August 31, 2004

I need one of these stickers!

Don't you agree?

Laura Bush is a dirty, dirty person.

In a new interview with Time Magazine, Laura Bush had this to say:

Time: "Do you think these swift boat ads are unfair to John Kerry?"

Laura Bush: "Not really, there have been millions of terrible ads against my husband."

Yes Laura, but the ones ran against your husband are usually (if not always) TRUE!

Dick Cheney & Freedom

This is old news, forgive me, but I just got back on vacation and I wanted to comment. I'm sure Cutbhenist will let it slide.

I don't like Dick Cheney. I envision him as the man behind the screen, setting up secret meetings to dictate energy policy that fattens the bottom line of his cronies, getting up on stage to be President Bush's attack dog, feeding line after misleading and completely inaccurate line to the party faithful about Kerry, Edwards, Clinton, and whoever the hell is in his sights for the day.

But, the man has said it so succintly and accurately when it comes to the issue of gay marriage in America: "freedom means freedom for everyone. ... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to."

Even those fierce foes of gay marriage, the Family Research Council, just repeated their mantra about how traditional marriage should be protected, they don't stop to address the line "Freedom Means Freedom For Everyone."

And they never will, because no matter how you feel about gay marriage, when you start using the words "free" and "freedom" and "deny" you will really start to rustle some feathers.

But they make my calves look so good!

In case you didn't know, high heels as terrible for your feet. (This would be the non-aesthetic reason I dislike high heels.)

Surrounded by undergraduates most of my weekdays, living in the third largest city in the country, and having a 15-year-old step-sister in California, I see these awful, awful shoes all the time; I would cringe thinking about how painful they must be, but then I'd never stop cringing. This isn't a problem exclusive to wealthy women who can afford the day spa treatments for the pain -- apparently it's virtually impossible to find comfortable, healthy shoes in women's sizes that aren't tennis shoes or sandals.

And that Simon Doonan guy is a tool.

Geek News: PAX Roundup

For those of you in the know, I attended the Penny-Arcade Exposition last weekend, in Bellevue, Washington. While there were a few problems with the structure of the convention (too many people in too small a space, there were over 1500 people pre-registered and double that showed up to pay at the door, next year they're planning on taking up the entire convention center), it was fun to go and see the new stuff Microsoft had brought out to showcase for the Xbox.

The games I saw were Mechassault 2: Lone Wolf, FORZA Motorsport, Splinter Cell 3, Conker: Live & Reloaded, Fable and Jade Empire. Mechassault 2 gets rid of most of the problems of the first game, the repetition. With a large variety of tanks and planes, in addition to the standard 'mechs, as well as the ability to run around as a lone individual on a battlefield with 'mechs stomping all about you, it is a very fun game, one that will surely take up a good chunk of Xbox Live time.

FORZA is definitely for those who have wanted a Gran Turismo clone on the Xbox, with massive customization, GT style cars and tracks, and online play and trading. Splinter Cell 3 looks like Splinter Cell, so if you're not sick of the single player (which you shouldn't be, because it's fantastic) it would be worth picking up. Especially because you can play co-op through the game, although I'm not sure if co-op is available over Live. Conker: Live & Reloaded reminds me of the chaos of the original Mechassault, just with fluffy animals knocking the stuffing out of one another with tanks, machine guns, and who knows what else. I didn't get a chance to play Fable, but if early reviews are any indication, it's a good game, but visually, I just can't help but feel that the graphics should be better than they are. Jade Empire will bring real-time fighting to an RPG that is steeped in Chinese folklore and mythology. Plus it's made by Bioware, and like Pixar, they have never made a dud.

I was lucky enough to attend a screening of Season One of Red vs. Blue, which was followed by a Q&A with the creators. These guys are dedicated, it usually takes over 50 hours of work for a 15 minute episode. Check them out if you haven't yet, but a warning for sensitive ears, there's a lot of profanity. Not that I care, but you might.

Any questions, comments complaints, please post, and I'm sure I'll get back to them.

John McCain, Champion of the Party Line

Usually I like John McCain, but like all politicians often do (well, except for Zell Miller of Georgia), they return to the party fold and march lockstep when something crucial comes along, like say, a presidential election.

He gave a long speech at the RNC last night, and besides the flip-flopping on President Bush (McCain hates him, he hates him not), he had an interesting line about Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 911: "(Michael Moore) would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace."

Call me crazy, but while I have yet to see the movie (I am a cheapskate, so I'll see it in the $1 theatre) I have never gotten the drift that it portrays Iraq as an "Oasis of Peace." Maybe Sozialismus and Cutbhenist can clear this one up for me.

The complete transcript of the McCain speech is up on

and now for something different.

Let's get something straight. I do a lot of aimless drifting.

I suppose it couldn't really be considered "drifiting" in the truest sense of the word. It's not like I'm out wandering on dusty roads with a bag slung over my shoulder and my thumb in a 90 degree angle. Fuck that. Instead, I drift in the manner any any good passive-agressive person would: on the internet. Especially when I'm at work.

You see, you need a good distraction when people are complaining/yelling about their internet/phone service. So I happened to be stumbling around the great cosmos of the internet today when I came across a link to a radio show called Brand New Waves. It is primarily an interview-based show where they corner some of indie music's most enigmatic individuals and listen to their story.

Great show and site. I personally have a newfound respect for Boom Bip. I certainly enjoyed his music before, but in his interview he mentioned a few things about his journey that I could relate to.

The website is The interviews I would like to recommend are El-P, Mr. Lif, Boom Bip, and of course, Sage Francis.

August 30, 2004

Back To Jersey

Now, I'm sure he could have thought of a better name, but Kevin Smith is said to be planning a Clerks sequel called The Passion of the Clerks. Details are sparse, but it seems like it will be really low budget, though nowhere near the original, and star the original clerks, Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson. My only hopes for this movie are that he stays true to the original film and keeps the physical comedy to a minimum and makes this about smart dialogue.

