The Airing of Grievances
Thursday, January 20, 2005
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Monday, January 17, 2005
Looks like it may be a good idea to raise the kids to be morning radio hosts. Just saw where "Star", formerly of New York's Hot 97, is getting paid $17 million over 4 years to host the morning program for Hot 97's top competitor Power 105. Four million a year for a guy who played plane crash sounds effects while discussing the death of Aaliyah, and who called a woman at an Indian answering center a "filthy rat eater"? Craziness.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Can it get any worse than this?

First the Yankees.

And now this?



Just shoot me.

And while you're at it...

Please shoot Chad Pennington. He who feels others are "privileged" to write about him playing ball. He who engineered three points on offense the entire friggin' game. He who was laughing immediately following the loss. I mean really, what in the fuck is that? Laughing? That's just so completely beyond the pale it's ridiculous. Laughing? Are you fucking kidding me? Fuck. Him. Seriously. Just stick a scalding hot poker right up his ass. Fucking prick.

Please shoot Herman Edwards. Is he fucking retarded? You're kicker just doinked one from 47 yards and you basically forego trying to get him inside of 40 for the game winner? You get two fucking plays off in the last minute of regulation with all three time outs left? You do the same thing that cost the team you beat last week? Did you learn nothing you fucking moron? I mean really, move over Lieutenant Galloway, Herm Edwards just took the prize for the galactically fucking stupid. And he took it going away. Total fucking idiot.

Please shoot Doug Brien. You're a goddamn professional and you can't make one of two chances from inside 50 yards? Fucking pathetic. Actually, you may not even have to shoot him, perhaps the rest of those cats who played their freaking hearts out like Curtis Martin, like Dwayne Robertson, like Jonathan Vilma, like Santana Moss, like Reggie Tongue, like Shaun Ellis, perhaps those warriors will just do us all a favor and beat the man to death. Slowly.

I mean really, how can the Jets not win that game? How? How many things did they need to break their way to seal the deal? An interception for a touchdown? Check. A punt return for a touchdown? Check. A Bettis fumble as the Steelers are marching for a score? Check. An absolutely brutal game from "Big Ben"? Check. A huge fourth quarter interception? Check. Two field goals from under 50 yards to win the game? Check. And you can't get it fucking done? Disgraceful. Just absolutely positively fucking disgraceful.

Did I ask you to shoot me yet?
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Friday, January 14, 2005
Bush's Unpaid Bill
D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.
Are there any depths to which these jokers won't sink?

The utter lack of shame of the Bushies reminds me of some silver-spoon-in-the-mouth kid who thinks he can do whatever he wants because he's never had to face any repercussions for his actions. Ya know, the kid who gets caught blatantly cheating on an exam and then his parents come in and try to (and sometimes do) get the teacher who exposed the little cheat fired. It's always a simply glorious moment when someone steps up and without even bothering with words cracks that little "I'm entitled to whatever I want" fuck in jaw. Would be really nice if something similar could happen here without the rest of us having to pay for it.

(Thanks, Unknown)
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Aaron McGruder is Nice

Spot on. We got to do better.

(Thanks, Jay Jay)
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Makin' A Difference

Righteous outrage, like that displayed by the AofG and countless others helped keep fusspot opportunist Rita Marley from taking her late husband on an Exodus. Case closed.

(Thanks for the head's up, Uncle Leo aka Ganja Man)
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Not Even Close

Signs you know you have gone too far with your latest stupid idea:
1. London's newspapers are brining up the Nazi sympathizing of your great aunts and uncles
2. Even the Germans are pissed at you.
3. You have to make amends for your stupidity with a trip to Auschwitz with Daddy.
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Speaker of the Year

We have an early favorite. Management consultant William Fried. In a presentation to eighth-graders that Mr. Fried calls "The Secret of a Happy Life" he told female students they could earn good living stripping since it can pay $250,000 or more per year. According to one student Fried said: "For every 2 inches up there, you should get another $50,000 on your salary." So, what do you AofGers think? Sound advice? Completely inappropriate? Or something in between?

(Thanks, Kramer)
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Seriously, what is up with this weather?

Last night, I was walking around in a fog bank without a jacket.

Today, I come down to the office and it is totally pouring, I was SOAKED on my 10 block walk to work. Just 2 minutes ago, I turn around and look out my office window and now and the city looks like this:

Almost a white-out snow storm.

Oh yeah, It was 65 degrees this morning and it is the middle of January.

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My, Yahoo!

A Romanian couple, who met over the Internet, have been inspired to pay homage to the medium and name their first-born son Yahoo. Master thespian Yahoo Serious was unavailable for comment.

Not a bad concept, I wouldn't think twice about meeting someone named Lycos or Altavista. And MILFHunter Costanza has a really nice ring to it...
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A weapon like this could really come in handy for a single guy such as myself.

(Credit where credit is due - for once, Drudge posts a link that doesn't make me want to punch my screen in)
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A Truly Blushing Bride
Bank of America Corp.'s securities unit fired Andrew Susser, a top-ranked analyst and head of its high- yield bond research group, after his face appeared superimposed on a woman's body in a report sent to clients.
Methinks this is a wee bit of an overreaction on BofA's part. After all, your typical research report is usually a dull, dry regurgitation of the prevailing view in the market, why not zazz it up?
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Thursday, January 13, 2005
There are two quotes that are bouncing around my head these days:
So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of the Old Dean Moriarty, the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.

On The Road, Jack Kerouac
Contrasted with

Clausewitz's book seemed outdated, but there's a lot in it that's real, and you can understand a lot about conventional life and the pressures of environment by reading it. When he claims that politics has taken the place of morality and politics is brute force, he's not playing. You have to believe it. You do exactly as you're told, whoever you are. Knuckle under or you're dead. Don't give me any of that jazz about hope or nonsense about rightousness. Don't give me that dance that God is with us, or that God supports us. Let's get down to brass tacks. There isn't any moral order. You can forget that. Morality has nothing in common with politics. It's not there to transgress. It's either high ground or low ground. This is the way the world is and nothing's gonna change it. It's a crazy, mixed up world and you have to look it right in the eye.

Chronicles, Volume One, Bob Dylan
These two passages may mean nothing to you, but they mean a hell of a lot to me. The second one is exactly why I haven't posted on this blog in damn near a week. It has rendered me useless to describe the world as it presents itself today and has left me with such a case of writers' block, so bad that I can't tell you. I read it on a flight from Palm Beach, back to New York, last weekend, a transition from sunny irresponsibility back to a cold, unsatisfying real life, where I work at a job that I hate, in a city that I love, at a pace that is getting too fast for me. Depression is genetic in my family and I'm in the full swing of the seasonal affectedness disorder that some of us go through this time of year. I always thought the weak suffered from such problems, until two years ago when it dawned on me that I was among the weak.

