Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Anniversary

Well, one year and we're still here. But enough horn-tooting, time for some "Random Thoughts:"

The LOST finale was pretty good, although I felt sorry for Hurley. And is Libby going to be a "behind the scenes" character in everybody's flashback?

Murtha Nation is still going strong, despite conservative attacks. But will the investigation yield any real results?

Right now, everyone is counting out the Pistons. I don't think they've played their trademark defense since the Bucks series in Round One, and if they don't do it tonight, it's over.

The next time Bush talks about not raising taxes, I hope someone calls him out on it. Meanwhile, Al Gore can't even be in a movie without being bashed.

Dissing X-Men: The Last Stand for not trying to develop the characters is like watching ROTJ and asking how did Luke know Vader was his dad, or watching ROTK and asking why Frodo has to destroy the One Ring. You feelin' me here? It's called a TRILOGY.

And as irony would have it: one year later, and it's still about a white woman. This one just happens to be leaving the Today Show, though.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Optimus VS. Rodimus

With the "new" Transformers Movie coming out soon, I felt compelled to see some sites about the old version. On IMDB there's a forum/dabate over Rodimus Prime and Optimus Prime (who was better).

One poster (robbstark) gives such a compelling argument I couldn't resist posting it here. G1 fans: enjoy!

"Optimus was clearly the greatest Transformers warrior. He was, for the most part a cunning strategist (ie the Aerialbots were a great strategic response to Megatron's brilliant Stunticon idea), respected life in all its forms, showed utmost loyalty, gave second chances when honest mistakes were made, and fought with honor. BUT he had IMO two crucial faults: 1. His reluctance to take a "kill shot"--this applies to both many of his own battles and the grand strategy he employed during the 5(of 9)-million-year war he directed against Megatron. At numerous points on Earth the Autobots had, besides a significant numerical advantage, a real advantage in strength/firepower, technical expertise, and specialized abilities. Yet Optimus never ordered a crushing assault on Decepticon HQ and never ordered pursuit in response to a retreat. In fact, Optimus Prime's Autobots were almost exclusively reactionary in response to matters concerning their war with the Decepticons. While that may be expected of the peaceful faction of the Transformers, it was also detrimental to their long-term survival. 2. His refusal to employ or allow sacrifices for the greater good--Optimus never viewed any of the Autobots as cannon fodder...there was no such thing as an acceptable loss. And while that trait is on the one hand very admirable, it is not conducive to being a successful war-time leader. Optimus never pressed advantages when one of his own might be at risk. He either ordered a retreat and regroup or took on all of the responsibility himself despite having plenty of skilled, capable warriors at his disposal.

Both of these faults add up to a war that spanned 9 million years, bled Cybertron dry of energy resources, dragged in humans, nearly resulted in Earth's destruction on numerous occaissions, and for what? Megatron conquered Cybertron and severely crippled the Autobots' ability to continue the war...only Optimus' battering of Megatron and Rodimus' subsequent galaxy-spanning, Matrix-assisted toss of Galvatron enabled the Autobots to reclaim Cybertron and reinforce Earth in the face of a leaderless group of Decepticons.

And in defense of Rodimus, many of the reasons Optimus is a great leader should also give Rodimus a pass. Optimus' reputation, trust, and respect, was built over 5 million years as leader of the Autobots. Rodimus was thrust into war against broader, (eventually) far more capable enemies, and followed on the heels of what all consider to be the greatest Autobot leader. His handling of that responsibility given his position was both realistic and genuine. I would question whether any character of any kind could have realisticly reacted better under the same circumstances...which makes it all the more sad that the writers gave him such an ignominious season as Chief Autobot. In fact, I would argue that Rodimus' accomplishments compare favorably to Optimus' in the brief time we saw both of them. The destruction of Unicron and the chance to rebuild Cybertron are perhaps pure luck, but Rodimus fought more far-flung wars, staving off defeat on numerous fronts, and fighting *more with less* than Optimus had in terms of quality of fighting forces."

Personally, I call it a tie. If Galvatron's shots (the same type of blasts that vaporized Starscream, BTW) hadn't bounced off Rodimus, I may have had a different opinion.

