Friday, July 29, 2005

Wow, Your Latest Attempt At Comedy Is Possibly the Worst Thing Ever

If you're like me, dear reader, you've been chomping at the bit for a television show combining the raucous comedic juggernaut of a "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" with the hip-hop street cred of "You Got Served." Well, you're in luck -- that's because Nick Cannon, a black person, has dragged just such a program into existence. It's called "Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'N Out" and it's the worst comedy show ever made. Go ahead and try to find one bright spot in this MTV sugar-fueled circus of an improv contest; it can't be done. So, avoid "Wild 'N Out" by any means necessary. You might however like the program if you are (a) allergic to laughter, (b) dead or (c) still clinging to the notion that trucker hats are cool. But don't fret. After all, there's tons of funnier stuff out there besides "Wild N' Out": like for instance the Challenger explosion, or four-hour blocks of ocular surgery footage.

The Darn News Makes Asian Premiere!

Aparently this is us:

We have been linked from http://www.ngosimin.or.kr

I wanna give a shout out to all my Asian brothas. We love you guys!

Dirty DeWeese

One would think that Rep. Bill DeWeese, bruised from financing a hugely expensive Senate battle in Pittsburgh's traditionally Democratic South Hills against Michael Diven, would calm down on the whole spite and revenge thing. Diven took his State House seat over to the Republican side due to DeWeese's unique brand of minority management, then drove a multi-million dollar Senate bid that cost the Dem's a mint. Now DeWeese is kicking opponents of his unpopular payraise scheme out of leadership posts, giving them to loyalists.

Interesting Tidbits:
  1. DeWeese, who is set to make in excess of $140,000 per year (not counting his free car, free food, free monthly airfare & hotel to Vegas, free...), now makes approximately 4 1/2 times the average income of the people he represents in rural Greene County. DeWeese defended his salary increase, citing the cost of living in Waynesburg. "With increases in the costs of coal, it now costs me $1.75 a day to heat my house in the winter," sez DeWeese.
  2. Fast Eddie questioned the ethic behind the demotions. Sad day it is when you're chastized for immorality by the scion of Philadelphia urban politics, but more importantly, is DeWeese causing a split in the Dem Party?
  3. DeWeese gave a pass to legislators who voted against the payraise that are considered 'vulnerable.' One such legislator, not sent packing from his post as chair of the Finance committee, was Dave Levdansky. Levdansky faced a scrappy youthful challenger in his last election, where the energetic legislative hopeful called Levdansky a "Pig" and promised to "Give half his salary back to the district."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Union YES!" Or not.

John Sweeney, recently re-elected to his post at the top of the AFL-CIO, was aggressive about the defections of the SEIU and Teamsters from the conglomeration of unions over which he has presided since 1995. The fact of the matter is, he should be defensive.

In his 10 year tenure, Sweeney has overseen the largest exportation of jobs out of the country of any big labor leader. He hasn't tried to make labor more competitive. Furthermore, Sweeney hasn't tried to expand it's influence into segments of the economy that are actually growing, focusing all of his attention on Rust Belt manufacturing rather than service-sector industries like Wal-Mart. This is especially disconcerting when Costco succeeds by paying its workers well, providing a model for success that AFL-CIO could target.

If everyone is bleeding manufacturing jobs, Sweeney can excuse his piss-poor performance as a result of globalization. However, this doesn't excuse the focus of his presidency, amplifying the political strength of the union. Sweeney's focus on the union's role as financier and vote-getter for the Democratic Party has been a horrendous failure. Sweeney presided over the complete domination of the US Government by Republicans. Many of these gains were made possible by big labor states, like West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana, going red. Sweeney's labor message, it seems, can't compete with Labor workers' love of Guns and God. Sadly, Sweeney's in bed with the Dem's approach also led to the alienation of Labor votes in Coal Country, where the Dem's environmentalism was at odds with the economic realities the Ohio River Valley.

Sad thing is, it seems Sweeney doesn't see the perfect storm brewing above. Declining membership means less PAC money and fewer votes. His repeated failures aren't even the problem. It's the unsustainability of the trends that have defined his tenure AFL-CIO members should be worried about.

Sweeney's record is one of repeated failure. But then again, an organization which frequently finds itself defending worker's jobs against economic sensabilities and performance realities in absence of a market-driven strategy would reconfirm failure. The AFL-CIO, if it wants to survive, should stay united... under the Presidency of Andrew Stern.

No more vegetables

I really do wish the whole world could eat. There's a lot of starving people in the world, and a big part of that is the gourmet tables and luxury cars we Americans take for granted. But without the liberal environment of Carnegie Mellon, and with my waist swelling at a perturbing rate, I think it's time to eat some chicken. The pasta is killing me.

See you on the flip side, vegetarian army of earth. I'm gonna eats me lots of sushi in California.

Continuing with my ethical revolt, I'd like to note that despite being an atheistic Jew, I'd be a Christian in Sweden, purely on the basis of the Santa Claus World Congress.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Moving Finish Line

Rumsfeld travelled to Iraq yesterday to kick the Iraqi National Congress into action. A Constitutional agreement between divisive ethnic groups, due in about 3 weeks, is still very much an uncertainty. Bush, fearful that a delay will prompt six more months of terrorist bombings targeting the Congress, ramped up US pressure by sending in professional ass kicker Zalmay Khalilzad. To make the point the US isn't kidding, Bush sent Rumsfeld to firmly establish US expectations and timeframes. Good and good.

Why in God's name did Rumsfeld have to say, "Substantial Troop Withdrawl by Spring." Is that supposed to put pressure on the Iraqi Congress, or is that just another teaser arrogantly thrown to the US public? The past several months have been littered with reports by Generals, Statesmen and Analyists saying this mess could last another 6 years, not 6 months. There aren't enough troops in Iraq, and those in Iraq suffer sagging morale. Draft-talk, sparked by critical recruitment shortfalls, is no longer just an unsubstantiated fear of the lefty fringe.