But Dylan's words slapped me upside the head and have affected just about every thought I've had since. I had to read them three or four times to get exactly what he was saying, but once I got it, I realized that he managed to articulate, in paraphrasing Clausewitz, exactly what I've been thinking for about 3 months. Imagine that. You listen to Dylan 15 years and you don't get it until now. You think for the longest time that the most personal thought he had for you was "I'm not the one you want, babe, I'm not the one you need" or "You just want to be on the side that's winnin'" and, just like that, he beats the shit out of you with a few sentences that tell you that the moral code you always assumed would make sense of the world for you is garbage and you can't trust it and it leaves you unable to cope.

But you read the Kerouac passage, and you find something to believe in. Because that's what Dean Moriarty was to me. He was this iconoclastic vision of a post-Eisenhowerian God, living his own code, drinking until the wee hours, fucking wherever he saw fit. Do we have that? Is there room for someone like that in America right now? I don't know. Kerouac was a drunk with a severe Mother infatuation, so I'm not going to treat him as gospel. But like Salinger and Kesey, he's one of the few authors who I can say changed my life. So, his optimism resonates. Kerouac got the joke. He understood the backstory of power just like Dylan does. His wistful thoughts of a Moriarty are in the same vein as mine, as I wish for some relief from the growing repression and lies that we are fed.

It's good to be back. I promise to join the ranks of the blogging again. You may have missed me, you probably didn't, but either way, this blog is going to change. Not only will the interaction improve, but I will be improving. I've finally hit upon something I can build on for a little while and it'll be fun figuring out how the refuse we see from our government and our society fits in to one of the two camps that I've laid out for you tonight. I suspect we'll be talking more about the second, but I'm always up for something to believe in.

Finally, a special thanks to the Unknown Column. You broke me out. Thank you.
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Must Be Drinking Again

From ABC News: Ted Kennedy mangled the name of the Democrats' new star, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, calling him "Osama bin … Osama … Obama." Smooth, chubby. Real smooth.
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Harvard Hires Fun Czar
Yup, you read that right. Harvard University has hired a "fun czar" to help spice up student social life. And hey, as corny as it sounds, and man does it sound corny, perhaps the czar, recent graduate Zack Corker, isn't such a bad idea. Corker was involved in planning the festivities for Harvard-Yale weekend and apparently the bookworms did it up right. Check out what Boston Police Captain William Evans had to say of the festivities:
"It was a disgrace. I had officers come up to me and say they'd never seen an event so embarrassing. If they're going to party, that's one thing, but when they're drinking themselves into ambulances, it's a whole other thing. We're all under the impression that they're America's sharpest and brightest, but where's the common sense?"
Well, Mama Chiles always says that common sense ain't that common, and drinking yourself into an ambulance certainly is not the wisest of moves, but hey, ya gotta give the cats credit for trying, no?

Ok, all bullshit aside. A fun czar? Pathetic.
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Thanks For Nothing
Despite supporting the Red King's campaign, Kid Rock's scheduled performance at the inauguration has been canceled. Why the sudden change of heart? Perhaps the Bushies got wind of this ditty from Rock's debut album:
Pimp of the Nation, I could be it
As a matter of a fact, I foresee it
But only pimpin' hoes with the big tush
While you be left pimpin' Barbara Bush
Personally, I always did think Babs had a fat ass. So, for once, I really can see where these cats are coming from. Well done.
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Unfortunate Headline

By now, you've probably heard the news about the former female placekicker for Colorado University, Katie Hnida, who claims she was raped by one of her teammates. Ya know, the same girl who school president Elizabeth Hoffman tossed under the bus by defending the words of players who allegedly referred to Katie as a "cunt." According to Hoffman, "cunt" very well may have been used as a"term of endearment." Well, Katie's back in the news and NBC chose a rather unfortunate way to headline her story. Have a look for yourselves:


(Thanks, Mighty)
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Lively Up Yourself

And move those creaky bones.

You are one of the greatest pop musicians of all time. More than that, though, you are a patron saint of your native country - A country whose future you helped ensure by taking a two bullets because you were going to play at a rally for democracy.

Now your widow wants to exhume your body and move your ass 3,000 miles from your chosen final resting place. Worse than that, she claims that Africa was the most important thing in your life - Bigger than your family, bigger than your music, bigger than your love for Jamaica - who you helped to create and a majority of whose population showed up for your first funeral.

I guess that Jamaica wasn't willing to "compensate" your widow enough to just leave you the hell alone. Truly an appalling development that outstrips even the worst that Yoko Ono could come up with.
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Dahlia Lithwick lays the smackdown on Alberto Gonzalez and the Bush administration for being little big men. Here's the opening:
"The problem with Alberto Gonzales' Senate testimony yesterday wasn't that he was a weasel who refused to answer straight questions: Such conduct is de rigueur at confirmation hearings. The problem with his testimony is that it highlights the most toxic aspect of the Bush administration—its willingness to be 'brave' only in private."
And while were on the topic of the Gonzalez confirmation hearings, I'd be remiss if I did not give Joe Biden his props. In his typical no nonsense fashion, Biden went ahead and called bullshit where bullshit needed to be called. Specifically, in response to Gonzalez' disgraceful cop out that he did not want to provide a legal opinion as to whether the conduct at Abu Ghraib was criminal, due to ongoing prosecutions, Biden chastised him like a little boy:
"As the attorney general, you're responsible to tell us now what your judgment is on what the law means. It is your obligation now for us to be able to assess your judgment -- your legal judgment. You're in no way -- as you implied to two of the questioners, you're in now way jeopardizing a future case. That's malarkey, pure malarkey. So we're looking for candor, old buddy. We're looking for you when we ask you a question to give us an answer, which you haven't done yet. I love you, but you're not very candid so far."
Spineless insecerity. Is anyone even remotely surprised?
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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Jayson Williams Coming Back to NBA?

Update of 9/04 post : He's playing his first CBA game tonight. Wonderful.

According to this report, Jayson Williams has been training and may make a comeback to the NBA. Last we heard of Williams he narrowly escaped some serious jail time for shooting and killing his limo driver with a shotgun while drunk. You may recall that among the evidence that was not heard during Williams' trial was this:

“Prosecutors say the second incident occurred at Williams' mansion just six months before Christofi's shooting. Williams allegedly bet houseguest and former pro basketball player Dwayne Schintzius $100 that he could not drag Williams' Rottweiler guard dog from the house. Schintzius pulled the dog outdoors, but instead of paying up, prosecutors claim, Williams shot the dog twice, killing and "almost decapitating" it, and then pointed the gun at his friend, telling him "get this f---ing dog off my porch or you're next."
Sounds like a helluva guy this Williams. Glad to see him getting a second chance. Somehow I think neither the dog nor the limo driver feel the same.
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Bringin' The Heat
AofG Allstar Unknown Column hits Cozmo high and tight with some Big-Unit level heat when he laments the death of righteous rage.

Good stuff and worth a read.
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Gross Waste of Taxpayers Money Dept.

