|Thursday, February 01, 2007|
The Good German
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post describes the Kissassinger testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday:
Inaudibility is always the best way to experience any utterance emanating from the Bush regime. That's what the Mute button on the remote is for.
8:16:03 AM comment 
|Wednesday, January 24, 2007|
I have no idea what Bush meant last night when he said "This is not the fight we entered in Iraq but it is the fight we are in."
1:16:06 PM comment 
|Tuesday, January 16, 2007|
May you live in challenging times
According to an NPR story:
Rice also told the Arab leaders that they shouldn't tolerate any interference in Iraq's affairs by foreign governments -- foreign governments other than the USA, that is.
4:30:43 PM comment 
|Monday, January 08, 2007|
Waiting to Exhale
Must be a leak of Bush's Iraq "surge" speech, scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday at 9 PM New York time.
10:45:03 AM comment 
|Saturday, December 30, 2006|
Dead Presidents' Society
My postman has just informed me that there will be no postal service this Tuesday, January 2nd, in honor of Gerald Ford.
It turns out that whenever a president dies, it's a bank and postal holiday -- although this custom apparently doesn't apply to former presidents of Iraq.
I'd be willing to forego my postal service for an entire week if it would hasten Bush's departure from this Earthly vale of tears.
12:01:23 PM comment 
|Friday, December 29, 2006|
Have you driven a Ford lately?
While overdosing on Gerald Ford eulogies, I couldn't help thinking of what Gore Vidal once said about him in an interview (written from memory):
12:39:56 PM comment 
|Monday, December 11, 2006|
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Ubermann!
Josef Joffe, the author of "Uberpower: The Imperial Temptation of America," was on CSPAN2 yesterday.
4:46:55 PM comment 
|Friday, December 08, 2006|
The Weakly Substandard
Paul Krugman points out that "They Told You So":
Bill Kristol should turn over the publication of his Weekly rang to Billy Crystal. At least it would be funny -- and not just unintentionally.
10:44:14 AM comment 
|Wednesday, December 06, 2006|
The Year of Living Dangerously
Forget about the civil war in Iraq or the unfortunate demise of James Kim today in the snows of western Oregon. For true daredevil behavior, consider that for over a decade, I've not only been ordering cebollitas (little green onions) with my tacos at Baja Fresh, but have also added large portions of bagged spinach to my salad.
For my next death-defying stunt, I plan to order a strawberry smoothie at Jamba Juice.
If that doesn't kill me, I'll go to a New York restaurant and ask for something cooked in trans fats, risking a beating by a crazed mob of anti-cholesterol zealots.
2:53:09 PM comment 
The Trans Fat Study Report
New York has just become the first city in the USA to ban trans fats in restaurants.
Since everything Bush touches turns to shit, why don't we fire him as commander-in-chief of the War on Terror and put him in charge of the War on Cholesterol? That's something he should be able to handle. He can declare french fries and onion rings to be members of the Axis of Evil and take it from there.
2:52:07 PM comment 
|Wednesday, November 29, 2006|
Ain't gonna study war no more
According to CNN, the Iraq Study Group has just announced that it will release its report on December 6th.
That's why December 7th remains, as FDR said, "a date which will live in infamy."
11:50:33 AM comment 
Who's on Frist
Bill Frist has abandoned his quest for the presidency. Somebody must have reminded him that he has all the charm of an undertaker. If you want to be president, you have to be able to at least fake likeability.
Poor guy, now that he's retired from the Senate, all he'll have to fall back on is his family's health care fortune.
11:49:00 AM comment 
|Tuesday, November 28, 2006|
The Odd Couple
Today on MSNBC, some pundit opined that "Bush should have taken out Moqtada al-Sadr a few years ago when he had the chance."
What would Laura think of her husband, the anti-gay marriage crusader, going out with another man?
6:36:37 PM comment 
|Monday, November 13, 2006|
Rooting for Rudy
I don't know whether any mayor has ever been elected president, but Rudy Giuliani, perhaps buoyed by the debut of the first-ever Italian-American Speaker of the House, has set up an exploratory committee for a presidential bid, and is the Republican frontrunner in today's CNN poll. Unlike former presidential hopefuls George "Macacawitz" Allen and Rick "Sanctum" Santorum, Rudy doesn't look like Howdy Doody.
Nevertheless, his campaign's theme song uses the Howdy Doody melody.
10:27:57 PM comment 
|Thursday, November 09, 2006|
The Macaca Cowboy
George "Macacawitz" Allen has just conceded defeat in the Virginia senatorial race. He opened his concession speech by tossing a football into the crowd; His father used to coach the Washington Redskins, a redskin being another kind of macaca.
3:22:05 PM comment 
|Wednesday, November 08, 2006|
Conrad Burns in Hell
Jon Tester sounds like the name of a guy who does safety tests on bathrooms, along with Wall Street Journal op-ed writer John Fund, who heads a mutual fund that invests in them.
Nevertheless, Tester has just defeated Conrad Burns in the race for Senator from Montana.
With 100% of precincts reporting, the Senatorial results for Montana are as follows:
11:21:01 PM comment 
|Thursday, October 19, 2006|
The San Andreas Default
Just in time for the election:
It's the flip side of Bush's Ownership Society -- the Foreclosure Society.
10:42:30 AM comment 
|Thursday, September 28, 2006|
New York is proposing to ban the use of trans fats for cooking in restaurants.
Trans fats, used for cooking such items as french fries, can cause heart disease by raising levels of bad cholesterol.
If they called it evil cholesterol instead, Bush could launch a global war on it and New York wouldn't need the ban.
12:05:33 PM comment 
|Tuesday, September 26, 2006|
I don't recall seeing Christians riot after the title character in "Salome" sings her long aria to the severed head of John the Baptist.
Staging this production could give a whole new meaning to "They really killed 'em at the box office" and "We bombed last night."
3:27:34 PM comment 
|Tuesday, September 19, 2006|
Ticketmaster is giving the public a chance to bid on tickets for the upcoming Blue Man Group tour.
But do they perform in red states?
2:36:31 PM comment 
|Monday, September 18, 2006|
Frank gets Richer
Frank Rich's new book, "The Greatest Story Ever Sold," just came out today, and by a strange coincidence, he just happened to be on TV today talking about it -- for example, on MSNBC's "Hardball."
3:00:01 PM comment 
|Tuesday, September 12, 2006|
The Silver-Tongued Texan
The death of Ann Richards brought forth endless re-screenings of her verbal evisceration of Bush the Elder:
And his son was born with a mouthful of both feet and both legs.
10:11:31 PM comment 
|Monday, September 11, 2006|
Today on CNN, I heard anchorman Jim Clancy, in conversation with reporter Michael Ware, refer to the Iraqi city of Ramadi as "Ramada."
- Ambrose Bierce
5:59:31 PM comment 
Keith Olbermann was impassioned and eloquent in his 10-minute on-air denunciation of Bush last night. The only part I didn't like was the ending, "May this country forgive you."
Why should we forgive the SOB? He deserves to be in solitary confinement in Guantanamo, in an orange jump suit and blindfolded with his "Mission Accomplished" banner.
