Friday, April 29, 2005

Everything Is Going Swimmingly

"Hello, I'm Bludney Plud, and this is I Can't Believe It's Not News. Today we'd like to talk about the President's recent outstanding press conference and point out just what a real leader we have at the helm of our great nation. As you know, Mr. Bush is a champion of minority rights, and last night he stood up tall for the 30% of Americans who favor personal Social Security accounts. He said that he would not give in to the tyranny of the majority who want Social Security to remain some kind of socialistic insurance plan guaranteeing everyone a free ride in their golden years, but wants instead to make millionaires out of the select lucky few who have the courage and foresight to invest well. Mr. Bush also addressed our shameful lack of energy policy, correctly blaming the past administration for not having put one in place any time in the past four years. In addition, the president assured Americans that the conflict in Iraq is subsiding, and that the outlook for that nation is increasingly rosy. This reporter would like to mention the recent huge swim meet in the Tigris River and the appointment of Iraqi Cabinet officials, such as the well-known Ahmed Chalabi, as further proof that our mission there has been a resounding success. Finally, Mr. Bush once again called for a quick confirmation of the outstanding American patriot John Bolton as Ambassador to the communistic United Nations, a sentiment with which we here at I Can't Believe It's Not News heartily concur. We'll be back with more about the press conference after these messages and Charles Asshat with Today's Republican Moment. Charlie's topic for today is 'Democrats: Do They Really Worship Satan, or Do They Just Hate God?' Stay tuned..."

Schadenfreude - and Its Direct Opposite

Three news items caught my eye this morning, and two of them induced a smug laugh at the expense of a couple of well-known right-wing blowhards who deserve to be taken down a few pegs. The first had to do with notorious bag of fecal-matter-laced wind Rush Limbaugh's court troubles (they denied his appeal of the seizure of his medical records); and the second one was simply a captured image of bug-killing dwarf Tom DeLay playing the ultimate hypocrite by lighting up a Cuban cigar. I have to admit to smiling at both of these stories, even though they don't really mean much in the larger scheme of things.

The last item was sobering, however, and long overdue in coming. After filing a request through the Freedom of Information Act, a former CNN reporter has forced the Pentagon to release some 268 pictures (available on a CD-ROM) of flag-draped coffins being shipped home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The costs of these wars are totaled in the billions of dollars, which is bad enough in itself, but too many people here in America forget about the real costs -- the sacrifice of human lives -- unless they're given visual reminders like these. This is the big picture view of life in these United States and what our current foreign policy really entails in the 21st Century. Sad, sad, sad.

Fashion mAnn

Kudos to Kimberly at Threadbared for this image of the pre-op Coulter modeling '60s chic.

"I wonder if they'll let me keep my testicles after the surgery?"

This is actually about the most attractive look I've ever seen her sport. The gloves are an especially nice touch. Can't you just imagine her slapping someone across the face with them and challenging them to a duel?

Counting the Cost

ON MAY 15, 2005...

... across the United States people opposed to the war in Iraq will
identify themselves
with one of the Iraqi dead by wearing a number between

1 and 100,000. Please support this effort
and get your own number by clicking on the logo below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

I was looking for a website mentioned a week or so ago on the Randi Rhodes show, something like "goodbye.joe" or "joemustgo" or something similar, but all I could find was this. Doesn't look like it's been updated for a few weeks, but hey, who am I to talk? I'm finding no time at all to post lately; I'm just lucky I can get this one in. I'll try to resume regular posting soon, but right now I've got a lot of irons in the fire and only so many hands.

"Yes, that's the correct translation, Mr. Lieberman. In French, it would be 'Vichy.'"

So, you know, talk amongst yourselves. Joe needs to go, right after DeLay and Frist and Santorum and all the rest of those traitorous bastards.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Band Listing

I admit I'm coming a bit late to this, but it's not exactly time-sensitive. Started by Mags at You Forgot Poland (who actually picked up this thread from a posting by someone I don't know), this list was continued by mrgumby at itlookslikethis; now I'm keeping it alive with my own additions.

The premise was to list 30 bands that you've seen perform live. As a one-time semi-professional Raaawk Fan and Certified Geezer, I've been around long enough to have seen many times more than 30 bands play. But here (the first 13) are the ones I've seen that were also on mrgumby's list, plus the first ones that come to mind to round the list out at 30.

