December 31, 2005

I... I will begin again.

Ah New Years. A holiday that you can enjoy without taking sides in the culture wars. You can drink as much as you like (or not) and it say nothing about you politically at all.

Looks like we might be spending the New Year gathering up two of every animal. Party now, for in the morning we may all be under water.

In case you need an excuss to drink right now, remember its becoming 2006 somewere in the world right now. You can check times here. Shanghai and Singapore just went over, and Jakarta and Bangkok are up next. One World. One People. One Party. Many reasons to drink.

December 30, 2005


At the heart of every good story there is an act of profound stupidity. You really have to earn a good story. Sometimes the dumb act is just leaving your house that day. Sometimes you have to try harder. This kid has a hell of a story, and he really earned it. Farris Hassan, 16, whose parents are from Iraq but who was born and raised Stateside, went all the way to Baghdad to write an essay on Iraq for a class. This kid will actually make a great reporter some day. Great reporters, who we rely on to know what goes on in places like Iraq, are a perfect combination of smart and dumb. Smart enough to write well, dumb enough to go to places like Iraq. So this kid was smart enough to get to Baghdad with some milk money and no Arabic, but dumb enough to try it. Perfect.

December 29, 2005

Slow Day

This is perhaps the slowest news day in the middle of the slowest news week of the year. Everbody is home with their families instead of out in the world, committing news. I would do a follow-up to the Anna Nichole Smith story, but really, I don't have anything to add. Speaking of home for the holidays, I'm guessing that family dinner is a little difficult for this family. This is why eveyone is doing year in review and top ten movie lists. Nothing new to talk about.

December 28, 2005

Poison Fruit

Doesn't Bush watch Law and Order? Don't you know how many headache it causes for the DA's in the second half of the show when the cops in the first half don't follow the Constitution? Via TAPPED we see that because the case against terrorist suspects involved illegal, extra-constitutional wiretaps, those cases are now in legal jeopardy. And the more rules get broken, the harder it is to make leagal terrorism cases, thus leading to more broken rules:

The reason is that the illegality of the unlawful operations winds up poisoning the operations of the normal legal process, as we're seeing today, rendering it increasingly ineffective and forcing more and more things to be pushed into the "off the books" illegal side of our policy. You can't, in the long-term, suspend due process and normal legal procedures "just a little." Once you reach a critical mass of outside-the-law activities, their scope will keep on expanding unless you reach a point where you're prepared to disavow them entirely.

The whole justice system is, at its core, about following the rules. Everybody following the rules. Tempting as it is to go outside the law, particually when the the bad guys are so bad, it always bites us in the ass. If the government starts breaking the rules, the whole system is in jeopardy. Which will in the end make us all less safe.

December 27, 2005

Bush: Pro-Bimbo

The story was good enough already, but it just got better. The Bush administration will be aiding the case of Anna Nicole Smith, she of the really big, um, hair, in her fight to inherit millions of dollars of her late, great 89 year old oil tycoon husband. The case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The issue at hand is not was the marriage a farce (Yes!) or is the whiny son of the tycoon more deserving (Um, No!) but rather a serious issue. The issue is can a Federal court rule on a will drawn up under State law and the implications for the division of ...zzz.

OK, the issues of the case are kind of dull, unless you are a lawyer groupie. But Anna Nicole Smith is going before the Supreme Court with Bush's lawyers at her side. Priceless.


Hey did you know that using Xmas as an abbreviation for Christmas is actually an old Christian usage? They used the Greek letter "Chi" which looks like an "X" as a symbol for Christ. And I though I was always being edgy and hip by using Xmas on blog posts and cards and stuff. I got this fun fact from New Donkey, you can read all about it here.

So did everybody get what they wanted for Xmas? Everybody eat too much? Who else has to work this week? And by work, I just mean "show up" I don't mean actually "work"

December 24, 2005

Tracking Santa

NORAD, whose day job is to make sure the Soviet Union isn't firing missles at us, is doing something useful for a change. They are tracking Santa's movements around the globe. Something like 457 billion dollars went into creating this system, so it's good to get some use out of it.