Open To Suggestions

My friend Drew's Blog, which I'm now inviting you to visit, just had a pretty successful experiment with having an open thread, so I've decided to steal the idea, but with a slightly tighter focus. We have something of participation drought going on here and I'd like to figure out why. By and large Dan and I are the only people that comment in the comments section which is made even worse by the fact that we are also by and large the content creators of the site. So here are some questions:

If you don't comment, why, and if you do, why not more often? What could we do to make you more comfortable commenting on a regular basis? Are there particular types of stories that we aren't covering that you'd like to see more? What types of stuff that we're doing do you like?

Basically, we don't want this to be our personal diary, we want it to be a community.

August 29, 2004

To my con and mod friends

You (especially the moderates) are probably undecided -- you've read some bad stuff about Bush and Kerry both, you're not thrilled about Bush but your stance on abortion and homosexuality is making you wary of Kerry.

My friend, I ask you to read this. This is the Republican party today. If you are as appalled by this as I am -- maybe you don't think gay people should be allowed to marry; but those of us who do are as bad as Hitler? -- then I would ask you how you could bring yourself to vote Republican in this election. If not, then I think we should have a long, serious talk.

August 28, 2004

Yet another reason to lean towards veganism

Milk sucks

Here's what I do instead of pack on the day I move

I've been a fan (from a camp point of view, naturally) of Chick tracts for years. They're just so awful, and yet trying to be so serious at the same time. Anyway, this one's one of the best I've ever seen. Not just because it grossly oversimplifies the basic Christian story with a ridiculous analogy -- they all do that -- but because it makes it blatantly self-contradictory -- Jesus was SUPPOSED to be crucified.

David Brooks' GOP

The whole GOP convention has been carefully orchestrated to make the party appear to be a collection of sane moderates, who might disagree with each other on certain minor issues, but certainly support the sane, moderate president. David Brooks, oft-derided by me for unbelievably tortured logic, offers an opening salvo, talking about some moderate Republican from somewhere in the middle of the state.

The fact is, the Republican Party is less riven into ideological camps than it used to be, and the issues that used to divide it, like abortion, are less salient.

From the GOP platform:

We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

David Brooks is such a tool.

Is he incompetent or lying?

I think the title pretty much sums things up: Rumsfeld Denies Abuses Occurred at Interrogations.

Supposedly, Rumsfeld has just been on vacation, and hasn't gotten around to reading the two reports commissioned on the abuse. But I don't buy it -- this is a major scandal effecting his department, nothing something he could put off until next week.

August 27, 2004

If Any Life Could Be Summed Up In A Pop-Up Book...

Man, I must admit I feel somewhat bad for just ripping off Salon for my posts today, but I'm both drinking and lazy, so you get what you pay for, which is nothing you cheap lousy bastards. All three of you...

So anyway, Paris Hilton needs more money, so she's "written" a memoir. For the record, Paris is as old as my younger sister and I'm not exactly "old" (except by kiddy porn standards), but be that as it may, it seems her life needs summing up already. Now let's set aside the fact that when compared to other recently released memoirs like, oh I don't know, Bill Clinton's, nothing, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING important has either happened or been done by Paris Hilton outside of the bedroom under the close watch of a night vision camara, this bit caught me:

"I don't always want the glamorous, jet-set life. Let's face it, I've done
it. Someday soon, I want to have children and a big house with a lot of animals
-- like my parents had."

SHE WANTS TO HAVE KIDS!!! Ignore the fact that she's younger than me and is saying that someday soon she wants to be a mother. Here's what I want you to do: watch an episode of That Simple Life. Any episode, it doesn't matter. Take into account that her being stupid is a selling point for the show so the producers are likely editing it to fit that meme. Then decide if you, in the role of Child Services, would ever, EVER, let her keep and raise a child. I'd hardly let her keep a tamagochi.

Mike Wallace Fights The Man

Everyone should keep in mind before going any further: This is NOT news and really shouldn't be reported except for the fact that Americans are obsessed with celebrities, even really really old newsmen. Now, the article takes Mike Wallace's side (who say's there's no honor among theives...or reporters), but let's imagine the situation: You're a cop, fresh on the force. So fresh in fact that you don't quite have the authorization to arrest people. Granted, you're probably feeling pretty ballsy with your uniform and big freeking gun, but still, you probably remember when someone told you, "Hey, don't cuff anyone for another week until you pass that final "Cuffing & You" exam, alright?" So anyway, you see a car, a fancy one at that, double parked. Maybe you just want to keep traffic moving, maybe you're just intrigued by the thought that it could be someone important. You go up to the driver and start asking him questions like "Hey, what are you doing here? Do you know you can't just stop wherever you want?" To which he replies, "Yeah man, I'm sorry about that, I'd move in a second if my boss wouldn't fire me for it. He'll be out of the resteraunt in a sec, I promise. He's just picking up dinner." So you wait for a minute and out of the resteraunt comes Mike Wallace, really famous newsman and really really old guy. Between now and a couple minutes from now, what kind of exchange would it take to end up with and 86 year old world famous reporter in your cuffs? Mike Wallace probably said something about their mothers, but that's just a guess.


Just my reaction to this headline: "Cheney's plane avoids collision."

Bush: "My Bad"

So Bush-dogg today admitted to making a "miscaluculation" in what post-war Iraq would be like for the US and its troops. Now granted, if I worked for Bush (you should shudder here), this is exactly the move I would do. That clip of him saying he couldn't possibly think of any mistakes he had made while our troops were fucking dying daily made him look like a colossal dick. Of course, you don't want to admit mistakes too early because that just opens you up to attacks earlier than you need to, but his cocky image has been a problem. Now he's admitted a mistake and we're supposed to respond with "Well good. He knows he made mistakes, so he's not a complete bastard."

