Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Musical Look at the News

Hope you enjoy this. Meanwhile, for personal reasons, I'll be taking a break from blogging for the rest of the year.

Turning Point

In an interview in Vanity Fair, several Bush aids are pointing at Hurricane Katrina as the turning point of the Bush administration (September of 2005). According to them, the American public lost faith in Bush during his botched response to the storm, and the President never regained the public's trust after that.

An interesting theory, but wrong. As I've said before, the big turning point actually came in the spring of 2005 during the Terry Schiavo case.

You may remember her as the woman in Florida who was in a vegetative state, and who's family became embroiled in a bitter battle over whether to disconnect her feeding tube. The then Republican Congress got involved and passed legislation seeking to keep her on the feeding tube. President Bush, in a dramatic gesture, hopped on Air Force One and flew from Texas to DC to sign the legislation. He did this even though he could just as well have signed the bill while at his ranch where he was vacationing at the time.

Americans in general were horrified by this exhibition of political opportunism. Many of us have had to deal with such decisions within our own families. It's an intensely personal and--yes--difficult choice to make. And while it was unfortunate that the Schiavo family could not arrive at a consensus on their own, the United States Congress and the President had absolutely no business getting involved.

It was during this tragic circus that most sensible Americans finally realized that the Republican party had gone too far in pandering to the lunatics of the religious right. It was also the moment that began the downfall of the Republican party and led to their eventual loss of both Congress and the White House.

Good Riddance

Monday, December 29, 2008

Can You Honestly Blame Him?

Winning Hearts and Minds....
And Certain Other Organs

With the U.S. hopelessly bogged down in Iraq for much of the last five years, the war in Afghanistan has been neglected. As a result, many of the gains against the Taliban made early on have been eroded.

However, it seems we may have finally discovered a winning strategy in winning back the country's citizens. And no, it has nothing to do with the deployment of more troops, or increased air power, or (sorry to disappoint Mr. Cheney) the use of "enhanced methods of interrogation."

Rather, it has to do with Viagra.

Yep, the CIA has found that bribing village elders--often shouldered with the responsibility of satisfying several wives--gladly surrender information on Taliban movements in exchange for those little blue pills.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Of Course, the Refund Will Take a While

Lights Out

A severe storm knocked out power on virtually the entire Hawaiian island of Oahu. Among those effected by the massive blackout was President-elect Barack Obama, who has a home on the island. He and his family were without power for 11 hours.

Police are investigating unconfirmed reports that John McCain was seen fleeing the area in a small boat.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

'Stand by Me'

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Speaking of Bailouts....

What the Hell?

Why is Santa in China? Are those people even Christian?

Speaking of Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire...

Aside from the immense waste of life, one of the most scandalous things about the Iraq war has been the profound waste of money. Of the tens of billions of dollars in aid provided by American taxpayers to rebuild the country, billions remain unaccounted for. For all we know, much of the money has simply ended up lining the pockets of corrupt Iraqi politicians.

So you would think that the Bush administration and Congress would have learned a thing or two about insuring that our money goes where it's intended to, and is otherwise properly tracked.

And if you seriously thought that, you would be a naive fool.

Of that $700 billion bailout package provided to financial institutions last month, billions are unaccounted for. Many of the recipient banks simply don't know where the funds went, or are outright refusing to say.

I have previously offered a novel solution for holding the people responsible for our current economic mess accountable: Cut off their nuts.

Perhaps it's time to expand that list of names.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Something to Be Proud of

Expert Advice

Monday, December 22, 2008

Is Irony a Sacrament?

A Vatican committee has come out with a controversial ethics guide intended to set rules for reproductive sciences. It condemns such things as stem cell research and the practice of discarding unused eggs after fertility treatments.

The irony of having a bunch of old men who have never had sex create such a document is apparently lost on the authors.

Anyway, Church officials also go on to list as unethical other such things as the artificial insemination of eggs, cloning research, gene therapy, and the genetic testing of embryos. They also condemn the use of "morning after" pills.

No word on whether these same Church officials plan to come out with an ethics guide to control the behavior of priests around altar boys.

When It Comes to Spying,
This Guy Is Worse Than Bush

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That...

It has been established that global warming is causing the extinction of more and more species. Wildlife experts, with fewer and fewer animals to study, are apparently finding themselves with a LOT more time on their hands.

Evidence of this disturbing rise in spare time among such experts can be found in a recent debate that has come to light: They are arguing over whether Santa's reindeer are male or female.

Alice Blue-McLendon, a veterinary medicine professor at Texas A & M University, argues that they are female. She bases this on the the fact that the reindeer are usually depicted with antlers as they launch into the skies on their annual journey. Male reindeer typically lose their antlers during the winter while females keep them year-round.

However, Greg Finstad of the University of Alaska Fairbanks says that the animals are actually castrated males. Such steers keep their antlers through the winter and only shed them in the spring.

