Friday, November 30, 2007

Gone Dancin'

Kids, I'd love to hang out, but a friend of mine's band is playing and it's payday. Here's a bit of classic house music for your chair-dancing pleasure.

Holy Shit

A man claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest has taken hostages at Hillary's campaign office in New Hampshire.

An armed man has taken people hostage at Hillary Clinton's campaign office in Rochester, N.H. Police said a man in his 40s, with salt-and-pepper hair, is in the building and has what appears to be an explosive device strapped to his body, TV station WMUR reported. Witness Lettie Tzizik told the station that she spoke to a woman shortly after she was released from the office by the alleged hostage-taker.

"A young woman with a 6-month or 8-mont-old infant came rushing into the store just in tears, and she said, 'You need to call 911. A man has just walked into the Clinton office, opened his coat and showed us a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape."
Let's all say a prayer for the people trapped in there and their families.

As we saw in last night's video selection, Hillary brings out the frothing hate-machine in wide swaths of the Right Wing population. I'll bet you twenty bucks this guy is some Tim McVeigh type. (It certainly doesn't seem like the Obama campaign's style.)

We'll probably be seeing more home-grown Right Wing jihadi if we win a functioning Democratic majority in 2008. Just one more thing we have to thank our corrupted, dysfunctional media for, talk radio Rwanda style.

UPDATE: Hostages released. Still no word on the hostage taker.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Joe Klein: Still Putting the "Ass" in Embarrassment

Glenn Greenwald alerts us to the fact that even Joe Klein's friends and allies are appalled by his miserable showing on the FISA bill and multiple desultory "corrections".

Lawyer Scott Horton of Harper's, a qualified Joe Klein fan, has also weighed in on this affair, concluding:

I am a compulsive Klein-reader, and I read this [column] when it went up at the Time website. I winced immediately. Not only was the substance of [Klein's] description factually inaccurate in almost every respect, it was the very core of the piece. Moreover, what Time ran was a shameless mouthing of talking points that had been circulating on Capitol Hill by Republican spinmeisters through the prior week. . . .

But when Joe's bad, he's awful. And this was the worst thing I've seen emerge from the Klein pen in quite sometime. And the worst thing about it -- the unforgivable sin, and the one to which all writers-facing-imminent-deadline are vulnerable, is its lack of originality. It's always so tempting to take some pre-packaged product from the partisan PR masters of Washington and print it. And that's just what Joe did, to the great chagrin of his faithful readers. . . .

And disappointing as that discovery was, what followed was even worse. Time's follow-up to the well-deserved criticism has been defensive and its concessions of factual error grudging. And all of this reflects not so much an error on the part of Klein as the Time editors.

This has been an extremely bad week for Joe Klein.

The trouble with Klein is that he's probably perfectly oblivious to the fact that he's had a bad week at all. I mean, so what? Some "partisan far-Left critics" have called him out. It's our fault for not accepting his opinion as the Final Word. He's too busy sipping single-malt scotches with Peter Hoekstra to devote any "time or legal expertise" to finding out if what he's printing up in Time is actually a steaming pile of hooey or not.

I guess we all have our priorities.

At least the Chicago Tribune saw fit to append a real correction to Joe's wholesale recitation of GOP propaganda:

A Time magazine essay by Joe Klein that was excerpted on the editorial page Wednesday incorrectly stated that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would require a court approval of individual foreign surveillance targets. It does not.

Thank you, Chicago Tribune. Was that so hard? Too bad Klein's employers at Time don't care enough about their reputation (or anything else, apparently) to do the same.

Display Behaviors of the American Pygmy Nuthatch

(A flock of nuthatches in their natural habitat, courtesy of TBogg.)

"Anything that might be of interest to Slitscan. Which is to say, Laney, anything that might be of interest to Slitscan’s audience. Which is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It’s covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections."
--William Gibson, Idoru, 1996

It's genuinely hard to say who came off worse in the Republican YouTube debate last night, the group of self-satisfied man-children in the race (you know it's bad when Newt Gingrich calls you a bunch of "pygmies") or the terrifying Republican questioners. Even the Weekly Standard was appalled.

The money quote of the day:
So, a good night for for the lowest denominator, a bad night for the GOP. America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes.

Forgive me for patting myself on the back, but I predicted this:
Let’s get something straight here. The reason the Republicans are running from a YouTube debate has nothing to do with embarrassing themselves and everything to do with the horror that is the Republican base. Imagine a whole two hour debate composed entirely of questions from men lovingly cradling their assault rifles, matronly polyester-swathed frumps of much avoirdupois braying and squawking about abstinence-only education and the danger of Harry Potter in our schools, angry old men taking a break from standing on their porches shouting, “Get the hell out of my yard!” to stare Mike Gravel-like into the camera and demand to know what the candidates plan to do about “th’ dayumn Mexicans”.

