Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Some of my favorite people

I'm going to list a few of my favorite people*, because I feel like it.

Margaret Cho: She's hilariously funny and is a great friend to the gay community. She shoots her mouth off, sometimes unwisely but always in the right cause. Go Margaret.

Richard Dawkins: This guy always knows how to answer those smarmy you-atheists-think-you're-so-smart questions, as well as the questions that are more honestly intended. He comes off as a dick, it's true, but that's because he feels free to call foolishness by its name. Would that more of us shared that predilection.

Sister Helen Prejean: This lady's a great mixture of compassion, common sense perspective and a tart Lousiana wit. You might know her as the nun who wrote "Dead Man Walking", but if you've ever heard her speak you'll probably join me in wishing she'd run for president, or at the very least the U.S. Senate. The highest praise I can say is that the first time I heard her speak in person I went away thinking, "Ahh...so this is why my friends are Catholic!"

Thomas Frank: He's a long-time political junkie and writer, and a few years back released a book entitled, "What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America." That book strongly influenced my view of politics, and I strongly recommend it. He's a great speaker, combining a sharp political insight with a healthy sense of humor.

*This list does not include folks I know personally, many of whom are also among my favorite people.

How screwed are we?

Britain is finally doing what the majority of its citizens have demanded for years: pulling its troops out of Iraq. Poland and Italy will follow suit, leaving the U.S. holding the bag in Baghdad. I'm sure the Kingdom of Palau will stand with us, though.

NBC has decided to start calling the Iraq mess a civil war, a decision that was late in coming if you ask me. A conflict that centers on one religious group systematically killing another, and that has resulted in as many as 600,000 deaths...well, if that isn't a civil war, what the hell is? I expect that the White House will counter by attempting to redefine the term "civil war" so narrowly that what was fought between the Union and the Confederacy in 1861 will have to be re-designated as sectarian violence.

In other news, my foot still hurts. Apparently, it can take up to a year for plantar fascitis to go away. That right; in the time it takes my poor tendon to heal, a human could go from "Hi Sperm! Hi Egg!" to being cooed over at grandma's house. Where's Dr. Crusher with her little blue light?

I'm reading Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion." Dawkins is definitely what you might call an evangelical atheist, and from what I've seen and heard in debates the man does not suffer fools gladly. However, he makes some pretty good points in his book; so many, in fact, that I'm taking my sweet old time reading it, to make sure I get everything.

I was reading yesterday about a local deli owner who foiled would-be robbers when he produced his own handgun and chased them out of his store. Apparently, tho, one of the robbers was frightened and hid in the back of the store where the owner found him. The owner then marched him into a back room, called police, and took his boots. I'm not crying over the fate of a bunch of thugs, but why would he take the guy's boots? I've been trying to figure that out and I just can't. Comment if you can, please.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And here I claim...

...the right to feel superior. I never understood why anyone would shop on Black Friday, but this?

Feh, I say. Feh. I grew up sufficiently poor than having fruit juice in the house was a rarity, and frozen waffles a luxury, so perhaps I'm biased. Or perhaps some people are frakkin' nuts. Growing up poor wasn't fun (although to be honest as a kid it seemed normal to me), but it gave me a nice perspective on the word "need." You need heat. You need food. You need electricity. You do not need cable. You do not need an SUV. You do not need a vacation. Proceeding from this is the very simple conclusion that most of the stuff people camped out Thanksgiving afternoon to buy was a bunch of crap they could just as easily have gotten later. Or - radical thought - been just as happy without.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Holy moley!

I never followed the OJ Simpson trial, and in fact did everything I could to avoid seeing or hearing anything about it. Those of you who are over 25 will remember well how ubiquitous and unending the coverage was, and can hopefully sympathize. However, I heard enough to know that most Americans pretty much thought OJ was guilty. With that in mind, you can imagine my surprise at this.

If he had done it? Umm, OJ? Most Americans think you did. May I suggest some alternate titles for this interview?

"The Way I Wish I'd Done It"
"My Confession"
"You Won the Civil Suit but I Still Killed Your Son"
"Rubbing It In: Gotta Love that Double Jeopardy"

Who told OJ this was a good idea? Maybe he's hard-up for money, or maybe he's just a fool. If it's the latter, he's in good company at Fox News.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A comforting familiarity

Check out Charles Krauthammer's pathetic attempt to spin the last election into a conservative gain. What I find particularly funny is this little gem:

Because both houses have gone Democratic, the election is correctly seen as an expression of no confidence in the central issue of the campaign: Iraq. It was not so much the war itself as the perceived administration policy of "stay the course," which implied endless intervention with no victory in sight.

