Friday, May 25, 2007

Some Birds Have All the Luck

Just For the Next Few Minutes, Right or Left, I Beg You, Open Your Mind

All this talk about whether we're the terrorists or the Iraqis are the terrorists requires that you forget one thing:

The Iraqis were never the terrorists. Remember?

They were literally minding their own business. We might not have liked their own business, but they were minding it.

Let your mind go.


The Iraq war never happened.

Iran and China get into a war.

China believes (falsely) that we are in league with Iran, and that we are preparing to invade China. We tell them we're not going to, but they don't believe us. They tell us they're sending in UN inspectors whenever they like, wherever they like, to look at whatever they like. Bush feeling the way he does about the UN, he tells them to get bent.

China invades America and overthrows the government, in the interests of bringing their glorious system to improve our lives. Our cities are rubble, our electricity is off, and millions of our citizens are killed.

If you and I were to pick up guns and use guerilla tactics and set roadside bombs to repel the Chinese, would we be terrorists or freedom fighters?

If England and France smuggled in weapons for us, would they be rogue nations supporting terrorism, or allies defending freedom?

If Mexicans and Canadians were to take up arms to either defend their families or expand their territories, would they be insurgents, terrorists, or freedom fighters?

And if the blue states were to decide that this was a great chance to finally wipe out the red states, or if the South were to decide that this was their chance to get even for losing the Civil War, and Americans started to fight Americans for control of America, with Chinese and Mexican and Canadian soldiers caught in the crossfire, who'd be the terrorists? Who'd be the freedom fighters?

And whose fault would it be?

Just for a moment, try to look at the world through someone else's eyes.

No one thinks this mess is our troops' fault. It's the fault of whoever is putting them in this horrible situation. Whoever's making them do this senseless, dangerous, dirty work for no reason at all.

As of yesterday, a lot of Democrats made it their fault, too.

Hey, David Gregory... You Got Beautiful Kids There. Be a Shame If Something Was to Happen To Them.

"First, just if I might correct a misperception. I don't think we ever said -- at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein."

-- George W. Bush, 3/20/06

"These people attacked us
before we were in Iraq. They viciously attacked us before we were in Iraq, and they've been attacking ever since. They are a threat to your children, David, and whoever is in that Oval Office better understand it and take measures necessary to protect the American people."

-- George W. Bush, 5/24/07

Here's Where I Turn The View Into a Good Show

This morning The View did something it's never done before.

It was great.

Seriously. I really enjoyed it.

Elisabeth barely spoke, which helped, but most of the credit goes to guest co-host Padma Lakshmi. Top Chef viewers already knew she was beautiful and charming, but this morning she was so bright and funny and witty and appealing. She spoke in actual, complete sentences, not in yapping cliches.

She told a very moving story about the scar on her arm and how she asked photographers not to airbrush it out when she started modeling. She got it in a family car accident, when she threw her arm across her mother. Rosie pointed out the scar was a badge for saving her mother's life, but Padma made it more about gratitude for her mother's survival.

It was moving without being mawkish, and sweet without bringing the room down. That's not something you see a lot on The View.

Then, in a series of cooking segments, Padma was fantastic. One of my pet peeves with cooking segments is that the chefs go too quickly past steps they assume we know (but I definitely do not). Frequently during these segments, Padma would pipe up with exactly the information I was wondering. Intead of filling in with inane chatter or old jokes -- View trademarks -- she filled in with shortcuts and tips that were really valuable.

Rosie was really cute with her. She and Padma snacked heartily from each table, swigged beers when the chef wasn't looking, and joked like old pals. It was so much fun to watch, I was sorry when the hour was up.

If ABC is smart, when Rosie leaves they will replace her with Kathy Griffin. And they will also take that opportunity to give Elisabeth the heavus-hovus, and replace her with Padma.

If Elisabeth won't leave, then maybe when she goes on maternity/demon-spawn leave they can bring in Padma and then change the locks. The important thing is that Padma do this show every day, and that Elisabeth do whatever it is she does somewhere untelevised.

Seriously, ABC, you've got a golden opportunity here. Be smart.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Love Alicia Silverstone

I watched yesterday's The View with my jaw hanging open. I could not believe what I was seeing.

And this was before the argument between Rosie and that piece of dryer lint who sits across from her.

I was amazed that they'd found a guest co-host nearly as stupid as Elisabeth. This woman was a friggin' idiot, no two ways about it. A genuine moron.