"Little General" Led The Charge

Does beating the 2005 NBA Champs help qualify Dallas' Avery Johnson winning this seasons "Coach of the Year Award?

Why not? He only helped get his team past the one squad who has historically given the Mavericks fits. When the Lakers beat the Spurs back in 2004, San Antonio's glaring weakness was shooting. The Mavs showed that this year it was footspeed (on offense and defense).

Credit Johnson for realizing that Dallas didn't need to become more physical defenders to win, just quicker ones.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Show the Love

Why is it so hard for the Hip-Hop Generation to express themselves romantically? Is it fear of being called a "punk" for calling the love of your life a "queen" or "special" (as opposed to "bitch")?

No other music genre treats love in the way rap does nowadays: not rock, country, blues, or R&B. Hip-hop deserves better, and hopefully current and upcoming artists will start to see that.

Must be the High Gas Prices, Unprovoked Wars and Bad Governing

Looks like on top of having a low approval rating, most people don't like President Bush as a person either.

Living Up to His Name

Adding to what's been mentioned before: another story of NBA ref Dick Bavetta and his selfish quest to personally determine the outcome of important games.

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NBA Musings

So Detriot comes up big and takes care of the Cavs. No surprise here, but why are there all these "LaBron needs more help" stories? Where were these tales when the Cavs dismissed the Wizards, or when they took a 3-2 lead over the Pistons? It's only after they lost that such bobble-head-inspired talk begins. Here's my take:

1. LaBron's cast wasn't crappy, it was the coaching staff. Remember that non-timeout in game 6? How about not being able to run any plays in the second half of game 7 with LaBron as a decoy? Mike Brown's calling card was supposed to be defense, and ever since game 2 in this series he did that. But you're telling me he couldn't have run any plays for Hughes or Murray (and if anyone's thinking, "what about Hughes dealing with his brother?" I say, "if he's still in mourning, he should not be in uniform. Basketball is not a viable substitute for emotional therapy")? Remember, before that game, rookie coaches were 0-13 in Game 7s.

2. The Pistons have been lazy since the first round. No way should the Bucks have won one game against those guys. I knew right then that either the Wiz or the Cavs would get at least two from them. I hope they're awake know, because if they pull that crap on Riley, Shaq and Wade they will be watching the NBA Finals from their living rooms.

3. The Baketball gods revenge. I don't care how good you are, you don't get away from trying to freeze a peer, than basically saying they have no heart after your attempt worked out. LaBron did that to Arenas (in Game 6 Bron-Bron told Gilbert that isf he misses both free throws, the game is over; Gilbert missed both and Labron called him a "[bleeping] wimp"). There had to be retribution. Nothing more fitting than to see your teammates choke, your coach look befuddled, and yourself get locked down during the biggest playoff game in your young career. The Lesson is: don't mouth off until you have that ring on your finger.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

(More) Broken Promises

Back in 1999, George Bush said, "If elected president, I will oppose and veto any increase in individual or corporate marginal income tax rates or individual or corporate income tax hikes."

Fast forward to today: according to this story, "The $69 billion tax cut bill that President Bush signed last week triples tax rates for teenagers with college savings funds, despite Bush's 1999 pledge to veto any tax increase. "

Wait; it gets better:

In 1999, Bush pledged to veto any bill that raised taxes. In response to a question about the tax increase on teenagers in the new legislation, the White House issued a statement Friday that made no reference to the tax increase, but recounted the tax cuts the administration has sponsored and stated that Bush had "reduced taxes on all people who pay income taxes."

Challenged on that point, the White House modified its statement 21 minutes later to say that Bush had "reduced taxes on virtually all people who pay income taxes."


So to recap, the one thing this Administration could hang it's hat on (not raising taxes) has gone the way of the dodo. Oh; and anyone 14-to-17 is screwed.

Friday, May 19, 2006

That Didn't Take Long

Barely 48 hours after President Bush's immigration address, there was in incident at the Mexico border. And Mexico wants some answers.

They Came Back For This?

Where are many of our Iraq veterans ending up? Other than dead, distraught or re-deployed? Try "homeless."

