Thursday, March 27, 2008


This story just gets better and better:

Scandals are a Good Thing ...

Especially when they involve hookers ... but what does it mean when there are none in sight?

Ask Russia.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Say No to Douchebaggery on the Wisconsin Supreme Court

I think it's high time I chime in on the subject of the state supreme court race. I don't think I've even mentioned it once on this blog -- and I have to confess that I've done all that I can to ignore it because I figured it was going to be just as much of a clusterfuck as it turned out to be.

Now, I consider myself to be a responsible voter -- someone who weighs a good deal of research, looks at positions, the issues, resumes, etc. -- but for this particular race I did none of that. I didn't need to. I took one look at Mike Gableman's picture and knew right away that I was not going to vote for him and there was nothing he could say or do about it to change my mind. Why? Because Mike Gableman is a douchebag.

Look at him. That robe may say "Your Honor," but that smirk says "I'm a douche." And what's with the book? Did a portrait photographer just happen to catch Gableman unawares while he was studiously examining some precedent of some kind? Of course not. It's a prop. Douchebags love props. Take this douchebag, for example:

See? This asshead isn't even wearing any clothes! He's all about his frickin' props: he's got his bling, a wristband (for some reason), his community college class ring ... and, most importantly, his woman -- who really isn't anything more in this picture than an elaborate prop. Jesus, even this guy's hand is essentially functioning as a prop what with the horizontal V gesture that means something I'm not familiar with (or could just be a lazy man's "shocker").

So you see what I mean: Douchebags love props. There are so many examples of this being true I will leave up to you to find the photographic evidence. The only thing this dude's missing is an alcoholic beverage of some kind in the other hand, because douchebags have only two purposes in life: drinking beer and banging bitches. Basically, douchebags use their props to project the tools of their chosen lifestyle: "Dude, check me out -- grinding against this chick and drinking this Red Bull and Vodka! I. Am. Awesome!" Gableman's doing the same thing by holding a book he's probably never even read: "Dude, check me out -- I'm reading the law, and shit. I. Am. Awesome!"

I know a thing or two about douchebags. I even went to college with a few douchebags ... who were all right, I guess. We were just from two different places -- you know what I mean? But since entering the "real world" I've been thwarted by douchebags at every stage of my life. Take this guy, for instance:

The fact that this guys "♥ Freshman Girls" basically guaranteed that I spent my freshman year bitter, lonely and with a lot of free Friday nights. Then the dick has go ahead and rub it in my face by wearing a douchebag-approved iron-on t-shirt. And dudes like this putz --

-- would be doing the same thing if that were an issue these days. What's going on here? Some kind of affirmative action program that is enabling douchebags to copulate with younger women? Where's the justice in that?

But it's the expression on Gableman's doughy face that reveals his inner 'bag. Every time I see it I want to create a thought bubble above that reads: "I would totally nail my clerk ... if I had one." That smirk just sends my 'bag-dar off the charts like a Geiger counter at Chernobyl. I've seen that look a million times on guys who'd be at the bar back-slapping their old friends from high school and endlessly recounting the deeds of their glory days and mischievous youth ...

It's the look of a guy who has probably thrown more than his share of beads at Marti Gras in the French Quarter. It's a look that I'd expect to see on Drew, the O-face guy from Office Space, once he gets promoted to middle management. It's the look this kid's probably gonna have in a few years:
Would we elect this lil' douche to the highest court in the state? I sincerely doubt it.

There. I think it was finally time that someone just came out and said the obvious. I mean, it's plain as day ... and this is a historic election: Wisconsin's first race for a supreme court seat that features a douchebag. And since douchebaggery has been in the news on the national scene lately I thought it might help if I broke the ice a bit.

Now some people may accuse me of anti-douchebag bigotry or they might suggest that the Butler team has run a dirty campaign full of TV ads that prey on the historical tensions between douches and us normal folks. That's all bullshit. Everyone knows douchebags aren't "tough on crime," which is just a code phrase that means "douchebags" (because it's like a crime against humanity when those people get hot chicks).

Seriously, imagine what the supreme court will look like if we elect a douchebag to the bench? Will lawyers have to take questions from some guy dressed like this:

God, I hope not.

[Most pictures were ripped off from Hot Chicks With I think you'll be able to figure out which ones on your own.]

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Was this letter to the editor printed in the Sunday NW authored by the wife of a sitting school board member?

If so, wouldn't it behoove the NW to mention that detail?

Evolution & the School Board

I didn't know that the teaching of evolution was going to be an issue during this coming school board election, but apparently this person did:

If you favor continuing the teaching of Darwinian evolution in our public schools as fact by presenting only supportive evidence to the exclusion of all contrary evidence, vote for Tom McDermott and John Lemberger in the school board election. I know from first hand experience that McDermott as a school board member opposed the teaching of contrary scientific evidence. So did Lemberger. When I spoke to the school board about this issue in May 2006 Lemberger was one of the university professors who spoke against change. So if you deplore the continued indoctrination of our public school children in a terribly flawed theory about the origin and purpose of life, do not vote for McDermott and Lemberger.

Sandra Gade Oshkosh

So we have someone saying that two candidates running for school board are cool with the teaching of evolution ... does anyone else know the other two candidates positions or are we to assume that they don't support the teaching of evolution?

Just asking ...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday Link Orgy

* Good Friday done right.

* Ef is nae Scottish is crap!

* Chippewa Falls-based Lauer Custom Weaponry is a classy business ...

* Faith-based initiatives and Trinity United Church of Christ.

* Two atheists walk into a movie theater at the Mall of America ... [via David Shraub]

* ... while a third discusses Obama's speech.

* So what's keeping Hillary in the race then?

* The Penn Effect.

The Exit Door is Always Open

I have no sympathy.


This is a pretty staggering statistic:

In this country, 54 percent of former inmates re-offend and wind up back in prison. Of those who opt for education while in prison, however, only about 15 percent come back, Haines said.

Full article here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Proposed City Council & Mayor Pay Raises

Some discussion here. Thought's from a council member here.

I think Burke Tower's observation toward the end of the article is worth discussing a bit more:

Burk Tower said he commits between 12-14 hours a week to the council.

