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The Donnybrook
Friday, December 31, 2004
He Should've Sent Neil...

President Bush is sending his little brother, Jeb, to South Asia to survey the tsunami damage up close (read as: get national face time for a possible presidential run in 2008) along with Colin Powell.

In my humble opinion, Dubya picked the wrong brother.

Neil Bush has a lot more experience in the region...

That Didn't Take Long...

Ever since the tsunami in South Asia killed upwards of 125,000 people in South Asia, I've had a sneaking suspicion that some radically conservative Mullah of the American Religious Right would eventually take the opportunity to "Thank God" for the tragedy...

I didn't have to wait long...

Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps is now the first (but will he be the last?) to step up and "Thank God" for the death and destruction that took place.

His reasoning? The tsunami killed 2,000 Swedes, and they come from a country that...wait for it....wait for it....DOESN'T HATE FAGS!!! The nerve of them!!!

Take a look at Phelps' statement. It's heartwarming...And remember that this is the face of the American Religious Right...

Will Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, or Pat Robertson step up next? We'll see...

Falwell and Robertson were pretty quick to throw the blame for 9-11 at anyone but the terrorists...

UPDATE: Changed "American Right" to "American Religious Right". That was an over-generalization. I feel better now...

Thursday, December 30, 2004
Best And Worst Sports Uniforms Of All-Time?

This fantastic article from ESPN.com detailing 2004's highs and lows in sports uniforms prompted me to think of my favorites and no-so-favorites in the annals of sports history...


Best: The Chargers' powder blue uniforms from their AFL days.

Worst: I'll have to agree with Paul Lukas and go with the Bengals' current atrocities...Oh the humanity...


Where to begin? I personally think hockey has the best uniforms in all of sports.

My favorite would probably be the Philadelphia Phantoms jerseys. Sure, I'm a homer, but check these things out. I think purple is a really under-used color in sports uniforms.

For throwbacks, I love the Chicago Blackhawks old jerseys.

The 1980 USA Olympic team's unis are among the best, too...

Canada's World Cup jerseys from this year are very cool too, if you haven't seen them...

As far as the worst goes, have you ever seen the Vancouver Canucks' jerseys from the early 80's? Just awful...


Best: Who doesn't love the 70's-style Giants gear?

(Honorable mention to the Phillies' old St. Patrick's Day unis. Classic...)

Worst: The Padres' new gear is pretty damn bad...


Best: Give me the basic Boston Celtics unis anyday.

Worst: The Mavericks can keep that shiny bullshit they've been wearing...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Michael Corleone Would Be So Proud...

Such is life in today's GOP, where demonstrating good ethics by admonishing a shitbag like Tom DeLay can get a Republican tossed from a leadership position on the House ethics committee...

I think Michael Corleone said it best:

"Fredo, you're my older brother... and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again. Ever."

Fitting, don't you think?

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is leaning toward removing the House ethics committee chairman, who admonished House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this fall and has said he will treat DeLay like any other member, several Republican aides said yesterday.

Although Hastert (Ill.) has not made a decision, the expectation among leadership aides is that the chairman, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), long at odds with party leaders because of his independence, will be replaced when Congress convenes next week.

The aides said a likely replacement is Rep. Lamar S. Smith, one of DeLay's fellow Texans, who held the job from 1999 to 2001. Smith wrote a check this year to DeLay's defense fund. An aide said Smith was favored for his knowledge of committee procedure.

Republicans are bracing for the possibility that DeLay, who is the chamber's second-ranking Republican and holds enormous sway over lawmakers, could be indicted by a Texas grand jury conducting a campaign finance investigation that the party contends is politically motivated.

A word to the wise for Rep. Hefley:

Don't go fishing with Denny Hastert or Tom DeLay anytime soon, unless you want to end up looking like Mo Green's massage table...

UPDATE: In a wholly unrelated matter, the House GOP is now trying to make it harder for it's members to be brought up on ethics charges:

In the wake of back-to-back ethics slaps at the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, House Republicans are preparing to make it more difficult to initiate ethics investigations and could remove the Republican chairman who presided over the admonishments of Mr. DeLay last fall.

"Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
--Lord Acton

Out With The Old Year, In With The New...

Thanks to Pat Oliphant...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Hockey Rolls On...Sort of...

You just have to know where to look for it...

For instance, in the American Hockey League, the Philadelphia Phantoms are currently 21-6-1 and leading the AHL's Eastern division.

This is not information you may ever need, but isn't it nice to know that hockey isn't officially dead???

Random Monday Night Football Thought: John Madden is a moron. Last night, he ws complaining because the Eagles took their starters out of the game after just one series.

Uh, John, the Eagles were already severely banged-up and had NOTHING to play for against the Rams. Can I get a logical explanation as to why playing the starters is a good idea???


Monday, December 27, 2004
A Brief Musical Interlude...

Dedicated to my wife, who has impeccable tastes in Christmas presents...

Look at what's happened to me, I can't believe it myself
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world, Should've been somebody else.

Believe it or not, I'm walkin' on air, I never thought I could feel so free
Flyin' away on a wing and a pray'r,
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me.

Just like the light of new day, It hit me from out of the blue
Breakin' me out of the spell I was in, Makin' all of my wishes come true.

Believe it or not, I'm walkin' on air, I never thought I could feel so free
Flyin' away on a wing and a pray'r,
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me.

Media Matters Is The Shiznit...

David Brock's watchdog group Media Matters has had a fantastic first year. They've done a stellar job of keeping an eye on the so-called liberal media.

To wrap up their first year, they've named Bill "The Falafel Kid" O'Reilly their "Misinformer of the Year" for 2004.