This argument is, even at its best, stupid. The well known Rankin-Bass documentary that chronicles the early life and times of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer clearly establishes that he was fathered by Donner, one of Santa's eight reindeer. And Rudolph's mother? She was a stay at home mom who doted on her son with the oddly glowing snozz.

That said, the documentary did also raise disturbing questions about the nature of the relationship between Rudolph and his dentist.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Foot's on the Other Shoe Now

Friday, December 19, 2008

Modern Day Santa

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Evidence That We Were Lied to

Back in his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush said that Iraq had been trying to buy uranium from the African country of Niger. That statement has since been proven to be false, and the situation has devolved into a classic case of who knew what when.

In 2004, then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez told a Senate committee that the CIA had approved the inclusion of that assertion in Bush's speech. The CIA, on the other hand, said it never did any such thing. In fact, according to the CIA, it repeatedly tried to have that statement withdrawn from the speech because it had been found to be unproven.

Now a different congressional committee looking into the matter has concluded that Gonzalez deliberately misled the Senate in 2004. Even worse, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice may have also lied when she also said she was unaware about the CIA's doubts.

This is just more proof that when President Bush and his defenders blame the Iraq war on bad intelligence, it's just a flat out lie. They knew full well that their claims about Iraq's WMD's were false.

A mistake is one thing. If a bad decision is at least arrived at in good faith, it can almost be excused.

A deliberate, outright lie is quite a different matter. It can not, under any circumstance, be forgiven.... Especially when the lie leads to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

By Any Other Name....

He's Got Sole

The Arab world has a new hero: The guy who threw the shoe at President Bush a few days ago. In the middle east, throwing a shoe is considered a major insult, and Muntadar al-Zaidi's act of frustration has made him quite popular. Even in Iraq itself--the country that's supposed to be in love with us for getting rid of Saddam--crowds are demonstrating in the streets demanding that al-Zaidi be released from prison.

This leaves the U.S. backed government in quite a pickle. If they do release him, they risk insulting the Americans. On the other hand, if they leave them man in jail and ultimately put him on trial, they risk pissing off their own citizens. And given the current government's tenuous hold on power, that's something they can ill afford.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Star Trek Meets Monty Python

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Name That Tune

Today's Musical Interlude

Forget the Osmonds. Here come the Griffins!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, What a Tangled Web....

Scientists in Britain have discovered a spiderweb that is 140 million years old. If the age is confirmed by further study, it will be the world's oldest.

Obviously these clowns have never explored the corners of my living room ceiling.


A Reason to Wear Shoes That Are Too Big

As his presidency winds down, President Bush has made one last visit to Iraq as Commander-in-chief. While answering questions, Bush was the near-recipient of a traditional Iraqi gesture of gratitude when a reporter for Al-Baghdadia TV threw a shoe at him. When he missed with the first one, the reporter threw a second one. That one missed too.

Presumably this means the guy had extraordinarily small feet. Other reporters in the room began snickering, as Arab custom suggests that this usually indicates a small penis as well.

"This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq," shouted the man as he launched his errant footwear.

Bush, clearly moved by the outpouring of goodwill, wiped a tear from a cheek as expressed remorse for not having had the chance to create more widows and orphans in Iran.



Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama's now vacant Senate seat, continues to resist pressure to resign. Both the Illinois Attorney General and the state legislature are taking to steps to forcibly remove him from office. Meanwhile, Blagojevich continues to insist he did nothing wrong.

Why do politicians do this? Even after their hands are caught in the cookie jar (or, in the case of Republican Senators, their hands are caught in the pants of the guy in the adjacent bathroom stall), they will deny reality and continue to desperately cling to power even after there is absolutely no doubt of their guilt.

It's kind of the political equivalent of leading police on a low speed chase in a white Ford Bronco.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The World's Most Honest Love Song

This song left me weeping. Its honesty and tenderness capture the true spirit of love, and one can not help but be moved by it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

And His Favorite Book Is
' To Serve Man'

Politics as Usual

Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has been charged with corruption. He is accused of trying to set up sweetheart deals to benefit himself and other family members.

This is sad news. Shui-bian had been widely considered to be a top contender in the next election for governor of Illinois.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Frakkin' End Is Near

No, not of the world. Don't get your hopes up on that. Rather, it's the the end of Battlestar Galactica that's near. The final episodes will begin airing on January 16th.

In case you need a refresher course, here's a quick summary of what's happened so far:

The 2009's Are Out

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Robert Prosky
Dec. 13, 1930-Dec.8, 2008

Actor Robert Prosky has passed away. He was only five days away from his 78th birthday. Anyone who was a Hill Street Blues fan back in the 80s should know the name--he played Sgt. Stan Jablonski on the show's later seasons. He closed all his daily briefings with the phrase, "Let's do it to them before they do it to us." Twenty years later, those same words would unfortunately become the motto of the Bush administration.

Prosky did a number of other roles on both TV and in the movies. Aside from his film work, he was a near legend in the DC theater scene.