4:20:12 PM comment 
|Friday, September 08, 2006|
The latest innovation in airline security:
Now if only they would offer flights from remote sites throughout LA.
11:15:43 AM comment 
|Sunday, September 03, 2006|
No worries, Mate!
Americans are understandably frightened about terrorism, but let me clarify a common statistical fallacy and put your minds at ease.
The chances of some American, somewhere in the world, being killed by terrorists are pretty high.
The probability of you in particular being killed by terrorists is rather low -- about the same as the chances of a world-famous wildlife expert being done in by a stingray.
12:32:34 PM comment 
|Saturday, September 02, 2006|
The Agassi and the Ecstasy
Benjamin Becker, who beat Andre Agassi today in the final match of Agassi's career, is German but speaks good English, by virtue of having graduated from Baylor University before joining the pro tennis tour.
Agassi is one of the world's most articulate athletes despite having baylored out before graduating high school.
Bush graduated from Yale but can't put two words together without mispronouncing one and misspelling the other.
Higher education is very overrated.
6:33:52 PM comment 
|Tuesday, August 29, 2006|
Gimme that ol' time religion
As Maureen Dowd points out, Bush behaved as if he were the nation's chaplain-in-chief yesterday at the site of the Biblical deluge in New Orleans:
Whenever Bush speaks, I can never tell whether he's imagining he's Will Rogers or Winston Churchill. Yesterday, he sounded like Elmer Gantry.
3:06:05 PM comment 
Trickle or Treat
NPR headline today: U.N. Force Trickles into Lebanon
This must be the trickle-down theory of Middle East peacekeeping.
In other words, a rising tide lifts all boats -- except when the Israelis are maintaining a naval blockade.
2:47:26 PM comment 
|Sunday, August 20, 2006|
During today's press conference, Bush was asked if he's frustrated with the situation in Iraq.
I was half expecting him to serenade the media with a song:
10:56:43 PM comment 
|Thursday, July 20, 2006|
Honest Abe & Incurious George
Excerpt from today's Bush speech to the NAACP:
To paraphrase what Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle in 1988, Mr. President, you're no Abe Lincoln.
1:29:19 PM comment 
|Wednesday, July 19, 2006|
The Land of Oz
Amos Oz has an op-ed piece in today's LA Times entitled "Hezbollah Attacks Unite Israelis."
Of course, the reverse is just as likely: "Israeli Attacks Unite Lebanese."
6:29:26 PM comment 
|Monday, July 17, 2006|
Monkey See, Monkey Do
MSNBC's Tucker Carlson claims that the "Yo, Blair" conversation reveals Bush's human side.
What have the previous 5 1/2 years of Bush's utterance revealed, his simian side?
10:38:02 PM comment 
|Tuesday, June 20, 2006|
Clash of Civilizations
The bodies of two American soldiers who had been missing since Friday were found today.
As opposed to the prisoners in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and various CIA "black sites," who have been tortured in a civilized fashion.
10:39:43 AM comment 
|Thursday, June 08, 2006|
Bush's announcement of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi included an unintentional rap lyric:
According to Patrick Cockburn:
We'll never know what Zarqawi's final utterance was, but you can bet it wasn't "Rosebud."
7:02:45 PM comment 
|Tuesday, May 23, 2006|
A Piece of the Action
Headline from today's LA Times:
Patrick Cockburn describes the reality:
In other words, rather than fighting rampant corruption, Iraq's new leaders are more likely to demand their fair share of it.
12:19:15 PM comment 
|Monday, May 22, 2006|
According to CNN:
Incremental? Excremental would be more accurate.
12:21:16 PM comment 
|Wednesday, May 17, 2006|
The Da Vinci Prose
I never had any desire to read Dan Brown's paperweight, and A.O. Scott's review in today's NY Times has confirmed the wisdom of my decision:
Maybe Dan Brown should become a Bush speechwriter.
2:33:56 PM comment 
|Tuesday, May 16, 2006|
Molly Ivins reacts to Bush's immigration speech:
Personally, I support letting the illegal immigrants stay and deporting Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.
6:40:58 PM comment 
|Friday, May 05, 2006|
Caption from a New York Times photo today:
They may let him visit the store but they're unlikely to let him run it, as Philip Roth once pointed out:
3:44:03 PM comment 
|Thursday, May 04, 2006|
No habla Ingles
According to CNN:
Why should that be surprising? He's not that good with his English either.
11:33:31 AM comment 
|Monday, May 01, 2006|
On May 1st 2003, Bush strutted around on the deck of an aircraft carrier in a tight flight suit with a visibily bulging crotch -- or as David Hare put it in his play, "Stuff Happens," "George Bush shows his balls to the world" -- and proclaimed Mission Accomplished in Iraq.
Three years later, Bush's wet dream of a quick and easy war has become a nightmare, more like Mission Impossible -- with no Tom Cruise to come to the rescue.
12:17:13 PM comment 
|Monday, April 24, 2006|
The Viagra Building
According to the LA Times, "Gehry Sees His Glass Towers Transforming Downtown LA."
No matter what lofty concepts architects may claim for their projects, it all comes down to one thing: Mine is bigger than yours.
10:48:04 AM comment 
|Friday, April 21, 2006|
According to a Slate article:
If Blair is so popular on this side of the pond, maybe he should run for office here. But would the Brits take Bush in exchange?
10:53:37 PM comment 
|Monday, April 10, 2006|
Familiarity breeds contempt
Although the print version of this NPR story includes the Enron protagonists' proper names, the audio version refers to them by their schoolyard monickers -- Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay and Andy Fastow.
Only in America can average citizens be on a first-name basis with the kleptocrats who pick their pockets. Is this a great country or what?
|Monday, April 03, 2006|
Covert Overt Action
Secret talks are underway in London.
No doubt the attack itself will also be secret, although probably not to the Iranians.
Don't tell anybody you heard about the secret talks. They're a secret.
1:37:08 PM comment 
|Wednesday, March 29, 2006|
The rain of blame falls mainly on Hussein
Just when you thought Bush couldn't possibly come up with another far-fetched explanation for the fiasco his war in Iraq has become, he does!:
First he blamed Iran, then he blamed the media, now he's blaming Saddam. Next, he'll probably blame Bill Clinton.
1:07:37 PM comment 
|Tuesday, March 21, 2006|
Cancel my subscription to the Reformation
To me, the most noteworthy statement from today's Bush press conference was:
On the other hand, the Iraqis may prefer the Counter-Reformation.
10:27:19 PM comment 
|Friday, March 03, 2006|
From Islamabad to Islamaworse
Today the New York Times published a photo of a banner saying "President George W. Bush -- A Friend of Pakistan" draped across a building at Chaklala Air base near Islamabad to commemorate Bush's visit.
This must be the handiwork of the same people who were responsible for the infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner, especially since it's in English rather than Urdu and is therefore intended for an American audience.
That's one more reason why, to his many Pakistani detractors, their country's leader is known as Busharraf.
2:07:18 PM comment 
The Dubai World Ports Tennis Championship
Too bad this match won't be televised, not even on the Tennis Channel. At least Al Jazeera should show it.
According to the event's official web site, it is:
Now there's a title Bush must be in awe of, since it makes Commander-in-Chief sound chintzy by comparison.