Of all the news anchors, columnists, pundits, and reporters whose work we've critiqued and corrected, one stands above all the rest. We're pleased to announce that with at least 75 (we stopped counting) lies, distortions, and mischaracterizations, television host, columnist, radio host, former Inside Edition anchor, man of the people, and Harvard University graduate Bill O'Reilly can now claim the title: 2004 Misinformer of the Year.

This is my favorite of O'Reilly's doozies...

As an added bonus, Media Matters has compiled the top ten most outrageous statements of 2004...Read 'em and weep!

Rush Limbaugh on the Abu Ghraib photos: "I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?"

Ann Coulter: "[Senator John] Kerry will improve the economy in the emergency services and body bag industry."

Tony Blankley called philanthropist George Soros "a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."

Michael Savage: "When you hear 'human rights,' think gays. ... [T]hink only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son."

Oliver North: "Every terrorist out there is hoping John Kerry is the next president of the United States."

Pat Robertson on gays and lesbians: "[S]elf-absorbed hedonists ... that want to impose their particular sexuality on the rest of America."

Pat Buchanan: "[H]omosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism."

Bill O'Reilly to Jewish caller: "[I]f you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel."

Bill Cunningham (Clear Channel radio host who appeared as a guest on The Sean Hannity Show): The election is over because "Elizabeth Edwards has now sung."

Jerry Falwell: "And we're going to invite PETA [to "wild game night"] as our special guest, P-E-T-A -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We want you to come, we're going to give you a top seat there, so you can sit there and suffer. This is one of my special groups, another one's the ACLU, another is the NOW -- the National Order of Witches [sic]. We've got -- I've got a lot of special groups."

Memphis Knuckledraggers Protest Proposed Islamic Cemetary...

Remember when I wrote about this? Well, here's a real-world example of America's ever-expanding anti-Muslim bent...

The Muslim Society of Memphis was looking for a quiet place to bury its dead and found an unused sod farm about 20 miles east of the city.

But angry neighbors are protesting the proposed Muslim cemetery, saying it could be used as a staging ground for terrorists or that it could spread disease from unembalmed bodies.

Let's hear what the people of the community have to say:

"We know for a fact that Muslim mosques have been used as terrorist hide-outs and centers for terrorist activities," John Wilson, a local farmer, told the Fayette County Planning Commission last month.

Oh, but it gets a lot better from there...

"Ladies and gentlemen, you may think this is far-fetched, but that is what the Jewish people thought when the Nazis started taking a small foothold, a little at a time, in their community," Wilson said.

Isn't it hilarious when a mouthbreather like this pretends to stand up against the Nazis. What are the odds that this winner would've had a closet full of brownshirts?

But the brilliance doesn't even stop there!!!

Belinda Ghosheh, an owner of the property, said a committee meeting of the Fayette County Commission drew such a hostile crowd she feared for her safety. One woman, she said, yelled, "We don't need bin Laden's cousins in our neighborhood."

Welcome to BushWorld: No furriners, Muslims, or homersekshals need apply...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Your Most/Least Favorite Holiday Songs?

At this point in the season, I've heard every holiday tune at least 3 times, thanks to the sound system in my office building.

They're all starting run together at this point...

Still, there are a few tunes that give me that good feeling. Unfortunately, there are others that I can't get out of my head...

My Favorites:

Sarah MacLachlan & Barenaked Ladies: "God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen"--I mean, have you heard this? Great stuff. She could even make country music sound good...

Sarah MacLachlan: "Song For A Winter's Night"--I'm not exactly sure this is a "holiday" tune, but it's on this "Sounds of the Season" CD my wife has. $100 goes to the person who can tell me who originally did this song...

David Bowie & Bing Crosby: "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy"--Classic duet. Who the hell came up with this pairing in the first place?

Any song from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special--That show still gets me every time. I'm 27, for God's sake! WTF!!!

Least Favorite:

Any jazz rendition of old standards-- I can't escape these horrible tunes where the singer is trying to be jazzy with the lyrics and the articulation:

"Oh, THE weather OUTside is frightful, and the fire is so, so, SO, so delightful. Be bop, bop bop..."

Shoot me now...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
19 US Soldiers Dead In Attack In Mosul, Iraq...

Is it worth it yet? How many is too many?

Although military officials initially said rockets or mortar rounds struck the camp, Hastings said it was still under investigation. "We do not know if it was a mortar or a place explosive," he said, describing it as a "single explosion."

The force knocked soldiers off their feet and out of their seats as a fireball enveloped the top of the tent and shrapnel sprayed into the area, Redmon said.

Amid the screaming and thick smoke in the tent, soldiers turned their tables upside down, placed the wounded on them and gently carried them into the parking lot, Redmon said.

Scores of troops crammed into concrete bomb shelters, while others wandered around in a daze and collapsed, he said.

"I can't hear! I can't hear!" one female soldier cried as a friend hugged her.

A huge hole was blown in the roof of the tent, and puddles of blood, lunch trays and overturned tables and chairs covered the floor, Redmond reported.

Apparently, the rest of the America is waking up to the fact that it's NOT...

While a slight majority believe the Iraq war contributed to the long-term security of the United States, 70 percent of Americans think these gains have come at an "unacceptable" cost in military casualties. This led 56 percent to conclude that, given the cost, the conflict there was "not worth fighting" -- an eight-point increase from when the same question was asked this summer, and the first time a decisive majority of people have reached this conclusion.

Why The Eagles Will Still Go To The Super Bowl...

Terrell Owens was a big part of the success that the Eagles have had this year, but he's sure as hell not the only reason they're 13-1 with a #1 seed in the NFC Playoffs.

