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Archive for November, 2008

From the Washington Post’s Tom Toles:

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The story:

“Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) easily won a vote to remain chairman of a key committee today and will stay in the Democratic caucus despite his high-profile criticism of President-elect Barack Obama and his support of Sen. John McCain during the presidential campaign.”

My gut:

Lieberman can eat a dick.

The story:

“Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said that “Joe Lieberman is a Democrat. He’s part of this caucus.”

My gut:

Harry Reid can eat a dick.

The story:

“The deal was negotiated by Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), as well as Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). The Democratic caucus voted 42-13 to accept it.”

My gut:

Christopher Dodd (D-Eat a dick), Ken Salazar (D-Eat a dick), Tom Carper (D-Eat a dick), and Bill Nelson (D-Eat a dick).  And the caucus can eat 42 dicks.

Normally we try to keep this blog PG-13, or at least a genteel R.  So to all of our 11-year old readers who have never heard that expression, my heartfelt apologies.  This was a shameful cave-in, a shameless cave-in, a cave-in so shame-filled that both of those seeming antonyms apply.  There’s plenty of blame to go around, so let’s start at the top:

Obama deserves a flick on the ear for backing Fredo.  Hopey was referring only to Lieberman’s place in the caucus, rather than his status as a committee chair, and mostly stayed out of it. However, his willingness to pass the buck to Reid amounted to an endorsement of the status quo.  This solution fits his whole post-partisan, Hope! Change! Ponies! kinda schtick, but it’s weak sauce considering the depth and breadth of Lieberman’s nastiness.

Reid deserves a flick on the motherfuckin’ face for this.  On the night Fredo delivered the keynote at the Republican National Convention, the gutless Mormon announced he was “very disappointed.”  Sorry Harry, that’s what you say when your toddler eats a crayon.  Reid fluffed his own indignation, adding “I defy anyone to be more angry than I was” with Lieberman’s attacks on Obama; he called it “a period of time in Joe Lieberman’s political career I will never understand or approve.”  Sorry Harry, that’s what you tell your kids about your six months doing blow as a roadie for Whitesnake.  Lieberman’s attacks on Democrats aren’t a bug; they’re a feature.  Reid said it was “not a time for retribution.”  When is?

But then, the broader problem:  the vote wasn’t 28-27.  It wasn’t 31-24.  It’s not like this was a close call where one person’s leadership and initiative could’ve swung it.  Nope, this vote reflects a fundamental truth about political parties in America:  They are an incumbancy protection racket.

It’s not incongruous to hold this view and still be a partisan Democrat who gets emotional when we win.  The fact is, only one of the two choices we have (chicken or shit?) is the party of Roosevelt, McCarthy (the good one), Wellstone, Feingold, and Leahy among others.  At the same time, the main purpose of the Democratic Party does appear to be maintaining the Congressional seats of sitting Members.  Witness the party’s refusal to get behind Ned Lamont, the actual, nominated Democrat in Lieberman’s most recent race. (Reid himself reportedly asked Lamont to back off.)

People on both the left and the right have problems with a system that produces a remarkably Soviet 95% retention rate in the House, and only slightly lower numbers in the Senate.  This isn’t simply a matter of funding, franking privilages, or structural problems.  Everyone spits this “Joe Lieberman / is / my friend” crap as though that has anything to do with the price of dope in Dhaka.  We elect you cats to draft policy, not host slumber parties.  Congress remains at its core a lifetime membership country club, expulsion based primarily on being caught with with a live boy or a dead girl.  The entire caucus faced a choice between propping up one of their long-time drinking buddies or acting with the voice of the people who elected them; and they told their constituents to go eat a dick.