1. The Police
2. Santana
3. Grateful Dead
4. Jackson Browne
5. Steve Earle (saw mrgumby there!)
6. Fleetwood Mac
7. J. Geils Band
8. Talking Heads (& David Byrne solo)
9. Boz Scaggs
10. Los Lobos
11. Ramones
12. English Beat
13. The Kinks
14. Elvis Costello
15. Rolling Stones
16. Led Zeppelin
17. Bob Dylan
18. The Clash
19. Van Morrison
20. Bruce Springsteen
21. X
22. The Who (with and without Keith Moon)
23. Crosby Stills Nash & Young (also Neil Young solo)
24. Eric Clapton
25. Jeff Beck
26. Stevie Ray Vaughn
27. Iggy Pop
28. Lou Reed
29. David Bowie
30. Ray Charles

Man, I could go on for days with this one. B52s, Blondie, Tom Waits, John Hammond, Keb Mo, Jackie Greene, Los Lonely Boys, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Earth Wind & Fire, Leon Russell, Deep Purple, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, The Eagles, REM, The Pretenders, U2, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, Graham Parker & the Rumour, Ian Hunter, Muddy Waters, Etta James, John Hiatt, Asleep at the Wheel, ELO, David Johansen (and "Buster Poindexter"), Taj Mahal, The Sundays, Guster, Macy Gray, Matchbox 20, Living Colour, Mary J. Blige, Rod Stewart & Faces, Foghat, Little Feat, The Rubinoos, The Blasters, Steve Winwood, Brian Wilson, Joe Jackson, Reverend Horton Heat, Southern Culture on the Skids, Throw Rag, Black Oak Arkansas, Loggins & Messina, Polyphonic Spree, Jefferson Airplane, B.B. King, Bruce Hornsby, George Thorogood, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Merle Haggard, Joe Ely, Wilco, Beck, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, Pink Floyd, Tower of Power, Joni Mitchell, Seals & Croft, Squeeze, Bonnie Raitt, Jill Sobule, k.d. lang, The Spinners... okay, can I quit now? Do I win?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Not So Hot for Pope Cliff

Shakespeare's Sister has a good rant about why she isn't down with the former Hitler Youth member wearing the fisherman's ring these days. Here's a good portion of it; click the link and read the whole thing.

As many as a million gays and lesbians were killed in the concentration camps during the Holocaust, with particularly harsh treatments reserved for gay men, who were also widely recruited for bizarre scientific experimentation, in search of a cure for future Aryan homosexuals. Gay men also had the highest death rate (60%) of any other social group relegated to the camps by the Nazis. Lesbians and gays were viewed as a threat to the future of the Aryan race, because they did not procreate, and when the Nazis came into power, they facilitated a swift backlash against the progressiveness of Berlin which had fostered a vibrant and thriving gay community. The entire country was delivered a steady stream of anti-gay propaganda, and the Hitler Youth were indoctrinated with virulent homophobia, which may well explain Pope Ratz’s strange acceptance of violence against gays, even as he condemns it:
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
A man like this has no business leading the church.

Using the same logic that instituting protections against lesbians and gays will incite violence against them, because they have no right to be protected, it is understandable why the church makes no exceptions for abortions when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Clearly, the victims of crime deserve no remedy, if such remedy is anathema to church teaching. Once brutalized by an attacker, prepare to be victimized again by the church if you want anything more than prayer.

I reject this pope, I reject his church, and I reject its teachings. I reject the notion that people I love are evil for being gay, or that any expression of love between two consenting adults is somehow sinful. There’s nothing sinful about love, and there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the way I love Mr. Shakes, and the way Pam loves Kate, and Mr. Furious loves Mr. Curious; I reject all claims to the contrary. And if that consigns my eternal soul to the fires of hell, then off I go, tra la la. I never fucking liked harps, anyway.

You go, girl! We here at The Generik Brand have your back.

Exceedingly Strange

A friend sent me this link recently, and I almost don't know how to react to it. It's a video clip of what looks like a televison show from another dimension... a dimension that features bizarre religious theory, UFOs, bad puppetry and singing to make John Ashcroft cringe. It's quite long, and personally I wasn't able to get all the way through it, but if you fast forward past the first five minutes or so (like until the second song is over), you'll find some incredibly weird dialogue and improbable theories being expounded. It's funny, sort of, on a very different level.

