Monday, November 29, 2004

Prissy Republican of the week

Well, finally, one bold pundit has dared to place the blame for the Pistons/Pacers/fans brawl squarely where it belongs, on the Democrats in general, and in particular, the Clintons. Michael Graham, writing in his column "the usual suspects," which is widely syndicated in two alternative weekly newspapers in South Carolina (the Columbia Free Times and the Charleston City Paper), complains about the tasteless Monday Night Football promo involving a topless (seen from the back) actress and a player. He also decries loutish fan behavior, such as screaming swear words, at college and pro sports games.

As far as I know, no one, certainly not any prominent Democrats, is defending the screaming of "FUCK" at sports games. But somehow, don't you know, Mr. Graham manages to make a connection between thuggish fan behavior and Democrats and blue states. 'Cause evidently nobody ever screamed "FUCK" at any red state sports event, 'cept for that Myrtle Beach Pelicans game I attended a couple of seasons ago where some louts were (rightfully) ejected for screaming "FUCK YOU" at the umps and opposing team. Apparently Mr. Graham didn't hear about that one incident. But his point was, screaming "FUCK" at ball games is the Democrats' fault, and also has something to do with the Clintons.

Poignantly, Mr. Graham queries:

Do any of these incidents, from the Carolina/Clemson fight to the Monday Night Football naughtiness really matter? Actually, yes. They matter to that slim (and shrinking) majority of Americans who share my unreasonable desire to live in a place where those advocating civility and common courtesy aren't the bad guys, and where the foul-mouthed morons demanding 24-hour porn access on broadcast TV are.

By now you are asking yourself, who IS this Michael Graham, this paragon of civility and common courtesy? He's a minor league conservative pundit, who when he got called up to the big show (the Chris Matthews show, to be precise), distinguished himself by expressing his desire to bludgeon Hillary Clinton with a tire iron. Because her voice annoyed him. Being all civil and courteous, of course, he would no doubt preface his fantasized bludgeoning of the Senator with the appropriate niceties. "Pardon me while I bludgeon you." "Do you mind if bludgeon you?" "May I be so bold as to bludgeon you senseless, Ma'am, as your screechy voice annoys the living bejesus out of me, excuse me for saying so."

But perhaps I am mocking Mr. Graham unfairly. If you go to his website (no link here) and behold his photograph, you will understand why he might desire to arm himself with a tire iron in a physical fight with an average sized female - I mean, he looks like he'd lose an arm-wrestling contest with Mary-Kate Olsen.

Too bad he didn't have his tire iron at a Wizards game last year, where, he claims, when Mr. Graham objected to profanity flowing from the mouths of fellow fans, one obstreperous fellow snarled, "Fuck you, asshole. I paid good money for these seats and I'm gonna say whatever I want." Vice President Cheney then tossed his beer cup in Mr. Graham's general direction.

In a burst of huffy righteousness, Mr. Graham concludes his column thusly:

You can call these concerned citizens who long for standards of public behavior "unreasonable." You can call them Puritans and prudes. But don't forget there's another name for them too.


I myself always thought of sports hooliganism as something that could be adequately addressed by the enforcement of existing disorderly-conduct laws - but then I'm not a Republican. You know how they like to make a federal case out of everything.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It's about the HATE, stupid!

I seem to remember a lot of conservative pundits moaning and complaining about the irrational "hatred" of Bush on the left, that the entire Democratic presidential campaign was all about getting rid of Bush, that the Dems needed to do more than just be anti-Bush, they needed to say what they stood for, etc, etc.

Well, according to this asshole correspondent to Andrew Sullivan, the half the country that voted for Bush did it as a way of saying "Fuck you!" to the half the country that voted for Kerry. Proving wrong that the old saying (I forget who coined it) that a conservative is someone who professes to love America while hating almost everyone in it - in reality, a conservative is someone who professes to love only half of America while hating the other half with a white hot passion.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

How many stereotypes can you fit into one sentence?

I just skimmed ZZ Packer's article in Salon in which she complains that the Dems didn't do enough to, uh, reach out to religious folks.

Ms. Packer says, ". . . if Democrats continue shipping in the Prada and Birkenstock crowd to talk about abortion, gay marriage and Iraq to small-town Main Streeters on their way to Home Depot, they're toast." Damn, did the Dems really DO that? Ship in a bunch of Prada-shod city dwellers to Small Town USA to talk about gay marriage? That would be kind of stupid, wouldn't it? I wonder if it's actually true. I'm guessin' not.

