Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sunday, May 29, 2005

"Rockport. It's where you go to die."

* pips the 1812 Overture, using their ring and middle finger to represent phallus cannons, firing at the correct points...

"Have you ever had angry sex?"
"No, and I'm dying to..."
Tom DeLay is fighting mad.

The controversy centers around Wednesday's episode [of Law & Order] in which a police officer investigating a murder of a federal judge suggested putting out an all points bulletin for "somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."

"This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse," DeLay wrote in a letter to NBC President Jeff Zucker.

Read that two or three times. I can't even reword it to make it more absurd.

A great disservice to public discourse.

A great disservice to public discourse.

How does it have any impact what so fucking ever on public discourse, nevermind negative...? But wait, there's more. Tom elaborates:

"I can only assume last night's slur..."

A slur. Oh my. See, when I think "slur," I think "kike." I think "nigger." I don't think "t-shirt." But hey, that's just me.

"...was in response to comments I have made in the past about the need for Congress to closely monitor the federal judiciary, as prescribed in our constitutional system of checks and balances."

Wow, talk about desperation!

Tom DeLay wants to talk about something, anything but his connection to ethics scandals including, but not limited to, failing to report "$500,000 in corporate money funneled into Texas campaigns during the pivotal 2002 elections." These aren't allegations. The treasurer was found guilty on Friday.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

An Open Letter to Robby "Shithead" Gordon:

Dear Robby,

You're pissed because a woman who weighs only 100lbs is doing well in racing? Too well?

You want the field "equalized." You want to take her "advantage away?"

Does it occur to you that what she lacks in weight she also lacks in muscle, thus making it more difficult for her to make quick succession moves OR ANY OTHER FEAT THAT REQUIRES STEERING THE BLOODY CAR?

Gordon, you want Preakness jockeys wearing ankle weights too?

I didn't think so. What a dick.

Here's a free clue; adapt. If you're too !@#$ing heavy, maybe you don't deserve to win.

Listen to you. You're a NASCAR driver, the very epitome of redneck machismo and ...you're complaining about getting beat by a girl?

Time to retire.

Hugs and Kisses,

Yes, I actually sent it to Robby Gordon. Well, his fan site.

Christ. When I think that some dick who drives in a circle for a few hours has fans, I immediately think of "Deliverance."
Without a trace of irony, the powers that be have appropriated the newspeak vernacular of George Orwell's "1984." They give us a program vowing no child will be left behind while cutting funds for educating disadvantaged children; they give us legislation cheerily calling for clear skies and healthy forests that give us neither, while turning over our public lands to the energy industry. In Orwell's "1984" the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society's dictionary, explains to the protagonist, Winston, "Don't you see? Don't you see that the whole aim of newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050 at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we're having right now. The whole climate of thought," he said, "will be different. In fact, there will be no thought as we understand it now.

Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think.

Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."

     Bill Moyers, May 15, 2005 speech

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Three more resumes out tonight. *bonks head vs. wall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sorry for all the non-personal updates on here...

Congressional study shows large disparity in coverage of key stories


Yesterday, in conjunction with a forum they hosted on media bias, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and other House Judiciary Committee Democrats released a study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service examining coverage of key news stories on 13 cable news programs on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel in the three days after each story broke. The study shows that events such as the release of the Downing Street Memo, a secret British intelligence memo suggesting that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to support its case for war in Iraq, and the revelation of Jeff Gannon's true identity received little or no coverage, while events such as the Scott Peterson trial and the beginning of the Michael Jackson trial received substantial coverage.

For example:

     The Downing Street Memo received no coverage on the 13 cable shows in the three days after the British news media reported on it. The revelation that Jeff Gannon, a partisan operative, had attended dozens of official White House press briefings using an assumed name also received no coverage in the three-day period after it occurred.

On the other hand:

     The filing of formal charges against Michael Jackson received coverage by 10 of the 13 shows on the first day alone, with four shows leading with the story. The Scott Peterson verdict received coverage on five shows the first day and eight the second, with five shows leading with the story.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

This seems more appropriate than ever.

Why They Won

New York Times
November 5, 2004

The first thing Democrats must try to grasp as they cast their eyes over the smoking ruins of the election is the continuing power of the culture wars. Thirty-six years ago, President Richard Nixon championed a noble "silent majority" while his vice president, Spiro Agnew, accused liberals of twisting the news. In nearly every election since, liberalism has been vilified as a flag-burning, treason-coddling, upper-class affectation. This year voters claimed to rank "values" as a more important issue than the economy and even the war in Iraq.

