Good lord - Karl Rove says the Bush campaign has some October surprises for John Kerry. Yikes. Given Rove's history, this sounds ominous to me. The article portends more vicious campaigning in the coming weeks:
If this year stays true to past form, the campaign will get nastier in the closing weeks, and without anyone's quite registering it, Rove will be right back in his element. He seems to understand—indeed, to count on—the media's unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove's skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media's unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others.
I've heard various of the exceedingly silly rules attributed to both candidates, depending on who is doing the attribution. Whatever - it's all so much foolishness. Can't we actually see them get into it? Sheesh.
OK, so here's what the flyer, sent by the GOP to West Virginia and Arkansas looks like:
I actually called my parents today, to see if they had received a copy - I wasn't aware at the time that it was chiefly mailed to members of ultra-right churches (my parents don't qualify). In talking to my dad about it, he said that he had heard that the cards were also being placed on windshields at bigot-brigade churches. He promised to send me a copy for my collection if he can lay his hands on one. I'm sure my aunt got one, but who wants to talk to her?
Know anyone who can install a camera in my eyeballs?
So I'm in line at Subway. And there's this really cute (married ) guy in front of me - nice and thin, totally hot. So anyway, as we get up to the register, he puts his hands under his shirt and rests his hands on his hips. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Nice and smooth stomach.
Then, as if I weren't staring enough - he starts rubbing his stomach a little bit. And his pants were loose enough, and his shirt flopped in just the right way - so that I could see down the front - just a bit. Didn't get to see the naughty bits, but all the staring I did was certainly naughty. So taking out my cell phone and snapping a pic might have been a bit obvious in this situation - how do I record what my eyeballs are seeing?
WaPo feature: Young and Gay in Real America
As blogged here and here, this WaPo series is a very good read. Michael, a 17 year old in rural Oklahoma, is struggling with coming out. Rural Oklahoma is a tough place to be 17 and gay, and the story follows Michael's travails over the course of several months.
The story exposes some of the hypocrisy of the "bigot brigade":
The same-sex marriage issue is forcing Janice [Michael's mother] to choose between her beliefs and her son. Her church is gearing up for the November elections. "I have to agree with the president," Janice says. "We need to keep the family unit as intended." And yet her own family unit is not quite as intended. Twice divorced, Janice works two jobs, day and night. Her unmarried 23-year-old daughter has a baby.
It also has some charming moments, where Michael, who struggles not only to accept his sexuality, struggles to understand its implications too:
Michael can't quite grasp the concept of same-sex marriage. He wonders about the domestic arrangements. Who would do all the stuff women do? "I can't really picture myself folding the laundry," he says.
Don't misunderstand. Dumb is not the same as wrong. Kerry may be right on some of the issues. But that's not the point. Elections are about votes, and Kerry's campaign seems calculated to actually repel them.
Interesting idea - it would be fun to see how a skilled politician like Bill Clinton would conduct the campaign.
Yup - I was at the gay coffee shop with a friend yesterday and a guy supporting Kerry/Edwards came up and asked if I wanted to register. Seeing that I just moved and hadn't taken the time to figure out where to go to register, this was quite useful for me.
I was aggravated, however, by one thing. In addition to filling out my registration form for me, he filled out a request for an absentee ballot to be mailed to my house. His stated reason for doing so was that "we're encouraging everyone to vote absentee or vote early [Colorado has an early voting system this year] so that John Kerry can clinch the state before election day."
I don't support this at all. While I support absentee ballots for people who are actually going to be absent (and I don't care what the reason is, but I think you should have to sign something saying that you are planning to be out of town), I think that if you're going to be in town you can damn well get up off your ass and go to the polling place.
Jimmy Swaggart has issued an "apology". I love it when morons like Swaggary make a big show of apologizing without actually doing so:
"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," he told the Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was; but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."
Whatever - yes, the words are there. But his caveat about "I didn't think it was [an insult]" renders virtually meaningless even this lame attepmt at saying he's sorry.
Woohoo!!! The Comcast guy was here yesterday - we've been having a lot of trouble with the cable modem lately - going up and down, periodically REALLY slow, etc. Last time it was out I called, and they promised to show up the next morning. But they ditched me. Fuckers.
So it went out again on Thursday - I called; they promised to show on Friday. And they DID!!! So the guy spent about an hour sorting out the mess I had made of the wiring with low-quality splitters and cables (I helped him out by being the one to crawl around under the house and grab the new wire).
The best part: Speed tests are now consistently reporting 3Mbps!!!
The second best part: He didn't charge me for cleaning up my mess...
Apparently, The Last Starfighter has been made into a musical and is opening off-Broadway next month. While I'll admit that it's one of my guilty pleasures, it's a terrible movie (Lance Guest could have at least taken his shirt off!!) - and I can't imagine it will be any better as a musical.
I still think one of the best South Park episodes ever was when they mocked this movie - in the dodgeball episode.
The computer that I use for pirating DVDs storing my recipes died last night. I had been worried about it, because it has DVDxCopy installed - and 321Studios is out of business. I think it's just the power supply, but I'm still a bit concerned - I don't know if I can install the software on another computer or not since it has an activation sequence.
He proposes that all people - of all colors, faiths, etc. - should have to take a basic political literacy test in order to vote. He lists five simple questions and suggests that people should have to answer three correctly. What is wrong with this? As he puts it so aptly
America has become a stultocracy: government by morons, for morons.
I don't know if he's being ironic or not, and I don't care. I think he's right on the money with this article.
We watched the series premiere of Lost tonight. Interesting concept, I guess, but it was just so formulaic. In this case it looks like the Skipper and the Professor are combined into one, and I have yet to see the Millionaire and his wife, but it was honestly kind of distracting.
Also distracting was all of the geek stuff I can't get rid of, like "How is that jet engine still running?" But I understand the whole concept of the suspension of disbelief - the character profiles were much more problematic for me.
In the end, it was only OK. But I'm gonna watch at least one more week for 3 reasons:
1) The possibility of seeing Ian Somerhalder with his shirt off - or more (less?).
2) The possibility of seeing Matthew Fox with his shirt off (again).
Montana Resident Samuel Armstrong Tilley has the new informal record for speeding tickets in Montana - 205 mph. Clocked by a trooper in an airplane (who probably had trouble keeping up...), Tilley was stopped, ticketed and arrested by another state trooper on the ground.
He is reported to have been riding a "Honda 1000" motorcycle - I'm not sure what kind of bike that is, but all of a sudden I've got an itchy right hand.
You have been banished to the Seventh Level of Hell
Seventh Level of Hell
Guarded by the Minotaur, who snarls in fury, and encircled within the river Phlegethon, filled with boiling blood, is the Seventh Level of Hell. The violent, the assasins, the tyrants, and the war-mongers lament their pitiless mischiefs in the river, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape their punishment. The stench here is overpowering. This level is also home to the wood of the suicides- stunted and gnarled trees with twisting branches and poisoned fruit. At the time of final judgement, their bodies will hang from their branches. In those branches the Harpies, foul birdlike creatures with human faces, make their nests. Beyond the wood is scorching sand where those who committed violence against God and nature are showered with flakes of fire that rain down against their naked bodies. Blasphemers and sodomites writhe in pain, their tongues more loosed to lamentation, and out of their eyes gushes forth their woe. Usurers, who followed neither nature nor art, also share company in the Seventh Level. Which level will you be sent to? Take the Dante's Inferno Test
The internet went down today. As much as I surf, this was quite irritating. I spent a few minutes trying to fix it, then called Comcast and was able to extract an appointment for a service call tomorrow.
So ... it actually turned out for the best. My partner and I spend WAY WAY WAY too much time on the internet anyway. It was nice to have an evening at home without computers. We were finally able to catch up on Six Feet Under (thank God for Replay!!).
As you can tell, however, the connection finally came back. Now I'm able to get my fix news.
Isn't that almost like trying to boycott the weather? I mean, fuck, doesn't P&G make nearly every laundry soap out there? All they do is compete with themselves for space in the grocery store. Whatever.
I certainly hope the bigot brigade is boycotting all of the evil computer companies that offer same-sex partner benefits when they choose the software that runs their websites.
I can't get motivated today. I need to do some work on the machines for the demos of AR tomorrow and Monday. And get in touch with C. And get the crap for the houses organized. And work on my tax return.
And all I'm doing is sitting here mindlessly surfing porn important technical articles on the web and watching Star Trek.
3) Whether or not the documents shown on CBS, regarding Bush's service in the National Guard, are fake. UNLESS the documents were supplied by the Bush campaign or the Kerry campaign - which seems entirely unlikely.
4) Whether or not John Kerry got a "fake medal" while serving in Vietnam.
9) Whether or not John Kerry was in Cambodia over Christmas, 1968.
10) Whether or not George Bush did drugs at Camp David some time in the 1980s.
I could go on.
What DOES matter:
1) What are John Kerry's plans for cleaning up the mess in Iraq? We need specifics, not just "I'll enlist the aid of the rest of the world."
2) Is George Bush going to take responsibility for the bad intelligence that took us into Iraq? I don't think he lied to take us to war, but the bad intelligence and bad planning were on his watch. He needs to take responsibility.
3) How will John Kerry continue to fight the war on terror? This includes the potentially nuclear states of Iran and North Korea. It also includes continuing to fight Al Qaeda.
4) How will George Bush continue to fight the war on terror? He needs to answer the same damn questions. We barely hear anything about Iran or North Korea other than "concern". Once again, we need specifics.
It absolutely disgusts me that this election has come down to childish games about what did or did not happen 20 or 30 years ago. Who the fuck cares? Unless there are underhanded games being played by the campaigns - if, for example, one of them supplied forged documents to CBS - it just doesn't matter!!
There are very important issues to discuss in this election. At the very top of the list are 1) the mess in Iraq, and 2) the war on terror. There are plenty of other things to discuss, including health care (since both candidates have plans), jobs (since both candidates say they have plans), taxes and so on. Please, let's discuss them. Let's not just talk past each other with barbs and insults.
To paraphrase one of my favorite movies, The American President, "People are dying folks, let's try to keep our eye on the ball."
I Was This Far from Getting a Blowjob Last Night...
OK. So it's a visual joke. Next time you see me, ask me.
Anyway, I was just ... um ... well, you know. So while I'm playing working, I had this sudden flashback to a dream I had the other night - where I was giving myself the best blowjob I'd ever had. Wow - if only.
Wagon reminded me that we currently have a down payment on the other house we're building - and haven't financed yet. Whew! It looks like we may be able to come up with our 1/2 of the money after all!!
Now if Countrywide can just come through for me (in spite of BMW - Beelzebub's Motor Works), we'll be able to break ground soon! Woohoo!
Frankly, I agree with Teresa Heinz-Kerry that food, water and electricity are more important than clothing in the Caribbean right now. But I'm not sure it will help her image much among most people - I'm unusually insensitive, you know - if you find me agreeing with you it's time to examine your position again.
If you are willing to buy a house, you will have to get the business loans. Furthermore, my sister all the time takes a collateral loan, which seems to be the most firm.
The 6 year plan has its drawbacks
If only he had thought to change the citation number, Anthony Gallagher would have been onto something. Of course, he's reported to be 23 and still in college - maybe he shouldn't cut classes so often.
Jay Bryant has an interesting prediction about the future of the news business: "...I offered the prediction that within five to ten years, none of the traditional networks would have a news operation."
Interesting idea, but I'm not sure if I agree. Perhaps they won't have a nightly newscast, but aren't the shows like "Dateline" et al profitable? I know that "The Today Show", nominally part of NBC News, is profitable. Perhaps he's not (I know many people don't) considering those to be part of the news organization.
As far as the nightly newscast goes, I think he's right. Whether or not you are one of the people who believes in the left-wing media bias so often decried by the GOP, it's clear that a large segment of the population does (Fox News gets its viewers from somewhere). And even the segment that thinks that the Republicans are full of shit is turning to other information sources, leaving the nightly news operations in the precarious position of trying to be loss leaders - without leading.
Some friends of ours - K & J - have a sailboat on one of the reservoirs here in Denver and invited us to join them this evening. Wagon's not a big fan of sailing in general - he much prefers a motor - but we figured it would be fun anyway.
We sailed for about an hour and participated in one of the two races. I was actually surprised that sailing could be even that good in a place like Denver - I mean, who the hell sails in Colorado?? But there were a fair number of boats - and several cute captains - out there.
I'm not ready to dive in and buy a sailboat, but I'm still working on convincing Wagon to charter (with a captain) a boat for sailing in the Caribbean. We'll see...
Obviously, any idiot knows this headline is true. The reason I included it, however, is because of a brief discussion of the idea of a national retail sales tax. Now, I don't believe that Bush would give this any serious push if he were re-elected, so I'm not saying that someone should or should not vote for Bush because of the idea of eliminating the income tax. I did, however, want to point out this tidbit (emphasis mine):
The bill, H.R. 25, effectively would impose a 30 percent tax on goods and services while eliminating the federal income tax and payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare...Economists at the Brookings Institution figured the tax rate would have to be closer to 60 percent over the next 10 years to fully replace all federal tax revenues including the estate tax.
I want you to read that last sentence again. Suppose it's true, just for a moment - I honestly don't know if it is or not. If it is, WHAT THE FUCK IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING TAKING SO MUCH OF OUR COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC OUTPUT???
My latest book is Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Legacy. The Bourne books are some of my favorite of the spy-thriller genre - made only better by the movies starring Matt Damon:
I normally wouldn't touch a book like this - purporting to extend such a fantastic franchise, but I just couldn't resist. And the author, Eric Van Lustbader, seems to have the credentials to pull it off.
Which Presidential candidate the rest of the world would vote for? I cannot fathom the editorial decisions that make this news.
I can take some small comfort, however, from the result that "a poll of 798 Americans also released on Wednesday showed that 74 per cent of US voters would be unaffected by global attitudes about the presidential race."
He may have just lost to Roger Federer, but he's still hotter than ever.
September 08, 2004
My First Yoga Class
So Patrick took me to my first Bikram Yoga class today. He tried it for the first time on Monday in Crested Butte and seems to have found religion. I knew that Yoga, for all that it seems like little more than stretching, would not be easy, but I had no idea it would be as hard as it was.
I cut myself some slack because the room was heated to a toasty 105 degrees, and since I'm prone to sweating anyway, I think I lost 10 lbs. in sweat alone. I came out of class feeling nauseated, partially due to dehydration, I imagine. I just finished dinner and have been re-hydrating for the past hour; I'm finally starting to feel better and, surprisingly, a bit of an endorphin rush. Of course, at this point I'm ready to rush to bed.
I imagine I'll try Bikram again - I think I liked it.
The match last night between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati was fantastic. It's just a shame that it has been marred by some truly dreadful officiating.
Jennifer played a decidedly lackluster first set, but really pulled her game together in the second and third sets, playing some incredible defense. Jennifer never really took it to Serena, but did, by retrieving shot after shot, force Serena to make more mistakes than usual.
Unfortunately, there were at least three bad calls - including a truly horrifying overrule by the umpire - that went against Serena that cast a shadow over the match. I don't know that I buy into the whole "anti-Williams conspiracy" that Venus and Serena espouse, but it does appear that Mariana Alves has something against Serena at the very least.
As disappointed as I am, I can't see any other course of action. I'm sure there are plenty of gay men and women who will still vote for Bush, but he won't get anything like the 25% of the gay vote he got last time.
John Waters's new film, A Dirty Shame has apparently garnered an NC-17 rating. "... depicting the hijinks that ensue when a horde of sex addicts invade a blue-collar neighborhood in Baltimore," the film sounds like a hoot to me. I guess I'll have to chase it down, since most theaters won't even touch an NC-17 movie.
I finally made it home yesterday - I had been worried that Frances would swoop into Atlanta and leave me stranded for 3 days. But the airport was quiet - and my flight was only 1/2 full; very surprising and quite pleasant.
The Peach is always fun, but I always go hog-wild (pun intended) and gain about 10 lbs while I'm there. So I've gotta fix that and more on my way to the appropriate weight for Hellywood.
As if the GOP weren't bad enough
Now Democrats in Indiana are sending messages to "alert Republican lawmakers and conservative groups of efforts to court the LGBT vote by Republican Gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels."
Daniels was apparently attempting an outreach meeting with the local LGBT (is that the right acronym these days? I'm sure I missed a letter or two...) community, and the Democrats are trying to turn his fellow Republicans against him for it. Nice.
I can't believe there is yet another Survivor this season. The show must get absolutely incredible ratings, but I don't get it. I watched the first season, but can't imagine watching another - unless they're surviving on the moon or something. What's the appeal???
Got the pre-invite to Hellywood today! Can't wait. I'm hoping to be thin again by the time it rolls around. Haha. I guess I'll have to stop eating some time. Anyway, the theme is "fairy tales and nursery rhymes". Any suggestions? Also, I can invite 2 people (and my partner already has a ticket plus 2 invites). Bribes are accepted encouraged.
So yesterday's Peach wasn't so productive for W & me. And an eerie synchronicity developed.
The first match was W playing Sari. Sari must have had a hard night, because he couldn't develop the strength to hit a single ball past the service line. Ugh. Will lost 6-1, 6-3.
Next, I played Frying Pan. I didn't play as badly as I expected to, and I certainly wasn't going to let myself be drawn into a 3-hour push fest. Winner: the skillet, 6-1, 6-3.
Finally, W and I played doubles against De Plane and Lanky. Neither of us played up to par. We lost 6-1, 6-3. At least De Plane was nice to look at. YUM. I'll make him a slap if I can get a picture. :)
W did play one more match, a mixed doubles affair. He and his partner were up 5-2 in the first and 5-3 in the second. And lost both sets 7-5. His partner just kept falling apart - I could see W struggling to keep from integrating his racquet and her head.
So we're probably going to play consolation doubles today, although I have extracted a promise from W that we don't have to play if our opponents are D and The Woman.
In his latest opinion piece for Universal Press, he takes on Bush by accusing him of everything from preventing the Freedom Tower from being built to attacking the wrong country after 9/11.
I don't know about how much the federal government has or hasn't given to the project of constructing the Freedom Tower, but there's a 50-story shell of a building there right now from what I understand, so it seems like it's being built to me. Maybe I'm simple that way.
As for attacking Bush for turning tail and running on 9/11, I'm starting to agree. Originally I thought Bush did the right thing - I had heard there were specific, credible threats against Air Force One. Since then, however, I've come around to the other side - not as strongly as the idiot Rall, though.
The best part of the piece is when he claims that Al Qaeda probably didn't commit the 9/11 attacks. This is beautiful:
Al Qaeda Attacked Us on 9/11. Maybe, maybe not. In late September 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) promised to "put out a paper...that will describe clearly the evidence that we have linking" Al Qaeda to 9/11. We're still waiting. Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), who claimed credit for the East Africa embassy bombings and other terrorist acts, denied involvement in 9/11. "I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States," bin Laden told a Pakistani newspaper. "As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie."