Here's a nice Appreciation for him from today's WaPo.

At Least Upper Management Is Still There

Too Bad He Didn't List It on eBay

In the waning days of the presidential campaign, desperate Republicans tried to portray Obama and the Demnocrats as "socialists." One has to wonder if the clowns making these allegations had the vaguest notion of just what socialism is, especially since it was their own Republican President who had just orchestrated a massive $700 billion bailout of several financial institutions.

In light of the socialism charges, it is all the more ironic that the Democratic governor of of Illinois has just been ensnared in a case of capitalism run amok.

First, a civics lesson: When one of the two U.S. Senate seats of a state become vacant before the conclusion of its six year term, it falls to the state's governor to appoint an interim Senator until a special election can be held. Such is the case with Obama's Senate seat in Illinois. Having won the presidential election, Obama resigned from his senate seat late last month. It thus fell to Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to appoint someone to fill the vacancy. While the appointment would have been temporary, any occupant of the seat would have a built-in advantage going into the special election.

So how did Blagojevich decide to fill the seat? Well, rather than do something predictable and boring, like looking through a list of qualified individuals and selecting someone on the basis of merit, he decided to solicit bids. Some members of the law enforcement community failed to fully appreciate this bold entrepreneurial process and instead decided to arrest Blagojevich on charges of conspiracy and bribery.

Well, I guess one man's capitalism is another man's felony corruption.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Why I Favor a Literal
Interpretation of the Bible

Avast ye Mateys

The pirate problem plaguing the waters off Somalia has gotten so bad that a German cruise ship is going to offload its passengers before sailing through the Gulf of Aden. The passengers will then be flown to Oman, where the (hopefully still intact) ship will pick them back up.

I'm guessing the in-flight movie won't be Pirates of the Caribbean.


Call it a hunch, but I think the Post will be getting a LOT of Letters to the Editor about this cartoon.

Monday, December 08, 2008

At Least He's Not Hitting on Them

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Well, Vulcans Are Known for
Their Problem Solving Skills

Friday, December 05, 2008

Here Birdy, Birdy, Birdy.....

Scientists have discovered the fossils of a previously unknown flying reptile that lived 115 million years ago. Called a pterosaur, it ruled the skies during the age of the dinosaurs. Well, at least the experts say the creature lived that long ago. But that's only because they base their conjectures on silly things like a careful examination of the evidence, and a thorough understanding of silly things like geology, paleontology, and a whole bunch of other ologies too numerous to mention.

On the other hand, if you're a Bible totin' creationist, it's obvious that the pterosaur lived only 6,000 years ago and Fred Flintstone kept one in a cage hanging in his living room.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Perfect Solution to Our Economic Woes


In an unprecedented move, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suspended his nation's Parliament in a bid to stay in power. Had it stayed in session, the Parliament was apparently set to deliver a no-confidence vote which would have forced Harper from power.

No word on whether President Bush plans to invade Canada to restore democracy.

Don't laugh. Like the Cylons, we have a plan.

Taking Responsibility

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Give Me Some of That Old Time Religion

Conservative Episcopalians, upset by the increasingly liberal leanings of the mother church, have now officially formed their own separate church. The Episcopalian church is the American branch of the Church of England. The Church of England, in turn, was created by King Henry VIII in the 17th century after the Pope refused to give him permission to divorce his first wife.

Presumably that means that this new conservative religious group is returning to the early teachings of the Church of England. That means easy divorces, and failing that, beheading your wife so you can marry your mistress.

Hmmm.... Now that sounds like my kind of church!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Ho, Ho, Ho

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Doing Our Civic Duty

Christmas, the Final Frontier

If you're a godless pagan such as I myself, this time of the year always presents special challenges. How do you share holiday wishes without compromising your own beliefs (or lack there of), while at the same time trying not to come across as some sort of Scrooge who's completely devoid of any moral standards and is into beastiality?

Well, here's the perfect solution: A series of non-denominational holiday cards featuring photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The images are free and designed to be downloaded. From there you can either use your own printer, or take the CD to a photo store for a professional look.

Now if you'll excuse me, my neighbor's goat looks kinda hot today.

Monday, December 01, 2008


In an interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, President Bush says that his biggest regret was the intelligence failure over Iraq. He went on to say that while it was unfortunate, there were a lot of people who agreed with the flawed intelligence.

What Bush conveniently forgot to mention, however, that there were also a lot of people in the intelligence communities of both America and Britain that doubted that same information. And rather than listening to them, the Bush administration chose to either ignore them or brand them as unpatriotic. Also, no word on whether Bush "regrets" trying to falsely connect Saddam to the 9/11 attacks.

But hey, that's okay. It's not like any of that caused the deaths of almost 5,000 American service members, the lifelong maimings of thousands more, the deaths tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the destabilization of the entire Middle East, the rise of Iran, and the waste of over a trillion dollars (and counting).

Yeah, it's probably all just a coincidence.

Definition of a Lame Duck