Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More alternative programming

Gore Vidal also offers his SOTU:
Just say no. We've had enough of you. Go home to Crawford. We'll help you raise the money for a library, and you won't even ever have to read a book.
(Link via Chris)

And Truthout has "A Veteran's Mother's State of Our Family Address" about one woman's struggles watching her son not reassimilate into society after returning from Vietnam Iraq.

On a lighter note

Shane forwarded me this link where you can access all of the shorts that were shown at Sundance. Pretty neat-o.

And of course, as you all know by now, Brokeback Mountain garnered eight Academy Award nominations, proving, once again, that Hollywood is run by left wing homos. My personal favorite film of the year was completely passed over, but so it goes.

I won't be watching

Myself I won't watch tonight's SOTU address. Call me a weakling but I can't take it. If I can muster the gumption I'll read it in the NYT tomorrow. At least reading it spares me having to look at stupid idiot face.

William Rivers Pitt over at Truthout has the real state of the union. It's just so bad, you know? Makes Reagan's years look like a Disney movie. I particularly like this bit:
Remember, as high-flown words about truth and justice are spoken, what the Abramoff and Plame scandals represent: a government run by thieves, stroked by swindlers, and staffed by assassins who sing of defending the nation even as they cast us down into greater danger.

And, by the way, the Enron trial started on Monday.

Just when I think I'm beyond shock

Comes news like today's story at AlterNet about women soldiers who died of dehydration rather than subject themselves to night visits to the latrine:
Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition's joint task force said in a briefing that "women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep."

. . . .

Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying.
Sanchez being the former senior US military commander in Iraq, the man who covered up the deaths.

I can't even comment. I am literally sick to my stomach.

(Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for the story.)

Not with a bang but a whimper

So it's a done deal. Alito was confirmed 58 to 42 (for some historical context see the Senate's chart of past nominations. I don't need to say it right? I don't need to call your attention to the fact that 58 is not enough votes to sustain cloture.

From the AP story on Alito's confirmation:
While many predicted a dramatic showdown--similar to the filibuster battles and all-night talkathons that happened with Bush's lower court appointments--it never happened.
At least I'm not the only one who's angry.

Reservoir dogs

So is Kennedy Mr. Pink? Can someone explain this to me?

I have been home sick today with a sinus infection, and I'm as filled with anger as with snot. I hate the democrats. Atrios has the list of the 25 Senators who did the right thing (link via the Brain)

And here (courtesy of WaPo) are the 19 who voted for cloture:

Akaka, Hawaii; Baucus, Mont.; Bingaman, N.M.; Byrd, W.Va.; Cantwell, Wash.; Carper, Del.; Conrad, N.D.; Dorgan, N.D.; Inouye, Hawaii; Johnson, S.D.; Kohl, Wis.; Landrieu, La.; Lieberman, Conn.; Lincoln, Ark.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Pryor, Ark.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Salazar, Colo.

The Post also has an interesting chart of Alito's decisions, showing just how much he's in the back pocket of government and big business. If you're too busy to check it out, let me sum it up for you: If it's about rights, he's not for it.

I am so disgusted and sad. I'm sad for all of the girls who will get sick from botched illegal abortions or who will die or who will just have to debase themselves in some way to get medical care. And for the unwanted children who will be born. And for this country that I love so much but that just seems hell bent on its own destruction. I didn't even know we could move in reverse this quickly.

The word "shit-eating" comes to mind

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Filibuster update

You can read the latest here. Please if you haven't contacted your senator, please do so. Clearly that strategy is working.

Friday, January 27, 2006

East of Estevez

So we went to see East of Eden at the Aero in Santa Monica tonight, and Portia ends up sitting next to Emilio Estevez. And, even more impressively, she manages to make small talk with him ("Are you Emilio Estevez? I think I know your son..."). That girl is unreal.

The best lack all conviction

CNN has a stupid public opinion poll that asks:

Why do you think John Kerry wants to filibuster Samuel Alito?

As per my mini rant below. Could we think about a Middlesex sort of perspective here whereby these two things weren't living in Either-or-ville?

And while you're at CNN check out their collection of Alito quotes. It's bone chilling. (Did you make that call yet? Huh?)

