Wednesday, May 31, 2006
If you're looking for something a little more fun, you can always read how Bono is learning to play piano in preparation for the next U2 album.
Of course, I know who this is.
And, if you haven't been keeping up with the blog, read about the contest here and here.
[T]he guy who accompanies his buddy to a bar to help him pick up babes. He does whatever it takes to give his friend some time alone with the girl of choice: telling flattering lies about him, enticing away the sidekick girlfriend, running interference at the approach of a rival male.
Yeah, that guy.
For the record, Wonkette is not a fan of this article -- and I'll agree that its not the most practical use of a significant amount of newspaper space. However, to be fair, the article had the requisite mention (read: cliché) of Goose and Maverick, which distracted me for a moment. And for those that don't get out much, the article provides some sage advice:
1. The wingman delivers the introduction, knowing that his job is to make his buddy look cool.
2. The wingman will find a way to squire away the target's sidekick. Maybe he buys her a drink. Maybe he drags her over to the dance floor. He keeps her occupied until the lead man gives him one of two signals. Either the transaction is going nowhere and they need to bail, or he's about to go home with the target.
3. Duties of the wingman: He must be decent-looking but not too handsome, or the lead man will end up being the wingman. He must be sociable, able to move the conversation forward or back off, depending on how the lead is doing. It helps if he can gather intelligence on the girl early in the evening, sense whether his buddy has a chance and impart that wisdom privately before the offensive starts. Whether or not he's interested in the sidekick, he has to act like he is and, if she's really unattractive to him, be willing to, as these guys say, "fall on the grenade."
4. [W]ingmen profess to have a moral code when it comes to their buddies. One rule is, don't say something embarrassing about your friend to the girl he's after, even if it makes you look witty.
5. Another, and possibly the most significant, is this: Never, as the wingman, hit on the target yourself.
While the article does ask the important question: "Are girls okay being seen as mere pawns in this game of chess?" the clever folks at the Post avoid answering it by stating that women take wingmen along, too.
In that regard, here are my additional tips for being a good girl wingman, compiled from years of experience:
1. Refuse to answer your friend when she asks if she should (a) dance with; (b) kiss; or (c) go home with a guy. You're not her mother. And, if you give her bad advice, she will remember -- and probably blame you. Therefore, answer any of these questions with "I don't know. What do you think you should do?" It's very effective.
2. Do not judge. Your definition of cute is vastly different from that of your friend. And, if you say that the guy is a dork, inevitably he will wind up being her next boyfriend.
3. Wear comfortable shoes. Ultimately, you will be required to dance with the even geekier friend.
4. Monitor your friend's alcohol intake, as long as it doesn't unnecessarily impinge on your own. I mean, besides the beer goggle effect, you certainly don't want to be the one holding back her hair while she pukes.
5. Have cab fare to get yourself home, just in case.
These are only the first 5, but I'm sure I could come up with others. Maybe I should consider becoming a professional wingwoman.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
|You Are 37% American|
America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!
Apparently, there were too many questions about the war in Iraq and my eating habits.
It's amazing what can be accomplished with an extra 24 hours.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Slate, of course, has the real story, as well as an interesting feature about economic incentives for having kids.
So, yesterday, we decided to take a DC Ducks tour of the city. But, alas, when we got to Union Station, the tour was sold out, so we had to find something else to do.
We decided to hop on the Circulator bus down to Georgetown. From there, we walked to the Washington Harbour, where, just in time for Memorial Day, we took a short cruise on the Potomac River.
Here's a picture of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument from the boat:
Update: Here are the details, direct from CNN.
Double update: Other than the fact that there are both celebrity babies involved, there's a connection between this post and the prior post. Guesses anyone?
Friday, May 26, 2006
A judge's decision to sentence a 5-foot-1 man to probation instead of prison for sexually assaulting a child has angered crime victim advocates who say the punishment sends the wrong message.
Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava issued the sentence Tuesday. She told Richard W. Thompson that his crimes deserved a long prison sentence but that he was too small to survive in a state prison.
Of course, those who disagree with the sentence resorted to the inevitable slippery slope argument:
State Sen. Ernie Chambers, a longtime critic of judges, said he was baffled by the sentence. "If shortness is an excuse and protection from going to prison, short people ought to rob banks and do everything else they would wind up going to prison for," Chambers said. "We're talking here about a crime committed against a child, and shortness is not a defense."
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Of course, I didn't intend on the fire drill.
My apartment is having another bout of random fire alarms. When I first moved in about 4 years ago they were pretty frequent, but since it was a brand-new building, it wasn't entirely unexpected. Since then, every once in a while, there'd be another one, due, in large part to the restaurants downstairs. And not too long ago, one of the restaurants even had an honest-to-goodness fire.
But this month, during the rare times that I've actually been at home, there have already been three fire alarms -- not even counting the one that only went off in my kitchen when I burned a bagel in the toaster. And, rumor has it that there have been more during daylight hours.
This, of course, is pissing me off. If the alarm wasn't so friggin' annoying, I'd probably just use it as an excuse to go to sleep early. But nooooooo, it's the loudest, most obnoxious ear-piercing shriek on earth.
Of course, when I'm being rational, I do realize that it's designed that way to motivate people like me to actually vacate the building rather than risk being burned to a crisp.
