09 May 2011

New Life

If you're interested, feel free to read about my new life in Thailand here. It'll be great to see some old internet faces. To make a long story short, I got married, have 3 stepsons and a girl on the way, work at an NGO, and I'm trying to write on the side. Come on by!

http://paulsalvette.com

21 February 2010

The Internet: Helping Ugly People Get Married Since 1993

Congrats to the lovely Caroline, from USO Girls, and the not-so-photogenic but all-around good guy, TSO, getting married. The proposal was on This Ain't Hell and she said yes in comment #5. Way to go! Drop by and leave them an encouraging comment, or else they'll shake you down for a wedding present.

19 February 2010

The Bureaucracy is Expanding to Meet the Needs of Ray Lahood's Ego

The Imminent Threat Posed by the Cell Phone

With all that's going on the world, one would think the federal government would be a bit more concerned with the exploding deficit, flying Unabomber types, and other minor issues like the war in Afghanistan. But that line of thinking doesn't create new, do-nothing government jobs and pension plans for your friends like anti-obesity campaigns, and the latest, the War on Distracted Driving. From the Weekly Standard:
The most valuable term for LaHood is “distracted driving.” It is an expansive phrase that a deft government guy can play like an accordion, stretching or squeezing it as his argument demands. The immediate upshot of LaHood’s initiative, he said last month, is that he wants laws that will make it illegal for drivers to use handheld cell phones behind the wheel. State laws, local laws, federal laws, whichever, it seems not to matter to him—just so long as this little slice of unregulated human behavior is prohibited and punished.
Great. We bemoan our collective loss of liberty when the NSA listens in on Mr. Abdullah's call to his weapons-smuggling cousin in Syria, but when little Suzie texts her BFF that she just saw the cute guy from Bio class, we're supposed to treat her like a federal criminal. There's even a website dedicated to this national plague www.distraction.gov. Judging by Mr. LaHood's pork record, I'm sure it was taxpayer money well spent.

05 February 2010

Artistic License in War Movies

Kate Hoit, aka GI Kate, an Iraq vet and internet buddy has an article about The Hurt Locker in Huffington Post that has solicited 400+ comments. She criticizes the film for lacking authenticity, being over the top, and its inability to get simple details correct like rank and uniform. It's tough to go up against a movie with a tomatometer rating of 97%(and the tomatometer don't lie), and the competition in the genre of Iraq/A-stan movie is really crappy, so that fact alone makes this movie look like Citizen Kane.

Coincidentally, I saw the movie last night and thought it was pretty interesting: well-acted, well-shot, and tons of action. I don't know much about EOD, but it is obvious that Hollywood took some artistic license in the creation of this film. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because a true-to-life war movie would be more like the infamous Onion spoof: sitting around waiting for orders, waiting in line at the phone trailer to call your girlfried, etc. Crimson Tide is one of the more famous submarine movies, and it is quite enjoyable and therefore absolutely not at all a reflection of reality. A submarine movie that was based on real life on a submarine would probably be like watching a double-feature of Heaven's Gate and Ishtar...with Catwoman thrown in for an encore.

So, Kate, I'm not going to fault Hollywood for taking some liberties, as they never claimed this was reality. But, as always, I love your tendency to challenge the status quo on issues pertaining to veterans. I just hope for the day when vets use the GI Bill to become great screenwriters/directors/actors, then maybe there will be something in the cultural mainstream that isn't just another action flick.

25 January 2010

Much Like Religion in General, Pope's Website Remains a Mystery

Apparently, the "Pope2You View" Plug-In Has some Bugs

I'm not religious, but I'm not anti-religious or anything, so I decided to give the Pope's website (Pope2you.net) a look after Il Papa called for a new Christian Army of bloggers on Saturday:
“Who better than a priest, as a man of God,” the Pope said, “can develop and put into practice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God concretely present in today’s world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better future?
Unfortunately, the Pope's website has about as much substance and content as a Martha Coakley Facebook page. Maybe my browser is all dicked up, but nothing is working right on this website. That is including the "Piece of Peace" page, which has some graphic of the world that looks like it's from Atari's Pitfall that rotates around spastically when you roll over it with your mouse.