Two of the more prominent puppets featured are named Mr. Grey Spaceman and Chip the Black Boy. Mr. Grey Spaceman sings one song titled Mother Evening Jehovah Prayer and another titled simply Love. Chip the Black Boy talks about UFOs visiting Earth and quotes bible scripture. There are a whole lot of camera dissolves in lieu of any real action, and apparently the "host" of this mess show is a firm believer in both UFOs and the bible. (I find one just about as believable as the other, myself, so I probably shouldn't criticize... but if I didn't, what would I blog about?) It's just too strange NOT to look. I mean, really -- I haven't seen anything this weird since I was a teenager prone to ingesting certain illicit substances for entertainment. It's even better than the late Dr. Gene Scott.

Wednesday Joementum Blogging: Special George Voinovich Edition

After yesterday's bitch-slapping of UN ambassador-nominee John Bolton, we here at The Generik Brand felt that Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio deserved some special Joementum attention this morning.

"Here's the palm I used to smack that walrus-faced bastard back to reality!"

Thanks, George, every little bit helps. (Even better, today Condi Rice has criticized the decision to delay the approval process. Ha ha. Screw you, Condi.) Now, how about investigating irregular voting practices in your state? Hey, we can dream, can't we?

As for the usual subject of this feature, we'll find something to say about that sanctimonious frog-voiced waste of skin next week. This week we're just a little too happy, what with thinking about Bolton being kicked to the curb like that and all. Heh.

mAnn, Oh, mAnn!

Found this at Mark Twang's blog and just had to share:

I think he's captured the essence of the Bepenised One just about perfectly. Many thanks to my friend FryGirl for pointing me toward this. Yikes!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It's Cliff!

The Vatican announced today that long-time Cheers cast member and voice talent in numerous Pixar animated films John Ratzenberger has been selected as the next Pope.

"Who woulda thought that I'd get to wear the shoes of the fisherman? Wait'll I tell Ma!"

A devout Roman Catholic and beloved celebrity, Ratzenberger was something of a surprise choice by the College of Cardinals.

"We actually wanted Norm, I mean, George Wendt," said Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez of Chile, "but sadly, he's Episcopalian. So we went with the other guy."

In keeping with centuries-old tradition, Ratzenberger has assumed a new name to go with the office. Henceforth, he will be known as Pope Cliff I. Pope Cliff celebrated by ordering XVI beers laced with Benedictine, which he shared with all his friends, well-wishers and ordinary strangers visiting Boston for the first time -- in fact, he gave one to everyone but Carla, with whom he has been feuding for the past nine years.

Friday, April 15, 2005

10 from the iPod

In lieu of a real post today, I'm going to jump (belatedly) on the First 10 Random Songs That Came Up On Your iPod bandwagon that's been, um, sweeping the blogosphere lately. Took my after-lunch walk along the bay this afternoon, and here are the first ten songs that queued up:

1. Down Don't Bother Me -- Albert King
2. Living Loving Maid -- Led Zeppelin
3. I've Got You Under My Skin -- Frank Sinatra
4. Come to Realize -- Ron Wood
5. You're All I Need (to Get By) -- Aretha Franklin
6. Heavy Connection -- Van Morrison
7. Mind Your Own Business -- Taj Mahal
8. Buona Sera Signorina -- Louis Prima
9. Let's Say Goodnight -- Los Lobos
10. I'm Blue -- The Ikettes

If I had more time right now, I'd tell you all a story about each and every one of these songs -- especially the Led Zeppelin tune, which will always remind me of falling in love with Lissa Cenoz when I was 15 years old (still haven't quite extinguished that torch yet) -- but I don't, I have to places to see and people to do. Too hip, gotta go, catch all y'all on the flip side, Chester and Chestette. Seizure!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I Was Misinformed

I came to Casablanca for the waters...

Actually, I went to Jupiter last night expecting to meet up with a great gang of BARBARians (which I did) and to live-blog (which I didn't). Apparently the wifi there isn't enabled upstairs or something, because neither John from blogenlust nor I could make a connection or get a signal. Bummer! And we had some hilarious tales to tell, too.

We missed mrgumby from itlookslikethis and Chuck from Belisarius (and all other absent friends), but on a positive note, our female attendance doubled from last time. Angie brought her friend Cheryl (aka Mags) along, though she left her camera in the car. Next time! Also new to the gathering was Dr. Laniac, who, despite my earlier thinking otherwise, is a man, and a good addition to the group.

