Thursday, March 31, 2005

Throwing in the Towel

Over at Scientific American, they've had it with the know-nothings, the creationists, the "intelligent design"-ers, the fundies, the anti-environmentalists, the flat-earth folks and all the rest of the ignorati who are increasingly running the show here in America -- they're officially giving up. They say as much in this month's issue.

"There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong..."

Well, that's awfully big of them, even if their tongues are planted deep in their collective cheek. Check it out, it's a good read and an even better backhanded slap at the morons incapable of critical thought who have risen to such prominence in the wake of the Righteous and Imperial Bush presidency.

Generik aside -- Shorter Intelligent Design: "Gawrsh, I'm jes' too dang stoopid to understand how that there bye-rologee works, so it must be magic! Or God! Or sumthin'! A-hyuck!"

It's Over -- and Just About to Start

Poor Terri Schiavo has finally died. We now await the Jesus comparisons, the people wearing feeding tubes on chains around their necks or wrists as jewelry and fashion accessories, and the violence about to be committed against Michael Schiavo, his family, and any number of judges, doctors or lawyers involved in the case who didn't take the side of the sell-out Schindlers. We also anticipate that Tom DeLay, George and Jeb Bush and many other opportunist Republicans will use this moment to try to cast themselves as noble fighters for Terri's life in the eyes of the public, to attempt to blame Democrats for her death and for "fostering a culture of death," and on and on and on, ad nauseum -- and that the media will happily go along for the ride, parroting the talking points handed down by Rush and the rest like good little sheep.

Holy crap. Hang on for dear life, because it's all about to hit the fan...

No Fecal Matter, Mr. Holmes

Here's a real eye-opening, ground-breaking, earth-shattering, mind-boggling, something-else-cliched-ing report: the intelligence on Iraq prior to our invasion there was "dead wrong." Gosh. Color me shocked. Shocked!

Of course, rather than admit that they were the biggest part of the problem by insisting that anyone who disagreed with their preconceived view be shuffled ignominiously out of sight and out of hearing range, the Bush maladministration is taking this occasion to point fingers at their own intelligence-gathering departments and saying, "See? See? They're the ones responsible for the bad intel, not us!" The fact that everyone from Bush and Cheney and Rummy and Condi and Colin on down were parroting the whole "mushroom cloud" worst-case scenario theory and alleged al Qaida ties to whip up a jingoistic frenzy of patriotic hatred is conveniently forgotten with the release of this report. Instead, the White House and its media lapdogs focus on the idea that the intelligence community needs to be overhauled, so that it can work together on gathering information and present a united front to those in charge and to the public. That's probably true in one respect -- the intelligence community probably could use some shaking up, and should coordinate with one another about information received and how to interpret it. But to use that fact to somehow absolve the Bush cabal of their deliberate and heinous effort to sway the public and Congress with lies and rumors and half-truths is just ludicrous.

There was plenty of good information available before the bombs began to fall, and more was coming in as long as the US allowed the weapons inspectors to keep doing their jobs. Other countries, notably France and Germany, were unswayed by Bush's Chicken Little act. Millions of people worldwide were against the prospect of our troops going into Iraq. But the collective White House mind was made up, and no facts were going to stop them. They wanted their bloody damn war, and by god, they were going to get it, come hell or high water.

Well, they got it, all right, in spades. The Iraqis responded as any citizenry would at having their sovereign nation invaded, and the bloodshed continues to this day, with no end in sight. At the president's request, they brought it on.

Are you happy now, you incompetent, bloodthirsty chickenhawk bastard?

Dead Wrong in Public

Here's a reprint of the baseball predictions for 2005 that I sent out to my sports fan friends today -- feel free to ignore this post if you don't care for baseball:

Okay, the time has come. My first game of 2005 is on tonight, and even though it's still preseason, I'm excited. So I can't put it off any longer. It's time to fish or cut bait, put up or shut up, stand up for what I believe, put my money where my mouth is and numerous other shopworn cliches. It's time, in other words, for my annual baseball predictions.

Before I start, though, let me get something out of the way right off the bat: I don't care one tiny little bit about steroids. I don't give a skinny rat's ass whether Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi or Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa or Jose Canseco or any other player, from the superstars to the marginal cup of coffee benchwarmers, injected, smeared or swallowed steroids or any other potentially performance enhancing substance (like amphetamines, for instance). I just don't care, any more than I care that Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Edgar Allen Poe used opium, or that Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Toulouse-Latrec fairly drowned themselves in absinthe, or that Louis Armstrong and nearly every worthwhile musician since smoked pot, or that Miles Davis and Charlie Parker and Keith Richards shot heroin, or that Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald pickled their livers with alcohol, or that Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon and Ken Kesey used LSD, or that Hunter S. Thompson tried absolutely everything he could get his hands on. I don't care if Lance Armstrong was guilty of blood-doping. I don't care if Keith Hernandez or Dave Parker or Mercury Morris snorted cocaine. It doesn't matter to me that the East German Olympic athletes of the '60s and '70s were so full of hormones and steroids and whatnot that they all changed gender en masse. As far as I'm concerned, it's human nature to use drugs, to try to alter our consciousness and our reality by artificial means. Substance abuse registers pretty much not at all on my radar screen.

So. That said, let's get down to the meat of the matter: Whose teams are going to suck the worst this year? Yours? Mine? Someone else's? Yes. Someone else's.

Some random thoughts:

The Dodgers won the NL West last year, but they are going down this year. Jeff Kent? Ricky Ledee? No Adrian Beltre or Shawn Green? Please. Brad Penny wasn't the answer last year, nor will he be this year, unless the question is, "What former Dodger is now the proud owner of a health club franchise with outlets in Baldwin Park and Puente Hills?" And Eric Gagne might have a little too much junk in his trunk, I mean knee, to last all season. The Giants, even with Bonds likely out until June, have the pitching to contend and maybe even dominate. I'm a loyal fan, I own a season ticket, and I'm picking them to go all the way this year. All the goddamned way.

Poor Dusty Baker. He's in pretty much a can't-win situation. Getting rid of Sosa was the right thing to do, but unless he takes that team to the World Series and wins it this year, the fans will be calling for his head. In fact, they'll probably be doing that by mid-June. They'll be lucky to finish third in that division. The Cardinals will once again kick every other team in the NL Central to the curb, take their lunch money and then fold in the playoffs.

I hate picking the Braves to win their division again, but until it doesn't happen, I won't believe it. Or something like that. There will be a year when Bobby Cox's nine doesn't have a mortal lock on the NL East. This isn't that year. The Marlins will, of course, contend, and then look like the second coming of the '27 Yankees late in the year. They will go to the playoffs as a Wild Card and ultimately lose.

The Angels now officially have the worst -- and stupidest -- and worst -- name in all of baseball, direct from the Department of Redundancy Department. The The Angels Angels of Anaheim. Los Los Angeles Angeles de Anaheim. Nevertheless, they have perhaps the best manager in all of baseball (and oh, how it pains me to say that about a former Dodger!), a good, solid pitching staff and exceptional bullpen, and Vladimir Guerrero. Forget it. Angels Angels win win the the AL AL West West.