The Catholic Church would be attracting a lot more visitors by posting mash-up videos of the Pope getting tackled or the Pope-mobile riding around set to the Ministry song "Jesus Built my Hotrod".

21 January 2010

Unfathomable Hubris

Most amazingly lame and self-serving comment of the day comes from this Senate staffer who writes in to Talking Points Memo:

My background is like probably the majority of staffers I know. I came to DC, from a far superior climate and quality of life, because I wanted to save the world.
If only they had been given more money to dole out than the $787B in the stimulus monstrosity (which was too small of course), we could have really recognized how the new aristocracy in Washington had our best interests at heart.

17 January 2010

Some Non-Phonies For a Gloomy Sunday

One of Those Days (Borrowed from Oddlyspecific.com)

Anyone else bummed out about the so-called Tea Party Nation convention taking place next month in Tennessee? Charging over 500 bones to take part in a "populist" movement is about as appropriate as a Massachusetts Democratic Party campaign ad. The whole "We're Just Being Capitalists" argument doesn't really cut it, as politics is supposed to be about what's good for the country, not what's good for your pocketbook. The fact that money gets so involved both in DC and the grassroots leads to a whole slew of corruption and cronyism both at the local and national level. I thought the Tea Party movement was supposed to address this problem, but what do I know, I don't even live in the country anymore.

So here's some non-phonies to clean up your head: Army of Dude has a good description of vets going through college, and Vox Veterana is up and running after a long period of disillusionment.

08 January 2010

Who Would've Thought That a Public Official Would Be So Incompetent?

File Photo of Janet Napolitano

President Obama's national security team and the folks that keep America from getting blowed up has been, thankfully, a pretty decent bunch of individuals. However, one official stands out worse than a turd on the Thanksgiving table, and no Marueen Dowd puff pieces on Janet Napolitano's "determination" are going to prevent her from getting inevitably axed for gross incompetence. Here's the latest embarrassing statement to the press, which Jim Hoft has a transcript of, saying that the lone suicide bomber concept was something that caught Homeland Security with its pants down:

Question: What was the most shocking, stunning thing that you found out of the review? And, Secretary, to you, as well...
SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: I think, following up on that, not just the determination of al Qaeda and al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, but the tactic of using an individual to foment an attack, as opposed to a large conspiracy or a multi-person conspiracy such as we saw in 9/11, that is something that affects intelligence.
Has she been on planet Earth the last 10 years? The typical stereotype of a suicide bomber (the 18-30 year old male who becomes disenchanted and decides to achieve martyrdom through mass atrocity) was the case here. The President promises a detailed bi-partisan review of the matter that will, hopefully, involve some "reassignments" of Napolitano and that other guy who didn't want his skiing vacation interrupted.

As an aside, this could go hand-in-hand with the much needed bipartisan inquiry into why the VA is having so many problems, which Army Sergeant has a great piece about.

03 January 2010

Adios to the Ohs

By most standards of assessment, the last decade was more disappointing than the fact that Bill Paxton, essential comic relief to any James Cameron film, did not make an appearance in Avatar. Obviously, war is never a good thing, even if necessary, and a shit economy doesn't help matters either. However, a depressed society usually produces some very interesting culture (think of all the punk bands that started when Jimmy Carter was in office). But unfortunately, even the music in this wretched decade was downright terrible as Wek has already pointed out.

I thought this Seattle Times editorial summarized it all up pretty well. And I recall a quote from Fight Club (a 1999 movie) that was sort of a precursor to this decade:

God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.
Well, we got our war and sort-of depression alright, but I'm not sure how it's all going to end up in the end. Maybe we'll turn out alright, and even if we don't, it's more enjoyable to live in the decline of an empire than the rise of one. Just like Caligula.

29 December 2009

Happy New Year


Off to Koh Samet (an small island not far from Bangkok that has cheap places to stay) for the New Year. Hope you all have good ones too! I guess I could post something about how this was the worst decade ever for a lot of reasons, but at least we're still hanging. That's something to be thankful for.