Ultimately though, and I wish to GOD someone on TV would say this so I didn't end up saying it to myself as I watched/read the endless stream of discourse, the problem is that you don't get to make mistakes this big. It's like if you worked in an office and you consistently asked your secretary for 100 copies when you only needed 70. At you performance review they'd probably tell you to stop doing that, but you probably wouldn't lose your job. If, on the other hand, you told the companies business partners that they can go fuck themselves while while engaging the company in a completely unprofitable product line which invariably sent the company's budget deep deep deep into the red, you'd get your ass fired long before your review.

To me it just doesn't matter if Bush lied or if Cheney actually collaborated with energy companies to set policies which were responsible for the energy crisis of a few years ago. Bush has left us worse off than we were before he took office. He's made colossal mistakes which have cost no small ammount of American lives. He may be a likeable, easy going guy, but he's a BAD president and BAD presidents don't deserve to be re-elected, even if they give good speeches following a national tragedy.

He is teh funny

NYT has a short bio on Stephen Colbert. In their politics section. The place of the Daily Show in contemporary American media continually amazes me.

Bill O'Reilly is dumb, part 80

So last night on The Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed he knew no-one whose civil liberties were inappropriately ruined by the USA PATRIOT act. Jon Carroll, by contrast, discusses the case of a certain American citizen held for sixteen months as a material witness.

And here's the ludicrous part: None of this is making us any safer. It's like living in a police state, only without the good parts.

This doesn't contradict Bill, of course. I don't expect he knows a whole lot of Americans with Arabic names.

Geek Update

I haven't posted any video game news lately, so I'll do a quick blurb about some recent stuff:

Evil Genius, where you get to play essentially a Bond villain that builds a lair and harrasses spies, just went gold, which means it will be in stores in a week or two.

Similarly, the Xbox RPG likely-masterpiece, Fable also went gold. In Fable you play a character from boyhood to manhood, with every change affecting you physically as well as the way people see you. For instance, you run across a married man with not-his-wife. He begs you not to say anything. Do you kill the man and whore? Agree to help him out? Extort money from him to keep his secret? Tell his wife? Extort money from him and then tell his wife anyway? It's all up to you and your decisions shape what kind of man you grow up into.

Lastly in the "gold club" as I believe I'll begin calling it right now, The Sims 2 went gold recently. You should all, by this point, have some idea about what The Sims is like. For those that don't: You control virtual characters in their virtual lives and make them cheat on their spouse and/or pee in front of people.

I'll edit in some more stuff later, but I have to get showered and dressed now.

Jolly Good Fellow And Such

We should also wish Brandon a belated birthday and happy anniversary. Well, at least I should, but didn't when they actually happened, so I am now.

While I'm shamelessly throwing out shout outs to people that I should have already but didn't, Andy Nelson also has/had a birthday recently. I'm pretty sure of the date, but I'd rather be vague than wrong.

Basically in my head I assign the first half of August to Brandon and the last half to Andy, which I think is a pretty good deal for them.

I'm not dead, just off the grid

Well, well, my vacation is almost over, and I didn't do half the things I wanted to do due to freak rainshowers and abnormally cool weather in August, but the things I did get to do were just as relaxing if not more so than the activities I had planned, so it all turned out to be great.

Saturday and Sunday I'll be spending time at the Penny Arcade Expo, which is about the biggest geek fest I have ever been privy to, so I'll have lots of juicy gossip and exciting things to tell you (and I get to play Halo 2), so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open when I get back on Monday.

In politics, I'm glad the Swift Boat Vets For Truth are getting raked over the coals by the news media and I'm amazed that Dick Cheney actually said something in support of gay marriage.

Till next time...

August 26, 2004

The New Hottness

Just a heads up to all you Scrubs fans. The new season begins on Tuesday. Being that it's the best show on TV, or at the very least the best comedy, you should all be watching. Posted by Hello

Reasons To Vote Kerry (As If You Needed More)

Know someone that's voting Bush that you think shouldn't? I'm going to rip off a post from Pandagon because it's perfect.

The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured swelled by 1.4 million, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

It was the third straight annual increase for both categories. While not unexpected, it was a double dose of bad economic news during a tight re-election campaign for President Bush.

Approximately 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the bureau. That was up from 34.5 million, or 12.1 percent in 2002.

The rise was more dramatic for children. There were 12.9 million living in poverty last year, or 17.6 percent of the under-18 population. That was an increase of about 800,000 from 2002, when 16.7 percent of all children were in poverty.

Nearly 18% of kids live in poverty. That's 2 out of every 11 kids. Bush's presidency was a time when things got worse pretty much across the board. Yeah, sometimes events outside a person's control happen, but excuses only go so far and for so long. You've had a full term, why haven't you been able to improve anything?

Teh Sexy

The October issue of Playboy will feature pictorial with ladies of video games and will include some nudity. Video games growing up? Exploitation of digital women? I just hope the photos are tastefull. What would their programmers think? Posted by Hello

The Sky Is Falling

I never thought it would happen, but I agree with Trent Lott on something OTHER than that babies shouldn't be bar-b-qued. He goes deep fried and I prefer raw. Honestly, I had to think that Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote most of this as I picked up on choice bits like,

"President Harry Truman noted that the C.I.A. was created "for the benefit and convenience of the president." But the United States cannot preserve an open and democratic society when one branch of government has a free hand to shut down public access to information. The lack of an independent appeals process for Congress tips the scales too far toward secrecy for any administration, and it is vital that we right this imbalance."

Granted, some secrets are vital to national security, but as we saw with the 9/11 council, currently it's WAY to easy for the government to hide documents

And Now For Something Completely Lame

I thought the site wasn't quite assinine enough, so here's an article published in the New York Times about the cultural phenomenon of the shuffle function combined with an iPod.

My Garden State Review

This is the extra short review: Go see Garden State. It's great whether you're a fan of Scrubs or not.

