Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Son-in-law duty

My mother-in-law called me a short while ago, with a tight, constrained voice asking me if I could head over to her house as quickly as possible. Her two small dogs had cornered a rat in her living room, and she was on the verge of freaking out. (my mother-in-law, not the rat).

I got there, and sure enough, there was a big fucking rat, just leaving via the open door. I'm no expert, but it was a healthy adult rattus norvegicus from the blueish/brown blur that I saw, which was definitely about 10 inches of body, and, oooh, 10 more inches of tail. (That's the part that makes my wife shudder.) I found the probable route that it took into the kitchen through a hole in the drywall, and blocked it with something heavy. Unfortunately, they didn't have any steel wool. You gotta go with the steel wool.

Checking on wikipedia later, I was amazed to find out that their little hearts beat 300 to 400 times a minute. I'm thinking this little guy was topping out on the high end on the scale once he realized he had followed some delectable scents until he was smack dab in the middle of a small tiled kitchen with two hyperactive dogs racing in after him. If he followed the path inside that I think he did, the pantry door would have closed behind him just as he made that discovery, forcing some hasty improvisation on his part.

When I got back, my wife tried to convince me, once again, that her family's pathological fear of rodents was actually not a phobia, but are well-founded on a wide variety of historical and scientific facts. Apparently something bad happened to a baby somewhere. Or maybe that was the poor kid in The Jungle. I kind of tuned her out while she was talking about their fat, ugly tails.

This reminds me of the novel I just finished and mostly enjoyed. A terrified, but curious rat plays a key role in the shaggy dog tale at the center of Schrödinger 's Ball, a hard-to-classify comic novel that takes as a starting point of its plot Schrödinger 's semi-dead cat in a box. It is not science fiction, by conventional expectations; but it really only does make sense if you had a technical background, or you're really willing to crank the google while going through it.

It's also a very male novel, in that the women are all beautiful, and described in highly detailed, luscious, panting glory. On the other hand, the men are all male and wear pants or something. Luckily for me, I like male-oriented comic novels about technical subjects, e.g., Cryptonomicon, or hell, anything that Neal Stephenson has ever written. Although Schrödinger 's Ball doesn't measure up to Stephenson, if you like one, I'll lay odds you will like the other.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bob Dole, presidential floater, now circling the bowl

Hey, this place is nice. Whoa, was that Melanie Griffith?!

It looks like McCain has not just gone too far, but has been correctly perceived as going too far:

In short order, John McCain has gone from Republican presidential front-runner to political death watch. On Wednesday, the Arizona senator kicks off a month of high-profile events, seeking a resurrection of sorts.

He badly needs it. Mr. McCain just reported raising $12.5 million for the first-quarter -- behind Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, as well as Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Most analysts won't go so far as to bury Mr. McCain, citing his Republican rivals' own baggage: Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani are suspect among social conservatives for their records supporting abortion and gay rights, and gun control. But the one-time GOP front-runner clearly had a very bad week.

He went from bold to ridiculous in his statements on the war, then he made himself into Dukakis in the tank overnight by going to an Iraqi market with 100 soldiers, ten armored humvees, and five attack helicopters as cover.

From the Think Progress video and summary of the video piece:
60 Minutes host Scott Pelley noted that McCain had been a fierce critic of Donald Rumsfeld but seems to "give President Bush a pass." McCain responded, "I say that he is responsible and I will continue to say that he is responsible. Should I look back in anger? Or should I look forward?"
Look back? Look forward? No, no, instead, you should drop the feel-good psychobabble and retreat into the complete, shamed anonymity that only someone who has publicly sold their soul for higher office can achieve. You should be shunned by everyone with a decent breath in them. You should nod sadly when children gasp and run away when they see your pasty, wormlike face. You should drop off the face of the fucking earth, you contemptible, maggoty toad.

21 people died in Iraq because you wanted to sound positive and upbeat about this wreckless, needless, lost war. Ambushed, executed. 21 real, live people. Payback for your little talking point, the one you now blithely dismiss as the time you "misspoke" and talk about how much fun it would be if you didn't have to, you know, talk the truth responsibly like a goddamn senator should. You thoughtlessly chose to trade nifty photo ops against people who kill innocent people to make their points. You lose the PR point completely, you international jackass, and other people died in the bargain.

