Monday, January 31, 2005

Found In Halliburton's Reception Room Couch

Apparently the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq has lost track of nearly $9 billion in money given to them by the US government, reports a story from CNN this morning. This on the heels of Preznit Jingo's recent request for another $80 billion to keep the killing and maiming and torturing in Iraq and Afghanistan up to the neocon chickenhawk-approved level that has been maintained since the invasion.

"'Severe inefficiencies and poor management' by the CPA has left auditors with no guarantee the money was properly used."

What's that old saying about appropriations in Congress? Hey, a billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, pretty soon it starts to add up to real money.

I wonder when the Freepers and the Little Green Footballers and all the rest of the Fightin' 101st Keyboarders out there will start raising hell about this oversight? Probably right after they get over denouncing their fellow pundits for being on the take from the gubmint.

Imagine what we could do here in the US with an extra $9 billion...

Who Needs All Those Stupid Amendments, Anyway?

This is the price we pay for allowing our educational system to fall into the disrepair in which we find it today. A survey released over the weekend indicates that there is a significant minority of students who believe that the First Amendment goes "too far," that flag burning is not protected speech, but a crime, and that the government should have the right to censor newspapers.

"When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did."

Here's more on the subject... if you care.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Army Post

As long as we're shilling other peoples' blogs, we simply must refer you to an excellent post by our prolific colleague, the King of Zembla. His post encompasses three articles concerning the military; the first is C. W. Nevius' SF Chronicle article about Army recruiters calling high school students in an effort to get them to jingo up; the second has to do with the recent article reporting the shameful practice of wounded soldiers having to pay for their meals at Walter Reed Army Hospital; and the last is the story, recounted in a letter from a relative to MSNBC (scroll down to the bottom), of a reservist ordered to attend one of the inaugural balls while having to pay for his own lodging and meals.

Remind me again why so many current and former members of the US military staunchly support this maladminstration?

Attaturk Answers Your Letters

Over at one of our favorite stops on the daily rounds of the blogosphere, Rising Hegemon, there is a new feature, where contributor Attaturk answers letters from various folks in power (or agents acting on their behalf). The reason we here at The Generik Brand are so excited about this new feature -- besides the fact that it is, as most features there are, pretty damn funny -- is that a certain author of this very blog is also the author of the third letter (Little Georgie Jingo) answered today in the inaugural run of this feature.

Maybe someday we'll even rate a link on the site!

Anyway, go check it out. Tell 'em Generik sent you.

Friday, January 28, 2005

LIVE NUDE Barbara Boxer for President

There's a new blog in town, with a few BARBARians acting as contributors, and it's certainly worth a bookmark. This post, especially, is worth the price of admission.

(Along those same lines, a pal of mine from Hudson, Mass., has just today joined the ranks of the blogosphere. Go here to see his new place.)

LIVE NUDE Double Oy: Whoa! My EYES!!!

Okay, this is just disturbing... maybe as much as the movie itself. Thanks (?) to Avedon Carol's Sideshow for the link.

"Good thing I didn't go ahead and hire the Ninjas...!"



(Hey, it works for Atrios!)

LIVE NUDE Propaganda: Three Strikes and You're Out(ed)

It appears that there is yet another media hack conservative columnist who has been slipped a few bones by the Bush maladministration to push their crooked agenda. Columnist Mike McManus received $10,000 (chump change in the Cheney/Halliburton world) to train marriage counselors as part of Health and Human Service's initiative promoting marriage to build strong families, said Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families.

I guess at this point we should just assume that, unless proven otherwise, all the wingnut pundits out there are on the take, slurping up taxpayer dollars like hungry hogs at the federal trough.

"Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., ...requested the (Government Accountability Office) to expand a continuing inquiry into the matter.

"'The issue here isn't just whether a journalist violated ethics, but whether the Bush Administration broke the law,' Lautenberg said Friday. 'If the GAO finds that the payment to Armstrong Williams was an illegal use of taxpayer dollars, then the money should be returned and Education Department officials should be held accountable.'"

Criminey, if I had a nickel for every time the Bush administration broke the law in the last five years, I could retire today.

LIVE NUDE Darwin Award

We saw this over at, and despite the fact that it deals with the death of an alleged human being, we laughed our editorial ass off reading it.

First is an essay written by one Derek Kieper, asserting his god-given right to live dangerously and be as cool and stupid as he chooses.

Second is the obituary of one Derek Kieper.

Now, we here at TGB realize that laughing at someone else's death may cause some of you to shudder with revulsion, but we maintain that if you can't laugh at death, what the heck can you laugh at? Comedy? Satire? The Bush maladministration? Good choices, all, but none so deserving of our scorn as the ultimate farm-buying act. Especially when that act is so fraught with irony, and at the same time thins the herd and eliminates Bozos like Mr. Kieper from the collective gene pool.

(And we apologize in advance to any Bozos out there who might take offense at being compared to the late Derek Kieper.)

LIVE NUDE Senator Gumby

Our esteemed colleague, mrgumby2u, over at itlookslikethis, has a good post about the Other Senator from California, Poodle DiFi, and what a useless waste of humanity she is. He proposes that we find someone -- anyone!! -- to run against her when her seat next comes up for election, and here at The Generik Brand, we think mrgumby is just the guy to do it. Despite the fact that he says he has more baggage than the late Ol' Dirty Bastard (mad RIPs to that industrious baby-daddy), we think the phrase Senator Gumby has a nice ring to it.

Gumby in '06!


Speaking of that meet-up last night... The Uptown is no Ben & Nicks, and I mean that in the most ambiguous way possible. It's a true neighborhood bar, with dumpy-comfy couches, a whole slew of beers on tap and a well-used pool table. In attendance, along with the usual suspects, were yet a few more new faces to the BARBAR scene, Paperwight and Belisarius and Jackson from the SFist. Unfortunately, Ang from Ang's Weird Ideas was a no-show, but we're holding out hope that she'll make it to the next one, and will bring her video camera. Also MIA was qubit, once our lone reader and since then author of the briefly, brilliantly lit then crashing and burning blog The Token Reader. Come back qubit, all is forgiven!

Still and all, it was another good time had by all. Or most, anyway. Well, I did.


In a baldfacedly shameless attempt to get a few extra, unsolicited hits on this site, we here at The Generik Brand have decided to use the words LIVE NUDE in every single post that gets put up today. So while we're sure that ANNA KOURNIKOVA GETS BARE, SPANKIN', JAYBIRD NAKED AS THE DAY SHE WAS BORN on a regular basis -- maybe hourly, even -- you won't be seeing that happen here. Sorry. We're just pimping for hits, acting on an idea that came up last night at the third BARBARians meet-up at the Uptown Bar at Capp and 17th Streets. Whether it works or not is another issue entirely.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Outrage Meter in the Red

Today's NY Times carries a Frank Rich piece that should be required reading for every blindered Preznit, every chickenhawk neocon, every clueless pundit and White House spokesperson claiming that the media is "only reporting the bad news" out of Iraq, and every regular American war apologist and supporter of the continuing death and destruction over there in Mesopotamia. Here are some choice excerpts:

"Iraq is Vietnam on speed - the false endings of that tragic decade re-enacted and compressed in jump cuts, a quagmire retooled for the MTV attention span...

