So though I am loathe to both
this is too good to resist:
Scalia ridiculed the European Court of Human Rights’ 2000 decision striking down British legislation that bars group gay sex on the grounds that the law intruded upon private life.

He asked—rhetorically—how many individuals would have to be involved in a sex act for it to no longer qualify as “private.”

“Presumably it is some number between five and the number of people required to fill the Coliseum,” Scalia joked.

An audience member later rose to ask Scalia “whether you have any gay friends, and—if not—whether you’d like to be my friend.”

“I probably do have some gay friends,” Scalia said. “I’ve never pressed the point.”

But Scalia said his personal views on social issues have no bearing on his courtroom decisions.

“I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,” Scalia said.

“But it is blindingly clear that judges have no greater capacity than the rest of us to decide what is moral.”

Scalia graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1960 and become the first Italian-American Supreme Court justice in 1986.

Wait...what? Let's back up there for a second:

“I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,” Scalia said.

Um...um...exactly what the fuck am I supposed to make of this?
Just a reminder; this is what Bush said about Scalia in 2000:

Of Scalia, who staunchly opposes abortion, Bush said:

"The reason I like him so much is I got to know him here in Austin when he came down" for a visit, Bush said. "He's witty, he's interesting, he's firm."

Um...someone else pick up this ball and run with it, please...

At lunch I was reminded...

how much I love being watched! It's awesome! And by "awesome" I mean creepy. I really did see this blimp at lunch. (The below image—not to mislead you—came from terraserver.microsoft.com and is my office. Same idea, nearly.)


Boondocks Madness

As Weingarten mentioned in his chat Tuesday, the WaPo scrapped the whole week's Boondocks, running an old series in its place. The whole week is funny, but there is one IWGL strip, one of the funniest I've seen of any comic in a while - and this includes a superlative couple of weeks of "Get Fuzzy."

ITEM! NYT Editorial Board Receives Gonad Transplant!

Okay, this is a start. The NYT editorial today smacks (really, really does) the Bushies for saying the terrorists want Kerry to win:
This is despicable politics. ...The people running the government clearly regard keeping Mr. Bush in office as more important than maintaining a united front on the most important threat to the nation.

Not mincing words, are they? Good. Now all they need to do is keep this up, every day for the next 38 days, and make sure that the rest of the media plays follow-the-leader.
No, seriously, that really would be good.

But definitely read the whole edit; it's what edits should be.


Two Things

These really get to the heart of it:

-Josh Marshall, as usual, gets it right:

This afternoon, after John Kerry said that Iyad Allawi was painting an overly rosy picture of the situation in Iraq, Dick Cheney said "John Kerry is trying to tear down all the good that has been accomplished, and his words are destructive to our effort in Iraq and in the global war on terror."

In other words, democracy in America is harmful to building democracy in Iraq.

-And E.L. Doctorow both gets it really right:

"[George W. Bush] does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be."
and hits on my greatest fear:
"...the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind."

This is it. This is what I'm terrified of. Almost every time humanity has tried some grand social experiment, it's failed. But the United States has succeded - haltingly, stutteringly, with constant awfulnesses and near-reversals, but succeded where others failed. There has never been a nation as prosperous, pluralistic and free as ours is.
I really, really, really don't want that "is" to turn into a "was."
For so many reasons - for so many - but the big one is that the United States in many very real and important ways embodies hope for humanity's ability to better itself. And if we don't have that...

I'll be quiet now.
Just...we gotta win this shit. Please?


apple.com/trailers: Reviews

-So based on this trailer and the film's PG rating, it would seem that "Finding Neverland" might not be getting at the...um...full reality of J.M. Barrie's life (i.e., maybe leaving out the whole part about pedophilia and such). Usually one expects more of Johnny Depp, and generally he's good for it.

-It's such a wonderful thing when actors can find roles that they, and only they, can inhabit entirely - that it seems like their entire career up to that point has been leading to. Thus it is so with Wesley Snipes, who will give it yet another amazing go as Blade in "Blade Trinity." Really, nobody else could play this part, and it's pretty fantastic that there even IS a part that can be perfectly fulfilled by Snipes' acting...ummm...no, talents isn't quite the right word...ah, acting characteristics, that's better.

-Not a great trailer (i.e., good, but better if you don't already know that it's actually being made), but it's an early one, and any little taste that I can get of "Batman Begins" is a good one.

