Saturday, September 24, 2005

"A Gentleman's Disagreement"

Bill O'Reilly had General Wesley Clark on the Bully Pulpit last night to talk about National Guard mobilization for Hurricane Rita, but still took some time to hit the Fox News/RNC talking points memo to smear Cindy Sheehan. The General wasn't biting (pay attention to the bold and italicized Clark quote):

CLARK: I can't imagine that she doesn't like the country.

O'REILLY: Well, she said we committed murder.

CLARK: She supported her son serving in the armed forces and I can tell ya' there's a lot of people who wear that American flag pin who wouldn't let their children serve in the armed forces so I honor any parent whose son serves in the armed forces - or daughter.

O'REILLY: Alright, Gentlemen's disagreement but just go back and look at the things that she said, General. I don't know if this is the company you want to keep.

CLARK: Lets talk next week. I'll talk about the policy, not the company.

O'REILLY: We'll get - we'll get deeply into that.

CLARK: Alright.

Transcript courtesy of Newshounds

This came two days after Phil Donahue got the better of O'Reilly when their discussion turned to Sheehan. After some heated discussion between staying the course in Iraq and "cutting and running", Donahue brought the hammer down.

DONAHUE: (reasonable tone of voice) Now listen - listen. You wouldn't send your children to this war, Bill.

O'REILLY (very angry, pointing): My nephew just enlisted in the Army. You don't know what the hell you're talkin' about!!!

DONAHUE: Very good. Very good. Congratulations! You should be proud ..

O'REILLY (starts to lose it, shouting, pointing finger, hand shaking): And he's a patriot, so don't denigrate his service or I'll boot you right off the set!!!

DONAHUE: I'm not ... I'm not ...

O'REILLY (very, very loud): That boy made a decision to serve his country!!! Do not denigrate him or you're outta here!!!

DONAHUE (calmly): I'm not Jeremy Glick, Billy.

O'REILLY: That's right!!

DONAHUE: You can't intimidate me!!

O'REILLY: You're a little bit more intelligent that he is!!

DONAHUE: I'm not somebody you can come and just spew all your ...

O'REILLY: Don't tell me I wouldn't send my kids.

DONAHUE: Loud doesn't mean right!

O'REILLY: My nephew just enlisted. You don't know what you're talkin' about!!

DONAHUE: Your nephew is not your kid. You are like ...

O'REILLY: He's my blood!

DONAHUE: You are part of a loud group of people who wanna prove they're tough ...

O'REILLY (shifts angrily in his chair, under his breath): Aw fer ...

DONAHUE: ... and send other people's kids to war to make the case.

Now go back to the Clark quote: "...there's a lot of people who wear that American flag pin who wouldn't let their children serve in the armed forces..."

Now Donahue: "Your nephew is not your kid."

For the record, O'Reilly wears a flag pin on his lapel.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm Oscar Dot-Com

Arrested Development is far-and-away the funniest thing on standard broadcast television, and I'm hoping that moving it to Monday nights will get it the audience it so rightly deserves. So stop reading this and head over to the very real and let the laughs consume you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Well at Least They Had A Rap

The FEMA Rap for Kidz (from the FEMA web site. Seriously.), via Harry Shearer's Le Show. I couldn't stop laughing this morning when listening to this on the way to work.

It's only fitting since the former director handled his job worse than an eight-year-old.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Finally, Some Good News

While the politicos and others play the blame game, which I guess must be similar to the name game. Which I didn't play in Kindergarten because of my name: "chuck, chuck, bo-buck, banana-nana-mo-muck, fe fi fo fu-oooOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH!"

Anyhoo, here's a list from WWOZ in New Orleans of musicians and bands who are safe in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood that FEMA prophesied but didn't act to protect against.

