Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That's my stool, man...

Not since the great Norm Peterson, has someone laid claim to a bar stool like Kyle Wygle of Newark, Ohio. Powered by a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine, Kyle's stool is able to hit speeds of 38 mph. It's so fast, it has to have a wheelie bar to keep it grounded.

Fortunately for Kyle, he was only going about 20 mph when he crashed the stool on March 4. Unfortunately, he was plastered and the cops charged him with DUI.

How can you argue with crazy like this?

Meet Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill). The other day, during the hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Rep. Shimkus let us all know a) we are a "carbon-starved" planet (that's right...we need MORE carbon) and b) according to Genesis 8:21-22, God ain't gonna let anything happen to the earth. Additionally, according to Matthew 24, we'll know when God decides to end the earth, because we'll hear trumpet calls and God's elect (who I am sure includes the right Representative) will be gathered. According to Rep. Shimkus, the earth will only end when God decides it is so.

I wonder if the next time someone in Rep. Shimkus' family is deathly ill, is he gonna take them to a doctor, or is he just gonna pray. I kind of think he has to just pray. I mean, if he's willing to bet the whole of humanity's existence on his religious beliefs, shouldn't he put the health of his own loved ones where his mouth is? I mean...let's seperate the believers from the BELIEVERS, you know.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How to order a keg of beer

In honor of a classic HIMYM episode tonight that was completely built around the Roger Murtaugh character from the Lethal Weapon series and had a guest appearance on the hardwood by a Teen Wolf (along with the goofy music), I give you the following video.

FYI, this is exactly how I picked up the kegs for the Mom Prom Saturday. Then I surfed them over to the Mayor's house on my friend's Dad's Hardware Store van.

The Torture Fallacy

Who doesn't love 24? We have now spent six whole days and part of a seventh following around tough, uncompromising CTU agent Jack Bauer. As the body count mounts, disasters avoided, plots foiled and any woman who is crazy enough to get close to Bauer dies or is irreparably emotionally scarred, Americans are exposed to one "24 fact:" Torture works.

Unfortunately, like other Hollywood magic, the myth that torture works is false. Just like talking horses, flying men and guys working at a big-box Electronic superstore dating ridiculously hot women (yeah...I'm talking about you Yvonne Strahovski.), the myth of torturer working is just that: a myth. Turns out the usual thing that happens when you pop a cap into someone's knee (other than that person limping for the rest of their life) is they LIE TO YOU.

Your local tech installer with Best Buy has a better chance of scoring with Chuck's "girlfriend/handler" than of torture obtaining any good information.

Back in February of 2007, word got out that the Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan the Dean of West Point travelled to Hollywood to have a come-to-Jesus-meeting with the creative team of 24. Seems like the military thought the unrealistic results the show gave to torture weren't exactly helping fight the war on terror. Funny...I don't recall anyone on FOX News calling anyone from 24 unpatriotic. Maybe it's because the show's creator, Joel Surnow (a self-described "close friend of Rush Limbaugh"), skipped the meeting because he "couldn't sit still that long" and he had a conference call with Roger Ailes. He was probably being uber-patriotic on the conference call, so they let it slide in the interest of being "fair and balanced."

Anyway, since then, where are we? I'm pretty sure I have yet to the see the 24 scene where Bauer tortures a suspect, gets info, scrambles everyone from CTU, Homeland Security, DoD, FBI and the local Sheriff's office, only to have them wind up holding their pricks in their hands because Abu fed Bauer a load of crap just so he could keep his index finger.

Remember this fella: Abu Zubaydah? You know, the guy President Bush said was the "chief of operations" for al Queda? Turns out, that was a bit of a stretch. Sullivan pulls the meat from the Washington Post article:

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of
Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government
officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads
attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful
information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates
-- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said. Moreover, within
weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they
had misjudged Abu Zubaida. . . . None of [their earlier claims] was accurate,
the new evidence showed.

So if all they get is crap, why bother? Herein lies the rub:

As weeks passed after the capture without significant new confessions, the Bush
White House and some at the CIA became convinced that tougher measures had to be
tried. The pressure from upper levels of the government was "tremendous," driven
in part by the routine of daily meetings in which policymakers would press for
updates, one official remembered. "They couldn't stand the idea that there
wasn't anything new," the official said. "They'd say, 'You aren't working hard
enough.' There was both a disbelief in what he was saying and also a desire for
retribution -- a feeling that 'He's going to talk, and if he doesn't talk, we'll
do whatever.' "

Ladies and gents...this is what our souls were sold for. Doesn't seem like much, huh? Hell...at least Robert Johnson got some wicked-mad chops on the guitar for his. We got worldwide shame, the loss of our ideals and turned an unknown number of people against us. Oh...and we waste time and resources tracking down all this bogus crap.