The Twins will take the Central again, because who else can win that division? Maybe the White Sox, but that's putting a lot of weight on new cancer A. J. Pierzynski's shoulders. If A. J. can refrain from kneeing the Sox's trainer in the nuts early in the season (as he did last year to Giants' trainer Stan Conte), they have a chance. But the Twins have the pitching. Nobody else in that division does.

I hate the fucking Yankees. Can't stand 'em. Wish they'd fold up their franchise and go away. But, like the Braves, the division is theirs to lose. Short a plane crash or tsunami off Long Island, it's Yankees in the playoffs one more time this year. The Red Sox will probably win the Wild Card again this year, but it will likely be another 86 years before they win another World Series. Everyone else in the AL East is just cannon fodder.

Enough blather. Here's how they stack up, Generik-style:

NL West

NL Central

NL East

AL West

AL Central
White Sox

AL East
Red Sox
Blue Jays
Devil Rays

That's it, read 'em and weep. Or rejoice, because it's BASEBALL SEASON!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Rummaging around Joe's garage recently, we came across this button stashed behind a few suitcases full of money from insurance industry lobbyists:

"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been."

-- John Greenleaf Whittier

Dare to dream, Joe. Dare to dream.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Taking God Out of Politics

The NY Times' Paul Krugman is en fuego today. He's bound to get stacks and stacks of hate mail for his column -- most of it misguided, misspelled and misdirected -- because he's taking on the religious extremists who are attempting to take over this country. Using the Schiavo case as a springboard, he launches a blistering attack on those who would gladly dump the Constitution in favor of their version of "biblical law," whatever the hell that is. These members of the new American Taliban -- like Ralph Reed, Randall Terry, Pat Robertson, Lou Sheldon, Fred Phelps, et al -- are living proof that fundamentalism is dangerous, no matter what flavor or color it comes in.

"Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people's beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself.


"Before he saw the polls, Tom DeLay declared that 'one thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America.' Now he and his party, shocked by the public's negative reaction to their meddling, want to move on. But we shouldn't let them. The Schiavo case is, indeed, a chance to highlight what's going on in America.

One thing that's going on is a climate of fear for those who try to enforce laws that religious extremists oppose. Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo's parents, hasn't killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor. George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards.

Another thing that's going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right.

Everyone knows about the attempt to circumvent the courts through 'Terri's law.' But there has been little national exposure for a Miami Herald report that Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice - a plan called off when local police said they would enforce the judge's order that she remain there.

And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law.

The religious right is already having a big impact on education: 31 percent of teachers surveyed by the National Science Teachers Association feel pressured to present creationism-related material in the classroom.


We can't count on restraint from people like Mr. DeLay, who believes that he's on a mission to bring a 'biblical worldview' to American politics, and that God brought him a brain-damaged patient to help him with that mission.

What we need - and we aren't seeing - is a firm stand by moderates against religious extremism. Some people ask, with justification, Where are the Democrats? But an even better question is, Where are the doctors fiercely defending their professional integrity? I think the American Medical Association disapproves of politicians who second-guess medical diagnoses based on video images - but the association's statement on the Schiavo case is so timid that it's hard to be sure."

It's long past time that we as a nation started standing up to the fundies and telling them to butt out. Good for Krugman for starting the volley. Now we need to follow through. Are you listening, Democrats?

Get Real Representation

Over at The Agonist, there's an open letter to the National Press Club regarding their plan to present a panel on the scandal of cock-headed man-whore Jim-Jeff Gannon-Guckert and the similarities and differences between journalists and bloggers. On the panel will be the discredited Jim-Jeff himself, Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette and Congress Daily's John Stanton. While we have the utmost respect for Ms. Cox and enjoy her delightful blog full of gossip and anal sex references, we don't feel she really represents liberal bloggers as well as so many other major players might.

The letter at The Agonist, drafted by contributor Sean-Paul Kelley, asks that the Press Club allow the left-wing side of the blogosphere to be heard, namely in the person of John Aravosis from If any of you readers -- especially those of you who are also bloggers -- are interested in signing on to this request, click here and ask to have your name added to the list. Isn't it time that REAL liberal voices be heard by the So-Called Liberal Media?

***Update: Apparently there's no longer a need for this letter. As of Tuesday, Matthew Yglesias has been added to the panel.

***FURTHER Update: Okay, now there's a new letter up. Check it out. Sean-Paul still wants John Aravosis (or someone more directly involved in breaking the Gannon story) on the panel.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste (Or What Would You Do With A Brain If You Had One?)

From's War Room, the Quote of the Day:

"I saw the menu for the President's Easter dinner. Does he know that Terri Schiavo had nothing to eat or drink yesterday and for the last 10 days?"

-- Jeff Gannon, presenting the question he would have asked if he were allowed to attend today's White House press briefing

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Come Back, Shame

Via SF blogger Miniver Cheevy comes this very cogent post by Timothy Burke about the Terri Schiavo case:

If they had shame, they’d be embarrassed, chagrined, mortified that the highest legislative body in the country and the President of the United States can find the time to have a special Sunday session and work out high-level compromises to save a single life, any single life. How about all the other people who died last week who could have been saved? What about the people who don’t have quality health care who died or were hurt? Why not have a Sunday session to help them pay their bills? Why not have a Sunday session to help a man who’s losing his house, help a woman who can’t buy her medications, help a child who can’t get enough food to eat? What makes Terry Schiavo Citizen Number 1, the sleeping princess whom the King has decreed shall receive every benevolence in his power to grant? It isn’t even a serendipity that the King’s eyes happened to alight on her as he passed by. Serendipity I could deal with: if the President happens to read a letter from some poor schmuck and it touches his heartstrings and he wants to quietly do something, he tells an aide to look into it, he puts a twenty in a White House envelope and sends it on, ok, it happens. Serendipity wouldn’t be shameful.

This is, and it’s being done so brazenly that I think it suggests that the point of ultimate shamelessness is fast approaching. When it does, if it already has, then there really will be very little for anyone to do besides mockery and silence, besides accept our second-class citizenship in a country owned and operated by plutocrats for the religious right.
(Emphasis mine.)

Read the entire post, it's really very well written and thought out.

Just as an aside, why haven't we BARBARians been aware of Miniver Cheevy before now (or have we?), and shouldn't we extend an invitation to him to our next get-together?

I'm Rubber, You're Glue

Paperwight put up an excellent post last week that garnered quite a few comments about the practice of name-calling in the blogosphere. Specifically, he mentioned using the word "Rethuglican" for Republican, a crime which we here at The Generik Brand have been guilty of numerous times. There are other examples, and we freely admit to having been one of the worst offenders in that area in the past. But he makes a good point, one that has been made before (by commenter Pete, aka Buffoon, for one), that in sinking to this level, one detracts from the argument at hand and wins no converts.

I have to say I'm torn on the subject. I mostly agree with his basic premise, and I realize that many people will not take seriously any screed decrying all Republicans as liars and thieves and fascist theocrats (especially when the words used are even more harsh and inflammatory); on the other hand, I do enjoy the viciousness and bite that accompanies such epithet-laden rants as are found on The Rude Pundit and other attack sites, and admit to wanting to emulate that scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners approach from time to time.