I don't really understand what she means by "the Prada and Birkenstock crowd" either. Did she mean "the Prada-and-Birkenstock crowd?" Because, you know, Prada and Birkenstock just don't mix. You don't wear Birkenstocks with Prada, for the love of Bejus. Maybe what she meant was, "the Prada and Birkenstock crowdS," plural. I doubt the Prada and Birkenstock crowds mingle much. I would imagine that the Prada crowd would rather not spend much time in the same room as the Birkenstock crowd - but then I could be wrong.

However she meant it, and let's assume she herself had some clue what she meant, the term "Prada and Birkenstock crowd" sounds dismissive. Pejorative, even. Why, Ann Coulter herself couldn't have written a better sentence to convey disdain for the out-of-touchness of the Democratic Party with the culture of the Home Depot-shopping heartland. But maybe Ms. Packer has a point. Maybe the Dems should have shipped an SAS and Red Wing crowd to the heartland to collar voters. They'd probably be more in touch with good churchgoing values than a bunch of shallow Prada-wearing sluts or a gaggle of hairy-pitted Birkenstock-wearing granola-eating hippies.

Ms. Packer's mother is a church-goer and her husband is a fisherman and hunter; they're both Democrats. Ms. Packer says, "People like my mother and my husband are in regular contact with the voters we need, and yet they feel like outsiders in their own party. They are the ones who get laughed at when Kerry goes on a last-minute goose hunting expedition or attends four church services in one day." This sentence left me kinda confused. Who's doing the laughing here? Since Ms. Packer says they feel like outsiders in their own party, the inference is the Dems are laughing at them. But that doesn't make sense. Why would a Dem laugh at Mr. ZZ Packer when John Kerry goes goose-hunting? Or at ZZ Packer's mother when John Kerry goes to church? I don't get it.

The media sure get a lot of chuckles whenever a Dem goes to church or goes fishin'. They really yukked it up over Kerry's goose hunting trip (putrid sample of said yukking here). So maybe that's what Ms. Packer meant. But they were laughing at KERRY, not Mr. ZZ Packer. In any case, I'm not sure why ZZ Packer herself would hold the Democratic party responsible for this. Maybe ZZ thinks Dems should go a'shootin' and a'huntin' and a'churchin' more often, so . . . they'll get laughed at more? Or less often, so they won't get laughed at as much?


"I do not think that word means what you think it means"

InconCEIvable! In the course of praising Bush for nominating Condoleeza Rice, who is apparently a woman of color, to be Secretary of State, Andrew Sullivan just can't resist getting in a dig at Bill Clinton:

Bill Clinton was celebrated for his progressiveness, and ease with African-Americans. But it's inconceivable that he would have given that much power and authority to a black female peer.

Inconceivable! But only to Andrew. Because most people who get paid to write about politics probably remember differently.

It's certainly not inconceivable that Clinton would have had a female Secretary of State. Because he did.

Clinton didn't seem to have a problem nominating black females to prominent posts - remember Joycelyn Elders and Lani Guinier? I do. I seem to remember both of them coming under attack. Primarily from the right.

I also remember how Clinton cut them loose with alacrity, in contrast to Bush, who is standing by and even promoting Ms. Rice despite her unbroken record of incompetence, high level failure, and dissembling under oath. Mr. Bush sure rewards loyalty a lot better than Mr. Clinton ever did.

David Brooks on Chris Matthews show

Talking about sex. Bejus, I'm embarrassed for him.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

President Bush demonstrates his social graces

While Bill Clinton demonstrates his ineffable cool.

Wonder what Bush was thinking? Hey, he's going to go through the door first . . . What the! I'M the commander now! I go first! I'll show him - FUCK! God damn it!

Pic via Mildly Disturbed


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Speaking of rules

Is Senator Rick "Santorum" Santorum bending the rules at the expense of his taxpaying constituents?

Laws and rules are for the little people

Josh Marshall is trying to figure out which Republican Congressmen voted to change the rules to benefit Tom "Rule of Law" Delay. Or rather, he's trying to find out which Congressmen have the stones to admit they voted to change the rules to benefit Mr. Delay.

I'd write my own Congressman, Republican Henry Brown, and ask him how HE voted, but something tells me he was on the change-the-rules-to-benefit-a-Republican side.

Sit! Stay!

Someone dared to ask Bush if he agrees with characterizations of Tony Blair as his poodle:

To be or not to be a poodle. That was the question and President George W. Bush answered that Britain's Tony Blair (news - web sites) was a faithful friend, but nobody's pet.