Here's the somewhat longer review: Garden State is great because of everything it is and everything it isn't. This is NOT a Hollywood coming of age "it's exciting to be alive 'cause everything is super" movie. This is NOT a bleak indie film about angsty twentysomethings realizing the purposelessness of it all. But it IS sweetly uplifting story about realistically and seriously flawed people in rediculous and cliched but believable situations. Sweet like a carrot, not that sour powder you dip the suger stick in. Some poster in a comments section put it best when he said that this movie is realistic because, moreso for this generation of twentysomethings than ever before, our live ARE rediculous and cliched.

It's precisely the bridge between indie and Hollywood that this movie sits on which gives it all of its best qualities. In indie fashion, it pays way more attention to making the perifery characters real and sympathetic than it had to. There aren't any villains or clowns in the movie because they're all too real to fill such a simple empty role. But the film doesn't devolve into a depressive "you can't ever know anything or anyone" attitude that it could have when dealing with young people without any focus.

This is one of the few movies that I've been to in a long time that really took me on any sort of emotional ride and it works because it's simply honest. You never feel like you're not watching a movie, but it doesn't feel, as many movies do, that they're trying to con you. Like they want to to cry so they swell the emotional strings, or want you to laugh so they put in a zany sound effect. To me, the best analogy is that Garden State is the The Breakfast Club of the '00s.

Incidentally, Zach Braff has a decent blog for the movie and the new Scrubs season, continuing arguably the best show and certainly the best comedy on TV, starts this Tuesday. I just wish they'd move it back in the pre-ER slot. That was a great dichotomy.

Swift Boad...Shit Creek...Out Of Gas

I promised you a recap, so here it is. It's going to be quick and dirty because I'm so insanely sick of this story, but I might edit-link some more extensive stories later if I feel like it.

So the last couple days the press has really been hammering the Swift Boat guys. From what I've read it seems like the American Press, usually content to rumor monger stories of margainal credibility, got fed up with just how crazy and dishonest this Swift Boat crap is and went into full on attack mode. Even some of Fox News' people are jumping on the bandwagon, though the cynic in me thinks this more rats jumping off a sinking ship than anything more noble. So the biggest aspect of this story has been an incident which Kerry won a Bronze Star for. According to Kerry's version, as well as all of the people actually on his boat at the time as well as the official record of the Navy, there was some kind of firefight between a couple swiftboats and VC on the shore and somehow there were some special forces guys there too. So Kerry pulls an injured special forces guy out of the water while his boat, as well as the other swift boats present, was fired upon. Here's what it takes to get a bronze star:

Criteria: a. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

b. Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

c. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service while of lesser degree than that required for the award of the Legion of Merit must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

These events as told, clearly qualify for a bronze star. The Swift Boat Vets, however, claim that there were no shots fired, and therefore Kerry didn't deserve his Bronze Star because saving the special forces guy wasn't "while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."
One of the Swift Boat guys, John O'Neil if I'm remembering correctly, was there on one of the other swift boats and says that there weren't any shots fired and has sixty some other SBV to back him up, though he was the only one of them that I know of that was there.

The problem for them is that not only does the special forces guy, along with Kerry and his whole crew, say that there were shots fired, but O'Neil's own report of the incident mentions that indeed there were shots fired. In fact, O'Neil himself won his own Bronze Star for that very event! Now, his rebuttal was that he didn't write his own report, that someone wrote it for him and that they basically copied Kerry's version, though I believe O'Neil signed his report. Moreover though, are we to believe that O'Neil's had a Bronze Star for 30 years and never questioned why they would give him a medal for heroic action in combat that supposedly never happened? Or worse, that he's self serving enough to KNOW that he was given a medal he didn't deserve and keep it anyway only to try and blugeon John Kerry with the even 30 years later? The other implication that O'Neil is making is that the military just hands out medals for heroism left and right without any sort of confirmation that they are deserved, which I think would be pretty insulting to the men and women that have received medals. So yeah, that story's bullshit.

Another story they have is about how somehow John Kerry managed to injure himself with shrapnel from a grenade launcher possibly on purpose as a way to get out of the war, which from what I've read doesn't make much logistical sense, but is also outlandishally speculative and is corroborated by first hand SBV accounts than the previous story.

The real story is that the SBVs are pissed that Kerry, a decorated officer, came back from the war and became an anti-war protestor. If they don't agree with that decision, fine. Say that you don't think officers should protest a war when there are still troops on the ground. This whole debacle should show you, however, that what you shouldn't do is make up stories to try and defame the person you disagree with because when the truth comes out you're going to look like completely untrustworthy jackholes.

First Edit: John O'Neil never served with Kerry. He's sort of the head of this Swift Boat group, which is why his name popped into my head, but he actually arrived in Vietnam after Kerry left. There is a Swifty that was at the whole Bronze Star incident, I just can't remember his name.

August 25, 2004

In non-Swift boat news ...

Trapper John, over at Daily Kos, reminds us that there is some real news: the laws regulating overtime work recently changed, meaning millions of Americans are no longer elegible for overtime pay when they're on the clock more than 40 hours a week. Which, of course, fits in perfectly with this administration's economic policy of screwing the working class whether they're actually working or not.

As signs going up around NYC are purported to read, 'No more years!'

Two Day, No Posts

Well, I thought I'd end the drought with a little blurb about where I've been. Firstly, I've been packing up preparing for my move to a fabulously smaller, but better located, apartment and that's been taking up a bit of time. Second, school started today and I am in fact in class now, so I've been blowing all of my money on stupid stupid law books. Why oh why can't we use law pamphlets? And there's been some personal stuff going on that I'd rather not go into, lest this turn into an annoying e-diary instead of an annoyingly nerdy blog filled with games, politics, and such.

And hey, most of the politio-news in the last couple days have about the Swift Boat crap. As you can see, I don't think much of it, but I'll post a brief re-cap in a separate post. If you've been locked in a closet for the last couple days, you haven't missed much.

