Sunday, April 30, 2006

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the White House Correspondents' Association

Even in the Pit of Perpetual Despair that is the 2nd Bush Administration, it's nice to see that some self-deprecating black comedy is still appreciated at the White House.

...well, maybe not Steven Colbert-level black comedy, but some gallows humor, anyway.

Our country is going through — and perhaps heading towards —– some dark days, so my mind wondered to simpler times, simpler scandals, and simpler White House Correspondents' Dinners.

My favorite POTUS self-teasing was the video from Bill Clinton's final Correspondents' Dinner. All you need to do is watch the video (or, if you dare, read some contemporaneous conservative criticism) to be reminded that the concerns that preoccupied us during Clinton's tenure differ rather dramatically from the challenges our nation faces today.

(Yes, I realize that this is the second time that I've made an allusion to Dr. Strangelove in a post title. Expect this annoying trend to continue until all hope is not lost.)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

For Every Pig, There Will Be a Saturday

Like my friend Adam, I'm proud of the showing my alma mater made in the face of a Bush visit on short notice. On his blog, Adam pulls a choice quote from the Stanford Daily:

Some students, like incoming freshman Alejandra Aponte, said they were surprised by the protest’s high turnout.

“I thought Stanford was really a bubble, but seeing all the people that are out here has shown me that people really are concerned,” she said. “I’m Latina; I’m from Guatemala. Right now President Bush is doing some very interesting things in Latin America. We have a phrase ‘For every pig, there will be a Saturday.’ Basically, his game is over.” (Emphasis mine)
I'm sorry, dedicated vegans and fervent (Is there any other kind?) animal rights folks, but for every pig, there will be a Saturday is an apt description for a President who just polled at 33% approval at his pet Fox News.

If it ain't Saturday yet, then it's at least beer thirty on a Friday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

DC Employer Seeks Applicants for World's Least Pleasant White Collar Job

After 1,034 days of abusing the truth, defending people who lied to him, and attempting to intimidate the press, Scott McClellan resigns.

Although McClellan was sent packing by Josh Bolten, I'm a little surprised he lasted so long. I bet he's completely exhausted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Clinton Wanted a Definition of Is.
Bush Wants a Definition of Wetland.

During his first campaign, President Bush's environmental platform included a policy of no net loss of wetlands, a policy he retreated from in his 2004 campaign.

On March 30, Interior Secretary Gail Norton announced a 715,300 acre increase in wetland areas since 1997. Unfortunately for Secretary Norton, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the loss of 523,500 acres of natural wetlands during the same period the same conference. (Awwwkwwward)

The difference between the two sets of numbers? Secretary Norton "admitted much of that gain has been in artificially created ponds, such as golf course water hazards and farm impoundments."

Monday, April 17, 2006

You Can ______ 20% of the People 20% of the Time

In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 47 percent of voters "strongly" disapproved of Bush's job performance, a deeply foreboding number for GOP'ers seeking election this fall. In this same poll, 20 percent of respondents said they "strongly approve" of the job President Bush is doing.

When I see the latter number, I find myself amazed at the resilience of these people. With all that President Bush has done for them, 20% still strongly approve of him.

What are some other things that roughly 20% of Americans believe in or practice?

22% of adults believe "human beings evolved from earlier species"
     (Harris, 7/6/05)

23% of surveyed Americans don't identify themselves as Christian
     (ARIS, 2001)

of "born again" people support marijuana reform & legalization
     (Zogby, 3/24/06)

22% think doctors should always try to save a patient's life
     (Pew, 1/5/06)

22% smoke
     (Harris, 3/9/06)

believe in reincarnation
     (Harris, 12/14/05)

21% believe immigation is a very big problem in their community
20% believe immigation is a moderately big problem " "
22% believe immigation is a small problem " "
     (Pew, 3/30/06)

28% strongly oppose gay marriage
     (Pew, 3/22/06)

Friday, April 14, 2006

What Did You Just Sign to Me?!?!

Today, while I was studying in a coffee house, a person set a card on my table which said the following:

I am a Deaf Person
I am selling this...
Deaf Education System Card make my living and to support my family
Would you kindly buy one?
Pay any price you wish. Thank You! (Over)

On the back was the American Manual Alphabet for the Deaf and the ASL sign for I Love You.

I gave the person $1. As I looked up at him, he made the ASL sign for Thank You — a common sign that I immediately recognized. However, this time, I realized that this sign bears a dangerous resemblance to another hand sign.

Why-oh-why did the well-intentioned innovators of ASL create a Thank You sign that so closely resembles Scalia's Sicilian Gesture?

I just hope that this resemblance has never brought about the misunderstanding and tragedy that it so clearly threatens.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vladimir Luxuria, Italy's Transgender Communist MP

It's been 18 years since Italians elected Ilona "Cicciolina" Staller to parliament, a giving and eager porn-star-turned-politician who has (at various times) offered to make love to both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden (at different times) in the name of peace.

This week, Italy elected Vladimir Luxuria to parliament, making Vladimir Italy's first Transgender Communist MP.

Vladimir's Official Site
(Hat Tip to Andrew Sullivan)

Internet, You Are Terrific

Some curious soul visited my blog recently, searching for "ear swabbing habit." Sadly, I was no help at all.

I just wish I coulda been there for you, Visitor #16,141. Good luck, fellow traveler.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tell It to the Judge, Bush

On December 30, 2003, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed Special Counsel in charge of the Plame Affair and started considering evidence concerning a potential case against White House conspirators.

827 days later, Mr. Fitzgerald told the court that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish Wilson.'"

Bush claims that he selectively declassified information out of the NIE so that the US public could "see the truth." I'm sure it won't turn out this way, but I just wish the Commander-in-Chief would have to tell that story to the judge.

Well, It Is Nearly Passover

Having named their firstborn Apple, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's second child is named Moses.

Update (4/15): The New York Times has a great piece on the names that stars give to their offspring.

Dude. Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) named his kid Pilot Inspektor.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Boundless Folly of the Bush Administration

Momentarily ignoring the horror of the US using nuclear weapons on a country in the Mideast, "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government" sounds a lot like "we will be greeted as liberators."

The Iran Plans by Seymour Hersh

U.S. News Law School Rankings: The Harriet Miers Effect

(Crossposted from the American Constitution Society :: Columbia Law School)

Although it did not surge forward as much as University of Denver's Sturm School of Law (from #95 to #70) or Seton Hall (from #83 to #70), Harriet Miers's JD alma mater, the Southern Methodist University, tied for 3rd largest positive gain in the rankings, moving up 9 slots from #52 to #43.

2007 U.S. News Rankings
2006 U.S. News Rankings

Click here to view older rankings.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Way to Go, Harry Taylor

Colin points out that Harry Taylor, today's shining example of civic courage, evokes a classic American theme.