I have never in my life managed to live in a place that was not prone to random alarms. When I was in high school, there was a period of time when the burglar alarm would go off whenever anyone took a shower in the bathroom leading out to the pool. And I've already mentioned my last apartment in Gainesville, which, in addition to being in an apartment complex rumored to be where one of the murders took place, burned down several weeks after I moved out. The worst, of course, was when I lived on the 7th floor of the dorm at FSU. The alarm had a habit of going off at 3:30 in the morning, but only on days when I was hungover, had an early class (for me, that means any time before noon), or it was Antarctica cold (in Tallahassee, that means January).
FYI, Ted Bundy was rumored to have chased someone in this dorm before killing a couple of girls across the street at the Chi Omega house. What is with me living in places with serial killers? Why couldn't I live in the Jim Morrison dorm? But I digress.
Actually, now that I've ranted, I feel better. Now I can get back to laundry and catching up on TV, since I already heard that Jack Bauer saves the day, again.
And, as an aside about my previously mentioned trip to Albany -- on the airplane going out there yesterday, there were two buddhist monks. I actually sat next to them in the airport, in their saffron and ruby colored robes, and I kid you not, they were both eating Quarter Pounders with Cheese. Of course, I had always thought that Buddhists were vegetarians, but apparently, I was wrong. Oh well. You learn something new every day.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I hope people are taking this seriously. I am.
To answer some questions:
1. Yes, poetry is acceptable. It doesn't even have to rhyme. Hell, write a song if you want. Just write SOMETHING. With one caveat: No legal writing. I really don't want to read contracts, memos, pleadings, or even motions for summary judgment, no matter how astonishingly fantastic they may be. Save 'em for a judge.
2. No, it does not have to be long. It just has to be GOOD.
3. It doesn't really even have to be fiction, but since it's summer, I was hoping for some light beach reading.
4. Yes, it has to be original, but no, it does not have to be new. Dust out something you wrote in college or grad school if you think it fits the bill.
5. Yes, I really will let the poll pick the winner. So make sure that you and your friends vote early and often.
6. With the possible help of my Dad, I will pick the top 10, as long as there are more than 10 submissions.
7. If you want to write something in a foreign language, go ahead. Of course, you're more likely to make it to the top 10 if you write in English, since that's what I know. I've spent enough time translating French and Spanish poetry that I'll know what you mean if you use either, but I am quite sure that I won't be able to tell if it's any good. And for any other language, well, I might not even know what you're saying. Unless you use swear words.
8. There really will be a prize, and it will be worth something. Maybe not much, and maybe not to you, but it will be worth something to someone. Honest.
A man told authorities he was involved in a road-rage incident with the driver of a Honda. When the two cars stopped at a red light, the Honda's driver got out and kicked the front of the man's vehicle.
The driver then got back into his vehicle, put it in reverse and hit the front of the man's car, Hoehler said. A witness copied the license plate number of the gray Honda, which was listed to Plummer.
Question #1: Some guy living in Denver did not recognize Jake Plummer? I mean, I might not be a Redskins fan, but I'd recognize Mark Brunell if I ran in to him (no pun intended) on the street.
Question #2: Jake Plummer drives a Honda? Seriously? Not a Humvee, Escalade, Porsche, or even a Mercedes? The Broncos must not be paying him enough.
And, to preemptively answer the logical follow-up question, this is not a vacation, but is not directly related to my job. I'm going to Albany, N.Y., to finally put an end to two years of procrastination and get sworn in to the N.Y. Bar.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
For the record, I am:
Congratulations! You're 120 proof, with specific scores in beer (60) , wine (116), and liquor (86).
Screw all that namby-pamby chick stuff, you're going straight for the bottle and a shot glass! It'll take more than a few shots of Wild Turkey or 99 Bananas before you start seeing pink elephants. You know how to handle your alcohol, and yourself at parties.
Still, this week, there are two new entries on the list of strange celebrity baby names: First, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell named her daughter Bluebell Madonna, and then Penn Jillette named Moxie Crimefigher's new baby brother Zolten Penn.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Today, the test for:
ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC?
The chapter begins with my assertion that the standard test for alcoholism, which is written by AA, has waaay too low a threshhold. Asking AA whether you are an alcoholic, I said, is like asking your kid if you need a puppy.
Example: A typical question from the AA quiz is, "Do you ever drink alone?" Another: "Have you ever felt guilty after drinking too much?" According to AA, answering "yes" to both those questions means you are probably an alcoholic.
So here was my Replacement Test, with a scoring guide at the end:
1. Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking? Did another drink help?
2. Do you ever drink alone? Are you drinking alone right now? Directly from the bottle? Standing naked in the shower in case you vomit?
3. Do people sometimes criticize you for your drinking? When you attempt to punch them in the face, do you fall down?
4. When you drive drunk, are you generally sober enough to keep one eye closed, so your vision is not double? Good for you!
5. Have you ever "eaten the worm," only to discover that it was not, in fact, the worm, but something else wormlike that happened to be in the vicinity of the bottle, such as an egg sac from a cockroach?
6. Have you ever wakened in an intensive care unit, with uniformed police officers all around you, arguing with doctors who were saying you could not be questioned until you were "out of the woods."?
