Thursday, March 29, 2007

Serving at the Pleasure of the President

If anyone is curious what the big deal is with the U.S. Attorney scandal in D.C., look no further than this explanation from Josh Marshall, without whom, this whole thing would never have gained any momentum.

Basically, Karl Rove has almost certainly corrupted the rule of law in this country to the point where our prosecutors function as tools to elect Republicans. Doubt the veracity of that claim? Check out this piece, from a long-time DOJ staffer. Or examine this study of local prosecutions, which shows that the Bush administration investigated non-federal Democratic office-holders and office-seekers at a rate seven times that of Republicans. Or check out this clip from a Congressional hearing, revealing the supposedly non-partisan General Services Administration as nothing more than another part of the Rove machine.

And just in case you were wondering, individual voter fraud is total bullshit -- just another way to depress turnout and keep Republicans in power. Is it 2009 yet?

The Mind of Mendacity

In honor of the return this weekend of "The Mind of Mencia" on Comedy Central, here's one of many examples of Carlos Mencia's (real name: Ned Holness) joke thievery. Then you can watch Joe Rogan (I know, I know -- why Joe Rogan?) confront him onstage at the Comedy Store.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What the Spock?

In the interest of fair and balanced postings of Star Trek star songsters (and their infant imitators), here's Leonard Nimoy's "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins." Honestly, there's nothing I can say here that would do this any justice.

Freedom 96

Almost-97-year-old traffic scofflaw Charlie Uzar left the county jail yesterday after two months. Mothers, hide your daughters.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wednesday Night Lights

By Arielle

More love for Friday Night Lights from Chicago Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan. With some interesting tidbits, like that they shoot every scene in a real location, and some of the characters (like the old lady in the jewelry store) are real Texas people who come up with their own lines.

This bit pretty well sums up what this show does so well:

Co-executive producer Jeffrey Reiner, who’s directed many of the show’s first-season episodes, talks about filming an early scene in which Tami was supposed to come in the Taylors’ living room and say she “can’t stop thinking about” Street’s injury, as her husband, the coach, sat watching game films.

“We tried it, then I gave the line to the coach,” Reiner says. “And it was better. But then I took the line out. I said [to Britton], ‘Come in, look at him watching TV, know what’s on his mind. Kyle, you look at her, tell her to come over, and just kiss her.’ And that’s what the scene was. [Executive producer] Pete Berg [who directed the film ‘Friday Night Lights’ and the TV show’s pilot] called me and said he loved that scene, because it was just a little moment of behavior.”

But then, since understatement seems to be unAmerican these days (I'm looking at you, Mr. Hummer driver), maybe they can make one episode with a bad talent show, an audience call-in and a stupid British judge, and use those ratings to get another season out of NBC.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trapped in the Drive-Thru

Trapped In The Drive-Thru

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Under most circumstances, you can't really parody a parody. Witness the moronic futility of the "Scary Movie" franchise. And there's hardly anything more unintentionally hilarious than R. Kelly's epic "Trapped in the Closet" saga. I mean, man. Whoa. Dude.

So you gotta give Weird Al extra credit for this one. The guy is a genius.

My Name Is Arielle, and I'm a Cubs Fan.

By Arielle

There's still a mess of ice and snow outside, but I can finally say that spring has arrived.

How do I know that? Because the Cubs' two "star" pitchers are injured again.


With all due respect to the Jets fans among us, y'all have nothing on us Cubs fans. You had your championship, and if you missed it, you've got time left in your life to see one. Chicagoans who have seen the Cubs win the World Series are becoming about as common as Civil War widows. A whole generation (or three) are going to die without ever seeing it happen.

Last year, with a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, the Cubbies just barely missed losing 100 games. The most memorable moment of the season was the catcher punching a White Sock at home plate. And Cubs fans throwing trash onto the field in disgust midway through the season.