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

From ABC

This photo is the nasty pair of drawers that thankfully didn't blow a hole in Northwest Flight 253, but managed to spook the civilized world during the holidays. But, the concept of strapping bombs to your genitals is nothing new, as seen in Pakistan last year. From the Daily Times in July 2008:
Would-be suicide bombers could be using explosives “underwear briefs” rather than explosives jackets to evade “conservative” body searches, sources said on Wednesday.

Sihala Police College forensic lab sources told Daily Times that the study of recent suicide attacks showed that suicide bombers used “explosives-laden” under-garments, briefs in particular, to carry out the attacks.

The sources said that the explosives could weigh between five kilogrammes to seven kilogrammes, made deadly by adding glass splinters, metal ball bearings and bullets.
So, like we've seen around the world, the determined terrorist can adapt to achieve his objective. Even if the TSA would scrap its much-criticized political correctness in their prevention methods, would they still be able to nab the terrorist dressed up as a woman? I have to take back my post two years ago giving the TSA a hard time for searching military personnel coming home for R&R, in light of the Fort Hood shootings. But will our politicians cease the partisan ugliness to set forth security policies that reflect the current threat level? I have my doubts...

25 December 2009

24 December 2009

Hipster Goes Mildly Repentant on DC Snowball Incident

Pic from SD Headliner

Most people grow out of snowball fights somewhere after the age they find out Santa Claus isn't real, but before the age where they realize that women have a thing called boobs. But that didn't stop dozens of DC cool kids from arranging a snowball fight online, and subsequently pelting a police officer with snowballs. A gun was drawn, inevitable pants-wetting happened, and it became a big brouhaha on the internet.

Now, the guy detained speaks out, surprisingly, in a Washington Post column about his respect for the law:
That means respecting the power of the police to break up a snowball fight at a busy intersection (and detain those, like myself, who they have reason to believe are subverting that authority).
But, unsurprisingly, he makes it clear that he and his group of peers are better than everyone else:
I suspect that many of the snowballers were, like me, young, well educated and politically active. Demographics suggest that a strong majority of them support new laws on climate change and health care.
Yeah well, I suspect that many of the snowballers think they're doing God's work in DC, have never worked an honest day in their lives, voted for Obama, and don't see any problem with humiliating a regular guy just doing his job such as the detective.

23 December 2009

Get Off My Goddamn Internet

I'm not saying that you can't make a good argument for our continued War on Drugs, but this article by Mary Grabar has got to be a freaking joke. In a no-good, terrible waste of internet space, she first asserts: "In abandoning the duty to enforce social order, today’s libertarians have made a devil’s pact with the pro-drug forces of George Soros and company". Then says something about marijuana wasn't in the bible, so it's counter-cultural and should be illegal. I thought setting policy on whether or not something was in the bible went out of vogue during the Renaissance, but perhaps I'm mistaken. She also talks about how smoking weed will eventually turn you into a gay porn star. No...really, it's on the bottom of page 1 near the fistgate reference.

The normally "Amen" comments at Pajamas Media are quite unforgiving, and #18 calls her a "little Taliban". I wouldn't go that far, but I wish people like this could mind their own damn business about something as lame as getting high and watching Lost reruns.

22 December 2009

Through the Ruins of Detroit

Pajamas Media takes a trip through the city of Detroit with complete footage of abandoned buildings doubling as heroin galleries (not hard to find in Motown). He doesn't examine the riots and turbulent race relations causing problems for the city over the last 40 years, but I think he hits on the other points rather well (greedy unions, monstrous entitlement programs, etc.)

