January 22, 2007
"The Kennedy inaugural was the single . . . speech that brought me into public life. Those famous words 'Pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.' That's what it has meant to me to be a Democrat."
- Sen. Joe Lieberman
I second that. Though I was not born when that speech was made it was the one that most influenced my early (and former) identification with the Democrat party.
Unfortunately, the commitment to "the survival and the success of liberty" has been absent from that party's national identity for some time. And it's not likely to return anytime soon.
January 19, 2007
There's a piece up on NRO showing how relevant the show is to today's events. A good read.
"I cahn't wait to spend more time with zee cute fuzzy Llamas!"
At the end he gets in a nice dig at Shrillary:
"[Hillary Clinton] was impressively presidential in her studious, almost censorious, waycarefully attired in deep red, her tone competent, severe and ready to take on all comers.Heh.
Yet she also was the kid we know from high school: the one who claims to be the only adult in the 11th grade. Sometimes they are cheered. Sometimes they are booed. Sometimesand this is the worst fatethey get laughed at silently."
January 18, 2007
Hugh Hewitt says it best:
I would love to hear why losing in Iraq would be in the national interest. And I would love to hear the humanitarian justification for leaving Baghdads civilians to the tender mercies of the murderous militias and terrorists that stalk that city.But don't you dare question their patriotism.
And I would also love to hear Democratic leaders respond to these poll numbers. But I wont hold my breath.
One particular word makes it NSFW, so if you have headphones this would be time to use them.
h/t: Nick Schweitzer
But I have to say that I really don't understand why so many viewers are compelled to tune into "American Idol" week after week to watch what - IMO - is nothing more than a version of "The Gong Show" that actually takes itself seriously.
It almost seems that there are two kind of TV viewers in the world - those who enjoy watching other people being embarrassed and humiliated and those (like myself) who not only take little pleasure in this but actually feel a certain level of discomfort in watching things that have such a high degree of "the wince factor".
To me, that's what "American Idol" is all about. And I really don't get people who like this sort of thing. Yes, in the end there is an excitement about the competition of the finalists and the eventual winner. Viewers seem to pick contestants like horses and root for them for as long as they're in the race. But if that's the really satisfying part, why not just start with the finalists - those who clearly have the talent to make the final cut? Why show the ones who by any objective standards have absolutely no qualifications to be in this competition. Just to torture them on national television? Do the people who select them to audition for Cowell and Co. have a streak of sadism in them that borders on the sociopathic?
Newsweek online has some observations from a correspondent that just earned the "AI" assignment who had never really watched it before. Here is part of his assessment:
'I was stunned by the shows casual cruelty, and Im not talking about Simon Cowells famous tongue-lashings. Obvious rejectsthe sad, deluded, tone-deaf dreamerswere permitted to hang themselves for a full, painful minute or two, even though their awfulness stopped being funny after about 20 seconds. The first featured auditioner of the night, a sweet-looking blonde girl from Minnesota named Heather, who wasnt awfuljust ordinarily untalentedcrumbled to her knees after the judges sent her packing and began begging, Oh, please, please , then walked away sobbing. Watching her, I felt physically uncomfortable, like an uninvited guest in her house, invading her privacy. I kept thinking, Which part of this is supposed to be fun?'He goes on to describe how rejected contestants are often shown trying to unsuccessfully push through the wrong door to escape this humiliation, as if to confirm the person's ineptitude. Sounds pretty awful to me.
Look, I don't mean to criticize the fans of the show. But for a while I was beginning to wonder whether or not I was being too harsh on "AI", not having really watched all that much of it. But the piece above kind of reinforces what I had suspected about the show - that the bulk of this phenomenon is centered on taking an hour out of one's week to stop and watch the talent show equivalent of a nasty car-wreck.
I'll continue to pass on this.
Lorie Byrd offers another perspective on the early smackdowns:
"[Simon] Cowell is sometimes incredibly rude, but what makes him really different from most on television is that he tells people the hard truth as he sees it, without apology. Today childrens sports are often played without keeping score, lest one team have to lose. In a world where it is not uncommon for each and every child on a sports team to get a trophy so that no one is made to feel left out, Cowell provides a breath of politically incorrect air. He reminds viewers that not only can everyone not win, but that everyone does not deserve to win."Point taken. However, it doesn't make it any easier for me to watch.