"All is well, folks. Nothing to see here. Troop withdrawl by spring, folks. Keep moving," sez Rumsfeld.

In 2000, hundreds of wacko cult leaders proclaimed the End of the World was at hand. They're followers spent New Year's Eve 2000 looking for an appearance of God, a UFO or Elvis Presley. When New Years passed without incident, much soul searching ensued. Expectations had been raised, and dropped. Even people psychotic enough to be suckered into a cult know when they've been had. I would even argue that after a few lying Messiahs get them down, they start to recognize the farce in advance.

Substantial Troop Withdrawl by Spring 2006? End of Substantial Operations, 2004?
Mission Accomplished, 2002?

The End is Nigh


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

See Jane

See Jane. See Jane jump. See Jane smashed. Smash Jane smash.

Seeing as how Chelsea Davis probably bounced pretty high on that board, I'm sure she wasn't happy when her face connected on the way back down.

She's not nearly as happy as Brittany Murphy with her new equine companion (makes obscene horse snuffling sounds).

But she's not the bustiest of the Brittany's. I'm sure Brittany Spears paid a pretty penny for this pair.

If only she'd grab them like Tiffany Friesen. She recently won a "New Boobies" contest.

You Pig!

In a ruling expected to infuriate animal lovers everywhere, an Indiana judge ruled a woman housing two 300lb. pigs shouldn't allow the stench of her unconventional pets to stink out her neighbors homes. Debra Fields, who lost her nose and olfactory glands in an unfortunate accident involving corn, a poorly placed shovel, and 600 pounds of hungry ham, said she "didn't smell anything," and couldn't understand her neighbors' anger. AP sources report the pigs can produce in excess of 35 pounds of solid waste and several gallons of liquid waste every day.

"I buy only the best kitty litter," argued Ms. Fields, sporting a pair of yellow, shit-stained waders on the front lawn of her suburban Hobart, Indiana home. Trudging around the moonscape of mud and piss with a coal shovel and small plastic beach-bucket, her eyes welled with tears. "I do a damned good job keeping this place clean," she said, angling a shovel-full of fluid and feces cocktail into the overflowing bucket. "I really work hard."

Neighbors looked on repulsed. "Pigs is fer eatin, not for keepin around like some kinda puppy-dog pet," said lifetime Hobart Indiana resident and next-door neighbor, Billy Joe Williams. Sporting 300lbs of his own, Williams was initially sympathetic to Fields' problems. Alluding to his own significant waste output, Williams offered a suggestion. "Issall about takin it off-site," he giggled, patting his lower abdomen. "Them poor f**ks down the 5 & 10 didn't know what hit-em. Who says don't shit where ya eat."

Fields is faced with hefty fines, but no jailterms. The future of the pigs is as of yet uncertain, but they will likely not remain at Fields' suburban home.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Oh Say Can You See.

Went to Lens Crafters at Century III Mall. My 4 year old glasses saw their last day of use when the scotch tape holding them together gave way at the bar the night before, plunging the hinge-bolt to the bottom of my Beefeaters & Tonic. "I need a new pair of glasses. These are cooked," I said to the Lens Crafter's Sales Representative behind the counter.

"I see that,"the Lens Crafters girl smirks. She's cute, affiable and REALLY PREGNANT. "Do you have a perscription?"

"No. But as I bought them here, you probably have my old perscription on file. Use that."

"Under state law, we aren't allowed to use perscriptions over 2 years old."

Hung over, tired and generally ill-tempered, I wasn't ready to be amicable about this sort of bullshit. No pretty smile, especially a pregnant one, was going to salve the beast within. "I want THESE glasses. You have the perscription for THIS pair of glasses on file. Why in GOD's NAME would I be legally barred from having what I WANT?"

When Billy DeWeese said, "We work so hard, we deserve a raise," perhaps he was referring to the flunky who spent hours drafting a bill to ensure I would be protected from getting the glasses I wanted. His heart, mind and soul were dedicated to preserving my eyesight (read: preserve the profit margins of the members of the American Optometric Association), for which he toiled hours throughout the night writing (read: was given an expensive dinner, accompained by a draft copy of the law written by the AOA's lobbist, which the flunky presented to the House without changing a letter).

Thomas Jefferson suggested that all laws carry an expiration date. This, he argued, would protect against the dangerous legacy of laws simply building up, encumbering freedom with too many laws. America provides optimal freedom and possibility to it's citizenry by defining only what they cannot do, unleasing them to act as creatively as possible unbounded by law. Having too many 'cannots' is obviously bad. Jefferson tosses in his grave as old laws against slave marriages and improper square dancing are regularly resurrected to prosecute gays, drug-dealers and jaywalkers.

As our legislators work harder and harder producing stupid burdensome shit like this, I wonder what will become of a future burdened by laws governing everything from flag placement on condominiums to eyeglass perscriptions.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

So there were three guys trapped on a desert island

After a luxury liner capsized, an accountant, an architect, and a marketing executive found themselves stranded on a desert island. Their faithful dogs had dragged them ashore, saving them from the deep, blue depths of the ocean. They made the best of their misfortune, constructing shelter, killing a wild pig, etc.

One day, the three were sitting around arguing about who had the smartest dog.

The accountant, who had a collie, said, "Well, I can settle this right now."

He gathered up a bunch of sticks from around their beach, and summoned his dog. "C'mere General Ledger. Here boy."

The dog came running up, and the accountant dumped the sticks in a pile in front of the dog. Remarkably quickly, the dog had sorted the sticks into two even piles of six sticks. And then he barked 12 times, once for each stick.