"But in at least one way we are not back in Vietnam. Iraq hawks, like Vietnam hawks before them, often take the line that to criticize America's mission in Iraq is to attack the troops. That paradigm just doesn't hold. Americans, including those opposed to the war, love the troops (Lynndie England always excepted). Not even the most unhinged Bush hater is calling our all-volunteer army 'baby killers.' This time, paradoxically enough, it is often those who claim to love the troops the most - and who have the political power to help alleviate their sacrifice - who turn out to be the troops' false friends...

"There was, for instance, according to the Los Angeles Times, 'nary a mention' of the Iraq war or 'the prices paid by American soldiers and their families' at the lavish Inauguration bash thrown for the grandees of the Christian right by the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition at Washington's Ritz-Carlton...

"In this same vein, television's ceremonial coverage of the Inauguration, much of which resembled the martial pageantry broadcast by state-owned networks in banana republics, made a dutiful show out of the White House's claim that the four-day bacchanal was a salute to the troops. The only commentator to rudely call attention to the disconnect between that fictional pretense and the reality was Judy Bachrach, a writer for Vanity Fair, who dared say on Fox News that the inaugural's military ball and prayer service would not keep troops 'safe and warm' in their 'flimsy' Humvees in Iraq. She was promptly given the hook. (The riveting three-minute clip, labeled 'Fair and Balanced Inauguration,' can be found at, where it has seized the 'most popular' slot once owned by Jon Stewart's slapdown of Tucker Carlson.)...

"Alas, there were no Fox News cameras to capture what may have been the week's most surreal 'salute' to the troops, the 'Heroes Red, White and Blue Inaugural Ball' attended by Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. The event's celebrity stars included the Fox correspondent Geraldo Rivera, who had been booted from Iraq at the start of the war for compromising 'operational security' by telling his viewers the position of the American troops he loves so much. He joked to the crowd that his deployment as an 'overpaid' reporter was tantamount to that of an 'underpaid hero' in battle. The attendees from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital, some of whose long-term care must be picked up by private foundations because of government stinginess, responded with 'deafening silence,' reported Roxanne Roberts of The Washington Post. Ms. Roberts understandably left the party after the night's big act: Nile Rodgers and Chic sang the lyrics 'Clap your hands, hoo!' and 'Dance to the beat' to 'a group of soldiers missing hands and legs'...

"A fast growing plurality of the country wants troops withdrawn from Iraq, but being so detached from the war they are unlikely to make a stink about it. The civilian leaders who conceived this adventure are clever at maintaining the false illusion that the end is just around the corner anyway...

"They do this by moving the goal posts for 'mission accomplished' as frequently as they have changed the rationale for us entering this war in the first place. In the walk-up to the Inauguration, even Iraq's Election Day was quietly downsized in importance so a sixth V-I Day further off in the future could be substituted. Dick Cheney told Don Imus on Inauguration morning that 'we can bring our boys home' and that 'our mission is complete' once the Iraqis 'can defend themselves.' What that means, and when exactly that might be is, shall we say, unclear. President Bush and Prime Minister Allawi told the press in unison last September that there were 'nearly 100,000 fully trained and equipped' Iraqi security forces ready to carry out that self-defense. Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this month that there are 120,000. Time magazine says this week that the actual figure of fully trained ground soldiers is 14,000, but hey: in patriotism as it's been redefined for this war, loving the troops means never having to say you're sorry - or even having to say the word Iraq in an Inaugural address."

There's more, plenty more. Read it for yourself and experience the outrage anew.

This Space For Rent

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Bludney Plud and this is I Can't Believe It's Not News. Today I'd like to talk about the tempest in a teapot that liberals out there are raising over a couple of recent non-incidents with my colleagues Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher. Good heavens, what's wrong with people making a little money advocating a cause in which they believe? Shouldn't all good Americans be allowed to earn a decent living, and not have some liberal Nosy Parkers scrutinize every dollar that goes into their bank accounts? Why, it's getting so you can't even take a check from a legitimate government agency or multinational corporation without a few noisy liberal crackpots getting their panties all in a bunch about it! My colleagues had the foresight and the good sense to accept a small fee for pushing a couple of plainly worthwhile policies that the White House is promoting -- all for the good of the nation, mind you! -- and you'd think they'd crossed some sort of legal or ethical line, to listen to the naysayers out there. It's just ridiculous, is what it is. I support what Mr. Williams and Ms. Gallagher did. They are the true patriots in all of this. In fact, I'd like to speak personally to any White House administrators out there who have programs they wish to promote. You can call me on my private line during the break. And speaking of that break, we'll be back with more after this word from our sponsors and Charles Asshat with Today's Republican Moment. Charlie's topic this morning is why liberals, in the name of bipartisanship and unity, don't just shut up and do what the president wants them to do. Stay tuned..."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"Mr. Attorney General, would you mind extinguishing that trouser flame?"

Our highly esteemed colleague, the vociferous and aptly-named Rude Pundit, has one of the best posts about the ongoing controversy surrounding Little Elian Alberto VO5 Gonzales and his getting caught in a few pesky li'l lies back in Texas that I've yet seen. It appears that this incident might have some legs, and wouldn't it be something if the AG nomination were to somehow be lost to him thanks to a little back room maneuvering just to spare Preznit (then-Governor) Pretzelphobe the embarrassment of having his DUI conviction in the '70s revealed? All that torture memo brouhaha barely made a dent in the nomination process, but a little thing like getting a client out of jury duty could end up being the deal-breaker. Of course, being disbarred is probably not enough to keep the Rethugs in Congress from voting for Alberto VO5's confirmation anyway (see DeLay, Tom), but doesn't the prospect of an Attorney General who has lost the license to practice law just drip with a special kind of irony?

Or is that just par for this particularly crooked course?

Loving the Rude Pundit's writing as we do, we just want to close with this delicately-stated quote outlining his personal feelings about the man tapped to step into John Ashcroft's Crisco-filled shoes:

"Fuck Gonzales's story of being born to poor children of migrants. Fuck his working himself up from poverty to make his Mexican family proud. That doesn't mean that Gonzales is incapable of enabling evil. That doesn't make Gonzales automatically a good person. And it certainly doesn't mean Alberto Gonzales is predestined to be Attorney General."

Thanks, RP, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Here's a shot of the unfortunately not very rare Joementumfish (Lackspineicus obsequious) in its native habitat. The Joementumfish is usually found in the same waters as the unendangered Humpbacked DiFi (Mediocritus wasteofskinus) and the toxic Zellyfish (Turncoaticus insaneus). This gentle creature exists mainly on plankton, krill and Republican-generated effluvium.

"Gosh, Dr. Rice, I think you're about the best candidate for secretary of state that any president could have ever picked, ever! And would you tell that nice Judge Gonzales that I think he's really swell, too? Wow!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Los Cojones del Señor Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy, the Patron Saint of Cocktail Hour, is showing some Barbara Boxer-type gumption in opposing the nomination of Condoleezza Rice, and we here at The Generik Brand applaud him for that. Along with fellow Senators Boxer and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, he is showing a little Democratic spine at a time when it is sorely needed.