Sullivan goes on to point out that despite Senate Intelligence Committee members pressing the CIA since 2006, they cannot point to a single solid specific lead that came about through the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on this "chief of operations."

I can't sum it up any better than Sullivan; "We sold our souls for lies."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

How worried is Dick?

Sullivan wonders why Cheney has been so intent on trying to grab the tail of the Obama tiger, when it has proven the undoing of everyone else so far. Then he poses an interesting answer.

Seriously...the President strolled all the way to the White House with his obstacles taking themselves out. Did Dick's undisclosed location not get cable? Did he not see the way Obama let his opponents swing away until they were so unbalanced it only took a nudge for their own momentum to knock them over? Dick, call Bill. He can tell you all about it.

Mom Prom 2009

The Florence Area Stay At Home Moms held their 2009 Mom Prom at the home of Mayor and Laura Wukela Saturday Night. The Moms raised $1875 for The School Foundation.

Laura and Mayor Wukela presenting Debbie Hyler with a check for The School Foundation.

Mayor Wukela, Kim Davis, Scotty Davis and Laura Wukela.

The 2009 Stay at Home Moms

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rockafellas': Rock and Rolls Address in Columbia, SC

Posting the Tool video below led to a discussion about early shows I had been to and seen. As someone who grew up in South Carolina, that discussion cannot take place without mentioning the infamous Rockafellas' down in Five Points in Columbia.

I saw a lot of bands at that tiny-ass dive and I say that with all the affection I can muster. For Rockafellas' was a dive in the best sense of the word. A tiny ass bar with a stage and audience area so small, you could not help but be right on top of whoever was playing. Even if you were at the back, you were close enough to get sprayed with spittle and beer from whatever front man was attacking the mic. Want to know how tight it was? Check this pic.

Yes...that's the stage in the background. It was that close to the bar.

Apparently, there was a reunion show a year or so ago. Sad I missed it. Here is a myspace page devoted to the place and its got some great info and pics. And I will blatantly crib this description from the page of the talent that walked through the door:

The Connells, Don Dixon, Jason and the Scorchers, the BoDeans, Bonnie Raitt, the
Byrds, Delbert McClinton, Danzig, Dave Matthews, Dead Milkmen, Fleshtones, Glenn Phillips Band (pre-Toad the Wet Sprocket), Goo Goo Dolls, Henry Rollins, Hootie
and the Blowfish, Johnny Quest, Michelle Malone, Roger Manning, Mojo Nixon &
Skid Roper, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Royal Crescent Mob, Rob Crosby, Smithereens,
Stan Ridgeway, Swimming Pool Q's, Southern Culture on the Skids, Soul Asylum,
They Might Be Giants, Widespread Panic, Yellowman, Yo La Tengo, and others, all
called 2112 Devine Street home at least for one night.

How many people have a story like this:

My other favorite “I saw them when” story about Rockafellas concerns a band from
the Athens/Atlanta area called Mr. Crowe’s Garden. They played the club on a
Sunday night in the fall of 1989, a slow time at any bar, and only about ten
people were there, including the bar staff. When they got up to play, the singer
said they were just going to have some fun, and the band proceeded to play a 90
minute set of every classic 70’s rock song you can name, from “Rock and Roll
Hootchie Koo,” to, “Strutter,” and, “Deuce.” It was an amazing display and a
great show, for almost nobody. I talked to the singer after the show, and he
said they were releasing an album the next spring on Def American, a new label
from Def Jam founder Rick Rubin. I didn’t think much more about it until January
of 1990, I was fresh out of USC and working a record store job in Charleston
when an elderly couple came in and bought two copies of a new album we’d just
gotten in from a band called the Black Crowes. After looking closer at the album
I realized this was the same band I’d seen at Rockafellas back in the fall. I
had even been playing it in the store for several weeks without making the
connection, but it clicked then. The couple who came in were an aunt and uncle
of Chris and Rich Robinson, the two brothers in the band’s original lineup.

Personally, Rockafellas' was the first bar I ever drank illegally in. And got thrown out of. It was the place where I partied with my old bosses for the first time (Southern Culture on the Skids Show), helping form a friendship that led to a nice career for the first part of my life. A job where I also met the lovely Von. I also was there one night with the late Donger and some other buddies, when Sourwood Honey played. At the end of their album Big Neon Hound Dog, there is a bonus hidden track that was recorded live at that show. At the beginning of the track, you can hear some idiot yelling drunkenly, "Yeeeeaah! Yeaaaaah!" I'm pretty sure that was me and a co-worker at the time (Trent) eff'd up beyond all comprehension acting like idiots. So I have very fond memories of the place.