I wonder if this will become an election issue. An innovative politician could go a long way in defining "support the troops" as "past (parents with medical needs), present (the soldier, their spouse, and the soldier's offspring) and future (the soldier's post-service life until at least the age of Social Security eligibility). "

We'll see.

She Caused Less Damage as a "Singer"

The latest in the trials and tribulations of being Britney Spears' child.

He Could Have Offered Them Halliburton Jobs

VP Dick Cheney got a mixed reaction when he came to speak at LSU's graduation.

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Anybody Know a Translator?

Via ThinkProgress: on the issue of making English the national language (wouldn't that mean everyone has to speak with an accent?) the White House...well, isn't speaking the same language.

Might I remind everyone, this has happened before; like when President Bush said we're addicted to oil and then his cabinet came out the next day to say that Bush's statement didn't mean they were actually going to do something about it right away.

Tangled Web

The headline says it all: "Bush Pledges Vigorous Fight to Retain Republican Control of Congress." (Or go here if you don't have a subscription.)

Basically, President Bush will run the same offense he's been running since 2000: Democrats are weak, Republicans are strong.

Problem is, the Democrats haven't had any real power in 6 years, and they haven't held any significant control of Congress since 1995. That means that every domestic and foreign fiasco can be attributed to the Republican Party.

Now Bush says his party is one of the future, but ideas like anti-abortion laws, anti-flag burning laws and anti-gay marriage amendments sound like songs the Republicans have played before. And the party has been against programs like Social Security and Affirmitive Action since their respective inceptions, so there's nothing new here either.

Truly, breaking "new ground" would include things like making a serious effort to become independent on foreign oil and foreign debt, creating universal health care, and challenging any nation/country/state who practices genocide. But the Republicans don't have those kind of balls.

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are still trying to find there way. Should they bring back Gore or Kerry for one last hurrah (something Democrats have never traditionally done)? Do they go for a Clinton redux with Hillary and Bill switching roles? Do they roll the dice on Clark, Warner or Feingold? So many options, so little unity. If only some of them would bite the bullet and make the sacrifice to hold the fort in Congress, they may have a chance. But if they are going to use Bush's unpopularity in the polls and the mediocre results of his party as a platform, Democrats may find themselves "planning" yet again for the next election cycle.

Bottom line: At this point, the last thing Bush should be doing is "leading the charge" to the November elections. Doesn't he know that most Republicans running inn November only want his cash, not his visage?

P.S. :I think it's also telling that he gave this speech at an RNC fundraiser; his base is all he has to give speeches to. I guess he's hoping that they'll forget how he backtracked off the Terri Schiavo incident, decided to make a general the head of the CIA, and promote an immigration plan many Republican leaders in Congress have labeled "amnesty."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Don't Think He's Still Waiting On Help, But...

The FBI searches (in Michigan) for Jimmy Hoffa's body.

Hearts & Minds

The Internet Makes for a Good Memory Tool

Bill O'Reilly reflects on how he's treated Sen. Hillary Clinton (good thing Media Matters is around to make sure he doesn't forget anything).

Be Down With The King

The Cleveland Calvaliers have a simple game plan: make sure in the last two minutes the score is no more than six points apart, then give the ball to LaBron James. So far, it's been working.

The Detriot Pistons have to realize a few things:

1. They don't have anyone who can guard LaBron one-on-one.
2. If their bench doesn't step up, it's over.
3. The Cavs have plenty of veterans (Snow, Murray, Marshall and "Big Z") and should not be underestimated.

Their halfcourt plan has failed for three straight games because LaBron can be counted on getting the Cavs back-to-back buckets. Nothing less than a blowout will stop Cleveland; and to do that, the Pistons need to speed things up.

Lawyers Would Know, Right?

Prosecutors are using the "Liar, liar" argument against Kenneth Lay.

Tony, Tony, Tony Has Done It Again

Apparently, Press Secretary Tony Snow thinks he knows more about the history of the term "tar baby" than Toni Morrison.

That must explain why it's so rarely used, right?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Protection From Whom?

The Senate just voted on a fence amendment that "calls for 500 miles of vehicle barriers in addition to the 370 miles of new fence".

The vote was 83-16, according to Hawaii's KHON2.

Maybe it's too early to say this, but this does not look like it's going to have a happy ending.