"I intend to oppose Condoleezza Rice's nomination..." Kennedy said. "Dr. Rice was a key member of the national security team that developed and justified the rationale for war, and it's been a catastrophic failure, a continuing quagmire. In these circumstances, she should not be promoted to secretary of state."

Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton even went so far as to call her a "liar."

Naturally, Connecticut Senator Casper Milquetoast Joementum Lieberman followed up with his hilarious jellyfish imitation, saying that he planned on voting for Condosleeza, and that he believes that the Senate's "responsibility to advise and consent does not mean that we have to agree with every opinion or every action that the nominee has ever taken." He then impressed the other Senators at the hearing by balancing an unprecedented amount of Republican fecal matter on his nose for the rest of the morning.

An earlier laugh came when Senator Boxer was grilling Dr. Rice, and Rice asked her to "refrain from impugning my integrity," as if that were at all possible; as if Condi had any integrity left to impugn.

Be careful, Dr. Rice. Remember that a house from Kansas fell on and killed your sister; you could be next.

Reynolds Wrap Fedora

Keeping up once more with the tinfoil hat crowd, this time thanks to my good friend Scott...

I've referred to Preznit Fiery Freedom on more than one occasion as the Anti-President, but here's a site that goes that one step beyond. Pulling no punches, it accuses Uncurious George of actually being Damien from The Omen. What drew my attention to the otherwise un-noteworthy rantings on this site, though, was this claim, which I just found delightful:

"St. John the apostle, the author of Revelation, was a Jew who wrote in Greek, but he thought in Hebrew."

How can you not appreciate a concept like that? Not only does the author of this site know who wrote Revelations, but he knows what language the guy spoke and in what language he thought. That's amazing! Personally, I write in English, but I think in Esperanto. Or is it Pig Latin? I often get those two mixed up.

In any event, though I poke fun at this website, I'm not necessarily saying that I disagree with the basic premise...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Actions Speak Louder

A column on SFGate today by Harley Sorensen got me thinking about what it is that we who identify as liberals or progressives or even just Democrats stand for, and what we expect from our leaders, regardless of what party they belong to. The column is about the inauguration, and what puffery and lack of substance it exemplified, but this particular passage really caught my eye and sent me off on a bit of a tangent:

"Today's conservatives think that liberals dislike Bush simply because Bush is a conservative. That's utter nonsense. During the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson was vilified by the Left, by liberals, by Democrats far more than Bush is vilified by that same crew today.

"It's not the label, folks. It's what they do."

That's exactly right. I
vividly recall marching in the late '60s and hearing the chant "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" Johnson was Enemy Number One to the anti-war protesters back then, so much so that he refused to run for another term in 1968. Indeed, one could argue that the vilification of Johnson by the left helped lead directly to the election of Richard Nixon that year. What stands out to me now is that political activism then was more about what politicians actually did, rather than which party's hat they wore. Those of us who were against the Vietnam War had no problem condemning politicians who supported it, be they Democrat, Republican or Whig. It didn't matter -- if you were for the war, we were against you. I remember, in fact, that there were a number of principled Republican politicians in those days (yes, yes, I know that's an oxymoron today, but trust me, they did exist at one time) who opposed the war, and they were embraced by the protesters. If I recall correctly, they included Mark O. Hatfield, Jacob Javits, George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller, to name a few. They had the courage to stand up to their party and to the hawks of the time who wanted to nuke Vietnam back to the Stone Age and say no, this is not right.

Just try finding men and women like that today. Just try to find a politician who speaks from principle and who exhibits courage and honesty and gumption. (Hello Barbaras Lee and Boxer!)

Imagine, then, if you will, what the reaction today of people who grew up believing in principle and courage and honesty -- regardless of party affiliation -- must be to a president who shows absolutely no trace of any of these characteristics. Now think of the hypocrisy, the partisanship, the ideological extremism and the pure cognitive dissonance it must take for people who claim to be principled and courageous and honest to put up with the actions of the man in the White House today. A man who has lied repeatedly, who has sacrificed the lives of thousands of young men and women for nothing, who has shown himself to be singularly unqualified to lead this country or any other. One wonders how these people sleep at night, knowing that they are responsible for Abu Ghraib, for Fallujah and Guantanamo, for the many, many scandals that have been uncovered and the extremist policies being pursued even now, thanks to their blind, unquestioning loyalty to the Republican Party. To these people, it isn't about what a politician does, it's all about who he or she says s/he is, and what party he or she represents.

There is something to this in regards to political and judicial appointees like Little Elian
Alberto VO5 Gonzales, Janice Brown and Condi Rice as well. So many wingers accuse those who oppose these extremist nominations of racism, of not wanting Hispanic or African-American candidates to succeed unless they toe a liberal party line, but what they fail to see is that it's all about the actions, the records, the paper trail that these ideologues bring with them. We oppose the nominations of these folks, and many like them, not because of the color of their skin, but because of the content of their character. Because, for us, it isn't about what party or ideology they identify with, it's all about what they do.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye

I just read that former late-night icon Johnny Carson died this morning at the age of 79. I realize that Carson was never anything more than an entertainer and a celebrity, but I feel a sense of loss all the same.

He made me laugh. He made me feel like a grown-up when, as a kid in the '60s, I got to stay up late enough to watch The Tonight Show. In the mid-'70s, I went with a couple of my buddies to Burbank and actually got to sit in the live audience watching the taping of one of those shows. The guests that night were Bob Hope, Michael Landon and whoever the current Miss America was at the time. It was a moment I've always cherished, one that I've always seen as emblematic of the special province that many of us who grew up in southern California had -- the closeness of Hollywood and the television and movie industry. I don't consider myself much of a celebrity-worshipper, for the most part, but Carson always had my respect and admiration.

And he made me laugh. Thanks for that, Johnny.

Friday, January 21, 2005

BARBARic Uprising

It's getting to be that time again. On the East Coast, Atrios and his keyboard-jockey pals have Drinking Liberally. Here on the Best Coast, we have the BARBARians. The esteemed Bay Area Resident Bloggers And Readers group is going to get its collective drink on for the third time, and woe be to those who miss out. The event is scheduled for this coming Thursday, Jan. 27th, at The Uptown on 17th and Capp Streets in San Francisco's historic Mission District. For those of you taking BART, that's one block south and one block east (despite my earlier confusion, those are the proper coordinates) from the 16th and Mission station.

Who is going to be there, you wonder? Our pal in blogging, the King of Zembla, has a list of likely suspects.

And how about some celebrity endorsements? Because we all know that nothing in this country really exists unless it has been endorsed by someone famous. Here's a short list:

"Uptown? Top ranking!" -- Althea and Donna

"I'd rather have an Uptown in front of me than a frontal Uptownomy." -- Tom Waits

"When you're alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go... Uptown." -- Petula Clark

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder." -- Uptown Sinclair

So there you have it. Bring beer money, a dirk if you have one and a change of liver. See you there!