It really is amazing the amount of talent that poured through a tiny little southern town. At its height, Rockafellas' was the place for bands to play. And their national reputation made the whole music scene in Columbia pretty damn bad-ass. How many good bands came through The Elbow Room around the same time? I know I watched Jawbox absolutely tear it up. Do they come through Columbia if not for Rockafellas'? I doubt it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Friday night rocking out: Tool

Before they got all U2 Achtung Baby-stylized on stage, Tool put on one of the just straight-up intense live performances I have ever seen. My freshman year of college, Jaime, Catfish and I drove to Raleigh at the last minute one night to catch them live just as Undertow (which had been out a while) broke.

It was unreal. If you think Maynard is weird here, I'm pretty sure he stripped completely naked during our show and I want to say Catfish may have been hit in the face by his sweatpants when he tossed them. We were on the first row and I think it took 2 months to regain my hearing. Without further ado...

Webb, Specter and the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009

My man Sen. Jim Webb and most-likely-soon-to-be-former Sen. Arlen Specter have teamed up to address one of our country's most unpopular, yet dire problems: our criminal justice system.

As Webb explains:

"America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a
national disgrace," said Senator Webb. "With five percent of the world's
population, our country houses twenty-five percent of the world's prison
population. Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980. And four
times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health
hospitals. We should be devoting precious law enforcement capabilities toward
making our communities safer. Our neighborhoods are at risk from gang violence,
including transnational gang violence. There is great appreciation from most in
this country that we are doing something drastically wrong. And, I am gratified
that Senator Specter has joined me as the lead Republican cosponsor of this
effort. We are committed to getting this legislation passed and enacted into law
this year."

On a related note, if there is one area President Obama has disappointed me in, it was his flippant response to a question about the potential legalization of marijuana. Seriously...this is a subject who's time has come. Legalize it and Tax it. It is a win-win. We cut huge costs in enforcement, prosecuting and housing people criminalized for weed charges. And we bring in new revenue.

As my man Wooderson said, "Got any weed? It'd be a lot cooler if you did..."

Michelle Bachman is batshit crazy

I just have one question for batshit crazy Rep. Congresswoman Michelle Bachman. You know, the crazy lady who is going on Sean Hannity's show talking about how close this country is to a revolution (I guess that's what the majority of the country kicking her party out of power just 4 months ago amounts to).

Can we use this new global currency to pay the toll on the NAFTA Superhighway?

Mr. Unknown responds

I was talking with J-love about the Minor Threat post earlier and he told me about this tribute Sir Ben Kingsley did. That's right, Sir Ben Kingsley: Ghandi, Oscar-winning actor, Knight of the Realm, Sexy Beast...he's a Minor Threat fan too.

Early to finish, I was late to start...

Emailing with a friend today, he made a joke related to a picture some folks ripped from Facebook and posted on a local Republican page. The pic has the Mayor of Florence pictured in a Minor Threat shirt.

Ignoring the fact that you are clueless if you think someone our age being a Minor Threat fan is somehow a bad thing (Google: straight edge movement, people), it got me surfing You Tube today in an effort to find some old Minor Threat video.

Low and behold, someone has put the Minor Threat segment from the infamous punk documentary, Another State of Mind, up. It's a good 5 minutes of Ian MacKaye explaining the reasoning behind his being straight edge, which created the movement. It's also got footage from the legendary Baltimore concert where the Threat kept on playing without PAs.

I pass this video on, especially for my friend since the first grade...Jaime, aka "unknown." It was a damn accident we stumbled across this documentary one late night in Brandon Woods. I'm certain we were cruising Cinemax to find some T&A. But instead we came across a hair-dying, eye-makeup wearing Mike Ness and crew and said, whoa...

So, for Mr. Unknown, I offer this:

Props to Ed Clements and the rest of the Florence County Solicitor's Office

SCNow has an article up about the Twelfth Circuit Solicitor's office receiving the the Honorable Marc. H Westbrook Memorial Excellence in Community Justice Award this month. The office won the award in part based on for the success of its Juvenile Arbitration program.

Congrats to the Solicitor and the rest of his office for this award. Ed and his office work hard to steer kids onto the right path when they have made mistakes. I can tell you that the Solicitor takes these things seriously and that he allows his folks to take on extra responsibilities in an effort to improve the lives of juveniles in the city. His office has been involved with the Mayor's Coalition to Prevent Juvenile Crime and he his office has offered full support of the City's efforts to tackle the abandoned property issue in the City.

In full disclosure, my work brings me into contact with this office fairly regularly and I have several cases pending as I type this. But it is that familiarity that allows me to tell you this: we are damn lucky to have the solicitors we do in this county. I am a member of South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (SCACDL) and I can tell you, I hear horror stories at our board meetings from other circuits. From solicitors withholding exculpatory evidence to outright suborning perjury, you hear tales of some foul crap that goes on when all that is cared for is the "win."