I know there are some in the blogosphere who are claiming that the Dems (Kerry, Feinstein, etc.) are calling for a filibuster they won't enact, but folks please. Don't let this sort of nay-saying keep you from weighing in. Could we maybe try to fight a battle before we declared ourselves losers just once? I'm not asking that you like Kerry and Feinstein or that you even think they bridge the conviction/politics gap, just that you tell them you support the filibuster. Would you let yourself drown because you didn't like the lifeboat driver? C'mon people.

Will wonders never cease

Firedoglake has it that Diane Feinstein will vote no on cloture. I didn't think she had it in her.

More ways to just say no

Boxer and Feinstein's numbers have been busy for me. If you're having the same experience, you can send an email through True Majority.

What's more, you can dust off that "W stands for WTF" sign and join the state of the union protests Tuesday and Saturday. Me, I'll be in Kalamazoo Saturday, but maybe Tuesday... If you're going to be angry, you might as well march, right?

What stinks in here?

Oh, it's just the Abramoff investigation. In a remarkable coincidence, Noel L. Hillman, the lead prosecutor, was named to a Federal judgeship yesterday, the same day that Bush was ducking and weaving about the Jack and George spread in the White House fundraising photo album. (I'm speculating it's the sordid shots of the two of them lounging in the Lincoln bedroom that has W protesting their release.)

McClellan is dismissing calls for a special prosecutor with the cogent observation, "It's nothing but pure politics." Which brings me to another pet peeve of mine--the politics-as-a-dirty-word pet peeve. I mean--yes--it's politics. Duh. You're the fucking White House press secretary. He is the president. Abramoff is a lobbyist. Politics is what you guys do.

You can't have government without politics. It's not necessarily a nasty thing (look it up). It's like sex--it can be smutty; it can be sweet; it can be dirty or clean. But you put a bunch of people together and it's what we do.

Sheesh. Stop abusing the English language already!

Make the call

Okay, more on this later if I can (busy at work at present), but before it gets any later on the east coast let me say quickly that, if you haven't already, you should call your senators today and urge them to support Kerry's efforts to filibuster. Their numbers are here. If you're a fellow Californian, that would be
Barbara Boxer: (202) 224-3553
Diane Feinstein: (202) 224-3841

(As an aside, is it just me or does the new Senate page design look like a cheesy blogger template? I keep expecting to see some note "I'm a large mammal in the TTLB Ecosystem.")

I don't need to explain why you should loathe Alito do I? If his stance on reproductive rights isn't enough, his over-weaning affection for executive power (over that of the other two branches) ought to be.

You can learn more about filibuster at Wikipedia or the Senate site itself. The short version is that it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture--the process to end a filibuster. The Republicans only have 55 seats in the Senate, so if the Democrats didn't suck ass so badly we could stop the nomination train (it's happened before) and save both reproductive rights and the governmental balance of power.

Okay, I'm calling now. You should too.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I got them all cut

Hey everybody--I bobbed my hair. I know--who cares? But some people care. Maybe two or three. So this is for them.

One of my personal life mottos is: You may not be able to change your government, but you can at least change your hair.

That's me winking. I know it looks like I have some sort of bizarre facial tic. Whatever. I don't.

Because it beats crying

Via BitchPhD:

Creek Running North reports on abort resorts in Placentia, CA. You know, I'd been mulling some sort of post about needing to go run get an abortion while I still can, but I think CRN has the last word on the subject:
La Trimesta's general manager Hank Curette downplays the effect of political controversy on his business. "We've already had lots of inquiries from affluent women across the political spectrum--Democrats, Republicans, fundamentalists, what have you. Even a few bookings. I think what attracts such a diverse range of women is our approach. We put the 'you' back into 'uterine expulsion of unwanted fetal tissue.'"

Monat points out that each abort resort employs board-certified surgeons and OB-GYNs, and that each participating destination has pledged to hold guest records in the strictest confidence. "What happened in Kansas," says Monat, "stays in California."
Anyway, it's freaking hilarious so go read.

Where's the love?

It seems Joel Stein is today's favorite whipping boy. His Tuesday column, "Warriors and Wusses," in which he argues that saying you "support the troops" if you're against the war is pretty stupid, garnered him a newsworthy amount of hate mail says Reuters. Passages like this one apparently pissed people off a great deal:
The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.
If I had Stein's email addy I'd publish it right here. As it is, here is the LA Times letters email address: letters@latimes.com. I know some of y'all probably want to punch him in the eye (hello Gordon and Fix). Me, I want to know what he's doing Saturday night.