December 23, 2005


...The Day before the day before Christmas and Craig still had shopping to do. But if you're in need of some political stuff check out this Howard Fineman item. It does a good job laying out what's coming next. Alito, the wiretaps, Presidential power, and the GOP's future, it's all going to come together. The 2006 elections are now a fight to the death. The moment the Donkeys get control of a branch of Congress they get the power to start a real investigation of Presidential activity. A Bush Presidency with an aggressive Congressional investigation active against it is a Presidency that is over. Does anybody believe that these guys could hold up under a real investigation?

December 22, 2005


Have you seen this penguin?

Answers to the name Toga, stolen from a British zoo five days ago. Does not, in fact, make a good pet, you dumbass, so give it back right now.

Please for the sake of the parents:

As you can see, they are clearly heartbroken. So do the right thing.

December 21, 2005

Balance of Power

Dick Cheney got a chance to do the only thing the Constitution needs him do, besides ask how the President is feeling today:

The Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to cut federal deficits by $39.7 billion on Wednesday by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote.

The measure, the product of a year's labors by the White House and the GOP in Congress, imposes the first restraints in nearly a decade in federal benefit programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and student loans.

That's right, the Vice-President gets to break ties in the Senate. Your fun fact for the day. This happens every few years. Gives Cheney a break from manipulating things fron behind the scenes. Of course, I'm pretty sure that this act of VP power is going to screw me on a personal level. We will have to see if "restraints" in the student loan program are going to lead to "restraints" in Craig's beer buget.

December 20, 2005

Modern Life

So on my way home from work, I stop at the gas station. The credit/debit system is down so everyone has to pay cash at the counter instead of just running your card at the pump. There is this big line at the counter. Everyone with a vaguely ticked look on their face. Now I'm sure that some time in the past we all paid for gas with cash and we all had to stand in line to do that. But I don't remember that time. Do you?

While we are doing random life stuff, has anybody seen a tip jar filled with water before? Was at a pizza place downtown and when my buddy tried to leave a buck he had a start when he dunked his hand in water. The counter-girl, a pretty little thing, all tats and dreads, said it was to keep people from swiping her tips. Has anybody seen that before? It must make cashing out at the end of the night a real production.


A judge has thrown out intelligent design in biology class in a Pennsylvania public school district, ruling that intelligent design is just creationism with a few trimmings. This combines nicely with the fact that all the pro-ID school board members got bounced in elections in November.

In case you're wondering the overall score in the battle of Science verse Faith is Science 13,045, Faith 33,456. Science has been scoring a lot of points as of late, but Faith racked up a big lead early in the game before science was invented. Stay tuned.

Regime Change Jeopardy

Special Insomnia Version - Thank you for playing Regime Change Jeopardy. You've spent billions of dollars and thousands of lives, not to mention jeopardized your country's reputation and standing in the world. Jeff tell him what you've won!

A Pro-Iranian Shiite Theocracy! That's right, an alliance of religious Shiite parties with close ties to Iran are winning the just-held Iraqi elections. So the big winner in all this is Iran. You know Iran, they are the county that just banned western music and is working to get nukes.

Not that WMD really worries this administration too much cause it seems we just let a good part of the brains behind the Iraq WMD program out of jail:

Meanwhile, an Iraqi lawyer said at least 24 top former officials in Saddam Hussein's regime were freed from jail without charges. They included biological and chemical weapons experts known as "Dr. Germ" and "Mrs. Anthrax."

Of course this all could be a big mix-up. With those names they could have just a pair of cartoon villains that were in the county at the wrong time. I mean if you go running around with the name "Mrs. Anthrax" you are pretty much going to stay in trouble all the time.

December 19, 2005

Stop Sleazy Sloganeering

More sucky sloganeering from the Prez:

"It has been effective in disrupting the enemy while safeguarding our civil liberties."

