The Virtual Bar Is Open

TFIF, Shakers!
Name your poison…

And yes, the Pink Pussy is a real drink:

Rum, lemon (Bacardi Limon) 2 oz.
Grand Marnier 1 dash
Tequila, gold (Jose Cuervo Especial) 1 oz.
Cranberry Juice 1 dash
Sour Mix 4 oz.

And a cherry, natch.

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Good News, Bad News

"The House approved legislation Friday requiring the government to negotiate with drug companies over the price of medicines for Medicare participants. …The vote was 255-170, mostly along party lines. The idea behind the bill is using the sheer size of the Medicare program to generate steeper discounts than private insurance plans can muster. …'If this bill is presented to the president, he will veto it,' [White House press secretary Tony Snow] said Friday."

Worst. President. Ever.

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Caption This Photo

Tears run from the eyes of U.S. President George W. Bush during a ceremony in honor of Medal of Honor winner Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham in the East room of the White House in Washington, January 11, 2007. Cpl. Dunham was killed when he jumped on a grenade to save fellow members of his Marine patrol while serving in Iraq. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES)

(I don't know what the hell's going on in that horrible little head in that picture, but that's no kind of expression that matches sadness or sentimentality that I've ever seen on a human being.)

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Womb with a View

Though Nancy Pelosi's womb is very busy, August reminds us it's not, as Ben Shapiro would have us believe, remotely the most used womb in "the history of politics."

Mary - Nazareth, 1 A.D. Mary quite likely altered political actions for the remainder of human history when she gave birth to her son Jesus, considered by a vast majority of the world's population to be the son of God and/or God itself. As if the ramifications of Mary's womb's action were not enough with that act, it is believe by those adhering to the religious authority of Jesus that Mary was a virgin at the time of his birth. Should this be true- and many believe so- then Mary's womb truly is one of immense physical and political power.
I urgently recommend reading the rest of August's list of Prominent uses of wombs in the history of politics. Highly edifying.

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Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

H/T everyone, but Sarah in Chicago was first in the ol' inbox.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Matilda was too busy playing with a rolled up ball
of paper to be bothered posing for pictures today.

This might be my favorite picture of Matilda ever taken,
snapped as she tumbled about the room after the bit of paper:

Olivia is the markingest cat I've ever had. She rubs her face
on shit 24-7. Here she is making sure everyone knows the
kitchen island is hers.

Recommended Cat Blogging: Hamburger Head.
I adore Winston.

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Good Stuff

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes sees the light. You may remember that in December he was calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq, but he's had a change of heart and mind. I wish we could say the same for our president, but he still hasn't learned it's better to admit you were wrong than pretend you're always right, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

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Where You'll Find Shakes in the Card Catalogue

Via PZ. Make your own here.

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Friday Blogwhoring

The passphrase is: Adam Carolla is a shitstreak on the underpants of humanity.

Friday Blogrollin' will return next week, and I'll see if I can get the lazy twosome to pose for some pictures for Friday Cat Blogging here in a bit...

Recommended: Amie Newman's second part of Life Support for Feminist Health Care. Discussion re: Part One can be found here.

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"Tranny or Fatty?"

You know how I hate Adam Carolla? Well, now I fucking hate him—the difference being: had I seen him on the street before, I would have ignored him. Now I'd kick him square in the goulies. Twice.

From a recap of his daily radio show via Transadvocate Blog:


Today’s hypothetical question is a simple one, and it’s one that the show has actually covered before. Would heterosexual men rather sleep with a post-op transsexual, or a fat woman? Sadly, Adam has to note, the last time they talked about this, it skewed largely in favor of the transsexuals.
Having not heard the radio show in question, I can only imagine it went something like this:

Doodz, would you rather stick yer dick in a mound of fat or an inverted-cock cooze?

Ewww, sick! Can't you at least give us a dead goat's maggot-infested asshole as a third option?!

What is perhaps the most charming quality of this fun little game is that it's designed not to reinforce the perception that fat and trans women are not real women—that they are sub-human is taken for granted. It's really designed to be a fun way for straight men to insult each other no matter what their answer. If you go for the Fatty, you've got no taste, but at least you're not a fag! If you go for the Tranny, you're probably a total homo, but at least you've got standards! And any man who would voluntarily fuck a fat girl or MTF is, of course, a complete loser freak.

As appalling as it is that there are individual people in this world who have not the slightest compunction about dehumanizing fat and trans women for fun, consider how deeply fucked our culture is that this detestable swill, which has quite literally no purpose other than exploiting hatred for shits and giggles, can be broadcast with impunity, but if Carolla said the word "fuck" over the airwaves, the station would be fined thousands and thousands of dollars. By any objective measure, hate speech is exponentially more toxic than "dirty words," but while there are plenty of people who will argue that they don't want to hear "dirty words," and don't want Teh Children to hear "dirty words," there aren't nearly as many who object to piggish bullies like Carolla having a laugh at the expense of fatties and trannies. Fatties and trannies are meant to feel ashamed of themselves, after all.

Just last week, I wrote: "If you're fat, you're not only meant to be unhappy, but deeply ashamed of yourself, projecting at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of your everlasting remorse for having wrought your monstrous self upon the world. You are certainly not meant to be bold, or assertive, or confident—and should you manage to overcome the constant drumbeat of messages that you are ugly and unsexy and have earned equally society's disdain and your own self-hatred, should you forget your place and walk into the world one day with your head held high, you are to be reminded by the cow-calls and contemptuous looks of perfect strangers that you are not supposed to have self-esteem; you don't deserve it. Being publicly fat and happy is hard; being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably fat and happy is an act of both will and bravery." Trans women no doubt relate to a lot of that, too—although they have the constant added fear of being assaulted, thanks in no small part to cretinous scumbags who dehumanize them for a chuckle.

Carolla's little game is precisely the sort of thing to which I'm referring when I talk about "the constant drumbeat" of negative messages—adding his own inimitable flair that any man who loves or fucks you ought to be ashamed of himself, too. How many husbands hear shit like that and then go home to an overweight wife and berate her? How many fathers hear it and go home to an overweight daughter and tell her she'll never get a date if she looks like that, or to an effeminate son and treat him with disgust? When men's value according to other men is made contingent upon the quality of "his woman," it's the women that suffer, and sons who don't seem "manly" enough. It travels like a fucking virus—and Carolla's infectious intolerance is the vile little germ.

Finally, on a personal note: This Fatty would be remiss if I failed to note that I wouldn't fuck Adam Carolla on a dare using his own asshole as my pussy. I've yet to discern a single admirable or attractive quality in his outsized personality, and leaving aside for a moment that his grotesque interior renders moot the desirability of his exterior, I nevertheless feel obliged to observe that he is arguably a very ugly man, making his judgment of others as ironic as it is offensive.

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From the Department of Good Ideas

The Pentagon has eliminated active-duty service limits for reservists, but this has nothing to do with the President's plan to pull more troops out of his ass.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the change in reserve policy would have been made anyway because active-duty troops already were getting too little time between their combat tours.

Previously, reservists could only serve 24 cumulative months on active duty, whether it was all done in one stretch or over the course of a couple years. Now, there's no limit on cumulative time served. They can still only be mobilized in 24-month increments at most at a time, but they can now do multiple tours. This is how they are going to staff the "surge."

As RayCeeYa has explained in comments: "My brother just got into Baghdad about two months ago. He is supposed to be doing a 16 month tour of duty there. It this 'surge' goes through then he will be staying there for as much as 24 months… They are going to pick the next 20,000 troops about to end their tour of duty and extend their tour by four months. Then they are going to find the troops who are going to rotate back four months from now and extend their tours by four months. This cycle continues as long as we are 'surging'."