In Nassau County, a joke like that can get you locked up.

I can't believe that taxpayer funds (court time, prosecutors time, police time) is being used to go after some guy who told a 50 year old joke in a line. Oh, did I mention that Nassau county has been insolvent for over 10 years now, and things got so bad that New York State felt it had to create an independent oversight committee to make sure they didn't screw it up any more. Good to see county officials still have thier priorities straight.
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Who Needs The Super Bowl Shuffle ...

...when you can have "Falcons Fever!?" Willing to wager a pretty healthy chunk of change that Mike Vick and the rest of the Dirty Birds did not endorse this thing. Atrocious.

(Thanks, Mighty MJD)
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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Alright, I just saw something that made me throw up in my mouth.

Mastercard's new commercial features a guy calling a girl over and over after meeting her in the club, and then talking about how coverage against overage charges on your cell phone bill was priceless.

Mastercard must think that you can be bamboozled. That you have a short memory. That you would forget all about Nikki in the 310. That you'll forget who's a big fuckin' bear, man. That you don't know how to kill the bunny. That we'd forget who was so fuckin' money, he doesn't teven know it. Mastercard banked that you would want a constant commercial reminder of the most painful 2 minutes in the history of cinema.

Mastercard guessed wrong. I mean, the guy standing outside the club is calling "Vicky" over and over again. Hell, the guy even looks enough like Jon Favreau that I got close to the TV to see if it was Favreau that sold out. Thank God he didn't.

Not even close, Mastercard. Did you think that you could shill your product with a Mikey LOOKALIKE?!? No way man. I'm out. All VISA and AmEx for me now. Call ya never, Mastercard.

Mastercard's ad execs should be dragged by bumpers up Madison Avenue and publicly flogged for this one. Totally and completely disgraceful.
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According to the Roanoke Times, "Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan" weasled his way into a rodeo show in Salem, Virginia the other night by representing that he would sing the national anthem. Once there, he informed the crowd in broken English that he supported the war on terrorism, and then launched into the silliness in earnest:
"I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards. And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq." Then he took off his hat and sang what he said was his native national anthem. He then told the crowd to be seated, put his hat back on, and launched into a butchered version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that ended with the words "your home in the grave."
Unsurprisingly, his routine didn't go over too hot. According to one witness: "If he had been out there a minute longer, I think somebody would have shot him." Well fortunately, nobody did. Because this "man wit da chocolate face" gets a kick out of his shit. And if you don't? Clearly, you're just being "racialist."

Seriously though, it really baffles me that some folks don't think this guy is funny at all. Yeah, I can see how the stuff can get old after while, but to just flatly believe the show is completely unfunny? Must be the same folks who get a kick out of the atrocious Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I mean I understand humor is subjective and all, but really, what's not to like about a guy making a complete asshole out of folks?

(For an inside look at how Ali-G gets in the door go here.)

(To see his graduation speech at Harvard go here.)
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Castration Sounds Appropriate
Check out this article. Then do a couple of elementary calculations. Then tell me you don't think this guy should suffer the same fate as Cozmo's dog. Sheesh.
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Rickey Being Rickey

As expected, the NY Tabs took Randy Johnson to the woodshed today. And unsurprisingly, it turns out the Unit's not the first high priced Bomber to have problems with the press upon arrival. Check out the anecdote on Rickey Henderson here. High comedy.
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The Stupidity Defense
Haven't heard one this rich since former major leaguer Pedro Guerrero's
attorney argued that Pedro's low IQ prevented him from understanding that he had agreed to a drug deal. From azcentral.com:
Washington Redskins Sean Taylor's attorney used the old "my client hasn't been asked to say the alphabet since the fourth grade" and the "alphabet is kind of confusing" to get Taylor off on a drunk driving charge. As part of a field sobriety test after being pulled over by a state trooper in Virginia, Taylor, who refused to take a blood alcohol test, struggled with reciting the alphabet and was arrested.
Both men were acquitted.

(Thanks, Mighty MJD)
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Signs You Are Not Getting To Work Today
As if the LA rush hour weren't bad enough, the tony residents of Malibu had to deal with this view this morning on the main road into town.

A 25' diameter boulder blocks Topanga Canyon Rd.

Seems the Earth is indeed starting to fight back. First with a 9.0 earthquake that kills over 150,000 people, now three straight weeks of torrential rain have brought on deadly mudslides on the left coast. Seems the entire town of La Conchita was swallowed up in a mudslide. Bad times for those guys.

But good times for skiers at AofG approved ski resport Squaw Valley who are reveling in about 15 FEET of fresh powder over the past few weeks. Check out some sweet pics of the festivites here, here and here. Watch out for avalanches, dudes.

The only ongoing good news is that unlike idiot Hollywood producers, nature has decided to spare the Big Apple her wrath to date. Knock wood.
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Monday, January 10, 2005
The Kid Was Pretty Scared

So said one witness concerning the latest mayhem from hockey parents in Massachussetts. You may recall that about 4 years ago one hockey dad was killed at the hands of another. Well now, we don't have two fathers going at it, but rather a dad attacking one of the 8-year old players. From the Boston Globe:
"A Swampscott father has been banned indefinitely from attending local youth hockey games after witnesses said he grabbed an 8-year-old around the neck and cursed at him following the boy's on-ice shoving match with the man's son."
Man, I find it very surprising that this didn't escalate into another father versus father brawl. While I don't have any children, I would imagine that if a grown man aggressively put his hands on my 8-year old boy we'd be having some serious problems. Totally unacceptable.
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The TD Celebration That Fox Did Not Want You to See

There's comedy, there's high comedy, there's downright freaking hilarious comedy, and there's the folks at the station that brings us such wholesome goodness as "Who's Your Daddy" playing the morality card and refusing to show replays of this.
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Welcome to New York

Looks like Randy Johnson and The Apple are gonna be a perfect fit. Just check out the video here.

(Thanks to the Costumed Vigilante for the heads up.)
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The Sensitivity Police Strike Again
Apparently during rush hour in Boston the other day, a train attendant decided to add a little color to his warning to folks standing in restricted areas. As reported in the Boston Globe:
"The train attendant then stunned passengers by adding that, if passengers 'wished to commit suicide, they should consider using the Tobin Bridge. It's easier and less messy.'"
And what did the attendant get for his sound advice? Disciplined.

Listen, I hear the whole, "you don't know how many passengers may have lost somebody as a result of suicide" line of reasoning, but really, is that enough to kill the guy here? Now, of course, he could have given a more appropriate warning (and I'm sure he typically does), but do we kill him for adding a little personality and humor to the deal? Seems silly to me that we do. Just seems to be yet another manifestation of the pussification of America. Sucks.
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Wrong Number
Pretty funny.
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Yet another pox on the Red King's house. From the NY Times:
Armstrong Williams, a prominent conservative commentator who was a protégé of Senator Strom Thurmond and Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, acknowledged yesterday that he was paid $240,000 by the Department of Education to promote its initiatives on his syndicated television program and to other African-Americans in the news media.
And rather than providing you with some good 'ole AofG Red King bashing, I'll turn the reins over to conservative wonder boy, also known as the Spawn of Lucianne, Jonah Goldberg: "[The agreement] is stupid, it is unseemly, and it is tacky." In other words, it's typical.