He's talking about giving the NSA the power to do wire-taps on US citizens without a warrant. Now the the first point is debatable. Even if such wire-taps did disrupt the enemy it would probably be classified. And if such wire-taps were completely useless it would certainly be classified. So really we have no way of knowing the effectiveness of the program. Other than the word of the President, but that's not worth as much as it used to be worth.

The second part of the slogan is just wrong. Flat out wrong. This program has removed a fundamental right from Americans. To wire-tap a US citizen, you need a warrant from a judge. That's a pretty basic right. And now it's gone by Presidential decree. No law was passed, no court has ruled. The President just got up one morning, yawned, signed something without reading it and presto! A large hole just got carved out of the US justice system. Now you can say the threat we face is so evil we have to dump our rights only to save ourselves. But don't pretend that everything is A-OK as you start to put Amendments to Constitution into the shredder.

December 18, 2005

All Hail!

Bono named Time's Person of the Year. Along with some guy with a computer company who gave away alot of money with his wife. But the important thing is that Bono is Time's person of the year. I am now going to start a movement to have Bono elected President of the World.

Oh Man

John Spencer has died. He played Leo McGarry, the heart and soul of the West Wing. I really can't imagine the show without him.

G0 SEE Syriana

Syriana is a great, intriguing film. Its about politics and business, lawyers and money and CIA agents and intrigue, but really its about oil. Just like there are a million reason given as to why we are in Iraq, but really its about oil. The movie is operating on about five different levels. Kind of like real life.

This is a complex movie, complex like Middle East politics is complex, I'm tempted to try and outline the plot here, but one, its two complicated and I don't have all day and two, I don't want to spoil anything. But pay attention when you go see this. Drink coffee before hand. But not enough to have to go to the bathroom half way through. This is the kind of movie that you need to own on DVD because repeat viewing are vital just to understand everything that is going on.

So to sum up: Oil, Coffee, Syriana, Go See.

December 16, 2005


Civil rights on today's agenda. First, the renewal of the Patriot Act has been blocked in the Senate today. Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who was the only guy to vote against the act in the days after 9/11, made like the Henry Fonda character in 12 Angry Men and got 46 senators on board, which seems like enough to block the bill with a filibuster. Feingold was greatly helped in his efforts by revelations that Bush had the National Security Agency eavesdropping without warrants on people inside the United States. The Patriot was a bill, passed with the two towers still burning, that granted all kinds of new powers to the Feds. These Feds have done all they can to convince me that they shouldn't be trusted with any more power.

The important thing to know is that for all the talk of US soldiers "defending freedom" against the terrorists, terrorists will never take our freedom. Only we can do that. Unlike say Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, Osama will never be a threat to take over our government or conquer our nation. All he and his kind can do is set off a bomb. The loss of freedom, the loss of rights comes from our own fears. Terrorists are only a threat to our lives. It is our own government that is a threat to our freedom.

December 15, 2005


The GOP Congress has gotten involved in the "War On Christmas." Some fake law to protect Christmas from a fake attack. John Dingle a crusty old (Elected to the House 50 years!) Dem from Michigan has come up with the best reply ever:

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House

No bills were passed ‘bout which Fox News could grouse;

Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,

So vacations in St. Barts soon would be near;

Katrina kids were nestled all snug in motel beds,

While visions of school and home danced in their heads;

In Iraq our soldiers needed supplies and a plan,

Plus nuclear weapons were being built in Iran;

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell;

Americans feared we were on a fast track to…well…

Wait--- we need a distraction--- something divisive and wily;

A fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly

We can pretend that Christmas is under attack

Hold a vote to save it--- then pat ourselves on the back;

Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger

Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger!

This time of year we see Christmas every where we go,

From churches, to homes, to schools, and yes…even Costco;

What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy,

When this is the season to unite us with joy

At Christmas time we’re taught to unite,

We don’t need a made-up reason to fight

So on O’Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter, and those right wing blogs;

You should just sit back, relax…have a few egg nogs!