The architect said, "well that's really amazing, but I think my dog is smarter. T-Square! C'mere boy."

And the architect's bulldog came bounding across the beach.

"Go ahead boy," said the architect. "Build!"

In no time at all, T-Square had collected sticks from all over the beach and built a 2-foot replica of the Eiffel tower, in completely accurate detail.

And the accountant was mightily impressed, but the marketing executive was not, "Well, you both really do have very smart dogs, but I don't think they are as smart as Bullshit. Get over here Bullshit!"

Slowly, Bullshit peered over at the three of them and the two dogs from his spot in the shade of a palm tree. The fat, lumbering mutt roused himself with a low grumble and slowly made his away over. He snuffled around a bit, and then a in a flurry, the marketing exec's dog tore the Eiffel tower to bits, scattered General Ledger's piles of sticks, screwed both dogs in the ass, and went back to his spot under the palm tree.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Beam Me Up, Scottie

While too young to have caught the original Star Trek's airing, my generation and I have nonetheless been inspired by the show and its mantra "To boldly go where no man [later no one] has gone before." The passing of James Doohan, better known as Scottie, brought a lump into my throat. I think Star Trek has long spurred the imaginations of people around the world about the fantastic frontier of space, as well as embodied a greater metaphor. I encourage you to read this excellent AP essay and think about space, the future, and exploration of the unknown.

Beam him up, Goddie.

My Smug Friend

My friend is a smug asshole. He likes to pick fights, masking his light-weight intellect with jarring sarcasm and wit. Here is why my friend is wrong about George Bush not caring about his sagging popularity.

Bush might not care about his popularity on a personal level. He probably goes to bed comforting himself on his inner strength and his unshakable moral center. Unfortunately, Bush isn't just the head of the Nation, he is also the head of, and the most visible representation of, the Republican Party. Those bearing the Republican brand are immediately associated with Bush, the War in Iraq and the varied scandals plaguing high-ranking Republicans. Like it or not, its one big Republican brush that paints them all.

As a result, Bush's agenda is stalled. Bush might sleep well with his moral center unswayed, but suburban Republicans in the outskirts of Philadelphia or New York, highly educated rich white moderates, don't like the Jesus bull-shit or the War in Iraq. Therein lies the vaunted 20% that Bush has lost since his re-election. At 40%, Bush is almost to the point that congressional Republicans in blue states dont want Bush campaigning on their behalf. There are lots of Republicans in suburban districts quietly distancing themselves from Bush or hiding under the radar, in places like New York, Philadelphia and Conneticut. They're not gonna stick their necks out for him because they don't want to be thrown to the curb. They're not going to advocate his agenda in Congress. Not popular? Not effective.

Consider the hallmark of this Presidential Campaign, social security reform. Bush can't even get it to the floor in Congress. Reference the Gang of 14. He has lost control of Congress inspite of his party's majorities in both houses. And reference his inability to get a bona-fide conservative on the court in the mould of his favored Thomas or Scalia. Instead he picks a guy that no one really knows... a guy with few rulings and even fewer pegged ideologies. Bush had to pick someone palatable to everyone because he doesn't have any power left.

I love a blog. You can't yell over me here, can you, you smug asshole.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

We Have a Winna!

...And his name is John G. Roberts, President Bush's pick to succeed departing associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The announcement came around an hour before tonight's prime-time presser. Washington is already bracing for a grueling confirmation battle, set for either late next month or early September.

From Green Build to Brain Damage

I had a discussion with an architecture student seeking her masters from MIT. She was a typical architect, with bright blue eyes and a sort of space-cadet air that left you wondering if she was really present or not. As I briefly explained certain aspects of our development projects to her, I got the impression that no sooner would I say 3 to 4 words that she had mentally moved on to the next topic... arguably, she had moved ahead several topics. It was as if I was throwing fragments of information into a machine that was processing it as a blinding-fast pace. Providing whole sentences wasn't even necessary... no sooner were the words spoken, they were comprehended & processed. When she tried to explain things to me, she drifted about aimlessly, leapfrogging from one thought to another to another leaving out unnecessary links in the logical chain. Or she focused intensely on one particular issue, leaving others in the 'unnecessary to mention because they and their collateral impacts are understood' category. She was making a bad assumption by doing so. I was getting lost in my own explanations wondering what the hell I even said.

Its not hard to become impatient when engaged in interactions with the not-so-intelligent, for lack of better terms. I know what they're going to say before they say it; essentially, I only require fragments to process their ideas. Much like the above situation, I find myself quickly moving up the logic chain towards what I feel is a rational conclusion. Often, I see the look of confusion resultant from a fast ascent. Minds work at different speeds, and most like to assume they are on the smarter side of the bell curve. Today, I think I witnessed what sits 3 degrees away from the Autisics and Idiot-Savants at the 99th percentile.

Downs Syndrome

News coming out of Fayette-nam usually focuses on a 40-something man shooting his 17 year old wife over dirty dishes, or two junkies bludgeoning a goat to death and selling its meat for cocaine. Yet, somehow, the grotesque nature of this case takes the cake.

Desperate to bring his team out of a multi-year slump, Mark Downs ramped up his tactics. Desperate times, he reasoned, demand desperate measures, and these were desperate times indeed. Downs' Dawson Wildcats were facing the dreaded Cougars from Leisenring. The Cougars had a daunting 8-1 record, its muscular 8 year olds appearing even more ferocious in their new electric-blue uniforms bought by Big Jims Barbeque Pit and Home Plumbing Service. The Cougars were the Yankees of the Youghiogheny Valley, Downs was constantly reminded by his drinking buddies at Pat's Roadhouse Honky-Tonk Bar. Besides, the Cougars weren't burdened by the presence of a Mongoloid like the Dawson Wildcats, an 8 year old with Autism!