(Thanks, Mr. Kaplan)
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Trash ...
... all around on this one. Missouri lost a Supreme Court appeal today over its decision to bar a Ku Klux Klan group from a highway litter cleanup program. In the Eight Circuit opinion that was upheld the court ruled that:
"Missouri's desire to exclude controversial organizations in order to prevent 'road rage' or public backlash on the highways against the adopters' unpopular beliefs is simply not a legitimate governmental interest that would support the enactment of speech-abridging regulations."
And hey, why give the Klan such a hard time? Just listen to their lawyer, Robert Herman. According to him, the Klan wants to do its part in community service and to express "solidarity with the community." Presumably, Mr. Herman is partial to hiding behind white sheets like a little bitch as well, because if he isn't, I really wonder how the man can live with himself.

In any event, I gotta figure it'll be a sad day for many in the Show Me State when signs are hanging up on the highway thanking the KKK for their help. What will they tell the children?

(Props to the following 10 states that have indicated they will pull the plug on the economically beneficial volunteer trash program rather than partner with the Klan: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont.)

(Thanks, bcg 11)
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Here's some truly reprehensible stuff courtesy of the Freeper Creatures (in the comments under the article). All-star Griever BobbyP passed it along with the following note:
"It's just sickening. I can't even comprehend that callousness and heartlessness of some of these people. Websites like that are just breeding grounds for hate and the trashing of any and all tolerance. It's so terribly frustrating to me that there are people that narrow minded out there, and that they are spreading.
Agreed. And what makes matters even worse is that such an astounding level of stupidity and hate simply begets more hate. No way to avoid. Is what it is. Sad.

(Thanks, BobbyP)
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Sunday, January 09, 2005
Jack Bauer For President
As usual, the incomparable Frank Rich's latest piece, in today's Times, is a must-read. Rich points out that the only ones who seem concerned with the very real threat of a terrorist attack on American soil these days are purveyors of fiction:
This show is having none of President Bush's notion that Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror." In "24," the central front of that war is the American home front, not Mosul. "We weren't thinking of the war in Iraq when we came up with this story," said Joel Surnow, the show's co-creator, when I spoke with him last week. On "24," they're thinking about Islamic terrorism instead of Baathist insurgents, about homeland security instead of the prospects for an election in the Sunni triangle.
By common consent, 2004 was the year that Jon Stewart's fake news became more reliable for many viewers than real news. As 2005 begins, we must confront the prospect that a fictional TV action hero is more engaged with the war on terror than those in Washington who actually have his job.
Makes you feel safe, don't it?

On a related note, I just finished watching the two-hour season premiere of "24" - twenty minutes in, I wanted so badly to turn it off and forget about this season, what with all of the melodramatic dialogue that neatly ties up missing information in one or two lines (the rage-inducing absence of Elisha Cuthbert was explained in a sentence), the frustrating "you-just-missed-him" cliffhangers, the horrible acting, and, well, the rage-inducing absence of Elisha Cuthbert .

But you got me, Fox. Uncle. Bravo. You gave me that sweet pap that I need in my life and I can't wait until tomorrow night's episodes. The addition of Kim Raver wasn't a bad move either. Almost makes up for what's really missing this season.
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You've All Been On Double Secret Probation For The Past 25 Years
It seems that Dean Wormer may have lost the battle vs. the Deltas at Faber in 1961, he and his progeny are winning the war.

While the fraternity house and its bizarre behavior were for a long time looked at as harmless fun, in the post-pc environment on college campuses frats have made an easy and convenient target. Fraternities are all-male, seemingly anti-intellectual and (some are)mostly white societies which eat at the liberal craw of many in higher education. A rash of house closings and inhibitions on fraternity behavior has broken out around the country, and it has hampered fraternities so much that the lovable frat boy is now at best a punch-line and at worst an endangered species.

Have you seen this man lately? I think not.

The New York Times Magazine, forever 3 years behind the times, explores the war against fraternities in a long, but interesting article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, a gay ex-frat boy who gave us NYTM's controversial look at teen hookups. Denizet-Lewis does a good job of tracking some of the absurd logic used to justify the persecution of the Frat Boy.
- That if you prevent college students, even if they are of age, from drinking in in frat houses, they are going to find a way to party and get hammered anyway.
- That statistics on the subject and the impact of the crackdown are laughable at best (My favorite is the Harvard Study that said in colleges with fraternities, binge drinking incidents at frats outnumbered those outside frats 2-1, ever hear of selection bias, chump? - I guess they've quit teaching statistics at the Yaaad).
- That, in direct opposition to their reputation, many fraternities in the 1990s and 2000s are some of the most integrated groups on college campuses.
- That early adult men are going to act like savages, with or without fraternities - however, in many cases, fraternities provide a positive outlet for some of that energy by focusing it on community service and the preservation of traditions.
He even throws in a pretty detailed history of the evolution of fraternities in the United States to boot.

I think, however, that Denizet-Lewis glazes over the most pertinent issue in the war on the Fratboy - insurance and liability lawsuits. Fraternity evens, although responsible for about 1% of alcohol related deaths on campuses, make a convenient target for lawyers as they are institutions sanctioned by the university, and in many cases hold assets in the form of property and endowments. Moreover, the affiliation to a university or college allows the plaintiffs in a case against a fraternity to name its sponsoring college or university as a co-defendant. Liability mitigation is the number one reason for university crack-down of fraternities, as opposed to limiting embarrassment in front of Mayor Carmine DePasto.

The question, then, comes down to, what is a fraternity to do if the what is a fraternity or a fratboy to do if the school is coming after them? While jacking up a 1961 Lincoln Continental and crashing a homecoming parade may have had great success in the past, it seems the answer today is, "Not much". Universities have control over the life-blood of most houses, financial aid money for housing. If the university cuts of the frat house, it's only a matter of time until they become insolvent and disappear completely.

Regardless, he does nail the issue at hand in his last paragraph:
For me, the ideal fraternity would somehow combine the strengths [several Northwestern fraternity chapters], it would stress integrity, character and leadership. But it would also be a place where fraternity boys are allowed to be fraternity boys, however unseemly and absurd their choices may appear to the rest of us. Without that, the redesigned American fraternity may be no more balanced than the one that was scrapped in the first place.
Right. Couldn't have said it better myself.
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Friday, January 07, 2005
AofG Props
To the men responsible for putting out this fire. From what I understand, cats put is some pretty heavy hours over the holidays in order to keep this situation under control. Not the most enviable way to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, huh? But it does look as if their hard work has paid off and that everybody is safe. Perhaps now they can finally get to spend some quality time with their loved ones. Well done fellas.

