March 31, 2007

Rock On

Robert Randolph & The Family Band - Ain't Nothing Wrong With That

March 30, 2007

Giuliani and the Mob

This is interesting. Giuliani made his rep chasing mobsters as a prosecutor before he became Mayor of NY, so this revelation is a bit awkward:

Rudolph W. Giuliani told a grand jury that his former chief investigator remembered having briefed him on some aspects of Bernard B. Kerik’s relationship with a company suspected of ties to organized crime before Mr. Kerik’s appointment as New York City police commissioner, according to court records.

Kerik was Giuliani's Police Commissioner and came dangerously close to becoming Homeland security Secretary.

March 29, 2007

Did Anyone Tell Him?

You know, its truly possible that no one has told Bush how unpopular he and his policies are.

March 28, 2007

Date Certain

I'm not sure you noticed, but both the Democratic House and Senate have passed measures calling for US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by a date certain in 2008. Now details differ on the date, force of the measure, etc, but odds are that the next "emergency" funding measure (What, they didn't see this coming?) that goes to Bush will mandate withdrawal. Bush, of course, has already said he would veto the measure. Of course, the measure would also include something like 122 billion dollars for the Iraq war, so after the veto comes the part where both sides blame the other for not supporting the troops.

March 27, 2007

We are not Sparta

Kung-Fu Monkey on the Unamerican nature of 300:

It is so in a way that's illuminating for you Spec-Monkeys. What got me on to this? The scene where Leonidas and his ab-tastic Spartans run into some Greeks who've decided to tag along to fight for freedom. The Greek leader, Patheticus, points out that Leo's brought just 300 oddly naked dudes to war, while the Greeks have brought quite a few more. Leonidas points to one of the Greek soldiers. "What's your profession?"

"Potter," the fellow replies.

"And you."

"Farmer," says the next.

"And you."


At which point Leonidas yells back at his posse, "Spartans, what is your profession?" And they hoo-ahh! like crazy. Leonidas says "Looks like I brought along more soldiers than you." Pretty cool scene, actually.

Now, what's fascinating here is to roll back our national mythos to 1998, to Saving Private Ryan. This is the definitive film capping off the Baby Boomers' guilty late love letters to the Greatest Generation. In one of its crucial scenes, Captain Miller -- Tom Hanks -- at long last reveals to his guys that he was a teacher back home. In almost every version of the Greatest Generation myth -- and let's be honest, that is the de facto American myth -- the citizen-soldiers, the guys with day jobs who leave 'em behind to fight and die, are the heroes. Even more, this quality of our warriors, their ordinariness, is not just a factor of our national identity, one could argue it defines our national identity. That we are not professional soldiers is why we're the Good Guys. From the Concord Minutemen to the accountants tossing grenades into bunkers at Normandy, the Unlikely Amateur defines the American hero.


Simply, the heroes of 300 heap an enormous amount of scorn on the heroic tradition of America. In the world of 300, Captain Miller, the boys of Easy Company, the Band of Brothers, are fucking saps.

There's a similarly fascinating scene -- from a screenwriting standpoint -- when Leonidas meets the scorned humback who desperately wants to be Spartan. He's got the uniform and everything. Leonidas patiently explains to the humpback that he may have a lot of spirit, but he just isn't big and fast enough to play their Spartan games. If, however, he wants to tend the wounded or carry water, that's right, be the Water Boy ...

... for Notre Dame, sure, but there's no way you can ever play, Rudy. You're just too small. Again, this scene could play in countless American movies, with Leonidas as the antagonist, and barely a word changes. Another defining staple of the American myth, the Little Guy who Overcomes the Odds, gets pissed on. For God's sake, at one point the bad Spartan, Sellouticus, even taunts the Queen by saying "All men are not born equal, that's the Spartan belief." And these are the good guys. Wow.

We are not Sparta. We are Athens. We are Venice. We might be Rome.

First, Let's Kill All the Consultants

Rolling Stone on The Enemy Within.

March 26, 2007

There are Rules for this Sort of Thing

Scandal in Washington has its own rhythm and its own rules. Take the US Attorney firings, for example. At this point in the scandal, with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cover story having been completely blown and new details emerging daily and Republican support eroding - its clearly time to go. A cabinet official in the Bush I or Clinton administrations would have been canned a week ago. Gonzales is radioactive.