7. Are you ever slightly embarrassed to discover you have one alcoholic beverage in your hand, one on the table, and a third in a hypodermic syringe you are about to inject straight into your stomach for a better "rush"?
8. Do you sometimes find that you have been made the butt of a sucker bet among your friends, such as whether you will actually drink from the toilet with a flavor straw, for a quarter?
9. At times when no alcohol was available, have you ever consumed other substances because you thought they might contain alcohol, such as naphtha or Massengill Sta-Fresh douche?
10. Have you ever urinated into an empty beer can to avoid having to negotiate your way to the bathroom, and then forgotten you had done this and ... you know? Has this ever happened more than once in the same night? Do you think it might have ever happened and you did not notice?
Scoring: You are not an alcoholic.
But if your breathalyzer test registers 18 times the limit, you might want to reconsider.
Update: From Modern Drunkard magazine, courtesy of today's Weingarten online chat, I give you (1) bar sign language; (2) the 86 rules of boozing; and (3) drinking as solutions to all of life's problems.
First, global warming is shrinking the coral reefs, and as is becoming the norm, also causing predictions for an above-normal hurricane season. And,our favorite Congresswoman/Senate hopeful Katherine Harris appears to have locked herself out of her Capitol Hill Rowhouse this weekend without shoes -- much like Britney Spears.
But most importantly, read up on the interesting murder investigation involving a UF grad student:
The university police at Gainesville's University of Florida have targeted a graduate student in the English program over his publication of a piece of horror fiction on his LiveJournal. The police have repeatedly visited the student and demanded that he submit his fingerprints and DNA to them so that they can compare the fictional murder he described in his story to evidence from any similar unsolved murders.
Just for the record, if I were to kill someone, I would not write fiction about it, and I most certainly would not post it on this blog. I mean, c'mon people, that was the plot of Basic Instinct.
Update: Here's an article about the nuisance alligator hotline, which is funny only because it is written by someone named "Killer."
Sunday, May 21, 2006
And last week, I called the president's immigration plan xenophobic, because it's only concerned with illegal immigration via Mexico. Others seem to agree.
Some, of course, think that Mexican culture is much less threatening to America than Canadian culture, such as it is. Living for all those years in South Florida -- which is infested with Canadian tourists -- I'd have to agree.
Maybe we should build fences along both borders.
The alligator was only 3 feet long, but Candy Frey wasn't taking any chances. When the reptile came into the lanai of her home east of Bradenton Saturday and attacked her golden retriever, Frey went and got her gun.
After Frey and her daughter managed to push the gator out of the lanai through the dog door, she blasted away at it four times.
The alligator barely bled from gunshots to the neck and shoulder, Frey said, and wildlife officer put it back in the lake.
The deputy gave Frey a warning citation for hunting without a license.
For the record, "lanai" is a silly Floridian word for patio.
I'm not telling your actual score. Hmph!
The Lover (or Poet) is a rare type. (S)He has a rather contradictory nature. He is completely unselfish and generally regards others above himself, yet somehow in his effort to please, often ends up doing things that appear completely self-centered. The Lover loves people and strives for acceptance, but at the same time withdraws from the world. Lovers are authors, artists, philosophers, and musicians. They live unorthodox, unconventional, or even chaotic lives. Lovers experience the highest highs and lowest lows.
The Lover's complement is the hardened, unhesitant Warrior.
Unorthodox, unconventional, chaotic, check.
Completely unselfish? Not so much.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
The point is that people learn from reading. And sometimes, reading things with which you disagree can be instructive. At a minimum, you'll get some insight into the other side's arguments, sometimes you'll see why they object to your arguments, and occasionally, you might even grow as a person.
Education. Noun. "The act or process of educating or being educated; The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process."
So, of course I felt strongly about Marc Fisher's recent blog post -- and the subsequent WaPo article -- about the assault on academic freedom on a local conservative college campus:
But now, at Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County, five professors have quit--and one of them was summarily dismissed before he could leave of his own accord--because they concluded that the college was not interested in free-ranging inquiry. The last straw for the professors came after they expressed their view that the Christian students who attend Patrick Henry need nourishment not only from the Bible, but from great thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, and Marx--and the college responded that Scripture is the "ultimate standard."
An article in Leesburg Today spells out the professors' basis for their decision to leave a school where, as they knew from the start, "our Christian faith precedes and informs all that we at Patrick Henry College study, teach and learn." Not only have there been instances in which texts were banned, but "Students are afraid to raise questions or criticize the school," the article quotes classics Professor David Noe. Some students have quit Patrick Henry because of the constricted academic environment as well, the paper reports.
Yeah, fine, you should teach Scripture at a Christian School, since that's what the students are paying for. But don't ignore other philosophy -- whether it's from Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, or Marx -- just because you consider it too leftist or liberal. (And honestly, if anyone thinks of Hobbes as leftist, they probably ought to re-read it.) If the point is to give students an education, then do that. Don't limit their ability to learn because it conflicts with conservative values. In the end, you're just hurting the students.
Friday, May 19, 2006
So, here's my list of the 10 most fun things I've seen today:
1. Save Sean Preston. They even have t-shirts.
2. Fun with NSA wiretaps: First, a Q&A; then the top 10 signs they're spying on you.
3. How to ruin a marriage with text messaging.
4. "Ten Things I Hate About Commandments" (via Boing Boing)
5. Weenie Beenie finally gets some love.
6. Muppets Take Museum. Yes, folks, just in time for their 50th anniversary, the Muppets get an exhibit at the Smithsonian.
