My DD214

Veterans should be a thing of the past.

State of the Union Liveblog

9:13pm – Woke up late from my nap. Dubya’s already talking about the economy. Good thing I’m not a journalist.

9:15pm – Dubya says eliminating terrorism is not idealistic nonsense. And that democracies respect their neighbors. Does that include by not invading them?

9:17pm – Dubya calls Iran out on the carpet again. Ooh, now he calls radical Islam “the perversion of a noble faith”. Al-Qaeda “wants to establish a totalitarian regime in the Middle East”. Seems to me that our allies the Saudis have got that covered.

9:19pm – Number of times he’s said “freedom” so far: 4

9:20pm – “We will never surrender to evil.” Followed by standing ovation. That’s just digging for applause isn’t it? Who the hell is gonna stay sitting down and look disapproving after “We will never surrender to evil”?

9:20pm – Iraqi forces are “increasingly more capable of defeating the enemy every day”.

9:23pm – Laundry list of “victories” in Iraq. You gotta be kidding me. The Bush administration is still the only group of people on Earth that doesn’t think the situation in Iraq is a huge goatrope. I thought Bush was out of the bubble now.

9:24pm – Ooh! “Hindsight is not wisdom and second-guessing is not strategy”. Nasty.

9:26pm – Here comes the personal story from a Marine on the ground. Straight of the Clinton playbook this is. Bush reads a letter from a jarhead who says “I died so you didn’t have to.” The real tragedy of this is that the poor guy probably believed that sentiment, that somehow the war in Iraq prevented American deaths.

9:28pm – “The United States of America supports democratic reform across the Middle East.” Unless you vote for Hamas. Oh, or unless you’re the Saudi people. You don’t get to vote.

9:30pm – He’s reading my mind. Hamas must disarm, and don’t worry, Saudi Arabia is “taking steps.” A-ha.

9:31pm – “Nuke-u-lar”. Still. After five years. Nobody takes him aside and says, “Mr. President, you sound like an eight-year-old-kid.”

9:32pm – What the hell? Dubya starts addressing the Iranian people, then non-sequiturs into “America cares about African babies with AIDS”. I think he skipped a page.

9:33pm – A vague imperative to Congress that it must not short-change international humanitarian aid. I didn’t even know this was an issue. Bush is all over the place; now we’re going to the PATRIOT Act.

9:34pm – Huh. Bush says that two of the 9/11 hijackers placed calls from the US to Al-Qaeda overseas, and he invokes this to defend his domestic spying program. Interesting, as he always says that the NSA spying program involves only calls originating overseas and coming into the United States.

9:36pm – Bush says that there is essentially no alternative to US global leadership. Scary.

9:37pm – “Freedom” count so far: 10
“Victory” count so far: 4

9:39pm – A long-winded intro leading up to another defense of tax cuts. ‘If Congress lets the tax cuts expire, American families will wake up to unwelcome tax increases.’ Huh? American families in Malibu, apparently.

9:40pm – Bush alludes to the stratospheric increase in “discretionary spending”. Yeah, that’s the two simultaneous wars we’re fighting. Now he asks for the line-item veto. I’ve never heard Bush bring this up, but it’s well in keeping with his tendency to want to muck the balance of powers.

9:43pm – Name drops Bill and alludes to how tight he and Bush Sr. have gotten. Amusing.

9:43pm – Ironic cheering by Democrats when Bush mentions how his Social Security reform didn’t get passed. Holy cow, Congress is turning into Parliament.

9:45pm – “With a level playing field and an open market, no one can out-produce the American worker.” Da, comrade!

9:46pm – Did I just hear that right? “Keeping America competitive requires federal healthcare.” What? Don’t tease me, Dubya.

9:47pm – It was a tease. He meant for the poor and elderly. We get “health savings accounts”. And now we move on to tort reform. (sigh)

9:48pm – Here’s the much-touted “America is addicted to oil” line. No one told Bush that it was important, because he cruised right through it. Apparently, we’re going to invest in coal and “nuke-u-lar” energy. What about cars?

9:49pm – Hydrogen cars, and ethanol “not just from corn”, but from “swish grass”. Don’t get all technical on me now, Dubya.

9:50pm – We’ll eliminate oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Whoa, where’s the fire! Twenty years, huh.

9:51pm – A new domestic initiative (the “American Competitiveness Initiative”) to increase math and science education for American children. I will bet you ANYTHING that this will include a hidden provision for intelligent design. Mark my words. Look at the datestamp at the top of the post.

