Monday, February 19, 2007

Holiday Random Flickr Blogging

Just going to plunge right in on this, a much-needed and welcome Monday off...

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with the extras on the Jim Jarmusch director's cut release of the "Coffee and Cigarettes" DVD. I mean, it's kind of understandable why this scene, which goes on for twenty-eight minutes with no dialogue, was deleted.
"Really, Tim, it's not that big a deal. Seriously, it happens to a lot of guys from time to time. No kidding."
Edward James Olmos only thought he was ready for his close-up. He didn't realize just how close up they were going to get with the new HD technology.
"By the authority vested in me, I now pronounce you- Oh, hey Dave! 'Sup, dude? Didn't see you back there! Hey, can you hang on a sec? I'll be with you as soon as I'm done here. Okay, uh, now where were we...?"
A rare performance of Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Beer."
"Welcome to 'Girls Gone Mild.' Watch as we drink non-alcoholic beverages and then put baggy T-shirts and sweat pants on over our bathing suits."

(Today's President's Day Flickr choice was Image 6754. Originals posted here, here, here, here, here and here. Random Flickr Blogging explained here. Apologies to my good friend Agent_Moldy, from whom I stole the Dave caption.)

A Gathering Of BARBARians

It's been far too long since our local group 0f bloggers and associates has gotten together -- I believe the last official gathering was in November, right after the elections -- so Tom Hilton, proprietor of If I Ran the Zoo, has called for a meeting of not only the minds but the bodies as well. I'm seconding the motion, and our esteemed colleague, Scaramouche, assures us that the horned hat will be on display as a beacon to all those who want to participate. I encourage all of my readers who can to join us this Saturday afternoon, Feb.24, at Zeitgeist, located at 199 Valencia (just a couple blocks below Market Street) in San Francisco. Let's hoist a few beers and talk about news and politics and pretty much anything except Anna Nicole Smith, please.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Random Flickr Blogging Is For The Birds

Short of time this morning, so I'm only posting one. At least it isn't the one Juan Tomas image that was repeated about twelve times on the first page alone.

"Hi, I'm with the Fine Feathered Friends for Christ. Can I give you my personal witness about how Jesus became my Lord and Savior? Have you made a little birdcage for Jesus in your heart?"

(Original image, #1610, posted here.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Krugman On Ivins

A lot of tributes have been written about the great Molly Ivins since her untimely death last week. This one is by Paul Krugman of the NY Times, and I thought it was worth reposting here for those of you who might not have seen it.

Missing Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins, the Texas columnist, died of breast cancer on Wednesday. I first met her more than three years ago, when our book tours crossed. She was, as she wrote, “a card-carrying member of The Great Liberal Backlash of 2003, one of the half-dozen or so writers now schlepping around the country promoting books that do not speak kindly of Our Leader’s record.”

I can’t claim to have known her well. But I spent enough time with her, and paid enough attention to her work, to know that obituaries that mostly stressed her satirical gifts missed the main point. Yes, she liked to poke fun at the powerful, and was very good at it. But her satire was only the means to an end: holding the powerful accountable.

She explained her philosophy in a stinging 1995 article in Mother Jones magazine about Rush Limbaugh. “Satire … has historically been the weapon of powerless people aimed at the powerful,” she wrote. “When you use satire against powerless people … it is like kicking a cripple.”

Molly never lost sight of two eternal truths: rulers lie, and the times when people are most afraid to challenge authority are also the times when it’s most important to do just that. And the fact that she remembered these truths explains something I haven’t seen pointed out in any of the tributes: her extraordinary prescience on the central political issue of our time.

I’ve been going through Molly’s columns from 2002 and 2003, the period when most of the wise men of the press cheered as Our Leader took us to war on false pretenses, then dismissed as “Bush haters” anyone who complained about the absence of W.M.D. or warned that the victory celebrations were premature. Here are a few selections:

Nov. 19, 2002: “The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? … There is a batty degree of triumphalism loose in this country right now.”

Jan. 16, 2003: “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”

July 14, 2003: “I opposed the war in Iraq because I thought it would lead to the peace from hell, but I’d rather not see my prediction come true and I don’t think we have much time left to avert it. That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. … We don’t need people with credentials as right-wing ideologues and corporate privatizers — we need people who know how to fix water and power plants.”

