Another classic set of New Rules from Bill Maher. I especially liked his rant on mustard and the part where he suggests that President Bush is a crazy person...and provides a video clip and a few other examples to prove his point.
Tongue-In-Cheek: April 2007: Archives
April 29, 2007
April 25, 2007
Another great piece by the Daily Show. In this clip, John Oliver explains the actions of the President to blindly support Alberto Gonzales and other members of his administration. The strategy is basically this..."If Congress continues to question the President; he will unleash his army of idiot-geniuses". This is a must watch because it’s such a simple explanation for the frequently counterintuitive behavior of the Bush administration.
April 23, 2007
Despite the widely held belief that last weeks testimony by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee was an embarrassing disaster, the President continues to be his most loyal supporter. In fact, the President stated that the Attorney General "answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer". The New York Times has an update on the President's position with regard to his embattled Attorney General.
WASHINGTON, April 23 — President Bush said Monday that the Congressional testimony of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales last week, roundly panned by members of both parties, in a way had “increased my confidence in his ability to do the job."
Mr. Bush has repeatedly asserted his confidence in Mr. Gonzales, a longtime adviser, as criticism has mounted over the dismissals of eight United States attorneys.
But his statement on Monday was his first direct comment about Mr. Gonzales since the attorney general appeared before the committee, and it was at considerable odds with an overwhelmingly critical assessment of his testimony by members of both parties. It indicated that Mr. Bush, at least for now, has concluded his attorney general can weather the challenge to his leadership at the Justice Department, barring any evidence of wrongdoing.
That challenge had seemed all the more daunting as of Sunday, when Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the committee whom both sides view as a barometer of support for Mr. Gonzales, appeared on “Fox News Sunday" and said, “The attorney general’s testimony was very, very damaging to his own credibility," and that his continued tenure was “bad for the Department of Justice."
One senior Republican Congressional aide at work in Washington on Monday, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, called Mr. Bush’s statement that his confidence in Mr. Gonzales had grown after his testimony “curious"; another senior Republican aide asked, “Was he watching the same hearing as everyone else?"
“I will stay as long as I can be effective, and I can be effective," Mr. Gonzales said in response to questions about his plans.
Mr. Gonzales said he needed to spend time on his priorities, like combating terrorism, drug abuse and the danger to children from the Internet.
So I guess we can conclude that the Attorney General and the President will continue to ride the same horse they've ridden since 9/11 and at virtually each and every bump in the road. If the 2006 midterm elections were a barometer on the voting public's acceptance of this familiar rhetoric, one would think they might craft a new message.
“If the attorney general’s hearing performance increased the president’s confidence in his ability to lead the Justice Department, then he’s setting the bar fairly low," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in a statement on Monday.
"The attorney general broke no law, did no wrongdoing," Mr. Bush said. "And some senators didn’t like his explanation, but he answered as honestly as he could. This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence."
And, if Mr. Gonzales were to step down, officials argued, it would wrongly lead the public to conclude that he had done something wrong.
They sure wouldn't want the public to think that anyone in the Bush administration would do anything wrong...and more importantly they wouldn't want to admit as much. Actually, my own preference is that Gonzales remains Attorney General. I think from a strategic perspective, he does the Democrats more good remaining in office and there is little reason to believe that his replacement would be any better. I've come to expect the status quo for the duration of the President's time in office. That being the case, every misstep should be a welcome benefit for the opposition.
Since I doubt little will change between now and January of 2009, I thought I might as well have a little fun at the Attorney General's expense. It was evident from the hearings that Gonzales wasn't going to sing...so I've taken the liberty to suggest some more fitting tunes for his next performance.
Attorney General Walking
April 20, 2007
When I was growing up and attending Catholic schools, we were taught that a child that died before it was baptized went to Limbo and remained there forever. For a number of years now, my dad has been asking what happened to Limbo because he hasn't heard it talked about by anyone within the Church hierarchy. Well, it appears that Limbo has passed away. The Church's Theological Commission (are they licensed like Realtors?) issued the ruling today.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went.
