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Friday, January 28, 2005

This weekend will produce yet another watershed moment in the development of democracy in the Middle East when Iraqis dodge the bullets and bombs Sunday to vote in the country's first-ever democratic election. Plenty of scorn and skepticism have been dumped upon the idea of elections in such an unstable country: Will they be considered legitimate? Will the Sunnis proceed with their boycott? Do the elections really mean anything, or are they purely symbolic? Will they do more to foster civil war than democracy? Will election day result in the bloodiest day yet in Iraq?

Legitimate questions all, but I'm not going to add to the skepticism. What's important to understand is that these elections are only a first step and they will not change things overnight. I honestly hope the elections happen and I hope they happen with little strife and violence. Is that realistic? No, but we can still hope.

With more than 100 political parties and 275 seats to be filled, Iraq's first election promises to be a confusing one for sure. While the election process in Iraq may dramatically differ from our own here in the States, there are some similarities. For example, this editorial from the Capitol Times in Madison states:
"Even the top contenders for positions in the soon-to-be-organized National Assembly appear to be having their doubts about whether it makes sense to go forward with an election when most voters do not know who the candidates are or what they stand for."
Unfamiliar with the candidates? Uninformed about the issues? Of course you can go forward Iraq, that's exactly how we do things here! And then there is the ultra-ironic similarities between the insurgents in Iraq vowing to disrupt the elections and the very folks here in Washington vowing to conduct them amid the violence:
"The radical Ansar al-Sunnah Army and two other insurgent groups issued a statement Thursday warning that democracy was un-Islamic. Democracy could lead to passing un-Islamic laws, such as permitting homosexual marriage, if the majority of people agreed to it, the statement said."
Hmmmm, sounds oddly similar to one of Bush's stump speeches, no?

Good luck Iraq, even we dissenters are hoping things work out this weekend. And remember, make sure your ballot is punched all the way through – lord knows we don't want your first voting experience marred by any pregnant or dangling chads. Oh, and if your ballot is ticking, drop it and run, your vote wont' count if it explodes.

Iraqi Elections: A Primer (video)
The Iraq Vote: Who's Running?
Mark Fiore: Missed Opportunities in Iraq
CS Monitor: Messy First Steps

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Check out al Qaeda's latest foot soldier...

Seriously, can someone please explain to me how, in a post-9/11 world, in the city considered by most to still be target numero uno, a vagrant, a shopping car full of lumber and a book of matches can shut down one of the city's most heavily trafficked commuter rails for up to five years? You suck MTA.


Monday, January 24, 2005

I've kind of been hoping I'd wake up and realize it was all just a big 'ol nightmare, but all that excessive pomp and pageantry oozing from the Beltway last Thursday kind of confirmed it – we really do have to deal with this shit for four more years.

Over the weekend, a friend of mine asked me if I was going to blog anything about the festivities. He told me he was interested in my opinion of W's crowning, but I honestly haven't been able to come up with anything other than, "pbbbbbbbbbbbbbbtttttttt!"

Yep, that's pretty much how I felt. Sure, I was upset about the seemingly unnecessary excess of the parties and balls, the contrast of fur coats and mink stolls against bloodied uniforms, and the fact that Cheney chose the Ashcroft-penned "Let the Eagles Soar" to be played during his swearing in. But still, all that pretty much led to was a big 'ol "pbbbbbbbbbbbbttt!" But then I saw the cover of The Stranger, the alternative Seattle weekly that, in a roundabout way, birthed this blog, and it pretty much summed up how I was feeling:

For a larger version, go here.

I didn't watch the ceremony (what am I, a masochist?), but I was excited when the first headlines of Bush's speech appeared: 'Bush Sworn In, Vows End to Tyranny.' I thought, 'hey, maybe he's changing his ways!' I quickly realized however that he was talking about other people's tyranny, not his own. Damn.

Reaction to the speech from across the country was varied, depending primarily on the color of one's state. Some heard a speech that demonstrated unwavering strength in the face of terrorism. Others heard the sound of unwanted war drums beating in Iran and other havens of 'evil' across the globe. And still others heard an idealistic fantasy short on real-world details. ('How are you going to accomplish all that Mr. President?' 'Well, by blowing more stuff up of course!') Again, I missed the speech myself so I can't really say, but I'm pretty certain freedom was a theme. And liberty, don't forget liberty.