You thought you'd be clever and recommend a "surge" in Iraq because it would position you so well for the 2008 primaries. With the war lost, you could argue that if only they had listened to you earlier, all would be milk and honey in the former Mesopotamia. You didn't think that your moronic plan would sound pretty good to the Moron in Chief, and now, where are we? Planning to bring home more dead soldiers, more young men without limbs, more young women with plates in their heads.

Is there is nothing you will not say, do, or endure to be president? In 2000, Karl Rove, the chief minister of poison for the idiot king you now refuse to criticize, paid for a push poll where your own adopted daughter was used in a racist attack on you to sabotage you in the South Carolina primaries. You were angry about it with Bush, briefly, then you did everything you could to keep this unworthy man in office in 2004. Even now, you refuse to attack him, despite losing the war, despite wrecking the armed forces. He attacked your own daughter, and you hugged him on stage in 2004 like you were a fucking muppet, you craven, pathetic sycophant.

Bob Dole is another former military officer who had achieved honor in his military and years of service as a senator, then he lost it all in a minute with a sad, meaningless 1996 campaign for president. Now he can't even get an ad on tv pushing boner pills.

Feh. John McCain, you are irredeemable. Just go the fuck away. Resign your office and go live somewhere quietly with your rich trophy wife, and never, ever opine in public again.

photos by the incomparable Water Tiger at

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Why am I still posting here?

Well, it's a fair question. First, blogger has stopped asking me the specific questions that were freaking me out. Second, boy, have I been busy.

In fact, I've spent the last four days recovering from the first part of last week, where, at its peak, I got 10 hours of sleep over a 60 hour period. Whatever it is that I do at whatever company, I released some software that been 10 months in the womb. The risk was extremely high, and so it was an all-hands effort to deliver this bad boy, with four of us working an overnight shift and six of us coming in at three a.m. It worked, to our immense relief.

Now there is a glimmer of hope that my job will start to suck less, starting this week.

Arcade Fire

I love Arcade Fire, and their 2005 Album, Funeral, was an instant classic. Their latest album is growing on me a bit slower, but I haven't given up.

Here they are performing "Wake Up" with David Bowie at some Hollywood shindig.

The person who posted this video makes the bold statement that "if you don't cry watching this, you are dead inside." That's extreme and unsupportable, of course; but there is something primal about the earnest way that Arcade Fire sings all of their songs that does choke me up. They sing of about childhood illusions of death or eternal love as if they were grown-up children just now making the realizations and compromises of adulthood.

Here they are performing "Rebellion (Lies)" at Coachella in the Spring of 2005, where I saw them live for the first time. I'm not even a bouncing dot in the video, since I was by the sound-booth, not even shown in this video. It was a great, great show from a terrific band.

Although this is just one song, it does give a good flavor of their live presence: a full-on, wall-of-sound presentation with a miked string section, multiple drummers, and a band where everyone sings their fucking heart out. It also shows a little bit of the rough-housing between the band members, which was as out of control as you see here for every song. Fun stuff.

Updated: for clarity.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Hilary on Barack Obama

Here's an animated song about Mr. Obama by Ms. Clinton concerning 2008. Flash, 2 minutes.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Next to last post

Hi, I'll be closing this blog down soon, and posting somewhere else, probably by next week.

I have been posting anonymously here for a variety of good reasons. Of late, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with Google's insistence that I link together all aspects of my online existence. Now, blogger has made some recent, mandatory changes that I'm not so crazy about. It's possible that I am misunderstanding these changes, but honestly, it's not worth the risk to me. They're creeping me out.

I won't post a link to the new blog, nor will my new blog link back here. I'll probably leave this site undeleted, but I don't actually care what happens to it.

How to be a fabulous fag hag

Here's a funny cartoon on "How to be a fabulous fag hag" by Ellen Forney, who has a long series of excellent cartoons based on real incidents and interviews. Here, she interviewed Margaret Cho (check out her blog, too -- lots of good music).

One of my first girlfriends, Barbara, was a fag hag, with two super-close gay friends. They were quite protective of her, wanting to know exactly "what were my intentions?!" My intentions were lots of hot sex, basically, and I did get what I was there for. Ultimately, though, she also turned me on to some excellent literature before we parted ways, and those authors still work for me. My advice is always to sleep with grad students. At least, that advice has always worked for me.

Although my relationship with Barbara was brief, it was lovely to see their emotional closeness and comfort with each other while we were together.

Margaret Cho speaks the truth:
Don't be afraid to fall in love without expectations, gender, sexuality, precedence, etc. For fag hags and fags, love is love, and that's the best part of it.