Scenes from an Inauguration

"Thank you for your continued and enthusiastic support, Hedgehog! I mean, uh, Mr. Jeremy."

"Now if this don't work out, I can skip the last couple years, like that Nationalist Guardian thing down in Houston a while back, right, Pop?"

"Whoa! No one told me they were going to allow Negroes at this party!"

Every time he tells that story, his dick the fish gets bigger.

"Dick! I don't think you're supposed to take money from the collection plate!"

"It's okay, it's going straight to the Halliburton widows and orphans fund. *Snarf!*"

"Thank you for another four years, O Dark Lord and Master!"

Little does Satan realize that Preznit George will never live up to his end of the bargain they made, seeing as how he has no soul to sell.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Saying No to Little Elian Alberto VO5 Gonzales

My good friend Scott recently sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - Waste of Skin California) regarding the upcoming confirmation vote on Alberto VO5 as Attorney Generalissimo of These United Snakes. He passed along a copy for me to read, and I thought it was so good and echoed my own sentiments so well that I had to share it in its entirety with you. Here it is:

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I appreciate your response to my letter concerning the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales to U.S. Attorney General.

However, since your response dated 12/22/04, Mr. Gonzales has contributed additional information to those of you considering his nomination, information which I believe clearly makes Mr. Gonzales unfit for Attorney General. In fact, I think it can be argued that Mr. Gonzales' responses on the question of torture make him unfit to practice law.

During repeated oral questioning and in written responses to questions on the torture issue, Mr. Gonzales has equivocated in his answers and has yet to be entirely forthcoming on this crucial matter. He has left himself considerable "wiggle room" on U.S. interrogation policies that leave open a rather wide door for the continuation of abuses in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo, and in unknown "rendition" centers around the world.

I was recently in Europe and was struck by how insular the Congressional discussion on the matter of torture seemed from a distance. In English language as well as foreign newspapers and journals, the impression I gathered of the Gonzales hearings was that like Congressional debate on many issues today, the chief concern from many quarters seems to be a calculation of Democratic or Republican political advantage, and not the fundamental policy - and human - aspects raised by the issue. Of course, as I expect you know very well, the core issue raised in Mr. Gonzales' case extends far, far beyond how his confirmation will affect Democratic or Republican politics. The whole world is watching. I am convinced - more than ever after reading Mr. Gonzales' responses on the torture issue - that confirming him to Attorney General will tarnish the United States for decades to come, both in the eyes of the world and in the ideals of citizens such as myself, who feel a deep sense of anguish and shame over the direction in which "leaders" like Mr. Gonzales seem to be taking the country's commitment to human freedoms.

I have other concerns as well about Mr. Gonzales, particularly relating to his capacity as counsel to Governor Bush in Texas in the matter of capital punishment cases. His behavior and advice regarding these cases raise extremely serious concerns about his capacity to deal with death penalty cases fairly and justly (even if one is able to suspend, for theoretical purposes, opposition to a practice that puts the United States terribly out of step with the world's most developed countries and in league with the most tyrannical regimes on the planet).

I therefore strongly urge your principled opposition to Mr. Gonzales' confirmation as Attorney General.

In fact, as a life-long Democrat, I believe so strongly about this issue that I am resolved to abandon the Democratic Party should the Democratic leaders I most respect, such as yourself, fail to vote against elevating to the highest law enforcement position in the country a man who can equivocate about torture in such a fashion. I understand the calculations of political advantage that surround Mr. Gonzales' proposed appointment, and the ways in which a vote to confirm now might be effective in preventing his possible elevation to the Supreme Court and/or offer other "gains" for the Democrats. But this is a time for conviction and resolution and courage, not for political calculation. I am rather astonished to find myself saying this, but if principled Democrats cannot draw a firm line in the sand against something so fundamentally wrong as the ongoing torture of detainees - when even their mere detention raises monumental human rights questions and concerns - then I want nothing more to do with such a party.

Sincerely as always,

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Poster Post

My pal Marty sent me this link to the White poster page, and it's a doozy. You can order them up as posters or T-shirts, and there are some real swell ones there! Check it out, kids!

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Today's dose of Joementum comes courtesy of Senator Joe Biden (D - Rhode Island Red Delaware), who, though he asked a few tough questions of Condi Rice in her confirmation hearings yesterday and today, didn't have the cojones -- or rather, the ovaries -- of his colleague, the courageous Barbara Boxer (D - California), to ultimately vote against her. Senator Boxer at least had the integrity to vote no to Rice's replacing Stepin Fetchit Colin Powell as Secretary of State, after exposing her once again as the lying, incompetent lapdog flunky she always has been. You go, Barbara.

Here we see Spineless Joe demonstrating just what a man he really is by making a little girl cry. You go, Joe. And take Lieberman with you.

Amendment? What Amendment?

Here's the one thing I forgot to mention in my round-up of stories that I shoulda woulda coulda reported on in real time if only I had been paying attention... and hadn't been held hostage buying double Manhattans (no cherry) and shots of Moutai in the barroom of the Cloning Winona Ryder Memorial Spliced Blue Gene Dude Ranch over the past long weekend...

I saw a story in the Sunday Chronicle -- and coudn't find a link to it, but here's a letter to the editor referencing it (scroll down) -- that said Preznit Divider Not A Uniter is no longer pushing for a Constitutional amendment for "defending" heterosexual marriage, because he has been assured by the US Senate that hetero marriage is safe, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act. (Thank you, Preznit Clenis, Best Republican Preznit of the Latter Half of the 20th Century!)

He couldn't have meant to say that, oh, let's see, "the election is over, and I no longer need to advocate for something as ridiculous and impossible to achieve as a Constitutional amendment codifying discrimination, in order to drive a wedge between the American voters who think all gays should be killed outright and those who think they should just be rounded up and sent off to re-education camps, so let's forget all about what I said over the last few months, because the fundies will support me anyway, and I have more devious plans on my plate, like abolishing Social Security and going to war with Iran," could he? Could he?!?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Catching Up

Events in the meat world having conspired against me, I haven't done much posting for the past few days, but I'm still here. And unfortunately, there's still plenty of scary bullshit out there that needs to be exposed and talked about. For instance, elf-radio over at This Is The Shit posts an excellent piece about Seymour Hersh's recent claims that the Bush maladministration is gearing up for war with Iran and points outbound. Apparently Preznit Armageddon My Jingo On sees his recent slim election margin as a "mandate" and repudiation for his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo, and now wants to market that product all over the world. The word from neocons like Darth Rumsfailed and Paul "Combsucker" Wolfoshitz is that an aerial attack on Iran will inspire the moderates in that country to rise up against the mullahs and to welcome us as... uh... liberators, I guess. Jeez, where have I heard that one before?

Also, my good pal Marty passes along this link to a story that ought to chill you to the bone if you have any sense at all. I guess it's not just the powers that be that are in favor of less education and of dumbing-down the populace at large, it's the people themselves who are complicit in this anti-intellectualism. I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise, knowing that America has long held people with brains in contempt, but this particular incident represents a new low in fear of education. On a related note, here are some stories from citizens who have been directly hurt by the Miseducation Preznit's policies.