The Eagles have been good enough to go to the Super Bowl for the past 3 years without him. Unfortunately, they didn't deliver when the chips were down, for whatever reason. That doesn't change the fact their teams were good enough to get there.

Think about this: 2 years ago, the Eagles lost Donovan McNabb for the last 4 games prior to the playoffs. When he came back in the playoffs, he was far from 100%. Last year, they were without Brian Westbrook in the playoffs. He's just as important, if not, more important than T.O. to the Eagles' offense. In both of these years, they still got as close as you can get.

The offense might suffer a bit, but the defense is still intact.

The Eagles' D is the one constant through the past 4 years. Adding Jevon Kearse and Jeremiah Trotter has toughened up their linebacking corps, and the emergence of Dhani Jones has been a nice surprise. Brian Dawkins is still Brian Dawkins and the rest of the Eagles' D is still solid.

Here's my other reason for remaining confident. Put simply, the NFC is TERRIBLE...

I've already discussed this here, but let me give some detail on the other "top" teams in the NFC:

Atlanta Falcons: What a damn joke. Their losses say far more about them than any of their wins. At 11-3, they've lost to the Detroit Lions (joke franchise), the mediocre Kansas City Chiefs by an astounding score of 56-10, and got shutout by the toothless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Any team that loses to anyone by 46 points does not have a chance of getting to the Super Bowl. On a side note, Warrick Dunn helped to harpoon my fantasy football team this year, but I hold no grudge.

Green Bay Packers: Been there, kicked that ass. We could've let T.O. play for them, and we still would have won by 2 touchdowns in week 13. Brett Favre just can't handle the Eagles' D.

Seattle Seahawks/St. Louis Rams: Do either of these teams actually want to make the playoffs??? They sure as hell aren't playing like it. What makes anyone think either team will make any noise once they stumble into the playoffs?

Minnesota Vikings: Again. Been there, done that. We rolled them up 27-16 in week 2 on Monday Night Football in a game that wasn't even that close. They have no defense, and their ground game sucks. Plus, their recent playoff history is about as impressive as a Michael Bolton/John Tesh collaboration...

The road to Super Bowl runs through Philly and is littered with teams that wouldn't even make the playoffs in the AFC.

The Eagles still have the juice to make it to Jacksonville. Watch the offense rally around McNabb, and look for Brian Westbrook to step up big time.

Like the Ravens and Buccaneers proved over the past few years, any team with a solid D and a decent offense can go all the way.

The Eagles will still make it to the Super Bowl.

If T.O. can play in that game, who knows what happens?

Monday, December 20, 2004
Dubya Disses Christmas...Three Times...

That is, if you play by the rules set out by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jerry Falwell, and the rest of the self-appointed Christian militia.

A group has even started a website in order to "Save Merry Christmas". Here's their stated goal:

The primary goal of the Committee to Save Merry Christmas is to preserve the culture and tradition of the vast majority of Americans that celebrate and honor Christmas. Christmas is a nationally declared federal holiday that has been observed from the inception of our nation.

In the past several years, the term “Merry Christmas” has been deliberately and intentionally excluded from major retailers like Federated Department Stores. The words “Merry Christmas” have been deliberately and intentionally removed from their decorations and advertising. Taking their place are non-celebratory phases like “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays.” When did it become offensive to display or say, “Merry Christmas”?

This intentional and deliberate exclusion of “Merry Christmas” in the Federated Department Stores advertising and decorations is extremely offensive to the culture and tradition of Americans who honor and celebrate Christmas.

These quotes are from Dubya's press conference (which was an absolute clusterfuck of hilarity) this morning:

"Good morning and happy holidays to you all."

"Listen, thank you all very much. I wish everybody -- truly wish everybody a happy holidays."

"All right, happy holidays."

What a godless heathen...

44% of America: Muslim-Americans' Civil Liberties Should Be Restricted...

Statistics like this make me wonder if fascism in this nation is merely a pipe dream or a possible future reality. If almost half of our nation believes in institutional limitations on the basis of religion as a viable option, who knows what is possible...

Surprisingly, seeing these numbers didn't make me angry at first. They made me sad to think that this mentality could be so ingrained, it might actually be unfixable...

Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim Americans, according to a nationwide poll.

The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious.

Researchers also found that respondents who paid more attention to television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim Americans.

"It's sad news. It's disturbing news. But it's not unpredictable," said Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society. "The nation is at war, even if it's not a traditional war. We just have to remain vigilant and continue to interface."

The survey found 44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way.

The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim Americans to register where they lived with the federal government. Twenty-two percent favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats. And 29 percent thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund-raising.

What The Hell Is Wrong With Pfizer And The FDA?

Recently, we found out that Pfizer's arthritis drug, Celebrex, leads to high incidence of heart disease and heart attacks.

On the heels of the blow-up with Merck's arthritis drug, Vioxx (which was actually killing people), where the drug was immediately taken off the shelf, one would assume that George Bush's Food & Drug Administration and/or Pfizer themselves would rush to get Celebrex off the shelf.


Instead, they decided to stop advertising the drug, but continue selling it. That makes sense...

What is the White House adding to this mess?

Denial, of course!

Friday, December 17, 2004
O'Reilly Completely Loses Touch With Reality...

I swear the man just isn't paying attention anymore...

From Media Matters:

In response to reports that actor and comedian Chevy Chase called President Bush a "dumb f---" while co-hosting a December 14 People For the American Way awards ceremony in Washington, DC, FOX News host Bill O'Reilly asserted on the December 16 O'Reilly Factor that "you don't see this kind of thing on the right." He added: "You don’t see prominent conservatives cursing out Democratic members of Congress, for example."