"Why God have you plagued me with this burden. This is T-Ball for God's sakes, not some kinda Jerry's Kids Special Olympics Bullshit!" Downs raged. Faced with no other options, Downs did the logical thing. He paid another 8 year old $25 to pelt the Autistic child in the nuts with a baseball to put him out of the game.

A good reason NOT to read the Post-Gazette

From their latest story on Karl Rove's improprieties:

"President Bush subtly shifted his language yesterday about punishing anyone working for him who may have leaked the name of a CIA agent, suggesting his new standard of firing a staff member is whether a crime has been committed."

My question is how is this a subtle shift in language? It's a complete about-face, by anyone's reckoning. He originally said he'd fire him, and how he says he won't. The only change in the situation? The White House got caught with its hand in the cookie jar.

Says Bush, "I will only stand by my word if you don't discover my lies."

Too much circular logic for my taste.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Seems that some CMU kid...

Is lurking about and posting nasty comments. To answer your question, anything above 50% is a majority.

And you must be entertained to stick around for 15 minutes and 20 page views.

The Sound of Silence

As Sunni suicide bombers slaughter innocent Shiites in an attempt to spark sectarian violence, leaders in the Sunni community remain silent. How any of their leaders can claim to represent a just and honest government or God and yet not condemn these attacks evidences a truly perverse cultural mindset. Islamo-fascism, clearly a prevalent cancer in the Sunni faith, seems to have more than just a fringe following. It has the support of the global Sunni community, which supports Mohammed's soldiers with money, drugs, ideology and bombs.

The bomber who was responsible for the linked atrocity above was a Lybian. How does one get access to the proper paperwork to leave Lybia for Iraq, pay for travel, build a bomb and have enough drugs on hand to make it all seem worth it? If only silence was the primary problem.

Ken Mehlman

On yesterday's Meet the Press, GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman backed White House Press Secretary Scott McClelland's assertion months earlier that Karl Rove was not involved in any way with the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's actual occupation, inspite of the fact Rove's own lawyer publically said that Rove did indeed verify Plame's status to columnist Matthew Cooper. Mehlman's desperate attempt to make McClelland look even somewhat truthful was pathetic; the sort of confidence killing exercize which topples politicians. Tim Russert pointed out a recent Wall Street Journal poll that shows GW's rating as a "straight shooter, and truthful president" have slumped to a little over 40%. Anyone who saw Meet the Press is most likely on the "I distrust GW" side this morning.

When asked if Karl Rove is hurting the President's ability to push his agenda, Mehlman said, "Karl Rove is a great American. He is a honest man. The evil liberals and dirty democrats slandering him should be ashamed and apologize!" Sadly, I'm not exaggerating. When asked by Russert if the Republicans would attack a Democrat in a similar situation, Mehlman spouted off some shit about Rove fully cooperating with the investigation, and again the bit about devil Democrats apologizing for attacking this great American.

Either Mehlman sucks as a spin-doctor, or this is just too absurd to be spun.

This Administration, through it's inexplicable inability to be truthful, and through it's attack-dog tendency to slander opponents, literally is sinking itself. Get ready for 4 years of a Democratic Majority in the Senate, inspite of the absence of an actual numerical majority. Their message might not extend beyond, "We hate this lying Asshole, his Jesu-fascist friends, and his stupid war," but sadly, its a message that increasingly resonates with Americans.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Porn

Here's a great shot of Brazilian athlete (?) Larissa Franka during a recent beach volleyball match in St. Petersburg, Florida. The most surprising thing about this picture? Not that Reuters has evidently outsourced its photography department to fourteen-year-old American boys; it's that a women's beach volleyball team from Brazil actually wears clothes at all.

The Modern Hippie

Just as in the 1960's, when hoardes of idealists took to the streets to confront evil they often couldn't accurately define without hyberbolic absurd rage, rockers took to the stage to protest poverty in Africa throughout the western world.

What causes poverty in Africa. In a land resplendent with vast natural resources, low costs of material and labor, and piles of foreign aid, what holds back what should otherwise be a relatively healthy land. Jean Claude Shanda Tonme argued in the New York Times that the starvation is directly linked to bad governance. What Ms Tonme realizes is that Africans, like every other human in the world, are capable of rising up to meet their needs and fix their economies.

Sadly, Ms Tonme's call for African revolution will probably continue to go unhearlded, and she will probably be shot for writing it. The reason is actually buried in her own text. She said the G8 promise of more aid will likely bolster the existing regimes. She is correct: the dictators will pass out the food themselves, claiming credit for every last dollar, every grain of rice. The African Union claims they will be more transparent in the future, but they have no track-record by which to make such a claim. Chances are they will take the bulk of the aid and skim it off the top, enriching themselves and strengthening their grip on power. They will dole out food and cash to supporters in their own populations, starving the opposition. Cynical? It's what they've consistently done in the past, so why assume otherwise?

Ms Tonme's call for democratic revolution will fall on ears wholly unfamiliar with the concept of democracy. She is a minority in a population of ill-educated people primarily concerned with finding tonight's dinner, not tomorrow's promise. Sitting in cosmopolitan Yaoulande, far from the hinterlands where 75% of the landmass and 50% of the population lies, Ms Tonme doesn't see her suggestion for the farce it is. Unfortunately, as the G8 prepares to send more food to Africa, they don't realize she is 100% right.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Penis No Longer Envied

Good for Thin Sandarin! She's -- er, he's -- the incredibly impoverished chicken seller from the incredibly impoverished country of Myanmar, formerly Burma, (and yes, you are legally obligated to write that every time you mention it) who miraculously grew a dong last month. Now, having a penis is great, no doubt about it, and this blog supports Mr. Sandarin's decision to sprout an enormous wang, but something just ain't right here.

