Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Excuse To Drink

Just a reminder that our second of two closely-scheduled BARBARian gatherings is coming up this Wednesday, August 1st, at Ben 'N Nick's Bar & Grill, 5612 College Ave, Oakland. Show up at 6pm and get an early start, or show up later and expect to find some animated bloggers swilling beer and pillaging and plundering away. All Bay Area Bloggers And Readers are welcome.

Late Monday Random Flickr Blogging

After the 317th lap around Jim's car, all of Mike's neighbors stopped clapping and yelling encouragement and went into their homes to watch baseball instead.
The stakeout of the crime family's headquarters continues into Day 2,193...
Robert Novak blew up at the photographer right after this picture was taken. "That's not my good side, you idiot! Take it from over here, on my left! THAT'S my good side!!"

(Original images, #1922, posted here, here, here and here. Random Flickr Blogging explained by the BARBARic Tom Hilton here. For another, musical take on Random Flickr fun, check out singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton's music video made up from Flickr images here.)

Regect Reject Idiocy, Intolerance And Superstition

From my friend Dean in Connecticut comes this example of why some people are so threatened by a book: Because they're fucking idiots. Note especially the third sign from the left: "Regect Harry Potter Accept Christ!" The one next to it is good as well: "Owls Are The Devil's Pet."

Hey, anyone that keeps a pet can't be all bad, right?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Almost Monday Semi-Random Flickr Blogging

"But Jesus -- what about all those places where there's just one set of footprints?"

"That's where I put you down and let you walk alone, bub. What? You think you're the only person out there who needs my help? Cry-yi, I got bigger fish to fry than just you and your weak-ass dark nights of the soul, let me tell you."

(Original image, #3588, posted here. Random Flickr Blogging explained by non-practitioner Tom Hilton here.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back On The Table?

Over at Booman Tribune, the case is made for just how the current Constitutional crisis involving the White House ignoring Congressional subpoenas for Presidential aides and requests for information about the US attorney firings and the Pat Tillman cover-up (among other things) could be leading up to -- dare I say it? dare we think it? -- impeachment. I'm not so sure I buy the argument, but it sure is fun to think it's possible.

(h/t to my esteemed colleague nashtbrutusandshort at Categorical Aperitif for the link.)

Recent Pictures

Here are a bunch of pictures I've taken recently, many from New York and Boston, where Mrs. Generik and I had the good fortune to visit last month, and a few from right here at home. Given my new penchant for black and white, I've included a set of those as well.

Looking back at the Empire State building from 7th Avenue at about 29th Street.
The John Lennon memorial at Strawberry Field in Central Park.
Because there are so very many Ibo-speaking customers out there who otherwise would not be well-served at all.
Mrs. G and me in washed-out reflection while watching the Puerto Rico Day parade.
59th Street at Central Park in twilight.
The view northwest from Belvedere Tower in Central Park.
Belvedere Tower.
At the Museum of Natural History.
Lower Manhattan.
Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge. Minutes after this picture was taken, we got caught in a sudden thunderstorm, and were soaked trying to walk back to shelter.
Just outside Grand Central Station, where we met our young friend Marisa for lunch.
The iconic Chrysler Building, king of Art Deco architecture.
Dinner at Durgin-Park in Boston.
Some interesting architectural angles just around the corner from our Boston hotel.
The Bunker Hill Barber Shop.
An abandoned boot on Polk Street in San Francisco.
Fans at the All-Star Game.
Downtown Boston, just outside the South train station, view I.
View II.
Renaming the street outside Fenway Park?
Inside the park, at the Pesky Pole, watching the pitchers warm up.
Fenway Park, one of the finest old stadiums still in operation.
Who's on first? What's his name? I don't know!
Bleedin' Jebus! I saw this shirt at the Pride Parade in SF. Remember -- when you take communion, this is what you're drinking.
Baseballs on display at the Fan Fest at Moscone Center that went on during All-Star week.
Artist Michael Schwab designed the logo and a number of accompanying illustrations for the 2007 All-Star Game at AT&T Park in SF.
Every seat in the park got one of these cushions with zippered pouch for the game.
Before the game started, the Counting Crows performed a brief set. In the middle of their second song, the band was set on fire, and then they 'sploded real good.
Fortunately, a local fireboat came to the rescue.
Leaving by way of Willie Mays Gate after it was all over.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Beer!

