Friday, December 12, 2003
ART OR HATE SPEECH?
Ron Harris has this tale of free speech, hate speech, the tawdry underpinnings of the Eureka art world, broken promises, and ultimately broken dreams.
Chuck Bowden won second prize in the highly coveted Redwood Art Association's annual fall exhibit with a drawing that blames President Bush for the attacks of 9-11. A local businessman withdrew this $300 prize, although it was later replaced anonymously.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge of art is limited to one semester of Art History, and even that effort was hampered by the fact that the class began at 7:50 AM and the professor didn't take attendance, but what absolutely stuns me is that this drawing is worth MORE than $35,000.
FINALLY, IRREFUTABLE PROOF
Howard Mortman gives us his Greatest political hits of 2003, and scientifically proves beyond not just a reasonable doubt but any doubt, that he has absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
LIEBERMAN LASHES OUT
I realize Senator Lieberman was staggered by the Gore endorsement, but this is the textbook definition of a 'wild accusation':
Clinton made our party once again fiscally responsible, pro-growth, strong on values, for middle-class tax cuts, and Howard Dean is against all of those.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
COME ON NOW, DIDN'T YOU SEE SOMETHING LIKE THIS COMING?
SHEFF SURPRISE! is the NY Post headline over the news that Gary Sheffield, who was all but signed by the New York Yankees in late November, now wants just a tiny bit more money. Seriously, is it really a surprise?
The USA Today's Bob Nightengale had the inside scoop on Sheffield agreeing to a deal with George Steinbrenner, and in fact, held out on George until he got the money he wanted:
SHEFFIELD DROVE his wife's Mercedes convertible coupe to the Yankees' spring training complex. Sheffield was led around to the back entrance. Gooden and Steinbrenner awaited.
Steinbrenner gave Sheffield two options: Three years at $36 million or a four-year deal for $40 million.
Sheffield turned down Steinbrenner's offers. "If you don't get to $13 (million per year)," he said, "I'll play somewhere else."
Steinbrenner looked at Sheffield and then Gooden and pled with the latter to intervene.
Sheffield is the son of Gooden's oldest sister and the two had been like brothers since childhood. Gooden talked about the pride of being a Yankee, and the euphoria of winning a World Series in New York.
But it wasn't enough to convince Sheffield. It was $13 million a year or nothing.
"It just doesn't feel right in my spirit to take less than that," Sheffield said. According to Sheffield, Steinbrenner then looked into his eyes and said: "OK, we'll make it $13 (million), but we'll make it look like $12 (million)."
So, the deal was done, and Sheffield would be a Yankee, right? Well, THREE DAYS LATER the Atlanta Braves call, and despite verbally agreeing to join the '...Yankee family,' Sheffield figured it didn't hurt to listen to their offer.
If the guy will negotiate with another team 3 days after agreeing to a deal, is it really a surprise that he has '...reneged...' on that verbal agreement?
SHEFFIELD BONUS MATERIAL:
Here is Sheffield talking about the Yankees' chances after he verbally agreed to a deal:
"We're not going to lose, you can be assured of that...And if we don't win the World Series, everybody can come and see me first, because I'll take the blame."
Here is Sheffield talking about the Braves' chances just before being traded to Atlanta:
"They could use me. Believe me, if I go there, I'll put it down like I never had before. We'll win it. We'll win the whole thing. The Yankees won't have a chance."
(For the record, The Atlanta Braves did NOT win a World Series whilst Sheffield was playing for them.)
DOES NOMAR MEAN NO MORE TROY?
The Anaheim Angels continued to remake their starting rotation by signing Bartolo Colon to a 4-year, 48-million-dollar-contract, and now, considering the signing of Kelvim Escobar, they have grabbed two of the top free agent starting pitchers available this off-season. And they aren't done yet.
After Scott Spezio turned down a 2-year offer, at a 50% pay cut (Speez ain't Brad Fulmer), the Halos are looking for a 1st baseman, and are seemingly in deep negotiations with Rafael Palmeiro.
And on top of that, the Angels are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the A-Rod Affair. If Rodriguez is dealt to the Red Sox, the Angels are expected to try to acquire Red Sox shortstop, and Southern California native, Nomar Garciapara. There is talk that the Angels will send Jarrod Washburn to Boston for Garciapara. However, and this news is probably making Matt Welch shriek like a girl, the Angels may include 3rd baseman Troy Glaus in the deal with Boston.
While I hate to question the thinking of Angels G.M. Bill Stoneman, I can't see the value of dealing a 3rd baseman who, despite a poor season last year, has averaged 32 homeruns a season over the last 5 years. Especcially a 27-year-old who has his best seasons ahead of him.
Monday, December 08, 2003
NOW DO YOU KNOW ME?
Tad Friend has a witty piece in The New Yorker concerning the effort of former National Lampoon website staffers marketing their services on e-Bay. The first bidder was actor Richard Bottoms, who you might remember as:
“the African-American gentleman in the green suit sitting behind Gina Gershon in ‘Best of the Best 3’ who says ‘Yes!’ after she tells off the skinheads,”
Oh, sure, I love your work.
IF I MAY DUST OFF AN OLD CHESTNUT
I tried this once, and I'll try it again. I have to believe that Representative Bill Janklow (R.-S.D.) will resign his office within a fortnight. It's one thing to be charged with manslaughter but it's a whole other thing to be convicted of manslaughter.
Of course, I've been wrong before.