1:29:12 PM comment 
|Thursday, March 02, 2006|
The nuclear treaty Bush signed with India must still be approved by the U.S. Congress.
There are many reasons for them to reject it, not the least of which is that when they read the fine print, they'll discover it says "nucular" not "nuclear" and is therefore invalid.
2:14:33 PM comment 
|Thursday, February 16, 2006|
Fellini's 7 1/2
According to a CNN reporter, Cheney shot Harry Whittington with "a 7 1/2 inch birdshot."
I don't know much about shooting, but it seems to me that if Whittington had been shot with a projectile that large, he wouldn't be giving any press conferences.
A bit of research turned up the correct dimensions of the birdshot:
Birdshot could be the past tense of birdshit, just as the past tense of all the bullshit being issued from Cheney could be bullshot.
9:46:05 PM comment 
|Monday, February 13, 2006|
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Pontificating on NPR this morning, Cokie Roberts mentioned that in a recent meeting with Republican leaders, Bush said that if he paid attention to public opinion polls, he'd spend all his time curled up in fetal position on the floor.
If he did that, Cheney would probably mistake him for a quail and shoot him.
11:45:20 AM comment 
|Tuesday, February 07, 2006|
A Civil Rights Carol
Bush and three of his predecessors spoke today at Coretta Scott King's funeral today at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
After unveiling his Dickensian budget that trashes the old and the poor, Bush should appear at Ebenezer Scrooge Baptist Church instead.
7:34:52 PM comment 
|Monday, January 30, 2006|
If only the headline of this NPR story were true.
10:53:30 PM comment 
|Monday, January 23, 2006|
Last night in Southern California, the canyons and passes of the San Gabriel Valley foothills had extremely high winds and lost power overnight.
With the power out, I slept with my flashlight, for lack of more congenial company. I awoke in the morning to find the power restored and a telecast of Bush making a flatulent speech in Kansas, where there was unfortunately no power outage but only a lust for unlimited and unchecked presidential power.
3:30:38 PM comment 
|Saturday, January 21, 2006|
One flu over the cuckoo's nest
A friend who shares my passion for tennis e-mailed me to inquire if I had some way of determining whom Jimmy Connors had played in the semifinals of the 1978 Wimbledon tournament. Despite repeated Googling of various search terms, he had been unable to find the answer.
After trying several other search engines, I determined that Connors' opponent had been Vitas Gerulaitis.
I wonder what the NSA's search engine monitoring program would make of Gerulaitis as a search term. Bush would probably think it's some variant of the avian flu.
12:54:38 PM comment 
|Monday, December 26, 2005|
According to today's NY Times:
No doubt the Congolese troops are being led by the fearsome Congolese warrior princess Congoleezza Rice.
6:49:10 PM comment 
|Wednesday, December 21, 2005|
Investigators believe they have found the cause of the Miami plane crash:
By the time of the 2006 midterm elections, we should also know whether the right wing of the Republican party has cracked and broken off.
7:54:37 AM comment 
|Monday, December 19, 2005|
Osadamma, oh don't you cry for me
One advantage of reading transcripts of Bush appearances is that you don't have to put up with that simian countenance and the museum of nervous tics and mannerisms that he has become. But the disadvantage is that his slips and malapropisms usually get cleaned up by the press -- as in this CNN transcript of this morning's press conference:
But what Bush actually said was (soundbite transcribed by me from broadcast, italics added):
You don't have to be Dr. Freud to figure out what that one means.
It's reassuring to know that one person who will never change how he communicates is Bush. He'll always be truculent, petulant, arrogant, ignorant and mendacious.
1:07:44 PM comment 
|Friday, December 16, 2005|
According to CNN:
. . . that wanted man being Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Juan Cole elaborates:
Maybe they thought he was George Clooney.
9:59:48 AM comment 
|Monday, December 12, 2005|
After yesterday's anti-Muslim riots in Darwin, Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said:
That's obvious. The racism's right out in the open.
11:06:50 PM comment 
La Inclemenza di Ahnold
The news has just come over the wires: No clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams from the action-hero governor of Kollyphonia.
12:55:34 PM comment 
|Wednesday, December 07, 2005|
Rejecting the Rejectionists
Today's Bush speech was mostly a rehash of every other Bush speech on Iraq. So what else is new?
But there was one new element. Instead of referring to the insurgency as being composed of "rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists" as he did in his previous speech, he's now calling them "terrorists and Saddamists." In fact, he used that phrase seven times, by my count, so it's no accident.
So what happened to the rejectionists?
Oh, there he is. The commander-in-chief of the rejectionists.
12:16:41 PM comment 
|Tuesday, December 06, 2005|
Here comes the bribe
"When is a Bribe Not a Bribe on Capitol Hill?" is the name of today's segment of "To The Point."
The answer, if the Pentagon's department of euphemism were put in charge, would probably be, when it's an Enhanced Financial Incentive.
One of the show's guests was Bruce Bartlett, who described in a recent Washington Times column what he calls "the creeping corruption of the Republican Party."
Creeping? How about galloping?
It's no accident that the founder and chief examplar of Republican corruption, Nixon, had a group in 1972 called the Committee to Re-Elect the President, or CREEP.
11:41:47 AM comment 
|Friday, December 02, 2005|
Several courthouses in Connecticut were shut down and evacuated today after "non-specific threats" were received.
You can bet that in the run-up to the 2006 US midterm elections, there will be plenty of non-specific threats reported and non-specific alerts issued to keep the public non-specifically fearful.
The specific goal of these activities will be to keep Congress in Republican hands.
1:34:32 PM comment 
|Thursday, December 01, 2005|
Excerpt from Bush's speech on World AIDS Day:
That's what it says on the White House web site. But I heard a soundbite from the speech, and what he actually said was:
You don't have to be Dr. Freud to figure out what that means. Bush condemns condoms. Condoms cause sex. Sex is not abstinence. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
1:14:04 PM comment 
|Wednesday, November 30, 2005|
Triumph of the Will
Since every Bush speech on Iraq is a re-run of every other Bush speech, one is reduced to pointing out what sort of clever graphic background Spinmeister Rove has come up with ("Plan for Victory" in today's speech) and counting the endless repetition of words and phrases:
Rest assured that whatever should happen will happen. The Emperor Bush has so ordered.
Or, as he put it in a slightly different context, "America's will is strong." So if US troops wind up withdrawing because of overwhelming public pressure and chaos ensues, Bush will blame it all on the American citizenry.
The speech included the usual analogies to WWII and the Cold War, along with claims that victory in Iraq "will inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran. . . " (especially the undemocratic Iranian clerics who are allied with the new Shiite-dominated government of Iraq) and that old favorite, ". . . as the Iraqi security forces stand up, coalition forces can stand down."
There was, however, one memorable new description:
Bush closed his speech with ". . . May God continue to bless the United States of America." You can bet he will -- unless of course he turns out to be a rejectionist.
2:43:54 PM comment 
|Thursday, November 24, 2005|
Cunanan, the Barbarian
During today's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, the always-perky Katie Couric referred to a fashion worn by a participant as having been designed by (soundbite transcribed by me from NBC braodcast) "Donatella Versucci."