20 December 2009

CJ's Open Letter

A good NCO and good milblogger thrown under the bus by petty tyrant bureauweenies. A real shame! Here's his full letter, read it all:

I want to take a moment to thank all of those that are participating in the BlogOut on behalf of free speech generally and me specifically. The selflessness show by each of these bloggers, both within and without the milblogging community, has inspired and humbled me. For much of the past year, I have been fighting for Soldiers' rights to freedom of speech. I have always resisted the mindset that when Soldiers join the Army they surrender their rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that the way in which we EXERCISE those rights is somewhat restricted, but we don't lose them. Every enlisted member of the military signed a DD Form 4/1, or enlistment contract. On page two of that document, it states that "many laws, regulations, and military customs will govern my conduct and require me to do things a civilian does not have to do." Many use this little clause to justify the mentality that we are troops 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and that's true - to a point. But, that doesn't mean that EVERYTHING I do in my life is subject to military oversight. I am allowed to have hobbies, pick and choose my friends, and join civic groups and clubs. But, I'm not allowed to break laws and must abide by additional rules and regulations that are dictated by my employment in the military. These include the uniform code of military justice, army regulations, and DOD directives.

No Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine surrenders their free speech rights. Officers, of course, fall under different sets of rules. For example, Article 88 states of the Manual of Courts Martial states

“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Now, that doesn't give Soldiers the right to use "contemptuous words" against our elected officials, but who decides what "contemptuous words" are? Is any disagreement with an elected official "contemptuous?" Is only certain kinds of disagreement? In my mind, writing about what an elected official says and then highlighting what that elected official DID in contrast to what they said is not "contemptuous" in any way. If someone has lied to the American people and I can prove it, how is it contemptuous to call that person a liar? I see nothing "contemptuous" about calling for the wholesale firing of Congress through the democratic process.

But, beginning in April, I started coming under attack for talking about those very things. Interestingly, the complaints came from blogs that were posted PRIOR TO being invited to the Obama White House. As a matter of fact, while speaking to WH officials, they even acknowledged that we had disagreements, but I was invited anyway.

An IG complaint was filed around that time and after a three month investigation into my blogging came to the conclusion that I was guilty of subversion and using my rank or position to solicit votes for a political cause, both, I maintain, are absolutely ludicrous. After months of trying to get the results of the bogus IG complaint, I finally obtained a copy of it. Interesting what an Army Times article can accomplish. I've since forwarded that nearly 100-page document to my military lawyer for advice on how to move forward on that front. Suffice it to say that everything that could possibly be taken out of context when separated from the post as a whole WAS taken out of context and used in a vindictive, political manner. The school issue is a whole other problem that adds to the problems with poor leadership.

I want to personally thank all the military and civilian bloggers out there that have taken up this cause and support me and my family through this difficult time. It's been humbling to see the outpouring of support from across the country and around the world. My inbox has exploded with positive and encouraging words of support (and some not-so-supportive). I will never be able to repay what you have done for me, but I will never give up trying! Thank you.

Free Our Fobbits!

Interesting Op-Ed about how our Army officers in combat are too risk-averse, which is hampering operations and long-term objectives:

The results were striking. Many respondents said that field commanders relied too much on methods that worked in another place at another time but often did not work well now. Officers at higher levels are stifling the initiative of junior officers through micromanagement and policies to reduce risk. Onerous requirements for armored vehicles on patrols, for instance, are preventing the quick action needed for effective counterinsurgency. Of the Army veterans I surveyed, only 28 percent said that their service encouraged them to take risks, while a shocking 41 percent said that the Army discouraged it.
I suppose Mr. Moyar is think about things like "How to Win a War" instead of creating US-based manufacturing jobs for the ever-prevalent reflective belt. Shows what he knows!

19 December 2009

In Lieu Of Anything Meaningful

I suppose you could read about Ted Kennedy's corpse being trotted out to ram through another federal entitlement program that the country can't afford...or you could go back to when life was easier. This is a clip from Hard Rock Zombies, which sort of ranks up there in bad movies with the Ed Wood collection. It involves a group of mulleted rockers, creepy lust of some pre-teen named "Cassie", and for reasons only known to the creators of this wretched film, Hitler has a starring role. I am particularly fond of this tune:

13 December 2009

Paul Ryan Goes All Anti-Corporate On Us



Maybe I should've listened to more Crass growing up...despite the fact that they didn't know how to sing or play their instruments. Then maybe I could've recognized what Paul Ryan (R-WI) was saying about powerful corporate interests earlier instead after the economy imploded. From Forbes:

We must champion an aggressive reform agenda to tackle our outdated financial regulatory structure, the convoluted and anti-competitive tax code, and the looming entitlement crisis, and to fix what's broken in health care, energy, and more. We should focus on removing the hurdles the government has erected, rather than further centralizing power in Washington. The legislative reform must focus on empowering individuals instead of bureaucrats.