Clearing Out the Swamp

The Miami Heat edged the New Jersey Nets yesterday in the NBA EAstern Conference Semi-Finals, eliminating them from contention.

New Jersey was one of those teams who broke my personal basketball rules (you can't run forever & your point guard should not be your best player) but still managed to succed a little. Still they have no rings, so I'll compromise a little and downgrade these particular "rules" to "policies." Nevertheless, they weren't going to make it too far with just three guys scoring (Kidd, Carter and Jefferson) and basically no help from the bench. Plus it didn't help that Miami became an offensive team over the course of the season (which they may rue later on, but that's another story).

The good thing for the Nets? They probably don't need any new bodies (assuming that their entire bench just had an off-night...for four straight games). Their #1 priority should be to develop a consistent halfcourt offense for the postseason. Otherwise, they should get used to being just a "good playoff team."

Rove-Colored Glasses

I don't know what polls President Bush's #1 idea guy is looking at, but it obviously isn't the one media outlets like the Washington Post is using.

Besides, I thought Bush didn't care about polls...so why should Rove (or his wife, for that matter)?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Teen Sex

The WashPost has a special that talks abouts the pros and cons of teen sex (going by the article's title, it's not hard to see where the writer's leaning).

While I don't believe that there's a "universal timetable" for every teen in America, I do think that everyone has their own sexual/social/emotional maturity gauge, and that level must be high enough to deal with the ups and downs of sexual relationships. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to handle this at the same age (late bloomers and all that).

But when everything a teen sees outside their parent's sphere of influence says that sex is supercool and that if you're not doing it you're a freak, that's where things can get conflicting. But unless a parent is willing to talk about their own initial sexual encounter, I doubt many teens will feel conected enough to take their advice (whatever it may be).

Jose'...Can You See?

I'm curious as to why immigration is an issue with President Bush some six years after he first took office. According to the White House website, he's only really dedicated three video's worth to the issue since he's been in office, and that didn't start until 2005.

The topic really have Republicans in a bind. Their more..."racially intolerant" base doesn't want anyone fence-hopping from south of the border (notice how no one talks about people immigrating from Canada), yet the "have-mores" love the cheap labor immigrants provide. What's a faith-based, compassionate conservative to do?

For Bush, it was dedicating 17 minutes to talk to the American people.

Let's go over his five "clear objectives." Since they're supposed to be "clear" I won't bother much with his rambling side stories and anecdotes.

"First, the United States must secure its borders."

To this end, Bush wants to use the National Guard in a pseudo-volunteer capacity for the Border Patrol. He seems to imply that the BP will still call the shots, but I don't see anything in the BP's org chart that suggests they have any kind of inherent authority over the National Guard (and ditto for the Nat'l Guard's org chart). This looks like Homeland Security all over again.

"Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program."

This plan is based on the premise that there are jobs that "Americans won't do," which is actually a misstatement. Americans will do the jobs, but only if they are being paid fairly. The President knows that he corporate compatriots do not want to pay reasonable wages, so this "action plan" benefits them moreso than any immigrant or American worker.

"Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire."

As soon as he says this, he follows it up with "businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud." So in other words; "It's not the corporation's fault that they hire illegals, it's the counterfeit ID makers." So this "action plan" is one big smokescreen.

"Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already."

This is essentially Bush's way of giving up on doing anything substantial concerning anyone already here. His meek proposal to make them legal is little more than a political ploy. This olive branch will no longer be offered if the Republican's maintain their majority after the November midterms.

"Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples."

And for President Bush, there is no greater tradition than to speak bad English. It's not that I don't think immigrants shouldn't learn English; but this guy is the last person in America who should be talking about language barriers. Also, I thought America boiled down to two things: respect for the rule of law and the ability to practice your beliefs (assuming you don't torture, abuse or kill anyone) without persecution. Not "sharing ideals," which, as delivered sounds like "do it our way or go home."

Whatever. He'll be lucky to get a dead cat bounce from this speech.

Larry & Isiah

As mentioned yesterday, Larry Brown may be out as the Knicks head coach.

