Friday, August 29, 2008

80's Movie Line of the Week

Ever feel like Dark Helmet in Spaceballs?

Dark Helmet: Careful you idiot! I said across her nose, not up it!
Laser Gunner: Sorry sir! I'm doing my best!
Dark Helmet: Who made that man a gunner?
Major Asshole: I did sir. He's my cousin.
Dark Helmet: Who is he?
Colonel Sandurz: He's an asshole sir.
Dark Helmet: I know that! What's his name?
Colonel Sandurz: That is his name sir. Asshole, Major Asshole!
Dark Helmet: And his cousin?
Colonel Sandurz: He's an asshole too sir. Gunner's mate First Class Philip Asshole!
Dark Helmet: How many assholes do we have on this ship, anyway?
Entire Bridge Crew: Yo!
Dark Helmet: I knew it. I'm surrounded by assholes!
Dark Helmet: Keep firing, assholes!

Great Idea

A while back I was lauding the Fox Soccer Channel show, Premier League Fan Zone, where the announcer spots are filled by a fan form each of the two teams playing. It's usually hilarious and sometimes more insightful than listening to the regular announcers. Blogger Ryan at The Bellows suggests a similar tactic in a different application:

I don’t want to diminish the work of my journalist buddies, many of whom have written some really good, really insightful stuff on the speech. But I think that we’d get much more informative coverage by randomly selecting ten viewers and asking them to write what they thought of it.
An excellent idea! It could work one of two ways. Either you could actually select 10 random viewers and try to get a truer sense of the regular Joe reaction, or you could select 5 partisan Democrats and 5 partisan Republicans and play the whole thing more for entertainment value. In either case, it's probably better than what we get now.

Via Matt Yglesias.


Who says celebrities aren't like us? David Beckham may be one of the most famous people in the world, but he's also just a dude.

Got it here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can't Help Myself

Even though I knew it was going to piss me off, I finished watching Obama's speech and went straight to NRO's The Corner blog to see what the nation's leading conservative voices had to say. Well if I wanted to read something that would make me angry, I succeeded. But I also read a lot that made me scratch my head. Top of that list was this post from the reliably thick-headed Victor Hanson:

It was quite strange to see his enormous televised image shining through a Greek temple, as if he were Zeus speaking through the naos, giving us divine guidance on everything from turning off the television to ensuring we all go to college to promising an end to global warming and disease — with fire and lightning from Olympus in the background.
Really? Did that really look like a Greek temple to anyone else? Is he really taking on Obama for suggesting that parents should take care of their kids instead of the government? How does that not fit with Hanson's worldview? Does he have a problem with people going to college? Was he drinking when he wrote that post?

The Bite Me Express

Perhaps McCain's campaign could rename the Senator's bus after this exchange with Time Magazine:

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?Read it in my books.

I've read your books.
No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?
I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.

But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of ...
I think we're running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.

Do you miss the old way of doing it?
I don't know what you're talking about.

Really? Come on, Senator.
I'll provide as much access as possible ...

In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it's over?
[Does not answer.]

Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]
[Long pause.] I'm very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.
For the rest follow the link. The "Do I know you?" line is my favorite. Did they wake him up from a nap or what?

Stuff like this is why you have to wonder if all the worrying about what is happening in the polls is a bit premature. Of course, for Democrats, no time is the wrong time for worrying.


Bill Clinton is still the best.

Biden performed well.

Even John Kerry sounded good.

Can Barack top them tonight?

I think he will, but I am curious to see what kind of speech he gives. Will it be broad and inspirational (I think it should be), or will it be a "workman-like" policy filled speech as some of his people have been saying.

There will be criticism either way. If he goes inspirational, critics will charge we still don't know what Obama really stands for. If he goes policy, critics will say he missed an opportunity to rally the nation and wasn't being himself. I'd take the first criticism.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How Did This Ever Become a Question?

Republicans have decided to return to the use of Democratic Party in their 2008 platform, dumping the frequently used "Democrat Party," in effect since 1996. Says plaform committee chairman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour:

"We probably should use what the actual name is, at least in writing."
Yeah, probably.

Via Steve Benen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What a Compliment!

Did Michelle Obama do well in last night's speech? While there are certainly critics, the answer seem to be yes on the whole. Of course, some people are impressed in different ways than others. At the NRO blog, the righties have cooked up an interesting brew of real praise, feigned praise, non-praise, and, of course, faint praise. In fact, this statement from Lisa Schiffren belongs in the faint praise hall of fame.