He also said with the upcoming election having two councilors running unopposed, that raising the pay may attract more people to run for, and be a part of city government.

It's worth discussing.

As for the mayor's raise, the city should seriously consider it. On paper being Mayor is only nominally different from being a council member, but as the office has slowly evolved recently it has become clear that there are an increasing number of ceremonial duties that the Mayor will be asked to perform in addition to the day-to-day work of government. Some of these duties may be considered "perks," but all are time consuming. Plus, the Mayor will likely need to serve as a point man or city representative as Oshkosh looks to market itself within (and outside) the state in the future. That will mean an additional workload.

Out of the Loop

I hadn't noticed this earlier, but it appears as if the NW is serious about revamping its online platform. All the ideas mentioned sound like a giant leap in the right direction. Feel free to stop by and give them some more suggestions. The editors deserve a lot of credit for going through what looks like a pretty daring experiment in enhancing the interactivity of the

Friday Link Orgy

* John McCain gets closer to opting for public financing of his presidential campaign while Wall Street puts its money on the Democrats, and even GOP 527s seem to be having a hard time of late, but somehow the RNC is doing better than the DNC.

* The merely mildly amusing web site Stuff White People Like has been getting a lot of flack lately, but it's also getting an outrageous advance for a book deal. We can only hope the infinitely superior Hot Chicks with Douchebags got a better deal.

* Hey, now you too can shill for your blog on the pages of the Washington Post! Chris Cillizza at The Fix is looking to round up the best political blogs in each of the 50 states and I see the folks over at RealDebateWisconsin and the BadgerBloggerAlliance have already dispatched their minions. Sorry, folks that's not what he's looking for. My guess is that and/or the Wheeler Report will win.

* Explore a lost city on your lunch break today.

* A brief look at how the war in Iraq is dissuading the next generation of military leadership in the Army and Marines from re-upping.

* Bad news for Obama? I would imagine it would be even worse news for the State Dept.

* Silly drunk people ...

* There is still an ungoldly amount of spying going on in Russia ... even in the private sector.

* Ricky Gervais might be in the middle of making one of the funniest movies of all time ... no pressure.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dirty Trick of the Day (Tomorrow's Dirty Tricks Today Edition)

The GOP vs. Obama. I thought this was rather interesting:

Some Republican operatives say trying to push the idea that Obama is secretly Muslim (or otherwise playing up his foreign-sounding name) isn't just blatantly unfair, it's also ineffective. The party's polling and focus groups show that many voters see those attacks as out of bounds, and they wind up sympathizing with Obama because of them.

Apparently the strategy would mostly concentrate on labeling Obama "inexperienced" and "too liberal," at least in so far as the official McCain campaign is concerned. God only knows what will come from independent groups.

The MySpace: Meet Twiggy

Ah, young love ...

So fragile and innocent ... so exciting and pure ... something so new that it seems to hold the secret of eternal bliss wrapped in it's mysterious folds. Why it's even been known to bring more then a few men to rhyme over the years:

If it's Youth ye seek and Youth ye find,
The public displays of affection are surly not far behind.

It's a work in progress ...

I suppose flipping through MySpace pages and expecting not to find images of kids these days slobbering all over each other is a lot like going to the mall and expecting not to find teenagers making out in the food court -- it's just not going to happen. But the beauty of these networking sites is that you can dig into the context of these otherwise anonymous relationships should you be so inclined. We tend to be a curious lot -- sometimes just plain nosy -- so, yes, we are inclined.

The young man in the picture above is an interesting fellow. Prospective fathers-in-law might want to take note because he might show up at your front door, looking to take your daughter out for a night on the town looking like this:

Folks, meet Twiggy. Twiggy's not his real name, just the nickname we settled on. His actual handle is far more frightening then the picture above: "I Love her so much 4 ever & ever." I'm serious. The "her" in question appears to be this young lad's girlfriend, presumably the gal seen above receiving soft kisses from dear Twiggy ...

Hey, would you like to see another picture of this guy? Of course, you would!

Now, I'm not really sure which one is Twiggy, but then again I don't think it really matters. They're both dressed like psychotic clowns and holding axes. Perhaps I should be a little less judgmental, but I tend to think that the only person running around with an ax in his hands should be Paul fucking Bunyon. If I'm Twiggy's girlfriend I should be running through a checklist of red flags that might suggest finding love elsewhere:

Let me see now ... wears make-up? Check. Has his own ax? Check. Obsessively declares his undying love for me. Gotcha!

Can someone explain to me which one of these variables stops making Twiggy a "serial killer" and starts making him a "keeper"?

See, Twiggy is an adherent of something called the Insane Clown Posse, which is a musical outfit that is, in fact, just as ridiculous as it sounds. Evidently, fans of this rap/horrorcore duo's music call themselves "Juggaloes," which I assume is some suburban white trash appropriation of the word gigolo, which is ironic because I can't imagine that dudes who dress up like sociopathic clowns and listen to shitty music get laid very often.

But, ladies, that's not all! Twiggy's got much more to offer. His page says he's 22 years old, but his taste in movies says he's about 13:

Dukes of Hazzard, childs play 1,2,3, bride of chucky, and seed of chucky, big money hustlers, twiztid Born tiwztid, Harold and kumar go to white castle, Beverly hillbillies, Hot shots 1 and 2, Jay and silent bob strike back,Clerks 2, soroity boys, and scary movie 1,2, and 3
Sorority Boys? I'm amazed there is someone in this world who will actually admit to having seen that movie, to say nothing of someone listing it as one of their favorites.

Anyway, Twiggy is not only a connoisseur of fine cinema but he also smokes weed. Like, a lot of weed. Judging by the recurring visual references to marijuana on his page, Twiggy smokes only the dankest weed this side of Kingston ... We get it, Tough Guy: you're a badass, you're hard-core.

We're not going to fault Twiggy for his love of herb -- hell, the only way we could be made to watch just about any of the movies Twiggy says he actually enjoys would be if we were stoned out of our gourds. In fact, Twiggy's ganja habit actually got us thinking: these social networking sites must be a godsend for computer savvy and enterprising drug dealers. Maybe Twiggy himself will someday aspire to such greatness -- provided he puts down the face paint for long enough to get a clue.

