Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Three Best Words in the English Language

I Love You
Free Beer Here
Tsunami Warning Cancelled


Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1221

Let's start the week with a threefer.

And SEE the dreadful VAMPIRE PANDA
The Nazca Booby is sometimes erroneously referred to as the Galt's Gull because it is so fiercely protective of its guano.
There is no sport more maddening than Taoist Goofy Golf.

He who drives
goes nowhere.
He who chips
stands still.
He who banks
gains nothing.

Drive by not driving.
Chip by not chipping.
Bank by not banking.

Putt by not putting:
The path to serenity.

(Images originally uploaded by Mr DVD, Scott Hurst, and vixyao; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fresh Hell Saturday

So I get up early on Saturday to grade some papers, get some exercise, etc., and almost the first thing my computer tells me is that while I slept so peacefully there was a monster 8.8 earthquake in Chile which has triggered a tsunami that's moving its way across the broad Pacific, putting far-off Asia on alert, triggering advisories up the North American Pacific coast, and inspiring a tsunami warning in Hawaii, where the first wave is expected to hit around 4 pm Eastern time. They're predicting waves in Hawaii around 6 feet, which sounds bad enough but which I guess could be much, much worse, especially with little or no warning. What a thing to be waiting for on a Saturday.

My thoughts go out to everyone affected by this already and everyone still waiting to feel its effects. May they be as minimal as the universe will allow.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1896

It's amazing what a good sunset and a good margarita can do for a man.

"Yeah. Um. You did it." *sip* "You really did it. You maniacs. You blew it up." *sip* "Um. Damn you. Damn you. To hell. Et cetera and so forth." *sip*


(Image originally uploaded by Flyf1sh3r; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


The Hodgmaniad

I have not watched any of the Winter Olympics.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
You're Welcome - Winter Olympics
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorVancouverage 2010

But I would watch that.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #7845

Dogs, cats, dolphins, chimpanzees, humans, birds—all react the same to The Transformed Man.
(Image originally uploaded by winnu; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dropping the O-Bomb

Oligarchy, that is.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Supreme Corp
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorThe Olympics

We should make that word and its cognates far more common features of everyday American political discourse, IMO.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6600

Product of an unspeakable ménage à trois between Tim Curry, Christopher Hitchens, and Lemmy Kilmister.
(Image originally uploaded by Captain Smurf; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging: Special Jules's Cats Edition

Apparently, they had some honest-to-gosh sticking snow in Austin yesterday. In other news, my friend jules's cats have been listening to Senator Inhofe.


Villain Rotation

I'm swamped as heck this week, so I'll just say: Glenn Greenwald names the game.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #5511

The first Nothing But Chutney in Oklahoma opened in 2006.

And closed in 2007.

(Image originally uploaded by colinphoto; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Monday, February 22, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1642

Y'know, until just now, I didn't realize that there was such a thing as conceptual diabetes.
(Image originally uploaded by Honey Cakes; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Oh, Texas

I didn't think it was this bad:

On the bright side, maybe reliving the Enlightenment will be more fun the second time around.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #7368

Ceiling Crab is castigating you for your mammaliocentrism.
(Image originally uploaded by Yakpimp; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1336

Yeah, I had pretty much the same reaction to Star Trek: The Motion(less) Picture.
(Image originally uploaded by gentletouch11440; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


I've Got a Natural End for You Right Here

Shorter CPAC trog:

Civil rights are granted in natural rights, and FAGS ARE UNNATURAL!!1! GAAAAAHH!!
On the other hand, I'm sure that the lesbians at Smith College appreciate the compliment.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #7072

Even Middle Earth has its regulations.

"Dark Lord Television now concludes its broadcasting day."

*stirring music plays*

*montage of battles, torture scenes, galloping ringwraiths, severed limbs, etc.*

(Image originally uploaded by magnussveinsson; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nashville Does Us Proud

Think Progress:

Last week, the Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Nashville, TN was vandalized with anti-Muslim graffiti. Members of the mostly Somali congregation also found a handwritten note “taped to the outside of their youth training building a few blocks away,” with the words “The Enemy Is Islam” underlined at the top. The hate crime came after a local news station aired a controversial, inflammatory report about another local Muslim community. Since the hate crime at Al-Farooq, however, there has been “outpouring of neighborly support” for the mosque, with neighbors helping to clean up the graffiti. “It made me sick to my stomach, because I don’t expect this in Nashville,” said resident John Tighe. At least 150 people — “including spiritual leaders from several faiths” — also went to an open house at the Islamic Center of Nashville on Saturday to learn more about the Islamic faith and pledge “support for local Muslims in the wake of last week’s defacement” of Al-Farooq.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #7695

A cry goes out across the Toronto skyline:

"Chicken Lady loves LIFE!"