In a long-awaited document, the Church's International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an "unduly restrictive view of salvation".
The 41-page document was published on Friday by Origins, the documentary service of the U.S.-based Catholic News Service, which is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The verdict that limbo could now rest in peace had been expected for years. The document was seen as most likely the final word since limbo was never part of Church doctrine, even though it was taught to Catholics well into the 20th century.
"The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation," it said.
The document stressed that its conclusions should not be interpreted as questioning original sin or "used to negate the necessity of baptism or delay the conferral of the sacrament".
In writings before his election as Pope in 2005, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made it clear he believed the concept of limbo should be abandoned because it was "only a theological hypothesis" and "never a defined truth of faith".
Well isn't that interesting. When my peers and I were taught about Limbo, the priests and nuns failed to mention that it was merely a hypothesis or that it wasn't yet part of Church doctrine. I can't say that this surprises me because it has been my experience that the Church functions along the lines of "you better believe this or else...until we tell you that you no longer have to believe this". Would anyone care for a dish of arbitrary and capricious? I hear it's quite tasty though difficult to swallow. But then I do have a bad habit of forgetting how the notion of infallibility works.
Perhaps the Church has realized, in this instance, that fear (don't let that baby die before being baptized a Catholic) may no longer be as effective as it used to be in keeping the flock in tow. One final point...do not make a mistake and think that you can site this example for the reconsideration of other "teachings"...after all, we followers aren't privy to the inner workings of where hypothesis ends and doctrine begins.
Fortunately, it allows me another opportunity to have a little fun with Photoshop.
April 19, 2007
Jon Stewart figures out the mystery behind the President's belief that we are making progress in Iraq...for the umpteenth time. Those struggling to see the benefits of the most recent troop surge...intended to make more progress in Iraq...will quickly realize that we have actually been making progress in Iraq for a long time now. You just need to understand how progress works in the Bush administration.
April 15, 2007
No doubt that the words spoken by Don Imus were inappropriate and insulting and led to his demise. Since the situation began, there has been ample discussion about rap music and the lyrics found in much of today's music and society. Some suggest that it is simply an evolving culture; some suggest that it is moral decay.
There has also been debate about where comedy ends and racism or sexism begins and just what is appropriate and how and where should the lines be drawn. Let me be clear, I'm not suggesting that Imus is a comic and should be given a pass...I simply don't know enough about him to comment beyond knowing that his actions crossed the line.
Nonetheless, I've heard suggestions that Bill Maher, Borat, Sarah Silverman, and others of that ilk ought to be targeted and shut down. The problem is how to determine when comedy crosses the line and who should make that determination. Generally speaking, I think the public has a good sense of the lines...and Imus crossed them by attacking a specific and identifiable group...the Rutgers team. Comedy in the abstract seems to be accepted...but when it is applied to identifiable innocents, it becomes something else.
I found the following video at Bitch Ph.D. via Apostropher at Unfogged. It looks to be a spoof on country music and the war in Iraq and numerous other aspects of our society. I thought it was funny but I can certainly see how some might find it very offensive. While I'm gay, I wasn't offended by her remarks about gays...but I imagine others might be. So again, where should we draw the lines?
I would love to hear your comments.
April 14, 2007
Maher is in top form in this latest iteration of New Rules. He takes the Bush administration to task on the hiring of some 150 lawyers from Pat Robertson's law school...including the Department of Justice's Monica Goodling, who recently resigned and took the fifth in order to avoid testifying before Congress in the U.S. Attorney scandal. This is one of his best New Rules of this season. Take a look.
One of the most interesting things about this President is the fact that he frequently asserts that he is the unequivocal decider. When I hear someone use that terminology, my first assumption is that they must run an awfully tight ship...keeping underlings on short leases while dictating countless guidelines and directives. The other thing I assume is that this type of person would no doubt have a track record of success to bolster such a bold leadership style. Then I realize I'm talking about George W. Bush, and I say nah, not the case.