And yet, Democrats still have no coherent framework for confronting this chronic complaint, much less understanding it. Instead, they "triangulate," they accommodate, they declare themselves converts to the Republican religion of the market, they sign off on Nafta and welfare reform, they try to be more hawkish than the Republican militarists. And they lose. And they lose again. Meanwhile, out in Red America, the right-wing populist revolt continues apace, its fury at the "liberal elite" undiminished by the Democrats' conciliatory gestures or the passage of time.

Like many such movements, this long-running conservative revolt is rife with contradictions. It is an uprising of the common people whose long-term economic effect has been to shower riches upon the already wealthy and degrade the lives of the very people who are rising up. It is a reaction against mass culture that refuses to call into question the basic institutions of corporate America that make mass culture what it is. It is a revolution that plans to overthrow the aristocrats by cutting their taxes.

Still, the power of the conservative rebellion is undeniable. It presents a way of talking about life in which we are all victims of a haughty overclass - "liberals" - that makes our movies, publishes our newspapers, teaches our children, and hands down judgments from the bench. These liberals generally tell us how to go about our lives, without any consideration for our values or traditions.

The culture wars, in other words, are a way of framing the ever-powerful subject of social class. They are a way for Republicans to speak on behalf of the forgotten man without causing any problems for their core big-business constituency.

Against this militant, aggrieved, full-throated philosophy the Democrats chose to go with ... what? Their usual soft centrism, creating space for this constituency and that, taking care to antagonize no one, declining even to criticize the president, really, at their convention. And despite huge get-out-the-vote efforts and an enormous treasury, Democrats lost the battle of voter motivation before it started.

Worse: While conservatives were sharpening their sense of class victimization, Democrats had all but abandoned the field. For some time, the centrist Democratic establishment in Washington has been enamored of the notion that, since the industrial age is ending, the party must forget about blue-collar workers and their issues and embrace the "professional" class. During the 2004 campaign these new, business-friendly Democrats received high-profile assistance from idealistic tycoons and openly embraced trendy management theory. They imagined themselves the "metro" party of cool billionaires engaged in some kind of cosmic combat with the square billionaires of the "retro" Republican Party.

Yet this would have been a perfect year to give the Republicans a Trumanesque spanking for the many corporate scandals that they have countenanced and, in some ways, enabled. Taking such a stand would also have provided Democrats with a way to address and maybe even defeat the angry populism that informs the "values" issues while simultaneously mobilizing their base.

To short-circuit the Republican appeals to blue-collar constituents, Democrats must confront the cultural populism of the wedge issues with genuine economic populism. They must dust off their own majoritarian militancy instead of suppressing it; sharpen the distinctions between the parties instead of minimizing them; emphasize the contradictions of culture-war populism instead of ignoring them; and speak forthrightly about who gains and who loses from conservative economic policy.

What is more likely, of course, is that Democratic officialdom will simply see this week's disaster as a reason to redouble their efforts to move to the right. They will give in on, say, Social Security privatization or income tax "reform" and will continue to dream their happy dreams about becoming the party of the enlightened corporate class. And they will be surprised all over again two or four years from now when the conservative populists of the Red America, poorer and angrier than ever, deal the "party of the people" yet another stunning blow.

Thomas Frank is the author, most recently, of "What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America."
Yet more logic bombs:

Asked whether Frist was going to have trouble with his base -- the evangelical Christians he'd been courting with an eye on the 2008 presidential campaign -- [Amy Call, Frist's press secretary] argued that it was Reid, not Frist, who was pandering to his base: "There should be some parity here in how we compare who's tied to what," she said. "That's all I'm saying."

Two things seem pretty clear here.

(a) Frist's press secretary feels Reid is pandering to a fringe leftist base.

(b) Frist's press secretary openly acknowledges that there is parity between Frist's base and Reid's.


(c) Frist's press secretary openly acknowledges Frist is pandering to the fringe right.

Hey, news isn't so bad I guess. You just have to listen to what these fuckers say. It's all there.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I contend:

(a) a nightly news broadcast is roughly thirty minutes. Of those thirty, 22 minutes contain news, 8 minutes contain commercials.

(b) any media outlet that would spend five minutes -- nearly a quarter of it's timeslot -- on coverage of the Michael Jackson trial during a time of war should be considered "tabloid."

(b) all three network outlets have done (b).

Quick, what's wrong with my logic?
Stolen directly from Daily Kos:


Q: [...]And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight.

Kos: So if the insurgents stopped fighting, would that mean we were losing? What the hell kind of answer is this? What the hell kind of logic is this supposed to be?


Folks, there is a reason why the names "Bush" and "Orwell" wind up in the same sentence so often...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Another resume sent out.

Christ, this can get tiresome. Some feedback wouldn't suck, some indication that SOMEBODY was reading these cover letters I spend hours composing.