But of course, no one is as stupid as Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

Elisabeth, after all, is the woman who recently said -- no, recently insisted repeatedly -- that "steel weakens at 270 degrees." She has not taken it back.

If I seem obsessed with this, it's because I am. George Bush's most loyal and unquestioning supporter on TV... a woman who appears, five days a week, on a show where she spouts her opinions on world affairs... actually believes steel is less heat-resistant than cake.

I believe that in order to become a "pundit" you should have to take a test. The test should have only one question:

"True or False?
I believe steel is not as sturdy as brisket."

The test should be pass/fail, with no curve.

Anyway, what does all this have to do with Alicia Silverstone?

Well... My favorite part of the show -- the part I've been enjoying over and over and over -- was not the fight. It was what came immediately afterward: Alicia doing what I wish more guests would do: giving Elisabeth el shoulder frio. Check out the frosty move below... It's a thing of beauty. You can practically feel Elisabeth wanting to stamp her little foot and cry.

In gratitude to Alicia, I'll include a plug for the extremely worthy campaign she was promoting. I always have at least two containers of Silk soy milk in my fridge. It's delicious. And now Silk is running a great Green Cap promotion to make it easy for you to turn dirty energy into clean energy.

A Guide to BushSpeak

You know how Bush always says, as he did this morning, that he trusts General Petraeus more than Congress to make decisions?

Yeah... Not really how our government works. In our government -- under the Constitution, which I know is a constant irritation to the Prez -- he and Congress run the war.

There are other governments where "generals on the ground" make decisions, and I really wish Bush and Cheney would move to one of them. I think they'd like it there. They're called "military dictatorships," or "

And whenever he says we should give General Petraeus' plan a chance to work? General Petraeus' "plan" called for something like 150,000 troops. So I doubt 50,000 will do the trick. Perhaps that's why we're now hearing that there are plans to
double the surge by year's end. Does it sound to you like Emperor Petraeus is planning to give an objective report come September?

Also, Petraeus' plan? Breaking the troops into hundreds of small "neighborhood watch" squads? Little bite-sized, easily-hostaged squads? (By the way, this is a time-tested approach. Custer tried it at Little Bighorn.)

And every time that Bush or Cheney or Rice or Laura (who once killed a guy) or Tony Snow or any of those chowderheads asks why the press is focusing on the war-torn parts of Iraq and not the peaceful parts of Iraq?


Whenever they say that, stop whatever you're doing, and ask how you would feel if you read the following quote on September 11th, 2001 from Osama Bin Laden:

"It's just the Pentagon and a couple of blocks in New York. A field in Pennsylvania. Why focus on just that tiny bit of violence? Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of America is peaceful and unharmed."

Blood boiling just imagining it?

Centuries From Now, Aliens Studying Our Civilization Will Wonder Who This "David Petraeus" Was And Why Humans Chose Him To Be Emperor

"Look, you want
politicans making those decisions?"

-- George W. Bush, one of the politicians (along with Congress) whose job it is under the Constitution to make "those decisions." 11:26 AM

We Must Not Give Up! Unless We're Asked To! Then We'll All Die! Which is Why We'll Never Give Up! As Long As Those Folks on Vacation Let Us Stay!

"We're there at the invitation of the Iraqi government...If they were to say leave we'd leave... If they were to make the request we wouldn't be there."

-- George W. Bush, 11:20 AM

"I'm credible because...I make it abundantly clear in plain terms that If we let up we'll be attacked. I firmly believe that... Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer."

-- George W. Bush, 11:21 AM

Who Are You Gonna Believe? Me Or That Other Guy?

"There is a reason that these and other plots have thus far not succeeded: Since September the 11th, we have taken bold action at home and abroad to keep our people safe...These measures are working. And these measures have helped prevent an attack on our homeland."

-- George W. Bush, U.S. Coast Guard Commencement Address, 5/23/07, to applause

"I see the intelligence every day. The danger has not passed. Here in America, we're living in the eye of a storm. All around us, dangerous winds are swirling, and these winds could reach our shores at any moment."

-- George W. Bush, later in the same speech, presumably to less applause

Yes. It is Very Hard to Understand Why a Country Would Do That. Very.

"I find it very hard to understand why the Iranians are not attracted to a way back into the international system rather than continuing to deepen their isolation."

Secretary of Unintentional Irony Condoleeza Rice, 5/23/07

What a Difference a Pronoun Makes

If I may...

Every time someone like Bill Maher or Rosie O'Donnell says something that is seen as criticizing the troops, they are stunned to find out it was taken that way. And rightly so. Both of them -- like most of us -- support the troops wholeheartedly.