Let me add: This isn’t a purge.  Lieberman could stay in the caucus.  The issue was having him chairing a really freakin important committee.  Other Democrats have conservative voting records, but they don’t make their careers trashing their party.  Dear uncle Harry told Democrats that Lieberman is with us on “virtually everything except the war,” but this is beside the point.  Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor don’t vote the way Dick Durbin and I would, but they don’t headline the Republican convention.  So without further ado, a desperately incomplete list of reactionary tripe from Senator Lieberman:

-Goes on Bill “the gambler” Bennett’s radio show spitting “retreat and defeat.”

-Tells Glenn “I hate the 9/11 families” Beck that he “fears for the survival of the country” if the Democrats get to 60 Senate seats.  (P.S. hey asshole, that includes you!)

-Calls it a “good question” when a Fox News “analyst” asks if Obama is a Marxist.

-Supports Catholic hospitals denying contraceptives to rape victims on grounds that “it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital.

-Defends waterboarding on grounds that “it’s not like [using] burning coals.”  (He also has a bold, mavericky stance against the Spanish Inquisition.)

-Not only backs Senator McCain for President, but endorses other Senate Republicans as well.

This is the guy who’s “with us on everything except the war,” Harry Reid’s “friend” who just had a temporary blackout period of conservative vitriol, a man who apparantly deserves nothing more than losing a subcommittee position on polar bears.  For the millionth time, the Goldfinger quote:

“Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action.”

And so I ask our readers:  What in the name of Christ on a cracker is a firing offense in this town?

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…they just slink down into the dungeon.  With the Democratic House and Senate landslide, dozens of old Congresscritters are taking their pages and going home.  Sadly for them and their staff, they have to vacate their old offices as the new Members measure the drapes.  For the final month or two of their various criminal endeavors, departing Congressmen are housed in literally the Rayburn Building basement.  Mother Jones reports:

“In Capitol Hill official-speak, it’s called the “transitional suite.” In reality, the harshly lit warren of numbered cubicles in the bowels of the Rayburn House Office Building is the private purgatory of members of Congress who are no longer needed. Mere weeks after losing power, defeated or retiring US representatives move to this temporary basement setup from the comfortable office suites where they previously worked. Here they pass their final days in office, each soon-to-be ex-legislator and his or her staff issued a single work space measuring approximately 5’x5′.”

It resembles nothing so much as a bullpen full of temps doing data entry:

Welcome to Scranton, bitches

Welcome to Scranton, bitches

This basement are also serves as Ellis Island for incoming members, who shuffle through beforehand amidst their various orientations and welcoming briberies.  One staffer compared it to “Grand Central Station” when the newbies show up, and “Grand Central Station on Christmas Day” when the morose departures replace them. Former Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-France?) described the mood:

“You go from being in the middle of the nation’s business to suddenly the phone doesn’t ring,” he says. “There’s no mail that goes through. There’s nobody to respond to.”

Waiting by the phone?  Congressman Beauprez, you’ve just won the Soul Asylum segue contest!


Anyway, as Snoop Dogg says, “back to the lecture at hand:”  Mother Jones is a solid magazine, especially their photo essays on completely unexpected topics.  Where else will you find an interview feature with the woman who sews the Klan robes?  They also have galleries of Mexican superheroes, phone sex operators, and an unbelievable, heartbreaking series on children born in prison.  I recommend subscribing while you still have that Congressional mailing address.

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The American Family Association is a Christianist 501(c)(3), Sobieski’s winged hussars in the War on Christmas. They’ve boycotted 7-Eleven for selling porn, Sears for advertising on Logo, and, in perhaps their greatest victory, the American Girl doll company for supporting a “pro-lesbian, pro-abortion” charity. They also sell buttons and other Jesusy tchotchkes, like this year’s light-up cross for your yard:

Merry Birmingham, neighbors!

Merry Birmingham, neighbors!

Because nothing says KKKristmas like a burning cross.

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A lot of protest music has been written over the last eight years: some good, some not so much.  (Neil, you know I love you, but “let’s impeach the President for lying” is just lazy.)  Amidst this, the old standards have also been dragged out for a walk around the blockThe master himself recently endorsed Hopey, a surprising move for a man who disdains movement politics and once dismissed Phil Ochs as “a journalist, not a folk singer,”  (Speaking of Ochs, law students are advised to read his 1968 DNC testimony.  They ain’t makin’ witnesses like that any more.)