My limited background in cockology tells me that Sandarin is a) the dumbest person in the history of the world; b) "Punking" the entire country of Myanmar (formerly Burma); or, c) just really really good at his manginas. I leave it up to you, dick-hungry America, to decide for yourselves. I'm personally heartened by this tale, whatever the gigantic, floppy truth may be: if a Burmese chicken dealer can get wood, surely Karl Rove can grow some balls and resign.

The Pope and his Nazi leanings

The Pope may have long ago left the Hitler Youth, but he retains a penchant for burning books. First The Da Vinci Code and now... Harry Potter?!?! Not that the man or his Mother Church have a very tight grip on Catholicism anyways. Most Catholics are pro-choice afterall.

A Sweet Invention

An LCD display that shows two things at once! Holy Double-Viewing Goodness Batman!

Rendering Moderation

As Bush moves towards his first judicial appointment, Sandra Day O'Connor leaves a record of limited, practical judicial opinions most hope will be repeated. Fortunately, the Gang of 14 have coalesced the Senate's moderate branch into a potent voting bloc, forcing Bush to recognize the Senate's right to "Advise and Consent." The elder statesmen of the Gang of 14 are acting in the very manner the Framers sought: the Senate was envisioned as a body immune to the fickle winds of partisanship and hysteria. The Gang of 14 promises to beat Christian Conservatives back into their cage, providing Bush with a foil against the wacky right as he (voluntarily or at the point of the Senate's sword) stakes out middle ground. Grandstanding Frist is marginalized, powerless to stop sanity from prevailing. The Senate he is suppoed to control doesn't seem willing to tolerate the radicalism Frist must push to maintain his Christian street cred. If only there were anothe Terri Shiavo...

At this critical juncture in the court proceedings, Pennsylvania's popular senior Senator, Arlen Specter, has suggested that Bush take a nod from History and nominate someone from outside standing Federal Judiciary circles. As the court has historically taken an "activist" approach to its findings from time to time, such appointments enriched important decisions with experience cast outside of traditional judicial circles, diversifying their scope, reach and meaning. Once again, looking back seems to provide the best means of moving forward... and he didn't even have to cite Scottish Common Law.

225 years after the acceptance of the US Constitution, the genius of a system designed to strike down special interests, slay the overly ambitious, and consistently pull to the center, looks poised to save us again. Though Christian Conservatives might cite the "Faith of our Fathers" as their primary justification for turning back the clock in America, it seems that the point they porportedly desire to reach is the very one styming Christian radicalism at every front.

Rove on Target

The stories are mounting. Rove's Google News count is going through the roof, with just under 2,400 stories among the 4,500 and change news sources that Google News picks up. As predicted, the space shuttle stole the show, as it stayed grounded due to a faulty fuel tank sensor, and picked up 3,555 hits. Nothing else is even close. The next highest is the London bombings with just under 1,800.

news.google.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Drunken Kennedy Punches Santorum, Pisses on his Face

In a "Rare" showing of passion, a red-faced Ted Kennedy staggered to the front of the US Senate to deliver a scathing review of Santorum's commentary on child abuse. Puffing himself up with his characteristic self-righteous jerkiness (and a few characteristic swigs of gin), Kennedy blasted Pennsylvania's Senator for being a self-righteous jerk.

Santorum, constantly tortured by spectres and hobgoblins conjured up by his rare brand of paranoia, had little to say in response. "Bad cultures yield bad results," said the Senator from the front lawn of his McLean, Virginia home. "Places like Boston have activist judges performing abortions in the streets and church services that encourage gay sex in the pews during communion. I'd never live in a place like Boston."

Santorum does indeed isolate himself from 'Bad Cultures' in places like Boston, New York and... the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. "I raise my family in a healthy neighborhood, full of rich, white republicans. The only Jew we allow 'round these parts is Jesus Christ," Santorum nervously chuckled. Jesus was in fact cutting the grass at his father's house down the street from Santorum's property. When questioned about the Senator's book, Jesus wiped the blood and sweat from his brow, his face contorted in puzzlement. "Santorum's book beat mine off the best seller list this week. Guess I'm going to have to get a new message," said the Son of God.

1,741 and counting

That's right folks, Karl Rove is the number two story in the Google News right now, trailing only the imminent space shuttle launch, and topping the aftermath of the London bombings, the Supreme Court nomination battle, and a triple-train wreck that only Pakistan could have managed. Look for Karl Rove to take the top spot tomorrow, assuming the shuttle makes its way safely into the stratosphere.

All I can say is what a bastard, what a guy. I respect the guy for his tactics and for his results. I respect Karl Rove for being a man who doesn't so much as blush when it becomes clear that he likes to lie like the devil, not just liberal-blogger clear, but New York Times, Washington Post, and wait for it... National Review clear.

But he's a professional political operative. Who I don't respect is every man, woman, and child in the Bush administration who has been party to the cover-up, and Bush least of all for his pious posturing.

You've got to respect the politics that put the shit-eating-grin-wearing, coke-snorting, bike-crashing, deserter-with-Cs-in-college into the White House. But the gilding has worn off, and Bush is now just another sad lame duck. He's the bird whose legacy to the U.S. and the world is a contemptable energy bill, a childish take on social security, and the blood of thousands of Americans and countless Iraqis. And now Congress is going to pick a Supreme Court nominee, because Bush is flat broke on political capital.

Healthy Serving of Justice

A wealthy restauranteur in Center City Philadelphia used to drive a white Lexus, cruising the streets of Pennsylvania's largest city drunk off of her ass. After a heavy dose of court-ordered counselling, a newly-minted responsible Susanna Goihman was given the keys to her white Lexus, and took to the streets again.