The MySpace: Getting to Know Your Neighbors

We here at The Chief have a few recurring features that we like run with from time to time, like Headlines of the Damned and Dirty Trick of the Day. We were wondering how we could expand our stable of features when it occurred to us that most of the online activity that happens in this city doesn't take place on blogs, but rather on social networking sites like MySpace or FaceBook. So we took a field trip on over to said networking sites to see what we're missing.

Apparently we've been missing quite a bit.

To remedy this we're going to be bringing you the highlights of our investigations into the local social networking scene because there are plenty of people in this city who are in dire need of a lesson on the virtue of keeping some information private ... and/or good old fashioned ridicule ... and in some cases institutionalization, but we'll leave it up to the reader to decide for his or her self.

Anyway, we're also amendable to changing the name of this segment. Right now we're going to just run with "The MySpace," because we're old and feel the necessity to throw a definitive article in front of every new phenomenon that escapes our comprehension. If you've got something better, drop us a line. We should be starting shortly.

Here They Come

That didn't take long ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sean Hackbarth Loves Hooker (News) Just as Much as We Do!

If you ask us, Wonkette totally missed the train on their amusing post about the the job search for the quasi-local blogger at The American Mind. The "IHookers!" angle would have been much more up Wonkette's alley.

Hey, we've all been there ...

Huzzah! Now We Can All Enjoy Eliot Spitzer's Hooker

Evidently, she'd already "Gone Wild" during the days of her reckless youth.

MORE: Man, this just gets seedier and seedier:

[S]omeone thought to check his company's archives and, lo and behold, there are hours of tapes of said Kristen from 2003 when she traveled to Miami to celebrate her 18th birthday, got in a fight with her girlfriend, was thrown out of her hotel and happened to spend a week on the Gone Wild bus.

Why wouldn't the parent of any 18-year-old girl approve such a celebration?

Just doing the math here. This is 2008 and Kristen is said to be 22. So five years ago she would have been, oh, never mind.

EVEN MORE: I'm willing to bet that there are reporters at the New York Post who are going on their eighth or ninth consecutive day without sleep.

MORE YET: Oh, good God ...

"Black Guy Asks Nation for Change"

From the Onion:

Reports indicate that the black man has been riding from city to city across the country, asking for change wherever he goes. Citizens in Austin, TX said they spotted the same guy standing on the street Friday, shouting far-fetched ideas about global warming. Cleveland residents also reported seeing him in a local park, wildly gesticulating and quoting from the Bible. And last week, patrons at the Starlight Diner in Cheyenne, WY claimed that the black man accosted them while they were eating, repeatedly requesting change.


Those who encountered the black man Tuesday said he engaged in erratic behavior, including pointing at random people in the crowd and desperately saying he needs their help, going up to complete strangers and hugging them, and angrily claiming that he is not looking for just a little bit of change, but rather a great deal of change, and that he wants it "right now."
The timing is impeccable.

My, What a Big Tent You Have ...

With friends like these ...

Given the graciousness of the above GOP shills it's little wonder that Carol Roessler's departure from the Senate is occurring in a manner that leaves the party behind the eight ball. I'm sure she's no stranger to that kind of criticism from her "colleagues" and I like to think that she just got fed up and said "Fine, you run for office. I'll take my Rolodex to the first lobbying shop that offers me a corner office."

Is that how it went down? Probably not, but she did her party no favors in making the announcement this late. Quick: name a solid GOP candidate from Winnebago or Fond du Lac counties that can replace her? I'm sure there are a few out there, but the competition has had a considerable head start now and the Republicans will have to play a little catch up -- especially when it comes to raising money.

I imagine what will happen in the coming weeks will look an awful lot like what is happening in the 53rd Assembly district. Right now there are three people running for the GOP nomination (I'm actually kind of curious to see if any of these folks decide to forgo the Assembly seat and take a shot at the bigger enchilada). I think there will be a similar handful that tests the waters unless the Republicans can quickly settle on a recruited candidate and essentially shut out their primaries to everyone else save the clueless and the crazy.

Personally, I'd like to see someone run who makes Tom Reynolds look like a filthy hippie. That would probably be the most entertaining thing ever.

Anyway, congratulations to all the RINO hunters out there -- you managed to push one off the wildlife reserve. Now you're screwed. Keep up the great work!

"He has no idea what's going on."

When people start comparing the economic climate to Katrina ... well, etc.

Suck on My Chocolate Salty Balls

The JS picks up on the Oshkosh-loves-chocolate story.

When Did the United States Liberate Russia?

silent E really likes cluttering up his sidebar with pieces of flair and has a new one he just has to share with the rest of the world here, one which begs the question: when did the United States liberate Russia?

Show me the Russian historian who takes this line of argument seriously.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cranky Lady Cares Not for Moving Picture Violence

It baffles the mind:

Golly, gee! Are we ever lucky! Just think, not only do we have various and sundry killings every day on television—now we get to see one actually being done. Gosh, I can hardly wait to see Johnny Depp in action—shooting people with a smirk on his face just like “Johnny” Dillinger. I didn’t realize Oshkosh was so pleased for revenue that they’d be willing to subject the populace to more viciousness than we see each day in newspapers and TV.

Norma J. Toussaint

I don't know ... I kinda think the sarcastic tone detracts from the gist of the argument, don't you?

Oh Shit! Roessler's Not Running!

Christ, it's going to be a madhouse around here this fall.

The Speech

One of the great failings of Mitt Romney's December speech on religion was that it was not a discussion-generating event after the speech was given. People heard what he had to say, noted that he didn't screw up, then asked themselves "So what else happened today?" Maybe if Romney had won Iowa reporters would have gone back and said, "You know what really turned this campaign around for old Mitt? That Faith in America speech he gave a month ago."

But he didn't win Iowa.