How's that war against terror going?

I can't believe that Hamas won 76 seats in the Palestinian Parliament. Look how far we've come in ten years.

What does Bush have to say about the elections and Hamas? These were his remarks at this morning's press conference:

Peace is never dead, because people want peace. . . .

So the Palestinians had an election yesterday, and the results of which remind me about the power of democracy. You see, when you give people the vote, you give people a chance to express themselves at the polls -- and if they're unhappy with the status quo, they'll let you know. That's the great thing about democracy, it provides a look into society.

And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories. I like the competition of ideas. I like people who have to go out and say, vote for me, and here's what I'm going to do. There's something healthy about a system that does that. And so the elections yesterday were very interesting.

On the other hand, I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform. And I know you can't be a partner in peace if you have a -- if your party has got an armed wing. . . . And we're interested in peace.
Say what? The guy is just a fucking moron. His idiocy never ceases to amaze me. Lancelot Link would make a better fucking president. "I like the competition of ideas"??? Like "let's kill all the Jews" "no, let's not"? The mind boggles really.

Methinks the president doth protest too much

You know, every day I log on to Yahoo!News and the headline story is something like Friday's "Bush Leads Defense of NSA Domestic Spying" or Monday's "Bush Calls Surveillance Legal, Necessary" or "Bush rejects charges that domestic spying illegal" or Wednesday's "Bush, Visiting NSA, Defends Surveillance"

"Bush insists surveillance is legal" or "Bush confident wiretapping doesn't break law" or "Bush claims domestic spying is necessary." Every damn day.

This morning's headline? "Bush Confident Warrantless Wiretaps Legal."

It's just so Orwell-does-Groundhog-Day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Line of the day

Yelladog has it (via Bob Harris). It's a goodie.

Caption anyone?

Welcome back

Matt seems ready to go another round and Carrie's back in a new guise. Welcome back you two. I missed you both.

If you need me, I'll be laying in traffic

So after my entry the other day about outsourcing, Kim sent me this link to an article titled "U.S. 'Outsourced' Torture."

It would be like some sort of grotesque Kafka piece for The Onion except it's true.

And then there's my reproductive rights. Let's not talk about those.

From The CS Monitor:

It's this sort of paragraph from yesterday's WaPo article on Bill Reynolds' cigar (now don't be so smutty--it really is about a cigar) that really sets my teeth on edge:
Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, like his Republican colleagues, pointed to the outstanding recommendations that Alito has gotten from the American Bar Association and the number of people who had come to testify on his behalf. He wanted to know how someone so respected could come under such attacks.
I just want to send Kyl a letter that says FUCK YOU!! That's my level of maturity about the Alito nomination. Smug republican fuckers. There isn't a spot in hell hot enough.

My logic

Here's my logic: I think that a belief in god--the great puppetmaster--is sort of bizarre and nutty. But if the Damned's "New Rose" (in my top five favorite rock songs of all time) comes on the radio on my way to work, I believe it's a sure sign of good fortune and a day of bounty.

Yeah. If it weren't for that sleeping on the ground thing, I really would make an excellent member of a primitive tribe of some kind.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Let's hear it for free trade

Ford today announced the tragic yet inevitable evisceration of its American labor force, with plans to cut a quarter of their US jobs--30,000--and close 14 plants--news, which of course, sent stocks soaring.

Bill Ford, Chair and Chief Exec. expressed his rue, reminding all of the laid off workers who won't be able to feed their families or, in many cases, get decent jobs again, that we all need to tighten our belts:
"These cuts are a painful last resort, and I'm deeply mindful of their impact," Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford said in announcing the cuts. "In the long run we will create far more stable and secure jobs. We all have to change and we all have to sacrifice, but I believe this is the path to winning."
Meanwhile, government officials are just as dismayed about our economy tanking, with Senators like Baucus, top Dem. on the Finance Committee, explaining that he too is really sad:
Everybody is concerned about job losses and so am I," he told The Associated Press in an interview in Bangalore, his first stop on a five-day tour of India.