‘Tis the holiday season: enjoy it a pinch

With all our real problems, do we honestly need another Grinch?

So to my friends and my colleagues I say with delight,

A merry Christmas to all,

and to Bill O’Reilly…Happy Holidays

All hail, John Dingell!

Last Hu-Ra

Election day in Iraq today. This is the last "Yee-Ha" moment that the Bush administration is going to be able to produce in Iraq. The last "milestone." The last "victory." The Saddam trial will drag on for years, decades even. There is a long list of crimes and eveyone will want a shot. The next election will not take place for four years. This is America's chance to declare victory and get out. Otherwise, we will be back to daily car bombs and 2.35 soldiers killed each day and that will go on forever...

December 14, 2005


Bush speech today:

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," Bush said during his fourth and final speech before Thursday's vote for Iraq's parliament. "As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."

"My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision," the president said. "Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power."

This is just crazy talk. Bush says that the intelligence was wrong. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Yet Bush still maintains that Iraq was a threat and we are better off with the war. But there was no threat. WMD was the threat. Without WMD Saddam didn't have the power to threaten anybody. Bush can't say that the intelligence was wrong and that the war was right. It just doesn't work. If I think about this any more my head is going to explode.

December 13, 2005

Porno Tax

Ah the Italian political system, the gift that keeps on giving. The same Country that brought you the porn star serving as an MP now brings you this:

Italy's cash-strapped government has decided to hike taxes on one of the country's few vibrant industries, pornography, to help rein in the burgeoning budget deficit, government sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The "porno-tax", which imposes an additional levy of 25 percent on all income from pornography, is contained in a package of amendments to the 2006 budget to presented in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday or Wednesday, the sources said.

Now, will this tax result in an overall decrease in porn consumption? Or is demand for porn inflexible, thus resulting in increased tax revenue? Why is porn the only vibrant Italian industry? Why not food, suites or sports cars? How is porn defined? Why am I asking serious policy questions about a story I linked to just to amuse and titillate?

Make War on War

All you media savvy Craigorian Chant readers have surely noticed the made-up controversy about X-Mas that has be rolling through the air as of late. Basically Foxnews and their fellow travelers have taken the fact that some stores now say "Happy Holidays" and not "Merry Christmas" adds up to some kind of WAR ON CHRISTMAS! Personally, I think that a holiday season that starts in mid-November and ends with Orthodox Christmas on January 7 needs an inclusive greeting like "Happy Holidays." Add in some controversies over nativity scenes on public property and you have an issue to distract people from the War and the fact that their company is eliminating their pension. Sam Seder, Air America guy, went on CNN and gave the issue the attention it deserved:

PHILLIPS: Let's start with the holiday card. What do you think, Sam?

SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it's almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

PHILLIPS: Is it a war on Christmas, a war Christians, a war on over-political correctness or just a lot of people with way too much time on their hands?

SEDER: I would say probably, if I was to be serious about it, too much time on their hands, but I'd like to get back to the operational ties between Santa Claus and al Qaeda.

PHILLIPS: I don't think that exists. Bob? Help me out here.

SEDER: We have intelligence, we have intelligence.

PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?

SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf

December 12, 2005

Death in the Afternoon

Arnold Schwarzenegger has refused to spare Tookie Williams, which means come 12:01 tonight, the State of California is going to kill Tookie. I really can't say if this the wrong choice. The man murdered four people and in the end is there anything that can make up for that? Tookie did plenty later in life, but really how do you make up for murder?

The way we balance death is a strange and flighty thing. Bush today said that he estimated that 30,000 Iraqis have died in the War. Bush considers this a price worth paying to bring "freedom" to the Middle East.

Human life means everything and so it means nothing. Tookie Williams can't pay for four deaths with anything other than his own life. His "good works" don't seem to balance the scales, but "Freedom" seems to weigh more that 30,000 lives. If Tookie Williams had overthrown a dictator and had to shoot four innocent people with a shotgun to do it, we would pin a medal on him. Social work, mentoring, writing a book don't seem to be enough.