Ed and his solicitors are tough, but they are fair and they understand their primary duty: to be Ministers of Justice. We are lucky we don't have to deal with the unethical and rule violating shenanigans that takes place in other circuits. Folks, good and fair trials save time and money. They also insure justice is done.

So cheers to Solicitor Clements and the guys and gals in his office.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inside all of us is a Wild Thing

Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books as a kid. I want to say I remember the Florence County library having the Wild Thing painted on its wall. Maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, in case you did not know, Spike Jonez is making a movie and here is trailer. It looks dope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crazy? Or am I so sane I just blew your mind...

Michael Steele just gave an interview on CNN and tried to convince the world that all the screw ups he has had so far, that there's been strategery.

Uh...ok. Whatever. Michael, maybe you ought to take a couple of plays off, ok, champ?
Whole interview here.
Seriously...shouldn't he just shut up now?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blowhard of the Day

Meet Tammy Bruce. Bruce is a national radio personality who claims to have been a classic liberal until, I suppose she saw the light, and became what she calls an independent conservative.

If you want my opinion, Bruce realized she could make more money being a gay, feminist screeching conservative nonsense than she could be as a gay, feminist screaming liberal nonsense.

Anyway, why is she the Blowhard of the Day? It's because of this comment she made while guest hosting Laura Ingram's show. She called First Lady Michelle Obama "trash:"

Discussing the first lady's visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week,
Bruce incredulously recalled Obama's story about wanting to get A's in school
and called out her use of a "weird, fake accent."

"That's what he's married to," Bruce said. "...You know what we've got?
We've got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind, it can
cross all eco-socionomic...categories. You can work on Wall Street, or you can
work at the Wal-Mart. Trash, are people who use other people to get things, who
patronize others, who consider you bitter and clingy..."

Exactly what sparked this vitriol? Here's the First Lady's story that pissed Bruce off:

As a kid growing up on the south side of Chicago, Michelle Obama remembers
being ridiculed for trying to be educated and get good grades.

"I wanted an 'A.' I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be the person who
had the right answer. And I didn't care if it was cool -- 'cause I remember
there were kids around my neighborhood who would say 'ooh -- you talk funny. you
talk -- like a white girl.' I heard that growing up my whole life."

Bruce is obviously either a) crazy; or, b) racist. There is also the distinct possibility she is both. Or just a whore, who will say anything to up her ratings.

Then again, Bruce may just hate Michelle Obama because she prematurely ended Tammy's public love affair of swooning over Cindy McCain. Uh...not for nothing, but really? Cindy McWood is your idea of a babe? How would you know if you were ever pleasing her, Tammy? When her facial muscles ruptured under the strain of "ohhhing" plus the botox?

Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injury is 4 miles per hour...

That gives us a radius of 32 miles. What I want out of each and everyone of you is a hard target search of every residence, warehouse, farmhouse, hen house, outhouse and doghouse in that area.

In case you missed it, there is a manhunt on in Florence. Law Enforcement stopped a vehicle on I-95 this morning around 9 am. While an officer was questioning the driver outside the car, one of the two remaining passengers hopped in the driver's seat and took off. After leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase down US-76, the car crashed around Delmae Elementary School and the two suspects went rabbit into the nearby woods. One was caught, the other is still on the lam. Law Enforcement has said they recovered two kilos of cocaine.

Folks, herein lies the problem with the war on drugs. Now, it appears from the local reporting, it was the Florence County Sheriff's Office that initiated the stop. I said during the elections the problems I have with FCSO running traffic. The fact of the matter is they aren't running traffic, they are trying to get into your car. Why? Because they want to search it and find illegal drugs. Why? Because it grabs headlines and helps garner the FCSO props in law enforcement circles.

Here's the problem...that is all the stops do. They are not curbing crime in Florence. For instance, this dope was not coming to Florence (Sheriff Boone is quoted as saying it was not coming to the Pee Dee). Yet, because of the stop, we have a possibly armed person, of unknown danger roaming the swamps and woods in the heart of our city. He's doing this after he and his buddy led cops on a high speed chase down a busy residential road and, according to the news accounts, crashed into an elementary school yard playground.

WHY? What good did this traffic stop have for Florence? Really for the world in general. When they write the history of our civilization, they will laugh at our feeble attempts to stop the most long-standing and natural human pastime of all time: altering your mind and/or your state of consciousness. And when the future looks at all the money we wasted on trying to stop something we could not, while so many other problems we faced went unanswered, they will know why we eventually became extinct. We were not pragmatic. And we were stupid.

We've been losing the war on drugs since it began. It has no led to armed Jamaicans running loose in our neighborhoods and cars crashing in our schoolyards.

Lets listen to this lady:

Stop the insanity.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

RIP Bruno Gianelli

I missed it this past week but one of my favorite actors passed away: Ron Silver. Silver became a part of The West Wing in season four, as the ruthlessly cynical and pragmatic campaign director for Jed Bartlet's re-election: Bruno Gianelli.

