Friday, November 18, 2005


From Chris comes this gem from today's LA Times. Inspired by Maureen Dowd's impending visit, the aptly named Samantha Bonar writes a quick article on stupidity as the key to attracting men:

I also have decided to limit my vocabulary to 10 monosyllabic words (not counting contractions and articles):


For example: "Big strong man want beer?" "You want chips?" "You great!"

I will avoid these words like New Orleans:


As in: "Why do you insist on my wearing these sheer red stockings?" "Can I have one of your beers?" "Will you let me know if you are married?"

I'm such a geek

I'm such a geek that when I write a post like the one below and I log on to Thomas for the first time in forever and I see that it's been revamped, I do get excited.

So yeah, Thomas has had a facelift (and some real body work as well). I'm liking it.

(Probably those of you who are blogging more than once every blue moon knew that already, but I didn't.)

More on turkeys

You know, the whole reason I was on the White House site was to find the statement by Puffy McMoonface (go listen to Stephanie Miller if that reference makes no sense to you) bashing Murtha. I'd heard he compares Murtha to Michael Moore. (For those of you who have been living in a cave, Murtha introduced a bill to withdraw troops from Iraq. The text of the bill isn't available on Thomas yet, but Murtha's site has a press release from yesterday with his ideas.)

So here's the White House statement:
Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.
It's so Goebbels I can hardly stand it. Murtha's opposition to the war and desire to withdraw troops makes him allied with "the extreme liberal wing" (I mean, when you search for legislation sponsored by the guy, the only other thing that comes up is a proposed Constitutional amendment for school prayer--sheesh)?

And that closing sentence--it fucking kills me. I mean, if this administration could explain in a satisfactory fashion how going to war with Iraq makes America safer, we might have something to talk about.

Lucky turkeys

You may or may not know that every year, a turkey (and an alternate) are presented to the president of the US and he pardons them. (I feel pretty confident that my international buddies do not know of this bizarre practice.) This has been going on for decades. You can read all about the ritual here. Usually, the pardoned turkeys go to live on a farm in Virginia ("He went to live on a farm, dear...")--Frying Pan Park, to be exact. So this year, the White House tells us the as-yet-unnamed turkeys are going to Califor-ni-a instead--Disneyland, to be exact. They will live out there days as part of a holiday display apparently and will "serve as honorary Grand Marshals for Disneyland's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade." This country is so weird; it really is.

From now until Monday, you can vote (click the link above) for names for the lucky turkey and his sidekick:
Democracy and Freedom
Blessing and Bounty
Marshmallow and Yam
Wattle and Snood
Corn and Maize
I say, let's name them Democracy and Freedom and discontinue the practice of pardoning them.

Deleterious promotions

When I see things like this, I just wish there was some other easy way to get to Albuquerque.

Southwest Airlines tipped off the NBA season by unveiling our latest airplane, Slam Dunk One.

I'm so glad I did drugs

When I read stories about things like kids strangling themselves to death accidentally during auto-asphyxiation, I think "wow thank god I just smoked dope and drank and stuff during high school."

(In other "kids today!" news, here's what lurks in the girl's room at Valley schools these days. ("How was school dear?" "It wath fine, mom")

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The last action figure

Maria makes last minute adjustments to her crash test dummy of a husband so that his plastic head doesn't fall off on camera.

(Yay to California for just saying no to Herr Governor's wretched propositions.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Animal bonanza

People are so fucking weird, you know that? This is one the top three best things about the Internet--that it serves as evidence of just how fucking weird people really are. Last night I was poking around the site where I used to work from their blog, I come to Bee Dogs, "the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes."

Who knew, right? Anyway, Gina Zycher, site mistress rocks my world. And she has a stellar collection of links including Sugar Bush Squirrel, the world's most photographed squirrel.

And then there is my personal favorite,

One of my coworkers said it should rightfully be called, and I hear that. But I applaud the selfless effort just to make the rest of us laugh. And as Andrea pointed out, page four has a nice pic of a cat with his head in a prosthetic leg, and good amputee sight gags are hard to come by.

So there you have it. People with bizarre sensibilities and way too much time on their hands. I love the Internets.

On the radio this morning

"...the debate over whether we should be able to torture and secretly detain people..."

I did resist the urge to drive into oncoming traffic, but the impulse was strong.

The horror, the horror

This weekend LA Times Magazine had an article on "cybercrafting." Myself, I actually have a barely concealed disdain for the knitting movement (though several of my friends are in that number), but I love those cybercrafters. LA Times was making punk rock Martha Stewart references, but we were thinking William Morris meets Joan Jett ourselves. (As an aside, Andrea, who collects Francoma stoneware and has a gourmet cooking--um--issue/habit, has been referred to as "Marxist Stewart.")

I do like those cybercrafters. Last year we went to Bazaar Bizarre and loved it. That's where I got my "non" tee-shirt. So the article inspired me, and I followed some of the links, despite being oh-so-non-crafty myself.

