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November 30, 2004

Buy them or you suck

You have no compassion unless you buy tons of these.

Serendipity's golden sundae

I hear there's a cheaper version with lead.

In September 2004, the restaurant honored its 50th anniversary with the creation of the Golden Opulence Sundae. The decadent creation consists of five scoops of ice cream made from the world's most expensive vanilla beans, rare and exotic chocolates, imported candied fruits and 23-carat gold leaf topping. It is served in a Baccarat crystal goblet -- which consumers get to keep -- and eaten with a golden spoon. Not surprisingly, the Golden Opulence Sundae clinched the Guinness Book of World Records title as the World's Most Expensive Ice Cream Sundae immediately after its debut.

Tom Ridge has resigned...

...and Roger L. Simon thinks he should be replaced by a Democrat. I'm not sure what good that would really do, but if a qualified Democrat is willing to serve, I'm all for it. If I were to pick a favorite Dem for the job, it'd probably be Chuck Schumer, but I have a feeling he's not interested in leaving the Senate anytime soon.

I do not want to be in the 300 Club

Ugh! My boys just shrivel up and disappear when I even think about it!

More complicated options include joining the 300 Club at the South Pole (they take a sauna to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then run naked to the pole in minus 100 F)....

That's from a list of scientifically-oriented things you should do before you die. Knock yourself out.


I just realized, belatedly, that one of this site's most oft-repeated predictions did not come to pass. Now there's nothing surprising about that per se, but this prediction seemed like such a no-brainer that I am a bit surprised.

I predicted (most recently here) that the Kerry campaign, having won the nomination decisively, would stage a highly visible "Sister Souljah" moment, in which Kerry would distance himself and his party from the likes of Michael Moore, George Soros, and MoveOn.org.

Never happened. What is wrong with these people? How can they so utterly fail to learn the lessons of Bill Clinton, the most successful Democratic president since (at least) Truman?

In that same post however, I also predicted that Michael Moore might end up benefiting Bush more than Kerry. I tend to believe that was in fact the case. I think Kerry's refusal to distance his party from the wacko Left, more than any other single misstep, very likely cost him the election.

SCOTUS vs. medical weed

It's a story as old as the hills. Everyone's had a grandmother who'd routinely take a snifter of brandy "just for her rheumatism." I don't really understand the need for the pretense. I don't think anyone would begrudge Granny a bedtime snort. It's just something in human nature, I suppose, to exploit the "medicinal" benefits of controlled substances.

This aspect of human nature will be much on the minds of the Supreme Court justices as they hear arguments on this pending medical marijuana case.

Now I don't want to see federal agents (or anyone else, for that matter) harassing people who are simply doing the equivalent of what Granny did 50 years ago. They should be left alone.

Medical marijuana, however, has some problems. It's a funny kind of "medicine," for one thing. It's a weed grown in a garden (or a closet with a grow light), dried up, smoked. It is not produced in a laboratory under strict FDA oversight. Medical marijuana laws beg the question of why we should allow people to burn dried leaves and inhale the smoke when THC can be so effectively and safely distilled in a laboratory and put into pill form.

Now don't get me wrong. I think these people should be able to smoke up if they want to. I simply think the whole medical marijuana bit is problematic.

So here's a crazy thought! Why not decriminalize the stuff altogether? Sick people could still get the benefit of a "medicinal" bong hit, without having to worry about "justifying" the legitimacy of their illnesses. The rest of us could (and here's a really novel idea!) be entrusted to exercise the same judgment we currently use when choosing whether or not to use alcohol or tobacco.

I know it's going to be an uphill battle, but it really needs to be fought. I think medical marijuana is a sideshow and a distraction from the real issue. The current marijuana laws are a ridiculous anachronism, stemming from a time when we understood the drug poorly, and (let's be honest here) when we found marijuana laws to be a convenient tool for waging war against the counterculture.

But those days are gone. Look, I'm not going to pretend marijuana is tofu or oat bran, but to classify it as a Schedule I drug when liquor and cigarettes can be brought at your corner supermarket is stupid.

I know that decriminalization is not on SCOTUS's docket, but we can nonetheless hope that their decision will at least move us further in the right direction.

Why I feel like I've been beaten with a lug wrench

Some part of me has always wanted to be responsible for a boiler. I wanted to be like that crotchety old geezer in the movies, in grease-stained overalls, who always coaxed a cantankerous, decrepit boiler back to life by clanging on it with a rusty old monkey wrench.

Well, I'm living the dream now, and it's not quite what I'd fantasized about. The brownstone we live in had been without heat for about a week, and when we came back from North Carolina to find it still not working, we got irate, and complained to the president of the utility company. They'd been promising to send someone out for days, but each time I'd stay up until midnight waiting for them they never showed. Last Tuesday (and this is good) they failed to show up because they "couldn't find a place to park." Of course they didn't bother to call us to let us know that either.

I think complaining to the head guy actually did the trick, because they promised to send someone out as soon as possible. We really wanted to get the heat fixed because my in-laws were arriving to stay with us, and we didn't want them to have to live in an icebox all week.

Well, my in-laws had just arrived, and hadn't even removed their coats yet (fortunately, as it turns out.) My wife and I were showing them around our place when we promptly managed to lock ourselves outside. Everything of ours -- keys, money, wallet, cell phones -- were locked inside. I wasn't even wearing any shoes. I'm just lucky I wasn't wearing shorts and barefoot, as is normally the case.

My wife had to leave for work, so I had to leave my in-laws standing on the sidewalk in front of our building while I schlepped a mile down Washington street in short sleeves and stocking feet to a real estate company who had a spare set of keys (fortunately I do not get cold easily.)

I got the keys and then schlepped back. Of the three keys they gave me, exactly zero of them worked. My next-door neighbor kindly offered to let me use her phone, and I called every locksmith in Hudson County to no avail. They were either all out on calls or booked solid for the day (how many other people had done this? I figured it was fairly unusual.)

It's at this moment, of course, that the utility guy showed up (timing is everything.) He was all in a dither because someone had complained to the president of the company, and he got all yelled at, and was told to get to our place ASAP, and not to leave until everything was fixed. That was fine and all, but we couldn't even let him inside the house, and he was understandably frustrated.

My neighbor was getting ready to leave, so I imposed on her one last time to let me into her backyard. She warned me that she was leaving, and that I wouldn't be able to get back into her place should I fail to get into mine. I saw no option, however, and committed myself.

I climbed over the fence into my yard, still only in my socks (ouch!) and climbed onto the roof the boiler room (ouch!). From there, I could reach the bedroom window with the air conditioner. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I couldn't lift the window because I had braced it shut with a stick, expressly to prevent this unorthodox manner of entry. Fortunately (unfortunately?) all it took was a few blows from my fist to dislodge the stick, and the window could be raised. Thank God I had bolted the AC unit securely in place when I installed it, because it had to support my entire weight as I wiggled through the window into our bedroom.

Bruised and bleeding, I was finally inside, so I rushed downstairs to let the utility dude in before he drove away in disgust. While he started working on the boiler, I went back upstairs to secure the window to prevent unsavory elements from gaining unauthorized access in the same way I had just done.

It turned out that there was a bad component on the boiler. It wasn't a necessary component. In fact, it was a completely superfluous "safety" feature that served no real function other than to break and prevent the whole boiler from functioning. (Lawyers!) It took some doing, but the dude was finally able to locate a spare part from a buddy's truck, and got the whole business working again.

That's why I woke up feeling bruised and battered today. I'm too old for this kind of foolishness.

Anyway, I know none of you care about any of this, but I just had to vent. As I've mentioned before, this blog takes the place of therapy for me.

November 29, 2004

Jesusland coconut cake

Well Hack, my wife and I hadn't even left the tarmac in Newark and we were already in Jesusland. A kindly widower from Texas struck up a religious conversation with us before takeoff and gave me an Owsald Chambers book. I'm afraid I may have scandalized him by allowing that I didn't believe in Hell in the conventional sense. I meant no offense by it. I don't believe in much in the conventional sense.

Once we got to North Carolina it was all turkey and relaxation with the extended family. The food was great (especially the coconut cake, recipe to follow) and I'm really going to have to hit the gym with a vengeance now that I'm back.

I noticed that the newspapers and magazines were full of tips and advice about "surviving" the holidays in light of the recent presidential election. We're all likely to share a turkey with people who disagree with us, after all. The articles were full of admonitions to be "considerate," and not to "gloat," but rather to think of the other person's feelings. All very nice stuff, but try as I might, I am unable to remember similar human interest/advice pieces in the wake of the '92 and '96 elections. Sort of like how I don't remember any NYT editorials saying that Clinton should pick cabinet members who disagree with his policies. Ah well, my memory is sometimes imperfect that way.

