Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Times's David Pogue links to an amusing vision of tech support gone awry. Quoth the helpline:

In order to serve you better, it will be helpful for us to know which order you belong to. For Primates, press 1. For Cetacea and Proboscidea, press 2. For Jesuit or Dominican, press 3. For Knights Templar or Hospitaler, Knights of Pythias or Columbus, as well as Masons, Elks, and Kiwanis, or if you are unsure, press 4. If you are a Franciscan and have a rotary phone, please stay on the line.

Note that at any point you may return to the previous menu by hanging up, calling again, and repeating the process until you reach the point just before the point you are at right now.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Newsmeat (a site about which I know nothing) has assembled quite an impressive list of the political donations of sports figures. Some highlights:

On the left - Chris Berman, Lee Corso, Franco Harris, Digger Phelps, the Rooneys, Zygi Wilf, and David "Moneybags" Stern (for whom, I must admit, I now have more respect than I ever had before.)

On the right - Alex Rodriguez, the surprisingly-spendthrift Bernie Kosar, all thirteen of the NASCAR folks listed, Nolan Ryan, Peyton Manning, Marge Schott, and, sad to say, Joe Paterno.

(Link courtesy of Deadspin.)

Jeanine Pirro is a superhero:

Republican candidate for attorney general Jeanine Pirro, who grew up in Elmira and went to law school in Albany, goofed on her upstate geography this week.

"I've been all over the state," she said. "I've been to Chautauqua County all the way on the west coast, I should say on the west end of New York, bordering on Ohio," Pirro told WROW-AM in Albany.

New York doesn't border Ohio.

That prompted the state Democratic Committee to send Pirro a New York state map. Chautauqua County borders Pennsylvania.
Seriously, it's like National Lampoon created a politician.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Russ Feingold calls Democrats cowards for refusing to join his censure of President Bush. In ecstasy, MoveOn's head explodes.

Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold accused fellow Democrats on Tuesday of cowering rather than joining him in trying to censure President George W. Bush over domestic spying.

"Democrats run and hide" when the administration invokes the War on Terrorism, Feingold told reporters.

Feingold introduced censure legislation Monday in the Senate, but not a single Democrat has embraced it. Several have said they want to see the results of a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation before supporting any punitive legislation.

Krugman spanks McCain:

So here's what you need to know about John McCain.

He isn't a straight talker. His flip-flopping on tax cuts, his call to send troops we don't have to Iraq and his endorsement of the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation even while claiming that he would find a way around that legislation's central provision show that he's a politician as slippery and evasive as, well, George W. Bush.

He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him in the right wing of the Republican Party.

And he isn't a maverick, at least not when it counts. When the cameras are rolling, Mr. McCain can sometimes be seen striking a brave pose of opposition to the White House. But when it matters, when the Bush administration's ability to do whatever it wants is at stake, Mr. McCain always toes the party line.

It's worth recalling that during the 2000 election campaign George W. Bush was widely portrayed by the news media both as a moderate and as a straight-shooter. As Mr. Bush has said, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
Yikes! I mean, it's all true, and I completely agree. But yikes!

Claude, we hardly knew ye. Literally.

I don't know very much about Claude Allen, and what little I know (Helms staffer, Clarence Thomas protégé), I don't particularly like. All the same, this whole crazy thing (see Time, Post, NYT) is really pretty sad. The man's got a million-dollar home, a comfortable salary, an office in the West Wing... and he's been arrested for shoplifting.

Now, granted, innocent until proven guilty, and all that. No question. But honestly, this is lose-lose. Scenario A, he's innocent, in which case his career has been shattered by false accusations. Scenario B, he's guilty, in which case something - who the hell knows what - is seriously wrong with Claude Allen. Either one is a shame.

Pat Robertson, Christian:

[Robertson] remarked that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoons "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with."

Robertson also said that "the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination."

Ned Lamont officially announces against DINO the dinosaur. He's got my vote!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Highlights from the Gridiron Dinner, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle (link courtesy of Wake-Up Call):

Bush: "Dick, I've got an approval rating of 38 percent and you shoot the only trial lawyer in the country who likes me."

Obama: "The truth is, I'm terrified to be here. Not because you're such a tough audience, but because they're serving drinks. I'm standing about 30 yards from the vice president, and I'm a lawyer. The only thing that could make this more dangerous is if he considered me a friend."

From James Webb's March 8 appearance on the Colbert Report:

Colbert: Are you saying that we shouldn't have gone to war in Iraq?
Webb: I don't think that we should have gone to... into Iraq, no.
Colbert: So you do not think that we should have liberated the Iraqi people. You'd rather see them under Saddam. Saddam is good to you.
Webb: Well...
Colbert: I'm just saying, that's what you just said.
Webb: There are a lot of bad people out there. I think Kim Il-sing is a bad guy. And the question is how we use our military in order to address those types of things.
Colbert: Yeah, but Kim Il-sung has nuclear weapons, you don't want to mess with that guy.
Emphasis, obviously, added. This exchange inspired in me a great number of questions. The main three:
  • Who the hell is Kim Il-sing? Did he mean Kim Il-sung? If so, shouldn't he, as a world-wise Senate candidate, have known that Kim Il-sung has been dead for more than a decade? And if not, who the hell is Kim Il-sing?
  • Was Colbert's response the right one? I know the show's a spoof, but come on, that's a tricky bit of business. Correct him, and make him look like an asshole? Or pretend he's talking about someone who's still alive, and hope no one notices?
  • And finally, why hasn't anyone noticed? (Technorati; Google; Google News)? (It's enough to make me wonder if maybe there is someone named Kim Il-sing, in which case I'm the asshole.)


Daschle further fueled the already simmering fires of speculation after a political gathering in Aberdeen, when he told the Associated Press that he hadn’t ruled out a run for the presidency and expected to make a decision on that issue by the end of the year.

"I’m encouraged by the strong support many people have voiced for my candidacy around the country and in South Dakota. I’ll make a decision at some point later on this year," he said.

Catching up...

A tantilizing excerpt from Alan Greenspan's autobiography, ghost-written last Thursday by veteran humorist (and apparent country musician?) Rick Moranis.

I got into my car and headed off to grab some java and a few chocolate donuts. I took off my suit jacket and laid it across the back seat. It was far more practical to crease the back of my shirt than jeopardize the relative appearance of my suit.

Obviously, whatever perspiration might occur as a result of any prolonged contact between my shirt and the back of the car seat would a) be absorbed by the undershirt as noted above, which would b) garner a more satisfactory short-term outcome for the suit jacket and therefore, by association, the overall suit; c) prolong the reasonably expected term of the suit and positively affect its depreciation specifically and as a result all competitively scheduled worsted assets in my current capacity; d) positively alter the amortization schedule of any and all haberdashery future capitalizations, should the same policy stay in effect; e) capitulate to such non-broader market variables as air-conditioning temperature and fan-speed preferences.