Courage of the Jester

Why is it that comedians have been so right, so cuttingly correct on the issues?

Why hasn't any political commentary in the last dozen or so years had the depth of Bill Maher's open contempt for the Bush/Cheney regime, the casual concern for Tony Snow's soul from Jon Stewart, or the mind-bending performance of Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, who called out the George W. Bush and a complacent press corps to their face, plunging through his routine relentlessly in the face of a hostile audience, knowing that it would be hysterically funny to others. It's 24 minutes long, and one of the bravest bits of comedy I think I have ever seen. As Jon Stewart said later, "We've never been prouder of him, but holy shit!"

I have no good explanation for the lack of courage of others, but do check out these clips if you haven't seen them.

Life in the slammer

Well, about twenty days in jail. "George" describes his experiences as a gaijin trapped in a Japanese prison on Stippy, an interesting web site devoted to describing Japan by and for other gaijin who live there. It's a five-part series, which is unfortunately incomplete.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Out again

Hi, I've been working 80-hour weeks and there are a variety of burning issues on the domestic front, so... I'm not posting.

Someday soon. If you want to help me out, get me a new job. I'd take one bagging groceries at the moment.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cartman was right

Cartman: Okay, that does it! Now listen! Why is it that everything today has involved things either going in or coming out of my ass?! I'm sick of it! It's completely immature.
—Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Episode 101, "South Park"

Here is an 11-minute excerpt from a 63 minute documentary, "The Dildo Diaries". Molly Ivins wryly discusses the long and silly battle pitting the Texas legislature versus dildos and sodomy in Texas. Both of those are entirely illegal in Texas, for homosexuals or heterosexuals alike.

There was one omission. The lawmakers knew about some surprising acts with chickens, but they had never heard of butt-plugs. So those are as legal as buying a bar of soap.

Idiots. God, sometimes I'm just so embarrassed to be from the bible belt.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Good news, bad news

Well, Jet Blue just called to offer me a different flight than the one I had purchased, which was a red-eye to the east coast leaving tonight. The new flight would have arrived just 11 hours before my return flight back home. I do love my family, but eh, not so much that I'm willing to fly 10 hours for an 11 hour visit. So that trip home is cancelled. Sorry folks

This is positive news in that my queen, my wife is really, really tired and was in fact going to suffer through these two red-eye flights purely as a sign of devotion. In fact, a comparison was made to it being a valentine's gift, as was the subtle imputation that I should be damned grateful. So she took the news of the cancellation well: "Yay!" She'll be able to sleep in a comfy bed, and not in a just-off-vertical seat.

On my part, I will get to polish off some yummy videos that we got from Netflix, play with my toy, an Archos video player, and read a fun book about Hindu deities that arrived today. The book is by a Pixar animator, Sanjay Patel who also has a web site, GheeHappy.

It's funny: if we had not gone anywhere, we wouldn't have felt anything special about this weekend. Now it feels like a gift. Thanks for the gift of time, Kali! (And if you like the Kali picture, he has a slightly bloodier version for sale on infant apparel. Just the thing to make your Mormon relatives bug out.)

Photo of Jasmine by GhRis at Deviant Art.
Photo of Kali and victim by Sanjay Patel at GheeHappy.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Acting out

You know, when I 'act out', that means that I'm eating a bag of Cheetos for dinner, or I'm acting cranky and sullen instead of being a responsible adult. 'Acting Out' has never meant, not even once, that I take it up the ass from a male prostitute who deals me crystal meth, even though that's apparently what it meant to the entirely heterosexual Ted Haggard. Ok, so I'm kind of a pouter when I'm acting out, and he's more of 'hey sailor, have you seen my mangina lately?' sort of person. Different strokes.

I guess it is better for his poor wife and kids to cling to this fantasy. However, I don't see how it will be better for Ted Haggard to come out as a self-hating gay man who now completely denies the impulses he admitted just a few months ago. It would be best if he is bisexual, since that would make his marriage less of a cruel farce.

What a vicious bind his religion has led him into. I hope he can escape.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Molly Ivins

Like so many others, I'm very sorry that Molly Ivins has passed. She was funniest when she was being cruel to the misguided and pompous, such as in this hysterical review of Camille Paglia's absurd Sexual Personae: Art & Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson:
What we have here, fellow citizens, is a crassly egocentric, raving twit. The Norman Podhoretz of our gender. That this woman is actually taken seriously as a thinker in New York intellectual circles is a clear sign of decadence, decay, and hopeless pinheadedness. Has no one in the nation's intellectual capital the background and ability to see through a web of categorical assertions? One fashionable line of response to Paglia is to claim that even though she may be fundamentally off-base, she has "flashes of brilliance." If so, I missed them in her oceans of swill.

