The results have a two percentage point margin of error."

(emphasis mine, with thanks to Danny)

Posted at 10:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 24, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 17

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Yes, it's redundant, but it's all a part of our new "Unintentionally Hilarious" sub-category: "George Tenet Facial Tics that Surface While Testifying."

Posted at 5:09 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Colin Headroom Tes-Tes-Testifies

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(Click above to see the New York Times' original photo of Sec. Powell testifying before the 9/11 commission on March 23, 2004)

"We wanted to moo-moo-move beyond the rollback policy of c-c-containment, criminal prosecu-cu-cu-cution and limited retaliation for specific terrorist attacks. We wanted to de-de-de-destroy Al Qaeda." - COLIN L. POWELL, Secretary of State, Network 23

Posted at 12:13 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  March 23, 2004
Richard Clarke, Democratic Party operative

richard-clarke-partisan.jpgOK, the big guns are out, and the Bush Administration is in damage-control mode regarding former NSC advisor Richard Clarke's charges that Bush was doing a "terrible job" in the war on terrorism, and that the pursuit of Saddam Hussein had been a misguided scapegoat since September 12, 2001.

We'd refer to these charges as "explosive," but, come on now, realistically, these things tend to have a short lifespan, right? By next week, we'll almost certainly be talking about yet another "disgruntled former employee" to spring forth from the loins of the fruitfully dishonest Bush Administration.

From Dana Milbank and Mike Allen in the Washington Post, March 23, 2004:

Half a dozen top White House officials, departing from their policy of ignoring such criticism, took to the airwaves to denounce Clarke as a disgruntled former colleague and a Democratic partisan. Vice President Cheney, on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, said the counterterrorism coordinator "wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff." Cheney suggested Clarke did not do enough to prevent three attacks during the Clinton administration and said "he may have a grudge to bear there since he probably wanted a more prominent position."

[...]

In addition to Cheney's radio appearance, Rice was a guest on all five network morning shows, and by 11 a.m. the White House had booked more than 15 interviews on cable news channels, as well as numerous talk-radio appearances, over the next nine hours. White House press secretary Scott McClellan spent much of both of his briefings yesterday arguing that Clarke's book was politically motivated and timed. "This is Dick Clarke's 'American grandstand,'" McClellan said.

Wow, Scott McClellan sure is hilarious! What's next, Dick Clarke's American Top 40 Lies and Distortions of the Bush Administration? Dick Clarke's Guide to Aging Gracefully through 30 Years of Federal Employment?

Regardless, here are some of Richard Clarke's career highlights. Be sure to take note of his obvious and transparent role as a lifelong Democratic party operative during his employment in both the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence, or the second-highest ranking intelligence officer in Reagan's administration

Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs. "In that capacity, he coordinated State Department support of Desert Storm and led efforts to create a post-war security architecture. Clarke was appointed to the National Security Council staff in 1992." This was during the elder Bush's administration.

National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, 1998, Clinton administration

held the above position until being "demoted" to Special Adviser for Cyberspace Security within the National Security Council, current Bush administration

Or, as the BBC puts it quite succinctly, "Four successive US presidents have picked Richard Clarke to defend the country against terrorists."

That's one Democrat and three Republicans, mind you. That sick, partisan son of a bitch.

Posted at 12:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 22, 2004
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 2

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(Again, click on the photo to see Rove and Bartlett's original masterpiece.)

From Saturday's Globe and Mail (Candada):

The red-hot housing market here and across the United States has sparked fears of an emerging asset bubble, fuelled by the lowest interest rates since 1958, when Elvis Presley joined the U.S. Army and Nikita Khrushchev became leader of the Soviet Union.

Welcome to the topsy-turvy economy that Alan Greenspan and his U.S. Federal Reserve Board colleagues sat down to ponder on Tuesday. While low interest rates have people like Mr. Guimmule dreaming about home ownership and investors cheering their resurgent stock portfolios, large swaths of the economy remain stalled.

Employment growth is anemic in the wake of a 2001 recession that zapped 2.3 million jobs. Manufacturers have cut employment for 43 consecutive months.

Posted at 11:13 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 1

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(Yes, this has been altered. Click on photo to see the original.)

From Jonathan Alter's piece for Newsweek re: the soon-to-be-forgotten Medicare deception fiasco of last week:

But the most shocking deception took place in the run-up to the signing of the Medicare prescription-drug benefit on Christmas Eve...Recall how that bill squeaked through Congress only after some heads were cracked. A retiring Republican from Michigan, Rep. Nick Smith, even charges that supporters of the bill offered him a bribe in the form of financial support for the political campaign of his son. The bill was priced at the time at $400 billion over 10 years. After the deed was done (the specifics of which amounted to a huge giveaway to the pharmaceutical and health-care industries), it came out that the real cost will be at least $551.5 billiona difference of $150-plus billion that will translate into trillions over time. Now we learn that the Bush administration knew the truth beforehand and squelched it. Rick Foster, the chief actuary for Medicare, says he was told he would be fired if he passed along the higher estimates to Congress. "I'll fire him so fast his head will spin," Thomas Scully, then head of Medicare, said last June, according to an aide who has now gone public.
Posted at 10:45 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  March 21, 2004
Smile for campaign contributions; look solemn for the historical record

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Above, President Bush with an average American fan at a fundraiser last week. Below, Bush with his personal photographer, Eric Draper.

Posted at 10:48 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 11, 2004
Well, he's certainly not a liability for the Kerry campaign

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Over the past few weeks, Republican Party leaders such as Marc Racicot and Ed Gillespie have worked to handily dismiss reports circulating in Washington that Vice President Dick Cheney's inclusion on the 2004 Republican ticket was beginning to be seen as a weak spot for the Bush campaign. Party chairmen had everybody's favorite Republican, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, come forth in support of his old friend: "My fervent wish is that it remains the way it is, and that I believe Vice President Cheney's in good health and I think he's been a great Vice President."

Regarding his relationship with the President, Cheney himself asserted, "He's asked me to serve again, and I said I'd be happy to do that, and I think that will be the ticket in 2004."

And in related news, today's Financial Times includes the following report ("Halliburton won contract after Pentagon warning"):

Halliburton, the oil services company formerly headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, was awarded a $1.2bn (660m) contract in Iraq just three days after Pentagon auditors warned about "systemic" problems in its cost controls.

The warning was contained in a memo the Pentagon's defence contract audit agency sent on January 13 to the US Army Corps of Engineers, citing deficiencies in Halliburton's contracting proposals and questioning the company's ability to supply "fair and reasonable prices".

"We recommend that you contact us to ascertain the status of [Halliburton's] estimating system prior to entering into future negotiations," the memo said.

The company informed the Pentagon on January 15 that its Kellogg Brown & Root division had overcharged the US government by $6m on a separate contract to supply US troops. Despite the admission, the following day the Corps of Engineers gave KBR a $1.2bn contract to rebuild oilfields in southern Iraq.