And what do I find but this hat:

It's such a traffic accident I can't stop looking at it. I keep thinking "what if HR Giger did crafts?"

From the oh-so-aptly-titled What Not to Crochet. (Link from Extreme Craft.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

From the department of ridiculous headlines

Comes tonight's story

Lines Between News, Entertainment Blurring


Moral compass. Hardly ever used. Old and no longer in working order--rusty and needs a good cleaning.

Please return to the American people. Great sentimental value.

Overstating the obvious

I know I say this or something akin to this on a biweekly basis or so, but I really can't believe we've come to the point that our president feels the need to say in a press conference (see below) "We do not torture."

I mean, it's bad enough that we would be in a position as a nation to have to make such a pronouncement at a press conference. And then to have it inevitably delivered in the tenor of "I did not have sex with that woman," or "I am not a crook."

Jesus Christ, you know? (Okay, this is my favorite topic to repeatedly rant about, but at least the horse is dead, right?)

My friend Susan sent me this recently:
A sign held high at the recent huge anti-Bush protest demonstration in Washington:




And I am so there. Could the American people please learn to care about something important for once??!

AfterDowningStreet is reporting that most Americans do think that Bush should be impeached if he entered the war under false pretenses (thanks to Jeff for the head's up on the story):
The poll found that 53% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."

42% disagreed, and 5% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 2.9% margin of error.
AfterDowningStreet and Zogby (who performed the poll) both say they are surprised at the number of folks in support of impeachment, but I need to say (not to be the perpetual half-empty girl)--42% are fine with the president lying to get us into a war?? Just what the fuck constitutes an impeachable offense if the president can stand in front of Congress and lie about evidence in order to launch us into an unmotivated war?

We do not torture.

Way to not answer a question, George

From Bush's meeting today with Panama's President Torrijos:

Q: Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.

And, therefore, we're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible -- more possible to do our job. There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans, and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we'll aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law. And that's why you're seeing members of my administration go and brief the Congress. We want to work together in this matter. We -- all of us have an obligation, and it's a solemn obligation and a solemn responsibility. And I'm confident that when people see the facts, that they'll recognize that we've -- they've got more work to do, and that we must protect ourselves in a way that is lawful.
I don't know about anyone else, but I for one am so relieved to hear we do not torture. Thank goodness.

Really, this is such a duck and weave answer it's impressive. Question: Can the Red Cross see the US's secret prisons? No answer to that one at all. Something about a 10-foot pole. Second question: Should the CIA be above the law? Answer: Well, no...and that's why Congress needs to pass the right laws to deal with our lurking, plotting, planning enemy. So we're talking to them about that. (Habeas Corpus is so last week.)

Seeing it versus reading about it

Somehow seeing the actual .pdf versions of Michael Brown's Katrina correspondence makes me feel even more queasy than reading about them. Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon has them posted on his site.

Why we love Andrea

From her email to me a minute ago:

Bad day here. While waiting for the 900 dollar water heater, I discovered that my computer had been infected by some kind of hideous virus. Found out that Indian tech support guys have as much trouble pronouncing "albuquerque" as we have pronouncing "chakrabarathawarthy". But they don't think that's funny, or a point of cultural meeting, or anything. Anyway, I fixed the goddam thing myself and went to home depot.

Local politics

Because we in California have some sort of addiction to voting--we begin to go through withdrawal if we don't go to the polls at least once in a 10- or 12-month period--we have a "special election" tomorrow.

In the spirit of "if Arnold's for it, vote no," this is a little funny--not a knee-slapper, but the Cheney part did make me laugh out loud.

The loaded gun in the first act

I admit I am a competitive person and I like winning arguments, but even so, I would really be okay with getting to say "Okay, I was wrong" a little more often in the world of politics. In fact, I would welcome that opportunity.

But noooo....

Which is to say, according to a WaPo story this weekend since the PATRIOT Act passed, the FBI has issued something like 100 times more national security letters--in the neighborhood of 30,000 a year:
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters - one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people - are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.
I hate to be jaded about this, but all I can think of is "I'm shocked! Shocked! that there is gambling going on..."

AP covers the story and includes the sort of quote that makes my head explode:
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Sunday that he could not immediately confirm or dispute the 30,000 figure, but he said the power to use the security letters was justified.

"The Department of Justice inspector general in August 2005 found no civil rights violations with respect to the Patriot Act," he said.
Um, right, well the whole point of the fucking PATRIOT Act, Einstein, is to change what constitutes a civil rights violation. Good god the whole thing is so Kafka-esque it's almost enough to make me lose my sense of humor.

But not quite!