7. My site of the week, Urban Dictionary. You can look anything up here, and I do mean anything.
8. At least Virginia is best in something.
9. The 'G-sting' scandal. Who knew that Las Vegas strip clubs could be this scandalous?
10. How to prepare for the Brangelina baby:
Is the Brangelina baby better than me? The only way to answer this is directly and honestly. Tell them: Yes, the Brangelina baby is better than you. But Mommy and Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa all love you very, very much. Less than they love the Brangelina baby, but with as much of their hearts still available.
Now I can go home and go to sleep.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Apparently, this means that I wasn't paying attention:
I am still trying to come up with a fully convincing account of just what it was about his very first sentence, indeed the very first word, that told me instantly that I was in for a very bad time stylistically.
The writing goes on in similar vein, committing style and word choice blunders in almost every paragraph (sometimes every line).
Brown's writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad. In some passages scarcely a word or phrase seems to have been carefully selected or compared with alternatives.
Yikes. Well, at least the movie's getting good reviews, right? Uh, no, not exactly:
There's no code to decipher. Da Vinci is a dud -- a dreary, droning, dull-witted adaptation of Dan Brown's religioso detective story that sold 50 million copies worldwide.
Even Kurt Loder thinks it's bad. But wait -- there's got to be something good about it, right?
Not so much, considering that it provoked protests by Christian groups and albinos. To be perfectly fair, though, the albinos have a point: More often than not, the media portrays them as evil villians. Check out the list.
Update: I went to see the movie Saturday night. It was okay -- nothing special, just a pretty literal interpretation of a mystery novel involving some religious themes.
"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."
Hey Pat: If God was really serious, don't you think he'd warn the National Hurricane Center, too?
AN APOLOGY FROM A BUSH VOTER
By Doug McIntyre
Host, McIntyre in the Morning
Talk Radio 790 KABC
There’s nothing harder in public life than admitting you’re wrong. By the way, admitting you’re wrong can be even tougher in private life. If you don’t believe me, just ask Bill Clinton or Charlie Sheen. But when you go out on the limb in public, it’s out there where everyone can see it, or in my case, hear it.
So, I’m saying today, I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush. In historic terms, I believe George W. Bush is the worst two-term President in the history of the country. Worse than Grant. I also believe a case can be made that he’s the worst President, period.
In 2000, I was a McCain guy. I wasn’t sure about the Texas Governor. He had name recognition and a lot of money behind him, but other than that? What? Still, I was sick of all the Clinton shenanigans and the thought of President Gore was… unthinkable. So, GWB became my guy.
For the first few months he was just flubbing along like most new Presidents, no great shakes, but no disasters either. He cut taxes and I like tax cuts.
Then September 11th happened. September 11th changed everything for me, like it did for so many of you. After September 11th, all the intramural idiocy of American politics stopped being funny. We had been attacked by a vicious and determined enemy and it was time for all of us to row in the same direction.
And we did for the blink of an eye. I believed the President when he said we were going to hunt down Bin Laden and all those responsible for the 9-11 murders. I believed President Bush when he said we would go after the terrorists and the nations that harbored them.
I supported the President when he sent our troops into Afghanistan, after all, that’s where the Taliban was, that’s where al-Qaida trained the killers, that’s where Bin Laden was.
And I cheered when we quickly toppled the Taliban government, but winced when we let Bin Laden escape from Tora-Bora. Then, the talk turned to Iraq and I winced again.
I thought the connection to 9-11 was sketchy at best. But Colin Powell impressed me at the UN, and Tony Blair was in, and after all, he was a Clinton guy, not a Bush guy, so I thought the case had to be strong. I was worried though, because I had read the Wolfowitz paper, “The Project for the New American Century.” It’s been around since ‘92, and it raised alarm bells because it was based on a theory, “Democratizing the Middle East” and I prefer pragmatism over theory. I was worried because Iraq was being justified on a radical new basis, “pre-emptive war.” Any time we do something without historical precedent I get nervous.
But the President shifted the argument to WMDs and the urgent threat of Iraq getting atomic weapons. The debate turned to Saddam passing nukes on to terror groups. After 9-11, the risk was too great. As the President said, “The next smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud.” At least that’s what I thought at the time.
I grew up in New York and watched them build the World Trade Center. I worked with a guy, Frank O’Brien, who put the elevators in both towers. I lost a very close friend on September 11th. 103 floor, tower one, Cantor Fitzgerald. Tim Coughlin was his name. If we had to take out Iraq to make sure something like that, or worse, never happened again, so be it. I knew the consequences. We have a soldier in our house. None of this was theoretical in my house.
But in the months and years since shock and awe I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, double-talk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions, and flat out lies. I have watched as the President and his administration changed the goals, redefined the reasons for going into Iraq, and fumbled the good will of the world and the focus necessary to catch the real killers of September 11th.
I have watched the President say the commanders on the ground will make the battlefield decisions, and the war won’t be run from Washington. Yet, politics has consistently determined what the troops can and can’t do on the ground and any commander who did not go along with the administration was sacked, and in some cases, maligned.