On the brighter side, my brother sends me this link regarding a wonderful plan (inappropriate apostrophes aside) that a blogger known as DarkSyde on a site called Pharyngula has proposed that could make a huge difference in the Iraq War, and right away. He calls it Operation: Heavenly Shower, and it basically involves not much more than flying sorties over Baghdad and Fallujah and Mosul and other strife-torn Iraqi areas while dumping bushelsful of American dollar bills out the window. Really, could that be any more expensive than what we're doing now? I'm certain, too, that it would ultimately prove much more cost-effective and would make many more Iraqi civilians side with us than do presently. (While you're there, check out this excellent posting on moron science creationism by contributor PZ Myers.)

Finally, our esteemed colleague, His Prolific Majesty the King of Zembla has yet another Joe Bageant piece up that combines some of the elements of what I've referred to above and is not to be missed. Says Joe:

"You may not meet them among your circle of friends, but there are millions of Americans who fiercely believe we should nuke North Korea and Iran, seize the Middle East’s oil, and replace the U.S. Constitution with the Christian Bible. They believe the United States will conquer the entire world and convert it to our notions of democracy and fundamentalist Christian religion..."

Go, ye, and be enlightened. Or scared. Or both.

Not One Red Cent

Just a reminder to everyone out there who wishes he or she could stand along the Bush inaugural parade route with a basketful of rotten eggs (or worse) that there is one thing you can do this Thursday -- or rather, there's one thing you can refrain from doing, and that's spend money. This Thursday, January 20th, Inauguration Day, is also Not One Damn Dime Day in America, red state, blue state and decline to state alike. The urban legend-busting site says it's a particularly ineffective way to protest, but I'm still encouraging people to do it, if only to make yourself feel good. Sometimes that's enough.

So don't buy gas, don't buy groceries, don't buy lunch, don't buy the house a round (hey, wait a minute...), don't buy tickets to the movies or the opera or the symphony, don't... well, you get the idea. Just don't. Leave your wallet in your purse or your pants. Stay inside and throw things at the TV instead.

OR... come out to Civic Center in San Francisco at 5 PM Thursday and join the protest. Yes, I know it's sponsored by International ANSWER, a group with which I am less than enamored, but again, sometimes it's all about doing something just to make yourself feel better.

Friday, January 14, 2005


This is just SO cool:

The only thing that could have been better is if the pictures showed a few bug-eyed aliens checking out the Huygens probe as it landed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Apples and Oranges and Little Green Footballs

Via Atrios, The Poor Man has a chart delineating the difference between the Dan Rather/CBS "scandal" and the announcement that the search for WMD has been called off.

Central claims disproven?
Rathergate: No
Saddam's WMD: Yes

Number of wars started using flawed justification:
Rathergate: 0
Saddam's WMD:1

Posts mentioning story on NRO's "The Corner":
Rathergate: 10
Saddam's WMD: 0

Go check it out yourself.

My 15 Minutes

Blowing my own horn for a moment here, I opened the editorial page of the SF Chronicle today to find that they had published my recent letter to the editor concerning the Armstrong Williams payola incident. You can see it for yourself by dropping fifty cents at your local newsstand (if you're in the Bay Area) or by checking it out online here (just scroll down a bit).

It's been a while since they printed one of my letters, and I can't remember the last time I showed up in the Two Cents column. Maybe they're afraid that too many appearances by the same people and it will start to look like the What Do You Think? column in The Onion.

(Also, if you're looking at SF Gate online, be sure to check out the Day in Pictures, which today features a photo of a woman being rescued from flooding in San Dimas Canyon that was taken by my long-time pal, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin staff photographer Walt Weis.)

Lies, Damn Lies and the Bush Administration

Speaking of lies and the lying liars who tell them, the incomparable Bob Somerby at Daily Howler has a great post today about Preznit If My Lips Are Moving Then I'm Lying and his recent whopper about Social Security.

"BUSH (1/11/05): 'As a matter of fact, by the time today's workers who are in their mid-20s begin to retire, the system will be bankrupt. So if you're 20 years old, in your mid-20s, and you're beginning to work, I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt, unless the United States Congress has got the willingness to act now.

"And that's what we're here to talk about, a system that will be bankrupt.'"

As Bob so easily points out, that is a damn lie. Or, as Chimpy himself said during the debates, "That's kind of one of those... exaggerations."

What a shame we don't have a working press in this country to call Dear Leader on his fictions when he posits them.

"Those WMD Must Be Around Here Somewhere... Huh... Not Over Here..."

I guess because they're so busy gearing up a whole new set of lies to try to sell to the American public, the Goddamned Liars Club Bush administration is quietly announcing that the search for WMD in Iraq is officially over. Let's see... how many people out there remember that the (stated) main reason for going to war with Iraq in the first place was because the US was so imminently threatened by the nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal that Saddam Hussein possessed, and had at the ready, just minutes away from launching onto our shores? And now, two years and thousands of lives later, the inspectors charged with finding those weapons are just walking away, empty-handed but for the continuing carnage in a nation that will be suffering from our lies and hubris for years to come.

Do we have to drag up all those quotes from Chimpy, from Rummy, from Dickbrain, from Condosleezza and Colin and Ari and the rest of that mendacious gang to get people to recall what a con job they pulled?

"We know where they are, they're in the area around Baghdad and Tikrit, and east, west, south and north somewhat." -- Donny Rumsfailed

Nah. It wouldn't do any good at this point. The 101st Fighting Keyboarders don't care if we went to Iraq over a lie, they just like it that Americans are out there kicking Muslim butt in their name. And there are a whole passel of moron-Americans who still think that WMD were found, and/or that Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 tragedy.

For those of us with both memory and conscience, though, this just adds one more layer to our huge and growing callus of cynicism, outrage and disgust. I can hardly feel a thing anymore.

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

(Picture courtesy of Wonkette)

That Joementum is a slippery devil. When last seen here at The Generik Brand, it was occupying the body of the late actor Edgar Buchanan, better known as Petticoat Junction's Uncle Joe. Today we discover that Joementum is now passing out replicas of Zell Miller's Get Out Of Sanity Free cards, with Joe's own likeness on the front.

Wonder if ol' Zell will challenge Joe to a duel when he finds out about this.


Can this be for real? It's presented as such:

"FOXBlocker is an innovative new product that filters out the FOX News network. Simply screw the filter into the back of your TV and never be exposed to right wing propaganda again (at least through FOX news). Using a proprietary technology, FOXBlocker works to filter out FOX News from your cable lineup.

"Protect yourself and your family, or send one to a misguided right wing friend."

Funny, I have a device at home that I use to filter out FAUX News myself. I call it a "remote."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Update on an Attempted Miscarriage of Justice

Claiming he was simply "misunderstood," Virginia Delegate John Cosgrove (Taliban R-Chesapeake) has withdrawn the proposed bill that would make it a crime for a woman to elect not to report a miscarriage to police within 12 hours of the event. Claiming that HB 1677 was proposed in response to a rash of cases in the Chesapeake area of mothers taking their babies to full term, then abandoning them and claiming they were stillborn, Cosgrove accused opponents of his legislative effort of "engaging in an active campaign of 'misinformation' to get their political point across."