Obama's speech is definitely generating buzz. For one thing, you can find transcriptions of the speech just about everywhere (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) The campaign seems to have wisely supplied an embargoed copy of the remarks to as many reporters as humanly possible, so they were clearly confident they had winner on their hands. They're clearly going to be doing a lot of hand-holding with the media:

His biggest gamble is to treat the subject with the depth and seriousness and complexity that it deserves. He is banking on enough reporters, pundits and voters hearing him out on this very difficult subject.

Not to mention discussing many of the aspects of the speech in great detail to their audiences. Right now that plan seems to be working (whereas Romney's speech failed). Here's just a sampling of what people are saying:

Ed Kilgore:

How will this entire speech go over? It's hard to say. It won't satisfy those who expected Obama to "reject" Wright as he rejected Farrakhan. It will offer fresh ammunition to Republicans who claim the "real" Obama is revealed by his associations in Chicago. It will anger some people on both sides of the racial divide by its flat statement of moral equivalence between black and white resentments. But it may resonate with Americans (especially Catholics) who have loyally attended churches for years while rejecting or ignoring key elements of church teachings.

Marc Ambinder:

How it plays will determine how it plays. If the media focuses more on the Wright defense-by-renouncements and then juxtaposes them with clips of Wright's comments, then I think the trouble remains. The seeds of doubt about who this guy really is may be nourished. I know that Obama believes that a discussion about race plays to his benefit, no matter what people think about white working class voters and their latent feelings. Perhaps this is the beginning of his opportunity to lift the veil and get everyone -- not just himself and the media -- to talk openly.

Pete Able:

Of all the words he spoke, those three — “not this time” — seemed the defining words of the moment; not just of the speech, but of his entire campaign.

Better than most, those words capture, I think, why so many people from so many corners of the country — from different races, income levels, genders, and ideologies — have rallied to his candidacy: because they believe their vote for him is a vote against the past and for a different approach, a different future. Will we be divided along artificial lines of race and income and party? Not this time. Will we succumb to smear campaigns? Not this time. Will we stumble through the world blind to the fears and hopes of others? Not this time.

Craig Crawford:

Barack Obama gave two speeches in one today that might have been best done separately. He tried to connect the national reaction against his pastor’s wacky ideas to the need for a national conversation about race.


Attempting to elevate the Wright flap to a broad sociological discussion might get Obama out of a rough political spot by changing the subject. But if he is saying that a healing conversation about race requires better understanding of his crazy preacher, many voters would rather talk about something else.

The Columbia Journalism Review:

Obama spoke with unusual directness about the economic legacy of racism, about today’s full texture of ethnic identity and resentment, about the need for genuine discussion on race, and about where to go from here.

Let’s meet him where’s he’s led us. There’s no reason Clinton and McCain can’t join in, but again, this needn’t—and in some ways shouldn’t—be a campaign-focused conversation. It’s a long overdue national conversation.

Charles Murray (whom, as Marc Ambinder points out, is the author of The Bell Curve):

Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.... But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie.

Rush Limbaugh (by way of Ambinder):

On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said that Barack Obama was now "the candidate of race."

He said Obama "is not an agent of racial healing, he is a product of it."

He accuses of Obama of wanting to be the nation's racial-healer-in-chief, rather than its commander-in-chief.

From the Hotline:

Obama's call today was not just for the candidates to tone down the use of race in the presidential contest. What he said was bigger than that. It was more authentic than that. He challenged people, of all colors and backgrounds, to transcend their deepest distrust of each other in the interest of progress. To redefine the conversation about race in America.

To blacks, he said, embrace your past, do not fall victim to it. To whites, he said, it is time to acknowledge that "what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people."

Such an undeniably tall order, no? And yet, on gut alone, it felt reasonable, righteous.


The more I think about this speech, the more I think Obama said: Damn straight, Rev. Wright is angry. That's how I wound up at his church. That's why I stay there. I'm mad too, I just control it better. Now let's get electing me president so we can all feel good.

Andrew Sullivan:

Alas, I cannot give a more considered response right now as I have to get on the road. But I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.


I love this country. I don't remember loving it or hoping more from it than today.

David Brody:

We won't know for awhile how voters view Barack Obama's speech today on race relations but The Brody File saw it as a HUGE positive for Obama and a successful turning point for the future of his campaign. ... He will always have his doubters. Some will say he should have left right then and there but Obama argues that you have to look at the whole picture. He's making the case that Wright's ministry needs to be seen in totality. Voters will decide if that is a sustainable argument."

The Weekly Standard:

[I]t turns out that Barack Obama is really no different than any other conventional liberal candidate for the presidency. He blames America, racism, and the past for the problems of today...


The controversial speech that would have saved Obama's campaign is here, and it was delivered on the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education by a man who really has transcended race. On that day, Bill Cosby said, "Brown Versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem." He said "We cannot blame white people." And he spoke about a culture of accountability as the only path to success for Black America.

I just want to pause for a second to let the reader absorb this last one: The Weekly Standard is suggesting we exchange an Obama speech for a Bill Cosby speech ...

Did you get that? Moving on ...

Kevin Drum:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Barack Obama for finally taking the stage and shutting up CNN's talking heads. That alone makes his speech worthwhile.

There's plenty more here, here and here.

What did I think? With the exception of the remarkable idiocy of Michael Goldfarb over at the Weekly standard and Rush Limbaugh, there is truth to much of the above, but that at the end of the day the greatness -- and it's definitely one of the best speeches I've ever heard -- of the speech is going to be measured in it's immensity. This speech has the ability to keep people talking for months, maybe even years, parsing and dissecting its words and its meaning and how it relates and reflects the racial experience in America and to Obama's own personal experience.

Obviously the most controversial aspect of the speech was Obama's refusal to throw Wright under the bus and I have a difficult time trying to re-imagine a speech in which he does so. The right will certainly bend over backwards to stick this on Obama, but in the long run I have a feeling that this will be interpreted by many as the moment when the student became his spiritual teacher's master.

If Obama's campaign is to be about unity and inclusion, he can't being running around tossing the people closest to him out to the wolves and not expect others to notice. In a strange way I can't help but feeling that Wright's incendiary remarks are in someway personifying the American "original sin" of race relations in this little drama. By condemning Wright's words Obama is acknowledging that there are unresolved matters between all races in this country and by not condemning Wright-the-man Obama is saying that he's not going to simply sweep these problems under the carpet and ignore them as we have a history of doing (as this guy seems to suggest we do).