We had lots of fun, lots of laughs, good food and beer and conversation, just no wifi and no live blogging. Oh well! You can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get drunk anyway.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Throw Another Beer on the BARBARian

Tonight's the night!

Just a friendly reminder here (hello, Drew!), tonight is the fifth semi-regular gathering of the Bay Area Resident Bloggers And Readers, and even if you're dry this month (hello again, Drew! Don't forget!), you should head on over to Jupiter in Berkeley and join the festivities. They have wifi there, so I'll be lugging the laptop and expect to do some LIVE NUDE BLOGGING while I'm there -- with my clothes on, of course. Wouldn't want to frighten the horses.

Good folks, good beer, good conversation; politics, current events and website management tips. What more could you ask for? We'll start at 6 and go until BART shuts down. Be there or be somewhere else!

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

Thanks to Elton at Busy, Busy, Busy, today's Joemoment consists of his visage being grouped with some other ostensibly swell Americans (past and present) in an ad campaign attempting to make sure that insufferable bully and freakish walrus-man John Bolton gets confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations.

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things is- oh, I know: only one person depicted here is actually, physically dead. The other three are only brain-dead.

The ad compares Traitor Joe and his fellow fascists Republicans with such America-haters and Bolton opposers as Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and John Kerry. I'm sure Holy Joe is proud to be included in such upstanding company as the felonious shredder Oliver North and the gone-but-still-doing-damage-to-the-country Ronald Reagan.

You work it, Joe! 2006 can't get here soon enough.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Also available today at Media Matters is one of the funniest video clips I've seen since the early days of Saturday Night Live. It's a brief clip showing "highlights" of vain and vapid cock-headed man-whore Jim-Jeff Gannon-Guckert in his appearance today at the National Press Club, and it is truly a scream. This guy is just bound and determined to sink deeper and deeper into shit with every step he takes. He would need a team of Pinkerton detectives and the staff of the FBI and CIA accompanying him to even begin to find a clue. Really, it's hilarious! He should start doing stand-up.

(Actually, if he had a lick of sense, he'd crawl into a hole somewhere and pull a big rock over the top of it for a long, long time -- but it's already been determined that, while he may have a "lick," it has nothing to do with sense of any kind.)

More Big Lies Being Spread

Thanks to mrgumby at itlookslikethis, here's an excerpt of a post from The Abstract Factory that I enjoyed quite a bit. The original post is simply a refutation of some ridiculous charges that the noxious Jonah Goldberg made regarding "liberal professors" and their counterparts in the private sector, but this excerpt speaks, I believe, to a larger truth about right-wing bloggers and pundits today:

"Let's consider, rather, Goldberg's supremely asinine arrogance in how he constructs this argument. Goldberg clearly does not know a goddamn thing about science and engineering academia. I repeat: he does not know a goddamn thing about science and engineering academia. He does not know enough to make educated guesses; he does not know enough to have even the faintest throb of a gut instinct. But he's an expert in the ape-man grunts that constitute current conservatarian ideology ('Private sector good! Academia bad! Money good! Liberal bad! Oook ook!'), which enables him to deduce, a priori, the probable truth about any given subject. And he's an expert in the low, low standards of punditological writing, which permit him to describe his total ignorance with the phrase: 'I don't have the data to back this up handy', as if there were some wealth of both statistical and anecdotal evidence and he just didn't have enough research assistants to compile it at the moment. Hence, he feels comfortable smearing liberal academics in science and engineering fields as unemployable jokers.

Now, this would merely be an occasion for a hearty laugh at the village idiot's expense, if not for what it represents in its broader media context. The fact is, Goldberg doesn't care in the least whether what he says is true and well-reasoned, and neither do his backers and readers. Goldberg's function is not to say things that are true, nor is his function to present a reasoned argument. Goldberg's function is to spew forth some roughly grammatical stream of words that appear to reinforce conservatarian ideology, so that his readers can listen, nod, and feel vindicated in their beliefs.