June 24, 2004:

Vice President Cheney cursed at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy during a confrontation on the Senate floor while members were having their annual group picture taken earlier this week, Leahy and Senate sources said Thursday.

Cheney then responded, “f--- off” or “f--- you,” two aides said, both speaking on condition of anonymity.

Conservatives don't get much more prominent than Uncle Dick, do they?

Come to think of it, Cheney even came out and said he "felt better" after cursing at Leahy.

Fuck you, Mr. O'Reilly...That does feel better!

Queen Will Be Touring With Paul Rodgers Next Year...

I'm legitimately torn on this one...

On one hand, the music is so great, I feel like I could front the band and it would still sound amazing.

On the other hand, Queen without Freddie Mercury is just incomprehensible...

As far as Paul Rodgers goes, I may be one of about 6 people on the planet that liked Bad Company's music better after he left...

Anyone else have an opinion?

Our Economy Is Facing Many "Challanges"...


Proper spelling is for intellectual elitists, anyway...

Thursday, December 16, 2004
The Planets Are Lining Up Against Rummy...

Rummy might be looking to "spend more time with his family" very soon...

General Norman Schwarzkopf:

"They deserve every bit of protection we can give them," Schwarzkopf scowled in an interview with "Hardball" host Chris Matthews on MSNBC. "I was very, very disappointed - let me put it stronger - I was angry by the words of the secretary of defense."

Sen. John McCain (R-Az.):

Asked about his confidence in the secretary's leadership, McCain recalled fielding a similar question a couple weeks ago.

"I said no. My answer is still no. No confidence," McCain said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.):

"I am very concerned that it appears the Pentagon failed to do everything in its power to increase production" of the vehicles, Collins wrote.

"The Department of Defense still has been unable to ensure that our troops have the equipment they need to perform their mission as safely as possible."

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Ne.):

...said troops in Iraq "deserved a far better answer than that flippant response."

"That might work in a newsroom where you can be cute with a television audience," he told CNN this week, "but not in a room where you're putting men and women in harm's way. I wonder what the parents thought."

Neo-Con Journalist Bill Kristol:

William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, the house journal of the neo-conservative movement, said in an article published on Wednesday that no wartime defence secretary had ever "so breezily dodged responsibility and so glibly passed the buck".

UPDATE: This just in, add the Mississippi Hair Helmet to the list of GOP Senators rightfully throwing Rummy under the bus...

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Ms.):

"I'm not a fan of Secretary Rumsfeld," Lott, R-Mississippi, told the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning. "I don't think he listens enough to his uniformed officers."

"I would like to see a change in that slot in the next year or so," Lott said. "I'm not calling for his resignation, but I think we do need a change at some point."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Oh, To Be A Wal-Mart Heiress...

It must be like being Paris Hilton, minus the readily-available sex tapes...

Such is the life of Paige Laurie, whose parents helped found Wal-Mart. An easy life, that is...

So easy, in fact, Paige apparently couldn't be bothered to complete most of her course work at the University of Southern California.

In an interview on the ABC news program “20/20,” Laurie’s former roommate, Elena Martinez, said Laurie paid her $20,000 over 3 1/2 years to do Laurie’s schoolwork at the private University of Southern California.

The story only gets weirder from there.

I'll remind you that Paige's parents helped co-found Wal-Mart. As you might imagine, they have a little bit of disposable cash lying around. They used some of that cash to make a donation to the University of Missouri (which is odd since she didn't go to Mizzou...or USC for that matter!) in the amount of $25 million. In return, Mizzou named their brand-new sports arena the Paige Sports Arena.

As you can imagine, once the 20/20 story broke, the shit hit the fan at Mizzou...

Laurie, who attended Rock Bridge High School, is the daughter of Bill and Nancy Laurie, who recently donated $25 million to MU for construction of the $75 million arena. The donation earned them naming rights to the arena, which they dubbed the Paige Sports Arena. After the “20/20” report, the Lauries transferred the rights to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, which changed the arena’s name to Mizzou Arena.

You just can't make this stuff up...

George W. Bush: Economist Extraordinaire

From comments today:

"There's a trade deficit. That's easy to resolve: People can buy more United States products if they're worried about the trade deficit."

Now's probably a good time to point out that we don't make anything anymore...

I think what Bush is really saying here is that we should all stop shopping at Wal-Mart...

Democrats Make Big Gains In State Races...

This is a very bright spot from a less-than-stellar 2004 political year for the Democratic Party. Even in some of the reddest of red states, Democrats took control on a statewide level.

Democrats had great success in state legislative races this year, even as they performed poorly in the presidential race and campaigns for Congress. Many Democratic gains came in the heart of Republican territory.

Colorado Democrats took control of both the House and Senate for the first time since 1974. Montana Democrats won the state Senate and could control the state House, depending on the outcome of a legislative race that finished in a tie and is the subject of a court battle.

Overall, Democrats took power in seven legislatures and earned a tie in the Iowa Senate. Republicans won control in four chambers and added legislators in southern states that have been shifting to the party for 20 years.

Nationwide, Democrats added more than 60 legislative seats, reversing the 2002 results that gave Republicans more state legislators than Democrats for the first time in a half century.

Democratic state legislators now outnumber Republicans by two: 3,658 to 3,656. A pair of undecided races could leave it tied.

Even here in North Carolina, Democrats took control of the state House and retained control of almost all statewide offices. Gov. Mike Easley made his victory over Patrick Ballantine look very easy.

This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the growing pool of viable Democratic candidates for higher offices.

In Colorado, a popular Democratic state Attorney General, Ken Salazar, took on Republican Pete Coors (yes, THAT Coors) and won convincingly. I'd love to see someone like North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (also quite popular) take on Elizabeth Dole for her Senate seat in 2008.

