Thursday, May 27, 2004

I Love Al Gore 

Why do I love Al Gore, you might ask?

Because he is a badass.

If you haven't gotten to hear the speech itself, the transcript only does it about half justice. He is such an eloquent speaker. This is the Al Gore who was elected to the House and Senate from Tennessee. This is Al Gore the Volunteer.

I know, I know, where was he four years ago - I wonder myself sometimes. I think he got caught up in too many dumb advisors telling him too much dumb stuff, and eight years of being Clinton's VP had made too much of an impression on his day to day.

But when you read that speech, you can see it: he is an orator and politician of the highest order, and Democrats are lucky he is still around. Kerry could sure as hell learn a thing or two from him.

Side note: Bush's speechwriters should see this speech for a great example of how to quote Scripture in a political speech without sounding like you want a theocratic America. Oh wait - they do want a theocratic America!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

When Life Imitates Scenes From The War Room 

So, it would seem the Bushies love outsourcing so much, they are using it to run their campaign!

This is gold. Total gold. God bless Wonkette for posting this with no comment.

I can't resist this fun graf, with which our intrepid reporters close:
Maybe the Indian political establishment can take a lesson from or two from Republicans in US and outsource its fund raising campaign during next general elections.

Paging the Kerry campaign: This would be really great to point out.

Monday, May 24, 2004

TL, Blogger/MixMaster 

In what must truly be an unprecedented low in the world of "creative" workplace environments, I received a card today listing a rather unique title.

The card was from a marketing/design shop that was very fond of big words like "synergy" and "energy of motion" to describe things. Their brochure clearly had been printed with an error, and a corrected paragraph pasted over it. How do I know? The design elements didn't line up. Not a great way to get business in the design world.

Anyway, as I went to toss the packet, I saw the salesman's card. His title:
New Business Development Director/Hot Rhymer
That is ridiculous.

Please. You can be cool and modern and not lose your class and professionalism. This guy just looks like a goober.

Friday, May 21, 2004


I know that the Pentagon is kind of between a rock and a hard place, what with the state-sanctioned torture and all, but wow.

This quote from a Bryan Whitman, who clearly didn't pay attention in PR class says a lot:
"They said we will make you wish to die and it will not happen," said Ameen Saeed Al-Sheik, detainee No. 151362. "They stripped me naked. One of them told me he would rape me. He drew a picture of a woman to my back and makes me stand in shameful position holding my buttocks."

The Pentagon is investigating the allegations, a spokesman said last night.

"There are a number of lines of inquiry that are being taken with respect to allegations of abuse of detainees in U.S. custody," Bryan Whitman said. "There is still more to know and to be learned and new things to be discovered."

I mean, seriously. More to know and learn and discover??? It sounds like he is talking about the latest children's amusement park or new values at your local Wal-Mart.

The flippant attitude that neocons and their people are showing to this baffles me. If we are working under the assertion that America is so much better than everyone else, and that we just have it all figured out, then why in the hell are we the ones doing the torturing?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Salt In The Wounds 

Wow, this is going to be bad.

Just completely insane.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I Love Tennessee 

Why do I love Tennessee, you might ask? The beautiful mountains? The friendly people? The wonderful weather?

Nope. The names.

Key Quote here:
On the Simpson matter, she said, "Everybody knows him as 'Super T.' There would probably be some confusion if we just had Kenneth on there."

Monday, May 17, 2004

Happy Coincidence 

On TMW today, Tom noted that today was both the 50th anniversary of Brown and the first day of legally sanctioned marriage for gay people.

This got me thinking - it seems appropriate that they are both happening today. Both mark the overturning of a foolish policy that we will be able to look back on 50 years later and wonder why we hadn't figured it out earlier.

Both reflect a horribly misapplied interpretation of the Bible acted out by government, and the realization that theocracy will simply not work in America. Indeed, institutionalized discrimination runs counter to democratic ideals.

It is disturbing that we have a president who does not seem to understand that idea, and whose policies are dictated by such a small, ultraconservative group of people.

However, today is a day to be proud. Proud that we made it this far in battling racism, and recognize the fight ahead in making the big tent even bigger.

Bloviation complete.

Messed Up 

Wow. I am flabbergasted by this.

What on earth would drive these idiots to think that Darby, who brought the abuses to light, is a traitor? These kids get taught about the importance of honor - It is a far greater dishonor to allow our country's name to be tarnished by unnecessary behavior.