And --- this is what's really maddening, all the outrages I've brought up wouldn't matter in the least except for this point --- virtually all right-leaning commentators, running the gamut from David Brooks to Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Reynolds, whether consciously or not, perform roughly the same function, and they're wildly effective. The entire right-wing movement is like a hovercraft floating on the perpetually roaring whirlwind of sub-rational, self-reinforcing nonsense that gusts through the minds of its adherents. It goes on and on and on, and nobody stops the people who feed it; most of the time, nobody with a prominent voice even stands up to them and calls them on their nonsense. For writing this column, and numerous other pieces of garbage like it, for filling people's minds with offal, Jonah Goldberg will never face judgment; he'll die peacefully, with a fat bank account and a kid gloves obituary."

This is essentially what I've been saying -- a lot of us have, in fact -- for some time now: the wingers just make shit up, and no one will call bullshit on them. Why? Why are the media so cowed by these noisy idiots? Why aren't more regular people able to see through the lies and the obfuscation of the wingnut machine? As my friend Ray, a man who works for former ambassador James Hormel, and who is very active politically, put it recently, "these are goddamned frustrating times we're living in."

My thanks to Cog for posting this (and to mrgumby for linking to it), and for standing up to Jonah and calling him on his nonsense. Would that a few more -- and more prominent -- people exhibited the combination of spine, factual information and cojones that he has.

Anatomy of a Smear

Media Matters for America has a great timeline delineating the infamous Mel Martinez-originated Schiavo/Republican talking points memo and how it nearly became yet another dirty trick of the theocratic fascists to accuse the Democrats of using dirty tricks against them. This is a story that needs to be spread far and wide, because it's a sure bet that the right-wing bloggers and jabbering heads of the media aren't going to fall all over themselves admitting that they were wrong. Rather, they'll just move on to another subject and leave the impression that they were telling the truth all along when they said the memo was created by the Democrats in order to embarrass Republicans. It's called the Big Lie -- repeating a falsehood over and over, and never admitting that it's untrue, even when caught red-handed -- and it was used most effectively by a certain European megalomaniac back in the 20th century.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


With all the rain California got this past winter, Death Valley in March was a veritable sea of wildflowers. A friend who lives nearby, in Ridgecrest, sends this link to a site with lots of pictures. One of Mrs. Generik's coworkers was there last month, and said it was so beautiful that she had to sit down in the middle of a huge field of flowers and cry, because it made her so happy. Check out the slideshow; it's the next best thing to meditation online.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Quote of the Day II: Electric Boogaloo

Along the same lines as the DeLay quote (but new and improved, with even more hate-filled rhetoric, ignorance and exaggeration!) comes this gem, courtesy of's War Room...

"The courts of this land have become the tool, in the hands of the devil, by which the culture of death has found access."

-- Operation Rescue director Flip Benham

Nothing like a good demonizing screed by some sanctimonious, self-righteous yahoo to stir up the chumps. Work it, Flip. Theocracy NOW!

Quote of the Day

From yesterday's Fort Bend/Southwest Sun (out of Houston, TX), Tom DeLay, the Bug Killing Dwarf King himself:

"'We have unaccountable, out of control judiciary. We are after them,' DeLay said. 'The Constitution gives us (Congress) the responsibility to create courts. If we can create them, we can uncreate them,' he said."

Thus Tom the Bomb blithely reveals the real strategy behind Congressional Republicans getting involved in the Terri Schiavo case -- a bold and blatant attempt to significantly weaken the federal judiciary. Apparently holding only two branches of government by the short hairs is not enough for the fascist theocrats who have taken over the Republican party; they want all three of them to march in lockstep (or goose step, if you prefer). With the deep pockets that corporate contributors and the very wealthy provide the RNC, a largely uninformed and apathetic public -- or worse, people who imagine themselves informed because they watch FOX News and listen to Rush -- in other words, the chumps -- and a complicit media, it's extremely possible that this stealth attack on the judicial system will ultimately be successful. So-called "activist" judges -- even Republican-appointed, conservative Christian ones -- who have the temerity to uphold the Constitution while ruling against the wishes of the neocons and the theocrats will be impeached (or worse, murdered), and a litmus test the likes of which have rarely, if ever, been seen before will guide the legislators charged with appointing replacements that will ensure that only the most extreme judges, the ones who are willing to subvert the law of the land for the one-party rule of the Jesus-lovers, will sit on the federal benches. The threat to dismantle the rules of the filibuster in the Senate is another part of this overall strategy. This is a path that, if followed, could result in the ultimate destruction of this nation as we know it. Once those extremist judges are in place -- or, conversely, once the legislature has taken away the power of the courts to rule on whether or not the other two branches of the government are acting in accord with the Constitution -- there's nothing left to stop the DeLays and the Frists and the Lotts and the Bushes from turning America into Jesusland.