So I'll have to consider this some more. Keeping all my posts aboveboard and serious and heartfelt is a noble goal, but trying to make people laugh or shock them has never been beneath me. I would very much appreciate any comments those of you reading this might have on the subject.

Actually, I look forward to bringing this up as a group discussion next time we get together at a BARBARian beer bust. When might we expect that to happen, hmmm (he said, glancing over at Scaramouche and Simbaud)?

Pass the Catch-Up

Still trying to get caught up in the world these days, and sometimes there's no better way to do that than to swing on over to the palace of the King of Zembla for a good read or six. For instance, having not had time to get through my daily newspaper yesterday, I missed this Don Asmussen Bad Reporter strip -- reprinted on the King's site -- that had me rolling with laughter at the the unlikely combination of an order of Wendy's chili con dedo, as the King put it, and a certain court case cum Congressional circus over a Florida woman whose name you might recognize. As I wrote in the comments there, it almost had me shooting milk out of my nose, and I wasn't even drinking milk at the time.

Satire is so very hard to do properly these days, as those of you who read this blog regularly know very well. (Meaning, of course, that my attempts at it are not always successful.) Here's an example, though, of a satirical piece done right. It has all the earmarks of truth, and in today's climate is easily as believable as -- if not more believable than -- just about any routine news story regarding schools and the mandates coming down on them by the holders of the federal purse strings. Abstinence education is just the beginning...

On a far more serious note, there is a long excerpt from and link to this very disturbing story of oil-diver turned documentary filmmaker Mark Manning's journey to Fallujah to capture the words and images of the people who live there and their reaction to the mess we've made of the occupation of Iraq. This is haunting, chilling stuff. Thanks to the greed- and power-driven schemes of a gang of incompetent, bloodthirsty ideologues who now occupy the halls of power in this country, we have poisoned our world and our reputation in it for generations to come.

Many thanks to His Zemblan Majesty for all of those links, and if you rush right over to his site now, you can still catch not one but two Joe Bageant essays. Meanwhile, I've got some more catching up to do, not to mention my taxes...

Everybody Was Kung Flu Fighting

I'm a few days late linking to this, but over at Dyerama, Joel has a long and very thought-provoking post up about the Plum Island bio-hazard lab, just off Long Island, and its current research into the flu virus that killed millions of people worldwide in the pandemic of 1918. Despite the fact that most of his posts are fueled as much by Newcastle Brown as by interest, information and outrage, this is a very sobering read with some excellent links. There's plenty there that could possibly be interpreted as strictly for the tinfoil-hat crowd, but there are also enough links to credible resources and citations of well-documented, undisputed information to make any serious reader sit up and take notice. For instance:

"...Plum Island now has a new owner: The Department of Homeland Security:
On the face of it, DHS says it is "committed to positive community relations"; but in a recently-published notice in the Federal Register, it proposed to grant itself authority to make secret the environmental assessments of government activities that are required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The change would make it possible for DHS to conduct activities on Plum Island (and other facilities) without divulging risks, effects or even their existence under NEPA. Plum Island is poised on the bleeding edge of DHS’ research program on biological weapons, a program that includes activities that independent observers conclude are practically indistinguishable from offensive biological weapons research.

Which brings us back to Plum Island’s institutional biosafety committee (IBC), the local committee that, according to the Bush administration, forms the government’s major line of defense to review dual-use research projects and to ensure their safety and security. Thus, if there is a place where the government might demonstrate that IBCs can in fact be an effective mechanism to review the conduct of dual-use bioweapons research, it is at facilities like Plum Island, which are under direct government control and which have missions that are focused on biodefense.

What has DHS done with the Plum Island Institutional Biosafety Committee? Nothing. Since DHS took over the facility more than a year ago, the Plum Island IBC has not met. Not once. The committee whose responsibility it is to ensure that research is safe and secure appears to be moribund. Not only has there been no committee review of Plum Island’s new and ongoing research projects, the committee has not met to review safety conditions in laboratories nor to perform any of the other duties incumbent upon it.

Bush administration biodefense policy leaders claim that IBCs can take responsibility for the conduct of dual-use research with biological weapons agents; but the Department of Homeland Security itself does not maintain an effective institutional biosafety committee at Plum Island."

Sunshine Project

Meanwhile, the media point their cameras at Tom DeLay claiming to be a life-saver to a brain-dead woman in Forida; to Michael Jackson in his pajamas in a California courtroom; to Martha Stewart recovering from her stint in stoney lonesome, etc. etc. etc., and the pundits tell those of us who are actually worried about the path our nation is now following to go pound salt.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Pictorial Tribute

My pal Dean in Connecticut (famous for Joementum!) has posted a tribute in pictures to our Most Moral and Godly Preznit, because he is a Good American.

Dean, that is. Not our MMandG Preznit.

Go, check it out, be amused.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Like a Chainsaw Through a Dictionary

Thanks to my good friend Marty, who accompanied me to the Elvis show Tuesday night (and about whom I can say absolutely anything I want here, because I know he doesn't read this blog, the bastard), I have the set-list from that show. Check it out:

Elvis Costello with the Imposters
Oakland, CA, Paramount Theatre

1. Blue Chair
2. Uncomplicated
3. Clown Strike
4. King Horse
5. Country Darkness
6. Bedlam
7. Needle Time
8. Blame It On Cain
9. Either Side Of The Same Town
10. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
11. Clubland
12. Our Little Angel
13. Suit Of Lights
14. Kinder Murder
15. In The Darkest Place
16. When I Was Cruel No. 2
17. Watching The Detectives
18. The Delivery Man
19. Monkey To Man
20. Hidden Charms
21. Mystery Dance
22. Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used To Do)?
23. There's A Story In Your Voice
24. Pump It Up
25. Hurry Down Doomsday
26. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
27. The Scarlet Tide

As for the venue, if you're not familiar with the Paramount Theatre, you should really try to get to a show there -- or at least look at their website. It's a beautifully restored Art Deco palace, with plush, comfortable seats, leg room, good sight-lines and excellent acoustics. I don't think there's a bad seat in the house, really. I've seen Elvis there a couple times now; also saw Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard there last week, and Bonnie Raitt a few years back. I'm sure there are some other shows I've been to there that I'm forgetting just now, but it doesn't matter.

Growing up in Pomona, we had the Fox Theatre, which was also a nice Art Deco movie house, but not on the scale of the Paramount. That might be the best place to see a live show in the Bay Area these days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Wednesday No-Joementum Blogging

We're giving our favorite Republican-wannabe a slight break this week, since A) we posted negatively about him twice last Wednesday, and B) he came out publicly against both drilling in the ANWR and privatizing Social Security this past week. Also, we're blogging from home right now and have to get ready to go out to dinner soon and so just don't have the time to spend digging up dirt.

Relax, Joe, take a breather this week. We'll be back next week to pour sand in your AstroGlide.

Absence Makes the Reader Grow Fonder

Once again, real life events have conspired against my best efforts to post at least one item to this blog every day. An insane workload, frequent power outages in my neighborhood in the last week, dinners with friends and Elvis Costello at the Paramount Theater in Oakland have all combined to restrict or curtail the amount of time I've had to spend blathering away in this forum lately. My apologies to any of you folks out there who have missed my writing, filled as it is with trenchant and pithy observations, not to mention sly, sparkling wit and sarcasm sharp enough to shave your uncle Ernesto.