And an extra hearty shout-out to AofG all-star Puddy. He was right down there in the mix getting things done. Welcome back, buddy. We missed you. Here's hoping that the missus did too!
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Not Cool
And you wonder why folks are down on the NBA? After playing a game against the uptempo Phoenix Suns -- widely recognized as the most entertaining team in the League -- Tracy McGrady basically said that the Suns' hustling style of play forced him to dog it. From the lazy bum's mouth:
"You're just glad every NBA team is not like that. I've never been so tired after a ballgame. I've never seen a team that gets you back on your heels when you make a shot, I mean every time you make a basket. We're not used to that. Sometimes you make a shot, or you make a run, and you have a tendency to relax and jog up and down the court. Those guys get the ball out and they're gone. They're coming up our backs."
Poor, poor, Tracy. The Suns actually made him (or at least tried to) do a little bit more than "relax" and "jog." The horror.

By the way, McGrady is paid about a cool $15 million a year for his services. That breaks down to a little less than $200,000 per game. And you expect the guy to hustle? C'mon now. Don't be silly.

(Thanks, Mighty MJD)
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This is Sad
It appears as if India's "untouchables" -- the lowest of the low in India's ancient caste system -- are being forced out of relief camps by higher caste survivors and being denied aid supplies. How assbackwards is that? Depressing.

(Thanks, Jay Jay.)
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The Answer?

This is so incredibly rich. The hip-hop magazine Ozone reached out to a couple of groupies to get the inside scoop on some of the purported playas. Here's a snippet:
What’s your story?
I had a one-night stand with Allen Iverson. He was recording his album and I happened to be at the studio. One of my homegirls was into one of his homeboys. There was four bitches there and he was like, "I wanna fuck somebody for the night."

Why you?
Iverson told me he picked me ‘cause I was the only one "not up under his ass."

How was it?
He has the littlest, ashiest dick I’ve ever seen. It’s like, nonexistent. He looks like he should have a pussy. And it’s dry. I would give him four inches at best, and skinny.
Ouch! Perfect for a Friday afternoon. Enjoy.

(Thanks, Bigapplebro.)
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Good Sign That You're Sub-Human
Getting turned in by a hooker. Disgraceful.

Speaking of hookers, turns out "Alexander The Great" is quite a fan. From the NY Daily News:
Colin Farrell doesn't mind paying for sex. Or talking about it. "It's like ordering a pizza. Someone comes around, you spend an hour, you have a smoke with them afterwards.... I've never been with a prostitute I haven't been completely polite to and treated like a human being."
Warms my heart.
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Isn't That Precious

Washed up tennis starlet Anna Kournikova's parents are suing her for what they claim is their share of her $5 million waterfront home. Why am I not surprised? I mean really, is there a more consistently dysfunctional family unit than tennis divas and their parents?

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Ignorance is Bliss
Some New Year's foolishness from Ann Coulter. An excerpt from her interview with the New York Observer:
On black conservatives: "During the gay-marriage debate, these black ministers would come on TV and say things no white conservative would say. ‘Sodomy? You’re going to burn in hell for that!’ And I realized to my delight that if we can get blacks to be conservatives, we have an entire race of Ann Coulters. They do not care about politically correct. It would be so much fun. And they are conservative! I’m going to specifically appeal to them. I decided it’s the only free speech I’m willing to give this year. I will go to a black church and talk about gay marriage. The brothers aren’t big on queer theory. The four groups most opposed to gay marriage are blacks, Hispanics, old people and blue-collar workers—i.e., the four pillars of the Democratic Party."
Be sure to catch the stuff on violent liberals, Iraq, Slick Willy and why 2004 was a great year. Rich.
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Thursday, January 06, 2005
Makgatho Mandela R.I.P.
Nelson Mandela's eldest and only surviving son passed away earlier today. In a move that his poltical adversaries called "a courageous step", Mandela publically announced that his son's death was AIDS related. From his statement:
"Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and to say somebody has died because of HIV. And people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary," said a frail-looking Mandela, surrounded by his grandchildren and other family members.
As Cozmo noted, "the problem of the perception of AIDS in Africa cannot be underestimated." In the wake of his son's death, Mandela is furthering the struggle to change that perception. Once again, he's taken his personal tragedy and pain and tried to use it to create positive societal change. A truly amazing man. AofG thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.
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It's Completely Ridiculous ...
... that garbage like this even makes it before a judge. Some assclown is suing NBC for $2.5 million because he allegedly became physically ill while watching an episode of Fear Factor. From the complaint:
"To have the individuals on the show eat (yes) and drink dead rats was crazy and from a viewer's point of view made me throw-up as well an another in the house at the same time. NBC is sending the wrong message to its TV watchers that cash can make or have people do just about anything beyond reasoning (sic) and in most cases against their will."
Hey jackass, here's a suggestion: change the fucking channel.

In any event, I would love to see the court step up here and sanction this guy's attorney. Unfortunately, it'll never happen. Guess when you start letting folks recover millions of dollars for spilling hot coffee on themselves, just about any type of complete and utter nonsense is fair game.

(Thanks, Kramer.)
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The "hits" keep on coming for the oh-so-talented Ashlee Simpson. The NY Daily News offers up a proper front page smackdown.

Absolutely positively love it. Wonder what type of meltdown she's going through. Good times.

Oh yeah, in case you needed any more reason to despise the Simpson Sisters, check out the quote from their father Joe here.

By the way, nice to see the News readers stepping up. Hopefully all you Grievers are as well.
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I dropped my puppy off at the vet this morning, and in an hour, some guy in a surgical mask will chop off his newly developed manhood. Yeah, that's right. I'm having him snipped up.

In my mind, I know this is the right thing move for him and his life will be better because of it. His puppy hormones were starting to get out of wack - and the longer you wait to neuter a dog, the worse it is for him. The timing is right, if you will. I also know some other things:
I know that un-neutered dogs get attacked by those that are neutered ad the dog run, and most dogs are fixed - a plus.
I know that he won't want to pee on every pole he sees anymore - Thats a big plus.
I know that he won't go as crazy when he sees his girlfriend Lola anymore - Another big plus.
I know that he won't want to hump his buddies Baxter, Milo and Henry's faces anymore - A HUGE plus, if for the embarassment factor.
I know that he'll never have the chance to roam the open fields, plowing every dog in sight (as long as I live in Manhattan), so why drive him crazy in the interim - that an humane decision plus.

However, the other side of the arguement (espoused to me by my doorman last night) is much more simple and effective - "Yeah, but still."

I mean, he's got no more balls - That hurts. Hell, I even balked at the extra two C-notes for neuticles (Check out the flash animation...nice).

But, it's too late now. So Grievers, what do you think? Did I do the right thing for the puppy? Or is Cozmo a heartless cheap-prick hypocrite? Sound off in the Comments.