Thanks to all you red-state residents of Dumbfuckistan for putting these wheels in motion. Hope you have your Bibles handy to protect you when it happens.

How to Have Fun in San Francisco

In one of my favorite old noir movies, D.O. A., Edmond O'Brien's character, on a visit here from Los Angeles, gets a little something from a hotel desk clerk as he's checking in. "Here's a guide," the clerk says, a bit ominously, "telling you how to have fun... in San Francisco."

Personally, I don't need a guide. I know how to have fun in San Francisco. Take the day I had yesterday, for instance...

It started normally, in that I went to work just like I always do, got a few things done and a few posts up on the blog (hey, I get paid to blog!), but then I left at 11:00 and walked to the CalTrain station. The reason for that is that yesterday was one of the most sacred holidays on the Generik Calendar -- baseball's Opening Day. I took the train from South City up to the ballpark, getting into my seat just in time for the annual Barry Bonds Is a Better Baseball Player Than Almost Any Other Human Being Ever Thought of Being, Ever, Even if He Did Take Steroids and Is a Big Whiny Baby Award ceremony (but missing by minutes the shout-out "Kent, you suck!" yelled during the moment of silence for the Pope, dammit). The day was beautiful, just as perfect as Opening Day ever has been and always should be, and the game itself was glorious, with the Giants besting the Dodgers by a final score of 4-2. The season can end now, as far as I'm concerned, with the Giants in first place and the Dodgers in last. Okay, not really, but there can't be a better way for Giants' fans to start it off than by beating the LA nine.

Have I mentioned yet (again) that I believe the Giants are going to win the World Series this season? I do. I believe the Giants will win the World Series this year. And yesterday's game was just the beginning. Tonight: fireworks!

So that was good. That was really good.

After the game, Mrs. Generik and I walked up Third Street, enjoying the afternoon and the afterglow of winning. We parted company at Geary and Stockton, she going in to the fabric store where she works to chat with her co-workers, and me heading up to the Ritz-Carlton for a planned protest against the Gropinator himself, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold was slated to hold court at the hotel in a fund-raising dinner expected to bring in well over $100,000 from his fat-cat special interest friends, and, as has been happening with increasing frequency all over the state and the country, there were quite a few people displeased with his policies there to let him know how unhappy they are. I'd say there were a few thousand folks there yesterday, and I was proud to be among them.

What I found rather refreshing was that it wasn't just the usual San Francisco protest crowd. Instead, this particular crowd was made up largely of working people who rarely engage in that sort of civil misbehavior. Burly guys in union t-shirts and jackets mingled with nurses in their scrubs, off-duty firefighters and policemen, and teachers, many with students and/or sons and daughters in tow. There were even a number of older Asian people with signs about home care for the elderly written in Chinese characters. My own favorite sign was a play on the popular "a village in Texas is missing an idiot" phrase -- it read "A village in Austria is missing an idiot on steroids."

While hanging out there, I ran into Jackson, from the SFist, who was attempting to live-blog the event, and who has some great pictures and information about it here. (I especially enjoy the fact that he managed to capture the ubiquitous Frank Chu, of 12 Galaxies fame, in his pictorial.) He knew who a lot of the speakers were, especially the union guys. I recognized Mark Leno and Tom Ammiano (who was all dolled up in Giants gear, having come straight from the game, just like me and a few hundred others), but that was about it.

Getting a bit of a thirst on by 7 o'clock or so (I didn't last as long at the protest as Jackson did, but then, he had a head start on me in the drinking department), I decided to go to Doc's Clock at 22nd and Mission and check in on the SF chapter of Drinking Liberally, which meets there every Tuesday evening. Apparently I arrived a bit early for that crowd, finding only a couple of people holding a table or two, including the host, Susan, and members Alex and Mark. A couple other people joined up shortly -- Mike and Duncan and Loretta -- and that was it for about half an hour. But not long before I left, I got up to get another beer at the bar, and when I returned the group had doubled. Maybe by osmosis, I'm not sure. In any event, it was a good crowd, with lively, intelligent people (of course!), all of a liberal or progressive bent and interested in substantive political conversation.

