Friday, November 21, 2008

Your Surge at Work
From 2Millionth Web Log

Here's a slideshow and here's the story:

Chanting "no to America," supporters of a radical Shiite cleric burned an effigy of President George W. Bush Friday in a protest demanding parliament scuttle a U.S.-Iraqi security pact and American troops begin withdrawing from Iraq immediately.

The demonstration drew nearly 20,000 followers of Muqtada al-Sadr to Firdous Square, the same spot where U.S. Marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein and exultant Iraqis pummeled it with debris in what became an iconic image of the fall of Baghdad and the end of the dictator's 23-year rule.

Friday's protest was the latest display of opposition to an accord that could push Iraq into new political turmoil even though the ruling coalition appears to have enough parliamentary votes to narrowly approve the deal.

Looks like Shrub's foreign policy is meeting with the same "success" as his economic policy as he continues to stagger towards a finish line that can't come soon enough.

What a pathetic little man.
Friday Cat Blogging With Photoshop
From 2Millionth Web Log

Tigger at a Parisian sidewalk cafe will have to wait till next week--today he's at the New Orleans Museum of Art, taking advantage of free admission not just for Louisiana residents but for all visitors through January 18, 2009:

The dates coincide with the citywide international art show called Prospect.1 New Orleans, and the museum's exhibit of 108 pieces by jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé from the Hodges Family Collection.

NOMA is participating in Prospect.1, showing work by nine of the 81 artists featured. The citywide exhibit's organizers wanted every bit of it free.

"This free admission offer is not underwritten by any grants the way the Louisiana visitors are by The Helis Foundation. So yes, we're taking a hit on admission revenue, but it's one that we didn't hesitate with because it's part of supporting Prospect.1's commitment to being entirely free," said James J. Mulvihill, spokesman for the museum.

Director John Bullard said the holidays are the perfect time to check out both exhibitions and revisit the permanent collection, and free admission means people can visit repeatedly and really get to know the art.

A grant from The Helis Foundation has let the museum admit all Louisiana residents free since it reopened after Hurricane Katrina.

After Jan. 18, the museum will return to free admission for state residents, and an $8 charge for adults visiting from out of state. The out-of-state charges for seniors will be $7, and $4 for children ages 3 to 17.

"Without an admission fee we are already seeing more repeat visitors who come back with friends, or who just take advantage of the opportunity to revisit a favorite work over and over," Mulvihill said. "In a perfect world this is how all museums would be, like libraries, where the public has access to this art whenever they want and as often as they'd like."

I'll be joining Tigger at some point, and will make regular cultural sojourns to the Crescent City my major New Year's Resolution for 2009...I hang my head in shame in admitting that I've not been to NOMA in...well, I'm embarrassed to say how long, particularly given the free admission for Louisiana residents and the fact that it's a superb museum.

Well, anyway, one of my closest friends did move to NOLA earlier this years, which gives me a another excuse...although damnit, the lack of transportation options really does suck. Yes, you've got Greyhound and LA Swift (and looking up the website, there's finally a park & ride--I'll be checking the timetables more carefully)...still...give me a train any day.

This is a first for me, getting blog-tagged, in this case, by Adrastos...a quick look around suggests potential tag targets have likely been tagged already, so I'll deregulate on that; otherwise, first, the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up

OK, six random things--

1. The first two movies I rented after buying my first and only VCR (cost me $200 in 1990, I junked it in 2005 after it finally died) were...Blade Runner and Z. For several years afterwards, renting both movies became a sort of annual thing for me.

2. In the late 70s-early 80s Tony Kushner was one of my teachers at a summer school gifted & talented program in Lake Charles (the bio mentions an original work and a Shakespeare play I participated in.)

3. My father was a career military officer--I never lived outside the country, but did live in California and Virginia before he retired. My mom is from Louisiana.

4. For most of the 90s I lived in Madison, Wisconsin. I have BA in Political Science from UW-Madison.

5. I'm just a shade below 6' 3" in height.

6. I'm left-handed.

And, what the hell--Open Thread--ha! Might as well do that for once. Part of the five year plan...
Two of a Kind
From 2Millionth Web Log

If anyone needed more convincing that Sarah Palin is little more than a cut-rate version of Dubya, yesterday's turkey pardoning lottery should remove all doubt.

By the way, it's not like I'm vegan or vegetarian, and to be honest, the method used in killing the birds is, under the circumstances, probably more humane than your average factory farm.

As a child I saw my grandfather dispatch a chicken (that we had for dinner that evening), and I've also seen a pig killed/prepared. I'm not anti-meat.

But c'mon: being aware of how the turkey makes it to the table is one thing...reminding folks of this reality literally moments after the annual pardon/media event is pretty callous even by Palin's low standards.

That said, we are talking turkeys, no pun intended. Team Bush, on the other hand, loudly insists that Mr. Guantanamo-Suspension-of-Habeas-Corpus-Abu-Ghraib-Waterboarding-Illegal-Invasion-of-Iraq's record on human rights "is perhaps the best in American history." Honest.