9:53pm – “In recent years America has become a more hopeful nation.” This assertion is backed up by stats about reduced crime and abortions. Take note, abortions and hopefulness have an inverse relationship, apparently. That reminds me of the inversely proportional relationship between the number of pirates and the average global temperature that is one of the pillars of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.

9:55pm – Parents are “concerned about unethical conduct in public officials” and “activist judges who seek to redefine marriage”. Bush says that we cannot believe that American culture is unravelling. Isn’t this supposed to be the End Times?

9:56pm – More Republican talking points about judges “not legislating from the bench”. The right loves that idea. I wonder if the Democratic rebuttal will address legislating from the Oval Office?

9:57pm – Another surprise: Bush calls for cloning to be banned, and cites it as ‘devaluing a gift from the Creator’. Interesting that the strategy here is to couch it in similar terms as the movement against same-sex marriage.

10:00pm – Some very vague talking around the Hurricane Katrina debacle.

10:01pm – Bush calls for using faith-based groups to administer AIDS tests. Shouldn’t Planned Parenthood do that?

10:02pm – Here comes the conclusion. “The destination of history is chosen by human action.” Name drops Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and America’s intervention in World War II. “Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage.” Pretty. But pretty irrelevant.

Final counts
“Freedom”: said at least 10 times
“Victory”: said at least 7 times

Analysis
Yamn. I’ve heard this all before. We’ve gone from the “Axis of Evil” president to one whose harshest words are reserved for his Democratic critics. No domestic stuff worth hearing really. The “ending American dependence on Mideast oil” bit was absolutely underwhelming. We’re not going to have ethanol cars in twenty years and Bush knows it. His petro-business friends were all high-fiving each other after that section.

I’m also not impressed with the defense of the NSA domestic spying program. Not at all. The example he gave would not have been covered by the supposed limits of the program. Go fig. More thoughts tomorrow.

31 January, 2006 9:16 PM Posted by | News, Politics and other hazardous materials | 3 Comments

A vegetable oil-powered Hummer in every garage

According to this CNN article, President Bush is going to call for less American reliance on petroleum in his State of the Union tonight. My ass. He’ll say it, but White House and Congressional GOP policy will say otherwise. This isn’t the first time that this administration has said talked a bunch of garbage that its legislatin’ hand just can back up.

I think I’ll live-blog the State of the Union address at 7, more for my entertainment than anything else. I’m also kind of embarrassed to admit, Clay, that I thought “knackered” meant “drunk”, but apparently it means “tired”. I’ve always been kind of a half-assed anglophile anyway.

31 January, 2006 5:47 PM Posted by | News | Leave a comment

History is revised all the time

***THIS POST DELETED BECAUSE: the author was completely knackered when he wrote it***

29 January, 2006 2:35 AM Posted by | Angry rant | 1 Comment

Today’s righteous links

I got two for you, but they’re of such unusually high quality that I think it makes up for their numerical paucity:

  • Blue States Lose: I may have linked to Gawker before; it’s a pretty goddamned amusing New York society blog to begin with, but the fact that their weekly photo column of idiotic New York hipsters is called “Blue States Lose” wins. It just wins.
    Image hosting by Photobucket

  • Japanese technology poised to conquer all of mankind: In the first-ever appropriate use of the “Robots are awesome” tag, not only have the Japanese invented a mobile beer refridgerator that comes to you, but that refridgerator is a robot that opens the beer for you and hands it to you.
    Let me say that again: it is a robot that serves you beer. I think that marriage, as an institution, is now completely superfluous. Eat that, Republicans.
    Image hosting by Photobucket

28 January, 2006 11:05 AM Posted by | Linkage, Robots are awesome | Leave a comment

if I do not smoke I will DIE

Warren Ellis has a short post about smoking today that I think both of you and everyone else who comes here looking for nipples would appreciate.

27 January, 2006 5:43 PM Posted by | Linkage | Leave a comment

A thought experiment.

OK. We’ve established that the President has Ultimate power and cannot be bothered with little details like civil liberty and Law, but I want to try one more thing. Just to see if it works.

Here’s what we should do: Get a team of 40 lawyers. 15 of them GOP, 15 of them Asses, and the other 10 independent. Have them hold debates and mock trials to see if the president could ever be accused, charged and/or convicted of one of the most clear-cut, universal laws that man-kind clings to…murder.

I don’t think that he can be. I really think that if photos, testimonies and genetic evidence of the president committing murder were ever to be found, he would still get away with it.

Fuck.

26 January, 2006 8:59 PM Posted by | I lack creativity and/or attention to detail, Politics and other hazardous materials | Leave a comment

Google bends over for China

Google has agreed to censor search results for users in China, and thus joining MSN and Yahoo who already sold out last year.