Some thoughts:

Larry wasn't a right fit for the team anyway. He prefers point guards who set up their teammates, players who defend and rebound with passion, and very few flashy moves. In other words, not exactly the kind of coach you want running the one of the NBA's most popular teams.
There's no doubt in my mind that Isiah Thomas wanted to coach again. I just didn't think he'd sabotage yet another franchise (see Toronto Raptors, the CBA and the Indiana Pacers).

What the Knicks really need is to be blown up. This lame-ass rebuilding has gotten them nowhere and quite frankly I'm tired of my roommate's (a diehard Knicks fan) constant complaining. Trade away the headcases and redundant players and draft some real talent. Come clean to your fans (we will suck for three years, but we'll be better after that). You can't afford to do what Chicago did after the Jordan-Pippen Era. You just can't.

Even though Larry could end up in Sacramento or Golden State, he should retire. Take a season or two off from coaching and be a commentator for awhile. Who knows; he might start to like it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What a Weekend

Even though this was Mother's Day Weekend (hey Ma!) that didn't stop the world from twirlin', or news from bein' made. For example:

New York Knicks Coach Larry Brown may have to look for work elsewhere. Current GM and franchise destroyer (see CBA, Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers) Isiah Thomas may take his spot.

A CNN poll reveals that former President Clinton kicked current President Bush's butt all up and down the street on every friggin' issue. No word on how Al Gore would have done, but we can dream, can't we?

Frank Rich defends the newspapers (I guess his new book has him pumped up).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Be All That You Can Be...Forever

The Army Reserve is changing it's tune on letting people resign. Now maybe it's just me, but wouldn't the military be at its best if the people there wanted to be there? Am I off-base for thinking this?

I'd like to see what the rate of "friendly fire" and "domestic disputes for returning soldiers" look like after this plan goes into effect.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Permanent Majority?" Not Bloody Likely.

This is just too damn funny: Republicans are in "survival mode", according to one congressional leader.

Survival mode. Even though the party controls the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Even though they control all the committee chairs, meaning if they want (or don't want) something addressed, they can make it so. Even though collectively the Democrats have done little to topel them or crack their message machine.

Really; this is just sad.

So I suppose in the next month or two we'll be hearing about anti-flag burning laws, conservative judges being sent up for approval and anti-gay marriage amendments, right? That is the status quo, correct?

Trying To Keep It In The Family

President Bush says that his little brother J.E.B. (outgoing Florida Governor) would make a "great president" someday. Well, going by last month, his approval ratings are certainly higher than George W.'s.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NBA First Round Lowdown

Now that the Wizards have lost (boy, am I getting tired of that "witnesses" comercial), I'm in a more..."objective" mental state and can talk about some things that happened in the first round.

Actually, my first round talk is gonna be mostly about the Wizards. I know, life's tough. But I'm just adjusting to the fact that they lost to a one-man, no defense team headed by a rookie coach. Was LaBron that good? Obviously. Were the Wiz that bad? Possibly. Listen to all the DC Hoops Experts and the conclusion is that they need a heart transplant (and may have to take drastic measures to make it happen). Arenas missing those free throws wasn't an issue with me as much as Jamison deciding to become a 3-point shooter for the second half of the last three games, or nobody forcing LaBron to actually guard them. Alot of talk has been made about getting a "legit" big man, but seeing as there's only about five in the NBA as it is, the Wizards are better off looking for a defensive-minded 2-guard who can make an open shot (a-la Eddie Jones). A bench deeper than Daniels and Ruffin wouldn't hurt either.

The Nuggets are in shambles; there, I said it. I don't know what type of team they are, but their best player can barely play a lick of defense, let alone carry them on his back (but he's clutch in a close game, though).

Chicago is one decent power forward from rocking the East. You've all been warned.

The Pacers lack offensively what the Wizards lack defensively. No surprise then, that neither made the second round.

The Bucks never had a chance, not against the Pistons anyway. They still need a bench.

Sacramento needs time...not that they'll get far with Dallas and San Antonio in the way.

Memphis proved that statistical defense means little in the playoffs. Oh , and their star player is too soft to put the team on his back.

What can I say about the Lakers that hasn't been said already? Charley Rosen broke it down, but failed to mention Kobe's public mutiny of team play and his abandonment of Phil Jackson's teachings. Good thing for us the Sports Guy gets letters.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Isn't This Hurting The Troops?