Bush has gained a lot by breaking the unspoken rules of Washington. He acted like he had a conservative mandate when he should have acted humble after the 2000 election. He crosses all kinds of red lines when he campaigns - "Elect Democrats and the terrorist will kill us all." Completely ignoring the policy process in favor of politics.

But breaking this rule will cost him. You've got to dump people. Its how you end a scandal or at least get it under control. The longer he clings to Gonzales, the more he will sink. And he doesn't have much further to sink.

March 25, 2007

Joke of the Day

From Needlenose:

Bono was playing a U2 concert in Glasgow recently, when he asked the audience for total quiet.

Then in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands, once every few seconds.

Holding the audience in total silence, he said into the microphone, "Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies."

A Glaswegian voice rang out from near the front of the crowd, piercing the silence........

"Well, fuckin' stop doing it then!"

Good Morning!

Gym Class Heros - The Queen And I

March 24, 2007


This one comes from the offical mom of Craigorian Chant (You know, the one responcible for so little swearing appearing on the site)

Its remarkable for being both clever, funny and its comes from MADtv, which I've never seen in combination before.

March 23, 2007


Iranian Military Seizes 15 British Sailors in Iraq Waters.

This is the kind of thing an Administration bent on war might use as an excuse to raise tensions and try and start a war.

But its not like this Administration likes war.

Oh wait.

March 22, 2007

March 21, 2007

Fight, Fight!

So Congress and the Administration are gearing up for a good old fashion Constitutional powers fights. Congress want to get administration officials, namely dark master Karl Rove, and Harriet Miers, master of ... not becoming a Supreme Court Justice, to testify on the Hill in an effort to get to bottom of the fired federal prosecutors mess.

The Administration made a laughable offer in which:

"Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas."

In other words, Rove will speak to Congress only if he can lie his ass off. Seeing as administration officials have already lied to Congress on this very matter, the Democrats are going to go with a subpoenas, rather than take this deal.

The Administration is going to challenge the subpoenas, and everyone goes to court.

Because the Nixon metaphor isn't complete without a fight over executive privilege.

March 20, 2007

Bong Hits for Jesus

This could be the greatest Supreme Court Case Ever.

Electronic Battlefield

More on the Internet primary from the Wall Street Journal. The GOP just isn't using this Internet thing the same way the Democrats are. Hillary Clinton got 828,000 hit on her web page in January. McCain got 296,000. Obama has 64,000 Myspace friends. Giuliani has 1,100. And so on. There isn't web-metric that the Democratic field isn't dominating.

Now I'm still inclind to believe that this is sign of Inevitable Democratic Victory, but the more likely explination is that Dems are younger and more tech savy than the other guys. Will all of this matter? I'm inclined to believe it will, I'm not just sure how.

Welcome to Year Five

If you think you've heard it all before, its because you have.

March 19, 2007


Finally took in the show, and in I-MAX no less. Because when a slow-motion decapitated head flies across the screen, I want to see every detail.

Rather than give an overall assessment, it's best to break this movie down into parts. As war porn, this movie is unbeatable. The visuals are stunning, down to the last pixel. Spartans yell, Persians howl and blood flies. Everywhere. A girl in my row got splattered with some and that stuff does not come out. This is pure stylized mayhem of the first order. The wardrobe department forgot to give the Spartans their armor, so as to better show off everyone's rippling pecs and abs. Every Spartan soldier is a walking, chopping, stabbing reminder that I need to get to gym more.

As politics - don't even try. Yes, yes what is now Iran is what used to be the Persian empire. But anyone trying to make a metaphor out of this piece of bloody fantasy is a lackwit.

As history this movie sucks eggs. Go read. As someone who goes out and reads the history books when a movie like this comes out, I find it more than a little annoying how wrong they get almost every detail.

I know, I know based on a comic, but still, this is how most of the country gets most of its history and they are getting sold a bill of goods. So when all the Spartan characters give speeches about freedom, it's sort of painful to know that Sparta was oligarchy that held most of its population in slavery.

We should know what we owe to the Greeks and to which Greeks.

Yes the Spartans are cool as badass warriors, but everything worth saving in Greek culture came from Athens, not Sparta. Philosophy, democracy, drama all came from Athens. The Spartans were too busy abusing their children and their Helots to do any of that. Plus, the Athenians did their part to stop the Persian invasion.