The US leader was visibly not amused when asked half-jokingly at a news conference with Blair whether he agreed with the occasional characterization of his closest European ally in Iraq as "your poodle."

Glowering, Bush responded that Blair was a strong, capable leader who "made a decision because he wanted to do a duty to secure the people of Great Britain."

"I admire him a lot," Bush went on. "You know why? When he tells you something, he means it. You ever spend much time in politics? You'll notice there are people around this kind of line (of work) where, they tell you something, they don't mean it."

"He's a big thinker. He's got a clear vision. And when times get tough, he doesn't wilt. You know, when the criticism starts to come his way -- I suspect that might be happening on occasion -- he stands for what he believes in."

Visibly embarrassed by Bush's fulsome praise, Blair interjected.

"Mr. President, you're too kind, but - " Blair began.

"Let me finish!" Bush snapped loudly. "I'll tell you when it's your turn to talk."

(Read the original; it's actually funnier than my embellished version)


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Shorter Porter

Shorter Porter Goss: "Your loyalty is to your president, not your country."


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Department of stupid questions

Andrew Sullivan is OUTRAGED by the failure of liberal columnists to be sufficiently OUTRAGED by the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by Islamic fanatics. Mr. Sullivan asks:

ONE SENTENCE: From Roger Ebert. And a good piece on NPR. That's my summary so far of liberal outrage about the murder of Theo Van Gogh. Do you think if a member of the religious right had killed a Hollywood director they would have managed to say something?"

Well, uh, yeah. I do think the murder of a Hollywood director by a religious right wing whacko would probably get more press in America than the murder of an unknown (to most Americans) Dutch filmmaker in Europe.

(And yes, Mr. Van Gogh's murder was indeed an outrage)


While I was out

Colin Powell, former man, resigned as Secretary of State, and Bush has nominated the super-competent Condoleeza Rice to replace him. I fear, however, with her history of dissembling under oath, her nomination will be rejected by none other than Congressional Republicans, principled men who loathe perjurers.

No shame

Via Josh Marshall, House Republicans are considering a change to their rules to protect Tom "Rule of Law" Delay in case he is indicted by a Texas grand jury.


My apologies to my remaining readers, if any there are, for being so neglectful of my blogging duties. I've been dejected, disheartened, depressed and dismayed since the election. I had allowed myself to hope that Kerry might win, but no, the best man lost and the worst man won, by a sizable margin of the popular vote this time, too. Which somehow makes it even more depressing.

Also, my favorite Chinese restaurant on the south end of the beach closed. That bummed me out.

Also, I've been busy with my new kitty, and trying to get him and my sulky old cat introduced.

Also, I had a birthday recently. Yes, now I'm finally old enough to drink legally.

I regret that I was too lazy to blog contemporaneously about Andrew Sullivan's proving on national TV that he can, too, find his ass with both hands, but the blogosphere had that story pretty well covered.

I've been neglecting my blog reading as well. But it looks like one of my favorite bloggers, Atrios, has thoroughly embraced the concept of "outing," or at least rumor-spreading, as a political weapon against Republicans. I'm sorry to see that. The subject has come up before on Atrios, and I've had mixed feelings - I can understand the impulse to expose the fact that some of the people in working to advance an anti-gay agenda are, in fact, gay (if they ARE - in this case I'm not aware of any evidence that the dude is gay); I think proponents view it as exposing hypocrisy (actually, it's not hypocrisy, is it? I mean, there's no exception the anti-gay marriage amendment that would permit gay Republicans to marry. But I digress). BUT. It just doesn't feel right at all. It doesn't seem like something the good guys should be doing. It feels like something, well, the other side would do. I've been sort of ambivalent about the whole issue for a while and hoped I would never have to give it any serious thought. But yesterday Atrios had the odd item about Miguel Estrada and then the thing today about Mehlman. I think what decided me was the tone of some the comments to these posts. One commenter actually, suggested, in all apparent seriousness, that Mr. Estrada's immigration status be investigated. Nice.

Here's my thought on these tactics: If it sounds like something Joe McCarthy might approve of, it's probably the wrong thing to do. Unless you can do it without getting caught. KIDDING! That would be Karl Rove's thought. But seriously, folks. What on earth would the Democrats gain by sinking to this level? Not that they would. I have to keep reminding myself not to worry too much about what a handful of disgruntled commenters on a damn blog say about anything.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Many thanks to Angel

For the kitty cat tips.

Sorry blogging has been light - OK, nonexistent. More later. Probably. Maybe.