What I want to know is what is a troglodyte like that doing in a penny-ante State Legislature? With ideas like his, he should be standing tall alongside stalwarts like Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert and Rick Santorum.


Is there any depth to which the Bush maladministration won't sink? The most recent noise coming from the reign of Preznit Eternal Sunshine of the Thoughtless Mind informs us that they are seriously considering (which you should read to mean "they've been doing this for a while now") what they're calling the "Salvador option" in Iraq. For those of us who remember the Reagan years and the US-funded and -trained death squads that terrorized the populace in Central America -- but were of course disavowed by anyone connected to the CIA or Reagan administration -- this is the most nightmarish type of deja vu. The boldness of the neocon cabal contemplating this sort of tactic is matched only by the fact that they are so willing to speak nonchalantly now about the existence of and US complicity in those death squads of the '80s.

When Dick Cheney was quoted a couple years back as saying "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter," he might just as well have added "ethics, honesty, morality and rule of law." This crew doesn't care what you or I or the occasional liberal pundit out there might think about their pogroms programs, we've been effectively marginalized. And with a complicit media and a lapdog, partisan Congress and court system, they're feeling freer than ever to initiate any sort of heinous or profiteering endeavor they wish, knowing that our objections will fall on deaf ears. We can scream all we want about the injustices and outrages perpetrated by the New Theocratic Fascists, but until that screaming makes a marked difference at the ballot box or in the courts, they'll just shrug their shoulders and keep on keeping on. They don't need to round us up and send us off to prisons or gulags to silence us, the noise from the Freeper crowd drowns out anything we have to say. And the public, sad to say, is more interested in American fucking Idol anyway.

This graphic lifted from Billmon's newly-reopened Whiskey Bar. Pour me a double, sir, and keep them coming.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Price of Ethics

It's not exactly surprising to anyone with a lick of sense -- or without the standard-issue right-wing ideological blinders on -- to learn about commentator Armstrong Williams' payoff in return for shilling for the Bush debacle program No Child Left Behind. What's surprising is that, despite Williams' assertions that "it happens all the time," and "there are others," the White House is insisting that this is an isolated incident. Raise your hands, all of you who believe that there aren't other wingnut pundits out there on the screaming-head TV and radio talk show circuit who have happily socked away enough taxpayer-supplied cash for a nice new Lexus SUV or three just to push the corporatist agenda of the New Theocratic Fascists. Anyone? Anyone? ...Bueller?

Riiiiight. Thought so.

It would appear now that not only must we distrust the official word coming from the White House (which many of us did anyway), but the many and varied pundits who happily toe the administration line are suspect as well. Scotty McClellan's disingenuous comment that "There are also questions about whether or not this commentator should have been disclosing the information publicly" speaks volumes about the mindset of the maladministration. The action was fine, he seems to be saying; getting caught is the sin.

So in other words, not much has really changed, has it? Other than the speculation of who is getting paid how much for what, that is.

"Ethics? Credibility? You know, you can buy all you want of that for a cool quarter of a million!"

Friday, January 07, 2005

Lose a Baby, Go to Jail

Want more proof (as if any is needed) that we're moving downhill fast in a truck with no brakes to a full-on fascist theocracy? Look no further than here -- a Virginia legislator has proposed making it a crime to not notify the police within 12 hours of having a miscarriage. Criminey. People in this country scare the piss out of me.

Wonder how many hours I have before I'm supposed to notify the cops about that?

Bribery and Propaganda

So the Bush maladministration is caught bribing friendly media folk to tell its lies. What a surprise!

"The Bush administration has promoted No Child Left Behind with a video that comes across as a news story but fails to make clear the reporter involved was paid with taxpayer money."

Much like those phony news videos extolling the virtues of the Bush Medicare plan and federal drug policy.

"'There is no defense for using taxpayer dollars to pay journalists for "fake news" and favorable coverage of a federal program,' said Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way."

Just more bullshit from the unreality-based community that lives and works in the White House. What else is new?


For those who care, I've added a whole slew of new links over there on the right side of this thing, go check some of them out at your leisure. I especially recommend... well, pretty much all of them. Otherwise they wouldn't be there, would they?


The King of Zembla has just posted a marvelous piece by Joe Bageant that deserves to be read by a wide, wide audience.

From A Mean and Unholy Ditch:

"Being a Southerner, I have hated in my lifetime. And like most people over 50, it shows in my face, because by that age we all have the face we deserve. Likewise I have seen hate in others and know the thing when I see it. And I am seeing more of it now than I have ever seen in my life (which is saying something considering that I grew up down here during the Jim Crow era.) The neo-conservative hate I am seeing now is every bit equal to the kind I saw in my people during those violent years. Irrational. Deeply rooted."

Go, read it for yourself.

Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?

It's no secret that Chimpy McJingo and His Amazing Unreality-Based Sycophants just love boning the boys in the military every chance they get; what's surprising (to me, anyway) is that so many of those same boys (and girls) still support this administration. Earlier this week, House GOoPers unceremoniously dumped Veteran's Affairs Committee Chairman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) for objecting to their recent efforts to cut pay and benefits for military personnel. Now a change is being considered that would require reservists to be available for an unlimited number of call-ups (though no single mobilization would last more than 24 months).

Unlimited two-year tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan? Wow. No wonder the top brass is complaining about troops being stretched too thin, and recruitment is down. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has plenty of money to fund boondoggles and line defense contractors' pockets, but not enough to keep the soldiers in the field safe.

Remind me again just why those soldiers think Bush and his cabal are on their side?

A Faux News Editorial

"Hello, I'm Bludney Plud, and it's time for I Can't Believe It's Not News. Today we have a story about how so-called 'gay marriage' has affected the sanctity of traditional wedding vows. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who just one year ago was catering to the capricious whims of the pansy population of his city by issuing fake marriage certificates and actually performing 'wedding ceremonies' at City Hall, has announced that he and his allegedly bicoastal wife, former lingerie model turned attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle, are splitting up. Can there be any more concrete proof that a Constitutional amendment is needed to keep these people from destroying the institution of marriage as we know it? The pending divorce is obviously a direct result of Mayor Newsom's allowing our sacred traditions to be mocked by embracing the most radical elements of the homosexual agenda. The Mayor has attempted to contradict the will of God, the people and George W. Bush, and now he is paying the price. We'll have more on the subject right after these messages from our sponsors and Charles Asshat with Today's Republican Moment. Charlie's subject today will be the debate on whether liberals should be rounded up and sent to internment camps or just shot where they stand. Stay tuned..."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Paging Dr. Mengele

Despite a few Democrats raising some uncomfortable issues, it looks as if there's nothing to prevent the confirmation of Little Elian Alberto VO5 Gonzales as Attorney General in the next day or so. Lovely. An incompetent attorney who has risen in the ranks mainly by kissing Bush butt, the man who thinks torture is an idea whose time has come will soon be our chief lawman.