(Image originally uploaded by JohnTavares; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Slightly Less Savage Weiner

Catching up with my feeds, I noticed that Michael Savage Weiner recently showed sudden signs of both sanity and sagacity, saying that selecting Sarah Palin as Republican candidate would be "suicide" and even scolding her for her suspicious sinecure at Fox.


Fear not that the world is turning upside down, though, 'cause he can still bring the silly:

Savage’s alternatives for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination? Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) or James Inhofe (R-OK).

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1501

And the negotiations began.

"Six cases of Anchor Steam?"
"More like a new riding mower."
"Two boat payments?"
"Three boat payments."

(Image originally uploaded by powerzamcam; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Yes: More Like France, Less Like Paraguay

What do you think of that as a progressive slogan? It occurred to me that that's the sort of thing I'd love to hear a Democratic politician say the next time some right-winger accuses him or her of wanting to turn the U.S. of A into one o' them European-style social democracies with their high standards of living and universal health care and fairer labor policies and greater equality between rich and poor and easier access to higher education and TAXES!!! always with the taxes. Except that I'd feel bad picking on Paraguay, which has never done a thing to me personally. But the rhythm works rather well, I think:

More like France, less like Paraguay!
More like France, less like Paraguay!
More like France, less like Paraguay!

Sing it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #4720

The Microwaved Potato Products Division would probably be showing much better numbers had they named their flagship item Crunchy Hot Au Gratin Delight instead of I Can't Believe It's Not Lava!®.
(Image originally uploaded by utopiandreaming; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

It was seven years ago today that "millions" got conveniently downgraded to "thousands":

February 15, 2003
—Mass protests are held around the world against the Iraq War. Hundreds of thousands turn out in New York City. The mainstream media pay more attention than usual, though some outlets were a little confused about turnout. The ABC News website ran this headline over an Associated Press report: "Thousands Worldwide Protest War in Iraq." The subhead, right under the headline, was "Hundreds of Thousands Worldwide Open Day of Rallies Against Possible Military Action in Iraq." The first line of the piece: "Millions of protesters many of them marching in the capitals of America's traditional allies demonstrated Saturday against possible U.S. plans to attack Iraq."

Unsurprisingly, coverage of the New York march on Fox News Channel is hostile. One anchor mentions that he "came to work here and looked out the windows and I haven't seen that many people." The reporter on the scene, Jonathan Hunt, agrees, saying that it "didn't seem to me as though they got anywhere near this much touted figure of 100,000." Hunt refers to the "usual suspects" marching along with the "usual celebrity suspects," before adding that the march "hasn't got a lot of attention so far I think because the numbers were far, far below that 100,000." Another Fox anchor comments later in the day that the network is "always very reluctant to show these pictures of the anti-war protest. It is unrepresentative of sentiment in America."

Austin, Texas, February 15, 2003:


Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2405

*crowd fleeing Men Without Hats reunion tour does not even hesitate*
(Image originally uploaded by tennisbear; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Investigative Fund

The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund has a brand new website that pulls together a ton of the fund's work—normally scattered throughout a variety of mostly-alt magazines—in one handy place. Check it out.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #3368

The wildlife in Monument Valley first developed a taste for lime wedges thanks to the massive tequila-fueled party John Ford threw after wrapping The Searchers.
(Image originally uploaded by robmob; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh, Canada

More stuff you learn while Flickr Blogging: The Kids in the Hall have a new eight-part comedic murder mystery show currently running on CBC.

And apparently, we deprived non-Canadians can watch episodes online.

And, judging from a peek at the list of characters, it sounds like the KitH have not lost their edge:

I now officially forgive Canada for Bryan Adams. Eh.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #5258

"The pedestal is black ivory with a real gold inlay; the vestments feature a brocade of scarlet and gold silk intricately interwoven with the finest white linen; the orb and sceptre are real gold miniature replicas of actual Vatican treasures down to the smallest detail; the hair is composed of over 700 strands of the finest quality cashmere yarn; and the crown, the pièce de résistance, is of exquisitely handcrafted gold leaf with some three dozen painstakingly embedded diamond chips."