In keeping with the long string of contradictory examples, we learned this week that a number of key administration employees may have lost, erased, deleted, or otherwise expunged an estimated 5,000,000 emails...emails that conveniently may have shed light upon who was involved in making the decision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys and whether or not the dismissals were nothing more than partisan politics. Today, the Los Angeles Times provides some further insight.
From the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — Karl Rove and other White House employees were cautioned in employee manuals, memos and briefings to carefully save any e-mails that might discuss official matters even if those messages came from private e-mail accounts, the White House disclosed Friday.
Despite these cautions, e-mails from Rove and others discussing official business may have been deleted and are now missing.
White House officials spent much of Friday reiterating that the missing e-mails were the result of an innocent mistake. About 50 aides in the executive office of the Bush administration have used e-mail accounts provided by the Republican National Committee to keep campaign-related communication separate from their official White House business.
However, some of those RNC accounts were used to discuss official matters, including the firing of eight federal prosecutors, which has triggered investigations on Capitol Hill. Democrats contend that politics was improperly inserted into Justice Department decision-making about which attorneys should leave.
White House employee manuals distributed in early 2001 made it clear that any e-mails containing discussion of official matters should be preserved.
The instructions dwell on the importance of separating political from official acts. But they also explain that all e-mail sent "to your official account is automatically archived as if it were a presidential record." The manual adds: "If you happen to receive an e-mail on a personal account which otherwise qualifies as a presidential record, it is your duty to insure that it is saved as such by printing it out and saving it or by forwarding it to your White House e-mail account," the manual said.
OK, so at some point we're left with a limited number of conclusions when evaluating this President and his administration. On the one hand, they repeatedly ask the American public to trust their judgment and support the actions they have taken...including the war in Iraq and countless other issues. Notwithstanding, at the very same time we are asked again and again to excuse the mistakes and misdeeds of those who serve under this President. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but the odds that competence and carelessness (I'll reserve the right to amend the latter to corruption at some future point) can exist under the same roof and consistently serve the best interests of the nation are minute.
I grow increasingly frustrated with the demands to trust this administration when the actions they undertake are so often followed up with the proverbial woops; we seem to have made a mistake. Look, I realize none of us are perfect and we all fall short from time to time...but when those that lead virtually demand blind trust without accountability, something is gravely wrong.
With that in mind, I offer the following visual to summarize my impressions of this current situation and my ever increasing skepticism that this administration is competent to lead...let alone to demand carte blanche authority. I don't think I can drink any more of that kool-aid.
April 10, 2007
Jon Stewart gives Senator McCain's assessment of Iraq a reality check. Stewart apparently doesn't realize that Americans routinely walk around the market wearing a bullet proof vest escorted by twenty soldiers and two Apache helicopters.
Little Britain: Daffyd's Brother Announces He's Gay genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes
Little Britain is a sit-com that originated in the UK a few years back. Daffyd is a character on the show that lives in a small Welsh city and likes to think he is the only homosexual in the city. The following clip is from an episode in which Daffyd's brother announces that he is gay. This is classic British humor.
In the never ending chapters in the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith, a court in the Bahamas ruled today that her former lover, Larry Birkhead, is in fact the father of her daughter...Dannielynn. Why Smith sought to avoid exposing the true identity of the father may never be known...but the one person who might know...Howard Stern, the former father will no doubt seek to capitalize on his time with the troubled celebrity. After all, it seems to me that this child is the modern day version of Gloria Vanderbilt...and will always be viewed as a much sought after trophy baby.
"Everybody, I hate to be the one to tell you this -- but I told you so," Birkhead said outside the court as he smiled and threw his hands into the air.
When asked what's next, he said, "I'm going to the toy store."
A DNA test confirmed him as the father with 99.99 percent certainty, said Dr. Michael Baird, who performed the test and revealed the results to a closed session of a Bahamian court Tuesday.
The court had ordered DNA testing to determine the father of the child, who has been at the center of a paternity dispute since she was born in a Bahamian hospital in September.