We cannot lose our commitment to individual liberty--a commitment we've shed blood to defend in generations past. The American idea cannot be defeated.
Even if the bailout saga wasn't an incredible drain on our nation's treasury (which it was), it was a tremendously dangerous precedent since it empowered moneyed interests with gangs of lobbyists and left the average small business owner out to dry. It's refreshing that a true conservative in Washington actually realizes this instead of kissing asses for campaign contributions. Paul Ryan for emperor!

11 December 2009

Matt Taibbi Latest Highlights the Problem but Not the Solution

Chris Dodd: Not an adequate substitute for hope in America


Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has another great article on the crony capitalism running amok in the Obama White House, where there is more starched suits than a Tokyo subway terminal. But I sort of lose him when he starts talking about cleaning up this mess of pigs at the trough by calling in...Chris Dodd?!?:
The original measure, drafted by chairman Christopher Dodd of the Senate Banking Committee, is surprisingly tough on Wall Street — a fact that almost everyone in town chalks up to Dodd's desperation to shake the bad publicity he incurred by accepting a sweetheart mortgage from the notorious lender Countrywide. "He's got to do the shake-his-fist-at-Wall Street thing because of his, you know, problems," says a Democratic Senate aide. "So that's why the bill is starting out kind of tough."
It's sort of like he's upset that a bunch of Wall Street people are in charge of the country instead of his progressive buddies being in charge of the country. I suggest that no group of men or women should have so much command and control of the economy, because I believe that "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" and sort of extrapolate all my political beliefs from there.

Taibbi then takes aim at the "teabaggers" on page 6 who he dubs a pack of "idiots" because they aren't protesting Obama correctly. I dunno, I thought fistgate was both funny and worth getting outraged about.

08 December 2009

Crazy Dictator Says Crazy Shit

Criticizing Ahmadinejad is about as intellectually taxing as calling Tiger Woods a lousy husband, but this statement needs to be repeated to permanently assure his mentally deranged status. From Fox News:

“We have documented proof that they believe that a descendant of the prophet of Islam will raise in these parts and he will dry the roots of all injustice in the world,” Ahmadinejad said during a speech on Monday, according to Al Arabiya.

"They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
Supposedly, the 12th Imam (Mahdi) will rid the world of injustice alongside Jesus and Xenu, but I'm not a religious scholar or anything. However, it is painfully obvious that Ahmadinejad is dishing out another ridiculous statement to distract the public from the regime's domestic woes. Previous whoppers Ahmadinejad has told the public include holocaust denial and an assassination plot against him involving X-Rays at the airport.

04 December 2009

Sarah Palin: Master of Karate and Friendship

Well, this is where the conservative movement is at. Sarah Palin, who has strong approval amongst the right, has descended into the incredibly ridiculous. She has suggested that the Obama Birth certificate is fair game. No need to comment on the birth certificate issue for the same reason there is no need to comment on President Obama being from the Klendathu galaxy: there's zero evidence of either. Hot Air is definitely feeling a bit squeamish about the whole affair, and you know David Weigel (best political journalist out there, I just wish he was on our side) is going to have a field day when he wakes up.

I'm just finishing watching the John Adams mini-series, and, even though I despise elitism, it makes you sort of wish for when politicians were well-educated, well-spoken, and took the task of governing the country seriously. After 230+ years of our republic, we are sort of left with this celebrity nonsense.