One of her latest efforts at playing enfant terrible in intellectual circles was a peppy essay for Newsday, claiming that either there is no such thing as date rape or, if there is, it's women's fault because we dress so provocatively. Thanks, Camille, I've got some Texas fraternity boys I want you to meet.

There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "Poor dear, it's probably PMS." Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "What an
asshole." Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia: Sheesh, what an asshole.
Paul Krugman, an admirer although not a personal friend of Ivins, did us the favor of going over her old columns regarding the disastrous Iraq war, and noted again and again how prescient she was about the quagmire, about the civil war, and about the "batty degree of triumphalism" that America found itself in. He concludes:
So Molly Ivins — who didn’t mingle with the great and famous, didn’t have sources high in the administration, and never claimed special expertise on national security or the Middle East — got almost everything right. Meanwhile, how did those who did have all those credentials do?

With very few exceptions, they got everything wrong. They bought the obviously cooked case for war — or found their own reasons to endorse the invasion. They didn’t see the folly of the venture, which was almost as obvious in prospect as it is with the benefit of hindsight. And they took years to realize that everything we were being told about progress in Iraq was a lie.

Was Molly smarter than all the experts? No, she was just braver. The administration’s exploitation of 9/11 created an environment in which it took a lot of courage to see and say the obvious.

Molly had that courage; not enough others can say the same.
She was smart and brave and funny. I will miss her.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Confederacy of Dunces

Dan Froomkin highlights these quotations from Neil Lewis's article about the Libby Trial's opening statements (paragraphs from the article are rearranged and highlighted for a higher quality of snark):
Mr. Libby, Mr. Wells said, complained to Vice President Dick Cheney that he was being set up as a fall guy. Mr. Cheney supported that view, Mr. Wells said, and handwrote a note saying, "Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy who was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."

Interpreting the vice president’s note, Mr. Wells said that "incompetence" was a reference to the fact that the C.I.A. had mistakenly allowed the White House to use inaccurate information in Mr. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq’s efforts to obtain uranium in Africa. The staff official whom the vice president believed should not be protected, he said, was Mr. Rove. Mr. Libby had been assigned to speak to reporters to straighten out the confusion from Mr. Bush’s speech, a chore Mr. Cheney likened to sticking his head in the meat grinder.
This is a perjury trial, unfortunately, and not a congressional investigation into the false beginnings of a war. But what is briefly referred to here as CIA "incompetence" was the direct result of unrelenting pressure put directly on the CIA by Dick Cheney. In particular, the nuclear claim had been a political football between the White House, CIA, and Pentagon from at least October 2002 until the State of the Union speech in January 2003. People at the CIA had threatened to quit their jobs unless phrases related to Iraq's nuclear ambitions had been removed from assorted speeches.

But now it is shown that Cheney believes it can all be traced to the incompetence of others, despite his direct involvement on the wrong side of the argument.

In addition, Cheney and Libby's arrogance led towards another false conclusion.
This incident appears to have occurred in fall 2003, when Mr. Libby was troubled that Scott McClellan, then the White House press secretary, had publicly said that Mr. Rove had not been involved in the leak but had initially declined to do the same for Mr. Libby and others in the administration. At that time, Mr. Rove had a major role in guiding Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign.
McClellan, who was considerably smarter than he appeared, went directly to the people concerned, and got their flat denial of involvement. He then went to the press room and passed on their statements. As a consequence, he is enjoying his time out of the White House, and he has never needed to hire a lawyer.

What they interpreted as deliberate inaction was simply the result of Rove's celebrity. McClellan didn't decline to do anything for Libby; no one was asking about Libby at that time. McClellan wouldn't have noticed anything either, since he had gotten Cheney's "word" that he was not involved.

Libby's lawyers should be smarter about discussing that note of Cheney's. Another way to translate his note is "The White House is willing to lie to protect Rove, but not my staffer, Libby. Therefore, he should be lying to protect himself."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

When last we posted...

... I was heading off to Costa Rica for two weeks.

I'm back. I am lightly tanned (one paint chip over), lightly bitten, and newly wise in the ways of monkeys. It was a good vacation.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.