I watched and tried to justify the looting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. I watched and tried to justify the dismantling of the entire Iraqi army. I tired to explain the complexities of building a functional new Iraqi army. I urged patience when no WMDs were found. Then the Vice President told us we were in the “waning days of the insurgency.” And I started wincing again. The President says we have to stay the course but what if it’s the wrong course?
It was the wrong course. All of it was wrong. We are not on the road to victory. We’re about to slink home with our tail between our legs, leaving civil war in Iraq and a nuclear armed Iran in our wake. Bali was bombed. Madrid was bombed. London was bombed. And Bin Laden is still making tapes. It’s unspeakable. The liberal media didn’t create this reality, bad policy did.
Most historians believe it takes 30-50 years before we get a reasonably accurate take on a President’s place in history. So, maybe 50 years from now Iraq will be a peaceful member of the brotherhood of nations and George W. Bush will be celebrated as a visionary genius.
But we don’t live fifty years in the future. We live now. We have to make public policy decisions now. We have to live with the consequences of the votes we cast and the leaders we chose now.
After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush I’ve reached the conclusion he’s either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both.
Presidential failures. James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Jimmy Carter, Warren Harding-— the competition is fierce for the worst of the worst. Still, the damage this President has done is enormous. It will take decades to undo, and that’s assuming we do everything right from now on. His mistakes have global implications, while the other failed Presidents mostly authored domestic embarrassments.
And speaking of domestic embarrassments, let’s talk for a minute about President Bush’s domestic record. Yes, he cut taxes. But tax cuts combined with reckless spending and borrowing is criminal mismanagement of the public’s money. We’re drunk at the mall with our great grandchildren’s credit cards. Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?
Bush created a giant new entitlement, the prescription drug plan. He lied to his own party to get it passed. He lied to the country about its true cost. It was written by and for the pharmaceutical industry. It helps nobody except the multinationals that lobbied for it. So much for smaller government. In fact, virtually every tentacle of government has grown exponentially under Bush. Unless, of course, it was an agency to look after the public interest, or environmental protection, and/or worker’s rights.
I’ve talked so often about the border issue, I won’t bore you with a rehash. It’s enough to say this President has been a catastrophe for the wages of working people; he’s debased the work ethic itself. “Jobs Americans won’t do!” He doesn’t believe in the sovereign borders of the country he’s sworn to protect and defend. And his devotion to cheap labor for his corporate benefactors, along with his worship of multinational trade deals, makes an utter mockery of homeland security in a post 9-11 world. The President’s January 7th, 2004 speech on immigration, his first trial balloon on his guest worker scheme, was a deal breaker for me. I couldn’t and didn’t vote for him in 2004. And I’m glad I didn’t.
Katrina, Harriet Myers, The Dubai Port Deal, skyrocketing gas prices, shrinking wages for working people, staggering debt, astronomical foreign debt, outsourcing, open borders, contempt for the opinion of the American people, the war on science, media manipulation, faith based initives, a cavalier attitude toward fundamental freedoms-- this President has run the most arrogant and out-of-touch administration in my lifetime, perhaps, in any American’s lifetime.
You can make a case that Abraham Lincoln did what he had to do, the public be damned. If you roll the dice on your gut and you’re right, history remembers you well. But, when your gut led you from one business failure to another, when your gut told you to trade Sammy Sosa to the White Sox, and you use the same gut to send our sons and daughters to fight and die in a distraction from the real war on terror, then history will and should be unapologetic in its condemnation.
None of this, by the way, should be interpreted as an endorsement of the opposition party. The Democrats are equally bankrupt. This is the second crime of our age. Again, historically speaking, its times like these when America needs a vibrant opposition to check the power of a run-amuck majority party. It requires it. It doesn’t work without one. Like the high and low tides keep the oceans alive, a healthy, positive opposition offers a path back to the center where all healthy societies live.
Tragically, the Democrats have allowed crackpots, leftists and demagogic cowards to snipe from the sidelines while taking no responsibility for anything. In fairness, I don’t believe a Democrat president would have gone into Iraq. Unfortunately, I don’t know if President Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. And that’s one of the many problems with the Democrats.
The two party system has always been clumsy and imperfect, but it has only collapsed once, in the 1850s, and the result was civil war.
I believe, as I have said countless times, the two party system is on the brink of a second collapse. It’s currently running on spin, anger, revenge, and pots and pots and pots of money.
We’re being governed by paper-mache patriots; brightly painted red, white and blue, but hollow to the core. Both parties have mastered the cynical arts of media manipulation and fund raising. They’ve learned the lessons of Watergate and burn the tapes. They have learned to divide the nation for their own gain. They have demonstrated the willingness to exploit any tragedy for personal advantage. The contempt they have for the American people is without parallel.
This is painful to say, and I’m sure for many of you, painful to read. But it’s impossible to heal the country until we’re willing to acknowledge the truth no matter how painful. We have to wean ourselves off sugar coated partisan lies.
With a belated tip of the cap to Ralph Nader, the system is broken, so broken, it’s almost inevitable it pukes up the Al Gores and George W. Bushes. Where are the Trumans and the Eisenhowers? Where are the men and women of vision and accomplishment? Why do we have to settle for recycled hacks and malleable ciphers? Greatness is always rare, but is basic competence and simple honesty too much to ask?