And of course what would a Bush appearance be without the protests? They didn't get much coverage, but they were certainly there. Thousands of protestors lined the parade route to boo, throw things or simply turn their backs on the president as he passed by. A few groups, including Code Pink, who has made a habit of crashing Bush's parties, were even able to infiltrate and interrupt W's speech, rising from their seats to shout a few anti-war phrases before being beaten to hell with bags of money carried by the president's supporters. Because we loony lefties love to prop up our fellow loonies, here's a few choice protest photos:

'Ok, anyone holding a symbolic,
homemade coffin, please move to
the back row. Thank you.'

That's how to say it if you don't want the FCC
to arrest your ass.

A Dick in a Limo: 'Look, they're greeting us with
flowers and candy! Oh wait, that's a snowball...
Go fuck yourselves, all of you!!'

But the protests were certainly not the biggest story to come out of president's coronation celebration, no sirreeee. And it wasn't the speech that made the most noise around the world either. No, that title went to none other than Jenna Bush and her confusing sign language. The first twin's hand gesture in the following photo apparently translates into a whole mess of different things, depending on where you live in the world. Either Jenna worships the devil, she's calling her dad's own bullshit, or she loves her Longhorns.

Confusing yes, but let me clear this up for everyone: Jenna is simply a proud, fun-loving, sometimes drunk, University of Texas alum – her dad is the one aligned with mighty Lucipher.
Glad we got that straightened out.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, and because I'm too lazy to come up with anything more, Days presents the George W. Bush Inaugural Photo Album. Enjoy.

From Halliburton's coffers direct to God. Ahhh, the circle of life.

'Seriously, can you please clear your crap out of the office?'

'What could I do, my wife is crazzzzzzzy!'

'Hehehe... you said 'duty'.'

'Oh Grandpa, you're so funny... do you even know what a dirty sanchez is??'

'Wheeeeeeeeee! Tippy hat! Tippy hat!'

'Don't impugn my integrity or I swear to almighty god I will kick your ass.'

Bush sees the Jesus float roll by.

'Anyone up for a little light torture?'

'This sucks. When's your coke guy gonna show?'

'Later tonight, you and me are doing it blue-state style baby...'

'Dude! Do not spill my drink!'

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

The world reacts: 'Rut a frucking rasshore.'

The Daily Show: The Re-Oathening
Mark Fiore:
Inaugural Roadmap
Jib Jab: Second Term
Wonkette: Inaugural LiveBlogging
WA Post: What did that speech mean?
Village Voice:
Eve of Destruction
SMH: The Emperor of Vulgarity...
... and John Kerry as The Bridesmaid.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Apologies for the recent lack of postings everyone... I'm blaming the snow.

See, we blue-staters can't even have a snowstorm without displaying our lack of morals... we watch Spongebob (so gay!) and make 'penis angels' in the snowdrifts.

"Tolerance is for Homos!"

Friday, January 07, 2005

American actor Richard Gere learned this week that his celebrity does not extend to as far as the West Bank. The Dalai Lama's best bud filmed a public service announcement for the group One Voice in a get-out-the-vote effort ahead of Sunday's election to name a succesor to Yasser Arafat. When asked, most Palestinians had no idea who Richard Gere was, proving his most recent effort, "Shall We Dance", with J.Lo really did more damage to his career than anyone thought. One of those who voiced befuddlement over Gere's celebrity was Manar an-Najar, a soap factory worker in Gaza:
"I don't even know who the candidates are other than Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), let alone this Gere. We don't need the Americans' intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them -- they elected a moron."

IMDB: Richard Gere
Destination H'wood: You could make a mathematical problem out of his career
Gere Loves The Dalai Lama: "He's an artist and he's a farmer."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

"Quaint" is the word Bush's attorney general nominee Alberto Gonzales, whose confirmation hearings begin today, used in a memo to describe the Geneva Convention when, as chief White House counsel, he advised the president on how to sidestep international law to allow the type of 'interrogation' tactics, also known as torture. These tactics exploded last year when the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal became public. Originally dismissed as an isolated incident (or, if you're Rush Limbaugh, a "fraternity prank") the tactics used at Abu Ghraib have since been revealed as widespread and authorized by top administration officials, all because Mr. Gonzales found himself a legal loophole to exploit.

Those infamous photos from Abu Ghraib probably set any hope for progressive relations with the Muslim world back at least decade. Of course, since a rebuttal to Gonzales' infamous memo to Bush, saying the new policy would "undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops," produce "negative international reaction" and "provoke some individual foreign prosecutors to investigate and prosecute our officials and troops." Once again, Powell, the lone voice of reason in W's 1st term cabinet, spoke out against the administration. And for that, Powell is on his way out and Gonzales is on his way in. As always, loyalty trumps logic in Bush World.