As the AP reports, CIA Director Peter Goss resigns. CNN says the CIA was taken by surprise with this anouncement. Because of speculation that it may be tied to Duke Cunningham's bribery scandal (which now includes prostitutes) the media seems to be downplaying the whole ordeal (a story about a Kennedy being in a car accident seems more newsworthy for some reason).

But hold on...wasn't one of Bush's defenses of Donald Rumsfeld "losing Rummy would hurt the war on terror?" Wouldn't losing the the CIA Director do the same thing? Or is it, as long as Rumsfeld is just lying and screwing up war strategies, and not taking bribes and having sex with hookers, he can stay?

I think the other side is this: if Goss was involved in the Cunningham bribery scandal, that means that (potentially) the CIA Director for the United States of America was being bribed (whether by women, men, money or a trip to Cancun doesn't matter). That, my friends, is a serious breach in national security.

UPDATE: I may have mispoke. Apparently, Goss liked to micromanage. So, if any of his aides/subordinates were being bribed, that is alos a serious breach in national security.

Adjusting In Iraq


According to the AP, these soldiers are adjusting nicely.

Missing the "Bait And Switch"


William M. Arkin blogs (on the Washington Post) about Ray McGovern's hostile (yet very necessary) questioning of Donald Rumsfeld.

Arkin believes that the situation was born out of not knowing the difference between outright lies and gross incompetence; he contends that while Rumsfeld has made mistakes, he has been honest about what he knew about Iraq's Saddam Era-capabilities. As he puts it:

If the issue here is Saddam Hussein's connection to al Qaeda and his involvement in 9/11, to the "bulletproof" evidence the administration claimed, and more important for America, to the likelihood that Saddam would have ever shared any WMD with terrorists -- the true strategic assumption behind the Iraq war and the justification for our entire WMD obsessed foreign policy today -- McGovern scored.

But if the issue is Zarqawi, and a spooked and reeling Bush administration worrying that they just don't really know what's going on in places like Iraq, that they can't rely on the great CIA, and that they can't predict what will happen, Rumsfeld scored.


What Arkin has completely missed is the fact that Zarqawi was Rumsfeld's deflection of the original question: "Why did you lie to get us into a war?"

McGovern wanted an explanation about the lead-up. Maybe I'm off here, but was Zarqawi a big named mentioned before the invasion? I don't remember Bush mentioning the guy's name once before August 2003. Besides, McGovern doesn't even mention Zarqawi until after Rumsfeld did (and when he did, he says it as a question). Would someone with 27 years of intellegence experience challenege a public official live in public without doing their homework. I vote for "nay."

So if you combine the actual interaction with a little common sense, you reach this conclusion: Rumsfeld, not wanting to admit that he didn't remember his own words, deflected the question. "Those words" that McGovern repeated (almost verbatim) were in regards to invading Iraq, not fighting off insurgents after US and Coalition troops had been in Iraq for some time. McGovern was asking about Saddam's Iraq, not Zarqawi's. What's worse is that Rumsfeld's first option was to pass the buck, blaming Colin Powell, President Bush, the Intelligence Community and then the troops ("It’s easy for you to make a charge, but why do you think that the men and women in uniform every day, when they came out of Kuwait and went into Iraq, put on chemical weapon protective suits? Because they liked the style? They honestly believed that there were chemical weapons. We believed he had those weapons.")

So there are no options here. It's pretty clear where McGovern was headed, and what Rumsfeld was trying to do in response. A shame that Arkin (like Paula Zahn, apparently) is trying to defend what really can't be defended.

Personally, I think "the Bobs" from Office Space should give Rumsfeld an evaluation.

Because Hot Wars Are Too Messy...

The Russian Media believe VP Dick Cheney is trying to start another Cold War. Funny; not too long ago Russia seemed like it was instigating a real one.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Much More Than Meets the Eye.

Ok, I'll admit it: this site is very cool.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Making Tuesdays Brighter Again

Coolness. Greg Easterbrook returns, and so does ESPN.coms' Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

Now if I can only get Greg and Bill Simmons to do a joint football column together.