Believe it or not, Hack, I met a few liberals down in Charlotte, and I think they're experiencing the same cognitive dissonance that afflicts many here in the blue states. Moreover, I think I've finally figured out where it comes from. Many lefties here and in Europe were able to trash Bush in the most savage of terms, while simultaneously insisting that they loved "America" and "Americans." They did this by clutching desperately at Al Gore's narrow popular win in 2000 and maintaining that the current administration had "hijacked" this country, and did not enjoy the popular support of the governed.

Now, however, President Bush has won re-election by a decisive popular majority. It was not a landslide, and I (unlike some conservatives) don't see much of a mandate there, but it was a decisive win nonetheless. So where does that leave these lefties, Hack? They are stuck between two distasteful options.

On the one hand, they can stick to their guns, but they'll be forced to conclude that Americans are fundamentally either evil or stupid. (I suppose the most optimistic conclusion possible would be that Stupid America and Evil America only comprise about 30% each of the population, while Normal America enjoys a 40% plurality. It is only in the unholy alliance of Evil and Stupid that the will of Normal America is thwarted and distasteful manifestations like Bush's reelection are possible. That's probably scant comfort, however.)

That's got to be a pretty tough pill to swallow. It's not surprising that we all know people who have become virtual recluses since the election. I'm glad you haven't succumbed to this temptation, Hack, although I know you've struggled, same as everyone else. Perhaps you should do some soul-searching and ask yourself why it is that you fear powerful men.

Ha ha, just kidding on that last one. You see, for an entire decade, every time I dared utter the mildest criticism of Her Royal Clintonness, I was told it was because I felt threatened by a powerful woman. I just couldn't resist the chance at payback.

The other option for the chronically disaffected is much preferable, if still somewhat unpleasant. They could admit that some of their over-the-top rhetoric was unjustified, and unnecessarily inflammatory. These people don't want to believe in Evil Stupid America. I realize they don't especially want to backtrack either, but I think it may well be a good idea, both for their long-term mental health and for the health of the Republic.

I underwent a similar transition during the second Clinton term. Eventually, I began to realize that this guy wasn't so bad after all, as some of the direst predictions of his presidency failed to materialize, and there was growing evidence that they never would. Yes, I had to admit I was wrong, and nobody enjoys that, but after I'd done so, I felt much better.

I would advise all the depressed lefties out there to at least give it a chance. Listen, you don't have to like Bush. But simply acknowledging that his presidency doesn't necessarily herald the advent of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse could be very liberating. It could be better than Zoloft.

Give a try. What do you say? We'll be here to support you, and welcome you back to the fold. We'll do what the newspapers told us to do. We'll be considerate and we won't gloat. Just meet us halfway, okay?

Meanwhile, I'd like to extend a peace offering to help sweeten the deal. This is my aunt Nancy's fabulously famous coconut cake recipe. It's an old, authentic southern favorite, and it was a huge hit down in Jesusland this Thanksgiving. If there's anything we should all be able to agree on, it's that a really good coconut cake kicks ass! Bake it in good health.

Jesusland Coconut Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (can it really be all-purpose? --BNJ)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup water

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together dry ingredients and add immediately. Mix water and buttermilk and add that too. Then add vanilla and blend. Turn into three greased, paper-lined cake pans (8 or 9 inches) and bake at 375° for 15 to 25 minutes (don't overcook). Remove from the oven and let stand a few minutes.

Now we've got to do the filling part (Aunt Nancy insists it's improper to refer to it as "icing" or "frosting.") I hate to say it, but it's really important that you use fresh coconut instead of prepackaged for this cake.

  • Fresh coconut, grated (one large or two small ones should do)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch dissolved in a small amount of water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Grate the coconut until it's more or less the texture of that stuff you buy in a bag at the store. Food processors work nicely for this. Reserve 3/4 cup of the grated coconut to sprinkle on top when you're done. Mix the remaining coconut with the other ingredients over medium heat, bring to a slow boil and cook until lightly thickened.

Allow mixture to cool slightly, then use it to cover the layers, one at a time. sprinkle reserved coconut over each layer in turn, and over the top when finished.


SCOTUS declines to challenge gay marriage

Some conservatives will be chagrined that the Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to Massachusetts' gay marriage law. Some liberals are no doubt disappointed as well, since this development doesn't really fit their whole "Jesusland" narrative. Damned inconvenient, that.


Amazing what you can learn by looking at your server logs! Did you know that if you google the phrase "no shit head girls," this humble site comes up 5th? I am so proud.

November 24, 2004

Cave Man

Keith Olbermann is doing his best impression of a WWII soldier who continues to live in an island cave refusing to believe that the war is really over.


I only wish he was equally as concerned about voting irregularities in Kerry-won states, like Pennsylvania.

November 22, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

My wife and I are leaving today to fly down to the "red states" for Thanksgiving. I hope we don't get lynched as being "evolutionists" or "heliocentrists" or some other kind of heretic. Ah well, such are the perils of travelling in "Jesusland," I suppose. There's no "internets" in those benighted provinces, of course, so blogging will probably be light to nonexistent until next week (CRB, feel to post as often/seldom as the spirit moves you.)

For those who don't know, deep-frying turkeys has become all the rage in the red states. I am sold on this method of turkey preparation, and have recently purchased my own turkey fryer. My wife is still a bit skeptical, however. For one thing, she likes to cook stuffing inside the bird, which does become problematic with this cooking method.

For anyone who's curious, I would highly recommend you try it. Just please be careful, as that's a lot of really hot grease you're messing with. I'd tell you not to attempt turkey frying while intoxicated, but really, what sober person would try to fry a turkey? Just use a bit of caution. Don't do this.

Or this.

But above all else, just have a great time with friends and family. Eat lots of good food, and remember the spirit of the Pilgrims and the Indians and Miles Standish and Pocahontas and Belle and Ariel and all our Thanksgiving heroes. Despite the rampant commercialism of the holiday season, we should try our best to rediscover the true meaning of Thanksgiving: We're thankful to be Americans. France sucks. Eat turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

See you next week.

Quit changing the rules, already!

It looks like Tom DeLay won't be indicted after all. Great going, guys! You pissed away the remaining dregs of your integrity... for nothing! Gornischt! (My studies have stalled, I think. I really need to learn a new word.)

I'm talking to you, congressional Republicans, and I'm talking about your dumbass decision to repeal the very ethics rules that you guys got elected on, just to save DeLay's ass! Remember, "What does it profit a man...." (How does that one go now exactly? Anyway, you get the idea.)

I'm actually glad it happened this way. I'm glad all your cynical machinations were for gornischt. Otherwise, you would probably feel like you'd gotten away with it, and you'd feel emboldened to do it in the future.

I don't know what makes you guys think you're so untouchable. You have a smaller majority than the Democrats did when Gingrich took them down for their "arrogance of power." What makes you think it can't happen to you? It's not like the conservative base is exactly fired up about you guys, you know. Y'all are going through tax dollars like beer at an Arkansas frat party. You eked out a victory thanks to a gimpy opposition, but don't get too comfortable up there on the Hill.

And let this be a lesson to you, Bill Frist. I know Democratic obstructionism can be frustrating, but don't be seduced into changing the rules just because the opposition isn't playing dead. That doesn't sit well with the American people, myself included. Your opponents may be intransigent, but I'd much prefer to see you deal with them the old-fashioned way -- you know, bribery and threats.

All right, that is all. Carry on. Go cut some taxes or something.

November 21, 2004

Bored with "Half-Life II" already?

Why not try this, just in time for the holidays?

Video game simulates Kennedy assassination
A new video game to be released Monday allows players to simulate the assassination of President Kennedy.

The release of "JFK Reloaded" is timed to coincide with the 41st anniversary of Kennedy's murder in Dallas and was designed to demonstrate a lone gunman was able to kill the president.

All right, look, I am normally not squeamish about issues like violence in video games. But really, what in the hell are these people thinking? What's next, "Princess Diana's Last Ride?"

(Thanks to mal for the submission.)

Bush as Billy Badass

We Americans like our presidents to be badasses. It's deeply ingrained in our psyche and reflected in our pop culture, whether it's Harrison Ford kicking terrorist ass on Air Force One, or Bill Pullman blasting aliens in Independence Day. George W. Bush is the most badass president we've had since Teddy Roosevelt.