Having attended all of the BARBARian get-togethers over the past few months, I couldn't help but make some comparisons between the two groups. The difference that surprised me the most was that not one of the folks I spoke with last night had a blog of his or her own, or even contributed to one. There may have been some bloggers in the group once it had expanded -- I suspect the fellow in the T-shirt with the familiar orange-and-white "B" logo and the word "Blogger" on it might have been one -- but they were all at the far end of the table, and I didn't get to meet any of them before I left. A few of them said they were somewhat interested in blogging, but were afraid that it would take up all their time.

Ha ha, I laughed. Take up all your time? Ha ha. If they only knew...

Another difference was the female presence. By the time I left, the crowd was up to about 14 or 15 people, with an almost even split of men to women. Perhaps that's because of Susan, the host. Or it could be simply because it was a younger crowd than the BARBARians. I'd say the mean age there was about 14 26 at best, and I'm including myself to help skew that number upwards. Did I feel like Grandpa Geezer, lecturing the young'uns about how we used to do back in the war years, marching uphill twenty miles each way, barefoot in the snow? You bet I did.

Still, I felt like they mostly suffered me gladly, allowing me to expound and pontificate and use other multisyllabic words without rolling their eyes and yawning. In other words, I enjoyed myself, and will likely go back.

After all that -- a full day by anyone's measure, I'd say -- I took a cab home and had a nice quiet meal with Mrs. G. It was a good day.

Wednesday Joementum Blogging

It would appear that our boy Joe has franchised his particular brand of turncoat politics and patented Republican sucking-up-to and ass-kissing-of:

Only problem here is that someone in the marketing department forgot how to spell "traitor."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chump Nation

As long as we're singing the praises of the author and sole proprietor of Blogenlust (soon to be relocated to NYC), let's give him a big nod for this link to the Poor Man's site and the post there about chumps. It starts out with a short and delightful excerpt of a post from the excellent and always insightful Pharyngula. Biologist PZ Myers rips a collective new one for the creationists, the intelligent designers and other "drooling gomers" (his term) out there (which gladdened my heart considerably). The Myers post alone made my day; the Chumps post made my week.

After another excerpt from Digby, which points out how a number of erstwhile sheep of the Republican persuasion are suddenly flummoxed by the disconnect in what they have seen reported on FOX News and heard from Rush regarding Terri Schiavo and how it diverts wildly from reality, the Poor Man then goes on to excoriate the True Believers who still think we found WMD in Iraq and believe other discredited winger theories for being the idiots that they are:

"The fact is that radically misinformed views about, say, the theory of evolution, and radically misinformed views about the existance of WMD in Iraq, all tend to cluster around wingnuts, and wingnuts tend to cluster around FOX News. These aren’t views people develop on their own. Stupidity plays a role in this, but it’s not an over-all kind of stupidity, necessarily - many of these people manage to function in society, hold down jobs, etc. - but it’s clearly not a case of having a few isolated kooky beliefs here and there, either. The problem is chronic stupidity of a particular type - an inability to identify what sources of information are unreliable - and the word for people who are stupid in this particular way is 'chumps'.

Chumps are harder to argue with than regular people, because the argument is never really about the subject at hand, it’s about something far more personal: 'am I a chump?' Admittedly, this is true to some extent about any argument, where the meta-topic is always 'am I wrong?' and nobody likes to be wrong, either. The difference is that being wrong is something that can be remedied pretty easily, just by acknowledging a superior argument and/or more compelling evidence, thereby becoming right. Being a chump, on the other hand, is not just a lot more personally embarrassing than being wrong, it’s also a lot harder to fix, because it involves reversing one’s self on any number of positions - any position where you treated established systems and methods for weeding out fraud and error, such as exist in professional science or journalism responsibly practiced, as being less credible than what you saw last Wednesday night on 'Scarborough Country' or read on like all these blogs. Being a chump is a lot like eating Pringles - once you pop, you (you! you!) can’t stop, and the tendency is to gorge yourself into a tasty oblivion. Not being a chump requires acknowledging that you are, in fact, a chump, with very chumpy opinions and pronounced chumpish tendencies, and then acknowledging that everybody you believed was a nice man who would have a beer with you and never lie was, in fact, playing you for a chump, or were simply chumps themselves. That’s not a very nice feeling. Far easier is to reject common sense one final time, and be just a slightly bigger chump than before."