Posted at 11:40 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 10, 2004
Hey, sorry about that whole unlawful imprisonment thing

gitmo_britons.jpg

Yesterday's big news in the War on Terror (or, more likely, small news, if, like us, you're still focusing the lion's share of your attention on Martha's impending lockdown) was the return of five British prisoners to the U.K. on Tuesday, after their having spent the past two years in American custody in Guantanamo Bay. Two years of imprisonment, mind you, without having been charged with a crime, save for some vague language about "enemy" this, "combatant" that.

Here's the stunning aspect of this case, however: while four of the men are still being questioned about their activities in Afghanistan, one of the prisoners in question, a mere few hours after landing on his home soil, was released from custody yesterday. This from the Guardian:

A fifth man, Jamal Udeen, also known as Jamal al Harith, from Manchester, was released without charge last night. His solicitor Robert Lizar said his client wanted the US authorities to "answer for the injustice which he has suffered".

Just who is this vile terrorist/enemy combatant that was in some way indirectly responsible for the events of September 11th, 2001? The Guardian continues:

The 36-year-old convert, who was born Ronald Fiddler, left Manchester to go backpacking in Pakistan in September 2001. Within three weeks, coalition forces had found him in jail in Kandahar, Afghanistan; he said the Taliban had jailed him, believing he was a spy.

Injustice, indeed. This huge credibility gap in the U.S. government's assertions on progress made in the War on Terror™ apparently doesn't warrant coverage in the Times, the Post, or any other American media outlet. Oh, wait, my bad: there's this Reuters story linked from the Times' website.

What does the Reuters piece assert?

If all five are freed without charge, as some lawyers are predicting, the government may face questions on why it had taken more than two years to get them out. With tabloid newspapers eagerly competing for rights to their stories, the "Guantanamo Five'' have a ready-made platform to vent anger.

Five down, and 600 to go.

Posted at 1:22 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 9, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 16

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Posted at 3:36 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  March 8, 2004
CNN: Again with the wink and the nod

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OK, so they've done this before, and they'll likely do it again...but you have to wonder. Is this web publishing software trying too hard?

(with thanks to Jeff)

Posted at 9:47 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 5, 2004
217 years (and zero quills) later

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Pictured, L to R: a scene from today's delayed signing of Iraq's post-invasion temporary constitution, and a scene from the September 1787 signing of the post-liberation United States' constitution.

Posted at 3:31 PM in a Grave fashion.
Get well soon (our meanest-spirited post ever)

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Awww, John...We hear that you've been hospitalized with a bout of the ol' gallstone pancreatitis, and for that, we're truly sorry. We are, however, thankful that you have healthcare, unlike millions of uninsured Americans. And, if worse comes to worse, we're sure you can find someone to help foot the bill, as you did when you were merely a senator from Missouri in the 1990s:

"Between 1994 and 1998 the pharmaceutical industry, insurance industry and various anti-consumer healthcare lobbies paid out nearly $1 million in contributions to Ashcroft's reelection campaign. Ashcroft returned the favor on multiple occasions: Four times in the last year he voted against prescription-drug benefits for Medicaid recipients; twice he helped kill the bipartisan Patients' Bill of Rights, which would have allowed consumers to sue managed-care companies for delayed or denied care. He also backed a phony business-sponsored Patients' Bill of Rights that would prohibit consumers from suing their managed-care providers."

Come on, John, get well soon! Everyday you're out of commission as our Attorney General is a day that America is that much more unsafe; the USA PATRIOT Act and its sequel both feel somehow less substantive; Gitmo feels less secure, and we fear that hundreds of prisoners may in fact receive an actual trial; Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi might as well be on parole, and--this is embarrassing--we're blushing as we gaze upon Justice's exposed bosom, heaving ever-so-nakedly in your absence.

Let the eagle soar, John! Let it soar!

Posted at 11:16 AM in a Grave fashion.
  March 3, 2004
CNN: Your news, ironied

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(Click the thumbnail above to enlarge the image)

As this CNN.com screenshot from this morning's headlines indicate, sometimes web publishing software seems to reveal some sort of virtual Lewis Black residing within--vitriolic anger and sarcasm pushing forth to convey a broader message while working within the tedium of the mundane, i.e. code, technology, news, headlines, whatever...

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm not the one who's conflated the developments in Iraq with those of the War on Terror™. That was the Bush administration's initiative, you'll recall.

Posted at 3:22 PM in a Grave fashion.
  March 2, 2004
Lost Among the Debris: History

haiti1.jpg

According to a caption in today's New York Times, the AP Photo above shows "Looters on Monday at the house of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, where family and school pictures lay among the debris." (Haitian Rebels Enter Capital; Aristide Bitter, by Tim Weiner and Lydia Polgreen)

What is not stated, is that the painting in the foreground depicts Toussaint L'Ouverture, the revolutionary who lead the slave revolt that brought freedom to Haiti, the first free Black republic in the world.

This would be like seeing a painting of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington amid a pile of post-revolution trash at the White House and calling it "personal effects and ephemera."

See also: The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (non-fiction account);
All Souls' Rising, by Madison Smartt Bell (fictionalized account).

Posted at 4:41 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 15

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Posted at 1:30 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  February 27, 2004
When talking points collide

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As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder met with President Bush at the White House today (both men presumably enduring the event with forced smiles and pseudo-affable buddy posturing), Number 43 let fly with a puzzling new iteration of one of his trademarked "Bushisms" as the two leaders discussed that whole war/crisis thing going on in the Middle East -- specifically, the potential for democracy to flourish in the region.

"Bush and Schroeder also talked about the Middle East, with Bush stressing the need to put democratic institutions in place 'that survive the whims of men and women.'

He didn't offer specifics about what that meant, but repeated his belief that democracy and freedom can help stem terrorism."

At the tail end, there, the AP's Jennifer Loven was thoughtful enough to remind readers of the confusing tenor of the President's remarks, but, in true objective journalistic fashion, neglected to take the opportunity to provide the most likely interpretation: his remarkable ability to stay on message all week long!

Of course, Bush seemed to have forgotten which event this was, and that he had already proposed his "marriage as a union of a man and woman" constitutional amendment earlier in the week, and that today's particular remarks should have instead featured the President making the usual hyperbolic proclamations about making the world safe again.

Presumably, even, for homos, though we can forgive Bush for mixing up his discussions of conservative minority-as-majority regimes.

Posted at 2:44 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 26, 2004
We hates the U.N....NO! We loves the U.N.!

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from Reuters: Britain, Russia sweat as secret operations exposed

The British government was rocked by allegations by a former cabinet minister that it spied on United Nations chief Kofi Annan in the run-up to the Iraq war last year.

Posted at 5:22 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 25, 2004
Confidential to Dennis Miller: "Paki" is a racial slur

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Pre-commercial bumper on Dennis Miller, CNBC, Feb. 25, 2004.*

"'Paki' is an extreme racial slur used to refer to people of South Asian origin. It is a South Asian equivalent of the term 'Jap' or the 'N word.' President Bush apologized after using the word last year at a press conference."
(From, an open letter from the Asian American Journalists Association, March 4, 2003)

"Paki" is listed in The Racial Slur Database

To do: Send email to Dennis Miller to express your disapproval of racial slurs on television.