On June 22, "her car struck a 15 year old child," killing the young girl. Goihman, hiding behind her 5th Amendment Rights, refuses to talk. In response, the outraged community took to camping out on her lawn, protesting her silence with a daily vigil resplendent with police sirens, bull horns and rage. The raucous has so galvanized the city that neighbors offer the use of their bathrooms to protesters, SEPTA busses honk their horns in support, and Philly cops flash their lights and sirens in solidarity.

Seems no one likes a selfish bitch anymore...

Ms Goihman throws back another drink, pulls her blinds, and hides. A warm summer night, she recalls. The sky shone with the bright lights of Philadelphia, the drinks at her bar were chilled and smooth. All that remains is a half-empty bottle of asprin, a stained blouse and a vague memory of a particularly bumpy stretch of Ridge Avenue on her drunken ride home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sex, Grass, and Petty Politics

A Stroll in the Park
In an incident reminicent of Center City Philadelphia's Strawbridges scandalous bathroom-based lust-chamber in which 16 were arrested, Settler's Cabin County Park looks like it has a little dirty wood of its own. Much like the internet based sex ring that operated out of the bathroom stalls of Philly's venerable department store, 27 men were arrested in the Allegheny County park for 'soliciting anonymous sex.'

Little Secrets at the Big House
An AlleghenyCounty Prision guard who worked hard on the job gets nailed. Looks like he's headed back to the Big House, only in a different capacity.

Welcome to the Jungle
Growing a forest in one's front yard is not an offense deserving of jailtime, a judge ruled regarding the jungle-esque decor of a Wilkins Township woman's front lawn. When questioned, the woman said she wasn't bitter for having been jailed over a month. "I actually met this really sweet prision guard..."

Bear Bites Dog
In an act deserving of Lassie, a 1 year old Boxer pup saves bratty kids from death. The bear charged three youths, but was dissuaded by the family dog.

Up Yours Rick
Hillary Clinton shoved Rick Santorum into a locker, causing the junior Senator from Pennsylvania to drop all his books. Santorum responds by writing nasty things about Hillary in Senate bathroom stall, including her phone number....

Actually, Sen. Clinton yelled, "Thanks for the free promotion on my book, I'm making a mint off of this culture war junk." Santorum responded, "Yeah, I can afford to pay for my kids' cyber-schooling all by myself now!"

Rich Fitzgerald Blows Sheriff DeFazio

Decline can be met via two means. You can take the route Buffalo, NY or West Virginia and bury your head in the sand; or, you can become proactive and aggressive like Allegheny County. The Home Rule Charter, the creation of County Executive/Council, and even sloppy Property Assessments prove Allegheny County is the most progressive county in Pennsylvania. The hungrier you are, the harder you work; and in the wake of Act 47, 30+ years of population loss, and the Pirates under .500 for a decade, we're damned hungry.

Which leads me to ask, why would anyone stand in the path of the most popular reform to hit the ballot box in 100 years: County Row Office Reform. Passed by a 3 to 1 margin, county voters resoundingly sent Democratic Party cronies in the Row Offices packing. Yet Rich Fitzgerald D-Skew Hill is full of reasons to slow the momentum of this wildly popular, albiet mostly symbolic, reform. "Well, can't vote on this until we find out if reforms can be passed more than once every 5 years," or, "We should wait to see if the first reforms worked," stammers a shell of a man, Fitzgerald. "I'm a party lap-dog... but then again, what Squirrel Hill politician isn't?"

Dan Onorato, the great hope of the Democratic Party, will find himself painted with the same brush as party acolytes like Fitzgerald, O'Connor and Flaherty if he doesn't reign in the County Democrats. Unfortunately it's hard to drive the party from the minority progressive faction, especially while jerks like Fitzgerald are hell-bent on throwing the brakes.

Rove, Rove, Rove Your Boat

The tide is turning on the White House, under two years into the presidency. With Iraq looking more like Vietnam everyday, the president's social security plan an object of ridicule, a vicious Supreme Court battle being waged even before the president has declared a nominee, Bush is starting to sprout feathers and gimp around like so many unpopular executives before him. And now Karl Rove has been revealed (not that many didn't already think they knew) as a dirty political operative supported by carefully parsed statements from the White House, who then must condone his actions.

On Google News, after Newsweek confirmed/revealed Karl Rove was the secret source behind the outing of Valerie Plame, the story got picked up by a piddling 124 news sources. But as that day and the next began to wear on, that number doubled, then that number doubled, and now the count stands at 700+ articles covering the story, most of them NOT giving Karl Rove the benefit of any doubts (God bless them). Count on that number to double today, which will put it up there with stories like tsunami coverage, Michael Jackson on exciting days, and all those crazy kidnappings/murder/molestation stories that captivate the nation.

I think someone's head must roll over this thing, and since Bush and co. don't have much in terms of political capital left, Karl Rove will be put out to pasture in the next 2 weeks. I see him in a prosperous career in tobacco.

Monday, July 11, 2005

What dreams may come

Celanie insists that our dreams mean something, and while I do not disagree that they mean something, I'll leave the ability to discern that meaning to gypsies, soothsayers, and psychiatrists. They mean little to me.

Nonetheless, I spent most of the morning while I was getting ready for work thinking about my dream in which I was running partially clothed from place to place including various houses and neighborhoods. The houses and neighborhoods, like the shapeless, scantily clad female accompanying me, were nameless. I don't remember what we were running from, but something was after us. At the end, some drunken humans followed us through a door into a house of a person I cannot name but most assuredly knew. I then pushed the lot out the door, and then went upstairs to join my friend and my female Virgil.