There are many layers to this imbroglio, some of which I don't think we'll discover for some time now, but judging by Sen. Obama's response to this mess he has a keen idea just how complicated this matter is and a good notion on how to proceed with. David Corn made a sharp observation that this isn't a Sister Souljah moment and seems to me that he's largely correct to say that. Obama's got a narrow line to walk on this issue, but if this speech says anything to anyone, it's that he's going to be capable -- and daring enough -- to do it.

Clearly, this is not going to be the final word on the subject.

Headlines of the Damned

Today's edition of Headlines of the Damned has been brought to you by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Police doubt they will ever find the poop on who soiled offices

This has been another edition of Headlines of the Damned.

[via Zach Patton]

Did You Know?

Barack Obama does his own stunts.

John Hughes, Please Pick Up the Nearest White Courtesy Phone ...

I was always too terrified to throw a party when my parents went away back in school -- not because I was afraid the folks would find out, but rather I was mortified that no one would show up. Apparently kids these days don't have to worry about that:

Remember Corey Delaney? Probably not, but he was the unapologetic Australian surfer dude who threw a crazy house party and subsequently became a minor Internet celebrity after a bunch of people started covering his every move. Anyway, his legacy is seemingly being honored in England, where, according to the Daily Mail (not exactly the exemplar of responsible, measured journalism, but whatever), packs of hooligan kids are now using sites like MySpace and Facebook to source and crash house parties they're not invited to. And it's ripping apart the very fabric of society!

The latest victim is poor 17-year-old Sarah Ruscoe. Ruscoe, who lives in a big old 21-bedroom Georgian manor, decided to post details of her upcoming birthday party on social networking site Bebo without telling mommy. Next thing she knew, 2,000 people were at her door (a local radio DJ had even mentioned it on air), swigging vodka, urinating all over the place, and trashing valuable family heirlooms. Luckily, Sarah's mom is very understanding! "I blame the modern means of communication," she says.

If you haven't already seen the video of Corey Delaney, get thee there pronto. It's a masterpiece of adolescent obstinacy that all should witness.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Expected Better

Evidently, Jesse Seymour, the Analogical Wonder from Antigo, took exception with my critique of his recent missive. Here's what he has to say in his defense:

First off, I never accused Barrack Hussein Obama of any crime against humanity - I simply stated that change for the sake of change has always led to disaster.

Let's look at the first clause of that sentence -- "I never accused Barrack Hussein Obama of any crime against humanity". Again, here's what he had written in the original post:

Barrack Hussein Obama has said over and over again that he wants transparency in government, but still has not revealed the recipients of pork projects that he appropriate funds for in 2005 and 2006. Obama keeps saying that he wants change but he will not say what the change is.

In 1942 [Editor note: I misquoted the year here. The year I had intended to quote was 1933] Germany had a major change in government. We all know how that story ended.

So, no, Seymour didn't "accuse" Obama of crimes against humanity -- at least not directly. But that wasn't our beef with the post. What I took exception to was the fact that Seymour was implying that Obama in some way, shape or form resembled Hitler and all that he represents in the historical imagination (which includes, but certainly isn't limited to, said "crimes against humanity"). Such a sloppy display of rhetorical slight of hand has essentially the same effect as a flat-out accusation.

Seymour should understand that. I contend that he is, in fact, well aware of this and was trying to be cute in front of his fellow conservative readers. Well, he got called out and here we are ...

As for the sentence's second clause "I simply stated that change for the sake of change has always led to disaster," let me just loudly respond: Bullshit. I simply can not read this in the original post and know of no possible way of doing so. Here is essentially the logical formation that I arrived at while reading Seymour's grafs discussing Obama:

(1.) Obama is a candidate calling for change.
(2.) However, Obama has not said what that change should be.
(3.) A scenario in which Obama is elected President would resemble the origins of the Third Reich.

Seymour's most recent argument -- that "change for the sake of change has always led to disaster" -- seems here to hinge on point (2.) above: that Obama has not disclosed what this "change" is that he is calling for. I don't know where Seymour is getting this from. Like all the other candidates who have spent the last 14 months running for President, Sen. Obama has released fairly detailed policy positions (most of which are in sharp contrast to the current administrations' -- why, here's a short primer on just his foreign policy views).

What Seymour appears to have done is confuse Obama's neglect for having released his earmark requests for his campaign's general theme of Change. They are not the same things. While the earmark issue may be an inconvenient fact that countervails Obama's call for broader change in Washington, the two are by no means interchangeable because one is simply a part to the other's greater whole.

As for Seymour's argument that "change for the sake of change has always led to disaster" (emphasis mine) -- again, I don't see that anywhere in the original argument. I see an author who makes one historical point of reference, which just happens to be the most extreme (and commonly abused) example cited in online discussion. If "change for the sake of change" always leads to disaster, you're going to have to provide us with a few more examples (like, many more examples) if you expect anyone to buy such a sweeping philosophical statement ...

And next time, do try and make them relevant examples, or at least ones that clearly support you're thesis because it could be argued that the Nazis did not come to power because Germany wanted "change for the sake of change," but because life in the Weimar Republic sucked so badly that Germans were willing to listen to anyone, especially a charismatic charlatan with a proclivity for scape-goating various minority groups, who offered a solution to their problems. Or, in other words, they weren't "changing for the sake of change," but changing because they believed they had no other choice for their own survival. Like I said, could be argued, but that just demonstrates that the example cited by Seymour isn't as black and white as he would have his readers believe.

The rest of the post, which actually makes up the bulk of the piece, isn't worth touching. It's just a shallow and obvious attempt to change the subject. Here's a shorter version: "I didn't call Obama a war criminal, but, boy, is he arrogant!" There. That's basically the whole post condensed into a dozen words. I'm not even going to bother with that part of it because this is exactly how poor Jesse Seymour got in this mess in the first place -- he got distracted, then got lazy, then said something stupid.

