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Berry's World
Saturday, February 28, 2004
 
SCHADENFREUDE

If deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others is a crime, then I’m guilty as charged. My latest crime spree involves Terrell Owens.

Owens, a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, missed a deadline to void the three final years on his contract. (Or did he?)

Owens understands that occasionally mistakes happen:

I can assure you that neither my agent nor myself made a mistake like this. For people to go out and say my agent made a mistake is utterly ridiculous and insane.

You think TO is looking forward to putting the Bay Area in his rearview? Here how some of the scribes have described Owens:

Bruce Jenkins observes:

So Terrell Owens and his people dropped the ball on his contract. That's so perfect. Wherever he winds up -- and the 49ers should turn this miracle into some talent through trade -- he'll be right back in character as one of the greatest frauds in NFL history.

David Steele of the San Francisco Chronicle complained of the wall-to-wall Owens coverage:

Yet no one has paid much attention to anything that doesn't have the initials T.O. attached to it. All Owens, all the time, creating the perception that the ultimate removal of this cancer will cure all the 49ers' ills.

Peter King has this view of Owens:

Let's, for a minute, forget that Owens is a cancer with no respect for authority, has barely average hands and is one of the biggest distractions in recent sports history.

Carl Kotala saw it this way:

But let's consider this -- Owens will be a free agent at the end of the season. It's doubtful the 49ers can afford to sign him -- or really want him, for that matter. As talented as the guy is, and as much you would hate to lose one of the best players in the game, his antics have made him a locker room cancer.

It looks like maybe I'm not the only one chuckling these days.
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LACKING IN LEGS

Two weeks ago, The McLaughlin Group gave us this round of predictions concerning the Matt Drudge 'story' linking Senator Kerry and an intern:


Mr. McLaughlin: Almost out of time. Forced prediction: Does the unmentionable Kerry story have legs, yes or no? James.

Mr. Harding: I wish you weren't looking at me. I would say yes, but my answer, in fact, is unmentionable.

Mr. McLaughlin: Eleanor.

Ms. Clift: No, unless a pair of human legs comes forward.

Mr. McLaughlin: Tony.

Mr. Blankley: Yes, and the legs will be shapely.

Mr. McLaughlin: You mean female legs?

Ms. Clift: Yes.

Mr. McLaughlin: Liz.

Ms. Marlantes: I'm going to say yes, too.

Mr. McLaughlin: You're going to say yes, too?

Ms. Marlantes: Yeah.

Mr. McLaughlin: I think it has legs, but he's very good at shunting: that's rubbish or it's preposterous, that's not even a decent journalistic question. Happy Valentine's Day. Bye bye!

Ah, the peril of counting on the integrity of Matt Drudge.
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THE USUAL SUSPECT

Why does it seem like we've seen this sentence a few times before:

Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia was the only Democrat to oppose the amendment.

What was it this time? A measure to extend federal unemployment benefits. Failed by two.
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MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Seinfeld will finally be released on DVD now that a dispute between Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George has been settled.

Turns out there was a problem with the three co-stars Jason Alexander (George), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) and Michael Richards (Kramer) who actually had the temerity to demand payment for providing new material for the DVD collection!

Well, the three turncoats held-out, and they'll get their 13 pieces of silver, but I wonder if they have considered this simple question:

Don't they know that with them demanding more money, that means LESS money for Jerry Seinfeld?
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Friday, February 27, 2004
 
THE RETURN OF LAURA TURNER

She's Canadian, she's a profound political thinker, and she doesn't even have a nodding-acquaintance with the word deadline. She's Laura Turner, and she's the International Correspondent for Berry's World:


MEMO TO KERRY: HOW--AND HOW NOT--TO DEAL WITH NADER

By Laura Turner


February 25, 2004

Unlike American political discourse in general, John Kerry has very little to fear from Ralph Nader this year. That’s why he should stuff the inclusive rhetoric he was spouting last weekend and either get silent or get fierce. On Saturday, after Nader aides leaked it to Fox News that (gasp!) Ralph was in, Kerry responded by declaring from the campaign trail that he and Nader "stand together on issues such as health care, taxes and the environment.” Kerry was dead wrong in that assessment. He and Nader share many of the same basic positions (as Will Saleton points out in the newest edition of Slate) but they “stand together” on nothing.

John Edwards was a little more daring in his response to Nader’s “in”, declaring (correctly) that his own “independent” candidacy would be more appealing to potential Nader voters than Kerry’s establishment one. Too bad for Edwards, his candidacy doesn’t seem to be as nearly as appealing to Democratic voters. Primary voters have demonstrated in every race so far – including yesterday’s contests in conservative Idaho and Utah – that they prefer an establishment figure this year, even one who, like Kerry, occasionally behaves like a jackass. Notwithstanding Edwards’ surprise showing in Wisconsin, Kerry won the state easily among self-identified Democrats. In South Carolina, the only state where Edwards won big, Kerry received 34% of the Black vote to Edwards’ 37% – essentially tying with Edwards among Democrats’ most important support demographic. (Elsewhere, Kerry has dominated the Black vote). Kerry has every right to call himself the preferred candidate of “the Democratic base”.

And “the base” has another clear preference: they hate – simply hate – Ralph Nader. Elizabeth Edwards hit the right note when she declared to CNN on Sunday that “Ralph's rationale in 2000 for getting into the race was that there was no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and, therefore, he had to offer the American people an alternative. That's clearly not -- didn't turn out to be the case. There's an enormous difference between the parties and what they have to offer.”

The vast majority of primary voters would agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. Contrary to Nader’s and the Greens’ repeated charges of “chronic whining” among liberals over the 2000 election, most Democrats’ current antipathy for Nader has little to do with vote counts or spoiling of elections past. Rather, it is a simple, and perfectly natural, reaction to a politician who has defined his recent political career by routinely and blithely insulting the interests and intelligence of traditional Democratic voters and constituencies, as well as the candidates they support.