"Are you dead yet? No? Then you're not being tortured."

On the bright side, we will probably never have to hear him sing "Let the Eagle Soar," or worry about laws being passed making calico cats illegal or Crisco anointments mandatory.

However, we still have much to be afraid of... as Tom Tomorrow has said, if you voted for Bush, this is what you voted for:

Senators, if you vote to confirm Gonzales, this is what you voted for. Sleep well.

Ann Coulter Gets Naked? Brrr!

Thanks (?) to John over at blogenlust for directing me to Wonkette's photo essay of a party featuring Ann Coulter's action figure. I may never drink beer again, and I know I won't sleep well for the next few nights!

We'll Burn That Bridge When We Come To It

An article in today's SF Chronicle (online says that the Bush administration is hoping that American aid to tsunami victims in the Indian Ocean region will help mend some fences with Muslims in those countries who hold extremely negative views of this country. Something like 83 percent of Indonesians -- up from 60 percent just a year earlier -- viewed the US unfavorably in a 2003 Pew poll.

So in spite of the fact that around the Muslim world we are perceived as hell-bent on pursuing an all-out war against Islam, as evidenced every day by the conflict in Iraq, George W. and his pals think that we can still win over the hearts and minds of these people by flying in some helicopter loads of water and food. With a few phrases straight from Cliche Central, here's what we at The Generik Brand think of that idea:

That dog won't hunt.

They're locking the barn door after the horse is out.

Day late and a dollar short.

Like tits on a boar.

And so on. In other words, good friggin' luck, you morons.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Adjust Your Reynolds Wrap Accordingly

Here are a couple of links for the tinfoil hat crowd, a group I always like to check in on every now and again. Who's to say these accusations aren't true? Besides the people who will categorically deny them, I mean. Not saying I necessarily give either theory credence, but... well, one does wonder, doesn't one?

Is Dubya really the healthiest li'l Preznit ever?

What caused that big 9.0 tsunami-generating earthquake, anyway?

Compare and contrast. Discuss. Show your work.

It Can't Happen Here? It IS Happening Here!

Moving from Uncle Joe silly to dead serious, let's talk about fascism for a few minutes...

Quite a few bloggers have been writing recently about the rise in the level of vitriol and animosity that has accompanied the wingers' success in bringing their Chosen One back for four more years, and in truth it is getting very scary out there. David Neiwert at Orcinus has one of the best posts I've read on the subject (OT, he also has what is probably the most succinct summation of the Florida-style election debacle up there in Washington just below it); and Quiddity at uggabugga also weighs in on the subject with some well-documented examples. Some of the most salient points on the subject are being made today not just by left wingers like Michael Moore or Al Franken, but by people more properly identified with the Libertarian and even conservative movements, like some of the folks at Lew Rockwell's site. Here's Rockwell himself on the rise of what looks increasingly like an all-American version of good old-fashioned fascism (emphasis mine):

"The most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing...

The vigor and determination of the Bush administration has brought about a profound cultural change, so that the very people who once proclaimed hated of government now advocate its use against dissidents of all sorts, especially against those who would dare call for curbs in the totalitarian bureaucracy of the military, or suggest that Bush is something less than infallible in his foreign-policy decisions...

Editor & Publisher, for example, posted a small note the other day about a column written by Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, in which he mildly suggested that the troops be brought home from Iraq 'sooner rather than later.' The editor of E&P was just blown away by the letters that poured in, filled with venom and hate and calling for Neuharth to be tried and locked away as a traitor. The letters compared him with pro-Hitler journalists, and suggested that he was objectively pro-terrorist, choosing to support the Muslim jihad over the US military. Other letters called for Neuharth to get the death penalty for daring to take issue with the Christian leaders of this great Christian nation.

"I'm actually not surprised at this. It has been building for some time. If you follow hate-filled sites such as Free Republic, you know that the populist right in this country has been advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now. The militarism and nationalism dwarfs anything I saw at any point during the Cold War. It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth -- not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself."

Also subjecting himself to the slings and arrows of the wingnuts is a man who was formerly revered by them, Paul Craig Roberts. Once the darling of such hate-mongers as Limbaugh and Liddy, Roberts has been persona non grata with the right ever since he called the invasion of Iraq a "strategic blunder." Here are some of his thoughts on the recent swing to totalitarianism:

"In the ranks of the new conservatives... I see and experience much hate. It comes to me in violently worded, ignorant and irrational emails from self-professed conservatives who literally worship George Bush. Even Christians have fallen into idolatry. There appears to be a large number of Americans who are prepared to kill anyone for George Bush.

"The Iraqi War is serving as a great catharsis for multiple conservative frustrations: job loss, drugs, crime, homosexuals, pornography, female promiscuity, abortion, restrictions on prayer in public places, Darwinism and attacks on religion. Liberals are the cause. Liberals are against America. Anyone against the war is against America and is a liberal. 'You are with us or against us.'

"This is the mindset of delusion, and delusion permits of no facts or analysis. ... Americans are right and everyone else is wrong. End of the debate."

This sort of thinking is almost impossible to combat, relying as it does on emotion and blind faith rather than logic and reason. And when you combine that with the worship of authority (as personified by George Bush and Dick Cheney) and the desire to see critics of that authority silenced and even eliminated, what else is one to call it but fascism? Never mind idiots like Coulter and Savage (who are certainly bad enough in their own right), take a look at what some of those letter writers that Rockwell referred to have to say about something as seemingly moderate as suggesting that perhaps going to war with Iraq was not the best idea:

Duggan Flanakin of Austin, TX: "Neuharth should be tried for treason along with a lot of other blowhards who should be spending their energies condemning the barbarism of our enemies, the same people who destroyed the Twin Towers."

Mel Gibbs (no address given): "The Patriot Act will put both of you (Neuharth and [reporter Greg] Mitchell) on trial for treason and convict and execute both of you as traitors for running these stories in a time of war and it should be done on TV for other communist traitors like you two to know we mean business. This is war and you should be put in prison NOW for talking like this. Who the hell do you think you people are? You give aid and comfort to our enemies and aid them in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to America. Your families should be put in prison with you, then be made to leave and move to the Middle East. ... This is a great Christian nation and god wants us to lead the world out of darkness with great leaders like President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Communists like Al and Greg will soon be in prison and on death row for your ugly papers. We won the election and now you are mad. We own America and all the rights, you people are trash, go back to Russia and Africa and take your friends with (you) before we put you on death row after a fair trial."

Dan Clawson, Fresno, CA: "A disgrace to the men and women who serve. USA Today supporting the terrorist cause."

Boots Harvey, Brentwood, CA: "One must recall that Churchill had to put up with the likes of Lord Haw-Haw, William Joyce, and his propaganda during WWII. In the end William Joyce was executed for giving aid and comfort to the enemy during wartime. Would that the same befall Al Neuharth!"