Additionally, in the 2008 North Carolina Governor's race, the Democrats will most likely offer up such well-known names as State Treasurer Richard Moore, Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue, and possibly the aforementioned Roy Cooper. The GOP will most likely end up running Ballantine again.

The bottom line is this: Even in red states, the Democratic party is thriving. Sure a Montana Democrat doesn't necessarily hold exactly the same views as a New York Democrat, but the victories that they've enjoyed this year can lay the groundwork for a resurgence in the party across the country.

Not just in the blue states, either...

Tom Tomorrow On Conservative "Victimhood"...

I've made this point several times over the past couple of months, but I like the way Tom's newest cartoon shines the light on how conservatives can feign "victim" status in spite of being in control of EVERYTHING...

What I like even better than the cartoon is Tom's accompanying blog post:

This week's cartoon is about the current dichotomy of the Right--the inability to reconcile the fact that they are currently firmly in charge of everything with their incessant desire to whine about their victimization. The solution: whine about the oppression they face in lesser arenas, such as the academy. In other words, go after the college professors. Heard Hannity this afternoon, urging his younger listeners to tape their professors, and expose their liberal malfeasance for all to see, yadda yadda. They want us to become a nation of informers, or maybe more accurately, tattletales.

And if you've been watching O'Reilly lately, you know that the falafel man is "watching out for Christmas!" Because nobody else is, apparently. This is big on Fox and talk radio in general this year--this backlash against the perceived secularization of the holiday season. Christmas is in jeopardy! As if. As if religious faith is in any danger whatsoever in this nation. As if a politician could get elected dog catcher without professing his deep and abiding faith in a Supreme Being.

People think that the re-election of Bush makes my job easier for another four years, but honestly, I'm really sick of these sixth-grade-level debates.

UPDATE: Right here in Raleigh, conservative churches are trying to trump up the non-threat to Christmas. Don't waste your time trying to feed and clothe the homeless, guys!

"There is a revival taking place in our nation that is causing Christian and right-minded people to say, `Wait a minute. We've gone too far,'" says the Rev. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Raleigh church. "We're not going to allow the country to continue this downward spiral to the left."

Josh Marshall Writes The Handbook For Defending Social Security

Every Democrat (and sane Republican) in Congress and across America should read this piece from Talking Points Memo.

Josh makes the case against the Bush administration's plans for the privatization and eventual elimination of Social Security more succinctly than I've ever read.

Here's my favorite part of his argument:

Republicans want to make this an argument about people who believe in markets and people who don't. That's not true. But Democrats can make it seem true by framing too much of the debate on 'risky scheme' lines. Letting the argument be framed that way is a losing proposition because most Americans instinctly believe in markets and largely for good reason.

The issue here isn't markets. Most Democrats favor plans that would make it easier for middle- and lower-income families to save and invest money for retirement. That would make the overall retirement picture much better.

The issue is balance and commonsense. A breadwinner with dependents who gets a lump sum salary at the beginning of the year and invests it all in a few hot start-ups doesn't believe in the market; he or she is just a fool. A wise investment portfolio is balanced between riskier and more conservative investments. The best way to make this argument (and the most valid one) is to make it clear that Democrats want people to be able to invest. That really is the path to wealth. But Social Security is different. It is, among other things, a baseline of guaranteed retirement security and income for everyone. You get it whether you retire in boom times or bust times, whether life has dealt you good cards or bad cards. The two things are simply different.

Army Gives Officer Bronze Star...And Six Months In Jail...

Thanks to Rob for bringing this story to my attention. It's a story I'd heard about, but only in passing.

Much has been made about troops in Iraq trying to do their best given the Bush administration's short-sighted post-war planning and a lack of supplies needed to safeguard themselves.

Now comes this story of Chief Warrant Officer Darrell E. Birt, a soldier who tried to do just that: protect himself and the rest of his unit...

"The supply system was broke," Birt said. "From the time we left Kuwait until the time we got into Iraq, it took two months to get the computer codes loaded for supply. So for two months, we couldn't get new supplies."

Short of vehicles and spare parts critical to his unit's ability to haul fuel to infantrymen and helicopter pilots, Birt said he and other high-ranking soldiers agreed to procure the needed equipment improperly.

They took tractor-trailers that belonged to other units, and they scavenged repair parts off abandoned vehicles.

Birt's Bronze Star citation commends the officer for demonstrating "initiative and courage" during the first four months of the war. His actions, according to the citation, "proved vital to successful combat operations in Iraq."

But the medal was authorized before a sergeant in Birt's unit reported the thefts, initiating an investigation that ended with the Army filing criminal charges against Birt and five others, including his company commander, Maj. Catherine Kaus.

Birt's description of the situation as it came together makes his possible incarceration seem absolutely ludicrous:

The 656th was eager to proceed, Birt said, but supply problems were immediately evident: For starters, he said, the unit was missing eight ring mounts needed to attach machine guns and grenade launchers to 10 of its 70 vehicles.

Then, just days before they were to make the "jump" into Iraq, higher-ups told the soldiers they would have to go without most of their tools, spare parts, machine guns, chemical protective gear, night-vision goggles, tents, computers and personal belongings.

The reason: None of the vehicles belonging to the unit were capable of towing shipping containers that held their gear.

"So you have a dilemma," Birt said, during a recent visit with his parents and in-laws in Hempfield Township.

"You have to make a choice," he said. "You either go forward without your stuff and not be able to support yourself, or you refuse to go until you get support. The third is to find something to move your stuff."

Birt is seeking clemency. He truly deserves it...