Or so I like to believe.

Just to weigh in on what seems to be the pressing issue of the day (at least according to the MSM), it's my opinion that, grandstanding and religious right-pandering Republican Congresswhores aside, that poor woman in Florida should be allowed to have her undignified and artificially-sustained existence come to a quiet end, and soon. The spectacle of the Schindler family and their coterie of child molesters priests begging from court to court and judge to judge and legislator to legislator in an effort to allow her to continue "living" in a persistent vegetative (and brain-dead) state is just shameful and tragic. Let go, already.

For the record -- and Mrs. Generik is fully aware of this -- if I ever get to a state similar to the one Terry Schiavo is in, I want the plug pulled yesterday. Not for me an existence where I'm not conscious of my surroundings or in control of my motor skills. I've been so adamant about it, in fact, that I was almost afraid to tell Mrs. G the last time I broke my leg. But seriously, I'll take the Hunter S. Thompson route out before I put up with debilitating infirmity or loss of function. I'm not that attached to this life.

Anyway, that's my take, my two cents. I'm hoping I'll get a little more time to throw some more pennies your way in the near future, but right now that commodity is at a premium. (Funny coincidence -- I'm listening to "Time Has Come Today" by the Chambers Brothers right now. Thanks, Eric B!)

In other news -- big congratulations to my pals Jeff and Ramona in Kentucky who, after living in sin for the past few years, finally tied the knot a while back. They met online, can you imagine such a thing?

Oh, and the Elvis Costello show last night? A total rave-up. Excellent. Plenty of material from the new -- and very good -- album, The Delivery Man; most all of the old standbys that we've long come to expect at one of his shows, like Watching the Detectives, Pump It Up, Mystery Dance, (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea and more; and, best of all, a few surprises from the catalog: King Horse, Blame it on Cain, Blood and Chocolate, Clown Strike, Clubland. He was congenial, convivial, conversational and a consummate professional. He led the Imposters through their paces with aplomb, and seemed genuinely happy to be there. I know I was.

So... are we caught up now? I'm sure there's more to talk about, and we'll get to it in due time, but that's about it for right now. Because how can you miss me if I won't go away?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

New Blogger On The Block

Here's something that hardly ever happens: someone actually took my advice.

My pal Joel, who wrote the two letters featured in the post A Man of Letters, below, has started up his own blog. He calls it Dyerama, and promises only to post when he's imbibing. Spectacular! It's like a late-night phone call from a drunken ex-boyfriend in blog form!

Actually, it's much better than that (and he has already broken his promise once to post -- *gasp!* -- sober). He can get a real good rant on when he feels the urge, and he apparently feels the urge pretty often.

So I urge you, my reader(s), to go and check it out, now and often. Because there's always room for another blog in the blogosphere, right? To Joel, I just want to say welcome to the neighborhood. Nice to have you aboard, and be prepared to now give up all of what was previously your free time. Write on, bro!

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Year Passes Like Nothing

It's hard for me to believe that a full year has gone by since the missus and I went to China to see my brother. Right now we're making plans and reservations for our upcoming European Tour, but a year ago we were getting close to the end of a nearly-three week trip around China. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime; here are just a few of the literally hundreds of pictures we took while we were there.

On the way to the giant Buddha at Leshan, Sichuan Province.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Temple of Heaven, Beijing.

Generik and friend, Shanghai.

Yuyuan Gardens, Shanghai.

Pearl Tower and Pudong business district, Shanghai.

My brother, M Otis, in Yangshuo.

Along the Li River, Yangshuo.

Marble boat, Summer Palace, Beijing.

Wearing Roy's hat on the Great Wall at Badaling.

Mrs. Generik buys a garland along the Jade Dragon River, near Yangshuo.

Sam, our guide in Yangshuo, and Mrs. Generik on the Li River.

Hanging meat, Jade Dragon River.

M Otis in Kowloon, across the harbor from Hong Kong.

Juggler in Chengdu.

A happy boy on the Li River.

Reflections on the Pearl River, Guangzhou (Canton).

Kite stand in Chengdu park.

Koi pond, Chengdu park.

Buddhist monk and friend outside Forbidden City, Beijing.

Club in Kowloon (Mrs. G wouldn't let me check it out).

Another club in Kowloon (but what is it tonight?).

Seafood on display at the night market, Hong Kong.

It's good to be the King; it's better to be the Emperor.

A Man of Letters

Those of you who are on my political email distribution list got a chance yesterday to read the letter my friend Joel sent to "Jeff Gannon." Because I enjoyed that letter so much, I'm going to reprint it here. In addition, for your entertainment and enjoyment, I'm putting up his even more recent letter to Pat Robertson's Regent University, thanking them for having recently hired John Ashcroft.

Joel needs to start his own blog, so that he can post this sort of thing himself. (In fact, he may be pursuing that very goal right now.)

By the way, in case you're wondering, the address to send email to "Jeff Gannon" is Not that I'm trying to encourage any of you folks out there to send him a nastygram telling him he's a vain, vapid cock-headed man-whore without a shred of credibility, because deep down, in his heart of hearts, he probably already knows full well that he's a vain, vapid cock-headed man-whore without a shred of credibility.

I mean, I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, here's Joel's letter to "Jeff":

so, how does it really feel to slam the very sexuality you are
tied to by nature? or were you just moonlighting on those websites
and advertisements? and what exactly do you mean when you say that
you are "on hiatus" from the white house press room? do you seriously
think you would ever be invited back now that you have been shown
to be a liar and a shill? hiatus means "on a break" or "vacation".
you have been shunned, turned away, disassociated from, given the
heave-ho. a better career move might be to challenge tonya harding
to a wrestling match, although i'd be leery of betting my money on
you. while you have a very creepy quality about you (i.e. you change
your name, get by the secret service "somehow", toss sophomoric
questions that make even the biased cringe in their argyles, then
whine about the unfairness of your outing [in both senses of the
word]), which should make even the stoutest of heart unwilling to
touch you in fear of some loathsome legion attaching itself to their
souls, ms. harding has enough similar qualities in terms of shameless
self-promoting and ability to sell oneself's bedrock identity in
return for an extra 15 minutes worth of fame to actually be able to
grapple with you. think about it while you slip further into your
chasm of self-demise.

And here is his letter to Regent University, regarding the hiring of John Ashcroft:

I'd like to thank you for taking in John Ashcroft as a teacher. I
believe it shows your commitment to support the economy and keep
people away from the unemployment lines. While Mr. Ashcroft may have
shown himself to be a liar, a hypocrite, a perjurer and a political
opportunist (who would stop at nothing to further the agenda of anyone
who outranked him, thereby making him a toady as well), it is with
glee that I regard your hiring of him. Better the enemy I know at a
pre-fab "university" in plain sight then then the enemy I know somewhere
out in the ether where I can't see him. So, thank you for putting him
back in the bulls-eye of the media. Now, I can continue to hear of his
strident, anti-American remarks about how we Liberals are ruining the
country and making it a Godless place for you Chosen People who know
oh-so-much more than we about how God wants this country to be run.
Thank you and God Bless You as your bosses make a mockery of a dilemma
that most likely started out as a simple question: what gives you the
right to call someone like me a transgressor merely because I think or
believe differently than you?