After you read the Post article and need some cheering up, check out the Fox News parody. It's a slow moving target, I know, but we take our laughs where we can get them here at NMTE.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Something about truth and fiction

Went to see Good Night and Good Luck this weekend. I've never been a real fan of George Clooney, but he may have talked me into it with this one. While I would have been happier with a defense against McCarthy that didn't include "I'm not a Communist" as part of its substance, I also get that we're dealing with a real historical record here. I don't know much about Morrow's run-in with McCarthy, but probably that is part of what he offered in his defense.

Be that as it may, I liked it. Twice Clooney goes out of his way to smack the audience upside the head in case they are missing the contemporary parallels. (I'm sure many did nonetheless.) First he uses the word "terror" to make his point and then the film ends with a clip from Eisenhower praising Habeas Corpus. I mean, just in case you didn't get it yet.

On a funnier note (sort of) according to IMDB:

Director/star George Clooney had said they opted to use archive footage of Joseph McCarthy instead of using an actor to portray the senator. Clooney had said that when the movie had undergone test screenings, audience members felt that the McCarthy character was overacting a bit, not realizing that it was the actual McCarthy through archive footage.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Excerpt of the day

I'm sure this is all over (ALL OVER) the Internets by now. I have been too busy to do anything but listen to the Clash and type as if my life depends on it, so I have no idea what anyone is talking about in the real world, but it literally made me laugh out loud, so I will share it anyway. From a story titled Man Sues Ex-Girlfriend Over Glue Attack:
His lawsuit claims the two broke up in 1999 after dating for 10 months and Slaby began dating someone else.

Slaby contends that O'Toole invited him over to her home on May 7, 2000, where he fell asleep. He woke up to find that O'Toole had used Super Glue to stick his genitals to his abdomen, glued his buttocks together and spelled out a profanity on his back in nail polish.
I love that her defense is that it was a "consensual act." Lordy lordy.

It's a tough contest to win

But I'm saying the most depressing line from this morning's news is
The bill, the Deficit Reduction Act, reduces government spending in all areas except those related to defense and national security for the period of 2006-2010.

Although it could be this line:
The Deficit Reduction Act provides for the opening of oil and gas development of Alaska's environmentally sensitive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in an effort to ease the United States's dependence on imported energy.
And let me take a minute here and say how much I fucking hate reporting like this that reprints the White House talking points (" an effort to ease...") as if they are part of the news. This is called objective reporting. If you said, on the other hand, "...though even very basic gas mileage regulations would save an equivalent amount of fuel..." that would be biased reporting though it is clearly no less true and no less biased.

Here's another one from the same story:
The bill's biggest savings would come in health and education, worth a combined total of more than 16 billion dollars.
Let's think about the word "savings" in this context and mull over the dozens of other words we could use in its place ("evisceration" is my personal choice). You see what I'm saying?

My two other depressing news line candidates today both come from a story that, on the face of it, should be almost as cheery as reading Brownie's sartorial emails (yes, roll up your sleeves, no to the tie) "Bush Public Support at Lowest Level Yet."

First there's this one:
Four in five Republicans still back the president.

"I think he's done a wonderful job," said Gloria Bloecher, a Republican from Sherman, Texas. "He's done wonderful things for the economy. He rescued people who needed help in Iraq--it was the Christian thing to do. I still trust his people and the people he picks for the Supreme Court."
God help me I read stuff like that and it brings out some latent Fascist side of myself that wants to say, "You know what Gloria--we're enrolling you in our mandatory sterilization program because you just shouldn't be allowed to breed." For fuck's sake--the Christian thing to do--I guess if I cast my mind back on the Inquisition and the Crusades I can see the argument (but then I'm Jewish; what do I know).

The article closes with this gem:
"I think the war in Iraq being on the front page every day has taken its toll," said Van Poole, former Florida GOP chairman and now a Tallahassee lobbyist, who expects Bush to bounce back. "Americans are impatient. Whatever our job is, Americans want us to get it done."
It's all so obvious it hardly bears comment I know (and here we get to some of why I have been such a lax blogger I think--I start to feel like we need more words for "criminal" and "pig" and "venal." Otherwise it just begins to be so repetitive). So yeah, the problem is not that we are in an endless war against "terror" that is like an eight headed hydra--the more we fight the more we lose--and that we are not even fighting it on the most logical front, even if you believed in this war--and that we have had all the strategy of Pee Wee Herman in this. No, the problem is that we've been reporting about it. And that we are impatient. Right. I'd like to supersize that carnage please. Yes, that's to go. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Apropos of nothing

Yes, I have been a lax blogger. Yes, there are pressing current events to comment on--indictments, nominations, ongoing criminality and incompetence...

And then there is my first mesoversary as a nonsmoker (yesterday).

But all of that will have to wait. At this present moment I am up to my eyeballs in work. In the meantime though, I happened across this Mary Ellen Mark site--not new by any means, but new to me.

I was skimming the latest issue of Boldtype and they review the Mary Ellen Mark book on Twins, which is what brought me to the collection of Mark's photos of Bombay prostitutes. It's worth visiting--even if you're really too busy like me.

More later today...