It's time. In point of fact, it's past time. The BARBARians have not gathered together to drink beer for months now, and the liquor salesmen and -women of the greater Bay Area are starting to get a little panicky. To alleviate their concerns -- and to put a few coins in their coffers -- the following get-together has been proposed: This Saturday, July 21st, at the Phoenix Irish Pub, located at 811 Valencia Street in San Francisco (easy walking distance from either the 16th and Mission or 24th and Mission BART stations), starting at approximately 1pm until we can't stand anymore they throw us all out on our collective ass BART stops running.

And because it's been so long since we all got together, and because some people won't be able to make it this Saturday (or can't make it any Saturday), we're proposing a second gathering on Wednesday, August 1st, starting at 6pm, at either Glen Park Station in SF or Ben & Nick's in Oakland. Vote for your preference in the comments section here, or send an email to me, and I'll announce the decision by the end of this week.

(Cross posted at the BARBARian Blog.)

Brave New Films

Here's a great new resource for video clips: Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films. This site features all the latest from the prolific Mr. Greenwald, plus many other works from around the blogosphere and video world, and a blogging feature to boot. Check it out, yo.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Random-Schmandom Flickr Blogging Monday-Schmonday

Get a couple drinks in him, and Clark Kent starts thinking he's Superman. I swear, this happens every single time. *sigh*
Sometimes a cigar-eating contest is just a cigar-eating contest. Other times, of course, it's a bizarre public display of oral-phallic proclivity.
"Hey! I ordered melted cheese on my open-face head sandwich! Where's the melted cheese?"
"Shhh... be very, very silent. Clarice is hunting Hannibal. Huhuhuhuhuhuhuh!"

(Original images, #2991, posted here, here, here and here. Random Flickr Blogging explained by the Super Tom Hilton here.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cold Comfort

As most of my regular (and even most irregular, if you're paying attention) readers know, I'm not what you'd call a religious person. (I'm one of the "secular friends" referred to in the essay below.) However, when I read this email from a long-time correspondent, I thought it was so heartfelt and sincere, and expressed such real emotion that I wanted to share it with those of you who frequent this space. I realize the link he included with the original message he sent out is a few days old now (I was out of the office and away from the computer the past weekend, busy with All-Star festivities, otherwise I would have posted this sooner), but I don't think it takes anything away from the message.

Take it away, Stevie C., and many thanks for passing this along:

Amazing (or maybe not) how easily irascible I’ve become whenever I subject myself to reading on the latest antics of this complete and utter buffoon and his like minded cronies. The image that keeps generating in my head is GW and company standing on top of the white house with their d**ks in their hands (or squatting for those that don’t have that particular tool…Condi…. Wait, actually maybe she is capable of standing also… sorry, I shouldn’t cheapen this with digression), urinating all over America while guffawing loudly…

Back in 2000, I knew that one day in the future some of my intelligent but misguided GOP friends would see the light and with a heavy sigh say, “Uh… well…”… or not say anything at all…

My biggest beef?

From 2000-2006, of my friends and family who are (were) GW’s supporters, quite a few stood by him with this vehement creepy-blind conviction… never batting an eye as he stated himself to be chosen by God to lead the Country, with God given permissions to do what he felt needed to be done (while often rolling eyes and commenting on the antics of us “crazy leftie libs”… wink wink, elbow nudge, sly smile).

Even though many of you who are my friends are secular, I’m sure you can imagine how pissed off an individual can get when he sits in a church ~ 80% full of happy Stepford-esque smiling Republicans, thinking to himself “I know holding worn leather in your hand feels nice and I’m sure it’s nifty seeing the pretty gold embossing that spells out your name… But have you actually READ that bible in awhile? HELLO?!?!?!?! If you aren’t just the slightest bit scared my fine Christian friend, I’ll be more than happy to share the fear for both of us, ‘cause I sure as hell have enough of it to spare.”