To her credit, Michelle Obama did exactly what needed to be done tonight. She is serious enough about winning that she was willing to leave out the substance. Whatever vanity she has about her political/intellectual seriousness is less than her ambition. That is truly impressive.
To her credit, Schiffren's ability to ascribe the worst possible motives to the actions of her adversaries is trumped only by her impressive willingness to post such drivel without a hint of irony.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's for Your Own Good

Apparently, many of you delegates have refused to heed my advice. Fine you are on your own. I'm talking to you crazy hat lady, and you American flag tie guy.

Convention Delegate Advice

No matter how much the music may make you want to, don't dance. You will be on TV, and you will embarrass yourself.

Go Outside

If you are reading this from KC around the time it is posted, please go outside. Weather really doesn't get any better than it is right now. I shouldn't even be typing this right now.


Despite what many of his commenters think, Dan over at Gone Mild is a hell of a guy. Yesterday, he proved again by allowing me to tag along with his family to see Bruce Springsteen. I was not a Springsteen fan, and I still won't be downloading Born to Run, but I sure was impressed.

The show at the Sprint Center was probably the best concert I have ever seen where I didn't know 90% of the songs being played. The E-Street Band rocked, and Springsteen went all out like it was the first time he had ever been on stage. Understated would not be a word to describe the Boss, and occasionally he borders on corniness.

You absolutely cannot question his enthusiasm, however. And the energy around the show is infectious. I've never seen so many 50-year-olds dancing like teens in my life. It was quite a show.

Dan has posted his thoughts about the concert, and the setlist. Tim Finn of the Star reviews the show here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

80's Movie Line of the Week

When you are criticised, it is important to keep it in perspective. Spinal Tap helps us remember that.

Marty DiBergi: "This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry."
Nigel Tufnel: That's just nitpicking, isn't it?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


There is a great story at the New York Times site about Obama's economic views. Miracle of miracles, it is actually a piece that discusses the candidates actual policy ideas. It's long, but definitely worth the read.

Unfortunately, it also proves that the Obama team is a bunch of sissies, because if we have learned anything over the last few years, it is that facts are for wieners.

As anyone who has spent time with Obama knows, he likes experts, and his choice of advisers stems in part from his interest in empirical research. (James Heckman, a Nobel laureate who critiqued the campaign’s education plan at Goolsbee’s request, said, “I’ve never worked with a campaign that was more interested in what the research shows.”)
Might as well get him fitted for a pair of capris.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Fear

Watching all the polls and looking at predicted electoral maps, I get the uneasy feeling that election night will end this year the same way it has the past two cycles. Ohio and Florida may well again be the deciding states, and the headlines may be about shenanigans both real and imagined in those battleground states. I hope that is just me being a little too paranoid.

Not Done Yet

The Bush gang seems intent upon being the kids who give the principal the finger on the way out of school the last day. The finger is this:

A senior aide to Vice President Cheney is the leading contender to become a top official at the Energy Department, according to several current and former administration officials, a promotion that would put one of the administration's most ardent opponents of environmental regulation in charge of forming department policies on climate change.

F. Chase Hutto III has played a prominent behind-the-scenes role in shaping the administration's environmental policies for several years, the officials said, helping to rewrite rules affecting the air that Americans breathe and the waters that oil tankers traverse. In every instance, according to both his allies and opponents, he has challenged proposals that would place additional regulations on industry.
At least they're still putting in an effort right. No senioritis in this bunch.

Via TPM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Symbol of Futlity

ESPN conducted a poll to name the top player from every NFL franchise. Derrick Thomas won the honors for the Chiefs by a pretty wide margin. I loved Derrick Thomas as a player and this is in no way a complaint about his abilities.

But it is a pretty resounding condemnation of the Chiefs franchise that its greatest player never even played in a Super Bowl, and in fact played in only one AFC title game. Had Chiefs fans decided to name Len Dawson (who came in 3rd) the best player we would have Super Bowl title but would also be a stark reminder of how long it has been since the Chiefs played at that level. Had they named second place vote-getter Tony Gonzalez, the best player in franchise history would have never even won a playoff game.

Hey, at least we aren't the Ravens who have a kicker as their best player. Of course, that kicker has a Super Bowl ring.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Maybe it's because it's Monday. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in. Whatever, I am feeling pretty depressed by the response to the two presidential candidates speaking at the Saddleback Church on Saturday night. I missed the event, unfortunately, but the general consensus is that Obama was nuanced and McCain was clear and forceful.

There is some debate on the matter, but the clear majority believe this is a major win for McCain. Being nuanced is apparently akin to being uppity, detached, and not macho enough. I don't really have much to say about the subject other than that this is the kind of thing that makes me worry about the world we live in.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Make My Day Kid

"Reach for that cell phone one more time kid, and you are going to permanent time out." One of the large number of quotes my imagination conjures up regarding this new Texas law.