*Weird angle and TV screen-within-screen is the style of the bumper, not the screen shot

Posted at 10:08 PM in a Grave fashion.
Talking Pod's Memo

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Johnny on the Spot: 9 PM, via satellite... 11PM, live and in the flesh

Right wing relaxed fit Beltway pundit, John Podhoretz made a comedians-turned-pundits bank shot by appearing on Dennis Miller's eponymous CNBC show and Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night. He managed to trade quips with both men without breaking a sweat or changing his flattering grey suit with matching blue shirt and yellow tie (in honor of the troops?).

What he didn't manage to do, however, was come up with enough material for both shows. While promoting his new book Bush Country (the title of which is a deliciously naughty mnemonic tautology), he dusted off a few choice chestnuts. Very few.

From, Dennis Miller, 9PM EST, Feb. 24, 2004:

Dennis Miller: Gimme three or four the most crazy liberal ideas about our President.

John Podhoretz: Well, I think I got eight of them in the book. One of them, of course, is that he's an idiot—which I think that anyone who believes by now is an idiot because he keeps de-pantsing people who underestimate him... The other is that he's a puppet of his dad, uh, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, the neo-conservatives—no one can decide who he's a puppet of because he's not a puppet, he's his own man... Liberals think that he's a religious fanatic... [They] say he's a cowboy... These are some of ways he's mischaracterized, misrepresented.

From, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 11PM EST, Feb. 24, 2004:

John Podhoretz: I do believe that a lot of people who criticize the President do criticize him in a reckless and irresponsible and unfair fashion. As you mentioned, I go through the book, eight, what I call 'Crazy Liberal Ideas About Bush.' One that's he's a moron, one that he's a puppet, one that he's a religious fanatic, one that he's like Hitler, and so on...

Repeat it one more time, and Beetlejuice will appear!

Posted at 1:52 PM in a Grave fashion.
Other Recently Proposed Constitutional Amendments

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Dogs Constitutionally- recognized as better than cats

No more special treatment for Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate

Paul made the Constitutionally- recognized best Beatle

Infield Fly Rule unilaterally banned

Lefties to be forced to become righties, or be burned at the stake

Discussions about the weather in elevators no longer protected by First Amendment

Super intelligent robots, should they be invented, never to be endowed with human emotions under penalty of being unplugged

Posted at 8:24 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  February 24, 2004
About Face

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[Thanks, Dave, who waited two weeks for this joke.]

Posted at 3:04 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Amending prior amendments (Amended)

As expected, President Bush (decked out in full white-male, closed-minded power-broking asshole regalia) came out in support of a constitutional amendment today which would aim to specifically ban same-sex marriages, ostensibly in an attempt to "prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever" after the occurrence of events in California, Massachusetts and New Mexico which have indicated that "a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization."

That fundamental institution, of course, is the ability of one man and one woman to marry. Historians familiar with the establishment of religion, the writing of the Magna Carta, the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, and the onset of the American Revolution know this firsthand: these events were each based primarily upon the ability of men and women to wed, and were in no way grounded upon issues of individuality or self-respect or self-governance or human and civil rights. Right? Oh, I'm sorry, I was reading from the rightwing playbook there for a moment.

Back to that most fundamental of institutions, marriage...

Bush went on to explain, "Our government should respect every person and protect the institution of marriage. There is not a contradiction between these responsibilities."

Hmmm...let's take a look at the current Bill of Rights and the other extant amendments to the current United States Constitution. I think I see some of these potential "contradictions," to say the least, despite President Bush's reassuring words to the contrary...

Article IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article X. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Article XIV. Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

If, in some burst of mass hysteria and irrationality on the part of our legislative body, this proposed 28th Amendment is passed, we can hopefully look forward to the eventual and subsequent passage of Article XXIX, which, in the tradition of Article XXI, would state, "Section 1. The twenty-eighth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed."

At which point the U.S. Constitution will be nothing more than a cheapened document, comprised of little more than the expression of a series of conflicting values, borne of an "issues of the moment" ideology.

RELATED: Immigrating To Canada - Resources For Moving To Canada

Posted at 12:01 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 23, 2004
There are two things wrong with this picture

israel-wall-twothingswrong.jpg

ANSWER KEY:

1. The bus in the center, presumably destroyed by a suicide bomber, much like yesterday's blast which killed 8 people and injured scores more.

2. The wall itself, a 24-foot-high concrete monstrosity subject to review by an international tribunal at the Hague today to debate the "legality" of the wall, a gargantuan construction which certainly plays no part in dehumanizing Palestinians, but instead provides security for Israelis and prevents suicide bomber attacks (See answer key item #1, step, and repeat).

Posted at 6:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
Weather Report from Hell: Temperatures dipping below 0

Holy fucking shit: Noam Chomsky wrote an Op-Ed in today's New York Times: A Wall as a Weapon.

Related: Pigs Fly; Lion Lays Down with Lamb.

Posted at 1:39 PM in a Grave fashion.
Suggested themes to avoid at NYC's 2004 Republican National Convention

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Actual waste products

As Ed Gillespie, Karl Rove, et al prepare for this fall's upcoming Republican National Convention in Manhattan, we thought it wise to advise the party's pollsters to not have President Bush's chief economist N. Gregory Mankiw give one of his customarily rousing speeches about economic populism, which, in the past, have gone something like this:

Outsourcing jobs overseas is "probably a plus for the economy in the long run...outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that's a good thing."

Perhaps Gillespie and Rove might consider having Pennsylvania State Legislator Frank LaGrotta speak:

"I wonder if George Bush believes this. I doubt it, I tell myself. George Bush is a 'compassionate conservative.'

Compassion: A feeling of empathy, concern, care...

Outsourcing: Treats working Americans like waste products of a Robin-Hood-in-reverse strategy to rob from the poor and give to the rich."

OK, scratch LaGrotta, too. Better to avoid the topic entirely and stick to "safe" themes, like recalling how close Madison Square Garden is to Ground Zero.

Posted at 12:08 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 22, 2004
Uh-oh. Four more years! Four more years!

From the February 22, 2004 Washington Post:

Edwards, Kerry Were Barely Solvent Last Month

New campaign finance reports show that the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination were barely solvent at the end of January heading into a prospective $50 million-plus ad blitz by President Bush.

Bush ended January with $104.4 million in the bank, nearly 100 times as much as the net balances of Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the Democratic front-runner, and Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Kerry's leading challenger for the nomination.

"We will never catch up," said Michael Meehan, Kerry's spokesman, noting that so far in February, Kerry had raised $5 million.

Posted at 6:18 PM in a Grave fashion.
Spot Bush, R.I.P.

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A Dog's Life Remembered: Spot Is Dead At Age 14

Posted at 11:03 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 19, 2004
A Billion Points of Light

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As seen in The New York Times: Billionaires for Bush. Finally, a charity I can support without feeling guilty.

[via Wonkette]

Posted at 11:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 17, 2004
Irrefutable proof: The New York-Saddam Hussein connection

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Best Bets "Bush Doormat"... Mosaic floor pattern of Bush, Sr. at the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad

[Best Bet via Wonkette]

Posted at 11:50 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 13, 2004
Why Are We (Still) In Vietnam?