But this year, you see, this year was going to be different. We've got Lou Piniella, Alfonso Soriano (albeit playing a position even he's not confident about), and only one year to go before the losing streak hits 100. Not to mention the need to avenge those evil Cardinals and their World Series. Surely there is some mercy in the universe, right? Hell, after the team spent $297 million in the off-season, we'd BETTER get something out of it.

Once again, I'm stuck between the cynical reality and my naive hopes, fed this year by a team that, were it not the Cubs, would probably be a lock.

A couple weeks ago, midway through hour three of my Friday night schlep to New Jersey, I started imagining what a Cubs World Series victory would look like. The players would all be jumping on each other in that typical celebratory scrum. And, I imagined, someone would pump through the speakers a recording of Harry Caray's voice yelling, "Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!"

Perhaps it was just the traffic on the Cross Bronx getting to my head, but the thought actually brought me to tears. Something about this dream of millions of people coming true, finally. This whole culture getting some vindication. Having the dashed hopes of my naive, 7-year-old self validated, finally.

It's probably a sickness, to have been through years of dashed hopes and near-misses and still thinking there's a chance the next year. We are world-class suckers. I don't know why someone doesn't start trying to pitch Glengarry leads to every season ticket holder.

I know that's not unique to Cubs fans, but it seems that every other longtime-loser has been having its day in the sun lately. The White Sox got it. The Red Sox. The Patriots. Peyton Manning.

Maybe all isn't lost. We've still got Carlos Zambrano. And Wood and Prior (dubbed "the Drysdale and Koufax of the disabled list" by one columnist) can't stay injured forever, even if Wood did begin his DL stint from a hot tub-related injury. There's a chance he'll be back in the bullpen this week.

I don't believe in god or fate or anything like that, but I do believe in too-good-to-be-true sports storylines. And that means I believe that next year, when the clock turns 100, the Cubs will win it all.

So I'm gonna say it a little early this year: Wait till next year.

And then go back to secretly hoping it will happen this year too.

Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Twogether

Stephanie Coontz spells out the history behind marriage that the religious zealots and bigots have forgotten (assuming they ever bothered to read up on it).

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Think It's Gonna Be a Long, Long Time

I was gonna write this whole big thing about the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War. Something about the total waste of it all, how it has made us all far less safe, how it has diverted our time and attention and military capability in the service of a fantasy. How our leaders have used it to strip civil rights at home, violating human rights and the rule of law in pursuit of goals that would be deluded and hubristic even if their pursuit weren't also dangerously incompetent.

But instead, I think I'll just post this clip of William Shatner performing his lounge-lizard, hep-cat version of "Rocket Man" at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards.

Rock. It. Man.


I don't know much about Fall Out Boy. But I know enough to know I hate everything about them.

Who does this guy think he is? Val Kilmer?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Science for Dummies

I'm a selfish person. I don't volunteer time or much money to charities. I don't like to recycle. I drive everywhere I go. I consume more than my share of material and energy, and I waste even more.

Basically, I'm like a lot of Americans.

Author Ayn Rand wrote about the virtues of selfishness — not self-interest at the expense of others, but merely a rational priority for one's own well-being. But while I'm not sure if Rand's philosophy is the best way to run a society, I'm completely perplexed by the current cynical, self-destructive debate over something in everyone's interest: The environment.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported last month that it was 90 percent certain human activity has contributed to the rise in global temperatures, the scorn spewing from so-called conservative talk radio was both expected and befuddling.

Hundreds of scientists from 113 countries predicted the likelihood of hotter days, longer heat waves, the depletion of the polar ice caps, the rise in sea level and more intense tropical storms. Next month the IPCC will present a report predicting that in a few decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water, tens of millions will be flooded out of their homes and tropical diseases and starvation will spread.

Partisan apparatchicks like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity mock these pronouncements as Chicken Little hysteria, choosing instead to parrot the denials of oil-company-sponsored scientists and the guy who wrote that book about dinosaurs coming back to terrorize people.

I'm not about to debate the science here. I suppose there's a chance that the most authoritative and independent body of scientists in the world have it all wrong. The Earth's temperature has always fluctuated. And even the IPCC admits there isn't likely much we can do to fix the problem any time soon. But does that mean we shouldn't try?