You really got the feeling watching that show, that Sorkin loved Bruno's character and loved writing for him. Other than Leo McGarity's character, Bruno was the one guy who would say anything to anyone, including Bartlet. So in honor of his passing, my favorite line from Bruno, uttered after he kept pushing to respond to some stupid right-wing leaflets against Bartlet:

"...we cowered in the corner, and said, "Please. Don't. Hurt. Me." No more. I really don't care who's right, who's wrong. We're both right. We're both wrong. Let's have two parties, huh? What do you say?"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Check Your Head...Again.

March 30th, the Beastie Boys will reissue the album that led millions of white boys across the world to wear beanies and drink 40s.

"Check" dropped in 1992, my junior year of high school and we kicked that thing to death, all the way through college. In fact, me and my roommates were literally the illest motherf*ckers on Gardenia (off of S. Holly in Columbia).

Any way, I'll leave it with my favorite lyric from my favorite B-boy song of all time:

"I'm a go to Joe and Tony's and get my hair cut nice..."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just in time for March Madness: Duke Sucks.

Who doesn't hate Duke?

I don't know. In all candor, Anoop dog's biggest accomplishment could be instead of winning American Idol, simply not being a dick.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When two elephants fight...

it is the grass suffers.

Or so goes the old Swahili saying.

I offer that Swahili wisdom to my good friends in the Pee Dee who consider themselves Republicans.

In case you are not aware, there is a battle being waged between local Republicans over control of the Florence County Republican party. I'll leave it to our friend on the right, Mike Reino and his SC6 blog to inform you of what's going on in their party. Here, here , here and here.

In full disclosure, let me offer up the fact that: a) I have known two of the people who are behind the "Pee Dee Republicans" since I was little; and, b) I have never met Mike, but feel as though we are kindred spirits since we both share an affinity for ridiculous '80s rock bands and gentleman's clubs.

Having said the above, I feel the need to offer some advice. And I do this with the fun knowledge that for some people, the sheer fact that I take an interest in my opposition's party equates to a weakness. (To those people, I say, "Hello...morons, a true adverserial system is good.") Anyway, here is my advice: screw your local party. If you want to influence local politics, do it by winning races.

Trust me. Politics at the local level, especially here in the south, is all about the good old boy network. Those good old boys often cross party lines to maintain the status quo. That is one thing that tickles me about this latest revolt within the local GOP. Exactly what are local Republicans upset about? What race do they think they should have won that they did not? Let's be real, the only races they lost, were to local city races. And if you know anything about the actual numbers and demographics, you would know they could not win those races. Personally, I think more than a few are upset about the Mayor's race. If that's the case, I don't think they really understand the role their local party has had. Decisions were made about who would run and who would not run and the official GOP party leadership had exactly nothing to do with those decisions.

But be that as it may, let me reiterate my piece of advice: screw the local parties. If you want to take control, run your own candidate. As someone who has been involved in local races, I can tell you this: if you want to change things the best way is to take control of local offices. Run your own race, to hell with the party. Once your candidates are in office, you can dictate what decisions are made in the party and how things are organized.

Just saying.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

St. Patty's In Five Points

The little lady and I are back from another cold and dreary St. Patrick's Day Festival in Five Points. It was cold. It was wet. The Guiness was ridiculously overpriced. But we had a hell of a time.

So much of a time, that I'll be taking the rest of the weekend off.

Enjoy what's left of it.


Check out the (not so) big brain on Mark Sanford.

I don't believe the video below is a "hit piece" on Gov. Mark Sanford, because it is completely true and has not taken any of Sanford's comments and twisted them around or anything. He really believes it is good to turn down $700 million in stimulus money, $500 million of which would be used to fill in gaps in the state budget and keep 7500 teachers from being pink slipped. (One wonders who it's good for. It obviously ain't the people of SC. Must be good for "Presidential Candidate Sanford." Glad we could all help, Guv).

But lets just say CNN is apparently being run by Mr. Marcellus Wallace now.

To my Republican friends, you really are considering a guy who just got Pwned! by an eighth-grader as your candidate in 2012? Or as a serious party intellectual? OK.

To Governor Sanford, I'd like to paraphrase Jon Stewart: I know you're trying to set yourself apart and position yourself to be your party's Presidential Candidate in 2012, but it's not a f*ckin' game.

Time to face reality on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

This January, the Army fired 11 people. Why? Because they were gay. Think about that. In a time when we are fighting two wars, when our armed forces are spread thin, when we are having to stop-loss the folks who should be coming home, the US government is looking at people who want to serve and have been serving and saying, "Uh...yeah. I'm gonna have to let you go because of bullshit, ridiculously discriminatory political compromise. Thanks but no thanks for putting your life on the line."