This dream bears some similarity to a dream I had about a week ago, in which my workplace was something like The Village from that Shamaylan (sp?) movie. In my dream, my work was overrun by troll-ogres who had been kept captive for many years. The people at work, led by my boss, mobilized to fight the ancient evil, but were all torn to shreds. I, with another nameless person, fled the tree-village that was my workplace, into the world, ahead of a pack of voracious troll-ogres. At one point, we stopped to eat, and then I remember running down some train tracks away from the monsters who were not really pursuing us or me, but just pillaging the world in their path.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Eweful News

In a terrible tragedy (don't underestimate this), 1,500 sheep jumped off a cliff in Turkey, leaving villagers bereft of mutton, wool, and all the other perks associated with being a shepherd. With 450 dead sheep valued at over $100,000, the event portends serious consequences for a society that lives off of less than $3,000 dollar a year per capita. Even if they know what insurance is in that small village, rest uneasy that they don't have any. While 1,500 sheep took the fateful plunge into the ravine, most were spared when they landed on the fluffy pile of other sheep.

In news related to backwards societies, Pennsylvania's shining knight Ed Rendell was proud to announce that starting Labor Day, we can now get our cases of brew on Sundays, ending a law that has sent thrifty alcoholics into frenzies for decades, with beer only available from cutthroat bars and beer vendors at something like $908,273,598,723,489 per six pack. The legislation protects these racketeers by providing them a 10% discount on wholesale purchases, maintaining the deep culture of corruption, personal interests, and stupidity at all levels of government in PA.

But not so stupid as the parental culture in Tennessee, where moms and dads like to hire strippers for their sons' birthday parties. Compounding the idiocy, the parents shared these tig bitties with their son's friends. Compounding the disgusting nature of the story -- gramps was invited. Speaking of melons....

In more serious news, check out Dvorak.org for a blog better than this one. And if you thought you knew how to use a hyphen... well, you didn't. Don't even get me started on M- and N-dashes. Thanks Julie Watt.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London

The rush hour blast in London this morning was a senseless act of bloodshed. Britain, our steadfast ally in this war, is paying dearly on the front and at home for what increasingly looks to be an endless conflict. They are due more than just our sympathy and prayers, we owe them solidarity and understanding. As we move together through this bitter war, hopefully Britain and the US can adequately steele ourselves to face the coming years of senseless bloodshed and ineffective reprisal against an invisible enemy.

Al Quaeda, guided by rage and lacking definable goals, gives little by which we might predict an end to this conflict. Our unresolved problems do little to hasten that end. Hopefully Continental Europe will see the need for unity, and set aside the proud, bitter partisanship that has characterized trans-Atlantic relations for the past 4 years. Hopefully, those proponents of a peaceful Islam will finally stand up against a cancerous, omnipresent radicalism in their faith.

Most importantly, hopefully we won’t face many more days like this. But it’s hard to see hope through the smoke and blood in London.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05191/535262.stm

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Santorum Drinks, Beats Wife

Santorum's latest diatribe of Victorian ethic, "Barefoot and Pregnant: A Guide for the Modern Woman," says the Bitch should stay in the kitchen. Santorum, working hard to ensure he represents the smallest number of Pennsylvanians possible, characterizes the rise of women to a position of parity with men as the disgusting byproduct of radical feminism and other favorite hobgobblins of the right. I'm sure this will fly well with prosperous, white women in Mt. Lebanon and Bryn Mawr in the coming election, Rick.

Good column in Newsweek on the day-after pill and the religious nutballs like our Republican Senator from Penn Hills via McLean, Virginia. Columnist Anna Quindlen talks about the religious right's desire to quell use of the "day after pill" as an attempt to roll-back years of female advancement by curtailing reproductive rights. Fitting, considering Rick's wrathful lashing of our 'feel good, responsibility free culture.'

Almost as wrathful as the bloody lashing he gave to his wife when she tried to leave the house without her burka and face veil.

Speaking of Wife Beaters...

Pennsylvania's state legislators, horribly overworked and shamefully underpaid, are seeking a pay raise. How long could we look into the faces of our legislators, worn from mandating American flags in every classroom, defending our children from Charles Darwin and keeping firearms readily accessable, without giving them their just deserts.

An old line from a long-past election campaign: "99% of state legislators get re-elected. Would you give the state legislature a 99% approval rating?" Unfortunately, less than 1% of Pennsylvanians gives a damn.

Philadelphia Freedom...

I went to Philadelphia to see Elton John's version of an Independence Day celebration, and wax nostalgic about a city I dearly miss. Though I immensely enjoyed Elton John's performance, the rest of the show could have been scrapped. Someone, somewhere thought there was natural interplay between AIDS Awareness and the Spirit of '76. (More likely that Elton John was lured to Philly by feeding the Elton John AIDS Foundation vis a vis a public concert... but that might be too cynical)

The concept was awkward at best... The limitations of an AIDS-Independence Day Concert became rather apparent when the only tangible connection between the two subjects made was Bruce Vilanch cross-dressing as Betsy Ross. What an innovative way to stir both patriotism and increase AIDS awareness... a fat, gay man in a corsette. Most people were annoyed when varied celebrities kept talking about death counts on a night traditionally set aside for joy and revelry, but Vilanch elicted universal disgust. Not only did the fat slob reinforce the stereotype of AIDS as a gay disease by sporting his favorite bra before a crowd of 500,000, but his witless humor... CHRIST!

By the time Elton John came on stage, Vilanch had been booed by an increasingly hostile audience: his one opportunity to resurrect his career beyond Hollywood Squares on TNT was stillborn in the Cradle of Liberty. Hopefully this event will stand as a reminder to those hoping to co-opt an event people care about to advocate for an issue less beloved. But in failing that, hopefully it buries Vilanch's career for good.