Gonzales' actions have been heavily criticized by a raft of opponents, both expected (Democrats, the ACLU), and unexpected (Republicans, the military). The administration tried to pull a fast one last Friday, releasing a new memo on torture to "replace" Gonzales' original 'sure-it's-ok-to-shock-em-in-the-balls' memo with a less torture-friendly one. Once again, in its oh-so-Orwellian way, the Bush administration is trying to erase and rewrite history.

Regardless of all of this, Gonzales' nomination will most likely be confirmed after his feet are politely (but not seriously) held to the fire by Congress. Administration cheerleaders and apologists will hail the nomination of Gonzales, the son of Mexican immigrants, as a sign of W's progressive politics and unprecedented diversity of his cabinet. But don't be fooled by all the hoo-haa sure to come out of Washington in the coming weeks. This man's record, which not only includes the aforementioned recommendations of torture but also the legal ink on W's record-setting execution resume while serving as governor of Texas, should not be trumped by his lineage.

If (when) Gonzales is confirmed, us unpatriotic dissidents may long for the days of John Ashcroft as we're being forced to jump onto Gonzales' naked man-pile of shame.

Slate: All the President's Lawyers
Nation: The Case Against Gonzales
People for the American Way: Statement of Opposition
WA Post: A Full History of the Torture Memo Scandal
Video: Say No to Torture
Sign MoveOn's petition

Just remember, the actions of this man: resulted in this:

Monday, January 03, 2005


Bush, returning to his yell-leader roots, gets a send-off from his hometown Crawford High School cheer squad at the Waco airport on his back to DC yesterday after a grueling week of brush-cutting and twig-hauling at his ranch.

Look closely at this photo... where in the world are the hands of the 3rd cheerleader from the left? Maybe that explains Bush's surprised-but-happy face in the photo. If this were Clinton, it would make sense, but isn't W. a bit too conservative to be getting a tarmac HJ from a high schooler? For shame.

Also, Low Culture asks the appropriate question: "Are these the most covered-up cheerleaders you've ever seen?"

Cheerleaders for Truth
From Cheerleader to Cowboy (Washington Dispatch)
W's Athletic History: "
He could only dribble with his right hand" (ESPN)
Bush was a
dirty rugby player. (LC)

Ok, I know you're supposed to put this kind of shit out before the New Year, but cut me some slack, I'm new. So, how to sum up 2004? In an acronymn: WTF?! Personally, I'm glad 2004 is over as it didn't quite turn out how I had hoped, primarily due to the fact that what's-his-face is still in the White House. But I wasn't the only one who had a disappointing year. 2004 wasn't a very good to domestic divas, pedophilic pop stars, celebrity boobs or murderous fertilizer salesmen. Neither was it a very good year if you were gay, unemployed, or, thanks to one failed policy and misjudgment after another from the civilian 'leadership', a US soldier. Nope, it seemed as though the only people who had good years were those horribly dressed, rich, white people who invaded New York City at the end of August. But hey, at least we had Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Tara Reid to keep us entertained. Enough with the set-up, let's take one last spin through 2004... so we hopefully never have to think about it again.


POP DAYS: Britney's begins her descent into trashville with a drunken, early-morning, panty-less wedding in Vegas to childhood pal Jason Alexander. A mere 55 hours later, reality would smack Alexander in the face with anulment papers, and somewhere Kevin Federline jumped for joy ... Australian crocodile fetishist Steve Irwin sets the "WTF??" tone for 2004 by dangling his 1-month-old infant over the mouth of a hungry croc, and then not understanding why people were so shocked. Steve Irwin: Australian for stupid ... the King of Pop kicks off his circus, er, child molestation trial, with a rooftop moonwalk ... Bennifer (Affleck and J.Lo, not Affleck and Garner) call it quits; the lone Gigli fan mourns ... James Brown charged with domestic violence against his wife, vies for photo of the year.