Nice work, Joel. Get a blog of your own going and I'll be sure to put up a link to it.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ann Coulter NUDE!! (Shameless Pandering to the Right Wing)

1. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

2. This trick seems to work for John over at Blogenlust every couple of weeks...

Courtesy of Wonkette, via Blogenlust

Here she is, you brigades of horny Freepers, you lonely Little Green Footballers, you members of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, Virgin Bens and various other supporters of the current Fascist Theocracy: Ann the Man Coulter, naked and loaded up on suds, just the way you like her. Imagine she's sitting at your table right now; the Roofies have started to take effect, and your quotes of Limbaugh and Hannity and Savage are causing her to swoon, and maybe even get erect wet. Now, slowly, go in for the kill...

Go on! Get to it, conservo-boys! Have at her, indulge your fantasies and don't even think about whether she is or is not anatomically correct. (Actually, she's about as correct as a Ken doll, although she is a hell of a lot more masculine.) Now's your chance to put your, uh, money where your mouth is, or wants to be, or... criminey, I'm even grossing myself out now...

Gee, I hope this works. Maybe with this and a serious post about Condi Rice's chances of attaining the presidency in '08, even I can get a plug from Howie one of these days...

(Seriously, congratulations on that last, JC!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Extra-Special Bonus Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Thanks to Mr_Blog for pointing out this excellent Paul Krugman editorial from yesterday's NY Times. Titled The $600 Billion Man, it takes Traitor Joe to task for his perhaps-unwitting (or maybe just dim-witted) shilling for Preznit Robin Hood In Reverse's astoundingly bad plan to destroy privatize Social Security. It says... well, here, read it for yourself:

The argument over Social Security privatization isn't about rival views on how to secure the program's future - even the administration admits that private accounts would do nothing to help the system's finances. It's a debate about what kind of society America should be.

And it's a debate Republicans appear to be losing, because the public doesn't share their view that it's a good idea to expose middle-class families, whose lives have become steadily riskier over the past few decades, to even more risk. As soon as voters started to realize that private accounts would replace traditional Social Security benefits, not add to them, support for privatization collapsed.

But the Republicans' loss may not be the Democrats' gain, for two reasons. One is that some Democrats, in the name of centrism, echo Republican talking points. The other is that claims to be defending average families ring hollow when you defer to corporate interests on votes that matter.

Let's start with the case of the bogus $600 billion.

In his Jan. 15 radio address, President Bush made a startling claim: "According to the Social Security trustees, waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing Social Security." The $600 billion cost of each year's delay has become a standard administration talking point, repeated by countless conservative pundits - who have apparently not looked at what the trustees actually said.

In fact, the trustees never said that waiting a year to "fix" Social Security costs $600 billion. Mr. Bush was grossly misrepresenting the meaning of a technical discussion of accounting issues (it's on Page 58 of the 2004 trustees' report), which has nothing to do with the cost of delaying changes in the retirement program.

The same type of "infinite horizon" calculation applied to the Bush tax cuts says that their costs rise by $1 trillion a year. That's not a useful measure of the cost of not repealing those cuts immediately.

So anyone who repeats the $600 billion line is helping to spread a lie. That's why it was disturbing to read a news report about the deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration, who must know better, doing just that at a pro-privatization rally.

But in his latest radio address, Mr. Bush - correctly, this time - attributed the $600 billion figure to a "Democrat leader." He was referring to Senator Joseph Lieberman, who, for some reason, repeated the party line - the Republican party line - the previous Sunday.

My guess is that Mr. Lieberman thought he was being centrist and bipartisan, reaching out to Republicans by showing that he shares their concerns. At a time when the Democrats can say, without exaggeration, that their opponents are making a dishonest case for policies that will increase the risks facing families, Mr. Lieberman gave the administration cover by endorsing its fake numbers.

The push to privatize Social Security will probably fail all the same - but such attempts at accommodation may limit the Democrats' political gain.

Meanwhile, the party missed a big opportunity to make its case against increasing families' risk by acquiescing to the credit card industry's demand for harsher bankruptcy laws.

As it happens, Mr. Lieberman stated clearly what was wrong with the bankruptcy bill: "It failed to close troubling loopholes that protect wealthy debtors, and yet it deals harshly with average Americans facing unforeseen medical expenses or a sudden military deployment," making it unfair to "working Americans who find themselves in dire financial straits through no fault of their own." A stand against the bill would have merged populism with patriotism, highlighting Democrats' differences with Republicans' vision of America.

But many Democrats chose not to take that stand. And Mr. Lieberman was among them: his vote against the bill was an empty gesture. On the only vote that opponents of the bill had a chance of winning - a motion to cut off further discussion - he sided with the credit card companies. To be fair, so did 13 other Democrats. But none of the others tried to have it both ways.

It isn't always bad politics to say things that aren't true and claim to support things you actually oppose: just look at who's running the country. But Democrats who engage in these tactics right now create big problems for a party that has been given a special chance - maybe its last chance - to remind the country of what Democrats stand for, and why.

Wednesday Joementum Blah-Blah-Blogging

This week we're focusing on a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that appears to show that our own moral crusader, Holy Joe, a man who has been known to go on and on at length about the moral decline of our civilization due to bad influences from Hollywood and too much available sexual content and blah de blah blah blah, has been quietly accepting cash from people who make their money in the porn industry.

"That looks about right, except I don't see the arrow pointing to my campaign fund."

As the report says: "Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman – who has long campaigned against the growing coarseness of our culture -- along with renown gambling addict William Bennet, handed out 'Silver Sewer' awards to those who made immoral videos, and who has criticized MTV for having porn stars on the air, accepted over $16,000."

Can you spell "hypocrite"? We can: J-O-E-M-E-N-T-U-M. Hypocrite.

Fakery, Quackery, Jiggery-Pokery

Good article this past weekend in the NY Times (reprinted in the SF Chronicle and other papers) regarding the ongoing (and highly illegal) practice of Bozo the Preznit's White House churning out fake news videos pushing the administration's extreme agenda in matters such as Social Security, airport safety, the "success" of the mission in Iraq and more. The fact that the non-partisan Government Accountability Office has let them know in no uncertain terms that this practice is not just unethical but also against the law apparently matters not a whit to them. White House lawyers have advised government agency heads responsible for producing these videos to ignore the GAO's memos. As far as the White House is concerned, creating and disseminating propaganda on the taxpayers' dime is just hunky-dory, and everyone who disagrees should just shut the hell up.

And that's exactly what it is, folks -- propaganda. Taxpayer-funded propaganda, trying (and in many cases succeeding) to get you, me and every other John and Jane Q. Public out there to buy into their bullshit schemes and extreme policies that benefit the wealthy and the large corporations at the expense of poor and middle-income Americans.