Versucci may or may not be the past tense of Versace, but it sounds an awful lot like the Italian explorer Vespucci, from whom America took its name.
But then, Gianni Versace would probably still be alive if he'd never come to the USA and encountered one of America's great contributions to world culture -- the celebrity stalker, in the form of Andrew Cunanan.
11:46:09 AM comment 
|Thursday, November 17, 2005|
Judy Miller was reportedly furious with New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller for describing her relationship with "Scooter" Libby as an "entanglement," with all the sexual imagery that noun suggests.
Now, according to Counterpunch:
Does this imply that Libby, Miller and Woodward have been carrying on a menage a trois?
1:46:00 PM comment 
|Monday, November 14, 2005|
We're Number One
Los Angeles residents can now take pride in having reclaimed the title of America's smoggiest city.
We can always take Bill Clinton's advice -- Don't inhale.
Today's biggest contributor to air pollution was Bush's speech in Alaska, which included the following pearls of wisdom:
Translation: You can disagree with me, but if you do, you're irresponsible and a traitor.
I usually skip the broadcasts of Bush's speeches and read the transcripts instead. Listening to them can be more hazardous than breathing the air in Los Angeles.
12:08:26 PM comment 
|Friday, November 11, 2005|
It ain't over till it's Dover
Residents of Dover, Pennsylvania, had better take heed, because as we all know, Pat Robertson has a direct pipeline to God.
I don't know what kind of natural disaster Dover is habitually prone to, unless it's a repeat of the Johnstown flood. As far as I'm concerned, the biggest disaster for the Keystone State remains its junior senator.
Meanwhile, in another part of Pennsylvania, Tobyhanna, Bush closed his Veterans Day speech with the following lengthy plea to the almighty:
With the exception, of course, of the city of Dover.
12:03:43 PM comment 
|Thursday, November 10, 2005|
Shopping at Bloomie's
Today's NY Times reports that the Democrats are disconsolate, having now lost four straight mayoral elections to Republicans.
It's puzzling that the Times could be so ignorant of what it means to be a Republican in New York. Just as a Democrat in Texas is a Republican with a different party label, a New York Republican isn't far removed from a Democrat. In fact, Michael Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat who only became Republican because he faced less opposition on that side of the primary ballot when he sought the nomination for mayor in 2001.
Throughout my entire childhood in New York, Jacob Javits was senator, while Nelson Rockefeller was governor. These men, with their socially liberal attitudes (pro-choice, pro-gay rights), like Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, would not be considered ideologically pure enough by the Taliban wing of the Republican party. In fact, "Rockefeller Republican" became a term of opprobrium for labeling such politicians. These days, it's usually replaced by the acronym RINO, Republican in Name Only.
Even so, if, like Bloomberg, you're going to be a Rockefeller Republican in a Democratic city, it helps to have the wealth of a Rockefeller to finance your own campaign.
12:03:42 PM comment 
|Wednesday, November 09, 2005|
Just Say No
Today's LA Times front page headline says it all: "No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No."
It's not a temper tantrum thrown by a recalcitrant child, but the response of Kollyphonia's voters to the eight referenda offered to them, including four sponsored by our action-hero governor.
Ironically, Proposition 80, electricity re-regulation, suffered the worst defeat, losing by a two-thirds margin. This measure was in part a response to the Enron-engineered statewide power shortages and blackouts of 2001 that were a principal impetus for the recall of Der Terminator's predecessor, Gray Davis.
Thus did the citizenry, confused by an endless barrage of attack and counterattack ads, vote out the baby with the bathwater.
This morning on NPR's Morning Edition, I heard some tape of a chant by victorious union members whose political contributions to the Democrats da gubnah had sought to curtail with his failed "paycheck protection" Proposition 75:
Okay, so it's not quite as euphonious and stirring as "El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!" but it will suffice.
As for Schwarzie himself, today's money quote is "There is much, much work that has to be done." Note the use of the passive voice, favored by politicians when seeking to deflect blame, as in Ronald Reagan's diagnosis of the Iran-Contra scandal, "Mistakes were made."
Votes were cast. A power-hungry politician's Godlike attempt to remake the state in his own image has been thwarted.
10:53:59 AM comment 
|Tuesday, November 08, 2005|
Brenda Starr, Reporter
Typo of the day, from Huffingtonpost, from a headline that seems like an inadvertent reference to the Judith Miller scandal and/or the replacement of CNN's Aaron Brown by Anderson Cooper:
12:20:25 PM comment 
|Monday, November 07, 2005|
Powah to da Peepul
Residents of the flyover states must be overjoyed that they're not involved in the off-year election tumult, unlike voters on both coasts.
12:16:47 PM comment 
I often attend All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena at Christmas with my neighbors, not out of any desire to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior (or even my personal trainer), but mainly to listen to their excellent baroque music ensemble, plus the stirring sermons, which usually have more to do with issues like fighting HIV and poverty and Africa than explicit anti-Bushism.
Now comes this:
Of course, the evangelical Bush supporters will never lose their tax exemptions, since they obviously don't engage in anti-abortion and anti-gay politics. Nor would the Vatican ever take a political stand, such as recommending denying communion to pro-choice politicians like John Kerry. And the Bush regime would never do anything as tawdry as maintaining a Nixonian enemies' list and using the IRS against them.
12:15:31 PM comment 
|Sunday, November 06, 2005|
While surfing the NFL's web site, I ran across one of their best-selling items, a Pat Tillman jersey, with proceeds benefitting the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Frank Rich elaborates on "The Mysterious Death of Pat Tillman":
Since we now know that Tillman actually died from friendly fire, does this mean that anyone who wears a Tillman football jersey risks being tackled by his own teammates?
10:42:31 PM comment 
|Saturday, October 29, 2005|
Fear of Flying
When a reporter at his press conference suggested that perjury was just a technicality, Patrick Fitzgerald had a ready answer: "That talking point won't fly," and then he went on to explain why.
With several major airlines in bankruptcy and the avian flu rapidly spreading, it remains to be seen which Republican talking points, if any, will fly.
12:33:22 PM comment 
|Friday, October 28, 2005|
I, Lewis Libby
Just to avoid confusion:
I. Lewis Libby, a/k/a "Scooter," Dick Cheney's chief of staff, has just been indicted on five counts (The I. stands for Irving).
Libby Lewis is a reporter for NPR who covered the story today.
Today, on KCRW's show "Left, Right and Center," Tony Blankley made the mother of all Freudian slips and called Libby "Liddy."
G. Gordon Liddy, I. Lewis Libby. There's a rap lyric lurking there someplace.
You can't trust a man who uses an initial to conceal his first name.
11:01:26 AM comment 
|Thursday, October 27, 2005|
In the end, what brought down the Harriet Miers nomination for the Supreme Court wasn't the Democrats, but the Republican party's religious fundamentalist base.
In Arabic, the word for "base" is Al Qaeda.
6:11:08 PM comment 
|Wednesday, October 26, 2005|
According to NPR:
I've always found Greek feta to be rather dry and tasteless. In my experience, the best feta is Israeli -- light, most, and just the right amount of salt. I wonder whether the Palestinians produce feta.