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"Daddy, what's Vietnam?" A question a child might ask, but not a childish question.

I read the news today, oh boy, and it made me feel like I'd fallen through a wrinkle in time and wound up in 1972. Suddenly, it's like the last 30 years hadn't happened and the battle between the hippies and the pigs never ended.

Is this just another example of Baby Boomer self-absorption, or is there something more behind all this talk of who was and wasn't "in the shit" and the dubious influence of "Hanoi Jane" Fonda? Whatever it is, it's captured the hearts and minds of the Gratingest Generation more than the other issues we face in the Presidential election, namely national security, the crushing budget deficit, lack of jobs, AIDS, education, millions of Americans still living below the poverty line, guns, the evironment, corporate malfeasance, and... oh, a million other issues.

But everywhere you turn it's Vietnam. There hasn't been an orgy of Boomer self-love this bad since... well, since last week when everyone celebrated the fortieth anniversary of The Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan.

Remember when this election was about us? The Deanie Babies? The inheritors of that aforementioned deficit? The kids working overtime in that MoveOn.org commercial? Forget it, man. It's all about campus turf wars from before we were born. Just look at this nugget buried in Jane Mayer's article on Haliburton, Contract Sport, in this week's New Yorker:

Around this time, in 1968, Dick Cheney arrived in Washington. He was a political-science graduate student who had won a congressional fellowship with Bill Steiger, a Republican from his home state of Wyoming. One of Cheney’s first assignments was to visit college campuses where antiwar protests were disrupting classes, and quietly assess the scene.

That disruption continues, but on the op-ed pages of papers from coast-to-coast.

Like Eminem, ecstasy, and Outkast, this election has been co-opted by our moms and dads and it's time for us to say, "Don't bogart it!"

Yes, Vietnam matters: one man's service followed by principled opposition means something and so does another man's avoidance of battle and subsequent insistance on sending thousands of others off to fight 30 years later. But these are not the main issues at hand here, and if we don't move on, we're going to get stuck in a quagmire, the likes of which we haven't seen since, well, Vietnam. Isn't it time the fighting stopped?

Posted at 5:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
The Time of Their Time

Mother Jones a great timeline of George Bush and John Kerry's experiences in the 60's and 70's that shows each man's baby steps to the White House.

The cool, omniscient approach is like an outline for a John Dos Passos or Tom Wolfe novel about politics, class, changing social mores, and the military. Of course, since it's MoJo, there's some sly wit:

John Kerry George W. Bush
January 3, 1970: Kerry requests that he be discharged early from the Navy so that he can run for Congress in Massachusetts' Third District. The request is granted, and Kerry begins his first political campaign. June 1970: Bush joins the Guard's "Champagne Unit," where he flies with sons of Texas' elite.
February 1970: Kerry drops his bid for the Democratic nomination and supports Robert F. Drinan. Drinan, a staunch opponent of the war, wins the race and goes on to serve in Congress for ten years. November 3, 1970:George Bush Sr. loses Senate election to Lloyd Bentsen, whose son is also in the "Champagne Unit."
June 1970: Kerry joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and becomes one of the group's unofficial spokespeople. November 7, 1970: Bush is promoted to first lieutenant. Rejected by University of Texas School of Law.
April 23, 1971: Kerry helps to organize a huge anti-war protest outside Congress, earning a place on president Richard Nixon's "enemies' list." He joins a group of Vietnam veterans who throw medals and campaign ribbons over a fence in front of the Capitol. January 1971:The Texas Air National Guard begins testing for drugs during physicals.

And so on. Definitely worth a look, if only to wonder how this story will end.

[via The Morning News]

Posted at 10:48 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 12, 2004
Google News ♥s Troop Morale

So, you're hankering for more news articles about President Bush, and you enter some Google News search terms that you suppose will bring up likely hits. You know, all the current and past administration/media buzzwords such as "National Guard" and "terrorism" and "Al-Qaeda" and "Washington"...

Only, you get the following instead. Damned imperfect technology.

U.S. soldier arrested in Washington state for allegedly aiding al-Qaida

SEATTLE (AP) - A U.S. National Guardsman stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. was arrested Thursday and charged by the army with trying to provide information to the al-Qaida terrorist network, a federal law-enforcement official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Spc. Ryan Anderson was charged with "aiding the enemy by wrongfully attempting to communicate and give intelligence to the al-Qaida terrorist network."

It was not immediately known what information Anderson allegedly provided.

Next time, I guess "Iraq" or "economy" or "Wasn't James Yee acquitted after his career was ruined?" will narrow the field a bit more.

Posted at 7:37 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 11, 2004
So...we're in agreement, then

bushnationalguard.jpgEditorial, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 11, 2004:

Meanwhile, the White House released pay records this week which also document the dates on which Bush was paid for National Guard duty. They provide further evidence that Bush did not shirk his obligations to the Guard between May 1972 and May 1973.

Of course, there are some die-hard Bush detractors who are unwilling to accept that the president did not go AWOL, that he was not a deserter. But the fair-minded can lay the controversy to rest once and for all.

Editorial, The Daily Iowan, February 11, 2004:

Amid accusations of being AWOL in the National Guard and lying to the American public about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush remained as confusing and contradictory as always during the "Meet the Press" segment Sunday on NBC.

On Tuesday, White House officials released payroll records demonstrating that Bush in fact did get paid for his service in the Guard. However, spokesman Scott McClellan admitted that the records do not specifically show that the president reported for duty. Bush's response to reports of his first-lieutenant evaluation showing that the future leader had not been seen during 1972 is a simple, "They're just wrong."

Posted at 3:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 10, 2004
It's Over, It's Over, It's Over

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It's over, it's over, it's over, I won't look back,
Won't look back, my bridge has been crossed.
It's over, it's over, it's over, I'll walk away,
I'll stay away, cause my heart's been lost.
Losing is not a happy thing when the stakes are high,
Not when you lose your lover on a simple goodbye.

Frank Sinatra, "It's Over, It's Over, It's Over" (lyrics by Don Stanford & Matt Dennis, 1960)

Related: "Moonlight in Vermont"; "That's All"; "The Impossible Dream"; "Walk Away"; "Lonely Town"; "No One Cares"; "Here's to the Losers"; "Say It Isn't So"; "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"; "The Hurt Doesn't Go Away"; "Goodbye, Lover, Goodbye"; "We'll Meet Again".

Posted at 10:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
Political Child's Pay

richie.jpg"It did not take Kaelynn Adams-Haack long to decide she wanted to support the re-election campaign of Representative Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin. The two met at a dinner party, talked for part of the evening and by the time Kaelynn left she had decided that she wanted to give the congresswoman a $1,000 contribution.
[...]
"'I knew not to give her too much and not to give her too little, so I gave her $1,000,' said Kaelynn, who is now 8 and says she hopes to make more donations in the future.'"
Too Young to Vote, Old Enough to Donate, by Glen Justice, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2004

Adorable!

Posted at 8:44 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 8, 2004
Wait, where were you, Mr. President?