" certainly is impressive."

*twists off head, slurps whiskey out of neck*

(Image originally uploaded by Alvin Virgo; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


O Brave New World

One of the things I enjoy about Daily Random Flickr Blogging is that I learn stuff while poking around online trying to generate or refine ideas for captions. Latest cool find: The TV Tropes Wiki.

Because the future will need to know what Stupid Sexy Flanders! means, dammit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #9718

Mushroom hunters prize the Satan's Penis not only for its rebelliously nubbled ovate cap but also for its psychotropic ability to turn even the most mundane pizza into a cosmic battleground between the forces of sauce and cheese.
(Image originally uploaded by TObike; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Try "Snöwderdämmerüng"

I don't have cable, so I have to catch up with The Daily Show periodically online. When I do, it often makes me laugh, but it rarely makes me roar with laughter like this bit did. The structure is perfect, the execution marvelous; by the time a panicky Jason Jones enters toward the end, the whole thing has become a small masterpiece of media-hysteria satire:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Unusually Large Snowstorm
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

A favorite detail: the grave, newscasterly conviction with which Aasif Mandvi says "John, I give you frozen water...falling from the sky." These people know their craft!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1854

TV minireview: Positively Boschian. At first, Fox's new animated sitcom about the whacky adventures of the mutant denizens of a nightmarish netherworld seems bold and innovative, but plotwise, the pilot episode quickly degenerates into a stale conflict over the tree-girl and the tongue-fish-thing's plans to elope. Truly, Hell is not other people; it is certain networks. C-
(Image originally uploaded by DR000; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


I'm Not Sure What the Weirdest Thing I Read Yesterday Was

It's a showdown between

Oddly, that's what I fixated on: not the fact that Geller would actually have the wingnutty gall to tell Ron Reagan Jr. that she knows better than he does what his father would think of Sarah Palin, but the fact that she used the word 'epistemology' in a sentence. While talking to Joy Behar, no less.

(Geller's emotional investment in Sarah Palin is really rather disturbing: "She did not quit. The Lower 48 needed her, and she heeded the call....She came to lead the next revolution." Meshugah. Oy gevalt.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1465

Tremble anyway, world, because the vicious, evil, humanity-hating archvillains of MUZE (Megalomaniacal Underground Zoophile Empire) are only staying here temporarily until they can get together the deposit for the new headquarters under the dormant volcano.
(Image originally uploaded by YeuxVerts; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


"Start Over"?

Y'know, there was a time when I was sympathetic to the idea that we should do just that re. health care reform, but that's because I was thinking that a really good bill would do a lot more to universalize care and cut costs by moving us toward a single-payer system—or by including a serious public option at the very least—rather than mandating that people keep shoveling money into the gaping maws of the same old for-profit entities that helped to create the current mess.

But somehow, I don't think that's what John Boehner and Eric Cantor mean by "a bill that is truly worthy of the support and confidence of the American people." So if they decide to skip Obama's latest in his series of baffling attempts to reach out to his increasingly feral, slavering opposition, fine. Tomasky:

I think that if Obama invites them and they don't show up, and this thing is televised with empty chairs where they were supposed to be...well, Democrats can screw up a lot of things, but I have trouble seeing how they can screw that up. And yes, as soon as I type those words I see that I shouldn't tempt fate in such a way...
Agreed, the Democratic screwup potential seems quite profound, but still: Obama's performance at the Rethug conference two weeks ago gives me some confidence that he could capitalize on a roomful of empty chairs if his opposition decides to give him one. Taking the ball and going home may look like principled leadership on Fox, but it looks like childish petulance almost everywhere else.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #3264

Bitter, and first savored in the parking lot of a 7-11.
(Image originally uploaded by susan crawford photography; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Your Civilization-in-Decline Update

Days like today are why I can't imagine life without Democracy Now!

Dennis Kucinich and Glenn Greenwald on the Bush-Obama claim of the president's right to assassinate American citizens overseas without due process or trial (as long as someone thinks they're terrorists, of course). Surely the president can be trusted to kill only the right people!