LESS POPPY: As Iraq begins to spin out of control, President Bush sets his sights on loftier heights of conquer: Mars ... a Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Iraq, killing 9 US soldiers ... CIA chief weapons inspector David Kay steps down, proclaiming (for the first of several times in 2004) that there are no WMDs in Iraq ... former Bush treasury secretary Paul O'Neill becomes the first in a parade of former adminstration members to criticize the Bush team, bringing the phrase "like a the lexicon, whatever it means exactly ... the Bush administration revises the cost of its Medicare plan from $395 billion to $534 billion after it had been passed by congress. Oops! ... Senator John Kerry surprises the pundits by taking the first two Democratic primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. Howard Dean implodes: Arrrgghhhhh!


POP DAYS: Janet Jackson's tit ruins the country forever ... but just in the nick of time, Mel Gibson gives us the Passion of the Christ to absolve all our tit-related sins; millions of end-of-days disciples worldwide flock to theatres to catch a glimpse of Gibson's 2-hour-and-six-minute snuff film ... the great culture of war of 2004 rages on when Clear Channel drops lesbian midget-loving Howard Stern ... the Massachusettes Supreme Court rules in support of gay marriage, playing right into the evil, pudgy hands of one Karl Rove; the mayor of San Francisco reinforces the city's sassy reputation, just in case you'd forgotten ... in unison, the entire country gets tired of Outkast's grammy-winning 'Hey Ya'; the group forces yet another apology from CBS ... a bunch of hairy-footed, ring obsessed trolls sweep the Oscars.

LESS POPPY: Protests and revolt rock the island nation of Haiti, forcing President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to be kidnapping by the US military ... Bush waves a finger at the homos, threatening to constutionally send them back into the closet ... meanwhile, in Baghdad, twin suicide bombings kill 104 Iraqis in two days ... Halliburton, formerly run by Dick Cheney, is accused of over-charging the US government, which Cheney pretty much runs, for gas in the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, which Cheney pretty much orchestrated, after being awarded no-bid contracts for the work in those countries by none other than Dick Cheney. Wait, what? ... Someone tries to poison Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Darn! Foiled again!


POP DAYS: The Diva of Domesticity, Martha Stewart, is convicted of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators about her Imclone stock deals, begins fashioning shiv cozies for her upcoming stay in the clink ... legendary folk rocker Bob Dylan sells out, shills for panties. But really, have you seen Adriana Lima? I'd do it too. In fact, I'd wear panties if Lima asked me to ... Courtney Love loses her mind, flashes her breasts (six times!) on Letterman, beans a fan with a mike stand during a suprise show at a downtown NYC club, sends a photographer to the hospital at another show, and then, in the coup de grâce, Courtney lets a passerby suckle her boob in front of a Union Square Wendy's as the shutterbugs pop away ... my favorite movie of the year, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, released; everyone wonders if we can erase Courtney Love from our memories.

LESS POPPY: Simultaneous explosions on rush hour trains in Madrid kill 190 people ... the 9/11 Commission, which Bush never wanted in the first place, interviews Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Richard Clarke, who tells the victim's families and the country he's sorry; Rumsfeld calls him a pussy ... US civilian contract workers in Iraq shot and dragged through the streets of Falluja ... John Kerry wins Super Tuesday, effectively clinching the Democratic nomination; everyone but Denis "The Kooch" Kucinich, who I think is still running to this day, concedes; Edwards begins to suck up to Big John ... Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia releases a 21-page memo explaining why it's ok for him to go duck-hunting with Dick Cheney one weekend and impartially oversee his energy task force case the next. Quack.


POP DAYS: Sporting severe bruises, Kevin Spacey tells London police he was attacked at 4 am in Hyde Park, then says he tripped over his dog, then says he was chasing after someone who ran off with his cell phone. Better question: what was Kevin Spacey doing in Hyde Park at 4 am? Spacey indeed ... Billy Joel plays bumper cars on Long Island for the third time in less than two years, this time slamming through the front door of a 90-year-old woman's house. Don't worry, he sent flowers ... Usher and Lil' Jon take over where Outkast left off, keep the crunk going for pretty much the rest of the year ... Prince returns! ... Mean Girls released in theaters nationwide; Lindsay Lohan unleashed on the general population.

LESS POPPY: A chubby little Shiite cleric named Moqtada al Sadr tries to be the face of insurgency, making a name for himself by blowing things up, namely US soliders ... two fuel trains collide in North Korea, killing scores; nobody is sure of the death toll as North Korea explains that there's "nothing to see here, move along" ... former NFL linebacker Pat Tillman is killed in Iraq, bringing the war home to fratboys everywhere .... hostage taking fast becomes Iraq's favorite pastime ... the Bush administration hated April: Condy's 9/11 testimony battle, an admission of withholding documents from that commission, the PDB, and the locked-behind-closed-doors, Bush/Cheney 9/11 Commission puppet show ... and then there was that press conference, the one that made you really wonder if the president might actually be retarded ... to top it all off, at month's end, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal enters into the public consciousness, shaming the country and destroying any hope for progressive relations with the Muslim world for decades. Rush Limbaugh defends the actions as nothing worse than a fraternity prank. Yep, Big Fat Idiot.