Seriously, how stupid is this policy? Supposedly, President Obama's administration has begun consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, on how to lift the ban. Since 1997, we have lost 10,000 service members to this nonsense. Who could possibly justify this thing now? I thought we had a war on terror to worry about. What Republican is gonna get on the floor of Congress and argue for what is nothing other than blatant discrimination?

It's been pretty obvious how impotent the religious right has started to become. Even Republicans are ignoring them, just take a look at how hard they tried to generate a controversy and block President Obama's Deputy AG David Ogden. It's like no one even paid them any attention. Benen points out that while that is partly a natural occurrence with the shift in power from Republicans to Democrats, it seems to be a little more than that. I think its obvious to Republican lawmakers that people are sick of the religious right's constant crying wolf over everything.

I think it's time to scrap this policy. If anyone in Congress wants to take it on, let's have some hearing on it. I'd love to see some these opponents sit there and try to tell someone like Jeff Howe how he is not fit to wear the uniform.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Jeff Howe was working in Silicon Valley as a marketing
executive and feeling unfulfilled. The attack prompted a lot of soul-searching,
and, at the age of twenty-nine, despite having been out for 8 years, he made the
decision to join the Army. At the end of 2002, he signed up for two years,
deciding, "It would just be like working at a place where I'm not out. I can
keep it to myself. To do an honorable thing, I can keep my sexual orientation a

Howe's unit was in Iraq, where he served on the front line, until the
spring of 2004. He received five commendations for his service, including the
Army Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on
Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Fort Riley "Blue
Chip Soldier" Award. When he returned to the States, he felt satisfied with
having fulfilled his two-year commitment.

Then, in September of that year, with only weeks to go, Howe was
stop-lossed, and sent back to Iraq for a second tour. When he arrived in Iraq in
January 2005, he set up a blog.
"I posted every day from January to July,"
Howe said. "It was like a newsletter to my friends and family, nothing
political. The company commander approved everything before it was posted."

In July, some of the unit's trucks were hit with enemy rockets. His
company commander told Howe to take pictures and post them on his blog. When the
brigade commander was told about the posted pictures, he balked, feeling the
pictures would hearten the enemy. Howe was ordered to delete his blog. Quickly
thereafter, a background investigation was started to see if Howe had terrorist

In the course of the investigation, military investigators discovered
an online profile in which Howe had identified himself as gay.

"They started separation proceedings immediately," Howe said

Wake up to the 21st Century. Remember what President Obama said when he assumed the office: America is ready to lead again.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Daily Show goes Road House with Jon Stewart as Dalton & Jim Cramer as Brad Wesley

But it's not a f*cking game.

With those words, Jon Stewart unleashed the pent up anger we have all felt at those in the financial world who sh*t the bed the last 10 years and are now asking the country to change their silk sheets.

If you haven't been following the Jon Stewart-Jim Cramer/CNBC fued...you have missed one of the best cable confrontations in a long time.

It's been going on for about a week. Yesterday Cramer did an interview and it was aired last night. Here's a link to Benen's post about it, which includes links to the video on Comedy Central's site.

I totally agree with Benen. Yes the Daily Show is funny. But Stewart is no longer a comedian. He's a satirist. As a friend put it today at lunch, he's our Will Rogers. I urge you to watch the second part from the 6:00 minute mark on. I have one comment on that section: DAMN. He absolutely nails it and cuts to the bone.
And I -- when I watch that, I get, I can't tell you how angry that makes me.
Because what it says to me is that you all know. You all know what's going on.
You can draw a straight line from those shenanigans to the stuff that was being
pulled at Bear and at AIG and all this derivative market stuff that is this
weird Wall Street side bet... Listen, you knew what the banks were doing and yet
were touting it for months and months. The entire network was. And so now to
pretend this was some crazy once-in-a-lifetime tsunami that no one could have
seen coming is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst.

Both Stewart and Cramer had tried to lower expectations for this thing. Cramer, because there was no way he was not going to look like an idiot. He said this stuff, then got pissy when he got called on it and tried to BS his way out, then got called on his BS'ing. He knew he could not get away with anything.

As Alex Koppelman reported, Stewart told his audience on Wednesday that the interview, when it happened, was, "by all measure, bound to disappoint anyone that's been following." But Stewart had another reason. He was right and he knew it. To steal the line of our greatest satirist, Mr. Twain: He had the calm confidence of a christian with four aces.

Like a Gitmo detainee, Cramer was willing to say anything to make it stop, but his lame attempts to act like his comments were meant to "expose" the "shenanigans" (man...did he overuse that word or what? I thought I was watching Office Space) finally blew the fuse on Stewart.
These guys at these companies were on a Sherman's March through their companies
financed by our 401Ks... And they burned the fucking house down with our money
and walked away rich as hell and you guys knew that that was going on."