David Price on the CIA's growing presence at universities. Corporatize, militarize, rah rah rah!

Eamon Javers on the CIA's practice of allowing active-duty operatives to moonlight with private companies, putting their government-grown knowledge and skills at the service of Corporate America. And there was much incest!

I wish I had more in common with Lily Tomlin, but fondness for DN! will have to do.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6425

The Maurice Sendak line of kitchen utensils was discontinued when the juicer gave kids nightmares.
(Image originally uploaded by luisgomescosta; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Not Of The Body

Sara Robinson has a fine discussion of that scary Kos poll of Republicans that's been much talked about lately.

"Far out of the mainstream" scarcely begins to characterize some of the more popular answers on that thing. Ye gods.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1873

It was a paradox that his poor canine mind could neither understand nor appreciate, but all around him, even as the yogists entered states of quiet absorption, Rex could hear tendons screaming in agony.
(Image originally uploaded by Roman Chervotkin; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, February 06, 2010

National Irony Day

Now that's a holiday I could celebrate. Mark Fiore presents The State of the Union Address We Wish We'd Seen but didn't.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #7109

The bachelorettes feigned polite interest in Cyndi's naughty cupcakes but quickly gravitated toward Marsha's chocolate éclairs.
(Image originally uploaded by bitemebakery; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Glass Half Full Friday

Dammit, I'm going to try to be cheerier this morning by pointing to John Judis arguing that, while attention has been elsewhere, Obama has been quietly re-progressivizing government under the radar by appointing honest-to-gosh experts—people who actually know, and care about, what they're doing—to key roles in government rather than relying on, you know, fancy-horse-association commissioners and whatnot:

Yet there is one extremely consequential area where Obama has done just about everything a liberal could ask for--but done it so quietly that almost no one, including most liberals, has noticed. Obama’s three Republican predecessors were all committed to weakening or even destroying the country’s regulatory apparatus: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the other agencies that are supposed to protect workers and consumers by regulating business practices. Now Obama is seeking to rebuild these battered institutions. In doing so, he isn’t simply improving the effectiveness of various government offices or making scattered progress on a few issues; he is resuscitating an entire philosophy of government with roots in the Progressive era of the early twentieth century. Taken as a whole, Obama’s revival of these agencies is arguably the most significant accomplishment of his first year in office.
(h/t Michael Tomasky)

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6193

The traumatized Freddy Krueger later got revenge over his hecklers by stalking them in their dreams—which, to be fair, is something that legions of failed prop comics would gladly do if they could.
(Image originally uploaded by Al Tucker; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Did I Mention

How good it is to have The Editors back?

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2752

Weirdest. Remake of The Graduate. Ever.
(Image originally uploaded by Sleeping_Vampire; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Six Months Ago Would Have Been Even Better

I haven't had a chance yet to watch the entire hour's worth of Obama in the lions' den from last week, but I sure love William Rivers Pitt's description of the carnage:

One by one, Republican members of Congress stood before Mr. Obama and took their best shots. One by one, he sent them packing with a smile on his face and the facts on his side. One of the most revealing exchanges took place when GOP Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) tried to take the president to task for refusing to support an across-the-board tax cut, and for the massive cascade of job losses that hit the nation last winter. Mr. Obama reminded Pence that the job losses he spoke of took place before he took office, and before any of his programs had been implemented. He excoriated Pence and a number of his Republican brethren for attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies celebrating programs created by the stimulus package they had voted against. He concluded by telling Pence, "I'm going to want to take a look at your math," because Pence's support for massive tax cuts, a spending freeze and a balanced budget all at the same time basically makes no sense whatsoever.

Perhaps, the most revealing aspect of this event came after the deal had gone down. The Republicans in that room were made to look so foolish in the face of this president that a number of them later stated bluntly that it was a mistake to have allowed cameras into the room. Fox News saw how badly those GOP Congress people were being thrashed and cut away from their broadcast of the event a full 20 minutes before it was over, choosing instead to flood their studio with critics of Obama to try and mitigate the damage.

And that, in a nutshell, is the present reality of this Republican Party. When allowed to freely bloviate into the yawning void of modern political journalism, the GOP can score points easily. They are the undisputed world heavyweight champions of the sound bite stab below the fifth rib, and their talents in this regard are fortified by their uncanny ability to have no fealty to the truth whatsoever. When confronted by someone armed to the teeth with the facts, someone who can articulate those facts clearly and completely in front of a battery of cameras broadcasting his words to a national audience on every network, they folded like wet napkins.