Update: Hot cat-on-cat action here.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

New kitty

The new guy is doing pretty good overall. His eyes cleared up in the first week, and his nasal congestion got much better too; but after I ran out of the antihistamine the vet gave me, his nose started running again. He sounds like a little kid with the sniffles, and he has frequent sneezing fits. I called the vet and she asked me if I was giving him the Lysine. Yes, I said (that's a whole 'nother story). She suggested I start giving him half a Chlor-Trimeton with his food. I was a little dubious about that - that stuff makes ME jittery, imagine what it'll do to a kitten, I thought - but I bought some and I'll start giving it to him tomorrow morning.

Despite his sniffles, the new guy is eating well, like a pig, actually; he's put on weight and his coat looks better. And he seems happy.

Cat number one, however, Rocky, isn't taking it so well. In fact he's been rather immature about the whole thing. The inside of my right wrist has what look like a suicide's hesitation marks on it where Rocky slashed and bit me to show his displeasure. After I brought the new guy home, I played with him for a while, then washed my hands thoroughly and went to pet Rocky. He sniffed my freshly washed hand and wrist thoroughly, then hissed at me. After all I've done for him!

I read books and Internet articles about how to introduce a new cat into a home with an existing cat, and I've been following all the rules. The new guy has been staying in a spare bedroom with the door closed. Rocky has the run of the rest of the house. But Rocky knows the new guy is behind that door. A couple of times I've walked out of the room unexpectedly and surprised Rocky, who'd been crouching outside the door with a glass pressed up against it, eavesdropping on the new guy and me. He jumped up and ran away. I've been giving Rocky treats, lots of treats, and trying to show him extra love, like the articles say to do. But Rocky rejects my extra love.

Instead of adjusting, he's gotten pissier as the days go by. When I pet him, he makes ungodly yowling sounds and sometimes spits and hisses, the little bastard. He resists my blandishments. All week long I've been trying to reassure him. "Don't worry, baby, you're still my favorite," I tell him. "I love you the most. If we had a fire, I'd save you first!" But he's not having any of it.

Today I put him on my lap and tried to talk to him. "Look," I said, "you're just being selfish. You need to get used to it, because the new guy is here to stay. Don't begrudge him a home. How would you like it if nobody had adopted YOU from the shelter?"

Rocky growled at me.

"Hey, listen, whenever you want to start paying the mortgage, then you can start calling the shots around here. Until then, I'm the boss. And I say the new cat stays."

Rocky hissed.

"Aw, baby, don't be so mean," I said.

He slashed me and jumped off my lap and stalked away.

"NOBODY slashes me and gets away with it!" I shrieked hysterically at his fuzzy butt as it flounced away. "Don't you walk away from me! You're FIRED, how do you like that! You'll never work in this town again!"

He'll come crawling back, I know. His kind doesn't have opposable thumbs yet. He still needs me to work the can opener.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

New to the illustrious Rogue Planet blogroll

Via Andrew Sullivan, meet Hoder, an Iranian now living in Canada.

Hoder notes that in America conservatives use "liberal" as a dirty word, much as hardline Islamic fundamentalists do in Iran. So loathing of godless immoral popular culture isn't the only thing American right wing hardliners have in common with their fundamentalist counterparts in Iran . . .

Poor Andrew

Can you blame him for so desperately wanting to believe?


Friday, November 05, 2004

Now's my big chance

Atrios is taking the weekend off. Ha! The fool! When he returns I shall have stolen his entire readership.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Shorter Tony Blair:

"I stuck my neck out for you, George. How 'bout a little fuckin' reciprocity?"

(transcript link later)

News flash: They think you're the enemy

Andrew Sullivan says he's "a big believer in the deep wisdom of the American people," and urges us to unite to fight our enemies.

Part of me admires his unquenchable optimism.

And part of me wonders when he's gonna wake up and smell the goddamn coffee.

Update: Is that coffee I smell?

Good news, bad news

Bad news: Bush is ahead

Good news: If Bush wins, Roger L. Simon won't have to unleash his mighty wrath upon us.


Monday, November 01, 2004

Blogging has been light lately

For all the usual reasons: I've been busy/out of town/Josh Marshall keeps stealing all my ideas.