If his clemency request is granted, Birt said, his career still will be over, but his retirement benefits will be reinstated.

If not, he said, "They won't bury me. I won't get a flag. I won't get VA benefits."
But the veterans benefits, Janet Birt said, aren't her husband's greatest loss.

"It's a shame, all the years he was in the service," she said. "That's the worst part. He gave up his life for the service."

UPDATE: Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) is doing the right thing by supporting Birt and Kaus's appeals for clemency. Drop him a line to let him know you appreciate his effort.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Advice On Buying Good Poker Chips?

I know that the good chips are made of clay, but in looking on eBay, there's about 300 sets to choose from.

Also consider this a solicitation for indications of interest in getting a regular game together here in Raleigh.

P.S. I'm not a rich man, so please don't tell me I need to plunk down $400 on a good set of chips!

70-Year-Old Army Colonel Sent To Afghanistan...

No, this isn't from The Onion, but it certainly does make this cartoon seem more realistic...

Dr. John Caulfield thought it had to be a mistake when the Army asked him to return to active duty. After all, he's 70 years old and had already retired - twice. He left the Army in 1980 and private practice two years ago.

"My first reaction was disbelief," Caulfield said. "It never occurred to me that they would call a 70-year-old."

In fact, he was so sure it was an error that he ignored the postcards and telephone messages asking if he would be willing to volunteer for active duty to "backfill" somewhere on the East Coast, Europe or Hawaii. That would be OK, he thought. It would release active duty oral surgeons from those areas to go to combat zones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But then the orders came for him to go to Afghanistan.

Monday, December 13, 2004
Monday Morning Music Quiz

The usual rules apply: Give me the original artist or band that performed the following songs.

No Google allowed!!!

70's And 80's

1. "I Don't Like Mondays"
2. "Alone Again (Naturally)"
3. "Carefree Highway"
4. "Caught Up In You"
5. "How Soon Is Now?"
6. "No One Is To Blame"
7. "The Night Chicago Died"
8. "Jeopardy"
9. "No More Words"
10. "Heat Of The Moment"

P.S. Sideways snagged 7 Golden Globe nominations. What did I tell you people?

Friday, December 10, 2004
School In Cary, North Carolina Attempting To Whitewash Slavery...

This is unbelievable. Little did I know that a mere one town over from me, a private school is trying to turn slavery into a good thing.

One of the largest Christian schools in this area, Cary Christian School, is distributing information that attempts to downplay the horrors of American slavery.

Let's look at a few of my favorite passages:

* "As we have already mentioned, the 'peculiar institution' of slavery was not perfect or sinless, but the reality was a far cry from the horrific descriptions given to us in modern histories." (page 22)

* "Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence." (page 24)

* "There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world." (page 24)

* "Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care." (page 25)

* "But many Southern blacks supported the South because of long established bonds of affection and trust that had been forged over generations with their white masters and friends." (page 27)

* "Nearly every slave in the South enjoyed a higher standard of living than the poor whites of the South -- and had a much easier existence." (page 30)

UPDATE: Here's a little background on the creators of the booklet being used at Cary Christian School...

The booklet's other author, Steve Wilkins, is a member of the board of directors of the Alabama-based League of the South. That is classified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights group.

"Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins have essentially constructed the ruling theology of the neo-Confederate movement," said Mark Potok, editor of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report.

Potok said people who argue that the South should secede again have latched onto the writings of Wilson and Wilkins, which portray the Confederacy as the last true Christian civilization.

Thursday, December 9, 2004
A Matter Of Physics, Indeed...

Just a day after Donald Rumsfeld told a gathering of US troops that getting more armor to them was "a matter of physics, not a matter of money'' and that the Pentagon's sole contractor was working at full capacity to provide them with armored vehicles, we come to find out that he was wrong, wrong, wrong...

Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the company's aerospace and defense group said in a telephone interview today.

"We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month,'' Mecredy said in the interview. "I've told the customer that and I stand ready to do that.''

So Rummy knew Armor Holdings was not working at full capacity, but told our troops that they were doing all they could.

That's officially a LIE...

Then there's this. Operation Truth writer, Headhunter7, brings up a point I haven't heard anywhere else regarding the lack of armored vehicles in Iraq:

Rumsfeld gave a BS answer about it taking time to produce enough uparmored HMMWVs and said it wasn't a money issue, but a "matter of production". And yet, only a single company has been contracted to produce modification kits for the HMMWVs.

I'm no expert in defense contracting, but I'm guessing there is, at the very minimum, ONE other company that would love a government contract to help provide our soldiers with the necessary armor.

Just a hunch...

All-Time Top 5 Favorite Movies?

After a depressing morning, I need to do something light...

I'll go first...

1. Swingers
2. Rounders
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. About A Boy
5. The Color of Money

Let's hear 'em, but be forewarned: If you say "Steel Magnolias", "Fried Green Tomatoes", or "Shag: The Movie" be prepared to defend yourself...

"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott Killed In Nightclub Attack...

This really caught me off guard. Dimebag was the incredibly talented guitarist from the metal band, Pantera and now Damageplan...

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- A gunman stormed the stage during a heavy metal concert in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday night, firing at the band and audience and killing four people before a police officer shot and killed him, according to police.

One of the dead was guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. The gunman also wounded two people.
The man was "targeting members in the band," Columbus police Sgt. Brent Mull said.

Before the gunman was shot, police said, he grabbed a hostage and fired into the crowd. It was not clear what happened to the hostage.

The attack came shortly after the band, Damageplan, began its performance at the Alrosa Villa nightclub on Columbus' north end.

Bill O'Reilly Tells Jewish Caller "You Gotta Go To Israel"...ADL Is Pissed...