It's interesting that Pace is talking about this new policy as though it's being implemented to help avoid burn-out, when, in the long run, we're going to have a lot of extremely stressed soldiers.

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Flypaper, Bitchez

The US Embassy in Athens was hit by a rocket early this morning, causing no injuries and minor damage.

The small anti-tank missile narrowly missed the large blue-and-white U.S. seal on the embassy's facade and pierced the building above the front entrance shortly before 6 a.m. It damaged a bathroom on the third floor near the ambassador's office and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

…The 2.36-inch rocket, which police said was a weapon probably fired from a Russian-made launcher, struck a large marble beam on the third floor of the embassy, just above and to the left of the seal. It shattered a window and landed near some toilets.

The Pentagon has received a report on the attack but no request for any action, a military official said in Washington. There is no reason to believe that it was al-Qaida-related, but rather involves a separatist group, said the official, who is not authorized to speak on the subject and requested anonymity.
Greek officials are suggesting it's the work of a domestic terrorist group comprised of "far-left Greek militants." Greece has a history with such groups, but none have been active there in a decade. Assuming this was a leftist Greek group, I don't think it's hard to understand why they would, of all places, attack the US Embassy—and separatism ain't it.

Assuming this was al-Qaeda, we will be told nonetheless that it was Greek leftists.

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Oh No He Didn't

Our new Secretary of Defense did not tell the House Armed Services Committee in Congressional testimony yesterday "I'm no expert on Iraq" and "I'm no expert on military matters."

Yes. Yes he did.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

I loved this show.

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Question of the Day

One of my co-workers is originally from Mexico. Yesterday, much to our extreme delight, she told a couple of us in the office that her brother (who still lives in Mexico) is a Lucha Libre.

Words cannot begin to describe how amazingly cool that is.

So, Shakers... what's the coolest thing you've heard all week?

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Quote of the Day

"No woman in the history of politics has used her womb like Nancy Pelosi." — Harvard Law School student and conservative misogynist douchebag Ben Shapiro, who obviously doesn't understand that use of the womb is an important part of generating the radical gay agenda that is shot out of feminazi cooters, so of course she has to use her womb a lot. Duh.

I'm sort of breaking the Feminazi Cooter League's code of secrecy to do this, but let me just illustrate how the process works, to clear up any confusion:

The Radical Gay Eggs are kept in the ovaries until they are fertilized by the dulcet tones of Barney Frank (or a Frank-certified Fertilofag like Spudsy), at which time they are deposited in the womb where they incubate alongside the Radical Gay Agenda Pink Disco Ball, which spins to the beat of It's Raining Men. In mere hours, the Radical Gay Eggs hatch into teensy lavender copies of Melissa Etheridge singles, which slowly disintegrate as they pass through the vaginal canal, emitting radiating vibrations of the Radical Gay Agenda.

It's really just that simple. But, yeah, it keeps the womb busy.

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New Head of the DLC: Harold Ford

Bleh. Not that I really give a crap who they put in charge of their bullshit operation. Pam sums it up nicely: "Ford is right up the DLC alley, a real wet dream for CEO Al From. Ford, in his close loss to Bob Corker, had no problem kneeling before the right wing, carrying business cards with the Ten Commandments on back, and bleating his head off about the evils of the NJ marriage equality ruling."


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It's Delightful, It's Delicious, It's De-Lovely…

It's Delurk Week. (Thanks to Evil Bender for the reminder.) So all you lurkers who rarely or never pipe up, say hi!

Cheeky devils!

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I'd Rather Be Shoe Shopping


Ohio Sen. George Voinovich writes letters to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers. Until now, he's said in those letters that the sacrifices Americans troops are making in Iraq are every bit the equal of those U.S. soldiers made in World War II. But Voinovich told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this afternoon that he's going to have to change his letter now. "I've gone along with the president on this, and I've bought into his dream," Voinovich said, his voice choking with emotion. "At this stage of the game, I don't think it's going to happen."

The Ohio Republican's delivery was more emotional than some of his colleagues', but the sentiment he expressed this afternoon was pretty much the same as the one Rice heard from most members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: The president has lost the American people and their representatives, and the new "way forward" he put forth last night isn't enough to win them over again.


Some highlights from the day's session:

Sen. Russ Feingold: The Wisconsin Democrat said that that it is time for Congress to use "the power of the purse" to cut off funding for the war -- not just for the escalation, but for the entire war. "By setting an end-date for funding for the war, we can give the president the time needed to redeploy troops safely from Iraq." Feingold's words drew a rare round of applause from some of those gathered to watch the hearing.

Sen. Chuck Hagel: The Nebraska Republican said the president has "set in motion" a "very, very dangerous" series of events. "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam," he said. When Hagel referred to the president's plan for an "escalation," Rice said that she and the president preferred the term "augmentation," and that it was important for everyone to have the right "image" of what's actually happening on the ground in Iraq. When Hagel said he had a pretty good "image" of the situation already -- "Iraqis are killing Iraqis . . . we're in a civil war" -- Rice responded lamely: "Not all of Baghdad has fallen into a civil war."

Come on, give me a break, look at what I've got to work with, here!

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The Democratic Convention will be in...


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And a Good Day to You, Too!

WaPo: "We heard a number of complaints last week because we used the word 'catfight' to describe a disagreement between two distinguished members of Congress—Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). To those who civilly articulated reasons why the term is inappropriate, we say: Point taken."

Not "We're sorry," just "Point taken." And only to those who civilly articulated the very, very new concepts about why describing a professional disagreement between two eminent leaders of our country as a catfight is inappropriate. The rest of you who did not respond civilly to our offensive behavior can go fuck yourselves.


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So…I guess we're at war with Iran now?

First, let's revisit a post from October for a moment:

Lindorff: "The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings and headed off for the Persian Gulf region on Oct. 2, as I had predicted in a piece in The Nation magazine a few weeks back. The Eisenhower strike force, according to my sources, is scheduled to arrive in the vicinity of Iran around October 21, at the same time as a second flotilla of minesweepers and other ships. This build-up of naval power around the coast of Iran, according to some military sources, is in preparation for an air attack on Iran that would target not just Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, but its entire military command and control system. …I hope I am wrong about all this, but the sailing of the Eisenhower, which had been pushed forward recently by about a month by the Pentagon for clearly political reasons, makes me think I'm right."
Now, let's revisit part of Bush's speech last night:

President Bush’s address to the nation tonight included "some of his sharpest words of warning to Iran." Bush accused the Iranian government of "providing material support for attacks on American troops" and vowed to "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies."

Bush added, "I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region."
Today's WaPo:

U.S. troops raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq late Wednesday night and detained several people, Iran's main news agency reported today, prompting protests from Tehran just hours after President Bush pledged to crack down on the Islamic Republic's role in Iraqi violence.

…U.S. officials have not confirmed the raid but did say in a press release that they had taken six people into custody in Irbil during the course of "routine security operations." The release said the individuals were "suspected of being closely tied" to attacks on Iraqi and U.S. forces.
Glenn Greenwald:

Isn't it a definitive act of war for one country to storm the consulate of another, threaten to kill them if they do not surrender, and then detain six consulate officers?
If it's not, it has to be best described as "damn close."

Glenn also says, "I think there is a tendency to dismiss the possibility of some type of war with Iran because it is so transparently destructive and detached from reality that it seems unfathomable. But if there is one lesson that everyone should have learned over the last six years, it is that there is no action too extreme or detached from reality to be placed off limits to this administration."