Hidden on the greatest album ever, Bob Dylan’s 1965 “Tombstone Blues” lacks the star power of his bigger stuff.  It’s a surrealist pastiche, aimlessly namedropping heroes and outlaws in a directionless, glancing swipe at authority.  It’s also, chewing on the lyrics, a forceful assault on the hucksters and hypocrites inhabiting the America we inherit.  And so, marginally drunk and annotated with apropos linkage (some sections more relevant than others,) Bob Dylan’s (long) Tombstone Blues:

“The sweet pretty things are in bed now of course
The city fathers they’re trying to endorse
The reincarnation of Paul Revere’s horse
But the town has no need to be nervous

The ghost of Belle Starr she hands down her wits
To Jezebel the nun she violently knits
A bald wig for Jack the Ripper who sits
At the head of the chamber of commerce

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for food
I’m in the kitchen
With the tombstone blues

The hysterical bride in the penny arcade
Screaming she moans, “I’ve just been made”
Then sends out for the doctor who pulls down the shade
Says, “My advice is to not let the boys in

Now the medicine man comes and he shuffles inside
He walks with a swagger and he says to the bride
“Stop all this weeping, swallow your pride
You will not die, it’s not poison”

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for food
I’m in the kitchen
With the tombstone blues

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, “Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?

The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing  a fly
Saying, “Death to all those who would whimper and cry
And dropping a barbell he points to the sky
Saying, “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for food
I’m in the kitchen
With the tombstone blues

The king of the Philistines his soldiers to save
Puts jawbones on their tombstones and flatters their graves
Puts the pied pipers in prison and fattens the slaves
Then sends them out to the jungle

Gypsy Davey with a blowtorch he burns out their camps
With his faithful slave Pedro behind him he tramps
With a fantastic collection of stamps
To win friends and influence his uncle

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for food
I’m in trouble
With the tombstone blues

The geometry of innocent flesh on the bone
Causes Galileo’s math book to get thrown
At Delilah who’s sitting worthlessly alone
But the tears on her cheeks are from laughter

Now I wish I could give Brother Bill his great thrill
I would set him in chains at the top of the hill
Then send out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille
He could die happily ever after

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for food
I’m in the kitchen
With the tombstone blues

Where Ma Raney and Beethoven once unwrapped their bed roll
Tuba players now rehearse around the flagpole
And the National Bank at a profit sells road maps for the soul
To the old folks home and the college

Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you dear lady from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of your useless and pointless knowledge

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for food
I’m in the kitchen
With the tombstone blues.”

If you’ve never actually heard the song, it’s actually bouncy and fun and fantastic; it’s just a coincidence that it so neatly captures our Long National Nightmare 2.0:

And if that didn’t cheer you up, here’s what deserves to be the most overplayed song from now until January 20:

In this post alone you’ve got links for Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sam Cooke, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs, Kinky Friedman, and the Rolling Stones.  You know you wouldn’t get this from any other blog.

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Reliable Source reports on The Bowtied Crusader:

Tony Williams was on K Street yesterday afternoon when a thief grabbed a package from a UPS hand truck. The deliveryman, standing a few yards away, looked up and yelled, “Hey!” but the man kept walking.

Enter the former mayor, who asked the delivery guy if he was being robbed. “I said to myself, ‘Do I just stand here? No, this can’t happen,’ ” Williams told us. “And I just started running.”

For those of you unfamiliar with Washington, this is former Mayor Anthony Williams:

Comin straight outta Yale

Comin straight outta Tenleytown

So Williams, bearer of the iconic, non-NOI bowtie, chases down the surprised perp:

Williams sprinted down K Street shouting, “Stop! Stop! You can’t do that!” With the deliveryman right behind him, he caught up to the culprit — who looked at the bow tie and stopped dead in his tracks.