I'd Suggest Praying

Republican king-maker and Bush strategist Karl Rove suggests that the best way his party can deal with the current high prices in gas is to...do absolutely nothing.

Is the investigation going so badly for him that Rove can't formulate a simple political move to give his people some breathing room? Or is he too busy trying to sooth Bush after the Colbert ordeal?

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Link to the Past

Valerie Plame was working on gathering intelligence information on Iran before she was outed.

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White Like Them

The new Asian craze (why are all the "crazes" in Asia?) is skin-whitening, and it's having some mixed results.

But why the interest? According to the report:

Sociologists have long debated why Asians, who are divided by everything from language to religion to ethnicity, share a deeply held cultural belief that lighter skin is more attractive.

One commonly repeated rationale is that a lighter complexion is associated with wealth and higher education levels because those from lower social classes, laborers and farmers, are exposed to the sun and thus have darker complexions.

Another theory is linked to the waves of lighter-skinned conquerors, the Moguls from Central Asia or the colonizers from Europe, whose complexions became the standard for attractiveness.
"The success of the skin whiteners signifies that the Western concept of beauty in terms of skin color has finally seeped down to the lower classes," said Randy David, a sociologist at the University of the Philippines.


In other words, "to the victor goes the image of power." The story goes on to say:

Nithiwadi Phuchareuyot, a doctor at a skin clinic in Bangkok who dispenses products and treatments to lighten skin, said: "Every Thai girl thinks that if she has white skin the money will come and the men will come. The movie stars are all white-skinned, and everyone wants to look like a superstar."

In Thailand, as in other countries in the region, the stigma of darker skin is rooted in language. One common insult is "tua dam," or black body, a rude term to degrade someone of lower social standing. Along the same lines are "e dam" (black girl) or "dam tap pet" (black like a duck's liver).

Films and advertising also clearly have a role in promoting the idea that whiter skin is more beautiful. The runaway success of South Korean soap operas across the region has made its lighter- skinned stars emblems of Asian beauty.

Advertisements for skin-whitening products promote whiter skin as glowing and healthier. Olay, a popular brand, has a product called "white radiance." L'Oréal markets products called "white perfect."

In a survey carried out in June 2004 by Synovate, 61 percent of respondents in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan said they felt they looked younger with a fair complexion. Half of Filipino women, 45 percent of Hong Kong women and 41 percent of Malaysian women said they were currently using a skin-whitening product.

There are small groups of people in Asia who seem to prefer tanned skin. In Japan, young women commonly referred to as "Shibuya girls," after the Tokyo neighborhood they hang out in, have been regular patrons of tanning salons for a decade.

But they are an asterisk in Japanese society and indeed in Asia over all.

"Everybody else basically wants white skin," said Leeyong Soo, the international fashion coordinator at Vogue Nippon, the Japanese edition of the fashion magazine. "People might say to you when you come back from a holiday, 'Oh you have a tan.' But it's not necessarily complimentary."


So after generations of people wanting to be themselves and express their uniqueness, we now have a growing Asian population who aspires to be white. Meanwhile over here, Americans still obsess with big-lipped, blonde hybrids.




At what price is "perfection?"

Monday, May 01, 2006

Some Laws Are Made To Be Ignored, I Guess

According to President Bush, there are at least 750 laws he does not have to follow. His arguement? That not of the laws passed are constitutional.

Keep in mind that Bush's degree is in history and his main profession was business (oil companies and baseball teams). He has no known background in constitutional law, so I can only assume that he's trusting the same thinktank who justified new definitions of torture for terror suspects and POWs.

Around the Internets


An interesting few days. Let's recap, shall we?

Rush Limbaugh gets arrested on drug charges...prescription drug charges, that is. I suppose the positive spin is that if he's ever arrested on something more serious he can claim that the drugs made him do it.

Apparently Duke Cunningham was bribed with prostitutes as well as money and material items. Of course the bigger question is: was he the only one?

At the White House Correspondent Dinner, Stephen Colbert had them dying...of embarassment. Best quote: "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."

Alberto Gonzales gets stumped by future White House reporters.

The Congresswoman who called John Murtha a coward (Jean Schmidt) gets caught lying on her resume.

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