So how much good does one man have to do to overcome four murders? And how many deaths have to occur before "Freedom" is no longer worth it.

December 10, 2005

Soccer Saturday

Now for some completely irony free enthusiasum for World Cup Soccer. The drawing of groups for next year's World Cup was held yesterday. Check out the homepage. Click on "Relive the Draw." It has this cool little animation which shows the different countries going to each group. The United States has drawn the "Group of Death." Don't you love a tournament that has a "Group of Death." What that means is the US is in a group with former Champion Italy and the Czech Republic (Currently number 2 in the world) along with Ghana. Top two advance, so the US has got to knock off a world powerhouse to advance. The toughest group in the tournament. Good luck gentlemen.

December 9, 2005

Just For Fun

While I was driving through Texas and Oaklahoma on my return trip from Redlands, I was listening to these guys on the radio talk about Rita Cosby (who hosts the show "Live and Direct with Rita Cosby" on MSNBC). Basically they were slamming her because they thought she was a bad journalist.

I knew of her and have listen to a minute or so of her program while flipping channels every so often. But the other night I watched a good 20 mins. of her show. And I must agree with those radio guys: She is the most talentless woman on TV. She's such an awful anchor. Words just can't describe how much she sucks. Please turn on her show (9pm EST) and be sure to give it at leas 15-20 minutes. If you only watch for a couple, you won't get the full effect and thus won't concur with my assessment. She has such bad timing, she talks too slow, her interviews are awkward and she has a horrible voice.

Also, I don't know why, but I'm so f***ing sick of John Lennon. I'm not quite sure why. I can tolerate all the Elvis crap, but the whole John Lennon thing just bugs me. Why? He didn't do anything wrong. He was a good person. I'm just so sick of the coverage. Yeah, yeah, he got shot, he was Beatle, give peace a chance, yada, yada, yada. Why do I feel this way?


Brand spanking new high speed internet connection makes me happy. The complete inability to find anything that I want to blog about. I was going to complain about having to scrape frost off my windshield this week to get to work, but with a massive snowstorm clobbering the rest of the country, it seems a little petty.

Anybody got anything?

December 8, 2005

Word of Mouth

So it turns out that Layer Cake has turned into a huge hit on DVD. And it's all because of me:

No recent film has so outperformed its theatrical box office as Layer Cake. No other film has even come close. The $20 million in American DVD rentals that the film earned is about nine times its theatrical box office in this country. What happened?

Layer Cake is a phenomenon that we're likely to see more of in the future, the word-of-mouth DVD hit.

Well, me and a whole bunch of other people just like me who saw it and passed on a good recommendation. Of course, most people can just pass on a recommendation to two or three people over lunch, while I, with the massive power of my blog behind me, can reach 300% to 400% more people that. I'll try not to let the power go to my head. Check out the rest of Slate on Layer Cake.

HTML Links

All y'all....... Go here to get "schooled" on links.

Word to all of your mothers.

(Snowing in St. Louis, off early from work---life is good at the DOD)

December 7, 2005

Some Things are Just Not Right

For Example:

Coca-Cola will launch a coffee-infused soft drink called Coca-Cola Blak.

An attempt has begun to draft Mel Gibson to run against Arnold in the primary next year.

Bush's evaluation of Iraq.

December 6, 2005


It really does grab your attention, doesn't it? There's just something in the lower regions of our brains that can't help it. So when giving a chance to sex up the growing mass of GOP scandals, I'm going to jump on it. Hotline has some details about Brent Wikes, a lobbyist with ties to the late, great Duke Cunningham.

According to the U-T, Wilkes also "ran a hospitality suite, with several bedrooms, in" DC -- "first in the Watergate Hotel and then" in a Capitol Hill hotel.

Come again? A "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

Talk about raising more questions, including:

-- Why does a lobbyist need a "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

-- Who uses those bedrooms and for what?