30 November 2009

Another Day, Another Crummy Iraq/A-stan Movie

Opening Night for "Brothers"


Not sure what it is about Hollywood, but when it comes to war movies about Iraq and Afghanistan, they seem to crank out more duds than a Chinese fireworks factory. This latest installment is called "Brothers" and is a remake of a Danish film from 2005 about the stereotypical Marine that comes back home and goes bonkers. Pretty dull and contrived stuff. Here's what Blackfive has to say:
More likely, I think, is the possibility that this is just another Big Hollywood movie that stereotypes soldiers or Marines as angry (because the military is where people go when they can't get into prison!), humorless men (which is why they don't go to college!) who scream a lot, beat up on family members, hate hippies (because they hate their own latent homosexuality!), throw dishes for no good reason at all, and beat up on women and little brothers.
It's not that all of the good coming home movies were "pro-war", but rather the characters in them seemed a lot less phony in movies like The Best Years of Our Lives and Born on the 4th of July. I mean, seriously, Tobey Maguire's character is looking like he's auditioning to be the third Bushwhacker in Wrestlemania V.

Maybe if the production didn't look like it belonged on Michael Moore's Youtube page, it might be worth seeing. But until more vets start becoming filmmakers and more involved in the creative arts, I predict we're going to see turd after turd on the touchy subject of the modern veteran. If the VA can actually figure out how to pay out on the GI Bill, perhaps we could have some decent war movies hitting the big screen.

26 November 2009

Obots in the Media Gettin' Desperate


The same water-carrier at TIME who tried to label all conservatives nihilists is back with another ridiculous defense of this horrendous Obama administration, which still continues the cult of personality one year after the election. Here's what Joe Klein offers up:

The most obvious pattern, however, is the media's tendency to get overwrought about almost anything. Why, for example, is the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall demolition so crucial that it requires a President's presence?
So that's sort of the level of cognitive dissonance we're at in the media and how far they are willing to revise history: Berlin wall coming down - not a big deal, but the President pardoning a turkey - that's huge!

Great News: Two Yahoos Break Into the White House

Can't imagine why two derelicts breaking into an event with the President of the free world and the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy would be such a big whoop. From NY Times:

In fact, the couple — Michaele Salahi and her husband, Tareq — are Virginians who have been auditioning for a possible role in a different housewives TV franchise: “The Real Housewives of Washington.”

They swept past the camera crews and followed the trail of other bigwigs attending the dinner.

But neither Mr. nor Mrs. Salahi, best known in the Washington area for promoting wine and polo in Virginia, were on the guest list for the event, a fact first reported Wednesday morning on the Washington Post Web site.

A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the Salahis had not been invited nor seated for dinner.

It was not clear Wednesday night how close the Salahis got to Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, or to the guests of honor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur.
This type of nonsense might be common in LA, but in DC these theatrics threaten national security and cost the taxpayers money. It goes to show that DC is becoming the new home of the glamorous and self-indulgent as they mooch off the wealth of the rest of the country. What a shame.

24 November 2009

Achtung! Nice Guys Finish Last

Ouch! You know your foreign policy strategy is in dire straits when the Europeans accuse you of being too much of wimp. First it was the French President Sarkozy saying Obama was being soft on Iran, now the Germans are saying Obama is Jimmy Carter II. From Der Spiegel:

The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.
No word yet on whether or not MSNBC is going to condescendingly criticize our German allies like they usually do for Obama's detractors. But, in defense of President Obama, there's really not much he could do to influence the Chinese on anything, since they are effectively financing our over-consumption and we the people will not elect politicians who will get our fiscal house in order. Perhaps Der Spiegel is just saying welcome to the club of nation-states that are burdened with a massive entitlement complex and a geezerly population. At least we'll ride out the Decline of Western Civilization in solidarity.

16 November 2009

One Acceptable Reason for the Obama Bow

Someone needs to contact Gibbs about the whole bow to the Japanese Emperor row. Because in the Hot Air comments, someone has come up with an excellent excuse that any guy can sympathize with. If Obama was sporting a major boner, then it would be acceptable to hunch over at that ridiculous an angle.