[edit: make that two resumes]

[edit: make that three resumes]

Did I mention that my cover letters are always custom, never "form letters," and balls-on excellent. *sigh
The first fair and balanced reportage on the filibuster I've seen yet. For the last week all I've seen is partisan hackery or timid, non-comittal milquetoast bullshit from the press.

Big ups to Mr. Polman who has taken the time to point out the effluvium spilling from our esteemed professional lia^M^M^Mpoliticians on both sides of the fence.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

"A Federal Agent told us that we are not to put up any anti-President Bush signs in our store windows."

I rode home from work today, rain and all.

First thirty second sucked. Cold rain in eyes. Then I got into traffic and holy shit, no way, amazing ride home. By the time I got back my ass was colder than Jenna Bush's nipples, my hands were beet red and I was semi-delerious. The last time I got that kind of athletic high was after swimming a mile for the first time.

Of course I had sand plastering my backside from my ass to my ears but who cares, I was only heading home.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Mega stressful day.

Four resumes went out today. What's driving me nuts is that I'm amply qualified for about 40% of the jobs I apply for, underqualified for 20% of them and correctly qualified for the last 40%. No nibbles. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why.

Spiritually, I'm doing fine. I'm happy with my life, where my head is at and my relationships. Financially, I'm very near the end of my rope.
Know what pisses me off? I'll tell you what pisses me off.

I'm at the bus stop and two old people -- not too old, just old enough to be considered "old" -- are bitching about the crime in Gloucester. After about a minute of them exchanging the most ridiculous, inane commentary about the situation, I pipe up.

"I know how you can solve the drug problem."
"Yeah, shoot 'em in the head."
"You could legalize them."

[long, tortured pause.]

..oOO ( did he just suggest legalizing drugs?? ) - look on their faces

"Prohibition didn't work last time."

[no response]

Can't people think a fucking argument through? AAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I consider being "bored" to be almost vulgar. "If you're bored then you're boring," so the Harvey Danger song goes, but they didn't invent the phrase. Regardless, there it is. I'm bored. So I spent all day cleaning my roommate's room, just because she's been super-sweet, waking up after long nights of [redacted] and driving my punk ass to work.

That girl wears a HELL of a lot of pink I tell you. I think she owns two blue objects. The rest are pink or black.

I think I have another blood clot (DVT). Actually, I know I have another blood clot because a section behind my right calf is clearly calcified. Glad I'm not dead yet. Time to sign up to my employers crappy insurance and get it looked at.

Been thinking -- yes, again -- about what I should do with my life. I know it probably seems like I brood on it but it's more like a "twiddling." It doesn't bother me that I don't know yet, even at the age of 32. Ok, not much, anyway.

I remember, many years ago, reading this comic book called The Maxx. In it, a girl by the name of Julie sets up shop as a freelance social worker. I remember that it struck me as an incredibly noble and selfless thing to do but I can't say I gave it much more thought than that.

And I guess it got me thinking about the void between what I was taught as a Catholic and my reality growing up.

The story of the Good Samaratin was repeated every blue moon in a sermon but I sure as hell didn't know anyone who would do more than kick some change to a homeless guy. In a similar, non-direct, etherial way I saw the void between the ideal and the reality.

Ever get a popcorn hull stuck way the Christ back on your tongue so far that you can't get it off with your teeth? Same thing, only mental. And it's kind of coming back to haunt me.

That's all. No conclusions. Just observations. And I'm ok with that. For now.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I ...I don't get the chance to witness a lot of what you people see. I don't see a highway too often (so no billboards), I cycle to work, I don't watch TV and I don't listen to the radio. My experience with media tends to be only that which I seek out.

So ...I don't know if any of the people who read this blog have seen any of these "news" items:

Radical Christian, anti-gay activist and Shiavo spokesperson Randall Terry suggests he and Colmes are homosexual lovers on Colmes' Fox radio program.

But wait, there's more!

May 5th, anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley admitted having sex with barn animals while speaking with Alan Colmes on Fox News radio. Horsley maintains that this is common practice, anyone who disagrees is "so far removed from the reality" and clearly has not grown up on a farm.

I am not making this shit up. Someone, PEASE tell me this is a hoax. Please oh please oh please dear sweet merciful baby Jesus...

[ed - update: apparently you can listen to the Horsley interview for yourself.]

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Five resumes sent out in the last three days (3 Tuesday, 2 tonight). I'm also dropping off a simple application tomorrow at a local hotel. I've worked in a hotel before. It isn't very hard. =)

That's it, nothing else to report. I've been on a Battlestar Galactica binge lately. Maybe there is something in the human spirit that needs to (a) endure and (b) explore lest it become restless, which is my attraction to BG.