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas school district will let teachers bring guns to class this fall, the district's superintendent said on Friday, in what experts said appeared to be a first in the United States.

...Thweatt said it is a matter of safety.

"We have a lock-down situation, we have cameras, but the question we had to answer is, 'What if somebody gets in? What are we going to do?" he said. "It's just common sense."

80's Movie Line of the Week

Big helps remind us that kids and adults can say the same things but mean something totally different.

Susan: I'm not so sure we should do this.
Josh: Do what?
Susan: Well, I like you, and I want to spend the night with you.
Josh: Do you mean sleep over?
Susan: Well, yeah.
Josh: OK... but I get to be on top.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not a Good Combination

Inflation is up and worker earnings are down.

Consumer prices took another sharp jump last month with high energy prices fueling a 0.8% monthly increase — nearly double analysts' predictions — and chalked up a 12-month inflation rate of 5.6%, the highest since 1991, the Labor Department reported today.

...Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors said that other economic indicators released today were equally worrisome. The Labor Department also reported that workers' average weekly earnings declined by 0.8% in July and 3.1% over the last year, even after adjusted for inflation.
So everything is more expensive, but at least you're making less. These are the salad days.

Via Kevin Drum.

Probably Not What He Meant

I forgot to post last week on probably the best mixed metaphor I've ever heard. Actually, I suppose it isn't a mixed metaphor but a compound metaphor. Whatever you want to call it, it came from a Chiefs player being interviewed by 610 AM's Rhonda Moss at training camp.

"You know we just want to get something under our belts that we can hang our hats on."
Unfortunately, if you think too hard about the quote you eventually get around to thinking about how heavy a football helmet is. Ouch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Give and Receive

The Walkmen are releasing a new album titled You & Me. I'm not sure when it will be out officially, but you can download it now at a website called Amie Street for the low price of $5. Even better, the $5 is a donation to a worthy cause.

"All sales go the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, who is seven months old and doing a great job of fighting a very difficult disease." --The Walkmen
If you've never heard of The Walkmen, isn't this a good chance to give them a try? If you don't like them, all you did was give $5 to a little guy having a rough time. No losers there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tip of the Day

If someone starts out your conversation with "I was listening to the radio, and they said...," there is about an 80% chance whatever you are about to here is near paralyzing BS.

An Odd Place for Birds

I'm thinking the judge probably should have stepped in at some point here.

(Editor's note: I am having trouble with the embedded video, so here is the link:

These Guys are Real Pros

Read and be amazed:

The Bush administration yesterday proposed a regulatory overhaul of the Endangered Species Act to allow federal agencies to decide whether protected species would be imperiled by agency projects, eliminating the independent scientific reviews that have been required for more than three decades.
They really are bold aren't they? Kevin Drum puts it rather well.

I swear, sometimes all you can do is sit back and admire the chutzpah. This executive order would basically allow, say, the Army Corps of Engineers, to decide for itself if their projects were endangering any species — a process that would likely take them no more than about five minutes per species — and Kempthorne describes it as a "narrow" regulatory change. In other news, Vladimir Putin described his recent military adventures in South Ossetia as a "narrow" redeployment of Russian Army border troops.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good for the Goose

The thing about most of the stuff that McCain can throw at Obama is that Obama can throw it right back, probably more effectively. The Obama campaign is now firing back at the celebrity spots.

If you are the candidate that has been a guest on about half of all prime time television shows and in a couple movies, you might not want to start throwing around the derisive language about being a celebrity.

Olympic Fever

Last night, I was getting ready for the upcoming week and thinking about going to bed around 10:30 or so. I also had the Olympics on. I wanted to see the men's 4 x 100 freestyle relay because, well I'm not sure exactly. I guess because there was drama wrapped up in Michael Phelps' quest for eight gold medals and the French captain declaring that they would "smash" the American team.

So I sat watching the race as the French took what looked like an insurmountable lead. It looked like the entire pool was ahead of world record pace, but other than that, it seemed as though the drama wasn't going to be there. Then the U.S. anchor, Jason Lezak, started to gain on the French anchor in the last 50 meters.

A couple of important points here. One, I don't particularly care about swimming. Two, I don't hate the French. Yet, when Lezak finished the fastest split in relay history to out-touch the French swimmer by a fingernail. I, alone in my living room, leaped off my couch and screamed, "Yeeeessssss! USA! USA!"