“You used to be the mayor,” said the surprised thief, who simply handed over the box of computer parts.

Williams, with no police cars around, let the man go.  Asked what happened by a passerby, Mayor Bowtie stayed humble:

“I’m just fighting crime in the city.”

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Rahmbo riffs on shiksappeal*

“Emanuel is dramatic, impatient and profane, willing to speak truth to power in the crudest terms and the most difficult moments, as in the heat of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“You got it backwards,” Emanuel, who is Jewish, reportedly told Clinton at the time. “You messed around with a Jewish girl and now you’re paying a goyish lawyer. You should have messed around with a goyishe girl and gotten a Jewish lawyer.”

For that, I’ll forgive his beef with Dean.

*(Yiddish explained here.)

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Humanizing Ataturk

The Times has a video feature today on Mustafa, a controversial new Turkish film portraying the life of national hero Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.  Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic, is revered in a way not normally seen outside of countries ending in “-stan.”  His image as a war hero, statesman, and ideological guide is unparalleled: imagine rolling George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln into the same superdude.  Ataturk’s memory, (neatly cleansed of the troublesome bits), is the cornerstone of what is arguably the most defensively nationalistic country on earth.  The thoroughly modern Ataturk adorns literally all denominations of the Turkish Lira.

So along comes journalist Can Dundar, with a film portraying Ataturk as a human being.  The movie Kemal is a drinker, a smoker, and a bit of a paranoid, and his staunch secularism is driven as much by personal resentment of his childhood religious education as by ideological commitment.  Dundar wanted to rectify an image “devoid of human qualities“; someone far more a hero than a man.  Critics have hit the film from all sides, with devout Kemalists worrying it will weaken the image of the nation and the religious community bemoaning their founder’s on-screen taste for raki and women.

Mustafa Akyol, (a strange cat in his own right), noted in the popular nationalistic daily Hurriyet that critics of the film have not actually questioned its veracity.  The problem is not that the movie isn’t accurate, but that the accuracy is unacceptable.  Amidst all this controversy, Turks are flocking to it.

For more on the film and surrounding hullaballoo, check out both the Times video and the companion article.

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JEWBLACKWIN

The Washington Post reported on the variety of racist remarks about Obama by European leaders.  Here’s one lowlight:

“Jürgen Gansel, a party leader and an elected lawmaker in the German state of Saxony, blamed Obama’s victory on “the American alliance of Jews and Negroes.”

Which led to the following Gchat conversation between myself and, (sound the hipster racism alarm,) my black best friend:

me: “Jürgen Gansel, a party leader and an elected lawmaker in the German state of Saxony, blamed Obama’s victory on “the American alliance of Jews and Negroes.”
friend: HOORAY!
me:
WE WIN WE WIN
friend: The war is over! Now we’re allies! Someone call Farrakhan!
me:
Jews + Negroes > Whites. WIN ! WIN!
friend: And we’ve taken all the good humor and music with us. HAHAHAHA.
me:
JEWBLACKWIN
friend: Where’s the link to that article. Please god link me.
me:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/10/AR2008111002810.html?hpid=topnews
friend: Does this mean I can get in on that whole “Zionist Conspiracy” thing?
me: let me tell you, there’s less money in it than they promise you
friend: I’d argue that there’s more cash in it than there has been in our 250-year plot to destroy white people through self-harm and affirmative action.
me:
that’s true, your plan to destroy the white man through liberal guilt and quotas really hasn’t delivered.
friend: We’re still reworking it. It sounded much better on paper. Well, not really on paper because Africa only has an oral tradition but you know what I mean.
me: hahaha
your plan is not worth the oral tradition it’s written on.

So yeah.  Jews, blacks, let’s get going on this.  Here’s a primer.

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The zeitgeist

If McCain had won, would be see anything like this?  And they sell t-shirts too!

Awesome!

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