That was the strange mine of souls.
As secret ores of silver they passed
like veins through its darkness. Between the roots
blood welled, flowing onwards to Mankind,
and it looked as hard as Porphyry in the darkness.
Otherwise nothing was red.

There were cliffs
and straggling woods. Bridges over voids,
and that great grey blind lake,
that hung above its distant floor
like a rain-filled sky above a landscape.

And between meadows, soft and full of patience,
one path, a pale strip, appeared,
passing by like a long bleached thing.

And down this path they came.

In front the slim man in the blue mantle,
mute and impatient, gazing before him.
His steps ate up the path in huge bites
without chewing: his hands hung,
clumsy and tight, from the falling folds,
and no longer aware of the weightless lyre,
grown into his left side,
like a rose-graft on an olive branch.

And his senses were as if divided:
while his sight ran ahead like a dog,
turned back, came and went again and again,
and waited at the next turn, positioned there —
his hearing was left behind like a scent.

Sometimes it seemed to him as if it reached
as far as the going of those other two,
who ought to be following this complete ascent.

Then once more it was only the repeated sound of his climb
and the breeze in his mantle behind him.
But he told himself that they were still coming:
said it aloud and heard it die away.
They were still coming, but they were two
fearfully light in their passage. If only he might
turn once more (if looking back
were not the ruin of all his work,
that first had to be accomplished), then he must see them,
the quiet pair, mutely following him:
the god of errands and far messages,
the travelling-hood above his shining eyes,
the slender wand held out before his body,
the beating wings at his ankle joints;
and on his left hand, as entrusted: her.

The so-beloved, that out of one lyre
more grief came than from all grieving women:
so that a world of grief arose, in which
all things were there once more: forest and valley,
and road and village, field and stream and creature:
and that around this grief-world, just as
around the other earth, a sun
and a silent star-filled heaven turned,
a grief-heaven with distorted stars —
she was so loved.

But she went at that god’s left hand,
her steps confined by the long grave-cloths,
uncertain, gentle, and without impatience.
She was in herself, like a woman near term,
and did not think of the man, going on ahead,
or the path, climbing upwards towards life.
She was in herself. And her being-dead
filled her with abundance.

As a fruit with sweetness and darkness,
so she was full with her vast death,
that was so new, she comprehended nothing.

She was in a new virginity
and untouchable: her sex was closed
like a young flower at twilight,
and her hands had been weaned so far
from marriage that even the slight god’s
endlessly gentle touch, as he led,
hurt her like too great an intimacy.

She was no longer that blonde woman,
sometimes touched on in the poet’s songs,
no longer the wide bed’s scent and island,
and that man’s possession no longer.

She was already loosened like long hair,
given out like fallen rain,
shared out like a hundredfold supply.

She was already root.

And when suddenly
the god stopped her and, with anguish in his cry,
uttered the words: ‘He has turned round—’
she comprehended nothing and said softly: ‘Who?’

But far off, darkly before the bright exit,
stood someone or other, whose features
were unrecognisable. Who stood and saw
how on the strip of path between meadows,
with mournful look, the god of messages
turned, silently, to follow the figure
already walking back by that same path,
her steps confined by the long grave-cloths,
uncertain, gentle, and without impatience.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Extraordinary bravery

Here are two stories about three heroes in New York City.
After giving the mayor thanks and a bear hug, Autrey recounted the details of the risky rescue for the media gathered at City Hall.

Hollopeter ... was at the subway station at 137th Street/City College when he suffered a seizure and fell onto the tracks just as a train was approaching.

Autrey was standing on the platform with his daughters and scores of other subway riders when he saw Hollopeter convulsing on the tracks. As he watched, he thought: "I'm the only one to do it."

He eyed the trough between the rails before jumping on top of the teenager, Autrey said, and relied on his experience as a construction worker used to "confined spaces" to calculate - in split seconds - that "maybe we have enough clearance."
Like many New Yorkers, I always wondered if those troughs in the middle of the subway tracks were deep enough to protect you if a train were passing overhead. I never knew the answer, and neither did Wesley Autrey, but he took the chance anyway with literally seconds to spare.

What incredible bravery.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

On neutering the Republicans

President Bush "wrote" an editorial for the Wall St. Journal today.