Has there been anyone in my vicinity, I would have probably high-fived and bear-hugged them. Why? I have no idea why. I guess because it is the Olympics, and I have Olympic fever.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Krugman on Bush

Paul Krugman has an interesting column on the Republican Party's derision towards thought. My favorite paragraph talks about our current president's place in that worldview.

Let’s also not forget that for years President Bush was the center of a cult of personality that lionized him as a real-world Forrest Gump, a simple man who prevails through his gut instincts and moral superiority. “Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man,” declared Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2004. “He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.”

80's Movie Line of the Week

I am making it a goal to start eating better. I will be taking advice from 80's movies such as The Sure Thing.

Gib: You know, junk food doesn't deserve the bad rap that it gets. Take these pork rinds for example. This particular brand contains two percent of the R.D.A. - that's Recommended Daily Allowance - of riboflavin.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The Star has a story about the potentiality of the Chiefs first preseason homegame getting blacked out. My immediate reaction was bewilderment at the fact that blackout rules would even apply to preseason games. Anyone who has ever been to a single preseason game would understand why.

But it also prompts a more important question. Is this the year we finally face a regular season blackout in KC? It hasn't happened in over 140 games, but if the Chiefs come out of the gate 2-6 or something similar you have to think it is a likelihood this year. You know, not that it isn't fun to spend about $200 and a couple of hours in traffic to watch your team get pummeled.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bush Fatigue

I know the number and sheer audacity of many of the administration's actions have worn down even the most vigilant watchdogs. But if there was ever a time not to just let something slide, this has to be it.

Hopefully, you have already heard that Ron Suskind's latest book contains the claim that the White House attempted to forge a document linking Iraq and Al Qaida. You might not have though, since the media largely ignored the story yesterday (according to Dan Froomkin). NBC did cover the story, and Froomkin excerpts the following quote from Meredith Vieira's interview with Suskind.

Suskind replied: "It's interesting. Rob Richer talked to me and actually other reporters, too, yesterday morning -- he was fine. He'd gotten the book Monday night, read it. And then something happened yesterday afternoon. It's, you know, it's one of these instances you've got a few people whose testimony could mean the impeachment ostensibly of the president. It's enormous pressure on both men. Look, I'm sympathetic to them. They're good guys. I've spent a lot of time with them. Their interviews are taped. . . . "
If the interviews are taped, let's go. Somebody subpoena those tapes and the interviewees and let's find out what happened. These are very serious allegations. It shouldn't be considered "playing politics" to get to the bottom of them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh the Outrage!

Ventured over to the NRO site today and found this:

Hope you're sitting down for this Fox News and AP report from Tennesseestan:

Workers at a Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Tennessee have opted to trade a paid Labor Day holiday for the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr. A 5-year contract approved by members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at the Shelbyville, Tenn., plant last November includes the change to accommodate Muslim workers.
The only comment on the excerpted story is that the author hopes I am sitting down, so he apparently thinks this is shocking. According to the excerpt, a few others do too.

News of the holiday change has prompted some anger on local Web message boards, with some writings urging readers to contact the AFL-CIO and boycott Tyson products.
What an outrage that a bunch of workers could negotiate with their employer to set up a work schedule that benefitted them more than what a bunch of knuckleheads think is appropriate. This is apparently not the Libertarian wing of conservatism.

Wisdom of the Masses

I know it is one poll, in one week, of a long election. But seeing John McCain gain serious ground on Barack Obama by going with negative (and preposterous) ads makes you really worry about the competency of the citizenry. It's hard to even blame McCain's camp for ratcheting up the nonsense if that is what brings results.

There is an argument that McCain's team is at fault because the public has always been susceptible to these kinds of tricks, but general good faith politics precluded the most juvenile attacks. Even if you accept the dubious premise that these times are different than those gone by, this argument is unconvincing at best.

The fact is that if the public is susceptible to these tactics, the public needs to be accountable for its idiocy. If that means getting more of the same silly ads that everyone currently decries, then so be it. It might also meaning getting whichever candidate has less hesitancy about diving into the gutter. The public might just deserve it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

It's a time for philosophisin' right now. There is no better 80's philosopher than Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China.

Jack Burton: When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

Good For Them

The "them" is the Obama campaign. They declined comment on an article in the Wall Street Journal about Obama's weight.

But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.
That is seriously a real story in the Wall Street Journal, and the photo above is posted with the story online.

The author does give some pretty strong evidence that this could be a problem. She pulls two quotes from a Yahoo message board that mention that Obama needs to "put some meat on his bones," and is a "beanpole."

I am proud of Obama's campaign for not dignifying this with comment.

Via Kevin Drum.

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