In Defense of Populism

Generally, Christopher Hitchens has some pretty interesting things to say, but I thought this dull criticism of Sarah Palin was a bit routine with the same tired attempts to summarize the "teabaggers" as imbeciles who can't think for themselves. And I'm not Pro-Palin either. From Newsweek:

The United States has to stand or fall by being the preeminent nation of science, modernity, technology, and higher education. Some of these needful phenomena, for historical reasons, will just happen to concentrate in big cities and in secular institutions and even—yes—on the dreaded East Coast. Modernity can be wrenching, as indeed can capitalism, and there will always be "out" groups who feel themselves disrespected or left behind. The task and duty of a serious politician, as Edmund Burke emphasized so well, is to reason with such people and not to act as their megaphone or ventriloquist.
It's not a bad thing that there are well-educated people on the East Coast. What's a bad thing is the same boneheads that fucked up the economy are the ones trying to establish new policies that will benefit a group of our "betters" in Wall Street and Washington. That and a dollar falling into post-Soviet Union ruble status is enough to create a large group of pissed-off Americans.

President Obama
told a group of Chinese students that the free-flow of information is an important way to hold the government accountable. It's certainly allowed a lot of ordinary people to realize how awful everything is in Washington and Wall Street.

11 November 2009

Veterans Day

Maybe if our society understood that going to war is a shared responsibility among the nation, we wouldn't be treated to such nonsense in our Op-Ed pages on Veterans Day. Today's turd is from David Ignatius, who, having an apparent change of heart from his Harvard days, once referred to the "needle-popping" Army in an article about why Mao would make a decent President:

Through all its own difficulties, the military has kept its stride. That sense of balance comes partly from the fact that soldiers are anchored to the American bedrock. This includes the stereotypical small towns in the South and Midwest that have military service in their DNA. But it also counts plenty of hardworking, upwardly mobile Hispanic and African-American families in urban America who produce some of the best soldiers I know.
Great. All the military folks David Ignatius "knows" are probably the people he called the cops on when they drove by his country club. As long as the nation's elite continue to see military service as something only poor, desperate rubes would take part in, we're going to have a pretty fucked up republic.

So this Motorhead tune is for all the vets out there, because it seems appropriate. I don't really think it's anti-war or anti-religion necessarily, but it's kind of a harsh criticism about the leaders of the world making everyone else doing all the sacrificing:



Nobody gives a damn about anybody else,
Think everyone should feel the way they feel themselves,

Rich men think that happiness is a million dollar bills,

So how come half of them O.D. on sleeping pills,

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, you all know what I mean,

What's the use of a cry for help, if no one hears the screams,

No one hears the scream,


No voices in the sky, confusion blinds the eye,

Can't take it with you when you die,

No voices in the sky,


The ones who dedicate the flags to make you brave,

They also consecrate the headstone on your grave,

Ritual remembrance when no one knows your name,

Don't help a single widow learn to fight the pain,


Politicians kissing babies for good luck,

T.V. preachers sell salvation for a buck,

You don't need no golden cross, to tell you wrong from right,

The world's worst murderers were those who saw the light.

09 November 2009

Wall Street Descends into Cartoonish Super Villainy

The CEO of Goldman Sachs

Not long ago, Godman Sachs was famously called the Great Vampire Squid Wrapped Around the Face of Humanity. Well that squid certainly has some good connections with the CDC to get this many H1N1 vaccines when health care workers and the military are up in arms about the shortage. From Guardian:
New York's health department confirmed that vaccines had been shipped to banks - Citigroup, which asked for 7,200 doses, received 1,200 while Goldman Sachs, which applied for 5,400, was given 200. A spokeswoman said distributing vaccines in workplaces would "alleviate stress and pressure from community healthcare settings and hospitals"
The NYC health commissioner tries to defend this egregious blunder by saying the boobs on Wall Street are going to distribute it to at-risk employees. After the events of the last few years, I would place Wall Street execs that took bailout money somewhere in line between the surviving cast of Three's Company and the Fluffers' Union on the scale of national priorities. Not even Robert Gibbs would defend this ridiculous policy.