"But the world is flat and we must work harder to better retrain our people," rather than resist outsourcing, he said. "Offshoring is a fact of globalization. Opportunities for U.S. companies come from everywhere--including India."
Well, I'm here to say, I'm really concerned too. Job loss being the sad but seemingly irresistible force of nature that it is on this flat earth we inhabit, I'm going to suggest that we think about outsourcing Congress. I am certain there are plenty of qualified lawyers in Bangalore who would be happy to serve on the Finance Committee for a fraction of the cost of Baucus.

It's "surveillance" not spying

Bush clarified once again today that eavesdropping on Americans' calls without probable cause is not illegal, nor is it spying:
In his remarks, Bush said that allowing the NSA to monitor the international phone calls and e-mails of Americans with suspected ties to terrorists can hardly be considered "domestic spying."

"It's what I would call a terrorist surveillance program," Bush said at Kansas State. "If they're making a phone call in the United States, it seems like to me we want to know why."

He said he "had all kinds of lawyers review the process" to ensure it didn't violate civil liberties or the law.
Right. Well, Alberto Gonzales is a lawyer, so it's not exactly like those credentials buy any kind of guarantee of civil liberty defense.

Anyway, Rove is calling the issue "a political winner" for the next election. Myself, I'm brushing up on my German. Tomorrow belongs to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Things that are making me happy today

Call it Thursday gratitude blogging if you want.

First, Wal-mart is not opening down the street from me. Thank fucking god. Really I regard Wal-mart and Hummers as the two most certain signs that, if there is a god, he abandoned our world many years ago. They are already opening a Lowes about a block away from the wanna-be Wal-mart corner. If they opened a Wal-mart too I would need a helicopter to get to work. And it would just be one of those things that would make my bile rise every time I drove by it (We're rolling back wages!).

Second, I just bought tickets to go see Nous Non Plus tomorrow at El Cid. I am such a poptart I swear. This song makes me extremely happy today.

Third, Johnny Cupcakes is making me happy. (Thank you Portia.) And that inspired me to revisit muffin films, one of my very favorite sites.

And lastly, it makes me happy that Google isn't cooperating with a government subpoena to fork over all kinds of information on porn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

O'Connor's opinion

Clearly I am still pretty emo because I found O'Connor's opinion on the New Hampshire case actually poignant [.pdf link]. It begins:
JUSTICE O’CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.
We do not revisit our abortion precedents today, but rather address a question of remedy
And there's just something unspeakably sad about that to me. It's the unspoken italics on "today" and O'Connor's knowledge in writing the opinion that, yes, we are talking about today. Tomorrow...well, tomorrow we get to go back to yesterday, historically speaking.

I guess that Leibovich piece linked to below on legal documents as the latest literary form is not so far off. When I'm feeling misty-eyed over O'Connor...

Hmm...I'm skeptical

Apparently scientists are now claiming that men feel more joy when watching "bad" people suffer, while women have a stronger sense of empathy. I do wonder about this. I'm not so sure I buy it:
During the brain scans, each volunteer watched as the hands of a "fair" player and a cheater received a mild electrical shock. When it came to the fair-player, both men's and women's brains showed activation in pain-related areas, indicating that they empathized with that player's pain.
The article is talking about card players, but you know where my mind went. And that made me think of that greeting card I saw a while back: "I ran into my ex the other day...and then I backed up and ran into him again just to be sure."

On a related note, I did think to myself when I read the article, how happy some AP newswriter must have been to be able to use the word "schadenfreude" in a story. I know that would please me no end if I were a reporter.

Where I've been

I know I keep popping on here every now and then and saying "gee, here I am," and then disappearing again, and I hate to be such a flaky blogger. The deal is my own crazy mood swings, a relatively new thing for me to be trying to cope with. I blame quitting smoking. In any case, I've been the dysthymia poster child for a few months, and that combined with the holidays and traveling and work have made it easy just to not blog. And I've felt like, "Gosh, I don't have anything to say. And what's the point anyway?" (said in Eeyore voice).

But I'm doing some stuff to try to feel better--more meetings, looking into karate or tae kwon do, and so on. So I know I've said it before but I think I'm back. It does make me feel better to be connected to the world of people who are smart and give a shit--Yella, Gordon, Fixer, Elise, Eponymous, Sis, Conor...all y'all--even if I wouldn't know most of you if I were standing next to you in line at Trader Joes.