And of course my nature being what it is, I’d let some of that leak out from time to time… as you can imagine, the response was generally “crazy leftie Stevie”… wink wink, elbow nudge, sly smile… Crap, I think a couple of friends tried to pat me on the head, even…

So, why am I spouting off on this today? Well, that day in the future has come… over the last few months, I’ve been collecting the occasional “We’ve given up on this administration, not that we feel we were wrong, but we’re just not sure what to make of things now, not that we feel we were wrong or anything, but this President of ours is confusing us, did we tell you that we aren’t saying we were wrong?

But today I hit “jackpot”. A family member saying to me last evening… “I’m sorry Steve… it looks like maybe what you were saying all this time was right.”

Years ago, when I thought about hearing those words (and I knew I would at some point), I saw myself jumping up on a table and shouting “See I TOLD you so.”

Funny thing is, there’s nothing I want to do less at the moment.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Resign, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney

Keith Olbermann nails it in his indictment of the Worst President And His Ventriloquist Ever:

Olbermann: Bush, Cheney should resign

‘I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.’
By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
Updated: 5:13 p.m. PT July 3, 2007

“I didn’t vote for him,” an American once said, “But he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

That—on this eve of the 4th of July—is the essence of this democracy, in 17 words. And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

The man who said those 17 words—improbably enough—was the actor John Wayne. And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them, when he learned of the hair’s-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon in 1960.

“I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier, but there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayne’s voice: The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgement that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our Commander-in-Chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others.

We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president’s partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world—but merely that we may function.

But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne, is an implicit trust—a sacred trust: That the president for whom so many did not vote, can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire Republic.

Our generation’s willingness to state “we didn’t vote for him, but he’s our president, and we hope he does a good job,” was tested in the crucible of history, and earlier than most.

And in circumstances more tragic and threatening. And we did that with which history tasked us.

We enveloped our President in 2001.And those who did not believe he should have been elected—indeed those who did not believe he had been elected—willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and shaped it to a razor-sharp point and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.

Did so even before the appeals process was complete; did so without as much as a courtesy consultation with the Department of Justice; did so despite what James Madison—at the Constitutional Convention—said about impeaching any president who pardoned or sheltered those who had committed crimes “advised by” that president; did so without the slightest concern that even the most detached of citizens must look at the chain of events and wonder: To what degree was Mr. Libby told: break the law however you wish—the President will keep you out of prison?

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you broke that fundamental com-pact between yourself and the majority of this nation’s citizens—the ones who did not cast votes for you. In that moment, Mr. Bush, you ceased to be the President of the United States. In that moment, Mr. Bush, you became merely the President of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party. And this is too important a time, Sir, to have a commander-in-chief who puts party over nation.

This has been, of course, the gathering legacy of this Administration. Few of its decisions have escaped the stain of politics. The extraordinary Karl Rove has spoken of “a permanent Republican majority,” as if such a thing—or a permanent Democratic majority—is not antithetical to that upon which rests: our country, our history, our revolution, our freedoms.

Yet our Democracy has survived shrewder men than Karl Rove. And it has survived the frequent stain of politics upon the fabric of government. But this administration, with ever-increasing insistence and almost theocratic zealotry, has turned that stain into a massive oil spill.

The protection of the environment is turned over to those of one political party, who will financially benefit from the rape of the environment. The protections of the Constitution are turned over to those of one political party, who believe those protections unnecessary and extravagant and quaint.

The enforcement of the laws is turned over to those of one political party, who will swear beforehand that they will not enforce those laws. The choice between war and peace is turned over to those of one political party, who stand to gain vast wealth by ensuring that there is never peace, but only war.

And now, when just one cooked book gets corrected by an honest auditor, when just one trampling of the inherent and inviolable fairness of government is rejected by an impartial judge, when just one wild-eyed partisan is stopped by the figure of blind justice, this President decides that he, and not the law, must prevail.

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.

I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.

I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

I accuse you of handing part of this Republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that Vice President, carte blanche to Mr. Libby, to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to Grand Juries and Special Counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation, with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison, and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

When President Nixon ordered the firing of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” on October 20th, 1973, Cox initially responded tersely, and ominously.

“Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men, is now for Congress, and ultimately, the American people.”

President Nixon did not understand how he had crystallized the issue of Watergate for the American people.

It had been about the obscure meaning behind an attempt to break in to a rival party’s headquarters; and the labyrinthine effort to cover-up that break-in and the related crimes.

And in one night, Nixon transformed it.

Watergate—instantaneously—became a simpler issue: a President overruling the inexorable march of the law of insisting—in a way that resonated viscerally with millions who had not previously understood - that he was the law.

Not the Constitution. Not the Congress. Not the Courts. Just him.

Just - Mr. Bush - as you did, yesterday.

The twists and turns of Plame-Gate, of your precise and intricate lies that sent us into this bottomless pit of Iraq; your lies upon the lies to discredit Joe Wilson; your lies upon the lies upon the lies to throw the sand at the “referee” of Prosecutor Fitzgerald’s analogy. These are complex and often painful to follow, and too much, perhaps, for the average citizen.

But when other citizens render a verdict against your man, Mr. Bush—and then you spit in the faces of those jurors and that judge and the judges who were yet to hear the appeal—the average citizen understands that, Sir.

It’s the fixed ballgame and the rigged casino and the pre-arranged lottery all rolled into one—and it stinks. And they know it.

Nixon’s mistake, the last and most fatal of them, the firing of Archibald Cox, was enough to cost him the presidency. And in the end, even Richard Nixon could say he could not put this nation through an impeachment.

It was far too late for it to matter then, but as the decades unfold, that single final gesture of non-partisanship, of acknowledged responsibility not to self, not to party, not to “base,” but to country, echoes loudly into history. Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign

Would that you could say that, Mr. Bush. And that you could say it for Mr. Cheney. You both crossed the Rubicon yesterday. Which one of you chose the route, no longer matters. Which is the ventriloquist, and which the dummy, is irrelevant.

But that you have twisted the machinery of government into nothing more than a tawdry machine of politics, is the only fact that remains relevant.

It is nearly July 4th, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a King who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them—or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them—we would force our independence, and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time—and our leaders in Congress, of both parties—must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach—get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.

For you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.


And give us someone—anyone—about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

For White House Cronies Only


That's the number to telephone the White House and tell them how you feel about Scooter walking (or anything else you might have on your mind).

I just now phoned them, and after about a half-dozen busy signals and then a delay of a few minutes, got through to a live operator. After politely telling her how displeased I was with the sentence commutation, I went on to say that I thought both the president and the vice-president had recently shown a "blatant disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution," and suggested that they both resign. "And if they don't, I think Congress should impeach them," I concluded.

The operator gave me a sunny "Thank you for calling, and thank you for your comment!" before saying goodbye.

My good friend Mr_Grant (aka Mr_Blog) has another idea on what should happen. My esteemed colleague paperwight weighs in on how this pardon commutation is consistent with the Bush family modus operandi. And Senator Chuck Schumer has an on-line petition up for those of you who might wish to add your voice to the outcry of indignation over this despicable maneuver. Even my friend Lanz, who typically weighs in on the opposite side of the issues as I do, is disgusted by this action. I have no doubt that there will be more -- much more -- to come.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Scooter The Commuter

Gee, here's a surprise: Preznit The Rules Don't Apply To Me has commuted Scooter Libby's jail sentence. So the poor little lying bastard doesn't get to see the inside of stoney lonesome after all. What a shocker. What a... okay, really, who out there thought for one second that he'd actually do time for the crimes he committed at the behest of this most corrupt, most secretive, most blatantly disregarding of the rule of law and the Constitution administration ever? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller...?

And you can be sure to look for a full pardon to completely expunge Scooter's record before the Imperial Presidency is finished.

It's just goddamn disgusting, is what it is. Simply stomach-turning. Every time you think Bush has sunk to the absolute nadir of his presidency, he somehow manages to find a new low. Worst. Goddamn. Motherfucking. President. EVER.

Can we please, please, please, PLEASE impeach both of those evil sons of bitches right away, today, now?!? Please?!?
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