Pitt may be exaggerating a tad, but then Fox apparently found the event too embarrassing to want to broadcast it in its entirety. When I'm in the right mood, I'm gonna kick back for an hour or so and watch this whole thing, start to finish, and see what I think:

The start of an aggressive—and long overdue—pushback against his shameless (terrorist lover! government takeover! death panels!) opposition, or just an entertaining rhetorical display? I hope for the former but fear the latter—but even the latter is better than nothing at this point.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6939

Visit the Castle Aaaagh if you wish, you silly fat-pancake-eating, heart-attack-having, non-Serge-Gainsbourg-listening-to drinkers of screw-capped wines, but I wave my private parts at your American Express card.
(Image originally uploaded by Duke Gledhill; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton. That sure looks like Castle Stalker.)


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"What we’re witnessing is an awesome national failure."

Krugman on the let's-just-accept-unemployment-well-over-five-percent-for-another-half-decade-at-least Obama (Hope! Change!) budget.


Dean Baker on what could be done.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #4584

It wasn't until Terrence Malick had grown up and become a famous film director, years after they had taken their last family trip together, that his siblings finally got his cryptic references to "Le Voyage dans Aunt Agnes."
(Image originally uploaded by fearthesting2000; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Monday, February 01, 2010

Work over Wealth

WOW. My instincts tell me it could win the Democrats votes if they had the b*lls to embrace it in the face of the screams of "Marxism!!!" that get flung at any attempt to realign tax policy to favor workers rather than owners. But hey, maybe they could shield themselves with the mantle of St. Reagan:

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was President Ronald Reagan's last fiscal legacy. It showcased his deep belief in trickle-down economics, cutting the top rate on personal income nearly in half.

But Reagan also signed off on a longtime liberal goal: equal taxes on income from work and income from wealth. The bill raised the tax on long-term capital gains from 20 percent to 28 percent, the same top rate that applied to ordinary income. No longer would gains made on Wall Street be taxed at a lower rate than wages on Main Street.

Reagan hailed the bill as "a sweeping victory for fairness." A generation later, with the fierce urgency of now, President Barack Obama should bring back Reagan's liberal breakthrough.

The president knows we've been falling away for the longest time. Listen to this from the Tax Fairness Plan posted on Obama's web site during the 2008 campaign: "For decades, America has been victim to an anti-tax sentiment that has led to tax cuts that favor wealth, not work."

Nothing favors wealth, not work, more neatly than the tax break on capital gains. The first break came from President Clinton, who lowered the tax on long-term gains to 20 percent. President Bush cut it again, to 15 percent, little more than half the rate paid by middle-class Americans on their wages. Bush's action pushed the rate to a 70-year low; it's now at 77 years and counting, going back to 1933.

The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year, which would return the capital gains rate to 20 percent. Timid, Mr. President, turn it up a notch, and lead us to the Reagan path.


Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #3047

Conservative judges strike again as knee-length denims take the gold over the more daring gym-shorts-and-hose combo and the skyblue batch-huggers.
(Image originally uploaded by RODRIGO VALLINA; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


The Rest of the Story

From the Blinked and Almost Missed It Department: late right-wing radio oldster Paul Harvey was great buds with J. Edgar Hoover—exchanging frequent letters with the FBI Director, taking script suggestions from him, and, um, other things:

Neither man was restrained in his praise of the other. "You were never in better form," Hoover gushed to Harvey about one of his broadcasts in May 1958, and again, in precisely the same words, in February 1959.

Harvey wrote to Hoover in January 1957, saying, "From some future pinnacle, if the Republic has survived, history will record that it was largely due to your vigilance."

In 1963, Harvey dropped by FBI headquarters for a publicity shot with Hoover. Harvey praised the director as "a champion of right-thinking people everywhere," and added that he appeared to be in excellent shape, as well.

Ah. Um. Well.

Oh, and it turns out that Harvey wasn't above pre-fabricating a story about supposedly wandering onto a laxly secured U.S. nuclear facility. Hmm, making stuff up, mancrushing on authoritarians—he was quite the role model for the talkers of today, huh?

(h/t FAIR)

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