It may be decades before we have the full picture of how paranoid and contemptuous this administration has been. And I am open to the possibility that I’m all wet about everything I’ve just said. But I’m putting it out there, because I have to call it as I see it, and this is how I see it today. I don’t say any of this lightly. I’ve thought about this for months and months. But eventually, the weight of evidence takes on a gravitational force of its own.
I believe that George W. Bush has taken us down a terrible road. I don’t believe the Democrats are offering an alternative. That means we’re on our own to save this magnificent country. The United States of America is a gift to the world, but it has been badly abused and it’s rightful owners, We the People, had better step up to the
plate and reclaim it before the damage becomes irreparable.
So, accept my apology for allowing partisanship to blind me to an obvious truth; our President is incapable of the tasks he is charged with. I almost feel sorry for him. He is clearly in over his head. Yet, he doesn’t generate the sympathy Warren Harding earned. Harding, a spectacular mediocrity, had the self-knowledge to tell any and all he shouldn’t be President. George W. Bush continues to act the part, but at this point whose buying the act?
Does this make me a waffler? A flip-flopper? Maybe, although I prefer to call it realism. And, for those of you who never supported Bush, its also fair to accuse me of kicking Bush while he’s down. After all, you were kicking him while he was up.
You were right, I was wrong.
Huh? Oh, it spells "Heaven" backwards. Now it all makes sense.
Personally, I like the name Natasha. If you spell it backwards, it's "Ah, Satan."
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The Post described the bill as "a $70 billion, election-year tax-cut package," and wrote that "Democrats quickly labeled the bill a boon to wealthy -- not average -- Americans."
I didn't go to the ceremony, mostly because I had to work.
Alas, this meant that I missed Katherine Harris standing behind the President and fiddling with her camera phone. Too bad, really.
Update: The DC Blogs website linked to this post this morning. Thanks, but I need to point out that, despite all the sports posts, I am a girl.
There is one noteworthy thing in the study:
Rude drivers: Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.
Polite drivers: Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle, and Atlanta.
With the exception of Boston, all of the places with the most rude drivers have warm weather -- while the majority of places with the more polite drivers have somewhat cooler weather.
1. Write whatever you want. Short story, novel, play, epic poem, whatever.
2. It must be your original work. However, parodies of other works are acceptable. Just don't plagiarize. And if you do "borrow", remember to cite your sources.
3. More than one submission is allowed. (If you have time for this, let me know how you managed.)
4. You get bonus points for using one of McSweeney's ideas or for filling in the missing portions of Snoopy's novel.
5. All submissions are due on or before midnight EDT on June 17, and can be sent to me by email, my feedback button, or by posting the full text or a link as a comment to this post.
6. If there are more than 10 submissions, the top 10 will be chosen by me and my dad. (He doesn't know I'm volunteering him for this, but he'll be visiting that weekend.) Yes, I know this is completely subjective.
7. Vote beginning Sunday June 18 to determine which of the top 10 is the best.
8. The winner will be announced on June 25, and will be published on the blog. The winner will also receive a coveted "prize to be named later" -- which is likely to include something from my desk -- plus copies of my two favorite Calvin and Hobbes comic strips.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
At the ball, Crist seemed like a nice enough guy. He made a joke about how a screwdriver is an appropriately Floridian drink, what with the orange juice. He even took my business card and sent me a lovely note after our meeting.
But, despite this, if I were still a Florida voter, I don't think I could manage to vote for him. And not just because he's a Republican:
Charlie strongly supports Second Amendment rights and advocates policies that strengthen Florida families, including fighting to uphold Florida's Defense of Marriage Act. He was victorious in defending parental notification rights before the Florida Supreme Court.
* * *
Charlie Crist is the most pro-business Attorney General in Florida's history. He works with businesses to resolve potential disputes before taking legal action.
He believes that government should encourage entrepreneurial spirit, that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and that government should "get out of the way" of the good corporate citizens who are making Florida a great place to work and live.
Charlie Crist believes that judges should strictly apply the law as it was written, not expand upon it or legislate from the bench. As Governor, he will appoint conservative, not activist, judges to apply the law as written.
* * *
Charlie Crist is a Jeb Bush Republican. He has supported the Governor in each of his three campaigns.
Charlie held hearings in the Senate to investigate the last-minute smear campaigns against Governor Bush in the 1994 elections. His hearings were the sole reason the truth was eventually uncovered.
Charlie, like so many of his generation, was inspired to serve by Ronald Reagan and learned about leadership while working for Senator Connie Mack. He is proud to serve now with his friend, our outstanding Governor Jeb Bush.
Forget about guns, parental notification, "defense of marriage," and strict constructionist judges -- it's the last part that gets me riled up.
Oh, and check out Wonkette for links accusing him of being both a closeted liberal and gay. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
So it should come as no surprise that he used his new position to spread the word about his cause. And, of course, to run commentaries by Bob Geldof, Nelson Mandela, Eddie Izzard, Elvis Costello and the Edge.
Oh, and some puff piece by Condoleezza Rice on her favorite music.
Of course, this is not the only important legal headline of the day. Hawaiian golfers are no longer potentially liable for errant balls. And I'd like to see this woman sue the energy company for shutting off her power over $0.01. But those are just extra, added goodies.
"'Fat naked guy' gets 51 months. . . " is just awesome.