Let's assume that the pundits are not cynically and purposefully misinterpreting what they said in order to make it seem unpatriotic. After all, that would in and of itself be unpatriotic.

No, let's assume they're not scum.

I've identified the problem. It's the word "we."

When people on the left use that word in a discussion of the war, it refers to the U.S. in general, or the Bush administration in particular. "We" (or "our") is a way of taking responsibility for actions our country takes, even those the left disagreed with from the beginning and fought like hell to warn everyone not to take. Those of us on the left are kinda patriots in that way.

When people on the right hear the word "we" they think "the troops"... even though none of them are actually suffering the burden that the troops are. They are assuming the pride and glory of military service without actually
performing military service... or risking their lives.

I wouldn't use the word "we" to refer to the Yankees or the Bulls or the Cubs, so why would I use it for the U.S. Army?

Never in a million years would I use the word "we" to refer to the American military. I have not earned that. Neither has Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity.

Hello? McFly?

Now that's what I call a season finale!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My To-Do List For the Day in Preparation for the Lost Finale

c Program everything in the house to record Lost in case my main TiVo fails.

c Have a friend record Lost just in case.

c Have six more friends record Lost as backup.

c Buy eight HDTV's to place in a circle around me in case I accidentally turn my head during the show.

c Have a colon cleanse and get a catheter installed.

c Call L.A. Times, buy three subscriptions so they won't call during the show.

c Call all auto insurance companies and sign up so they won't call during the show.

c Sever all ties with family and friends so they won't call during the show.

c Call AT&T and cancel my phone service.

c Unplug all the phones just to make sure.

c Duct tape the windows. I don't know why, but it seems like the thing to do.

c Commence show enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Wasn't Going to Watch American Idol Tonight, But Then They Went and Put Denise Richards in the Front Row

Well played, Idol... You've won this round.

I Believe You All Owe Lost an Apology

I don't want to spoil the Heroes finale for you, but here's what it all boiled down to:

Nothing you saw this whole year ever mattered!


The series had already gotten so made-up-as-it-goes-along that even the characters themselves had to have each other's powers re-explained to them. In some cases, they had to have their own powers re-explained to them.

And one of these days someone is going to remember that D.L. is, after all, an escaped convict and really should be kinda laying low. Or perhaps that is D.L.'s greatest power: to make everyone keep forgetting his backstory.

Then came Hiro's choice: save his friend or save the world. Which, it turned out, was not a choice at all. Because someone at the show finally remembered he can stop time. Duh!

And then came the great moment in last night's show where Peter asked Richard Roundtree if whatever was happening was a dream or time travel or what... and you could feel the writers shrugging when Roundtree kinda said who cares.

And since there were still a few cliches left in the barrel's bottom, Roundtree said all you need is love, and that Peter had the power all along, and to click his heels three times, and there's no place like home.

But don't worry, because it turns out that entire sequence was just a gigantic waste of time that had nothing to do with anything. That if Peter had not had that experience the ending would have been the same. In fact, if Peter had taken a nice nap for most of the season the ending would have been the same.

In that sense, the ending had all the impact of a joy buzzer.

In fact, the only real suspense left for next season is whether Mohinder and Meredith Grey will compete in a "Mumbo-Jumbo-Off"... First one whose narration makes any sense loses.

As With All Things Republican I'm Completely Confused

In both debates the Republican candidates fell over each other to give the corpse of Ronald Reagan a loving tongue bath.

"Ronald Reagan was our greatest President... We all must live up to the ideals he pioneered... He gave his life at Gettysburg so that we might be free... President Reagan could shrug his shoulders and the Colorado River would change course...One glancing brush of Ronald Reagan's lips and freedom would spread through nations and the afflicted would be healed."

For years now, all we've heard is how amazing and beloved Ronald Reagan was (job approval low of 35%) and how awful and despised Bill Clinton was (job approval never lower than 55%).

Okay, I figured. They're Republicans. They're psychos. Go know.

But now, all this week, they're ranting and raving about how the Immigration Bill is nothing but thinly-disguised amnesty. They spit the word. Amnesty would be the disgrace and destruction of our nation. Michael Reagan has been all over TV saying that amnesty would be a blot on this nation's history forever.


Our last amnesty was in 1986. Under Reagan. It was apparently his decision, in fact, to call it amnesty.

My head hurts.

P.S. Remember always that Nancy Reagan was pregnant when she and Ronald Reagan got married. And that Laura Bush killed a guy.