I'm sure many of you have examples of your own; anyone who reads the letters to the editor of just about any major daily newspaper has seen the amount of hate and vitriol spewed out in the name of patriotism lately. Liberals -- indeed, all who disagree with Our Glorious Leader -- are "treasonous," they are "traitors," they should be shot, imprisoned, sent into exile, summarily executed. It would seem that the tactics of Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich to demonize Democrats and progressives have come to fruition beyond their wildest dreams. The word "liberal" itself is a pejorative in many circles these days, and poor, blue-collar folks who should know better are convinced that it's the liberal "other" -- not the failed policies of the cheap-labor corporatists and small-minded religious zealots -- that is responsible for all of their problems in today's society. Good luck convincing them differently.

Joe McCarthy's witch-hunting reputation has been refurbished, his heinous actions laundered and lauded; the WWII internment of Japanese-Americans has been not just excused, but praised as sensible and necessary. A near-majority of Americans believe that Muslim-Americans should have their civil rights curtailed, and it wouldn't be a stretch to find millions who would heartily endorse their indefinite internment. Just look at the lack of outcry over the plan to keep supposed "terrrorists" now imprisoned at Guantanamo incarcerated for life without any hope of trial or due process. Violence against liberals and progressives is talked about with stunning casualness, and is bound to become reality as the winger nation feels more and more frustrated that their percieved utopia is not materializing.

Given these scenarios and examples of the rise of intolerance and corporate-statism, what would you call the system under which we currently labor? I say that if it looks, walks and quacks like goose-stepping fascism, then maybe we should start calling it by name.

Movin' Kinda Slow at the Junction

After gathering steam back East all last summer, it appears that the elusive Joementum has finally made its way West, and is now on creaky display here at The Generik Brand.

We can't, for the life of us, figure out why the American people wouldn't want to elect lovable old Uncle Joe from Petticoat Junction to the highest office in the land, but the results are in, and Joe's out. If only Arnold the pig had run instead...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

It's NOT a Deathray!

Many thanks to my good friend Eric the DiscoBoy for this great story that came over the wires at the small SoCal University where he is employed:

Handheld Laser Is Not a Deathray

'Personal Responsibility Is Key' Says Laser Manufacturer Bigha, Inc.

CORVALLIS, Ore., Jan. 4, 2005 -- Recent events have raised concern about handheld lasers being used to wreak havoc and terror on aircraft. On Friday, the F.B.I. questioned a New Jersey man for several hours after he reportedly stood in his back yard and targeted an airplane and a helicopter with a laser he purchased over the internet from an Oregon-based company.

That company's Web site describes its laser as useful for astronomy and other pointing purposes but warns users not to aim at aircraft, cars or people. According to John Acres, president of Bigha, "The handheld laser is an amazing tool, not a deathray. Our laser, while powerful, is carefully manufactured and tested to meet government regulations and is perfectly safe when used responsibly."

This newest generation of laser emits a green-colored beam and weighs only a few ounces. Because the human eye is at least twenty times more sensitive to green than red, the green laser appears much brighter than traditional red lasers though it uses no more power. Handheld green lasers have become more popular since prices dropped last year from over $350 to around $130. Approximately 100,000 green lasers were sold in the United States in 2004 -- double that of the previous year.

The United States Food and Drug Administration strictly regulates laser power. "Our laser provides the maximum legally allowed power for general use, but is still twenty thousand times less powerful than a standard 100 watt household light bulb. It simply does not contain enough energy to cause anything to burn, much less crash an airplane as some people fear," says Acres.

The green laser beam is incredibly bright when viewed head-on and will cause temporary blindness if shined directly into the eye from close range. At longer distances, the beam is still bright enough to startle a person that is concentrating on another activity such as driving a car or flying an airplane. The beam is easily visible for several miles under the right conditions though it rapidly dims as distance increases.

Green lasers are safely used by tens of thousands of birdwatchers, astronomers, botanists and lecturers worldwide. "Personal responsibility is key," says Acres. "Like a kitchen knife or power saw, the laser is a wonderful tool when used with care and common sense."

But it's NOT a Deathray! Got that?

On a somewhat similar note -- you know, talking about futuristic stuff and stuff -- here's an old article, published in 1961 in Weekend Magazine, telling us what our lives will be like in the year 2000.

"It looks as if everything will be so easy that people will probably die of sheer boredom."

That sounds just like my life for the past five years.

"The status symbol of the year 2000 will be the home computer help, which will help mother tend the children, cook the meals and issue reminders of appointments."

Because who could ever imagine mother working outside of the home... especially in the World of the Future!

"By the year 2020, five percent of the world's population will have emigrated into space."

That sounds great! Especially if that five percent was comprised entirely of Freepers, wingnuts and Little Green Footballers. But I repeat myself.

"There will be no common colds, tooth decay, cancer or mental illness."

*sigh* If only it were true... no mental illness would mean we wouldn't have to send the Freepers and Footballers to the off-worlds. They'd all come to their senses and realize what idiots they've been!

Now where are my Hovercraft and my Rocket Belt? And my Deathray?

It's NOT a Deathray!!

Oh yeah.

A Jock by Any Other Name Would Smell

File this one under "Bad Ideas, Sports Division."

The Anaheim Angels have announced that they are changing their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Now, while I'm not a fan of that team (especially since they bested my Giants in '02), I have generally been in favor of the changes that new owner Arte Moreno has made since he bought the team not too long ago -- lowering beer and ticket prices, signing Vladimir Guerrero, etc. But this name change is just weird, and unwieldy besides. It makes no sense. It's like calling the Jets (or Giants) the New York Jets (or Giants) of East Rutherford. Or the Dallas Cowboys of Irvine. Or the Golden State Warriors of Oakland.

Or the Ninth Circle of Hell Bush Administration of Washington, DC.

Shame, Shame, Shame

Never underestimate the power of shame.

After The Biggest Li'l Dictator in the Western Hemisphere got an earful about the initial paltry sums he was pledging for disaster relief in tsunami-ravaged countries, he and his maladministration upped the figure ten-fold. Though that's still not a huge amount when compared to other countries' contributions (hello, Japan!), or to the amount being spent on Iraq daily, or when you consider just how much money we actually have at our disposal -- a tidy sum of which will be spent on high-rolling Rethug contributors who want to eat the Preznit's Balls on January 20th -- it is something. Surely the sting of being called "stingy" came into play in making that decision.

Now we read that Bugfucker Tom DeLay and his Repugnantcan Mafia cronies in the House are backing down from the proposed rule change that would have allowed The (Dumb as a) Hammer to keep his post even if indicted, which is looking increasingly likely. One of the stated reasons for doing so was to keep the Democrats from having an issue with which to batter their rivals across the aisle, but you know what -- so what? If that's what it takes for the GOoPers to do the right thing, then so be it. Baby steps, GOPeople, baby steps.

Tom DeLay, in a rare moment of indecision, debates whether spitting or swallowing will be more advantageous to his chances of beating the rap.

Shame -- and public outcry -- can work. Now we need to keep the pressure on in other arenas... like the proposed Social Security debacle makeover; or the proposal to keep political prisoners presently in Guantanamo incarcerated for life; or the continued employment of Col. Klink Donald Rumsfailed; or the nomination of Little Elian Alberto Gonzales as Chief Torturer Head Executioner Attorney General. Shame, shame, shame all around.
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