Perceived administration policy? Umm...how about explicitly stated administration policy? Bush himself said something like this in last week's speech when he said he couldn't imagine how it "seeped into people's heads" that he ever advocated staying the course. I guess all those times he said "stay the course" don't count. Still, just as it's comforting to know that tomorrow the sun will rise and objects will still fall down, it's good to know that the GOP is still adept at distributing shockingly untrue but oft-repeated talking points.

On other matters, did anyone think that last week's "Battlestar Galactica" concluded with a hit on the old reset button? In my view, we found out very little that was new, and ended up pretty much where we began.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nope…it still feels good

I keep clicking over to CNN today to make sure that what happened Tuesday night hasn’t, you know, un-happened. Not only has it not un-happened (try that double negative!), with George Allen conceding Virginia, it’s gotten better!

According to Redstate.org, Republicans suffered losses because they weren’t conservative enough, and that to regain power they must become even more conservative. I find that line of reasoning…well, pretty fucked. Personally, I think the reason the GOP got spanked is not because the American people all of a sudden discovered liberalism, but because Republican congresspeople had proven themselves arrogant, incompetent and corrupt. To regain power, they might want to focus on being less arrogant, more competent, and a teensy bit less corrupt.

Another idea floating around the conservative blogs is that everything will revert to Republican control come 2008. I’m not going to say that’s impossible (after Tuesday’s smashing success I guess anything can happen), but I wouldn’t bet on it. Come 2008, Senate Republicans are defending 21 seats, while the Dems are defending only 12.

In other news, I’ve discovered a new medical condition called plantar fascitis, which translates to “really annoying foot pain.” Those of you who have seen me rolling a metal candlestick under my foot at Movie Night have witnessed one of many home remedies for this malady.* Sigh. Getting old sucks.

* “Remedy malady” is like “taxi-Nazi”, isn’t it? I grow increasingly fascinated with these near-rhymes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oh frabjous day!

Obviously, I am elated about last night’s results, which I stayed up into the wee hours to witness. It’s been so long since my side had any electoral success that this kind of victory is hard to accept. Well, actually it’s delightful to accept. Even more delightful is the response of right-wing bloggers, who are doing their level best to blame their loss on anything – the media, the exit polls, the Democrats – other than the GOP itself. Given how poorly they’ve lost, I feel I deserve a little secret online gloating. If you want to join the fun, try Redstate.org., which I feel is particularly sour-grapey.

Dan and I totally did a victory dance when Santorum conceded. I hope you did as well.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Value of Hypocrisy

Check out David Frum's defense of drug-using, gay-sex-having evangelist Ted Haggard. Here are a few juicy excerpts:

We admire the Arthur Vandenbergs and (someday) the Joe Liebermans who can reach past party feeling to support a president of the opposing party for the sake of the national interest.

Uh-huh. I'll bet From was incensed when Jim Jeffords bolted the Republicans, but when Lieberman does it to the Dems, it's "reaching past party feeling."

If a religious leader has a personal inclination toward homosexuality - and nonetheless can look past his own inclination to defend the institution of marriage and to affirm its benefits for the raising of children - why should he likewise not be honored for his intellectual firmness and moral integrity?

Hmm...according to this, the bigger the hypocrite Haggard is, the more virtuous we should hold him. Maybe Haggard should have gone for the gold and fucked a transvestite whom he afterwards beat to death with a platform shoe. Then Frum would likely nominate him for sainthood.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A hell of a guy

Check out Santorum-shill Romanelli’s lame excuse for going on the GOP payroll:

“Yes, well, the bottom line is that I needed money. I have been trying to fundraise for the Greens for five years, and Democrats and progressives just aren’t giving us any. It was my intention to elevate the level of discourse on the issues in this senatorial race. And let’s not give Rick Santorum credit. Let’s not blame the Green Party. Carl Romanelli put this operation together, and I had the understanding with a handful of Republican friends of mine who helped me that we were both using each other. I needed money, because I had none, and I was well aware that they thought that my presence would help their candidate. I didn’t ascribe to that point of view, but it was mutual, because for five years the Green Party of Pennsylvania has been lobbying our legislature for more fair ballot access and for campaign reforms. It’s fallen on deaf ears.”

Well, the guy’s intelligent, certainly intelligent enough to realize he was a mere Republican sock puppet. And I admire his courage in taking credit for selling himself out. Carl Romanelli doesn’t hide behind lackeys, no; when he offers his integrity to the highest bidder, he personally sits behind the cash register. I’m also impressed by the bipartisan spirit Romanelli demonstrated; it’s heartwarming to see conservatives and progressives coming together to use each other as tools to satisfy twisted ambition.

Hmm…intelligence, courage and a sense of bipartisanship, all in one Romanelli-shaped package. In a Bizarro world, I could vote for him.