Bush has garnered badass points throughout his first term. He earned them for throwing a perfect strike in the 2001 World Series, for his secret Thanksgiving trip to Iraq a year ago, and he earned more yesterday when he personally broke up a fight between a secret service agent and a Chilean security official. (And yes, he also earned them for his landing on an aircraft carrier and piloting the navy plane for part of the flight, although the photo op itself turned out to have been singularly ill-advised.)

I loved that Chilean fracas story. Can anyone imagine John "that sonofabitch knocked me down" Kerry doing something similar? Of course not! The man has zero badass points! Gornischt! (I've been studying Yiddish with Dick and Jane.)

Sure, Kerry probably got his fair share of badass points back in 'Nam, but badass points have a "best used by" date, and Kerry's have long since expired. He's like the veteran great uncle we all have -- a war hero in his youth, but his idea of risk-taking these days is visiting a salad bar without a sneeze guard.

Call me crazy, but I think the "badass" gap was probably the deciding factor in our last election. Bush has a certain magnetic appeal that analysts are always trying to explain. All their terms for it, however -- "likeability," "resolve," "moral clarity" -- seemed to fall short somehow. But I think I've finally identified the X-factor: badass.

To borrow the title of a song from Team America: "Bush: F**k Yeah!"

November 20, 2004

Good God!

I share a birthday with Senator Robert "Sheets" Byrd! And we damn near share a hometown as well. He was born, evidently, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, about 100 miles from where I came into this world.

Happy 87th, Senator Byrd.

November 19, 2004

My friend has super powers

No, I am not making this shit up. It's spooky. The evidence is right here. The first comment, the one by "tirin," is a very good friend of mine. Now I know he has paranormal abilities.

(Hey tirin, what am I holding in my hand right now? Come on, we need you to practice, dammit! We must hone your powers, and harness them for evil. Good. I meant good. Or at the very least, material gain. You need a manager. I'll volunteer.)

Please, God, pleasepleaseplease...

Yes, this would truly be historic. If anything comes of it, it would be a very welcome indication that maybe the organization does give a crap about its reputation, and does want to be taken seriously. I may even be forced to soften some of my anti-U.N. opinions.

UN employees are expected to issue an unprecedented vote of no confidence in Secretary-General Kofi Annan, union sources say, after he pardoned the body's top oversight official over a series of allegations.

Learn Yiddish with Dick & Jane

I could have used a guide like this when I first moved to New York.

Tee hee hee

What took 'em so long?

A blogger looks at 38 (through a hangover)

God, my brain!! Too much beer and brownies last night (and those round, tubey things). I'm getting too old for this. I feel like my head could be made out of Reed Richards' "unstable molecules."

And Hack, you were in a dream of mine last night. I dreamed that a group of bloggers was going on vacation to the beach in this big-ass rental van, and you and I ended up in the back seat together (well, we couldn't have been completely in the rear, because I remember Oliver Willis kept kicking the backs of our seats.) This was kind of a funny thing for me to dream, considering we've never met and I have no idea what you look like. As a result, my subconscious had to fill in the gaps, and in my dream you looked a little like Macy Gray, except, you know, white.

The metaphor doesn't escape me, Hack! Where are we headed in Andrew Sullivan's rented Aerostar? Where do we go from here? Hell, you can write about Bush for four more years, but what about me? John Kerry has gone back to the Senate (although he'll probably require an intern at first, to remind him of important things like where the men's room is). Well good for him, but there goes my prime source of material. Look at me, I'm reduced to documenting my hangovers and strange dreams.

In the past, whenever I'd encounter a creative dry spell, I could always fall back on the latest photos of Kerry windsurfing, or in a bunny suit, or throwing a football like a girl. But yesterday, I was almost reduced to posting this picture of Bush pardoning the White House turkey and making some lame "choke the chicken" joke.

Yes, it's come to that. How long can this continue? How long before I become Wonkette? (Who, now that I think about it, really pissed me off in my dream last night! Since she was riding shotgun with Sully and we were stuck in the back, we asked her to bring us some Cheetos during a pit stop. She brought us the crunchy kind when we had distinctly asked for the puffy ones. And she didn't bring us any napkins either. How can you eat Cheetos without napkins? I was sure that Avis was going to charge Sully extra because of all the orange shit on the upholstery, and that would have meant another fund-raising drive, and Ace would make fun of him, and it would just get ugly. Tempers were on the verge of flaring, but Stephen Green had brought a Thermos full of Stoli and Red Bull, and that helped calm everybody's nerves.)

So that's where things stand now. Condi Rice is Secretary of State, and her teeth are spreading farther apart, and I don't have a thing to say about it. Meanwhile, I'm sure you're blogging up a storm. Envy! That's what it comes down to, Hack. And that's why I was so impatient with you in the dream. On the surface, I was merely frustrated with your seeming inability to grasp the fine points of "cow bingo" (you kept conveniently "forgetting" the cemetery rule!), but you and I both know there was more to it under the surface -- pure, naked envy. (Or is it avarice? I suspect there's sometimes a fair amount of overlap among the Seven Deadly Sins.)

Well, these are my issues, not yours. And I will deal with them. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places (if seldom from the bottom of a Jack Daniels bottle.) We live in interesting times, for good or ill, and I'm sure that inspiration lies just around the corner. I will be ready for it.

So blog on, Hack. Perhaps one day we'll meet and swap war stories at the Old Bloggers' Valhalla for Blogger Burnouts. May that be many successful years hence.

November 18, 2004

A prescient Carville

Arianna Huffington quotes a pre-election James Carville, rallying the troops:

"If we can't win this damn election... with a Democratic Party more unified than ever before, with us having raised as much money as the Republicans, with 55% of the country believing we're heading in the wrong direction, with our candidate having won all three debates, and with our side being more passionate about the outcome than theirs -- if we can't win this one, then we can't win shit! And we need to completely rethink the Democratic Party."

Sounds about right.


What would we do without studies?

Republicans Outnumbered in Academia, Studies Find

AI takes a huge stride forward

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Autorantic Virtual Moonbat (although it sounds disturbingly like a college roommate I once had.)

Try it out yourself. Hey hack, is this how you write your blog posts? ;-)

(hat tip: protein wisdom)

The following public service announcement...

...is brought to you by Miko Exotic Wear.

November 17, 2004

Tax reform "difficult," says Grassley

Senator Grassley is right. Simplifying the tax code will be difficult. He'd better roll up sleeves, get off his ass, and start working on it, instead of just sitting around bitchin' about how hard it's gonna be. Why do you think you earn that fat-ass salary, Chuck? Why do you think you have all those staffers and pages? Jesus, God forbid we actually ask our legislators to, you know, "work" or something.

I think I know...

...what Paul Krugman is doing on his "sabbatical." He's writing incredibly tendentious headlines for The Australian. (via lgf)

Marine captured in cold-blooded murder

Today's vocabulary lesson

The word "disenfranchise" is very popular these days. Jesse Jackson alone uses it seven times in every sentence. Unfortunately, its growing popularity is accompanied by a pervasive confusion as to the word's actual meaning. Take, for example, the following headline from yesterday's San Jose Mecury News:

Unmarried women voted but still feel disenfranchised

Hello? If you voted, you weren't disenfranchised. "Vote or Die" spokesmoron P. Diddy seems similarly confused. Note his recent explanation on CNN as to why he felt "disenfranchised" in 2000:

HEMMER: Why do you say you were disenfranchised four years ago?

COMBS: Because politicians, they just didn't pay attention to us.

All right, we obviously need to clear up a few misconceptions here. First of all, let's be clear about a few things that "disenfranchise" does not mean. (This list is far from exhaustive, by the way.) Being "disenfranchised" does not mean:

  • Your guy didn't win.
  • You had to stand in a long line.
  • They didn't allow you to vote in the wrong precinct.
  • They didn't allow you to vote more than once.
  • You didn't get a limo ride to the polling place.
  • They didn't provide you with free danishes and decaf lattes while you waited.
  • They asked you to prove that you were actually "Buzz Lightyear."
  • Politicians didn't pander sufficiently for your vote.

Those are all wrong. None of these things constitute being "disenfranchised," okay?

So what does it mean? I'll adopt the approach of my fifth-grade teacher: Look it up yourself. You'll remember it that way.

November 15, 2004

Mehlman to head GOP

President Bush has appointed former David Letterman sidekick Larry "Bud" Melman to head the Republican National Committee. I cannot think of a better choice to steer the "Party of Lincoln" into the 21st century.

UPDATE: My earlier post was in error. Apparently it's this guy.

Inauguration of new CN comic strip!

Cynical Nation is proud to introduce a brand new comic strip called "Shroomsbury." Its scathing wit and biting political satire are sure to earn it a Pulitzer.

