30 May, 2007

I Got WHAT Now?

Ah. Late night movies on Turner Classics. Sit back, relax, and watch the film noir roll through.

So I see this test on OK Cupid. (Yes. Another one. Go away.) The Classic Leading Man Test!

Do I get Marlon Brando? Cary Grant? Or even (Oh-Please-God-Of-Ego-Boosting-Be-Kind-To-Me!) Bogey Himself?


Your Score: Jimmy Stewart

You scored 21% Tough, 14% Roguish, 47% Friendly, and 19% Charming!

You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.

Next up: Mr. Colfax Goes To Washington! It's A Wonderful Post! Bell, Book, And Blogger! Two Wrote Together!

Okay. I'll stop now.

[Turn Signal: Mr. (I Got Katharyn Hepburn) Lady]

28 May, 2007

Going Home

Cindy Sheehan is leaving the Democratic Party.
You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.
Honestly, I feel nothing but an obscenely guilty pleasure at this pronouncement. Dear Mother Sheehan has been pushing this party even further away from the center than ever before, and even faster than Rush Limbaugh ever dragged the Republicans to the political right. (Yes, dear reader. There is an insult in there somewhere. Exactly who it is directed towards, however, is up for debate.) Her constant beating of the drum has, over time, become the same sound as the drumbeat emanating from the White House, only on an opposing wavelength. The only people that have ever truly taken her seriously were the ones that were already true believers and fellow travelers, while the rest of us in the Democratic Party sat there and rolled our collective eyes whenever Dear Mother opened her mouth.

And yet, I must thank her. Not for Camp Casey. Not for being against the enormity on the Euphrates. Not even for telling Speaker Pelosi to shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Instead, I must thank her for helping me to see what is happening with my party and how it is beginning to betray its bedrock principles.

And I just know that you are sitting there, scratching your heads, asking yourselves, "Dude, how the heck did you reach this? Which logical limb did you take a flying leap off of this time?"

Let me show you why it really is a guilty pleasure, beyond the definition of obscenity.

With this send-off letter, Cindy only shows that she does as much to continue the Republican viewpoint on Iraq as the White House Press Office, to wit, she kept on calling it a war. As I have been saying for almost 18 months now, this is not a war. She and the rest of the anti-armed-conflict Democrats keep helping the current Administration's constant drumbeat by calling it such.

And, by doing so, this party continues to play the wrong cards. It is a constant talking point out of the Congressional Majority Leaders' offices that the voters sent the Republicans a message that they were tired of the "War In Iraq" whenever they butt heads with the White House. That they wanted a change. That they weren't satisfied with "hold the course" anymore. So why do they continue to use the White House talking point, the same one that Alberto Gonzales could not let stand while under oath in front of the Senate in 2006?

There was not a war declaration, either in connection with Al Qaida or in Iraq. It was an authorization to use military force.

I only want to clarify that, because there are implications. Obviously, when you talk about a war declaration, you’re possibly talking about affecting treaties, diplomatic relations. And so there is a distinction in law and in practice. And we’re not talking about a war declaration. This is an authorization only to use military force.

If my fellow Democrats are serious about ending the debacle on the Tigris, we need to stop helping the Administration sell the policies we claim to despise. We are not at war with Iraq. We have never been at war with Iraq. We have someone calling himself a "War President" without any silly technicalities such as an actual war. And we on the left side of the double-yellow-line keep helping him say that whenever we stand up against the "war" in Iraq.

And the reason my party has done this is simple. The Democratic Party, especially their most vocal supporters on the progressive left, does not want to break with politics as usual. Why? Because politics as usual is precisely what they are counting on to support their policies and personal agendas, especially now that the Democrats have taken control of both chambers of Congress. After all, you cannot use the boat if you rock it too much. It is in the Democrats vested interest to keep the vested interests in play. And they have done so.

Those who I call the "Honest Republicans", such as bloggers John Cole and Robert Lee Ray as well as many prominent moderate Republican families, have either broken or are threatening to break from what the current ultra-hardcore neo-conservative movement that the modern Republican Party has become. Why? Because the GOP has broken away from their traditional position of a small and responsible government. Because the single-issue supporters within the GOP have all but subsumed the platform. Because the GOP believes more in the Conservative Cause than it does in the American Constitution.

And I regret that I am starting to see the same thought process within the Democratic Party. We were once the party for the people, not the special interests. We were once the party of hard questions, not easy escapes. We were once the party of grand visions, not short-sighted maneuvers. We were once the party of fixing what was broken, not throwing temporary patches over the holes.

The current Democratic Party is no longer the party of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, any more than the current Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. And both parties have traveled far afield from the principles of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, John Hancock... No longer are the principles of the Founding Fathers to be found.

And that frightens me. To be perfectly honest, it scares the [CENSORED] out of me. And I have to ask myself one question: Am I reading the writing on the wall, or am I the one writing on the wall?

