Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Traditions

For some it's "White Christmas," for others "It's A Wonderful Life," and for still others it's "A Christmas Story." But in the Macswain house, it's ...

Thurman Merman ...

Mrs. Santa's Sister ...

"Is Granny Spry?" ...

The Wooden Pickle and the Three B's ...

and, of course, everyone's favorite Santa, Willie ...

That's right! After the kids were to bed and Santa had placed his presents around the tree, the Mrs. and I enjoyed the annual Christmas Eve viewing of Badder Santa.

Have a happy holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bush Provides Perspective to Horrible Year In Iraq

At his presser today, Bush let us know that our gripes about all the human carnage in Iraq this year needs to be placed in perspective.

Via ABC News:

Bush said that the past 12 months were a good year for insurgents in Iraq and that the next 12 months might be even better.

So you see ... you just didn't realize how good this year really was, comparatively speaking.

So quit your bitchin'.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Listening to the Generals ... NOT!!!

Remember the Bush mantra that he follows to the advice of the Generals when it comes to troop levels? While I doubt that was ever the case, the Washington POst is reporting that the Joint Chiefs are unanimous in opposition to the White House's latest idea of a "surge" in troop levels.

Read the whole thing ... in between the lines you'll find the military isn't too hip on playing the role of the honey in the Middle East's swarm of violence anymore.

Comedy Gold

"Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had."

-- Vice President Dick Cheney

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Suspend George Karl

Anybody watch SportsCenter tonight? If you did, you saw an ugly brawl in the closing minutes of a basketball game between the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets. With less than a minute and a half left, the Nuggets had their starters in the game though the we're up by 19. Why? Apparently winning wasn't enough ... they wanted to rub the Knicks noses in it.

Anyway ... the predictable occurred. On a fast break, Nugget J.R. Smith drove his shoulder into Knick defender Mardy collins and Collins wasn't having it. He wrapped Smith up hard and then let him go flying to the ground. All hell then broke loose with Nugget Superstar Carmelo Anthony engaging in the most numerous (4) and ugliest acts of aggression.

A lot of the players will deservedly be suspended. But the NBA will blow it if it overlooks the unsportsmanlike tactics of Nugget coach George Karl that precipitated the whole event.

What's Karl have to say for his Bush League antics. Sports Illustrated passes along this nugget:

"I feel bad for the league, I feel bad for the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Very poor display of respecting basketball and respecting the game in the best place in the world to play basketball."

There had previously been some bad blood between Karl and Knicks coach Isiah Thomas over the handling of the Larry Brown firing. Karl and Brown are close friends.

But Karl wouldn't talk about why he had his starters on the floor late in a blowout, in the closing minutes of a back-to-back that closed a five-game road trip.

The asshole who led the way in disrespecting basketball has the absolute fucking gall to talk about a display of disrespect without starting with himself.

By old school ethics, we all know who started this brawl ... it was George Karl.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Apparently, the DHS raid in Utah involved separating the light-skinned from the brown-skinned, even detaining U.S. Citizens in the process. TPM Muckraker has the story here.

Notice also the inhumane way DHS treats the people they ultimately believe are illegal immigrants.

If we had a humane immigration policy, most of the people rounded-up would not have had to risk life and limb to come here only toi face this type of treatment after providing hard labor for litle pay. Instead, they would have been in the country legally through a broad guest worker program that provides a path to citizenship.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CNN's Jeff Greenfield Is A Bigger Ass Than Evil Knievel

Here's what Greenfield said on Blitzer's show:

The senator was in New Hampshire over the weekend, sporting what's getting to be the classic Obama look. Call it business casual, a jacket, a collared shirt, but no tie.

It is a look the senator seems to favor. And why not? It is dressy enough to suggest seriousness of purpose, but without the stuffiness of a tie, much less a suit. There is a comfort level here that reflects one of Obama's strongest political assets, a sense that he is comfortable in his own skin, that he knows who he is.

If you want a striking contrast, check out Senator John Kerry as he campaigned back in 2004. He often appeared without a tie, but clad in a blazer, the kind of casual look you see at country clubs and lawn parties in the Hamptons and other toned (ph) locations.

When President Bush wanted in casual mode, he skipped the jacket entirely. Third-generation Skull and Bones at Yale? Don't be silly. Nobody here but us Texas ranchers.

You can think of Bush's apparel as a kind of homage to Ronald Reagan. He may have spent much of his life in Hollywood, but the brush-cutting ranch hand was the image his followers loved, just as the Kennedy sea ferry look provided a striking contrast with, say, Richard Nixon, who apparently couldn't even set out on a beach walk without that "I wish I had spent more time at the office" look.

But, in the case of Obama, he may be walking around with a sartorial time bomb. Ask yourself, is there any other major public figure who dresses the way he does? Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, unlike most of his predecessors, seems to have skipped through enough copies of "GQ" to find the jacket-and-no-tie look agreeable.

And maybe that's not the comparison a possible presidential contender really wants to evoke.

Jeebus --- comparing Obama to Ahmadinejad; that comes straight from the Republican playbook. How long 'til Greenfield is reminding us - with raised eyebrows, no doubt - that Obama's middle name is Hussein?