I just don't understand why the idea of torture resonates with people. It is dastardly and barbaric. It represents everything America is supposed to stand against. How do they think it looks in Iraq? "We took Saddam's torture chambers, and we... cleaned them and put in new tile so we could clean up more easily after torture."

There is some sanity left in the hills of W.Va., though:
"Some people are upset with what he did -- ratting them out -- and also because of what happened to those contractors, the beheading. They might say what the guards did pales in comparison," says Ewing. "But . . . if we as a country, as a culture, believe certain values then you can't excuse that behavior. If I ever do see him again, I'll tell him I'm very proud. And as time goes on, most Americans are going to realize that, too."

I just don't get why this isn't a no-brainer for some people.


I sometimes wonder if this should just become a blog about the Post.

Anyway - I read this today, and I was torn between my Washington self and my Tennessee self. (Now I sound like some kind of ridiculous Jungian, but anyway.)

While the stand on the right, walk on the left principle is clearly valid, I don't see that it is somehow a "Middle America" kind of issue as described by the woman in the article.

We have such crazy technology as escalators and even, yes, elevators outside of major coastal media markets. We know how to use them. The issue has more to do with being a tourist and not thinking like a worker trying to rush home. I have seen plenty a family from such lands as Massachusetts and New York look like idiots on the Metro escalators, but the difference is that they are jerks when you ask them to move, as opposed to Southerners and Midwesterners, who apologize and get out out of the way.

Back to reality and real issues.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Quid Pro Quo, Or "You Dance With Them What Brung Ya" 

Wow. I love how the rap on John kerry is that he is just an elitist and out of touch with "mainstream America' and all that junk, and that Bush is in touch with "real people." This from today's Post shows how much of a man of the people he is.

M. Teel Bivins, a rancher, Pioneer and member of the Texas Senate awaiting confirmation as ambassador to Sweden, spoke more openly in an interview with the BBC in 2001. "You wouldn't have direct access if you had spent two years of your life working hard to get this guy elected president, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars?" he said. "You dance with them what brung ya."

Sad thing is, I technicall work for the guy who hosted the meeting that serves as the news peg for the story.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

All Politics Are Local, or, W Stands For Whitewash, Too 

Obviously the big news today is the beheading and continued hearings about prisoners being beaten. I don't have to talk about it for you to know how I feel, so I will instead refer you to the rather skillful bloggers on your left who can handle this far better than I.

This and this are in the Post today. Interesting inside baseball stuff. The "W is for Women" group in the first piece amuses me to no end, almost as much as the woman in the second piece does.

I think the idea of making local connections bodes well for Bush, who seems to benefit from having a base made of those who tend to be insular about their media intake. It's all Fox and NewsMax for his base.

I wonder if it puts Kerry at a disadvantage in some ways that his supporters tend to follow traditional media outlets that hit both sides hard, as opposed to purely liberal outlets?

This Is Only A Test 

... To see how well Blogger's new commenting system works. (Thanks for the heads up, Rachel.)

We'll return shortly to incredulous ranting, already in progress.

This Is Only A Test 

... To see how well Blogger's new commenting system works. (Thanks for the heads up, Rachel.)

We'll return shortly to incredulous ranting, already in progress.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Irony As NPR Promo Spots 

So, I was driving home tonight and heard a really interesting promo for This American Life on WUTC. They said the show was going to be all about Reruns, or on a larger scale, about the habits and routines we fall into as Americans.

The next promo was for A Prairie Home Companion, and talked all about settling in for that familiar Saturday night of music, comedy, and the news from Lake Wobegon.

Just saying...

Why Not To Call Bush Dumb 

This, via South Knox Bubba. Key quote:
Bush also compensates with his non-verbal acumen. As he notes, "Smart comes in all kinds of different ways." The president's way is an aptitude for connecting to people through banter and physicality. He has a powerful memory for names, details, and figures that truly matter to him, such as batting averages from the 1950s. Bush also has a keen political sense, sharpened under the tutelage of Karl Rove.

What's more, calling the president a cretin absolves him of responsibility. Like Reagan, Bush avoids blame for all manner of contradictions, implausible assertions, and outright lies by appearing an amiable dunce. If he knows not what he does, blame goes to the three puppeteers, Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld. It also breeds sympathy. We wouldn't laugh at FDR because he couldn't walk. Is it less cruel to laugh at GWB because he can't talk? The soft bigotry of low expectations means Bush is seen to outperform by merely getting by. Finally, elitist condescension, however merited, helps cement Bush's bond to the masses.