Of course, all of Wingnuttia is aflame after last night's dismal showing. There have been cries of "Conspiracy!", accusations that CNN is pursuing Teh Librull Agenda, blah, blah, blah. Fortunately, ex-conservative John Cole has been on fire today, providing some much-needed perspective to the fray:
The right-wing Bush fluffer-sphere is up in arms because the country got a good look at who the GOP really is last night. And when you look at what the GOP really is, and what they really believe in and what they really stand for, well, that just ain’t good for the Republicans.
Of course, the candidates themselves didn't come off much better. My personal favorite moment was the "Sanctuary City" snipe-fest between Ghouliani and Romney, which I have boiled down to its essence for those of you who were too busy to tune in:
Mitt: Rudy likes Mexicans!

Rudy: Nuh-uh. You like Mexicans!

Mitt: Do not!

Rudy: Do too!

Mitt: Do not!

And so forth and so on. Dickless weasels.

I have to admit, however, that I share Jane at FDL's concern that Rudy is going to shoot himself in the foot before the primaries. We need him to be the Republican nominee, with all his expense-padding, mistress-having, oh-so-brittle posturing and painfully self-important bluster.

I predict that he will be the nominee whatever happens, in part because he's the Fox News candidate, and everybody knows that what Fox decrees, the GOP obeys unflinchingly, and also because no man in America exemplifies the real face of the Republican Party in 2007 more than Rudy. What with his crooked friends, his moral failings and inconsistencies, his self-righteous arrogance, authoritarianism, and "me-first-at-all-costs" sense of entitlement, Rudy Giuliani is the mouth-breathing, sheet-wearing, race-baiting, cousin-humping, Constitution-shredding New Republican Party.

Except that Rudy has most of his teeth.

Hey, no unified field theory is ever truly perfect.

Always the First Star That I Find

I really like this song, even though at times it sounds ominously like soft rock from the 70's, something I would have heard at the dentist's office or in the back seat of my parents' car.

Of course, that might be what's so cool about it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


(Trent Lott and Larry Craig. Easy on those microphones, boys.)

Well, it seems there may be a Republican scandal this year that doesn't involve a male escort after all. And frankly, a high-profile Republican resignation without a studly male escort, to me, is like a day without sunshine.


Prominent Mississippi trial attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the brother-in-law of outgoing GOP Sen. Trent Lott...

Have I complained lately that every Republican politician south of the Beltway seems to have a name that would make a golden retriever weep with shame? Honestly, a grown man called "Dickie"? Can't you just see yourself out on the back porch at nightfall whistling and clapping your hands? "Dickie, Saxby, Sonny, Bubba, Rufus!! Hey! Time to come in for the night! Heeeere, boys!"

But I'm sorry, you were saying:
...was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on charges that he and four other men tried to bribe a Mississippi state court judge.

According to the 13-page indictment, Scruggs and three other attorneys -- including Lott's nephew Zach -- attempted to bribe Mississippi Third Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey with at least $40,000 in cash.

Yawn. That is so not news. A Republican with corruption in the family? That's about as shocking as a Pope with Catholics in the family.

I haven't entirely given up on the male escort thing, though. Said escort, whose nom de guerre is "Benjamin Nicholas" has denied any familiarity with Lott:
A San Antonio-based gay male escort categorically denied Monday that outgoing GOP Sen. Trent Lott had ever procured his services, putting to bed one of the more stunning rumors to emerge following Lott's announcement earlier in the day that he was leaving Congress.

The charge was first published by the Washington DC blog Big Head DC, which claimed to have emails where the escort, Benjamin Nicholas, allegedly playing coy, declined to go on the record because "Trent is going through his fair share of scrutiny right now and I don't want to add to it."

Although, I call total strangers who aren't my clients and are highly placed Republican politicians by their first names all the time. Of course, then our (ahem) tight-lipped escort turned around and said the following:
Whether I’m seeing celebrities, politicians, athletes, or anyone else, it’s my job to make sure that each person is treated with the same respect and confidentiality. … I don’t pass judgment on them, and I sure as hell wouldn’t “out” any of them.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but he basically just said, "I don't know anything about Trent Lott, never met him before in my life...but I say that about all my clients."