Here's the part that made my wife sputter in a high-pitched voice like Beaker going mi-mi-mi
It is also a fact that our tax cuts have fueled robust economic growth and record revenues. Because revenues have grown and we've done a better job of holding the line on domestic spending, we met our goal of cutting the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. By continuing these policies, we can balance the federal budget by 2012 while funding our priorities and making the tax cuts permanent. In early February, I will submit a budget that does exactly that. The bottom line is tax relief and spending restraint are good for the American worker, good for the American taxpayer, and good for the federal budget. Now is not the time to raise taxes on the American people.
Hardly a single word is true. The reality, of course, is that Bill Clinton and his Treasurer Robert Rubin were able to reverse the years of deficit spending after just four years. They built a trillion-dollar budget surplus that Bush blew through like a crack whore with a stolen credit card. These aren't secrets, guys. You can't lie about them.

Here's the part that made us laugh out loud.
One important message I took away from the election is that people want to end the secretive process by which Washington insiders are able to slip into legislation billions of dollars of pork-barrel projects that have never been reviewed or voted on by Congress. I'm glad Senator Robert Byrd and Congressman Dave Obey--the Democrats who will lead the appropriations process in the new Congress--heard that message, too, and have indicated they will refrain from including additional earmarks in the continuing resolution for this fiscal year.

But we can and should do more. It's time Congress give the president a line-item veto. And today I will announce my own proposal to end this dead-of-the-night process and substantially cut the earmarks passed each year.
The reality, of course, is that earmarking is a bipartisan practice that he could have vetoed at any point in the previous six years. Bush tacitly approved the pork-barrel process, as all politicians do. However, here he only named Democrats after 12 years of this midnight thuggery practiced by Republicans. Therefore, he does plan on vetoing a spending bill, probably as soon as possible. Now that the GOP is out of congressional power, it's important to label the Dems as a tax-and-spend party again, so this is just the opening gun in the meme-wars. As it happens, he's right about Byrd, who should have been tossed out of office years ago for his piggy ways.

Another important part of reality is that a line-item veto was granted, back in 1996, and it was eventually struck down as unconstitutional by a 6-3 Supreme Court majority two years later. There are two ways Bush could get a line-item veto: one, they find a magic formula that will let it pass muster with the men in black; two, they pass a constitutional amendment. The first is possible, the second is not. In any case, there's no reason for this congress to do the president any favors.

Here's the part that made me mad.
Our Founders believed in the wisdom of the American people to choose their leaders and provided for the concept of divided and effective government. The majority party in Congress gets to pass the bills it wants. The minority party, especially where the margins are close, has a strong say in the form bills take. And the Constitution leaves it to the president to use his judgment whether they should be signed into law.
Suck my dick. The minority party was completely shut out of every major decision for 12 fucking years in the House, and six years in the Senate. They were unable to pass any significant amendments in any House Vote in literally years. Traditional practices that only helped the majority party were shamelessly promoted: keeping house votes open for hours, threatening to remove filibusters entirely. Worse, the Democrats were called traitors and cowards and weaklings, whether they voted for or against Bush's initiatives. Now we should play nice towards the minority party? Why, because we're the grown-ups?

I am sick to fucking death of hearing how Democrats should behave, after the self-righteous thundering at Bill Clinton's tiniest peccadillo was muted to dead silence after Bush started a needless war and shattered the protections that have been part of Common Law since the 13th century. You authoritarians, you seekers of a king to rule you, you just want to love a Daddy who is always right, don't you? You don't care what he actually does -- you're just thrilled to hear the voice of command, barking out orders like Tommy Lee Jones looking for Dr. Kimble. You don't notice your own insincerity and hypocrisy when you're lecturing the Democrats, and you certainly don't notice that your emperor is an incurious, incompetent dullard.

Grover Norquist famously compared the Democrats to neutered animals when they were the minority party:
Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans. Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they've been fixed, then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful. They don't go around peeing on the furniture and such.
I honestly don't know what to say to the GOP. They have no sense of shame or responsibility over what they, and no one else, are responsible for. Bush is obviously mentally ill, but most of the Republican party has no such excuse for their actions and inactions. The bottom line is, they lost the election, badly. They're losing the war, badly. They've put the country in a terrible financial bind, with trillions in budgetary deficit, a record trade deficit, and a looming recession based on the weak housing market. It's a staggering record of incompetence and chicanery.

Now they can all go fuck themselves while we clean their mess up.

Experiences to avoid

If I may make suggestions, try not to lose your passport, then only discover it missing two days before an overseas trip. I have a whole day's worth of work to complete now, so color me cranky.

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