Also, I sort of accidentally adopted a kitten. To make a long story short, I was up in Myrtle Beach and on the way home, I spontaneously dropped by the Myrtle Beach animal shelter just to look at the critters. The place was full of beautiful animals; one, a Blue-Heeler-type dog, caught my eye. He was so sweet and sad and also just so gorgeous I couldn't believe he was in there. I managed to make a clean getaway that time, but, tempting fate, I stopped back in there late last week. I didn't see the Blue Heeler. But I did notice that one little black and white kitten, who had seemed perfectly healthy the first time I was there, was in distress. He seemed to have a bad cold - there was dried snot all over his nose and around his eyes. Dismayed to see his suffering, I went and collared a shelter volunteer.

"Let me ask you about this cat," I said, dragging her back to his cage. "Look at him!" I said indignantly. "His face is covered with snot! - Wait, the snot is gone. He must have licked it off. But you can see he's sick. What are you all doing for him?"

She said they were doing their best, they treated all the animals, but there were so many of them, and so many sick ones kept coming in, and it was hard to keep them all healthy, etc, etc. I can't remember exactly what was said, but as we talked, I realized that this particular kitten was marked for DEATH (this is not a no-kill shelter). The volunteer was telling me that they had 25 more cats waiting in the treatment room, and they would have to come out into the population, and room would have to be made . . . "Wait a minute," I said. "You're telling me that this cat might not live through the weekend?"

"I can't promise anything," she said.

"You mean you're going to have to KILL HIM to make room?"

That seemed to be pretty much how it was gonna be.

Now, I wasn't looking for a new pet. And I knew animal shelters can't keep all the strays and drop-offs alive indefinitely. But for some reason the thought that this particular kitty was going to be killed was intolerable to me. And the only way I could save him was to adopt him right then. I tried getting them to keep him through the weekend, to let me put down a deposit, and so on, but the worker told me the only I could save him was to pay the adoption fee and agree to take him home no later than the next day.

Even then, I had the suspicion I was being played like a big violin, but of course I wound up shelling out, in exchange for which the shelter people agreed not to KILL HIM before lunch time the following day. So, the next day, I went and picked him up. The shelter people gave me a cardboard cat carrier in exchange for a $5.00 "donation." I put it, with the kitty inside, in the passenger seat and drove him straight to the Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital. He travelled like a pro. I opened the box top a bit so I could pet him; every time I stopped petting him to shift gears, he stuck his head out like a jack-in-the-box. I kept stuffing him gently back in.

I dropped him off at the vet, thinking, OK, he has a cold, they'll give him some antibiotics and check him for worms and that'll be it. A couple of hours later, one of the veterinarians called me at the office. I can't remember exactly what she said, but it went something like, "Your cat is so cute, he's going to be fine, but he has herpes."

"Well, he didn't get it from me." Kidding! I didn't say that. What I actually said was, "HERPES? I didn't know cats could get herpes!"

"Most people don't know that," said the vet, Dr. Heather. "They always ask, 'Can I catch it?'"

"That could replace the jacuzzi/toilet seat defense," I mused. "'I swear I've been faithful, honey! I must have gotten it from the cat!'"

Dr. Heather laughed and explained that feline herpes causes upper respiratory problems in cats, but that it was "manageable." At least I think that's what she said - I was too surprised to really take it in. I fretted that my original cat, Rocky, would get feline herpes from the new guy. Dr. Heather didn't give me much comfort about that. Feline herpes can be pretty contagious, I gather, to other cats, that is. Not to humans, OK? Dr. Heather told me that she would be giving me some medicine to take home and give the kitty, and she also recommended that I go to a GNC and pick up some Lysine to help keep his herpes virus under control.

After leaving work that afternoon I went to K-Mart and ran around buying cat paraphernalia - kitten food, toys, litter box, litter, even, so help me, a "cat condo."
Then I picked the little guy up from the vet and took him home. I knew cat no. 1 was gonna HATE this - he's been the king of the house for 6 years. So before I brought the new guy in the house I locked cat no. 1, Rocky, in the spare bedroom with the 'puter. I was hoping that if he didn't actually see me bringing the new guy in the house maybe he wouldn't blame me for it. Then I carried the new guy in and installed him in the other spare bedroom, having blanketed the bed with with giant cheap-o towels I got from my K-Mart trip.

The new guy has settled right in. His new digs have got to be a huge improvement over the cold steel cage in which he had been imprisoned at the shelter. He's only been here for a few days but already he seems much better: His eyes have cleared up, and I would swear he's put on weight. When I go in his room to talk to him (and medicate him), he alternates between scarfing up food and sitting on my lap gazing at me and purring. I'll put some pics of him up soon, but trust me, he's ADORABLE.

More on the new guy later. For now, the moral of the story is, don't get anywhere near an animal shelter unless you're actively looking to adopt a pet . . .


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