Stay tuned in the future for even more rapier-like wit and sophisticated political commentary. Anyone interested in syndicating "Shroomsbury" should talk to my agent.

Powell resigns

Okay, I guess this is hardly a surprise, but I feel like I should post it anyway.

November 13, 2004

Gotta love it!

The cover of this week's NR, that is.

November 12, 2004

Final thoughts on Arafat

Why is this guy pissed off? Is he outraged because a fraudulent, murderous thug who claimed to represent his interests has actually robbed his people blind for decades, and kept them in a state of hopeless squalor and abject desperation? Could he be pissed off because said thug's stupid wife will continue ripping off his people to the tune of $22 million a year (and that's just what we know about) for decades to come?

No, silly! He's pissed off at America and the Jews! Everything is the Jews' fault, after all. Why would he spend even two seconds worrying about the kleptocrats who claim to lead him?

(Jesus Christ, pal, unclench already!)

Now why is this woman crying? Is she in mourning because her beloved husband, whom she adored beyond measure and doted on incessantly, has finally shaken off this mortal coil? Or is she upset because a fraudulent murderous thug whom she's barely seen in years croaked before he was able to tell her where all the treasure was buried? Your call.

About this picture... well... I guess nothing more really needs to be said.

And one more thing. From time to time, I make remarks on this site that are not especially flattering towards former president Jimmy Carter. Each time I do so, I am barraged with hateful e-mails, telling me I should be ashamed for daring to criticize this great humanitarian. Well, given Carter's gushing remarks in which he referred to Arafat as a "powerful human symbol," do me a favor. The next time you want to send me e-mails talking about what a great, peace-loving humanitarian Carter is? Just don't. Please.

How are these people going to run a country...

...when they can't even run a two-car funeral?

Will the Clintons call the shots?

Liberal activists and MoveOn types are salivating at the prospect of Howard Dean replacing Terry McAuliffe at the helm of the DNC. I'm hearing rumors, however, that the Clintons are maneuvering behind the scenes to install Harold Ickes. Personally, I think Ickes would be a disastrous choice, but the Clintons are obviously hoping to maintain a measure of control over their party. How this plays out will tell us much about who's really calling the shots.

Krauthammer piles on

Charles Krauthammer does his part to help deconstruct the "Jesusland" myth. He compares it to the proverbial "angry white male," who was invented in 1994 to explain the Gingrich revolution. He sees "Jesusland" as the modern-day equivalent. It's a way to delegitimize a conservative victory that doesn't require any uncomfortable soul-searching or introspection on the part of the Dems as to why their candidate lost. He then tackles the statistics,

If you pit group against group, the moral values class comes in dead last: war issues at 34 percent, economic issues variously described at 33 percent and moral values at 22 percent -- i.e., they are at least a third less salient than the others.

and makes a very interesting point about Ohio:

But the fallback is then to attribute Bush's victory to the gay marriage referendums that pushed Bush over the top, particularly in Ohio.

This is more nonsense. George Bush increased his vote in 2004 over 2000 by an average of 3.1 percent nationwide. In Ohio the increase was 1 percent -- less than a third of the national average. In the 11 states in which the gay marriage referendums were held, Bush increased his vote by less than he did in the 39 states that did not have the referendum. The great anti-gay surge was pure fiction.

It's time to put this fear-mongering meme to bed, permanently. Sadly, however, I have a feeling that won't happen. Given a choice between calling us names and facing us on the battleground of ideas, the left will choose the former nine times out of ten.

November 11, 2004

Myths of the new "theocracy"

The libertarian journal "Reason" (no bible-thumpers they) has a great piece debunking the myth of a looming American theocracy. This has been a pet peeve of mine ever since the election, as regular readers know. The author makes extensive comparisons between exit poll data for 2000 and 2004, and defuses this notion that a horde of angry Hazel Moteses stormed the ballot boxes this year, re-electing Bush single-handedly.

I found that the percentage of voters sampled who said they attended church at least weekly was the same--42 percent--in both 2000 and 2004. The percentage never attending church was also the same, at 15 percent. The middle group, those attending occasionally, was, you guessed it, 42 percent each time. Interestingly, while Bush slightly improved his standing among frequent churchgoers, by about a point in 2004, his support grew by 3 to 4 points among those attending seldom or never.

Yep, it was the atheist vote that really put Bush over the top in 2004.

I would encourage everyone to read the whole thing. Help get the word out. Because if I have to listen to this crap about "Jesusland" for four more years, I am going to get really, really testy.

Well, at least it's honest

Ted Rall comes to terms with himself and admits what few liberals have the guts to.

Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world. If you voted for Bush, we accept that we have to share the country with you. We're adjusting to the possibility that there may be more of you than there are of us. But don't demand our respect. You lost it on November 2.

Ted, kudos for your forthrightness.

Oh, and one more thing:

Sarin discovered in Fallujah?

That's what NPR is reporting. (via Glenn)

UPDATE: Looks like another false alarm. NPR has changed the story.

Sorry! (Not!)

Wow, this whole Sorry Everbody website is really taking off. With so many submissions, do you really think they have time to screen them all? I wonder what would happen if I tried to upload this?

Gonzales is pro-choice

It looks like the bible-thumpers' plan to remake America into "Jesusland," complete with back-alley abortions and forced public school prayer, has already hit a snag.

Pro-lifers not thrilled with Gonzales choice
Bush's pick for attorney general upheld abortion on Texas court

Alternatively, this could just mean the Democrats' hysteria over looming theocracy is a tad overblown. Maybe their unreasoning panic is more a function of their own attitudes regarding religion than of religious extremism from the other half of the country? Ah well, what do you expect from the Democrats these days? Introspection?

Arafat (finally) dead?

Looks like it. This time, for real. I wonder how much of the money his ghastly wife was able to wring out of him. Did she and her lawyers manage to wedge a pen in his comatose hand, and get him to "sign" his name to some "important documents" before the end? My guess is we'll never know.

November 10, 2004

Gonzales replaces Ashcroft

Am I the only one who wonders whether Bush calls him "Speedy?"

Well, the news had been out for all of about two seconds, and the left was already bitchin' about it. Gonzales, I take it, was complicit in denying Gitmo detainees due process, or Cinemax, or some damn thing.

Honestly, people. Who did you expect? Lynn Stewart? Gloria Allred? I mean, really?

Mass exodus?

I've now had no fewer than three gloating Democrats approach me with variations of, "Sooooooooooo! Captain Codpiece is facing desertion among the ranks, huh? Commander Murder Monkey's cabinet members are scurrying into their lifeboats like rats on board the Titanic!"

Well I guess if you're absolutely desperate for something to gloat over, no matter how inconsequential, then the departure of two of Bush's cabinet members is as good as any. Still, cabinet changes are perfectly routine between presidential terms. The only thing unusual about the Bush cabinet in this regard is how stable it's been.

Just as a reminder, I'd like to point out that during President Clinton's two terms, we had

  • Two Secretaries of State
  • Three Secretaries of Defense
  • Three Secretaries of Treasury
  • Four Secretaries of Commerce
  • Three Secretaries of Energy
  • Three Secretaries of Veteran's Affairs
  • Two Agriculture Secretaries
  • Two HUD Secretaries
  • Two Labor Secretaries, and
  • Two Transportation Secretaries

Yes, Janet Reno lasted the entire 8 years, but that was only because he had already nominated every other woman lawyer in the country before she came along. That pretty much leaves Bruce Babbit, Donna Shalala and Dick Riley as the only ones who didn't "abandon ship," to borrow the metaphor.

Head "Jesus freak" out at Justice

Attorney General John Ashcroft and some other guy have resigned from Bush's cabinet (actually the other guy is Don Evans, but that's one of those cabinet posts nobody cares about and should probably be eliminated anyway.)

I'm not sorry to see Ashcroft go. I guess he was a competent AG, but his main selling point was his unfailing ability to whip liberals into a frothing, gibbering, mindless frenzy. Heh heh, that was kinda cool, but even such high entertainment can start to wear thin after a while.

The funniest thing about it was the sheer irony of it. Let's face it, had it not been for the shameless shenanigans the Democrats pulled in Missouri four years ago, John Ashcroft would be harmlessly whiling away his days watching "Veggie Tales" in the Senate cloakroom, rather than gleefully trampling on our precious civil liberties and covering naked statue boobies. (By the way, what did previous administrations think of the naked statue lady? Am I the only one with this mental image of Bill Clinton giggling and pointing at it each time he passed, sniggering, "Look! Boobies!"?)

"New York" to the rescue!