Am I really the only one on this side of the political divide that is seeing this pattern? Am I the only one that points towards our bedrock principles, both as Democrats and Americans, and screams to the winds "Why are we so far away?" Am I the lone voice crying in the wilderness?

Because if I have to, I will. This is not solely the party of Duncan Black and Amanda Marcotte and Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, or of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Barack Obama.

This is my party too. And if I have to fight for my place in the Democratic Party, then perhaps it is true. The Democratic Party will no longer be the Democratic Party when it betrays its most basic foundation principle: a place where all voices have the right to be heard.

I will be heard.

I will not suffer in silence.

I will dissent.

Until the end of the world.

Truly, the reason why I feel guilty about this is because Cindy Sheehan no longer is willing to fight for the same thing. And the reason why I am afraid is that the party just does not care any more. That it no longer exists to represent our views, our politics, our opinions... But instead, it exists only for itself. And the day that this becomes true, than this will no longer be my party. And when that day comes, will I have the intestinal fortitude to leave it to die? Or will I pull the plug myself?

If that is not of the Platonic Form of obscene thought, I do not want know what is.

Carpe jugulum.

[Linked by The Flannel Avenger]

22 May, 2007

Snark Warning

We were told that, if the Democrats win, there would be a wave of terrorist-style Improvised Explosive Devices placed all around the country. And they were right!

Darned religious terrorists! Fight them in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here!

[Snark: Insty]

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm still trying to make heads-or-tails out of that torturous conglomeration of an immigration bill. Definitive insert-head-in-monitor time here.

10 May, 2007

Eleven Things I Learned...

... while working at a gas station on Colfax Avenue, hereby distilled for your educational purposes.
  1. There is no such thing as "common" courtesy anymore. When you are just running into the store to pick up a pack of cigarettes, it is apparently perfectly acceptable to park a) across an entire driveway or b) directly behind someone who is trying to pull away from the gas pump or c) at the red light across the street, followed by d) loudly demanding police presence when someone complains about you doing any of the above while refusing to move an inch until the police arrive due to unnamed "threats" made against you. This does not make for a pleasant discussion with the nice officers when they arrive. You have been warned.
  2. People will consume their illicit pharmaceuticals of choice in the oddest places. Inside dumpsters. Inside bathrooms. Directly in front of the store. Waiting in line at the store. There is truly little shame to be found in an addict.
  3. Those strange people that walk blithely up to you and ask "What kind of cologne do you wear?" are pure evil and should be taken immediately away from the human species before they cause irreparable harm to society. Never mind. It's too late.
  4. Yelling at the clerk about the high price of gasoline is a guaranteed way to be short-changed and/or double-charged. Clerks don't make enough money to deal with that and will take their vengeance upon you in any way possible, with the standard caveat that you will cause the next ten to fifteen customers to also be short-changed and/or double-charged to help them learn not to be near a clerk that is within 10 seconds of biting someone's head off. You have been warned.
  5. When you use foul language at a clerk for enforcing the pay-before-pumping policy, especially one which is clearly displayed on two signs for each pump, expect the clerk to enforce the other sign with reads "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." If so, don't worry. There is another station down the street. You have been warned.
  6. Some people will steal anything that is not nailed down. And if they can pry it up, it's not nailed down. Have you ever seen someone try to run out of a convenience store while carrying the microwave? Enough said.
  7. When some local politician says the words "economic redevelopment" in relation to your specific vicinity of employment, it is to be considered a code-phrase for "Polish your resume, button-pusher, 'cause it ain't your development." (The land where my store was located will be part of a brand-new Hilton hotel to be opened within a year. Not a joke.)
  8. "Think about how stupid the average person is. And then realize that half of them are stupider than that." George Carlin is 100% accurate with this statement. Displays of actual intelligence among the general public are, regretfully, less common than displays of "common" courtesy.
  9. There is no success to be found while arguing with a sign that reads "CLOSED". Yet people will attempt it anyways, sometimes for ten minutes at a stretch. Then, when you point out to them that they could have walked across the street and already purchased their beer and/or cigarettes from the liquor store in the time they took to yell at both you and your unyielding door, be prepared for you to be called the stupid one. Schadenfreude at its absolute purest.
  10. Should you interrupt a... um... "young-at-heart person of negotiable affection" in the middle of... um... "assisting a gentleman with his weekly high colonic" in your public restroom and then proceed to eject both individuals from the property, followed immediately by said prostitute standing in the middle of the intersection to scream out a long series of vulgarities in 4 different languages while waving around an enema bag, and all you do is turn around to a complete stranger, shrug your shoulders, and say "Another day in the life on Colfax," you are officially too jaded to live and should be removed from the gene pool before you cause irreparable damage to society. (Or get a blog and cause still more damage.)
  11. When you threaten a clerk with the words "I will have your job for this!" after allegedly poor customer service solely due to restrictions of company policy, do not be surprised to find the clerk taking off their work shirt and handing it to you saying "Then take it." No clerk makes enough to deal with that, and it really is funny to see the look on someone's face go from furious to petrified in two seconds flat. In fact, it can make a clerk's entire week.
I constantly tell people that my job was almost exactly like the one in the movie Clerks and the only differences were that a) no one gave me back massages, b) there was no place to play hockey, and c) Jay and Silent Bob were two ugly transvestite prostitutes. But in reality, it was a LOT worse.