January 17, 2007
Surprise Chimp Born In Lousiana Sanctuary, despite all the males having been snipped!
Now managers at Chimp Haven are planning a paternity test for the seven males who lived in a group with Teresa, a wild-born chimpanzee in her late 40s who had the baby girl last week.
Workers have started collecting hair samples from the chimps for testing. Once they identify the father, it's back to the operating room for him.
"Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty humans!"
Last week, I announced the impending conclusion to the Ex-Donkey Blog. That hasn't changed, but at that time my future in the blogosphere was in limbo.
However, I'm pleased to announce that after intense negotiations (they generously asked, I gratefully accepted) that future is now clearer. Upon the formal moth-balling of this site in two weeks time, I will be signing on as an associate (if erratic) contributor to The Llama Butchers.
Steve and Robert have cleaned out one of the guest rooms at Orgle Manor for me with the only stipulation being that I have to clean my own bathroom. Actually, it's similar to an arrangement I made with my parents right after I graduated from college. I hope I'll be better about the bathroom thing this time around.
This is a welcome opportunity for me to continue to post when the urge strikes me without having the duties of maintaining my own site. It should be a blast. If you haven't already, update those bookmarks and links today.
Well, unless he's going to say it's bullshit, whatever it is can't be good.
This is encouraging, however:
"It's not accurate. It's wrong," White House spokesman Tony Snow said regarding media reports suggesting that Bush would agree to mandatory emissions caps in an effort to combat global warming. Such caps could require energy conservation and pollution curbs.And, of course, another blatant lie from Al-Reuters:
"If you're talking about enforceable carbon caps, in terms of industry-wide and nation-wide, we knocked that down. That's not something we're talking about," Snow said...
..."We'll have a State of the Union address in a week and we'll lay out our policy on global warming," Snow said when asked whether British Prime Minister Tony Blair had persuaded Bush to agree to tougher action to combat global warming.
U.S. allies such as Britain and Germany have pressed for a new global agreement on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012. Bush withdrew the United States from the protocol in 2001, saying its targets for reducing carbon emissions would unfairly hurt the U.S. economy.Kyoto was never ratified by the Senate, who voted it down 95 to ZERO in 1999 - under Clinton's watch. Bush simply called a spade and spade and spelled out why. You can't withdraw from a treaty you've never entered into.
He could easily have passed the buck to his predecessor and all those Senators, but that's not what leaders do.
The President did withdraw from the ABM treaty in 2001 (and rightly so since one of the parties no longer existed). So it could be that Al-Rueters is just being lazy. Either way, it's disgraceful reporting.
January 15, 2007
Just in time to see the "Previously, on 24..." clip.
And today is Talk Like Jack Bauer Day.
You can bet your bottom dollar I was talking like Jack Bauer from 7:30 on.
And for what it's worth, the writers of "24" just reaffirmed what I always knew about the show: NOTHING is off the table.
I'm off from work, it's raining outside and the wife and kids are nagging for something to do. My name is Gary the Ex-Donkey. And this will be the longest day of my life.
But it's also Talk Like Jack Bauer Day.
You probably think I can't go a whole post talking like Jack Bauer. Well, you're wrong.
This morning I awoke to find orange juice on floor in front of the fridge. I immediately headed to the living room and tied my six-year old to one of the easy chairs with duct tape. I looked him in the eye and told him, "You're going to tell me what I want to know about that orange juice. It's just a matter of how much you want it to hurt."
"Tell me who you work for!" I yelled.
No response. It was then that I noticed that the Wiggles were on the television just over my shoulder. He hadn't heard a word I said.
My wife asked me what the hell I was doing. "Dammit, I don't have time for this", I screamed. "We need paper towels - NOW. Tell me where they are!"
She told me they were somewhere under the sink. I instructed her to upload the information to my PDA immediately. She just rolled her eyes and began peeling the duct tape off my son.
"Gary," she said. "Listen to me, we have to get these kids out of the house today or they'll drive us crazy."