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President Bush in the Oval Office

From the transcript of Tim Russert's interview with President Bush on Meet the Press, Feb. 8, 2004:

"...I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind... "

"...It's important for people to understand the context in which I made a decision here in the Oval Office..."

"...They're not going to develop that because right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion..."

"...I have shown the American people I can sit here in the Oval Office when times are tough and be steady and make good decisions, and I look forward to articulating what I want to do the next four years if I'm fortunate enough to be their president..."

Posted at 7:03 PM in a Grave fashion.
W.M.D. (Weapons of Maureen Dowd)

dowd_new.184.jpgIt's easy to criticize Maureen Dowd. She gets a lot of guff from the Right for being too liberal, and jabs from the Left for being too nasty. Pundits of all political stripes pretty much think she's superficial and too in love with her own references and puns.

Yes, her record is spotty (a Pulitzer one year, a series of columns about Barneys the next). Every time she gets up to bat, she's under a cloud: will she hit a homerun, or will mighty Maureen strike out? That's why when she knocks it out of the park, you gotta stand up and cheer.

This Sunday's column, Murder Most Fowl (Feb. 8, 2004) is a great achievement, both rhetorically, and stylistically. Dowd frequently errs too far on the side of style over substance, but writing about Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney this week, she marries (or at least civilly unionizes) the two impulses beautifully:

Now, with the White House looking untrustworthy and desperate; with the national security team flapping around and pointing fingers at each other and, of course, Bill Clinton; with even the placid Laura getting testy; and with Newsweek reporting that the Justice Department is reviewing whether Halliburton was involved in paying $180 million in kickbacks to get contracts in Nigeria at a time when Dick Cheney was chairman, anybody else would be sweating.

Not deadeye Dick. His heavy lids didn't blink when it turned out he'd blown up a half-century of American foreign policy alliances on a high-level hallucination.

Here he was, fresh from presenting a crystal dove to an obviously perplexed pope, stolidly waiting for the club's pheasant wranglers to shoo the doomed birds into his line of fire. He had killed only 70 or so the last time out. But this time he was convinced that the bird population could sustain more casualties. Quack and Awe.

"This is our due," Dick said. He fired a shot: BLAM!

That "BLAM!" (and "This is our due") is repeated throughout the column, like some angry/resentful incantation by an administration under siege. This is our world, our time, our choices, they seem to be saying. We want the world and we want it NOW!, as Jim Morrison, the deepest poet I read in eighth grade used to say. Dowd may be imagining the thoughts in Cheney's head while he hunts (domesticated) pheasants, but what emerges are the increasingly desperate—sad, even—rationalizations of a sitting duck who has no idea which way to run.

Dowd's no birdbrain: she knows Cheney's goose is cooked, and she's not afraid to crow about it.

Posted at 5:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 7, 2004
Holden Caulfield, older and still bitter

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"Oh, [John Kerry] sometimes pretends that he doesn't care about our special interests. He puts on that callous populist facade. But deep down he cares. Maybe he cares too much. When he's out on the stump saying otherwise, he's just being a big old phony."
David Brooks, Kerry's Special Friends, The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2004

Posted at 11:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  February 6, 2004
Whistlestop in the Village of the Damned

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"Beware the stare that will paralyze the will of the world."

Posted at 9:20 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 5, 2004
We, too, regret having seen "Journeys with George"
"I wish I could take my children out into the rain, shrink them back to babies and start over. I loved being a mother."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), mother of NBC News producer Alexandra Pelosi, revealing in the March issue of Glamour magazine one of the "Five Things You Don't Know About Me."

Posted at 10:22 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 4, 2004
The Naked and the Dead

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Posted at 3:31 PM in a Grave fashion.
Kerry a tune

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John Kerry: Yep, you guessed it: he was "Born in the USA."

With John Kerry emerging from as the Democratic frontrunner, it's time to turn our attention to an important aspect of his campaign. Since we live in a country where a washed-up pop star's almost entirely obscured nipple being exposed by a soon-to-be washed-up pop star dominates the news cycle more than, say, the death of 20 year-old 3rd Squadron soldier on the same day in Haditha, Iraq (that's 527 Americans, if you're still keeping count), perhaps this is the most important aspect of the campaign.

John Kerry's campaign song.

The Clinton/Gore boomer-juggernaut did very well with Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop", using the ambiguously inspirational lyrics "Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow/ Don't stop, it'll soon be here,/ It'll be, better than before/ Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone" to good effect.

On the flipside, Al Gore went bust in 2000 with Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al", which makes some sense since that song's grumpy, middle aged tone is off-putting in the extreme. Who'd vote for someone who sings (metaphorically speaking):
"A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
[...]
Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don't find this stuff amusing anymore"

Neither did the voters, apparently.

Ross Perot failed when he ironically appropriated Patsy Cline's "Crazy", which just goes to prove that a good song is a candidate's key to victory. Here are some suggestions with notes and clarifications.

Continue reading...
Posted at 9:44 AM in a Grave fashion.
  February 3, 2004
Before California Dies, It sees...

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How do you ward off evil Democrats and keep illegal immigrants at bay? Use a talisman, perhaps a magical ring the size of beetle... Not the insect, the car.

Posted at 4:05 PM in a Grave fashion.
Beeb Sky Beeb

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"Next time you hear the BBC bragging about how much superior the Brits are delivering the news rather than Americans who wear flags in their lapels, remember it was the Beeb caught lying."

Click here to view this wholly entertaining editorial snippet from a recent FOX News broadcast, featuring news host John Gibson waxing rhapsodic on last week's resignation by the BBC's director general Greg Dyke in the wake of Lord Hutton's report on editorial misconduct in the network's coverage of aspects of the British buildup to Iraq and, specifically, the network's usage of the now infamous "sexed up" terminology.

While editorials certainly occur with some restrained degree of frequency on a number of local news outlets across the country, and usually only in events of great compelling interest, can anyone recall having seen such an editorial stance having been adopted by news hosts on other national cable news networks, e.g. CNN and NWI? The one minute of airtime devoted to the BBC matter comes off as especially ironic, given the fact that the Hutton inquiry was largely a distinctly non-American issue; it's almost as though Gibson is gloating when he says above, "...remember it was the Beeb caught lying."

The operative word, of course, being "caught."

One thing's for sure; ITV and BSkyB would never have behaved in such a crass fashion.

(Previous–and very relevant–reflections on FOX News.)

Posted at 11:55 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 30, 2004
Smile, Birthday Boy!

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Turn that frown upside down, Mr. Vice-President! You're 63 years young today!

When you're done with the cake, please pick up your gifts from David Kay, Paul O'Neill, and the Republican party at the White House gates.

(Thanks, Janelle.)