Are you a depressed New Yorker? Have you spent more time with your shrink than Woody Allen, yet are still feeling shell-shocked from the election? Well grab a soy vanilla latte from Dean & Deluca and pick up the latest issue of "New York" magazine. It features a five-author guide on "How to Survive Four More Years." It's chock-full of self-congratulatory morale-builders like the following:

New York will be like Lyons, the center of the French Resistance in World War II....

Charming, right? That's what makes New Yorkers special! They can feel impotent and powerless, yet still suffer from delusions of grandeur!

November 09, 2004

Food for thought...

...for all those people worried that Bush will establish an American theocracy, from Christopher Hitchens:

George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he--and the U.S. armed forces--have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled. The demolition of the Taliban, the huge damage inflicted on the al-Qaida network, and the confrontation with theocratic saboteurs in Iraq represent huge advances for the non-fundamentalist forces in many countries. The "antiwar" faction even recognizes this achievement, if only indirectly, by complaining about the way in which it has infuriated the Islamic religious extremists around the world. But does it accept the apparent corollary--that we should have been pursuing a policy to which the fanatics had no objection?

'Can we just all get out?'

Hey Esther, that sounds like something your concertgoers might say after realizing they'd just un-assed three franklins to see an untalented, middle-aged woman slutting around on a stage for two hours. We all know it's possible to substitute sex appeal for talent in the pop world, but you know what? It doesn't work quite as well when you're like, sixty. Do you think Brittney Spears will still be doing the teen tramp act 30 years from now? I mean, honestly.

Anyway, it looks like Madonna wants our troops out of Iraq.

US pop star Madonna made a rare foray into politics, calling for her home country to withdraw its troops from Iraq during an interview with British radio.

Mrs. Ritchie, did you know we've had an election back home? It was in all the papers. And guess what? Your side lost. Maybe you didn't realize that because you were two busy defiling centuries of Jewish tradition and mysticism by treating it like a Pilates class -- merely the latest in a series of temporary, faddish diversions for bored, spoiled, rich white women.

This just in!

Chairman Yasser Arafat is still not dead!

(Now carefully pour the champagne back into the bottle.)

So far so good in Fallujah

This is a pleasant surprise. I'd been expecting cries of "quagmire!" and "Jenin-style massacre!" Those may yet surface, but for now, the tone is positive.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have faced less resistance than expected and suffered minimal casualties, a commander said Tuesday, as the troops continue their second day of assaults on militant-controlled Falluja.

Soldiers pushing through the outskirts of Falluja dodged sniper fire and destroyed booby traps, but not as many as anticipated.

There has been less organized resistance than expected so far, said Lt. Col. Pete Newell with Task Force 22 of the 1st Infantry Division.

I've gotten my hopes up before, but...

...there are more reports of Arafat's death from "Palestinian sources." Maybe it will actually pan out this time, or maybe not. It could turn into a kind of mirror image of that old SNL gag: "This just in: Chairman Yasser Arafat is still not dead."

But I should probably go ahead and put the Cristal on ice, just in case.

November 08, 2004

Great market opportunity

Time to go short.

Al Gore, the former US vice-president, is to put his expertise in global sustainability issues into practice with the launch today of a fund management firm.

Mr Gore has teamed up with David Blood, former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, to set up Generation Investment Management, a London-based boutique that will invest in global equities.

The six founder partners have contributed a total of "double-digit" millions of dollars to kickstart Generation, which plans to begin attracting funds in the new year.

The firm aims to deliver higher investment returns by integrating traditional equity analysis with sustainability research, a fledgling area that combines the principles of economic growth, environmental stewardship and social accountability.

Is anyone surprised?

I mean, honestly?

Senior editors at the BBC are understood to have remonstrated with their correspondent, Barbara Plett, over her "misjudgment" in revealing on air that she had cried when Yasser Arafat's Jordanian helicopter carried him away from Ramallah en route to hospital in France.
In her report, Plett said: "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning

The politics of God

Good God, people! Get a grip on yourselves! For the love of Mike, you'd think we'd just reelected Cotton Mather the way some of you are carrying on. My e-mail box is gagging, gagging, I say, with overwrought, hysterical hand wringing over the Puritanical mullocracy this right-wing president will establish in the wake of his re-election.

Calm down, breathe deeply, and take a good, stiff drink. Yes, I know it's early. Do it anyway. Right now.

Now look, I don't support the religious right's agenda any more than you do, but let's not get carried away, okay? I want to offer you several reasons why you should not panic.

  1. The polls. There has been much angst over the fact that many voters this year cited "moral values" as a primary factor in their voting. But according the the New England Journal of Medicine, morality issues were much, much less important to Americans this year than in prior years, as national security took center stage. Please, follow the link and look at the stats. It will make you feel better.

  2. The Supreme Court. Lots of people are freaking out about this one as well, but unnecessarily so, in my opinion. I think there is an excellent chance that Bush will leave office with a more liberal SCOTUS than the one we currently have. I know that sounds nuts, but hear me out. I hate to be ghoulish, but the first justice to depart will almost certainly be William Rehnquist, arguably the most conservative voice on the bench. It is unimaginable, in today's climate, that Bush would be able to replace him with someone more conservative, even if that were his goal. The first change in SCOTUS's composition will almost certainly move it somewhat to the left. Beyond Rehnquist, bear in mind that seven of the nine justices are Republican appointees, and their average age is higher than that of the Democratic appointees, both named recently by Clinton. The numbers are not very encouraging to those who would push the high court further to the right.

  3. Anti-gay marriage amendment to the constitution. This one doesn't stand a ghost of a chance. So why would Bush, a man who broke ranks with his own party platform by supporting civil unions, back such a grand, sweeping gesture that was destined to go down in flames? Precisely because it's a grand, sweeping gesture that's destined to go down in flames. Look, we all know what this is. It's a crass, political payoff to the social conservatives who came out to support Bush at the ballot box. It's an opportunity for him to curry favor with this important part of his base by saying, "We tried," without doing any lasting damage. Yes, that's cynical, and yes, it's lamentable, but such is the nature of politics.

What is it about Bush's faith that terrifies people so? Presidents and presidential candidates have always prattled on and on about "God this" and "God that." Kerry did it no less than Bush during this campaign. I guess the difference is, everyone knows that Kerry was doing it with a wink and a nod -- that he was, essentially, pandering. By contrast, they are mortally afraid that Bush actually believes this stuff, more so than any president in recent memory.

Granted, most people would allow that Jimmy Carter was sincere in his faith, but he was more a source of amusement than terror to the elites, both because he tempered his faith with social progressivism, and because evangelical Christianity had not yet risen to political prominence. By comparison to Carter, Bush emerges as some crazed, Appalachian snake handler to these people.

For my part, I don't doubt the genuineness of Bush's faith, but I do not believe that faith-based issues are central to his administration's policies. I believe he wants to kill terrorists, keep taxes low, and everything else ranks a distant third.

Also, I have to mention the fact that social progressives and libertarians abandoned the president in hysterical droves. Sometimes I feel like Dennis Miller and I were the only ones who actually voted for the guy, and I think that's too bad. Stronger support for Bush among the liberal hawks would have sent the following message: "Mister President, we are behind you 100% in the War on Terror, but we do not support your social agenda, and all eyes will be on you." But no, this voting block almost completely abandoned Bush, leaving social/religious conservatives to fill in the gap. And now, the libs are complaining that Bush is too indebted to the Amen Corner. Well, whose fault is that?

And just to reiterate, I oppose much of the agenda of religious conservatives, and I will continue to do so. To that extent, I'm on your side. But please, please, can we just drop this arrant nonsense about "theocracy" and "American Taliban?"
<Billy Crystal voice> Ya look ridiculous! </Billy Crystal voice>

November 07, 2004

Leftover from Halloween

This is my neighbor's stoop here in Hoboken. As CRB would say, "Welcome to Hudson County!"

I really hope this is a joke

I'd link to the original posting on craigslist, but I sincerely hope it gets taken down soon. Granted, it may merely be spam of some sort, but I'd hate for it to give anyone ideas, given recent headlines. I cached a copy of the page here, but this is the gist of it:

A few of us, including my wife, are going to commit suicide. If you
plan to do the same, do it with us. Together we can make a statement:


November 06, 2004

Why Bush won

Here it is in a nutshell. The American people resent being told how to think and how to vote. In particular,

We resent being told how to think by aging rock stars who make millions off a 9/11 exploitation album and then criticize the president for "politicizing" the event.

We resent being told how to think by creepy, Garrison Keillor-eyed Hungarian billionaires.

For that matter, we resent being told how to think by Garrison Keillor.