Smith had publicly identified Howard K. Stern, her lawyer and live-in companion, as the baby's father and listed him as the father on the child's birth certificate.
Dannielynn stands to inherit millions of dollars from the estate of Smith's late husband, oil tycoon Howard Marshall II. Until her death, Smith was involved in a legal battle over the inheritance.
Perhaps I'm a hopeless cynic, but I can't help but wonder the fate of this child had her mother died a penniless drug addict in any of the many large American inner cities. This thing we call love is a funny and complex concept...and I think in this particular situation it would be naive if one didn't question just what it is that all of these suitors actually love. My own suspicion is that little Dannielynn isn't their primary focus. I hope I'm wrong.
Regardless, I took the opportunity to put my thoughts and opinions about this tabloid tragedy into the following graphic.
Don Imus has found himself suspended and scrambling to explain and apologize for his racially derisive remarks. MSNBC announced that the surly talk show host would be suspended for two weeks and speculation suggested that should the incident continue to garner attention, it may well jeopardize his relationship with the broadcaster.
NEW YORK - After a career of cranky insults, radio star Don Imus was fighting for his job Monday following one joke that by his own admission went "way too far."
CBS Radio and MSNBC both said they were suspending Imus' morning talk show for two weeks following his reference last week to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."
"Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word," the network said. MSNBC simulcasts his radio program weekday mornings.
Imus continued to apologize Monday, both on his show and on a syndicated radio program hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is among several black leaders demanding his ouster.
Imus could be in real danger if the outcry causes advertisers to shy away from him, said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio.
The Rutgers comment has struck a chord, in part, because it was aimed at a group of young women at the pinnacle of athletic success. It also came in a different public atmosphere following the Michael Richards and Mel Gibson incidents, said Eric Deggans, columnist for the St. Petersburg Times and chairman of the media monitoring committee of the National Association of Black Journalists, which also wants Imus canned.
It is hard to imagine how anyone...let alone someone in the limelight like Imus...would think that such a comment would not place his career at risk and lead to his being associated with the recent high profile racial ranting of Mel Gibson and Michael Richards.
I couldn't resist the opportunity to have some fun with the situation...hence I created the following satirical graphic using imagery and a memorable line from the movie Brokeback Mountain.
April 4, 2007
President Bush, in typical fashion, made a number of recess appointments of individuals previously rejected by the Senate. Granted, he has the authority to make such appointments but its further evidence of the President's propensity to ignore the opinions of others as he grows even more isolated and insolent. Today's actions mirror his intransigence with regard to the war in Iraq and his refusal to reconsider the merits of repetitive strategies that have proven unsuccessful during over four years of seemingly unwavering conflict. The New York Times reports the following:
WASHINGTON, April 4 — President Bush used Congress’s Easter break today to defy Democratic lawmakers and appoint three officials who have already drawn heavy criticism on Capitol Hill.
The president used recess appointments to install Sam Fox, a major Republican donor from Missouri, to be ambassador to Belgium; Andrew G. Biggs of New York to be deputy commissioner of Social Security, and Susan E. Dudley of Virginia to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the office of Management and Budget.
Naming the three while Congress is in recess allows Mr. Bush to avoid the Senate confirmation process. The recess appointments allow the three to remain in their posts until the end of 2008, virtually the end of Mr. Bush’s second term.
Mr. Bush’s use of the recess appointment device, which is authorized in the Constitution, was an unmistakable gesture of defiance against the newly empowered Democrats. He has previously used the tactic to install judicial appointees unpopular with Democrats and to seat John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.
While the recess appointments drew criticism, few were surprised by the President's ongoing efforts to maximize his authority, bolster the independence of the executive branch, and minimize the oversight of congress. One thing is for certain, this President will not likely alter his confrontational style and his belief that he alone is the "decider".
Notwithstanding, I took the opportunity to create the following visual to point out the degree to which George Bush has removed himself from the counsel and advice of others.