August 22, 2004

This is what gay marriage is about

You and your wife both develop cancer at the same time. You struggle to pay the bills -- especially the medical bills -- as both of you are barely able to work. After she dies, you have to sort out the financial mess remaining. But because you happen to be a woman married to a woman, you can't file for bankruptcy protection together.

Maggie Gallagher's triumphant gloating at the end is what sickens me the most. Also note that this is one of the first times the eight-year-old DOMA has been challenged, because, apparently, the petitioners must be legally married to challenge a law saying they cannot be legally married.

Edit: Link via II

August 21, 2004

I've Got No Strings To Blow Me Up

Next up from Southpark bad boys Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Team America World Police. Click the watch preview button on the left. Look for this extremely violent romp in October.

Wow To The Max!

There's not much I need to say about this. Go watch now. It's hot rockin' like molten magma.

Edit: Oh yeah, thanks to Pandagon.

Something else we have to wait for

Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex was one of the most important works of twentieth-century feminism; but was ineptly translated by a physiologist. The publisher who owns the rights to the English edition, Knopf, has recently refused to allow a retranslation.

August 20, 2004

It's about damn time

Actually, this is only the first of many mea culpas the mainstream media owes those who argued against invasion. Link via Atrios.

No, I won't shut up about Thomas Frank

For those of you who haven't read What's the Matter with Kansas? yet, here is a much shorter essay presenting the same basic case (link via II).

We all know the sorry economic conditions brought on by right-wing policies. Why then do the victims, who happen to adhere to “the old-time religion,” meekly support their oppressors? And why does Jesus’ admonition to the rich man – “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matt. 19:21) – not apply to their political leaders, or, for that matter, their “spiritual leaders”?

Note there's one sentence I would disagree with -- or at least be sceptical of:

It is a safe bet that the socio-economic-educational status of the average fundamentalist is markedly below that of average American citizens. This means that many fundamentalist families are one paycheck or one serious family illness away from financial disaster.

These days, I suspect the 'average', 'middle-class' family is teetering on the brink of financial collapse.

August 19, 2004

Oops! Our bad...

The realistic side of me says, "Oh, these things happen, what a funny coincidence!" The nearly lunatic conspiracy theorist says, "Boy, I wonder how it happened that one of the most vocal opponents of the current administration ended up on the no-fly list? That's not suspicious at all, is it?!"

Seriously Big Dickheads

Can you believe this crazy shit? Now, I'm not Mr. Chuchtown USA, but for a Catholic who believes that salvation depends on being able to do the communion thang, this is pretty f'ed right up. Evidently the Catholic Church thinks God is a real hardass on his holy breads.

Chainsaws And Ballads

In my continuing coverage of the musical theater scene, evidently there's an Evil Dead musical in Montreal. Word is it's pretty good.


Heads up to the nerds in the house, Gaming Groove is back online and it looks like it's for good this time. What's Gaming Groove you might ask? It's the home of Billy "Wicked" Wilson, former owner and operator of Voodoo Extreme from its glory days. Now we can finally get back to video game news interspersed with dick jokes.

Picture Of The Week

Many thanks to Terminus. On the left a Bush supporter at a rally in Portland. On the right a protester. Here's the original link for ya. Posted by Hello

August 18, 2004

Let's go for a discussion post

Step 1: Read this woman's abortion account on Salon (you'll probably have to watch an ad, but the essay itself is only two pages).

Step 2: Talk.

The Palm Springs Of Washington

Hey, remember me? I just got back this morning off the red eye flight from Seattle and, after a few hours of napping and trying to forget that special asian lady that was cozying up to me at 2:00am on the plane while we were sleeping, I'm back in the saddle and ready to rock. Well, not quite ready to rock the blogging yet, but just wait for it true believers. Incidentally, all you Alan Moore fans should look up Promethea. It's only part one, which is sorta lame, and so far it's not quite as good as Watchmen, but it's still pretty interesting stuff.

So what have I been up to, you might ask? Well the real reason for the trip was my cousin's wedding, which went off without a hitch, despite the threat of rain in the middle of a week of 100+ degree weather. Otherwise, I just un-friggin'-plugged. No internet, computer, video games, and minimal cell phone for a whole damn week. It was damn refreshing for someone as supremely dorky as I. Met up with some cool friends that were either in town or were able to make the trip, and got crazy drunk before mini-golfing and go-cart riding. So yeah, it was a MEGA fun trip.

Let's compare

Forget for a moment who's the incumbent and who's the challenger. Check out this (via Atrios, who doesn't have convenient permalinks as near as I can tell). Who's running an optimistic or even confident campaign, and who's running the negative campaign, challenging their competitor hard and dirty?

From right field ...

Okay, people. It's been awfully quiet here the past few days. Am I really that boring?

Here's something NOT City of Heroes-related: guess who's been talking about missile defence again. In particular, I'd like to draw your attention to the weak language used when talking about Kerry's reaction: 'Mr. Kerry has called for diverting money from developing the missile defense system, which Democrats say is untested, to pay for expanding the military by 40,000 troops.'

Democrats do say this. And since the only 'tests' so far have involved slow-moving drones, launching at specific times from specific locations, and built with homing beacons to guide the anti-missile missile in, striking 'Democrats say' from that sentence is probably the prefered construction.

In just a few weeks, we have Bush talking about missile defence and a national sales tax. What demographic are these moves supposed to appeal to? Stupid people? 'George Bush: Four more years of bad judgements and inept, transparent lies!'

August 15, 2004

Just one more: The People's Fist can run really fast.  Posted by Hello

The People's Fist kicking some zombie ass. Damn zombies.  Posted by Hello

Here's some City of Heroes footage for you non-heroic losers. That's The People's Fist (Liberty:15 Scrapper) in the middle there, with the big `ears'.  Posted by Hello

Let's give him four more years, so he can REALLY fuck with the economy

In a rather meandering article, the NYT considers some of Bush's potential "bold new proposals" for the tax code, should he win a second term. While I can't speak to whether they're new or not, I can say that they make supply-side economics look downright sane.