Finally, to top it off, it looks like Dubya gets one last chance to play with the machinery of judicial death, signing off on a military execution scheduled for December 10th. You know, without trying to coddle the criminal--the article describes a horrible set of crimes, murder and rape--the convict's been on death row for twenty years. You could make a case that continued incarceration might be even more of a punishment as the inmate reflects on his wasted life and terrible acts. But Shrub can't keep from tinkering with the needle, just like when he was governor of Texas.

That speaks volumes.

So, you've got a governor who can't be bothered to show some discretion...and a president who can't resist the urge to play god.

They deserve each other.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Aw, How Sad

Nobody wants to play with George. Or shake his hand.

Then again, at least he's got a hand.
The God Jones Industrial Average
From 2Millionth Web Log

If only we secular humanists and atheists didn't hate the little blond curly haired Jesus so much...
Well, That's Too Bad...
From 2Millionth Web Log

I'd been looking forward to seeing a Cheney (or Alberto) perp walk (second paragraph)...and I'll bet a lot of other people would, too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Staggering Towards January 20th

Ladies and gentlemen, the fruit--or roosting chicken, if you prefer--of your MBA president.

If Team Bush had somehow managed, using glue, paste, gum, spit, whatever, to keep things on a more or less even keel through the transition, Obama would have been blamed for this mess within nanoseconds of taking the oath. Hell, as it stands, a good bit of wingnuttiastan is already blaming him...because, after all, wingnuts and logic have no relationship whatsoever.
Great Moments in Tone Deafness

On the one hand, you've got Bill Kristol counting coffins...

...while, on the other hand, both keeping with a general theme of tone deafness (and the fact that I'm a little busy today)--you'd think industry CEO's pleading for a bailout would be a little less conspicuous in the degree to which they feel entitled...but you'd be wrong.

I guess belt tightening is for the little people.
Knights of the White Cameli-Al Qaeda

Zawahiri can't resist scratching his inner racist itch:

In al-Qaida's first response to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect -- along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- "house Negroes."

Well, how bipartisan of him, not to mention wingnutesque.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lost in a Sea of Red Tape

You know, it's not like I want my politicians to be lying scumbag wheeler dealers...but do you really think Edwin or Huey or Uncle Earl would leave this many federal dollars unspent?

More than one-third of the $13.4 billion in federal block grant aid given to Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita remains unspent, according to information provided Tuesday to the state's hurricane recovery panel...

Most of the money was set aside for homeowner aid, but some was targeted for business loans and grants, rental property repair, work force training, college education and research programs, and state and local building repairs. Then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco's administration designed the programs, many of which are continuing under Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.

Some of the programs have been bogged down in bureaucracy, have requirements of upfront spending to be reimbursed, or haven't attracted a lot of interest.

Um, I'm sure LOTS of people would be interested, provided they weren't required to jump through an endless series of hoops (see Home, Road.)
The Most Exclusive Club in the World
From 2Millionth Web Log

So, Joe wins...and Obama even lent a helping hand. Sigh.
Deja Vu All Over Again
From 2Millionth Web Log

Houston residents displaced by Hurricane Ike are getting FEMA'd:

Two months after Ike struck, local officials say the federal government’s effort to install mobile homes for people whose houses are uninhabitable has become bogged down in bureaucratic delays.

What's sad is that this is really more a lack of will and/or concern than anything else. Just as it was in 2005.
Religious Quackery
From 2Millionth Web Log

Personally, I'm secular. That said, I don't go out of my way to mock other's beliefs. But this nonsense about Obama being the Antichrist--and Newsweek's apparent serious article--is wack, pure and simple. And goddamned sickening.

As is Newtie's little rant of victimhood.

Right now I'm trying to finish reading a book about Al Qaeda. Foolishly, I didn't start reading it until a week before it's due back at the library, because it's a quite fascinating look into the motivations of Islamic radicals. Interestingly enough, they have the same lunatic self-assurance as their Christianist counterparts. Lunatic self-assurance that can label a middle-of-the-road politician as "the Antichrist," or call for slamming hijacked airplanes into office buildings. And we all end up suffering the consequences of their lunacy.

If there IS a God, it'd be nice if She'd just make it stop.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A VERY Firm Slap on the Wrist for Senator Lieberman

Sigh...particularly when, as at least one big blogger (and Rachel Maddow) already noted, it's not at all unlikely that Senator Couldn't-be-bothered to investigate Shrub's treachery might well turn about-face for an Obama administration.

Joe is the intersection of DLC and GOP.
Richard--Or Should I Call You Dick?

I've got a different idea for recognizing George W. Bush in Baghdad.

Of course, it might be difficult to find a working sewage treatment facility in Baghdad these days...but that's kind of the point.
Nation of Whiner

Phil Gramm, certified public cretin:

He [Gramm] blamed others for the crisis: Democrats who dropped barriers to borrowing in order to promote homeownership; what he once termed "predatory borrowers" who took out mortgages they could not afford; banks that took on too much risk; and large financial institutions that did not set aside enough capital to cover their bad bets.

Typical--Mr. Party-of-Personal-Responsibility blames everyone but himself for a mess he's played a fairly large role in creating.

Just fade away and radiate, Phil.