We resent being told how to think by unfunny, foul-mouthed black comediennes with fake Jewish names.

We resent being told how to think by unfunny, foul-mouthed Korean comediennes who resemble mongoloid manatees.

We resent being told how to think by overrated, self-important, blowhard, propagandizing lardass filmmakers.

We resent being told how to think by crumpet-eating readers of British newspapers.

And we especially resent being told how to think by the goddamn Dixie Chicks and Jon Bon Fucking Jovi!

We resent being lectured by sanctimonious prigs who tell us, "This is the most important election of our lifetimes!" when they really mean, "Vote against the Texas Death Monkey, or you're a mouth-breathing, toothless, goat-raping redneck!"

We resent being told "Vote or Die!" by inconsequential hip-hop jerkoffs, when what they really mean is, "Vote for John F. Kerry or you're a knuckle-dragging, Birchite Jesus Freak!"

When we voted on November 2, we pulled the lever for George W. Bush, but what we really meant was, "Fuck you!"

Now I don't mean to imply that my entire purpose in voting was to be a gadfly. On the issues, I tend to agree with Bush more often than with Kerry, but not overwhelmingly so -- call it 60-40. But in a normal year, I'd probably vote Libertarian. The last time I voted for a Republican for president was in 1988, and even then I came to regret it. This year, however, the arrogance, elitism, and hysteria of the "Anybody but Bush" crowd pushed me into the arms of the GOP. I'd say that my future vote is up for grabs for whichever party makes a greater effort to champion individual liberties, but you know what? With 47% of the country now saying that 52% of the country is stupid, just because they don't vote exactly the way they do, I could make the Republican Party my new political foster home for a long, long time.

November 05, 2004

One more thing

As you can tell, I've been having quite a bit of fun the past couple of days, chronicling the Left's rapid dissolution into mindless, gibbering insanity. I'm going away for the weekend, but I wanted to leave you with one last gem before doing so.

The following was a statement addressed to me personally, by a fellow (and heretofore sane) blogger, in the comments section of yet a third blog:

Crawl back into the hole I tore your mother in making you.

This from a blogger who maintains that conservative politics is essentially thinly disguised hatred. What did I do to provoke this outburst, you ask? Was I taunting, gloating, doing the post-election "Snoopy" dance? Chanting "WHOSE yer Daddy now, bitch?!"

Actually, all I did was bemoan the U.N.'s inaction in the face of Darfur. I shit you not. I won't link to the exchange, because the blog's owner is a dear friend of mine, who was in no way responsible, and whom I do not wish to embarrass.

I did, however, want you to see the new face of the "enlightened" half of our divided nation.

Have a nice weekend, all.

Wow, everybody's sorry these days!

Even P. Diddy. What's he sorry for?

I learned a lot in this process. I learned that my power could be used better.

Excuse me. Your "power"? What power, you megalomaniacal asshat? You have no power to shape world events, thank God. Isn't that the lesson you should be learning here? There are not many people who can make a million dollar record, Sean. Be grateful you can do that, why don't you? Go make another one and shut the hell up already.

I'm sorry too

Sorry I couldn't vote for Bush twice. (Hat tip to Tim)

The courtship of John McCain

Apparently it was even more humiliating than I thought.

The "Outlandish" McCain Offer. Kerry's courtship of Senator John McCain to be his running mate was longer-standing and more intense than previously reported. As far back as August 2003, Kerry had taken McCain to breakfast to sound him out to run on a unity ticket. McCain batted away the idea as not serious, but Kerry, after he wrapped up the nomination in March, went back after McCain a half-dozen more times. "To show just how sincere he was, he made an outlandish offer," Newsweek's Thomas reports. "If McCain said yes he would expand the role of vice president to include secretary of Defense and the overall control of foreign policy. McCain exclaimed, 'You're out of your mind. I don't even know if it's constitutional, and it certainly wouldn't sell.'" Kerry was thwarted and furious. "Why the f--- didn't he take it? After what the Bush people did to him...'"

Uh... because he's a Republican??

The liberal meltdown continues

You thought Ted Rall couldn't get any more psycho, did you? Check this shit out.

Such astonishing gall! Only women are affected by the abortion debate; only women ought to be allowed to vote on it. The same goes for war--only the young who fight and die in war enjoy the moral right to declare it. Terrorism? Please, if you live in Mississippi or Colorado or Alaska, don't presume to talk about, much less cast your vote based upon, your "views" of Islamist terrorism. New Yorkers don't lecture you about hunting. Butt out of our business. Or at least have the grace to follow the lead of New York City voters if, contrary to history or logic, terrorism is your number one concern.

That's a novel approach to election reform! Only women and New Yorkers will be allowed to vote!

Financial analysts have long maintained that a Bush win would be good for the pharmaceutical companies. Now I understand why. The Left is going to be gulping Wellbutrin like Tic Tacs.

Heh heh

It must be killing them to have to write this.

The number of new U.S. jobs soared at the sharpest rate in seven months in October, the government reported on Friday, helped by a surge in construction activity as hurricane-racked areas in the Southeast were rebuilt.

A surprisingly strong 337,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month -- twice the 169,000-job growth that Wall Street economists had forecast. However, the unemployment rate edged up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in September as more people joined the search for employment, the Labor Department said.

Rest assured, if Tuesday had played out differently, this would herald the beginning of the much-anticipated "Kerry Recovery!" Thank God Kerry didn't get elected. It would mark the second consecutive time that a Democratic president would receive credit for an economic expansion he had nothing to do with (well, other than attempt to thwart it, in Kerry's case.)

UPDATE: No wonder Paul Krugman is taking a vacation.

Memo to Chairman Arafat

Yasser, move toward the Light!

The Edwards misfire

Does anyone else think Kerry is kicking himself for buying into the MSM's collective orgasm over John Edwards? As near as I can tell, Edwards brought exactly zero to the campaign! He was no help in the South, and as soon as he was picked, he went AWOL from the campaign trail, just like he had done when he was elected to the senate.

Remember the New York Post's famously wrong headline claiming that Kerry had picked Dick Gephardt? I think the Post was guilty of giving Kerry too much credit. But what if the New York Post had been right? What if Kerry had ignored the hype, and picked Gephardt? No Swift Vets, no flip-flops, tough on the war, carried Missouri, Iowa and probably Ohio....

One shudders to think.

November 04, 2004

Let the "healing" begin!

Courtesy of lgf, here are some images from a post-election day protest in San Francisco.

Best. Week. Ever.

...assuming this is true, of course.

Yeah, I do realize that he's very likely to be succeeded by someone equally loathsome, but here's the deal. Whoever comes next will not instantly have mythical stature. He will not have a Nobel Peace Prize. He will not be someone whose ass has been kissed by the European elite and the American Left for decades. They'll have to start over from scratch with somebody else.

Yeah, but is that really news?

Evidently Isreali TV is reporting that Arafat is "brain dead."

Oh, that liberal media

Via Tim Blair comes this snapshot attesting to CNN's rather "interesting" naming convention for images.

Heh heh

James Taranto points out that Paul Krugman endorsed George W. Bush:

"Regular readers won't be in any doubt about who I want to win, though New York Times rules prevent me from giving any explicit endorsement. (Hint: it's the side that benefits from large turnout.)"--former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, implicitly endorsing George W. Bush, Nov. 2, 2004

A personal plea

For the past 36 hours, my inbox has been flooded with anguished e-mails from social liberals and libertarians, bemoaning the election of "theocracy," and the surrender of civil liberties.

Please, people!

Calm. The Hell. Down.

Listen to me, please. Were there bigots and religious zealots who voted for the president yesterday? Of course. Did they provide the president with an unambiguous popular majority? No fricken way! At the risk of sounding arrogant, that majority is because of me, and people like me, across the political spectrum -- people who prioritized killing terrorists over internal squabbling about stem cells.

Despite attempts by the mainstream media to spin it otherwise, this election was a referendum on the war on terror, plain and simple. Our current situation demands a candidate who is credible as a wartime leader. Kerry, who vacillated over the war so much that he became a caricature, was simply not credible.

I know a lot of people who voted for Bush, and to be honest, most of us did so with strong reservations. We would loved to have had a viable alternative. We were starving for it. Had the ballot contained a Joe Lieberman, or an American Tony Blair, or maybe even a Dick Gephardt, their transition teams would be meeting with the president's today, and Democrats would already be jockeying for cabinet appointments.

Ah well, this is all water under the bridge now, and I suppose it makes no sense to rehash it. It's just that I have all these Democrats who keeping telling me they're so "confused," and they just don't "understand" what happened. I frankly don't see what's so difficult to understand here, but I figured I'd take one final stab at trying to explain it.