And here's what I said back in October upon reading news of an additional carrier strike group being deployed to the region: "This is insane; even BushCo isn’t batshit crazy enough to do this now. That’s what one part of my brain keeps saying when I read stuff like this. The other part says: Wake up, you dosey maroon. BushCo is batshit crazier than you can possibly begin to imagine."

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Oh those fundies...

They're just so stupid:

"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]"
"I can sum it all up in three words: Evolution is a lie"
"No, everyone is born Christian. Only later in life do people choose to stray from Jesus and worship satan instead. Atheists have the greatest "cover" of all, they insist they believe in no god yet most polls done and the latest research indicates that they are actually a different sect of Muslims."
"If your original Hebrew disagrees with my original King James --- your original Hebrew is wrong. If your original Hebrew agrees with my original King James, your original Hebrew is right."
"But God don't talk in Arabic. He talks in a REAL language, namely, English. It's true that back in them days He translated that to some other language after Speaking it in English, but after all, it's His universe and He can do what He doggone well wants to do."
"LOL, I think that I am the one that is missing something. Because I fail to see how "glyphosate" resistant weeds is an arguement FOR evolution. I do not even know what glyphosate is so how can that be evidence for anything. Maybe for you it is evidence, for me it is just a word that I do not know the meaning of."
"[How eating pork leads to wife swapping]

The pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate. In America, most people consume pork. Many times after dance parties, they have swapping of wives; i.e. many say "you sleep with my wife and I will sleep with your wife." If you eat pigs then you behave like pigs."

Doesn’t make sense. Evolution is stupid. You have to be a jackass to be evolution. Do you think man used to be a hairy, ugly, illiterate not so bright monkey lookin motherfucker.

Want to say to your kids ” this Ape used to be your ancestor.”

Get real… How does a retarded ape envolve to a human. Don’t make any sense. sOUNDS LIKE THE FUCKING TOOTH FAIRY!!!!

This is what I think, you have an ape, and a monkey.. Science is the study of.

You humans compare the ape and monkey to a human and put them together.

Scientist are misleading!!!! Will you let a ape do your taxes?? Can a ape drive a car??? Can a ape talk??? No!!!!!!!!

Caveman is a illusion… Its kinda like the missing link. A dumb hairy motherfucker who doesn’t know how to make complex decisions.

You guys need Jesus bad… You guys watch too much Discovery Channel.


Not to mention disturbing:

"Since the population of mankind is a "closed" population - no humans can migrate to and from earth, only the rate of births and deaths can increase or decrease the human population.

Therefore, the way to control the population growth is through the increase of the human mortality rate by legitimate means. Not through the crimes of abortions, infanticide, euthanasia and etc; but through the automatic DEATH PENALTY for the broad spectrum of deeds that are high crimes in the sight of the true GOD. This principle of population control has never been addressed by demography. It is the cornerstone of proper human population control which the builders have rejected.

Some of the high crimes which God requires the human society to vigorously enforce the death penalty upon are: blasphemy against the true God; idolatry; breaking the Lord's day; dishonor to parents; murder; adultery; incest; homosexuality; bestiality; rape; kidnapping; seeking to destroy the righteous; putting to death the innocent (such as putting innocent embryos and fetuses to death in abortions); seeking to overthrow God's appointed authority, etc.
In order for the world community of humans to actually put this decorous principle into practice, it must adopt the MORAL LAW OF GOD - THE TEN COMMANDMENTS as the supreme laws of the World community.

This principle of controlling the population would positively affect the economic prosperity of nations, positively affect the health and increase the life expectancy of lawabidding citizens, properly educate the human race, positively affect the family structure, overwhelmingly reduce crime, etc. Every legitimate aspect of the human society would benefit greatly."
"[Commenting on a study which suggests that women who exercise by doing the housework can reduce their risk of breast cancer]

Missing the point. It's not the exercise. Joggers and Pilates people - and the sun-worshippers - are the ones getting breast cancer. The explanation is this. It is God Who gives you cancer. A woman who keeps house, and bears the children God gives her as a gift, and prays the Rosary - no abortions and no pills - will be cancer-free, all other things being equal. "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; refuse not therefore the chastising of the Lord, for He wounds and cures, He strikes and His hands shall heal" - Job."
"If you're going to get an abortion it should be mandatory to get your tubes tied.

Sex is only fun and games to male's, but you got a fucking responsibility bitch"
"God hates therefore I hate. God only cares about the Adamic white race therefore I only care for the Adamic white race, bastard."
"A person who sold a slave did not make God sick like watching two men do it."
"I honestly don't care about your rights. If it were up to me, all Atheists would be burnt at the stake and or cast into a river with weights tied to their ankles and or placed before the firing squad, etc etc etc."
"Female circumcision is not barbaric. It is done for a reason, to keep the female pure. If only we adopted such practices here in the UK, then maybe women would be less inclined toward infidelity and therefore family values would still be an integral part of society. Family values instil a sense of discipline and respect, which we need as a counteraction against the modern trend of zero respect and zero discipline that is undermining the very fabric of our decaying society."
"Seriously, does anybody ever cry at an Atheist's funeral?

I mean, since Atheists have no value whatsoever as human beings (they're not even human, but only inhuman animals), since Atheists are nothing but miserable Liars, Cowards and Murderers, after all, why would anybody in their right mind weep over the dead rotting corpse, or bone chips and ashes (that get mixed together with those of others from the crematory) of a worthless dead Atheist?

And what epitaph do you engrave on an Atheist's grave marker? "Here lies the only good Atheist, which is a dead Atheist". What else is there say? Nothing at all. No last words, no last rites, no flowers, no anything.

Every time an Atheist dies, the world is better off as a result of that dead Atheist being dead, & its damned God-forsaken soul burning in the fiery pits of Hades. :)

Which begs another related question, do Atheists cry at funerals? If so, why? Since Atheists hate God, and they hate Family, and they hate Country, who are they crying for? It is true: The only good Atheist is a dead Atheist."
"If u have sex before marriage then in Gods eyes u are married to that person if a man rapes a woman in Gods eyes they are married it sucks for the girl but what can we do lol"
There are many more and all are sourced at the site.

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Meanwhile, Back in the States...

...things aren't going so well here, either.

Study: 744,000 are Homeless in the U.S.

WASHINGTON - There were 744,000 homeless people in the United States in 2005, according to the first national estimate in a decade. A little more than half were living in shelters, and nearly a quarter were chronically homeless, according to the report Wednesday by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an advocacy group.

A majority of the homeless were single adults, but about 41 percent were in families, the report said.

The group compiled data collected by theDepartment of Housing and Urban Development from service providers throughout the country. It is the first national study on the number of homeless people since 1996. That study came up with a wide range for America's homeless population: between 444,000 and 842,000.
Just to put this in a bit of perspective, here are a few more population counts:
Alaska - 663,661
Delaware - 843,524
D.C. - 550,521
Montana- 935,670
North Dakota - 636,677
South Dakota - 775,933
Vermont - 623,050
Wyoming - 509,294
In the richest country in the world, we have a population of homeless that is greater than the amount of people living in the Capital.
Some cities and states have done their own counts of the homeless, providing a mix of trends, said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. For example, New York City and San Francisco have seen decreases, while the number of homeless in Washington, D.C., has increased, Roman said.


California was the state with most homeless people in 2005, about 170,000, followed by New York, Florida, Texas and Georgia, according to the report.

Nevada had the highest share of its population homeless, about 0.68 percent. It was followed by Rhode Island, Colorado, California and Hawaii.

"The driver in homelessness is the affordable housing crisis," Roman said. "If we don't do something to address the crisis in affordable housing we are not going to solve homelessness."
I don't know if your city is like mine, but Chicago has been exploding with new construction condos. New construction definitely picked up once it seemed that all the worthwhile vintage buildings had been gutted for condos; then it was time to build new buildings!