Presumably feta produced in the Middle East would not be bound by EU naming restrictions and could still be called feta. But wars have been started on flimsier pretexts. Take, for example, Iraq.
7:56:32 PM comment 
|Tuesday, October 25, 2005|
Breakfast with Bush
One big disadvantage of living in the Pacific time zone is that if you're in the habit of turning on cable news broadcasts upon awakening, your day is frequently ruined by starting it with a Bush speech.
Today's edition recycled all the old fallacies about the Iraq war and much of the same simplistic phraseology we've all heard for years, accompanied by the usual truculent and petulant body language. Bush is like the Texan in Paris who can't get the French to understand his English, so he shouts at them.
The audience for today's speech was the Jointed Armed Forces Officers' Wives Luncheon. Eventually, Bush will run out of friendly adult audiences to appear before and will be reduced to speaking at the Joined Armed Forces Officers' Children's Nap Time.
10:02:45 AM comment 
|Friday, October 21, 2005|
In today's LA Times, Bill Maher suggests moving Saddam Hussein's trial to LA.
Since both Saddam's and Tom DeLay's lawyers have been claiming that they can't get a fair trial and have been asking for a change of venue, let's give both of them what they want. Try Saddam in the USA and DeLay in Baghdad. While the latter's lawyers continue to file incessant motions to dismiss the charges and DeLay the trial, their client can enjoy the sumptuous lodgings at Abu Ghraib.
12:14:02 PM comment 
|Tuesday, October 18, 2005|
Hail and Farewell
I don't know whether the recent spate of natural disasters -- hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, floods in the northeast, earthquakes in Pakistan, bird flu in Asia and Europe -- means Jesus is coming, Allah is coming, or Zeus is coming, but I can refute the various cable news reports today that claimed Southern California's torrential precipitation included "walnut-sized hail."
The hail was actually only almond-sized -- or if you prefer a more multicultural reference, garbanzo bean-sized.
1:08:26 PM comment 
|Monday, October 17, 2005|
Ted Koppel, who became famous with his "America Held Hostage" broadcasts in 1979 (I don't know about you, but I wasn't held hostage) will anchor his last "Nightline" on November 22nd. ABC has decided to replace him with a team of three anchors -- Martin Bashir, Terry Moran and Cynthia McFadden.
Three anchors ought to be more than enough to sink the show.
10:14:04 PM comment 
|Friday, October 14, 2005|
Funny, you don't look Amish
CNN reported an outbreak of polio in an Amish community in Minnesota. Their reporter made an unfortunate choice of simile (soundbite transcribed by me from broadcast):
10:48:35 AM comment 
|Wednesday, October 12, 2005|
Repentenance with Disclaimer
Tonight begins Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonment. We fast for 24 hours and then break the fast tomorrow night, usually with an display of gluttony that erases whatever caloric benefits the fasting may have bestowed.
Unlike the poor Catholics, who have to attend confession regularly, Jews store up their sins for a year and then atone for them all at once. Then we go back to screwing our fellow man (and woman) the next day. This could be why there are so many Jewish agents and producers in Hollywood.
This year I'm planning to try something new by prefacing my Yom Kippur atonement prayers with a Bush-like post-Katrina weasel word statement: "To the extent that I haven't fully conducted my life right, I take responsibility."
Then, just for good measure, I'm going to find some fall guy to blame all my bad behavior on.
If no further entries appear on this blog within a few days, you'll know that the Almighty, in all his fury, has rejected my alibis and obliterated me from the face of the Earth.
10:53:11 AM comment 
|Friday, October 07, 2005|
Molly Ivins supplies some critical background on Harriet Miers:
Miers' church states on its website that it believes in biblical inerrancy, full immersion baptism, original sin and salvation dependent entirely upon accepting Jesus Christ. Everyone else is going to hell.
So what? Under Bush's stewardship, the whole country is going to hell anyway.
2:24:53 PM comment 
|Thursday, October 06, 2005|
A woman was ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight today because some passengers found her t-shirt offensive.
By my count, Bush uttered the word "freedom" 19 times in today's speech about the War on Terror. We should all be grateful for the freedom to agree with the policies of the Bush regime.
12:41:58 PM comment 
|Thursday, September 29, 2005|
When Robert "The Torch" Torricelli resigned as Senator from New Jersey in 2002 amid a campaign finance scandal, Calvin Trillin wrote:
Tom DeLay no longer has the luxury of making such a claim.
For a while, it seemed like DeLay would be replaced by David Dreier, who happens to be my congressman. With his telegenic looks and blow-dried hair -- I call him Blow-Dreier -- he has a certain superficial appeal that DeLay lacks.
But then the base decided it didn't want the party's image warmed up, since Dreier, with his support for stem-cell research, doesn't meet their Taliban social agenda litmus test, so House whip Roy Blunt of Missouri got the job instead.
Just imagine all the benefits of having your congressman become majority leader . He could have brought us even more Homeland Security pork projects, such as a seawall to protect us from hurricanes and tsunamis. Never mind that Dreier's district is 40 miles from the ocean.
2:40:45 PM comment 
|Monday, September 26, 2005|
The Virtuosity of Conservers
According to the NY Times:
It remains to be seen whether Bush will henceforth travel to his post-hurricane photo-ops in the Goodyear Blimp rather than Air Force One, but apparently he no longer endorses Cheney's assertion that "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy."
Although walking is practically illegal in Southern California, I do so whenever possible, and when I drive, it's a fuel-efficient subcompact car, not a gas-guzzling Hummer like our action-hero governor motors around in.
I guess that makes me what Bush would call a virtuoso conversationalist.
11:00:41 AM comment 
|Saturday, September 24, 2005|
Hannah and Her Sisters, Rita & Katrina
Watching the Hurricane Rita news footage of water cascading through a New Orleans levee and once again flooding the lower 9th ward, adding insult to Hurricane Katrina's injury, brought to my mind some music. It wasn't the familiar Randy Newman song "Louisiana 1927" sung by Aaron Neville that the media have been beating to death, but a far older tune with even more appropriate lyrics:
12:12:14 PM comment 
|Friday, September 23, 2005|
Gone with the Wind
As Hurricane Rita continues barrelling relentlessly toward Houston, Port Arthur and Beaumont, I can't help thinking that with all our technological know-how, there must be some way to spare the residents of the Gulf Coast and divert it west to the presidential retreat at Crawford. So much the better if he happens to be there at the time. That way we could clear Bush along with clearing brush.
Or as Tom Waits said at a benefit concert in New York, "I wish New Orleans was dry and Washington was underwater."
1:18:32 PM comment 
|Monday, September 19, 2005|
The Accidental President
According to CNN's summary of today's historic agreement with North Korea, one of the key provisions is:
Of course there's nothing to prevent us from launching an unintentional invasion. Bush could just claim he was on vacation, as he usually is.
4:27:27 PM comment 
|Saturday, September 17, 2005|
Dowd and Out
Today's Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times will be the last one that can be accessed on-line for free. Starting Monday, the Times inaugurates a new feature euphemistically called "Times Select," whereby a $49.95 annual subscription will be required to read the op-ed page.