-I'm really not sure what to make of "I Heart Huckabee's"; I mean, I really like David O. Russell, and the cast is just ridiculous, and there was a...mostly annoying feature on it in the NYT this weekend. I'll definitely see it, as the potential for this film is far greater than with most films. We'll see.

-"Sideways", however: this looks good. Same director as "Election" and "About Schmidt," and what looks to be going on with this film is a pretty common story with directors of highly ironic and dark comedies - eventually, they get tired of being snide (albeit funny) assholes all the time, and actually make a film with some real human feeling and chance for redemption in it. Which usually ends up pretty good, as hope is a powerful inspiring force.

Sports Failure Sunday

A Bad Day for Sports.

-The Washington NFL team of which I am a fan played an absolutely epically atrocious game (seven [7] turnovers, one of them an interception in the end zone; a dropped touchdown pass; a missed field goal; lotsa stupid false starts; a lackluster game by their star running back) and yet managed to only lose 20-14 to the New York Football Giants. This means two things:
  1. The Washington NFL team of which I am a fan is not quite there yet, and
  2. The New York Football Giants are really, really, really bad. I mean BAD.
Washington's defense was very good, as almost all of the New York Football Giants' points came off turnovers, and they were consistently stopped on offensive opportunities, giving the Washington offense more opportunities to fuck up.

-The United States is, as I write this, in the process of being spanked in the Ryder Cup. This is not due to Phil Mickleson switching clubs last week - it is due to The United States' captain, Hal Sutton, being a total dickhead. I am a fan of professional golf, though hardly an expert, but this was something that was obvious even to me before this tournament - really, it's nice that each pretty good PGA player gets a chance to captain the Ryder Cup as a 50th birthday present, but is there any question whatsoever that Jack Nicklaus, or Johnny Miller, or a half dozen other old pros who are smart about golf, universally respected/revered by current players AND, as a bonus, not dickheads, would be better?
I thought not.

-The Orioles lost to the Twins. But really, this isn't the worst thing ever, as they still managed to take the series from the Twins, in Minnesota, and the season is over as far as the O's are concerned.

In other news, an actual headline at washingtonpost.com currently reads:
Sudan May Face Sanctions
MAY?! MAY?!?!?!
Good God, what does it take these days to actually get yourself sanctioned?


Ralph Nader = Fucking Asshole

Yeah, and the Florida Supreme Court:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 17 - The Florida Supreme Court bolstered President Bush's prospects in this swing state on Friday, ruling that Ralph Nader could appear on the November ballot as the Reform Party's presidential candidate.

In a case, and a setting, that instantly evoked memories of the recount battle of 2000, the court rejected Democratic arguments that the Reform Party had not met state requirements for receiving a ballot line. The court's majority concluded that those requirements were vague, but that it would be unfair to punish the Reform Party for the law's weaknesses.

Mr. Nader is now on the ballot in 27 states, his campaign said, including several closely contested states like Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire and West Virginia. He could appear on the ballot in more than a dozen other states, pending litigation, they said.

In Colorado, a state district judge, John McMullen, ruled on Friday that Mr. Nader had a right to be on the ballot.


Under Florida law, a minor party candidate for president could get on the ballot either by obtaining more than 90,000 signatures or by receiving the nomination of a "national party," a term that was not clearly defined. Mr. Nader received the Reform Party's endorsement at a convention in August, and based on that, sought the ballot line in Florida.

But Democrats challenged his candidacy, asserting that the Reform Party was no longer national in scope, was virtually penniless and that its convention had been staged with hired students purely to qualify for the Florida ballot. Designating it a "national party" would open the door to any group to have a presidential ballot line, they said.

Y'know, I'm all for federalism when it makes sense in a modern functioning capitalist society - e.g., in cases where regional variations are significant enough to warrant significant differences in policy between states - but for national elections, it would be kind of nice if we had a uniform set of standards so shit like this didn't keep happening.

That, and a Supreme Court-mandated shift to nonpartisan commissions for the drawing of Congressional districts (not absurd, or exceedingly far-fetched), and while we're at it, a mandate for states to disburse electoral votes as they do in Nebraska, Maine and (maybe) Colorado (not absurd, but exceedingly far-fetched).

[Colorado sidenote - the linked article contains two pieces of information I was unaware of, previously:

George C. Edwards III, a professor at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the author of "Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America," said that in the early days of the nation, states divided their electoral votes. As parties developed, the dominant party in each state realized it could collect more votes in a winner-take-all system, Edwards said.

"The basic motivation was greed on the part of the dominant party," he said.