As all of this has been going on, more and more buildings going up, I keep thinking, who's going to live in these things? Because as they keep going up, there is one thing in common. They are all "luxury" condos. Meaning the tiniest studios start out at least at $250K. That's with no upgrades. And usually, with no parking... a space will set you back another $30K or so.

But for something really nice, maybe with a river or lake view, you can expect to start at about $1.5 million. Right around our home, they're building 20 or more multimillion dollar single-family homes; half a city block long and five stories high. They start at around $3.5 million.

The average price of a condo in Chicago seems to be around $450K and up. Now, the husband and I did recently purchase a home of our own (not paying nearly that, thank Jebus), and one thing that has really bothered me is that our building is a couple blocks away from the Cabrini Green housing project. What's left of it, that is. They're being torn down, building by building, and the awful thing is, I'm seeing no low income or "affordable" housing going up to compensate for the loss. If there is anything being built, I have no idea where it is. But it's definitely not near any of the new construction.

I wonder how much the homeless population in Chicago has jumped?

I wonder if any television news programs will report this number?

I wonder if any of them do report on the number, how many of them will have people on to discuss the problem of homelessness, rather than just mention the number in passing with grim faces?

I wonder how many of these programs will have Homeless Alliance members, Social Workers, Homeless Advocates, or hell, a homeless person on their shows to discuss the problem, rather than some pundit in a suit that's never missed a meal?

Well, I know one thing. In a country where a car company decides to sell their product with "wacky" commercials featuring a comedian living out of his car for a week, "because he can," I'm not holding my breath.
The campaign is intended to appeal to younger consumers “who live what we call the morning-to-morning lifestyle,” Mr. Schwartz said. They “get up, go to the gym, go to work, go out, and your car becomes your paradise.”

“That gave birth to the idea, ‘Hey, what if we had the guy live his life in this car?’ ” he added.

The guy is Mr. Horowitz, described by Mr. Schwartz as “a true product of our age,” who, in his off hours, “is a creator of content, including a blog, video and T-shirts,” and displayed the “curiosity and skepticism” common to his generation.

“He said, ‘I don’t know if I want to sell out,’ and we said: ‘Dude, this isn’t selling out. It’s a product demonstration,’ ” Mr. Schwartz recalled, adding that the agency found Mr. Horowitz in a casting book.
Of course, after the marketing campaign, Horowitz was able to go to his home, after his "seven straight days in his Sentra."

Of course, many of the 744,000 people mentioned above, some who live in their car every day of their lives, don't get that luxury.

But, hey, it's all in good fun, right?
Thought I’d answer a few of the questions people have been asking since I finished the 7 days.

Q: Was living in your car fun?
A: Yes and no. No, because people look at you like you’re a freak. Yes, because people look at you like you’re a freak.
Ha, ha.

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More Signs of the Times

Like the little Spanish town of Fuenlabrada, Vienna has decided to make its signage more gender-neutral. Construction signs, exit signs, and road warning signs have all been redesigned to feature identifiably feminine forms. (As in Fuenlabrada, the accoutrements of womanhood—ponytails, skirts, high heels, and handbags—leave a bit to be desired, but it's a start.)

The prototypes designed to encourage people to rethink some of the Austrian capital's gender biases, kicked up a kerfuffle of criticism from men and women — but more from men.

…In the daily newspaper Heute, which is distributed free on every subway, Karl Morwald, a Vienna resident, was quoted saying: "Politicians are really great at making themselves ridiculous … changing well-known signs that have been familiar for decades."

A man from the small town of Zwettl wrote, "some town councilors seem to be really bored and always hunting for new foolish things — at the taxpayers' expense."
You know, Karl Morwald is right. Changing signs that have been familiar for decades is ridiculous. And sexism has been around for even longer, so changing that is even more ridiculous.


It's always interesting that something so "foolish," something so insignificant as to not even warrant spending a tiny wee amount of taxpayers' money, nevertheless is important enough to make people write letters to the editor about it. That changing the sex of the figures on street signs generates enough interest to make the international news ought to be the first clue that it's not the inconsequential silliness its detractors would have one believe.

As I've said before, telling a girl since birth that she is equal matters little if she travels within a culture that consistently sends signals contrary to that message, which is why changing even these "little things" is ultimately, cumulatively, very important.

(H/T Autumn Sandeen.)

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Dear Mr. President

I kindly request that if you're going to be a ghoulish warmonger, then do me and the rest of America the favor of looking the part. When announcing you're sending 21,500 more men and women to risk their lives for the monstrous folly of prolonging the pretense that the war in Iraq is one we can yet win, and is not a civil war from which we must extricate ourselves as soon as possible in spite of our responsibility for unleashing it, the least you can bloody do is not look scared.

That, sir, is not an expression suited to the most powerful man in the free world. It is the countenance of a man who's forgotten to purchase on his way home the toilet paper his wife requested, captured at the precise moment he tries to decide whether to just say he forgot or spin some fantastic yarn about the store being completely out of bogroll.

I trust you'll agree, sir, such a posture is a decidedly ill-suited demeanor for the Commander in Chief in a time of war, particularly as he casts more lives to the ruthless hands of fate in the bowels of a cataclysm. In future, I suggest something a little grittier, a little more appropriately macabre—something that evokes in all whose eyes fall upon you the undeniable stench of doomed fortunes conjured by an unscathed knave.

Just one possibility. Honestly, Mr. President, I don't particularly care what look you ultimately choose, just so long as it resembles a great deal less a deer caught in headlights than your choice did this evening. You see, when you could end this whole, horrible thing with the stroke of a pen, you don't get to be scared. That's for the men and women risking their lives in Iraq. That's for the Iraqis. That's for all the rest of us, who have to live in this immeasurably more dangerous world you've created, who won't have the benefit of a secret service detail for the rest of our natural lives. Frightened is just the last thing you get to be when you hold all the cards, because you're the only one who can't lose.

Best Regards,
Shakespeare's Sister

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Devo Honda Commercial from 1984

Spudsy the Devo freak made me post this, of course.

He obviously has trouble with the word "nostalgia,"
which suggests people actually remember what
is posted.

(Ooh, snap! He's gonna whip me, whip me good!)

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Question of the Day

"The Pale Man," one of the scariest film Bogeymen I've ever seen.

I saw Pan's Labyrinth last weekend, and was completely enthralled by it. You know when you go to see a movie, and the next day you can't stop thinking about it, so you start Googling all over the place to read what others have to say about it? It was one of those movies. (I'm going to try very very hard to avoid spoilers here.)

One thing that the vast majority of people point out in their discussion is the film's extreme violence. There are some scenes of viciousness that are so brutal, even I had to look away occasionally. And I'm usually the guy happily munching away on my popcorn as zombies slurp the grey matter out of the skulls of unfortunates.

The other word that usually accompanies "violence" in these opinions is "gratuitous." Many of the people that have seen this movie felt the violence was over the top, unnecessary. I disagree.

Yes, perhaps the violence wasn't necessary to the plot of the film, but it was vital to the character development (and one character in particular). The film takes place during a time of war, and as we all know, war can make people very brutal. If the real violence wasn't there, I don't think I would have been as affected by the climax of the film as I was.

In contrast, there is a film, Audition, that was recommended to me by many people. I hated this film. If you haven't seen it, (and again, trying to avoid spoilers here) there is an extended, brutal torture sequence at the end of the film that I found to be completely gratuitous. I could understand the character's justification as to why she was torturing her victim, but man, I thought the whole thing was torture for torture's sake; simple shock value. A "test of endurance" for the film-goer. Color me unimpressed.