But I digress.

To sum up: War, heads chopped off, blood, a rhino, more blood, elephants, bad history, still yet more blood, need to go to the gym more, the 10,000 Immorals just looking so cool, a bit more blood, the Queen of Sparta was hot, some more blood, the Athenians not getting their share of credit and even more blood.

Any questions?

Big Baby

Tom Delay bemoans the "The criminalization of politics" which in Delay's world means trying to put Tom Delay in jail for things that Tom Delay has done.

March 18, 2007


Barack Obama attracts a crowd. Its a year away from anything and he bringing out huge crowds. I'm being chatted up about him at my dentist office and overhearing him being excitedly talked about at my gym. I am attempting to maintain some sort of cynical detachment about it, but the possibility that the man represents is exciting.

March 17, 2007

Everyone is Irish Today

Dropkick Murphys - I'm Shipping Up To Boston

The Wolfe Tones - A Nation Once Again - This song is a rebel song.

U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday - This song is not a rebel song.

March 16, 2007

Judgement Day

Schwarzenegger just signed into law a bill moving the California Presidential primary up to Feb. 5. With several other States slated to do the same. Feb. 5 is turning out to be the big showdown in the Presidential primary calender.

This means two things. First, California really is going to matter in this process. So I expect the ass-kissing to get underway soon.

Second, this contest is going to be over quickly. A few early states and then bam, Feb. 5 and its over.

March 15, 2007

Quote of the Day

"We've only had subpoena power for the last six weeks and every tree that we've barked up so far has had a cat in it," said a senior Democrat who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly. "Imagine where we'll be after six months."

Via Alterman

So many Bush Administration Officials. So little time spent with the family. Let's send them home.

Biden Goes Off

I think he's running somewhere like 15 out of 18 candidates in the Democratic Primary, but Joe Biden put together an excellent rant yesterday on the Senate floor.


A Norwegian researcher has determined that humor will help you live longer:

Adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny, and the survival edge is particularly large for people with cancer, says Sven Svebak of the medical school at Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

He released his study of about 54,000 Norwegians, tracked for seven years, at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting here.

At the start, patients filled out questionnaires on how easily they found humor in real-life situations and how important a humorous perspective was.

The greater a role humor played in their lives, the greater their chances of surviving the seven years, Svebak says. Adults who scored in the top one-quarter for humor appreciation were 35% more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter, he says.

So because I find the fact that Clarmont Institute is going to be giving giving Don Rumsfeld something called the Winston S. Churchill Award to be absolutely hilarious and not pathetically sad means I'm going to live longer, right?

March 14, 2007

Bush the Child

Every time someone looks into how his brain works, I get more and more scared.

March 13, 2007


Less Popular than Torture.

"In fairness to torture, it might be more popular if Cheney wasn't dragging down its poll numbers."

I can only hope. In fact, there is a whole list of things that I hope end up less popular, thanks to Cheney.


The Fired Federal Prosecutors thing is blowing up in a major way. A Attorney General Alberto Gonzales suddenly feels like he isn't spending enough time with his family way.

March 12, 2007

Plan Out

Turns out the Pentagon is, in fact making plans for what to do after the "surge" fails:

American military planners have begun plotting a fallback strategy for Iraq that includes a gradual withdrawal of forces and a renewed emphasis on training Iraqi fighters in case the current troop buildup fails or is derailed by Congress.

Such a strategy, based in part on the U.S. experience in El Salvador in the 1980s, is still in the early planning stages and would be adjusted to fit the outcome of the current surge in troop levels, according to military officials and Pentagon consultants who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing future plans.

But a drawdown of forces would be in line with comments to Congress by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last month that if the "surge" fails, the backup plan would include moving troops "out of harm's way." Such a plan also would be close to recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, of which Gates was a member before his appointment as Defense Department chief.

Which means that soon as President Clinton, Obama or Edwards get into office, they will have a plan all ready to get out of Iraq waiting for them. But untill then US troops are going to suffer. The Army is ordering injured troops to go to Iraq.

March 11, 2007


Not a weekend now goes by without a little something.

Counting Crows - Long December.

Strange, Yet...

Oddly approperate.