The LA Times found this out when they started charging for their Calendar section (It tells you a lot about a city when the only section in their on-line newspaper that you have to pay for deals with entertainment. There's no biz like show biz.). The Times eventually abandoned its policy and made the section free again.
It's a basic principle of business, especially the world's oldest business, prostitution: If you give it away, nobody will pay. You can set that rap lyric to the rhythm track of your choice, then lip-sync it to some Johnny Cochrane footage and have one of the LA Times' music critics review it in their Calendar section.
2:09:17 PM comment 
|Friday, September 16, 2005|
Speaking this morning during a prayer service for the hurricane victims at the National Cathedral, Bush fell into his most comfortable role: evangelical pastor.
Bush seems to be vying with John Roberts for the humility award. But at least he didn't call Ms. Nature a member of the Axis of Evil.
The subtext of today's speech is, if the hurricane has left you down and out, pray for help.
I heard an anchor on CNN this morning refer to "the Post-Katrina Era." And here I thought we were living in the Post-9/11 Era. I'm praying for an early arrival of the Post-Bush Era.
12:01:42 PM comment 
|Thursday, September 15, 2005|
Jesus of Jackson Square
I don't know what Bush is going to say in his speech tonight, although I can guess ("We're going to complete the mission . . . stay the course . . . finish the job . . . in Iraq, I mean New Orleans.").
CNN describes the venue for the speech:
This means that even if Bush's speech doesn't put an end to the "blame game" the Republicans are so desperately trying to avoid, it won't be Jesus who's doing the finger-pointing.
And who knows, maybe Karl Rove can arrange some digital retouching of the statue so that it looks like Jesus is making the "okay" sign with his thumb and forefinger as Bush speaks.
If course, the most appropriate digital (in the original sense of the word) gesture for Jesus to make to Bush on behalf of New Orleanians would be an upraised middle finger.
12:15:39 PM comment 
|Tuesday, September 13, 2005|
March of the Morons
Well, not exactly ideal, Rich. Seems like you missed that little bit of narration in the movie that tells us the penguins' fidelity lasts for just a year. The following year they find another mate. Rather than monogamy, what the penguins practice is serial polygamy.
Among the "Hollywood liberal elite" so detested by conservatives, not even Elizabeth Taylor changes partners as often as the typical emperor penguin.
5:03:24 PM comment 
Charity begins at home
A spokesman for the Charity Navigator web site appeared on CNN this morning. The site evaluates the financial health of America's largest charities and offers some guidelines for protecting yourself from Hurricane Katrina on-line charity scams.
According to the FBI, there are about 4000 web sites offering hurricane charity relief services, and about 60 percent of them are overseas -- a telltale sign, especially if a site is in Nigeria or Russia, both notorious for identity theft and other scams.
No doubt the Bush regime will stop hurricane-related fraud with the same ineptitude it has displayed in helping the hurricane victims themselves.
Of course, the costliest hurricane relief scam won't be in cyberspace or overseas. It will be right here in the good ol' USA, with massive overbilling on no-bid rebuilding contracts by companies like -- you guessed it, Bush's favorite charity, Halliburton. What else do you think Dick Cheney was doing touring the Gulf last week? In the movie business, it's called location scouting.
10:59:06 AM comment 
|Monday, September 12, 2005|
This afternoon's Los Angeles power outage, caused by an accidentally severed power cable, reached as far as Burbank, 20 minutes from where I live, but did not affect my area.
Good thing Mike Brown doesn't run the LA Department of Water and Power, or we'd all have wound up huddled for weeks in the dark in Staples Center.
10:24:58 PM comment 
Brown of Arabia
Q: Now that Mike Brown, former head of the Arabian Horse Association and slinger of horseshit, has been forced to resign as FEMA honcho, what would be appropriate as his next position?
A: Riding shotgun on horseback for Humvees in Iraq, so as to detect roadside improvised explosive devices.
12:14:46 PM comment 
|Sunday, September 11, 2005|
Closing the US Open
With the US Open now over and Roger Federer having beaten Andre Agassi for the championship, tennis fans will no longer have to endure those annoying Lexus commercials featuring Andy Roddick, the celebrity endorsement whore of tennis.
Nor will we have to watch this commercial (I've seen it so many times that I've memorized it):
What they mean, of course, is "Get laid, have fun, make friends."
In tennis scoring, Love stands for zero. Obviously the same isn't true of sex.
9:42:29 PM comment 
|Thursday, September 08, 2005|
Almost two weeks after Katrina descended on New Orleans, Bush dispatched his sidekick to apply some spin to the affected area.
It's surprising he didn't claim that the devastation is in its last throes.
Cheney's cardiovascular maladies are well know, but apparently he suffers from hearing loss too.
1:04:39 PM comment 
|Wednesday, September 07, 2005|
Invaders from the Planet Oblivion
What I've always disliked about the Williams sisters is their unwillingness to concede when they lose to a superior opponent. They always make lame excuses, as Venus did last night after losing to Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open:
But then, as the NY Times points out:
But then, you don't have to be a self-absorbed athlete to make clueless statements like "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" and "Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
Maybe Bush should offer the Williams sisters cabinet posts. They could be co-commissioners of sports in the Department of Homeland Security.
2:27:21 PM comment 
|Tuesday, September 06, 2005|
The Bolshevik Open
Courier has thus become the first commentator to apply Leninist analysis to tennis: "A capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with."
11:51:21 AM comment 
|Saturday, September 03, 2005|
According to the LA Times:
With the Bush regime showing such incompetence in dealing with the emergency needs of two red states, Louisana and Mississippi, one can only imagine the fate that blue state Californians would be abandoned to if the delta levees collapsed.
5:29:37 PM comment 
|Friday, September 02, 2005|
Department of Domeland Security
As Molly Ivins points out:
Meanwhile, according to a report from CNN, the Astrodome is no longer a haven for the evacuees from the New Orleans Superdome:
Let's hope Reliant Arena lives up to its name; it used to carry the Enron logo. Huntsville, of course, is the end of the line, where more executions are performed than anyplace else in the nation. And the person who signed off on many of those executions was -- you guessed it, Gov. G. Dubya Bush.
If all else fails, maybe they could build a Fallujahdome large enough to house not only the refugees from that city, which the US military had to destroy in order to save, but also the ones from New Orleans. Then they could construct some levees on the Euphrates to protect against a Category 5 sandstorm. At least it would be a more approriate use of funds than the war.
4:06:30 PM comment 
|Tuesday, August 30, 2005|
El Rancho del Pendejo
The LA Times questions whether Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford is really a ranch.
It's probably a tax dodge, the same way Steve Forbes keeps a few head of cattle on his property in New Jersey and calls it a farm.
I actually could have driven a half hour east yesterday to not to the Prairie Chapel Ranch, but to Rancho Cucamonga -- an area of suburban sprawl that's even less of a ranch than Bush's spread -- to see Bush in person, but it hardly seemed worth the effort to hear the same old lies I can get on TV and radio, and I'm sure they wouldn't have let me in, since as usual his audience was hand-picked to allow only supporters, lest he be traumatized by having to confront substantive questions. The opposition assembled outside:
The increasing number of such demonstrations shows that no matter what the number of cattle Bush has on his ranch, the American populace is not as bovine as it used to be.