Interestingly enough, Pan's Labyrinth has a "torture scene," but we never see it. We see the torturer taunting his captive, and then the film cuts away to another scene. Granted, we see the results later, but never do we see what the victim goes through. This, in a movie that's supposedly full of "gratuitous violence."

So... here's my long-winded means of getting to the Question of the Day. When do you think extreme violence in movies is acceptable? And I'm not really talking about horror movies here; the violence in most of them is naturally going to be pretty gonzo. When does violence become gratuitous to you?

By the way... if you go to see Pan, be prepared for the Pale Man to make an appearance in at least one nightmare. He is bone chilling.

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Here's a little something to keep you company and give you a hearty laugh tonight while you're busily ignoring the unmitigated travesty of our buffoon of a president informing the American populace that, against their will, he will be sending more troops to Iraq.

I am so one of these Star Wars nerds, it's not even funny. We didn't wear costumes, but Mr. Shakes and I did attend the premiere party for Episode II: Attack of the Clones in Edinburgh and there was much enjoyable nerdery. I will also confess that Mr. Shakes and I regularly speak to each other in 1960's robot voices.



And so forth. This is a habit acquired when we were staying with Mr. Furious and Mr. Curious upon our return from Scotland, and all four of us used to talk in robot voices constantly. There's no why. We did it just to amuse each other and ourselves. And because we're big nerds.

Anyway, enjoy the video, and try to avoid watching the president's speech, even though I'm sure it will be great—for me to poop on!

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Dodd 4 Pres

The Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Christopher Dodd, will reportedly announce his candidacy for the 2008 presidential race tomorrow. He looks as much like a televangelist as Obama sounds like one, and he's got a decent enough record, but nothing that makes my nipples hard. Your tumescence may vary.

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Blech Beck

Apropos of Paul's posts here and here on ABC's assholery, I've got a new piece up at The Guardian's Comment is Free, What America Wants.

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Know what the problem with this country is?



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House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

WASHINGTON - The Democratic-controlled House voted Wednesday to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, bringing America's lowest-paid workers a crucial step closer to their first raise in a decade.

The vote was 315-116, with more than 80 Republicans joining Democrats to pass it.

"You should not be relegated to poverty if you work hard and play by the rules," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record), D-Md.

The bill was the second measure passed since Democrats took control of the House, ending more than a decade of Republican rule.
I love how they use "rule," rather than "control." Frakkin' perfect. Of course, there's the usual whinging:
Business groups and other critics said it could lead to higher prices for goods and services, force small companies to pink-slip existing workers or hire fewer new ones, and crimp profits.

The White House issued a statement saying it opposed the bill because it "fails to provide relief to small businesses."
Yeah, the Bush Administration has shown so much love to small businesses before this. Snort.

I think I'm beginning to like this House.

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Two Minute McHate

McCain: "The war was easy!"

McEwan: "I hate you."

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News Flash!

The MSM actually reports on the Spocko saga, and even more mind-boggling, doesn't take the side of the eliminationist hate-speech using right-wing radio hosts.

Film at eleven.

Wingnut shrieking about "the Liberal Media" any second now.

(And does anyone else find it sick that you'll "only see this on CBS 5?")

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Presidenting is Hard Work

Especially speechifizing:

[Bush] spent hours Tuesday practicing in front of cameras, preparing to make his case for increasing the U.S. military commitment in Iraq in a prime-time address to the nation at 9 tonight.

"White House aides acknowledge the president faces a skeptical audience," but since there's No Such Thing as bad news for the Bush administration, "experts say Bush is protected by the upside of low approval ratings."

"His popularity is pretty low now," said presidential historian John Geer of Vanderbilt University. "It's not likely to go a lot lower."
Yeah, well, that's what I thought back in May.

Now Frist and Hastert wouldn't even make it on the poster,
and Rumsfeld's a done tom turkey.

Just so you know, I'm totally not liveblogging that shit tonight. I've got better things to, uh, cut mats out of Matilda's fuzz and, uh, laundry, and, uh, sit and stare at the wall.

(H/T Maru.)

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The MSM: Reporting Only What We Feel Is Important

Yale Barbershop Singers Recovering After Ambush: (bolds mine)

NEW YORK (AFP) - Members of a close-harmony group from Yale University are recovering after being ambushed and beaten up while on tour in California.

Members of the a cappella Baker's Dozen were performing at a party in San Francisco at the new year when their rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" apparently sparked taunts and threats from fellow partygoers.

As the group left the house, they were attacked by dozens of assailants, suffering scrapes, black eyes and concussions, said Connecticut's News Channel 8.

"Besides any bruising or scrapes to the face, the main injury I suffered was I broke my jaw in two places," one of the singers, 18-year-old Sharyar Aziz, was quoted as saying.
What the hell would cause people to beat a bunch of students that badly after singing The Star Spangled Banner? Why would singing that song cause a violent reaction? What's going on here?

Another story:
How's this for an only-in-San Francisco story:

Members of the Baker's Dozen, the renowned, all-male a cappella singing group from Yale, are pummeled outside a New Year's Eve party after singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The attackers allegedly include graduates from Sacred Heart Cathedral, one of the city's oldest and best-known private schools.

The attack happens outside the home of two prominent San Francisco police officers -- former mayoral bodyguard Reno Rapagnani, now retired, and his wife, Leanna Dawydiak -- who were both accused and later cleared of leaking internal SFPD personnel documents during the Fajitagate debacle.


As Rapagnani tells it, his 19-year-old daughter was hosting a New Year's Eve party at the family's Richmond District home for the Baker's Dozen, who were in town as part of a West Coast tour.

The 16 singers showed up late to the party wearing preppy sport jackets and ties, and launched into "The Star-Spangled Banner."

A couple of uninvited guests started mocking them, and allegedly the words "faggot" and "homo" were tossed -- and so were a couple of punches.

The loud noise drew relatives from next door, who promptly ordered the house cleared.

The Yale kids, most of whom were staying with a family a block away, began heading home.

But witnesses said one of the uninvited guests -- who happens to be the son of a prominent Pacific Heights family -- pulled out his cell phone and said, "I'm 20 deep. My boys are coming."

According to Rapagnani and others, the Yale kids barely made it around the corner when they were intercepted by a van full of young men.
So, what's going on with this? Did the singers use the homophobic insults, or did the "uninvited guests?" Why the vague descriptions?

But wait, there's more:
SAN FRANCISCO- There's a growing sense of outrage among some in San Francisco over a New Year's Eve fight in which members of a Yale University singing group was beaten and some ended up in the hospital.

As first reported by Dan Noyes of A-B-C affiliate K-G-O T-V, members of Yale's all-male a capella group -- The Baker's Dozen -- were reportedly jumped by a vehicle full of young men after they left a New Year's Eve house party in San Francisco.

One Yale student -- Sharyar Aziz -- had his jaw broken in two places during the fracas. Others in the group were bloodied and bruised as well.

The party was being held at the home of Reno Rapagnani, a retired San Francisco Police Department lawyer. The trouble started at midnight after The Baker's Dozen sang "The Star Spangled Banner."

Witnesses say some of the local men didn't appreciate the attention the Yale students were getting, called them derogatory names and made threats that they apparently followed up on.

Police continue to investigate the fight.
Ah, so it apparently was the "uninvited guests" that started the "taunts." Maybe. And finally, a little more detail:
Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Erika Arias reported that while in San Francisco, the group went to a party thrown in their honor at the home of a retired police officer.

According to police, the group sang "The Star Spangled Banner" shortly after midnight. According to witnesses, a group of local men didn't like the attention the Baker's Dozen was receiving and began taunting them and making threats.

Aziz said a 19-year-old was the most aggressive.

"(He said) 'You're not welcome here.' He called a few members of the group, whether it was fag or homo, very, I would say, juvenile taunting," Aziz said.

As the group left the home, they were attacked. Their injuries ranged from scrapes and black eyes to concussions.

Aziz was rushed back to New York for reconstructive surgery, and his jaw will remain wired shut for eight weeks. Aziz will live the rest of his life with two titanium plates in his face.

"I can't just look back at that incident and be depressed for the next two months. I have to learn and deal with what's been given to me," Aziz said.

"I'm just surprised -- in San Francisco where you hear so much about tolerance," said Yale student Eric Beach. "I mean, I would think people would usually be more worried about something like that happening in New Haven than in San Francisco."

Four news items before this begins to make the slightest bit of sense. And there's quite a bit of important detail that's being left out of these things.

In reading the first two stories, you can understand why I was so puzzled by this. Why did this happen? There are any number of misconceptions that you can take from these items... and a lot of it has to do with the "Only in San Francisco" remark. Taking this at face value, you could read these stories and think, "Oh, a bunch of San Francisco liberals didn't like the fact that these "preppy," well-dressed young men were singing The Star Spangled Banner and beat the shit out of them. Well, that's the civility of the Left for you! Only in San Francisco!"

But by the time you get to the fourth story, it doesn't sound like a bunch of America hating, violent, San Francisco liberals anymore, does it?

Regardless of the sexual orientation of anyone in the group, this was a homophobic attack on a group of young men. Men that sing must be faggots, right? The fact that the attackers used these words is very important to the story (not to mention the fact that it's pretty goddamned important to make it clear who was slinging the insults in the first place), and it's quite telling that this information would be omitted from the story.

As Shakes has written about extensively in the past, (this is the third post in a series, with links to the others at the beginning) homophobic hate crimes are underreported or ignored by the media all the time. Ignoring this detail when reporting this story is incredibly irresponsible, as this is one of, if not the most important details in this attack. These performers weren't attacked because they were singing The Star Spangled Banner. They were attacked because they were men singing. Think about the use of "You're not welcome here." Why would the attacker use that phrase? Judging by the insults they used, it sounds an awful lot like "We don't want any of you singing queers anywhere near us." When I was in high school, a surefire way to have suspicion fall upon you that you may be a lousy queer was to join the show choir. As if men singing wasn't bad enough, they're dancing, too! They must be fags! When Eric Beach says "I would think people would usually be more worried about something like that happening in New Haven than in San Francisco," he's saying San Francisco is the last place you'd expect to be fag bashed.

This is just sloppy reporting, pure and simple. Ignoring the hate crime aspect of this story, while making it sound like your typical "San Franciscans hate America" story is completely infuriating. When I first read this story, and before I knew what the hell was going on, my first thought was, "So how long before the wingnut bloggers jump on this as another "San Francisco liberals hate America" talking point?" Because as far as I knew, that is exactly what happened.

Sharyar Aziz is going to have two titanium plates in his face for the rest of his life because he was attacked as a faggot because he sings in a choir. Is that somehow not worth reporting?

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If Only There Were a Vaccine for Stupidity

In comments, Ken dropped the link to this article, which reports that the debate over the human papillomavirus vaccine is raging again now that various states legislatures are considering bills to make the vaccine mandatory.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is "the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country and the cause of nearly all cervical cancers," and a vaccine for it known as Gardasil was approved by the FDA in June of last year, but not before a protracted struggle with conservatives, who argued that inoculating girls against HPV would encourage promiscuity:

"I personally object to vaccinating children when they don't need vaccinations, particularly against a disease that is one hundred per cent preventable with proper sexual behavior. Premarital sex is dangerous, even deadly. Let's not encourage it by vaccinating ten-year-olds so they think they're safe."—Leslee J. Unruh, founder and president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex."—Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council.

Other groups, like Daddy Dobson's Focus on the Family, evidently not wanting to be rightfully accused of taking as its official position that dirty sluts deserve cancer, issued statements that they did not object to the vaccine being made available, but did oppose making it mandatory alongside other childhood immunizations against measles etc. So now they're back in the game, whining about how mandatory vaccines "take away parents' rights, send the wrong message to impressionable young girls and cost more than many parents can afford."

Sending the wrong message like, "We care about women's health." Because naturally women's health isn't nearly as important as their chastity. And never mind that this vaccine could also protect girls and women who are raped; those filthy little hussies don't even exist in this equation. Parents, of course, do have a right to raise their daughters in a cloister of ignorance, where Dates with Daddy are considered a viable substitute for a romantic relationship and a Jesus ring is meant to magically counteract the naturally increasing libido of puberty. But when the state mandates it, they don't have a right to leave their public-schooled children exposed to disease. There may actually be no better defense of judicious nanny-statism than protecting children from idiot parents.


[The affordability question is a serious one; advocates of mandatory vaccines say that "a federal vaccine-for-children program is expected to provide the shots for low-income families for free or nearly free," and that insurance providers will soon begin covering the cost. If that's right, fair enough. If not, the state needs to subsidize the cost of the vaccines, to ensure that no family has to pay more than 15-20% of the approximately $150 shot.]

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Koufax Noms

I neglected to mention before that you can submit noms here as well as here.

Also, there's a moratorium on last year's winners, within the category in which they won, to spread the love around, so Shakes isn't eligible for Best Group Blog this year. (We are, however, still eligible for all the other categories, including the two new ones—Best Consonant Level Blog and Best Human Equality Blog.)

Last year, it was requested that we link to some of our own favorite posts in regard to the Best Post category, but last year we didn't have the Greatest Hits lists. I just updated them in late November, so all the best posts from most of the year are there for your perusal, should you be so inclined.

As ever, other bloggers should not feel shy about tooting their own horns at Shakes. Use this thread to remind people about your great blog, link to your best post, beg, plead, or otherwise make your case. Have fun!

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ABC- Absolute Bullocks Co.

Suppose you're a left-wing blogger, and you post about right-wing hate speech. What happens to you if your posts regarding such delightful quotes as:

- Rodgers on a repeat offender in Lincoln, Nebraska: "Some SOB like this -- you know, lock him up, throw away the key. Better yet, put a bullet between his eyes and get it over, because he's never gonna be worth a damn, never gonna be anything but a criminal anyway. ... Now, you start with the Sears DieHard -- the battery cables connected to his testicles and you entertain him with that for a while, and then you blow his bleeping head off." (8/16/06)

- Sussman asking a caller to prove that he is not a Muslim: "Say Allah is a whore. ... Say that you love eating pig." (October 2005)

- Morgan on Pelosi: "We've got a bull's-eye painted on her big, wide laughing eyes." (11/14/06)

- Morgan on New York Times executive editor Bill Keller and other Times editors: "Hang 'em." (6/27/06)
...manages to get sponsors to actually pull their advertising from ABC, the network allowing this garbage to spew over the airwaves?

You get shut down, of course.

Now, suppose you're a Right-Wing talk show host, famous for such statements as:
- during a November 14, 2006, interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who recently became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' "

- He has declared that "Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time" rather than "lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences.

- Beck warned that if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West."

- Beck aired a segment mocking the names of several missing Egyptian students in which the announcer said that one "may or may not be accompanied by his camel." The segment showed pictures of crowds and pointed to random, unidentifiable people as the missing Egyptians. It ended with a reading of the students' names in quick succession followed by the announcer pretending to gag as he struggled to pronounce them.