So it's belated but I hope everyone survived the close of 2005 relatively intact. Myself, I'm still not smoking and I haven't killed anyone, so I'm calling it a success. Having quit smoking last year and finished my PhD a couple years ago, I was sort of at a loss for resolutions at first. My two long standing ones having been, at last, tackled. I do believe that I may finally start working on that unwritten novel. I need another resolution that I can keep making for at least a decade worth of New Years I figure.

Right now this minute I am up to my eyeballs in work (and our board is in town this week). I'm here at my desk drinking strong black coffee, reading email and listening to Go Home Productions mash-ups, courtesy of Conor, and all seems okay in my world. It is my sincere hope that I can stay in this emotional place for a little while. I hate being an emo crazy girl; I really do.

For the record

I do not support an 80s fashion revival. This makes me feel pretty ptsd.

An idea that's way past its time

Open source footwear, courtesy of Fluevog, which is sort of like Manolo Blahnik for those of us who wore combat boots through our teen years.

Monday, January 09, 2006

One woman's trash...

Getting caught up on my email, I just read this story forwarded to me by my brother-in-law. I can think of few stronger advertisements for backing up your work. This woman's purse is stolen and it has the one copy of her thesis (on a flash drive) in it. Definitely one of those "I feel your pain" reads for any of us who have struggled through a grad degree. The part where she was telling the detective he had to do a good job fingerprinting her minivan because they had to catch the guy and he's looking at her like "whatever lady" was the part that really got to me. Oh my god I'm so glad my dissertation is done.

Pat Robertson

While I don't have time to compose a post explaining just exactly how hateful I think he is, I can pass along the link to the petition to have the 700 Club removed from ABC.

I've fallen and I can't get up

Oh my god. Back in the office after being out for two weeks. Lordy lordy.

Maybe later in the day I'll have my nose above water enough to say something snarky about Pat Robertson or the like. In the meantime, I don't think I blogged this yet--worldometers. Pretty cool. That should keep you busy for a bit.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It just keeps getting better and better

And if Jack's fall isn't cheering you up, Katha Pollitt has a review of 2005 that surely will.

(As an aside Andrea and I both agree that times like these we miss living in DC. I was more than 20 before I realized that everywhere else in the world people who barely knew each other talked about TV shows, not news stories. I would love to hear the conversation at Au Pied de Cochon or Fox and Hounds this week. Maybe not quite as good at the discussions about the Jenrette's capital steps sex, but still.)

Like Amway for crooks

Andrea and I have been watching the Sopranos first season and then this morning stories about the Abramoff saga have been acccompanying my first cup of coffee. Call it a motif. (Where do the ducks figure in, I'm wondering.)

This administration is like ice nine. If you're not rotten already, you will be after it touches you. The Post has a little illustration of Abramoff and cronies that really does begin to resemble an Amway diagram of some kind. And Leibovich's piece about "Washington's hottest literary form: the charging document" did make me laugh out loud for real:
Has there ever been such a deluge of mass-consumed legalese in a condensed period? Indeed, this is a golden age for the turgid and stultifying, a wave of indictments, plea bargains and "informations" interspersed with three Supreme Court justice nominations in a five-month period, with all of the poetic briefs, memos and opinion-writing those can yield.
(Ed, are you reading this?)

So yes, I am even a bit gleeful this morning as I read stories like this one:
Abramoff cut a wretched figure as he shuffled into the courtroom of Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle. The once-athletic lobbyist was slouching, his newly overweight frame wrapped in a double-breasted suit. His hand shook when he took his oath. After his plea, he closed his eyes and looked as if he were going to cry. He accepted soothing pats on the back from his lawyer. He clasped his hands together and rubbed fingers as if attempting to thumb-wrestle himself. Only the cufflinks and sharp blue tie hinted at the vast wealth and power Abramoff had amassed.
I'm sure I'm going to hell or in line to reap some sort of hideous karmic payback for feeling such joy at the public humiliation of Jack. The Post's coverage is great--as Andrea pointed out, they are always at their best when they latch on to a story that is at once groundbreaking national news and local scandal. She was misty-eyed this morning (not really) in her remembrance of the Jenrette coverage in which WaPo was "like a cat with a ball of string."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Slow motion apocalypse"

Here's a site discovered merely because it was up on the computer at Andrea's where I'm poaching time. Chris Jordan's photography:

Recycling yard

Cell phones

From his site: "The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity.

The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences."