Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chris Wallace's Moment of Constitutional Brilliance - NOT

Wallace: ..."I have to say I'm not sure Barack Obama really is the President of the United States because the oath of office is set in the Constitution and I wasn't at all convinced that even after he tried to amend it that John Roberts ever got it out straight and that Barack Obama ever said the prescribed words. I suspect that everybody is going to forgive him and allow him to take over as president, but I'm not sure he actually said what's in the Constitution, there."

Later in the clip, he says "Well, again we're wondering here whether or not Barack Obama is the President of the United States. They had a kind of garbled oath, it's just conceivable that this'll end up going to the courts..."

Of course, he was just probably joking.

Meanwhile, over on Earth B, John McCain flubbed it about six times, the Democrats made some jokes and Chris Wallace accused them of being unpatriotic and bringing a lack of candor to a solemn occasion. Then he shot Brit Hume because he thought he was a robot.

(H/T Crooks & Liars)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2008: Now the Hard Part

As someone who was happy to support and vote for Barack Obama, I don't plan on catching most of the inauguration hoopla today. I didn't see the concert, didn't watch the speeches, and don't really want to watch the swearing-in, prayers or other spectacles we've laid out for the occasion. I guess I'm just not a real fan of pomp and circumstance, but that may be because I'd rather we skip the preliminaries and just go straight to work.

And what work awaits! After the last 8 years of disasters suffered, created and exacerbated by the Bush Administration, the 44th President has a lot on his plate.

He has the current financial crisis, which, as anyone can tell you, cannot be fixed by flipping a switch or changing a President.

He has two wars to handle, one savagely underrated, and one horribly mismanaged.

He will have the aftermath of those wars as well, provided they are brought to an end on his watch.

He has to figure out what to do with those incarcerated at Gitmo - some of whom genuinely belong there or somewhere similar, some of whom don't, but all of whom deserve better treatment through the law, regardless of what they may have done or which side they were fighting for.

He has rogue states aplenty to deal with, and may not have much time to sit back and analyze the secret files before having to use them. Just today North Korea announced it's 'weaponized' plutonium, which may be another lie from their Dictator, or may actually be true this time. And lets not forget Iran, though one hopes its own people can be counted on to solve that problem through their ballot box, however fettered it may be.

He has education in need of another overhaul after "No Child Left Behind."

He has a FEMA to fix, a Fed to take in hand, and a balance to strike between finding ways to power our country and preserve its wildlife.

He has a looming problem: once the economy starts to improve, the price of gasoline will rocket back up to where it was - possibly even higher. He will have to find a way to balance the two out, somehow, or at least shepherd us into a workable alternative to the mineral slime we've been hooked on for the past century or so.

And we have the climate, worst of all. Global weirding is seen all around us, but now at least we can have people who will tell us the truth, rather than being silenced by an Administration too beholden to oil cartels to act on it.

So yes, he's got all kinds of work to do. And as I said in an earlier piece, none of these things are things he can do by himself. It will take all of us, in one way or another, both as Americans and citizens of the world, to accomplish.

Party today and tonight if you will. But tomorrow we're going to have to wake up, take something for the hangover and realize we might not have a lot to celebrate for the next few years.

But it'll make the next party a lot sweeter for having rolled up our sleeves and accomplished something together.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Time to Say Goodbye

In which we bid a "fond" farewell to Bush and company, their friends, and some of their enemies. Goodbye, good riddance and good luck to the lot of them.

Full story is at Op Ed News, here

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Eight Years in Eight Minutes on Countdown.

"When archaeologists dig this up they'll either laugh or cry" - 'Jock-o-Rama,' Dead Kennedys.

(HT to Crooks and Liars)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not a Number, But a Free Man

Patrick McGoohan has died, age 80, after a "short illness." He was receiving work offers right up to the end, not "out to pasture" at all. He was Danger Man, Dr Syn, Edward Longshanks, that judge in "Time to Kill" and the scientist from "Scanners."

He was also Number Six, from "The Prisoner" - the momentous, thought-provoking and controversial cult sci-fi/action TV show that he both produced, wrote for and starred in. When people talk about McGoohan in ages to come they will invariably remember that first, I think. And not without good reason.

While possibly a sideways extension of his role as John Drake in "Danger Man," the Prisoner was something entirely different from the spy shows we'd seen before. It was philosophy disguised as crazed 60's psychedelic science fiction, and a libertarian critique of socialism, all wrapped up with danger, action, thrills and a glaring central question: what does it MEAN to be free?