A few days ago on his radio show, Bill "I Like Your Big Boobs" O'Reilly had this to say to a Jewish caller:

"You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don't wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] -- if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then."

Rightfully so, the Anti-Defamation League is pissed...

We were deeply offended, as were many of your listeners who have contacted us, at your remark to a Jewish caller on the December 3 Radio Factor that, "if you are really offended" about attempts to convert Jews to Christianity, then "you gotta go to Israel then."

American Jews are Americans. Jews and other religious minorities are part of America's great tradition of religious freedom. The discomfort with proselytizing, or the intrusion of Christian teachings in public schools, is a very legitimate concern.

More dangerously, your remark plays into one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards about Jews, that they are not full citizens of a country and are not entitled to all of the rights afforded to the majority. The notion that religious minorities have no place in a Christian America and should leave may be acceptable for extremists, but it is unacceptable coming from a popular and respected media commentator.

Bill O'Reilly: Morton Downey, Jr. with a better time slot...virtuoso with a lufa...admirer of boobies...insensitive prick...

Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Rummy To Concerned Soldiers: Tough Shit...

Donald Rumsfeld met with some of our soldiers in Kuwait yesterday.

The troops got to air their grievances to Rummy. In turn, he tried to minimalize their concerns...

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson said after asking again.

"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said.

Supporting our troops the Rummy way: With condescension, sick humor, and a complete lack of humanity...

US Firms Cut 100,000+ Jobs For The 3rd Straight Month...

The Bush economy keeps doing it's thing...

US employers announced plans in November to step up job cuts, with the total exceeding 100,000 for the third month in a row, an industry survey showed.

Employers posted 104,530 cuts in November, up 2.6 percent from the previous month, according to a survey sponsored by international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

Government workers were hardest hit, with 21,971 cuts, followed by telecommunications workers, with 21,158 job losses.

"Not only are more companies announcing job cuts, there are more jobs being eliminated in each announcement," said the outplacement firm's chief executive, John Challenger.

Quick Jeff, say something about Economics 101 or that these people didn't deserve jobs, anyway...

Tuesday, December 7, 2004
Christian Group To GOP Sen. George Allen: "Ditch The Homos"

Another attempt from self-anointed moral values crusaders to purge all the homosexuals from their beloved GOP:

...A pro-family activist from Virginia says voters who put Republicans in office should demand that politicians not employ key personnel who don't hold the conservative views that the party promotes. That activist says the Capitol Hill office of Virginia Senator George Allen is a good example. Senator Allen is head of the Republican Senatorial Committee and was a key figure in the GOP's big victories in November.

"If someone is going to run the day-to-day operations for the Republican apparatus to elect U.S. senators across the country, then dog-gone-it, it better not be somebody who practices a lifestyle that is diametrically opposed to the evangelical Christian base that delivered George W. Bush and the Republicans in the Senate the victory they saw in November," he says.

Dog-gone-it, 2006 can't come soon enough...

Pastor Who Touted Bush's "Values" Had An Affair With A 17-Year-Old

(via Atrios)

October 6, 2004:

Bush introduced Mike and Sharla Hintz, a couple from Clive, whom he said benefited from his tax plan.

Last year, because of the enhanced the child tax credit, they received an extra $1,600 in their tax refund, Bush said. With other tax cuts in the bill, they saved $2,800 on their income taxes.

They used the money to buy a wood-burning stove to more efficiently heat their home, made some home improvements and went on a vacation to Minnesota, the president said.

"Next year, maybe they'll want to come to Texas," Bush quipped.

Mike Hintz, a First Assembly of God youth pastor, said the tax cuts also gave him additional money to use for health care.

He said he supports Bush's values.

"The American people are starting to see what kind of leader President Bush is. People know where he stands," he said.

"Where we are in this world, with not just the war on terror, but with the war with our culture that's going on, I think we need a man that is going to be in the White House like President Bush, that's going to stand by what he believes.


A Des Moines youth pastor is charged with the sexual exploitation of a child.

KCCI learned that the married father of four recently turned himself in to Johnston police.

Rev. Mike Hintz was fired from the First Assembly of God Church, located at 2725 Merle Hay Road, on Oct. 30. Hintz was the youth pastor there for three years.

Police said he started an affair with a 17-year-old in the church youth group this spring.

Family values: GOP-style!

UPDATE: Here's a pic of Bush with his morality-loving pal...

North Carolina Is The Center Of The College Basketball Universe...

Don't believe me? Check out the latest ESPN/USA Today Rankings Top 10:

1. Illinois
2. Kansas
3. Georgia Tech
4. Syracuse
5. Oklahoma State
6. Connecticut
7. Wake Forest
8. North Carolina
9. Duke
10. N.C. State

I know it's still early, but half of the top 10 is from the ACC, and 4 of those teams come from right here in North Cacalackey. That's fairly impressive...

Check out Yoni's blog for more college hoops talk...

Monday, December 6, 2004
Before You Do Anything Else, Go See Sideways...

I simply cannot begin to say enough good things about this movie. It's just not possible.

It stars my new favorite actor, Paul Giamatti (who was first brilliant as "Pig Vomit" in Howard Stern's Private Parts, and awesome last year in American Splendor) as a writer/wine snob who's hit a spell of seriously bad luck and is basically hanging on to the bottom rung of the ladder. Giamatti is perfect in this kind of role...

Those of you who like the TV show Wings will be happy to know that the guy who played Lowell the mechanic is excellent in Sideways as well. Virginia Madsen is also great in the flick. She's always been a pretty underrated babe. Don't believe me? Check out The Hot Spot, a Skinemax classic...