Something that I wanted to post on last week but didn't- mainly because I was sick of feeding into the negativity of the whole fallout from the flood- was this touching tribute by Harry Shearer from the Labor Day edition of his radio program Le Show. Shearer and his wife live part of the year in the Crescent City and the show was a welcome respite from the zingers and arrows flung by both conservatives and liberals last week. I downloaded the podcast to my iPod and shared it with everyone I could (the whole program is available at Shearer's website, Audible, KCRW Santa Barbara, and iTunes). 59 of the most mesmerizing minutes of radio I've heard in a long time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

And So It Begins...

as it always does, with a little seed. With care and nuturing it becomes a hearty plant. Or, in this age of conservative spin control, it becomes the truth. They're also tossing about the casual notion that Governor Kathleen Blanco should bear culpability for not federalizing the Louisiana Guard after the levee broke and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for allowing a welfare culture to fester in his city making the poor too lazy to leave. But, as the President said, "No one knew the levee was gonna break." I mean, criticizing Kanye West for criticizing Our Holy Leader on national television can only get you so far before people remember what we were talking about before.

Meanwhile in Texas a woman who was wife of one President and mother of another says something that is so shocking you have to listen to it again in order to make sure you heard it right, lest you be lumped in with the nutcases, feminazis, communists, terrorist sympathizers, supporters of the welfare state, and general cowards. But I'm assuming that since you're reading this you already are lumped in that corner, the young Republicans at the Reagan Review excepted. And I'm holding out hope that you meet some people in college who show you can convert you to good old Marxism

I was inclined to give Barbara Bush the benefit of the doubt when I heard the sound bite, thinking that maybe she misspoke and was comparing the situation of the Katrina refugees to the squalor they found themselves in last week. I even went so far as to comment about it on Scott Smith's Chicagoist post this afternoon. Then I remembered who we were dealing with. She might as well have quoted Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat cake!"

I remembered that for all of Dubya's bluster about following in his father's footsteps, at least George Herbert Walker Bush knew to keep people like Cheney and Rumsfeld on a short leash. If anything he's his mother's son- a true momma's boy. Barbara Bush is a woman who Richard Nixon admired because she "knew how to hate." She nurses a grudge against her son like she does a vodka tonic- long after the ice has melted.

In his book Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair And Balanced Look At The Right Al Franken writes of a chance encounter with Mrs. Bush that goes horribly wrong after Franken points out some physical quirks of her son, then made a not-so-subtle reference for her son's defeat:

"A scowl flashed over her face. And, dismissing me with an imperious wave of her hand, she issued a stern 'Well, I'm through with you!'

"It was so over the top, I was convinced she was kidding.

"'Oh, c'mon, I'm a Democrat,' I said, in all good fun

'"'I gathered that. And I'm through with you!' Another wave of the hand."

Later at a bat mitzvah in Washington Franken relayed the story to a growing list of Beltway insiders:

"...(W)hat everyone who knew Barbara Bush thought was funniest- by far- was that I kept thinking that she had been kidding.

"I kept hearing things like: 'Oh, no, she's a horrible bitch.' 'Omigod, she's the worst bitch on earth. 'She can be very charming, but Barbara Bush is the Queen Bitch.'"

So knowing that, are we really surprised that she even said that now?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I Can Throw Out Large Numbers Too, Mr. President!

So Mario and I were talking last night after the President's promise to rebuild Trent Lott's house and we got to speaking in dubya. We came up with this nugget:

"Since you all like looting so much we want you to find a sporting goods store or army/navy surplus, get yourself some waterproof matches and purification tablets, and boil yourself some drinking water. And maybe a bowie knife so you can kill an alligator for food. Stop waiting for us."

We're also working on a bit called "Operation 'No Part Of The Pig Left Unused'": free range chitterlings, pork crackling, and mountain oysters.

Embarrassment, or Genuine Frustration?

Kanye West goes off script last night during NBC's Katrina relief telethon. Appearing in a segment with Mike Myers to solicit donations for the Red Cross, Myers reads from the prompter. Kanye... well, he was Kanye. His full comments:

"I hate the way they portray us in the media.

"If you see a black family it says they are looting if you see a white family it says they are looking for food.

"And you know that it’s been 5 days because most of the people are black and even for me to complain … I would be a hypocrite because I would turn away from the TV because it’s too hard to watch. I’ve even been shopping before giving a donation and so right now I’m calling my business manager what is the biggest amount I can give.