Posted at 4:44 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 27, 2004
A Fool and His Money

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"He broke the law by a multiple of forty."
— Lowell Finley, on Governor Schwarzenegger's $4.5 million campaign loan. (Schwarzenegger Calif. Campaign Loans Ruled Illegal)

Posted at 9:45 PM in a Grave fashion.
Lorne Michaels' New Hampshire

dean-hardball.jpgWhen Howard Dean appeared on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" last night alongside his wife, Judith Steinberg Dean, it seemed as though Matthews might very well have had Saturday Night Live's Darrell Hammond serving as guest-host, judging by the frenetic tenor of the segment's questions. There's no way that questions this shallow could otherwise be accepted as having been asked on a so-called legitimate news program (For what it's worth, neither Bill O'Reilly nor Larry King host legitimate news shows, at least by the time-tested standards of lobbying softballs to sympathetic guests. This is, after all, "Hardball").

While it may be argued that when one interviews a presidential candidate alongside a potential future First Lady–a la Diane Sawyer's similar session with Mr. and Mrs. Dean the other night on ABC–the questions should be more lighthearted and whimsical, this hasn't been the practice (again, check out the transcripts of the Deans' appearance on "PrimeTime Live").

Some highlights of the appearance, in the "so absurd, this borders on Hammond-esque hilarity" category:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, MSNBC’S “HARDBALL”: Are you a maverick?

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE HOWARD DEAN: I don’t know. I say what I think, is that a maverick? I guess I am.

MATTHEWS: (to Judith Steinberg Dean) What’s it like being married to a maverick? Because he is one.

Her response is rendered irrelevant, because you can already picture Matthews' piercing visage seeking out her answer. After her demurring response, Matthews keeps up the absurdly base line of questions. You'd almost think he were interviewing George and Laura Bush with lines like these:

MATTHEWS: Do you ever say to him, “Why are you so gutsy? Why don’t you just go with the crowd on some of these things?”

STEINBERG DEAN: Absolutely not. He is who he is, he’s really really honest, you call it gutsy, I call it honest. I just think he says what he thinks.

MATTHEWS: Do you ever feel like your husband is being treated like a transfer student by the establishment? Like when you go to a new high school and everyone says “who’s this kid?”

STEINBERG DEAN: I think he is a bit of an outsider, but I think he’s very smart and people will hear what he has to say.

MATTHEWS: Do you ever say to him when you go to bed at night, “You should really cool it on that one?”

STEINBERG DEAN: (laughs)

DEAN: She’s being modest, the answer is yes.

Governor Dean does get in one gentle swipe at the First-Lady-as-delicate-wallflower image, however:

MATTHEWS: The President runs the West Wing, which is the business of government, and the First Spouse runs the state dinners, travel with foreign dignitaries... a lot of business, the First Lady has a big staff. Are you open to playing that role? Are you happy about it?

DEAN STEINBERG: We haven’t really spoken specifically about what role I’d play, but I’d certainly have to do some of the ceremonial duties and I think I’d probably get a lot of help with the business.

MATTHEWS: You have to decide things like whether they have dinner outside with a bigger tent, or in the East room...

DEAN: No, she doesn’t have to decide that stuff. She has to show up, but she’s going to be practicing medicine most of the time. She is going to do some state dinners, but there are people you pay to do that stuff. You know, social hostesses and all that.

Here's hoping this "invisible wife" motif works as a nice, centrist compromise between the past models of Hillary "vast, right-wing conspiracy" Clinton and Laura "I have no right brain, nor left brain" Bush.

Posted at 12:35 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 26, 2004
It's funny because it's true!

Ahhh, 'tis January in an election year- and such a time of great merriment in our nation's capital! Or so one might think after taking note of various politicos' comments this weekend at Saturday's Alfalfa Club dinner, an annual event at which so-called Washington insiders customarily crack wise about various Capitol Hill goings-on. What follows are some samples of this year's notable jokes.

President Bush on Howard Dean:

"Boy, that speech in Iowa was something else," Bush said, referring to Howard Dean's field holler after placing third in the caucuses Monday. "Talk about shock and awe. Saddam Hussein felt so bad for Governor Dean that he offered him his hole."

President Bush on John Kerry:

"Then we have Senator Kerry. I think Kerry's position on the war in Iraq is politically brilliant. In New Hampshire yesterday, he stated he had voted for the war, adding that he was strongly opposed to it."

Vernon Jordan, President Clinton's former right-hand man, on President Bush:

"Mr. President, I feel like I'm at one of your Cabinet meetings -- a blind man in a room full of deaf people. . . . let me take a moment, regardless of whether we are Christian, Jew or Muslim, and thank the Almighty, the one who controls our destiny as a nation -- Karl Rove."

Ok, we get it. Much like the annual speeches at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, the Alfalfa Club event is an opportunity to gently poke fun at national issues and figures. Both on and off the record, if you will.

Previous dinners, however, have featured a heavy dosage of self-reflexive humor, typified by a few of President Clinton's choice snippets of years past:

Clinton on Clinton, 1997:

"We must find common ground. We are going to build that bridge to the 21st century -- yadda, yadda, yadda."

Clinton on Clinton, 2000:

''A year from now, I'll have to watch someone else give this speech. And I will feel an onset of that rare affliction, unique to former presidents. AGDD: Attention-Getting Deficit Disorder.''

As far as the present administration is concerned, the only snippets of self-reflection I could find in this weekend's public comments came courtesy of the notoriously reclusive Vice President Dick Cheney:

"Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?" he added. "It's a nice way to operate, actually."

Except these weren't jocular comments presented at the Alfalfa Club dinner, but rather, remarks made to the press after Cheney's appearance at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. Ha!

Posted at 5:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 23, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 14

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Political bedfellows, President Bush and Pete Domenici demonstrate their defense of marriage

[Thanks Janelle & Chloe]

Posted at 10:39 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Unintentionally Insulting Photo of the Moment, vol. 1

ClarkDonuts.jpg

Ha ha! It's so funny when politicians pretend to have jobs.

Sidebar: Keep your eyes open for Dennis Miller to riff on this photo when his show premieres on Monday. ("Welsey Clark dropped out of the campaign Thursday and returned to his day job..." "General Wesley Clark attempts to skirt the McCain-Feingold regulations with a soft money donation... Hey, I'm still relevant, cha-chi! Did I tell you I starred in Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood? Helllo? Little help. Anyone?")

Posted at 9:36 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  January 22, 2004
The "Unelectable" Impasse

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Three days ago, Sen. John Kerry's frontrunner-then-nobody-then-frontrunner campaign for the presidency "upset" the powerful lead that former Vermont governor Howard Dean had built up in the race for the Democratic candidacy in 2004. Pundits were startled, and the centrist DLC breathed a sigh of relief. Buried somewhere within this larger story was the surprise candidacy of boyish John Edwards.

And then, of course, there were the candidates' post-caucus speeches. While everyone has been spewing snark about Dean's James Brown imitation, even setting his "mad rantings" to outdated mid-to-late-1990s dance beats, few people have been commenting on Kerry's oh-so-tepid, and oh-so-centrist, victory speech. As far as I can tell, there were no illicit MP3s circulating that featured Kerry droning on about special interests over a score by Philip Glass.

With that in mind, it might be good to gain a sense of perspective here, a few days after the fact.

Today, before New Hampshire's primary next week, Kerry is "up" in the state's polls, which can realistically be attributed to both his home state's geographic proximity and, more significantly, to the jokes and ridicule leveled against Dean, his closest competitor in that state up to this point, both in terms of polling and geography.