Sideways is basically a story about two buddies heading to the California wine country for one last week of fun before one of them gets married. It is so freaking funny, you've just got to see this thing...

The movie could've been pitched as the following:

Swingers about 15 years later and 200 miles farther north with wine instead of martinis...

A simplistic description to be sure, but anyone who knows me knows I would never toss around Swingers comparisons without reeeeeeeeeeeally meaning it...

Sideways is playing at the Rialto here in Raleigh. It's in limited release elsewhere...

Dr. Bill Frist (R-TN) Thinks HIV/AIDS Can Be Transmitted Through Sweat Or Tears...

As Liberal Oasis points out, Dr. Frist made a strong case that his medical license should be revoked.

Here are just two of the principles listed in the Code of Medical Ethics:

2. A physician shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and strive to report physicians deficient in character or competence, or engaging in fraud or deception, to appropriate entities.

5. A physician shall continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge, maintain a commitment to medical education, make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public, obtain consultation, and use the talents of other health professionals when indicated.

Now, watch as Senator Frist violates them both on ABC's "This Week":

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...Let me just clear this up though, do you or do you not believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

FRIST: It would be very hard...for tears and sweat to -- I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat. But in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard.

The Center For Disease Control has another take:

HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some AIDS patients.

It is important to understand that finding a small amount of HIV in a body fluid does not necessarily mean that HIV can be transmitted by that body fluid.

HIV has not been recovered from the sweat of HIV-infected persons.

Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.

This is just one example of how Senator Frist violated the Code of Medical Ethics yesterday. Be sure to check out the rest...

Friday, December 3, 2004
John Kerry Honors A Fallen Hero...

Something our current Commander-in-Chief still hasn't made a priority...

Former U.S. presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), lays flowers on the casket of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Dimitrios Gavriel during his military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC, December 2, 2004. Gavriel, from Haverhill, Massachusetts, died November 19 while fighting in Al Anbar Province in Iraq and his funeral is the 99th 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

Rest in peace...

Let's Hear Your All-Time Top 5 Desert Island CD's...

I've been wanting to go High Fidelity on my (tiny) readership for some time, so here we go...

I decided against allowing "Greatest Hits" and compilation CD's even though they make up approximately 90% of my CD collection at the moment.

I'll go first...

Van Halen, Van Halen
Boston, Boston
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Van Halen
Hotel California, Eagles
Images and Words, Dream Theater

My Random Thought For The Day: Has there ever been a woman with a better body and an uglier face than Mimi Rogers?

Thursday, December 2, 2004
Ann "The Man" Coulter Makes An Awesome Point About Canada...

From a recent appearance on Hannity & Colmes:

...Canada has become trouble recently. It's -- I suppose it's always, I might add, the worst Americans who end up going there.

I found the proof of Mr. Coulter's statement. Click here to see it...

Pearls of wisdom from a conservative dude that thinks women aren't that bright and shouldn't be able to vote.

All-Cereal Restaurant Opens In Philadelphia...

Utter brilliance. Where the hell was this when I was in college?

From Cereality's website:

Cereality® is more than a place to get cereal. It's a new way of thinking about cereal. A new choice in fast food. And an idea whose time has come. In fact Cereality is so unique, we have a patent pending.

At Cereality, customers choose from their favorite brands and toppings. Pajama-clad Cereologists™ fill the orders. And customers choose and add their own milk, just the way they like it.

American ingenuity in it's purest state. Anyone wanna go in on a franchise with me?

Bush Education Policy: Keep Our Kids Stupid...

(via AmericaBlog)

The Bushies make no bones about not liking intelligence. They pretend to give two shits about educating America's kids, but if those kids learn too much, they'll eventually be labeled "intellectual elitists" by many conservatives.

Case in point: Bush's devotion to "abstinence-only" sex education. Check out the misconceptions (no pun intended) held by participants in abstinence-only programs:

Gotta keep 'em stupid so they won't realize we're screwing them! (Again, no pun intended)

Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Today Is World AIDS Day...

It's a disease that you don't hear that much about anymore, but it's still as dangerous as ever...

Take a look. Learn a little. Spread the word...

Striking Pennsylvania Turnpike Workers Return To Work...

I don't have the full details of the settlement yet, but I hope this is a sign that a reasonable outcome has been reached and that the union's requests have been honored...

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced plans Wednesday morning to resume normal toll collections after a tentative agreement was reached to end a strike that lasted almost a week.

The toll collectors and other employees returned to work shortly after the agreement was reached around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Turnpike Commission announced early Wednesday morning that normal tolls would be phased in. Tolls on extensions in southwestern Pennsylvania, which had been waived during the strike, would be collected as usual starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, officials said. Turnpike officials said tickets will be issued again to drivers entering the main portion of the turnpike starting at 9 p.m. Wednesday. For the following eight hours, there will be a grace period, in which drivers who entered before 9 p.m. will be allowed to pay the flat fee. By 5 a.m. Thursday, toll collections will be back to normal, officials said.

Terms of the agreement were to be released later Wednesday morning. It is still subject to ratification by the union members, and it was not immediately clear when the membership would vote.

Networks Won't Air Gay-Tolerant Church's Ad...

Welcome to Jerry Falwell's America, where churches that dare to preach tolerance of homosexuals get shunned and can't get their voices heard...

The United Church of Christ preaches a message of tolerance "regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation." They are planning a large ad campaign starting December 11th to get their message out.

One problem: Thanks to President Bush's support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, networks (CBS and NBC, specifically) are afraid to air the church's commercials...

Here's the explanation that CBS offered up:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

Check out the ad for yourself and tell me if this is "too controversial" for human consumption.


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