- After airing a clip from the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth in which former Vice President Al Gore states that global warming could cause many highly populated coastal areas to be submerged by seawater -- including the entire city of Shanghai -- Beck responded: "This is what would happen to Shanghai. Does anybody really care? I mean, come on. Shanghai is under water. Oh, no! Who's gonna make those little umbrellas for those tropical drinks?"
And my personal favorite:
Beck referred to "those who were left in New Orleans [during Hurricane Katrina], or who decided to stay" as "scumbags."
What happens to you?

Why, you get hired by ABC as a regular commentator, of course.

Enough is fucking enough.
ABC News
7 W. 66th St.
New York, NY 10023

When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.
It's time for this myth of the "liberal media" to be shot and buried. The MSM isn't interested in progressive voices or progressive thought.

You'll note that Spocko was able to get major advertisers to pull their dollars from ABC for broadcasting eliminationist, racist rhetoric. Perhaps it's time to pull even more advertising dollars for thuggery, and for hiring yet another racist, eliminationist liar. Anyone up to write a few letters?

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"Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam." — Senator Ted Kennedy, who introduced legislation yesterday requiring congressional approval of Bush's planned troop surge in Iraq and calls his 2002 vote against the war "the best vote I've cast in my 44 years in the United States Senate."

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Osmonds

We swear we're as good as The Jackson 5! Honest!

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Question of the Day

Finally! I can post! Take that, Blogger!

In Shakes' post bitching about blogger, with the faaaabulous picture of my hero Divine, I mentioned that her single, "Born to be Cheap," was the first Wax Trax single I ever purchased.

Yes, I am a total fag.

Anyway, that got me to thinking of "first" albums. The first album I ever purchased, and yes it was an LP, was what I thought was the Star Wars soundtrack.

It turned out to be Star Wars, as played by the Electric Moog Orchestra.

I was pretty ticked at the time, but these days, I think it's rather cool. "Aw right, moog!"

So, Shakers... what was the first album you ever purchased with your own money?

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Remember the piece of shit soldier who allegedly led a group of troops in raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and then setting her on fire, killing her, and murdering her family, then grilling a few chicken wings? Well, guess the fuck what? Turns out he was diagnosed as "a homicidal threat by a military mental health team three months before the attack."

Pfc. Steven D. Green was found to have "homicidal ideations" after seeking help from an Army Combat Stress Team in Iraq on Dec. 21, 2005. Green said he was angry about the war, desperate to avenge the death of comrades and driven to kill Iraqi citizens, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

The treatment was several small doses of Seroquel — a drug to regulate his mood — and a directive to get some sleep, according to medical records obtained by the AP. The next day, he returned to duty in the particularly violent stretch of desert in the southern Baghdad suburbs known as the "Triangle of Death."
And three months later, he killed an entire Iraqi family. Allegedly.

I honestly don't even know what to say about this fucking debacle anymore.

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What the hell is going on in Louisiana?

Last week, the first-ever black mayor-elect of predominantly white Westlake, Louisiana, Gerald Washington, was found shot in the chest (and his death was ruled a suicide, in spite of there being no note and it being days before he was due to take office), and now the first-ever black mayor of predominantly white Greenwood, Louisiana, Ernest Lampkins, has had two shotgun blasts fired into his home (and luckily no one was injured). The two towns are 150 miles apart.

Could be just terrible coincidence. One may have nothing to do with the other. But, then again, there's been a 33% increase in hate groups since 2000, during which time our country has been led by a president and a political party who have exploited hatred of brown-skinned people consistently and egregiously, alternatingly telling their primarily white base that they'll be killed by Arabs or have their jobs stolen by Mexicans. So maybe this shit isn't happening in a motherfucking void.

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Good Catches

Arlen: "Apple Computer today introduced a cell phone called iPhone…And for their promo demonstration on their website, what do you suppose they choose to show to demonstrate the device’s internet capabilities? … The New York Times announcing that Democrats have taken control of Congress."



Mr. Shakes: "What is wrong with this picture?"

In case you couldn't pick it out, let me highlight it for you.

The wild life of a free-wheelin' gambler for him!

Pretending to live a life of professional servitude for her!


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Call for Submissions to Carnival of the Liberals

Shakespeare's Sister is going to be hosting the Carnival of the Liberals on January 17, so I'm calling for submissions. The guidelines are here. Submit your post using the handy form here or send the link via e-mail to cotl DASH submissions AT carnivaloftheliberals DOT com before 11:59PM EST next Monday.

The Carnival of the Liberals also needs hosts for future carnivals, so if you're willing to be a host, please sign up!

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Effing Blogger

…finally seems to be back up again—after being down, then up, then back down—which is good, because drinking myself into a stupor to stop myself going berserk was increasingly sounding like a good idea, and also because I can now direct you here and then here, so that you can vicariously experience what an absolute wankstain Tucker Carlson is outside the confines of a television studio, as if you'd ever expected any different. (H/T Angelos and Shayera.)

Couple of new posts below, and I'll get some more crap posted ASAP.

Contingent on Blogger's cooperation, of course.

You might think I would spend the time while Blogger's down being productive and writing a blog masterpiece, but you'd be wrong. I can't write when I'm externally irritated, as opposed to irritated by that about which I'm writing, so I was just fucking around, doing shit like watching a video of the 1990 Men's Aerobic Championships (gayest. video. evah.) and desperately wishing there were a peppy, gay, potential men's aerobic champion inside me waiting to get out, instead of Divine.

My Beloved Inner Gay.

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I have only one question for Eric Boehlert (or whomever wrote the headline for his excellent piece). When, exactly, did Michelle Malkin have any credibility? That's not to say she hasn't been a highly successful shill, professional racist, and conservative It Girl, but she's never had any credibility with, uh, people who themselves have credibility.

Perhaps this seems like a pointless exercise in pedantry, but I quite loathe conferring on people like Malkin the presumption of a lost credibility when we should be pointing out she never had any in the first place. John McCain has lost his credibility. Malkin never earned the reputation she lost, but was handed disproportionate attention by conservatives because she's a useful tool—and has since done nothing but increasingly underline her own manifest unfitness as a public intellectual. That's not a loss of genuine credibility. That's just pulling back the curtain.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Strangers With Candy

Though the faces may have changed, the hassles are just the same.

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Question of the Day

Shaker Mom of E's is a physician who is soon moving into a new office. She's a general internist who wants to make her office feel inclusive of and friendly toward everybody, and wants to reach out particularly to the LGBT community to let them know there's a supportive doctor in the area. So…she emailed me and asked if I'd ask the Shakers what advice they have for a doctor to make her office feel welcoming. What makes you feel comfortable in a doctor's office?

And LGBT Shakers, is there anything you can recommend, based on good or bad experiences?

(Has anyone ever used a local Pink Pages directory to choose a healthcare provider? I used the Pink Pages all the time in Chicago, just to make sure I was giving my money to LGBT-friendly businesses.)

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Seriously. McCain Should Not Be President.

Because saying "I'm not sure what the point would be" in response to an inquiry about raising taxes on the wealthy to help pay for the war is demonstrative of either an obdurate personal avarice disguised as aw-shucks ignorance (likely) or unmitigated abject stupidity (more fun to illustrate).

Either way, the contemptible old duffer needs to shuffle his pathetic ass off to a much-needed retirement in Arizona, where he can sit on the patio of his semi-detached independent senior living cottage all day writing Memoirs of Bush's Geisha, and where a sun-baked brain can serve as an excuse for any further such wanton idiocy.

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Recently sanctum-snubbed Harriet Miers is to be replaced by "widely respected Republican lawyer Fred F. Fielding as White House counsel this week." F-Cubed is "widely respected" for having served as Counsel to Reagan from 1981-1986 *cough* Iran-Contra *cough* and as Associate or Deputy Counsel to Nixon from 1970 to 1974 *cough* Watergate *cough*.