Is this really a good thing for Democrats of any stripe? Take another look at the candidates' Monday-night speeches. Reconsider how passionless Kerry appeared onstage, on this, what should have been the most inspiring night of his decades-long political career. It was, instead, like watching Gore sighing in the October 2000 debates. Dead. Lifeless. Unwatchable.

Contrast Kerry's discussion with Charlie Rose, I mean, his victory speech, with Dean's energy and enthusiasm just a few minutes prior:

"Not only are we going to New Hampshire ... we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico," Dean said with his voice rising. "We're going to California and Texas and New York. We're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. Then we're going to Washington D.C. to take back the White House."

Then, of course, to the delight of humorists everywhere, these lines culminated in the release of an animalistic "yowl" of sorts. But, dammit, was it not inspiring? Monday night was the first time in maybe two years or more of watching his candidacy that I genuinely felt a connection with the man's drive to win. This, incidentally, comes from someone who has long been decrying the manner in which Dean has been presenting himself for the past few months. You know, "angry", "off the cuff", "red-faced", and most damningly, "unelectable".

But who's kidding whom here? With Kerry at the helm of the Democratic Party in 2004, defeat is just as inevitable as it would be with Dean spearheading the race for the presidency. You'll recall how close the 2000 election was, and that was back when incumbent Vice-President Al Gore was riding the wave of years of success and surplus, while Bush merely had the "uniter, not a divider" outsider approach going for him, however inaccurate either of those synopses may have been in reality. And Gore was supposedly a Southern Democrat, to boot.

In terms of policies alone, Kerry (and, for that matter, the plug-and-play John Edwards) is effectively Howard Dean in a different package. Centrist, politically moderate, but with far less attitude, and far less of a genuine public persona...in short, far less personality. Oh, and Kerry is a former military man.

But for all practical purposes, they're both unelectable this fall. Four years ago, when a cowboy from Texas-by-way-of-Connecticut spent time on his campaign belligerently avoiding questions, sneering, calling reporters assholes, and fending off drinking-and-driving charges––but nonetheless managed to just about legitimately win the election––it might make sense to reconsider Dean's "unelectable" "anger". What is anger, if not passion? John "Monotone" Kerry comes off as more robotic than Gore did in 2000, if that's possible. And perhaps that's why he was polling so poorly for months on end, until an endless series of attacks on Dean's anger and unelectability derailed a clean win in Iowa Monday night.

Seen through this light, Howard Dean can still win this thing, both next week, this spring, and in the fall. Just ask Karl Rove: media and personality decide elections in the 21st century, not experience, not policies, not ideology.

Put it this way: they're effectively the same candidates, despite what the media or the DLC might have you believe, except one guy's got an almost Clintonian passion for getting elected, while the other embarrassed himself––and the entire Democratic party––by awkwardly riding a souped-up motorcycle onto the set of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The guy even wore a helmet obscuring his face, which, while certainly promoting responsible vehicular safety policies, nonetheless obscured his face.

Joe Trippi, David Letterman, or John Stewart would never have allowed that shit.

And if worse comes to worse, and we're going to lose this fall, let's lose with principled pride, at least. Go Kucinich!

Posted at 12:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 21, 2004
Article Most Likely to be found via Google very late one night soon

Michelangelo Signorile brings the gay fire and brimstone down on Veep daughter Mary Cheney in this week's New York Press. Calling Mary out for not speaking out against her father's (and his proxy, the President's) retrosexual anti-gay politics, Signorile turns in this phrase, which is sure to set off all sorts Google hits for The Press (and, regrettably, for us):

"So let’s get to the point: What the hell happened to you? Are you just another spoiled rich brat—the lesbian Paris Hilton—worried about getting a chunk of those 30 million Halliburton bucks should Dad’s heart conk out?"

Maybe those intrepid surfers who find the article quite by accident (Hello, Mr. Denby!) will put their hands to better use and write a letter to their Congressman or woman against this proposal.

Posted at 4:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
Where Editors Fear to Tread

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Col Allen, closet E.M. Forster fan?

Posted at 8:08 AM in a Grave fashion.
Zagat Guide, 2004: State of the Union address

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In which lines that were spoken and events which transpired during President Bush's January 20, 2004 address to Congress stand in for local restaurants:

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Lines which, when spoken, lead Bush to stare directly into the camera
13 instances, i.e. 13 discrete messages conveyed to his supporters, i.e. 13 soundbites created for the news recaps
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"We ended the rule of Saddam Hussein and...the people of Iraq are free"..."The United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins"..."America will never seek a permissions slip to defend the security of our country"..."We will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq so those nations can light the way for others and help transform a troubled part of the world"..."We understand our special calling...this great republic will lead the cause of freedom"..."This economy is strong, and growing stronger"..."Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase"..."I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy"..."Any attempt to limit the choices of seniors or to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare will meet my veto"..."Drug use in high school has declined by 11 percent over the last two years. 400,000 fewer young people are using drugs than in the year 2001"..."Tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players, to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now"..."Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases"..."Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives...Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage."

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Lines which, when spoken, lead CNN's cameras to focus on Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) and his various scowls
3 instances in which this occurred, conveying liberals' disgust with Bush's statements
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"The bill you passed gave prescription drug benefits to seniors"..."Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day"..."Starting this year, millions of Americans will be able to save money, tax-free, for their medical expenses in a health savings account."

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:45 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 20, 2004
Number Three With a Bullish (attitude)

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If you thought he was intense in Betrayal, wait 'till you see him go totally Over the Top!

"Not bad, but a bit stale!"— Variety

"Another well-executed movie poster parody that no one appreciates!"— Entertainment Weekly

Posted at 1:36 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Election Primer: four letters, starts with "I"

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While elections may be newsworthy in both Iowa and Iran of late, it's the lack of elections in Iraq that's generating all sorts of press these days.

Here's one primer, courtesy of Dilip Hiro, in the February 2, 2004 issue of The Nation. As American presidential candidates begin to discuss "planting the seeds of democracy" and ponder the status of United States-led plans for a "post-Saddam" Iraq, bear the following in mind:

"This internecine power struggle is being conducted under the hegemony of the US occupiers, who have their own scenario of the New Iraq: secular, democratic, unabashedly capitalist and openly tied to Washington politically (with its government committed in advance to welcoming US military bases), economically (with unfettered access to Iraqi oil) and strategically (as a pressure point against the regimes in Iran and Syria).