Good gawd, they are talking about sex here! Who was having the sex!? And with Whom!? Which is a question sure to draw the attention of people where bribery and misappropration of defense funds wouldn't. And the involvement of the Watergate Hotel is just a cherry on top.

On a related note, why does the Victoria Secret "Fashion" show get so much attention? I mean, in a world over-run with pretty girls in their underwear or less, (I would link, but this is a family blog) Why does this particular collection of pretty girls in their underwear get so much attention? I don't wonder why girls in their underwear, just why these girls and this underwear.

December 5, 2005

Hard Hard Hard

So the story to read this morning seems to be this WaPost story with the headline:

Democrats Find Iraq Alternative Is Elusive: Party's Elite Differ on How to Shift U.S. Policy.

Which is all about the Donkey's having trouble coming up with an alternative plan to Bush on Iraq.

Take this quote from the guy I wish was running US foreign Policy right now:

"I'm not prepared to lay out a detailed policy or strategy," said former U.N. ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, who was widely considered the leading candidate to be secretary of state if Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) had won the presidency last year. "It's not something you can expect in a situation that is moving this fast and has the level of detail you're looking for."

Personally I think that this is diplomatic talk (Very diplomatic guy, Richard Holbrooke) for "Bush screwed up Iraq so badly, its hard to come up with a plan to solve it." The Dems are in an impossible spot. They can and do offer all kinds of really good ideas on Iraq. The best idea was, of course, don't invade Iraq, but there were others. Just to start:

Bring enough troops to secure the country.
Plan for the rebuilding of the country.
Don't disban the Iraq army.

Of course, Bush won't take these ideas, things get screwed up in Iraq, and then the poor Donkey FP big thinkers keep having to come up with solutions to worse and worse problems. Solutions that are ignored and that wouldn't be needed if some of their good ideas were followed in the first place.

December 2, 2005

I'm a Uniter

In an effort to get Tyler and Laura to come together, I present a death penalty policy so horrific that they can both condemn it. Singapore just hanged, hanged! an Australian man for drug smuggling. He was caught at the airport with 14 ounces of heroin. This is taking the war on drugs to a whole new god-awful level. Holding 0.53 ounces of heroin draws a mandatory death penalty in Singapore. Singapore has executed more than 100 people for drug-related offenses since 1999. In 2003 a man was executed for trying to carry 2 pounds of pot into the Country. A death penalty for pot!

Fish Story

A popular floating Sushi Restaurant is sinking into the Sacramento River. Samurai Sushi's newest feature will be dinner that swims directly to your table. The freshest fish possible.

December 1, 2005

"I keep a blue flag hanging out my back side, but only on the left side, yeah that's the Crip side!"

Here's an article on "Tookie" that shares my sentiments:

Crediting Williams for denouncing gangs is sort of like praising tobacco companies for their anti-smoking campaigns.

Should Schwarzenegger grant clemency? Delgadillo said: "I think the justice system has done its job and a jury of his peers found him guilty." (In plain talk: No clemency.)

Also, check out the author's audio opinion here

Refreshing. Not like Sierra Mist soda, but refreshing nonetheless!


December 1 is world AIDS day. AIDS has killed 25 million people worldwide. AIDS has faded as an issue in the United States as new drugs have come online that now makes it possible for people to live with the disease. AIDS in America is kind of like background noise, just one reason given among many for you to use a condom.

But these drugs are too expensive for the third world and the AIDS infection rate boggles the mind. 38% of Swaziland is HIV positive. Think about the demographics of that. You get AIDS in your late teens or early twenties. Without treatment, that means that instead of being a productive schoolteacher, construction worker or office worker in your late 30's or early 40's you will be dead. While means some of the countries in Sub-Sahara Africa will cease to exist in another generation.

Do what you can to help. Data is my recommended site, both for information and action.

Fun With Banners

Wonkette (Who is a dirty, dirty girl, whose blog I try and stay away from cause of its moral depravity) has a great series of pictures which tells you all you need to know about Bush's "Major" speeches on Iraq.