My comments links seem to be on the fritz today. It's not like you ever leave comments, but if you feel compelled, drop me an e-mail.

A Voice Crying In The Wilderness 

How I love the Chattanooga Times editorial page. While their endorsements leave a lot to be desired, their positions on issues are a breath of fresh air in knee-jerk conservative land.

Today is a great example. There just aren't that many "voices for choice" in Tennessee.

More to come today, things are slow.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Southside Wal-Mart 

As usual, something got me thinking.

In an ironic twist, the site of Wheland Foundry, closed after years of shoddy management and labor disputes leading to it's current demolition, is going to be the site of a new Wal-Mart. (TL knows people who know things.) It just seems like a metaphor for the damage they do to local business.

There was a lot of talk a few months ago about how Wal-Mart treats their workers, and their effect on small businesses is well documented. One example from the article above:

Andrew Stokes, manager of the Alvin B. Stokes general store -- which was established in 1946 by his grandfather -- sells everything from cast-iron skillets to saddles. "We think of ourselves as a store for the working man," Stokes said the other day, as he waited on a woman looking to buy a saddle.

Stokes said that salesmen who sell him his products have told him that he can expect a Wal-Mart superstore to cut into his gross revenue as much as 20 percent the first year it is open. But he still wants the store to come to town because, well, the residents need a big outlet like that.

It seems to me that the ever-growing Wal-mart phenomenon is starting to shake folks up a little bit. Even here in Chattanooga there was a good deal of opposition to the latest Wal-Mart. Though it was mainly the Earth First crowd complaining about wetlands, the issue didn't begin to resonate until the effects on business became the focus.

In the Post article, though, we see that the "Not In My Backyard" tendencies of America can be used for good in some instances, too. Will it happen in Chattanooga?

Mixed Messages 

So, I was reading the Post this morning, and came across this article.

I can't help but wonder if it is a good thing that Bush isn't as conservative as conservatives want him to be. On the other hand, it is scary that restricting women's rights, waging wars, and cutting taxes for the rich on the backs of the middle-class and poor somehow isn't conservative enough.

Michael Franc, vice president of the Heritage Foundation, said the criticism by O'Neill, Will and Kagan has a common thread: a concern that the administration is "using an old playbook" and not coming up with bold enough ideas, whether the subject is entitlement reform or pacifying Iraq. Conservative intellectuals "are saying, 'Don't do things half way,' " he said.

"It's the exhaustion of power," said a veteran of conservative think tanks who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Ideology has confronted reality, and ideology has bent. On the domestic side, it has bent in terms of the expansion of the government embodied in the Medicare prescription-drug law. On the foreign policy side, it has bent because of what has transpired in the last few weeks in Fallujah

I kind of feel bad for Bush, what with even his allies hating him. Wait, no I don't.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Light Day, My Sister Is Graduating! 

Alright, breaking the rules of blogging here:

Go read other blogs and maybe even actual news (on the left) and curse loudly. That is certainly what I am doing today.

If you want to read a great criticism not only of Friends, but of NBC, NBC "News," and the ridiculousness that has been the last few months, read this. God Bless Tom Shales.

And, finally, congrats to my sister - I am in awe of your ability to do what you do.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Southerners and Defensiveness 

This article by Dorie Turner got me thinking.

Why is it that Southerners get so damn defensive about the South? This example is prime. It's Sewanee for God's sake! It's not just going to turn into some kind of (gasp) liberal Northern campus because they want to be sure people know what the hell Sewanee is!

I love the South, don't get me wrong, and nothing makes me more angry than when some moron tried to tell me it is full of backwards racists, etc. But I just don't get why so many people freak when we actually acknowledge that there was a time when the South was a truly awful place run by truly awful people. It was a bad time, it's over now. We should own up to it, and do our best to make it better than it was.

It seems that Southerners have a deep fear of losing what we love about the South. It's a valid fear, as anyone who has been to Atlanta recently can tell you. This Sewanee thing, however, is purely branding. The school goes by three names, and that gets confusing for people who may not have had 18 generations attend there. While many alums, I am sure, would love to see Sewanee kept open only to alums in some grand inbreeding scheme, it may help to at least have a consistent name. The way I see it, it will put a stronger reputation on the University of the South, and that is not a bad thing for Sewanee grads, students, or Southerners in general.

Now about those silly robes...