JOE: SAY IT AIN'T SO
If this report from the NY Times is true, then Senator Joe Lieberman's troubled campaign has been officially and irrevocably put out if it's misery. Al Gore endorsing Howard Dean immediately puts this question in nearly everyone's head:
If Senator Lieberman can't get his former running mate's vote, why in hell should I give him mine?
Prediction: Senator Lieberman pulls out of the race by the end of the year.
George Will steals a page from Dr. Charles Krauthammer in yesterday’s column, The Dean Of Shallow Thought, by simply making things up. In attempting to show that Governor Howard Dean is, basically, a nincompoop Will tells us of the Governor’s plans:
Dean promises "to break up giant media enterprises" -- General Electric Co., News Corp., etc. -- because there is "information control" that "is not compatible with democracy." Question: Given the Internet and other new media and the consequently declining importance of broadcast networks and other traditional filters of information, has there ever been less reason to use "information control" as an excuse for expanding government regulation of information media?
Wow, I had no idea that Governor Dean planned to break up G.E. and Fox, and apparently neither does the Governor. The Daily Howler already showed that Krauthammer was making up the charge that Governor Dean promised to break up Fox. The odd thing is that the Howler showed this charged to be ludicrous 48 hours before Will’s column appeared, but that didn’t stop the diminutive columnist.
Going back over the transcript of December 1st’s edition of Hardball, it’s easy to see that Governor also did NOT promise to break up G.E.:
MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE?
DEAN: I can’t-you...
MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening?
DEAN: You can’t say-you can’t ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp...
MATTHEWS: We’ve got to do it now, because now is the only chance we can ask you, because, once you are in, we have got to live with you.
MATTHEWS: So, if you are going to do it, you have got to tell us now.
MATTHEWS: Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country? DEAN: Yes, we’re going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn’t mean we’re going to break up all of GE. What we’re going to do is say that media enterprises can’t be as big as they are today. I don’t think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration.
So, maybe just making up charges to fit into what you think is not limited to Krauthammer, but has become company policy at the Washington Post.
Sunday, December 07, 2003
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE
Sometimes people love each other for no reason. Like Whoopi Goldberg.
SUCH AN EXCITABLE BOY
I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that John Cole over at Balloon Juice, does not care for this political ad for Representative Dennis Kucinich. I made this assumption, based in large part, on Cole's initial greeting to Rep. Kucinich:
Dennis Kucinich- Go Fuck Yourself, you slimy little pissant.
Wow, I thought to myself, I hope old John never gets mad at me. Ruefully, the next sentence informed me that Cole's already was a tad upset with me too:
And every Democrat who fails to disavow this ad and that man- you can go fuck yourself too.
The ad, by the way, flashes a series of names of soldiers who have been killed in the Iraq war, and says that, basically, we invaded Iraq for Haliburton, Bechtel, and numerous other companies who find themselves in the awkward position of reaping millions and millions and millions of dollars from the war after being very, very, very financially friendly to the sitting President and Vice President.
I consider myself fairly levelheaded, and more than willing to take Democrats to task when they have erred, and defend Republicans when they have not. In fact, I've caught a little heat in the past by defending Rush Limbaugh (twice), and calling some Democrats to answer for their vile diatribes aimed at former first lady Barbara Bush.
So, with a background steeped in evenhandedness, what am I to make of Rep. Kucinich's ad?
First, I think the ad is extremely powerful. Seeing name after name flash on the screen throughout the entire commercial drives home how many Americans have died since we invaded Iraq.
Second, I don't think the ad will change anyone's mind about the war, or what candidate they are supporting.
Finally, and most importantly, I do actually find the ad to be disingenuous, at best. It gives the viewer the impression that the single reason we invaded Iraq was to make President Bush's friends richer. While we will never know exactly why President Bush was hell bent on invading Iraq, as we can't see into his head, I don't think that making his pals more money was the key factor in President Bush's decision. Of course, the fact that some huge Republican contributors would benefit from the war ran through the mind of Karl Rove, and therefore the mind of President Bush, but it's too simplistic to say that was the only reason.
However, while in fact and in deed I am disavowing the ad, I am not disavowing and will not disavow Rep. Kucinich. While I have no plans to vote for Rep. Kucinich, mainly because I am fairly confident he won't be in the race when the California primary rolls around, I do like a lot of his policy ideas. I'm certainly not going to turn my back on him, or anybody for that matter, because of one misguided political commercial.
By the way, why is John Cole so profanely angry? Does he think that his pontificating is given more weight by calling the subjects of his opinions names? Al Sharpton is the 'scum of the earth', Tim Robbins is 'an asshole', Atrios is a 'loser'. Maybe it's just me, but I thought Morton Downey, Jr. died a couple years back.
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) UNBELIEVABLE!
The BCS, in it's extremely finite wisdom, has decreed that a team that couldn't win it's own conference (Oklahoma) will play for the national championship, while the undisputed number 1 team in the land (USC) will not play for the title.
The BCS would be better titled if it would remove the C from it's initials.
I SMELL TROUBLE
I'm starting to get the feeling that USC is about to get screwed out of the chance to play for the national championship. Here's a scary passage from an MSNBC story:
Several Internet sites are projecting that unless either the AP or the coaches’ poll ranks USC first and Oklahoma second, Oklahoma and LSU will finish 1-2 in the BCS standings.
Sadly, if the Men of Troy are kept out of the BCS National Championship Game, it will be the second time they have had a possible undisputed National Championship taken from them. In 1978, USC and Alabama both won their bowl games, and finished their seasons with one loss. However, Alabama's loss came at the hands of USC, and it happened at Alabama. While the UPI poll gave the title to USC, the AP gave it to Alabama.