See, Seymour started out trying to craft some kind of Conservative Manifesto for the 21st Century, a real think piece full of big ideas on how much liberals blow. Something more along the line of this piece of shit. For a few grafs he succeeded, keeping things on a relatively abstract level, but when he got to the "Liberals will lie to win votes" section he lost focus and decided to bring in a contemporaneous example and somewhere in that transition a few neural synapses must have misfired (or something) and the result was the mess we've discussing here.


And on a final note: you're goddamn right I have the maturity of a 5th-grader, but at least I don't write like one.

Headlines of the Damned

Today's edition of Headlines of the Damned has been brought to you by Us Weekly:
This has been another edition of Headlines of the Damned.

While We're All Admitting Mistakes ...

I may as well come clean with one of my own: In December I said it was a good idea that the New York Times was bringing on William Kristol to their editorial page. That has obviously not turned out to be the case.

Kristol has been been guilty of not only printing embarrassing factual errors, but of speaking upon that which he knows little and poor writing and he hasn't even been at the paper three months yet -- only 11 columns thus far.

The fact-checking point, however, should strike most readers as particularly offensive. This is the most basic function of journalism, even opinion journalism. It reeks of a laziness, professional and intellectual, that would in some cases cost journalists at lesser paper their jobs.

So far this partnership has been nothing but awful for the Times. My bad.

[Unfortunately, I can't remember where I picked up the graphic above, but isn't it pretty dope?]

MORE: Ugh ...

Gen Y and the Voters of the Future

Shoebox over at No Runny Eggs offers a valid, albeit one-sided, critique of "Generation Y" voters and the potential impact of an Obama loss, especially by way of some nefarious tactics by Team Clinton, on their the future political participation.

It's certainly possible that a "stolen" victory by Clinton could turn young voters off, and Shoebox isn't the only person to suggest that this could happen, but to predict that this phenomenon will occur due to the fact that Gen Y is collectively "needy," has "entitlement" issues, or is merely out to "do what feels good" largely misses the most distinct characteristic of most people under the age of 30: they are voraciously social.

Technology has had a large hand in contributing to this, but its not the only reason. Kids these days are more likely to have studied or more likely to study abroad -- their worldview is larger than their parents'. They're more likely to do things like internships or participate in some form of extracurricular activity (this has come both in the form of sheer availability of such programs and active encouragement from every quarter). And they are increasing required to lend a hand in their communities by completing a number of volunteer hours before they graduate high school (for example). You can't be political without being social, and kids these days have that down pat.

The "doing what feels good" criticism has been something young people have been praised for in a different context. Many recent college graduates are taking the few years after undergraduate school to do things like Teach for America, non-profit work, or other less than lucrative employment, not because it pays, but because "it feels good" to help out. Nothing makes people more political involved than volunteering in the community, seeing first hand what changes need to be made and actually having a hand implementing those changes. Gen Y may be the first generation of Americans to experience this on such a mass scale and may be better prepared to handle any kind of disappointment the current political environment can dish out to them.

For every doomsday scenario involving a so-called "Lost Generation" of voters there's another calling Gen Y a "Joshua Generation" (and it's no coincidence Obama used that phrase when he spoke in Selma earlier this year). It's the prerogative -- and maybe even the sworn duty -- of one generation to fear the worst from those that succeed it, yet somehow the human race continuous to move on. Kids these days are alright -- they're just young and susceptible to shortcomings of youth, like inexperience. That doesn't mean their idealism is any more fragile than any other generation before them.

“I’m not pursuing the bill, because it’s probably unconstitutional”

Remember Rep. Tim Couch, the Kentucky legislator who wanted to ban anonymous blogging?

Well, he's thrown in the towel.

An Ingenious Way to Collect Your Personal Information

Fill out a March Madness bracket, then see if you beat John McCain.

Honestly, give the web master who came up with that one a gold star or something.

[via H&R]

The NY Post

I don't know if the New York Post had much of a soul to sell to the Devil to begin with, but whatever deal they've made with the maleficent forces of the Dark Lord this week was probably worth it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Was Spitzer Set Up?

God, wouldn't that make things just ... well, just totally more awesome than they already are? I mean, we'd get to talk about hookers, and coke, and Larry Flynt, and Lord knows what else for weeks and weeks!

Screw the election! To hell with the war! Bugger off with your warnings of the impending economic disaster! I want a little more sex, drugs and rock'n'roll with my politics, which is why I'm grateful to Bob Novak today:

New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer's "entrapment by federal authorities investigating a prostitution ring raised speculation that" GOP political consultant Roger Stone, "with a 40-year record as a political hit man, somehow was behind it," according to Robert Novak.

On December 6, Stone said, ''Eliot Spitzer will not serve out his term as governor of the state of New York," on Michael Smerconish's radio talk show. He gave no details.

Stone is really one of the great genuine characters in the GOP's stable of political blood-letters, an affable guy with a mischievous, boyish smile -- one that screams "I did it!" to anyone who's ever had kids. Which is why this snippet is rather interesting:

Stone had been retained in June [of 2007], for $20,000 a month, to help demoralized New York State Republicans gain ground from the caped-crusader/governor Eliot Spitzer (who many, including Spitzer, seem to regard as some sort of cross between Robert Kennedy and Jesus). Stone and a loose collection of co-conspirators began battering the governor for his administration's numerous ethical lapses. (When I called Stone for this story, he asked if I'd gotten all the anti-Spitzer emails. I told him I wasn't sure, it seemed like I'd been receiving five a day for months from all sorts of mysteriously named accounts. "Good," he said. "It's working.")

Stone's work against Spitzer mainly revolved around ethical lapses of a financial nature ... much of what got the soon-to-be-ex-Governor of New York in hot water in the first place, so Roger Stone, if he continued to follow the money, may have been (somewhat) responsible for binging down Eliot Spitzer. If he did, it's a monumental achievement in the field of opposition research, dirty tricks and political theater -- perhaps second only to Dustin Hoffman's Hollywood big-shot's opus in "Wag the Dog."

Of course, that's just total and complete unfounded speculation on my behalf ... and entirely for my own entertainment. (Hey, sometimes it's just fun to dabble in a conspiracy theory or two, if for no other reason than as exercise for the imagination!) But if in the off chance that it is true ... well, Mr. Stone, I doff my chapeau to you, sir!