Bob Novak A Free Man

Judith Miller, NYT reporter and Matt Cooper's ride to court for the past two years, was sentenced to jail today after refusing to divulge her source in the Valerie Plame leak case. Miller was led out of U.S. Federal Kangaroo Court this afternoon following the judge's ruling that she be jailed for civil contempt. Cooper, for his part, expressed grief that his colleague was headed for the clink somewhere in Washington or its environs... then he quickly ran away into an air-conditioned SUV. This case may still end up in the Supreme Court, because of an ongoing telephone records case in New York, but for the time being Judy Miller, who hasn't been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Act , is screwed. The scariest part of this whole scenario involves humongous douchebag and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his blatant admission that Miller's jailing is nothing more than an attempt to get her to talk, even though the reporter has repeatedly stated she intends to protect her confidential source. So this a completely unnecessary, punitive attempt to convince someone to confess to a crime she hasn't even been accused of. My take: this should have been a criminal case from the start. If Fitzgerald truly believes he has the goods on Cooper and Miller, he should pursue criminal proceedings against one or both of them. If not, he ought to let Miller off the hook and go see a good proctologist; wiping your ass with the Bill of Rights that often can't be healthy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A great photographer

Look at the colors and geometry. This guy is good.

http://www.blografico.blogspot.com/

And ha cha cha on this blog. Probably ok for work, no nudity, but yes on sexy.

http://isabelfilipeartdesign.blogspot.com/


I also like the photo at the bottom of this blog.

http://swampranger.blogspot.com/

Sandra Day O'Connor

I would very much like to say that I know a lot about Sandra Day O'Connor. Unfortunately, all I know is what the pundits have told me in the wake of her surprise resignation. From what they say, I'm quaking in my boots at the thought of a conservative bench ripping through every statute we liberals hold dear and reducing our freedom to a pile of Czarist rubble.

Sandra Day O'Connor was considered one of the most influential judges in the High Court because she was persuadable, even with her liberal leanings. Which meant on every vote, she could swing the outcome. Lawyers would write their cases specifically targeting her because they knew how the others would vote.

Another thing I know is that Sandra Day O'Connor probably coordinated this with Rehnquist because justices don't like to turn over in the same session. Everything points to the old coot stepping down next term though, if he doesn't croak first.

And though I don't know much about the law, Sandra Day O'Connor, or anything else that matters, I pray that the Democrats filibuster every jackass George W. Bush sends up for confirmation. I can only believe that any two nominees from that man will ruin the rights of Americans and secularists. His hands are already bloody with the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, and the lives of the Coalition of the Duped. And he's set to murder our privacy and civil rights as well, not that he hasn't already done a lot in that regard.

Russian Astrologer Sues NASA Over Comet

Only a crazy Russian psychic would ask for $300 million for "moral suffering," whatever that means. It probably doesn't translate well to English. And yeah, I lump astrologers in with Mistress Cleo, just another sect of society too crazy or too greedy to deal with the world in a traditional fashion.

Remember when you read about Tom Cruise in the news that he's one of the mostly-bent of this world too, espousing his crazy views on anti-depressants, stemming from his embrace of L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology, the intergalactic warlord Xenu, and boxes that crackle and drive you crazy.

I hope everyone out there had a nice Fourth of July, celebrating yesteryear and mourning the new brand of American imperialism. On the plate for this week: get my haircut, huge monthly clip report, suffer through bugbites from camping, and compose a post on "Spiders of Pennsylvania" to lock up the Google traffic.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Eminent Domain Seizes Sad Friday Night

Pittsburgh has a spotty history with eminent domain. The Central North Side, completely demolished, wrapped with a 4 lane traffic circle, and walled off from downtown by an elevated highway, is a case in point. From where we heady urban planners (oh my vanity) stand today, the North Side suffers from an incomprehensible road system and Urban Decay directly attributable to a 1960's version of "Urban Renewal." The surrounding community, built around the demolished juncture of Ohio and Federal Streets, has no hub, no focus and no heart. Robert Moses, having loosed the twin spectres of Heavy-Handed Government and Eminent Domain, stands between Pandora and Donald Rumsfeld in the Pantheon of Woops.

Yet the abusive use of Eminent Domain by asshole politicians belies a simple truth about Cities and the concept of 'collective good' necessitated by dense populations. Cities stand for thousands of years, yet the people who inhabit them live less than 100. The fact that generation after generation will inhabit a pre-existing urban fabric built to suit the needs, lifestyles and technologies of those long gone necessitates that certain accomodations be made for each successive generation. A city must adapt as the needs of residents change: No loger serving as the oft' flammable open sewer for industry, Cleveland's Cuyahoga River now 'boasts' an embryonic riverfront serving nearby lofts and offices. Furthermore, neighborhoods suffering from decades of poor planning and lax zoning must be able to wash away the residue of a seedy or industrial past: Federal Street, boasting restored Victorian Mansions and new upscale restaurants, is likewise graced with perverts looking to get-off in the sticky seats of the Garden Theater. Both examples exhibit a need to get rid of certain elements of the past to accomodate the necessities of the future. Though it is expected this will be done "within reason," those defining "reasonable" are sometimes anything but.

The Justices could have ruled in favor of America's Property Rights tradition, but it would have hamstrung older communities looking to exorcize their seedy pasts. The Justices, ruling in favor of an obnoxious development in Conneticut, put us all at risk of the next Robert Moses. One mile from Allegheny Center, powerful jets blast water 200 feet above the newly formed Ohio River: A crystalline obleisk triumphantly proclaiming the rebirth of Pittsburgh from its polluted past. Ironic that a city that so suffered at the hands of Eminent Domain-driven Urban Renewal has this iconic reminder of Urban Renewal's victories. Eminent Domain is a viciously sharp, double-edged sword.