While the show may have made some strange detours over its run, we never strayed too far from that question. A calvacade of "Number Twos" all marched in, episode after episode, trying to make McGoohan's "Number Six" submit and behave, but they never succeeded in doing anything more than stymieing his attempts to leave, and ultimately just making him more determined to escape.

The end of the show is its most controversial aspect. Those who were expecting an easy answer to the question "who is number one" didn't get it, and even those who were aware that they'd be getting something different may have been put off by the surreal nature of what was seen. But the ending, while it can be criticized for its OTT strangeness, cannot be accused of art-wankery or insane pretension.

It can only be called "open to interpretation," which was, one expects, the ultimate goal. Fans of the show will be discussing what took place for ages to come, perhaps never fully agreeing on everything, but at least understanding that Number Six achieved his goal. He got out alive, and free.

(Or did he?)

It's kind of ironic that McGoohan has passed away, now that a remake of The Prisoner has just wrapped up filming, and will premiere this year. Will it be anywhere as thought-provoking, controversial or flat-out fun as the original?

Only time will tell. But I think, to succeed, the remake will have to take the old idea and make a new show out of it. Trying to totally replicate the original can only fail; we've already been in and out of The Village and learned its big secret - it's time for something new.

On that note, we bid farewell to Patrick McGoohan. He showed us all the need to be free, though not how to get there. That, much like "The Prisoner," is something we have to figure out on our own.

So farewell, dear sir, and thank you. Thank you for the inspiration and the frustration. Thank you for some of the best sci fi television ever (Which you can watch here). And thank you for the most deadly (and creepy) use of a weather balloon ever devised.

Be seeing you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

okay, maybe LJ isn't about to catch fire and sink under the waves. maybe.

As has been reported, we had staff cuts at LiveJournal Inc. this week. Early media reports seriously exaggerated the impact of the decision on the continued existence of LiveJournal as a company and misrepresented the scope of the staff cuts. The cuts were part of a restructuring that shifted global design and product development to the LiveJournal office in Moscow. Product decisions for the English-language site will still be made in the U.S., and LiveJournal Inc. remains headquartered in San Francisco. You can read more about the reasoning behind the restructuring here.

The restructuring is done with an eye to the future to ensure the long-term viability of LiveJournal as a business. As a team, we know that LJ has a great future as it prepares for its second decade. We recently invested a considerable amount on all-new server equipment and a facility in Montana to house it all as part of our commitment to the longevity of LJ. We will be around for years to come and we're committed to ensuring that your journals, friends pages, and communities will be, too.

As with any of these kinds of decisions, it's always hardest to lose valued team members. We're very sad to see our colleagues go and want to acknowledge all the hard work, dedication, and love they've given LiveJournal over the years. They will be missed. While they are no longer a part of LiveJournal Inc., they are still a part of the LJ community.

From here. But do you believe it?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

There's rockets in from Lebanon (whistle whistle whistle whistle)

I guess some idiots couldn't leave well enough alone.

Is this Hezbollah, or someone else trying to hide behind the line to make trouble and pull Israel's attention away from Gaza? Is this the first indication of a wider war, or the start of one?

We'll just have to see how this plays out. Israel had better finish things up soon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Israel: The Big Question No One Wants to Answer

At what point will it be considered acceptable by the international community for Israel to defend itself against terrorist attacks, and take the fighting to the front door of its sworn enemies? How long must Israel be pushed before it can be allowed to push back?

Full article here, at OpEd News

Livejournal: Did no one see this coming?

Looks like we're seeing the start of the breakdown.

If LJ goes under I will be very upset. It's a very user friendly way to keep in contact with numerous friends and family, and create new social groups. Myspace and Facebook just aren't the same.

I guess the free ride couldn't last forever, though.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Senate, with Jokes

Al Franken has won the recount, and is now the next Senator of Min... Men.. er, how do you spell that state again?

"After 62 days, after the careful and painstaking hand inspection of nearly 3 million ballots, after hours and hours of hard work by elections officials and volunteers across the state, I am proud and humbled to stand before you as the next Senator from Minnesota.


"I also know that this was a hard-fought victory, and that I didn't win the support of every Minnesotan. I'm going to have to earn it by being a Senator who fights for every Minnesotan, whether you voted for me or not. And I want every Minnesotan to hear me say: I work for you now. And I will work hard to earn your confidence."

So, how long before we hear Bill O'Reilly freak out?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Part Two

Here's part two of Tom Tomorrow's wrap-up of 2008.

November 25th's entry is made of ultimate WIN.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

matt smith? who?

Okay, I never heard of the guy. But I never heard of Eccleston or Tennant before they got picked, either. Sooooooooooo... we'll see : )