At points you almost felt sorry for Cramer, like he's just the guy who has to catch the beatin', you know. But then you realize, these guys are the enablers. That BS he was talking about in the video clips, about spreading rumors about Apple to manipulate the market, what do you think these jagoffs use to do that crap? CNBC and the rest of the financial "news" world.

It's a damn shame that it takes a show on Comedy Central to bring this out...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hey, Buffalo...Enjoy.

Wow...that didn't take long. The consensus opinion about TO to the Bills, was that it was a good move for this year. Why? Because as every pundit from the Around the Horn guys to Peter King says, "he always behaves and gives you one good year."

Well...if this was one of those crime procedurals, like Criminal Minds, right now, that little geeky kid would be pointing out to the rest of the squad right now, that the unsub's time table is getting shorter and shorter. He's progressing. He's killing teams quicker and quicker. They've got to stop him. And Now.

You see, TO is 81. 81 is his. The fact that James Hardy is No. 81 apparently means nothing to TO. In the NFL, it is customary when an established player arrives at a new team, if a player has that guys number, he negotiates for it. TO apparently thinks he ain't got to do that. Because despite the fact he knows Harday wears 81, when he looked in his locker, the Bills had a Bills 81 jersey with his name.

So oblivious to the need of a new kid to make nice, TO says, I got 81. Ain't my problem.

Stay classy, TO.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Michael Steele's idea of good music? My Great Grandma.

Michael Steele may be on the way out as RNC Chairman, but if he is walking out the door, he's doing it on one leg. Why? Because he has pretty much left a foot in his mouth since assuming the chair.

His latest GQ interview is particularly damning with the GOPers. Why, because he says abortion should be a choice.

However, the more damning comment made may be one Steele offered up when discussing his favorite musicians.

I like Sinatra. I like old-school. You know, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin.
Love Dean Martin. He was one of these guys who just didn't give an F. He just
didn't. Life was a party, and you either want to party or you don't. But yeah, I
like those. I'm a big Pack Rat. I love the Pack Rats from the 1950s--Dean
Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, those guys.

So Steele wants to jam with my Great Granny Maude, who bless her heart, never took possession of an item she did not want to keep.

Times are Tough All Over II

Even supervillians are feeling the pinch. Check the video. Don Draper as Lex Luthor needs a hand...

Hattip Sepinwall.

Your lying eyes

This past Sunday, CBS' 60 Minutes ran a story investigating the reliability of eyewitness testimony. The piece centered on the case of Ronald Cotton, a Burlington, NC man who was charged with rape back in 1984. Cotton was convicted based in large part on the eyewitness testimony and identification by the victim, Jennifer Thompson.

Cotton wound up getting a new trial on the case when an new inmate moved into the same prison. That inmate was named Bobby Poole. He was incarcerated on a rape charge, looked so much like Cotton that the guards got them confused and was from the same town. Cotton confronted him and Poole denied being the rapist. But he later bragged about it to fellow inmates and Cotton's attorneys were able to get him a new trial. What happened at that trial? Cotton was convicted yet again, receiving two life sentences. Thompson said there was no recognition whatsoever of Poole. In fact, she says the only feeling she had was extreme anger at Cotton and his attys for putting her through it again and daring to suggest she could be mistaken about the man who had raped her.

Fast forward several years and Cotton hears three little letters in the OJ trial that give him hope. D-N-A. A very minute fragment of biological evidence is discovered and it proves Cotton is innocent and Poole did in fact commit the rape. Cotton is released from jail after serving eleven years for a crime he did not commit.

But that is just the beginning of the story. The true heartwrencher is the relationship that happens afterwards between Thompson and Cotton. They and their families have become very close. They have become crusaders for reform in investigative techniques and laws in an effort to prevent others from going through what they have been through. They have coauthored a book, "Picking Cotton," that tells their story.

It truly is a remarkable tale. The piece also has some very good material explaining what went wrong in this case and how it could be avoided.

When I was in law school, I worked for Joe McCulloch, the founder of the Palmetto Innocence Project. I can remember working on packets for Joe that we sent to all the local law enforcement around Columbia trying to get them to implement the sequential ID system and other reforms. North Carolina has actually legislated these reforms. It's time South Carolina did the same.

(The hyperlink above has the actual video if you are interested in watching).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Colonel

Kimmel and Gibson combine to bring you finger-lickin' entertainment.

Steele out, Katon in? Say it ain't so.

That was quick.

Republican insiders are saying the carnage may be prematurely ended. Supposedly, people in the know are saying Steele will face a No-Confidence vote following the special election to replace Senator Clinton (NY-20). Originally, the reporting said Steele was out if the Republican running loses, which polls suggest is not likely. But now, they are saying this no-con vote is coming regardless of what happens. And guess who is behind the scenes positioning himself to take over? Our man in Amsterdam, Katon Dawson.