"You think I don't know that?!?" I shot back. "Look, I think we should head over to the Maritime Center in Norwalk this afternoon. I know that the kids like sea creatures, so that should pacify them. I'm not sure if they're open today because of the holiday so I'm going to need you to hack into their mainframe and find out what their hours are. We don't have a lot of time. Do it NOW!"
I tended to the orange juice spill while she went logged onto her work station.
"Well?", I called to her. "Are they open?"
I raced into the computer room. "Dammit, tell me if they're open!"
"Yes, they're open. Normal hours." she said.
"You better pray that this information is correct. There are thousands of lives at stake. Not the least of which are yours and mine."
"Whatever, Gary." she said, "I'll start getting the kids ready".
"Do it fast!" I yelled, "We're running out of time!"
January 12, 2007
I've seen all prior seasons only on DVD or through repeats shown on "A&E". And the most I've ever had to wait between episodes is one day.
Can I handle once a week? What choice to I have?
And I'm all the more "Jack"ed up to watch the show this season because of these guys.
Two-hour premiere Sunday night at 8pm on FOX (followed by two more episodes Monday night).
Jack Bauer kills a man with his jaws. Jack Bauer kicks ass!
Meet Goliath! Egads.
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Aw, c'mon. This woman has put in thirteen years including service in Kuwait. She's a married mother of two.
And she's hot.
Gentlemen, I think we need to show some solidarity for Michelle. Let's make the February issue sold out by next week. Who's with me?
And for what it's worth, if you're a Battlestar Galactica fan Tricia Helfer is also featured in that issue. Just throwing that out there.
I have been to the mountaintop. And it is good. :wink:
January 11, 2007
Chris Dodd is Joe Biden without the stunning personality.
I can visualize the conversation with his associate in the Senate later today: more...
I don't have all the data about the current situation in Baghdad and Anbar Provence (few do). But it strikes the right tone in my mind.
Implementing this plan offers no guaranty of victory, but the Democrats' alternative can only guaranty defeat. It's the only thing they understand.
As far as I'm concerned, only one of these choices is acceptable. Give our men and women what they need, remove the unnecessary restrictions on the rules of engagement and let them do their job. Period.
January 10, 2007
Effective February 1, 2007, I will cease posting to the Ex-Donkey Blog. No, Im not kidding.
Why, you might ask? Well, the reasons are many and Ive had a lot of time to reflect on them. Thats why the title of this post is The Long Goodbye. Ive written it and rewritten it and tweaked it and rewritten it again for some time now, trying to express myself as accurately as possible without being overly sentimental. Also, the goodbye isnt final for another few weeks.
So, if you care to, sit back, grab your favorite adult beverage of choice and read on more...
January 09, 2007
Go on, click on it. You know you want to.
Really, with Bush's override-proof veto power and a one-seat majority in the Senate, the Dems are going to have a pretty difficult time passing any kind of meaningful legislation. So the next two years are going to amount to merely impeding and harrassing the President wherever and whenever possible.
That's where Fielding comes in:
It's hard to imagine a more experienced choice than Mr. Fielding on the subject of executive power. As deputy White House counsel from 1972 to 1974, he witnessed the modern low tide of Presidential authority as Richard Nixon was besieged by Watergate. And as Ronald Reagan's counsel from 1981 to 1986, he had to cope with a Democratic House that unleashed special prosecutors on the executive branch.So let Rep. Henry "Nostils" Waxman and his merry band of litigious buffoons take their best shots.
The "independent counsel" law has happily expired, but this Congress will be looking to assert itself in particular on war powers. Mr. Fielding understands the importance of fighting off such poaching--for the sake of Mr. Bush and the Office of the Presidency. This ought to mean recommending that Mr. Bush veto any weakening of last year's law on military tribunals, as well as resisting any further delegation of executive power to the judiciary for approving warrantless wiretaps of al Qaeda.
The question of responding to the avalanche of subpoenas will be more politically delicate. Congress has every right to conduct oversight of the executive branch, and the White House will be obliged to supply numerous documents. However, the principle of executive privilege is vital to Presidential decision-making, and preserving the privacy of that deliberative process will be one of Mr. Fielding's primary tasks.
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