In other news, money continues to talk, I guess. Google are the good guys of big business, but they’re still big business.

Encouragingly, I found the story on Google News. There’s two ways to look at that: a) the Google News bots automatically throw Google-related stories up on the front page, regardless of content or, b) Google News reports everything, regardless of how deleterious the content may be to Google’s public image.

24 January, 2006 8:25 PM Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Why Jack Abramoff doesn’t matter

The blogosphere was alit with buzz about Time magazine’s article alleging that their editors had seen (but were as yet unable to publish) photographs of Jack Abramoff meeting President Bush in the White House. This directly contradicts the White House’s earlier claim that the president had never met the crooked lobbyist, hence the enthusiasm on the part of liberal bloggers everywhere.

Except for this one. I am utterly convinced now that we are witnesses to the Bulletproof Presidency. I used to let myself get excited every time the administration was caught in a lie or half-truth, every embarassing miscue, every bald-faced attempt to usurp more power. But the thrill is gone, baby. It’s all over.

It’s entirely possible (even likely) that Bush really doesn’t remember meeting Jack Abramoff. The Time article correctly points out that the president has his photo taken with hundreds of people every week. Even if he did, the odds of the president being directly involved in shady gifts-for-influence peddling are slim to none; it’s obvious that Dubya, who does not read newspapers or briefings and has underlings to do that for him, can’t be bothered with details, anyway. What the Abramoff story does show is laziness and contempt for the media (and by virtue of that, the public) on the part of the Bush administration. When Press Secretary Scott McClellan says that Bush and Abramoff never met, that means that the White House cares so little about the Abramoff scandal that they were unwilling to get an intern to go through stacks of photos for a few days after the scandal came to a head. Surely the question would come up, but the Bush administration just didn’t care.

And why should they? The Abramoff story, which some Democrats are now seeing as the bread-and-butter issue for this fall’s midterm elections, has two fatal flaws.

  1. It’s about politicians being corrupt, which most Americans already assume is the case, and
  2. it’s a bland story utterly devoid of the few things that will keep Americans reading the paper day after day (those things being sexual deviance/misconduct, violence against innocent people, and Brad Pitt’s love life).

A notoriously famous pop star goes to trial for allegedly molesting children, but the entire case hinges on the testimony of an extortionist family. A handsome, well-to-do Californian kills his beautiful, pregnant wife. These are things that Americans will read about and sit transfixed in front of Fox News or (god help you) Nancy Grace to watch. A newspaper story about Jack Abramoff’s unethical power broking in Washington is necessarily filled with small dollar amounts and obscure legislators from obscure election districts and absolutely no blow jobs. Not a one.

The Democrats will chain themselves to this issue at their own risk. Much like the wasted effort to get Karl Rove fired (thus forcing him to get a new office and print new business cards but allowing him to continue advising the president as before), this is a shocking scandal that will be unfortunately be tuned out as background noise by most voters. Liberals need to find one issue to ride and we need to do it soon. Somebody call Carville.

23 January, 2006 11:52 AM Posted by | Politics and other hazardous materials | Leave a comment

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an areola

Yesterday, someone came to our site after typing “longest nipple in the world” into a search engine.

How on Earth did that happen? I tried searching on Google for longest nipple in the world, which pops up some weird sites but none of them ours. Ditto for Yahoo! and the blog index site Technorati.

MSN’s search engine also failed to find us, but it did helpfully return hotnipple.net, a profoundly disquieting website which proudly proclaims that it has “The Longest Nipples In The World. No Posing, No Models or Imitations.” From that statement one can surmise that the internet is simply rife with photographs of normally-nippled girls cavorting around without a stitch on save for their prosthetic extra-long nipples. The mind boggles.

19 January, 2006 7:55 PM Posted by | Just a thought.. | 1 Comment

From the “What-Was-Your-First-Clue” Department

In today’s New York Times:

MANHATTAN: MUSIC EXECUTIVE CONVICTED The chief executive of a reggae music production company has been convicted of smuggling more than a ton of marijuana a week from California to New York over the past eight years, federal prosecutors said. The executive, Horatio Hamilton, president of Lords of Yard Inc., was convicted of conspiracy to traffic in marijuana, Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney, said yesterday in a written statement. Mr. Garcia said Mr. Hamilton jumped bail after he was arrested in 1999 with nearly two tons of marijuana in Los Angeles. He later became a prominent music producer and creator of Sashi, a three-day reggae concert in Jamaica. Mr. Hamilton, who was rearrested last year, faces a mandatory sentence of 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors said. (NYT)

18 January, 2006 6:59 PM Posted by | News | Leave a comment