In the meantime, please take comfort from this: the swing voters who determined this election most certainly did not endorse religious zealotry or social intolerance. No one is going to try to impose a theocracy upon the United States. Any attempts to do so would be met with firm and immediate opposition by the majority of the American people, including many millions of us who voted for Bush, because we simply felt we had no choice.

More election fallout

With all the focus on the presidency and the senate, I haven't even discussed some of the smaller issues at stake this year.

I regret that there were all those gay marriage initiatives on the ballot. I can't help but think their defeat will set the cause back, just at a time when I thought some progress was being made. I have come to learn that there is something very loaded about the term "marriage," for some reason. A liberal friend of mine was surprised that I, as a conservative, supported gay marriage, which she said was "anathema" to her. She's an atheist, so I knew her objection couldn't be based in religion. Well, I gave her my little gay marriage speech, and then she said yes, yes, yes, I agree with every word. They need and deserve all those rights, but must call it something different. "Marriage" is already taken. I am confident that she's not alone in this view. Some may this is an issue of mere semantics, but whatever the case, that one word makes a lot of difference. Call them "civil unions," and most people support them, even President Bush, according to the New York Times. Call it "marriage," and people are overwhelmingly opposed. I confess that I don't fully understand this "nuance", but I think we need to be aware of it going forward, if we are to fight this fight effectively.

One bright spot for libertarians was Montana, where residents overwhelmingly passed a marijuana decriminalization initiative. An even more sweeping legalization measure failed in Alaska, however. I think it failed because it was too wide-open. It basically said, "Smoke up!" from what I understood. I personally don't have a problem with that, but I think the good people of Alaska may well have endorsed it had it been worded a little more cautiously.

Baby steps.

November 03, 2004

Why am I even doing this?

Well, I'm not sure. But I'm listening to Randi Rhodes on Air America. The election was "stolen," she insists. Her proof? People don't stand in long lines to vote for the status quo. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

And it's Republicans, we're told, who are unable to assume any responsibility? Unbelievable.

Look, guys, no one likes to admit this. But your guy lost. Period. End of story. That can be tough to accept, but it's part of the process. It's a crucial, necessary step if you are to come back next time and win. Grow. Adapt. Learn from your mistakes. What did we do wrong this time, and how can we do it better the next? This "we didn't lose, they cheated!" excuse is not only infantile, but ultimately self-defeating.

UPDATE: Randi Rhodes is now telling me I will be "so damn sorry" if I gloat. Thanks.

Soothing words

Here are some snitches of conversation I'm overhearing in the offices surrounding me as I type this:

"...I don't even feel like I'm in the same country as these people..."
"...it's like I have no rights..."
"...I'm into civil disobedience now..."

Please, people, get a grip! Perhaps you should check out some soothing words from Michele Catalano. She says it much, much better than I ever could. (Hat tip, Stephen)

I voted for George Bush.
I am not a redneck.
I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track while I drink cheap beer and slap my woman on the ass.
I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.
I am not a homophobe.
I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.
I am not stupid. Not by an stretch of facts.
I do not bomb abortion clinics.

You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal.
Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a center for Christian brainwashing.
Your favorite bookstore will not turn into puritan central.

This is not Nazi Germany in any way.
You will not be forced into concentration camps.
You will not be burned in human-sized ovens because of your religion.
We will not be forced to wear uniforms and march in line every day.
You will not live in fear.
If you think this is a country in which you have to live in fear, I have some friends in Iran who would like to have a little talk with you.

Congratulations, America

You did it. You made the right call. It wasn't easy for you. You had to withstand relentless, monolithic pressure from the mainstream media and the intellectual elite. You've been called know-nothings, dumbasses, simpletons, bigots and warmongers. You withstood the intimidation, the ostricization and the condescension of the establishment, and you held your ground. You were willing to accept their scorn and judgment if that's what it took to stand tall against America's enemies. I'm proud of you, and I was proud to stand with you.

And now, if you'll forgive me, there are a few things I want to get off my chest. I don't really want to "gloat" in public, or to rub salt on anyone's wounds, so you Kerry people may not wish to read the remainder of this post. You're free to, of course, but you've been warned...

...all right, here goes:

<Homer Simpson>WOO-HOO!!</Homer Simpson>

<Nelson Munz>HA-ha!!!</Nelson Munz>

<Austin Powers>Yeah Baby, YEAH!!!</Austin Powers>

<Fred Flinstone>YABBA DABBA DOO!!!</Fred Flintsone>

<Eric Cartman>Schweet!!!</Eric Cartman>

Okay, I feel better now.

Is it just me?

Or is Pennsylvania actually closer than Ohio?

One question

Where was the much-feared October Surprise? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the election is over, and we didn't see a defrosted Osama bin Laden thawed out in the campaign's waning days. We didn't see a planted cache of WMD suddenly "discovered" in Iraq. We didn't see al-Zarqawi pulled out of his secret holding cell in Baghdad to be paraded before the cameras. Hell, we didn't even see an elevated terror level, or any vaguely worded cautions from Homeland Security.

What happened, people? Were all those predictions bad?

I guess being a moonbat conspiracy freak means never having to say you were wrong.

O victory, thy nectar is sweet!

Just kidding. This is not a gloat thread. I just thought that title sounded pretty cool. Actually, last night's results are very near my nightmare scenario, inviting four more years of recriminations and charges of electoral theft. There is no realistic way in which John Kerry can piece together a victory at this point. Is it too much to ask that he just freakin' concede already, in the interest of the "unity" he claims to cherish?

Yes, I suppose it is. Silly question. Ah well....

You know something funny? A couple of weeks ago, I penned an essay that I was going to post here in the event of a Kerry win (and a very eloquent one too, I might add.) I don't know what this says about my subconscious, but I never got around to preparing a piece for a Bush win or an ambiguous outcome. As a result, I suppose I'm going to have to wing it.

I don't have that much to say yet, just a few observations, really. First of all, it seems those people who were targeted by the "Vote or Die" campaign did not, in fact, vote in appreciable numbers. Are they now to die? Can we please, please at least agree never again to launch a public service campaign with such a stoopid fargin' name?!

On a personal note, with Bush the apparent winner and the Republicans picking up seats in Congress, I still can't muster much of a celebratory spirit. How can I be happy when my wife is so upset? And it's not just her, it's half the country. This was doomed to happen no matter who won, and that's why I'm glad this election is finally (sorta) over. I feel badly for the millions and millions of good, decent Americans (not Michael Moore) who put their heart and soul into this race to have it stomped out. There is probably not much I can say to these people to make them feel better, but I'll do what I can. Let me point out a few things.

If Kerry had won, our enemies would have viewed it as a sign of weakness. I'm not saying their interpretation would be correct, but there can be little doubt they would see it that way. We have been spared that. We have been spared the sight of joyous Palestinian militants and Islamist fanatics dancing in the street, burning the American flag, and firing rifles into the air. I don't think any of us want to see that.

For as contentious and bitter as this contest has been, we must remember that our political opponents are not our enemies. Our enemy is very real, and he haunts the caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the slums of Fallujah and Najaf, and secret, squalid cells the world over, where he seethes in hatred and schemes of ways to bring us death and destruction. We've had a very divisive election, but it's over. Now let's get back to the business at hand. Killing them before they kill us.

So back to it.

On a personal note, I went to sleep listening to ABC's election coverage on the radio. I was lulled to sleep by the sound of an old friend, my second-favorite talk show host of all time, Gil Gross (my first favorite is this guy.) Gil, it was good to hear you again, buddy.

Good night, all!

It's been fun, but I've got a busy day tomorrow. Don't let anything crazy happen while I'm asleep.

A question

Has Terry McAuliffe been on TV yet to say this is a "really good night" for the Democrats?

Four more years!!!! (Not of President Bush, but DNC Chairman McAuliffe!)

One positive result of this election...

...is that we'll finally acknowledge John Zogby for what he is -- a partisan Democratic hack who got lucky. Once.

I don't believe it

Is it my imagination, or is an electoral tie beginning to look less like an intellectual paror game and more like a real possibility?

Bush wins Ohio!

At least according to Fox News. But hell, if Fox is as cautious as they've been being all night long, I may be the last person in the country to learn this.

Get ready!

It looks like the Lefties, sensing defeat in Ohio, are laying the groundwork already. Josh Marshall is ready to call in the trial lawyer cavalry.

In Ohio, the GOP is pulling out all the stops, frankly, to steal it in the courts, trying to get courts to stop voting for people who were already in line when the polls closed, ruling against provisional ballots, the whole nine yards. It's wall to wall ugly.