In the 2000 election, Nader, and his supporters such as lefty mudraker Michael Moore, based much of their platform on berating “frightened liberals” who allowed corrupt corporatist Democrats to hijack their votes over comparatively trivial civil rights issues. Both Moore and Nader are on as record referring to Al Gore as a “whore”. Nader opined that the need to deliver a “cold shower” to the DLC-controlled Democrats overshadowed any danger that a Bush admin might pose to, say, abortion rights. Coincidentally, he dismissed the “gonadal politics” of feminist and homosexual groups who backed the Democratic ticket. Criticizing (and dissembling about) Gore’s environmental record, Nader also chastised the Sierra Club, whose members, he claimed, demonstrated a "servile mentality" in refusing to embrace his candidacy over Gore’s. Looking to the future, Nader informed In These Times' David Moberg in October of 2000: "After November, we're going to go after the Congress in a very detailed way, district by district. If [Democratic candidates] are winning 51 to 49 percent, we're going to go in and beat them with Green votes. They've got to lose people, whether they're good or bad." The Green Party confirmed Nader’s scorched earth threats when its Minnesota branch endorsed a candidate to challenge Paul Wellstone in his closely contested 2002 midterm re-election bid.

Nader’s gleeful performance during the Florida recount was especially galling to Democrats watching as their votes turned to pixie-dust. Nader was ubiquitous in the days after the election, famously exchanging high-fives with his supposed ideological antithesis Pat Buchanan, joking with supporters that “Al Gore cost me the election”, and weighing in on how he thought the vote-counting should proceed; at one point he suggested a coin toss as the best way to solve the dispute. At the same time, he allowed that he was “only casually” following the standoff since "[t]hey're just two lookalike candidates from two lookalike parties that are looking more and more alike. Whoever the winner, he'll just keep hijacking the American governmental system." Four months later, Nader was back reiterating this charge against new targets at a rally in in Renondo Beach California, chastising congressional Democrats for failing to block Bush cabinet nominees John Ashcroft and Gale Norton. The final touch came in June of 2001, when Nader attended a meeting of Grover Norquist’s Wednesday Group, where he reportedly shared a good laugh with his Republican, Christian Coalition and NRA hosts over the outcome of the last election.

It is hardly surprising that a lot of Blue Dogs see red where Nader is concerned or why his re-entry into the political fray has driven many grassroots Democrats apoplectic. Indeed, one would have to be pretty philosophical to empathise with an individual so blatantly contemptuous of the issues and electoral desires of fifty million Democratic voters he might have hoped to represent.

The pointed aversion to Naderism among Democratic voters this time around was nowhere more evident than in Michael Moore’s recent intervention in the now-defunct Wesley Clark campaign. Moore endorsed Clark on January 15, when the latter was at the top of his game, gaining rapidly on Dean in New Hampshire and in national polls. At a rally with Clark on January 17th, Moore (who, it should be pointed out, had blasted the Clinton Whitehouse over the Kosovo Invasion seven years earlier) famously anticipated a presidential debate between “the General [and] the Deserter”. He thereby succeeded in briefly rekindling the pointless media flap about Bush’s service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, and treated Democrats to the rare sight of Scott McClellan squirming at a press conference. But the controversy – passed on to Clark through his reciprocal praise of Moore as “a great American” – turned New Hampshire voters cold in a hurry. (Berry’s World follows Clark’s New Hampshire poll numbers from before the Moore endorsement to after Jennings’ harping on the matter in the New Hampshire debate.) In the end, Clark ended up with less than 13% of the New Hampshire vote and never regained his momentum.

Certainly the Moore association was not the only factor in Clark’s decline. (And to be fair, the general imperviousness of primary voters to endorsements this primary season is a notable testament to the intelligence of an electorate that, to the consternation of the political media, generally refuses to vote for a particular candidate simply because Celebrity A or Politician B supports him.) But Moore’s blundering was extremely counterproductive to the Clark campaign in part because it reminded voters of everything they dislike about the mudraking fringe progressives who fronted the Nader movement. Put simply, the endorsement helped to undermine, rather than enhance, the Democratic credentials Clark spent his campaign striving to achieve in the eyes of the Party faithful.

Certainly, the Democrats need to look beyond this election to confront their inherent centre-left divide and the brewing third-party progressive challenge that, especially since the Greens have finally rid themselves of Nader, could start to be a problem as early as 2006. Democrats can best respond to such a challenge by latching onto and promoting progressive issues – as San Francisco’s mayor Gavin Newsom has recently done in tangling with Arnold over municipal rights and gay marriage. They do not however stand to gain from sucking up to the worst elements of the progressive idiot fringe that loudly and mistakenly declares itself “the base”. Howard Dean fell into this trap. From roughly the beginning of January, Dean’s decline from relevance was punctuated with constant allusions to the inherent evils of his “Washington insider” opponents. It culminated in a pre-Wisconsin diatribe in which Dean bitched that Kerry’s fundraising practices proved him to be “part of the corrupt political cultural of Washington” and that the more voters saw of him, the more he would appear to be “just like George Bush.” If those words sounded remarkably ominous it’s because we’ve all heard them before. Dean’s recent rebuke of Nader’s candidacy was welcome, but the fact remains that comparing major Democrats to Republicans is a great way to win yourself a miniscule percentage of the popular vote while pissing off the vast majority of your natural allies. Like Clark’s New Hampshire collapse, Dean’s flameout – complete with skyrocketing poll negatives (43% in Wisconsin following the above comments) – was indicative of just how unattractive anti-Democrat progressivism is right now to primary voters searching for a good Democrat to defeat Bush.

John Kerry hardly needs to build up his own Democratic credentials. But he ought to flaunt them by refusing to associate himself, even rhetorically, with elements that stand against the Democratic tradition, either from the left or the right. He and Edwards could ignore Nader altogether from here on out. Better yet, one or the other could take some advice offered by The American Prospect’s Michael Tomasky last summer and blast him – that is, point out sharply and succinctly why Nader’s presence in the current race is illogical, counterproductive and unwelcome to liberals. Moreover, somebody should stress how Nader now stands wholly apart from the responsible progressive tradition exemplified by – yes – the Democrats. That latter course would take some guts – Nader has never been one to mince words against his critics – but it’s a message that would resonate well with Democratic voters who have flocked to Kerry and who, as primary exit polls tell it, are itching to oust Bush and resent any distraction to that ultimate goal. As Kerry may well find out in November, a fired-up base is a beautiful thing.
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THE FLAVOR OF THE MONTH

Explain this to me: For eight solid months I've been blogging my fingers to the bone, and if I'm lucky my dad and brother might check Berry's World twice a month. Now Buzz Phillips makes three lousy cameo appearances and he starts getting fan mail!

Sadly, Buzz doesn't treat his fans all that well:

From: XXXXXXXXXXXX Add to Address Book
To: chinmusic41@yahoo.com
Subject: Buzz, Is This Your Favorite?
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 18:09:04 –0700

Dear Buzz,

How are things with Rita? Hey, do you have any pictures of Lady Duck’s webbed feet?

What do you think of the Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment? Do you feel that your marriage with Lady Duck is being threatened by gay weddings?

It reminds me of that ‘I’m Just A Bill’ song from The Simpsons. Wasn’t that the best song The Simpsons ever did?

Your fan,

‘Fast’ Eddie


(Editor’s Note: Apparently, ‘Fast Eddie’ is referring to The Amendment Song, a parody of I'm Just A Bill, which appeared in The Simpsons episode [3F16] The Day the Violence Died, and was sung by Jack Sheldon. The lyrics:

The Amendment Song

Little Boy: Hey, who left all this garbage on the steps of Congress?

The Amendment: I'm not garbage.

I'm an amendment to be. Yes, an amendment to be. And I'm hopin' that they'll ratify me

There's a lot of flag burners who have got too much freedom
I want to make it legal for policemen to beat ‘em.

'Cause there's limits to our liberties
Least I hope and pray that there are 'Cause those liberal freaks go too far.


Little Boy: But why can't we just make a law against flag burning?

The Amendment: Because that law would be unconstitutional. But if we change the Constitution...

Little Boy: Then we could make all sorts of crazy laws.

The Amendment: Now you're catching on.

Bart Simpson: What the hell is this?

Lisa Simpson: It's one of those campy '70s throwbacks that appeals to Generation Xers.

Bart Simpson: We need another Vietnam, thin out their ranks a little.

Little Boy: What if people say you're not good enough to be in the Constitution?

The Amendment: Then I'll crush all opposition to me, and I'll make Ted Kennedy pay -- if he fights back, I'll say that he's gay.

Washington Insider: Good news, amendment. They ratified you! You're in the U.S. Constitution.

The Amendment: Oh, yeah. Door's open, boys.)


Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 19:12:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: Buzz, Is This Your Favorite?
To: XXXXXXXXXX

Dear ‘Fast Eddie’,

Why, you brash, impertinent, wanker! Who are you to ask about my wife’s personal and hideous disfigurement? My good man, I think you would do well to mind your own business lest I be forced to open a 32-ounce, unbreakable thermos of ‘whoopass’ on you!

As for The Amendment Song being the best song ever from The Simpsons, don’t make me laugh. Among the songs better than The Amendment Song are, but are not limited to:

--Homer and David Byrne’s rockin’ rendition of Everybody Hates Ned Flanders

--Beverly D’Angelo’s steamy cover of Bagged Me A Homer

--The delightfully whimsical ensemble version of The Stonecutters Song

--Monty Burns' almost painfully touching See My Vest

--The somewhat racy We Put The Spring In Springfield

So, to recap, stay out of my wife’s business and you know nothing about music.

Thanks for writing.

Buzz


(Editor's Note: Truth be told, Everybody Hates Ned Flanders is Buzz' favorite song. The lyrics:

Everybody Hates Ned Flanders

Everybody in the USA
Hates their stupid neighbor
He’s Flanders and he’s really, really lame

Flanders tried to wreck my song
His views on birth control are wrong
I hate his guts, and Flanders is his name

F-L-A-N-R-D-S
He’s the man that I hate best
I’d like to see his house go up in flames

F-L-A His name is Ned
E-R-S That’s a stupid name
He’s worse than Frankenstein or Doctor No

You can’t upset him, even slightly
He just smiles and nods politely
Then goes home and worships nightly
His Leftorium is an emporium of woe

F-L-A “Don’t yell at Ned”
D-E-R “His wife is dead”
Everybody hates that stupid jerk

Springfield rocks with Homer’s joyous loathing
Filling clubs with angry Valentinos
You don’t have to move your feet
Just hate Flanders to the disco beat
He’s a perky, peppy, nightmare neighborino

If you despise polite lefthanders
Then I doubt you’ll like Ned Flanders
Or his creepy little offspring Rod and Todd
[Todd: “That’s Us” - Rod: “Hooray”]

F-L-A His name is Ned
E-R-S He is so white bread
The smiling mustached geek who walks with God
)

By the way, I'm sick of being Buzz' secretary so from now on, all of you groupies can e-mail Buzz here.
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HASTERT HOLDS FIRM

It was with a somewhat incredulous tone that Josh Marshall reported the news that, despite White House Chief of Staff Andy Card's personal appeal, Speaker Dennis Hastert was not going to extend the deadline for the 9-11 Commission:

Wouldn't you have just loved to have been a fly on the wall at that brutal moment when long-time Bush family retainer and current White House Chief of Staff Andy Card begged Speaker Hastert to let the commission keep investigating the administration, and Hastert replied, "Buddy, your word just doesn't carry the weight it used to in this town," and then walked out the door?

In an effort to fight such mockery, the White House released an 'edited' transcript of the phone call where Chief of Staff Card asked Speaker Hastert to move the deadline:

Speaker Hastert: Hello?

Mr. Card: Dennis, my boy, how are you today?

Speaker Hastert: Andy, I know why you’re calling, and the answer is no.

Mr. Card: Denny, the President is calling in a favor. He really wants the 9-11 Commission to get that extension. It’s personal with this President, you know that.

Speaker Hastert: Andy, you don’t have to tell me about the incredible concern President Bush has for getting the facts out. Hell, his career is based on transparency in government. But, extending the deadline for the commission is a bad idea.

Mr. Card: Dennis, you aren’t going to defy your President, now are you?

Speaker Hastert: What I’m going to is exactly what the President would do if he weren’t so close to the situation. We need that report now! You know we can’t wait another two months, Andy. And so does the President.

Mr. Card: (Sigh) …You’re right. It’s just that the President wants every stone uncovered.

Speaker Hastert: I know he does. He’s so scrupulous. Can you even imagine how things might have gone if President Bush hadn’t honestly and fairly won the 2000 election?

Mr. Card: Well, naturally the President and his staff would never besmirch the former Vice-President...

Speaker Hastert: No, no, of course not.

Mr. Card: ...but I do thank God every morning that we’re fortunate enough to be able to wake up that George W. Bush is in the office next door.

Speaker Hastert: Next door?

Mr. Card: What?

Speaker Hastert: Is the President next door?

Mr. Card: Well…yeah… what?

Speaker Hastert: Where is the President?

Mr. Card: Next door to me. He’s next door to me, Dennis. Come on, keep up.

Speaker Hastert: No, no, that’s what I thought. Hey, when is the President going to start hitting Kerry back?

Mr. Card: You know the President, he won’t authorize anything negative.

Speaker Hastert: He’s too nice. I keep telling you Andy, he’s gotta play hardball. Not like the gutter politics of the Democrats, but he should at least answer back when the Democrats make their scurrilous charges.

Mr. Card: The President is a uniter, and he just refuses to stoop down to the level of the Democratic Party.

Speaker Hastert: Hell, Andy, the country knows he's a uniter, but he's got to come clean on his military service.

Mr. Card: Dennis! The President has told you that his official military record is not to be mentioned!

Speaker Hastert: I know that, Andy, but the people deserve to know what sort of hero they have for a President.

Mr. Card: Hey, I don't disagree, but President Bush feels...

Speaker Hastert: Andy, the President is wrong on this one. I know he would do anything to avoid coming off as arrogant, but telling the country about his secret missions to Vietnam that saved the lives of tens of thousands of men isn't arrogance.

Mr. Card: The President's boots are dug in on this one. He thinks that his missions were secret back then, and should be secret now.

Speaker Hastert: But, if he would just release the details from his missions, he'd have this election wrapped up. Not to mention wiping that smirk off of John Kerry's French face.

Mr. Card: See Dennis, you don't know the President at all. He's not worried about winning re-election. He simply wants to set a standard for all future Presidents.

Speaker Hastert: God, I admire George W. Bush!

Mr. Card: Me too, Dennis, me too. So, can’t you give the President a break and extend the deadline for the 9-11 commission?

Speaker Hastert: Andy, you know I’d die for George W. Bush, but I just can’t budge on this one.

Mr. Card: OK, Dennis, I didn’t want to mention this before…but…the President is gonna fire me if you won’t extend the deadline.

Speaker Hastert: Andy, don’t make me laugh. Unlike John Kerry, President Bush knows what the word loyalty means.

Mr. Card: Darn it! I KNEW that one wasn’t going to work.

Speaker Hastert: Heh, heh, hung by your own petard.

Mr. Card: Yeah, well, Dennis, I don't think you understand how badly the President wants this.

Speaker Hastert: No, I do. I do.

Mr. Card: Well, this isn't the first time you've prevented him from getting what he wanted. Remember how you tried to stop him from authorizing the investigation into our Iraq intelligence?

Speaker Hastert: Andy, I gave in on that one. Don't tell me the President is still mad about that?

Mr. Card: Well, he's not very happy that the Commission's findings won't be made public until after the election. He thinks the people have a right to know all the facts before they vote in November.

Speaker Hastert: I know. I guess I'm so used to the type of atmosphere that Clinton brought to Washington that I just assumed the President would want to delay things.

Mr. Card: Well, when are you going to get it straight that we finally have an honest President?

Speaker Hastert: I know. I know. He's like an Eagle Scout.

Mr. Card: So, are you gonna give the President what he wants?

Speaker Hastert: No can do, Andy. I'd love to help the kid out, but we need that report as soon as possible. You tell the President it ain't personal. It's business.

Mr. Card: I'll tell him. He won't like it, but I'll tell him.

END OF CALL
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Thursday, February 26, 2004
 
BLOGGING THE DEBATE! LIVE AND IN COLOR!

Tonight the Democratic Candidates come to meet the 800-pound gorilla of politics: California. I'll be covering the debate live from my computer chair!

And that's it. It was kind of a love-fest, with President Bush taking the most shots. I think it's a damn shame that Representative Kucinich doesn't get more respect. I'm warmer on Senator Kerry than I was a week or so ago. I wish to God that we could put Reverend Sharpton's sense of humor into Senator John Kerry.

King: Al, do you expect to speak at the convention?
Sharpton: I expect to speak when I accept the nomination.

Edwards: Why not an Edwards-Kerry ticket?

Question: Why not a Kerry-Edwards ticket?

Candidates: Soak The Rich!

Question: This is all well and good. How do you pay for it?

Edwards: Any kid who wants to go to college should be able to.
Sharpton: Let's forgive student loans for people too.

Edwards: We have two different school systems in this country. One for the affluent, and the one for everybody else.

Kerry: You have to pay for education.

Kerry: We've got the biggest 'say one thing and do another' administration in history.

Everybody wants President Clinton to campaign for them.

The commercials are really, really loud!

A COMMERCIAL BREAK

Kerry and Edwards demur on the question of changing constitution to allow foreign born presidents. Kucinich says it's a good idea. I can't really explain why, but I don't like the idea of a foreign born president.

Sharpton makes a really bad Terminator joke but gets big laughs.

Edwards: My small hometown in North Carolina...

Kerry: Even though the question was about immigration, allow me to take a side trip to healthcare mainly for the purpose of taking a shot at President Bush.

Kucinich: Kill NAFTA, and get out of the WTO.

Sharpton: We need to cancel NAFTA!

Edwards: As President, I would renogiate NAFTA.

Edwards: The difference between Senator Kerry and me is that while he likes to discuss theories, I know that these are real people. Have I mentioned that I lived in a mill town?

Kerry: There are things we can do to keep our jobs here.

Kucinich: We need a single-payer healthcare system.
King: In other words, Socialism, right?

Kerry: We're going to close those loopholes that benefit corporations when they take jobs out of the country.

Edwards: We've got to do a lot more than fix healthcare to help the struggling middle class.

Kerry: Edwards has a cute little healthcare plan, but I want to do bigger things.

Edwards: Yes.
Kerry: Yes, at least temporarily.

Question: Would you accept Hatiains who show up on the shores of Florida?

Kerry: Bush screwed up Haiti, too. Let me explain.

Edwards: We're in a bad place, and it's George Bush who took us here.

Sharpton: Kucinich and I are too meaningful in this debate, and let me tell you why. Again.

Kerry: Let me explain the military to you Dennis...

Kucinich: Shouldn't Kerry admit he was wrong about voting for the war?

HALFTIME: Kerry appears presidential. Edwards is searching for something to show he's the guy, but hasn't found it yet. Sharpton and Kucinich are being tolerated.

Kerry: We screwed up, we trusted the president.

Edwards refuses to say he regrets voting for the Iraq Resolution.

Question: Edwards and Kerry, while you are badmouthing President Bush on Iraq, didn't you guys vote to give President Bush a blank check.

Kucinich: We need a single-payer health care system in this country. Who's with me?

Kucinich: Larry, pay attention to me.

Kucinich: First Executive Order will be to cancel NAFTA.

Kerry: Yoo hoo, remember the trial lawyers?

Edwards: We need an outsider, like me.

Edwards: We should ban Washington lobbyists.

Kerry: I am clean when it comes to pac-money and special interests.

Sharpton: Let's make a Constitutional Amendment about Presidents who lie. (Huge applaus!)

Kucinich: Why aren't we talking about real issues? Why are we in Iraq?

Sharpton: Nader is a second rate me or Kucinich. We gotta beat George Bush.


Edwards: Favors capital punishment. Like the guys who killed James Byrd. They deserved it.

Kerry: Against the death penalty.

Kerry: I can win in the South. I mean it!


Kerry: There is nothing that documents what he just said.
King: Is he lying?
Kerry: There is nothing that documents what he just said.


Edwards: I am the guy who can win in all regions.

Edwards is offered the chance to say Kerry can't win in the South. Declines.

Edwards: Jobs may be biggest issue. We need a candidate who can connect with people.

Kerry: Healthcare is biggest issue of the day.

Kucinich quietly makes the most sense.

Sharpton
: Bush is going from race-baiting in 2000 to gay-baiting in 2004.

Edwards: Constitutional Amendment isn't needed. Pure politics.


Both Kerry and Edwards are against gay marriage as well as a constitutional amendment.

Kerry: The Gay Marriage issue is a political ploy by Bush.

Kerry gets Gay Marriage question. He tries to deflect, can't do it. Brownstein is on him.

Kerry: The Democratic Party is a good bunch of people.

Question to Kerry: Why is contry polarized? It's Bush's fault.

King tries to dismiss Kucinich. Dennis will have none of it. Turns it back on the media.

King: Congressman Kucinich, why are you here?

Brownstein pokes at Sharpton looking to start a fight between Sharpton and Edwards. Sharpton doesn't bite.

Sharpton jumps in: Because this conversation doesn't include a mention of every group that is downtrodden, it should be halted.

2nd Question: Edwards---Is there a real difference between you and Kerry? Yes.

Response: Senator Kerry likes Senator Edwards too.

1ST Question-Edwards--The Senator gives his basic background speech. He likes Kerry.

6:01pm: Larry King is the only one not wearing black.

5:59pm: That Malcom in The Middle kid is making quite a little career for himself, huh?

5:56pm: No debate yet. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is still on. I'm glad that got cancelled.
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HE'S NOT YOUR FATHER'S CALPUNDIT ANYMORE

In an effort to widen his appeal, the Calpundit has penned a staggering, yet heartfelt review of The Bachelorette, which not only delves into the true definition of romance, but also tells us a lot about ourselves.

Sadly, Calpundit leaves unanswered the following questions that have haunted mankind for an eternity:

How is it possible to retain our fantasies about the ineffable and mysterious qualities of love under these circumstances? Or our common notion that the people we choose as our mates are one in a million? Why does this all-too-obvious refutation of romance nonetheless seem romantic?

Make sure you stop by for a very special episode of Calpundit. And coming soon on Calpundit:

Man-Makeovers with special guest blogger Frank Stallone!

Marilu Henner stops by with some healthy and wholesome recipes that even you can make!

And on Friday, a revealing and tearful interview with Star Jones!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2004
 
HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE THIS?

Let's play a little game I like to call Just Suppose, shall we?

OK, Just Suppose you’re at work, doing whatever job that you do, when your boss calls you into his or her office and announces that the police are on the phone demanding you submit to a strip search.

Whatta you do?

It just sounds so silly, right? Who would submit to a strip search?

Apparently, lots of people.

The Boston Globe reports today that four (4) Wendy's managers got some calls:

"The person on the other end identified themselves as a detective from Whitman and said one of the employees was a wanted suspect and asked them to do a strip search," said Whitman Deputy Police Chief Raymond Nelson. "Evidently, they were strip searched."

Ah, that's nothing.

Allan Mathis, a 52-year-old manager at a Hardees fast food restaurant, once answered the phone to be greeted by a caller claiming to be a police officer investigating a theft. The caller said he was working with a Hardees' official and wanted a 19-year-old female employee detained and searched for a missing coin purse and for drugs.

With the woman initially a willing participant, the caller 'instructed the young woman to strip, jog in place, do jumping jacks, sit on his (Mathis') lap and submit to breast touching and a genital search, allegedly for stolen items.'

A three-hour strip search! And the whole thing was videotaped!

Mathis recently was acquitted of charges of kidnapping and second-degree rape.

Now, with similar incidents having been reported in Ohio, New York and Florida dating back to 2000, at what point can we look at the person agreeing to the strip search and ask:

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
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MORE FROM 'THE MORAL BALANCE'

Just when you think a story has lost its legs, it gets its second wind.

Najee Ali, who has no problem describing himself as 'the moral balance that society needs', is in a little bit more trouble than we knew. It turns out that when Ali was involved in a hit-and-run accident Sunday night, and then ran for the nearest movie theatre, he was already out on bail, having been charged with two counts each of perjury in applying for a driver's license and false personation in Inglewood, California.

Further, Ali allegedly also has three driver's licenses, two Social Security numbers and nine prior bench warrants. Not to mention two pending court appearances. He is due in Inglewood Superior Court on that case March 2, and is also due back in court on March 5 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial in the hit-and-run case.

On the bright side for Ali, he was quoted in a NY Times Art Briefing appearing in tomorrow's edition:

"The selection of Timberlake as co-host of this Motown special is a cultural insult to the black community," Najee Ali, executive director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E., said in a statement last week.

Ali would certainly know what 'a cultural insult to the black community' is, right?
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THE PRESIDENT HAS SOME PROBLEMS IN THE GOLDEN STATE

The Field Poll has some news that should be a wake up call to anybody considering California a battleground state come November.

Is George W. Bush A Leader You Can Trust Or Do You Have Some Doubts And Reservations? (Among California Registered Voters)

38% Can trust
61% Have doubts/reservations
1% No opinion

Are Things In The U.S. Generally Going In The Right Direction, Or Do You Feel Things Are Seriously Off On The Wrong Track? (Among Registered California Voters)

35% Right Direction---(Jan. Poll 47%)
52% Wrong Track---(Jan. Poll 44%)
13% No Opinion---(Jan. Poll 9%)

California Voter Assessments Of The Job President Bush Is Doing In Specific Areas (Among California Registered Voters)

The Federal Budget Deficit

67% Disapprove
27% Approve
6% No opinion

Illegal Immigration

58% Disapprove
27% Approve
15% No opinion

Health Care

56% Disapprove
32% Approve
12% No opinion

Unemployment

55% Disapprove
33% Approve
12% No opinion

His Treatment Of Matters Relating To CA

53% Disapprove
29% Approve
18% No opinion

The Economy

53% Disapprove
42% Approve
5% No opinion

Foreign Affairs

52% Disapprove
42% Approve
6% No opinion

Handling The Situation In Iraq

52% Disapprove
43% Approve
5% No opinion

Education

51% Disapprove
38% Approve
11% No opinion

The Environment

50% Disapprove
38% Approve
12% No opinion

Medicare

47% Disapprove
31% Approve
22% No opinion

Looks like Governor Schwarzenegger doesn't have coattails.
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NATE ALLEN CRACKS ME UP

Nate Allen, the editorial cartoonist for The State News, shows that college students really haven't changed much since I was an undergrad.



Good times. Good times.
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WE KID BECAUSE WE CARE

Jay Leno:

The White House finally found one guy who says he remembers serving with President Bush on National Guard duty in Alabama. Isn't that amazing? Now if they can find someone who remember Bush working on an economic plan!

President Bush had a great time at the Daytona 500. He told reporters, 'I like speed.' And today he got a call from Rush Limbaugh: 'Hey, I like speed too! Can you get me some? Without a prescription?'

The White House is now backtracking from its prediction that 2.6 million new jobs will be created in the U.S. this year. They say they were off by roughly 2.6 million jobs.

This November we have a choice between a new guy who could screw things up or a guy who's proven that he can screw things up!

Political analysts say President Bush's reelection strategy is to try and convince Americans that he's 'a war president.' I don't get it. If he convinces Americans that we need a war president, isn't he afraid they're gonna vote for the guy who was actually in a war?

"President Bush said he was `troubled' by gay people getting married in San Francisco. He said on important issues like this, the people should make the decision, not judges. Unless of course we're choosing a president, then he prefers judges."

"It was reported in the paper that President Bush received a 'warm reception' from the Daytona 500 drivers. Well sure, the drivers had never met anyone who was sponsored by more oil companies than they were!"

David Letterman:

President Bush's longtime dog, Spot, died ... it's really sad because Spot won't live to see a second Bush term ... but then, who will?

Here now is my favorite story of the week, rumor that President Bush had a nose job. He had some sort of plastic surgery and had a nose job. If this is true, it would be the first new job he's created since he's taken office.

President Bush's dog Spot passed away ... so they took Spot back to the ranch in Texas ... and buried him next to, I believe, 10,000 Al Gore ballots.

Top Ten Signs Bush Is Considering Dumping Cheney

10. Cheney's desk has been replaced by President's new air hockey table.
9. There's a listing on Monster Dot Com for a Vice-Presidential position in a "Large North American Government."
8. Cheney's so depressed he's only eating 12 KFC drumsticks a day.
7. There is a "For Rent" sign on the front lawn of the undisclosed location.
6. When Cheney says, "We're gonna win in November," Bush snarls, "What's this 'We' crap?"
5. White House interns are no longer required to know CPR.
4. The CIA says they have reliable information Cheney won't be dumped.
3. Bush asked Trump if he could come to Washington and fire Cheney.
2. Yesterday a tearful Cheney sang "I Will Survive" on the White House lawn.
1. Bush called Daddy looking for Quayle's number.

Craig Kilborn:

President Bush is out of control! Now he says he doesn't even want gays to plan weddings!

Dennis Kucinich is campaigning in Hawaii. President Bush is not worried. He said he's sticking to campaigning right here in America.

In Louisiana, President Bush met with over 15,000 National Guard Troops. Here's the weird part: nobody remembers seeing him there.

Jon Stewart:

If a 28th amendment against same-sex marriage were to be ratified, it would only be the second amendment designed to restrict, rather than enlarge, the scope of civil liberties. Of course, the first was prohibition in 1919. You all remember how that worked out. People immediately stopped drinking, all alcohol-related problems in this nation ceased at once, and the next decade became known as "The Sober Twenties.

As the President revealed, he also has an upbeat message on the domestic front.

(Videotape of President Bush speaking:) Today, I call upon the congress to promptly pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union between a man and a woman as husband and wife. (End Videotape)

Some see the move as an attempt to preserve traditional values, while others see it as a cynical plot to ensure that Vice President Cheney will never have to pay for his own daughter's wedding.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004
 
IGNORE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT AT YOUR PERIL

Earlier I mentioned Najee Ali's rise from a Crip to the 'Moral Balance' of society. In court Ali pleaded 'not guilty' to felony hit-and-run. A news clip from our local ABC afiliate showed Ali explaining that after the head-on collision he was involved in Sunday night, he ran in to the Magic Johnson Theatre 'to get help'.

While he's saying this, his own attorney breaks out laughing.

The attorney struggles to regain control of his face, and says to the judge:

I am advising my client to remain silent.

It was absolutely hilarious.
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WHAT KIND OF COMMUNIST DOESN'T OWN A CAR?

Chris Matthews gets to the bottom of things:

MATTHEWS: Do you own a car? Do you own a car?

NADER: No, I do not.

MATTHEWS: Well, how do you get around?

NADER: I get around public transportation, ambulation, and taxis. They‘re cheap.

MATTHEWS: Do you have a problem with owning a car? Most Americans watching this show have to own cars because they live in the suburbs. They don‘t live in Dupont Circle where you can walk to things. Have you had an American experience to justify running for president of the United States, is all I‘m asking.

NADER: I know. Listen. Wait a minute, listen. Wait a minute. I‘ve done a lot to make cars safer and more fuel efficient and less polluting.

MATTHEWS: Which car is safe enough for you to drive?

NADER: A Volvo is a good car.

MATTHEWS: So you don‘t mind international trade?

NADER: It‘s owned by Ford.

MATTHEWS: OK. That‘s not right. You don‘t have a problem with foreign cars? Just American cars?

NADER: No. There are some good American cars.

MATTHEWS: Why don‘t you own one?

NADER: I don‘t need one. I don‘t live in the suburbs. Why should I spend my time looking for a parking space and adding to the fumes that the people breathe?

MATTHEWS: You realize, you‘re running for president of the United States which is a house.

NADER: Yes.

Now, how plausible is it that Ralph Nader could have forgotten that he was running for president of the United States?
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IT'S THE PRINCIPLE

Marc Bluestone spent five years and $375,000 in attorney's fees and finally won a jury award of $39,000. Craig Bergstrom was found guilty of malpractice in the death of Shane Bluestone.

Naturally, Shane was Bluestone's dog.

Bergstrom, a veterinarian, after charging more than $24,000 to treat the dog, was found liable for the Shane's death. Jurors ordered the veterinarian to compensate Bluestone $9,000 for the veterinary bills and $30,000 for the dog's "unique" value to his owner.

It goes without saying that R.Q. Shupe, the veterinarian's attorney, said he has asked for a new trial
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EXPOSING BUSH'S TALKING-POINTS WAR

DOD insider Karen Kwiatkowski talks to LA Weekly's Marc Cooper, and confirms a lot of things I've thought for a long time.

LA Weekly: So you don’t think there was a genuine interest as to whether or not there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Kwiatkowski: It’s not about interest. We knew. We knew from many years of both high-level surveillance and other types of shared intelligence, not to mention the information from the U.N., we knew, we knew what was left [from the Gulf War] and the viability of any of that. Bush said he didn’t know. The truth is, we know [Saddam] didn’t have these things. Almost a billion dollars has been spent — a billion dollars! — by David Kay’s group to search for these WMD, a total whitewash effort. They didn’t find anything, they didn’t expect to find anything.

It's enough to drive a man to drink.
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ONE FOR 'CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN', AND HURRY!!

Todd Eskew is a cat who really couldn’t change his stripes. Eskew used to be a Crip and proved himself a player in the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. "I was so angry I wanted to continue. But I stopped after two days out of sheer, physical exhaustion," said Eskew.

In prison, Eskew becomes a Muslim, and becomes Najee Ali. Ali then leads Project Islamic Hope and becomes kind of a busy-body. Matt Welch once called Ali 'L.A. media’s favorite Young Black Activist.' Ali also led Project Islamic Hope’s successful drive to get “NBC to remove Snoop Dogg's scenes from the upcoming, It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.” Ali claims credit for getting Snoop Dogg’s "radio show on Los Angeles's KKBT taken off the air in 2001 when the rapper released his first pornographic video, Doggystyle."

Ali really doesn't like Snoop Dog, huh?

"I'm not hating on Snoop..."

Ali started thinking pretty highly of himself. “…as a religious, social and political activist it’s my job to speak out and be the moral balance that society needs.”

Sunday night 'The Moral Balance' was involved in a head-on collision that occurred on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. After the crash, Ali ran into the nearby Magic Johnson Theaters. Witnesses held Ali until police arrested him on suspicion of hit-and-run.

What will society do now?
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WEST WING THEN

President Bartlett: 'Joy cometh in the morning', scripture tells us. I hope so. I don't know if life would be worth living if it didn't. And I don't yet know who set off the bomb at Kennison State. I don't know if it's one person or ten, and I don't know what they want. All I know for sure, all I know for certain is that they weren't born wanting to do this. There's evil in the world. There'll always be and we can't do anything about that. But there's violence in our schools, too much mayhem in our culture and we can do something about that. There's not enough character, discipline and depth in our classrooms. There aren't enough teachers in our classrooms. There isn't nearly enough, not nearly enough, not nearly enough money in our classrooms and we can do something about that. We're not doing nearly enough, not nearly enough to teach our children well. And we can do better and must do better and we will do better. And we will start this moment, today. They weren't born wanting to do this.

Those were the days, huh?
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KIDS TODAY

A 12-year-old boy was suspended for 3 days from Belpre Middle School for violating the school’s policy on nonverbal harassment and possession of lewd or suggestive material.

What did the little shaver do?

He brought the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to school.

I find this almost as laughable as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue itself. Frankly, I've always felt that the swimsuit issue was a joke. I don't hire a plumber to fix my roof, I don't go to the dentist when my car breaks down, and I don't buy a sports magazine to see naked women. To be honest, my copy has sat unopened on my coffee table since the day it arrived.
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SHOCKING?

Michigan State's student paper, The State News ran this cartoon yesterday, even though it shocked (Shocked!) The State News editor in chief, Ed Ronco.



It didn't shock me, but it did make me laugh.
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NEW CALIFORNIA POLL NUMBERS

In a testament to the power of repeating commercials ad nauseum, here are the numbers from the LA Times poll:


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WHAT THE PRESIDENT AIN'T

Dana Milbank gives us a comprehensive list of what the president has told us he is not:

"I'm not a statistician. I'm not a predictor." -- February 18, 2004

"I'm not a lawyer." -- December 14, 2000

"I'm not a member of the legislative branch." -- March, 19, 2001

"I'm not a numbers cruncher. I'm not one of these bean counters." -- March 25, 2002

"I'm not a stockbroker or a stock picker." -- July 29, 2002

"I'm not a very formal guy to begin with." -- June 9, 2003

"I'm not an Iraqi citizen." -- December 22, 2003

"The president is not an economist." -- White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, March 13, 2001

"The president is not a rubber stamp for the Congress." -- Fleischer, July 10, 2002

"The president of the United States is not a fact-checker." -- a senior administration official, addressing reporters in the White House briefing room, July 18, 2003

Of course, we already know what President Bush considers himself:

"I am a war president." -- February 8, 2004
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AND YOU THOUGHT THE ATKINS DIET WAS NUTTY

Akhaya Mohanty finally kicked the iron nail diet. Mohanty, 40, ate one or two iron nails, measuring about two to three inches, every day for several weeks before, oddly, he began to complain of pain in his abdomen. Doctors removed the nails, but could not save Mohanty. In an interesting side-note, police have yet to determine what prompted Mohanty to eat nails every day.
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Monday, February 23, 2004
 
WHAT'S WITH THESE PEOPLE?

A while back it was reported that The Sharon Osbourne Show was being cancelled due to poor ratings. Wait a second, it wasn't the ratings that canned the show, as Sharon said she asked to be released from her contract in December following husband Ozzy's near-fatal ATV crash. Of course, now Mrs. Osbourne wants to host another show.

And what's up with Ozzy? He told Diane Sawyer on Primetime that his musical career 'may be over' after the ATV crash. However, it only took until the next day for Ozzy to announce that he will be performing at Ozzfest 2004.

Further, the pill-popping and overweight Jack Osbourne is the lucky recipient of Rod Stewart's daughter's breast implants when she upgraded to a largers size, and alleged singer Kelly Osbourne, fresh off her break-down of last year, is prepping for her premier in the ABC drama 'Doing It'.

You get the feeling that even Jerry Springer wouldn't allow these folks on his show because they were just too strange?
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TAKE A DEEP BREATH

In an unbelievably brain-dead moment, Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization" Monday. However, before everybody on the left jumps on Paige with two feet, let's try to keep in mind that everybody says stupid things every now and again.

Remember Hillary Clinton introducing a quote from Mahatma Gandhi by saying “He ran a gas station down in St. Louis,”?

Paige stuck his foot in his mouth, he apologized, and we should forget about it.
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TAKING A BREAK FROM SEEKING OUT THE REAL KILLER

OJ Simpson was ordered to turn over any earnings from a private autograph-signing event to the mother of Ronald Goldman because of a civil verdict that found Simpson liable for his slaying.

Simpson was quick to take the high road, saying "I will do what the law says, but outside of that, I wouldn't go out of my way to give them a dime.''
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