Take this little gem for example:

One thought is to change the system so that it focuses less on taxing what people earn and more on taxing what they spend. Even without a sales tax, this could be accomplished by letting people deduct money they put in savings and investments from their income, so they would owe taxes only on what was left - in other words, essentially on what they spent.

First, it should be obvious how ridiculously regressive such a system would be: wealthier people have discretionary income to save or invest, and can funnel purchases through their employer (company car, company beach house), while working-class folks are struggling to pay the bills in their low-benefits job. Second, this tax reform would stimulate not job creation (I vaguely recall hearing Kerry talk about tax incentives for companies that create more and better jobs in the US), which is what the economy desperately needs, but setting one's money aside. There is an indirect way it could stimulate job creation, but this is even more tenuous than a straightforward supply-side tax cut, and much less straightforward than the direct incentives I mentioned in the last sentence.

So, on top of this shitty, regressive tax 'reform', you add things like health and retirement savings accounts, thereby screwing up the economy even more, and I start to wonder if Dick Cheney isn't an evil genius, whose diabolical plot is to completely destroy the US economy. Or maybe the class in business school where you learn that people have to be able to buy your products is optional.

August 14, 2004


So you probably have a moderate or conservative friend, relative, or sweetie who hasn't entirely made up their minds about this election, but are leaning towards Bush (or at least haven't fired them in their own minds yet). You've talked about the war and the administration's (lack of) economic policy, how Kerry is a highly decorated Viet Nam vet who started his political career by protesting those aspects of the war we know recognize made it a mistake, and went on to become one of Congress' principle investigators. They're just not quite sure that Bush is as bad as us liberals and leftists say he is.

Have them take a look at this. The New York Times -- as mainstream and respected a media outlet as one can find in the US these days -- offers a laundry list of the Bush administration's efforts to slash regulation designed to protect the interests of Americans as a whole. And then remind them this is just a drop in the bucket -- ANWR drilling, more snowmobiles allowed in national parks, and more roads allowed in wildernesses come to immediately to my mind.

August 13, 2004

Well, duh

In case you weren't already aware, Bush cut rich people's taxes.

Fully one-third of President Bush's tax cuts in the last three years have gone to people with the top 1 percent of income, who have earned an average of $1.2 million annually, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to be published Friday.

August 12, 2004

Not so happy

I'm sure you're all going to hear this elsewhere before you read it here (since no-one seems to be around lately; or you just don't care about the things I post), but, unsurprisingly, the California Supreme Court has declared the same-sex marriages in SF earlier this year to be illegitimate -- Gavin Newsom, the mayor of SF, had no basis for declaring the state's anti-same-sex marriage law unconstitutional.

August 11, 2004

Get some happy

So you live in the midwest, and you're stuck inside in the middle of August because of the bizarre weather. Well, here's a little ray of sunshine.

About Importing Cheaper Drugs from Canada...

With all this talk about importing drugs from Canada, has anyone even bothered to ask Canadians how they feel about the U.S. leeching off of Canada's taxpayer-funded health-care system?

Also, I personally get a kick out of the FDA claiming that drugs from Canada could potentially be hazardous to us Americans, because we don't know how or where the drugs are made. Because, of course, Canada is home to all sorts of third-world diseases and sweatshops, not to mention the little tiny detail of how we import everything else under the sun from them anyways.

Why do doctors not want simpler health care?

From the New York Times (you will probably have to register, if you haven't, and if you haven't, why haven't you yet?)

Kudos to Washington State for finding a way to simplify health care for elderly patients who usually take more than 10 pills a day with names like Hydrochlorothiazide and Hydrocodone/Aceteminophin 5/325, by electronically tracking each patient and assigning a nurse to them, and keeping it all in one accessible file, you think that would be a great plan.

But wait, Doctors are concerned that these elderly patients (who are already having trouble paying the $500 dollar-plus monthly tab for prescription drugs) won't be coming to the doctor's office as much, thus costing them money. So I wonder who may win in the long run, the all powerful elderly-retired person's lobby, or the doctors?


So you can officially add me to the master list of people who have read The Watchmen.

Awesome book/graphic novel. I was captivated for the four hours it took to consume it.

August 08, 2004

Apparently, it's okay to rape a slut

So Dahlia Lithwick is the Time's replacement for Thomas Friedman this month. I haven't heard of her, but based on this column, I think I'm really going to miss Barbara Ehrenreich.

Today, Lithwick argues against rape shield laws, those laws which make the sexual history of a rape victim irrelevant and inadmissible in court. Prior to the passage of these feminist-demanded laws, a rape trial centred on an investigation of the victim, to determine whether or not she `asked for it'. These laws mean these investigation must focus, appropriately, on whether or not the victim gave her consent. This is often a legally unanswerable question, but the present situation is still better than when the focus was on the victim.

As near as I can tell, Lithwick's argument is that, first, sometimes it's okay for a man to rape a woman friend, so long as she's a slut -- `the defendant's legal presumption of innocence is flipped on its head, since rape shield laws unambiguously deny him access to potentially exculpatory evidence' -- and, second, the media's going to dig up all the same dirt on her anyways, so we might as well parade her sexual history in front of the jury, too.

One word: ugh.

August 07, 2004

Hey, That's MY Job You Stole!!!

I just got and watched my copy of Outfoxed, the documentary about how terribly Fox News misleads, lies, and distorts the truth. First of all, for anyone in the Jersey area that wants to either come over and watch it with me or, because I smell poorly I know, just borrow it, please do. There's not much new information for people that keep tabs on Fox, but it's a well put together take down of the network that purports to be "fair and balanced". Also, for those of you in the Pacific Northwest, I'll be bringing this home with me next week if you wanna swing by the old Allen Compound to see the movie and give me recognizory nod or something, but not too close because, again, the smell.