03 May, 2007

Keeping Yourself Busy

A piece of wisdom for you. (Even though most of you know this one already.) After becoming unemployed, for any reason, the one thing that is both the most important and the most difficult to do is to stay busy.

On my part, I try. I finally have time to sit and do many of the things that I want to do. Winning a game of Civilization 4 at the Hero level. Finally finish the //.hack series on the PS2. Re-read Daniel C. Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea and try to wrap my mind around the entire last section. Get started with spring cleaning around the apartment.

(You will note that I haven't started looking for a new job yet. I see this week as being unpaid vacation time, thank you very much. That and, until my last paycheck comes in the mail, I don't even have enough money to take the bus so that I can find a job. Six of one, half dozen of the other.)

Well, it looks to me that I'm not the only one that has been doing this under recent days.

All of those staffers for the former GOP congressional majorities had to turn around and do something, right?

First there was Conservapedia, which was created because we darned liberals keep editing out their changes to the Bill Clinton page that equate him with Beelzebub (However, calling Hillary Rodham the Bride of Lucifer... That one I do myself.), hence the true liberal bias of the Wikipedia system.

Setting the knee-jerk snark reflex aside, quickly take a look at the entries for the hitherto unknown controversy surrounding the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. With the Wikipedia entry, plenty of information is given. With the Conservapedia entry, however, a bare minimum of data is offered, strictly keeping to the actual description of the Amendment itself.

With this small exception. First, the sentence from the Wiki.
The United States Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947. It was ratified by the requisite number of states on February 27, 1951.
And the closest sentence as found in the Conservapedia entry:
This was passed by a Republican Congress in 1947 and ratified by the states in 1951.
Amazing. The political party in power when the amendment was passed is more important than the myriad details regarding precisely how the process was completed and the continued effects of the amendment to this day. I never would have thought that way.

Come to think of it, I still don't.

And now there's two more entries into the GOP Keeping Busy files:

As with Wiki, YouTube has been considered to be part and parcel of the evil systemic liberal bias, if not a true anti-conservative bias, primarily once Senator Allen's "Macaca" moment gained national prominence and thorough exploration on YouTube. Also featured prominently are such anti-conservative diatribes as clips from the Bill Maher and Jon Stewart shows. Hence the creation of a conservative response: QubeTV.

And immediately, there is a problem with their thesis. In a prominent banner ad at the top of the page, as seen in the picture below, it features a video by Michelle Malkin (My liberal readers will be more familiar with her if i use Duncan Black's racial slur of a nickname. However, this is a family-friendly blog, and I don't do that kind of thing here.) regarding the religious-based censorship that certain factions of the Islamic religion encourage.

Only one problem with this... It's not actually banned by YouTube.

Charlie and Jeff are not really off to a good start if a single registered user can get the true facts of the matter in under 4 minutes.

(EDIT: 05.31.07 0016. That embedded video was removed for, and I quote, "terms of use violations". This is what YouTube usually says when they take a video down before receiving an infringement notice from the copyright holder, just in case it does violate copyright, and Google gets a love-letter from Michelle Malkin's lawyers asking them for a court date. Still an example of sloppy fact-checking on Charlie and Jeff's parts.)

And finally comes something that I fully agree with: The Majority Accountability Project. (Side snark: The Two Mikes have their introductory video based through... YouTube. I guess someone didn't get the memo.)

The basic premise from The Two Mikes is sound. We, in the collective sense, have been merrily burrowing our way through just about everything that the GOP-led Congress did over the last 6 years. Travel records. FEC files. Obscure amendments slipped in at the last minute. Speeches. Contributions. PAC and Foundation creation. The list goes on and on as to what they were doing that we didn't like.

Now it's our turn under the microscope. Fair enough. There is a reason why the phrase "honest politician" is on the oxymoron list, and Democrats are no less susceptible to the corrupting influence of power than Republicans are. (Case in point.) And should they succeed in bringing a level of accountability to politics in general, even in a temporary fashion, I will stand there and shake their hands in broad daylight.

Unless, when the inevitable day comes that the Democratic majority fades into the sunset, they change their tune. So to The Two Mikes: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

It really is a good thing to keep yourself busy.