Saturday, January 28, 2006

Too Stupid to Breathe..

...and yet, these people probably vote.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rebuilding Iraq

Remember all the "good news" coming from Iraq about how we were rebuilding the country's infrastructure (which we'd destroyed in the war), restoring electricity and water? Well, as it turns out, not so much.

At least we've painted a lot of schools over there though, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Before the Deluge

Alarmed by the impact of the flooding of New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina's wake, and no doubt mindful of the court ruling holding the state of California liable for 100s of millions of dollars in damages wrought by flooding in the Yuba County in 1986, Democrats in the California Assembly yesterday introduced legislation that would require local governments to certify that new developments have "200-year flood protection" and that homeowners living in areas lacking such protection must have flood insurance.

In response, sadly predictably, Tim Coyle, senior vice president of the California Building Industry Association, described the proposed legislation as "the same old anti-growth policies that ignore the realities of this state and the needs of our current residents."

I realize that floods are good for the construction industry, but goddam, just how greedy and heartless do you have to be to put your desires to make a buck over the safey of the people of California? As has been amply demonstrated quite graphically, floods kill people, destroy homes, and ruin lives. As much as Mr. Coyle would apparently like to get his hands on the reconstruction money that will be available following a catastrophic flood, wouldn't it more accurately "reflect the realities of this state" and serve "the needs of our current residents" to try not to build homes in areas that are likely to be devastated by floods?

Large areas of California's central valley, for millenia a flood plain, are protected from the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Mokelumne rivers by an extensive system of dikes and levees. As exhibited in New Orleans and repeatedly farther north along the Mississippi River, these systems will eventually fail. The Napa and Russian rivers have flooded extensively about twice a decade for the last twenty years. Wouldn't it be reflective of the realities of the state to recognize that? Wouldn't it serve the needs of the state's residents to not allow building in areas vulnerable to riverine flooding?

Bush on Osama

George W. Bush, White House Press Conference, March 13, 2002:
Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time.And the idea of focusing on one person is --really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.
Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just--he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is--as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide--if, in fact, he's hiding at all.
So I don't know where he is.You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.

George W. Bush, January 25, 2006:
"When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it," Bush told reporters after visiting the top-secret National Security Agency where the surveillance program is based. "I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously."

Perhaps if the President had spent more time worrying about Osama in 2002, the man wouldn’t be a threat today.

Oh, who am I kidding? Nothing could have done more to ensure Osama’s continued well-being then for the Bush Administration to have tried to neutralize him.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quite a Distinction

Wow! Something the entire spectrum of blogtopia can agree on: Joel Stein is an idiot!

I concur.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Chris Mathews

It sounds like Chris Mathews may have had to have a private moment to clean himself up after this. Though he should be, I doubt he possesses the humility to be ashamed of moments like that.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ewww, You Stepped in Some Pombo

Because so many of us in the Bay Area are represented by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, and Lynn Woolsey, there's not much we can do to influence our Congressional representatives to be more progressive (well, some of us like to rail at and write to Senator Useless, but that hasn't proved too productive so far). Matt, an East Bay blogger, has addressed this dilemma by identifying a sufficiently loathsome Republican Congressman lurking on the outer fringes of the region and seeking to unseat him. Hence the blog, Say No To Pombo. Check it out.

As an example of the stench rising from Pombo, check out Kevin Drum. Pombo is so vile that Pete McCloskey, the long retired former Republican Congressman from the Peninsula, is coming out of retirement to challenge him. For all the talk about John McCain being a maverick, McCloskey was the real McCoy.

Update: If you're a Republican who somehow stumbled across this site and you're interested in supporting McCloskey, click here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Next Time, Google it

Aside from whatever you may think of the relative speed and relevance of their search engines, Google has provided on more reason for you to use it rather than its competitors Yahoo and Microsoft MSN; Google has resisted efforts of the Bush Administration to hand over information on what people search for, while its competitors have happily provided the data.

The government insists that it has no intention of identifying the people associated with the searches but Google believes that with enough information in the government's hands that could be pieced together.

In contrast to Google's resistance to our government's efforts to extract this information, Microsoft has shown itself willing to comply with the requests of virtually any government. In addition to providing the data requested by the US government in this case, MicroSoft recently acceded to a request by the Chinese Government to shut down a blog that had been critical of the Chinese Government. For all its advertising about how they open up possibilities, MicroSoft's actions demonstrate that it's really about keeping markets open and making a buck. That may be how it should be for a public company, but knock off the phony tributes to expanding horizons and realizing dreams.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Howard Kurtz, Wanker with an Oak Leaf Cluster

In Kurtz's column today, one reader asks, "Isn't the speaker elected by the WHOLE house?" Kurtz responds, "Actually, the speaker is elected by the majority party."