Now, Novak's column specifically says Stone was not responsible for uncovering Spitzer's shenanigans:

Spitzer's entrapment by federal authorities investigating a prostitution ring raised speculation that Stone, with a 40-year record as a political hit man, somehow was behind it. In truth, Stone had nothing to do with the investigation and said he had not heard about it when he made a prediction based on his general view of Spitzer.

But, really, what's a guy in Stone's position to say -- especially if he actually was the guy responsible for bringing the Governor down? "Yeah, I did that, bitches! Who wants some?" Of course not ...

Alas, until there is credible evidence, we here at the Chief are going to have to take Stone at his word. But should we ever meet the man, we'll be sure to pat him on the back and congratulate him on a job well done -- with a wink and a nod, of course -- and let the man be on his merry way.

(By the way -- and just to answer the moderately provocative title of the post -- no, of course Spitzer was not set up. He walked headlong into this. The article in the Weekly Standard was published in December, and the fact that he went and got himself some hookers even after knowing that a guy like Stone was on his tail makes him even more guilty in my book.)

Quick! Someone Send the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to Brooklyn!

Hipsters love cheese (this week).

Sunday Morning Link Orgy

* The London Telegraph tells you how to get to the World's 50 Best Works of Art (some back-breaking travel required).

* DNI Mike McConnell opens up to a group of Johns Hopkins students on the nature of the Intelligence business.

* The Virginia Quarterly Review passes on 27 Reasons Why Short Stories are Rejected (Reason #1: Your story sucks).

* The Clinton campaign and the conference call: a love affair in three acts.

* Has science found a way to end to end the practice of war?

* Did you know Kareem Abdul-Jabbar blogs for the L.A. Times?

* Superdelegates: they could feasibly end the whole nominating process for the Dems right now if they wanted to (but they don't).

Knuckle-Dragging Northwoods Blogger Compares Obama to Hitler to Demonstrate His is a Well-reasoned Opinion

Prior to the quote below Jesse Seymour's post on his views of liberalism was just a masturbatory rehash of various conservative talking points that have been en vogue among extreme right-wingers over the years, but then he comes out with this doosy:

I believe that liberals will say anything to get a vote. Barrack Hussein Obama has said over and over again that he wants transparency in government, but still has not revealed the recipients of pork projects that he appropriate funds for in 2005 and 2006. Obama keeps saying that he wants change but he will not say what the change is.

In 1942 [Editor note: I misquoted the year here. The year I had intended to quote was 1933] Germany had a major change in government. We all know how that story ended.

Yeah, because earmark disclosure and genocide are intimately related ...

If Seymour's going to trot out an utterly ridiculous argument such as the one above then he should stick to blogging at the open mic night at his local coffee house. There's no place for this asinine bullshit. Come back when you have a serious contribution to make to the discussion. This is embarrassingly lazy at best and patently offensive all the way around.

If this is indicative of Seymour's opinion on other topics then may I recommend that readers find less mind-numbing ways to spend their time, like drinking heavily or slamming one's head continuously into a brick wall. I know small children with more advanced capacities for logic than this monstrosity.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

“I am the Strom Thurmond of Winnebago County”

Jesus H. Christ, what the hell is that supposed to mean?

I sure hope Maehl is referring to Thurmond's longevity and not the, you know, philandering or the racism or the death.

Headlines of the Damned

Today's edition of Headlines of the Damned has been brought to you by China Daily:

This has been another edition of Headlines of the Damned.

Rampant Corruption Discovered in Pseudo-Communist Monarchy!

Have they no shame?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dept. of Obvious Headlines

Ya think?

Wake Us When the Primary's Over

This is interesting:

Kratz said he has tremendous respect for Petri but business and Republican leaders approached him saying it's time for a change.

Republican leaders?

It's not a secret that there are Wisconsin Republicans who don't particularly care for Tom Petri -- in fact, the level of disdain against Petri is typically reciprocal to how unhinged they are ... calling him a "RepublicRAT," for example, seems to be about on par with calling him "poopy pants" and the like. Few Republicans 'round these parts get called a RINO more often (especially from people who don't live in the 6th CD), so it's perhaps no surprise that some in the GOP leadership have a hankering for a more conservative member of Congress.

I don't know if that conservative is Kratz. He doesn't seem to think that he is:
"I think Congressman Petri and my differences are far less ideological and far more about personality or about energy or about the way to represent the 6th District," Kratz said.

So there you go.

I love the way the Petri spokesman reacts:

We spoke with Congressman Petri's office about Kratz's run for office, and a spokesman told us, "It's a free country." He also told us Petri will seek another term.

(Pictured above: a spokesman for Rep. Tom Petri responds to press inquiries regarding a possible primary challenge later this year.)

When It Rains, It Pours

Coming right off the heels of Spitzergate, we now have Strippers in the Mayor's Mansion!

Two Words I Never Thought I'd See Together

Battlefield Acupuncture.

Killing Critics

It's happening in America too:

In the English departments of British universities, the professors have been strenuously denying the value of literature; these candidates for critical authority have waived their rights. It is no wonder, McDonald observes, that academic literary critics are no longer public critics, for if you abandon literary value then, in the eyes of those outside the campus boundaries, the value of the literary critic goes too.

[via A&LD]

Headlines of the Damned

Today's edition of Headlines of the Damned is brought to you by the Daily Record:

This has been another edition of Headlines of the Damned.

"I hear that in the Parmenides room the mini-bar does not open and the Heraclitus room has a water bed."


Thursday, March 13, 2008

John McLaughlin, Meet Andrew W.K.

Behold, the genius of this catchy number:

Here's the mp3.

Petri's (Future) Enforcer

The Sheboygan Press ran an article on Tyler Vorpagel, a recent college grad who landed a gig on Rep. Tom Petri's staff. Being new to the business means Mr. Vorpagel's duties are a bit limited at the moment:

As a staff assistant to Petri, Vorpagel is the "point of contact," or first voice people hear when they call the office or stop in for help or answers to questions. He also represents Petri at legislative updates throughout the district and accompanies Petri when he travels around the district to meet with constituents.