That and Boomer. My god...

*fans self. Serious yellow fever. Sue me.

I've come to this conclusion about the human desire to explore by watching my pet mouse who tirelessly searches every nook and cranny over and over again ...for nothing.

But who knows, maybe his enthusiasm will pay off.

I've completely rearranged my room. Now it's in shambles. I should probably clear out a spot to sleep...

Monday, May 09, 2005

From CNN.com:

GREENBELT, Maryland (AP) -- A federal judge on Thursday blocked a county school system from instituting a health curriculum that includes discussions of homosexuality. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams agreed with two groups that sued contending such discussions gave preference of religions that are tolerant of homosexuality over those that reject it.

Then it stands to reason that sex ed curriculum that included discussion of abstenance would be giving preference to religions that are tolerant of abstenence over those that reject it in favor of, say condoms.


Saturday, May 07, 2005

"Al-Libbi had been beaten and injected with the so-called "truth drug", sodium pentothal, said the official." - Senior [Pakistani] intelligence official

I guess we've gone from not working with countries that torture suspects, to working with them but denying it, to outright admitting it. When I read stuff like this, damn I'm proud to call myself an American.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

What is the most intense feeling of sadness that a person could have?

What is the most intense feeling of anger that a person could have?

What is the most intense feeling of fear that a person could have?

What is the most intense feeling of happiness a person could have?

All of these questions were asked in a National Geographic survey on facial expressions, questions for which my own answers surprised me. More specifically, my answers were invariably "big picture" subjects like torture, war, famine, knowing you could do something about it but didn't and working to see their end.

Tonight, while waiting for water to boil, I turned on the TV for fear I'd wander too far, find a book, forget the pasta and be brought back to reality by the smoke alarms. Found a news station. I always find a news station. Ten minutes of this "runaway bride" story. And it occurs to me now that none of the things I consider truly important are ever dealt with in the news.


Wouldn't it be great if "sanctity of human life" had ...some kind of meaning? As if preserving it and respecting it as as intrinsic to our existance as breathing, or our need to communicate? That someone being murdered anywhere in the world generated as much public social disdain as ...I don't know, farting in an elevator?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I am still ridiculously sick. Imagine a walnut filled with pure evil, then imagine swallowing it. That's how I feel.

Got into a wonderful argument with a customer about the selective nature of the Republicans use of the "sanctity of life" shibboleth, juxtapozing Schiavo and Raich for good measure. The only defense she mounted on Raich was that I was misunderstanding the government's argument and that they couldn't possibly be arguing what they are, in fact, arguing. More specifically, she didn't seem to have even a general idea that Congress' reach was limited by the Constitution.

This conversation began with me asking her if she knew who Angel Raich was and her shaking her head "no."

The discussion wasn't remarkable because every time we strayed into areas that wouldn't have fit into a sound byte, she'd just interrupt and repeat something that sounded suspiciously like O'Reilly. I'm not saying she was stupid because she had Republican ideas, but I am saying she was stupid because there was no comprehension to her argument. No depth at all, it consisted of insist, insist, insist but no "here's why."

It's kind of unsettling to talk with people with no intellectual depth. I know the term "robot" is thrown around as an insult. I'm using here as a context for predicting behavior. There was no self-analysis, no error checking. No stopgap mechanism in her to say "hey, what am I being told, how real is it, how well does it stand up to the facts and now that I'm on the subject, exactly what do I know of the situation?" It was just her waiting to talk, shaking her head and spitting another O'Reillyism.

By the time we got around to Schiavo, she was damned near yelling. Then she tried telling me some must-have-gotten-this-gem-from-Fox-Skews bullshit on Schiavo's husband and when I said I didn't think her info was correct, and I was fairly familiar with the case and had read the ad litem report, she shouted "I KNOW MORE!!" and just kind of lost it.

That's when I walked off.

I think I'm going to sleep for a solid 10 hours. Starting now.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Well, this is a big post. [clears throat]

I'm going to cycle around the planet. Yes, you heard that right -- the guy who comes up with plenty of easy tasks that he never completes ... actually uh, he thinks he's going to pedal his ass around the globe.

I have been looking into the idea of doing a fundraiser for Oxfam America, a group that works on things like fairness in global trade, human rights and offering solutions to the constant threat of war around the world. You may have heard their name in association with the tsunami relief efforts. Oxfam generated $30 million for the recovery.

My goal is to raise $250,000 in the next year. I realize it's ambitious. Just look at the math.

Anyway, I've set up a website for the effort. I've spent a few weeks adding the distances, crunching the numbers, matching dates to global seasons and I think I can make this work.