Another reader calls Kurtz on this, saying, "Actually, the questioner was right, the Speaker is elected by the entire House of Representatives. It is just the case that the majority party has more votes (obviously) and therefore, as long as they all vote for the same person, that person will become Speaker." Kurtz smoothly replied, "Yes, which is why the decision is essentially made by the majority party."

So even though the original reader was correct and Kurtz implied in his answer that he was wrong, Kurtz was really correct because the Speaker isn't elected by those who don't vote for him. Kind of like those who run for public office aren't elected by all the voters, only those who vote for them.

What an ass-clown.

Well, I Feel Safer Now


Saturday, January 14, 2006

God's Bullpen

Time and fate have been unkind to the pitching staffs of the Oakland A's World Series teams of the early seventies. Catfish Hunter died several years ago from head injuries he suffered in a fall down a staircase. Having lost the use of his arms to Lou Gehrig's disease, he was unable to catch himself after stumbling. Vida Blue has battled alcohol and legal woes for years. Blue Moon Odom (I swear I'm not making these names up!) was convicted on drug charges in the eighties and later had his own struggles with alcohol. Now comes word that Paul Lindblad, a middle reliever for the A's and the last man to pitch to Willie Mays, died on New Year's Day after a 12 year battle with Alzheimer's disease.

When I was a kid I passed many spring, summer, and fall days listening to these guys ' games on the radio. Their exploits provided the audio background to a childhood of creek-walking, flattening nails on the railroad tracks and afternoons spent at Frontier Village. In our imaginations these men who get to do as adults what we all dream of have ideal lives. It just isn't so, though.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

God's Wrath

Speaking of protecting us from the influence of gays (or fags, as some prefer), thank goodness we have Fred Phelps, the lesser known kin of Pat Robertson, to remind us of the mysterious ways God moves in. According to the reverend Phelps, the death of twelve coal miners was God's wrath at those notorious fag-enabling West Virginians.

Among the "crimes" of these people, for which God has judged them harshly, are that they "worship dunghill fag gods in 'Brokeback Mountain,'" and "their holy book is 'The Da Vinci Code' - not the King James Bible."

I gotta hand it to crazy Fred. Many people would have stopped with "fag gods," satisifed with the near-alliterative quality of the phrase. It takes the sensibility of a deranged poet to toss dunghill in there.

Defense of Marriage

Thanks God gays can't marry, preserving the sanctity of marriage for these people.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Where is he Now?

A few years ago I went to a birthday party at my boss's house. It was a fun afternoon, passed eating barbecued oysters, drinking beer, and playing dominos my bosse's family, including his young nephew, who was about to start his second season in the NFL, after a distinguished rookie year as a return specialist.

I wonder if that kid ever amounted to anything.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hugh Thompson, Vietnam Hero, Dies

Hugh Thompson, an army pilot who helped stop the My Lai massacre, landing his helicopter between American soldiers and the Vietnamese civilians they were murdering and then helicoptering survivors to safety, died early Friday.

For his actions at My Lai, which included he and his crew pointing their guns at the Americans doing the killing, Thompson received nasty letters and death threats and feared he would be court martialed. Eventually, in 1998, he and his crew, door-gunner Lawrence Coburn and crew chief Glenn Andreotta, received the Soldiers medal for their actions, Andreotta, killed in action in April 1968, posthumously.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lou Rawls

For some reason, the deaths of popular singers seem to affect me more than those of actors or athletes. Maybe because they're more constantly with us, always in the background, through important events in our lives and just average days. Anyway, that's a long intro into saying I was sorry to hear of the death of Lou Rawls. I don't know any man who doesn't wish he could sing like Lou could. Even when he was barely in a song, such as singing the response "yeah" in Sam Cooke's "Bring in on Home to Me," the song, and those of us listening, ended up so much richer.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rose Bowl

Well, that was quite a game, wasn't it? I remember at the Heisman Award ceremony wondering why Vince Young looked so stunned when Bush won; tonight I found out why. In a game in which Bush's most significant contribution was the most bone-headed play I have ever seen, Young stood out as both the best passer and the best runner in the game. Overall the Longhorns seemed faster and stronger, making better and quicker tackles on defense and making the big play on offence whenever they had to.

In a great mistatement, USC coach Pete Carrol said "Well, we couldn't stop them when we had to." No, Pete, you couldn't stop them at all. Texas continually stopped itself with turnovers and missed kicks. USC clearly had no idea how to stop them. And Carrol himself went all Norv Turner on us, having Leinart, who passed for the softest 300 yards ever, carry the ball on a 4th and one in the first half, rather than having one of his several dozen running backs do the heavy lifting.

I think we can put to rest for awhile the whining that Pac 10 teams don't get the respect they deserve. With the conference's performance in bowl games as an indicator of how they perform against elite teams, the Pac 10 has clearly been over rated.
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