Besides, Republicans don't even resign from office when they're the ones getting indicted. They practically had to drag Tom DeLay kicking and screaming out of the House, baby-tantrum style. What does Trent Lott care if his brother-in-law and nephew are in trouble with the law, honestly?

And given all that we have learned about the Big Gay Fraternity ("Simper Phi"?) that apparently has all the pole positions (*cough!*) in the GOP locked down, would it really be any surprise if Lott was yet another stuffy old married cock-smoker? And what of the ongoing, slow-motion resignation of giant, walking intestinal polyp Denny Hastert? What was the line of b.s. they trotted out to explain that one again? Lobbying laws? I'm sure it has absolutely, positively nothing to do with keeping Mark Foley and his obsessive fascination with underage boys under wraps for twenty years.

Whatever. I think there is a veritable hailstorm of other shoes to drop with this crowd of nasty-ass closet-cases. I do think it's kind of a shame, however, that this seems to be one of the only ways that gays can have a major impact on today's American political process.

Clearly, I'm in the wrong line of work.

Just a Note

(Image from icanhascheezburger, of course)

I've just got to tell you guys how overwhelmed I am with all the love and support that has come pouring through the comments threads both here and over at FDL. You guys are killing me, here. I'm melting in the chair. It's a tragedy! And to think for a brief moment I was thinking about bailing on blogging altogether. (A very, very brief moment.)

You guys are the best. Thanks for reminding me in a big way of the importance of my commitment to you.

My Inbox is blowing up right now with people offering web assistance and stuff, so I promise you guys won't have to punish your eyes trying to read this white type on black for very long. If it's too awful, I may do a quick template change in the next couple of days. Right now I'm still just trying to get things sorted out. If I take a couple of days to answer your email, please don't take it personally.

And thank you. I can't say that enough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is This Thing On? Hello?

I told you there'd be bunnies.

Welcome to my new place! Please, make yourselves comfortable. It's a little primitive, but bear with me. We're just getting started around here.

Here's an announcement:

I will be a panelist at EschaCon 2008, which I am really, really looking forward to. The convention is the last weekend in March in Philadelphia. Other featured guests include my beloved Digby, Thers from Whiskeyfire, watertiger (YAY!!), Gavin from Sadly, No!, the lovely Miz Hamsher herself, Paul (effing) Krugman(no, really!), and more. Come one, come all. And best of all, NO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, who would clearly ruin everything. Just like they always do.

Except Chris Dodd. He can come.

And There's a Taste in My Mouth/As Desperation Takes Hold

Excuse me while I cry myself a river.

Liberals want to save the whales. Environmentalists want to save the Everglades. Conservatives want to save the Confederate flag but we just want to SAVE TUCKER.

MSNBC executives are considering cancelling 'Tucker' with Tucker Carlson which airs on MSNBC at 6:00pm EST weekdays.

That is just so sad. I may never stop laughing.

Yes, faced with the possibility of one less Vapid Villager on the TeeVee, certain members of the Far Right are taking to the streets. Citizen action NOW, you guys. I'm, like, totally serious. Someone has got to SAVE TUCKER.
This decision by MSNBC will silence a [bleating, whiny, intensely irritating-ed.] conservative voice, part of a move by MSNBC to swing left and become "FOX for the Liberals," dropping any pretense of objectivity or balance.

Things I secretly enjoy:

1. When Republicans inadvertently admit that Pox News is a GOP propaganda mill.

Any guy willing to go on "Dancing with the Stars" and treat guests both left and right with spirited but congenial debate should not be purged in some ideological marketing plan.

2. When suddenly the Right's faith in free markets collapses like a federal levee because god forbid, one of their own is actually threatened. (See National Review Online and Lileks, James for further details.)

Guys, I hate to break it to you, but it's got nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with ratings. Tucker is the second lowest rated man in cable news. Only Glenn Beck ranks lower. Surely you see what the Free Market dictates here. He's not pulling his weight. He's just soaking up the television equivalent of welfare dollars. Off. With. His. Head.

Because people who won't pull their weight are just a drag on society, aren't they, Republicans? The way Ah wuz raised, you work hard, take care of your own, and you don't take handouts from nobody.

Methinks your faith in Tucker's Alex P. Keaton Goes to Washington shtick is badly misplaced. He's dead weight now. If he was a horse, MSNBC would send him off to the glue factory or just take him out back and shoot him.

Why don't you guys get behind a cause you have a better chance of winning, like, I dunno, Tom Tancredo's campaign? (Is he even still in the race?) That movement to make Texas a sovereign nation? The ongoing fight to eliminate the serial comma?