Kevin Drum takes Greenfield and the fashion-silly press to the woodshed. But as Digby points out, Kevin is missing an important point --- these fashion-dumps bare consistently taken by big media types on Democrats.

In unison now - What Liberal Media?

Evil Knievel Hates Free Speech

... and apparently he's quite a dick.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Prayer for James Kim

The bad news is spreading fast. James Kim has been found dead.

My wife and I - and virtually everybody in our part of the country - have been following this story intently for the past several days. While we were elated that Kati Kim and the two children were found alive, we are heartbroken with news of James' death.

On a personal note, my wife's cousin works in the Josephine County Sheriff's office and he has been busting his ass 24/7 working on the search effort. Today he is devastated. We are very proud of him and will give him a hug and pat on the back at the family Christmas party.

The Josephine County Sheriff's office and all the other great people who worked so hard on this search deserve our thanks.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tuesday Funnies

What's a righty to do? Maybe Exhume Goldwater.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How Many Times A Day in Baghdad?

Remember this chilling picture from 1979 post-Shah Iran. It won the Pulitzer Prize but the photographer has long been anonymous ... until today.

In the last day, another 50 bodies bearing signs of torture and execution were found in Iraq.

And the sides we have taken ... well our "friends", Jalal Talabani (Iraq's Presidant and one of its two top Kurdish leaders) and Abdul Aziz al Hakim (the head of SCIRI, the large Shiite faction which controls much of the South) rejected Kofi Annan's call for an international conference for ending the sectarian violence swarming over Iraq.

Apparently, since most of the slaughter is happening in the center of the country and because any conference would focus undoubtedly on a more equitable power sharing arrangement, these two strong men are quite content with the status quo.

The NYT's 10 Best Books of 2006

There's nothing worse than wasting time reading a bad book. Now that I have two lil fellas, my annual book consumption has been cut in about in half.

Over the years, I have found that the best resource for locating good books is the New York Time's Editors' choices that drops on the first weekend of December annually.

Here's this year's list:

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
The Emperor's Children by Claude Messud
The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir by Danielle Trussoni
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
Mayflower by Nathan Philbrick
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart

I'll read about half of these. The one I find most intriguing is The Places in Between, and here's how the NYT describes it:

"You are the first tourist in Afghanistan," Stewart, a young Scotsman, was warned by an Afghan official before commencing the journey recounted in this splendid book. "It is mid-winter - there are three meters of snow on the high passes, there are wolves, and this is a war. You will die, I can guarantee." Stewart, thankfully, did not die, and his report on his adventures - walking across Afghanistan in January of 2002, shortly after the fall of the Taliban - belongs with the masterpieces of the travel genre. Stewart may be foolhardy, but on the page he is a terrific companion: smart, compassionate and human. His book cracks open a fascinating, blasted world miles away from the newspaper headlines.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Quick Picks

Take USC give up 11 1/2 at UCLA

Take Rutgers and the 9 points against the Mountaineers at MoTown - WV wins by 7

Take Arkansas and 3 in the SEC Championship against the Gators

Take the Cornhuskers and 1 1/2 against the Sooners in Big 12 Championship

Take Oregon State and 8 1/2 against Hawaii in the Islands

We Got One In!

Silvestre Reyes - a man who opposed the Iraq War - will head the House Intelligence Committee.

Mrs. Pelosi chose him over Ms. Harman in part because he has repeatedly taken a more combative stance toward Bush administration policies like the invasion of Iraq, military tribunals for terrorist suspects, and the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program.

Mr. Reyes voted against authorizing President Bush to go to war with Iraq, and in June he said that the failures in Iraq “cry out for oversight.”

In September, Mr. Reyes blasted the White House’s justifications for the National Security Agency wiretapping program.

“I take very seriously our obligation to provide the president with the tools that he needs to provide for national security,” he said, “but I also reject the notion that the authorization for use of military force allows the president to ignore the Fourth Amendment and conduct warrantless surveillance on American citizens.”

Good show, Nancy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

"Serious" Thoughts on Iraq by "Serious" People

All week, we've been treated to numerous self-serving spin from the serious people about Iraq.

- Bush says not leaving until "the mission is complete." But no one knows what that means.

- Friedman says 10 months or 10 years. But the 10 year plan is a pure fantasy (or, more likely, an absurdity).

- Iraq Study Group - gradual withdrawal with no timetable. Talk about meaningless politics.

- Maliki says Iraq will take over security by June 2007. Ha ... is that deception supposed to save his ass?

None of it matters --- its as Atrios says, with Bush as President, we will be there with 120,000 plus troops a year from now. And I would add with dozens of American troops dying as we continue to babysit a Civil War.

Cracked Cedar

Holy shit!

Hezbollah turned out a protest in Beirut today with hundreds of thousands ... let me repeat, hundreds of thousands of people today.

How could things have flipped so disastorously for those of us who support secular democracies?

Oh yeah ... Olmert unleashed the Israeli Defense Forces on the People of Lebanon and their infrastructure. George Bush said, "Go get em" and turned a blind eye to the hundreds of deaths wrought down on Lebanese civilians, many women and children. Predictably the most nationalistic voice in Lebanon has benefitted.

Now we are reaping the rewards of yet another wrong-headed policy.