"And just to imagine if I was down there, those are my people down there. So anybody out there who wants to help with the set up, the way that America is set up to help … The poor, the black people, the less well off as slow as possible. I mean, Red Cross is doing everything they can.

"We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war now fighting another way and they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us."

(Mike Myers tries to get back on prompter, reads from script and then camera cuts back to Kanye. He pauses before)

Kanye West: "George Bush doesn’t care about black people."

(NBC does a quick cut to comedian/actor Chris Tucker.)

To be fair, Dubya doesn't care about anyone who's still stuck in NOLA right now. It isn't just blacks- although the racial divide is certainly heightened in Katrina's aftermath- but also a question of addressing the economic divide, as well. To that end I need to give kudos to Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera at Fox News Channel for absolutely shutting Sean Hannity up from touting the neo-con party line with their reports from the convention center (you can use the same link to view the video). Mississippi native Smith in particular has been very objective in reporting on the gravity of the situation all week, pulling people wading in the water along I-10 out and onto the exit ramp refugee camp, trying in vain to get a police officer to answer questions, and detailing harrowing and unfiltered accounts of the anarchy at the convention center. Should he keep this up Smith might be lookig for another job by years end.

Kanye's comments last night have given the right a much-needed distraction from the failure of compassionate conservatism in the Gulf Coast. Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin- a 21st Century version of Tokyo Rose- catches her readers up on Kanye from what appears to be a passing glance at Wikipedia, filtered with the withering satire of a sorority girl who only gave her husband handjobs when they were dating because she was hellbent on saving herself for her wedding night. Kanye's comments have given kool-aid drinking harpies like Malkin a brief distraction from the realities of compassionate conservatism:

"West may be Time's "smartest man in pop music," but he also happens to be a tinfoil-hat conspiracist who raps about how the government invented the AIDS virus and a petulant sore loser who delivered a tirade at the American Music Awards when he didn't get a trophy."

While West's comments at Live 8 about the AIDS virus were largely uninformed and only perpetuated the theory that HIV was created to wipe out African Americans, Malkin should probably subscribe to the "pot kettle black" theory in trying to punk him out. After all, at least Kanye West isn't a minority advocating racial profiling and defending Japanese-American internment camps during Wold War II, claiming we never had fiscal responsibility under Democratic leadership, smearing Cindy Sheehan, making false accusations of an Ohio organization registering a terrorist to vote, and claiming that John Kerry's shrapnel injuries in Vietnam were self-inflicted.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Give What You Can

It goes without saying- time, money, blood, sweat, labor- give what you can. The death toll in the Gulf Coast could reach 10,000 and it could be 3-6 months before New Orleans is drained and cleaned. And then talks of rebuilding can begin.

And with that, today's Quote of the Day, courtesy of President Bush:

"We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

And just wait'll you see the new slave quarters.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

From The Man Who Brought Us Disco Demolition...

The first tasteless humor about Hurricane Katrina by Steve Dahl.

Unbowed, Dahl waxes philosophic about Katrina on his weblog:

"And I blame the news media too. Everybody in New Orleans was told to evacuate, but when you see Anderson Cooper and all of those other idiots on TV standing out there in the storm, you think riding out the storm must be do-able.

"So what have we learned here form the lessons of 9/11? We were not prepared. We did not get people out of harm’s way. There is no adequate plan to rescue, house, clothe them, feed them, or even get them fresh water. We knew (even The Army Corps of Engineers knew) that the levee system in and around New Orleans was in need of repair, and that a major percentage of our domestic oil supply comes from and is refined in that region. Yet our nations’s big plan is for me to send some more money to the Red Cross. President Bush did fly over the disaster area at 5000 feet yesterday (that’s almost a mile above it). Nice photo op, though. Keep up the good work."

And the situation is dovetailing into anarchy as officials try to evacuate the Superdome, which, while it managed to survive Katrina battered but unbowed, is not the ideal place for a refugee camp. The president is slated to tour the area today, if only to give the impression that he isn't detached from the destruction, unlike some of his Cabinet members.

It's disheartening that we live in a country whose government has the sense of humor to laugh at a Monty Python satire but lacks the irony to realize it is one.