Also, in the behind-the-scenes featurette one of the producers gave out this website, where people can document how crappy Fox News is. Being that doing that is the bread and butter of my political contributions to this site, I'm faced with a double edged sword. On the one hand, my job just got a LOT easier. On the other, I'm now largely unnecessary. Hmmm, what to do....

I COULD always go through with my plan to make this a pay-porn site...

August 06, 2004

Ain't No Party Like A West Coast Party...

For those that didn't already know, I'm going to be back in Yakima, Washington for a little over a week starting on Monday. You all that might be in the area should try to see me because, after all, I am, how you say, so cool.

I Wonder If He'll Do The Colbert Report

Bill Clinton's signed up to be on The Daily Show on Monday to shill for his book. I'm not expecting this to be one of the funniest interviews ever, but it should be interesting. I'll be flying on Monday and will likely miss it, so all you folks have to watch it for me and fill me in.

August 05, 2004

Teh Funny v.2.0

I can't seem to figure out how to post two pictures in the same post, so here's the second picture I wanted to post. Here's the link again, to extra protect myself from people pissed off about me stealing their work. Posted by Hello

Teh Funny!!!!!1!!!!

Because it's been mentioned that there's not enough of the ol' Ben Humor (tm) dropping on this site, I've decided to steal other people's humor and post it here. If you like these, check out the rest here. Posted by Hello

I Just Won A Purple Heart! Yay!

I wasn't going to talk about this because it struck me as straight up dumb and because I'm feeling even EXTRA lazier than normal, but everyone else is talking about it and like my friend Drew, whose site you should read frequently, I don't want my friends to be caught up in the bullshit storm.

So The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth have been hounding the Kerry campaign from the start. In fact, some of them have been doing this since the 70s, now that's getting an early start! All the latest buzz is about a new ad they made where a bunch of them essentially say that Kerry didn't do anything to deserve his medals and therefore must have, by implication, fooled the entire comand structure, who apparantly don't check up on these supposed acts of heroism much. The problem is that none of these guys served with Kerry. Some of them say that they got as close as with in FIFTY feet of Kerry's boat when the heroism shit went down, but, well, they weren't like, RIGHT THERE or anything. Still, they probably know more than Kerry's crew, who were THERE in the more traditional sense of being, you know, next to the dude while he did stuff, all of whom support Kerry except one guy that's dead and one guy that has a personal gripe with Kerry but isn't involved with any efforts against him.

Like Drew, I can't imagine why the Bush campaign isn't putting the smack down on this group to shut up. I mean, ok, I guess it's conceivable that an occasional medal gets distributed to a soldier that maybe didn't quite earn it, but for it to happen four times to the same guy? I just don't think Americans buy that, and bringing this up just serves to remind the voters that, yes, Kerry has four medals from fighting in a war he didn't even agree with, while Bush has no medals, mostly because he specifically avoided fighting in a war that he DID agree with.

That's One Crazy Dude With Lots Of Free Time

Man, I SOOOO would have given up on this project an hour in. Then again, I am rather lazy and while the idea of a Playstation Gameboy sounds cool, at 1.5 hours battery life and being frickin' huge the payoff doesn't sound that great. Still, cool project.

Increadible? Hmm, Definitely Cool, That's For Sure

Here's a trailer for the new Pixar movie, The Increadibles. Looks pretty damn cool, and for all you City of Heroes folks out there, there are WAY too many things that reminded me of playing the game, which didn't help my withdrawls.

August 04, 2004

All Your Gays Are Belong To Us

Hot on the heals of Missouri's anti-gay marriage amendment to their state constitution, a Washington Superior Court judge has just declared that denying gays access to marriage is a violation of their right to due process protected in the US Constitution under the 14th and 5th amendments. While this may seem like good but un-ground breaking news after all the hullabulloo in Massachusetts, it's actually potentially a lot more important than that. See, Washington is, while the MA isn't, one of the 38 states who have amended their state constitutions to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. This will surely go to the Supreme Court before it's done, but that 733t Washington judge may have just set us up the bomb!

It's Wednesday, time for some misleading graphs!

Take a look at this discussion. The author's trying to decide how the economy has done under Bush. This pair of charts doesn't really give us any information to answer that question.

Yes, GDP has risen through most of W's term in office. I guess. The chart tells us what the ratio of GDP-now to GDP-a-year-ago is. While our inflation rate is pretty low, for completeness the chart should explain whether these are real or nominal dollars (whether inflation is taken into account or not).

The second chart is even worse, because it tells us how these two employment surveys have been changing, now what the result of these surveys is. For those of you who've taken calculus, we're looking at the derivative of the interesting function, not the function itself, and the only `slightly different' derivatives mask very different behaviour in the survey results -- for most of W's term, the Establishment numbers (how many people are getting a paycheque) have been falling, and the Household numbers (how many people have jobs) increasing. Don't ask me to explain this, or the substantial difference between the two. I do math, not econ.

Virgins, grapes, not a big difference

Kristof briefly discusses some work re-interpreting the Koran -- how those 72 back-eyed virgins might actually be grapes instead, how the veil covering the face might be a belt secured to the hips. One of the big areas of similar controversy in Biblical textual translation is the messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 -- the word translated in the KJV as `virgin' might be better translated as `young woman'. There's a good little introduction to this issue here. I find it amusing to compare this answer to the question with this evangelical answer to the question.

`Evangelical', incidentally, refers to a Christian who beliefs revelation comes primarily through the Bible, and that a good Christian pursues a thorough understanding of the Bible (as opposed to, say, a Unitarian, who emphasizes personal revelation over textual, and is liable to be less concerned about, for instance, what the Bible says about gay people than what they see by considering their gay friends and family).

Missouri passes Hate Amendment

Not the Federal version, just an amendment to their state constitution. Here are some election returns, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story.
With 72% of precincts, reporting, the Hate Amendment is enjoying about 834,000 votes,
while just under 330,000 voted against it. Yes, this issue was decided by one million people, in a state of five million.