I think the word "chump" is exactly right in describing these deluded -- and most often self-deluded -- people. P.T. Barnum would have loved this era; he also would have had to revise his estimates about birth rates considerably upward.

Come on, People, Smile on Your Brother, Everybody Get Together and Let's Drink a Shitload of Beer with One Another Right Now

Speaking of BARBARians, it's getting to be that time again: the collective thirst of the Bay Area Resident Bloggers And Readers must be slaked. We're gathering at Jupiter on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley next week, Wednesday, April 13, to imbibe, talk politics and current events, perhaps tell a few lies or compare Living Wills... you know, the usual. Any and all Bay Area folks interested in blogging, politics or barley and hops are invited to attend. Rumor has it that at least one new member of the loosely-affiliated consortium known as BARBARians will make her presence known that evening. Invited but unable to attend is the proprietor of the blog Miniver Cheevy, who sends his regrets and hopes to join us at a future date.

On a bittersweet note, this may be the last get-together with our esteemed colleague John from Blogenlust, who, unfortunately for us but probably fortunately for him, is about to move to New York City. We'll be sure to keep an open seat at the table for him in future gatherings, crossing our fingers that he can use some frequent flyer miles to come back out to the West Coast and join us again on occasion.

A Livelier Living Will

It appears, after days of frustration and rage, that Blogger (or "Bloggersuxass," as I like to refer to it these days) is going to allow me to once again post some material. Maybe. I hope. Goddamn wouldn't even let me post a friggin' comment on the BARBARian blog yesterday, rassa frassa mumble grumble... but today it seems to be cooperating.

Anyway, here's a post I've been wanting to put up for a couple of days now. It's another version of the Living Will, and one that is far less likely to make the veins in our friend Lanz's forehead burst. In other words, there are no heads on pikes in this one. This is from Robert Friedman of the St. Petersburg Times, and it's right on the money. In fact, it's so good, I'm going to reprint the whole damn thing here, just because I can. Titled Living will is the best revenge, here's Friedman's take on recent events down there in the F-state:

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.

Robert Friedman is editor of Perspective. He can be reached at

Friday, April 01, 2005

Before I Die

Speaking of Living Wills (as Paperwight did in the post just below this one), over at the Mahablog there's a doozy. There are ten points to it, including these:

2. If Randall Terry comes within three miles of my hospital bed, shoot him.

3. If Randall Terry survives the shooting, please dress him in an ugly-ass hospital gown and send the photo to Faux Nooz.

4. The following objects are not to be permitted anywhere near my home or hospice: Giant styrofoam spoons; bowling pins, especially if juggled; video or film cameras; clowns and/or politicians. If such persist in hanging around, perhaps a display of Randall Terry's head on a pike will discourage them. Worth a try.

I like where Maha's going with this. I'll feel so much better shuffling off this mortal coil if I know Randall Terry's head is safely displayed on a pike somewhere.

What He Said

Paperwight has got a great idea in the latest post at his site: a letter that the Democrats should put up at their official site (but, unfortunately, probably won't, as a result of that, whaddayacallit, lack of a functioning spine thing). This just makes so much sense; someone is missing a bet if this doesn't get spread far and wide and adopted by the DNC ASAP.

Here's the bulk of the post, for those of you too lazy to click the link (and no offense to you for your inertia!):

If I had any pull with the Democratic Party leadership, I'd advise them to put up a page at which said substantially this:

The Democratic Party is deeply saddened by the personal tragedy of Terri Schiavo, her husband, and her family, and even more saddened by the transformation of personal tragedy into political football by the Republican leadership.  The Democratic Party believes that personal matters should stay personal, and that no politicians in Washington or any state capitol should interfere in any American's personal decisions concerning the gravest matters.

We are committed to ensuring that the personal decisions of Americans are respected, and free from interference.  To that end, the Democratic Party has assembled form Living Wills for each and every location in the United States.  To download one for your location, click on the link below for the state or other location in which you live.

[links to Advance Directives for all 50 States, DC, and the Territories]

The Democratic Party:  We Support Your Right To Decide

I'd link to that page front and center on the DNC home page, then take out blogads (they're cheap) and let the Air America / Democracy Radio teams know about the web page.

I think that's brilliant. As I've asked a number of times recently: Are you listening, Democrats?
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