Opinion polls have consistently shown that most Americans favor direct election of the president (most recently, 59 percent in a December 2000 Gallup poll), while surveys of political scientists have supported the Electoral College system. Some nonpartisan voter organizations, including the League of Women Voters, also endorse direct election.

Interesting. So perhaps my idea is not quite as far-fetched as I thought.]

Oh, and a reorganization of the Senate to a national-ballot-elected party-slate chamber with a 1% representation floor (slightly absurd, and ridiculously far-fetched [i.e., Bush will go to Mars himself before this happens], but this is really the best and maybe only way to promote third parties in this country).


Oh yeah, almost forgot -

- the freakin' ridiculous trailer for Sin City. Which will be...freakin' ridiculous. I mean, Nachie, back me up here, right? Freakin'.

Johnny Ramone Dead


It's actually...um...this is bad to say, but actually it's a pretty funny obituary. Some combination of the NYT's pretentious reverance for punk, the fact that it's the Ramones, and, well, the fact that it's Johnny.

A sample:
Of the original band, only Tommy (Tom Erdelyi), the drummer, survives.

By stripping rock guitar of its ornamentation and playing almost every note in a violent, accelerated downstroke, Mr. Ramone helped create the punk sound. His style - fast, repetitive and aggressive, though always tuneful - influenced, directly or indirectly, almost every punk guitarist since, from the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and the Clash's Joe Strummer to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and contemporary players like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182.

Yes. "...and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182."

Oh, yeah, and "Mr. Ramone." That's pretty funny, too. Really a lot, read the whole article.


I Wanted to Breathe Smoke

Nader's back on the ballot in Florida. (via dKos)

Well, at least...um...nope, actually this just sucks.


I Am at One

Riding a Segway
Listening to an iPod
You are a tool, friend


One More Note

From my time away: Kudos, Nachie, for your fantastic on-the-spot reportage of the NYPD's fine protection of NYC from total, Godzilla vs. King Ghidora-style destruction by throwing nets over stupidly tatooed kids on bikes.

What's amazing - all this time, and this shit still amazes me - is that a few days before (August 27, to be exact), the GOP had a hitman (Mitchell Moss) pen an attack on the NYPD and NYFD for being greedy. For, you know, wanting cost-of-living increases and shit. I'd link to it, but the NYT would make me pay

I swear, will these assholes not be content until the populace is forced back into serfdom and indenture? Ugh...


Had I but thought to announce, "I Shall Return" prior to my departure, this would be my MacArthur Moment. Except I wasn't really forced out of Cabin John by the forces of the Japanese Emperor, and, well...this is...what, maybe my MacArthur Park moment.
No link there, folks. You've gotta get that bad joke yourselves.

Of varying degrees of interest:

-Hawai'i, shockingly does...not suck.
-Also on my flight yesterday back from Maui to SFO? Charlie Murphy. No I did NOT talk to him, but him it definitely was, wearing a baby blue Ecko t-shirt, enormous gold medallion, with young child (presumably son) in tow playing GameBoy Advance. He was sitting next to us in the airport lounge, and my brother noticed him, talking on the phone; all I heard was him say "character" a bunch. Before getting on the plane he put on stlyishly PoMo glasses and a straw fedora-type hat. Yes, of course he flew first class.
-My father is a member of United's Red Carpet Club, by virtue of spending pretty much every other month flying somewhere else in the world far away. Anyhow, it's actually pretty nice in a not-totally-ostentatious way - free snack food (same party mix, and also Camembert), and the day's papers.
I should note that I was in pretty much a media blackout in Hawai'i; I heard that the Kobe case ended, that the Orioles put together a shitty losing streak followed by a smaller win streak, and that's about it.
So I ravenously devoured, mostly the NYT but also the SF Chronicle Book Review.
God, I just should've stayed in Hawai'i.
Shit is STILL bad. Worse, even. As y'all have been still plugged in, I won't bother searching back through for old news stories, but seriously, a li'l recap?

  1. ANOTHER hurricane in Florida
  2. Vlad Putin says Russia is at "open war"; hundreds, prolly thousands dead in a week
  3. Temporary ceasing of suicide bombings in Israel over; 16 dead, hundred or so injured
  4. Bush with double digit lead (outliers to be sure, but still...AGGGHH)
  5. Yup, still people getting slaughtered in Sudan. Oh, and also a plague of locusts is descending on the rest of the continent in and above the Sahara. I mean, what else can you say? FUCKING LOCUSTS, MAN!
Quick, somebody tell me something good, like there's a new world out there we might be able to move to...

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