Serbian vampire hunters have driven a 3 foot stake through the heart of Slobodan Milosevic to help ensure that he remains dead. Never can be too carefull, I say.

Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday. Never can be too carefull, I say.

March 8, 2007

No God in Our Lives

Interesting news from the world of currency:

An unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins were mistakenly struck without their edge inscriptions, including "In God We Trust," and made it past inspectors and into circulation, the U.S. Mint said Wednesday.

The properly struck dollar coins, bearing the likeness of George Washington, are inscribed along the edge with "In God We Trust," "E Pluribus Unum" and the year and mint mark. They went into circulation Feb. 15.

Now this could be an opportunity to debate the role of faith in public life, and if "In God We Trust" violates the spirit of the first amendment or is just a little harmless nod to the Big Guy. But these suckers are worth money:

Bailey said it was unknown how many coins didn't have the inscriptions. Ron Guth, president of Professional Coin Grading Service, one of the world's largest coin authentication companies, said he believes that at least 50,000 error coins were put in circulation.

"The first one sold for $600 before everyone knew how common they actually were," he said. "They're going for around $40 to $60 on eBay now, and they'll probably settle in the $50 range."

Error coins are worth money. Once I read about a penny that had a backwards "D" for Denver Mint that was worth 100 grand. I spent years afterwords checking every piece of change for errors. So check those new gold dollars. They could be worth fifty bucks.

March 7, 2007


Guess when Scooter will get his pardon.

Put me down for Chrismas Eve, Decemeber 24 of this year. Everyones shopping, no one is reading the papers, a great time to dump bad news.

Thanks Mom

I too keep the swearing down on this blog because I know my Mom reads it. It seems to be a universal trend.

March 6, 2007


Lewis "Scooter" Libby convicted on four out of five counts today. To speed things along, Libby comes pre-nicknamed for prison*

This is shaping up to be a very bad week for the White House and its only tuesday.

*Daily Show line.


The 50 most important people on the web. I did not make the list. However, the other Craig, the one with the list is #7.

Joel Stein, God?
Joel Stein?

Nine more dead in Iraq.

First they go for the blacks, next they go for the Jews.

I got harangued about my Presidential choice at the dentist office yesterday, so I guess the election really is on. So in that spirit:

March 5, 2007


Great Video at CPAC


Just noting, the kind of oversight hearings happening today on condition at Walter Reed Hospital are something that just wouldn't happen under the old, GOP controlled Congress.


Cause, as Brit Hume says, it would have been embarrassing for the Administration.

Cynical yes, but are we cynical enough?

March 3, 2007

Music for Your Saturday

Cranberries - Zombie

Erin T sends in this little gem

Jake Shimabukuro - While My Guitar Gently Weeps on ukelele

March 2, 2007


World in Chaos

Swiss Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein


Bush’s job approval.

I never get tired of linking to that.

Good Point

Two things are pretty clear at the moment. One is that Rudy Giuliani is pretty clearly leading the GOP field in the race for the Presidential nomination and second, Giuliani is very clearly a social liberal with a utter disaster of a personal life. Now the leading theory is that once the religious right finds out the second, the first is not going to hold up.

But Digby raises an interesting idea:

[I]f Rudy Giuliani becomes the GOP nominee it means the culture wars are as fake as William Shatner's hair. Once people realize that, perhaps we can stop talking about how so many people are allegedly against choice, gay rights and other progressive values in this country. Clearly, they don't care much about any of that, nor do they care about Lieberman's nonsense about setting a good example for the children. The Christian Right supporting Rudy Giuliani proves that the culture war is nothing but a GOP scam and we can stop obsessively worrying about offending these people with our godless, fancy-pants, big-city ways.

Good for Rudy Giuliani for(inadvertantly) pulling back the curtain on this hoax.

Now the primary campaign has a long way to run and Giuliani could crash and burn in a million ways, but the idea is intriging, no? I for one am very interested in what Republicans really care about.

March 1, 2007

Jolie, Jolie, Jolie

Exciting news from the world of foreign policy think-tanks, The Council on Foreign Relations (who really are as stuffy as the name sounds) has added Angelina Jolie as a member.


So apparently news has been going around the internets that the Right has set up Conservapedia, a conservative alternative to Wikipedia.

The results are clearly hilarious, but it is really difficult to log onto the site. We all need to get on there to mock it, so wait your turn.