POP DAYS: After more than a decade on the air, Friends finally puts us out of our misery. Oh, and Frasier ends too; wait, Frasier was still on? ... Gwyneth Paltrow gives birth to a fruit, or perhaps it was an iMac ... Prime Minister Tony Blair gets pelted by a purple powder pillow while addressing the House of Commons; Fathers for Justice (and Pranks!) strikes again! ... the Sopranos gets good again, RIP Adriana ... NYC beats out powerhouses Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig and Rio de Janeiro to make it to the final round in the Let-The-Olympics-Ruin-Your-City contest; if the city wins the games, I plan to move.

LESS POPPY: The violence gets worse in civil war-torn Chechnya as a bomb planted underneath a grandstand at Grozny's Dynamo stadium kills President Akhmad Kadyrov ... Bush speaks out on that Abu Ghraib thing, properly pronounces "abhorrent" ... Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld becomes the lightning rod for the Abu Ghraib scandal, but Days is there to defend him; or rather, defend leading to a raid on his Baghdad compound. Chalabi, who only four months earlier had sat alongside Laura Bush at W's State of the Union speech and was being given $350k a month by the US government, boasted that he "played" BushCo. into ousting Saddam so he himself could make a power-grab in Iraq. Bush feigns ignorance; people believe him ('Bush? Ignorant? Yeah, I'll buy that') ... 20-year civil war in the Darfur region of Sudan rages on, world sorta starts to take notice ... kidnapped American Nick Berg's body is found, decapitated, in Baghdad. Berg's grisly death is one of the first in a disturbing pattern of beheadings, many of them recorded and released to the world via the Internet.


POP DAYS: In a brilliant move to publicize the release of her and her sister's forthcoming movie "New York Minute," Mary-Kate Olsen checks herself into a Utah clinic for an eating disorder; Ashley now dubbed "the fat Olsen" ... Bill Clinton releases his 937-page autobiography "My Life"; millions of Americans get new doorstops, briefly forget who John Kerry is. Clinton recaptures the spotlight he craves so much, hoping to parlay his regenerated celebrity into a date with the "fat" Olsen twin ... J.Lo finds her soul-mate, again, marrying the just-divorced Latin pop star Marc Anthony in a private ceremony at her LA mansion; Ben Affleck, P.Diddy and Cris Judd laugh their asses off, shouting "Sucka!" in unison ... Michael Moore's Bush-bashing documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" debuts; Rove grins again ... in lighter fare, sequels abound, including Shrek 2, Harry Potter and Spider Man 2; all sacrifice plot logic for kick-ass special effects ... hip-hop artist and dog lover DMX arrested at JFK airport for impersonating FBI agents, carjacking, crashing a security gate and possessing crack; nobody bats an eye.

LESS POPPY: CIA Director George Tenet 'receive a medal for his failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks and his reliance on faulty information in the run-up to the Iraq war ... Republican icon Ronald Reagan finally succumbs to Alzheimer's, prompting a seemingly Paul Johnson and South Korean translator Kim Sun Il the latest victims ... in a secret ceremony, to avoid being blown up, the US hands over sovereignty (and a lethal insurgency) to Iraq's interim government, prompting Bush to scribble "Let Freedom Reign" (or is it "ring"?) at a NATO summit in Turkey. US civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer sneaks out of Baghdad under cover of darkness, also on his way to a medal ... to celebrate the handover, Iraqi insurgents kill more than 100 in coordianted attacks in Falluja, Ramadi, Baquba, Mosul, and Baghdad ... Saddam Hussein makes his first court appearance to hear preliminary charges against him; Saddam calls the proceedings "theater" designed by Bush, insists he is still president of Iraq, and tells people in the court to please stop snickering at him.

- end, part 1 -

Stay tuned for part 2... coming soon.

Meanwhile, here's some other crap to keep you busy.

Getty Images: 2004 in Pictures
Wikipedia: Everything 2004
CNN: 2004 in Review
Gawker: 2005, What a Year!

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