Those who attack environmentalists as tree-hugging hippies continue to tell complacent Americans what they want to hear. They show them the world as they already imagine it to be, singing poisonous lullabies while ignoring some perfectly convenient truths.

Pollution is bad. Doesn't it stand to reason that the industrial revolution and an exponential increase in world population might have some negative impact on the planet? You don't need to drive past too many refinery towers on the Turnpike to imagine how we've forever altered our world.

It might not make short-term business sense to curtail industry to stave off the pollution that contributes to global warming. It might be impossible to force India and China to limit their growing, voracious energy needs. But no economy can exist without healthy ecology. Everything we eat, the air we breathe, the trucks we fill and the televisions we watch — everything requires clean, thriving oceans, streams and forests.

Corporations live from quarter-to-quarter, worrying little about where they dump their chemical waste or how much they deplete shared resources. But only sustainable ecosystems can sustain an economy. Shouldn't this be a major tenet of true conservatism? Sure, some environmental groups take their agenda too far and give the whole endeavor a bad name. But does it make sense to stymie environmentalism for partisan or short-sighted business reasons?
A recent Fox News poll showed that 82 percent of people believe global warming exists, though a Gallup poll shows most people think the impact will be far in the future. Maybe a little hysteria can help motivate individuals and nations to act in their own interests.

There are plenty of potential disasters we face that defy almost any solution. If the buried super-volcano in Yosemite National Park erupts, it will end all life on the planet. So would a very common gamma ray burst that could send 1 million trillion times the energy of the sun directly toward us. And we will most certainly find ourselves in the path of a large asteroid or comet at some point. The Earth is already covered with the evidence of past, possibly extinction-level collisions.

But even if we can’t stop or slow global warming, we can take action to improve our odds -- and life across the globe.

I'll leave solutions to smarter people, though a cap on emissions and a carbon tax to stem oil consumption and spark clean fuel innovations could be a good start. If we can't stop global warming, we can certainly make our planet safer, cleaner and more efficient while ending our addiction to oil found in Middle Eastern countries that foment religious wars.

Selfish? That's the idea.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


A Borat DVD Extra spoof of Baywatch, which is only slightly funnier than the original show.

Also, according to an uncited Wikipedia entry, David Hasselhoff can't swim.

A Great Pair (Hanes and Jennifer Love Hewitt, that is)

Jennifer Love Hewitt New Hanes Underwear Ad 2007 - Celebrity bloopers here

By TPerl

Bra commercials? - Good. Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts? - Better.

Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts in a bra commerical? Well, not since peanut butter and chocolate came together have we seen such a perfect match.

I'm not sure why this didn't happen much, much sooner - like the moment Hanes first started their celebrity "Look who we've got our Hanes on now" campaign - remember Jim Palmer in tighty-white-ies, anyone???.

We've come a long way from the day when live women weren't even allowed in bra commercials - they could only use mannequins up until maybe 10 or 15 years ago.

And for those of you who think I'm the only one with an unhealthy fascination with Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts - How do you explain why Ghost Whisperer is still on the air?

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Dildo Diaries

I've been meaning to post this for weeks as a tribute to the great Molly Ivins. Better late than never.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

'Friday Night Lights' Shines Too Bright?

By TPerl

Great review of 'Friday Night Lights' here.

She summarizes the problem of trying to sell this show to our moronic masses:

"The show appears to be about football, potentially turning off plenty of possible viewers who aren't into sports. ...On top of that, the show actually focuses on far heavier and more complicated subject matter -- parenting, adultery, alcoholism, racism -- potentially turning off viewers who are into football."

The only thing that isn't dead on about this review is that the author called Smash a receiver instead of a running back - although she did admit that she isn't a football fan.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

All You Need is Loathe

Somehow I forgot to link to The Beast's list of the 50 Most Loathsome People in America. Far be it from me to miss an opportunity to mock Ann Coulter as a zombie-faced ostrich shitting out her books.