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Tucker Carlson and television are his targets. Here's a snippet:
"In a bar fight, no 35-year-old man with a bow tie has friends. Especially not a smart-aleck closet case like Carlson. You would be hard-pressed to find an American who would not leap to his feet to cheer the sight of Tucker Carlson getting his teeth kicked down an alley, which I suspect is the reason CNN picked him to be their champion of conservatism. He is a patsy and a fraud-the kind of public personality totalitarian regimes used to nurture for years in order to execute for a lack of orthodoxy at some opportune historical moment much later on. That MSNBC hires him thinking they're getting the real thing, a big ticket to red-state ratings, just shows how clueless that network really is."
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The More Things Change ...
The NAACP is calling for a federal investigation into the death of a black college student, Lavon Jones, following a scuffle with four white bouncers outside of a Bourbon Street nightclub on New Year's Eve. Apparently, things jumped off when Mr. Jones and his friends were denied entrance to the club because they allegedly did not meet the dress code requirements. And, unsurprisingly, folks are calling bullshit on the dress code business. From a defense attorney, Buddy Lemann, not affiliated with the case:
"Someone not admitted because of a dress code violation -- that, in my mind, is very, very suspicious, because what is the dress code in the French Quarter?" Lemann said. "I mean, there is no dress code."
As I said, unsurprising. I've personally experienced the heightened dress code for blacks routine many more times than I care to remember. That's troubling enough in of itself. However, the most disturbing thing here is that the very likely racist enforcement of a bullshit "policy" contributed to the death of a 25 year-old man. While there are apparently some questions concerning the precise cause of death, and the actions (or lack thereof) of police officers who were on the scene (but, for me, a simple viewing of the disturbing video pretty much puts those to rest), it's crystal clear that an entirely unacceptable amount of this bullshit happens to black males. Fucked. Up.

(Thanks, Mr. Kaplan)
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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
It's stuff like this that makes me seriously consider quitting the human race. According to the NY Daily News, text messages offering to sell hundreds of Indonesian orphans into sexual slavery are fueling fears that pedophile rings are prowling the tsunami-ravaged region. Here's a message that appeared yesterday on the cell phone of a UNICEF worker in nearby Malaysia:

"Three hundred orphans aged 3-10 years from Aceh for adoption. All paperwork will be taken care of. No fee. Please state age and sex of child required."
Does it get any worse than that? I mean really, what kind of soulless animal must one have to be to involve one's self in shit like this? If there's an appropriate means of torture, eternal damnation or whatever to deal with these sick fucks, it's completely beyond the realm of my imagination. Appalling.
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Bombed in the City

Mr. Big has certainly seen some better days. Got captions? (Hat tips to Encyclopedia and Gawker.)
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More Oil, More Food
Last week, long-time Griever Kramer and I got into a discussion of the UN/Kofi Annan in response to Jackie's posting of a Norm Coleman editorial calling for Annan's head on a stick.

Turns out I should have just referenced this December 22 piece from The Nation, as it makes my whole "this is nothing more than politics" argument for me in a much more coherent and readable fashion. Those damn liberal pinkos and their annoying habit of pointing out a lack of evidence...ooh, they make me so mad!!
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Wouldn't It Be Nice?

To be paid. After flying her to "to this beautiful place in a helicopter on the day before Christmas Eve" and hitting her off with "honking canary diamond ring" that one witness described as "a serious rock", Seal popped the question and Heidi Klum said yes. Apparently the couple shared the news at a New Year's bash where Seal's ex-flame Tyra Banks raised her glass in salute. Tough life.

No word on whether or not the interracial couple has received any hate mail threatening Mr. Seal with castration.

(Thanks, bcg11.)
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I'm Richard Gere, And I'm Speaking For The Entire World


May favorite line from this article:
It's unclear what kind of sway Gere may have with Palestinians. One man who appeared with him in the spot said he'd never heard of Gere.

Hat tip, BrumZ at the Swamp
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Pimpin' Ain't Easy

This made me chuckle. A federal appeals court threw out a libel suit filed by Evil Knievel against ESPN for including a photo of him on their website with two women and a caption reading "you're never too old to pimp." Judge A. Wallace Tashima said the caption "was most likely intended as a compliment." And somewhere, out there Fly Guy is smiling.

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Give, Dammit!! - But Give Smart!
Here are links to a few fine institutions providing aid to victims of the disaster in Asia.

Make sure your money gets to those in need. In addition to the above charities, check out Charity Navagator for tips on how to give most effectively to Tsunami victims. (the site has been swamped for the past day with people trying to find charities to give to, so just reload if the link does not work) This is a not-for-profit service which rates charities in order of effciency vs. thier peers. Four-Star Charities are the best, so be sure to give to them if you can. Also, check out the Network for Good for a complete list of charities accepting web donation for victims.

(Cozmo assisted with this post)
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It take two hands to handle a whopper.

(Hat tip to Wonkette)
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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
High Comedy
Vin Diesel busts a move. (Thanks, Nice.)
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Must Read
One soldier's message to those criticizing the conduct of our military in Iraq. Powerful stuff.
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What will we tell the children?
NBC hasn't received any calls about the F-word that Motley Crue rocker Vince Neil dropped during the live New Year's Eve broadcast of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

"Happy f---ing New Year, Tommy!" Neil said to bandmate Tommy Lee shortly after midnight Friday.
Somewhere, entire continents of people are laughing at us.

(Thanks to Drudge for the link)
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The Independent asks, "Could the tsunmai disaster be a turning point for the world?"
As the international aid effort grows and George Bush launches a fresh appeal, we ask politicians and commentators if 2005 might see a new determination to tackle global poverty
Kind of reminds me of my thought, after 9/11, that maybe our culture and tastes would change to reflect more serious times and reshuffled priorities. I can't say for sure when it happened, but I think it was something like a 38 days before J Lo's ass rightfully reclaimed its spot at the forefront of popular consciousness.

But, this is a natural disaster of biblical proportions. I give it 3 months before the industrialized world goes back to not giving a fuck about the impoverished.
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Sound Familiar?
Three years ago, when President Bush stared into ex-KGB thug Vladimir Putin's eyes and got "a sense of his soul", it seems that not only were US-Sovi...er, Russian relations strengthened, but management advice was imparted as well:
Russian President Vladimir Putin stripped a top economic adviser of his job as representative to the Group of Eight industrial nations after the aide, Andrei Illarionov, publicly accused the government of staging "the scam of the year" with the forced sale of OAO Yuganskneftegaz.
Illiarionov's comment, of course, is dead on the money, as Russia's reversion to its pre-1993 state continues. Although not stripped entirely of his duties as an economic advisor, perhaps he can consult with straight-shooters like Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, and Anthony Zinni on how best to use his newfound spare time.