More on the Abuse 

The World Opinion Roundup in the Post is always insightful, but today's is especially so.

This opinion piece was featured in the roundup today. If you ever ask "Why do they hate us?" I assure you this will give you some answers.

Smile! You're On Candid Camera! 

More pictures have surfaced today in the Washington Post. Here is a link to the full set.

It is appalling that this happened. It is appalling that, at least according to the article above, some of the soldiers involved are trying to shirk blame, despite the rather incontrovertible evidence against them. But most appalling, to me anyway, is that conservatives (like Rush) are somehow trying to say this really isn't all that bad!

In the words of Strong Bad, "Holy Crap, Crap For Brains!" If this was being done to an American soldier, conservatives would be calling for us to nuke every person in the entire country responsible. This kind of smug, nose-thumbing attitude is why everyone in the whole world thinks America sucks, in spite of the fact that we pretty much are in charge of making sure everything works correctly.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004


See above.

Hooked: The People Have Pot, The Generals Have Mercenaries 

Kevin at Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog is having a red-letter day, having broken this a few days before the NYT.

My thoughts: I find it ironic that Americans, who seem to just blindly trust Bush, are actually becoming more addicted to something that makes them even more stupid. Wow. That is another topic for another day, though. This, of course, is while the military seems to have trouble weaning themselves off of the use of lawless mercenaries to do their dirty work of interrogating prisoners.

Everybody's hooked on something, I guess. Has anyone seen my model airplane glue?

The WSJ has Ethics? Fuhgeddaboutit. 

This from Kevin Drum today.

Nothing like creating a totally artificial pull-quote to make your point. That's okay, I'm sure the Kerry-hater who wrote the piece doesn't mind.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

When You Can't Think Of A Way to Say It Yourself... 

...Boondocks will say it for you.

McGruder's father worked for (probably still works for) the NTSB when I interned there, and a drawing of his was still the wallpaper on the computer when I left. In retrospect, I guess that was pretty cool to have seen his work before the world did.

What Next, Dinosaurs and Man Lived At the Same Time? Oh, Wait... 

Ask yourself, honestly, if any women you know are as dumb as conservative men think they are. It is insane to believe that a woman who already takes precautions during sexual intercourse will just flippantly decide not to anymore if she can get emergency contraception. And that those teenagers who have been wondering whether or not sex was right for them are just going to start going at it now that they have emergency contraception.

What a joke.

Monday, May 03, 2004

More About Bob 

This is from David Broder yesterday.

Something felt really odd this morning waking up and hearing someone besides Bob Edwards. Not bad, just odd. Better than John Boy and Billy, though.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Quagmire, Anyone? 

I am utterly confused by the role of private contractors as interrogators, and why those private contractors seem to command our troops to torture Iraqis.

Between this and the new Iraqi flag, we look like not only like some kind of evil occupying force, but also like we are working for Israel. These are not technical errors, they are huge examples of mass idiocy.

Put yourself in the mind of an Iraqi, and tell me you wouldnt want us the hell out of your country - now.


I couldn't have said it any better myself.

The time is now for Karen Hughes to apologize to the millions of men and women she called terrorists.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Eating Disorders Touch Us All 

So, am I the only one who thinks it looks like Zach Wamp is about to make himself vomit in yet another photographic masterpiece from The Chattanoogan?

Must be part of those intense preparations to get his ass kicked by Rep. Ford.

One Person, One Receipt 

This is a prime example of why the average American should trust government over the private sector. Diebold has one reason for existence: to make money for itself. Can't fault them there.

This is why we have the government. It also exists for one purpose: to help us. Do we pick who runs Diebold? Nope. Do we pick who runs government? Bad question after 2000, but ostensibly, yes.

Anyway - good for California. I can't figure out why the filling in bubbles thing is so bad - we have done it in Tennessee for a while now, and it works fine.

And the Lord said, "Thou Shalt Be Ignorant of My Creation" 

This is the possibly the most crazy-ass thing I have ever seen.

I guess I will be saying that a ton, but still. The parents didn't like Disney World - a place famous for a GIANT TALKING MOUSE - because it also mentioned the apparently more crazy idea that dinosaurs are older than people.

This is just another point that baffles me. If you read the creation story in Genesis, and then look at any basic science textbook that discusses evolution, you can see that it pretty much is the same story - one told scientifically, the other told mythically.

At least it looks like the guy is so nuts, the people who think the Grand Canyon came from Noah's flood think he is nuts.

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