I promise, only heartbreak lies ahead for you. Jon Stewart slashed the tires on Tucker's career and ever since, ol' TC has been riding on the rims. If you really care about Tucker, you'll get him out from behind the wheel, take away his keys, and send him home to sleep it off. Even if you do manage to convince MSNBC to keep him on, which is doubtful, it will only prolong the inevitable. There is no golden comeback era waiting just around the corner for Carlson. That ship, as they say, has sailed.

Doesn't he get a nickel every time someone opens a can of chicken broth, anyway?

He'll be alright.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Hear They Love Him in France

The Joe Klein thing is degenerating into total slapstick.

Glenn Greenwald:

Joe Klein has just posted yet again about his FISA confusion, and it has now moved well beyond farce into an almost pity-inducing realm. If Time has any dignity at all, someone there will intervene and put a stop to this. It's actually difficult to watch.

No, Glenn. No one must intervene. Remember the Prime Directive. Besides, it's so much fun to watch him thrash around.

But what's he gone and done now?
In the last five days alone, Klein has now written five separate times about his FISA debacle, and is further away than ever from having any idea what he's even talking about -- first was the column itself; second was the Swampland post the same day in which he emphatically defended the accuracy of what he wrote in response to my post; third was the post yesterday in which Klein said he "may have made a mistake in [his] column this week about the FISA legislation" -- the understatement of the year; fourth was an Update he added to that post this morning claiming that he did speak to a Democrat but "may have misinterpreted a Democratic source's point" and "if [he] did, a correction will appear in the print magazine next week"; and now, his fifth effort in tonight's post, actually worse than all the others, in which he still professes confusion after "spen[ding] the past few days nosing around in the ongoing dispute about what the House FISA Reform bill actually says."

Damn, that made me dizzy.

But surely, faced with so much furious pushback from bloggers and readers alike, Klein has redoubled his efforts at understanding all that super-complicated-FISA-stuff. He must have holed up for the whole weekend and pledged not to emerge from his home office until he's got it all sorted out, if only to rescue his magazine's credibility from the crapper and to make sure that he never, ever, EVER makes an ass of himself in this way again.


Not exactly.

The result of all this "nosing around": "I've reached no conclusions." And he then unleashes this:

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right.

Great. Another statement so stupid that it borders on the epigrammatic. It's kind of giving me major deja vu.
"People like me who favor this [NSA wiretapping] program don't yet know enough about it yet. Those opposed to it know even less -- and certainly less than I do." (Joe Klein, 2005)

So, given two years to study, Paul Lukasiak climbing up his ass with a blow-torch, and every opportunity under the sun to remove his head from the sling of his own ignorance, highly paid Serious Journalist Joe Klein has concluded that surveillance law is, like, whoa, complicated, and that he'd rather go back to doing bong hits on the couch and obsessively re-watching "The Last Waltz" on DVD. Boo-yaaaah! Take that, you blogger punks!

It calls to mind something that Hunter S. Thompson said of Richard Nixon:
He is like a hyena that you shoot and gut, then you see a few hours later, loping along in his stinking way, oblivious to the fact that he is not only dead, but gutted as well.
Sigh. Poor, poor Joe Klein. He may not care that he's killing his reputation, then digging it up, violating the cold corpse and re-interring it, but surely you'd think someone at Time would wake up and put a tranquilizer dart in him before he has a chance to make too much of a mess.

Apparently not.


Awwwww, Look at the TREE!


Also, My Son is Gay?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Morning, Beautiful


This will be my home for the time being until I can get my own URL set up. Hello to everyone who has followed me over here from FDL.

Things suddenly reached an impasse at the Lake. Increasingly, I was finding that my tendency to speak my mind and damn the consequences was running counter to the goals of a high-traffic group blog. FDL is going to be heading into an exciting new phase of its existence and I wish them nothing but the best.

Meanwhile, I will be doing my thing solo for the time being and it's going to be a huge relief to know that my successes and failures will not be potentially affecting the lives and careers of the great group of people that Jane and Christy have brought together at Firedoglake. I'm not sure that I was ever really cut out for representing a group and the only thing that I regret at this point is that so much of the FDL people's time over the last couple of years had to be spent tamping down the controversies and hostilities that my writing brought on the collective.

I will try to maintain the same nightly schedule that I became accustomed to at FDL and hope that you guys can find the time to come and visit me here. I hope your Thanksgiving was full of warmth, love, and comfort and that you're looking forward to the holidays as much as I am.

I think we're going to have a lot of fun here, you and I. Watch this space.