But really, what can you expect from this arrogant, ideologically-driven gang riding roughshod over the Constitution, denying information and essential, guaranteed freedoms and rights to the public at large and laughing all the way? No one yet has been able to hold them accountable, why should they think that's going to change any time soon? This, after all, is the same group that ridiculed those of us who live in what they termed the "reality-based community" and gave us the fake journalist and Republican shill, cock-headed man-whore Jim-Jeff. Their regard for honesty, ethics and accountability is about as high as their regard for the poor, the sick, the elderly and military veterans -- which is to say, with about as much affection as they might have for a wet, steaming turd on their coffee table. And as long as the corporate-owned Republicans (and their similarly-funded toadying Democratic allies, like Joementum Lieberman and Coors-Lite Salazar and friends) hold majorities in both houses of Congress and pack the judiciary, there'll be no investigations, no subpoenas, no cries of foul at the blatantly illegal practices that the Bush Gang continue to engage in. They will go on their merry way, screwing the poor to benefit the rich and lying about it all the way.

One thing we can do right now is to click over to this site and sign the petition they're sending to the FCC and the Justice Department. Stop fake news!

***Update: Eric Boehlert on has a good piece up today about this government-created, taxpayer-funded propaganda and the DOJ's bewildering response to the GAO's memos.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Rogue's Gallery

Getting away from politics for the moment, allow me to tell you about my weekend...

I took the opportunity of not having to attend a prior engagement that had fallen through at the next-to-last minute to be a jerk on the loose, and decided to get out of town. I headed south, to Fresno, to be exact.

(When I informed some of my fellow bloggers Thursday night of my plans for the next day, saying "I'm driving to Fresno tomorrow," Paperwight responded with, "You poor bastard."

I told him, "No, no, I'm going there by choice."

He hesitated a moment, then said, "You sick bastard!")

In Fresno, presided over by my pal Joel Dyer and his fellow organizer Marcel Nunis, and kept secured by my other pal in the valley, Chris Johnson, was the fourth annual Rogue Festival (think SF's very similar Fringe Festival), an unjuried exhibition of music, dance, comedy, plays, films and performance art. Last weekend was the last weekend of the Rogue, and I was there to enjoy as much of it as I could soak in in two nights and an afternoon.

Well, I'm here to tell you that I had one hell of a good time. The first performance I witnessed was fellow San Franciscan Steven Karwoski's one-man show at the Starline, detailing the trials and tribulations of his adventures as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles. It was a hilarious piece, made all the more so because it's all true. Karwoski will be bringing this same show to the Exit Theater at Eddy and Taylor in SF this May, so I'm recommending it to all San Franciscans, and will be sure to take Mrs. Generik with me when I catch it a second time.

Jaguar Bennett

After that, I was ready for anything, and anything is exactly what I got. Local hero Jaguar Bennett, a stand-up philosopher of the comedic persuasion (and possessor of perhaps the best show-business name in the entire Central Valley), held court on the patio of Veni Vidi Vici and ranted for nearly an hour on such philosophical conundrums as masturbation, boner pills, self-loathing, stalking oneself and foreign policy. It was seriously funny, in every sense of the phrase. Jaguar needs his own HBO special, or at least a gig shilling for British automobiles... or perhaps hand cream. His line about a "mercy jerk" had me rolling.

I ended the first night with the surf stylings of the Neptunes, who feature twice as many double-necked combination bass-and-guitar instruments than I've ever seen in any other band, anywhere. Wipeout, dude. Whoa! Tubular.

The following day I got to see my other Fresno buddy, notorious local musician Nate Butler and his lovely wife Cindy performing in an ensemble piece about relationships called Opposites Attract that was quite amusing. Definitely a good way to start the afternoon and evening.

Following that was a dance troupe, Altered Modalities, that combined ballet, jazz and hip-hop in a show that left me wheezing and trying to catch my breath. By then, it was time for a drink, so I popped in next door at Livingstone's in between shows and enjoyed the dark and the air conditioning for a while. Next up was Junkology, a troupe of found-object puppeteers led by Rogue co-founder Marcel Nunis. Using only a few rags and other cast-away pieces of erstwhile trash, they told a story of the recent tsunami about a baby that was found floating on a mattress days after the waves hit.

Baba Brinkman

The last show of the night was by far the piece de resistance. It was an encore presentation of The Rap Canterbury Tales, presented by Canadian rap artist and medieval scholar (!!) Baba Brinkman, and it totally rocked, dude. The venue was full to overflowing, and the crowd hung on to his every rhyme. Baba breathed new life into the Miller's Tale, the story of the Wife of Bath and more tales of greed, lust and revenge from Chaucer's timeless classic. He drew more than one standing ovation by the time he had finished.

After that show, the last one of the weeklong-plus Festival, the organizers and the volunteers held a party open to all. Marcel handed out awards to the best performers of the week. A '70s cover band, Dreamweaver, provided the dancing music, and in the middle of it all a surprise wedding broke out, complete with white dress and wedding cake. Joel and fellow Roguette Jen, both Universal Life ministers, officiated over the ceremony, and a seriously good time was had by all.

Or at least a good time was had by me. I could be wrong about the others, but it sure looked like everyone else was having fun.

Bankruptcy Bill: War On (Non-Wealthy) Americans

A lot is being written these days about the Bankruptcy Bill, which is moving through Congress like greasy fecal matter through a dyspeptic Canadian honker right now. Cynthia Tucker spells out just why it's such a bad deal, and below I'm printing a letter to editor of Salon that my good friend Teresa sent after reading Arianna Huffington's column there last week. (Speaking of Salon, Tom Tomorrow's cartoon today touches on this same subject.)

Here is Teresa's take:

"I had significant credit card debt, incurred by graduate school expenses, the sudden death of a parent and my subsequent responsibilities toward my surviving parent, and by various other emergencies and personal expenses over a ten year period.

Last month, I cashed in my 401(k), built up over years of hard and steady work, to pay off most of my debt. I did this the day I received a notice from a credit card company informing me that, for no reason other than a whim on their part, my interest would skyrocket to 29.9%.

I never missed a payment. I never went over my limit. I always paid more than the minimum. My 'reward' for being a responsible credit card user? An interest rate that would have made it statistically impossible for me to ever repay the debt!

This is a hard-learned lesson on my part, and a costly one. But the satisfaction I have in telling those credit weasels to go take a flying leap has been worth every penny. They'll never make another dime of interest from me. My new motto: I'll do without.

I can only encourage every American citizen who can follow my example to do so. Perhaps when the profits of these companies diminish, they will learn their own costly lesson."

Would that all of us could follow Teresa's example (not by losing our 401[k]s, but by paying off our credit card debt). I've done it myself, at much expense and thanks mainly to the capriciousness of the stock market and my good fortune at being gainfully employed and able to take advantage of the employees' stock purchase plan here at work. I know exactly how good it feels to have that burden off my shoulders -- but I also know just how easy it is to get caught in the credit trap, and suddenly finding yourself facing the prospect of making the minimum payment every month for the next 800 years to try to get out from under. Many of us are just one job loss or spousal loss or medical catastrophe from being on the wrong end of those 30% interest rates, and for Congress to grease the wheels underneath us -- while simultaneously giving more tools to the credit industry to institute legal usury -- is simply unconscionable. Bad enough that the Republicans all voted in lockstep for it -- those of us in the reality-based community have come to expect that sort of cavalier attitude and heartlessness to lower- and middle-income Americans from that lot -- but for some Senate Democrats to join them in this indefensible slap in the face is just shameful. Democrats should stand for better than that. The votes of Sens. Biden, Reid, Nelson, Salazar, et al, illustrate precisely how much they value their corporate whoremasters contributors over the needs of their constituents, and I hope that all voters out there remember whose side they were on when the next election comes around.