2:30:14 PM comment 
|Wednesday, August 24, 2005|
Ignorance is Bliss
Bush began his speech today in Idaho by praising local dignitaries like Senator Mike Crapo, then he fed us more of the same old Crapola about Iraq ("We're fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here," "Iraq is the central front in the war on terror," "When Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down," etc.)
This was followed by an NPR story on the expansion of Fort Bliss, while many other US military bases are being closed.
The story opened with a description of soldiers at Fort Bliss jogging before dawn. They won't be doing much of that in the streets of Iraq.
12:23:44 PM comment 
|Tuesday, August 23, 2005|
According to CNN, the Israeli settler pullout from all of Gaza and several West Bank settlements is now complete.
It should come as no surprise that the Israelis completed the withdrawal ahead of schedule. After all, they've had 38 years of practice evacuating Palestinians from their homes to make room for settlers.
1:03:12 PM comment 
|Monday, August 22, 2005|
Excerpt from NPR's obituary for Robert Moog:
They went on to attribute the commercial success of the synthesizer to Wendy Carlos' best-selling album, "Switched-On Bach." What they neglected to mention was that Wendy Carlos was born Walter Carlos, and later had gender change surgery. Try doing that with a synthesizer.
6:04:56 PM comment 
Today's Bush speech at the VFW convention in Salt Lake City featured the usual display of odd body language, including his trademark smirk, deployed at incongruous moments. He laid on the Texas accent with a trowel ("The United States") and dropped his Gs to sound folksy . ("We're workin' to defeat the terrorists" . . . "We're gettin' results" . . . "They're producin' a constitution"). He looked like he couldn't decide whether he was Churchill or Audie Murphy.
Karl Rove could save everyone a lot of time and money by just re-running footage of old Bush speeches, since they're all basically the same, designed to maintain the image of decisiveness (soundbites transcribed by me from CNN broadcast):
In other words, "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing, but I'm going to keep on doing it."
At one point he tried to conflate the fiasco in Iraq with WWII and Korea:
I fully expected him to burst into song: "From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli . . ."
Well, at least he didn't wear his flight suit.
11:46:04 AM comment 
|Tuesday, August 16, 2005|
You've gotta buy this car, it's a steal
This explains why LA freeway traffic has been so heavy lately:
2:48:03 PM comment 
|Monday, August 15, 2005|
CNN lost no time in creating a "Deadlock in Iraq" graphic for their story about the delay in drafting the Iraqi constitution. The only thing missing was a rhythm track to go with the unintentional rap music title.
During the pre-game warmup for Condominium Rice's press conference on the subject, Wolf Blitzer profiled the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilizad, whom Rice calls "Zal" in the charming folksy manner of the Bush regime. I transcribed the following Blitzer soundbite from the broadcast:
Of course, just as Jews the world over speak Hebrew, all Muslims -- especially those in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country -- speak Arabic.
In fact, the Afghans gave up their native tongues, Dari and Pashto, the moment bin Laden and his entourage arrived, and immediately began speaking Arabic.
Appropriately, the appearance of the ignorant asshole Blitzer on CNN was sponsored by Freedhem, the one-application hemorrhoidal cream.
7:06:49 PM comment 
The Greenhouse Effect
According to a report on NPR's Weekend Edition:
It remains to be seen whether this boost to Gaza's economy will advance the peace process and counteract the White House Effect -- i.e. Bush's carte blanche endorsement of everything Sharon does, including the expansion of West Bank settlements.
12:58:01 PM comment 
|Thursday, August 11, 2005|
Vamos a Tejas
According to CNN:
That means we can look forward to more Texan politicians like Bush speaking bad Spanish in order to pander to the new majority.
12:36:07 PM comment 
|Monday, August 08, 2005|
One of KCRW's on-air fundraisers gave a brief eulogy for ABC anchorman Peter Jennings today (soundbite transcribe by me):
That's an arresting image, cloning and merging Edward R. Murrow and William F. Buckley -- producing a chain-smoking journalist who likes to show off his vocabulary.
1:39:10 PM comment 
|Friday, August 05, 2005|
According to a poll conducted by the international firm Ipsos and reported by CNN, Bush's polling numbers on the Iraq fiasco have hit an all-time low, and Republicans are getting worried about the 2006 election.
You could change the two adjectives "right" and "wrong" to produce three more permutations of that statement -- in the same way that publishers could develop sequels to the best-selling books "Smart Women, Foolish Choices" and "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by shuffling the adjectives..
Seeing the photo that accompanied CNN's article, with a truculent Bush jutting his jaw in an apparent bad impersonation of Mussolini, made me think the publishers should work on some additional wording changes to come up with more relevant sequels:
"Dumb Presidents, Foolish Choices"
"When Bad Things Happen to Self-Righteous People"
1:31:22 PM comment 
|Thursday, August 04, 2005|
Today's tape by Ayman al-Zawahiri, broadcast on Al Jazeera, was full of the usual blood-curdling rhetoric:
Bush responded with the usual volcano of stupidity about staying the course, completing the mission, and finishing the job (soundbite transcribed by me from CNN broadcast):
It's another acute observation from the Bush Book of Revelations.
According to CNN:
On the other hand, analysis of all the Bush broadcasts since 9/11 would likely reveal all of them to be fakes.
11:18:37 AM comment 
|Monday, August 01, 2005|
Not hot to trot for GWOT
This morning, announcing his recess appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the UN, Bush said (soundbite transcribed by me from CNN broadcast):
Richard Myers should have taken him aside and reminded him that it's no longer called the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), but the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism (GSAVE) -- the latter forming a catchy acronym that sounds like something available in your local bank.
Thus, what Bush should have said was, "This post is too important to leave open, especially during a struggle . . ."
And he should continually remind Americans that "I'm a struggletime president."
New counterinsurgency tactics will continue to be developed at the Army Struggle College, where the new anthem will be:
It all sounds to me like a strategy to weaken the anti-struggle movement by using the kind of weasel words Republicans used to deride when they were uttered by Clinton. Or as a latter-day Pat Buchanan might say, "This is a struggle for the soul of America."
2:33:59 PM comment 
|Sunday, July 31, 2005|
Let them eat yellowcake
During every Baby Boomer's childhood, the operative parental injunction for fussy eaters was, "Eat your food. People are starving in Europe." Presumably this was a reference to Berliners picking through the postwar rubble.
These days, with Europeans vying with Americans for obesity honors, the famine venue has shifted to nations like Niger, hitherto best know for false allegations by the Bush regime that the country was supplying yellowcake uranium for Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program -- which later triggered the continuing scandal over the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame by Karl Rove.
This weekend, in an unintentional slap in the face to the people of Niger, ESPN's broadcast from Las Vegas featured the Alka Seltzer US Open of Competitive Eating, a sporting event that rivals for excitement ESPN's previous broadcasts of the National Spelling Bee and the World Series of Poker.
While the commentators provided expert analysis on such little-known athletic attributes as jaw speed, esophagous width, cheek size and stomach capacity, the competitors literally stuffed their faces with such comestibles as salad, chili, spaghetti bolognese, and potato skins, racing against each other to see who could injest the most within a predetermined time period.