If you work for a congressman you get to be a "point of contact." Work for anyone else and they call you a receptionist.

Tyler looks like a bright kid, though. We're confident he'll move up the ladder quickly. Pretty soon he'll get that promotion to "bag man" and so forth until that one proud day when Vorpagel finds himself shaking down donors for contributions in some smoke-filled tavern in Red Granite or even cleaning up dead hooker guts in a Nevada brothel.

Of course, we wish the young lad all the best.

(Pictured above: Rep. Tom Petri, left, and the body of Tyler Vorpagel, who recently gave the Congressman his immortal soul in exchange for a period of undetermined service and access to money, women and power.)

The Dramatis Personae

I just want to point out what an eccentric group of people L'Affaire Spitzer has brought together. We have:

* The Governor of New York

* Said governor's wife and family

* An aspiring pop singer

* A dirty hippie

* Someone who is not Michael Jordan

* The Duke of Westminister

* A young alumna of a swanky New Jersey high school

* Her Israeli-born financial consultant boyfriend/boss (who is almost 40 years her senior)

* At least seven more customers to be named later

* A handful of yet to be identified call girls

* A blind guy

* The staff at the New York Post (which has really gone above and beyond the call of duty doing the yeoman's work befitting such a fine publication during this whole mess)

* Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK) & Prostitutes of New York (PONY)

* An FBI that leaks like a sieve

* Stephen Colbert

* Laura Schlessinger

* The act of Human Coitus itself

If this show doesn't make it to Broadway in a year or so I will be very disappointed.

MORE: See, now this what I'm talking about!


* A minor league baseball team from Georgia

Now If I Can Only Find My Car Keys ...

Ruth Conniff has a piece in the Progessive on the emerging, well, progressive moment in American politics.

Just remember, folks, you heard it here first.

A Very Special (Spitzer-free) Thursday Link Orgy

* Cocaine is now cheaper than beer in England.

* Adam Smith's old house is on the market.

* An 8 year-old is trying to get into law school in Brazil.

* "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything" really isn't all that simple.

* A vegan strip club opens in Portland.

* Blender counts down the 20 Biggest Record Company Screw-ups of All Time.

* 50 Photographs where timing is everything.

* If they made greeting cards for St. Patrick's Day ...

* 10 amazing chemistry videos.

* Dick Cheney goes to Riyadh.

Please, Stop Wasting My Time

I can't tell if this argument is serious or satire -- whatever the answer, I feel as if I have lost a sliver of my life that I can no longer recover.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stopping Traffic

Charlie Sykes notes that America's financial hub came to a screeching halt today as bankers, traders and other mavens of commerce paused to watch erstwhile nemesis Eliot Spitzer resign as Governor of New York.

I was always under the impression that the only way to accomplish this feat would be to stage a bikini-clad wrestling match between Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett in a kiddy pool filled with KY jelly on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets.

Evidently, I was wrong, but I hope this does not dissuade anyone from organizing such an event in the future.


Well, gang, it's been fun, but it appears as if Spitzergate is now over. I don't know about you, but I certainly had fun ... and I learned a few things too:

* Sometimes you just have to take a politician at his word:

* There's nothing like a dame ...

* Next time someone pays for high-priced sex they should seriously consider using a pre-paid credit card.

I hope you'll join us next time hubris and hormones collide to bring us the meteoric fall from grace of some shining star in American leadership's firmament. Good night.

Hookers & Hippies

One of the indicted Madames of the now infamous Emprorers Club is a total hippie.

Evidently, "free love" actually costs about $4300 an hour.

[My apologies ... I just couldn't help myself.]

Here We Go ...

From the P-C:

Kratz said Petri has served the district “with distinction, with honor,” but said people who contacted him want new ideas from Congress, which has approval ratings below 20 percent in most surveys.

The 2006 elections sent politicians a “very strong and very serious message,” Kratz said. “Business as usual will not be tolerated any more.”

Why would anyone want to change from a guy who is serving with "distinction" and "honor"? Isn't that a far cry from "business as usual"?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"The Pucker"

Man, did my imagination run wild when I first read that term bandied about in the context of Eliot Spitzer's recent, um, shall we say "troubles," but it turns out that it's just a fresh phrase for an age old phenomenon and not something you might be asked to do in the company of contortionist swingers.

Who Dares Challenge The Petri?

The Post Crescent this morning is reporting that Rep. Tom Petri may be facing a primary challenge from some dude named Ken Kratz. Now, referring to Mr. Kratz as "some dude" is a bit demeaning since he happens to be a county District Attorney with a good deal of legal experience, but it's hard to take seriously any kind of threat to Rep. Petri's office this late in the election cycle.

I've never heard of Kratz before (not that that's a bad thing -- I tend to view anyone with intimate knowledge of the area's district attorneys a bit suspiciously), but I suspect what he may be doing is laying the ground work for a possible "real" run for when Petri eventually retires. It's not a bad way to build some name recognition and practice on the trail, after all.

But if it's a genuine bona fide balls-to-the-wall effort to unseat a long-sitting incumbent who rarely has seen challenges from either side of the aisle, then Mr. Kratz has his work cut out for him. Petri is about as moderate as Republicans get these days and this isn't exactly the year to be running to the right of a well-regarded incumbent. I don't know what kind of options that leaves Kratz to work with ... is there some kind of pressing issue here in the 6th CD that needs the urgent attention in the House of Representatives? I can't think of one -- granted, that doesn't mean there isn't one ...

Let's face it: the voters in the 6th CD have basically given Rep. Petri his seat in Congress for as long as he wants it, and unless he is dragged off to the Hague to face some heretofore undisclosed International Fashion Crimes Tribunal, he's not going anywhere (no matter what Matt Stoller may think).

(Pictured above: Donning his trademark button-down short-sleeved shirt, tie and writing implement in breast pocket, Rep. Tom Petri displays his collection of Excel spreadsheets to a rapt audience in Winneconne)

MORE: Turns out Kratz was the prosecutor in the the Teresa Halbach murder case.