First Step Toward Marriage Equality

In San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Richard Kramer has ruled today that California's law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman is unconstitutional, setting the stage for a ruling that could allow same-sex couples to receive the full benefits of marriage that only heterosexuals (or those pretending) now enjoy.

The ruling comes more than a year after about 4,000 same-sex couples exchanged marriage vows at San Francisco City Hall after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered that the city clerk issue them marriage licenses. The state Supreme Court declared the marriages invalid last August and ruled that Newsom had exceeded his authority in giving the marriages the go-ahead.

Monday's ruling did not revive those marriages but - if it stands - will allow same-sex couples to marry in the future. Currently, only Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to wed. A trial judge in New York has ruled that state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. That decision is on appeal, and a decision on same-sex marriage is pending in Washington state.

In his 27-page decision, Kramer - an appointee of former Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican - said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates "the basic human right to marry the person of one's choice," and has no rational justification.

Rejecting California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's argument that California is entitled to maintain the traditional definition of marriage, Kramer said the same explanation was offered for the state's ban on interracial marriage, which was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 1948.

The judge also rejected arguments by opponents of same-sex marriage that the current law promotes procreation and child-rearing by a husband and wife. "One does not have to be married in order to procreate, nor does one have to procreate in order to marry," Kramer said.

As a married, non-procreating, gay-friendly heterosexual, allow me to say hurray, and hope that this is only the beginning.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Live Nude Blogging!

Here we are at Pacific Coast Brewing Company, bloggers gathered in the meat world, and boy, can we drink beer. For the moment, we all still have our clothes on. Angy from Ang's Weird Ideas just propositioned Fyrste from Suckful, PSH from Suckful is explaining about St. Patrick, Shystee from Shystee is listening to Chuck from Belisarius Blogs and Hal from Hellblazer and Paperwight from Paperwight's Fair Shot, while Stephen from itlookslikethis and Richard from Scaramouche critique Stephen's dinner.

Man, this is exciting!

Ang wants me to mention that she's single, available horny and very gorgeous, and she has yet to slip me any money to say that.

I'm going to leave this open for a while (like as long as my battery holds out); if anyone out there is reading this and wants to comment in real time, please do so now!

So Bad Even the Wingers Don't Like It

That bankruptcy bill pending in Congress is apparently so abominable that even many right-wingers are raising concerns and expressing skepticism about it. Media Girl has a post detailing some of the comments from both sides, with lots of links to blogs right and left. Check it out. Maybe there's still time to avert this train-wreck legislation.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Here it is Wednesday already, and what's this blog's least favorite wannabe-Republican, the morally bankrupt Traitor Joe, up to this week?

"We're just bending the rules a little bit more, so that the credit card companies and banks of this great country can earn an even bigger profit!"

It would appear that he's leading the charge of the 13 Democrats Who Should Be Ashamed of Themselves for joining in with their motherfucking greedy corporatist Republican colleagues and voting for cloture on the equally morally bankrupt bankruptcy bill. Who needs this bill? Who wanted it? Besides the fat, pig-bastard banks and credit companies, I mean. This bill makes it much harder for poor and middle-class folks to get out from under crushing medical or credit card debt, and further lines the already-full-to-overflowing pockets of some of the wealthiest contributors to the Fascist Republican Party.

Traitor Joe obviously never met a corporate-enriching piece of legislation that he didn't immediately like, and want to take out to dinner and a movie and ply with expensive jewelry and buy a nice house in the Hamptons for. Thanks, Joe. Did we mention that you're a worthless, boring waste of skin, and that we wish you would go home and leave the Democratic Party to the Democrats?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Once Again With The BARBARians

It's that time again -- this Thursday, March 10th, the Bay Area Bloggers And Readers will be gathering in the East Bay (where the crack is reportedly cheaper than here in SF) at the Pacific Coast Brewing Company from 6-9 PM, or until they kick our royal Zemblan SFisting, swashblogging, Hawaiian shirt-wearing, itookslikethising, blogenlusting Scamboogah asses out of there. Come on along and be part of history in the making, as we attempt to blog live on location! Think of the stories you'll be able to tell your grandchildren. Or the police.

Republicans: Psychedelicious!

Big thanks to my pal Julia for pointing me toward this site, home of the Psychedelic Republican Trading Cards.

"Yeah, I can feel it, but I don't think it's going to affect my governing style any. RZZZZZZ!!!"

Friday, March 04, 2005

Posting Break

Posting on this blog will be sporadic at best for the next week, as I had surgery on my right middle finger this morning and am now sporting a big old bandage on it that will be there for the next seven days. The doctor took a tumor about the size of a small grape out of the last joint; he said at the time that it's most likely benign, and there should be no permanent damage. But until I have better typing skills and more dexterity (not to mention a little less pain and discomfort), I'm going to limit my time at the keyboard.

No idea how this happened, though I suspect that the act of flipping off the TV every time I see Bush or Cheney or Rummy or Condi or Arnold or just about any other Republican bastard politician may have had someting to do with it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Resolve -- and Contents of Skull -- Still Rock-Hard

Thanks to our esteemed colleague and fellow boozehound appreciator of fine alcohol, Scamboogah, we now have a site to bookmark that will let us keep up with the latest exploits of the right-wing's favorite cock-headed man-whore, Jim-Jeff. Good thing, too. I was afraid poor Jim-Jeff was going to just drop out of sight soon and deprive us all of his vain, uninformed ideological bloviatings, not to mention his Horatio Alger-like story of how he pulled himself up by his jockstrap and, apparently with the help of the Blue Fairy from the Pinocchio story, became a real, live human journalist.

Fat chance.

Pravda American Style

Here at The Generik Brand, there's nothing we love so much as a good shot of whiskey. Therefore, we recently ordered a double over at Billmon's Whiskey Bar, and were we rewarded beyond our wildest dreams. Seems he's got a little post there comparing the current state of the press here in the US with that of Preznit Dubya bin Bush's butt-buddy best pal Pooty-poot's sycophantic corps of propagandizers, and guess what? The Americans measure up in every detail, if by "measure up" you mean that they are tightly controlled and self-censoring, and perfectly willing to shill for the Preznit and push the White House agenda at every turn.

Let's all take a moment to mourn the death of honest journalism, and spare a thought as well for the late, great First Amendment.

Ars Gratia Artis

Here's an item that I'd guess no respectable Neocon Torture Party and Death Cult Republican household should be without -- a portrait of Vice Preznit Crashcart on black velvet.

"Look, kids! It's Dick Cheney!" "WAAAAAHHHHH!!!"