Please...on behalf of bloggers everywhere, NO! While Dawson is crazy, he's crazy in the old religious right pandering way. Michael Steele is whole new kind of crazy. Leave him be.

Times are tough all over

Wanna know how bad the economy has gotten? The real-life Coach has been fired from the place where-everybody-knows-your-name.

Eddie Doyle, the long-time bartender of the Beacon Hill pub that became the inspiration for Cheers, was let go this week. Doyle was a Boston institution who was very involved in the community, with such actions as creating The Boston Barleyhoppers, a running club that ran once a week from the Bull & Finch to an area bar.

"We'd have two beers at the bar and run back," said Doyle, who also led the
group to charity work, such as assisting disabled racers after they arrived each
year for the Boston Marathon.

The club's motto was "We run for fun, and roam for foam." It lasted 15
years, and produced 22 marriages. "The poor guy was always buying wedding
presents," said Malden's Joy Curtis, who met her husband at the runner's club
and has been married for 22 years.

So long, Eddie. This one's for you.

Hitler is not pleased about T.O. to the Bills

If you haven't seen the movie "Downfall," you should. Burno Ganz plays Hitler so well, ever other portrayal you will ever see will pale in comparison. Having said that, this clip has been dubbed with different subtitles numerous times to make good video. The best was probably the Hillary-Obama one from this past election cycle. But this one with T.O. to the Bill is good. I love the "James Hardy jersey" line.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shattner versus Takei

Apparently, George Takei is sitting in on Howard Stern's show all this week. And in a discussion about Shatner's new show, Takei dishes some dirt on Shatz and says he won't go on the show (Check the 7:20 mark on the 3/2/09 show).

There are some surprisingly disgusting other comments from Takei throughout the show rundowns. Let's just say George gives us a little TMI on the sex life.

BTW, this one was for Reino. For the Shatner, not for the gay sex info.

Be careful when you dial in your AI Vote

When kiddies go to cast their votes for American Idol next time, you parents may want to make sure they aren't voting for contestant #13 or at least handle that call yourself. Turns out the logical number for contestant #13 is not owned by AI, rather it's owned by a phone sex company.
Usually if you call these numbers outside a voting window they are busy and that
is the case today.However…It appears that American Idol does not own
1-866-436-5713 (or 1-866-436-5700 for that matter). I'd advise you not to call
either number as the content is not rated G.

No word on whether Frenchy or that gay-porn star from last season are answering the phones.


Karl, I thought your buddy was "The Decider."

Turdblossom is truly taking the term "revisionist" to new depths: W had nothing to do with last fall's bailout.

As ThinkProgress points out, just seconds before making this ridiculous assertion, Rove declared that Obama's administration had to "start accepting responsibility for the outcome of their decisions."

This is the same man who helped run an administration that routinely blamed everything on their predecessor.

Stay classy, Karl Rove.

Nonpartisan city elections Round 4: Ding-Ding.

Florence City Council once again deferred the issue of nonpartisan elections today. Quite frankly, I'm tired of the issue so I'm not really going to get into it again. But, for members of council, let me help and give a tip: You can not vote on the a matter, until you call the question. You would think everyone would understand this, but apparently not.

Today, there was a motion to defer from Councilman Brand that was seconded. However, Councilman Williams wished to have debate. During that debate, Councilman Williams proposed an amendment (setting the deferment date to November). That secondary motion (the amendment -- the actual motion to defer being primary) was seconded.

After a little further debate, Councilman Brand moved to vote. It was seconded. THAT VOTE WAS TO CALL THE QUESTION. In other words, they had to vote to call the question on the motion to amend, so that they could vote down that amendment (setting the date of the deferment) and then proceed to vote to call the question on the principle motion. Then, they could have finally voted on the principle motion to defer.

So calling the question is put to a vote and what happened? The 4 proponents of nonpartisan voted against calling the question. In other words, they were voting for not ending the debate on Williams motion to amend. This is debate which would need to end, before they could vote against the amendment, which they wanted to do so they could move on and vote on their motion to defer. Why did they vote against it? I can only guess because despite this issue coming up at the last four meetings (the process needed to move to vote on the principle issue -- termed "calling the question"), some members of council still have not figured it out and did not understand what they were voting on.

Robert's Rules is not that difficult. Really it is not. It may behoove you to put pen to paper during these meetings and keep track of the procedure so you know where you are at.

Just saying...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Visitors are coming back

If you grew up in the 80s, you remember V, the landmark 1983 miniseries that hooked an entire generation on Sci-Fi. Well, it looks like a remake is in the works.

Hide your hamsters.

Interesting note, Von went as a visitor to our friend's '80s skate party. Kevin won as Bernie. Von is still bitter...