At about 12:30, I decided that I would grab lunch at a reasonable time today, instead of my norm of grabbing something in a rush around 2. Mostly it was because I had been hungry all morning, but it was also so I could leisurely eat the sandwich at my desk while finishing my work. So, slightly before 1, I grabbed my wallet and ran across the street to Cosi for a TBM, which has recently become my favorite sandwich.
I'm standing in the very long line waiting to place my order -- now I remember why I generally get lunch so late -- when this elderly woman walks up and started talking to me. She was somewhat hunched over and in tattered clothing. She began explaining that she really needed a sandwich, but couldn't stand in line, and asked me to order her a turkey sandwich.
I looked at her like she was crazy.
She then gave me her spiel again, this time adding that if she didn't sit down, she was going to have a seizure. I'm sure she has said this to every one of the fifteen people on line ahead of me. And they ignored her.
I explain to her that I'm trying to rush back to work. She forcibly shoves $3.00 into my hands. I'm frantically looking around at the employees for help. Nada. No one even reacts. The two men in line directly ahead of me try to ignore the situation.
She says that she knows a turkey sandwich costs $4.00, but she only handed me $3.00. (Actually, a turkey sandwich at Cosi costs about $7.00, but why get bogged down in the details.) "And," she added, "get it with mayo, lettuce, and onions."
She then sat down.
I'm really annoyed by this. I mean, I'm thirty years old, a lawyer, in a suit and heels, trying to get a quick lunch-to-go in a downtown sandwich shop, and this woman is barking orders at me as if I'm a busboy.
I'm such a sucker.
I got her a kids meal sandwich -- turkey, mayo, and onions -- with potato chips. But after I stood in the other insanely long line to pay, she had disappeared. I looked around for her, but she seemed to be gone.
I'm really pissed off at this point. Not only did I waste my time buying this clearly crazy woman's sandwich -- partly with my own money -- but now I have to look for her? I quickly walked around the Cosi, which is about the same size as my apartment, and determine that, as suspected, she was not inside. I stepped outside, and decided to look for her there. Sure enough, she was telling some other girl that I had run off with her $3.00. She looked at me and said, "I thought you had left. With my sandwich."
Why the hell would I want her sandwich?
She then said "I hope you got cheese on it." I hadn't. I handed her the sandwich and walked briskly back to my office.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Now they're definitely more dangerous than bears. Maybe this is what the president should have been speaking about.
Slate's got an alternate theory for why this is happening: "As it gets warmer, gators get hungry and mobilize to find prey." The New York Times concurs, but points out several additional factors:
But the growing population of both people and alligators in the state, and the desire of people to live on lakes, ponds and waterways that are the alligators' natural habitat, are increasing the chances of confrontations, the wildlife agency has said. State officials also said the recent drought in the area has produced water levels lower than usual, increasing competition among alligators for food and territory. The shallower waters are heating up more rapidly than in other years, they said.
* * *
In addition, May is the peak mating season for alligators, with big males traveling overland to find mates. This happens as the reptiles respond to warmer temperatures after several month of near-hibernation during the winter.
So, the alligators are pissed off about what people did to the Everglades?
And, on the climate change note, check out the trailer for Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth.
Bush said the nation must move immediately to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants from its southern border by sending in the National Guard to free up U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California.
* * *
He also called on Congress to end the U.S. practice of releasing into the country tens of thousands of people caught illegally crossing the southern border because officials lack the jail space or legal authority to detain them or send them home. He said every foreign worker should be required to hold a high-tech, tamper-proof identification card so U.S. companies could determine whether their employees are legal. For the first time in a public forum, Bush endorsed new procedures that would give illegal immigrants who have lived here for an extended time preferred status in obtaining citizenship. To qualify, workers would have to pay a fine and back taxes and would have to learn English and meet other requirements, he said.
* * *
The president's focus on border control last night was aimed at mollifying conservative Republican lawmakers and disgruntled voters, who have accused him of paying insufficient attention to tightening the border and enforcing immigration laws.
This is complete and total crap. And, it's not urgent. Not so urgent that it needed to be broadcast tonight. I mean, unless it's news of his resignation, the end of the war in Iraq or, god forbid, the announcement of some terrorist attack, I would rather that Twenty-Four run at its regularly scheduled time. Thankfully, it didn't intefere with Grey's Anatomy. Now I've got to go finish watching it on the DVR.
Update: Others apparently agreed: "Who cares about immigration?!?! Greys Anatomy is on tonight! Stupid immigration."
Still, only 7 people left comments.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
- Undo the bankruptcy bill enacted by this administration: I don't think the new bankruptcy laws are bad. Of course, I've only ever represented creditors.
- Repeal the estate tax repeal: Yes.
- Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI: Yes. Ditto Justin's response, big time.
- Universal health care (obviously the devil is in the details on this one): Yeah, it's a good idea.
- Increase CAFE standards. Some other environment-related regulation: Yes.
- Pro-reproductive rights, getting rid of abstinence-only education, improving education about and access to contraception including the morning after pill, and supporting choice. On the last one there's probably some disagreement around the edges (parental notification, for example), but otherwise: Definitely yes.
- Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code: What? They want to put tax lawyers out of work? Simplicity is bad for the accounting/tax law business. But, yeah, definitely something needs to be done about making the tax system more progressive.
- Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination: Amen.
- Reduce corporate giveaways: Again, bad for business. But good in theory.
- Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan: Eh, not so sure about this one. If someone else can do it more efficiently and less expensively, they should do it. Currently, I'm not sure they've proven that is the case.
- Force companies to stop underfunding their pensions. Change corporate bankruptcy law to put workers and retirees at the head of the line with respect to their pensions: Yes, companies should be forced fully fund their pensions. And the excise tax on underfunded pensions is not a real solution. But changing priorities in bankruptcy is not a solution, either.
- Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards "more decriminalization" of drugs, though the details complicated there too: Yes. Duh.
- Paper ballots: I don't think so. We're heading towards a paperless future.
- Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. Obiously details matter: Yup.
- Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes: Yup.
- Torture is bad: Again, duh.
- Imprisoning citizens without charges is bad; Playing Calvinball with the Geneva Conventions and treaties generally is bad; Imprisoning anyone indefinitely without charges is bad; Stating that the president can break any law he wants any time "just because" is bad: Yeah, we get it. The president is a bad guy. The administration is dangerous. Blah blah blah. (But, for the record, love the Calvinball reference.)
- Marriage rights for all, which includes "gay marriage" and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens: Yep, that's good too. Not gonna happen, but it would be nice.
I guess I'm pretty liberal then. But we knew that. And this new test agrees:
|You are a |
You are best described as a:
Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Friday, May 12, 2006
- Open Up Your Eyes, Tonic
- Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, U2 (live)
- Ants Marching, Dave Matthews Band
- Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division
- Wheel in the Sky, Journey
- She Loves You, The Beatles
- Two Step, Dave Matthews Band
- At Last, Etta James
- Angel, Sarah McLachlan
- Singing in My Sleep, Semisonic
- Black, Pearl Jam
- Calling All Angels, Train
- Wild Boys, Duran Duran
- Brass Monkey, Beastie Boys
- Hold My Hand, Hootie and the Blowfish
- Jumper, Third Eye Blind
- Hanging By A Moment, Lifehouse
- Promise, Eve 6
- High Enough, Damn Yankees
- Something's Missing, John Mayer
- Best of Both Worlds, Van Halen
- Maybe I'm Amazed, Paul McCartney & Wings
- Walk Away, Bree Sharp
- Bed of Roses, Bon Jovi
- Burn, The Cure
- Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
- The Best of What's Around, Dave Matthews Band
- New, No Doubt
- Rapture, Blondie
- Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, U2
- Summer Wine, The Corrs and Bono
- White Flag, Dido (Live)
- All Eyes on Me, Goo Goo Dolls
- A Lack of Color, Death Cab For Cutie
- Can't Help Falling In Love With You, U2 (live from Zoo TV tour)
- Dreams, The Corrs
- No Such Thing, John Mayer
- Sour Girl, Stone Temple Pilots
- Bitter Tears, INXS
- The Mountains Win Again, Blues Traveler
- Come Rain or Come Shine, Don Henley (MTV Unplugged)
- Bring Me Some Water, Melissa Etheridge (live acoustic version)
- Jump, Van Halen
- Misunderstood, Bon Jovi (live version)
- Because the Night, 10,000 Maniacs
- 18 and Life, Skid Row
- Hey Ya, OutKast
- All I Really Want, Alanis Morissette
- Layla, Eric Clapton
- Mystify, INXS (live version)
- Elvis Presley and America, U2
- Suck My Kiss, Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Slither, Velvet Revolver
The bad news? The police somehow determined that he was not legally intoxicated, and did not charge him with a DUI.
The good news? At least the police gave him a field sobriety test.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
- Dolphins have names! Monkeys drink like humans! (But they don't have rehab.)
- The real cost of suicide.
- Why in the world would animal rights extremists rob a grave?
- The director of Donnie Darko might be a terrorist.
- This is how blogging can get you in trouble.
- Cheesecake dispute.
- Discriminatory baseball giveways.
- Now women can sell lingerie in Saudi Arabia.
We tax lawyers are way more fun than people give us credit for. Although, I am still quite perplexed by this guy who quotes The Princess Bride and thinks tax professionals are hot.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
No, I'm going to talk about the book, Bad Twin.
You know, the manuscript that Sawyer was reading in last week's episode. (Watch it here now.)
Apparently, this is a whole new era of cross-marketing. We have a strange mysterious show with weird characters, a mystery involving an odd fictional foundation that runs its own fake commercials and has its own website. (Not to mention that the fake airline in the show has its own website.
Now there's this book. And that fictional foundation is taking out print ads against the book.
This show is starting to make me think too much. Can't we just go back to the time that tv was mindless amusement? Kind of like what The Onion is referring to in its discussion of sitcom reparations.
Update: Today's Pink Is The New Blog on Lost:
The Hanso commercial told us to go to www.sublymonal.com to get a password to use at the Hanso Foundation website. I played around with it last night, got the password and entered it in the correct field on the website but there have been no majorly shocking revelations so far. There is way too much for me to explain ... head on over to TheLostExperience.com for a full run-down with plenty of explanation on how to figure out stuff on the various websites.
Update 2: The Washington Post is even discussing the Lost cross-marketing phenomenon. Of course, that's after it ran the print ad the Hanso Foundation took out against Bad Twin.