Oct. 7, 2003: “Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire. …

“I’ve got an even-money bet out that says more Americans will be killed in the peace than in the war, and more Iraqis will be killed by Americans in the peace than in the war. Not the first time I’ve had a bet out that I hoped I’d lose.”

So Molly Ivins — who didn’t mingle with the great and famous, didn’t have sources high in the administration, and never claimed special expertise on national security or the Middle East — got almost everything right. Meanwhile, how did those who did have all those credentials do?

With very few exceptions, they got everything wrong. They bought the obviously cooked case for war — or found their own reasons to endorse the invasion. They didn’t see the folly of the venture, which was almost as obvious in prospect as it is with the benefit of hindsight. And they took years to realize that everything we were being told about progress in Iraq was a lie.

Was Molly smarter than all the experts? No, she was just braver. The administration’s exploitation of 9/11 created an environment in which it took a lot of courage to see and say the obvious.

Molly had that courage; not enough others can say the same.

And it’s not over. Many of those who failed the big test in 2002 and 2003 are now making excuses for the “surge.” Meanwhile, the same techniques of allegation and innuendo that were used to promote war with Iraq are being used to ratchet up tensions with Iran.

Now, more than ever, we need people who will stand up against the follies and lies of the powerful. And Molly Ivins, who devoted her life to questioning authority, will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Closing The Closet Door

The fabulous Rev. Ted Haggard, famed Crystal Methodist and male prostitute procurer, has announced that he is now "completely heterosexual." I don't really have anything to add to that -- because how can you embellish on a perfect punch line like that? -- I just wanted to share the joyous news with you, my loyal readers.

Praise the Lord and pass the lube, Rev. Ted. You're still just as fabulous as ever, no matter what orientation you claim.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Morning Feels So Random Flickr Blogging

"Sounds like... tricycles. Six, maybe seven of them. About twenty minutes out."
Carrot Top's less-famous brother Parsnip Head relaxes with his fiancee, Rhonda.
"Quick! To the JesusMobile!"
"Yeah, that's impressive, dude, and you're right, it is a good, strong stream, but could you please aim it somewhere else? I mean, dude, you're gonna hit me if you're not careful!"

(Today's image is #3459. Originals posted here, here, here and here. Random Flickr Blogging explained here.)

Friday, February 02, 2007

The President Is A Goddamned Liar

I know, I know, big surprise there, right? It's like Claude Rains in Casablanca saying that he is "shocked, shocked!" to learn that there is gambling at Rick's. In just the latest of dozens -- if not hundreds or thousands -- of such instances, the Miserable Failure in Chief has been caught in yet another prevarication. This time it has to do with the escalation of the war in Iraq, the number of troops that will be sent and the amount of money that will come out of our pockets to pay for it. In the State of the Union speech, Dubya said that he wanted to send "more than 20,000" troops to try to quell the raging civil war over there. As it turns out, "more than 20,000" equals anywhere from 35,000 to 48,000, when support troops such as headquarter staffers, engineering, intelligence, medical and military police personnel are factored in. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that this "surge" will cost up to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment. Imagine what America could do for its people here at home with $27 billion. Imagine not sending thousands more Americans overseas to become simply more grim statistics and future patients at understaffed and underfunded VA hospitals. Imagine.

ITMFA. Impeach the motherfucker(s) already.

Warming To The Subject

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but I suppose to many people it's news, of a sort: A panel of climatologists in Paris has just released a 21-page document saying that "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal," and that "There can be no question that the increase in greenhouse gases are dominated by human activities." In other words, things are going to change here on this little blue planet over the next century, and not for the better. The report goes on to say that this is something that will last for hundreds of years, and there is not a whole lot we can do at this point to reverse it. We can try to slow it down -- and we should -- but generations to come will simply have to learn to live with warmer and more severe weather, rising oceans and an Arctic region with little or no ice.

Being the selfish, self-centered sort that I am, it makes me glad in a sense that I won't live long enough to see the worst of it, and that I don't have kids who will grow up and have to deal with it. Tough luck for you young people out there and your heirs, though.

I wonder if anyone has notified notoriously fact-challenged right-wing shill and corporate apologist SF Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders about this.
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