So wait, let me get this straight - because Osama bin Laden says he's a Muslim and tried not to lie we're supposed to believe him? The man who ADMITTED to planning the embassy bombings, killing over 200? The man whose organization carried out any number of other terrorist attacks around the world? He says "I'm not lying" and we're supposed to believe him?? Good god. I don't know why I'm giving this buffoon any space at all, but I've started...
Finally we come to his diatribe about how Afghanistan had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 - and virtually nothing with Al Qaeda in general. This is just so much nonsense. He insists that Osama and other AQ personnel were technically in Pakistan at the time of the attacks, so the US should be attacking Pakistan. Nevermind, of course, that the area between Afghanistan and Pakistan where AQ hangs out is so remote as to be virtually lawless, regardless of which government is nominally in charge. And nevermind that Pakistan agreed to HELP us find AQ - in Pakistan in some cases. Apparently, we're NOT supposed to ask questions and seek assistance (like we did from the Taliban, who ignored us), we're just supposed to start dropping bombs.
How - I really want to know - can any legitimate news organization give this guy a single column inch?? He is so completely full of shit his eyes are brown. I've been trying to think, lately, about who is closest thing on the left to Ann Coulter on the right. Here he is.
Here Bush is, promising item after item that I really want to see from the government. "More freedom and more control over your own life." Yes, THAT'S what I want. The problem I have is that he promised all of these things:
1) Tax code reform 2) Privatize Social Security 3) Incentivize people to control their own health care 4) God knows how many other things I support...
last time around. Where are these things? Why should I believe that he's going to do them this time??
William Saletan, chief political correspondent for Slate, has this about Arnold's speech. I think he is, for the most part, right on the money here.
Among other things he points out that:
1) If Clinton was responsible for the economy that Bush inherited in 2001, Bush is responsible for where we are now. Have his policies, including tax cuts, etc., helped? They might still - but haven't yet. But it's been 3 years since 9/11 - if Bush policies are going to help, where's the beef? More and more it looks like the levers that the President has at his disposal are insufficient - in which case, why does Bush deserve to be re-elected? His policies or Kerry's won't make any difference anyway.
2) About the Iraq war, Arnold said:
...leadership is "about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions."
Nifty. But that also means taking responsibility. Bush has yet to take responsibility, and hold someone accountable, for the disastrous after-war swamp we ended up with.
Saletan criticizes Bush for the entire Iraq war, a position I'm unprepared to take, but I do think that the conduct of the war and post-war occupation could have been handled MUCH better. It's easy enough for a military like ours to win virtually any war it undertakes - the hard part, that Bush mangled badly, is finishing the job.
How do we send someone like this back for four more years?
He made no case about how best to tackle terrorism. He cited no history; he mentioned no recent events; he merely spoke of manly virtues of perseverance and strength and consistency that he believes are critical in wartime. So his endorsement of Bush was not substantive on the basis of policy so much as it was admiring in terms of character. ... And it's a strong case for the voter who doesn't agree with the Republicans' religious right domestic agenda or even their fiscal recklessness, but who still worries that Kerry simply doesn't have what it takes to lead this country in wartime.
One other noticeable thing: Arnold didn't mention God. His Republicanism is not, like Santorum's or Frist's, an extension of religious views. And so it is a civil open door, rather than a closed Bible meeting.
All in all, a very effective speech - for Republicans. Less so for Bush specifically, but he's the guy right now, so good for him too.
George Bush, in his recent interview with Matt Lauer, said that we can't win the war on terror - basically that it's not the kind of war that's winnable. I agree, but it probably wasn't the smartest statement to make. Very reminiscent, in my mind, of john Kerry's statement about a "more sensitive" war on terror - I think I know what he meant, too, but again probably not the thing to say. In both cases, it's just too easy for your opponent to mischaracterize your statement.