Side note - do Putin's actions over the last couple of years remind anyone else of that Simpson's episode when Homer joins the naval reserve, commandeers a sub into Russian waters and creates an international incident?
Russian official: The Soviet Union will be pleased to offer amnesty to your wayward vessel.
American official: The Soviet Union? I thought you guys broke up.
Russian official: Yes, that's what we wanted you to think! [laughs]
...followed by pink, flowered parade floats in Red Square being exposed to reveal Soviet tanks underneath, factories churning out war materiel and Lenin punching his way out of his glass tomb, screaming "Must crush capitalism!!". Anyone?

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Civil Disobedience Tijuana Style
Las paraditas -- "the little ones who stand", more commonly referred to as street whores -- are taking a stand. After city officials ordered them off the streets, the ladies of the night decided to do something about it. From the LA Times:

"Their faces covered with blue handkerchiefs, about 200 prostitutes gathered in La Coahuila, as the red-light district is known, and twice marched across the city in a show of civil disobedience that culminated with a threat to strip on the steps of City Hall. City officials backed down and offered a compromise."
Well, I'm sure Henry David Thoreau would be proud. (Be sure to catch las paraditas' attorney's thoughts on Marilyn Monroe. Flattering stuff.)
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Take That, Jan Egeland!


I would like to know what private sector giving is in the EU, with very high tax rates an limited incentive for charitable giving.

Before people start complaining about the relative stinginess of Americans, let's start making sure the $2 billion in aid already promised is delivered to those who need it.
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Walking to work, I saw an advertisement for Joan and Melissa Rivers' move to the TV Guide Channel, and I almost messed my drawers. It looked something like this:

Yikes. All that surgery looks like it hurts them. I saw some of "Muppets Take Manhattan" last night for a little bit, and Joan has a cameo in it. I swear to you it is a different person. I wonder if they had her fingerprints lifted too? And also, Melissa, I mean, you're like, what, 35. What are you going under the knife for? Do you think having the same f-ed up eyes as mom makes you or your mother look younger?

All this begs the question, at what point do we as a society stop putting up with awful plastic surgery? What happened to aging gracefully? When does the answer to the question "Does this make me look younger?" shift from "Sure, you look great," to "No, but it sure does make you look a lot more like a Siamese Cat!"

In any case, seeing Joan Rivers in person is a truly frightening experience. I hope you never have to witness it.
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Shirley Chisolm R.I.P.

Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during seven terms in the House, died Saturday near Daytona Beach. She was 80. Here are a few quotes and an anecdote that illustrate what a wonderful woman she was:

"I ran for the Presidency [in 1972], despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo," Chisholm said in her book "The Good Fight." "The next time a woman runs, or a black, a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is ’not ready’ to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start."

During her failed presidential bid, Chisholm went to the hospital to visit George Wallace, her rival candidate and ideological opposite, after he had been shot – an act that appalled her followers. "He said, `What are your people going to say?’ I said: `I know what they’re going to say. But I wouldn’t want what happened to you to happen to anyone.'

"She was our Moses that opened the Red Sea for us," said Robert E. Williams, president of Flagler County’s branch of the NAACP.

Once discussing what her legacy might be, Shirley Chisholm commented, "I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered."
Well, we here at AofG will remember you as having tremendous guts Ms. Chisolm. Simply tremendous. R.I.P.
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I Smell A Rat
The news making its way around all the blogs is that Tom Delay and his henchmen have done a complete about face on their reprehensible positions with respect to House ethics rules. From the Associated Press:
House Republicans suddenly reversed course Monday, deciding to retain a tough standard for lawmaker discipline and reinstating a rule that would force Majority Leader Tom DeLay to step aside if indicted by a Texas grand jury.

The surprise dual decisions were made by Speaker Dennis Hastert and by DeLay - who asked GOP colleagues to undo the extreme act of loyalty they handed him in November. Then, Republicans changed a party rule, so DeLay could have retained his leadership post if indicted by the grand jury in Austin that charged three of the Texas Republican's associates.

When Republicans began their closed-door meeting Monday night, leaders were considering a rules change that would have made it tougher to rebuke a House member for misconduct. The proposal would have required a more specific finding of ethical violations than is now required.

Republicans gave no indication before the meeting that the indictment rule would be changed. Even more surprising was DeLay's decision to make the proposal himself.
Well, I'd love to shower Delay with adulation, but really, there has to be more than meets the eye here. Delay and his cronies worked damned hard to rescind the indictment rule. And then Boom!, just like that they have an attack of morality and reinstate the thing? I'm not buying it. At all.

Perhaps Delay has assurances that he will not be indicted, perhaps someone has pictures of him sodomomizing wild goats or perhaps someone stood up to his unethical ass and told him enough is enough. But for one-hundred percent certain, Delay was surely not the ringleader here simply because it was the right thing to do.
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Monday, January 03, 2005
There's Hope For Us Yet
News like this, however briefly, restores my faith in the human race. Turns out at least one Fox Broadcasting Co. affiliate has balked at airing Monday night's 90-minute special "Who's Your Daddy." Have you seen the commercials for this show? I mean really, I thought that show "The Biggest Loser" exploiting the fat people was pretty damn low, but then I caught wind of this nonsense and was like, "Wow, that's some real seventh level stuff." How folks can associate themselves with garbage like this really is beyond me. Absolutely zero shame. Kudos to this station for stepping up. Here's hoping that plenty more follow suit.
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No Snippy The Dicky
Fresh off the heels of all-star Griever Kramer noting that "men, no matter how hateful, rarely use the term 'castration'", we have news that a group of young South Africans taking part in initiation ceremonies due to include circumcision turned on their male nurse and killed him. Sheesh, sounds like somebody took his job pretty damn seriously.

(Thanks, Jay Jay.)
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Nice to see it's alive and well in the 2G5. Jackasses. (Thanks, Kramer.)
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Finally Getting It Right
Chimpy is finally doing the right thing, just a week too late. This is the type of move Cozmo was BEGGING for the President to make last week. Bi-partisan, clearly democratic in nature, and utilizing men with goodwill around the globe to help our efforts.

No word on whether or not the other remaining X-Presidents will be called into service.

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First, the Good News - Then Cozmo Rates Our Response
The good news is, aid seemed to finally be arriving to those most in need of it yesterday. All over the affected region, from Aceh Provence in Indonesia and Tamil controlled eastern Sri Lanka, to the Andaman islands. Even though, as the Indonesian head of CARE International has descibed the situation on the ground as "absolute chaos," US and other international relief efforts are reaching their targets. Although the picture is bleak right now, the world is stepping up like never before to help. As for words to discribe what is going on at the ground level in Aceh, I will turn to Seahawk pilot Lieutenant-Commander Joel Moss said from the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. "All the villagers started coming out of the woodwork, telling us they needed help. They said there were a lot more wounded people further inland up in the mountains." Clearly, people in the affected areas will be needing our help for some time.