Ohio details

If you're interested in examining the Ohio results under a microscope, go here.

November 02, 2004

High Times over at DU

Always fun to keep an eye on these people. My personal favorite:

I'm sparkin' a bowl...

Fuck it.


Kerry's whompin' Bush more than 3-to-1, with more than 12% of the precincts reporting. I'm serious, what the hell is going on?!?


Arlen Specter is gettin' creamed in PA!! What the hell!?


They're going to wait until 100% of the votes are in before they call it.

Is Susan Estrich southern?

This is the first time I've heard her speak more than a sentence or two. Jesus Christ, what a vile, wretched, woman.

DAMMIT, I can't TAKE any more!!!! I have muted the TV!!! What's the point in watching Fox News if I have to put up with this kind of bitchery?!?

We can forget about an early night

I may need some more beer....


...at this point.

MSM too cautious

Otherwise, there is no excuse for not calling South Carolina. I lived there for 20 years, and the result should not be in doubt. Perhaps, given the problems of 2000, they are erring on the side of caution. I can't really fault that.

A senate race

Word is, Bunning is down in Kentucky. I cannot be upset by this. I think the guy is obviously nuts. If I could vote in all the senate races nationwide, I would almost certainly vote for Democratic candidates in Kentucky, Illinois, and New York. If Bunning loses, it is definitely not a harbinger of doom for George W. Bush.

For the love of Mike!!!

Where the HELL are the returns?!?

I'm sick of exit poll data. The polls have been closed for an hour in Indiana and Kentucky. What the hell is taking so long?

I guess we are suffering for the sins of 2000. We can probably forget getting any official projections until the last lawsuit has been adjudicated.

Holy shit!

This is the Carpet Kitten?!?!?!

Juan Williams...

...looks like he has a stick up his ass. Jesus Christ, relax!

Let me remind everyone...

...there's an extra hour of voting in the Florida panhandle. This is a heavily Republican region of the state. Don't be discouraged by the current exits polls there. NO VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED! They are STILL voting in Florida!


I'm half in the bag already, and a single vote hasn't been counted yet.

Let's hope we wrap up this one early!

The money boys vote

For what it's worth, TradeSports now has Kerry futures up 25 points!

I'm tempted to sell now, and lock in the profit. Still, if Kerry wins, I get the whole magilla. What to do?

If Bush doesn't win...

... the future of Western Democracy is effectively OVER!!! I'm moving to AUSTRALIA!! This is the most important election of our lifetime, and the very FABRIC of our democracy hangs in the BALANCE! By a thread, by a THREAD, dammit!!!!!

Well no, not really. But everyone else is saying it. I hadn't done so yet this year, and I figured tonight was my last chance to try it out.

It was pretty fun! :-)

According to my notes

The first polls will close at 6PM, eastern time, in Indiana and Kentucky. Now the outcomes here should not really be in doubt (I hope!), but we should be able to infer something by how quickly they're called. If it's not almost instant, that could be a sign that Kerry's showing surprising strength. More beer is clearly called for!

Ah, Hell!

I'd been planning to pace myself, but screw it! I just cracked open a nice, frosty cold one. With any luck, it won't be as long a night as we'd feared, anyway.

Ahhhhh. Settling in. I'll be watching Fox News, 'cuz it's "fair and balanced."


Sorry for the lack of posting of late. Things have been busy here, plus there's been a marked lack of concrete news to post. As Mal points out in a comment below, the early raw exit polling data we saw was likely highly skewed towards Kerry.

I am beginning to think it could be another long night. I hope my beer holds out. Dammit, how could they do it to us again? Put us through another nail-biter like that? Couldn't one of the candidates, in the interest of national unity, simply have "thrown" the race?

Oh that's right, they both tried.


Well, my wife is wondering whether we should go out in the city tonight. You know, maybe see the big ice skating map and see what's going on. My guess is, however, we'll stay home. I'm not sure I like the prospect of spending an evening with either

  • a city of 8 million gloating Democrats, or
  • a city of 8 million bitter, pissed-off Democrats

Either way, I'll keep you posted.

The fog of war

I don't know what else to call it. It's hard to get a clear idea of what's going on. Many sites are slow or down altogether as people are clamoring for early information. The preliminary exit polls look very good for Kerry, but there's also rumor that the sample was heavily skewed towards women. Bottom line, who the hell knows.

Is Kerry leading in Ohio?

TradeSports still doesn't think so, but K-Lo at The Corner does.

Follow the money

TradeSports is much more bullish on Bush's chances in Ohio than in Florida.

Yeah, I know that probably doesn't mean crap, but there's not much data to post yet. Just people trying to read tea leaves.

My lunch

I'm having Texas chili, just for good luck.

I did it

By the way, I should mention that I voted for President Bush at 7 AM this morning. Neither Badnarik nor Nader was on my ballot, however, so any lingering temptation I may have had to cast a third-party vote was thwarted.

But I've quit stressing about it. Now is the time for fatalism!

This is a more exciting election than I ever could have hoped for, and I feel like it's Christmas or something. There will be a party atmosphere at my place tonight (well, as much of a party atmosphere as you can have with your nose stuck in a laptop the whole time.)

May the best man win! And failing that, the second best!

On a personal note...

...I'm wearing my Nixon-Agnew button today. Given the contentious nature of this election, I figured it was appropriate to embrace a less divisive figure.

Election coverage

With 1% of the exit polls counted from 1% of the precincts, Cynical Nation is ready to project....

Just kidding! The real fun won't come until much later.

Did you hear that NBC has placed a giant United States map under the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center? They will illuminate the individual states red or blue as the returns come in. Is this a great country or what?

When following the coverage tonight, don't forget to drop by this website for my keen political insights and heavy drinking.

"Sleeping with the enemy"

That's the index entry for this New York magazine piece about, well, having sex with Republicans. Who knew we could be so exotic?

Susannah, a 26-year-old activist, recently had her own guilty one-night stand with a Republican. They met at a loft party, sparks flew, and he mentioned that he had run for office. Since he is African-American, she assumed he was a Democrat. When he said, "Think again," she wrested herself away -- but gave him her e-mail.

A few nights later, after watching the vice-presidential debate separately (him alone, she with like-minded liberals), they went to the Gramercy Park Hotel roof. "We had a really stimulating conversation about politics," she recalls. "He seemed very reasonable, not a wacko." More than that, he was chivalrous. "Most of the guys I date are unemployed skaters. He bought all the drinks."

They went back to his pad and went right to bed. Instead of putting on Prince in the background, he put on Fox News. She says the sex was great, in part because of the forbidden aspect. "I was intrigued with the idea of sleeping with a Republican," she says. "It had the appeal of the exotic."

When she told her friends what she had done, one of them remarked, "How could you? In these times?" Now she has mixed feelings. "I don't think I'm going to go out and sleep with any more Republicans. I started thinking, I don't want a man like that in the White House. How could I want him in my bed?"

November 01, 2004

On the fence no longer!

Iowahawk finally endorses a candidate!

My mom can relax now

Ever since 9/11, my mom has worried about my living in the center of al-Qaeda's primary target. According to MEMRI, however, I'm safe, since New York and New Jersey are almost certainly Kerry states.

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera(1) on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state")(2) to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

So don't worry, Mom! I'll be fine. Perhaps you should move up here.

Amen, Ralph!

Ralph Peters can often be a divisive figure, but his column today sets exactly the right tone.

Tomorrow, we, the people, will decide who's going to sit in the Oval Office for the next four years. Tempers are short. Tensions are high. The race is tight. And the election campaign has been the most vicious and dishonest -- on both sides -- in my lifetime.

We need to get over it.

I have my preferred candidate. I have my vote. I have my strong convictions. But whoever the American people choose on Election Day will be my president. And he needs to be our president.

Once the people have spoken through the ballot, we need to accept their judgment and get back to being Americans together. The times are perilous and likely to grow even more dangerous, no matter who is elected. We need to pull together again, as we did after 9/11.
Let's stop this destructive nonsense now. Let's respect the will of our fellow citizens. And let's agree to support whoever is elected president. We need to return to the tradition of respecting the people's choice. Every new president deserves our faith until he proves himself faulty.

Bravo, Ralph. I couldn't agree more.

Now I'm waiting for an equivalent, conciliatory, non-partisan piece from the other side. As soon as I find one, I'll post it here as well. Should be any second now.

Any. Second. Now...

A Halloween question

Do "Mr. Goodbar" and "krackel" still exist as full-size candy bars, or only in those miniature sizes suitable for Halloween?