Contrary to what one might suppose, the largest competitors did not turn out to be the fastest eaters. The champion is a diminutive young man from Japan named Takeru Kobayashi. He's a legend in the world of competitive eating and has been winning the Nathan's hot dog eating championship in Brooklyn for years. Kobayashi seems to have the uncanny ability to inhale his food, leaving his opponents choking and sputtering in his wake.
Presumably if the ratings for this Competitive Eating event turn out to be high enough, ESPN will follow it with the US Open of Competitive Regurgitating and Excreting, sponsored by Pepto-Bismol and Ex-lax . It will not be broadcast in Niger.
11:20:10 AM comment 
|Friday, July 29, 2005|
National Geographic's London
I found the various TV reports of today's London police raids confusing. First they said the raids were in West Kensington, where I happen to have some friends. Then they said North Kensington. Then they said West London. Finally, they mentioned Notting Hill.
As far as I'm concerned, all these neighborhoods look exactly alike, especially when viewed in TV broadcasts. They all have the same endless rows of neo-Georgian, pseudo-Palladian, Gothic Revival, post-Victorian buildings.
Notting Hill, however, stands apart from the rest, since not even the stun grenades and tasers used by the police could divert Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts from their romantic encounter.
12:26:48 PM comment 
|Wednesday, July 27, 2005|
Attack of the Killer Trees
According to footage broadcast this morning by MSNBC, the Discovery shuttle crew was awakened this morning by a recording of Sonny and Cher singing "I Got You Babe."
11:11:23 AM comment 
|Tuesday, July 26, 2005|
Snowdonia Rules the Waves
According to BBC News, two of the July 7th London bombers took a whitewater rafting trip in North Wales a month earlier.
It remains to be seen whether the purpose of the excursion was purely recreational, or whether Khan and Tanweer were training to hijack canoes on the Thames and crash them into Buckingham Palace.
4:09:48 PM comment 
In an op-ed piece in today's LA Times, John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge contrast the reactions of the British and American publics to terrorism on their native soil.
The only objection I have to this assertion is the use of "intelligentsia" to describe the right wing in America. "Unintelligentsia" would be more accurate, since Neocons like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld got everything wrong about what the results of the invasion of Iraq would be. In fact, I don't think the word "intelligence" should ever be used in any context, military or otherwise, when describing the Bush regime.
I do like that British phrase "thin gruel," though. It sounds like a breakfast I once had in London.
10:42:27 AM comment 
|Monday, July 25, 2005|
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Patrick Cockburn has a report in the Sunday Independent whose title tells you everything you need to know: "Iraq has descended into chaos way beyond West's worst-case scenario."
Baghdad must present even more peril to someone like Cockburn, whose mobility is hindered by the polio he had in childhood.
Still, it's probably safer than being a Brazilian electrician in London, when an aged Sherlock Holmes, no longer in full possession of his faculties, sends an equally superannuated Agent 007 out to fire seven shots into your head and one into your shoulder for good measure.
Soon we shall witness another venerable British tradition, as the barristers don their periwigs and debate the merits of a wrongful death lawsuit. The only thing missing is Alistair Cooke to introduce the story.
10:58:01 PM comment 
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Today on NPR's "Day to Day," Ron Elving pontificated about current domestic political issues facing the Bush regime:
While discussing the CIA leak, he referred to the protagonists as Joe Wilson, Al Gonzales, and Andy Card. Mercifully, he did not call the CIA agent herself Val Plame.
This is all part of the Dan Rather syndrome, wherein newsmakers are referred with names like Tim McVeigh, Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Bernie Ebbers -- not to mention the Bush syndrome, where terrorists are described as "the folks who did this".
In a country where anybody can grow up to be president (provided that he's the son of a president), it's reassuring to know that we can call our political and economic leaders by their schoolyard names.
1:52:26 PM comment 
|Sunday, July 24, 2005|
The Tour de Iraq
Now that Lance Armstrong has retired from professional cycling after winning his record seventh straight Tour de France, MSNBC speculates on what he'll do with the rest of his life:
That's just what the world needs, another Texan in the White House -- although Armstrong couldn't possibly be as Headstrong as the reckless fool currently occupying the Oval Office.
Who knows, having devoted so much of his life to cycling, maybe he'll now support re-cycling and conservation, rather than trashing the environment and maintaining that "the jury is still out" on global warming.
And if politics is show business for ugly people, is it also sports for overweight people?
11:08:58 AM comment 
|Thursday, July 21, 2005|
Nature and terrorists abhor a vacuum
While Londoners soldiered on despite today's attempted underground bombings and MSNBC trotted out some shrink to explain the psychology of terrorism, our own fearless leader put forth his analysis of the situation (soundbite transcribed by me from CNN broadcast):
This could go down in history as Bush's Black Hole Theory of Terrorism.
Bush's brief TV appearance was accompanied by the usual anomalous body language -- smirking, jaw jutting, shoulder shrugging -- that left me waiting for musical accompaniment to his exhortations to Americans to remain steadfast and strong-willed:
10:30:54 AM comment 
|Monday, July 18, 2005|
Wherever he may Rove
"We have a serious ongoing investigation here" is the mantra being uttered repeatedly by Bush and his mouthpiece Scott McClellan. As opposed to, say, the frivolous ongoing investigation of Clinton's sex life conducted by Kenneth Starr.
According to CNN today:
Of course, that doesn't preclude anyone's working with his administration as a private consultant.
Pretty soon, Bush will raise the bar even higher and say that anyone proven to have weapons of mass destruction will no longer work in his administration.
Is all this starting to sound like the kind of parsing and hairsplitting that Republicans always accuse Democrats of doing? It depends on what the meaning of "is" is.
12:15:17 PM comment 
|Tuesday, July 12, 2005|
All leads lead to Leeds
Sherlock Holmes always gets his man. A mere five days after the London bombings, while US intelligence continues to hunt for bin Laden and the US military erroneously drops 500 pound bombs on houses that turn out to be full of Iraqi civilians ("collateral damage"), British police have concluded that the four suspects, who probably died in the attacks, came from Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire accent typically provokes great ridicule by Londoners, who often describe its singsong intonation as "deedle-deedle-deedle." Presumably a Muslim fundamentalist born in Yorkshire would sound like "deedle-deedle-deedle . . Inshallah . . . deedle-deedle-deedle . . . Allah Akhbar . . . deedle-deedle-deedle . . . jihad."
With its large Muslim population, today's Leeds must be a far cry from the city described in the limerick that David Niven, in his raunchy memoir "The Moon's a Balloon," claimed to have recited for his Hollywood screen test:
12:04:59 PM comment 
|Sunday, July 10, 2005|
Giving the audience the Willies
Steve Almond, the nutty author of "Candy Freak," was on NPR this morning bemoaning the desecration of one of his favorite movies, "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" by a new version, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," starring Johnny Depp in place of Gene Wilder in the title role.
Since Hollywood loves sequels, if the current version is a hit, we can look forward to yet another one, called "Slick Willie Policy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," starrying you-know-who in his movie debut. After all, wasn't it a lifetime of chocoholism that brought on his heart bypass surgery?
4:00:42 PM comment