Dick's toothsome visage is probably enough to scare all the dogs playing poker and any random Jesii or Elvii who might happen to share wall space with him, but that shouldn't stop you from purchasing and hanging this worthy piece of shit art in a properly respectful and prominent place in your home! Perhaps you've got some space next to that autographed Marilyn Quayle pinup in the foyer, or a bare spot in the den between the deer head and the owl made from pine cones. Whatever. Just buy the damn thing, now, or else the terrorists will have already won!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Our Traitor Joe's been pretty quiet this week (other than his telling the press that Rep. Jim Gibbons, Insane-NV, is an honorable man and a close personal friend); so quiet we almost forgot to toss up our weekly reminder of just how lame and ineffectual he is, and how much we want his sanctimonious ass tossed unceremoniously out of the Democratic Party. Please, won't somebody on the other side of the aisle take him and give him a good home? And won't some real Democrat, with a few ounces of integrity and a pair of stainless steel cojones (or ovaries, as the case may be) run against him in the next Primary?

We'd be happy to give up the Wednesday Joementum slot if he'd just retire back to the private sector in Hartford.

An Era Buys the Farm

This post by Fred Reed, one of the best tributes I've read, is, I promise, the last word you will see here on the recent death of Hunter S. Thompson. It's a fitting parting shot.

"The Sixties look drab now – unkempt Manson girls, the lost and unhappy, kids bleak and bleary-brained after waking up with too many strangers in too many sour crash pads. There was that. It was not a time for the weak-minded. But for those whose youth passed in the freak years, there was something gaudy and silly and even profound, something delightfully warped, that nobody else would ever have. Thompson caught it.


"Starting around 1964, a restlessness came over the land, an itch. Kids trickled and later flooded onto the highways as if called by something. I can’t explain it. Few had done it before. Few do it now. They – we – set forth and created the only country in which Thompson could have made sense.

"It wasn’t the war, at first. Nor was it only the usual impatience of youth with authority. Nor was it even that we were young and the world was wide. There was a revulsion against suburban emptiness, against the eight-to-five Ozzie and Harriet gig, a rejection of the Establishment, which meant boring jobs and singing commercials.

"We discovered drugs, then regarded as worse than virgin sacrifices to Moloch, and looked through a window we could never name. If the times were out of joint, we were seldom out of joints. Chemistry defined the life. You found a freak in some rotting slum and said, 'Hey, man, got some shit?' You toked up. You got the munchies, the skitters, the fears. Parents really didn’t understand. Dope, we said, will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope. It did.

"Thompson, a savage writer, a grand middle finger raised against the sky, essayed drugs and found them good. And said so, and we loved him. When he wrote of getting wacked out of his mind on seven illicit pharmaceuticals, and wandering in puzzled paranoia through the lobby of existence, we shrieked with laughter. We knew the same drugs. We too had tried desperately to look straight in public when the world had turned into a slow-motion movie. When it was over, everybody went into a law firm.


"Then there was politics, the war. Thompson was rocket smart and knew you couldn’t work within the system since that meant granting it legitimacy. Peace with Honor, the Light at the End of the Tunnel, all the ashen columnists arguing about timed withdrawal and incremental pressure. He knew it was about profits for McDonnell Douglas and egotistical warts growing like malignant goiters on the neck of the country. He was Johnny Pot Seed, a Windowpane Ghandi, dangerous as Twain.


"You can see why he ate his gun. Everything he hated has returned. Nixon is back in the White House, Rumsnamara risen from the dead, bombs falling on other peoples’ suburbs. The Pentagon is lying again and democracy stalks yet another helpless country. This time the young are already dead and there will be no joyous anarchy. The press, housebroken, pees where it is told. But he gave it a hell of a try."

There's more, but I'll leave it up to you folks to go there and read it for yourselves. Me, I'm just a few miles out of batshit crazy, on the edge of the desert, and the drugs are beginning to take hold...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Comic Relief

A little stroll down the funny pages section of the Internet reveals:

Tom Tomorrow's comic from yesterday sums up winger hypocrisy on the cock-headed man-whore Jim-Jeff quite nicely.

Get Your War On has a new page up!

And Nicholas Gurewitch over at the Perry Bible Fellowship (not what you think) is still one sick and twisted pup, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

Check 'em out for a larf or two.

Making the World a Better Place

According to this morning's news, the death toll from that big car bomb in Hilla yesterday has reached 127. One hundred and twenty seven dead, in just one blast.

Good thing that major combat operations ended way back in May of '03, thus ensuring that the violence would cease. Good thing they captured Saddam in his spider hole, thus bringing that sad chapter in the history of Iraq to a close. Good thing the Amercian provisional government handed over sovereignty to the Iraqis last June, thus giving them complete autonomy over their country. Good thing those democratic elections in January were so successful, thus allowing them to rebuild their cities and restore order.

Because just imagine how bad things would be over there if we hadn't done all those things?

Highly Recommended

Lawrence Velvel, Dean of the Massachussetts School of Law, writes a very interesting blog dealing with legal issues and politics. Here's an excerpt from a recent post addressing the Feb. 19 New York Times editorial condemning the John Yoo/Jay Bybee/Alberto Gonzales torture memo that I found eminently sound and very readable.* The contention in that memo that the president is somehow above the law seems to have slipped by most members of the mainstream media; Velvel discusses just how dangerous a precedent that policy would set:

"But to my mind the two most striking things it said, two things which bear the deepest on this nation, are these: First, The Times’ editorial said that the administration is claiming 'that the president has an imperial right to sweep aside the law and authorize whatever he wants,' and that some proposed statutes risk endorsing the idea that he can 'declare himself above the law.' It just cannot be overemphasized that the Yoo/Bybee/administration theory that the President, as commander in chief, can override the law is a nearly sure fire recipe for tyranny. It was one of the reasons for the Declaration of Independence, is as dangerous now as it was then, is put forth almost whenever there is a national crisis, and if not smacked down hard now, as before, and if instead allowed to become the prevailing view, can prove one day to be a one way road to tyranny in the United States. It can easily lead one day to the end of democracy as we know it, especially since it was the theory of tyrants like George III and Adolf Hitler, and it truly is not too much to say that it puts our democracy at serious risk. It is the single worst part of the whole torture business, even worse than the torture itself, as horrible as that was.

"The other critical point in the editorial was its reason for saying there must be an independent commission. Let me quote again: 'But that task [of fully learning what happened] is now way beyond the purview of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which held important hearings on prisoner abuse. Republican Congressional leaders have made it painfully clear that they will not hold a real investigation. And no probe by the executive branch can be credible because the stain of prisoner abuse spreads so far. The Justice Department can’t do it; Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was part of the problem.' The Times’ lack of confidence in the Republican Congress and administration is all too well taken. The Republicans will not do the job because, due to the torture, leading members of the administration right up to and including George Bush are involved in serious crimes, crimes far worse than those Nixon ever committed. If the truth were to come out they probably would (and should) all be impeached -- or would have to resign -- they might (and should) go to jail, and the vast victories of the Republican Party in 2000 and 2004 would almost surely be erased in the next election. There simply can be no legitimate question about the complicity in serious crimes of the top echelons of the present administration (and one can be reasonably confident that history is unlikely to find any legitimate question about the matter since history will be written, after investigation, by people with no current political axe to grind).

"So there is no way that investigations controlled by Republicans will yield anything even approximating the real truth..."

I urge you to read the piece in its entirety, and read the responses to it as well. This is exactly the slippery slope we're talking about when we refer to America embracing fascism.

*Update: It was the post concerning the memo, not the memo itself, that I found sound and readable. The Generik Brand regrets any possible confusion.
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