Sounds dreamy.

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Bérubé says farewell. And so does Kevin Hayden.

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Oh, Wingnuts!

Your kooky outrage never fails to amuse me! Your delightful delirium, charming churlishness, and insolent ignorance blend and swirl to create a potent cocktail upon whose merest fumes I can get sublimely drunk, tumbling helplessly over my own trail of bubbling giggles.

"To actually put the rainbow colors on such a sacred symbol for the Christian is an affront to the faith of not only the early church believers, but those of us who know that homosexuality and its colors have no place representing historical Christianity that upholds holiness and morality, very highly." — Phil Magnan, the Director of Biblical Family Advocates, miffed at the outreach by the diocese to the gay community

Doodz, we totally need to start a band. Homosexuality and Its Colorettes. Who's game?

...with Shakes on Big Gay Piano!

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Another Pitcher, Please

I see that the current Lieberman burps will be pleasantly cherry flavored. Not only is Joe practically jumping up and down on the couch in his enthusiasm to be hand-in-hand with McCain and Bush, he's also taking a cue from Tony Snow and saying unbelievably callous crap:

In words that should trouble any Democrats counting Lieberman in their camp, Lieberman was praising Bush as a “great leader” for bucking American opinion, as expressed in the 2006 election, in his determination to double down in Iraq. Lieberman then said something incredible:

Even those opposed to the surge, he said, “ought to at least let us try it.”

The worst that could happen,” he continued, is that this policy could become another partisan flashpoint in Washington.
Well, thank goodness. I thought each and every one of these new soldiers in the "surge" coming home dead was the "worst that could happen." What a load off my mind.

"Partisan Politics"- Worse than dead Americans. Worse than dead Iraqis, too.

(Energy Dome tip to Atrios.)

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I was standing in front of a full-length mirror with my leg stretched out, modeling at its end for my own consumption the left half of a pair of kelly green steel-toed Doc Martens knee-highs I had just bought, in spite of their outrageous price tag. "Girl, those boots are hot!" came the voice from beside me. This was St. Nate of the Perfectly Shaped Eyebrows, my coworker and friend, who would, one day, find himself at my parents' house in the suburbs racing through their kitchen as I screeched, "Get the baking soda!" to help put out a fire I'd started on their deck with the grill. But today he was admiring my boots. And admiring me.

"God damn, look at you!" He pulled my shirt from the back so it clung to my form. This was not a look I felt was particularly good for me, even in those thinner days, and I pushed his hands away, squirming and frowning at myself in the mirror. He raised an eyebrow and frowned back, then turned me around by the shoulders, away from the mirror.

"Bitch, be fierce…"

* * *

Nate was one of many people who fall under the "T" in LGBT who have been important to me in one way or another, many of whom have played vital roles in helping me understand and appreciate my queer-brained self, and sort out what it means for me to be a woman. This is, quite obviously, no coincidence. Being myself a person who is, like many non-trans feminists and queers, uncomfortable with, and thusly constantly challenging, the expectations imposed on my sex and gender, I have found it valuable (and, in my personal experience, inevitable) to engage with Ts as part of divining my own self-definition. Which is to say nothing of simple and precious friendships.

The thing about getting together with a group of friends which includes straight, gay, bi, asexual, and trans men and women is that you're almost guaranteed to have every gender variation in the room and thusly no easily divided gender groups. The group may split into smaller clusters that talk about kids, or sports, or politics, or film, but the divisions aren't drawn by sex; the ladies-in-the-kitchen, gents-watching-the-game sort of thing is totally, completely, hilariously inoperable. And when you have a group of friends like that, you tend to forget that there are people who don't believe a man can learn something about being a man from a woman, or a woman can learn something about being a woman from a man—a man who loves men same as you, or a man who used to be a biological woman, or just a man in a dress, like St. Nate.

It was with deep dismay and sadness that I read on various blogs (Piny has a good round-up) that a comments thread at I Blame the Patriarchy had disintegrated into a rather nasty referendum on transgenderism.
"You want to know how men can hurt women? **chuckle** You’re joking, right? Oh wait. I’m supposed to believe men in drag are women. And if you put on a werewolf mask, will you also expect me to believe you’re a werewolf?"

"This is about what all this nonsense amounts to. In short, trans are nutjobs. The bathroom is about the last place I want to be alone with a male nutjob. These unfortunate, but seriously disturbed individuals belong on the 5th floor in a straight jacket. Not in a women’s bathroom."

"I’d like to take a piss in a public can knowing for a fact there are no boys in there whining 'I was born in the wrong body' for fucksake, insisting I refer to him as 'she.' Phobic? Hardly. Resentful that women lose yet another space of their own? You betcha big time."
Et cetera. Ugh and ick and blech. I would pity such ignorant twits if they weren't also so disgracefully hateful. (Twisty responds here and here.)

Amp has an excellent post Responding To The Feminist Anti-Transsexual Arguments, to which I have nothing theoretical to add, though I will reiterate my estimation that rejection of pluralism veers dangerously close to the inflexible dictates of the dominant culture feminism means to change, and express my personal regret that there are feminists who have yet to see transgendered women and men as the natural allies they quite rightly ought to be.

Realistically, the breadth of allies in a comprehensive challenge to the patriarchy is vast and varied. Though all of us, sans rigorous philosophical exertion, are hapless conduits for every limiting and oppressive archetype upon which the patriarchy depends, conveying the bars of our own cages, very few of us are its unconstrained beneficiaries. Even the average straight, white, middle class American man exchanges privilege for severe limitations on his personal expression and emotional life—and he is encouraged never to examine that devastating trade-off too closely, lest the veneer on the alleged bargain prove thin enough through which to see. We all serve the same callous master, and there's little to celebrate in being the favored slave—especially compared to a life of freedom.

It is foolish to believe that there is more feminist non-trans women and the Ts don't have in common than that which we do. The universalism of experience as a woman just falls all to pieces when I think of, say, Barbara "Mother O'Pearls" Bush—like me, a straight white married woman, but with whom I have approximately nothing else in common—and then, say, Brynn Craffey, who is both FTM tranny and friend. Babs and Brynn are also both mothers, but I daresay Brynn won't contradict me if I presume to guess that doesn't make him feel a particular kinship with Babs. The world is just a crazy place like that. And in my small corner of it, I will never understand by what measure, truly, I or any feminist woman interested in expanding the scope of Who We Are Allowed To Be should not be an ally to Ts. There is none that I can conjure.

* * *

…Nate stood back and looked at me. "The hair, the fucking indigo eyes—I'd kill for those eyes!—the cheekbones, the tits—my god, those tits!—the ass, the 'tude…no one brings the 'tude like you do. Honey, you've got it."

So I did. I had a lot of other stuff, too, that Nate left out—things known as "flaws." But fuck it, I thought, as I turned back to the mirror. Since when has darkness meant there's no such thing as light? I looked at myself again not through a prism of external expectation, but with my eyes alone. The crushing weight of Everyone Else's Opinion was gone. I felt beautiful—not in a slamming-dress-and-perfectly-executed-hair-and-make-up way, which is itself a distinct kind of allure to which I am particularly ill-suited, being unfit in both manner and form for couture, but in a je ne sais quoi way, compared to no standard or expectation, and offering as its only alternative an absence of the beauty specific to me.

I had what I had, whatever it was, and that was that. Anyone who wanted me to measure up to a measuring stick I hadn't given them was going to be shit out of luck and sorely disappointed.

And so they are still.

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