Washington's vision is a nightmare to most Sunni and Shiite Arabs. Militant Sunnis, imbued with Iraqi nationalism, are in the forefront of the continuing armed resistance. So far Shiites, three-fifths of Iraq's population, have generally been quiescent, hoping to emerge as the leading political force by exercising their franchise. But even as early as last April, some 1.5 million Shiites marched to Karbala to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein (martyred in AD 680), shouting, "No, no to America! Yes, yes to Islam!" At Hussein's shrine, a deputy of Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani declared, "Our celebration will be perfect only when the American occupier is gone and the Iraqi people are able to rule themselves by the principles of Islam." Recent demonstrations in the Shiite cities of Basra, Amara and Kut are symptomatic of rising Shiite discontent against Anglo-American occupation.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Sunni-dominated Baath Party, the Shiites are now the most organized community, led by the redoubtable Sistani. In June he issued a religious decree that only directly elected bodies have the right to administer Iraq or draft its Constitution; he reiterated this demand on January 11. In between he stated that he wants clerics to act as watchdogs to insure that Iraqi legislation does not contradict Islam, and he has disapproved of the way the Coalition Provisional Authority and its handpicked IGC altered laws on nationality and foreign investment, both of which impinge on Islamic principles. He has pointedly refused to meet CPA chief Paul Bremer."

Well, that doesn't bode well for American plans for a non-Islamic fundamentalist Iraq. And, were there to be democratically-held elections, with 56 percent of the nation's voters expressing support for a Sistani-styled government, it would certainly be embarrassing for the Bush administration to have sponsored the creation of an Islamic nation built on this Iranian paradigm, what with all of the President's talk over the past few months of human rights and feminism and democratic principles.

"The only way Bremer can counterbalance the power of Shiites is by co-opting the Sunnis (which has proved next to impossible) and getting them to coalesce with the Kurds. But while Kurds are 95 percent Sunni, they identify themselves first and foremost on ethnic, not sectarian, grounds.And their leaders have been no more eager to form an alliance with the Shiites. Powerful Shiite clerics would most likely oppose Kurdish demands for a federated Iraq, on the ground that in Islam there are different sects but not different ethnic groups.

All talk of "fuzzy math" aside, there is no mathematical way these numbers can lead to any sort of positive scenario for the American architects of the war in Iraq, at least while adhering to respected, internationally-sanctioned principles of democratic behavior. You know, that old adage about "one person, one vote." In this vein, Monday's papers documented a day-long march by almost 100,000 Iraqi Shiites in support of Ayatollah Sistani and his vision for an Iraq governed according to tenets of Islamic law.

"American helicopters buzzed overhead as an announcer with a bullhorn urged the marchers onward. 'Say yes, yes to elections and no, no to appointing the people in any way other than elections,' he said."

Admittedly, the protester's refrain isn't nearly as catchy as, say, "Hey hey, ho ho, the appointed council's got to go," or the even less popular, "Hey hey, it's time, we Shiites have such scorn for rhyme," but like all works of translation, the announcer's cry was better in the original, I'm sure.

Posted at 12:02 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 16, 2004
Don't blame me: I voted for Red Bull

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Illustration: John Kerry refuels on the campaign trail

Talking Points' Joshua Micah Marshall has spent the past few days examining the most recent flurry of fluctuating poll results in anticipation of Monday's Democratic primary in Iowa, and by his measure, one thing seems to have become at least somewhat clear, at least according to Zogby's polls: John Kerry is, or may very well be, ascending in popularity with Iowa's voters. And while that last sentence is so incredibly tepid in its support of a position, this hesitancy is important, because, well, we're dealing with tracking polls, which, of course, haven't been the most historically accurate source of election data in the past.

Hey, man, John "fucking" Kerry doesn't give a damn about statistics! He's riding high on endorsements right now–including one from Iowa's First Lady, and yesterday's from former Sen. Bob Kerrey, his similarly-named Vietnam veteran alter-ego, himself a former presidential candidate. Today's Washington Post features some highlights of Kerry's speech at a campaign stop yesterday, including this entertaining nugget:

"Do you like the surge?" Kerry hollered Thursday as he piloted his campaign helicopter into Sioux City to whip up his growing legion of supporters. "Do you like the surge? Are you ready to make more and more surge a surprise on Monday?"

Yes, it's true that we digitally inserted that PowerAde-like sports drink into the accompanying photo, but those lines sampled above are actual quotes.

While Zogby hasn't yet made their polling data for the elusive 18-24 year-old male demographic available yet, we're fairly confident that, come Monday, John Kerry will be available in Extreme Lemon Lime, Power Cherry, and Blue Raspberry flavors.

Posted at 11:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 13

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Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin gives President Bush 'the look of love.'

[Thanks, Janelle!]

Posted at 9:17 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
  January 15, 2004
No Witty Header

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"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968

Posted at 8:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
Bush in 30 Iterations

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low culture's Special Campaign Advertising Correspondent Nikki logs this report from our Soho offices:

Two ads in the Bush in 30 Seconds competition held by MoveOn.org employed a similar rhetorical strategy: comparing Bush to other important people in your life. ( See "If Your Parents Acted Like Bush"—named Funniest Ad—and "If the Bush Administration Was Your Roommate"—one of 26 overall finalists.)

With time on our hands, we decided to extend the paradigm to other categories.

If Bush Were Your Boyfriend:

Boyfriend: "Hey, let's crash that party!"
Girlfriend: "Let's invite Jacques, he's always fun at parties!"
Boyfriend: "I hate that French fuck."
Girlfriend: "Why are you so mean to all my friends?"
Boyfriend: "I hate all your friends. We don't need any of them. Just the two of us, baby."
Girlfriend: "You're suffocating me."
Boyfriend: "Can I borrow some money?"

If Bush Were a Policeman:

Policeman: "I see you, you criminal, with that big bag of pot!"
Dude: "Huh? I don't have any pot on me."

Policeman bashes Dude over the head with a club and begins pistol-whipping him.

Policeman: "Don't lie to me! You have pot, you've thought about pot, you've wondered whether it would be hard to buy some, you wonder what it would be like to smoke it or even eat it!"

Policeman takes out plunger.

If Bush Were Your Mother:

Mother: "Clean your room."
Boy: "Why do I have to?"
Mother: "Because I told you so."
Boy: "But your room is a mess."
Mother: "Do as I say, not as I do."

If Bush Were a Movie:

"Violent, racist, and anti-intellectualI loved it!"—TV Guide Channel

If Bush Were Paris Hilton:

"Blair is such a debbie."

Posted at 3:50 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Dean of Hearts

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From the producers of Primary Attractions comes this story of coldhearted betrayal in the cold heartland state of Iowa.

The Nomination was his, but Revenge was hers.

Posted at 11:47 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  January 13, 2004
The 'Milieu' Man March on Washington Continues

"Look, I didn’t know anything about the gay community when I signed the civil-unions bill. I grew up in the same homophobic milieu that everybody else did. I was told the same thing about gay people that all heterosexuals were. And most gay people were told the same thing themselves— by parents, ministers and everybody else. I was uncomfortable, and I said so. And I got a lot of flak for it. But I still thought it was the right thing to do."

— Howard Dean in the Feb. 5, 2004 issue of Rolling Stone

Howard, I thought we talked about this last week!

Posted at 2:49 PM in a Grave fashion.
Mr. President, please polish these responses before the debates in September

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As expected, the most secretive administration in recent U.S. history has moved into attack mode in the wake of President Bush's former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill's possible "leaking" of "secret" documents to author Ron Suskind for the publication of his long anticipated book (by "long anticipated", I mean, as of yesterday, when news of O'Neill's comments initially broke) which is now destined to be an immediate, though short-lived, bestseller,