Any law students care to explain what's liable to happen when a gay couple married in Boston moves to St. Louis, or the Federal gov't (Congress or the Supremes, take your pick) legalize gay marriage?

August 03, 2004

Giving David Brooks the smack-down

Some readers of the NYT think Brooks is dumb, and call him on it. (Brooks' original column-type thing is here.

Buffy: The feminist's Spider-Man

From the Chron:

Fingeroth agrees. "Buffy was like the female Spider-Man. The appeal of all the superheroes is the metaphorical value of their internal and external struggles, and she was portrayed as someone burdened by responsibility who just wants to have a normal life. That's how every adolescent feels."

August 01, 2004

The Spoiler Filled Discussion Of The Village

You were warned in the headline, and you'll be warned again here for the last time, this is going to be Spoiler City in this post. If you are planning on seeing this movie and want to go in without knowing everything about it, skip to my spoiler free post just below. Beyond here there be dragons...who spoil movie plots.

I guess it also goes without saying that the comments section will be open to spoiler discussion too. Well, I suppose it goes WITH saying since I just said it.

Now that all those spoiler-free pansies are out of the way, I have some thoughts on the thematic elements of the film that are bothersome. Well, I'd be remiss to tell you, and would likely catch a wicked beating if I didn't, that the initial ideas in this theory occurred to my girlfriend Sarah and that we then hammered it out a little more completely in the car ride home from the movie.

This movies seems to be something of an allegory for America's current global situation. As the Village America represents certain cultural, sociological, and ideological systems. These systems are largely at odds with a certain portion of the outer world, represented by the Towns in the film. The Village has real enemies in the world which represent a threat to the Village's way of life, but in combating these enemies, the leaders of the Village create a different enemy, the Creatures to keep the borders of the Village unbroken. Towns in the movie represent the rest of the world as well as a different ideological take on life, other oppositional religions (Islam) and disagreeable nations (the UN, perhaps) which can't be confronted in any physical way, but the creatures, like certain Middle Eastern leaders, represent an ugly force in the world which the Village Elders are able to convince their people present a real, precient, and physical danger. We see several deaths in the film and none of them are due in any way to actual encroachment by the Towns. Instead, all of the deaths happen because in protecting their way of life the elders have closed the Village off from any potential assistance, like medicine, which the outer-world affords. The real life-threatening danger in the movie is the fear created to preserve the society instead of forces from outside. The threat within is equally as dangerous as the threat from without, if not moreso.

My biggest problem with this movie, though there are many, is that when Ivy makes her journey into the "real" world, we see two people; Kevin and his boss. Kevin is white, young and compassionate. His boss, on the other hand, represents everything bad about the outside world: Knowledge from the paper he's reading, a detatchment from the needs of The Village, a desire to bind The Village to the rules of the outer-world, and, most disturbingly, brown people. This also, is the requisite Shyamalan cameo. While I feel the movie does posit the idea that the intra-danger is the most presently dangerous, the film personifies the extra-danger in minorities and ultimately reinforces the fear that the Village elders created.

There is more here, especially relating to Ivy and Noah, but I'm going to stop myself before this post balloons out of control. If a lively discussion erupts in the comments, I'm sure you'll all be treated to more of ever-so-thrilling analysis.

Please, comment away!

The Spoiler Free Review of The Village

I don't know what my problem is. Maybe M. Night Shyamalan sneeks into my bedroom at night and whispers his secrets into my ears or maybe I'm just too smart (I HIGHLY doubt this), but I've never been suprised by his movies. All the audible gasps in the audience when the big twist happen in movies like The Sixth Sense leave me completely confused. If you have liked M.'s previous work I'm sure you'll like this one. He does a good just of setting up tension and has a good eye for framing his shots. Adrian Brody did well I thought as the mentally challanged man in our little hamlet. Like his other films though, I felt that if you were watching the movie from the start you could see the inevitable twist coming a mile away and, as always, I didn't like what he did with it. This isn't to say it's a bad film. Certainly I've seen worse this year and probably even this summer. It's just that the Shyamalan-ster does a great job of making trailers and I always go into the movie hoping it will be something it invevitably turns out not to be. Also like his other films there are plot holes big enough to fit entirely complete plots within them, but if you like this film it really doesn't matter that much as is the case with most films. Long story short, if you like M. Night Shyamalan's stuff you should go see it and you'll likely have a fun time. If you, like me, are convinced by the trailers that THIS will be the movie where he does things differently, wait for DVD or On-Demand.

I have thematic problems with the film, but they require spoilers, so they'll go in the next post.

There HAS To Be A Better Way

The Times is reporting that the airline industry may be in need of a bailout on the order of the S&L bailout of the 80s. Simply put, it means that the airlines have promised to pay their workers pensions as part of their legally binding contracts. The law says that once a worker has earned the pension that has been promised the company is obligated to pay that worker's pension. Unfortunately, it seems as though most of the major airlines have less money in the bank than they owe in pensions. Shouldn't they be required to keep enough money in said bank to pay said pensions you might ask? Well they're supposed to, but Congress has been loosening the requirements for years now.

I had a long rant about how this is exactly why people who think there shouldn't be any government regulation are out of this world crazy/dumb, but I think reading the article and thinking "What the hell is a retired person who suddenly doesn't have any more money coming to them supposed to do?" will lead you to that conclusion on your own.

Just a note from the coast

Checking in at the mid-way point on my vacation, I just wanted to mention that the remake of Manchurian Candidate is something that will probably appeal to readers of our little blog. I think the original is a better movie, but the remake is scarier, as might be expected from the director of Silence of the Lambs. Worth a matinee/student ticket.

Swish, Clang!

For those that are fans of kick ass martial arts movies, I have a kick ass trailer for you to watch. I just saw this on TV and though it doesn't say this on the linked version, the movie comes out at the end of August.