An Indonesian man from a remote village in Aceh is carried from a US Seahawk helicopter in Banda Aceh to receive medical attention. Picture courtesy of Reuters

A few thoughts about the current aid program. Do I think the US and its people are doing enough to help? Certainly. Private people are opening their checkbooks and giving generously. Concern over the actual dollar figure donated by the US Government now is foolish. The key is that people get the help they need. In that respect, I am once again in awe of the ability of the US military (once directed to do so) to deliver. If pictures like the one above, or videos like this (click on Tsuamni Relief Arrives from 1/2/05) don't make you proud of our military, well then you are not a patriot.

My continuing issue is how distant the President's public persona about this tragedy. First off - during the first three days after the tsunami, even as evidence mounted that with was a disaster which the world had never seen, was totally unacceptable. England and France's prime ministers were in the open, motiving to help the area (if slowly), and Bush was clearing brush and riding bicycles. Also, he only authorized minimal funds be disbursed to the State Department for immediate relief, and then had his staff trumpet $15 million (less than half what will be spent on his inauguration in a month) as if it were the height of charity. This sent a message to the world that "It's really crappy what is happening in Southeast Asia, but hey man, I'm on vacation - Please leave a message and I'll get back to you later."

Then, on Wednesday, he finally roused from his vacation stupor, only to deliver a bombastic speech defending his lack of action for the first few days after the tsunami. During the speech, he upped our committed aid ten-fold. Also, as a balm, he chose to send his brother with White House whipping boy Colin Powell - nominally because of Jeb's experience with disaster relief, but really because he doesn't trust Colin Powell since he is outside of the Bush White House "Circle of Trust" (and once you leave the circle, you cannot get back in, ever). Personally, I don't dispute the fact that Jeb Bush, as governor of Florida, has as much experience in disaster relief as anybody. The problem is, the entire world is half-convinced of the idea that Bush fancies himself an emperor who inherited his title from his father. By sending his brother as his most trusted emissary - well, lets just say that it does nothing to disavow the world of its fears about Bush.

At the end of a week, we have one bizarrely worded speech from the President and numerous decisions of questionable merit. Moreover, I get the feeling that Bush is using this whole thing as a way to tweak the nose of the UN. In all, Bush's behavior has been almost entirely inappropriate.

In all, my grades for US response to this tragedy are as such:
US People - A - I didn't expect people would care this much to meek, poor people halfway around the globe. Bravo.
US Military - A+ - See above.
US President - D - Without his speech on Wednesday in front of his ridiculous "Western White House" banner, this would have been a solid F. Just failing America and the rest of the world again.
US State Department - B - Helping early and often, but clearly reigned in by the President's performance.
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Wacky and Despicable Tsunami Relief News

In wacky tsunami news - I read something about this last week, but figured it was a total joke. Turns out, I was wrong. Ornery crocodiles are terrorizing the residents of India's Andaman Islands. The likely theory is that the crocs were spooked from their hiding places in backwaters of the islands, or they they are starving because the sealife was devastated. However, locals feel differently about their reptilian friends. "We ... have received reports that the crocodiles have begun to consume bodies and that the beasts seem to have developed a taste for human flesh," said a local wildlife official. I laugh because this is very unlikely (as crocodiles are predators and not scavengers, they need fresh kills), but hey, why let science get in the way of a good ignorant crocodile scare.

Finally, it a shitbag move of epic proportions, a Canadian college student scammed some woman out of a website domain name by saying he was a charity, then he tried to sell it on eBay for $50,000 (American). For his part, the scam artist said he would donate the proceeds to charity. Whatever.

Of course, donations are best made in cash to established, reputable charities. As for our loyal Grievers, don't say we didn't warn you!
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Sunday, January 02, 2005
Sounds Like Fun
The NY Times kicks off the New Year with an investigatory piece revealing details concerning the alleged torture of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Here's an excerpt:
Interviews with former intelligence officers and interrogators provided new details and confirmed earlier accounts of inmates being shackled for hours and left to soil themselves while exposed to blaring music [of Lil' Kim, Rage Against The Machine and Eminem] or the insistent meowing of a cat-food commercial [from Meow Mix where the cat repeatedly says "meow."] In addition, some may have been forcibly given enemas as punishment.
You can find the Meow Mix commercial here. (Click on the cat with the yellow raincoat.) Listen to that deal about four or five times. Then imagine having to listen to it for hours. While lying in your own excrement. And then tell me you wouldn't have seriously considered calling it quits. Brutal.

(Thanks to slate.com.)
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Saturday, January 01, 2005
Bling in the New Year
Considering cutting back on the bling this year for fear of falling out of favor with the man upstairs? Don't sweat it. Check out what rapper Ma$e had to say a little while back:
"He don't have no problem with you blinging. God's heavenly abode proves that he's the real king of bling. His gates are pearly, his house is about 10 stadiums big, the streets are gold - you do the budget on that kind of place."
Ma$e, who briefly retired from the rap game to follow his religious calling, continues to preach in the Atlanta area.
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Happy New Year - Mine Almost Wasn't
Hope everybody had a safe and happy one. Mine was decent, but it almost got a bit ugly. So, here's how it went down. Me and my buddy Slick Willy hit up Sparks steak house to get things started. We're minding our business, enjoying some steak, seafood and booze when two fairly attractive women sit down about two tables away and, amazingly, they're alone. So, after the chiquitas have their first round, Slick Willy calls over one of the monkey suits and asks him to back up their drinks on us. Seems like a fair enough request, no? Well actually, turns out it wasn't. Monkey suit dude -- clearly a high blood pressure cat to begin with, think Sonny from the Godfather -- catches a real attitude and was like, "No. I can't do that. I know those girls. They're from my nay-bo-hood. You need anything else?"

Now honestly, I could really give a shit that he didn't want us sending them drinks. His prerogative. Whatever. (And it's really not my deal anyway. Never done it before. And probably never will. Was just being a willing wing-man for my boy.) But after a good bit of his hands behind the back, chest puffed out, staring directly at us as if to say, "What bitches? Try anything and you're gonna have trouble" routine, I was really like "You know what? Fuck this assclown already." So naturally, I started staring right back at him.

But then I got to thinking to myself, "Self, this might not be the wisest move. There's definitely some type of cats connected to this place that you have zero business messing with. The type of cats who just might lay you to rest with the fishes. So, just suck it up, let it go and enjoy the evening." (For those that don't know, John Gotti had Paul Castellano assasinated in front of Sparks paving the way for the erstwhile Teflon Don's reign as King of New York.)

So, eventually I did. Suck it up that is. Well, sort of. Regardless of the circumstances, there really is only so much of that bullshit I can take. So, on the way out, I walked directly up to dude, looked him dead in the eye, told him Happy New Year, and spat in his face.

Woulda been nice, huh? Obviously never happened. All I did was offer a couple of wise ass words and we went on our merry way. Hit up some more sips, caught a really tight impromptu fire works show on 72nd and Broadway, and watched some cat blow off a beggar and tell him that his New Year's resolution should be to "get a fucking job."
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